NEWARK, ILL. – The sun shines brightly over the green, rain-fortified cornfields, reflecting off the silver tubas and mellophones that the members of the world champion Cavaliers tote around a soccer field here in their longtime practice location west of Chicago. The temperature hovers around 75 degrees, and a wind blows softly off the cornfields onto the practice field. In one corner of the field, some Cavaliers condition themselves with pushups, while in the opposite corner tuba players listen intently to the instruction of corps director Jeff Fiedler. Across a quiet street, a man walks a content dog, while an American flag flaps lazily in the nascent breeze. It seems to be a perfect day for the Cavaliers to refine and practice their 2002 drill. Yet beneath this seemingly perfect June Midwestern backdrop, a controversy swirls over the noise the Cavaliers are creating in this seemingly idyllic small town. Some Newark residents have posted hot pink, anti-band flyers (see image) on their mailboxes (the Cavaliers have responded by taping the flyers to their drum heads and other equipment), and one resident has collected eight signatures on a petition asking the Cavaliers not to return to this town of 900 people. The controversy has wound its way through several e-mail exchanges between Newark residents, Cavalier staff members and Cavalier alums. The Cavalier Web site message board has buzzed with every latest waft of the controversy.Newark resident Susan Kosiarek is spearheading the anti-Cavalier movement in Newark. On June 4 at approximately 8 a.m., Kosiarek was awakened by the Cavalier drum line warming up too close to her house. "I was (awakened) this morning by a drum line practicing 10 feet from my home!" Kosiarek, whose house is next to the Newark school where the Cavaliers practice, said in an e-mail message. "I understand the needs of your members to practice, but NOT at the sacrifice of others." Kosiarek continued."My windows were rattling because they set up the drum line right outside my house," Kosiarek said later.Kosiarek has lived in Newark since November of 2001, and said that the school superintendent informed her that the Cavaliers would not be returning this summer. Otherwise she "would have worked harder to find (the Cavaliers) another rehearsal location.""The snares drums and tenors were in the parking lot (adjacent to Kosiarek's home). We probably shouldn't have been there," Fiedler acknowledged. "If I had been there earlier, I probably would have moved them away. We wanted to get going right away. Eventually we moved them. "Other Newark residents are concerned about the late hours that the Cavaliers practice. "I wish they would have asked" about an appropriate rehearsal time, added Newark resident Jason Townsend. Fiedler admitted there was confusion about what time the Cavaliers were supposed to stop rehearsing at night in Newark, but that the Cavaliers then agreed to end rehearsals at 9 p.m.Meanwhile, other Newark residents say the noise does not bother them. "Not a bit," said Florence Thompson, who lives a few doors down from Kosiarek. April Holland, who also lives near the school, added that she was not bothered by the noise."This location is too small for them," Kosiarek said. "To have the Cavaliers here practicing 13 hours a day is unfair to the people who live adjacent to the high school." Kosiarek also said that the Cavalier rehearsals are unfair to people who work at night, people with kids and people who work at home. "They need their peace during the day.""The Newark people are great," Fiedler said. Fiedler also said that members of the Cavaliers would be leading a music forum for the Newark youth later that afternoon. "The Cavaliers are a great organization. They need to find an appropriate place to practice," Kosiarek said.Fiedler estimated that 25 Newark residents watched the Cavaliers rehearse on Thursday night. "We fail to see what the 'sacrifice' here really is. I certainly agree that the drums should not have been outside her doorstep. But the Cavaliers are role models. We think that their professional presence in the Newark community, a community that is actively trying to implement a band program, should be welcomed by all," said Drum Corps International Executive Director Dan Acheson.
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