By Allison Owen

Allison Owen

This past weekend was my first drum corps camp ever. It was a very exciting time for me and I learned so much over the course of the weekend. I'll give you a somewhat brief idea of how the audition camp went. When I first walked in on Friday afternoon there were so many people there. The line for registration went down one hallway, down a flight of stairs, and way down another hallway. It was easy to get overwhelmed when I saw all the people who were auditioning. There was a meeting after registration to introduce the staff and give everyone who was auditioning an idea of what would take place over the weekend. We also watched Spirit's 2003 finals performance -- which I hadn't seen all of before -- and then there were two separate meetings before rehearsal started-vets and rookies. Soon it was time to break into our sections and begin rehearsal. We rehearsed on Friday evening until dinner break. I won't go in to all of the things we worked on, but I learned a lot.

After dinner break we had a few more hours of rehearsal where I learned a whole lot more. Before I knew it practice was over and we were free to shower and hang out until lights out.

During my free time before lights out I got to meet new people and just relax. My friend Kyle, who marches with Memphis Sound, showed up with his friend Derek and we talked for a while. Soon it was lights out and I settled down for some much needed sleep.

We were woken up Saturday morning and we had an hour and a half to eat breakfast, pack our stuff up, practice, and be ready for more rehearsal. Even though it was cold outside, many of the people auditioning for guard could be found outside spinning a flag or dancing. We were all preparing ourselves for the hours of rehearsal that were soon to follow. (Saturday's rehearsal was basically an extended version of Friday evening.)

That night, after hours of practice, we had time to work on things on our own and we also had a little interview by the guard caption head. Before we knew it, it was once again time to go shower before lights out. Right before lights out, a girl named Danielle and I talked for a few minutes about our tiring but fun day. Just by looking at people's faces you could tell that everyone was ready for lights out.

Before rehearsal began on Sunday morning, you could once again find the guard outside -- but this time rifles and sabers also dotted the air.

We had a couple hours of rehearsal that morning to prepare for the "show and tell" for the parents. Tere was time for us to practice on our own and we also broke up into smaller groups and performed for each other.

When we arrived at the parents' meeting for the "Show and Tell" we were told we wouldn't be able to perform because of the amount of people that were in the room. However, the brass did play, as well as the cymbal line -- the I&E 2003 Champions.

The show concept was also announced at the meeting; It looks like Spirit is in for a great 2004 show.

Before I knew it, my first drum corps camp was over. All we had to do after the meeting was clean the buildings we used and find out our individual status.

There were three lists posted for the guard: Vets who were given a spot for 2004, people who are called back to the next camp and given things to improve, and people who have things to work on and are invited back for the 2005 season. Unfortunately for me, my name was on the last list.

I learned so much this weekend and I was exposed to so much. The majority of the things we worked on all weekend I had never done before, so it was a great learning experience for me. It was a hard and somewhat frustrating weekend, but it was really great exposure to the Division I world of drum corps.

Overall I had a great weekend. I learned tons of new things, met a lot of people, and had a good time. I'd like to thank everyone who helped me out and everyone else I met -- thanks for being a part of my first drum corps camp ever. I had a great time. I'd also like to thank you -- the reader -- for following my journey this far. I'm not sure where my journey will take me next -- although it could be Memphis Sound -- but thanks for reading and taking an interest in my story.
Allison Owen is a sophomore at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn., who plans to audition for a corps in November. "I'm in the SHHS guard and I like writing, dancing, performing, traveling, photography and having fun. As for after high school/college, I don't know what I want to do ... I just know I would like to do something dealing with color guard, computers or writing," Owen said.