Seats 52,692
Seats 52,692


Pretty close.

And you?

Let’s stick together, support one another, and stay calm during this stormy time in modern history.

IU's Rock Is Actually A Rock
IU's Rock Is Actually A Rock

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By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. Yeah buddy, and empty seats are overwhelming enough. Imagine them filled with screaming fans! I didn’t play one note the first time I came out of the tunnel with the marching band. I was breathless!

  2. Craig and Jeff,

    I’ve had the pleasure of marching on the field in the picture above. I was in the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps in 1984. The final competition of the year was in Atlanta on the campus of Georgia Tech. It was the first time a corps had finals in their home city. I could not play for the first 10 seconds or so of our show. The rush of emotions was so overwhelming I couldn’t breathe.

    But training kicked in. This was mid-August and we had been practicing almost daily since early June. We knew the music, we knew the spots to march to, and we knew how to breathe. I recovered and finished the show in a little over 12 minutes. We were less than 7 points away from perfection.

    26 years later there are parts of the show I could probably still march. I know the music and can sing the show from beginning to end with my eyes closed. The daily repetition, learning and progression helped turn a group of 128 16-21 year olds into a well oiled performing machine.

  3. David, it is wonderful to hear your recount of something so long ago, like it was yesterday.

    Perhaps these are the seeds we plant to teach our children.

    Kids often look past their parents for role models and teachers. maybe it’s because parents aren’t fully aware.

    They are always teaching, but mostly by default, by accident.

    What if it was by design, intentional.

    The way a great organization operationalizes it’s culture.

  4. David,
    THAT’S AWESOME!!! A 93?!? WOW!!!

    I love DCI and marched in 2000 with Pioneer. We were sort of a rag tag group, with a lot of guys who didn’t make it into the Scouts. But it was still fun. We had a crowd pleasing show with the music of Brigadoon done in swing. I almost never got to march in DCI, as money, then Ohio State’s quarters schedule, always got in the way.
    It was a fun story – I joined the corp in July of that season. I had broken my foot that May and was gimped up in a cast. In June, I got a call from the corps director, saying he heard I could play and wanted me to come march (very cool!). Since I was only to march half the season, he only made me pay half of the fees. So, I got a chance at my DCI dream. As I said, our quarters schedule at school wasn’t ideal, otherwise I would have pursued the Scouts or Cadets in 2001. Regardless, I got to march and am very thankful for it!
    I wrote a quick post about it a little ways back – it’s got the video of our semi-finals show. ( https://www.craignickoloff.com/2010/05/07/one-summer/ ) I think we placed 14 or 17. I don’t know if we ever broke 80s.

  5. 93.1 to be exact.

    I was in the best shape of my life. 155 lbs., a nice tan, 30 inch waist. I could run a mile and hardly break a sweat.

    I was employed at Six Flags Over Georgia during the Summer of 1984. One Saturday night in early June, the corps came to play a stand still concert in the park. Some of my college friends were in the corps and I told them it would be a dream come true if I could march. They still had some openings, even though they were a week away from going on tour. I quit my job and joined the corps the next day.

    Being in the right place at the right time paid off.

    Small world story to go along with this . . . . one of the members of the color guard was a friend from the University of Alabama. I saw her off and on in the years following our tour around the country in 1984. Fast forward to 2008. She is employed by the same school as my wife. They were both part time teachers and ended up sharing a room together for 2 years.

  6. Craig and David, my Dad and Aunt were musically talented.

    They practiced so much that they appeared gifted, and perhaps they were.

    I’m especially appreciative of the talents you both have and enjoyed.

    Also love the fact that you guys have bonded though these blogs.

    How cool is that?

    There’s a decent Tribe that follows, even if they don’t comment. I see the numbers. There’s definitely a Tribe and growing.

    Tribe, we appreciate you being part of the community and invite you into the conversation whenever and wherever it suites you.

  7. Ah, IU. My youngest daughter graduated from there. I enjoyed reading your comments on this blog while I am on vacation.

    I too encourage other readers to chime in. I have never met any of these guys either, we just chat and get to know one another. It’s fun, don’t be shy. Surely you have interesting stuff to share, we want to hear from you too.

  8. Donna, thank you for commenting from Germany. It’s a Small World After All, isn’t it?

    Donna, some great insight, humor and generally interesting conversation never makes it to the blogs – it resides in the comments section.

    It’s hard to keep up with it, which is a great metaphor for life and the pursuit of excellence.

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