Member’s Journal – Early May Camp

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Camp this weekend caused some rude awakenings for me, but at least the airline didn’t lose my baggage!

The week heading into camp was quite stressful. I’ve been taking all of my IB and AP exams, and they don’t end until May 19th. I took my IB Environmental Systems test in the morning and headed to the airport around 3 in the afternoon on Friday. I found out my original flight may be delayed an hour and arrive in Atlanta at 8:30 pm. I did not want to be late to camp, so I chose an earlier flight scheduled to depart at 4:55. When I arrived at the airport I was happy to see my corps horn and duffle bag already on the baggage claim. Perhaps I am not jinxed. I headed to the Atlanta Bread Company in the airport to meet up with the other people flying into camp.

The corps SUV pulled up around 8:10, but the other person flying in from where I live had not gotten an earlier flight like I assumed. We had to wait for them to collect their belongings. Because of this, we didn’t arrive at camp until 10:00 CST. That night we were scheduled to put the rest of the opener on the field. By the time we got to the stadium, the corps was on set 28. I was lost looking at my coordinate sheet handed to me by the visual staff. I have a different way of looking at my dots, so it takes my brain longer to process “3.5 outside of the front hash, 1.75 inside the right 35 yard line.” I look at the field as Side 1/Side 2 and so on. The corps did a full run of the opener (no music), and I had to wait until set 33 where I could comfortably jump in and do the drill.

No one in the SUV had checked in and gotten a roommate for the dorms we’d be sleeping in. I saw the name of one of the mellophone girls I have been getting to know and signed up to be her roommate. We are going to have the same dorm partners for move in. I put together my dot book in the way I read dots and fell asleep.

The next morning at conditioning things started to go downhill for me physically. I ran a couple laps okay, but before the second leg-hopping exercise I was short of breath. I felt was going to throw up because I was dehydrated. I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so it was horrible staring at the ground with nothing coming out. This happened at my May camp last year too. Maybe my body doesn’t like the month of May, or maybe I should have had a drink of water before running! In that case, I admit stupidity on my part. I sat out for the next two minutes before I became frustrated with myself and went back to sprinting. I finished the conditioning block feeling better after those few minutes of rest. I’ve never sat out of marching band or drum corps rehearsals in my life due to illness or injury. This camp has caused me to change that statement to, “I did sit out once.” Call me stubborn if you wish: I just hate doing that.

At breakfast people asked if I was feeling alright. I prepared for the visual block by grabbing my rehearsal bag and horn. During the visual block I kept out going through my dot book to learn all the sets I missed. I made quite a few mistakes when my short term memory kicked in. I made some quick recoveries and felt more comfortable with the opener by lunch time. The velocity of the movement had me breathing heavily at the final set. I love it.

For lunch the mellophones went to Wendy’s. I’ve continued to avoid eating unhealthily at camps. I ordered my salad and enjoyed the rest of the break talking to other members in my section.

In the afternoon music rehearsal we had to hold up our horns for long periods of time. It was tiring. Once again, I felt dehydrated and my leg muscles began shaking. The mellophone tech suggested it was because of low potassium or low blood sugar. I have since conferred with my mom who works in health care, and she says it’s most likely only muscle reflexes. In that case, it might have been the way I was standing. We broke into sectionals to go over the opener for ensemble. The focus was on marching and playing. I drank more water to avoid feeling dehydrated again.

We had a basics block before ensemble. I always like ensemble because I haven’t heard too much of the battery parts in the music from leaving early on Sundays. The opener was marched and played. It’s hard for me to play some of the mellophone melodies in the presto at the end of the opener because I’m taking large strides backwards for one set and then jazz running forward the next. I’m sure that will be worked out during move in. It’s high intensity — I want to perform it well.

After dinner during I checked in for camp. We worked on the third movement and closer for the rest of the night. I got my uniform pants fitted. The first pair I tried on fit. When I went back to brass arc they had only worked on the “Blues in the Night” portion of the closer. I was looking forward to getting into “Blue Shades,” but that is another thing that will have to wait until move in. I turned in my member jacket order form and went to bed tired and sore.

The next morning there was no conditioning. You could tell people were sore as they waddled down the stairs for breakfast like penguins. It was drizzling outside and gray. The visual staff decided to do basics indoors instead of putting the ballad on the field. We listened to talks about what is expected of us and some things that might occur on tour.

We had a shortened brass arc in the stadium because it was finally sunny out. During lunch I had to pack up because someone had an early flight causing the rest of us to leave camp earlier than normal. My flight home was delayed, but I had two big exams to study for. I arrived home at midnight very tired and sore.

Today I decided to take responsibility for my physical ailments at the camp. I did my own 30 minute stretch and ran around my neighborhood for 20 minutes, including sprinting for the last leg. I intend to increase this running time each day up until move in. I’m trying to take the proper precautions by being hydrated and slowing my heartbeat at the end of running. I worked on properly breathing as well. I breathed in for four counts and out for four counts just like a variation of the breathing block.

I will come to move in prepared and ready to make this a great and memorable summer. 19 days to go…

Publisher’s Note: Michelle is a member of DCI Division 1 corps Spirit of JSU, a high school senior from Florida, and a member of the DCP Forum Support Team. Member’s Journal is a regular feature column of – following the journey of a drum corps member thru rehearsals and the competition season … providing our readers with a sense of the committment, challenges, and rewards associated with membership in a corps.

Posted by on Wednesday, May 10th, 2006. Filed under Member's Journal.