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It is July 4, 2012.  A day when America celebrates it’s independence. It is a day filled with fireworks, BBQs, parades, and celebrations galore.  A day when every DMA Staff member gets to sit back and relax from the insanity of the first half of the summer…only to crank it up tomorrow on July 5th for DMA Tour Part II!

So let’s catch up on Tour Part I because it was INCREDIBLE!  We started off down at University of Louisiana/Monroe and had a fantastic time!  The weather was actually on the cold side…which makes little sense of Louisiana, but heck, we’ll take it!  The students were unsure at first (just as they are at EVERY single DMA location at first)–who are these people, and why are they making me yell “HUT!” so loudly??  And then, just like magic, (or perhaps a little fairy dust from Tinkerbell…read my latest post in my personal blog SARV BLOG) folks began to fly!

DMA / FLORIDA — get it Justin McAdams!  Our lead clinician at this location was revving the engines before he even landed in Orlando!  The students were sitting on the edge of their seats glued to every word he said.  The rest of the DMA Staff was just as pumped and the students took advantage of that as well—these kids bled the staff dry for information!  WHAT A THRILL!

DMA / BAMA was sensational–it is fascinating to see the different culture of young men and women around the country.  In Alabama the students were riotous outside, but once inside they were as quiet as church mice!  Their focus on the staff was blistering (in a GOOD way) and although I had to depart early to “start another one,” they too, flew.  And continued to fly for Trish, Erin and gang the rest of the week.  …of course, the massive thunderstorm during the final march off I called could have been done without, but heck, nothing like surprises and challenges to keep you on your feet!!

In the blink of an eye I was at DMA / EKU—and the technological nightmare began!  Broken projector, not one but TWO non-working Long Rangers–how was this possible?!  Fortunately we solved the problems and this workshop peaked 24 hours AHEAD of schedule!  But before all the replacement equipment arrived, for some stupid, dumb reason I thought it would be good to bring the students outside and do the first hour of the first outdoor module….WITHOUT A LONG RANGER!  Am I really that stupid?!  Apparently so.  And yes, I destroyed my voice.  And no, it still has not recovered.  Dumb, dumb, dumb….but we HAD to go outside.  I HAD to get them that information or we would have been behind.  My voice will recover–the students wouldn’t have!  And it has always been, is and will always be ABOUT THE STUDENTS!

Despite the setbacks (which the students only knew about because I told them later in the week)  we were cruisin’!!!  DMA / EKU flew!

While I took a few days to regroup, DMA / UARK was off and running with Chris Cansler at the helm!  I’m jealous of those students–they got to work with and learn from one of my dearest friends.  Oh to sit in the back of a room and just take notes while Chris teaches so I can become better at what I do–THAT would be incredible!  DMA / UARK was in rare form heading into the final day, and after hearing about all the positive comments on the student evaluations sheets there is no question about it: another DMA learned to fly!

DMA / MFA SSY—the end of the 2012 Tour Part I.  460 drum majors + 6 DMA STAFF + 12 BOA SWAGS = SPECTACULAR!  This gang was the equivalent of a flock of baby birds desperately trying to fly.  They were running as fast as they could, furiously flapping their wings, but couldn’t quite take off.  They needed the right push at the right time—-and when it happened, they soared!

Tomorrow Joe Munoz will take the helm at DMA / TEXAS (another person I want to learn from!) while I rest up another couple of days before cranking up at Kutztown University in PA.  DMA Tour Part II is going to fly by faster than a speeding bullet….and in the blink of an eye another summer will have ended.  But it is what happens DURING that blink that makes everything worthwhile–the magic is fast and furious, but powerful…..there’s nothing like it in the world.