Drum Corps International
On corps membership etiquette

On corps membership etiquette

by Drum Corps International

We've reached the point in the season where most people know what they're doing this season. If you're marching, you've already started to pay tour dues, and you're getting comfortable with the idea of being a member of whatever corps you've chosen.

Emily Tannert
You've passed that stage of initial amazement that they picked you, and camps are no longer a scary and startling series of nervewracking new experiences. You're getting to know some of your corpsmates. It's a good time all around. ^Unfortunately, this is also the time of the season where some newcomers get just a little too comfortable in their membership and forget that while this is starting to all feel familiar, it is, in fact, a new experience. Or, in other words: You don't know everything yet. Membership in a corps is an empowering experience, and for many of us it's the fulfillment of a dream. Our friends and family know this, so they endure and even participate in the euphoria of being told you've "made it." But it's important to remember that being accepted for membership is just the first step in drum corps, and while camps may be starting to seem familiar, tour is a whole different ballgame. This is about the time of the year when a lot of rookies start to think that they can tell vets how it is, or that they've done this all before in their high school band, or yeah, I marched in a different corps last year so I know how this all works. "But this is how it ought to be" or "this is how I've always done it" are phrases that become frequently uttered (usually in a whiny, 3-year-old tone) in the cafeteria at lunchtime. Or, similarly, when hearing friends' summer plans, rookies say, "Oh, well, that's nice, but I'm marching drum corps." Long silences ensue. Rookie finally finds self sitting at home on Friday night, wondering why s/he is not included when all his/her friends go to the movies. Here's the rub: We're all happy for you that you've finally made drum corps. But, having marched more than one corps, and having filled multiple different roles, I can tell you definitively that you've never got it all figured out -- no matter what you've done before or where you've marched, it's going to be new, and you should accept, listen to and rely upon the advice of those around you (i.e., the vets and staff). You should support your friends' summer endeavors as they've supported yours. You should accept that you don't know it all, or even most of it, and that drum corps is meant to be a learning process up until the day after finals. Be happy you're in drum corps -- but don't let it go to your head. And if you suspect that I may be talking to you, and you've made this mistake already, it's not too late! Repent your mistaken ways, keep your mouth shut for a month or two, and pretty soon everyone will forget that you ever behaved badly. Or you could shake your head, say "I'd never act like that!" and continue to have people roll their eyes at you as the guy who just doesn't get it. Five years later people will still refer to you as the "five-year rookie." Which would you rather have? Emily Tannert is a sophomore music education/percussion performance major at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La., and holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University. Emily aged out of the Glassmen in 2003 and was assistant tour manager for the corps in 2004 and 2005. You can contact Emily at emily@imoses.com. Drum corps relationships (a Valentine's Day special column) To young administrators The Quest for the diet soda The Fine art of memorization What I'd do different The lay of the land Preparing for the physical demands Perfect practice Drum corps rites of passage Kickoff week Zen and the art of drum corps shopping Making it happen, financially Auditioning: Just go for it The Ageout rule Doing drum corps Transitioning to the professional level The Basics on auditioning From storm-ravaged Louisiana, some hearty thanks So you want to march Emily Tannert's past columns

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