By Joe Smith
So this week, to go along with Allison Owen's article, I thought I would write about how hard it is to explain our splendid activity to people of the "outside world." Most of us have tried this several times. I've dealt with this so many times it's hard to count, I might even have to whip off my shoes and socks to count the number of times.

The show you see on the field is only half of the life a drum corps person leads. The activity will make you grow up and learn to live in close proximity with up to 135 other people for 72 days straight with no real home besides your bus seat, and even that isn't really private, as my friends can tell you. This is one of the bigger reasons I find it hard to explain what I do in the summer to my friends and family.

In my opinion, I don't think we will ever find one universal definition for drum corps, but that opens up creative ways to explain the activity to our friends. I've heard things anywhere from "professional marching band" to, as my friend Jessica (who's not in band) said, "It's like the movie Drumline." I was bit shocked after hearing that one.

Using these explanations, though, really leaves me feeling as though I have given no justice to the activity. Now when someone asks me who the Colts are, or what I do with my summer, I usually just whip out my tape of the 2003 DCI World Championships broadcast and loan the tape to them, because that's the only way they will truly know what I do with my summer. I feel the broadcast does a lot of things right to introduce people into the activity of drum corps, because it gives them an insight into what goes on behind the scenes.

If you've marched drum corps or even if you haven't, there is always some way to entice people to become curious and maybe even try at least one camp. Sometimes all people need is one camp to see how great our activity is. Bring them along and introduce them to your friends that march get them involved, because they'll almost always really love what's going on behind the scenes of a drum corps. Half the fun of the activity is the weird stuff that happens on tour while you're with your friends. Two main thoughts stick out in my head when it comes to crazy things that happen. Once, our entire bus was woken up in the middle of the night to get off and push it up to the gas pump. Another time, in Virginia, we were with Kiwanis Kavaliers and we witnessed a man chasing a woman across the street and into our laundromat with a broken umbrella.

There are plenty of ways to show people how great our activity. As the Latin proverb says, "Art has no enemy except ignorance." If you are still stuck and need more ideas for introducing your friends to the drum corps activity, e-mail me at and I'll help you -- because where there is a will, there is a way.