Val Glasscock is a mellophone player for the Blue Stars. She lives in Portage, Mich. This is her first year in the corps, following up two years in Dimensions. Val has discovered that drum corps is very good for her personal fitness program.

Traci Glasscock (left) and Val.
"I am 18 years old. At the beginning of this summer, I was about 120 pounds overweight. It's always been hard being overweight. Going to school was hard because some kids can be very blunt, and they like to say how they really feel about other people. "I lost about a pants size last summer with Dimensions, but I wanted to lose more. When I joined the Blue Stars, I encountered everydays for three weeks. That's where we learn all our drill and our music at the beginning of the summer. We started out doing running block, which has gotten me this far, as much as I hate to say it. We started with a one-mile run and got it up to 2 1/2 miles, and I just had to motivate myself to run. I don't have the energy to push myself to running. "Our drum major, Kevin Whalen, would stay behind and run with me, telling me, 'Val, you can do it. You can do it.' By the end of the three weeks, I could make it through the whole 2 ½-mile running block, and Kevin didn't have to stay behind to take care of me. "We started doing a lot of ab work and Pilates, and we kept doing breathing block, where we run and pace our breathing, learning to breathe in for four counts and push the air out for a certain number of counts. Two months later, here I am, 80 pounds lighter. "I've experienced the fact that I can't finish some of my meals, and I've learned to take a smaller portion. If I eat too much, I feel sick. "I feel great right now. Being in Denver has made it harder to do breathing block, due to the air. I bought a pair of pants a week ago, and they don't even fit me now. That feels real good. I'll have to change my whole wardrobe when I get home. "It's been hard to wear my clothes on tour. Things are too big and my drill book causes my pants to fall down. I have to keep pushing myself to run when I get home to make sure I keep off the weight. "The one person I'm extremely thankful for in drum corps is Mike Rossi, our visual caption head. He motivated me all summer and has always been there for me, convincing me I could do it." Traci Glasscock is Val's mother and the head cook for Blue Stars. She has another daughter, Sarah, in Blue Stars, and a third daughter, Rachel, in Americanos. "Val has really developed a lot of self-discipline from this. She's become much stronger and more able to physically handle the demands of what's being asked from her daily. Before, aches and pains would get in the way. "She's become a much stronger person internally. She's very sure of herself, and I've had no problems with the decisions she makes due to her ability to deal with the everyday stresses of drum corps. I trust her judgment. "Drum corps has made us all a much stronger family. We've pulled together like we never have before. Even though I don't get to see all my daughters every day, I feel I know every part of what's going on in their life. We keep in touch more often on the road than we do on the road. "Val has made great progress and I would like to see her keep up the healthy lifestyle she has maintained to this point. Drum corps is a wonderful fitness program. I would suggest it first over going to a gym."