Drum Corps International
Let's hear it for moms!

Let's hear it for moms!

by Drum Corps International

Robert Michaelson shared a story about Mom Smith of the Velvet Knights for a Fanfare column from January 31, 2003, "Marchers' Golden Memories." A while back, I told you about what "Mom" Smith did for me during the 1982 season. Another thing about "Mom" is that we always knew she cared, because each and every night as we went on the field for competition, she would yell, "GO GET 'EM, KIDS!" Hearing that was nice, as it made us feel that no matter where we were, we always had family with us. She is a very special person and I am sure there are many other corps that have someone that supported them in the same way. That is why drum corps is such a big family. Brandon Beck wishes to march with the Crossmen. This story is the reason for so many changes in my life. It is my way of saying "thank you" to my "drum corps mom," Lorrie Staples, mother of my friend, Allie Staples, a new member of Spirit. I was introduced to drum corps by my "drum corps mom" in the summer of 2003. She took me to a local show and I really had no idea what to expect. I had heard random facts about drum corps because most all of my instructors at my high school (Collins Hill High in Suwanee, Ga.) marched in drum corps. Our drum instructor, Hunter McRae, marched with the Santa Clara Vanguard, one of our band directors marched in the Cavaliers, our visual instructor, Ryan Bybee, marched in Carolina Crown, and our other drum instructor, John Cypert, marched with the Spirit of Atlanta. As I arrived at that show, I thought, "Man, there isn't anyone here!" Well, we were five hours early. We thought traffic would be an issue ... we were wrong. I was pleased, however, that the corps started to show up not to long after we did. I got to meet some nice people and I was informed more about this activity that they love SO much! I was anxious to see what was so great about this drum corps, so I went with the Crossmen drum line and listened to them warm up. They later became one of my favorite corps. It got time for the show to start and I went with my "drum corps mom" to our seats, along with her husband, George, and her two daughters, Allie and Courtney. The show started and I was in shock. I was impressed even with the "little" Division II and III corps. Then, after watching Spirit, Carolina Crown, and Bluecoats, the Crossmen took the field. I was in AWE! During the entire performance I was simply in shock. I could feel the energy pouring out of their bodies. I would like to thank my "drum corps mom" and tell her that she has changed my life in such a way. Now, after seeing this wonderful activity, I would like to become a high school band director and be an instructor for a drum corps. Marilyn Tye contributed the amusing "Please Lord, let the weather be good on Sunday" Fanfare column from September 12, 2003, about the joys and tribulations of running a DCI show. She provides some additional motherly pride in her family below. We were introduced to the activity in 1983 when our sons' band director took a group by school bus to Centerville, Ohio, to see a show. Steve was in high school, Andy in middle and Matt in elementary. We saw Madison, Phantom, Cavies and Spirit, among others. The guys went nuts and wanted to do corps right then. In the fall of 1984, Bill Cook started Star of Indiana. Living only 100 miles from Bloomington at the time, our oldest son was old enough to attend the first camp, so off we went. Steve made the corps on contrabass and the whole family got involved. Steve only marched the one year, graduated from high school, went to Indiana University for a while and then joined the Marine Corps, hoping for a spot in one of the field bands. He passed his audition and went to boot camp. One of the first letters he was allowed to send home stated that the lessons on discipline he learned in corps helped him get through boot camp. Andy marched Star in 1986, 1989 and aged out in 1990 playing euphonium. He's our drum corps nut. He arranges music and drill for high school marching bands, is on the brass staff of Minnesota Brass and is on the steering committee as corps liaison with our local competition, Drums Along the Red Cedar. Matt marched Star playing contrabass in 1988, 1990, 1991 and aged out in 1992. He's now a minister of music. My husband, Dan, and I are the chairs of the steering committee for Drums Along the Red Cedar in Menomonie, Wis.) last June. We also are drum corps nuts and go to as many shows in the area as we can. Having the guys all in Star was a great and very positive experience for the entire family. Dan and I volunteered as much as we could, although it was mostly at camp weekends. I helped write the first newsletters and yearbooks. We would tell any parent whose young people would like to march in drum corps to tell them "Godspeed and to go for it." The discipline, the camaraderie, and the life-long friends the boys have made will stay with all of us. Andrea Birbilis presently works with the Racine Scouts. The last time that the DCI World Championships were in Buffalo, N.Y., I had the pleasure of singing the national anthems of Japan, Taiwan, Sweden, Canada and the United States. I was also able to have my mother visit on Individual and Ensemble day and then she accompanied me to the evening Opening Ceremonies and Division II & III contest at Rich Stadium. In all of the years that I have participated in this activity, I never really understood how much it meant to me until that particular evening. My mom sacrificed a lot in order for me to be in drum corps. She drove me to rehearsals while I was still in middle and high school, and when I went off to college and STILL stuck with drum corps instead of working during the summer, we "agreed to disagree" about the importance of this activity in my life. When I left school and moved a thousand miles from home to become the director of Northern Aurora, I think mother realized that she had lost of the battle AND the war. When I stood on the 50-yard line that warm evening in August and sang, I looked down by the announcer's table and saw my mother smiling at me, with tears running down her cheeks. I am never a good judge of how I sound in a large stadium and I thought perhaps this wasn't one of my better efforts. When I finished, I joined her in the second row of the stands to listen to maestro Frederick Fennell direct the mass brass performance of "O Canada/America the Beautiful." The sound was deafening. My mother turned to me and told me that she finally understood why I was so drawn to this activity. It was my turn to cry when she said how proud she was of my accomplishments; both on and off the field, and that she credited drum corps for helping me to become a good musician and a responsible adult. Since that special evening, I call her at least once during DCI World Championship week, seated as close as I can get to the field, and we both listen to the power of the music of the night. It reminds of how lucky I am. Fanfare archives 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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