Do you know the saying “Carpe Diem”? Perhaps you know it by its English translation “seize the day”? Well, in drum corps we not only seize the day, but we put it in a headlock, throw it to the ground and give it a swift boot to top it off! I like to say in drum corps we use all 24 hours of the day. Needless to say, the last week has been very busy and productive. More on that in a second.

I must say that though I’ve been here 5 years now, I am still in awe of the support staff this corps has. Cooks, sewers, drivers, mechanics, you name it. Around the clock sewing (Adam has some beautiful flags, but are they ever time-consuming to build!), Four meals served each day. Our medical team has been handing out ice and ibuprofen in volume. I know the members appreciate them all, and for me…well, they are my friends and I am humbled to know them. Thank you!

The corps on the field is way ahead of where we’ve ever been. We now have the entire drill on the field. Still have some staging and transition coordination to do, but we actually ran a “top-to-bottom” run-thru tonight. We are easily 12 days ahead of last year. We’re still full-strength with a few alternates still on board waiting to cover for any injuries, and sure, we’ve had a few folks depart camp for a variety of reasons. This happens at all corps during Spring Training season (I’ve worked at many of them, believe me). Drum corps is hard – especially this time of year – homesickness sets in, perhaps they find they are in over their head a bit…you name it. We’ve always worked well with the alternate/understudy system and therefore we keep the corps full with all the right people. I always say that come June 15 we seem to have the 135 members that should be here. For every kid that walks away there is a success story – and a beaming kid – who finds out they now have a permanent spot.

The show is very cool…the guard costumes are unbelievable. Trust me when I say we’ve spared no effort here, but it will be worth it. Gorgeous is all I can say. Those reading this who know our designers Tommy Keenum and Adam Sage know what I mean when I say “amazing”.

Jamey’s drill is perfect…what a knack for staging and ensemble writing. The last drill set is so uniquely different for us, yet at the same time says “Phantom Regiment” in such a perfect way.

The music? I defy you not to hum it on the way home from a show!

In 1975 we did American In Paris. And, in 1983 we had a winter guard that participated in WGI and the show was based on these exact same tunes. Tonight the guard is going to watch that video, which will be fun. In fact, we ran a WGI World class guard from 1978 through 1983 (took 1982 off) and won the gold 2 of those 5 years, took 2nd two of the other years and 6th for one. Interesting trivia I think. Our oldest current members were just born in 1983. It’s kind of a neat “full circle” thing, hey?

Off the field we’ve bonded, made friends, got sore, used lots of ice, maybe dealt with some homesickness, and still managed to have a few laughs. Wednesday evening we held our annual “Health and Rules” meeting. We have an RN or even several doctors on the tour at all times, and each spring we take time to talk about hydration, wellness, mental health and coping skills. Dr. Dan and Dr. Amy Drendel (PR 86-88) provided good information to the corps at the meeting. I then went over the rules. It’s a very mature corps this year (only 10 members under 18 years old). They know right from wrong, and its all pretty black-and-white, so that part of the meeting goes quick.

We did a Walmart run Thursday evening…a packed bus for that! You know, for some members Walmart is a religious experience.

Our 2nd annual Snare Drum Camp is in session. We cap enrollment at 50 students, though 3 walk-ins showed up, and heck, there’s always room for one more – so all 53 are in and working hard. Legendary drummer Marty Hurley is here teaching the camp as are former center snares Jeff Hassan and Jeremy Noyes. A few campers even got to warm up in the Regiment snare line this morning! Right now we have just over 190 young people on campus for Regiment activities. Very cool. Our Drum Major Camp begins Tuesday, the enrollment has doubled from last year.

Parade and picnic tomorrow (Sunday), and big concert Tuesday, as well as our move from Rockford College to Winnebago HS, where we can turn on stadium lights and get some good ensemble work done at night.

Lot’s happening right now, and the energy here is pushing me like never before. I hope you’ll all like the end product, and I hope everyone here has the summer they dream of. It looks like we will.

Ok…back to work for me! Pat