Generally on a Friday night if I'm not in Santa Clara, I'm either spending time with my sponsor in Iowa City or sitting at home trying to find something to do, and this last Friday I just happened to be sitting at home.

Currently I'm living in Ankeny, Iowa, which is about a 20-minute drive away from Iowa State University. I've marched with a few people from ISU as well as know a few people who march other corps. In December of 2002 I met Rachael Waggoner when I attended a Blue Stars camp. Rachael and I had always talked about needing to hang out, and so on Friday night after reading her Xanga (online journal) I decided that I needed to get a hold of her since that night would be the perfect time for us to spend time together. After some discussion we decided to meet up and go to a social gathering that the percussion section was having.

Joe Smith
After a short drive I met up with Rachael and met a few of her friends, including her friend Kristin, who is in the flag line at ISU. We then headed over to the get-together, where I saw a lot of familiar faces. During my time at the Colts I had always heard stories about a baritone player named Omar, and the story I remember involves Omar colliding with another member's horn. Well on Friday night I finally had the chance to meet Omar, and it took me a few minutes to realize who he was. I also got to catch up with Alex Larson, who is marching soprano for the Blue Stars this summer, and we had the chance to talk about a lot of drum corps. Then randomly before I left I saw Scott Szurek, who marched second bass at the Colts in 2003 with me, and it was really nice to catch up with him, since I haven't seen him since tour this year (when he was on staff). After the party I had the chance to prepare for this upcoming weekend by sleeping on an air mattress. Saturday, after trying to wake up for awhile and watching Napoleon Dynamite with Rachael, I received a very random phone call from Greg "Dos" Asplund saying that he was in the area. Dos was a baritone player for the Colts who marched from 2002-2004 and always knew how to make people laugh. I was extremely excited to be able to see him. So Rachael and I headed off to HuHot, a local Asian restaurant that seems to be a hot spot. After a great dinner and a wonderful time with Dos, Rachael and I headed off back to Ames, but we happened to get distracted with the thought of watching some drum corps at my house.

Since Ankeny is almost halfway between HuHot and Ames, it was the perfect stop off point. While at my house we had the chance to watch quite a bit of "old school" drum corps, and Rachael had a chance to watch 1977 Blue Stars once again, as well as see many shows she had not had a chance to watch before. After almost three hours of watching drum corps we headed back to Ames. Once back in Ames, Rachael and I spent several hours exchanging stories and random pictures from tour that we had. Then we decided to watch part of her drum corps collection. From midnight until about 4 a.m., we watched drum corps, it was my chance to really expose myself to the Division II & III activity and to see the wonderful things happening there. The time just seemed to fly by, and before we knew it we were both exhausted. So I went and once again crashed on the air mattress. Sunday I knew that I had to go home at some point, even though I really didn't want to. In the morning I had breakfast with Rachael, Kristin and Rachael's roommate, Cilia. There were so many choices of cereal that I felt like I was on tour all over again, what a great feeling. After breakfast Rachael and I headed over to Kristin's room to watch "The Notebook," which turned out to be a pretty good movie, even though I wasn't paying attention since I was trying to fix someone's laptop. After that I finally had to head back to Ankeny where I finished my tape assignment for camp. Now I must head off to pack, since this Friday I will be in Santa Clara starting another amazing camp weekend. It will end Sunday night with a performance by the Santa Clara Vanguard and Vanguard Cadets brass sections at the Santa Clara Vanguard birthday dinner. So if you're in the Northern California area and have the time, I suggest checking it out, information can be found at