While I am writing this, THE Laura Sherman just messaged me with a “Ugh I don’t know anything about bandy things… Post more stuff about Augs, football, snow, curling….something I understanddddd!!” Many of you Bear Feeders catch this blog on Facebook … and for those of you who watched my page yesterday (Aug 10), I’ll just start with … erm … sorry. Yesterday was just the Best Day of the Year for the ‘bandy stuff and drrruuummmmsssss’ as Laura called it; and sometimes … well … you just got to share.
If you have at all followed this blog for it’s 5 years of existance, you may have heard me mention my affiliations with Drum Corps, Marching Band, and the Pageantry Arts community. Yesterday, in my not-very-humble opinion, was the best day of the year for all that stuff. Thus of course, containing that not-very-humble opinion was hard to hold back.
I am at the Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana. For those involved in the activity, this is considered to be the top level of the top level. All summer long, some of the most talented kids in the country have been performing their tails off leading up to this week-long event. It all culminates in the crowing of this year’s World Champion on Saturday night … but that isn’t the best day of the year. For the record (and this get’s to be important later), this is the ‘World’ Class we are talking about denoting the top of the top groups. Earlier in the week they crowed the ‘Open’ Class champions which are the more developing groups.
Yesterday was the “Prelims”. It includes every corps performing this week, whether World or Open class. For the top corps competing for the world championship, this is their first of three meetings to battle it out for the finals on Saturday. The top 25 from yesterday make it into today’s Semis, and the top 12 from there make it to the finals in Saturday. They are generally in order by how they have scored this year, so the newer and struggling groups start the day, and those who are fighting for the crown go on at night.
But don’t lose the fact that Every Corps Performing is at this Prelims. There were Forty of them. 40 Performances. The first one stepped off at 9:00am. The last one at just before 11:00pm. That’s 14 hours!!!! Heck, we still had most the corps to go when they took the dinner break in late afternoon. All of this was happening in Lucas Oil Stadium — an NFL domed stadium capable of putting 50,000 people in a spot to watch the performances. Now granted, there were well below 200 at 9:30 yesterday morning, but it was well over 20,000 by the end of the night. So all these groups that have been playing in high school stadiums to small bleachers filled with fans got the whole of the grandstands to shower them with love.
So what makes this the best day of the year? 40 performances. 40 corps each with their own designs, their own massive group of kids, their own volunteers; all ready to put their show on the big stage and lay it out for the rest of us. If I go to a Prelims, you won’t catch me being that guy who shows up for the last four or five … no sir, I am there for all 40. While it may sound like a selfless thing to do, to be there for all those groups and to sit there through all those groups who will never come close to winning it all … I have to say it is completely selfish. All that work all those groups do still make for a very entertaining show. My first goosebumps of the day happened half-way through the first corps … when a little little French-Canadian girl belted out ‘You are Always On My Mind’ by Willie Nelson. Groups played Nirvana, Beyonce, Simon & Garfunkle, and Frank Zappa. You get runs of shows that seemed to be around the same theme – like the ‘crazy’ portion of the day where four corps did shows based on mental illness in one way or another. There was the irony of a corps taking us through a beautifully performed Catholic Mass, only for the next one to be about witchcraft & started the show with a pentagram. I lost count at 25 the number of true ‘goosebump’ moments, but I was nearly moved to tears at least 3 times.
All of this time sharing the moments with good friends, and old friends. We posted, we texted, we messaged, we hung out, we discussed, we argued, we judged, we complained, we drank beer, we remembered, we shared we reminisced, and we Loved … We LOVED!
So I beg your forgiveness for being so relentless with all of what I shared and communicated. If this isn’t your thing, I get it.
But this is my thing. My long, beautiful, selfish thing …
and it was the best day of the year.