Drum Corps International
And even more drum corps as a love connection

And even more drum corps as a love connection

by Michael Boo

CELEBRATING ONE YEAR OF FANFARE COLUMNS ON DCI.ORG!

Michael Boo
This is the fifth in the series of drum corps love connection stories. (Love of Corps Leads to Love in Life: April 25, 2003, Drum Corps as a Love Connection: May 16, 2003, Love Connection Amazing Stories: June 13, 2003, and More Drum Corps as a Love Connection, July 11, 2003.) Alan Andreasen was born and raised near Oxford, England. In 1983, he came to the United States to tour for three weeks with Emerald Knights of Iowa. During that time, he met and fell in love with guard member Nancy Armentrout. They married in 1986 in England and settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they live happily married with three children. Alan recounts, "In 1983, Andy Bradbury and I co-taught the Horspath Scouts marching band. He wrote to the top 35 DCI corps in the winter of 1982, asking if he could travel with them and observe. He only got two replies, Boston Crusaders and Emerald Knights. To gain as broad an experience as possible between us, we split up. He went and toured with the 'Saders, and I went with Emerald Knights. Later in 1985, I toured for three weeks with Boston. "My children so far have shown some interest. Keep in mind they are 8, 6 and 3 years old. My wife and I have taken them to local football games for half-time shows and also took Jack (our oldest) to the Ankeney, Iowa, show last summer for his birthday. His birthday always seems to fall during the DCI regional in Indianapolis. "They all like to watch marching bands. I have been writing drill for several local high school bands for the past 10 years, so they've been around rehearsals, game performances, and a few local competitions. I have little doubt they will be involved in marching music in some way. (I think in drum corps, we have to realize that most our members come from some marching band somewhere. This being so, we ought to make as many supportive and meaningful connections as possible.) "I love living over here. Coming from a university community (Oxford), about the size of Cedar Rapids, I deeply appreciate the vitality that university towns have. That's why I love Madison so much! In the 1980s, I managed to link up a number of marchers from the UK with Emerald Knights." John Riccardi met his wife of 16 years, Melissa, in 1982 during their first season in Bridgemen. He came from Long Island from a non-drum corps family, while Lisa was born and raised in Bayonne in a family where all the kids marched in the Bayonne Kidets feeder corps and went on to march Bridgemen. According to John, "We were completely different. I was the typical cocky 17-year-old horn player who was good. Lis (as she is known) was very quiet but amazingly talented. (If you watch 1982 Bridgemen, she was the really young-looking color guard girl dancing on the table during concert.) "I guess you can say our 'love affair' was one of renown proportion. Meeting in corps, we definitely knew each other long before marriage. We grew to hate each other, date other corps members, and then the next thing those significant others knew, we were back together (ooops). So, dating seriously in the middle of 128 of your closest rumor mills could be an all-out turf war. "But in the end, the Bridgemen folded, I went into the service and shortly after, we married. I was 21 and Lis was 19. But we were together. We lived in Omaha, Neb., for four years. While there, I wound up becoming close friends with the drum major of the Railmen. We actually met by chance. So, we were able to kind of stay up-to-date as to what was going on in drum corps. "But then, in late 1988, our first child came and the whole world changed. We became so involved in our children (five in all) that we totally lost touch with the activity. We were oblivious to anything other than watching DCI every year on TV. And each year the activity changed so much from what we were used to that we basically lost interest ... until about a year and a half ago. I started realizing that something huge was definitely missing in my life. "It wasn't till I found the Bridgemen Web site that I realized I had become so involved with my family that I had given up my 'family' that was drum corps. Slowly, Lis also realized she missed it just as much. In the summer of 2002, we finally started organizing get-togethers and parties with our old friends. "You should have seen our kids' faces when a roomful of strange (remember they were Bridgemen) people were staring at our big screen at drum corps. My high schooler especially was taken back at watching her mom and dad do THAT! They all of a sudden looked at us like we were from Mars. And the strangers were from the mother ship. "So once again I'm hooked. I am now sitting on the newly reorganized board of directors of the Bridgemen Organization. This has brought me back full circle. We had a huge reunion the past New Year's with the old (and I mean 'old') St. Andrew's Bridgemen folk that finally pulled the entire St. Andrews/Bayonne family into the fold together. I'm actually thinking of trying to march senior corps again next season (if I can talk my wife into it). I'm also a Bushwackers alum (I would get back from DCI and march DCA with Bush). I was a drum corps freak, and guess I am once again." J. Frank Nash was a member of the New York Skyliners in 1974. Most senior corps were all-male back then, but the Sunrisers were coed, and one of the Sunrisers' members, Patricia, started coming to the Skyliners' rehearsals with a friend who was interested in a Skyliners' brass player.
   
Frank recounts, "After rehearsals, all four of us used to go to a place named Mr. Christians in the Bronx. Patricia and I started talking about a curious habit I have of mixing pretzels with potato chips. We became friends and eventually best friends. We both had other relationships and my intention at that time was to never get married, but, in 1976, someone else asked Patricia to marry him. At that point, I realized that she was the person I was meant to be with and that I couldn't lose her. Our friendship has been the cement that has kept us together through all of the trials and tribulations that life brings. "She teases me about drum corps being my first wife because I have been involved as a player and eventually an instructor/arranger intensely since I was 6 years old. "We have two sons. One, Jason, marched in the Bushwackers, the Cabelleros and the Skyliners. I myself have spent the last 45 years in the activity. I marched with the Wynn Center Toppers, the St. Joseph Patron Cadets and the St. Ritas Brassmen junior corps. I then spent the next 28 seasons in DCA with the New York Skyliners (1973-1984), Harrison Bushwackers (1985-1993), Hawthorne Caballeros (1994-1999) and the Syracuse Brigadiers. I have been fortunate enough to be part of nine DCA Titles as a player and/or instructor spanning four decades, Sky (1975), Bush (1986, '88, '89, '90, '92, '93) Cabs (1995) and Syracuse (2000). Since 2001, I have been the percussion arranger and caption head for the Lehigh Valley Knights in DCI Division III. I am also battery arranger for the New York Skyliners. "There were times, when we were younger, that I put drum corps ahead of a lot of things, as we all do from time to time. That caused some friction, but Patricia has put up with it and we are still together." Clint Knight decided to march drum corps in 1999, during his second year at the University of Georgia. "After being a fan for several years, I was tired of waiting until Thanksgiving to see the broadcast on Georgia Public Television. I was determined to march drum corps. I had several friends at the University of Georgia who had marched Carolina Crown, so my friend Matt and I decided we would audition for Crown. "At the first camp, I was terrified. The competition for the percussion section was fierce. I was afraid there was no hope. The second day of the camp I met a girl who had marched the previous summer. She played vibes in the front ensemble. Within the first 10 minutes of conversation with her, it was obvious we were on the same page. Little did I know. "We hit it off immediately. Throughout the rest of the winter program, we became great friends. She lived in Texas and I lived in Georgia. We e-mailed frequently about drum corps, life on the road, and being percussion majors. She coerced me into committing myself to tour. We spent the summer of 1999 performing next to each other in the front ensemble at Crown. "After about four weeks of her telling me I was rushing a mallet run or was late on cymbal crashes, I decided I was in love. Unknown to me, she was too. We both returned to Crown in 2000, engaged. I was a drum major and she was again in the front ensemble. We decided if we could make it through two tours of drum corps as seat partners, we could make it through anything. Alicia and I got married on June 9, 2001. We took one summer off. In 2002, we hit the road with Spirit, standing side by side again, this time as co-techs for the front ensemble. It was an amazing experience for both of us. We're still teaching at Spirit, and only God knows when our drum corps addiction will be fulfilled; probably never. I owe a great deal of gratitude to this amazing activity. I found a treasure in DCI that I never expected." 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 masters 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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