As I type this, you, the membership of Teal Sound, disperse into airports, onto planes, some of you seeking hope and acceptance in a different drum corps, many of you returning to your own homes in anguish, frustration, disappointment. There were so many things that should have continued to grow. Friendships that should have blossomed for longer. Life lessons that had yet to be taught and learned. Jokes yet to be told in the heat of rehearsal block, punchlines yet to be revealed in the middle of the night. A drum corps show, a living, breathing, conglomeration of careful detail, unapologetic labor, unashamed courage, and an exuberant connection to its audiences that shouldn’t have had its life cut short, an idea that shouldn’t have been left suspended in time, frozen forever in early July. An idea that will never again run in your blood and pulse with the beat of your heart, a show you and your 130 brothers and sisters will never again throw down in love.
I think back 10 days ago, waking up and learning that Teal Sound hadn’t yet folded, and in fact, was going to be staying and rehearsing at our housing site from the day before. And then I think back the day before that, minutes before leaving that housing site for our first show, standing at the top of the hill and looking out at the expanse of fields we had used the past couple days. There were three, all close enough to fit in the same grassy expanse. They were good fields; as a field-liner, I was proud to say I had helped create them. I remember feeling the pang of sadness I feel whenever we leave fields behind. The fields die slowly, silently, as the summer meanders on; their traces fade as the grass grows or is sheared off by a lawnmower, and only bugs and rabbits are present for its exit from existence. Sometimes bears and the occasional cougar or groundhog as well, but it depends on where we are.
Learning that you guys were going to use our housing site and our fields the next day put my usual regrets at peace. The fields would get one more use, live another day. The colorguard field filled with clover, the lightly used percussion field, the ensemble field with the uneven ground and the potholes all up and down the side one 40 yard line. And the best feature of all: the close proximity of the bathroom, which sat just inside the back door of the school, to all three fields. Perfect for anyone who actually chose to properly hydrate themselves and felt the need to run in and out in the middle of rehearsal block.
On June 30, you were scheduled to compete in Lynn, MA. Instead, you stayed behind in Glen Falls for a rehearsal day. I hope you made good use of those fields, and good use of the close-by bathroom. I imagine that you were able to calm yourselves down from the events of the night before, to relax, to enjoy taking the day to think of nothing but improving your show, to lose your worries in your dedication to getting better. I hope you took that day to enjoy the time you spent together as a corps. I hope you ate well and laughed at funny things and hung out with your friends and went to bed smiling. Because days like that always matter, no matter when or where your tour ends. Those are the kind of days you remember when you go back to everyday life and try to remember whether your time in drum corps actually happened, or was all a big made-up time lapse in your head from falling off the monkey bars too many times.
Teal, I want you to come back, bigger and better than ever, in whichever way you want to interpret that. The decision is in your hands, and only your own determination, creativity, and imagination will dictate what happens to you in the end. But for now, I hope your find peace within yourselves, wherever you may end up for the rest of the summer. I hope you don’t lose faith in this activity or your organization . And if June 30 was a good day for you, I hope you keep that memory close. And I hope you enjoyed that bathroom.