Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Basic training set to music

Brooke spins a flag on the Wiregrass High School campus.

MICHELE MILLER | Times

Brooke spins a flag on the Wiregrass High School campus.

WESLEY CHAPEL

The training was grueling. Drum Corps International's exclusive World Class Corps was a boot camp of sorts this summer that had Brooke Wallace working the hardest she ever had in her life. Sure, Wiregrass High band director George Deguzman and guard director Linzy Brown had told her it was going to be tough. They warned her that practice with the color guard at Wiregrass High was nothing like this. Not even close.

That's why they call DCI "Marching Music's Major League." Those who make it are the best of the best in brass, percussion and color guard. Musician athletes.

Practice included a month of physical conditioning at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Tossing and spinning flags. Learning the drill and pounding it out from 7 a.m. till midnight most days.

"Sometimes we started at 6," Brooke, 17, said. "One night we got 15 minutes of sleep."

Really.

"You get tired but you have to push through," she said. "Focusing is the hardest part. You have to make it look easy — like you could do it in your sleep."

Then, the tour with the World Class Drum Corps called Spirit. Brooke took part in about 35 performances over two months in states including Texas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Ohio and New York. She slept on high school gym floors. She rode the bus. And she learned what true friendship means when a guard mate ran the extra laps Brooke earned for messing up even though she didn't have to.

Brooke called her parents often during the first two months. "Mom and Dad, get me a plane ticket," she would say. "I'm coming home."

But the last few weeks it really clicked. So she stuck it out.

And she's glad she did.

The 2008 World Championships in Bloomington, Ind., ended up being a blast.

"It's kind of like the Super Bowl, but for marching band," Brooke said.

They showed it on ESPN and in the movie theater in Westfield Citrus Park. Brooke had a close-up.

Now back at home, Brooke's still spinning as captain of the color guard at Wiregrass High.

And she's planning on another stint with DCI.

"It was amazing," she said. "The hardest thing I've ever done and the most fun.

"Auditions are in November."

On the Web For information about Drum Corps International go to www.dci.org.



Basic training set to music 09/16/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 7:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Petersburg's ballooning sewage debt could threaten credit rating (but there's a Hail Mary plan to avoid that)

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city needs a lot of money — $435 million over the next five years — most of it to fix its leaky sewer pipes and aging sewer plants.

    In September 2016, signs at St. Petersburg's North Shore Park warned people to stay out of the water due to contamination from sewage released by the city's overwhelmed sewer system. The City Council on Thursday learned that the very expensive fix for its sewage woes could hamper the city's credit rating. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Pinellas County receives $30 million for beach renourishment

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– While Pinellas beaches continually rank among the best in America, they need help to stay that way.

    The Army Corps of Engineers has allocated $30 million to help with beach renourishment at several Pinellas locations, including including Sand Key, Treasure Island and Upham Beach. This photo from 2014 shows how waves from high tides caused beach erosion at Sunset Beach near Mansions by the Sea condominium complex SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  3. Straz Center parking squeeze infuriates patrons, motivates search for solutions

    Transportation

    TAMPA — When the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts opened 30 years ago, it welcomed just 30,000 patrons its first year.

    Fireworks shoot into the sky over the David A. Straz Jr. Center For The Performing Arts. [SCOTT MCINTYRE, Times]
  4. Video shows naked man who stole swan sculpture in Lakeland, deputies say

    Crime

    The Polk County Sheriff's Office is searching for a large swan sculpture that was stolen from a Lakeland cold storage facility last weekend, possibly by a naked man.

    The Polk County Sheriff's Office says this naked man stole a large black and white swan sculpture, upper right, from a Lakeland storage facility last weekend. Surveillance video showed the man walking into Lakeland Cold Storage. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."