DCI Central Indiana 2024

June 29, 2024 Muncie, Indiana

There is one thing that I have come to equate with the State of Indiana: youth music education. When a drum and bugle corps competition comes to town, all eyes are fixed, and ears are perked. Six World Class Drum Corps International (DCI) drum and bugle corps competed last night at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. The stands were packed with drum corps fans, including thousands of young music students from around the State. Oh, did those ears and eyes have a treat! The weather was warm but overcast, with a slight breeze. Perfect for this outdoor event.

As I did not have a solid plan to attend this show, I did not purchase a ticket in advance. Usually, there is a single seat somewhere in the middle of the stands up high. Alas, I purchased one far left, outside of the 20-yard line. Little did I realize how cool it is to be in the outer seats? My seat neighbors were so much fun to enjoy the show with. Moms, dads, and kids all surrounded me to take in the excitement together. I realized that the viewing was easier in some respects as you can take in the big picture more easily from the angle of perspective over the field. Many interesting moments happen on either side of the center. When something happens on the far side, one can hear the audience react over there. I now realize that just about anywhere in the stands is a fine evening of entertainment. Heck, I could be two blocks away and enjoy what I am hearing.

It is still quite early in the season, and I am still acclimating to the programs. For the life of me, I cannot find any content on the title and theme of the Colts on there website or FB page. I do know that Metheny/Mays is in the repertoire. This is a fine show, performed well by the dedicated and talented members, but it was not elevated above all of the other shows in scoring. I would have liked it if I had a clue about what they were trying to portray.

Blue Stars brought the planets, the music, and the movement. My second viewing at a competition and the experience attending a rehearsal yesterday afternoon, this show is growing on me nicely. I love the horns and music; the visual elements are great! Be sure not to miss the split-second uniform change for the entire brass line during the ballad. The Cavaliers also had a uniform change that occurred in mid-program over several minutes. Vestiges of green appeared slowly until the entire corps was transformed. I believe transformation is a key concept of many of the shows as they reach out of the traditional realm.

The top three corps of the evening just simply blew us away. Phantom Regiment brought it right to the end for a solid third place. This program shows the corps’ prowess in the near-mid-21st Century with creative uniforms, drills, and music, but with the power and confidence we identify with Phantom. The match-up of the night came down to two-tenths of a point. Boston Crusaders took a close second, but they brought the house down. Energy, speed, precision, sound, and color are magnificently projected by this BADASS corps. They lit up the field, and they certainly lit up the crowd. Carolina Crown wore its crown well and performed solidly. This program is new to me, so I look forward to seeing it again at the next two shows. I think we are in store for a more dramatic ending in the future.

Well, now it is time to check out of this hotel. The morning thunderstorm has passed, and the forecast is great for the next few days of touring. I’m glad that I decided to get a room and a welcome shower. Today, I will leave Muncie for a destination to be determined on the way to Chicago. It’s time for an easy cruise across the Indiana landscape. My first goal is to head north and pick up the Old Lincoln Highway. I’ll catch up with you later.

4:20 PM – Indiana Dunes National Park

After a casual cruise across the Indiana countryside, I have decided to check out Indiana Dunes National Park. I headed north in search of the Lincoln Highway, the first paved cross-country highway. Disagreeing with Siri, I chose the Old RD 30 two-lane highway rather than the current 4-lane US30. The original route is mostly straight with graceful curves as it traverses through the villages between Warsaw and Donaldson, Indiana. A stop at Ancilla College for a walk and hopefully some water and a piano, but alas, only a walk as the campus was locked tight. Now, at the park welcome center, I will check on camping opportunities and an evening hike in the dunes. It is hot outside and crowded inside here.

8:50 PM Kemil Beach, Lake Michigan

I have scoped out two beaches at the southern end of Lake Michigan, Central Ave Beach, and now I am sitting comfortably in the sand at Kemil Beach. The sun is slowly sinking over the lake. As I first approached the shoreline, cresting a rise, the sudden view took my breath away. After a day of driving across the Northern Indiana countryside, it is somewhat unfathomable that there suddenly becomes a great divide between land and water. Thinking you are on an ocean beach does not take much imagination. As they say, “Lake Michigan, unsalted.” I have been scoping out a place to hang my hammock, even though I have to move my car by 11:00 PM. I will let you know how this evening’s accommodation turns out, since I do not have a room. Overnight parking is available at the welcome center. I may find out how comfortable the rental car is. Meanwhile, I’m taking in the view, and lo and behold, as I look up, I see the silhouette of the Chicago skyline just to the left of where the sun is setting. Wow!! This is reminiscent of Sunset Beach on the north shore of Oahu. That experience was a long time ago. The sun is now atop the horizon under a bank of clouds lighting up.

June 30, 2024

7:30 AM

Every day is different, especially here in Lake Michigan. Yesterday, the weather was hot with a slight breeze, so it was great for a dip in the lake. This morning, it is 60 degrees and windy. The waves are high, crashing on the beach with a constant din. The water is dark blue-grey and green with white caps. Beach warnings hazardous for swimming are issued. It is great for a long walk and beach combing for unique stones. Arising early, I walked the Dune Ridge Trail to a high overlook of the lake and the wetlands. The tread was variously soft, fine sand and hard-packed soil. The ridge is a high sand dune, making it a slog going uphill.

My night sleep was a little restless. I chose Casa de Kia at the overnight lot to avoid having it towed. The sleeping bag I picked up Thursday performed again last night as the temperature dropped, but it was not the comfort that I am used to in the Silver Bullet, my seasoned XC70 Volvo wagon. That is home in the driveway on the Mill Brook, waiting for my return. A little jealous, I assume.

Today will be a transition day for my tour. I will head to Chicago airport to drop off the rental car and meet five friends flying in for the show tonight in Lisle, Illinois. They rented a van and a B&B for two nights. I will be on board with them, a departure from my solo tour of the past few days. These are friends that I would not otherwise have made if it were not for drum corps—my drum corps brothers from another mother. We will be celebrating the life of Sandy Bertelle, a good friend who also planned to be on tour this summer. It’s time to eat the apple and banana I grabbed at the hotel yesterday and head out to the Windy City. I’ll catch up with you later if I can—no guarantees with these guys.

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