By Allison Owen As the weeks are slowly passing by and I am counting down the days until auditions, I am becoming more and more aware of my friends ignorance to the world of drum corps. I've mentioned it many times before, but I still seem to be making little or no impression on them about drum corps.
On Saturday, our marching band went to a competition at Western Carolina University in North Carolina. Carolina Crown had a recruiting booth set up at this particular competition and when we arrived at the stadium and I saw a van that had "Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps" on the side of it, my mouth dropped. This was the closest I had ever been to live drum corps. I wanted to tell everyone ... but of course, no one understood my excitement, they all look at me like I'm crazy and jokingly call me a "nerd." As the day went on, I tried to get over to the recruiting booth and check it out, but unfortunately I never got the opportunity to. As most people know, it gets very cold in the mountains after the sun sets, which of course makes people put on jackets. At band competitions I've now learned to look at everyone's jackets and see if there are any drum corps members or alumni hanging around. Dan, our high school percussion director, is in his 20s and just happened to have marched SPIRIT a few years back, so that night he was wearing his SPIRIT jacket. Well, as we were sitting in the stands that evening after our finals performance, my friend Andee told me that she had heard that one particular band we were competing with had four weeks of band camp this past summer. I told her that it was possible, but I doubted it, and she had probably heard about a drum corps instead ... but she didn't believe me. So Andee decided to ask Dan. He knows that I'm into drum corps now, so he just looked over at me and we both shook our heads. He explained to her that she must have heard about a drum corps and got them confused. She shrugged and turned back around to watch the band as Dan and I just chuckled and shook our heads again. Later on, when we were getting ready for the full retreat we had a lot of extra time to talk and just relax. Mary, another friend of mine, and I have talked about drum corps before, so she took this time to ask me if I was still auditioning next month. This got the attention of Laura and Katherine ... once again I had the opportunity to explain to more people the concept of a drum corps—which is a really funny experience, as many of you know. I'm starting to get used to the normal questions—like where I'm auditioning, what the requirements are, how long practice is, and so on. This time, however, I was asked some unusual questions from Laura, who was the most confused of the three. For instance, after I explained all days and then going on tour, she asked me "So you're going to drive down there and back every day this summer?" I smiled and explained to the three of them that all days are when you move in for the summer, and that I wouldn't be home until August if I marched. They were all taken by surprise when I said that I would be gone for about three months. As I expected, they called me crazy and then started talking about something else. Even though I'm starting to get used to telling everyone about drum corps, it's still a bit frustrating for me that so many people can be so oblivious to the world of drum corps. I try to remind myself that just one year ago I was the same way. It's hard to believe that I never knew such an amazing activity existed, but now I'm just trying to spread the word and introduce more people to drum corps. Who knows, maybe by next month I can make more of my friends aware and get them to come audition with me. We'll just have to see how it all unfolds.
Allison Owen is a sophomore at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn., who plans to audition for a corps in November. "I'm in the SHHS guard and I like writing, dancing, performing, traveling, photography and having fun. As for after high school/college, I don't know what I want to do ... I just know I would like to do something dealing with color guard, computers or writing," Owen said.