Drum Corps International
A few random memories from the East

A few random memories from the East

by Drum Corps International

This week, we've been paying editorial attention to drum corps events that happened in the Eastern U.S. I remember:

    Michael Boo
  • Passing New York City in 1975 at night on an interstate and the entire Cavaliers bus being woken up to stare at the year-long red, white and blue bicentennial colors lighting up the Empire State Building.
  • Going with the corps into Montreal in 1975 for free time and not being able to find the washrooms despite having had two years of French in high school.
  • Listening to a snare drummer in a mock British garrison play while the Union Jack was taken down for the night at a reconstructed fort and imagining driving a Mack truck through the holes in his roll.
  • Thinking Philadelphia's Franklin Field was immense, then going back some two dozen years later and finding it quite compressed.
  • Going to a deli outside Boston in 1976 and thinking I was in a foreign country.
  • Arriving to Hershey Stadium and seeing cars still parked inside on the field.
  • The corps' buses in 1976 getting lost trying to get over to NYC's Randall's Island for the VFW Nationals finals, spending over a half hour seeing the island but not being able to get to it.
  • Watching trucks and buses pass above the Randall's Island stands.
  • Taking a Circle Line cruise around Manhattan years later and being shocked at how small the Randall's Island stadium was.
  • Free time in New York City in 1976, knowing some members of the corps where out to get in as much trouble as possible without going to jail, while I was on the subway searching out the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum.
  • Realizing that going to college near downtown Chicago did not prepare me for a night in Manhattan.
  • Visiting writer Henry David Thoreau's back-to-nature Walden Pond during the Foxboro DCI World Champions week in 1994 and being surprised that a busy commuter train line ran right alongside the shoreline.
  • Wondering how anyone could find his or her way around Boston without divine interception.
  • Seeing that drivers are allowed to drive on the shoulders of Boston area expressways at certain times of the day.
  • Marveling at the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island.
  • Discovering Three Sisters Islands near Niagara Falls during the first DCI World Championships in Orchard Park, N.Y., in 1990, and thinking the small wonder amidst the rushing water was the nearest thing to being transported to Nirvana.
  • Heading over to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and being blinded by the neon, wondering how many of the people visiting that side ever see the falls.
  • Discovering one of the most wonderful interactive museums on the Ontario side of the falls, a butterfly arboretum through which one can walk and observe butterfly behavior up close.
  • Visiting Annapolis, Md., during the 2000 DCI World Championships in College Park and falling in love with a beautifully preserved cobblestone downtown from America's past.
  • Noting that over two dozen years of visiting the east for drum corps events, there are less local delis and diners carrying foods that were new to me, seemingly replaced by McDonald's and Wendy's that are the same around the country.
  • Visiting the hometowns of some of the corps that are no longer with us, and wondering where they rehearsed ... wondering if the distant strains of the horns and the echoing beats of the drums are still reverberating through the neighborhoods.