Linda Purgas has submitted a most captivating series of remembrances of a trip she took to England in 1977 with the Alberta Girls, a corps that participated in Drum Corps International competition in 1975. Although the ensemble only competed in 1975, they still spread the word of drum corps by using only drums and G bugles, were prominently featured on the cover of the D.E.G. bugles catalog, and were taught by instructors including Santa Clara Vanguard's Fred Sanford. Intermittently over the next few weeks, the Fanfare column will feature a handful of letters Linda wrote to her mother, along with the photos she took on the trip. Linda wrote her mother every day and this compilation of memories may sound familiar to anyone who's been on a drum corps tour. I've personally never seen such a comprehensive collection of letters from tour. If anyone else has kept letters (or perhaps more current for today, a blog) of their travels with drum corps and would like to offer it for a possible Fanfare down the road (so to speak), please send it to me at ~Michael Boo July 8, 1977
England, Europe Hi Mom, How are you? I want to send you birthday greetings in a letter since we hadn't had time to shop for gifts, cards, etc. I'm waiting to get to London to get you something special, Mom, so have a very happy birthday and expect a belated gift. The weather has been beautiful here, but I heard Edmonton had a terrible hail storm an hour after we were in flight. There was a convoy to the Edmonton airport five miles long. Don't mind my letter. I get interrupted a lot because I'm writing at breakfast. Last night I had two pints of what is called Carlsberg Special Larger. Mom, the beer in England is a lot stronger. I celebrated my 22nd birthday.

Rehearsals at Bramley Hall in Enfield, England.
We got back from practicing at a beautiful park today. The English countryside is very picturesque. The park was named Forty Hall in which there was a museum outlining the history of Enfield, the small town outside of London at which we are staying. We performed in Ipswich and Great Yarmouth, a seaside resort on the English Channel. Customs and manners of speech are different here but generally the British are very polite and outspoken. The girls have made friends with some of the children in the neighbourhood. We're going to London tomorrow but to just sightsee. Nothing much has happened so far because all we've done is practice. We want the show to be fully prepared so the girls could have more free time later. Some of the girls gave me a birthday card, cake and a dog tag saying, "My Name is Perky". Now my nickname is Perky Purgas. Happy birthday Mom and if you wish, feel free to write. I can get letters all summer because we're returning to England in the beginning of September. Say hi to everyone and give them my love. Take care, Mom. Love, Linda. July 15, 1977
England, Europe Hi Mom, How are you? How's everybody? I hope you had a good birthday and that you had nice weather. Thanks for your letter. It pleased me so much to read it and having someone write. One of the girls got 27 letters and some didn't get any so far. I've sent 24 to date to old drum corps friends, etc. We've been very busy. Started by doing a stock car show at Ispwich, then a parade and later in the evening another stock car race. We practiced for 3 days before these shows. Then to Wimbleton Stadium for another performance at a stock car race. The British really enjoy the sport. Then a tour of London, Westminster Abbey, downtown, Buckingham Palace. Pam and I found a nice Italian restaurant behind Picadilly Circus. I especially liked the Tower of London. It's so old. I bought a sundress and blue jeans because Italy, Germany and Holland are supposed to be expensive. We went to Oxford Street and Carnaby Street to shop.

Performances in England and Monte Carlo.
Eastborne was another place we performed. It's a seaside resort. Then to Arlington Speedworth stock car race to perform. The last 2 days we were at Kent Fair or as the British call it, Fete, outside Maidstone. It was neat, old steam engines, jumping horses, well groomed, sophisticated lords walking about in their bowler hats. The countryside in East Sussex is beautiful, rolling green with red poppies dotted everywhere. We watched TV later. There was a Neil Diamond special on the telly and it's so nice how everyone is sitting together, like one big family. The girls have performed so well. Some of the girls really miss their boyfriends and families. They go through a lot. Gosh, I realize how much I miss you all. I can't be with you in body but believe me my spirits are with you always. Guess what. Pat Nagel and I were interviewed by BBC radio. Next we play at an arcade in London and then to an agricultural fair. Say hi to everyone. Take care, Mom. I'll get souvenirs for you in Italy. Love, Linda

Editorial assistance by Michael Boo. Fanfare archives