Coming up on the most lovely day of the year, Valentine's Day, I wanted to write a column which conveniently ties in with last week's Fanfare column, "Number crunching." After all, Feb. 14 is day 45 of the Gregorian calendar year. Its also the anniversary of when Oregon was admitted as the 33rd state in 1859, and we know that 45-33=12, a number so important to drum corps who wish to be in the DCI World Championship Finals. February 14 is also the anniversary of when Arizona was admitted as the 48th state in 1912, and 48+33=81, the square of 9, which in 1995 was Colts' highest placement, further tying in with last week's column. However, most fascinating for me is that 48x33=1584, the exact number of times (by my count) that my editor has asked me to stay on track with this column. So back to Valentine's Day. I wanted to explore a love theme, particularly how I fell in love with drum corps. And I also wanted to share with you the 10 things I love most about the drum corps experience. I fell in love with drum corps all the way back in the fall of 1974, when David Allie, who became my closest friend in college, pretty much kidnapped me from a music practice room at my VanderCook College of Music in Chicago to take me to a weeknight rehearsal for the Cavaliers. Back in the days of localized drum corps, rehearsals were still often held on weeknights. I had zero interest in giving up my summers to march in a corps and I vigorously protested his relentless demands that I join him to observe one rehearsal. He finally won the battle when he told me to regard it as an educational experience that would enlighten me. Go figure that he was right. My love affair with drum corps began in earnest that night. To my shock, I requested membership info and then I joined that very night, figuring I had a couple of days to tell my parents why I was planning on giving up my summer job to run away and join the "circus." My mom had difficulty grasping why I would want to do such a thing. Joining something like what I attempted to describe just didn't fit my character. A few months later, there was an indoor concert of many of the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin drum corps, a preview of the season to come. Mom showed up with my grandmother and an aunt, each extremely curious about this weird thing called drum corps. That night, the pay phone rang in the hall of my dorm and someone came to my door to tell me my Mom was on the phone. When I got to the phone, the first words out of my Mom's mouth were, "Now I understand." And with that, she too fell in love with drum corps. I found out from friends of the family that after seeing his first corps show the following summer, Dad was telling everyone he knew about how proud he was of me being in the corps, and I realized drum corps became a family love affair that served to bring us closer together, despite separating us physically during the summer. And in no particular order, 10 things I love most about drum corps: • The people I've met during my years in the activity all come from different backgrounds, and yet the love of drum corps gives us all an instant connection that binds us together. • No matter where I go, if I run into a drum corps fan, I know I won't be bored that day for lack of a good chat. • Going to Allentown and experiencing drum corps' most enduring shrine. And I can't forget the snow cones at the concession stands. I always try one of the dozens of flavors I don't remember having, and later enjoy my comfort food annual request for the root beer flavor. • Bill Cook, the founder of Star of Indiana. He's a delightfully wacky person who accomplishes more in one day than I do in a year, which reminds me that drum corps speaks to everyone willing to give it a listen. • The anticipation of going to a show and witnessing how much the corps have improved since I last saw them. • DCI Hall of Fame member Dennis DeLucia, who embraced me and wouldn't let me go during a DCI meeting a few years ago until I realized I wasn't alone when I was down over the health condition of both my parents. • Getting emotionally involved with a drum corps performance and realizing afterward that for those few minutes, I had no other thoughts in my head other than enjoying the show. • All of my friends behind the scenes at the DCI office. They know how to get the best out of me and make it fun to write about drum corps. • Appreciating the dedication and hard work of all drum corps members, who do what they do because they love drum corps, so that the rest of us can continue to love it. • Knowing that whatever I try to give to drum corps, it will never surpass the level of joy I get from the activity. Happy Valentine's Day!
2004 Carolina Crown