Todd Hopkins has been following drum corps since 1976. He marched with the Sky Ryders in 1983 and 1984. He married Kallie in 1993. She has actively followed drum corps since her first live show in 1998. They were both born and raised in Eldorado Springs, Mo., just north of Springfield. Todd: In 1976, my high school band director gathered us together and told us we would be marching in the drum corps style. He took us to a couple shows. From 1976 on, the band would go to two drum corps shows each year.
I thought, "That is the coolest thing I've ever seen." I also thought the activity had a great deal of integrity. It was obvious it was an activity for people who wanted to strive for perfection. After high school, I wanted to join a corps, but I didn't know which one I wanted to get into. I needed to join one that was close to home, and I ended up in Sky Ryders in 1983 and 1984. In 1985, I left corps to play music with my brother in Florida, a world-renowned fiddle player who played with the likes of George Jones, Merle Haggard and Emmylou Harris. I played drum set. I then played with Pat Travers, a big rock 'n' roll star. I lost my involvement with drum corps during that time. I rediscovered drum corps in 1991 and haven't looked back. I never will leave it again. I go to as many shows as possible. My wife bought me the jacket I wear. It has 39 corps patches hand-sewn on and 18 pins. I have many pins at home and patches and am going to have to start a hat. I'm a professional jeweler with a shop in Springfield that sells traditional jewelry. I also make custom jewelry at home and make corps bracelets. So far I've made sterling silver bracelets with the names of the Cavaliers and Madison Scouts and am in the process of making one for Phantom Regiment. I want to set up something with corps to send fans and corps members the bracelets and then send the corps a sizeable chunk of the proceeds. Kallie: I got involved in drum corps through Todd in 1998. I knew about it before that, but finally went a show a few years after meeting Todd. I was hooked immediately. I was awed by their performances. The quality of the music, their ability to play and march, the precision of the formations and choreography -- it all fascinates me. Todd: I have the luxury of looking at a show from the perspective of a former member. When the corps are on the field, I'm paying attention to everything they are doing. Kallie: I find myself watching the color guard and then the formations. I'm watching them maneuver more than I hear the music. We like to get seats around the stadium during Championships week so we can see the shows from different perspectives. Todd: I want the activity to grow and flourish. The quality of the corps is so much better than it used to be. It's a wonderful time to follow drum corps. I continue to be awed at the quality of performances. DCI seems to be one of the best kept secrets in the country. ,B>Kallie: I do not intend to miss a World Championship. The dedication of these young people to drum corps is amazing. To know there are young people coming up into the world willing to work as hard as they do amazes me. It's nice to know there are people in this world so dedicated to something that is so good.
Kallie and Todd Hopkins