Drum Corps International
Day Four - Drum corps reflections in Tempe, Arizona

Day Four - Drum corps reflections in Tempe, Arizona

by Josh Peterson


Josh Peterson
Josh Peterson, a 2006 Santa Clara Vanguard "age-out," embarked on a different journey this summer working as a journalist for Drum Corps International. Stepping out of the DCI Addison, Ill. headquarters, he returns to somewhat familiar territory while assigned to go on the road for four days with the Cavaliers and the Boston Crusaders to blog about his day-to-day experiences. Peterson currently studies broadcast journalism and film at San Jose University in California.
Brandon and I arose this morning around 10:30 a.m. to an empty, dark classroom. All the staff members that slept in that room were already outside at the Boston Crusaders' morning block. So when I woke up, I felt like I was really late for something. I remember one or two days on tour last year when I woke up super late and saw everyone grabbing their backpacks and getting ready for rehearsal, and I felt like I needed to wake up immediately and move as fast as I could to get out the door.

Brandon and I in the great Mesa, Arizona.
After we got ready for the day, Brandon and I went in search for food. And low and behold, off in the heat drenched distance, a few blocks from the school, was a Jack In The Box. Brandon was really excited since he had never been there before, and just biting into that meaty ciabatta burger made my love for "normal" life come alive again. (I'm not saying I eat fast food everyday and that I don't like the great tastes and wide varieties of tour food, but this was a great burger.) Then we came back to the school, did some more work for Drum Corps International, and got on our bus to tonight's show in Tempe at Sun Devil Stadium. We rode on the percussion bus to the stadium and it was a great experience to be able to see another drum line's pre-show traditions. It makes me appreciate the corps members so much more because everyone wants to go out and throw down to have an awesome show. I've definitely learned that much of this activity is about the excellence of performance, no matter what corps you're with. When we got to the show, we departed from the Boston Crusaders and journeyed to the press box with all of our luggage. I won't bore you with the details of this grand uphill adventure, but I'll just say that it took a long time in 106 degree heat and we were about ready to pass out by the time we made it up there. And if I needed to take a shower, change clothes or set up my air mattress in the press box, you better believe I was ready. Tonight's competition was great (even though the weather got in the way a bit and caused a 40 minute delay), but all of the corps' performances were very good. It was also great to see everybody from the DCI office again and at the end of the show, I got to write my usual wrap-up article; that felt good since I haven't done that in a few days. We then left the stadium around 11:30 p.m. and walked a couple of blocks (with all of our luggage – we just can't seem to get rid of it) to the hotel we had for the night. Although I love drum corps and I had a great time on summer tours and this "mini-tour," it felt great to get to that hotel room and just collapse on my bed in there for a while.

My new home (for the night).
Overall, I have really learned a lot on this tour and I'm glad I've had the opportunity to go back and relive the drum corps experience again for a few days. Traveling with the Cavaliers and Boston Crusaders really made me realize that even though corps compete against each other and try to be the best in the activity, the real competition lies within each member and within each drum corps. Corps members I've talked with or seen rehearsing works extremely hard at what they do not because they want a trophy (that's just the icing on the drum corps cake), but because they love what they're doing. I think we can sometimes forget that drum corps is not just about the competition. It's about pushing yourself to be the best you can be, having the greatest performances of your life and having fun with your friends and family along the way. What we learn and accomplish in this activity has the power to stay with us forever – whether we like it or not. The drum corps world is a very special and unique place, and I think we're all lucky to be here. I know I am. Anyway, thanks for reading about my short summer tour. It was truly a pleaser to share the road with these corps and then share my experiences with you. Now I must get to bed and get some rest for the upcoming week. Tomorrow I travel to California. Goodnight and I'll see you in Pasadena!

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