It's been way too long since I've run a Fanfare "Drum corps as a love connection story," so here's three of them. Jami Mills is a community forum support team member for Drum Corps Planet, a member of the Reading Buccaneers pit this year and a former member of the Empire Statesmen pit, the Capital Regiment pit and the Westshoremen Alumni cymbal line. Here's her story. Drum corps is a funny thing. It's almost cult-like in such a way that when a little Web site called Drum Corps Planet was created back in 2002, I didn't realize how addicting it could be. Posting on forums never really used to be my thing to do while I got online, until I started posting on the DCP forum maybe 10 months after I joined. Initially I met all these new people that had the same thing in common with me -- we all had marched or loved this activity. About 1 1/2 years later, I met this guy who had just aged out of Spirit while conversing in one of these random threads. His name is Dave Greybill, and he was a euphonium player. While we talked more and more, we realized we had a lot of things in common, including a mutual love of anything sports-related. As we talked occasionally, then more often, then eventually daily, we grew closer and began opening up more to each other. The Internet conversation extended to telephone right about the time I was ending another relationship. He was a big support system through that time, as it took a large toll on me emotionally and mentally. I realized soon after this that I was beginning to fall for him. The funny thing is, it was about the same time that he told me the same thing. I wondered how in the world I could feel this for a person I had never met physically? Well, I soon found out. We finally met the day after Christmas when he drove up to my house in Pennsylvania to spend the weekend. From the instant I laid eyes on him, I was hooked. We spent the next day together in New York City with friends of ours -- fellow DCP members. We are returning to New York City this year to do the same thing, and the night before, we celebrate our one-year anniversary. The distance isn't easy, as he resides in North Carolina and I in Pennsylvania, but we make it work, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. Drum corps is a funny thing. I've met some of my best friends in this activity, and now because of it, I've met the man I hope to someday marry. I know my friend Krista Miller wants to contribute her story as well. And so, we now hear from Krista. Tristan Moody and I first started talking in the fall of 2002. Tristan had been a member of DCP since that March, and I was just discovering the drum corps activity. He had just finished his rookie year with Southwind, and I was preparing to audition at Glassmen. While researching the activity, I stumbled upon Drum Corps Planet's chat room, where he regularly spent time chatting with corps members, fans and alumni from all over the country. We became part of a group of seven or eight who regularly chatted there, becoming a relatively tight-knit group of friends. Chat room conversation soon became Instant Messenger conversation, and it wasn't long before we would hold daily, sometimes lengthy, IM conversations. Sometime in the spring of 2003, IM conversations gave way to nighttime phone conversations. Conversations became deeper and more personal, and the two of us knew something was starting to brew between us. Unfortunately, he lived in Kansas and I in Virginia. We knew that our only chance to meet face-to-face would be on tour that summer. So much hope had been built up for the All-Star Review, the Glassmen's home show, that was to be the first show we would have together. After his performance, he went to watch the Glassmen do their encore performance, which, like any home show encore would, ran a little long. As soon as the corps finished playing "Madre," the corps song, he left for the buses so he could finish loading the truck so the corps could leave. As soon as I finished changing and putting my uniform away, I sprinted across the University of Toledo campus only to find the Southwind drum major closing up the buses for the corps to leave. I asked the drum major to forward a message to Tristan, and started to walk back to my corps. Suddenly I heard her cell phone ring. "Come to the third window on the door side of Bus 150," I heard Tristan say. I did, and we finally had our first face-to-face meeting, albeit through a sheet of plate glass, talking through cell phones, as the bus began to pull out of the parking lot. As the season wore on, we had numerous and lengthy late-night phone conversations, punctuated by static and repeated calls of, "Are you there?" That is to be expected on a bus traveling in and out of cell service in the middle of nowhere. We had several more shows together, and our relationship blossomed. We decided as the season ended that we wanted to march together the next season. It was originally planned that each of us would go to the audition camp of the other's corps before a decision was made, but as finances became tighter and the prospect of buying that many more plane tickets became less appealing, it was decided that we would start with the first Glassmen camp and make our decision from there. Tristan ended up falling in love with the corps, where he earned a spot in the front ensemble, and we never purchased a flight to Lexington. We spent the 2004 season together, as seat partners, of course, where we could talk to each other all we wanted without racking up $350 in charges on our phone bills. After the season ended, we got off the bus outside Lawrence, Kan., where we planned to regroup for a couple weeks before I would catch a flight home and begin my next semester at Virginia Tech. They say things happen for a reason, and as it turned out, I decided to stay in Lawrence and withdrew from my classes in Blacksburg. I have since applied for transfer admission to the University of Kansas, where Tristan is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering. We are looking forward to a happy future together, thanks to a chance meeting through DCP. Steve Damon is a music teacher for the Holyoke, Mass., Schools. He's titled his contribution, "Nuptial Partials -- Making It Our Song." My wife, Joyana, and I were engaged on the chilly Maine coast, on a drizzly October 2001 morning. A frenzy of wedding planning erupted in my fianc?©e. We decided the nuptials would happen in July of 2002. My wife (like uncontrollable lava) opened catalogs, smelled flowers, contemplated the construction of her dress, booked caterers, searched for the perfect, unforgettable music, etc. I'm a guy. My frenzy waited until the middle of March. Both of us being music teachers, this wedding had to have musical happenings that nobody would forget. For the ceremony, we decided to have trumpet/organ duets for the processional and recessional. Joyana's college trumpet professor would supply the brass, while the church organist would supply his heavenly pipes. The recessional would be Handel's "La Rejoissance." We had no idea what the duet would play for the processional. We would brainstorm something cool. We would have the congregation sing two hymns, "Let There Be Peace On Earth" and "All God's Critters." Joyana's grandpa would croon "Always," while her mom and stepfather would sing "Hand in Hand." For the reception, we quickly decided that we would have a caller for a contra dance and a DJ who would be instructed to play as much swing music as possible. So far, the wedding music seemed pretty normal. Still, what about the processional? As the jazz ensemble manager for the 2002 Massachusetts All-State concert, I had endured months of planning to make for a successful March performance. After my ensemble had played, I got to listen to the rest of the concert, sitting hand-in-hand with my fianc?©e. The concert band played a powerful arrangement of Holst's "Jupiter" -- you know, Cavaliers' championship 1995. Tears slowly formed in both my eyes. I had found my lovely bride's processional! After the concert, I explained to her my plans, to arrange "Jupiter" as a trumpet/organ duet for her big promenade. Finally, I started in with the frenzy Joyana had bubbled for months. I ordered a score for "The Planets" from a local music store. I got the staff paper and many erasers ready. I listened and listened. I watched Cavaliers 1995 so many times I could picture every step to every note of that very complex show. I reviewed my notes and homework from my Shenkarian analysis class in grad school so that I could find that most important note and most pivotal cadence of the whole piece. Time to arrange. We had agreed at the very beginning of the frenzy that we would make this a musical wedding that no one would forget. So far, the music was coming out quite normal. This must change! How would I signature my arrangement so that all my love would spring from a trumpet, while maintaining my off-centered "Damonic" style? After many, many revisions, I was happy with my piece. Each bridesmaid would have her own motif and Joyana would come down the aisle with a bold trumpet playing the slow 3/4 theme. This is normal. I needed an introduction (a call, if you will) that would summon all parties involved. It is a simple partial. It's the interval of a perfect 4th. Remember all those lip slurs we did in brass rehearsal? To a true-blue Crusader (I aged out of Boston Crusaders), that interval is the call of "Conquest"! I verified with my fianc?©e that a short "Conquest" call would be acceptable for her introduction. And no grunts or yells would be included. She confirmed. My parents and best man also knew of the call in my piece. Although everyone knew I had arranged the processional, no one else knew how I would make Holst into our own song, how I would make it "Damonic." The ritual organ music petered out after the families were seated. Then, like a bugler on the back sideline of the 50, trumpeter Dan took in a deep breath. The call of "Conquest" went up with the sound that only a classically trained college professor would create, much mellower than I had expected. My eyes darted to best man Craig. He was giggling. Eyes to friend Bob. His eyes rolled back in disgust, but his smirk was affirming. Eyes to antidrum corps friend MaryBeth. Pure shame. Eyes to mom. She was shaking her head. Eyes to minister (and future step-father-in-law). He smiled unknowingly. Eyes to friend Becky. Pure happiness. Finally, when her theme came, eyes to soon-to-be wife Joyana. Pure, teary joy. Unforgettable. It is amazing what a perfect 4th can do. It made "our song."
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.