By Allison Owen Surprise, it's me! I didn't think I'd be able to write this summer, but luckily I have some free time and access to a laptop. So we're entering our second week of everydays. Sometimes it seems like it's been forever and other times it feels like just a few days. Here we are in London, Ky., with more than two-thirds of our show on the field. It's going to be a really awesome production. It's really weird to think that in two weeks we'll be a few shows into tour.

Allison Owen
So far this has been a completely new experience for me and I haven't known what to expect. Sometimes things get a little crazy, but overall we're doing really well. I now know firsthand that there is definitely a difference in Division I and Division II or III. I'm learning to not base anything off of last year because things are just so different. Now I'm not saying it's better or worse, it's just different. First off, it's pretty weird to get used to waking up in the same gym every morning for everydays when last year I stayed at a host family's house. Last year I also had access to the family's computer and TV, I could go to Wal-Mart after rehearsal if I wanted, and I could pretty much pretend to be normal for the hours in between rehearsals. This year I'm adjusting fairly well to having not seen "normal" civilization for a week or so. It's also obviously a change for me to not be in guard. I haven't had as hard of a time as I had expected, but I do miss it at times. However, I do like conducting. One thing I've learned is that being an assistant conductor is a deceivingly easy job. Everyone seems to think we just carry around the Long Ranger and Dr. Beat and press the button whenever the staff says "Set." If you've ever tried to work one of those crazy metronomes you know it isn't THAT simple. I haven't had too hard of a time with it yet, but apparently the assistant conductors in years past have. Oh well, I get to see everything come together on the field, so I can't complain. At this point I'm conducting two different segments of the show and I really do enjoy it. I'm having to learn to focus just on Karl's hands and not on the metronome or the corps. It's definitely a new thing for me, but I must say I do like it. Carrying around the Long Ranger and Dr. Beat are well worth getting to conduct the corps.    Another new thing for me is contact with people outside of the corps. Last year I got a few cards from my mom and then my family came to a few shows. This year I've gotten like four e-mails, a card, a box of goodies (thanks Jessika!), my boyfriend came to visit me this past week, and a decent number of kids from my band are going to be at a show. I never got to experience anything like that last summer, so I'm definitely liking outside contact. I don't think some people realize just how much an e-mail, card, or even a visit at a show can mean to a drum corps member. This summer is going to be a completely new experience for me and I have no idea what to expect. Last weekend I was a little unsure about this crazy drum corps thing, but I think it's going to be alright. In the end I'll learn more about myself and it looks like I'll even have a good time while I'm at it. I'm not certain when I'll get another chance to write, but I'm sure I will sometime. Go to Southwind's Web site and check out our schedule. If you have an opportunity to come see us, the show is going to be awesome. I hope you're having a good summer so far, and get ready because tour is soon upon us. Allison Owen, 16, is a junior at Sullivan Central HS in Blountville, Tenn. She's in assistant conductor for Southwind and enjoys dancing, writing, English, guard, photography, having fun and performing. For college she would love to attend the University of Oklahoma and major in journalism or English; however, she'll probably end up at the University of Memphis for in-state tuition's sake.