By Allison Owen Saying good-bye is never easy, but it's even more difficult when you've spent every minute with the same people for almost three months. There's something crazy, yet wonderful, about spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the same people. The most amazing bond is formed. Sure, everyone gets on each other's nerves at some time, but in the end you have a special connection with these people.

Allison Owen and her seat partner and banquet date, Jonathan.
Finals week is definitely a bittersweet time for drum corps members. It represents everything that every corps has worked for all summer – it's the culmination of all the sweat and hard work that has been put into the show. Getting to perform in finals is every corps member's dream, and I won't deny that it's an amazing feeling. ^For me, our finals performance was my last chance to pour my heart and soul into the show. As we walked onto the field our staff kept saying things like, "Leave it all on the field," "This is the last time you all will be together," "This is it," and "Give it your all." So we did. We put everything we had into our last show and it felt incredible. There aren't words for the feeling I had as we gave the show of our lives. At the final chord I found myself in tears because the most amazing thing I'd ever been a part of had reached its end. That meant that the next day I would have to say good-bye to the people and activity that I loved more than anything else. I knew that in just two days I had to be back at school and in band. That night we went to Division I Finals and I got to spend some time with my closest friends. As the Top 12 corps played "America/O' Canada," it hit me that my rookie summer of drum corps was over. I had to go get on a bus and go home. The day I had been dreading all summer was here. The final bus ride was a long one -- we timed it at about 23 hours and 45 minutes. We spent the last hours together talking and remembering fun times of our summer together. We made a few stops along the way to drop people off, and each time it was harder and harder to say good-bye. Before we knew it the scenery outside the bus windows became vaguely familiar. We were back in Memphis. Tears were shed as we gathered all our belongings off of the bus and prepared to say good-bye. This was probably one of the hardest times of the summer for me, because I knew that I might never see some of these people again. Those final moments together would stay with me forever. Promises of "I'll see you in November" would keep me going when I was having a hard time adjusting to "reality."

After over three long months of waiting, it's finally here. On Friday we're having our corps banquet and on Saturday we have auditions. Words cannot express my excitement. I have been counting down the days until the banquet since August 8. Several things have threatened my chances of going -- such as my band's trip to Hollywood -- but it was simply something I could not stand to miss. It's been a long time since I've seen my friends from corps, but it will be worth the wait when I see them on Friday all dressed up. These people mean the world to me and I'm really looking forward to having a good time with them again in celebration of our summer.