In drum corps there seems to be a problem with many of the members, myself included, we think we're invincible, especially once we put the uniform on. We take many things for granted, including the time we have left in this activity. Adam Nelson was my section leader last season and he was also an ageout after five years with the Colts. Adam was someone that I really looked up to in every aspect of life. He's an amazing horn player and I always aspired to be like him as a performer. To see his raw emotions come through after his last run-through with the corps was shocking. I really wish I could have gotten inside of his head, since soon enough I too will go through that.
Greg "Dos" Asplund aged out last summer after three years with the Colts. Someday I hope to send my children to his kindergarten class, because I don't think I've seen anyone care so much about another person and what they're going through. Dos gave all he could for the corps both summers that I marched with him. Now as I watch the end of the 2004 semifinals DVD, when the corps snaps their horns down, I see a close up of Dos crying. It's difficult to know what was going through his mind as he finished the last performance in that uniform. Lucky for me I'm still young and I don't age out until 2007. But recently I've had the chance to talk with my friend Jason Kulak who will be a rookout in the Vanguard mellophone line this summer. Jason told me, "March every year like it's your age out." Whether you have one year or nine years in the activity, the time flies by faster every year. My friend Chris Tanner, who's in the Colts cymbal line, tells me that every year time will pass quicker and quicker. I never did want to believe him, until this year when I had no choice but to fully realize that. Your time is limited, so take advantage of every second you have with your brothers and sisters and make it something memorable. In two weeks most of us will be finishing our packing and saying our final goodbyes to our friends and families for the summer to set out and do what we love and can only dream of doing for nine months out of the year. So as you get ready to head out onto the field for the summer, remember to give the best performance of your life on the field every night, and let that be the minimum for the next day. Every day is a chance to make yourself better as a performer -- whether it's in full uniform in front of a sold-out audience, or if it's just for the staff on some field with grass that's ankle high. Go out on the field every day and have fun doing your gig. After all, you only get two and half months a year to do it full-time. Past columns by Joe Smith: Russian Christmas in April: Report from an SCV camp Getting ready Heaven on tour Bringing drum corps to the concert auditorium Making the line Getting ready The Right shoes Tie trickery Happy in California Hanging with drum corps buddies Iowa and "The Hitchhiker's Guide" Paintball and wind ensemble: A Wonderful weekend The Old horn Staying flexible On Personal motivation The Lure of strawberry smoothies In Praise of sponsors Loving the Phantom of the Opera A Picture is worth 1,000 words Dealing with tour withdrawal The Busy musical season A Hectic drum corps week Right where you left off The Other side Preparing for tour Getting away from it all: Report from a Colts' camp Strong winds, early sunset: Report from a Colts' camp Meet the visual tech New challenges in Dubuque My favorite place: Alfred, N.Y. Freezing rain, full ensemble: A report from Dubuque Discussing drum corps over the holidays