Corey Moore is on a 5:30 a.m. flight on Friday. He's not that thrilled about that, but he's plenty stoked about the destination.
"I'm really excited," said the Troopers drum major about arriving in Casper on Friday for all-day rehearsals.
After having qualified for finals a year ago, the second-year drum major knows the Troopers have to up their game.
"It's going to be harder,. in the sense that we're going to have to work a lot harder," he said. "The show the visual staff has put together is unbelievable. Honestly, it's not going to be too terribly difficult if we work at it -- but we have to work at it."
Moore agrees with director Fred Morris's assessment that the music in this show, "Wanted," is "darker" than past shows have been.
"It is a lot more 'in your face,' and it will surprise a lot of people because it's not the hummable, happy stuff Troopers have done forever. But I think the fans are going to like it a lot more. It's going to grab audiences a lot more. It's going to pull an audience in a lot more."
Since last August, Moore has been a busy guy. He's been at five Troopers camps and a DCI meeting. He finished a year at Lone Star College in Cypress, Texas, and is changing his major from music to film.
In the fall, he's moving home to Midlothian, Va., and will seek an associate degree in media production. And yes, Troopers alumni Michael Gough and Dieter Wiselogel can take credit for that.
"I worked with them for about 10 minutes and thought, 'Man, this is what I want to do,'" he said.
As one of 12 DCI finalists, Moore understands that the Troopers -- from the most seasoned veteran to the rookies -- are in a different position this year. And he realizes that as drum major, getting the corps to "get that," is a large part of his responsibility.
"We are held to higher standards," Moore said. "Since November, we've been holding every member a lot more accountable. You don't wait to practice until a camp or all-days. If you're a musician, you're turning in assignments and practice logs to your section leaders every week. And that goes for me too. I've prepared myself with the music way more than I did last year."
The Troopers enter this season with a back field conductor, a sort of assistant drum major. She is Megan Webster of Bainbridge Island, Wash. She's been in that position the whole offseason, and Moore expects instant -- and immeasurable -- help as a result.
"It will help me out tremendously," he said. "She knows exactly what she needs to do already. She'll be helping with everything -- on the field and off. I cannot wait."