by Danny Lloyd, DCW staff
I hope that your family is sitting down this holiday season at some point to a warm meal, with a roof over your heads, clothes on your backs, this year’s finals DVDs on your 5.1 Surround Sound system . . . you know, the really important things in life. Take a moment to be thankful for these gifts when there are so many with so little. It has occurred to me that we have much to be thankful for in our own drum corps community, though by the amount of whining we all do, you’d never know it. So I would like to take a moment to share some of the things I am thankful for involving drum corps.
I am thankful for …
…Drum Corps International. Despite the evil pedestal we love to put them on, this organization has succeeded in perpetuating the activity despite incredible odds. For all of you who say that drum corps is dying, it would have been dead years ago if not for the good people and corps that make up this organization. Some people you will never meet bust their backsides every day doing things that are rarely ever seen or will ever receive credit for.
…Drum Corps Associates. Ditto for these guys. They work equally hard in keeping the activity available as a life-long experience while paying homage to its past, present and future.
…Dan Acheson. His leadership has taken DCI from the verge of collapse to a viable and effective organization that succeeds greatly in promoting the activity it serves. The only thing he hasn’t succeeded in is in pleasing everybody. Who has?
…Carolina Crown; the corps that “took me in.” I can never give enough thanks for all of my fellow corps members of 1993, all of the staff and volunteers that made that summer so memorable for me. You guys were simply awesome then and still are today.
…Bill Cook and Jim Mason. Remember these guys? We do not hear much from them anymore “around here” but they have done more to further the marching arts activity than many others combined. I am not talking about money. I am talking about vision: Star of Indiana, Brass Theater, Blast, Cyberjam . . . the list may go on. It was also Bill Cook who brought a drum corps show to my hometown of Winston-Salem through his subsidiary, Wilson-Cook Medical, which first introduced me to drum corps.
…Scott Stewart. Gone from the activity but not forgotten for the impact he left on so many lives of those connected with the Madison Scout organization.
…B-flat horns. I know, I know, this probably made some of your least thankful lists, but corps now have a choice at least and a direct connection with the vital world of (ahem) band. I’ve said it before: we all use the same kids.
…Goober Grape. Enough said.
…Tom Blair. His creative use of DVD technology has given the die-hard fans many choices of how to watch a show and the new fans a way to understand the activity through the excellent documentaries now shown on the broadcast every year. I would bet that Blair is the reason that most of us found out about drum corps in the first place.
…All drum corps volunteers. You all are absolute heroes and saints rolled into one. You make it all work and it is really you that gives this experience to the kids involved. You remind all of us of what can be accomplished through loyalty and hard work. Bless you, bless you, bless you and thank you, thank you, thank you!
…Steve Vickers and Drum Corps World. No, I am not sucking up. If he were paying me, that would be sucking up! Steve has worked very hard for a very long time to be the number one journalistic source for the activity and has maintained the quality of this newspaper through a lot of ups and downs. He deserves our continued support, so get all your corps friends who think they can get all their news from the rumor-ridden Internet to buy a subscription!
There are many more things to be thankful for and many I have left out that I am sure many of you are thankful for, but Steve would need to sell more advertising for the number of pages I would need.
In the midst of all of the struggles associated with drum corps, let us not forget where we have been, those we have lost along the way, and those that represent our future. This is still, by far, the world’s greatest youth activity. No matter how it changes or what challenges we face or how we disagree on how it all should be done, the bottom line is this: we change lives. Thank you, Amen and pass the turkey.