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Dream memories

by Brooklyn Mario
bklynmario@aol.com

Scalding Sunday sun . . . the siren-coaxing sound of rehearsing horns and drums heard from a distance of three blocks before you reach the stadium . . . coughing monoxide fumes in the parking lots . . . symbiotically impassive mounted Jersey City police and their horses maneuvering orderliness and direction to wayward busses, cars and people . . . jackets of every color and corps . . . impatiently squirming queues at the ticket windows . . . “Dream contest programs, get your Dream contest programs!” . . . the summer complementary mingled aroma of beer, hot dogs and French fries that assails you from the shadowed food stands . . . your first vision of the green and brown and freshly-painted whiteness of the legendary, elemental field . . . the rush to get to the best seats, only to discover that they are “officially” taken by the flock of black and white-adorned nuns ceremoniously perched there      . . . the indigenous, came-with-the-stadium flocks of pigeons that unceremoniously perched everywhere . . . the restlessness during the Star Spangled Banner . . . and . . .

The so-slow-to-come/so-quick-to- end, once-in-a-lifetime, pure joy of competing in your first Dream . . . the inexplicable reason for your uniform colors seeming to be brighter . . . admiring,       envious faces of kids in other corps who will never know this experience . . . the PA announcer proclaiming, “On the starting line, from _____, the _____!” . . . applause and cheers from the sun- and smoke-hazed crowd . . . the step-by-step adrenaline intensity that increases with each drum major-egotistical step . . . the first note/ drum beat . . . your leap of faith first step   . . . more cheers . . . the last World War/Broadway/ Hollywood color presentation that unseats the audience more by loyalty than habit . . . your concert piece that nearly everyone can sing or dance or clap or foot-tap to . . . the exit number that says goodbye to summer, farewell to love, you know who we are, please don’t forget me, you know how I love you, see you next year . . . the last note . . . the standing ovation . . . the one-more-time, “from _____, the _____!” . . . and then trying futilely to relive the eye-blink performance that ended five minutes ag0.

Last-note waiting EMT volunteers who don’t need to wait that long for a casualty . . . the in-between performances rush to the rest rooms . . . the last-drop-empty cans of Ballantine beer spilling over their corner hidden pails . . . a quick “Hello” here . . . a hurried, “Hey, good to see you!” there . . . “Damn! Wish the *&%$# line would at least move!” . . . “Was that thunder?” . . . a balding, chain-smoking guy at the back of the field who never seems to stop pacing . . . a big guy on crutches at the front of the field who seems to be vigilantly watching him . . . and . . .

The still-in-uniform trek through the stands — “Hey, nice job!” . . . “Good show!” . . . a quick waved “Thanks!” — then to the outfield bleachers to catch a few corps before retreat . . . the names of the once-great, near-great,   now-great, that you hear in blaring, public announcements and       privileged, personal pronouncements . . . the litany of: Blessed Sacrament, Holy Name, St. Vincent’s, St. Kevin’s, St. Joseph’s, St. Lucy’s, St. Andrew’s, St. Ignatius, St. Patrick’s, St. Mary’s, more Saints, Our Lady of Grace, Our Lady of Loretto . . . semi-secular Knights, Crusaders, Lancers, Musketeers, Cavaliers . . . a Royal Brigade, Royal Airs, Imperials, Princemen . . . ethnical Kilties, Caballeros, Matadors and young Muchachos . . . warring Troopers, Crossmen, Rockets, a Squadron and more Cadets . . . recalcitrant Raiders, Rebels and discrete Diplomats . . . spectacular Sunrisers, devastating Hurricanes and follow the North Star . . . unusual Blue Rocks and whimsical Lamplighters followed by a band of Brewers . . . soaring Skyliners . . . delightful, but dangerous Bon Bons . . . and a Thing.

The capricious August thunderstorm that did/did not appear this year . . . the self-created mark-time-march dirt clouds the corps mystically move through as they assemble for retreat in the dying, humidity-drenched remnants of this nearly-end-of-the-season summer day . . . another “I want to thank . . . we owe so much to . . . if it hadn’t been for . . .” speech . . . the chemically-conditioned Jersey City/Newark Bay sky gaudily flaunting ethereal twilight spectrums . . . a solitary “To the Colors” . . . and . . .

“In fourth place, with a score of___, point___, the_____!” . . . “And in second place, with a score of___, point 886, the _____!” “What?!?! How the hell?” . . . the wait-’til-next-year-if-they-invite-us-back-concealed tear . . . and then a tale of “lasts”: the illusory this-will-last-forever joy . . . the last song before you leave the field . . . the last cheers and applause from the . . . “We-gotta-get-goin’, you-know-how-this-Jersey-traffic-is!” crowd . . . more bus fumes, police and horses . . . damned Jersey drivers! . . . and New York drivers! . . . and Pennsylvania drivers! . . . and “Go back to Illanoyz!”

The silent/noisy bus ride home . . . elation/sadness . . . and “Jeez! We were in The Dream!”

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Drum Corps World is published as an on-line electronic magazine by Sights & Sounds, Inc., Madison, WI. It is supported by advertising from manufacturers, service providers, corps, circuits and show sponsors. The publication began in October 1971 at the same time Drum Corps International was formed and has been produced continuously as a tabloid newspaper until April 2011 and on the Internet since May 2011. It is released monthly, as well as six additional e-mail blasts, one in late June, three during July and two in August.

The worldwide staff of writers and photographers provide show reviews during the season and interviews, feature articles, news and human interest stories during the off-season. The photographs that appear in the magazine are provided by 27 staff members who are scattered around the world. The publication covers World and Open Class Drum Corps International corps, Open and Class A Drum Corps Associates corps, alumni, mini-, parade and standstill units, as well as the growing activity in Europe, the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and South Africa.