Here's the first installment of the 2006 season's interviews with corps members. We begin with returning vets, and we'll attempt to run one of these every weekday. Miranda Soucie was the first DCI vet to answer these questions, less than an hour and a half after we sent them out!

Miranda Soucie
Name, age, hometown: Miranda Soucie, 21, Echo Bay, Ont., Canada ^What corps are you in and what is your role this summer? Blue Stars mellophone (section leader 2005) ^Where I go to school and what I'm studying: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, junior theatrical education major. Give us your full drum corps/marching music background. I have never marched in a marching band. My first time watching a drum corps show was in 1998 -- following my own first drum corps performance. I threw up I was so nervous. I began in 1998 with the Bandettes as a bass drum player -- I marched bass, pit, and ended on soprano. In 2004 I decided to come over to the Blue Stars (for various reasons, I still love those girls in the Bandettes) and began playing lead mellophone. I've been with the Blue Team ever since. What's your practice schedule like? My practice schedule is very sporadic. As an international student, I pay (an inordinate amount of inappropriate words here) a lot to go to school. Therefore, I am efficient with my time. I am overloading by six credits (over the average load) in order to ensure I graduate on time, and to save money since 12-18 credits is all the same amount. As a result, I don't have a lot of time. There are some days where I'll wake up in the morning and just play in my apartment, the neighbors don't complain, but I'm sure they are thrilled. I never play on Tuesdays and Thursdays (I have six classes respectively on those days). So sporadic, that could have been the short story. What does your ideal free day consist of? Free day? Oh, those. Well, ideally I would like to wake up at 9 a.m. (that's sleeping in right?) and then head to a beach. A beach with cute little shops, little restaurants. Pull out the random Frisbee (there are a few in my corps), maybe play some ultimate. Swim and maybe tan -- OK, so maybe no tanning. But relaxation. Favorite pig-out food: Chocolate. Two major forms, though. Tea (with milk and sugar), it's how I do things here in the world, with Lindor milk chocolate truffles. Secondly, Breyer's mint chocolate chip ice cream! In the shower you can hear me singing: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (the jazzy version), Linkin Park, or something just crazy that I made up. The last good book I read: "The Story of Bobby O'Malley" by Wayne Johnston (it's Canadian). Funny, disturbing and generally great. The last great film I saw: That is really tough, I am pretty critical. I'd have to go with -- well really, I haven't seen a great film in a few years. "A Beautiful Mind," "The Passion of the Christ," it's all about the directing for me, not so much the content. Jobs I have/have had: Gas station attendant (full service) in January. This job SUCKS. Hallmark girl. Partylite Candle Consultant. McDonald's drive-through/cashier. UWM clerical assistant. Nanny. My favorite TV show: "Grey's Anatomy" (used to be "Nip/Tuck," but I haven't been impressed lately). What has been your formative drum corps moment? Getting to watch the 1999 Madison Scouts is probably the reason I am still in the activity. I remember being the biggest Scout groupie that year, watching them warm up everywhere, going to their finals rehearsal, everything -- it just enthralled me. I have a scrapbook all to their own. What would you be doing next summer if you were not marching? I'd be going to school and working a lot! I would actually like to start my own business, but that'll have to wait another year. I'm thinking of starting a nail polish company, or helping someone start a construction company. How did you decide to be a member of your corps? In 2003, I met quite a few Blue Stars. They were friendly, courteous and really funny. After tour ended I found a few online, and began chatting with them a lot on instant messenger. Before long I had convinced myself that driving 14 hours alone to audition would be the best thing for me. What first attracted you to the drum corps activity? The friendship, the closeness, and the being around people all of the time. The last is NOT what attracts me now. What advice would you give to young people who want to march? Don't start too early, it gets really hard to keep going. Age 16 is the best age possible to do it. You're young, healthy, and will only march long enough so that your body isn't too battered at the end. Always have a positive attitude. Not everyone can do drum corps, but if you decide to, you can. The activity is very welcoming, and even if you don't make your favorite corps, there are many out there -- all with differing levels of experience, family and ideals. Each drum corps has its own personality. Learn what it is, check a few out the year before you want to audition. I know people plan for years to do it. Checking out the corps isn't a sideline thing -- go to camps. Most camps are open, see how they rehearse, heck, audition just for the experience. What I want to be when I "grow up": A lawyer or business owner. Favorite drum corps personality and why: Billy Happel (Blue Stars alum, and former drum major from the '60s). He is always there with encouragement for the Blue Stars, and for the activity. He and his wonderful fianc?©e, Kathy (Troopers alum), are the most beautiful and endearing drum corps people I know. They have so much respect, enthusiasm and heart for the activity. They've been big supporters of myself and many others. Thank you! Best drum corps show ever and why: '99 Scouts -- it wasn't the cleanest, but it sure was the best entertainment that I could ever imagine. The year is 2030. What does a DCI show look like? By that time drill writers will have us levitating, the mellophones will have clear bells in order to see the drum major, and every person will be personally microphoned. Feel free to add anything else you'd like. Be there, '06 Madison – my ageout.