Linda Blezinger
Almost no one could deny that corps members' parents are some of the biggest fans in the stadium stands – often traveling hundreds of miles to see their sons or daughters perform and making sure they have the latest corps souvenir items; especially a good supply of corps T-shirts to proudly wear at contests. And for many of those parents, it's even better when they have two kids marching in a corps, because they can cheer doubly loud when their kids are on the field. But what if those two kids are members of two different corps? That's the delightful quandary that Linda Blezinger of Sulphur Springs, Texas faced this past summer. Her son, Drew, is a second-year front ensemble percussionist with the Bluecoats, after he performed for three previous years with Southwind. Her daughter, Shelby, also a front ensemble percussionist, is a first-year member with Spirit. Blezinger admits to having known nothing at all about drum corps when Drew came home and told her his assistant band director at Sulphur Springs High School was talking to him about the possibility of joining a corps. And when Drew told his mom that he wanted to be in a corps, Linda says she was "clueless but open to the idea." Blezinger went to her first drum corps event in Wichita Falls, Texas to check out the activity, and more specifically, to find parents whose kids were already corps members. "Many of those who I talked to told me that their kids' drum corps experiences taught them more responsibility than any summer job and provided the best private music lessons that a student could get over the summer," she said. With plenty of positive reinforcement, Linda gave her blessing to Drew to try out for a corps. Drew's enthusiasm for the drum corps activity inspired his sister Shelby to join a corps when she got older. In the process, attending many shows to see Drew and Shelby strengthened Linda's faith in drum corps as a great activity for students. "The activity provides an extreme growing experience for kids, pushing them to keep up and teaching them to work with others and how to take instruction – much like they will need to do later on in life in the workplace." In appreciation for what the drum corps experience has done for her children, Linda gave almost a month of her summer volunteering for the two corps that have become part of her family, helping to sell souvenirs for the Bluecoats and as a corps vehicle driver for Spirit. "Fortunately," she said, "both corps were at many of the same shows this summer." This has allowed her to show her enthusiasm for both her kids' corps, which prompted someone to ask her who she roots for at any given contest. Her reply was simply, "Whichever corps is on the field."