I Ran Away with the Drum Corps


Day 3

June 24, 2017 – Cornfields of Columbiana

I and my Volvo have now traveled over six hundred miles to Crestview High School in Columbiana, Ohio. This is the lodging site for the Boston Crusaders for their first competition of the season to be held tonight – Innovations in Brass. The road trip was reminiscent of the many times that I traveled the NYS Thruway as a salesman representing Midstate Printing Company in Syracuse. After 30 years as a road warrior, with well over a million career miles under my belt, I gave up the life on the road for one more locally-based in the Mad River Valley. These days most of my driving is on two-lane country roads, but yesterday I got back in touch with my highway driving skills and relived my motto – “caffeine, cruise control, and rock n’ roll.”

I arrived at the housing site, which is in the middle of a cornfield, about 5 hours ahead of the corps so I pitched my tent behind the ball field and went to sleep. Lo and behold, about 2:20 am the busses and trucks arrived. I pulled on my shorts, slid into my sandals and checked in with a staff member carrying a walkie-talkie – Jackie. She informed me that I should show up in the morning to help out with breakfast. I gladly returned to my air mattress. Soon the corps members were encamped in the gym on theirs and we all enjoyed continued slumber in Columbiana.

This morning is a beautiful one for sure. A great day for the kids to work their butts off before their first show. I am excited about returning to Massillon to see another show. Last year I attended the last competition of the season there before the World Championships. What a treat to watch the Bluecoats from Canton, Ohio perform their outstanding 2016 program Downside Up at their home show. As you may know, they went on to become World Champions. I have a 50-yardline, top of the stand ticket again for the August show this year. Tonight the Crusaders are on just before intermission. I predict that following this competition, they will be on after the intermission.

This morning I helped other volunteers and staff members serve breakfast and then prepared four large trays of salad. After that, I did my first dish duty in the kitchen trailer – washing pots and pans. I guess that experience working in a restaurant as a kid came in handy. There are several staff members that travel with the corps to run the operational side of things. The food truck in a semi trailer converted into a production kitchen. Anthony, the chef is well liked. He has a good manner, patiently coaching the volunteers and providing comfort to friends and members of the corps. Some initial take-away thoughts are: they need real maple syrup for the pancakes and real cheddar cheese for the scrambled eggs. Also, they can reduce the trash and increase the recycling.

The corps members are rehearsing while interns and volunteers are busy preparing for the first big night. I have been helping Steve, the prop guy repair some of the guard props with glue and gorilla tape, while Natalie and Kylee are working on their guard uniforms in the art room. Lunch is next. Eat, shower and load (ESL) is at 7:00pm. Butts in seats (BIS) is at 3:30pm, when we all depart for the show. The (WOW) is about to come. I am signing off until tomorrow when I will reflect on the first public performance of the new Boston Crusaders’ Wicked Game. This is the first show where I do not have a ticket for an excellent seat in the stands. Mary-Mason handed me a security pass on a lanyard – Whoo hoo! I will be helping with the pit trailer and watching the program on the field sidelines.

Day 4


This personal reflection of my 10-day vacation as an intern-volunteer with the Boston Crusaders, a world class drum and bugle corps, started out as a daily blog. However, I have compiled my daily entries here into this diary-style essay.

Rest area along the Southern Tier Expressway in Seneca Territory.

The three sisters – corn, beans and squash.