By Allison Owen It's pretty obvious that I love color guard, so when Daniel asked me if I wanted to work at The Pageantry Group booth during WGI World Championships in San Diego, my initial response was, "Of course!" Now when you're still in high school -- nearing midterms in the final semester -- it is not the easiest thing in the world to miss any school, not to mention four days. I figured I wouldn't be able to go since that was a lot of work to make up, but with Daniel's help my parents decided that I could go.
I knew that going to San Diego would be great for me because I love hanging out with people who love the same activities as I do. I can honestly say that I have never seen so many drum corps jackets -- old and new -- in one place. I can only imagine how many there will be at a drum corps show! I knew there would be many drum corps members when on my flight out to San Diego when there were two guys with corps jackets on -- the Cavaliers and the Madison Scouts. Working at a WGI sponsor's booth has its advantages: I met and saw many "famous faces" from the drum corps world that I had only heard of before. I saw Jeff Queen, Nick Angelis, Fred J. Miller, Michael Cesario and many drum corps directors. At one point in the weekend I even saw Jessica Allen. As I helped set up our booth I came to another drum corps relating conclusion: The DCI booth was set up across from me. Naturally I loved having DCI so conveniently near me. I got to talk to the staff that was working there, as well as watch a few guards with Missy Idso. One funny thing that happened involving the DCI booth and me was when a random person walked up to me, looked at my badge and said, "Allison, are you lost?" I didn't understand so I had to ask him what he meant, "Aren't you supposed to be over there?" he said as he pointed to the DCI booth and walked away. The only sense I can make of it is that he thought I should be over with the DCI staff because I write these articles. Who knows. There were so many drum corps DVDs and such that I knew I had to leave with at least something. At one point on Friday I couldn't stand looking at the booth anymore, I had to go over and purchase something. I grabbed my wallet and walked right on over to the booth, not even sure what I wanted to buy. I knew I shouldn't spend too much, but I'm crazy about drum corps -- I wanted it all! I ended up buying the 2003 DVDs and the 1999 DVD. Saturday it just started pouring down rain. Because it had been so bright and sunny on Friday, I wore shorts, a white T-shirt and flip-flops to get a better tan. Bad idea! I ended up having to walk around to other booths and buy a pair of pants because I was freezing in the rain. As much as I love guard, I still feel a slight attachment to the indoor percussion as well. Maybe it's because marching indoor percussion last year led me to marching drum corps, who knows. All I know is that Daniel, being the nice person that he is, let me take a break and go over to the percussion site both Friday and Saturday night. Ahmed and Hulon -- part of the WGI staff -- had to go get money from the percussion site, so they took me along and dropped me off. As I waked around I had the pleasure of seeing different drum corps booths. I stopped at the Santa Clara Vanguard booth and watched a video of their 2004 camps along with a small crowd of interested drum corps fans. While I was at the percussion site I met up with some drum corps people. I went out to eat with Charlie, who marches with the Bluecoats, and had a great time. Saturday evening I got to help his drum line, Rhythm X, pull some equipment. I must say that I, now more than ever, have a whole lot of respect for any front ensemble members -- they have a hard job and they do it very efficiently. Not only did I get to help a world class drum line, it turns out I was with a medalling world class drum line -- Rhythm X moved from fourth to third in finals. Although I obviously don't get a medal for helping, I am so glad I was there to see such a great performance. Sunday I got the chance to see Cirque du Soleil (Verakai) and I must say that I was blown away. I'd never seen any Cirque du Soleil performances, so this was amazing to me. I could not believe the level of performing; it only made me want to perform more and be the best I could possibly be. On my way home I was stopped in the terminal by a mother of a Magic of Orlando guard member who asked what corps I was marching with. It was cool that she saw my jacket and decided to stop me, so we talked for a few minutes before we left to go home. Overall the whole trip was a great experience for me and I'd love to do it all over again. Whether it was flying out to San Diego with a color guard and drum line on my flight, watching guards perform their hearts out, selling rifles, or pulling equipment for independent world finals, I had a great time. I met some great people this weekend, got to talk about drum corps many times, and I even got a bit of a tan.