Kayla Mayaki performed with Pacific Crest in 2013 as a member of the brass section.
Tell us about your background and family:
I was born and raised in Walnut, California. I’m a first-generation American, and my parents are from Ghana, West Africa. I have a 21 year old brother named Badar, who is the reason I became interested in music at a young age.
What brought you to Pacific Crest?
During my freshman year of high school, my percussion captain at school played tenors at Pacific Crest, and he introduced me to drum corps. I decided to march before I graduated, and Pacific Crest was the corps that caught my attention at “Corps at the Crest Los Angeles.” The energy exuded by the performance was incredible, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I showed up to rehearsals, made friends in the corps, and got to know instructors; doing all I could to earn a spot in the corps. I came to the 2012 auditions knowing I wouldn’t get a spot because I was too young, but still wishing for firsthand experience and critique. I was impressed at the environment and felt challenged by the level of work, and was driven to return the next season and earn a spot.
How did the Pacific Crest experience impact your life?
Marching this past season was an incredible experience. Being the youngest member of the corps and having less experience than the others really pushed me to work harder than I ever have before. It helped me improve, not only building musicianship and performance, but also building maturity and character. A drum corps tour is tough, but being part of such a supportive and close family helped me endure. I made friendships that I will cherish forever. I have had experiences that I can look back on that will make me smile. The staff was great, and each lesson learned was a worthwhile one.
That feeling of fierceness, that bond you create on the field with your 149 fellow performers, seeing the reaction of the crowd, feeling the pride in the air after a great performance… those are the memories from last summer that will never leave me. After our incredible Semifinals performance, we huddled and all sang our corps song. Everybody was in tear. The sense of love and family was nearly palpable.
How you do you think your Pacific Crest experience will affect your future goals?
I came home from this season with a new-found confidence. I learned that I am capable of achieving something if I am passionate about it. The amount of determination and effort I put into marching this season can be transferred to any aspect of my life. If I can rep circle drill infinitely in the humidity of Arkansas, surrounded by wasps and mosquitoes, I can do anything! Drum corps is about working against all odds to accomplish greatness. I know this new-found determination will improve my performance in school, sports, work, and my relationships. I plan on marching with Pacific Crest for as long as I’m able. This is my home corps, my family, and I want to continue to be a part of it even after I age out. I plan on pursuing a career in music performance/audio production and creative writing, and hope to incorporate drum corps and Pacific Crest into my future.
Is there something you’d like others to know about Pacific Crest?
It’s worth it. If you think you might want to do it, go experience it for yourself. There’s absolutely nothing to lose and I can guarantee that it will be worth it.