The QUAD-Staff of Evan, Sam, Parker, and Nick barreled from Birmingham to Beacon College. Being oh so close to the Magical World of Disney the Staff and George had high hopes to make this DMA a magical experience to all the participants.
The southern thunderstorms were almost as predictable as what time DMA starts every morning. The storms greeted everyone with the staff Sunday afternoon. Dr. Bob, our wonderful contact at Beacon College, had a great set-up for registration under a gazebo ready for us but the skies opened up and released a wicked shower that lasted through the opening session. With a window of glorious sunshine, we were able to head outside and sneak in a march off.
In the heart of Leesburg, DMA began its first morning at the corner of Main & Canal with smooth jazz playing. Yes folks the city of Leesburg, FL pipes in music throughout the downtown area. Florida lived up to its nickname, The Sunshine State, and graced us with cloudless mornings throughout the workshop this week. George and the crew of 46 students pushed well ahead with the parade routine on morning one due to the wonderful weather.
Since our initials lined up as ESPN, our Four staff members + Eight squads = NCAA tournament style squad competitions. Each day the squads would face a new group as well as a new judge. We had quarterfinals, semifinals every morning. We attempted to let the excitement build by having the finals each evening. On the final day we not only had the finals for the day but we had THE ULTIMATE SUPER SQUAMP!!!! Squad 8 won the first evening, but the champion for the past two nights had been Squad 1. With two past champions, the gauntlet was thrown. Although both had average scores above 445, the winner of THE ULTIMATE SUPER SQUAMP was (imagine the drum roll here) unanimously Squad 1. They had an average score above 450 and even created their own squad salute that was quite clean.
After George left for Arkansas, the staff continued to step up with even more new information. We tried to push the students to new levels with additional mace classes, conducting ideas, and leadership/team building games. Evan and the students even entertained the patrons waiting in line at the Social Securtity Administration office every morning during warm-ups. We never got any of them to come over and play but the students had a blast! There was even a special version of the alphabet honoring the Boston Celtics recent Championship… thanks Evan!
All in all, with great food, free internet, individual apartments, and wonderful service, Beacon College were wonderful hosts for the Drum Major Academy. Off to the next location…