LA CROSSE, Wis. -- The annual march is on. "We like to consider ourselves a professional league of marching band."
The Blue Stars Drum and Bugle corp is polishing and perfecting this years performance. And that means hard work and long hours for the 150 members of the corps. "That's 80 brass. 36 color guard. 3 drum majors. 33 percussionists. This year we auditioned about 550 people for the 150 spots in the group."
These 16 to 21-years-olds come from all over the nation and in some cases the world. " We have members from both coasts and every place in between. And we also have five international members this year."
But making the cut takes more than just talent. "Being in drum corps, it's a difficult lifestyle for some people. This is an intense activity."
"They're basically running and blowing air through instruments and dancing for an extended period of time and that's a level of exertion that most of them do not know before they get here. Will they be able to emotionally and physically be able to handle the rigors of what we're trying to do here?"
"To be a Blue Star, you have to be willing to go through the extra mile. To push past the fatigue even though it may seem hard."
"We go pretty much non stop through the summer. We're talking 80 days. 14 hours of rehearsal. A lot of energy. A lot of intensity."
"All drum corps all the time."
"You do get really tired. It's really exhausting."
"Everyone has passed their breaking point. They've broken down in order to get better. You have to give 110% every time."
"It's quite a challenge to get the show to the level of excellence that we demand of them."
This year's performance is called 'Blue World.' "It paints the picture of sea life."
"We have a part about sailors going off. We have a section about tropical fish."
"We have a portion called predator. We conclude with finding a hidden treasure."
All season long they work to fine tune every movement - every note. "You have to rep one little segment over and over and over again."
"Some times it feels like monotony doing the same thing. Breaking it down slower and then speeding it up."
"But once actually hear what you're getting out of it and what you're feeling out of it, it's totally worth it."
"When the crowd's there. Uniforms on. Everybody's really ready to go." "You're sitting there and your arms feel like they're going to fall off. But then you hear the crowd just roaring. It's something you experience no where else and it's amazing."
"The end is very gratifying to see all the hard work pay off. It's quite addicting to be a part of."
"I'm really excited. I'm really proud of what we've got so far ans it's completely different than anything I've ever done with the Blue Stars. And I'm excited to show everybody what we have. It's gonna be a great season."