This week on DCI.org we'll be hearing from multiyear corps veterans, and why they stay at one corps for years on end. Phantom regiment trumpet veteran Mallory Klaunig, who has been with that corps since 2002, truly has a love/hate relationship with marching, which sets her apart from many gung-ho returnees. "One of the most interesting things for me about drum corps is that I genuinely hate it sometimes," Klaunig said. "There are times when I just can't rationalize going to all those camps and spending hours upon hours trying to perfect the minutia of something like where exactly my foot should be during a specific subdivision of a specific beat."
True to her philosophy major roots (she's a junior at Indiana University who also plans to also pursue philosophy at the graduate level), the reasons she marches are complex. "There are a lot of reasons to march but there are also a lot of reasons not to. It's hard to pin down exactly what it is about drum corps that makes it worth all the headache. So I guess I keep coming back because for some reason I can't seem to convince myself not to," Klaunig said. Rites of spring In her tenure, Klaunig has learned self-trust as a member of the Phantom regiment. "Most notably, you have to take things as they come and trust yourself to be able to handle them," Klaunig said. Here's a breakdown of what Mallory Klaunig has learned in each of her years in the corps. 2002: I learned to take things as they come. There are a lot of factors in drum corps life that you just can't control and there's no use dwelling on them. I learned to prioritize what was worth worrying about. The older members taught me by example about taking personal responsibility for my actions. Also, chicken salad on a hot day -- not your friend. 2003: You really can force yourself to have a good day. I also learned that people only mess with you if you let them. 2004: I think that as a corps we learned that it's not over until it's over. We figured out that you have to appreciate the good friends that you make and ignore people trying to bring you down. 2005: I found a whole new level of enjoying hard work last year. I actually looked forward to basics on most days. Klaunig is loath to point out a favorite summer thus far. "Every season is so different. It's hard to take an entire summer with its unique ups and downs and compare it to another summer," Klaunig said. Adventures under a darkened sky Like many other current marching members, Klaunig was encouraged to try out for the Phantom Regiment by a music educator. "A high school band director of mine, John Sedwick, had marched back in the '80s. He talked it up a lot, and encouraged me to try out," Klaunig said. The staff at the Phantom Regiment, meanwhile, stands out for its holistic approach to brass education, according to Klaunig. "One thing I really like about our staff is that they exercise a lot of integrity, on and off the field. For example, our brass staff isn't just there to crank out a good book, they're trying to make us better brass players on a whole. The visual staff, too, doesn't just expect us to march well, they want us to carry ourselves with genuine dignity and class," Klaunig said. Transfigured night Klaunig still struggles with a school/drum corps balance during the academic year, compounded by her campus job at the IU ballet and opera theatre. "I'm not a very organized person, so the days surrounding camps get a little hectic sometimes with homework. I'm a card-carrying member of the "I'll just do it on Sunday night" club. As far as work goes, my boss is actually familiar with drum corps, so she's really reasonable about me missing tech calls for camps," Klaunig said. Beyond school, Klaunig is honest about what the future holds. "Eh, the whole career thing is in the air for me. I'm majoring in philosophy right now, and I may take that on to grad school. I don't really know what I want to do yet," Klaunig said.