From a Drums Along the Mohawk press release: Drums along the Mohawk director Claudette Wire, hears many interesting stories from fans as she takes ticket orders for the show. This year, she spoke with a couple from Castile, N.Y., a small village near Letchworth State Park. Judy and Duane Draper have formed a strong bond with the Troopers of Casper, Wyo., one of the drum corps who will be appearing in Drums along the Mohawk TONIGHT at Rome Free Academy Stadium. Tickets for the show are available at the stadium box office. Wire listened to the Draper's story of how they became fans of the Troopers and their subsequent sponsorship of a Troopers marching member. Years ago, the Drapers were marching members of the Tri-Town Cadets, a small corps in their own hometown. "That's what drums corps used to be, small hometown corps," said Draper. So when she and her then boyfriend, Duane, went to see a DCI drums corps show in Batavia, they were thoroughly impressed by the powerful Troopers. "Our dream was always to march with the Troopers," she said. Well, as with many dreams, life sometimes creates a different path. Through the years, Judy and Duane kept track of the Troopers and attended DCI shows. While at a DCI championship in Maryland, Judy and Duane bought a large Troopers flag to wave after the Troopers performed. At the end of that show, two members of the Troopers, dressed in their traditional cavalry uniforms, came into the stands directly to the Drapers. They expressed gratitude to them for the flag waving and invited them to return to their site to meet the members of the corps. The Drapers were thrilled! After meeting the corps, the Drapers decided to fulfill their own dream of marching with the Troopers by sponsoring one of the marching members with a scholarship. "The Troopers make it easy through a payment system all year," said Judy. The Drapers sponsored the drum major Michael Gough for several years. When Michael aged out, they asked him to recommend another member to sponsor. Along came Sandra Gentsch, who has become very close to the Drapers, keeping in touch through e-mails and phone calls (phone calls that Judy said are so meaningful because she knows how hard it is to make calls when corps are on the road). The Drapers have seen Gentsch perform in Michigan, Buffalo, N.Y., and are now looking forward to seeing her in Rome and will travel to the World Championships in Providence. Although Judy and Duane will never march with Troopers, they will be as proud as "parents" on Thursday evening, watching from the stands at Rome Free Academy Stadium. They will be waving their Troopers flag hoping their Troopers "daughter" will see it. Other corps showcased in the Drums along the Mohawk evening show are Phantom Regiment, Boston Crusaders, Capital Regiment, Seattle Cascades, and The Magic.
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