Transpose is a new column on that will run every Thursday. Kristin Kray is an 18-year-old freshman at the University of South Florida in Tampa, majoring in special education. She marched soprano for Pioneer in 2001 and 2002, and hopes to march trumpet for Carolina Crown next summer.

Kristin Kray
My entrance into the drum corps activity is probably a very common one. I was one of the oh-so-desperate clarinet players that wanted to march in corps, but I faced a slight dilemma: I didn't play brass. Luckily, I had an instructor who marched corps and was willing to take on the difficult task of teaching me the basics of brass playing. I had never picked up a brass instrument before in my life. It's a good thing buzzing came to me quickly, because everyone was losing sanity before the December 2000 camp!

The camp snuck up on me very quickly. I remember flying up to Milwaukee for Pioneer's camp and feeling shaky. I knew I had the skills to succeed in corps, but I was just in a new surrounding and didn't know what to expect. The first night of horn arc was a rude awakening of what was to come -- playing for many hours leads to swollen lips. I missed that memo for some reason. Thank goodness for DCT because it works wonders on sore lips. The months had passed, and before any of us knew it, we were moving in. We weren't looking forward to go through the torturous days of learning drill and having our butts kicked for a good 10-12 hours a day. It was a horrible few weeks but it was worth it. These were the weeks that would either make or break you. Luckily staff and some members were supportive and made those weeks a lot less strenuous. This was the time I knew I had to be pushed beyond my comfort zone to be any good. Our tour in 2001 was a great one. Lots of traveling and lots of great crowds! The sad part was that the summer was finished before we had realized it. Two years later I can still sit back and reflect on all the ups and downs of my rookie season. It was a tough one but I'm glad I managed it. To all the people thinking about marching in a corps: Try it out. Trust me -- if you stay at home, you will regret not being able to perform in front of hundreds of thousands of people cheering for you and only you. It's the greatest feeling in the world and each corps member feeds off of it. I leave you with this quote. It comes from our fifth bass player, Jon Berg, who marched in 2002: "March first for those who came before you, march second for those whose path you pave, march third for those at your side this year, and march last for yourself."