Drum Corps International
Life as a tour director, with Deb Rogerson of the Crossmen

Life as a tour director, with Deb Rogerson of the Crossmen

by Dave Wilson

We hear from a ton of young people that want to make a career out of this drum corps thing. Besides being a corps director, there are several avenues for building a career in the activity. Being a drum corps tour director is just one of the opportunities available to people wishing to form a drum corps career.

Deb Rogerson
As tour director for the Crossmen, Deb Rogerson has a myriad of things to think about. ^"My responsibilities on tour are to make sure the members get down the road safely, eat well, have the best facilities, have great rehearsal sites, get where we need to be on time, and that everyone is healthy each day. I could list a million things that come up on any given day. It's a lot of responsibility," Rogerson said. The responsibility begins for Rogerson as soon as she wakes up, and continues until she goes to bed. She outlined a "typical" day for a tour director. "I wake up before the corps, drink as many cups of coffee as I can, make sure breakfast is in the works, get the daily schedule up and be available during breakfast (someone always needs something)," Rogerson said. "Then I check on the next day's schedule, make a few calls, check on the food truck, check in with the transportation manager, maybe take someone to the hospital, or make a food run to the grocery store, sometimes try to talk someone into letting us use the stadium, meet with staff to get next day's schedule, make sure all meals are prepared on time," Rogerson said. "By now, I've just realized that I am still in the clothes I had on the day before and have walking and driving around some strange town loooking like I just rolled out of bed! (I then) watch rehearsal for a bit, get a shower, get the school cleaned up and everything loaded up to leave ON TIME, report in at the show, make sure the food truck is set to serve after show, set gate time for all sections, get corps to gate, watch the show, walk corps off the field and give them the schedule for leaving, get everything and everyone loaded to leave ON TIME, and head to the next place. And there's always a phone connected to my ear! Like I said before, a million other unexpected things pop up each day. It's never boring!" Rogerson said. During the winter, Rogerson has fewer responsibilities. "I do attend each camp and do what I can to ensure camps run well. It gives me the chance to get to know all the members before we hit the road," Rogerson said. A Life in drum corps Rogerson has drum corps in her blood, which uniquely suits her for her current role. "I started marching in drum corps when I was 9 in small local drum corps. I was a charter member of Crossmen (marched there six years) then marched with Blue Devils. I've taught after aging out, judged marching bands for many years, and always been involved in one way or another. My brother marched in drum corps! (Hey Scott!), my parents met in drum corps, so it's been in my family forever!" Rogerson said. Rogerson's passion for drum corps can be explained simply. "I absolutely love the activity, the kids, and all my friends that I've marched with or met along the way," Rogerson said.

Professionally, Deb Rogerson spent 15 years in human resources, which uniquely prepared her for her current role. "Working in human resources exposed me to all the employees wherever I worked, so I get to know people quickly and like being around lots of people. I was also fortunate enough to be an employee at YEA!, therefore I was exposed to working with drum corps and the administrative aspects for a few years," Rogerson said. Finally, Rogerson said that her longtime drum corps background prepared her to be tour director. "I'd have to say that what prepared me most was just being around the activity for so long and having to opportunities to work with great people at YEA!" Currently, Rogerson is pursuing a degree in the off-season. "Right now I am attending Moore College of Art for technical design. I am hoping to get a "day job" doing something I truly love. It's the only way to go!" Rogerson said. For those interested in working with a drum corps as a career, Rogerson advises to start as a volunteer. "Start out doing something else on tour (i.e., volunteering for food truck, selling souvies, driving a vehicle). That can help you to see what it's like on tour and all that actually goes on from behind the scenes. Just don't be fooled in thinking it's some sort of glamour job, because it is not! There is lots of work and much responsibility, but for me, it's been one of the most rewarding things I've done!" Rogerson said. Despite her multiple responsibilities, Rogerson still gets a kick out of one simple part of the day. Her favorite moment is "Watching the corps on the field at the show."
   
But Rogerson also enjoys interacting with corps members. "Being around the members, watching them, listening to them, talking to them reminds me of when I marched. Also, the older I get, the more I appreciate the growth and development of young people and how the smallest of things can have such a great impact on an individual. It's a great responsibility and I aspire to be part of it," Rogerson said. Despite the fact that she is "dying for a nap," Rogerson praised her coworkers. "We have the greatest team at Crossmen, which enables things move along so smoothly! It's definitely a 24/7 job, but I look at it as more of a lifestyle and I love it," Rogerson said.

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