By Joe Smith It's finally mid-May and close to (if not time for) move-in for most corps. Generally before and besides tour, there are many things causing lots of stress and tensions in people's lives. For those still in high school, there are generally a few days left, including semester tests (unless you are one of the lucky few that get out early). Other seniors have to worry about commencement and open houses and all the likely business seniors must deal with in their last few weeks at home. Money also seems to get tight this time of year, with everyone out buying clothes or other things before summer starts. As a rookie I have been reading off of the corps' tour guide to see what I will need this summer. It sometimes seems difficult to figure out what I truly need and what I can live without. When it comes to these items I always find it useful to ask a vet or two as to what they did. Packing early also seems to help a lot, so you can go through your list and check it twice (almost like
Santa Claus does). Another thing that has helped me is buying things in moderation. The little things seem like they won't cost much, but when you start buying all of them, they really can add up. I'd recommend buying some now and some later. Bargain shopping does help a lot -- those ads in the Sunday paper can really help you get more bang for your buck!

The Colts' drum line perpares for 'cornfields.'
Preparing for everydays (or "cornfield" as it's called at colts) is another big issue. The veterans always seem to be warning the rookies for what a shock it will be on your body, and I'm trying to take those warnings seriously while preparing for tour. This time of year, however, I find it hard with preparing for final semester tests and projects. Conditioning is something that should be done, though, if at all possible. Certain exercises only take a few minutes out of your day and may at least start to prepare you for what tour will bring. Another thing I've been trying to do as I prepare for tour is to thank the people that introduced me to this great activity. It may not seem very important, but it really is. Send those important people a card, or, if you have the money, buy them a ticket or two to a show that your corps will be attending. I bet they would be thrilled. I know without the help of Mr. Feirer (my old band director), McNab (my current high
school visual caption head) or Jacob Vaulderama (a member of the Blue Stars) I would not be where I am today, and I still probably would not have heard about drum corps and its greatness. So take some time out of your day and let them know what they've done for you. Joe Smith is a 16-year-old mellophone player for the Colts. Smith is a junior at Ankeny High School in Ankeny, Iowa. He will report back from each camp, and will continue his reports through the summer. E-mail him at, or instant message him at Trumpetsforever4.