By Allison Owen This past weekend I helped out at the Memphis Sound recruiting booth at the WGI color guard regional in Smyrna, Tenn. I watched some very impressive guards -- and even a few drum lines -- over the course of the weekend and I had a great time. I spent most of my time at the booth though. We had DCI Finals DVDs playing on a TV at the booth all weekend, and this gave me the opportunity to see many peoples' first reaction to drum corps. Just for humor's sake I will share the most memorable reactions.
My absolute favorite first reaction to corps is when someone will stop to watch a show and stand there with their mouth open in awe. I love this response because that is exactly the way I was when I was first exposed to drum corps. It is so intense, precise and just plain cool that there are still times when I watch a show and then find myself in a state of shock. Another thing that I enjoyed very much was when a drum corps vet or current member would stop by and ask to watch a show from when they marched. I love seeing someone watch their show and point themselves out, or say "I absolutely loved this part," "Watch this," or "Man, this move was awful." One thing that did make me cringe all weekend, though, was the pronunciation of "corps." It is not pronounced like a dead body, people! Countless individuals would walk by and read our sign out loud, "Memphis Sound Drum and Bugle Corpse," and it made me want to say, "There is no such thing as Memphis Sound Drum and Bugle dead body!" As the weekend went on I began to ignore it, but every once in a while I did hear this mispronunciation and I most certainly cringed. Another common reaction is easily demonstrated by a conversation I had with two teen-age girls Saturday afternoon. They were passing by the Memphis Sound booth as they browsed the merchandise of the other booths and the 2003 DCI Finals DVD caught their attention. They had been standing there not even a minute when one of them exclaimed "Hey! That looks like our band!" and the other said, "Is that us?" and quickly answered her own question with a "No, we're bigger than that." Since I was the only one at the booth at this time I took the opportunity to ask if they were familiar with drum corps. When they said they were not, I took some time to explain it to them as they stood there with slightly puzzled looks on their faces. Once I had finished, one said, "I could do that." She then said she would be back later for more information. Well, she didn't come back, but I was glad that she was at least interested and now had some idea of what drum corps is. All weekend people would walk by and say, "What's that?" as they passed the TV. Some would keep on walking, others would stop and ask which BOA show they were watching, and then there were the ones who would stand there in amazement of the activity I love sharing with people. Sure it was frustrating when people would ask which BOA show they were watching, but had I not been introduced to corps a year or so ago I might have done the same thing. No matter what kind of first reaction I saw, I knew that one more person now had (even if only slight) knowledge of drum corps. Thinking about this made my weekend very special and memorable, because I know that I can now say that I have introduced people to drum corps -- outside of my friends -- and it feels good. I'd like to say a special thanks to my friend Andee for coming with me this weekend and the Bohannans for housing us. Also, thanks to those of you who stopped by the booth this weekend to say hello. OK, so it was just one person-hey Joel! Good luck to my fellow Allie in her ongoing Spirit auditions and thanks to her parents for keeping me updated on how it is going. I also really enjoyed Collins Hill's show. Last, but most certainly not least, I speak for many people when I say that I hope Nathan chooses to march. Marching drum corps is going to be the experience of a lifetime and I am proud to say that this weekend I showed a few people the activity that I love and now they are loving it too.
Allison Owen is a sophomore at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn., who is marching with Memphis Sound. "I'm in the SHHS guard and I like writing, dancing, performing, traveling, photography and having fun. As for after high school/college, I don't know what I want to do ... I just know I would like to do something dealing with color guard, computers or writing," Owen said.