Paulina Laroya joined Pacific Crest in 2015. After taking a year off, she returned for the 2017 season. Paulina is a member of our color guard and a student at UC Riverside.
Tell us about your background and family.
My hometown is Quezon City, Philippines, and I was raised there as an only child until I was five years old. When my family immigrated to America, we moved to SoCal and have been living here ever since!
What brought you to Pacific Crest?
I always knew I wanted to join drum corps, but I didn’t always know that it was something I actually would or could do. I learned about Pacific Crest when I first watched DCI: Big, Loud, and Live in the movie theaters back in 2010, and I still remember that Pacific Crest’s name was the one that incited the most cheers in the audience. Naturally, it got me curious about PC and I started to learn more and more about it. I auditioned and got contracts for other corps the year before my rookie year, but it just didn’t feel right to me. When I came to PC, it did.
How did the Pacific Crest experience impact your life?
Marching with Pacific Crest has meant so much more to me than I could possibly describe. One of my all-time favorite memories while marching has to be when we visited Rome, New York, and the corps played for Jean Joseph, an elderly woman who PC plays for every time we’re in the city. To be a part of that tradition was already such an honor, but to see her reaction, and to feel the love and sense of community when we were sitting on her front lawn was so amazing. I love those moments that make you look around at the people you spend your summer with and think, “this is why we do it.” It’s moments like these on tour when you realize how much you joy can bring to other people simply by doing something you love that make it all worth it.
How do you think Pacific Crest will affect your future goals and plans?
For a long time, I thought I was going to be one of those people that would choose their career plans and goals over color guard. That wasn’t necessarily an idea I was content with, but I kind of gave in to the notion that I need to spend my summers doing internships to be successful. I realized during my rookie season that this was not the case. Although I took one year off, I decided I just love PC too much to not come back for my age out. I’m graduating from college in March 2017 and deciding to pursue this huge passion of mine instead of clamoring and trying to find a job, so it’s obvious that PC has made a huge impact on my overall future path, and I’m so happy that this is the path that I decided to take.
Is there anything else you want to say about yourself, your life, the people who have most influenced and inspired you?
I don’t know if I’m actually capable of expressing how lucky I feel to have such great people around me that support my love for color guard. When I first started guard, no one in my family knew what it really was — they didn’t fully know why I couldn’t come to a relative’s baby shower because i had a Saturday rehearsal, or why I couldn’t come to a friend’s birthday party on a championship weekend, or why we had to schedule a trip to my home country around summer band camp — but they accepted it because they understood how much this activity means to me. I appreciate that so much. And to be on a team full of amazing and encouraging people makes everything a thousand times better.
Is there something you’d like others to know about Pacific Crest?
Pacific Crest is a home that you will not be able to find anywhere else. When I joined PC, I hadn’t performed or done anything guard-related for over two years. When I came back, PC reminded me how much I love to perform on the world’s biggest stages. I was able to grow in ways that I didn’t think I could, especially within just two months. I feel like I can come back to visit PC years after I age out and still feel like home — and there’s nothing that can beat the amazing feeling of hearing Ave Maria while being surrounded by PC alumni and members.