Well, it's time to sweep out the hard drive and find an efficient way of using a number of short "Fanfare" submissions that I can't stretch into a single, cohesive article. Yes, the concept sounds a lot like the final article of last year, titled, "Loose Ends: 2002." And that's the beauty of having a formula that works. By the way, if you were the person who sent me information on bicycle bands, would you please do so again? My computer ate it. A number of readers wrote to say they remembered seeing Blue Devils' founder and long-time director Jerry Seawright on national television, during a "This Is Your Life" tribute to Dick Van Dyke. It turns out that Jerry and Dick Van Dyke were in a small vocal group named Burfords (not "The" Burfords, just Burfords) at Danville High School in downstate Illinois. On cue during the tribute, the members of Burfords came out to surprise Dick, wearing their old sweater uniforms and singing their old theme song. I'm not sure how much it surprised Dick Van Dyke, but it sure surprised a number of corps fans. Drew McPheeters marched Florida Vanguard in 1978-1979. According to Drew, "We all know drum corps is great fun, and a passionate activity for many people. However, the one defining moment for many people comes when they turn 22 and realize they have no place to go. Sure, there are senior drum corps, and some people move into instructing and other aspects of the corps; but for the majority of people who move on, get jobs, start a family; they have nothing. "I am a member of a competitive pipe band. We are always looking for people with the desire to have a musical outlet. In some ways we are like the old days of drum corps, when they had to teach bugles from the ground up, because there are very few places you can learn to play the bagpipe. [Mike here. He's right. Try finding a bagpipe school when you really need one.] "I am a snare drummer (or side drummer as we call it). Even if you can get into a community orchestra, or join a rock band, there is a whole rudimental aspect missing that doesn't get satisfied. [Better take care of your rudimental aspects before you find yourself rat-a-tatting on the neighbors' cat. (Cat-a-tatting?)] "Sadly enough, there are a lot of pipe bands that go wanting drummers, and sometimes are forced to miss competitions, because they do not have the minimum number of players. [Well, you've come to the right place.] "I have been trying to use various means to develop some synergy between the activities, but have had limited success. [Synergy is like that.] I'll tell you what, Drew. Because you are sincere about this and I've had some fun at the expense of bagpipe-loving people everywhere, (and that's a lobby you don't want to alienate), I'm going to make a plea to our readers to consider the honorable art of bagpipe drumming. Those who wish to learn more might start by going on the Web and checking out Bob Dunsire's Bagpipe Web Directory, home to more than 3,000 piping-related links, including more than 850 band links. To say this guy is obsessed with bagpipes is like saying Godzilla was obsessed with Tokyo. As Bob says on his homepage, "I love piping, it is a big part of our family life, and I am just trying to help in my own way. As you can see, I have great fun playing with Web pages." I think you will agree. (He even has a "Piping Photo of the Day."). Ron Kruzel is a Presbyterian pastor near Venice, Fla. He was the "Primal Scream" soprano soloist for Garfield Cadets in 1977. If you're in southwest Florida, you may want to check out what follows. Ron is working with the horns and visual program of what is believed to be the only high school drum corps in the United States. The unit is from North Port High School in North Port, Fla., which is where his daughter attends. The drum corps is the school's primary marching musical unit and goes by the name Alliance Drum and Bugle Corps. The director's name is Owen Bradley. I hope they have much success. This could be an effective way of bringing community drum corps to more kids. Bruce Fausey remembers a special moment courtesy of the 1996 Carolina Crown. "The corps was in the middle of its program at a Texas show when a train came rumbling by during the ballad [of the 'Chess ... And the Art of Strategy' show]. The locomotive was not 10 yards beyond the end zone. So, without missing a beat, the horns got louder ... and louder ... and louder, until we could pick them out over the train. They got an ovation for that one." And now for a genuinely strange-but-true story: A high school band student from Kentucky swears a corps souvie sweatshirt saved his life. Eric Anderson, (a member of the new Eklipse Drum and Bugle Corps from Murray, Ky.), was getting psyched up to attend the Kentucky state marching band championship last October, as a member of the Greenwood High School Band. The day before the event, he and some other brass players were helping the pit performers load equipment on the pit cart that is pulled by the band's tractor.
As Eric remembers, "The people that helped load things up got to ride back on the carts instead of walking, so I hopped on and off we went. About 100 yards from the school, we went over a bump in the pavement. I was standing on the back of one of the carts and lost my balance. One of my feet had to touch the ground and I tried to pull it back up in time, but the bar connecting to the other carts hit my leg, causing me to fall forward onto the lowest tympani. "There was no way for me to avoid falling and bringing the tympani down with me, so I tried my best to get underneath the drum so that It didn't break when it hit the ground. When I hit the ground, somehow my ankle was caught between the connecting bar to the other carts and the cart itself, and the tractor driver had no idea I had fallen. After a few moments of the carts dragging me along, I was able to free my ankle. However, as soon as I did that, the cart behind me was almost upon me. "I just happened to be wearing my Cavaliers hooded sweatshirt that day, and it got caught up in the front wheel of the cart behind me. The sweatshirt got torn to pieces on one side but managed to jam up the wheel of the cart. Because this happened, the cart painfully pushed me along the concrete for a while instead of running over me and crushing my body. The cart would have rolled right over my head and straight down the center of my body had I not been wearing my Cavaliers shirt that day. "I still wear that same sweatshirt all the time now, and I have sewn all the holes up fairly well, so it should last me a little while longer. [See accompanying photo.] The thing saved my life." And finally, I found the following on a Drum Corps Planet forum. It made me laugh out loud. It was submitted by Lisa Johnson, a member of Renegades' color guard in 2002 and 2003, and is reprinted with her permission. "My marching instructor yells for us to "March 8 to 5." I'm thinkin' hey ... that's nine hours ... forget it!" View the Fanfare archives
Eric Anderson's mangled sweatshirt