A Liberty colourguard member is celebrating after being awarded a $1000 scholarship.

Lauren Walton, 18, has been performing with Liberty from the age of 11. Currently the guard captain, she has performed with the colourguard for the last 8 seasons. This includes two undefeated seasons - one in 2017, and one in 2019. Lauren has also supported the BYBA Individuals and Ensembles competition, entering in every instance of the competition since 2015. During covid, Lauren co-ran a Saturday morning colourguard class for the local area in order to give them an activity to do whilst everything else was closed.

Lauren is one of just 4 recipients of the Marching Arts Education Scholarship. The scholarship was open to any member of a Drum Corps International (DCI) drum corps and received approximately 200 applications - with Lauren being the only Brit to apply. Offered by Marching Arts Education, the scholarship aims to help future educators in the marching arts gain the experience and education to be able to develop into top-quality educators.

The scholarship was awarded following a two-stage public vote and at the discretion of the Scholarship Panel. When the first round of voting closed, on April 13th, it was announced that Lauren was one of 2 applicants to receive the most votes. The second stage of voting saw 20 applicants with the most votes progress onto the next round, and all the previous votes reset.

Speaking about the scholarship, Lauren said: "I’m very excited to be able to march DCI this summer, especially since the pandemic meant that travel was heavily disrupted over the last two years, and it began to feel like DCI wouldn’t be possible! I’m very fortunate that I have been able to gain a place with Spartans and will be able to follow in the footsteps of past members of Liberty who showed me that DCI was possible!

Being granted a scholarship from Marching Arts Education will be instrumental in covering some of the extra costs that are incurred by travelling from the UK to the US! It’ll be amazing to be able to bring knowledge and experience from DCI back to the organisation that’s given me so many opportunities, and hopefully be able to show the next generation of Liberty what is achievable within the marching arts!"

Lauren, alongside fellow Liberty colourguard member Riana Ao, follow in the footsteps of 4 other Liberty members that have previously spent their summers with a DCI corps. They will also be joined by Megan Spencer (Revolution/Blue Stars), Dan Rivett and Leo Winter-Alsop (Beeches/Bluecoats) out in the US this summer.