The Cavaliers are at Huskie Stadium in Dekalb, Ill. again as they prepare for their first competition, and the first drum corps show of the season. Opening day of the 2007 Summer Music Games Tour will be held in Annapolis, Md. on June 16, featuring the defending World Champion Cavaliers, as well as five other Division I corps including the Bluecoats, Cadets, Carolina Crown, Glassmen and Spirit from JSU.

The Cavaliers' snare line rehearses in Dekalb, Ill. May 30.
Playing selections from the songbook of Billy Joel this season, the Cavaliers have been rehearsing every day at Northern Illinois University since May 19, preparing for what they hope will be another amazing year. During a short break from the the corps' "pre-tour" rehearsal on May 30, sat down with Johannes Stegmann, a trumpet player. Stegmann is a second-year veteran member with the Cavaliers, and is excited for a new season with the group. When asked if he likes the music the corps is playing this year, Stegmann enthusiastically replied, "Oh yeah! The music is amazing to say the least." He said that although this year's show is completely different than the corps' 2006 program "Machine," it will not disappoint. "This year and last year's shows were two completely different approaches toward music. We went from something that was totally Cavaliers, to something that nobody would ever expect the Cavaliers to do. But I think the crowd is going to get a nice little surprise out of us."

In this video clip, the Cavaliers' director Jeff Fiedler comments on the
corps' 2007 Billy Joel-inspired program,

The Green Machine rehearsed in the morning for a longer than usual four-and-a-half hour block in the hot heat before getting a lunch break, due to a problem with their food truck. The members, however, continued to work hard before their well-deserved break. During the lunch hour, corps members ate their "sloppy joe" sandwiches together in groups, while some practiced music in pairs.

Two corps members work through a piece of music during a lunch break.
Steggmann believes that the bonds made in this corps mean more than everyday friendships. "We make brothers here (and) it's a really cool feeling. The guys keep me going the entire summer," he said. "If I'm having a bad day, I can just go to my brothers and ask them for any kind of help. No matter what, if I just need somebody to cheer me up, if I need somebody to help me with a direction change or somebody to help me with trumpet," Stegmann says someone is always there for him. "You make really good friends here right off the bat, and that's one thing that's really special about this corps," he said. Get a member's persepctive in this audio interview with the Cavaliers' drum major, Tim Cleary. (MP3) As the Cavaliers reset their marching sets, play notes on their horns and drums, and spin flags and rifles, it is clear to see that these 135 young men are everyday people. What makes them special is that they work extraordinarily hard at what they love to do. For those who dream of being a member of the Cavaliers one day, and think those thoughts are only dreams, Stegmann says to think again. "If this is something you wanna do, try. You will never find out how good you are until you actually try," he said. "If you put your mind to it, you can do anything you want. If somebody wants to be in this corps, they can be in this corps." As Stegmann's break came to an end, he left with a final thought and request: "Send us mail. We love mail!" As he ran back to his set on the field, he and everyone else seemed excited for opening day of the season on June 16, when Billy Joel's voice will finally be heard through the Cavaliers. View a rehearsal photo gallery.