On the road: Allison Taylor and Kasie Le tour and perform with drum corps


Over the summer, DHS colorguard members, senior Allison Taylor and sophomore Kasie Le, took the opportunity to learn and improve their skills by traveling with the World Class Drum Corps, the Oregon Crusaders (OC). Addison Kaeterle, a DHS colorguard coach, asked the guard to come fill open spots on the Oregon Crusaders where he had volunteered to teach, and Taylor and Le jumped at the opportunity. “I never thought I’d have the opportunity again,” said Taylor.

On June 27, they departed from Logan Airport and arrived an hour outside Portland, Oregon. “Everyone welcomed us,” said Le. “We bonded really quickly.” The guard was composed of 27 members aged 13 to 22 from Japan, Canada, Ireland, and across the United States.

During the following five weeks, they traveled down through the South, across to Georgia, and back up to Massachusetts, competing in 24 competitions. Their show was themed “The Midnight Garden,” a twist between Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland. Taylor began the season as the storybook character Cinderella, dancing her way through a magical garden brought to life through her imagination, and Le began working saber as one of the statues that comes to life.

“I had a lot of mixed feelings,” said Taylor. “I went into OC thinking I was going to improve upon my skills, and when I got there, I was asked to be the storybook character.” The Cinderella character of the show had little flag work, a skill which Taylor had planned to improve. After three weeks, coach Kaeterle gave Taylor a statue part and Le was moved to flag.

At the time of the switch in roles, the guard was practicing underneath the hot Texas sun. “I was learning drill and work at the same time, and it was a lot of information all at once,” said Taylor. The combination caused a stressful two weeks that Taylor’s friend Michael called “Allison’s Fall From Grace.”

Other than the time spent practicing and performing, Taylor and Le got the chance to explore the country. “I don’t travel much,” said Le, “so it was really good to travel a little bit and explore.” On the first break they had, they were able to enjoy the Fourth of July parade in Seaside, Oregon. “It was the strangest parade I’ve ever been in. We weren’t in order,” said Taylor. Later that day, they spent the night on the beach watching the fireworks, making s’mores, and playing a friendly game of volleyball with a family from Mexico.

The OC also spent a practice free day in San Antonio, Texas wandering a local mall and watching Ant Man in theatres. Later in the day, they visited the Alamo and bought ice cream at a Dairy Queen. “There’s Dairy Queen out there everywhere,” said Taylor.

Overall it was an experience that both Le and Taylor would be happy to do again. “It was tough, and I got homesick at times,” said Taylor, “but it was worth it.”

The Oregon Crusaders placed 17 out of 39 in the Drum Corps International Semi-Finals. Currently, Le and Taylor are continuing their colorguard careers in DHS’s new fall show “Into the Hive.” Both star as busy bees in the hive of the band, contributing the skills they learned traveling with the Oregon Crusaders to the DHS colorguard.