Member’s Journal – First Week Moved-In

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It has been a little over a week since I moved-in with Spirit. This morning is a much needed break after a lot of rehearsal time out in the sun. Last Friday I flew into Atlanta with difficulty because the airline bag checkers didn’t seem to understand why I had so many bags. It was hard to explain why I was going away for the summer and needed every bag there. Luckily I was not charged extra money for checking in one more bag than I really could. When I arrived at JSU I put everything in the dorm I was going to be sleeping in and headed off to rehearsal.

On Saturday morning it was our first real day of everydays. I had forgotten how long these days are. We still used a camp schedule for the sake of getting certain things done. I was looking forward to Sunday because it was the annual BBQ for Spirit alumni. The BBQ itself was my first real taste of hard work paying off. We played through the first three movements of the show and “Georgia.” All in all it was good food and good fun. We had the afternoon off to relax before ensemble that night.

This past Monday we began the normal schedule for everydays. It’s a 10 to 10 schedule with more down time during meals. At 7:50 am I woke up for conditioning with hesitation. The rest of the day went along smoothly until brass arc. I found out I split my lip on Sunday while we were playing, probably from putting too much pressure on the mouthpiece for the high mello parts. I talked to the trumpet tech and was able to get some Vitamin E for my lips by Wednesday. During the night we had ensemble. I think ensemble is my favorite part of the day because everything comes together. I love listening to the percussion parts and seeing the color guard’s work. I went to bed pretty sore.

On Tuesday I started to miss home a little. I had very little time in between my school graduation and moving in. It was kind of like being torn away from home without some closure. Despite this, I got through the day only semi-frustrated with the fact that my high range was shot because of my recovering lips.

On Wednesday we started putting the third movement on the field. I love my drill in the beginning because I get to march in the company front right down the 50! After that, I feel like I’ve joined the Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps track team. I’m not a tall person, so the larger backwards step sizes are more difficult for me. At night we had a history of drum corps bugles lecture by our trumpet tech before lights out. I thought it was interesting to the see the change in the G bugles that he brought in, as well as the discussion of the differences between G and B flat.

By Thursday morning we found out someone went home because they decided they did not like drum corps. We had two alternates luckily, so the spot was covered right away.

On Friday it looked to be a rainy day. We had to do ensemble inside. My ear drums were clogged after that because of the reverb off the walls. Yesterday I pushed through, especially during brass arc where we did tracking at 200 bpm for the third movement in a sloped parking lot. My shins felt like jello. During ensemble I was in a good mood until we did the final run through of everything we know. The third movement drill is still difficult for me, and I laid out from playing because of the velocity of movement. I know it will get better with time. Right now I’m concentrating on getting a better marching technique first so the mello countermelodies come out better.

I still have two weeks of move-in to get through. I can’t wait until we hit the road!

Publisher’s Note: Michelle is a member of DCI Division 1 corps Spirit of JSU, a recent high school graduate 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 Sunday, June 4th, 2006. Filed under Member's Journal.