The Tour of Champions, slated for Aug. 10 to Aug. 14, 2004, is shaping up to be one of the most-anticipated drum corps events in recent memory. Corps directors and members alike shared with what they are looking forward to the most: Pat Seidling, Phantom Regiment director: "The members seem most excited about spending six days in close contact with the other corps. On tour, we rarely get more than an hour or so to hang out with the other corps members. The idea of shared housing, massed rehearsals and a collective free day or two really has their attention. One member even coined it "Drum-corps-apalooza" after the famous "Lollapalooza" alternative rock tour. "I am personally looking forward to being back on the West Coast. Every time I have toured there it has been a great experience. I am also looking forward to the "showbiz" atmosphere of creating great shows without the competitive aspect. Just great kids performing at their peak for the sheer joy of it!" Derek Weber, Cavaliers snare drummer: "I think everyone here is very excited about going to the West Coast. Its going to be a very different experience. I have heard about the possibilities of playing together with members from other corps, which will help strengthen the drum corps community, and also emphasize that this activity is not about winning but performing your music at your very best. What I am looking for the most is performing for a crowd that has never seen a drum corps show after, what is it, late June, or early July. The crowds will have no idea what to expect as far as the quality of all of our performances so the reactions should be very exciting." Joshua Gall, the Cadets' tuba section leader: "I really think the Tour of Champions will be a great way for the corps participating to enjoy the stories and friendships that were built throughout the summer. Also, being the week following finals, it really is going to be great to be able to perform for the other corps and fans with such a strong show that we've worked on all season. The Tour of Champions is not only going to be a great release and finish to the season for the members, but for the fans as well. Thank you DCI." Rick Valenzuela, director of the Santa Clara Vanguard: "We're looking forward to performing at the August-quality level for the first time in California! We usually leave California in late June or early July and those fans out here that don't make it to Championships generally miss out on the final product as it evolves and improves throughout the rest of the summer.
"In the past when the summer schedule was longer, and the travel between shows was easier, we had more time to mingle and get together with other corps. So with the TOC, I'm looking forward to seeing all six corps being able to hang out together and have fun." Giovanni De Torres, Blue Devils' color guard captain: "My biggest anticipation for the tour is to perform my last DCI performance right near my home for all my family to see. Because my family cannot afford to follow me around tour or watch me anywhere else in the country, the final performance near my hometown will be my first time to really show them what I do. On a general note, performing for the tour of champions will be really exciting because each show performed is guaranteed to be worth watching as a fan. Plus, the Tour of Champions is a great way to get the corps who have only performed on the East Coast to finally come over to the west." Dave Rochau, Madison Scouts: "The Madison Scouts are anticipating the Tour of Champions to be a fantastic experience to bring top quality drum corps to a region that rarely gets to see drum corps in top form. We look forward to a more relaxed competitive setting, and the chance to meet and perform with some of our fellow corps that we respect so much.
"On a side note, Who wouldn't want to age out in California?" Jeff Fiedler, director of the Cavaliers: "We're excited because we'll get a chance to show California what all these great corps look like at the end of the summer, as well as a chance to re-connect with all the alumni and Cavalier fans we have our there in the Golden State. They've been e-mailing us like crazy to let us know how excited they are and asking if we need anything when we come out there!
I think the corps getting together a few times could yield many positive things for the years to come, as well as the opportunity to introduce drum corps to kids in the greater L.A. area." Alexander Mondlock, Phantom Regiment: "I think we are anticipating the Tour Of Champions to be a great success. It's going to give us a chance to really show ourselves what it takes to push ourselves farther everyday to reach new goals. I am especially looking forward to seeing more of the country, and to going through it with my closest friends that I have made over the summers with the Phantom Regiment." Zach Schlicher, the Cadets' percussion section leader: "I'm looking forward to a bunch of things during the Tour of Champions. I'm anxious to perform in places that I've never performed before and also for the West Coast crowd. When you bring corps to places where people have never seen them or have not seen them in a long time, it draws a larger and more excited crowd. When the crowd is fresh and into what we are doing, their reactions make it that much better for us. I'm also looking forward to spending some extra time with my friends, not only from the Cadets, but from other corps as well.

"I think there is an event scheduled where all the corps will perform for each other. Having been involved in DCI since 2001 as a marching member, I haven't been able to just sit and watch a live drum corps show in a few years. While I enjoy performing so much, I miss the feeling of spectating and the impact the volume of the music has on my body. Hearing the music from where I am every night feels and sounds completely different from what it feels like to the crowd. I think it's going to be a great time and anyone that lives on the West Coast is in for an awesome week of drum corps." Ben Collins, Cavaliers' drum sergeant: "Probably the coolest part of being able to do this tour in California is getting to party with the other corps. We are all friends and most of us interact with one another during the off-season. I am also looking forward to meeting girls from other corps and playing snares vs. tenor-bass armada volleyball on the beach." Brandt "Cajun" Murphy, Madison Scouts' baritone section leader: I believe that the Madison Scouts are eagerly anticipating the TOC. We realize that we get more opportunities to perform for the fans! After all, it's the fans that make this activity so unique and worthwhile! To put it in a quote, "Whoo!" The part of the TOC that I, and probably most of the corps, look forward to the most is the camaraderie we'll share with the other corps in the TOC. Interacting with the other "big names" in DCI is something I'm sure the members won't soon forget. We will get to socialize with the members in the others corps so as to heighten intercorps friendships and support. That is what I hope the Tour of Champions will promote."

George Hopkins, director of the Cadets: "The Cadets are looking forward to the extra week on tour. The indoor show is especially exciting. The chance to do some new stuff, some new different performances, and the opportunity to spend time with the members of the other corps is going to be a fabulous ending to a great, great year." Lindsay Kusmierczak, Phantom Regiment: "I think all of us at Phantom Regiment are eager to see what the Tour of Champions is going to be like. I know I am honored that Regiment was chosen to participate, and we can't wait to see what happens when all six of the corps work together. I think because each corps is unique and we all respect each other and the activity that the outcome will be something great and a ton of fun. It will be a great way to put the competitiveness aside and really appreciate each others' talents. I know I can't wait to welcome everyone into our phamily and to learn more about their history and families. This is such a historic and exciting event that I think every individual involved, including the fans, will cherish this experience for the rest of their lives." Aaron Brizuela, Cavaliers' drum major: "The Cavaliers are excited about the Tour of Champions. True, this will give us less time at home before we have to go back to school, and the age-outs won't have their last drum corps performance on finals night. But it will still give us a unique opportunity to push the activity forward even more. Not only will it allow us an extra week together, but it will give us a chance to show California audiences what drum corps looks like in August, without the stress of such a competitive atmosphere. On a personal note, I have dozens of relatives out in California that I haven't seen in years (some of the young ones I have yet to meet!). What better way to see them than to show them what I've been doing all these years?"
Paula Hyman, Cadets' mellophone section leader: "I know two things about California. One, "The Price is Right" is taped there. Two, my friend Jess lives in San Francisco. That's it. So clearly, I am excited to have the opportunity to spend a week in the Golden State. "It sounds like it's going to be a great experience for everyone involved. From what George has told us, we're going to be playing with some of the other corps and there is even a show where all of the corps will perform for one another! That's awesome because most of us have not seen a live drum corps show from the stands in years. It's going to be great to hang out and meet a bunch of new people from other corps. We're even supposed to have a beach day barbeque. This is going to be an amazing week and I couldn't think of a better way to end the season!" Taylor Criswell, Phantom Regiment euphonium: "From what I can tell, the overall vibe of the corps towards the Tour of Champions is very positive. The Regiment is very excited to be apart of the Tour of Champions and eagerly anticipates the opportunity to present its product to an extended audience.
"As for myself, I am looking forward to seeing how this tour will further promote the activity and education of those involved." Michael Krueger, Cavaliers' tuba player: "I would say that the Cavaliers are anticipating the Tour of Champions with curiosity. I think that it will be interesting in a "behind the scenes" aspect because I have heard that all six corps are bunking together. I think that it might be nice to perform the last programs for fun even though I am a competitive person. There will be plenty of fans, and probably a lot less pressure, so it sounds like a good time." Michael Terry, the Cadets' baritone section leader: "I can't wait to be able to perform our show, but in a more relaxed atmosphere. It's almost like a week of victory concerts! I am most looking forward to the day when all the corps get to spend time at the beach and then go to a stadium across the street and perform for each other (in plain clothes, I believe). It's going to be the first drum corps show I've seen from the stands since finals of 1999!" Ben Hall, Cavaliers' snare drum section leader: "Everyone in the corps is looking forward to some stress-free performances after finals week. I, and I'm sure many others, am hoping to get a closer look into how other corps run their programs. It's also going to be nice to get some serious post-finals hanging out accomplished."
Matt Haines, the Cadets' drum major: "In 2001 the corps went to California in early July. The West Coast crowd was extremely receptive to us, which made the trip a blast. While it has not been decided whether or not the shows will be judged, I am hoping they won't be (at least in the traditional sense). Some of my most memorable drum corps moments have come during encore performances and I think it would be a huge treat for the fans to see the corps given the opportunity to let loose for a week." Allan Acosta, Cavaliers' color guard member: "I'm looking forward for stepping foot on California for the first time ever, and being from the East Coast, I'd love to see the Pacific Ocean." Pepe Ochoa, Cavaliers' guard sergeant: "I am really looking forward to touring with some of the best drum corps that have ever taken the field. To be able to perform with other members from different corps looks to be very promising.