Remembering Drumcorps

I was just reading a column on, and one particular section caught my attention:

It?s funny how we all easily forget memories that are so important to us. What would we do without each other to remind us of all the funny things that happened? Would we try and remember the day that our caption head fell right on his butt trying to imitate how horrible we looked during a phrase? Or would we simply forget and let the memories fade with time?

The last thought is the scariest for me that comes along with leaving the activity for good. My caption head, Jamie Oakley, always said that we will never remember the bad days, only the good. That our struggle in the heat and torrential downpours would make us better but would never be our first thoughts when reminiscing about the entire season with our friends.

Maybe I just haven’t schmoozed with enough alumni from my years in Northern Aurora and the Bluecoats, but I find that I think equally of the bad and the good times. They were fairly evenly dispersed throughout my three years in Junior corps, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Well, maybe.)

When I think of my time in NA, I first think of crying on the field in Orlando after Division II/III (the smaller corps) Finals retreat in 1996. Everyone was hugging their friends and saying teary goodbyes. No one realized that not only would the corps never be the same particular ensemble of members, but the corps itself would never again take the field. 1996 was Northern Aurora’s final year of competition.

Our Corps Director was handing out Finalist medals, and gave one to my friend Dan, saying how the last two years had been great, or some such drivel. “Three,” Dan answered, but Joe didn’t hear him. Our Corps Director didn’t even know how long Dan had been in the corps. That was a bit of a blow for Dan.

Amy Jackson saw me crying alone on the field and said to me (through her own tears), “Diana! You’re not a rock anymore!” We both laugh-cried, and she went off to hug someone else, leaving me to stand alone again. I realized at that moment how few close friends I really had, if any, and it was one of the worst realizations of my corps career. I cried even harder.

My lack of close friends, or my inability to make them quickly, reared its ugly head again in the Bluecoats. A bunch of us from NA had come over to the Bluecoats together, and they all made new Bluecoats friends. All except me. I tried to tag along with them on free days, but I never quite felt like I fit in. I was always asking if I could join some group or another, and always feeling like a fifth wheel. During one free evening in Rhode Island, I think, I just stayed in the school gym for most of the evening because I couldn’t find someone to tag along with (and, of course, you can’t go out alone per corps rules).

Of course, there were also the fun times. Running between drill sets in the Bluecoats, and having Anthony “Duck” Mallard whack me on the head with his dot book every blessed time, just to hear me make my funny Beavis noise. Having our drum major in NA tickle me awake one morning. Hitting our loud trademark Bluecoats “park-n-blow” set in our first performance of the season. All the Northern Aurora runthroughs in ’95 where Mitch “Biscuit” Nelson would start us out with: “From Saginaw, Michigan: fifty-five idiots and one stuffed dinosaur that call themselves… THA NAH-THAHN AH-RAH-RAH! Are the judges ready? Who cares? Drum majors CC Snyder and Jennifer Volpe, is your corps ready…? Northern Aurora, you may take the field for a runthrough!”

So, yeah. It was good times. But thinking that you’ll remember more of the positive than the negative? Not me. I remember more negative than positive from my Bluecoats experience, especially. I know fun and positive things happened, and I know I enjoyed myself, but the bad times were more emotionally charged and made deeper memories, I think.

Still, though, I’m glad I marched. I wouldn’t trade my time in Junior corps for anything.