Beck Novac decided to write this column from the point of view of a drum corps member writing a letter home. Dear Mom and Dad, I'm not sure how much I'll get to call you while I'm gone, so I decided to write this letter before I left to make sure you know that everything is going to be OK. I know it was hard to send me off into the unknown for three months this summer. You probably didn't want to let that last ounce of my dependence go but please understand it was for the best. I am getting to immerse myself in a world that I love. Everyone here shares the same thoughts and feelings about drum corps as I do. I'm no longer the "bando" in high school. We're all equals no matter how many years each of us has marched. We all can't wait make the show better each day.

Becky Novac
I hope you come see me at least once this summer. I know it might be hard with the show's location in relation to home, but you could always volunteer and stay with us for a couple of days. I won't admit it then, but I'll need to see something that reminds me of home just once this summer, even if it's only for an hour. When you visit, you might not recognize me. I'll probably lose a little weight while I'm gone and become 10 shades darker because of my tan. Besides my physical changes you might not recognize the person that will change inside. I'll be around people that may be a lot older than me but understand nothing bad can come out of me growing up in three months time. If I was shy and self-conscious when I left, I'm sure these qualities will be diminished by the time August rolls around. If you come and watch practice, you might see me get yelled at from my instructor, run laps around the field, do push-ups. While this might seem unusual, it's not. Everything we do is for a reason, and some things might be a part of the strict discipline the activity requires. While I might not like running, I'll be better in the end because of it. My instructional staff would never do anything that would hurt us -- they're just making us better. Most importantly, don't let me come home unless something terrible is happening. I might call one day during these first few days crying and begging to come home because it's too hard or I'm homesick. Please don't come and get me or tell me to come home. This activity is going to be probably the most difficult thing I've had to do so far and I don't want to give up, if I did I wouldn't have auditioned back in November. If Fido, our beloved dog, dies, I'll be sad but I won't come home. This is my sole commitment for this summer. Thank you for letting me go, I know it was hard. Thank you for paying my way, buying my water jug, or whatever you may have purchased to make sure I have a successful summer. If anything, thank you for your support. I might not need anything else from you this summer and I'll learn to be responsible for myself and my actions. Thank you for letting me go, even if you don't understand why I would subject myself to 14-hour practice days and a life in constant motion, literally. When I come home in a few months, I might not tell you every detail of everything I did but know it was all worth it. Love, Your Son or Daughter Becky Novac currently lives in Hoboken, N.J., and works for Universal McCann in New York City as an assistant media planner. She is 22 years old and a recent graduate from Penn State University where she majored in journalism and psychology. Becky marched with the Bluecoats in 2000, 2002 and 2004 as a member of the color guard.