This week, we'll be focusing some editorial power on drum corps memories from our Canadian friends -- we are Drum Corps International, after all. Francois Morin was a DCI intern this past summer. By Francois Morin Ten years ago, I became aware of drum corps at the beginning of my freshman year of high school. Immediately after I heard just those first exciting notes, I signed an application to join the first Canadian corps I marched with, Acad?©mie Musicale. I now consider that the best move I ever made in my life. In fact, now that I have aged out (with the Cavaliers), I can say that the activity gave me so many good moments, feelings and experiences, both in Canada and the United States, that it helped form the person that I am today. And I am certain that my drum corps experiences will continue affect me in the future.

Francois Morin (right) and fellow 2003 DCI intern Missy Idso. Idso now works full-time for DCI.
I keep so many good memories from the Canadian shows that I was a part of as well my interaction with other Canadian corps. There were a lot of good Canadian corps competing against Acad?©mie Musicale back then, like Les Étoiles, L'insolite or Dimensions. One of my favorite shows was the provincial competition, usually held at the end of August. After the DCI World Championships, I remember rehearsing in the cold, with a jacket and a scarf on, for the Canadian fans -- who are very different from the American fans. They usually waited until the end of the show to cheer and applaud the performers, which made the whole performance very different. But even if they didn't want to interrupt or take away the performing kid's concentration during the show, they were still very enthusiastic! I remember in 1997 after a show, a young kid came to me and asked for an autograph -- my first one ever! I was very surprised because I was only 16 years old, but I was pleased at the same time. On the other hand, Canadian corps used to help each other out a lot. And with a smaller corps' limited touring budget, helping each other out was a necessity. I remember when Les Étoiles' equipment truck was involved in a road accident, they lost all their equipment halfway through the summer. They had to rely on the other Canadian corps to lend them instruments, but they still managed to get through the tour. We had a lot of mechanical problems with the buses and the trucks. We also used to get lost a lot of the time! We all spent our summer with no air conditioning on two school buses, with one combined food/equipment truck. But you know what, it was still one of the best summers of my life! Like everyone else in the drum corps world, I met the best friends and went through the best experiences of my life. One of the best shows that I've been a part of was Invitation Quebec, where, each year, a few bigger Division I American corps like the Madison Scouts, the Cadets, Colts or Cavaliers performed with us. I remember being very impressed with the top five DCI corps.
It was at this point, especially in 1998, when I decided to try out for the Cavaliers. Without any expectations of making the corps, I ended up being a Cavalier for four years in row. And I still hear a lot of comments from the alumni and other members of the corps who went to Montreal in 1998 and the great times they had there. I have been involved in the activity since 1994. Even after aging out, I spent last summer with the incredible CAT-5 crew of It was one of the best drum corps experiences! Traveling all over the United States and covering a good part of the shows for all the fans through the Web site was such an incredible job! I would definitely recommend everybody apply for such an internship. It's great -- and you finally get to see how a drum corps show/championship is planned and organized. Working with one of the best teams around, I learned about the activity as well as about myself. This experience will definitely affect my decisions for a career in the future. During the upcoming season, I will teach the front ensemble for Spirit from Jacksonville State University. Working with a top-12 corps will be a great teaching experience! All those moments and experiences in the activity are due to that day in my first year of high school where I signed up for Acad?©mie Musicale. It's just unbelievable to see now what I've been through and what I'm up to! Being a marching member in two different countries with two different corps gave me some great life lessons. Drum corps fans are everywhere, speaking English or French, and everybody is working and volunteering for the same unique activity. Drum corps is an experience that leads towards a lifelong passion, and I'm now looking forward an exciting 2004 season!