Ageing Out

by Dan Wilde

The evening of Sunday October 3rd was my last as a marching member. It dosnt
seem like yesterday when I did my first ever show with the 28th Kingswood 1st
Downend Scout and Guide Band (who later became Spirit of Bristol) at Wembley in
1989! We were first on at 10:30am in Novice class playing a show which included
The Final Countdown, The Snowman (slow piece), Looney Tunes (drum break) and
Flash Dance!

I finally aged out with Cadence in 2004 with our show 'Remembrances' which
included In the Spring when Kings go off to War, Nimrod and 1812! A show which
will live with me for a very long time, just like my first ever show 16 seasons
ago! Infact standing at the back of the field at Mansfield in the pouring rain
waiting to go on for finals, many of the shows I have marched flashed before my
eyes, it was a very strange feeling ageing out, and its something I have been
preparing myself for over the last year, but I still wasnt ready for it!  The
emotions you feel when it suddenly dawns on you that you cant do this again are
very strange.  I like many ageouts before me have been counting down the weeks
since last years finals, and everyone I spoke to who has aged out already said
dont count down because it will be over before you know it, and I said yeh yeh,
but they were so right, and this last year went quicker than ever before!

I have not missed a year marching since I started band in 1989, and although 10
of these years were in BYBA (and 7 of those 10 I played clarinet, no horn lift
jokes please) drum corps has been a massive part of my life also, and since 1999
I have marched in DCUK. The first DCUK finals that I watched was 1994 at Notts
County, I actually went up on the Kingswood Bus which was very brave as I was a
Spirit boy, and I was blown away. Caladonian Regiment with there wall of horns,
Senators guard had these mirror things in the closer which they span round,
Eagles played their opener to Beauty and the Beast  far too fast ;0) but after
that I was determined to march DCUK at some stage. In 2000 after a number of
troubled years, Spirit of Bristol were on the brink of folding after doing a
standstill run through at the first show that year. I decided I had had enough
and walked out (the hardest decision I ever made), and I wasnt going to do
anything again ever again. Then my good mate Adam Butt (smooth) called me and
asked if I fancied going over to Cadence!

Now Cadence were the current champions at the time and we had seen them at the
first few shows and thought they had the most potential to win again so we went
down to practice. I must admit we did flirt (for at least one second) with the
idea of going to Senators, and if we would have done so I probably would now own
a tidy 4 red patches, but we knew a few people at Cadence so decided to go
there, and I can honestly say that it was the best decision we ever made!
Although a few members of Cadence still remind me that Cadence havnt won a thing
since me and smooth joined!!! From the first practice at Pirbright I knew we had
made the right decision.  The corps worked harder than we ever did at Spirit,
and the atmosphere at the corps was what myself and smooth wanted more than
anything after the last few years at Spirit which were bad to be fair.  It took
a little while to fit in and the first time I felt like a member of the corps
was when me and smooth turned up for a carnival on a Saturday, I think half the
hornline was there or something so I think they appreciated us turning up, and
it proved that we were not just there for the red patch if you know what I mean.

Anyway 5 seasons later and I am still here, I dont think I have missed more than
a handful of practices in that time, even though I had to travel 160 miles to
practice and back every week!  I worked it out that I must have travelled well
over 35,000 miles since I joined Cadence which is quite impressive (although I
dont want to know how much petrol money that is!!).

Not much has changed at Cadence since I have been a member except the members
work 100 times harder now than in 2000.  I know its a cliche but we are one big
family, we all get along so well (a little known fact is that only about 5
people EVER have left the corps to join another corps, once your in, your a
member for ever!). From the old boys like myself to the young guns coming up
through the cadets, we just get on well.  Rab (the corps director John Barclay)
can be the funniest bloke ever and the scariest when he gets mad! I have heard
him go mental so many times and heard the mutterings from fellow members calling
him names when he does! but its all part of the fun, and I doubt there are many
other corps directors in the history of drum corps who are so well liked at
their corps.  Rabs best (or worst) moment this year was after a bad run through,
and he shouted at us stating in a slightly less polite than this, that we were A
Class! we decided to buck our ideas up after that!

The nights out and nights in with Cadence have always been great.  Finals camp
this year was just brilliant, 3 nights away with my closest friends working hard
and having the best time is what Cadence is all about.  This year we had an old
Cadence video night on the first night of camp which was great for the newer
members (to be fair we should have won a few times IMO).  Next night was the
quiz night which included a buzzer round in which each team had a different
buzzer such as a cymbal or cow bell, which was very funny.  Needless to say the
Boss's team won!  Then the last night before finals was the members awards night
in which every member votes for their members and rookies of the year in each
section.  This is always a good laugh and brings everyone together for the last
night together as a corps.  Finally that night was the Age Out awards which is
always emotional, especially for myself, Jasper and Jarvis who were ageing out.
I was presented with a picture with loads of photos on from all the years I have
marched and it brought back loads of memories all at once.  I tried hard but I
couldnt stop the tears, especially when my best mates were as emotional as I was
making speaches, and it was that picture and all those memories that hit me when
I stood at the back of the field at Mansfield and I realised that it was nearly
over! 10 minutes left!!

We had a great show in 2004 and we really connected with people in a way no
other corps could with our 'Remembrances' show.  Winning High Guard made up for
the last 2 years of disapointment.  We had already come to terms with the fact
that we were not going to win, but just taking a caption felt like winning, and
that moment will live on for everyone involved with the corps.  You learn a lot
about yourself when you lose constantly for 5 years, not many corps have come so
close to winning and gone away with nothing like we have, and it changes you,
but I think that all the second places have brought every member of Cadence
closer together, which cannot be a bad thing in the end.  We have worked so hard
for our second places and nobody can take them away from us at the end of the

The last 5 years with Cadence have been great, yes we havnt won (the only show I
have won was 2000 prelims), we havn't won many captions or whatever, but we have
been consistently one of the best corps in the country and one of the most
successful in history, and we are so proud of the shows we have produced. We
have always pushed ourselves to new levels, and the 2004 show was probably one
of our best.  Now I will be on the other side as a staff member in 2005, but I
hope that I can use my knowledge to push Cadence on to greater success in the

Anyway my final message is, if you are still old enough to march DO IT! Because
there may not be many more years left!


Dan Wilde Cadence 00 - 04 Spirit 89 - 00








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