Throughout the winter months, drum corps members face a lot of responsibility as they work to stay prepared for camps and get ready for the upcoming season. There are often weekly video assignments, intense workout expectations, and – for members of the 2018 Santa Clara Vanguard – even a required reading!

When members showed up to February Camp in Dallas, TX everyone received a copy of The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. This international best seller aims to take readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride, revealing 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment.

“Positive energy and positive people create positive results. There is certainly a lot of negativity in the world and choosing positive energy helps us deal with the negative people and negative situations that can knock us off course.” – Jon Gordon, The Energy Bus

At the next SCV camp in March, members took part in a peer discussion of the book and brainstormed ways that Gordon’s principles could be applied to life within drum corps. From there on, The Energy Bus served as a driving force behind the culture of the 2018 Santa Clara Vanguard.

Recently we sat down with Carl Huang, 2018 SCV Head Drum Major, to talk about The Energy Bus and how a restored focus on positivity helped propel the corps to new heights. 

VMAPA: Tell us a little about The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.
CARL: The Energy Bus is a book that discusses the importance of individual positivity and how it can be used for goal setting, problem solving, team building, and communicating a vision. To anyone who’s interested, it’s a short read with a very strong message.

VMAPA: What has been your biggest takeaway from reading the book?
CARL: My biggest take away from reading the Energy Bus is that one cannot ignore the negatives in any situation to become a positive person. In order to deal with tough situations, one has to look at the negatives in one’s life objectively and with a genuine desire for improvement. That means not letting the negatives get the best of you and solely complaining about an issue, but to be proactive and look past the present situation to see and achieve a better outcome. It’s all about focusing on what you want, not what you don’t want!

VMAPA: How can Gordon’s rules from The Energy Bus be applied to the DCI activity?
CARL: Based on my experience with SCV and The Energy Bus, I can say that it’s rules are definitely tailored towards setting up drum corps with an overall vision for the summer. Not just in terms of having an exciting field show, but with respect to giving the members, staff, and volunteers the best DCI experience they can ask for. That comes with picking the right people that all share that same vision and then continuing to work to achieve that goal. Ultimately, good cultures will build good environments, and good environments make people want to come back.          

VMAPA: What sort of impact or changes did you see within the drum corps after reading this book?
CARL: The Energy Bus helped us create a very positive culture that was all about continuous improvement and being the best drum corps we could be. We all understood that our own individual negativity would be what would hold us back the most this past season, so we became set on actively looking for ways to be positive. Even when our food truck, Miss Amana, broke down we didn’t stop working hard on the field because the positivity manifested in us trusting the administrative staff to properly handle the situation so we could continue touring. All in all, the 2018 version of the Santa Clara Vanguard could always turn a negative situation into a positive one and continue growing from there.

VMAPA: Lastly, what lessons from The Energy Bus will you carry on to your life outside of drum corps?
CARL: Life will test you. Things will never just be rainbows and sunshine. There will always be bumps in the road. But I know that I’m in control of my life and the direction that it will be going in as long as I continue to focus on being a positive person for myself, and those around me.

Click here to learn more about Jon Gordon, The Energy Bus, and his many other books!

Click here to sign up for 2019 Vanguard Auditions!