Kristin Kray
As anyone who has marched in drum corps can attest, there are many people out there that don't know the difference between marching bands and drum corps. Simply put, lots of people simply don't know what marching is all about, and cannot notice the subtle and not-so-subtle things that differentiate the two idioms. The level of difficulty and stress that goes into marching corps and putting a show onto the field is a lot different than putting a high school marching band on the field, which may seem obvious to some, but it came as a distinct shock to me. Marching three years in high school and two in corps made me realize this as well as many other things, while going back to teach a group of local high school band students finally cemented my own realizations. After my first year of corps, I had to go head-on into marching band. I was warned about not getting aggravated with the kids because they didn't spend the summer marching and getting better. Yes, there are serious high school marching bands out there, but mine was not one of them. Ultimately, then I could not adjust to the differences between drum corps and marching band, although I tried. The fact my fellow students weren't taking it seriously is finally what forced me out of the whole high school marching scene. Their lack of focus and inability to take it seriously made it too difficult for me to have an enjoyable time. After I graduated high school, I did regret not marching my senior year -- but at the same time I'm glad I didn't march. I was able to focus on my other interests and enjoy my last year in high school. But now the shoe is on the other foot! Here I am, a freshman in college and teaching a high school marching band in Brandon, Fla., trying to instill a degree of seriousness and dedication into my students. It's a lot of work! But I know that the work I'm putting into this band will make them that much better. It's aggravating at times because they get impatient with things that need to get done. There are days when I'm on the field with them and I just want to tell them to take a lap or two, do some push ups, and some crunches -- but it's inhumane to do that sort of thing in Hillsborough County. Having the opportunity to see many different view points of the whole marching activity has made me realize that it's an activity that comes with many ups and downs. It has allowed many people to become more confident with themselves and have experiences they probably would never have in a so called "normal" life. Enjoy the marching life as much as you can, and be crazy. March for yourself and march for the crowd. Kristin Kray is an 18-year-old freshman at the University of South Florida in Tampa, majoring in special education. She marched soprano for Pioneer in 2001-2002, and hopes to march trumpet for Carolina Crown next summer.