Joe Smith, a frequent contributor to last year, will be contributing essays to on a regular basis. This past week has been almost hectic in the drum corps community, with many corps announcing their show concepts to the general public and with many audition camps fast approaching. Today I sat down and took the time to actually look at my calendar and there really is very little time left until I get on a plane in eight days to go to the first camp of the season.

Whenever I even think about it, I have this overwhelming feeling of both excitement and anxiety at the same time. It's hard to determine which I'm feeling more of. Sometimes I don't want to even think about the time that is dwindling by until the beginning of camp.

Joe Smith (left) and his seat partner, Steve Beatty.
From past experiences, I know that the second everything gets underway I will be completely fine, but it's the time leading up to then that is going to kill me. One thing that helps me personally pass the time lately is reading. Normally I have to say that I don't put a lot of stock into reading books on a daily basis, but in the past few weeks I've read a couple good ones.

The book I'm currently reading is "The Inner Game of Tennis" by W. Gallwey. This book has actually been suggested to me by several people within the drum corps community. I know some of you are thinking, "Why would someone put this book into the hands of a kid marching drum corps?", but it has a great deal to do with the activity. The book stresses concentration, and how to step back from a situation and look at what you're doing, nonjudgmentally, to faster help fix problems in your playing/marching/spinning. I haven't finished the book yet, but I have been able to apply it greatly to my everyday life in music.

A few weeks back on there was an announcement that Gregory Kuzma had written a book called "On the Field From Denver, Colorado ... The Blue Knights." I am immediately ran off to find the book, but unfortunately no stores around here carried it, so I ordered it online. As I waited very impatiently for the book to show up, I read the reviews and excerpts over and over. I was very excited to read this book, especially since it was written by another mellophone player.

The book showed up on a Monday afternoon, and by Tuesday evening I had finished it. I can't really remember another book that I was so heavily involved in while I was reading it. I found it very hard to put the book down. It's very interesting to compare two different corps, or even two different time periods (ten years really doesn't seem like a lot of time). It was very interesting to see just how much I had in common with Kuzma during tour. The different characters in the book were also quite amusing, especially Randy. After I finished the last page I was very ready to start the 2005 preseason.

So if you're a bit nervous before auditions start, or if you feel the time is just barely creeping by then look around I'm sure there's something that will help the time pass by much faster. Good luck to all of you that have auditions this weekend. 2004 columns by Joe Smith: Right where you left off The Other side Preparing for tour Getting away from it all: Report from a Colts' camp Strong winds, early sunset: Report from a Colts' camp Meet the visual tech New challenges in Dubuque My favorite place: Alfred, N.Y. Freezing rain, full ensemble: A report from Dubuque Discussing drum corps over the holidays