By Allison Owen On Tuesday I went to the orthodontist to get my braces off. As I was sitting there answering the random questions that were being asked by the tech, she came to the inevitable "So what are you doing this summer?" I laughed and tried to think of the best way to approach the question. I took chance and hoped that she had heard of drum corps and said, "I'm marching in a drum corps this summer."

Three friends: Jenny, Andee and Allison
I prepared myself for the typical, "What's that?" as I was shocked to hear her response: "Oh really?! Which corps? I go up to the 'Festival of Brass' show every year because my parents live in Erie." I hope my expression didn't show how surprised I was; she actually knew what I was talking about. I told her my story and she asked me some questions that she had always had about drum corps. I was happy to be able to clear up some confusion -- if only I had a camera when I told her where we sleep every night, she was shocked! So I got my braces off -- which was exciting enough on its own -- and I'd had a wonderful drum corps conversation with the tech. What more could I want? It gets even better. As the orthodontist was talking to my mom about making appointments in eight to ten weeks, I had to tell him that I wouldn't be home until August. He asked why and I told him about marching drum corps. Surprisingly he too knew what I was talking about and said, "Oh, my friend's son does that." I had a guess at who this person may be -- because there are only so many of us around here who march -- so when he said my friend Matt's name I had to laugh. I explained that we aren't in the same corps, but we are doing the same thing. As I've mentioned before I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both of my wrists, so on Wednesday I went to a doctor to get it taken care of. I received injections that are supposed to stop the numbness I experience during repetitive activities-like guard. My wrists are supposed to be back to "normal" within the next few days and then they'll be great in time for our final camp. I'm in the indoor guard at my school and we've been working on a tango show since January. Indoor season has been over for quite some time, but we didn't compete this year. We did get the chance to perform, without competing, twice at local events. One of our performances was an area arts festival on Saturday that was held at my school. We had been asked to go, so we showed up that afternoon ready to do our show for the last time. It went well and we had a good time performing it for everyone who came out to watch us. Afterwards we all changed back into normal clothing and prepared to go our separate ways. My friend Jody had invited me to go to her house to watch a movie or something, so I thought it might be a fun way to spend one of my last weekends. I didn't think anything of it when Jody drove all over town remembering random things she had to do before we went to her house, but when she "forgot where she lived" I knew that something was going on. When we walked into her house I could tell really that something suspicious was going on. I went into her living room and was very surprised to see a bunch of my friends-all there for a surprise "going away" party for me. It turns out that my mom and friends had arranged a little party for me since I was leaving for the summer. A few of them brought gifts of Tylenol, socks, and other things I would need for tour. I had a great time hanging out with my friends and I realized just how much I am going to miss them. Drum corps vets have been telling me for a while that I'm going to miss my friends and everything at home, and I knew I would. I don't think it really hit me until now though; it is so close to move-in --- we're talking less than two weeks. It's weird to think that move in is so close when I remember counting down to my first camp. Time has flown by and now it's time for me to do my final preparations for the summer of a lifetime.