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A percussionist with an elite, competitive youth drum and bugle corps, Auburn University junior Logan Forsythe knows that hard work often pays off. This past summer, he and his corps teammates practiced and performed in 15 states, individually logged more than 850 rehearsal hours and performed in front of tens of thousands of fans.
For their efforts, they earned second place honors at the Drum Corps International World Championship in August held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
A member of the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, Harbert undergraduate Logan
Forsythe is applying the discipline he learned from competitive drumming to earning
his accountancy degree.
“My experience being in a top-two drum corps was hard,” said Forsythe, a Harbert College of Business accountancy major from northwest Alabama. “It’s not always fun, but for me it was less about the playing and performing and more about my love for the organization and what it has done for me.”
The organization is the Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps, a 150-person marching ensemble composed of brass players, percussionists, and color guard members under the age of 22. The Crusaders are one of about 40 professional drum corps in the United States.
Forsythe has been a Boston Crusader since 2017 when the corps finished sixth at the international championship. In fact, Forsythe performed that year with his brother Hank, a 2020 Harbert College of Business marketing graduate, one of the rare instances where siblings marched together with the Crusaders.
“My original goal as a kid was to march with my brother,” Forsythe said. “This past year was historic because [the Crusaders] had never medaled before.”
Forsythe’s journey to the elite echelons of youth drum and bugle performance began in middle school when he gave up playing a full drum kit, and later the snare drum, for the challenge of learning the bass drum.
“You start asking yourself as you get better, ‘How far can I actually take this,’” he said.
He is one of five bass drummers—he carries a 20 pound Pearl bass drum across his torso that he strikes with a mallet on either side. This past year, he was selected as a battery section leader, a distinction among the snare, bass, and tenor drummers.
Along the way, Forsythe received instruction and advice from Auburn alumnus Chauncey Holder (BS business administration + BS psychology 2004), who performed with the Auburn Marching Band and Crusaders in the early 2000s and later served as vice president of the Crusader’s board of directors.
Harbert alumnus and former Boston Crusader percussionist Chauncey Holder (left) has served as a mentor to Forsythe (right).
“Logan has a good work ethic and nice well-balanced world view,” said Holder, who is a senior expert in growth marketing and sales practice with management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. “Part of that is a reflection of his drum corps experience, where a day feels like a week and a week feels like a year. He’s able to carry that over to his work in Harbert and the accounting program.”
According to Forsythe, the months leading up to the international competition each August can be a grind both physically and mentally. Following auditions that occur around the country during the winter, the corps begins day-long rehearsals at Castleton University in Vermont for several weeks beginning in May. In mid-June, they hit the road on a six-week bus tour that covers 10,000 miles and sometimes involves sleeping on the floor of host-city high school gyms.
On his first tour, Forsythe recalled temperatures reaching well into the triple digits as the corps practiced and performed on turf fields in Oklahoma and Texas.
“I remember the rubber soles of my shoes were melting on the field that felt about 20 degrees warmer,” he said.
This experience, though, has prepared him well for facing the rigors of the Harbert accountancy curriculum, and ultimately will pay dividends for when he takes the CPA Exam.
“While accounting as a subject is very difficult, study sessions of four or five hours aren’t a problem compared to being in Oklahoma in 112-degree heat on a turf field,” he said. “The pass rate here [for the CPA Exam] is 85 percent, which is very high. They prepare students well here.”
“The skill set Logan acquired doing drum corps has taught him time management, self-discipline, resilience, the ability to push through discomfort, delayed gratification, and how to work with different personalities under stress,” said Holder. “They are also the foundational components found in the Auburn Creed.”
Now that he has aged out of competitive performances with the Crusaders, Forsythe is channeling his energy into fitness training and competitive body building. He aims to graduate in December 2023 with his degree and then hopes to earn a master’s degree in accountancy at Auburn. He’d like to land a job with a public accounting firm in the Southeastern United States.
Long-term, Forsythe said he would someday like to start his own fitness-related business.