I want to post Lacey’s age-out speech from last summer. I am in no way trying to take credit for her speech, I am just reposting it here because I absolutely love it. I almost wish I had written it myself.
“At what point as human beings do we say ‘enough’? Probably a lot sooner than we would say it as performers, or as fighters rather. The beauty of drum corps is that there is no opportunity for people to say ‘enough’, ‘I’m done’, or ‘I can’t’. Though we may feel it, say it, think it…the distraction of the activity consumes us and in the midst of mental and physical challenge, we as performers and humans, remember why we are here.
Of all the things I have learned this year, the word that comes to mind is ‘perspective’. Seeing things from different perspectives can make all the difference in the world. For example, all day long I stare at the back of the drum corps, I hear the music from the back, I see the performance from the back. Very unappealing, right? But from the back, I also see the tops of the palm trees against a purple and amber sky while the mountains echo back the sound of the last hold of the opener. I get to see the audience reaction at a show…in the places least expected. It becomes a game of observing everything outside of what’s in front of you. Perspective is the essence of drum corps.
A place where frustrations become smiles and laughs with time. Surely by now we can all laugh about our bus breaking down at 4:30am and having to ride sardine-style all the way to Denver. Or when we had an all night bus ride to wake up and immediately rehearse all day in extreme heat. But why look at it that way? It was hell at the time but at the end of the day we were stronger and our skin was a little thicker. Perspective. Or the dust storm in nowhere, Pennsylvania. We remember it because of the fight we put up. I don’t remember any member becoming weaker that day.
There are so many little things that sparkle in drum corps that an ordinary person might not get to experience. Drum corps is a place where showering is social time and convenience stores are a paradise. It is a place where you can taste every flavor of drinking fountain water and feel every type of grass, turf, and dirt known to man. Where collapsing on an air mattress on a gym floor is a luxury after a full day. Drum corps is a place where the moon is brighter, and there exists riches that even Paris Hilton could not afford. A place where you can fall in love with music, color, life, yourself, and other people. A place where excellence is achieved. In the words of Tim Newburn, ‘Excellence lies in the details.’ The drill, the music, the choreography, the uniforms…they will always be there, easy to see. I encourage you…rookies, vets, and age-outs to look beyond that.
Look not at the rough ensemble field or the long road to the showers, but look for the single red flower that radiates color despite conditions. Look not at the frown of those who have had a bad day, but look at the single person who is smiling with the satisfaction of a good run-through. Even if they are simply smiling that it is chicken patty day, they are healing others around them without even knowing it.
With three months and many miles of road behind us, we will eventually say goodbye to each other and our show Gitano. But I can bet that ‘Gitano Grandes’ will carry on for awhile. For those who know nothing about what I’ve said, you will soon. It’s all about perspective. So, as the last three days come and go and as we prepare to part ways with the California sun at our backs, I hope that all you you find the little things that I found and carry them with you throughout your life.”
August 8th, 2007