2014 Impulse Color Guard

I recall my first conversation with this girl was liberally peppered with giggling. Although she was one of the younger members of the corps she did a good job of following the 3 basic rules of drum corps. There’s something I remember about her from tour, and it’s something I’ll always remember. It was a classic mother daughter moment. It was a brief exchange she had with her mother as the corps was moving into a school. Between 3 or 4AM on this particular morning this girl is dragging herself and carrying almost all of her tour stuff towards the gym. Both of her arms are completely full: backpack, sleeping bag, pillow, blankets, suitcase, duffel bag, tote bag, water jug, maybe one or two more things. She is making her way down the hall with her head down. As her mother is passing her daughter, she stops her and starts asking a series of questions; all in regards to the girl’s air mattress, which is quite obviously not in her daughter’s present possession. I see the girl starting to get angry; the girl is still half asìleep, tired, arms are probably sore, all that stuff was heavy, probably feeling a little hungry, maybe needed to use the restroom, and having to answer any questions from anyone about anything at that moment in time was taking her far far away from any happy thoughts. The girl slowly lifts her head and in an angry voice through clenched teeth she starts to say, “Does it look like…” She stops, takes a deep breath, exhales, softens her expression and presses an internal attitude reset button. “It’s outside, next to the bus.” I complimented her later for taking that moment to collect herself and give such a mature response, especially given the conditions. Doing drum corps gives kids opportunities to grow stronger years in their physical and emotional maturity in just a few weeks. In that moment, this girl did both.

This next girl I remember very much the day I met her. She was full of energy, very excited to be there, and seemed to be looking forward to the experience she was committing herself to. The vet that brought her didn’t get the memo the guard wasn’t meeting that weekend, so that gave me an opportunity to interact with her more than I normally would have. From that first meeting I had with her, I was looking forward to seeing her grow as a performer and as a person. She was a perfect member for her section. Her subtle style of leadership was the type that fit very well with the performers on either side of her. All things considered, i thought she had a great season and she most definitely helped her section be the best they could be.

From the Open House through the entire season, this girl was there. I was more than happy to learn that she went to the same school as another girl that was in the guard last season, and that they are friends. Her friend told she should come and join Impulse. I hope that when I share my thoughts with the members that I give them something useful to apply. This person let me know early on that I did indeed help her by some of the words I spoke. In the course of a long season there were a few occasions when we spoke and some of the things she said lifted my spirits serendipitously. As can happen, just as the competitive part of our season began she suffered an injury. She pushed through the pain as best she could and learned that she was a little stronger than she thought as she overcame that and a few other personal challenges every member encounters each season.

This kid is amazing, in a good way. Positive attitude, always prepared, and kind of person that consistently represents herself and the organization ver well. Seems like I’ve known her forever. Funny though, as long as she was around prior to actually taking the field as a member there were still some basic things she hadn’t learned or figured out yet. Like the gak marks every 4 steps on the yardlines weren’t going to be on the field at the shows. (That came up as a question from her her rookie year, not this year.) She’s always reliable, always helpful. As an instructor and as a person I find a reassurance in her presence knowing that she not only looks out for herself and section well, she is also aware of and looks out for the welfare of others.

I am always amazed at the range of personalities and talents Impulse is able to guide into becoming a very proficient, high achieving performing ensemble. I am also amazed at some of the people that return, knowing that as a rule, drum corps can be brutal. This girl’s toughness covers, more often than not, her sensitive and kind nature. In that regard, I see a similarity between myself and her. Another similar trait I believe she and I share is the value she has for her personal time. She is another member with a quiet, consistent presence that has a calming effect on others. Being in the weapon line requires a lot of strength, something that does not come naturally to her. She’s overcome this with a relentless dedication to repeat on her own time her work and choreography until she gets it to the performance level it needs to be at.

This guy made an impression on me day one. It was memorial camp 2013, Friday night. The guard was in sectional working on guard basics. Even though this was his first rehearsal, a camp on top of that, he carried himself with a noticeable confidence. Also, his technique very crisp, very sharp. He was performing! I remember several times during visual block this past summer, when we were rehearsing a chunk that featured the guard I asked several of the guard members to please perform, and not only do their work and choreography well. Not him; in rehearsal, he is always performing. This past season’s tour, I struggled physically and he always seemed to know when I needed a little support and encouragement. His talent on the field, his leadership on and off the field, and his personality was one of many that helped unite the 2014 ensemble become one of the best.

This girl is another member it seems like I’ve known forever. She’s tough, she’s intense. She doesn’t give herself any slack. As a performer, she demands the best from herself all the time. I think we are similar in that when we are struggling with something, we won’t as anyone for help or accept help from others. She’s independent, to a fault, sometimes. I would not call her a natural leader, but through circumstance she has grown into that role and has led well. Her peers recognize and appreciate her tenacity and dedication to do what she can for her section and for the corps to do well. She speaks her mind, sometimes uncomfortably, even to me; but its always about being truthful to her perspective. Her love and commitment to the ensemble year after year has helped lead it to success on the field and to being a memorable experience for all. She’s always been thoughtful and has consistently supported me in getting stuff done.

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