Kristen Richard is a 16-year-old mellophone player who marches in Revolution. She does what many of us do -- she daydreams about drum corps year-round and sees parallels to drum corps in everyday life. Let's take a journey inside her mind and her daydreams. Here's a little something inspired by a normal day in the life of a drum corps member when it's not summer. Drum corps follows us around everywhere we go and anything could easily trigger another memory from those wondrous marching years. This prose juggles the past and present as I experience some major flashbacks. The alarm goes off. It's 7:30 a.m. and I feel extremely tired. I get ready for school and as I sit down to watch some news on the TV while waiting for my ride, I'm reminded of the 2004 DCI World Championships. The weatherman decided that at that time it was vital to discuss the happenings in Colorado. Looking outside at the rain pelting the ground and puddles in the streets, I am taken back as I tell myself, "Don't give up. Push through these last reps." The rain that is all around me is not horrible, but this is new to me. My shoes are a little slushy and the ground is softened from the past few days of showers as the horn line sets up for another rep. The woodblock starts us on our way and the staff hypes us. Soon there's a vibe so rich that it truly feels like the first time we totally united as one. Although it's still early in the season, I can tell this will be a moment I will look back on with fondness. Our feet move together as we kick water up into the sky. Powerful, I dare say -- invincible we seem, as we finish strong. In algebra class, I overhear my friends' discussion, "You should go to the Great Lakes! I love Superior. We go there when we visit Minnesota." Visions dance in my head as I remember. The clearest natural water I've ever seen is spread vastly before me. My corpsmates take pictures and run through the sand. Lake Michigan is chilly this afternoon, but that doesn't stop some from jumping in or, in some cases, being pushed in. After this morning's rehearsal, this small break is refreshing as we eat ice pops and hike to the lighthouse, occasionally jumping from rock to rock. Soon I find myself standing atop a giant sand mound just next to the buses. The sun sets on the peaceful and calm lake as everyone migrates back where we began so that we may leave for dinner. A good friend of mine is ill today, so I toss my strawberry Gatorade across two aisles of seats so that she may soothe her throat. In corps, Gatorade (especially clear strawberry) is like gold and here I sit, giving it away freely. The PowerAde bottle swings in the backseat organizer in front of me. All is still in the darkness of the night as many are in dreamland, resting for the next day. The lights of another town I have never seen before suddenly come into view. My summer family lay all around me. The feel of unity and serenity is overcoming. In class I sit daydreaming and as I look up, Chelsea's shirt brings a pang of familiarity. What is it about that light blue long sleeve shirt? There doesn't seem to be anything too special about it, but for some reason it screams at me. Oh, that's it! It may not be cream and purple, but those three repeating stripes around her chest and arms remind me of Carolina Crown. After finishing our show, we stand atop the hill at Kennesaw, Ga., by the equipment truck. The corps is given directions on how things work after a show; it is our second show. I hear Clarissa shout, "My friend is down there!" so I glance down from the darkness onto the bright field where Crown performs "Carol of the Bells." As Johnson escorts me down to the stands, the sounds of those bells still ring in my ears. A cash register's cheery "ching!" fits in with the show as I purchase a "Proud to Be an American Drum Corps" patch. Numb to what's going on in class, I marinate on the idea that something so simple and essentially having nothing to do with drum corps could spark such thoughts and memories. Soon the class is viewing a movie on political cartoons. The first thing that enters my mind is the 1999 DCI World Championships as "Madison, Wisconsin" flashes across the screen. Instantly it seems that Phantom Regiment's "Tchaikovsky: Tragedy and Triumph" blasts through my head as I watch the first drum corps media I ever bought, the Legacy 1999 DVD. Looking on, I can't wait until I am on the field for my rookie season. It's so exciting to me. The idea that my parents are going to let me run off for the summer is new. The DVD makes me giddy and all the more anxious to be on tour. Yet another piece of clothing reminds me of my summer, but this time it's the baby blue of Spirit. From the corner of the third tier at the Citrus Bowl, I watch them really perform. "Tick Tock! Tick, Tock! Daa daaa, da daaaaa!" echoes in the stadium and I dub it my favorite part of their show. Soon, the guard flows through the horn and battery hourglass, signaling the end of the show that seems to be the theme of the day: Time. Slowly, I return to reality. It's fourth period now and I -- with my classmates -- discuss atoms, protons, moles and mass. My integrated physics and chemistry teacher mentions "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and I laugh to myself as "Toucha Toucha Touch Me" reverberates in the car. Jess and I wait there after the 4th of July Parade for information on rehearsal times and more. The rain and dreariness makes me want to go home and take a nap or just sit on the porch and watch it come down. At the same time, I have the urge to run some drill. I'm one of those people that don't like parades, but try to make the best of them. Odd as it may seem, I laugh hysterically hearing the shrill voices sing out for the first time and know that this will be a song I will remember when I go home. Arriving home, I check the mail which mostly consists of those college letters one gets in the when they take the SAT. Today's latest is West Point, which features an interesting picture on the front. People don uniforms that consist of the belt of SCV and the cummerbund and many other features of the Cadets, but the detail that sticks out in my mind is the chevron of Phantom Regiment. Hard wooden stands are beneath me in Albuquerque, N.M. Not too far down the bench, soprano Robert Flores looks on with the rest of us at the flashes of black and white that infiltrate our sight. The beautiful chords and wondrous visuals tug at my heart. I've been captured in the awe of their brass. They will be one corps that I look forward to for the rest of the season; from their first pitch at my home show in Midland, Texas, to the last of their finals performance. Today is a beautiful day as the light breeze blows through the trees and the evening sun sets. Thus, I decide to go for a walk for the first time in a long time. Walking down the road, I can almost hear the pitter-patter of running feet behind me. As I look up at the trees and toward the city, Wren joins me. IHOP is our destination as we get farther from the laundry mat. Nearing the IHOP sign after a mile or two of walking, we realize it's a billboard advertising an IHOP too far away for our pleasure. Instead, the 7-11 is graced by our presence as Wren and I say "hi" to the drummers. Making our way back through Adell, Ga., our laughter fills the street. Surfing the Internet, I chance upon an entry in someone's Xanga that states, "I love Mahler." I'm ready to play Primal Light, but we must wait. It has been raining and the show is delayed, but soon we stand in the on-field warm up formation under the lights at Dr. Phillips High School. We look up at the dark sky suddenly illuminated by the colors of fireworks from Universal Studios. I don't know how everyone else feels, but I secretly can't help but think that those fireworks are for us. As the extravaganza closes out, drum major Brandon Bridges prompts us to start our chorale and the battery begins their aggressive preparation. Soon we are off to present our show to the world.
Michael Boo has been involved with drum and bugle corps since 1975, when he marched his first of three seasons with the Cavaliers.

He has a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition.
He has written about the drum corps activity for over a quarter century for publications such as Drum Corps World, and presently is involved in a variety of projects for Drum Corps International, including souvenir program books, CD liner notes, DCI Update and Web articles, and other endeavors. Michael currently writes music for a variety of idioms, is a church handbell and vocal choir director, an assistant director of a community band, and a licensed Realtor in the state of Indiana. His other writing projects are for numerous publications, and he has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. His hobbies include TaeKwonDo and hiking the Indiana Dunes. But more than anything, Michael is proud to love drum corps and to be a part of the activity in some small way, chronicling various facets of each season for the enjoyment of others.