Stephanie Johnson (Cymbals 2002 - 2007) "2002 was the first year of NorthCoast Academy's existence, and a year of firsts it was! We were a young line learning, growing and discovering all of our potential and the possibilities that may lay ahead. I was a part of the cymbal line, and being that the 5 of us were mainly wind players asked to fill spots, we basically were told to run fast and crash a few times! What I can remember about "A Geometric Odyssey of Shapes and Colors" was the helmets, red sunglasses and the color guard! Although we finished in last place PIO, it was still the year that set the foundation of what would be an incredible organization. Most importantly though, some everlasting friendships were made and we came back the following year with a vengeance! "
2003: “Out of the Box, 1st place 93.35”
Chris Shirring (Bass 2003-2004)- “In 2003, every member at NCA went from "worst to first", regardless of where they marched the year before. We rehearsed in a retired HS auto body shop converted into a "band room". It was the first year folks from outside Michigan joined the group (Ohio and Canada). It was our last year in PIO and the year we won gold at world championships. It was the final year our founder and director, Steve Yoder, was with us. The snare line featured the old guys and the young guys, a Russian, a Mexican, a Mexican't, two random white guys, a "the bomb". We had a party sub, a QT, and a Hoover vacuum. Honestly, I've never laughed so hard in my life. Those who were there remember things like, "I love goooold", "you're my boy, blue", "Dr. Drill", "more cowbell", "Dayton, Dayton, Dayton", and I'm sure many others. That season, and certainly the show, was out of the box.”
Dan Schmatz (Snare)- 2004 was a pivotal season NCA. Our first year in PIW, coming off hot from a PIO gold medal. We weren't sure what to expect but the confidence level throughout the season was just as powerful as the year before. We were up against the "big dogs" this year and we fought hard until the end. WGI was in San Diego which made the whole season an even bigger build-up than the year before! Many of us weren't sure what to expect, as scholars maintain that the definition of "San Diego" was lost hundreds of years ago. They believe it means something about a whale. Anyway, the show was called "Chromatic Velocities" and we explored different time signatures, hemiolas and metric acceleration. The famous NCA stick drop made it's debut with a roaring crowd reaction, so naturally we kept doing it for the next 4 years! Throughout the season we learned many valuable lessons about performing in a higher class, creating an exciting show, and not to play "wall ball". Also know as the stupidest game ever created; "wall ball" led to the demise of a snare drummers foot. Fortunately this led to the best damn hi-hat solo WGI has ever, and will ever see. Josh Peeples' Foot - RIP
**He still has a foot
2005: “Four, 5th place, 93.10”
Drew Parent (Quads 2002-2006)- “2005 in a way was a big turning point for the ensemble. Up until this time we had went from last place in PIO to first in one season and also bumped up to the PIW class. 2005 was our second year in PIW but the ensemble grew immensely with the front ensemble almost doubling in size and the battery growing by 1-2 members per section. This was also the first year Coast made its name for having the best cymbal line in WGI with insane cymbal features that just hadn't been attempted before. The show was a simple concept, "4", and used both musical and visual motives in fours. The drill was very fast moving which was becoming NCA's staple and the beats were as beefy as a triple cheeseburger. I'm not sure, but I think this show might have contained the most visuals and vocals in the battery of any Drumline ever. When I think back to this show, before I even hear the music, I hear vocals such as "top bunk", "grade A top choice, and "I love Scotts mom". Good times.”
2006: “6th place, 92.60
TJ Kerwin (Cymbals 2006-2010)- “2006 was my first year in PIW and only my second year in drumline. I tried out for bass and got cut. Luckily there was an open cymbal spot, so I gave it a shot. Immediately, I fell in love with the direction NCA was pushing the cymbal world. We were given creative freedom to come up with cool ideas and visuals throughout the show which helped set the framework for years to come. That year I learned how to push myself and give everything I had to a group of people and a production. I didn't know how to "perform" until I watched some of the older vets. Those guys/girls threw down every single rep without being told to. We would stay up till 3 in the morning doing runs and they were still spitting fire. Although we didn't bump up in placement that season, the lessons learned from the members and staff have been a driving factor in my life ever since. I owe a decade of my life to this one season. I don't know where I'd be without this group.”
2007: "Rootz, 4th place: 93.15"
Oliver Rodriguez (Front Ensemble 2004-2008): "The hype will forever be burned in my memory of Joe Tucker yelling ROCKTAVES! while Corey Brown would improvise drum-set fills to kick off our pit warm up routines, as well as, how the members, group leadership, and staff from that year had the some of the best balance of having fun and getting work done that I have ever experienced to make a truly memorable season. I would have have no problem paying good money to relive those memorable trips to regionals and finals with such awesome people."
2008: “Un^2, 5th place 92.30”
Kyle Krukowski (Cymbals 2005-2009)- "Well we started the show with a cymbal feature, which was pretty awesome. But everything was unsquare, from the drill, to the music design, and ending with the spinning bass drums. It was a simply idea and it ended up turning into a really cool show! We had some cheesy dancing too...I definitely remember that, haha"
2009: “Echo, 7th 91.413”
Colin Davis (Cymbals 2007-2009, 2011)- “2009 was the year NorthCoast went global. We traveled to Europe for about a week in the later part of the season and finished 7th at finals in Dayton. We had a lot of talented people in the ensemble that year and were competitive throughout. The show was about Echoes and continued to demonstrate it both visually and musically.”
2010: “State of Mind, 11th 86.625”
Erik Kosman (Front Ensemble 2005-2010)- “2010 was my 5th, final, and most difficult year of NCA. Even though the show wasn't that great, and competitively it was not a success; what I remember the most is the members pulling together and vowing to make the best out of it for ourselves, and for the alumni.”
2011: “Balance, 5th 93.938”
Johnny Dwyer (Quads 2009-2012)- “2011 was definitely something special. Starting up with a whole slew of staffing and membership changes, the group set out to redeem itself after an unsteady 2010 andended up with the highest NCA PIW Finals score to date. It was the first year in quite some time that NCA didn't rehearse full time in Reese, the first year of the movement line, and also the first year of members from overseas! The show proved to be a huge crowd pleaser with exciting solos, unique acrobatics, some fun tricks, LOTS of cymbals, LOTS of notes, and the most epic cymbal stair WGI has ever seen. This group was extremely hard working and determined to make the season one to remember... and I'd say we were all pretty successful at that”
2012: “Lose Yourself, 6th 92.038”
Jessica Richardson (Cymbals 2010-2014)- ““Lose Yourself” was such a fun year. We were coming off of an awesome ‘come back’ with “Balance” and we were ready to show everyone what we were really made off. Every section was stacked with passionate and talented people, and I’m definitely including the staff in that description. We had all the ups and downs associated with any other year but in the end everything just clicked and we came home the 2012 Fan Favorite!”
2013: “Defiance, 9th 91.563”
Erik Taylor (Bass 2011-2015)
Anthony D’Onofrio (Special Teams - Bass Guitar, 2010-2013)- “Defiance was a new and emotionally challenging type of show for NorthCoast. It had some powerful melodic moments. The bass/cymbal features were killer and that pit-split feature was on point. There’s also a part of show that has this military march feel to it with some overlayed speech that gives me goosebumps every time. Overall a challenging and great year to go out on.”
2014: “Show of Hands, 13th 85.825”
Bob Conway (Cymbals 2010-2014, 2016 Ageout)- “The theme of “hands” ran rampant throughout the 2014 show. There were people drumming with their hands, playing cymbals with hands, hand drums, clapping, high fives, really anything that involved hands. This theme was well distributed throughout the show, with the subtle aspects being my favorite, as you may need to watch the show a few times to appreciate them. It also didn’t hurt that there were 3 different cymbal features, because who doesn’t like a cymbal feature?”
2015: “To: You”
Karl Gendler (Bass 2011, 2013-2015)- “There is an old Greek proverb that says, “a society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit." Despite the shortcomings of the show's production and our failure to remain competitive, the members found our motivation in driving much needed changes in the organization to make NorthCoast a better place. Ultimately, that ended up being the entire purpose of the season. I like to think that NCA 2016 was given a head start and solid foundation by the sacrifices made during the 2015 season, and our focus on improving the ensemble for the sake of posterity. To: You served as a poignant reminder of why this activity and NorthCoast in particular are so important. In the end, it's about the people you marched with and the experiences you share.”
2016: “Welcome to the Wasteland”
Ben Greenberg (Snare 2013, 2014, 2016 Age-out)- “As an age-out, this year has been the most incredible finish I could ask for. Every weekend I feel like I am going to rehearse with the drumline that inspired me to drum ---- the 2008-09 NCA. As always with this ensemble, the season will not be defined by what happens in Dayton, but by the incredible group of dudes and dudettes pouring their hearts on the floor every weekend. Nothing but love for this ensemble.”