By Sara Magalli, firstname.lastname@example.org Even after a decade of marching, I never cease to be amazed at the first rehearsal back. The unfamiliarity of holding the horn at "set" and perfect posture prove just how lazy I was in the off-months. Marching block and push-ups show me the harsh reality that my "winter body," as I like to call it, has returned. What's amazing, though, is being in an atmosphere that is full of so much perseverance and dedication; it's a drive for success that I see in the largest amounts when I am doing drum corps.
I was happy to see so many cars outside of G-west (the Glassmen's rehearsal facility in Toledo, Ohio) when I arrived -- fashionably late by two hours, as we got stuck in a snow storm all the way across Indiana. Inside, the activity was as I expected. The different sections of the drum corps were retreated to their designated areas of the school, excited parents were in the kitchen preparing snack, and I hadn't missed too much as the brassline was just starting buzzing exercises. Camp itself ran much like the numerous past camps I have attended. The staff introduced us to the techniques and philosophy, vets buzzed with excitement to see old friends again and new auditionees nervously jumped into the activity. The difference with this camp, though, was that it really became evident to me how old I am in this activity. I met maybe two new auditionees at the camp that were my age or older, definitely a change from the days when I was one of the younger kids, looking up to the older members. I realize that my job as a role model is becoming more vital as each new season approaches. Interestingly enough, it was those younger auditionees who helped me over the weekend. They helped to invoke in me the passion and dedication that gets buried unintentionally during the off-season. As I observed and interacted with those at the last camp, I just couldn't help but notice the drive buried in each and every person there. Whether it was the drummer that grimaced at not closing his sticks with the others or the guard girl that shook her head when she got off count for just a few seconds, I saw this desire for perfection in everyone. The kid that was not offered a spot last summer beamed as he told me his audition went well, and I beamed because he came back to try again. I can't tell whether it is the activity that invokes the desire into the people, or if it is that people associate so much desire with the activity. Whatever it is, I have never seen this phenomenon so prevalent in anything else I have ever been involved with. Even the staff seemed to display a more intense attitude. I know my arms are still feeling the effects of the staff's means to condition us! It's just different though. I can tell after one short weekend that just when I didn't think our staff could show us any more dedication, they are doing just that. The entire drum corps seems to be taking on a new attitude; it's as if we are aware of the motivational quotes displayed around G-west more than ever. In just one camp a lot can be accomplished. For the Glassmen, we are preparing for another successful season. Staff and students alike are not waiting for July to step up, it's happening now. On a personal level, it became even more evident how important this activity is to me and how big a part it plays in my life. I have only two years left, and the downhill slide scares me immensely. If I am feeling so many emotions with two summers left, I fear for what my age-out year will actually be like. Perhaps I'm more maudlin than necessary, I've been inspired though. I'm going to make these last two summers count more than anything. I don't know what future camps will bring, I don't know how the summer will unfold, I don't even know what our show is yet. I know I can count on this though; I can count on having a great time ... because I always have.