Originally from Syracuse, NY, John Campese relocated to Orlando, Florida with his family in 1969. He remembers, “The highlight of that year was getting to personally watch the Apollo 11 launch at Cape Canaveral!” Having lived there ever since, he truly considers himself a Floridian. While we acknowledge him for his work in indoor percussion, Campese successfully runs and owns his own real estate company.
His “free” time is largely filled with the duties of being Executive Director of Infinity Percussion associated with Pageantry Arts Concepts, Inc., and serving on the percussion advisory board and WGI Board of Directors. John recently answered a few questions about his experiences with percussion and WGI.
How did you first become involved in percussion?
I was born into it. My father was in the Syracuse Brigadiers and when we moved to Florida at age seven it was time for drum lessons. (Fun Fact- Jay Webb, Director of Avon HS and WGI Hall of Fame member, and myself took lessons from the same teacher here in Orlando.)
There was also a Drum Corps in Orlando that I “joined” at age 10, called the Leathernecks, I say “joined” because I was sort of just taken there by my parents, and I am thankful they did.
I marched Drum Corps with the Leathernecks, Florida Vanguards, Suncoast Sound and Kingsmen. I was also a member of Disney’s Future Corps for 17 years.
My teaching career started in the fall of 1979 with Lake Howell High School, and I have been actively teaching in the area for 33 years. Also, I have had the opportunity to serve as percussion consultant, caption head, or arranger for Suncoast Sound, Magic of Orlando, Boston Crusaders, Colts, Teal Sound and Yokohama Inspires.
When was the first WGI World Championships you saw?
My first live championship was in 2002. From the percussion side, I was a bit pessimistic of “indoor percussion’. Two days later, I was hooked and could not get home fast enough to get an organization going in Orlando.
What inspires you to stay involved in WGI?
The performers! Coming from a performance background, it is wonderful to see the members of the ensembles expand their skills.
Where do you see the activity going in the next couple of years, or further in the future?
Here is where I would never predict. The beauty of the WGI model is the unknown from year to year. The creativity can be brought to the stage with open arms and that year in itself is history.