What Happens When Two Bass Drummers Get Married

A little over a year ago, I went to WGI World Class Percussion Finals for the first time. One of the greatest show moments I’ve witnessed in my marching arts life occurred that night when two of the bass drummers got engaged during the show. That’s correct, the guy dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring, which the girl happily accepted, during the final minutes of the show.

Needless to say, the arena went nuts, especially after it was clear that she said yes. Continue reading What Happens When Two Bass Drummers Get Married

2016 Ohio Indoor Performance Association State Championships Recap

Over this past weekend, I got to see many young performers take the floor in color guard, percussion, and winds at this year’s OIPA state championships. I had an interesting vantage point as, for the first time, the announcer’s table was set up on the front side of the floor. In fact…

My view was pretty up close and personal

Even though I was busy announcing the performing units, I was still able, as you can see, to get some pictures in as well. You can view my pictures from Saturday’s guard competition here and Sunday’s percussion and guard competition here.

OIPA and their fans also posted many updates from the weekend on their various social media feeds using the hashtag #oipachamps2016.


Many of these groups are now preparing for their final performances at WGI over the next two weekends while others finished their season in Wapakoneta. Regardless, thank you to all of the performers, their staffs, the parents, friends, and family, and everybody involved with OIPA. I’m glad I get to be a part of it all and can’t wait for next season.

Every Day Is Backup Day

There are three non-traditional holidays which I acknowledge. Sweetest Day is definitely not one of them (damn you, American Greetings).

Those three are:

1. March Fourth (a day to celebrate the marching arts)
2. May the Fourth Be With You (Star Wars Day)
3. World Backup Day (TODAY!!!)

By now, you’re realizing that I am a complete and total nerd/geek/dork. Of course, if you’ve met me even once, you knew that already, so, if you are coming to this realization now, then this is most likely the first time you’ve ever heard of me. Welcome to my website, hope you enjoy your stay.

Now, the real reason I’m writing this article is because, as stated earlier, today is World Backup Day. This day is exactly what you think it is – a day to focus on keeping your important data backed up, whether it is on your computer, your phone, your tablet, or some other device which stores information important to you. March 31 is World Backup Day because nobody wants to be an April Fool and lose their data. Being an IT professional, I preach this gospel to anybody I can whenever I can. This is why I say to you that every day is Backup Day!

Here’s how I recommend you backup your data:

3) Keep THREE copies of your data, the original copy on your computer and two backups copies.
2) Your backup copies should be stored on TWO different types of media. You should not backup your data to the same external hard drive, for example.
1) ONE of your backups should be stored outside of your home or office. Thanks to the many different online backup options like Carbonite or CrashPlan, this is easy to do.

It is commonly referred to as the 3-2-1 backup method and is the best way to guarantee you always have a copy of your data no matter what happens. Don’t be like Francis Ford Coppola, whose laptop and backup hard drive were both stolen, resulting in the loss of 15 years of work, including the script he was working on at the time of the robbery. The offsite backup copy is crucial to preventing data loss.

Personally, I back up my data to a Western Digital 1TB external hard drive and to the CrashPlan online backup service. Thanks to the free software provided by CrashPlan, my backups run continuously, ensuring that everything I have is on that hard drive and in the cloud. The cost of the drive is under $100 and is sometimes on sale for as low as $50. CrashPlan’s individual backup service for a single computer is $5/month or $60/year, well worth the cost. The simple fact is that, with all of the photos, videos, and other personal and professional documents we now keep in a digital format, the cost of losing that data is beyond a dollar amount. Start backing up your data today!

Thoughts on Apple and the FBI

Before all of the recent security and privacy hullabaloo between the FBI and Apple, Apple tried to help the FBI. Apple could have recovered the data from the San Bernardino shooter’s phone if it was connected to a known wifi network and allowed to back up to iCloud.

The problem is that the FBI told the San Bernardino police to reset the password on the user account. This prevents access to the backups.

What the FBI asked Apple to do at that point was write a custom firmware update for that phone. It had to be made by Apple and digitally signed by them, otherwise the phone wouldn’t accept it. The firmware would remove the limitation of 10 incorrect password attempts before the phone would wipe itself. They also wanted Apple to remove a limitation to how fast they could enter passwords.

Here are the problems with that request:

1) No matter how careful the FBI or Apple are, there’s no guarantee that firmware won’t get hacked and reverse engineered. Imagine every iOS device made vulnerable because somebody lost their thumb drive.

2) How much time, money, and effort would Apple have needed to develop the firmware hack? That’s not Apple’s job. They’re not a forensics company.

3) One of Apple’s major selling points is their security. By hacking their own security, they severely damage their own reputation and their sales.

4) There are other iPhones in the hands of state and federal authorities. The FBI picked this particular phone because they knew the emotional impact it would have. They wanted to set legal precedent. They failed.

I’m glad they did.

DCI and DCA in DCW: Championship Articles from Drum Corps World

Drum corps fans love to look back at the activity’s history. There are Facebook groups dedicated to corps who no longer take the field, as well as different eras of drum corps greatness. Heck, even as I’m writing this article, I have last year’s Drum Corps International World Championships performances blasting my face with sound. Drum corps does not have what it would call “casual fans”.

That’s why these two books, compiling every championships finals article published by Drum Corps World since its inception in 1972, are perfect for drum corps fans. The articles are in chronological order and are broken down between DCI in one book and DCA in the other. Were you a part of the 1996 DCI season and looking to relive your experience on the field at championships? Just flip to Donald Chinn’s review and read his reaction to the first tie in DCI history. Did you hear about how great the ’75 Skyliners were but are either too young or wasn’t a fan of drum corps at the time to experience it? Fred Mowbray’s review of the ’75 DCA championships has you covered. DCW has had 25 writers at DCI and 18 at DCA from 1972 to 2015 and everything they wrote about these two organizations’ championships during that time period is preserved for posterity in these two releases.

I do have one disclaimer – I am one of those writers, having covered DCI Championships in 2015 and DCA Championships in 2014 and 2015. I won’t comment on my own writing, but I will say that I consider myself fortunate to be in the company of those who covered championships before me. These reviews are written by true fans of the activity whose passion for what they’re witnessing comes through with every word committed to paper. If you’re a fan like they are and I am, you will definitely enjoy reading these books and experiencing drum corps history through their eyes, ears, and pens.

Both books are available on Amazon as Kindle ebooks and are $4.99 each.

Source: DCI in DCW: DCI Championship Articles from Drum Corps World – Kindle edition by Samantha Sabo, Alan R Karls, Steve Vickers. Arts & Photography Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. and DCA in DCW: DCA Championship Articles from Drum Corps World – Kindle edition by Samantha Sabo, Alan R Karls, Steve Vickers. Arts & Photography Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

The Drum Corps Heritage Society Online Digital Repository GoFundMe

I am proud to say that I am a member of the board of directors for the Drum Corps Heritage Society, an organization envisioned by Dennis Cole.

From the DCHS website:

The mission of the Drum Corps Heritage Society is to collect, preserve and provide access to its corpus of historical resources for scholars, educators, students, journalists, and the general public in an effort to broaden the awareness and understanding of the drum and bugle corps, its historical roots and evolution, and its impact in the larger history and cultural fabric of North American music.

Entering its third year, the DCHS now looks to create an online digital repository of the many items donated to the organization, including audio and video recordings and photographs of various drum corps performances and events throughout the years. A venture like this requires funding to cover costs such as web hosting, scanning equipment, storage of the originals, and technology for displaying the repository at presentations.

The DCHS has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise these funds. The organization is looking to raise at least $5,000 to purchase the technology necessary to make the online repository a reality. If you wish to make a donation, click the link below. Any amount you give will be appreciated.

Help us preserve and display the history of our great activity!

Source: The DCHS Online Digital Repository by Dennis Cole – GoFundMe

UPDATED – 2016 Ohio Indoor Performance Association Championships

I’ve been going to Ohio Indoor Performance Association events for the past few years as a spectator, then providing social media coverage for events such as the annual premiere and championships. Last year, I had the chance to announce some shows, found that I liked it, and that I was good at it. This year, I’ve announced many more shows and am proud to announce, if you will, that I will be announcing the 2016 OIPA state championships. To say I’m excited is an understatement!

Championships will be on Saturday, April 2nd (Guard) and Sunday, April 3rd (Percussion/Winds), and will take place at Wapakoneta High School in Wapakoneta, Ohio. I’m not just looking forward to announcing the show, though, as I’ve seen many friends, both from my marching years at Glassmen and Empire Statesmen as well as people I’ve met throughout my association with the marching arts.

I’ll also have my camera with me. While I’ll be in the back of the arena, I’ll still be posting shots I take on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Be sure to follow along!

I hope to see you there!

UPDATE – I’ve created Facebook and Google+ event pages! Be sure to mark that you’re going to the show!

Saturday (Guard)

Sunday (Percussion and Winds)

2016 Ohio Indoor Performance Association New London Contest Photos

This weekend, I had the pleasure of announcing the two Ohio Indoor Performance Association contests at New London High School in New London, Ohio. I was also able to snap some photos of the performing groups while at the announcer’s table. Feel free to check out the pictures I took in the slideshow below. Enjoy!

2016 Ohio Indoor Performance Association New London Competition

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2016 Winter Guard International Rochester Color Guard Regional

Next weekend, I will be once again handling social media duties for Winter Guard International, this time at their Rochester color guard regional. This will be a rare time where I’m visiting Rochester and it’s NOT DCA, so I hope to see some of my Statesmen family over the weekend, either at the show or around town. The regional is taking place at Gates-Chili High School on Saturday, February 20th. I hope to see you there!

If you are going to be at the regional, be sure to comment below and check into the event on Facebook and Google+. You can also find a full schedule for the regional on the WGI website

2016 WGI Troy Percussion Regional Photos

I had the privilege of manning the WGI social media wheel at this past weekend’s Troy percussion regional. This was my third straight year handling social media duties at this event and it’s always a blast to see all of these young performers take the floor in performance and competition. This year was more exciting as WGI has expanded coverage from Instagram and Twitter to also include Snapchat, Vine, and Periscope. Despite how busy I was switching between these apps and making my way around the arena to get different vantage points, I was also able to snap some pictures during both Prelims and Finals. Here are slideshows of the pictures as well as links to the Google Photos albums. If you were at either event, feel free to add your photos to these albums and post in the comments section.


Google Photos album


Google Photos album