There are lots of great people in the drum corps activity who never get their praises sung. They do what they do for the love of the activity and the love of the marchers. The following looks at two such people. Send any junior corps-related stories you might have for future Fanfare columns to Michael Boo at From Matt Hurley: I'd like to share with you the story of my mom, Dolores "Cookie" Hurley. I started marching in the Bayonne Kidets in 1979. We were a local based corps that primarily did parades and were then the feeder corps of the famed Bayonne Bridgemen. I marched in that drum corps for five years. My mom was at each and every parade, practice, standstill performance and competition in which we performed. At nine-years-old, the last thing a kid wants is to have his parents constantly tagging along when they are doing something fun, and I was no different. She started by making all of the flags and then sewed all the new uniforms. She was always there. I prayed, "Why can't I be one of those kids whose mom is never around?" She never gave up. If I didn't feel like going to practice one night, she would make me go. If I was nervous before a big competition and tried to play sick, she wouldn't have it. I was in the car and on my way whether I liked it or not. As I grew older and moved up to the "Big Corps," she just kept on going. She was in charge of the food, flags and costumes. To this day, she has sewn flags for numerous groups (and the seams are still holding together). It wasn't until I got much older and continued to teach after I aged out that I realized how lucky I was. I remember a time when we did the "Christmas in July" show and the Christmas suits weren't done. She just said, "Okay. Well, you've all got to perform" and she started to staple us into the costumes at rehearsal that day so we would have costumes to perform in. She never said "no" to anything I ever needed in my life. Everything she did was because she cared and she saw what drum corps meant to me. As I got older and my younger siblings started to get involved in "normal things" like soccer, she never stopped supporting me. She has never missed a first performance of any group I marched in or taught. Once I started teaching, she continued to make the flags for the groups I taught. She has seen every single group I have ever taught or marched with and has sewn at least one flag for each of them. I am now in my mid-30s and was lucky enough to be asked to run the color guard for the Bridgemen Alumni corps. And wouldn't you know it. Last night at practice in the St. Andrews parking lot, there she was cutting fabric and preparing to sew a set of flags. I consider myself the luckiest son in the world. Drew Ross contributed the following. There's a man named Jim who is perhaps the most intense fan I have ever met in the drum corps activity. He and his wife sit about two rows from the sidelines at the Cincinnati show, in Indianapolis, and of course at the DCI World Championships. He often has an extra seat that he purchases to allow various personalities (which are soloists and other "screamers" from screaming horn lines) an opportunity to sit and watch the action when they are done performing. The 2001 Crossmen members were in for a surprise when he took to liking the corps. We won seven contests that season and did many encore performances. The corps met Jim at the 2001 Cincinnati show. We set up to do our encore and this guy was just going absolutely crazy. He stood along the fence right where the lead sopranos were standing and just kept shouting things to hype us up. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet him during the encore. Right before my cadenza in "Firedance," I slapped him five, mainly just to joke around, but I never realized how that would affect the corps. The high brass played even louder, and Jim became even wilder. After it was over he congratulated the horn line and I for a job well done. After we finished the performance, we headed to the buses and Jim was looking for me. He spoke with me about how great the drum corps was and how he became a huge fan of the corps right on the spot. He then handed me a couple of his mix tapes with specific instructions. He told me to play one for the soprano players and the other for the horn line. That night we stayed up a bit too late listening to these amazing soundboard tapes from Maynard Ferguson concerts, Bill Chase concerts and other amazing performances, including one of Arturo Sandoval playing "Firedance." It lit up our horn line to say the least! Jim returned at the Indianapolis show. This time, I noticed him going crazy during the performance. We finished the show and he followed us over to where we set up our horns for retreat. During this meeting, he brought a former Blue Devils soprano soloist to meet us and let us know how much he enjoyed our work. But Jim's generosity didn't stop there. After the show he gave us about a dozen large pizzas and a donation for the whole corps to have a pizza party somewhere down the road. The DCI World Championship Finals in Buffalo led to another Jim sighting, but this time we were prepared. The horn line got a T-shirt from the souvenir booth and everyone signed it. We had Al Chez, the horn line liaison (and the only one who could actually get to Jim) bring him the shirt, which Jim wore during our performances each night. After the show, he came by to congratulate me personally on a wonderful age-out year and handed me about five CDs and tapes of his favorite music moments. As an instructor in 2002, I had an opportunity to sit in Jim's extra seat for the Crossmen performance. There, he asked me who the great sop player from the Cadets was that kept "ripping his face off." Without fail, I ran out to find my good friend Rick, who marched as a member of the Crossmen with me in 1999. Rick was really excited about the opportunity to meet Jim, so he came up to watch a bit of the Indy show with us. Crossmen aren't the only corps that he follows. He's a fan of any corps that has a high note-playing soprano or trumpet, and I've heard similar stories from Madison Scouts and Blue Devils people and a few others. Al Chez adds the following: Jim is a great guy. He's been following me around for years. You never know where he is going to show up. One day he's at the DCI World Championship Finals and the next day at a Robert Cray concert in Indianapolis. He's always giving out tapes and loves the sound of a loud horn line. It makes his heart soar. He is very giving and one of my favorites. I remember him going nuts on the 50-yard line since maybe the 1980s. He is a reminder of what made this activity a true art form of its own.
Editorial assistance by Michael Boo. Fanfare archives