This week, we'll be devoting some editorial attention to drum corps events and memories that happen and have happened in the Northern U.S. Pat Seidling, director of the Phantom Regiment, submitted this "northern exposure" reminiscence: Throughout the 1960s and 1970s there was a strong drum corps presence in Michigan's upper Penninsula -- Hurley, Wis., Ironwood, Mich., Iron River, Mich., Ishpeming, Mich., Houghton, Mich., Crystal Falls, Mich., and Sioux St. Marie, Mich., all had a drum corps and/or a show. Needless to say, those nights were always cool, and seeing your breath at retreat was the rule, even in late July. My hometown corps (the Eau Claire, Wis., Sundowners) spent most of the summer season doing those shows. One I recall with the most fun is in a town whose name I now forget. They had a show connected with a fireman's celebration, and -- as was usual in those days -- it was a parade and show combination. However, the parade was AFTER the show -- at midnight! And the parade would feature a few corps and then nothing else but firemen and their trucks from the various fire departments and volunteer fire departments all across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They not only trotted out their trucks, but made a competition out of which fire company could outdo the other. Some wore goofy outfits and did "firehose drills" down the street, others dressed regally and aimed to impress. Standing on a street corner in a small town in the middle of the North Woods with lights blazing, sirens screaming, seeing your breath, holding a hot dog and cheering as drum corps and firmen marched by was a great way to grow up!
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