Paula Hyman will be contributing columns to each Wednesday. Here's her eighth installment. I am currently riding in a white van right now, and I am not quite sure where it will be taking me. All I know is that the person driving this van seems to have never driven one before – because everyone in this van is fearing for dear life. No, I am not being kidnapped, I am on my way to the first rehearsal of the "Macy's Day Parade ALL-STAR COLOR GUARD!" The ride is a little bumpy to say the least and nobody's seat belts work, but it is OK. I, along with a few other Cadets, will be assisting the guard over the next couple of days. We OBVIOUSLY won't be teaching, we will just be making sure the kids all get to where they need to be going, etc. I'm actually pretty exciting to be walking the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. We'll get a little sneak peek of the behind-the-scenes action. I'm looking forward to it. If some kids don't show up, we might even get to be IN the guard. How funny would that be? Actually, we would max it out and be awesome.

Paula Hyman (center) with Dean Westman (right) and Jon Bilby, in Bristol, R.I., on Paula's birthday (also a Cadets' free day). Dean was the Cadets' brass caption head and Jon the visual caption head.
Anyway, let's talk about something else for a bit. This past weekend was our first audition camp for the 2005 season. It was great to be around it all again. The vets didn't audition, but instead went to a separate leadership weekend. We were in the same school as the auditionees, just doing different things. We basically spoke with George Hopkins about this past summer -- what went well and what we think could have been done better. We also had a few sessions with Larry Markiewicz (director of the Crossmen) and Fran Kick (a motivational speaker). They were all awesome and we got a lot out of each session that we could apply out on the field and to life in general. About 15 Cadet vets made it down to camp that weekend. It was so awesome to see everyone. I know I've said it before, but the three months of the summer really equals out to years in my opinion. You get so close to these people and then you are ripped away from it all one day in August. So if you could imagine what it would be like to not see these people for months at a time, you'll realize it can be pretty rough. Once we were all there it was like we never left. We just pick up right where we left off and it feels like we're on tour. I don't know, it's a pretty weird thing to describe, but it's true -- being around these people makes it feel like home. I cannot wait for the banquet, it will be a good time. Let's get back to this Macy's parade situation. We are still in the van and I am typing this up on someone's laptop. It is very nice -- and I want one. So yeah, if anyone wants to get me a laptop, that would be awesome. Anyway, in front of us is a Cadets' bus holding all of the All-Star Color Guard members. It's kind of cool to randomly look up and see it right there. Actually, a few of my closest friends are here with me for this three-day adventure. We all met at the Cadets -- some have aged out and I am still marching with the others. I am very happy to be able to see these people as often as I do. After today/tonight's rehearsal, we will all head back to the hotel. It's probably going to be pretty late so we might just end up going to bed. I don't really know how all this works, but I am pretty sure tomorrow we will be chaperoning groups of kids in New York City. It's going to be awesome! We will be seeing some sort of holiday special at Radio City Music Hall involving the Rockettes. Free food and a show, what more could I ask for? Well, there is an incredible ice cream shop in the city called the "Cold Stone Creamery." No matter what, we will be stopping there to get the most incredible ice cream ever. They have a tip jar on the counter and if you put money in it, they have to sing to you -- yes. I am not sure which flavors I will choose or what type of accessories I will add to my ice cream, but I am sure chocolate and macadamia nuts will make an appearance. I can't wait for it. I believe there is some sort of dress rehearsal sometime on Wednesday night but I'm not sure. I would hope so though. Thursday is the parade and we have to get there pretty early. After the parade is done we're going to drive up to Matt's for a Thanksgiving extravaganza. His mom is going to cook so much food -- yes. All right, now that you know what will be going on for the next couple of days, I think It's time you hear from a couple of other people. First off is Jay, a tuba player with the Cadets. He has no agenda so he will be speaking to you from his heart. Take it away Jay. "Hello boys and girls how are you doing today? I am fine thanks for asking. In fact, I am here elbow to elbow with Paula herself! I know! How exciting -- I am sitting with a superstar! Well actually, I am in the van STARVING. There are so many things in the van right now that remind us of food. For example, there is a Hershey bag that used to be full of delicious chocolate and is now full of WALKIE TALKIES! "Now let's move on to the exits we pass every five minutes or so that says Burger King, McDonalds, and T.G.I. Fridays (just to name a few). It's craziness. Right now even the jug of Freon on the floor of the van makes me want to just pounce on it and attack it like an animal. "Behind me in the van are two of the guard instructors who just began talking about food which is making me want to eat even more. Putting that aside for now, I am really excited to be here. As I was about to go into a good topic, a car just drove by with a dead deer on top of it. How random was that? And to top it off, the first thing I thought of was "I want to eat it!", just to show you guys the amount of hunger that has overcome me. "Well I think for now I will let you guys talk to Sarah Paradis, the other superstar sitting to my left. You may remember her from her always entertaining webmoirs from this past summer. So without further ado - introducing the superstar, Sarah Paradis! "Yo yo yo, what up DCI fans? I have spent the past four days with my favorite people in the world, so I could not be happier right now! I volunteered at the YEA! Audition camp, which gave me a whole new appreciation for the people behind the scenes at YEA! You see, I aged out this past season, so I am cannot attend the camps as a member anymore. Seeing my Cadet friends was by far the best part. Paula, Laura and I are trying our hardest to get Emma to allow us to participate in the 2004 Macy's All-Star Color Guard, but our chances don't look so good. If there's anything that I'd like DCI readers to take from my contribution to Paula's awesome column, it is that friends made through the Cadets are the best ever. No other group of people has shared such an intense and exciting experience together. They are the greatest." I (Paula) am back. Thank you Jay and Sarah for your generous contributions to my column. I plan on doing more columns like this in the future, so you guys can read things from other people besides me.

As for now, I must leave you. Thank you very much. Enjoy Thanksgiving and I'll be back next week. Paula Hyman is a fourth-year member of the Cadets where she is the mellophone section leader. She is 20 years old and currently single. Originally from South Florida, Paula recently made the move to Allentown, Pa., to work for YEA!, the umbrella organization of the Cadets, Crossmen and the U.S. Scholastic Band Association. She ages out in 2006. Past columns by Paula Hyman: Your not-so-typical day Trick-or-treating at a band show Trick-or-treating at a band show It's a show day! What's a free day? Rest stop or heaven? The Move to Allentown Welcome back to the real world