Drum Corps International
A special kid falls in love with drum corps

A special kid falls in love with drum corps

by Michael Boo

Allee (Alexandria) Davis contributed the following story. Her story at first might not seem unusual, but wait until you get near the bottom (No peeking!). Then you'll understand that this is not your typical kid-falling-in-love-with-drum-corps story at all. But even if it was, that alone would be something special, as we know drum corps can change lives for the better. Here is Allee's story, in her own words. The day had come that I had been waiting for. Today was the first day of the Court of Honor audition weekend. As I rode in the car in silence, I thought about how much I fought to get where I am. I knew that whatever happened was worth it. It was May 29, 2003. I arrived early to the audition site. When I arrived, we went to rehearsals immediately. I was extremely nervous and the tension was high. I played my four pieces for the caption head of the percussion section. My first piece was rhythmical and quite challenging. The second piece displayed technique and style and was enjoyable to play. The caption head, Mr. Enet, judged my performance critically and told me that it was outstanding and that I had received the timpanist spot in the corps. I felt really proud of myself. At 11 p.m., the entire corps gathered together to have a snack, and then all went to bed on the high school gym floor. The next day at 7 a.m., we awoke, had breakfast and headed to rehearsal. It was a long, intense rehearsal block. I learned more in that one day than I ever had in a week. After rehearsal we had dinner and went home. I didn't want to leave, because I found I loved the driving passion of corps. While riding in the car, I knew I would return next weekend and I grew happier. The next week we arrived at the rehearsal site for all-days, an intense few weeks of marching drill and preparing for tour. Those were the best and most difficult few weeks of my life. I grew and matured as a musician and person more than I ever had before. After all-days we rehearsed until June 23, our first performance. Our first performance was spectacular. Here was the moment we had all worked so hard for. My adrenaline rushed as I marched onto the field. "Please welcome Court of Honor from Atlanta, Georgia, performing their 2003 program 'The Whiz!' Are the judges ready? Drum major Carolin Stevens, is your corps ready?" (Carolin salutes and says, "Corps ten hut!") "Court of Honor, you may take the field in Drum Corps International competition!" Our first piece "Brand New Day," opened with a solo played by the front ensemble, the section of the corps that does not march. This piece began when the soloists made a bold statement, musically introducing the first section. The second section was vivacious and colorful. The third section displayed the familiar imagery of a grandfather clock chiming the hour. The second piece, "Believe In Yourself," was an elegant, beautiful ballad that expressed the emotions of us as performers very well. This piece featured several horn solos, which were played in a gentle manner so as to draw in the audience's attention. The third piece, "Ease On Down the Road," was a joyful, light-hearted tune that featured the percussion section. The audience was delighted when they heard the musical presentation of this piece along with the collaboration of visual effect. Our closing piece, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," featured the various talents of the entire corps. This piece was splendid and truly inspirational. After our performance, the audience promptly rose to their feet and applauded wildly. We marched off the field with pride, knowing we had given it our best effort. The time had finally come when scores were announced. We stood at attention and waited in anticipation of the words to come. "Court of Honor, fourth place with a score of 45.3!" We did not care if we did not win. For our first performance, we did excellent and we beat another corps. During the following weeks, we rehearsed and performed, each day learning and growing more as musicians and young people. Our score gradually increased as the days passed. On Aug. 2, we left for the DCI World Championships tour. We arrived in Valdosta, Ga. at 3 a.m., slept four hours and then rehearsed and performed until Monday when we arrived in Orlando. The next day, we performed in Division III prelims. We received 11th place, which did not move us to semifinals, but we knew we did our best. The following day I was extremely nervous. That was the day of the Individual & Ensemble solo competition. I played a timpani solo named "El Gran Temblor," for which I received fifth place, representing Court of Honor with pride. Looking back to that summer, I am so inspired by my accomplishments. To my knowledge, I was the first totally blind kid to ever march drum corps. I never gave up even when everything was against me. The following summer, I returned to the drum corps field. I marched with the Blue Saints from Ontario, Canada. That summer of 2004 was one of the greatest and most life-changing experiences I've ever had. Before I boarded the plane to Canada, I was just a child to my parents. Over those two months with the organization, I grew stronger emotionally and flourished as a soloist. The corps was based primarily on the Canadian military, so I learned self-discipline, endurance, and to face whatever comes my way. My parents never thought of me the same way when I returned home. The leaders and members of drum corps have inspired me to major in music. I plan to march two more years until I age out. After that, I hope to become a leader and hopefully a corps director. I want to make a positive difference in kids' lives like my corps did for me. I will also march senior corps until the day I die! Fanfare archives Michael Boo has been involved with drum and bugle corps since 1975, when he marched his first of three seasons with the Cavaliers.

He has a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition.
   
He has written about the drum corps activity for over a quarter century for publications such as Drum Corps World, and presently is involved in a variety of projects for Drum Corps International, including souvenir program books, CD liner notes, DCI Update and Web articles, and other endeavors. Michael currently writes music for a variety of idioms, is a church handbell and vocal choir director, an assistant director of a community band, and a licensed Realtor in the state of Indiana. His other writing projects are for numerous publications, and he has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. His hobbies include TaeKwonDo and hiking the Indiana Dunes. But more than anything, Michael is proud to love drum corps and to be a part of the activity in some small way, chronicling various facets of each season for the enjoyment of others.

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