Drum Corps International
How drum corps changes people

How drum corps changes people

by Michael Boo

Marcia Posner has been a Crossmen mom for three years. Her son, Eric, marched in the corps for three years and is now on the corps' administrative staff. The following are some of her memories of becoming a dedicated drum corps parent. Several months ago, you asked how our lives had changed because of our relationship with Crossmen. Chuck Naffier's corps memories (Learning to Love This "Drum Corps Thing")caused you to pose the question, but after reading your interesting and thought-provoking e-mail, I just got back to my daily routine. However, recently I stopped to think about the question. Had my life changed? Had my outlook on my everyday activities changed? Had my view of my son, Eric, changed through his membership and his work with the corps -- and had he actually changed? My answer: Yes to all of the above. Starting from the last question, I remember when Eric tried out for Crossmen, I was sure he would be accepted. All mothers have confidence in their children, but do their children have confidence in themselves? Not my son. Whenever I would tell someone that Eric was a Crossmen, he would say, "Not yet. Maybe not, Mom." When he was accepted, he was exceptionally excited, as was I (but not surprised). The day I drove him to camp to leave for spring training, his confidence started waning again. "Am I making a mistake, Mom? Can I really do this? I don't even know anybody." Although he had shopped for himself, he stood at the back of our van and started taking things out of his duffle bag that he might not need. Then he put them back. Then he took out some of the items. As we walked in, older members were slapping him on the back and saying, "Good to see you, Eric." No friends? Eric made it through the summer -- and so did I -- with the help of calls from him, whenever he thought about making one. Three years later, Eric aged out and became part of the administrative staff, still touring with the corps. Had he changed? I believe so. Had I started seeing him in a different light? Absolutely. I looked at the responsibilities he held and successfully carried out during his years with Crossmen. If he could do all that, I should be able to let him drive from Amherst, Mass., to Arlington Heights, Ill., and not worry about him. Well, maybe that would be going a bit far. He did go. And I did worry. When I went to see him in Arlington Heights the Sunday, he conducted his last concert as a high school student teacher band director. I heard from faculty and families about how much responsibility he had accepted and successfully carried out while there. I immediately thought about all the experience he had gained as a member of Crossmen. There was certainly a connection. I look at Eric now as an extremely independent, responsible, more confident young man who could tackle any job and get it done. This is a young man who always knew that he could reply on me when he needed help and now is a young man on whom I can and do rely for help whenever I need it. Confidence is an important factor in getting through daily activities. There was a time that I was unsure about how helpful I could be to an organization. Although I took part in the high school's instrumental music department's activities, I didn't have confidence that I could do as much as I saw other parents doing for the program. However, I was glad to help whenever possible. During Eric's first Crossmen summer, my daughter was going through a difficult pregnancy and so I could not leave the area to become a volunteer parent (whatever that meant). However, as a family, we went to several shows and became very excited about the program. Eric took me to the kitchen truck and I was hooked. The following winter, I started working some of the camps. I learned very quickly what it meant to be a parent volunteer. I also learned that it's OK to pour a little of this and a little more of that, taste it, put it on the table, call it dinner -- and a hundred plus hungry people will eat everything, extremely appreciative of every bite. I stopped worrying about whether I made the food exactly according to directions (add the dry macaroni and cheese casserole to the soupy one and it's perfect) or whether I cut the veggies to the "correct" size. Instead, I jumped in with both feet and hands, did what I could, and listened to choruses of "Thank you!" from just about everybody in line. Who said teens and young men and women have no manners or appreciation of what is done for them? No one should. I not only heard many thank yous, but also, "I miss my mom, but I'm glad you're here," and "Even if you won't give me four meatballs, I love you anyway." The members will never understand how they boosted my confidence and belief that I was doing something important for all of them while they were carrying out their responsibilities as extremely talented musicians and dancers. Not only did the corps members give me a boost, but the other parents and staff with whom I was lucky enough to spend time and share work helped me in the same way. They threw me into jobs immediately as a member of the Crossmen family. I looked forward to seeing my new friends and, to my delight, that feeling was mutual. We worked hard together, relaxed together, laughed together, and collapsed together at the end of every busy day, realizing that we had been an integral part of the Crossmen and -- during spring training -- the Cadets as well. This feeling has spilled over into my daily activities. I can make a meal for visitors without going into a panic because I may have put too much garlic into the sauce. (Put it on the table and call it dinner -- they'll eat it.) I can learn new jobs at the library where I work part-time and not worry that I will destroy the county's library system. (It's a strong program and every team member has a learning curve.) I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Crossmen and thank everyone for the friendship extended to me. Time moves on and responsibilities change. I have not worked with the corps since August of 2002, but I think fondly of my years as a Crossmen volunteer mom, wear my apron proudly, and look forward to seeing my friends at competitions during the summer. Sincerely,
Marcia (aka Marcie) Posner
 
Michael Boo has been involved with drum and bugle corps since 1975, when he marched his first of three seasons with the Cavaliers.

He has a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition.
   
He has written about the drum corps activity for over a quarter century for publications such as Drum Corps World, and presently is involved in a variety of projects for Drum Corps International, including souvenir program books, CD liner notes, DCI Update and Web articles, and other endeavors. Michael currently writes music for a variety of idioms, is a church handbell and vocal choir director, an assistant director of a community band, and a licensed Realtor in the state of Indiana. His other writing projects are for numerous publications, and he has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. His hobbies include TaeKwonDo and hiking the Indiana Dunes. But more than anything, Michael is proud to love drum corps and to be a part of the activity in some small way, chronicling various facets of each season for the enjoyment of others.

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