Steve Hooker (center), with Blue Knights drum majors
Aaron Bradford (left) and Kenton Wallis (right)

Earlier this summer, Blue Knights drum majors Aaron Bradford and Kenton Wallis helped give Steve Hooker an unforgettable day at the Moonlight Classic in Sacramento, Calif. Steve, a 15-year-old lifelong drum corps fan lives with autism, and attended the June 23 show with his father, Brian. During a break in the competition, Brian and Steve approached the Blue Knights drum majors, who agreed to pose for pictures with Steve, despite their rush to prepare for the upcoming performance, according to Brian. "At this point Steve isn't verbal, but he likes [the drum majors'] uniforms, and he likes to communicate by touch," Hooker said. "He was touching their uniforms, touching their faces, and they were just so kind about it." Steve has been exposed to drum corps since the summer of 1997 when his mother, Marcia, attended a DCI event in Boise, Idaho while pregnant with Steve, alongside Brian, a Sky Ryders alum. Steve's parents look to the drum corps community to find a friendly, interactive environment for him to enjoy. "The drum corps community has adopted Steve, and we want him to know that people are really super user-friendly," Brian said. "Rather than going into his own special world, we want him to see that it's really, really fun that you get to interact with people, and the DCI community has just come through over and over again." Brian and Marcia, from Redding, Calif., attend at least one live DCI event per year with Steve, in addition to viewing both "Drum Corps at the Cinema" events and as many DCI Fan Network webcasts as possible. According to Brian, Steve "likes anything about drum corps" and has a large collection of DVDs and publications, but nothing compares to seeing the corps live. "[The Moonlight Classic] was the first time for Steve that he's seen the Blue Devils and Carolina Crown live," Brian said. "During the whole show, he really enjoyed it. He also got to spend some time with some members of the Santa Clara Vanguard color guard, and they were really nice, too. Everyone's just been so sweet."