I Ran Away with the Drum Corps


Day 5

June 26, 2017 – Should I Stay, or Should I Go?

We are now at the Mount Healthy High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is my fifth day on the road and I have now driven 1,000 miles on this journey with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps. Drum corps is mileage intensive with attending dangers. Scattered tire debris is worse than I have ever experienced in my many years of driving. I found that using my fog lights at night illuminated the road better for me to see the debris earlier. I narrowly avoided running over a large section of tire that would have caused some damage to the Volvo. One of the Boston Crusaders (BAC) trailers had a blowout and it has been changed this morning by a local tire service. The decamping in Columbiana was a well-oiled machine and the site was erased of any presence of the corps before we left with the exception of the overfilled dumpsters.

Tonight, BAC will be competing in the Summer Music Games in nearby Hamilton, Ohio, so today the corps will be rehearsing all morning and most of the afternoon again – go figure. BIS (butts in seats) for the show is at 4:00pm. At tonight’s show, BAC is on after intermission. BTW - BAC stands for Boston Area Crusaders, though early legend has a different meaning. Do not mess with the band kids! BAC will be competing against Carolina Crown and the Bluecoats again and tonight will match up against the Cavaliers and Crossmen for the first time this season. It is the hope and expectation that BAC will be in third place finish.

I have been spending more time with Steve, the prop guy and his crew of members on the props, and less time with Anthony the chef. New volunteer parents have been arriving to relieve me of the pots, pans and serving. Thank you, Betsy, Gina, Liz and Leo. Darren, the tour manager has suggested that I stay on. I think that I have become a desired member of the team. Tonight is a jump off point for me. Should I stay or should I go? I had only committed to volunteer for the Ohio shows with Mary-Mason the Tour Director. The corps is leaving for Evansville Indiana at 9:00pm directly from the show after the snack following the performance. I have noticed that I have been using ‘we’ more often, a sign that I am leaning toward sticking with the corps a little longer before I make the long trip home. I think July will be a very long month for me, waiting to hook up again in August for the final shows of the regular season in Allentown, Rome, and then back to Massillon again. I have 50-yard line seats for all three shows that coincidentally purchased months ago. 

For now, I would like to explore these questions again – Why am I running away with a drum corps? What is it that draws me to the activity and specifically, the BAC? Firstly, I am very excited to be writing again. I have had a sever lack of motivation as a writer over the past couple of years. Perhaps another reason is what I touched on briefly yesterday – the members. Yesterday at the rehearsal, I met Jen, a band director from a neighboring high school. She spoke to me about how the band kids always get along and are more accepting of each other. I get that. Hey, they make beautiful music together and that is a very bonding experience. Going through the rigors of drum corps is an ultra-bonding experience. There is also a wide diversity of members, culturally and racially with about a 50/50 gender balance. They are highly driven individuals and through the intense, daily peer-to-peer contact, they strive collectively to make the show a big success. But, let me also say that meeting the staff and other volunteers has been great. This corps has attracted the top talent in the activity. They drive themselves equally hard. The relationship between the instructional staff and the corps members is based on serious respect and understanding. The staff members drive the kids hard to achieve perfection and they eat it up. The organizational staff members that I have gotten to know well are just as dedicated and fun to work with. Everyone is uniquely different but commonly united by the singular mission of striving to be the best. These are my kind of people. I may stick it out for a few more shows and a few thousand more miles with the Boston Crusaders. Given everything that I have observed so far, this could be the best drum corps in the activity, overall. To look at just scores when one makes that statement is to miss the greater part of what this is all about.

Day 6

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.

One of the larger prop sections that are carried onto the field.

The steep hill to the Mount Healthy High stadium required engine-uity.