For the past eight years the Music City Drum Corps has been lucky to call Freedom Middle School its winter home, thanks to the efforts of a group of supportive educators. The Franklin, Tenn. campus has been host to weekend camps since 2011, and served as a summer training site in the corps’ early years.
Freedom’s band director, Mark Garey, serves as vice president on the board of directors for Music City. Garey volunteered with the corps during its second ever camp ever, in December 2008, and has been involved with Music City since, including serving as assistant director.
“Kristi Jefferson, our current principal at Freedom, was a big help and supporter who enabled me to secure housing at the school,” Garey said. “Dr. David Snowden, director of schools in the Franklin Special School District, retired assistant principal Anthony Ladner and current assistant Adam Demonbreun, one of my former students, were also instrumental in support of securing housing here.
“I am very thankful to these people and the entire staff at Freedom for supporting me and the drum corps endeavor here over the years,” he said.
Having the corps in residence is a positive for the school and the Franklin community as it exposes many people from around the country to both, said Garey, who has taught at the school since it opened in 1993.
“It has been great meeting the parents, grandparents, families and friends of corps members as they come to Freedom Middle for the first time and welcoming them to Franklin,” he said. “I’m grateful for all the new friends I’ve made of people who I met through my involvement with the corps.”
Having a regular location for camps is also a positive for the corps, Garey said.
“Many of the corps’ supplies and equipment are stored here, the staff and members are comfortable in familiar surroundings, plus we can use pretty much the entire building as needed, including both gyms and large open areas.
“It’s been a real win-win for our school and important for providing stability in housing as the corps moves to World Class status in DCI,” he said.