Drum Corps International
From loader to liner

From loader to liner

by Drum Corps International

This week, we'll be paying some editorial attention to drum corps duties -- bus loading, field lining and the like. By Tommy Kupferer, Jr. I marched in the Phantom Regiment from 1998 until 2001. In those four years I had a variety of jobs. The first two years I was a horn loader. Now this could be thought of as a fairly easy job or not. There were two crews the -- loaders and the unloaders (the jobs are now combined in the present corps). As a loader we were required to be at the truck about 20 minutes before the buses left for the show and then again at night before pulling out of the show sight. It was difficult because before the show, you were I always trying to keep in a certain state of mind for the performance after the afternoon run-through. You know the routine -- polishing your shoes and horn, eating, showering and relaxing -- and then the loaders head back out to the truck to load the horns and get nasty all over again. Well, at least it's drum corps and you're used to being sweaty all the time. Overall loading was cool. It provided some extra muscle workouts -- no complaints there!

There wasn't anything exciting to report about the jobs from my third year.

My fourth year, however, was another story. I was 21 and aging out, and thought that it was going to be the perfect summer. I envisioned perfecting the show, both within my section and with the whole corps, and then breezing through with an easy corps chore. But that was not to be. I remember like it was yesterday: Standing in the rainy Rockford for everydays, freezing and burning up at the same time. Then it came time for job assignments. We were standing in a parade block and our visual head for camp decided that it was time to pick the crew -- for field lining. And of course in this crew he picked about four or five age-outs, including me. Needless to say there were some unhappy people that day on the field -- but hey, that's life. It was actually pretty funny though. I did have a good time and it wasn't as bad after all. Yeah, we complained, but it's one of those things that you laugh about three years later. One thing that I will always remember from field lining was a certain rookie who reminded me of my youngest brother, but in a good way. My brother was 13 and this kid was about 14 or 15, but he would come up with the most random stories at 6:30 a.m. and it would really crack me up -- who thinks about the San Diego Zoo when we're standing in the middle of Texas painting a field at 6:30 a.m.? He made me laugh all summer long. After gallons and gallons and gallons of spray paint and rope burns, wet shoes from the dewy grass, outlandishly goofy conversations and actions by all the crew members it was all good and I don't think my age-out year would've been the same without it.

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