Help keep an animal where he belongs…

So this piece of human garbage is up for parole in Illinois despite being sentenced to 500 years. Along with several others….he killed a 17 year old girl. This is over the line. This writer does not judge, it is not his place. The justice system saw fit to line up five life sentences, yet this same system puts the families of his victims up against the parole board every THREE years. Petitions are no longer any good, you can review his record here:

What follows is a personal plea for justice. Ethically there is no need for me to identify the source as in this case it could possibly harm the victims further, yet the words themselves are exquisitely self evident and I, Chris Welke PERSONALLY AND PUBLICLY —2nd this plea for assistance.

Please help us out with this. Last time my letter addressed the board explaining what it was like for a 15 year old boy to lose his sister in such a horrible way. This time I am addressing the point of how crazy it is for all of our families to have to live this day over and over every 3 years. What he did to ours and other families carries a life long sentence, one that we live with until we die, however, this murderer has more rights than the victims families. That has to change. Please mention this in your letters that the law needs to change. Give us rights to put this behind us and move on. He should have been given the Death Penalty but, he plea bargained and saved his ass………..that is wrong.”

Please send your letters to the following: 
Ref: C10587 Mark Smith, Pontiac Prison. 
Ind. No.: 70-1397, 70-3178 (Mchenry Co.) 71-1509 (Cook Co.)

Mail to: Adam Monreal, Chairman. Prison Review Board, 319 E. Madison Street, Suite A, Springfield, IL. 62701 or Fax to 217-524-0012. 

Here is his name and brief run-down:

Mark Alan Smith

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 4 – 12
Date of murders: 1966 – 1970
Date of birth: June 27, 1949
Victims profile: Eight women in Germany / Obie Faye Ash / Jean Irene Bianchi, 27 / Janice Bolyard, 23 / Jean Ann Lingenfelter, 17
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife – Strangulation
Location: Germany / Arkansas/Illinois, USA
Status: Sentenced consecutively to a total of 500 years in prison in Illinois in 1971

SoCal Drum Corps Weekend…

transcription of SCV

I haven’t been able to hit a one-two-punch BD/SCV show since 2011. So this was a big deal. There isn’t much to review because I was mostly working and socializing. I missed every other corps, but that doesn’t bother me so much. I wanted to check out Devs in the lot and by the time I dropped by Santa Clara it was head-to-my-press-box-adjacent VIP section ASAP or miss the entire show.

The Santa Clara Vanguard – this show has a ton of potential. I’m not sold on the trombones yet but the first impact point, could reach enormous decibel levels once conditioning, cleaning, balance and tuning are maxed out. The white tunics are ballsy, they make interval errors bleed obvious, but by August it will be clean and the white will really make the visual effect pop.

I volunteered to work on Ms. Amana that day (made 240 burgers for lunch, went to ensemble reh. and returned to serve dinner). The run through was outstanding for late June, less tearing between side 1 and 2 & front-to-back than I expected and overall a great look and ensemble sound. Soloists were spot on. Battery tore it up, love the feature.

At the show, they seemed a bit tired. Still pulled it out in terms of effort but it didn’t grab me emotionally the way SCV usually does….it may have been because I had already seen them play earlier in the day far better. There were more tears (which is partially because of the acoustics at Citrus College), the impacts did not pop as hard and the mellophone soloist who is out-freaking-standing fracked for the first time that I know of. Gotta also give credit to multiple pass-throughs at high tempo and ONE intervals (you can tell because the hornline will detriangulate their arms from 60 degress down to 45). So cool.

The Blue Devils – Outstanding talent and potential. Best thing in the show: one snare drummer does a massive visual solo one-handed stick toss – saw him nail it in warm up and on-stage/field. Music is great, but feels like kind of a mish-mash. I just couldn’t feel cohesion to this show but again its ok it’s June…I’m certain the direction and idea of this show will be very clear in August, but where were:

a) The Screamers?

b) The Screamer Soloists?

Do we just not risk this anymore? It takes a lot of fun out of the show to not see at least ONE dude go for the double C…so…less balls in that category. Guard – straight up sexy. Talent of (almost…) every performer in both corps is expert or higher…just need to put them all together into a single unit performing a clear, emotional, cohesive, fun and entertaining show.

They will BOTH make it and I hope they smash Rockford, Rosemont, Garfield and Crown on the road.

The Left Coast is the Best Coast.

Much love to all drum corps members, alumni, friends, family, supporters, benefactors and most of all to the fans cuz we can’t do it without you.

Pictured: a snippet of “Electric Wheel Chair” by the legendary Murray Gusseck. You can purchase his signature sticks from Vic Firth. I did.



Chris Welke: a writer’s bio…

The following is a draft of my writer/ed/proofer professional autobiography, in excruciatingly brief detail…it’s like saying JFK’s dad was into politics, so he got into it too, did ok, won some elections, became president, got shot. Then died. Enjoy dear reader I’ve been at it all day, but you all know how much I love to write to you…and besides, what better topic is there than…me? (I would put a winky face, but I agree with Larry David those symbols are “[part of] the destruction of the English language,” so I’m weening off emoticons….IS THAT OK WITH YOU???? huh……w…w…wha??? whut?)

It is standard operating procedure at major metropolitan newspapers to write stories at no more than an eighth-grade level. The same goes for Web sites and the majority of printed material. The majority of readers in North America will find anything written at a HS level or higher difficult to understand. In second grade, I began reading Stephen King novels, I’m a longtime fan of Roland, the Last Gunslinger and his infinite quest for The Dark Tower. My parents are both teachers and nurtured my love of reading by allowing me access to the same books adults were reading. My second grade teacher checked in on our reading progress by opening  books to a random page and saying, “what is going on on this page?” I was reading “Cujo” at the time, she happened upon a page that forced me to describe an especially horrific revenge scene that plumbs the depths of male depravity…My teacher strongly advised that I not be allowed to read adult novels, but my parents knew that by the time I was seven, to have me read any novels NOT for adults would waste my time, not expand my vocabulary and even the Scholastic teen-reader type books were a waste of money because I could read a 200 page book in one sitting. That’s the kind of voracious reader I am. I do not own a television. I prefer the magic and elegance of the written word. 

I finished HS in the 98th percentile statewide (a cross product of SAT scores, AP and college-prep coursework, extra-curricular (all music), volunteer work and GPA). This granted me entrance to the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo College of Engineering, where I stayed until I decided I wanted to be a writer/editor, not a code-writer. I advanced quickly through the College of Liberal Arts, Working at The Mustang Daily as a reporter, KCPR as a reporter, then News Director and interning at KVEC, the local Clear Channel Affiliate. Through dedication and a passion for storytelling, I graduated at the top of my Journalism class in 2004, winning The Ed Zuchelli Award for Outstanding Senior Broadcaster (2003-2004) and The Dept. Chair’s Award for Leadership in Journalism (2003-2004).
I worked as a professional brass musician for a year after graduation in the SF bay area and returned home when the gigs started to slow down. I took a job as a process server. Frequently the lawyers I worked for needed to investigate and occasionally track down the people they wanted to sue, often with little information to go on. Not a safe job, but a fun one for me…I love to research, investigate, solve problems and find people who do not want to be found. Private investigations are the good journalists’ stock-in-trade. Gas prices effectively voided this as a profitable job by early 2006.
Shortly thereafter, I found myself contracted to work at Metagenics, Inc. Makers of professional quality dietary supplements. I worked my way up from temporary assembly-line laborer to a litany of middle-mgmt titles including Purchasing, Scheduling, Assembly line lead, mechanic, technician, QA/QC technician, Private Label Expediter and one promotion later I traded in my lab coat for a suit where I was given the honorable title of Label Routing Coordinator, responsible for over 2000 SKUs, most of which would route for a variety of reasons on a regular basis (formula changes, Marketing redesigns, Sales copy revisions, Legal/Regulatory Affairs changes). I sat in between the Ops director and the Marketing Director.
A major routing, such as that for a new product or reformulation would need to route through every department imaginable, think of it as each department being the spokes on a wheel and ME being the axle on which that wheel turned. Once I’d mediated, negotiated and settled on a finalized label, it was me who signed off on the final draft and could place the PO for x-thousand labels to be printed in my capacity as Sr. Proofreader and Publishing Scheduler and Planner. That was a great honor and made the best use of my talents, exp. and education. To my knowledge I have never approved one label, template, marketing brochure or Web page with a single error on it.
My brain zeroes in on spelling errors, grammar problems, run-on sentences, punctuation errors, poor organization, poor structure of prose and the like. I find mistakes daily in the LA Times and it frustrates me, even my beloved Dark Tower books are littered with egregious errors. Editing and proofing is my strongest professional suit by a wide margin. I’m very left-brained, so editing comes easier than writing. That’s why I chose Journalism…it is hard to create a new story, but easy, fascinating and fun to take stories from real life and report them in a uniquely informative, comprehensive yet concise and clear manner. All the fiction I write in my spare time is based on real events from my life. All the characters are based on real people or a conglomeration of two or three personalities. Much like Robert Crumb or F. Scott Fitzgerald, the male lead in my stories is usually me, or some kind of abstraction of me.
Whether you are writing a screenplay, book, novella, short story, column, news blurb, blog or photo-caption, I can and WILL help you – because that is what I love to do…help other writers realize their full potential. Let’s create something great together. -cw


Forget the judges and the scores, just bring everything you got….

Reasons to NOT CARE about numbers that band directors in green shirts mark on a score sheet. Ever.

From getting 10 pointed out of the gate to tie ballgame and still lists The Blue Devils as having “won” this show:


You can also view the PBS broadcast (or order it thru to see who “Reliable Rondo” picked to win….(Hint – it wasnt BD or Garfield)

Just remember dear reader, the real “score” is the emotion you can put into the audiences heart – from your heart.

Numbers are just that and nothing more….Numbers.  Myron, Dean and Jdub taught me how to forget about the noise and just do my job, do it well and to keep artistic and physical momentum accelerating until the LAST SHOW (Finals) is done and we did that thx to them and many others like them that came before, during and after that year.

Everytime you troop the line…and you know that not only yourself, but 120 brothers and sisters gave it their all? – No one phoned it in. One collective consciousness sending love out to 50,000 fans? That’s a win. No more no less – just EVERYTHING. Take your entire world and just give it away. That is the best feeling in the world.

Much love Xmas tree…I can’t wait…so grateful that both sides are coming through SoCal…and the Xmen too.

Drum Corps history FB thread test…

an interesting bit of information came out of some legendary folks just by me shooting an old CSUF show pgm… lets see if the nifty jscript I wrote makes this easier to access and enjoy as the previous post did (for me anyway…) I’m a fucking writer/editor/researcher…not a Web developer, I quit that shit for a reason, but it looks like “just when I thought I was out? …they pull me back in.”

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