This week on DCI.org we've been hearing from drum corps members who are in their first year of marching. For three rookie members of the Madison Scouts, it was the influence of another person who inspired them to go out and audition. John Damore, an 18-year-old euphonium player from Romeoville, Ill., was hooked by a hometown friend who showed him DCI DVDs. "A friend who marched Capital Sound, Andrew Dittrich (he now marches with Southwind), told me about drum corps my senior year," Damore said. "I had never heard of it before, and he got me hooked on some DVDs. (Soon I was) scanning the Internet for as much info as I could find," Damore said. Damore's plan to march took a few years to pan out, however. "I had originally planned on marching Capital Sound, but I didn't have the means to get to and from camps in 2003. By the time 2004 rolled around, I had absolutely fallen in love with Madison. I auditioned and wasn't offered a spot, auditioned the next year and still wasn't offered a spot, but I have a spot this year and all of the waiting, dedication, and hard work has definitely been worth it. I'm loving the experience so far and I absolutely can't wait to tear Camp Randall apart!" Damore said. Mark Cresswell, originally a trombone player (in the Scouts he plays euphonium) from Manchester, England, was also inspired by a buddy. "About 10 years ago, I told a member of my hometown corps, the Kidsgrove Scouts back in England, that I played trombone. Before I knew it I was marching around with a baritone and I've been marching drum corps ever since," Cresswell said. The Manchester native also said that his friends' experiences inspired him. "A met a lot of people in a very short space of time who were all having a great time marching and also having a lot of fun with the social aspect too. I guess I wanted to be a part of that," Cresswell said. Christopher Otte, meanwhile, said an educator helped him find the inspiration to audition. "My high school band director always spoke of performing for the crowd and trying to touch the audience's heart and soul when he marched. He made me want to be a part of that." Otte is the assistant conductor for the Scouts this year. Advice for vets The three Madison Scouts rookies also dispensed some valuable advice for returning veterans. "Get it know the rookies around you on more of a personal level," Otte said. Cresswell agreed that it's important for vets to get to know the rookies, but for another important reason. "Make your rookies feel welcome, quickly! They will be the face of your corps when you are too old to march," Cresswell said. Damore, meanwhile, feels that the returning marchers with the Scouts are already doing their part to make the new members feel like part of the team. "The big one you always hear is, "Mingle with rookies and make sure they feel welcome," but I've never felt like this was the case at Madison. I feel like the vets are always treating the rooks like everyone else, and the brotherhood is pretty tight, even in February." Damore said. "No one acts better than anyone else and no one comes down on rookies for simple things they didn't know. It's really a great environment."