Consistency seems to be the key for many corps this season, and Rochester, N.Y.'s Patriots are likewise reaping the benefits of consistency among staff and return members in 2003. Patti Nolan, Patriots' director, reports that "Approximately 80 percent of the 2003 staff has been teaching the corps for at least five years."

The Patriots' soprano line at a recent rehearsal.
Within the Patriots' corps ranks, return players are flexing their leadership skills. Nolan said that veteran soprano player Meaghan Larkin "Is always assisting the rest of the line, and has soprano meetings at the end of each rehearsal to make sure her fellow players are not falling behind and understand all that happened at that rehearsal," Nolan said. The rest of the corps seems to be following in Larkin's well-heeled footsteps. "The 2003 membership is very hard working. During breaks and meals, I often find small groups reviewing music and dot books," Nolan said. "Their focus on fundamentals and technique is key to the members' success." Forty-five potential guard members turned out to audition on April 26, which Nolan also found heartening. "Although not all will stick it out, the guard staff was pleased," Nolan said. Pleased with the corps' progress, Nolan said the corps' ranks continue to grow. "We have had two spring camps so far and started drill last weekend. Our membership has increased to about 100. While the percussion section will remain the same size as 2002 (approximately 23 members), the brass line looks to be about 40 members strong and the guard at 34 to 36 members strong."