Written by Staff
Coppell has a reputation for turning out some of the most accomplished athletes, musicians and scholars of the region. Senior snare drummer Mikki Hoffman is one of those young, shining stars.
During the summer break when many teens are happy for a few extra hours sleep, Hoffman participated in the highly competitive and world-renowned Drum Corps International. This organization is comprised of participants from more than 15 countries and entertains some 400,000 fans through more than 100 drum and bugle corps events throughout North America.
Each year more than 8,000 students vie for fewer than 3,500 spots. At age 17, Hoffman is two years younger than the average age of participants who are mostly full-time college students and male. With odds stacked against her, Hoffman plunged into the audition process late last year.
“I had to try out in Cheyenne, WY starting in December of last year,” Hoffman said. “I would fly up on weekends and compete for a spot on the drumline against many other candidates… all boys.”
Hoffman’s diligence paid off and she was awarded a contract with the elite drum and bugle corps, the Troopers. She left school three weeks early and travelled to Indiana for four weeks of grueling practice to learn the marching show.
“We rehearsed through rain and shine for 11 hours a day, every day. After we learned the show, we left for a cross-country trip, performing about four times a week,” Hoffman said. “We would travel at night and arrive at high schools in the early hours of the morning where we would blow up air mattresses in the gym and sleep for a few hours before rehearsing again.”
An injury almost prevented Hoffman from participating, but she persevered, helping the Troopers finish 13th at the Drum Corps International World Championship in August.
“I suffered from Achilles Tendonitis the entire season and dealt with pain every day. It was all worth it in the end… to play for a crowd like there was at the Semi Finals was truly the most exhilarating moment of my life,” she said. “I learned so much about music, but also about myself—like pushing through every day, and how you can only be proud of an accomplishment when you know deep down that you have done everything you could do to make it great.
“I couldn’t wake up and wish that I was home, I had to press on and find it inside of me to view everything in a positive light. I had to learn how to deal with people who were rude and judgmental towards me. It really made me appreciate the people of Coppell.”
Many of the people of Coppell appreciate Hoffman’s accomplishments in return, including Coppell ISD Percussion Director Zach Scheer who praised Hoffman.
“Very few high school students are disciplined and talented enough to make it through the drum corps audition process,” Scheer said. “Mikki worked hard throughout the school year to earn a spot with the Troopers. I can already tell that her summer on tour has made her a better player and student.”
That training will come in handy as Hoffman travels with fellow Coppell percussionists to Indianapolis in November where they will participate in the largest percussion event in the world, the prestigious Percussive Arts Society International Convention.
Source: Coppell ISD