Drum Corps International
Carolina Crown Karma

Carolina Crown Karma

by Michael Boo

The following account was contributed by Robyn Marshall, a recent graduate of North Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pa. and an incoming first-year student majoring in music education at the University of Pennsylvania. This is a story of how a friend and I ended becoming members last minute with our dream corps for the soon-to-start season. I'm 18 and from Pittsburgh, Pa. I was a drum corps member last year with another corps and am marching with the Carolina Crown in 2006. When I was first exposed to DCI corps at the Pittsburgh Summer Music Games in 2004, I knew that I wanted to march, but I just didn't know what I could play since I was a clarinet player. I remember seeing girls walking off of the field carrying huge instruments. I didn't know at the time what they were, but I told myself I could see myself doing that. The following week was our band camp and I asked my director if I could switch to brass. I initially wanted to try mellophone, because I've always loved the sound. However, we had very few low brass players, so he handed me a baritone to try. It was love at first B-flat scale. I was thrilled to be learning how to play that instrument. It really hadn't crossed my mind that I would be in a drum corps the following summer. I thought I would need to practice for a year to get good enough. Luckily, after three months of hard practicing and many, many tubs of DCT lip ointment, I went to a drum corps camp after convincing my parents, and I was made a member of the second baritone line. I was so ecstatic, I almost hugged the caption head! That summer was amazing and I will never forget what I learned about myself and about music. However, I didn't feel like I was at "home." I remember seeing Carolina Crown sometime towards the end of tour. By the end of their first movement, I was amazed at what they were doing. Their presence on the field could be felt all over my body. I loved the cream-colored uniforms standing out against the dark green field, the body movements, the drill and the lush dark sound of the horn line. I knew right then that I would one day march with them. I would do anything to make it. After tour, I became a senior in high school. Corps really didn't cross my mind much in September because I was preparing college audition pieces and practicing with my marching band. I only really decided that the "corps bug" would not go away in December when I attended a camp of another corps to try out. I got excellent feedback there, and had I gone back to the following camp, I would have been made a member. But I didn't feel like I was at "home" there either. I contemplated sitting around all summer, possibly learning another instrument, preparing for college and working on music theory. Never did it cross my mind to audition for Carolina Crown. No, I thought it would be too hard and I could never make it. I thought I wasn't yet good enough. After all, I had only been playing a brass instrument for about a year and-a-half. I didn't think I had it in me to do it. Yet, something made me sign up to audition in March when I saw they still hadn't set the baritone line. But again, I chickened out and ended up not attending the camp. I again thought about a summer home. Then one day, Nathan, a friend of mine I knew from another corps, alerted me to a baritone opening with Carolina Crown. At this time, I was going to march with a DCA corps, so I figured this was a win-win situation, whether I made it or not. I sent my information to the brass staff and a few recordings. I waited a day or two and got a response. It was two weeks before move-ins. I was offered a spot in the baritone line at Carolina Crown. I was ecstatic! How could this be happening? It's been a dream of mine, and to think it's coming true so quickly! It was great. I couldn't thank my friend enough. I really didn't know how to thank him. But when I got to spring training, I quickly found a way to do so. I arrived May 27 for spring training as scared as I'd ever been; not knowing anyone and completely new to my surroundings. But they welcomed me as if I had been there since the first camp. That was the moment I knew that this summer will be something I will always treasure. It wasn't until about Sunday or Monday of that week that I learned of a mellophone hole in the corps. My friend Nathan (who told me about the baritone opening) was actually awaiting a response from another corps to offer him an open spot to step into. But that corps ended up picking a vet of the corps over him. I felt horrible, but soon remembered the position I had heard about. I told one of the brass staff that I had the phone number of a friend who had a year's worth of experience who would love to come fill the open position. I had to leave for a few days for my high school graduation, and when I came home they still hadn't made a decision. It took a while to get a response from the staff, but they eventually offered Nathan a position to fill the mellophone spot with Crown. Karma. It was the only word I could think. Karma. I really don't think there was any better way to thank him. This is what drum corps should be about, people helping each other; not just to find out about open positions in corps, but to help each other become better people. Nathan and I thought this was too much of a coincidence to not share with others.
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.