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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) – A world class drum and bugle corps is in Thomasville getting ready for a summer tour of competitions.
The corps is made up of 135 of the top talented high school and college music students from across the country. And their training camp isn't for the faint at heart.
"This is a high school marching band on steroids," Albany native and drum major, Bobby Duncan says to describe Teal Sound.
Teal Sound is a professional drum and bugle corps based out of Jacksonville. The corps made a stop in Thomasville to begin practicing for its summer competition tour.
"Thomasville is like our spring training camp," says corps director Randy Blackburn. "We're like the MLB with the spring training before competition."
The corps consists of members ages 14 to 21 from all over the country, and even two members from Japan. But only the elite get to play with Teal Sound.
"I couldn't believe it because I am a girl," says Juri Shibuya, a snare drum player from Japan. "Most of the drummers are boys. So I was like YAY!"
Teal Sound's band camp is like no other. They practice up to 14 hours a day. During the day, the field is only empty when the scorching sun is directly over head. But the corps splits up to find shade and continues to rehearse.
"15 years ago Bobby Knight came to one of our practices and he went back and told his basketball players never to complain about practice again because he had seen something he'd never seen before," Blackburn reminisces.
Life can be difficult for these corps members. Often, high school gyms become a home away from home.
"Yeah, you miss the home aspect of it and your own bed," says Duncan. "But this is our home, and we get used to it."
The camp is also physically demanding.
"I'm so sore," says Kerry Murphy, a color guard member attending Valdosta State University. "I hurt my knee back in November and I can feel it. But I'm not sure if it's the original injury or because of this."
But all the members agree that the chance to play in Teal Sound makes it all worth it. And they continue to march their way to a championship.
The Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps will perform a free exhibition in Thomasville Saturday at 7:30 PM.
They open competition in Columbia, South Carolina on the 20th.