Drum Corps International
Game bags and Gatorade bottles: The Joys of bus cleaning

Game bags and Gatorade bottles: The Joys of bus cleaning

by Drum Corps International

This week, we've been paying some editorial attention to drum corps duties -- bus loading, field lining and the like. By Julia Burton

I had a multitude of different jobs in my five years in drum corps, but by far my favorite was bus cleaning. The bus cleaner's duties are as follows: Sweep everybody's trash out of the aisles and out from under the seats and down the stairs into a garbage bag (or three); mop the area that's been swept; and remove the "game bags" (little plastic shopping bags for trash) from each of the seats. In the Phantom Regiment, we did a thorough cleaning of the bus once every two weeks or so, did occasional sweepings between cleanings, and replaced the game bags whenever they got full. You might think that the drum corps bus cleaner leads a charmed life, because their job doesn't happen every single day, but the reality is far from it. There is never any GOOD time to clean a bus, because people are in and out of it all the time retrieving things; consequently, we had to clean the buses at night so that others wouldn't be in our way while we were mopping. Sometimes we wouldn't get to bed until an hour or more after lights out, after three hours of work and no snack, feeling all icky from sweeping dust and splashing dirty mop water all over the place! My friend and fellow mellophone Liz Wielenberg and I were paired up to clean the horn bus in 2002 and 2003. Instead of seeing at as a chore, we turned it into a party. We would throw a CD into the CD player on the bus and have a dance party as we swept all the Pringles cans and loose change and Gatorade bottles and forgotten socks down the aisle and out of the bus. But by far the strangest, funniest, most memorable bus cleaning that we did happened this past summer. The lights on the horn bus quit working in early July and never got fixed -- this made it even HARDER to find a time to clean the bus! Finally, in Denver, we got tired of just surface sweeping and asked everyone who had a flashlight to lend it to us for the evening. We then taped the several dozen flashlights to the overhead bins so that we could finally see what we were doing and cleaned that bus to within an inch of its life!

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