By Andy Dittrich
Capital Sound

Andrew Dittrich
I am pleased to say that I have gained an extension. Again, the drum corps enthusiasts who check every day (myself being one of them) will be seeing my ugly mug every week, along with various stories attempting to tie drum corps to college life, instructing high school marching bands, and living on my own. Drum corps is an awfully strange activity. It doesn't operate on a bell curve, where you gradually fade out, and are weaned off of it. You go from your highest levels of intensity, your highest point of corps unity, to nothing. You play your cleanest, most intense show of the year, then say your good-byes and leave. After those good-byes are said, and everyone drives home, the United States experiences the "Great Dispersal." In this nationwide phenomenon, the thousands of members of drum and bugle corps all disperse themselves to the thousands of marching bands across the country, as instructors, members or consultants. While drum corps die-hards may try to deny it, the connection between the drum corps activity and the marching band activity is both an obvious one, as well as a necessary one. The survival of the drum corps activity depends on that of our marching band programs. I myself came back to instruct and write for my former high school marching band at Romeoville (Illinois) High School, along with Capital Sound tenor drummer Kevin Crouch. Many members of the drum corps community seem to detest the marching band culture and its participants, when really it is a huge part of Americana, as well as a strategic need for our activity. I am proud to say that I teach at
Romeoville High School, and that I have worked for Bands of America, and hope to do it again. My other off-season experience will be coming with the University of Illinois Marching Illini, as I enter my freshman year of college. Again, I am and should be proud to say that I am a part of such a great program, and I find that it does not just help me in my quest to be a better snare drummer, but helps the drum corps community as a whole that people are continuing to be exposed to the marching music world. Yes, I am proud to be a marching band member, instructor and assistant. Any of you out there who think that drum corps makes marching band a worthless activity are wrong. Marching band members make up a huge percentage of drum corps membership, and drumcorps members make up a huge percentage of marching band staff. It's the off-season, but that just marks a beginning of another season. A time for drum corps to prove the great things it does for kids, by sending them back better members, better instructors, and better leaders of marching bands across the country. Quote of the week: "I want to see the pictures everyone's been taking of us." -- Theresa Soules Smile, it's "Project!" Andy Dittrich is the center snare drummer for Capital Sound, and is a fifth-year member of the corps. He attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is studying English.