By Allison Owen As the days slowly pass and summer draws nearer, I feel the need to introduce as many people as I can to drum corps. It's become my passion; I want everyone to know about the wonderful activity I've come to love.
I try not to force it on people and overdo it, so I do subtle things like wear my hoodie or corps jacket to school. Every once in a while I'll bring it up in a conversation with someone if it has any relation to what we're talking about. Even if I don't go overboard with it, I'm still known as "that weird girl who marches drum corps." I'm not saying that the whole school calls me that, but I do get some weird looks sometimes. This bothered me for a while, but now I don't really care, because when I'm with my drum corps I know everyone wants to be there just like I do. This past week we started color guard tryouts at my school for next fall. We sat around in a circle at the end of rehearsal and said our name, grade, favorite color, and other usual introductory things since there were new girls trying out. One thing each of us said was an interesting fact. Naturally I took this opportunity to speak about my favorite thing ever: Drum corps. When it came time for my introduction one of my friends across the circle whispered, "Oh no, here we go again ... " as everyone who knew me exchanged grins. I began to laugh as I said, "Hi, my name is Allison, but you can call me Allie if you'd like. I'm going to be a junior and this will be my third season in the guard here. One of my favorite colors is purple, and I march in a drum and bugle corps." When I finished speaking I looked around at all the new faces -- and even some of the old ones – and, noticing the puzzled looks, I felt that I needed to clear things up. "And apparently none of you know what that is. So never mind, you'll hear all about it later, I promise." Everyone -- the ones who obviously haven't been around me very much -- just looked at each other in confusion as the next person began to introduce herself. After our "circle time" we all went our separate ways, but before I left, my friends -- the ones who already knew all about my drum corps obsession -- commented on my little "presentation." My favorite remark was, "You are one crazy kid, but we love you anyway." Saturday afternoon our guard director took some of us guard members to a winter guard competition at a local high school. I wore my member jacket, thinking that maybe someone at the show would know what drum corps is and I could make a new friend. Unfortunately no one came up to me, but I did see many people glancing at my jacket, then at me, and then back to my jacket -- then taking a moment to read what it says. I felt very cool because no one had ever taken that much interest in my clothing before. After the competition a few of us went over to our director's house to watch the 2003 DCI Finals DVD. We had been planning on doing this for quite some time, so I was excited that some of my friends were going to get to see drum corps for the first time. I figured if I was going to show some of them their first drum corps show, why not start off with the world champions? They sat there in awe of the Blue Devils, Cavaliers (they were very impressed by the drill), Cadets, and Phantom Regiment -- that was as far as we watched -- as the directors and I exchanged interesting facts about each corps and show. When we decided to call it a night one girl looked at me -- she was still amazed at what she had seen -- and said, "So that's drum corps, that's what you do? Wow." Then the two girls that were there agreed that what I've dedicated myself to doing is pretty cool and that I wasn't such a "dork" anymore. I get a great feeling when I've shown just one person the activity I love being a part of, so every chance I get to share drum corps, I take the opportunity and run with it. I hope that just one person -- of the now many -- I introduce to drum corps grows to love the activity as much as I do. Until then I'll just have to keep slowly influencing the people around me and showing them how amazing drum corps is.
Allison Owen is a sophomore at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn., who is marching with Memphis Sound. "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.