This week, we'll be focusing some editorial firepower on anecdotes and stories related to drum majors. Think back to those formative, funny, inspiring or memorable drum major and send them in! They can be as long or as short as you would like. Attach a picture of yourself or the situation you're writing about if you can. And by all means, pass this on to your friends! We'll edit these stories for clarity, grammar and appropriateness. If you have a drum major-related anecdote or story, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Andrea Whiteway, a veteran of the Canadian corps Les Étoiles, Multi-Visions, Arcs-en-ciel and Les Sentinelles (that corps' drum major in 2000 and 2001), sent in this memory.
I would like to share the most touching event that has happened to me on the road.^ We were practicing in Pittsfield, Pa., on a very hot day. I had gotten a bad sunburn the previous day (as it happens so often to us pale-skinned redheads) and was so sick to my stomach from heat stroke it wasn't even funny. You have never seen a person do the dash for the restroom se fast and so many times in one day! So we were practicing (ensemble) stand-still in the shade, and I am so miserable that I'm making everyone else around me miserable. As the staff is talking to the horn line, a woman comes up behind me and taps me on the shoulder. "I'm sorry to bother you, but could my son play the timpani with your group?" she asked. "It would really mean the world to him." Now I'm thinking to myself that this lady is dreaming in Technicolor (I'm sorry -- I was really sick!). Then I looked behind her to get a good look at her son. He was in a wheelchair, almost totally paralyzed by an illness that wasn't going to let him live long enough to reach high school. So the staff decided to stop the practice and give this kid his shot at the pit. His mom hiked up his chair as far as it would go and tilted it forward. We put mallets in his hands and got the pit to start a warm up exercise. With all his heart this kid banged on those skins and the more he banged, the more the smile grew on his face. And the more he smiled, the more I cried (and so did everyone else). When the exercise ended, he laughed and laughed and didn't care that we were all crying a river from the emotion of the moment. We gave him a corps cap and made him an honorary member of Les Étoiles on the spot. His mom said she hadn't seen her son so happy in a long time. And all of the sudden my sunstroke didn't seem so important in the grand scheme of things.
Andrea Whiteway in 2001 with Les Sentinelles