There is a brotherhood shared among corpsmen and women. To be politically correct, I should say there is a sisterhood as well. One way or the other a common bond exists between corps from all over the country and the world. We share the love of the Corps. As do many groups the Patriots Drum Corp has one particular, friendly rivalry with the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corp of Casper,Wyoming.
The Patriots are in an Eastern Division for preliminary competitions, but as we move through the events and take our place at the top of the roster, so do the groups in the Western Division. We know we are the best and start to gear up early for the playoffs, held in Indianapolis against 12 other groups on August 12th.
The International Finals are the next night, and we’ve been preparing for these performances months ahead of time. We all think of ourselves as superstars and we have to tow a ton of gear wherever we go. We arrive in motor-coaches along with massive caravans knowing we can’t win with anything less than an outstanding performance and the right equipment.
The Troopers and the Patriots have met in annual match offs many times in the past. We are honored to go up against the quality of competition the Troopers present, but we always enter with the confidence to outperform them. This is easier said than done, since the shows are judged within just a tenth of a point separating the top contenders. To even get to this stage the highest rating groups will perform in several different cities prior to the finals.
There has to be an intense drive to keep the tight schedule on the DCI circuit, and the level of professionalism needs to be at its peak. The Troopers performed six times in seven days in four States. If the group doesn’t have that “fire in their belly” they aren’t going to be at the top of their game when it’s needed the most. This is a critical time for all corps who are competing at this level. Maintaining stamina and moral is as important as being well rested and physically attune.
The Patriots have a similar schedule since it’s about being a well-oiled machine lubricated by activity and performances. None of this could be possible without the donations and the volunteers. Family, friends and ex-corpsmen and women find this way of life worth their time to support and help to carry on the tradition.
If a unit gets the emotion going in an audience, then tears and a standing ovation ensues. The music is patriotic and heart touching as well as feet moving. It’s impossible not to be touched by a good performance, and that is the goal of every unit that enters the field. Get the spectators on their feet, move them to the point of tears and leave them better than when you first arrived. The satisfaction is all the way around. The performers, the audience, the crews are all charged when delivering the energy of a unified corp. It’s what makes all the long hours and endless practice periods worth every step.
We have just begun the 2016 season and it’s a while before we reach the International Finals in August, but all the corps who are serious are practicing like it’s next week. We love what we do and love the camaraderie of competition with other units who feel as passionately. Look out Trooper of Casper, Wyoming we aren’t going to let you win this year without a fight.