Let's start out the New Year with some more great stories in Fanfare's ongoing series of "Love Connection" columns. The first one is almost too good to believe. I'm Noah Trulock. I played the devil character in Phantom Regiment's "Faust" production this summer, and I ended up dating the girl who played Marguerite. Who would have thought, the good girl actually went for the bad boy in real life? We won an award for oddest couple at Phantom's annual banquet over the summer. I always thought it was an interesting story, because it adds so much irony to the show's plot. Not to mention some new layers and subtext! Here's another Phantom Regiment connection. Peter Gissiner marched as a member of Teal Sound from 2001 through 2004 and Spartans the last two years. Katie Reeves and I marched together in Teal Sound in 2002. She was a member of the guard and I was in the baritone line. We first met the day we left for tour. She didn't have a seat partner, so I helped her bring her bags to the bus and we sat together. The first few days we talked for hours about anything that came to mind and ended up falling head over heels for each other. That summer we finished in a lower placement than Teal has ever finished since, however, it remains one of my favorite summers because of her. For about a year during 2003-2004, we went our own ways. Following the 2004 season, I realized what I was missing out on, so we decided to get back together. She marched her first year at Phantom Regiment the following season. Seeing her perform is always emotional for me. She sells the performance every time she steps on the field or floor. When I heard that the DCI World Championships were returning to Madison, I was excited to go back. I also knew there was one thing I wanted to do more than performing; to have a chance to propose in the city that we spent our first summer together. That was simply too good to pass up. She was marching as a member of Phantom Regiment again, and I had an awesome plan for how I wanted to pop the question. The Spartans horn line plays "Fire of Eternal Glory" after shows, (a piece Phantom played on the field in 1993). It's grown to be a favorite part of the summer for the members. I wished to have Spartans play "Fire" while I proposed, but I didn't know where or how. Sadly, it never worked out. In fact, until the day of the finals competition, I didn't know if I'd even be at the stadium. Luckily, our staff found a way to get us to the Division I Finals. I wouldn't be able to propose the way I wanted to. Feeling rather down about missing out on this chance, I didn't enjoy watching the shows as I would have. But when Phantom came on the field, I cheered up. Their show that night left me in tears. I was a wreck. After the last release, I knew right then I had unfinished business. There was no way I could hold back anymore. I loved this girl with everything I was. I ran out of the stands and down to the exit tunnel. I watched them circle up and have their final talk. As director Pat Seidling was walking away, I stopped him for a moment. I explained who I was and what my intentions were. He looked me in the eye and told me that feelings like those should be shared, that I should have an opportunity to do so. So he left me to talk to his fianc?© as he walked over to where the guard was having a talk and brought Katie aside for me. The instant she saw me, she burst into tears. I believe she knew at that moment what I was about to do. So without much fanfare, I dropped to a knee and said what I had to say. Before I could even finish, she half shook her head yes and half choked the word out. I would never have met her without drum corps. I can't even imagine my life without her. So of course, a deep thanks to Drum Corps International is in order, along with an even bigger thank-you to Pat Seidling for giving me a chance to ask what I needed to ask. And finally, we hear from Tara Blake, who wrote an article for Forzato in 2005. Josh and Tara (Cover) Blake were married in 2006. We have been together for more than two years and every day is better than the one before. Josh and I met in the Lehigh Valley Knights Drum and Bugle Corps in the fall of 2002. However, we didn't start getting to know each other until March of 2003. We became great friends over the course of the summer. At the end of the summer, we said our goodbyes and it was hard, but we promised to keep in touch. When the corps started a few months later, we both came back to march, met new friends and got to know each other even more. Soon enough, it was time for tour to start, and we started dating. Things were wonderful. We couldn't have been happier. Dating in drum corps is traditionally rough and many couples break up soon after the summer is over. For us it was different. We had a very strong friendship to base our relationship on and so we were able to last through the good and the bad times. Josh and I got married on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006 in Harrisonburg, Va. The day couldn't have been more perfect, everything went according to plans and the weather was gorgeous. Our closest friends and family surrounded us. It was a small-but-perfect wedding and we couldn't have asked for more. This year has been full of emotion with having our beautiful daughter, Krista in March and moving so quickly after getting married. It has definitely brought us even closer and proved that sometimes love on tour can last forever. Josh and I are the best friends. We built a strong friendship that has been the basis of our entire relationship. Every day is better than the last and drum corps is still a big part of our lives.

Editorial assistance by Michael Boo. Fanfare archives