Rob Brown (Blue Devils 1981-1985) sent me the following. It reminded me much of something I had recently sent someone else. The sentiment is the same -- Just DO it. Join a corps. March. Be happy you're there. Enjoy. You're only young once. I even used the same line about ten years ago, a line I've used often over the past several years. After Rob's instructions to potential marchers, I'll share what I sent to someone. Ten years from now, will you regret your decision? Kids have been posting on the various drum corps forums -- DCP, Blue Devils, etc. -- asking a wide variety of questions regarding drum corps, particularly with regards to auditioning for one. The questions have the same theme behind them, regardless of their phrasing. They boil down to "I want to try out, should I?" The question is typically followed up by either a statement of self-doubt or a more pressing need such as school or having to work during the summer. Taking these one by one, the question I pose on the Blue Devils forum when these posts pop up is the same for both cases. "Ten years from now, will you regret your decision?" If you're a self-doubter, questioning your ability and worthiness to be in your favorite drum corps, do you think that ten years from now you will find yourself asking this, "I wonder what would have happened if I tried out?" For those that feel the need to start working full-time now for whatever reason, the question is the same. Ten years from now, will you wish you postponed that full-time employment just one more year so you could have the time of your life touring with in your favorite drum corps? Taking classes during the summer instead of joining a drum corps, do you think you would question your decision ten years down the road if those two months in class could've waited? If you have the opportunity to audition or join a drum corps, my suggestion is to go for it. Go for the decisions that ten years from now you will not question, but will be happy with. Believe me, you will feel better in the future. For every thread on DCP or the Blue Devils Web site that asks the basic question of, "Should I march?", there are as many responses of encouragement as there are from those that 10 years later, regret their decision to have not marched. You could say I am speaking from experience in this matter. I was a third soprano in the Blue Devils B corps (Division II). With prompting from my dad, I decided to try out for the DCI champion Blue Devils. I was one of those self-doubters, but with convincing from my dad, I was going to have Wayne Downey and Jack Meehan of the Blue Devils tell me if I was good enough to be in the Blue Devils horn line. I realized the worst that could happen is I did not pass the audition and I would have to try out the next year. Ten years after my decision to go for it, and many years since, I know the answer to that question of, "I wonder if I should have tried out? I wonder if I could have made the Blue Devils?" I've never had to ask myself, "Would I have done it differently?" I'll never forget the phone call home that night. "Dad -- I made it." Rob Brown The following is my e-mail to a potential marcher who wanted to try out for the Cavaliers, but didn't know if he should. The advice will apply to anyone thinking of trying out for any corps. I don't know what section you wish to try out for, but I strongly suggest contacting the corps and stating your desire to try out for them. Ask about any audition etudes and packets they might have. Also, check out the following link. [This link was for The Cavaliers' Web site, answering questions many potential members have.] Also, sign up for the corps e-mail newsletter. You'll see that link on the left of the corps home page. Then find the corps this summer, introduce yourself to the director, ask to watch the section you wish to audition for and ask to talk to the instructors about what you would need to do to prepare yourself. Attitude is more important than many think. The corps staff is looking for potential members that want to learn and excel. Sometimes kids come in who are great performers and have everything it takes to be an outstanding marcher, but their attitude projects that they have something to teach the corps rather than the corps has something to teach them. They are not selected. If you're a musician, take the auditions and warm-ups and practice them faithfully. Sight-reading is also very important. If you're in the guard, there are probably sheets on that as well, and perhaps even videos. This may sound a bit weird, but feel free to ask if there is a week when the corps is coming to your area when the corps needs a volunteer to do anything that needs to be done, and I do mean anything -- washing uniforms, working on the cook crew, lining practice fields, etc. This would give you a chance to see things up close, talk to a few members about tips for preparing for auditioning and would give the corps a chance to see how hard you work. Mention you are really interested in seeing the corps up close in the hopes of auditioning in the future and you realize that volunteering for the corps would be very tiring and not a holiday or vacation, but serious work. But it would also let you know in advance a little about what you would be in for. And this is very important. Many good kids with great attitudes don't make it into the corps because there is so much competition for very few spots. Keep your options open for other corps and talk to managements and staffs of the other corps. You might be able to make it into a position with a lesser-competitive corps, but those other corps ARE NOT lesser corps. You would work just as hard and have many of the same joys and frustrations -- AND, you would gain valuable experience for marching with the corps of your dreams. If you end up in another corps, just don't blab that you're there to gain experience to try out for another corps. Besides, you might love it there enough to stay. And I'll end with this: I've seen too many kids put off marching in a corps in order to raise money for this and that and I've seen many of them never end up marching because there was always something more that needed money. You are only young once. You'll have the rest of your life to make money. Seize the opportunities of youth while you've got them. Ask yourself: In ten years, will you be more thankful that you marched when you could or would you be more thankful that you worked during the summer? I wish you luck in your endeavor. Mike
Michael Boo has been involved with drum and bugle corps since 1975, when he marched his first of three seasons with the Cavaliers.

He has a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition.
He has written about the drum corps activity for over a quarter century for publications such as Drum Corps World, and presently is involved in a variety of projects for Drum Corps International, including souvenir program books, CD liner notes, DCI Update and Web articles, and other endeavors. Michael currently writes music for a variety of idioms, is a church handbell and vocal choir director, an assistant director of a community band, and a licensed Realtor in the state of Indiana. His other writing projects are for numerous publications, and he has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. His hobbies include TaeKwonDo and hiking the Indiana Dunes. But more than anything, Michael is proud to love drum corps and to be a part of the activity in some small way, chronicling various facets of each season for the enjoyment of others.