So I hope those of you who read this regularly have started to figure out how much I submerge myself in the drum corps activity. And for those of you who don't read this very often, shame on you (I'm just kidding), but maybe today you'll start to realize the extent to which I submerge myself. One thing that really caught my eye when I first discovered drum corps was the shiny horns. I'm all about shiny objects; they really amuse me and keep me occupied. That first camp I was really excited to finally get my hands on one of those shiny mellophones that the Colts had on their equipment truck.

Joe Smith and Adrianna.
After my contract was signed, I had the chance to finally take a mello home to claim as mine for the season. This was a very happy day in my world. A short while later, I decided that since I was going to spend so much time with this horn, I might as well take the time to name her. I took quite a bit of time to try and find the perfect name for my horn, because, after all, she was very dear to me. So after searching through a few Web sites for baby names, I finally decided to ask a friend for help. I turned to my good friend Mee Hee Kim for help, and she seemed happy to oblige, and after a bit of discussion we decided on the perfect name. I started to tell all of my friends in drum corps that I had finally figured out the perfect name for my new precious mello -- Adrianna (a-dre-ahn-na). I thought that no one could pick a better name for my horn. So all season I was pretty conscious about how shiny my horn was, after all, I thought my horn did deserve to look good. At the end of the year I put Adrianna in her case for the last time in the parking lot of the Citrus Bowl down in Orlando, Fla.

Banquet for the 2003 season was a great experience. It was great to see all the old faces again, and catch up with the people I hadn't talked to since tour. After banquet we were standing in the hall of our hotel hanging out when I saw Greg Orwoll, the corps director, and we started talking. After a bit of discussion I asked if I could buy my horn after we switched to B-flat instrruments. He said I could, and I was ecstatic.

The next month was the beginning of the 2004 pre-season, and with that brought my new status as a veteran in the horn line. With that came the perk of picking horns first, and surprisingly, I didn't pick Adrianna. Instead I picked a new model mello that was heavier (unfortunately). After I took it home and did some researching, I decided to name it after the Greek god Apollo. I knew though that this horn would not top Adrianna. During the season, though, I was even more aware about how shiny I wanted Apollo to be. I was almost obsessed. The goal was always to blind someone with my bell. That's why I spent so much time shining my horn.

At the end of the 2004 season I packed Apollo away. I knew this would be the end of its junior drum corps experience, because I had heard many rumors of a new set of horns in the year to come. After being home a short while I decided that it was time for me to move on, and that I wouldn't be back at the Colts for the 2005 season. I still closely watched what happened with the Colts. In November I heard that the Colts would be receiving a new line of Yamaha horns (I love the Xeno trumpets, I'm a proud owner) so I was very excited for them, but I wondered at the same time what the fate of the old G bugles would be.

After some discussion with my good friend and some correspondence with Vicki at the Colts, I decided that I should follow through with what I dreamed of in 2003. After some more discussion with people and a couple of emails this last week it was decided that I would once again have Adrianna back with me.

On Monday after I came home from class, a large brown Yamaha box was sitting outside of my door. So I ran up and snatched the box and took it safely inside my house. Almost as fast as my mind would move I grabbed a pen out of my pocket and started poking and prying to try and get the box open. Fortunately this time around the box opened for me (I have bad luck with boxes sometimes). Inside the box sat a 12-year-old case that held Adrianna. I was so happy to finally have my horn back in my hands.

You're probably sitting there wondering, "Now why would Joe want an old G mellophone back?" The answer to that question is somewhat simple. Part of the reason is I'm just a dork and want to have the horn from my rookie year back. The other part, though, is because when I become a corps director (hopefully in the not-so-distant future) I want to be able to have something in my office from my first year of drum corps. And what would be more perfect than the horn that was on my chops everyday?

I now shall head off to play Adrianna for a while, since I have a bit of time on my hands. Have a great weekend. Past columns by Joe Smith: Staying flexible On Personal motivation The Lure of strawberry smoothies In Praise of sponsors Loving the Phantom of the Opera A Picture is worth 1,000 words Dealing with tour withdrawal The Busy musical season A Hectic drum corps week Right where you left off The Other side Preparing for tour Getting away from it all: Report from a Colts' camp Strong winds, early sunset: Report from a Colts' camp Meet the visual tech New challenges in Dubuque My favorite place: Alfred, N.Y. Freezing rain, full ensemble: A report from Dubuque Discussing drum corps over the holidays