Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers recorded a song together years ago. The name of the song was “You Can’t Make Old Friends.” No, you can’t, but there’s a great way to remember those old friends, honor them, maybe reconnect, or even make new-old friends who share your memories.
I was just 14 when I joined drum corps.
By 15, I was teaching three drill teams and one drum corps, our feeder corps, the St. Mary’s Crusaders. When I was teaching the three drill teams, my Dad used to drive me to practices and drop me off around the corner so nobody would know I wasn’t old enough to drive.
Over thirty-five years ago a rag-tag group of old drum corps friends had a crazy idea, but then, what’s so different about that! We were all a little crazy back in the day, and the drum corps stories we could tell would probably fill volumes. This age-out bunch had different ideas, though. Dump truck caroling.
I made another trip around the sun last week. It started me thinking about corps memories from nearly six decades ago.
I remember the night my best friend and I tried out for the color guard, but I don’t remember anyone else who tried out that night. There were nearly a hundred of us (all girls at the time), and I remember that my friend, Jeanne McGinness, and I were the only two who made the cut that night. Jeanne’s older brother, Paul, was a soprano then (they call them trumpets now) in the hornline, and they’d just come back from the 1962 Nationals in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Just listening to the stories he told was magical.
Having been involved in drum corps, band, and winter guard for over half a century, I’m usually pretty good at following orders, but I’ll readily admit to finally having to run laps and do push ups. You see, Rick (bless him for being back in full swing as we’ve all missed you, my dear friend) specifically charged me with writing one of two articles for this issue of MMA, both of which were meritorious in their own right, and both of which you’ll be able to read at a later date. One fascinates me and my research is still a work in progress. The other was “meh”. I just couldn’t seem to dig into the storyline…yet. Sorry Rick, I give you permission to slap me silly and make me run laps when I see you! At my age, though, it’ll take a while. (Have 911 on speed dial!)
All I could think about recently was how much I’ve missed drum corps after nearly six decades, and how many drum corps friends have passed silently, without taps, or tributes, or gatherings since this blasted pandemic took the music away.