Drum Corps International
Four Kids in Drum Corps

Four Kids in Drum Corps

by Drum Corps International

Rick and Donna Reedy live in Pottstown, PA.

Rick: My dad marched in a drum corps in Upper Darby, PA named 214, sometime in the early 1950s. Donna: My mom marched in a corps in upstate PA in the late 1940s. I don't know the name of it. Rick: I started in drum corps in 1968 when I was 13-years-old with the Holts Hornets in Clifton Heights, PA, playing tenor drum. The corps moved in 1969 and became the 507 Hornets from Norwood, PA. Donna: I started marching in 1968 when I was 8-years-old with the Media Fawns, an all-girl corps from Media, PA. I moved and joined the 507 Hornets at age 10. Rick was in the corps at the time, but we didn't meet for a few years. Rick: We didn't actually meet until we were in Crossmen in 1975. I aged out in 1976.

Rick and Donna Reedy
Donna: This was after the Hornets merged with Keystone Regiment to become Crossmen. We married in 1982 after I aged out in 1981. Our daughter Allie was born in 1983 and is now aging out of Crossmen in the guard. She marched Jersey Surf for three years and Crossmen for two. Andrea is our next daughter. She marched one year in Lehigh Valley Knights and is in her second year in Jersey Surf in the guard. Our son Ricky marched two years in Lehigh Valley Knights and is also in his second year in Jersey Surf as a baritone player. Our baby is Danielle. She's 15 and is in her first year of drum corps, marching guard with Jersey Surf. Rick: It's expensive and hectic to have four kids in drum corps at the same time. Donna: For me, it's very emotional. I cry when they're on the field. It's an overwhelming feeling, knowing what they get out of it. They're not forced into it - they all chose drum corps. They were raised doing all the "normal" things – Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, swimming, baseball, softball, hockey, and dance.
We took them to drum corps shows as spectators. When they got into high school and joined the marching band. After that, they started asking about joining drum corps. Rick: I think it was the success of the 1997 season for Crossmen, when they placed 6th at DCI World finals that heightened their awareness for the activity. After that season, interest was sparked in the corps' alumni association coming back together again. I've been the president since 1998. Donna: Mostly Allie, the oldest, started asking about drum corps. She was the first person we know of that marched drum corps from her high school. Since then, seven more have followed her. I also have a sister, Denise, who marched Crossmen. Rick: I have a brother, Dennis, and a sister, Donna Jean, who marched Crossmen. Dennis also met his wife in Crossmen. Donna: In addition to that, I have a sister, Debbie, who didn't march, but her daughter, Melody, is the color guard captain in Jersey Surf. This is her third year.
Jersey Surf is a great organization for kids who can't do the whole summer, who need to work during the summer or who can't get out of school early enough. Rick: It's great exposure for someone who wants to learn about the activity. Donna: Allie actually had a spot in Crossmen, but didn't go due to all the connections she had at Jersey Surf. She went to Crossmen the next year. Rick: It's difficult to choose what shows to go to when the two corps are performing in different shows. Donna: We usually luck out three or four times a season when the corps are performing together. When they're not, we choose whichever show is closest. Volunteering-wise, I give Crossmen a week and Surf a week. For World Championships week, we come just as parents and spectators. Rick: I spend a week with Crossmen during spring training and another week during tour. I'd like to spend more with Surf, but on weekends I do the driving to take our to kids and from weekend rehearsals for Surf, which is an hour and a half away from where we live. Donna: It doesn't get confusing, but sometimes I don't know where my loyalties are–whose shirt I should wear. This year, we leaned more to Crossmen because Allie is ageing out. We're lucky because both corps operate within two hours of our house. Rick: We make a joke about being in corps is kind of like being in college, expense-wise. Donna: We've been fortunate, both having been in Crossmen, that our alumni friends have been gracious and have helped Allie with her Crossmen tuition. In fact, one of our alumni friends partially-sponsored our other three kids in Surf. Rick: We don't look at it as a sacrifice. We don't have the latest and greatest of things, but watching our kids experience this is worth the sacrifice. Donna: We don't drive new cars. This is our vacation. We've never been on a cruise. Rick: Because I was in drum corps and understand it, it was easier to choose to support our kids in drum corps. If there is any sacrifice, it's that we don't devote enough time during the weekends to getting anything done at home. Donna: I never think of the time as a sacrifice, but I can't explain it. It brings me so much joy to see them out there. I know how hard they're working, but I also know the long-term benefits. Rick: Those benefits include friendships... Donna: ...and self-esteem, work ethic, and personally I think they learn a lot about themselves when they do something like that. My son, who has room to grow as a performer, now wants to be a music major in college. There's also a sense of belonging. Rick: A sense of belonging is what I most got out of drum corps. Some of my closest friends are friends I made 30 years ago. Donna: Friendships are huge. I think the feeling you get as a performer is something a lot of people never feel. They go through life not feeling the elation of performing. For me, it makes me wonder what else there is out there to experience. It makes me want to try other things–be more open-minded. Rick: Definitely be flexible. If anything, I learned that from corps. There is constant change going on in corps to better your program. You also learn to trust people in a position of authority. Donna: I'm just happy to be here in this position, celebrating my kids. Rick: I've gotten a better appreciation of my kids appreciating me. I saw that this week when we got into Denver and went to visit Surf. The kids came up and were more willing to talk to us. We hadn't seen them in weeks and they actually talked about the things that had been going on the past two weeks. They appreciate the efforts that we make so they can do this activity. Donna: There were lots of hugs and "I love you." When we're at home as family, they're typical teenagers who spend all their time in their room or with friends, with little time for their parents. But yesterday, they couldn't wait to see us. They spent their dinner break with us instead of their friends. Rick: And they didn't ask for money.

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