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'Major league' drum and bugle corps visits Berkeley County

July 31, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

INWOOD, W.Va. -- This one time, at band camp ...

A "major league" drum and bugle corps' visit to southern Berkeley County on Wednesday afforded area students and band directors an opportunity to see the intensity of practices for elite marching band competition up close.

"This is sweet," said Ryan Miller, a member of Musselman High School's marching band drum line as members of Carolina Crown, based in Fort Mill, S.C., practiced at Musselman Middle School in hot and humid conditions.

"It's like a work of art on the field," Miller said.

When asked if he thought he could play as well as the highly ranked Drum Corps International group, Miller said he would need to practice 120 percent more than the 100 percent he already devotes to performing.

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Drum Corps member Bobby Glass of Hanover, Pa., said those who aspire to join a drum corps have to be willing to be "cut off from the world" - at least for a while. The hot and humid weather conditions are a given.

"It's a lot of endurance," said Glass, 18, who graduated in May from Littlestown High School east of Gettysburg, Pa.

Sporting a deep tan like practically every other drum corps member on the field Wednesday, Glass said there have been times where he just didn't think he was going to get through performance and had to psyche himself up for it.

"We're No. 3 in the world right now," Glass said.

Little more than a week from competing in the Drum Corps International World Championships in Bloomington, Ind., Carolina Crown was still attempting to perfect and improve upon their last performance, in Salem, Va.

Wednesday night they were scheduled to perform in Warrenton, Va., before traveling to West Chester, Pa., for another show today.

They arrived at Musselman Middle School about 2:30 a.m., according to principal Jim Holland, who was part of a coordinated effort with Musselman High School's band boosters to host the drum corps. The group slept in the school's gymnasium and were "groggy" when Holland said he met them.

"This is a chance of a lifetime for these kids," said Hedgesville High School's band director Corey Hamrick, one of a number of band directors who attended with their students.

The Drum Corps' visit came during band camps for Hedgesville and Boonsboro high school bands.

"This is like the major leagues for marching band," Boonsboro High marching band director Micah Socks said.

"This the example for us to aspire to be. ... We decided we couldn't pass up this opportunity.

"It's a nice break in the band camp schedule," Socks said.

Musselman Band Boosters president Tisha Owens said she believed Carolina Crown's visit came about as a result of the hospitality that the group and school district helped provide to another drum corps two years ago.

"It's quite an opportunity that's been afforded to Berkeley County to host such a prestigious group, ..." Owens said.

Drum Corps International is a nonprofit organization that provides an opportunity for young people between the ages of 13 and 22 to take part in a circuit of summertime performances.

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