There are many traditions that take place at the end of a calendar year: Many people head to Pasadena to view the Tournament of Roses Parade while others head to New York City to watch an illuminated ball drop, millions around the world head to New Years' Eve parties, Sears holds a sale on linens and I resort to another "Loose Ends" column to utilize some contributions that I can't figure out how to combine with other columns to make a full column that makes sense when it comes to the concept of continuity. Enjoy. Tony Rendleman marched Phantom Regiment in 1998 and 1999. I would like to see an article about "bus games," those games you play on the bus to pass the time on long trips; especially the ones that go on into the daytime hours of the next day. In the Phantom Regiment, we used to play "bus corps." Basically, people would take turns on the bus' PA system announcing their "corps," its show, staff, concept, etc. The corps and show were made up and usually had some pretty good humor to them. Then the "judges," whomever they were at the time, would score the corps and the next person would be up. It's just one of those things that I will take with me for the rest of my life. Well, there are many games played on the bus. I am sure we all know about "the game," as in passing the trash up to the trash bag. In order to keep your summer home clean, you have to play "the game." Just hand your trash to the person in front and say "game" and they will do the same until it gets to the "game bag." Some buses had just one bag in the front while others had a second halfway back. Then, there is the good old bus surfing. I always sat in the rear of the bus, which at times can be difficult to get to, usually at a middle-of-the-night stop or when everyone is getting dressed for a show. For the middle-of-the-nighters, you have to be good at finding the armrests (the ones that specifically have signage to not walk on them) in order to get to the front, as any available floor space is tied up as sleeping space. (As a side note, I tried one night of floor sleeping in my drum corps experience. I found it to be too loud with the road noise. That and the fact that I couldn't stop thinking about what was on -- or could be on -- the floor. Some people absolutely loved it, though.) Getting to the front while people were dressing meant you had to crawl on the seat backs under the overhead storage. Our "bus corps" went like this: We would play it periodically through the season, usually around shows that featured long travel times. It started off by appointing a panel of three to five judges. Then, participants declared that they would like to enter this "Bus Corps International" regional event. Time would be given for people to come up with their show and corps. Participants would write down their corps, show, staff, concept, songs played, describe some sort of visual effect, uniforms, etc. The object was to come up with the corps and show that was the funniest, made fun of someone on staff or in the corps, or even a little poking fun at other corps (it's hard to imagine). After a while, the self-appointed announcer would read the corps and show, along with the other elaborations on the concept. The judges would assign a score based solely on the humor merits. The winner would then be announced. What did they win? Absolutely nothing. But, it was a great way to pass the time on the bus. Another good bus tradition for us was the ritual playing of the 1974 Phantom Regiment's rendition of Shostakovich's "Festive Overture/5th Symphony," complete with lyrics to end the 5th that were developed during the 1996 season. This ritual signified the time to get into full uniform and prepare to get off the bus. A show without this ritual was definitely doomed! Donna Leal is a great friend of the Fanfare column, having contributed to numerous columns in the past, most recently the Oct. 7 and 14 Fanfares about touring with Madison Scouts and Cavaliers. It was 1976. The United States had just celebrated the Bicentennial. Jimmy Carter was running for the White House. Disco, unfortunately, ruled. And in Sevierville, Tenn., Dr. Russell Ramsey and the Sevier County High School band boosters were getting ready for their very first Drums Across America drums corps contest. Drum corps shows were late in coming to the southern United States. While drum corps contests had long been established in other areas of the country, the South was not known as a hot bed of drum corps activity. While fans from other areas of the country had a plethora of shows to attend -- some in their own back yard -- avid drum corps fans from the southern United States were forced to travel to other areas of the country to attend a show as there were no established shows in the South. That all changed due to the wisdom of Ramsey, one of the nicest high school band directors you'll ever meet, who, along with the Sevier County High School band boosters, have been hosting one of the longest running contests in the South. There is no corps from 2004's top 12 finalists who has not at one time been to Sevierville. For me, it was the first place I ever saw the Scouts, the Blue Devils and my beloved Santa Clara. It was at a show in Sevierville that gave me one of my most memorable moments in drum corps. To this day, I can still hear Spirit of Atlanta opening with "Walk Him Up the Stairs" and discovering I was hearing for the first time an arrangement by a man named Jim Ott. Sharon (Cashin) Castigliego marched Elks Trojans 1972-1974, Spartans 1975-1977, North Star 1978-1980 and Rhode Island Matadors Sr. Corps 1981-1986. This is my last opportunity to mention Spartan's 50th Anniversary, which was celebrated in 2005. My mother was a nursing supervisor at one of the local hospitals and she worked with a nurse that had twin daughters. She was very interested in what these twin girls did to occupy their time because mom also had twin daughters. These girls were several years older than my sister and I and they occupied their time marching in the Spartans. My mother thought that would be a great thing for her girls to do. Susan and I were occupied with ballet and cheerleading and weren't really interested in anything else at the time, but we thought we would please our mother by meeting with these girls and trying it out by learning what it was to "march." The "twins" taught us to march. We liked it, but didn't know if we could really "do" it. We went to the local "try-out" for the feeder corps, the Elks Trojans. Susan and I were 9 years old, about to turn 10. Even with our advanced training by our twin counterparts, we were rejected as being too young. "Come back when you are a little older," we were told by Spartans founder Bertie LaFlamme. Needless to say, Susan and I were devastated and wanted nothing to do with drum corps again. My mother talked us into it for a second time. So in the fall of 1972, my sister and I became members of the color guard for the Elks Trojans, the feeder corps for the Spartans. We marched for three years with the Trojans. My mother became the corps nurse, traveling with the corps and attending to every scrape, sore, headache and woozy kid. After the 1974 season, Susan and I moved up to the "A" corps, the Spartans. Mom moved up with us and continued to be the corps nurse. At this time though, my father and brother got involved with the corps. My father became one of the corps' quartermasters. One doesn't hear much about that term anymore. That's a go-to-guy when someone (anyone) in the corps needs something done. A few of the dads did this job, traveling with the corps as well. My brother got involved in the corps by playing triples. I think he just bumped into liking that kind of percussion. He only marched a season or two. During the latter years my sister and I marched, our whole family was involved. My sister and I marched in the color guard. My mom was the corps nurse. My father was the quartermaster. And my brother marched in the drum line. My sister and I moved on to march in a top-12 DCI corps known as North Star, from the North Shore of Massachusetts. My dad and brother stopped doing drum corps, but Mom came to as many shows as she could, right down to 1984 Worlds in Birmingham, Ala. My sister eventually ended her career with the Boston Crusaders after North Star folded and I continued my drum corps career with the R.I. Matadors senior corps for another six years. This July 2, 2005 was the Nashua, N.H., Spartans' 50th anniversary and reunion. If it wasn't for the L'Heroux girls (the older twins), Mr. LaFlamme and most importantly, my mother and family, I wouldn't have enjoyed a lifelong devotion to the genre known as drum corps. Even if I complain about the current form, there is no doubting that if it weren't for drum corps, I wouldn't be the person I am today. And I am better for the opportunity to have marched.
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.