Member Diaries


2002 Tour Diaries

We have posted daily diaries and news by a variety of members and staff from the 2002 summer. Special thank you to Jessica Allen for the diaries and Sheryl Miles for the incredible photographs. THANK YOU!!

Tuesday, June 18th, 2002 - Up in the Sky

By David Gibbs

Well, it seems our adventures with flying continue. This is the eighth time we have traveled by airplane to take a tour. Four flights were international and four flights were domestic. Every time there is something that makes the trip unique, and the trip to Atlanta today was no different.

The corps assembled at the corps hall at 2:00AM … yes, 2:00AM. YIKES! There were two flights, the first one at 6:30AM and the second at 8:45AM. The trucks were on their way to the east coast along with the staff bus. All the members arrived and things were looking good, but … we were missing something. . . what was it? BUSSES. Pete looked at his watch and the busses were 5 minutes late, so he called the company and they said they were not to be there for another 12 hours. I guess the dispatcher (after many reminders for a week) did not read the AM and assumed PM. So there we were, four hours before flight time with no busses.

Pete quickly started exploring all options and pleading with the bus company to get busses out to Concord. I received a call on my way to the airport. When I got to the airport, I discussed the problems with our representative, Diana and Francis who work for Continental Airlines. We started to get all the tickets and bag tags printed and ready for the late arrival of the members on the first flight.

Pete finally got the bus company to send busses. They left San Francisco bound for Concord at 3:30AM. At that time we were thinking we still had a chance to make the 6:30AM flight. Pete sent someone out to the freeway to guide the busses to our location. Wouldn't you know it, the had gotten lost and were circling Concord trying to figure out how to get to the hall. With Pete on the phone to the drivers and Cheri & Gail chasing them in a truck, they finally arrived at 5:00AM. The busses were loaded and the members were on their way by 5:15AM.

At the airport, Diana and Francis were trying to get their corporate office to hold the plane. They only would give San Francisco ten extra minutes, meaning they would close the doors at 6:30AM. I started to think with the time we had we would only get 20 members (out of 75) on this flight. We started to explore alternative flights. To our frustration, there were no available flights the rest of the day. We could do standby, but we would only get out a couple of people at a time on certain flights. That was not acceptable. NOW WHAT?? We started to make plans for the group of members who might miss the flight to get a hotel and fly out the next day … if there were flights available.

Of course, the bus adventure was not over. On the way to the airport, the driver once again took a wrong turn and started heading to San Jose instead of San Francisco. We started to ask the question. . .who was driving the bus and was there a sinister plot behind all of this? The bus turned around and finally was on its way to SFO.

The busses arrived at 6:17AM. Diana and Francis (Continental Airlines representatives) went into high gear. The started yelling … "We can still make it … lets GO!" So all the bags were unloaded and thrown through the x-ray machine. Ticket agents yelled out names. Members grabbed their tickets and ran for the security checkpoint. At 6:30AM--less then ten minutes from when the bus arrived--we had most of the passengers through the security line. Diana and Francis were miracle workers!

But one last curve was thrown our way, the gate check personnel decided to hand check each member. Do we look suspicious? But, they held the plane and all members made it aboard, with ALL the luggage. The plane was on its way by 7:00AM. Unbelievable!

The second flight at 8:45AM went off without a hitch. The connections were tight in Houston, the first flight had a little jog to do through the airport, but all made it to Atlanta by late afternoon. WOW. All the baggage arrived and we were off on busses to our school at 8:00PM.

We arrived to the great sight of the food truck and staff bus. We unloaded and got settled. Had a short rehearsal, snack and were in bed at 11:30PM.

WHAT A DAY. Tomorrow will be a full rehearsal day and Thursday is our first show. We expect to see the equipment truck tomorrow and then we will be all together again. Next time we travel, we will do it by boat.

See you on the road.

By Jessica Allen (Guard Captain) and
Jeff Lynn (Soprano Sol

We were told to meet at The Blue Devils Hall at 2a.m with the intention of leaving for the San Francisco airport at 3 a.m. Little did we know, the charter bus company had 2p.m written on the contract. We didn't end up leaving Concord until 5:15 a.m. The first flight with 75 members on it was to leave at 6:30 a.m.

It was a miracle that we made the flight on time. I was one of those members that was supposed to be on the first flight. It was madness. It felt like we were in the movie "Home Alone." We were literally running through the airport to our gate. One by one we all got checked in and off we went. Destination Atlanta!

Jeff: I think it's a great sign that the corps was able to get through the circumstances we did last night. It shows how strong we are and what you can expect from us this first tour.

Jessica: I still can't believe we all made it… with all of our luggage. If we wouldn't have made the flight, who knows what we would have done. We have a show on Thursday and every moment to practice is important.

We arrived to the housing facility at 9pm eastern time. We were tired and hungry and hurried to set up "camp". Unfortunately, the whole corps was forced into a very small gym. We had to sleep bed-to-bed and the lights didn't go off.

Jessica: Thank goodness I brought an eye mask!

We practiced for an hour, learned some work and got snuggled for another day of learning our show.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - Sharpsburg, GA

By Jessica Allen (Guard Captain) and
Jeff Lynn (Soprano Sol

Photo Page for Wednesday
Qicktime Slide Show for Wednesday (1.6 MB)

Today the weather was wonderful. It's a lot more humid out here but there were clouds for most of the morning. Our equipment truck also showed up… unfortunately, not until 3p.m. I know the drums, pit and tubas were happy!

Jessica: The color guard is in serious learning mode. We are a bit incomplete but I know it will all be fine in the end. We really are a great group, filled with personality and good spirits. I'm incredibly excited. We'll be getting our costumes soon and last night we got our hats that we'll be using for the show. Today we learned practically an entire song. We have to be able to perform it tomorrow! No pressure! No one should feel disappointed by Thursday's show. We aren't! We are very anxious and looking forward to a great show. Consider it a sneek preview!

Jeff: The horn line finally got some quality practice time in. We haven't had this time since Sunday, June 16th. I'm very pleased that the horn line hasn't taken any steps back during the days we haven't played. It just goes to show how talented and mature we are as performers. We are all really excited to go out on Thursday and show the country the 2002 Blue Devils brass line.

Thursday, June 20, 2002 - Jacksonville, AL

Photo Page for Thursday
Qicktime Slide Show for Thursday (1.6 MB)

Jessica Allen: I'm amazed with this year's Blue Devil color guard. The night we pulled into Atlanta, we begin learning work. The next morning, we learned an entire song. That same day, we learned the closing flag work. All of our minds were tired but some how we managed to get through it.

This morning we had a five-hour block to lock down our new work and get things coordinated with the corps. I have to laugh because this morning reminded me how easily drum corps makes you realize the smallest joys in life. Today I praised my water jug and savored every gulp of ice cold Gatorade after we ran through huge sections of the show. It really is the small things that make you smile when you're marching.

Tonight we also had our first show with the Cavaliers. Surprisingly, we made it through (we did it!). I have to admit that even though I've marched in the Blue Devils since I was seventeen, I still get nervous. Everything is a mental game for me now. I better go now, I have some mental homework to do… and I think the buses are loading. Off to Alabama! Yippee!

David Gibbs: The corps did a great job tonight. Full of energy! I was very proud of their effort. It is nice to get our first performance underneath our collective belts. The show is going to be real exciting and full of energy. Many changes to be made and cleaning to be done. We are all excited about getting to work. Next show tomorrow in Dothan, Al and then Orlando on Saturday.
Division I
76.85 The Cavaliers
75.15 Blue Devils
61.05 Spirit
50.60 Kiwanis Kavaliers

Division II
73.50 Magic of Orlando
47.70 Teal Sound

Friday, June 21, 2002 - Dothan, AL

Photo Page for Friday

Saturday, June 22, 2002 - Orlando

Photo Page for Saturday
Qicktime Slide Show for Saturday (1.6 MB)

By Aaron Garrison - Snare

It is amazing how much pizza can raise the moral of a corps.

We are here in Orlando; cold wet Orlando. Supposed to have rehearsal for a short block before our clinic, but it looks like our weather karma is collecting. This is some of the first rain we have seen since April.

We tool cover in the concourses of the Citrus Bowl and had mini-sectionals until the rain stopped, coincidentally around lunchtime. Then came the Pizza. Funny how things work sometimes.

Speaking of working, our show is finally starting to meet it’s potential. Obviously still work to be done, but we as performers are really buying into what the staff has given us this year. Just cannot wait to see what the final product will look and sound like.

This is my third year with the corps, and can safely say (and feel comfortable to speak for the entire corps) that this group pf people are going to accomplish something great. Stay tuned.

Jessica Allen: There’s nothing like California weather! I feel like a rain cloud has been following us from State to State. Today was a B.O.A. and D.C.I Clinic at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

We woke up at 10 a.m. and left directly for the Citrus Bowl for rehearsal. The color guard, hornline, and drum line split for sectionals. It seemed like only an hour or two we had past, when in the distance a huge, dark, and concentrated mass of clouds formed over our heads, Within minutes we were trapped in a storm. The color guard ran for shelter underneath a holly blue tarp covered tent. And the rain passed and the wind howled a magical moment happened for the color guard. Scott Chandler put some music on for us and we all started clapping and dancing. Spontaneously we started to call first year members to the center of the tent to perform to dance more. It was hilarious! All you could hear was laughter. Eventually even I was called to the center.

The rest of the day was a blur. We were in and out of the shelter due to the weather and we desperately needed some practice time. The horn line ended up staying in side of the stadium for the clinic (yes it was still raining). Meanwhile, the color guard continued to learn new work. It’s interesting because even though the clinic was rained out, people collected in giant crowds to watch us.

For dinner we were fed pizza! Yippee! You have to understand how the little things in drum corps bring much happiness. To make the story short, out rehearsal was rained out, but we still had to perform. The rain comes down around 3 PM and dies down just in time for the show to go on. These are the hardest conditions to perform under and we did it.

David Gibbs: An update form the Citrus Bowl. It has rained most of the day. We did not get any rehearsal or run-through in today at the stadium (Citrus Bowl). We put on our clinic for DCI under the stadium. It worked out well. But ... the show is going to go on. It is starting 1/2 hour late and The Blue Devils will be going on at 9:59pm. All is excited about performing tonight. We will update the page later on tonight.

(After the Show) Well ... the corps did another great job tonight. They have not had much rehearsal, including all day today. They are incredible mature performers. The members are during everything we are asking of them, and more. It is a complete joy to watch them perform and to travel with this corps. Everybody is in good spirits and looking forward to tomorrow and then to get some quality rehearsals next week..

We are off to Disney tomorrow for a short performance and DAY OFF. Yippeee.
Division I
81.30 The Cavaliers
78.40 The Cadets
77.15 Blue Devils
63.50 Spirit
62.55 Carolina Crown
52.20 Kiwanis Kavaliers

Division II
75.20 Magic of Orlando
49.80 Teal Sound

Sunday, June 23, 2002 - Orlando/ Disney FREE DAY

Photo Page for Sunday
Qicktime Slide Show for Sunday (1.6 MB)

Jessica Allen: Next to ice cold Gatorade, Free days are another bonus in drum corps. Today was super easy and tons of fun. In the morning we had a parade at Walt Disney World and a day off in the park. We were up at 6:30 AM. We had to pack and be ready to leave by 7:30 AM. We couldn’t be late to a Disney gig. We were dressed and ready to go by 10AM

The color guard made up a quick parade routine and the horn line went over “Strike up the Band”. I had to laugh because I actually had a moment where I was sad (at Disney World…”the happiest place on earth”) I was sad because that was my last Disney parade….ever! We had a blast smiling and marching through the theme park. Little kids were taking pictured of us and people actually stopped as we marched past. The parade route couldn’t have been more than a block or two (but we were drenched in sweat. It was so humid!

That night was extremely fun! I love freedays with The Blue Devils. We all know how to enjoy ourselves and each other’s company. It’s these moments that you cherish. I spent the day with my boyfriend, Jeff Lynn at Epcot Center. All we wanted to do was eat good food! So our first stop was in Disney’s Canada. They had a great steak restaurant there and we ordered to our heart’s content. All day we would run into Blue Devils and other drum corps kids. We also got to see “Shockwave” for the first time. It was great to see former Blue Devils performing in it.

The day ended with a fantastic firework show, more funnel cake, and Japanese food. And of course, everyone made it to the busses on time.

Monday-Tuesday, June 24-25, 2002 - Winston Salem, NC

Photo Page for Monday
Qicktime Slide Show for Monday (1.6 MB)

Jessica Allen: Monday and today were quite similar. Both days started morning/afternoon rehearsal blocks and ended with a show. However, the outcome of our shows were quite different. On Monday the usual 3 PM storm, hit and ended just in time for the show to go on. The interruption in our practice schedule hurt us. We didn’t have the show we wanted. We are working under some intense conditions: rapid learning, little rehearsal, and bad weather, but there is no excuse at this level.

Today, our staff lit a fire under us, and the sun made us feel like we were on fire. Guess what? No rain! We baked in the sun and worked extremely hard on trying to lock down our show. We’ve had a rough tour competitively. We’ve been getting 3rd place at all the shows. It’s a different perspective, and a healthy point for us to be at. Today, we just wanted to get better! We really are not concerned with placement or scores right now.

Today was a physical challenge. I was exhausted. The crisp cold watermelon at dinner made my day. But we pursued and had a great, but better… and that’s what we’re working for right now.

Thursday, June 27, 2002 - Elkton, MD

Photo Page for Thursday
Qicktime Slide Show for Thursday (1.6 MB)

Friday/Saturday, June 28-29, 2002 - Landsdale/Clifton

By: Rosa Lee Harden, President of The Blue Devils

I had the great joy of joining the ‘A’ Corps on the road for two days near the end of their first East Coast swing. And what a two days it was! The two shows I saw were the home shows for The Crossmen (outside of Philadelphia) and The Cadets (in Clifton, N.J.)

Top 12 contenders who were on hand included: Spirit of Jacksonville State, Carolina Crown, the Crossmen, the Cadets and the Blue Devils. Both the Cadets and the Blue Devils have a healthy dose of dose of American music, with the Cadets’ show looking back to war times in the 40’s (and to their ‘Main Street’ show of some years back). The Blue Devils also pull material out of the past with “Channel One Suite” but the show is much more esthetically complicated, challenging and compelling. The end result is a very exciting, very ‘Blue Devils’ show that BD fans will be proud of.

Only being able to watch two competitions left me wishing for more. The Friday night show in Philadelphia (the first show I had seen since Family Day) was great. The kids performed well, but the crowd didn’t seem to understand what they were seeing. The most exciting thing about the weekend was that not one ounce of frustration from the night before showed up in the performance on Saturday night. And in most alien territory, at the Cadets own home show, the 135 Blue Devils reached down and gave the performance of their still young season, bringing the entire crowd, which included the Cadets most loyal fans, to their feet. Several in the stands chanted “one more time” as the corps members took their final bows.

Both Dave Gibbs and I spontaneously left the stands immediately after their performance. We weren’t sitting together, and each of us had planned to stay to see the Cadets, but after seeing the performance that BD turned on, there was no way I wanted to see anything but the smiles on their faces after that incredible performance.

As Dave told the kids, the scores aren’t yet showing what’s there, but after that show, I appreciated in a whole new way how little a judge can really tell you about what has happened in front of their eyes. The kids were fabulous … and I can’t wait for California audiences to get to see what we saw on the East Coast.

Tuesday/Wednesday, July 2/3, 2002 - Bridgeport, CT

Photo Page for Tuesday
Qicktime Slide Show for Tuesday (2.8 MB)

Thursday, July 4, 2002 - Wakefield, MA

By Jessica Allen (Guard Captain)

Imagine a street decorated with children, families, trouble makers and red, white and blue. Now imagine yourself walking down this street in a Blue Devils uniform, poppers being thrown at your feet and listening to people yell, “play something!” It’s a very interesting experience to participate in an East coast 4th of July parade. . .like nothing I’ve seen in California. Hundreds of people show up to these parades dressed from head to toe in USA gear. You can’t help but feel the all-American spirit.

And today we performed in two parades back-to-back. The first parade was about four miles in Bristol, RH. The second parade was in Wakefield, MA. They were equivalent in intensity and heat, but the parade in Bristol got a little crazy at points. People along the parade route hosed us down with water, wanted to talk with us, and continually demanded that we “do” something.

After the parade madness was over, the entire corps got onto a train (similar to BART) and traveled to Boston for a free night. I felt very lucky! We talked with people in other corps and they had yet to have a free day. On this short 18-day tour, we’ve already had three!

People split in every direction, once we got to Boston. The streets were all closed off and downtown looked like a ghost town. Everything was closed. I kept thinking, “Where is everyone?” Jeff and I made our way to the Fannuel Hall area. We went to dinner at the Union Bay Oyster House and ate lobster! What a treat. After dinner we took a cab to a huge park. We told the cab driver to follow the fireworks. Everyone in Boston seemed to be there. The Boston Pops were finishing their concert and the grandest fireworks display lit the sky. I have never in my life seen such a display! And it lasted for about 40 minutes. It was a beautiful night. And the best part was knowing that we were going back to California!

Friday, July 5, 2002 - The Airport (Newark)/ Dublin, CA

Photo Page for Friday
Qicktime Slide Show for Friday (1.2 MB)

By Jessica Allen - Thursday and Friday blended into one day. We jumped on the busses after our free day in Boston and drove directly to the airport. Spending the night on a bus isn’t as comfortable as my “aerobed,” but sleep is sleep in drum corps. We flew out of Newark early Friday morning. I was in my wonderful house by 5:00 p.m. We had the night off and our wonderful Blue Devil’s Booster Club put on a first-class BBQ steak meal for us and the Madison Scouts at Dublin High School.

Saturday/Sunday July 6/7 - Concord, CA

By Jessica Allen - This weekend was extremely special for me and I think for many local Blue Devils—it marked the last Pacific Procession and Precision West shows for the age-outs. I had 25 family members show up to Pacific Procession at Cal State Hayward, and throughout the weekend we were surprised by “superstar” Blue Devils alumni. This weekend definitely reminded me that we have many wonderful family and friends supporting us.

We were only able fit in two rehearsal blocks on Saturday and two on Sunday. We were told that major changes were coming, so our focus was on performing our hearts out for the locals.

I should also mention that those of us from the area were allowed to go home. So coming back to California and our homes was like plugging into an outlet of refreshing energy.

After Precision West we packed up our busses once again and headed for San Diego!

Monday/Tuesday, July8/9 - San Diego, CA

By Jessica Allen - There’s no place like California! After being in the East for 18 days, San Diego seemed like a paradise. The weather was awesome and everything was set up perfectly so we could start learning our new show.

Just to put things into perspective, we had been rehearsing our old show as an entire corps since Memorial Day weekend in May. On Monday, we learned entirely new staging for “Ragtime.” On Tuesday, most of the corps learned new staging for “I Got Rhythm.” These changes occurred before we had time to realize exactly what was happening. For the color guard, this meant we had to learn brand new work, or adapt old work to fit new music and staging.

The best part was that these changes were welcomed with open arms. It was obvious that they made our show better.

Wednesday, July 10 - San Diego, CA

By Jessica Allen - Today we put our “new” show to the test. The day started with two blocks of rehearsal. After our run-through, we cleaned up, at, and were off to the stadium. And believe it or not, we had a great show! The changes helped the show flow more naturally. The staging for the color guard feels and looks wonderful. Now we can really enjoy performing. A special thanks to all the creative minds at work to make this happen!

Thursday, July 11, 2002 - San Diego
DVD Recording

Photo Page for Thursday DVD Recording
Qicktime Slide Show for Thursday (2.5 MB)

Thursday, July 11, 2002 - San Diego

Photo Page for Thursday
Qicktime Slide Show for Thursday (2.5 MB)

Friday, July 12, 2002 - Riverside

Photo Page for Friday
Qicktime Slide Show for Friday (2.5 MB)

Saturday, July 13, 2002 - Glendora

Photo Page for Saturday
Qicktime Slide Show for Saturday (2.5 MB)

By Jessica Allen - I’m writing about the past four days in one entry because we have been working at such a rapid rate to lock down our show that the days seem to blend together. We practice and we perform. And somewhere in between that we enjoy being alive and able to relax! We have been visited by so many friends. My best friend Vicky lives in San Diego and has been spoiling me with treats all week.

The Riverside show was a blast. We have a lot of people in our corps from Southern California. The Glendora and Santa Ana shows really helped us to feel comfortable with our new and improved show. It’s amazing how excited the audience gets during our performance. I’ve never felt so much love on the field before. It’s fantastic!

Tuesday, July 16 - El Paso, TX

By Jessica Allen - TEXAS! How did we get here? One moment we were in sunny California, the next were in El Paso, TX. A 16-hour bus ride can jumble your mind. I slept most of the way (that felt SO good). I just remember waking up occasionally at truck stops. However, there was one stretch of the ride where I looked outside and could have sworn we were pulled over on the side of the road. The night before, Pete reassured us that we were very fortunate to have reliable transportation, so I just figured we were waiting for another bus and went back to sleep. The next moment I was awakened by people from the “O-4” (another of our busses). People were packed and stacked in the aisle. Apparently, their bus “caught on fire.”

I’ve tried to get an “O-4” rider to write about it, but they don’t want to relive the traumatic moment. From what I’ve heard, the bus started smelling like something was burning. A big “bang” followed and the bus driver calmly pulled over and announced that the bus was on fire and that everyone needed to get off.

I felt so bad for the “O-4” people. When we arrived at Del Valle High School we went straight into rehearsal. Most people keep their rehearsal shoes underneath the bus. Because the fire was underneath the “O-4,” none of those people were able to get to their clothes or shoes. So they went through an entire evening rehearsal bare-footed or in flip-flops. Luckily, the grass was great and we only worked on the changes in “House of the Rising Sun.”

The situation was pretty bad. After rehearsal people still didn’t have their stuff because the bus was still being repaired. A van was sent to get everyone’s belongings but it didn’t arrive until 2 am. I must have given out five t-shirts to people who were “clothes-less.” But, like everything, things were eventually ironed out.

A special thanks goes to El Paso and especially the Band directors, members and boosters of the Del Valle Band! In my five years of marching I have never felt so welcomed at a school! The facilities were amazing, there were signs everywhere and the Del Valle Band sponsored an authentic Mexican pot-luck style dinner for us. The enchiladas were delicious! We were all in heaven. . .there’s nothing like a little piece of home when you’re on tour. Thanks again!

Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - El Paso, TX

Photo Page for Wednesday
Qicktime Slide Show for Wednesday (2.5 MB)

By Jessica Allen - Tonight we performed at the University of Texas-El Paso. Everything was going fine until the sky turned gray. We’ve discovered the hard way that Texas has sand storms on a regular basis! We’re not in any of the flooded area, but the weather has been very odd. We had to stop our warm up because the wind got so bad. I don’t know where the hornline and drumline were, but the color guard sat inside the busses waiting for the weather to pass.

Like always, the show must go on! We literally walked off the busses and directly into the stadium. Surprisingly, we had a good show!

Thursday, July 18 - Dallas, TX

By Jessica Allen - Dallas, TX and Astroturf! Imagine that combination for rehearsal conditions. . .it was well into the 100’s today. We had a clinic on the Astroturf, which entailed production segments and a run-through (with t-shirts on!). Lucky for us, the sponsoring high school provided ice-cold Gatorade, water, and even cold, wet towels. They also sponsored a wonderful dinner for us. Thank you!

The show was incredible. . .we had so much energy!

Friday, July 19, 2002 - Houston, TX

Photo Page for Friday
Qicktime Slide Show for Friday (2.5 MB)

By Jessica Allen - Today was difficult. Astroturf again! 100 degree weather! I think these situations test our drive and desire. Tonight we also went up against the Cadets and the Cavaliers. We came in third. However, we still feel good about our show and where we’re at. We have so much work to do it’s scary! We need the spirit and drive to wash over the corps. We’re in a great position, but time is running out. It really will be up to us!

Saturday, July 20, 2002 - San Antonio, TX

Photo Page for Saturday
Qicktime Slide Show for Saturday (2.5 MB)
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