The Reals On Marching Band Touring

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There’s nothing like having clean socks and a little romance on tour. One of our favorite Marching Band Drummers, Megan Moede, enlightens us with some fun and practical advice.

You can’t overpack socks on tour.
It seems like a pack of socks for a three-month tour will be sufficient, but I promise you, after five seasons of marching, it isn’t.

Dating in drum corps.
I have dated within my marching band. I have even dated within my own section. Depending on how patient and willing you are to go with the flow, it can be a really rewarding experience. I know quite a few people who met in drum corps and married a few years later. The nature of drum corps forces you to skip past first date nuances and go straight from zero to 100.  The “first date” you will have is a free day in the real world or talking before lights out (when the corps has to go to bed). It can be a stressful place to let a relationship bloom as well as a big source of drama at times, but every corps has its share of relationship beginnings and endings.

You won’t be friends with everyone.
This is the hardest lesson I learned on tour. Coming from someone who is extremely social, drum corps can be a harsh place if you’re used to people loving you unconditionally. People are homesick, tired, hot, hungry, and sometimes, you might hear things you don’t want to. However, being on tour creates a sense of family, which overcomes any conflict. Overall, it was not only a tour lesson, but also a life lesson that I take with me today.

Make friends with people before tour starts.
Establishing relationships early is essential if you’re a rookie. It’s also smart to be as polite as possible to the food staff, volunteers and administrators. They control every aspect of your day, plus, it’s a general life rule to never piss off the cook.

Buy a back up battery for your phone.
You will be bored on the bus, and Words With Friends will drain your battery life faster than you know, and attempting to find an outlet in a stuffy gym at 3:00 a.m. is harder than it seems.

There is no such thing as a “base tan”.
Wearing the appropriate amount of sunscreen can limit your chances of sunburn within the first couple of weeks of spring training. Attempting to get tan is not worth the burn while you painstakingly peel off the layers of sunburned skin.

Gatorade is drum corps currency.
Stock up early, stock up often, and have it mailed as frequently as possible. Gatorade makes even the worst hose water taste like orange flavored hose water.

Last, but not least: Don’t drink the water in Missouri and take every possible bathroom stop on the road!

Megan Moede marched Capital Regiment in 2005, Carolina Crown in 2006 and Crossmen in 2007, 2008 and 2009. She was also in the Texas State University PASIC Ensemble in 2006 and participated in Winter Guard International while at Pflugerville High School and with Austin Independent in 2008. She has been teaching at middle school to college-aged students since 2007 from Dallas to San Antonio. She now works for Lone Star Percussion in Dallas, TX.

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