Drum Corps International
In Praise of sponsors

In Praise of sponsors

by Joe Smith

Ever since I found out about drum corps, things have seemed to look up for me. In the last three years there have been so many positive things that have happened in my life. I found a group of people that shared the same passion I did. I have found for the last two years that I have had a family of 135 brothers and sisters (as well as staff) that cared a great deal about me, and they were there for me when I needed them. I even have had the chance to see a lot of the country while on tour. Even outside of the drum corps activity my life has looked up. Since I found out about drum corps I have found myself with two new trumpets. I have been out to Indianapolis twice to watch Grand Nationals for BOA. I have even flown for the first time in my life (back in September), and since then have already flown four times. In December of 2003 I wrote an article about finding sponsorship. After the 2003 season some things happened in my family and I knew that it would be a struggle for me financially to be able to march.

That month I also went to the first preseason camp for the Colts. It was great being with old friends again and meeting new people. I was very excited for the upcoming season, where I would once again get to live in my utopia for two and a half months. That Saturday night after dinner I met someone that would end up changing my life in a lot of ways. Previously I had known this person only as another volunteer that did things behind the scenes.

After a short discussion I learned that this man wanted to be my sponsor. I was very shocked and in awe at the same time. That weekend had turned into the best weekend of my life. I would now be able to march my second year of drum corps thanks to the help of my new friend. My new friend not only helped me be able to march financially, but was there for me during the hard times of tour. He also taught me a lot about the drum corps activity that I didn't already know. He told me about himself and his experiences marching snare for a now-defunct corps out of Illinois (although he has never told me the exact years, let's just say pre-DCI). It turns out I was not the first marching member that he and his wife sponsored, I was the sixth, which made me appreciate it that much more. My friend really cares about the activity and wants to give back to it. During finals week he was there every time I walked off the field. He even took the time both nights to introduce me to staff members of other corps that he knew personally. Saturday we had no intentions of meeting up, since INVESCO would invariably be crowded, but as luck would have it we saw each other three times throughout the evening.

During finals week I learned that my sponsor wanted to continue to sponsor me as I continue my trek through the last three seasons of my drum corps marching career. Finding this out made me very excited, because I knew I had the support that I would need in the coming months. After I got home from tour I found that I had many e-mails waiting from my friend, who had already started planning for our trip in November.

Since I got home in August, my sponsor and I have developed a very close relationship. At marching band competitions in Iowa, he introduced me to almost everyone imaginable in Iowa that has been involved with drum corps and is now involved with the marching band community. In September we traveled to Ohio so that I could see a very close friend. Then in November we traveled to Indianapolis to spend the weekend watching marching bands compete at Grand Nationals. The day after Thanksgiving we boarded a plane and headed West to begin a new journey that will hopefully lead to me marching my dream corps.

I've learned so many things and I've met so many people because of my sponsor. He's been there for me during the good and bad times. I've learned a lot about the drum corps activity and about myself because of him. He's a very close friend of mine and and a friend of my family. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for him, and for that I'm grateful. He's taught me that if you're truly passionate about something, and you stay with it, someone is bound to notice. I hope that everyone who receives sponsorship, no matter how big or small, develops a great relationship with the person that is giving it. Sponsors are truly great people who are giving their time and money to put back into the drum corps activity and they deserve recognition for what they do. 2004 columns by Joe Smith: Loving the Phantom of the Opera A Picture is worth 1,000 words Dealing with tour withdrawal The Busy musical season A Hectic drum corps week Right where you left off The Other side Preparing for tour Getting away from it all: Report from a Colts' camp Strong winds, early sunset: Report from a Colts' camp Meet the visual tech New challenges in Dubuque My favorite place: Alfred, N.Y. Freezing rain, full ensemble: A report from Dubuque Discussing drum corps over the holidays

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