This summer, two Liberty members performed to thousands across the USA with an American Drum Corps. One of those members was Elliott. This is his story.

"I was very nervous about my first weekend with Spartans Drum & Bugle Corps. I had never done anything like this before. But I was made to feel so welcome by the staff and members on my first weekend. As well as rehearsing, I also experienced my first American parade that weekend. The parade had a such a festival atmosphere, meaning every member was full of excitement when performing.

Leading up to mini-tour - a week of rehearsing followed by three shows and Independence Day celebrations - I learnt more about the way Spartans rehearse. I also learnt the visual and drill for the entire show, meaning I was ready to perform with the corps at competitions. On July 4th, I performed in three parades and at a baseball ground in Nashua, New Hampshire - the hometown of Spartans.

Between mini-tour and big-tour - a month-long journey across America with an intense rehearsal and show schedule - my host 'parents' took my host 'siblings' and myself to New York City. I saw two Broadway shows and spent time bonding with my fellow Spartans. I was also invited on a trip to the beautiful state of Maine by a few of my new friends from the corps. We stayed on an island owned by our drum major's family and I tried the famous Maine lobster. It was delicious.

It had been my dream to compete in Drum Corps International (DCI) for so many years. It was finally coming true. At DCI Open Class Finals, we placed 5th in both Prelims and Finals. We then travelled to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the DCI World Championships. This was the finale of my DCI season I could have only wished for. We made it through to Semi-Finals by just a 100th of a point. This means that Spartans are currently the ranked 25th in the world. I couldn't believe it.

As I played my final note on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium, it was a bittersweet moment. I had the performance of my life surrounded by some of my closest friends, but I knew it would be my last one of the season. Saying goodbye to everyone on the buses in the evening was very difficult, but it showed me how amazing the drum corps activity is at giving you friends for life. As I waved the Spartans buses off into the night for their long journey back to New Hampshire, I thought how happy I was to have taken the leap and competed in DCI with such an amazing corps. I hope to be back again very soon."

We are happy to welcome Elliott and Ruby back into Liberty after their summer abroad. Both members joined when they were just 9 years old. Who could have imagined that just under a decade later, they would be performing at the DCI World Championships?

Thank you to The Wilson Foundation, The BYBA Dalton-Wright Bursary Fund, to every person who donated to Ruby's GoFundMe fundraiser and especially to the family and friends of Spartans Drum & Bugle Corps. With their support, two local young performers have experienced the summer of a lifetime.

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