By Matthew Smith
Seattle Cascades

Matt Smith
With all of the phone calls, e-mails and messages I have received this week from students who will be auditioning for a corps, I thought it would be ideal for me to write about the journey and adventures that many rookies and veterans of corps have and will experience in these next few weeks.

Thanksgiving weekend, as we all know by now, marks one of the biggest weekends for drum corps auditions. Students will be flying in from all over the world to various drum corps. For many, this will be their first experience "on their own," even though it will be only for a weekend.

For current members of a corps, or those who have marched in the past, this may not seem all so new to you. But from my perspective, every season is a new beginning, and every new beginning is a new journey and adventure. People come and go from corps. Each corps is different every year, with a slightly different combination of new members. Even events such as camps are new beginnings. Prospective members are finally getting to sample what the corps is like, and they are making tough decisions which may or may not affect them for the rest of their lives. Some of these new members find that the corps that they are auditioning for just isn't for them, and make their plans on going elsewhere. Others who know this is exactly what they want continue to keep vying for a spot.

It's important to get the most out of your experiences, even if it is just at one or two camps. I'm personally looking forward to my trip to Illinois over Thanksgiving weekend for the Phantom Regiment audition. While the audition process may differ for each corps, I am certainly not as nervous and frightened as I was last year when I auditioned for the Seattle Cascades. For all those auditioning for the first time, just go and have a good time, and always strive for excellence.

One of the hardest things for me about these auditions held in another state is the anticipation of getting there. I'm extremely excited about every possible thing there is to be excited about for an audition camp. Yes, I know many of you are asking, "Who on earth would be excited about that?" But all of us past members and those anxious rookies have been craving this moment since August of last year. Even if it is just one weekend, it's just enough to let us taste a little bit of the full "course" meal that will come along.

For those of us who will be age-outs in 2004, it is probably most stressful. It's the last adventure you will have as a youth in this activity. For those of us who are age-outs planning on auditioning at a new corps, it's stressful because it's your last shot at marching. We risk much more by becoming a "rookie" all over again.

I hope all perspective members and vets have a great time at your respective auditions. I'm excited that this is finally coming around again -- it's been a hard journey since the summer ended for most of us. And I look forward to hearing where you all decided to lay your hat and call home for this season. Let the journey begin! Last installment of Accelerando E-mail me at majesm@msn.comor instant message me on line (AIM screen name: bandgeekmatt).