By Allison Owen
Recently I've received quite a few e-mails from people who have advice for me and wish me good luck. I'd just like to say thanks to all those people; feel free to keep the e-mails coming. Now you may find what you're about to read a little bit odd, but keep reading -- I promise it will relate to drum corps! I spent this weekend at a church camp and I had tons of fun, despite the lack of sleep, and the chaos of the time change. My friend and I arrived later than our cabinmates, so everyone had already claimed their sleeping area. To make a long story short, I ended up sleeping on the floor. Instead of being resentful, I decided to take this as an opportunity to prepare myself for what it would be like at the SPIRIT audition camp this year. This may sound stupid to you, but I had fun sleeping on the floor in my sleeping bag! I'm sure I won't enjoy it as much later on in the year, but I'm glad I got to experience the "sleeping-on-the-floor" aspect of camp. All right, now you can think I'm crazy and laugh at me all you want. I still haven't gotten my audition packet in the mail yet. It seems like it's been forever since I sent in my application. I know it will come with time, but I'm still quite anxious. It's hard to believe that just one year ago I didn't even know that such an amazing activity existed. This week a SPIRIT message board was set up, which enables me to get to know other SPIRIT hopefuls or vets and hear other people's stories. I'm enjoying reading other people's comments -- newcomers and vets. I've been asked more than once this week why I chose to audition for SPIRIT. Like DCI.org columnist Andy Dittrich has mentioned, it's a difficult process. So let me take a few moments now to give you the inside scoop on why SPIRIT is where I'm heading out next month. First, there's location: Jacksonville, Ala., is about five or six hours away from my city, which makes it easier for me to travel as a high school student during the school year without having to go too far. Second, there's scheduling: I had to check monthly camp dates as well as move-ins and tour with my school schedule. It turned out that Spirit seemed to have the least conflicts for me. Next, there's cost: Member fees and travel expenses were very reasonable with SPIRIT, and for returning vets, there is a $50 discount for each year you march. Lastly, there's the overall feel of the corps, and SPIRIT has a great organization. Many people I've spoken with who are SPIRIT alumni have said that it is a great place to march. It's almost down to one month until auditions, and I'm really starting to realize that my dreams are becoming a reality. I've said it before, but I'm really going to audition for a Division I drum corps in close to a month. This is such an amazing experience, and like I've said so many times before, thanks for sharing the journey with me. 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.