By Allison Owen It's about that time again. The school year is slowly but surely winding down, indoor season has just about reached its end, and drum corps kids are preparing for their last camp or two before move in. The summer is almost here and I can't wait. On Thursday I'm headed up to Dayton for WGI Percussion World Championships. It's going to be an awesome trip and I'll get to see a lot of corps members. Taylor, one of my Crown friends, is going up there with me, so we're both hyping the time to get to see our friends from corps.

Allison Owen at 2004 World Championships
This will be my third year attending WGI Percussion, and each year it gets better and better. This year is especially amazing for me because I know so many more people that will be there. I'll get to hang out with several corps people -- from Memphis and elsewhere -- so it will be a good time. Due to winter guard conflicts, I've missed the last two corps camps, so I haven't seen any of my fellow corps members since February. That's a long time without seeing them, as anyone who has marched knows. So it'll be another much-needed reunion. A major highlight for me is getting to see my boyfriend. Now anyone who's tried that long-distance relationship thing also knows that it's not an easy thing to do. I haven't seen him in about 60-something days (I've lost count), so it will be a pretty nice opportunity to see him and some other Memphis Sound members. Jonathan's in the Surround Sound bass line, so I'll probably be hanging around with them most of the time I'm there. Our second bass, Jordan, is on the Gateway bass line and Camaron, the fifth bass, will be going up to Dayton with them. So I know for sure I'll at least get to see a few of the bass line members. By the way, these are two bass lines you should definitely check out if you're going to be in town; they're pretty awesome. Not that I'm biased or anything. Back when I didn't really know many people -- the first time I went to WGI in 2003 -- Dayton was just a really cool percussion competition. Then I "discovered" drum corps. I met some corps members and once they mentioned it, I knew I had to find out more. Now I'm hooked and I can't believe the amount of people I've met because of it. It's really weird to think that I've only been involved in this activity for that short of time, when it feels like forever! This activity is my life and I can't imagine doing anything else. When I see "normal" people on the street I want to run up to them and ask, "How do you live without drum corps?" However, I ignore the urge to do so, because that would be a little creepy, wouldn't it? But seriously, now that I know what drum corps is, how could I possibly live without it? I can't imagine how these "normal" people live without this amazing activity. What do they do all summer? How do they survive without going to shows and keeping up with scores all summer long? How can someone just hang around and go to the mall when there are nightly corps competitions across the country? There is this awesome "world" that many don't even know about. Two years ago if you would have said to me, "So what do you think about the Blue Devils this year?" I probably would have thought you were talking about Duke's basketball team. The "outside world" has no idea of the countless hours and intense work that drum corps members put into their shows. It's not common knowledge in an "average household." You see sports and such on TV all the time, but rarely have I heard of someone who was just flipping through the channels and watched the DCI PBS Broadcast after never hearing of it before. We're all surrounded by the "average" people in our everyday lives. I know that it's hard to come home after a weekend of corps and not have anyone nearby to talk to about it. It's pretty difficult to have no one around to understand what you're saying and just think you're weird. Since I go to school with several Crown guys, some of the "normal" kids in school at least know what I mean when I say I march drum corps. It's pretty cool to be able to talk about things like different drum corps' shows to people who I see daily. It's great to be understood. Now they still think I'm weird and I'm still crazy, but at least they have an idea of what I'm talking about. Even though I'm understood here, I still miss seeing my corps family. It's been a long time since I've seen someone I march with, so I can't wait for Thursday. There's going to be some pretty awesome competition up in Dayton, so I recommend checking it out if you can. I'm sure there will be a lot of corps members hanging around, so it's something I personally wouldn't want to miss. As of this coming Saturday night, indoor season will officially have reached its end and drum corps season will take center stage. That's just one more sign that summer will be here before we know it. So for the next five days I'm going to enjoy the end of one great season and the beginning of another. Allison Owen, 16, is a junior at Sullivan Central HS in Blountville, Tenn. She's in her second year in the Memphis Sound guard 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.