Charlie Gumbert, Director of the Pride of Cincinnati and Vice President of Color Guard for WGI, grew up on farmland in the rolling hills and heartland of Southern Ohio. His family moved several times and finally settled in Highland County. He recalls, “Growing up on a farm and taking care of other farms was a grueling everyday task but taught me many life skills of how to deal with excruciating obstacles. The farm animals don’t care if it’s the forth of July or Christmas, they still need food and water. This is where my work ethic was born = Perseverance & Patience”
He graduated from Lynchburg Clay High School, and then pursued higher education at the University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University. Many moves and four states later, Charlie currently lives in Cincinnati, OH where he has been a part of the Pride of Cincinnati for 30 years as of Valentine’s Day 2013. That is his greatest love of all.
WGI recently caught up with Charlie to learn more about his experiences in the marching arts.
How did you first become interested in color guard?
I first loved music. Growing up, my brother and I had a full size drum set in our bed room and my uncles had a wide verity of music which I LOVED. But as I grew older, I truly like the arts and dance which led me to color guard.
What were some of your first experiences being involved in color guard?
I started in percussion in high school and that led me to audition for the drum line at Pride of Cincinnati Drum & Bugle Corps. Having never left the state of Ohio before that summer, the drum corps activity introduced me to the rest of the United States. I got involved in winter guard by travelling with and supporting the first Pride of Cincinnati winter guard that was fielded in 1984 and joined the guard a year later for my first of three seasons as a performing member. That following summer I continued on to march in the color guard with the Suncoast Sound and with the Madison Scouts.
When was the first WGI World Championships you saw?
1984 with Pride and went to my first WGI and witnessed Miller Blackhawks, State Street, Blessed Sac & Emerald Marquis. I knew walking out of the UD arena that my life had just been altered by this activity! & have been hooked ever since.
What inspires you to stay involved in WGI?
The youth of today. Bottom line. That’s why we’re all here. As director of Pride Of Cincinnati, one of the most important lessons I have learned is that thinking outside the box expands our reality. If it expands our reality, it also expands the reality of our youth. To a naive high school bass drummer from a rural farm community in southern Ohio, an organization like ours can be life changing. I know this because I was that kid. Now it’s our turn to pass it on & give back.
What valuable lessons are learned through winter marching arts activities?
Perseverance & Patience. Marching arts have shaped my life, given me structure, purpose, & friendships that will last a lifetime!
Where do you see the activity going in the future?
I see a future of our own cable channel throughout the world. That could have shows such as:
What is WGI, Education videos, reality TV, how to judge art vs. athletics, how to run a color guard/drum line, the elements of design, the art of performance…………… etc. I think this would catapult WGI to a new level. And that would be so cool!
What are some of your favorites shows?
Erte / Einstein on the Beach,
Union HS / Mannequins,
Northview HS / Dr Seuss,
Emerald Marquis / Celtic
San Jose Raiders/ Good Morning Vietnam
Pride Of Cincinnati / First Circle
Fantasia / Kamasutra
Blessed Sac / What’s Behind That Curtain
Pride of Cincinnati / Everybody Hurts