Members’ Journal – Last Week of Camp

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It’s finally the end of move in! Tonight at 8 pm we leave JSU bound for Middleofnowhere, Alabama.

Last Monday was a nice change in conditioning. An instructor staying for only one week ran it. We were allowed to take our shoes off on the astroturf and stretched more than ran. When it began to rain towards the end of the visual block we were cooled off from the steamy weather. We were able to clean many segments of the show. That night we were supposed to wear our jackets for ensemble, but it began to rain again. The hornline had to go back to the dorms to hang the uniforms up before heading back out to rehearse. The director of CorpsVets came to watch. At the end I was approached by him because I received the Lisa Abney scholarship from them. I thanked them while covered in astrodirt from doing pushups with the mellophone section.

Tuesday was similar to Monday but with cooler weather. During conditioning we had music playing while we stretched. We successfully were able to wear our jackets for the last run during ensemble. The uniform constricts my breathing when holding the horn up. Unfortunately, I accidentally jabbed my mouthpiece onto my mouth when running a segment of the ballad, so my playing during the final run was not stellar. I had a lot of chocolate for snack.

On Wednesday we did visual block with our Dinkles on. They are not the most comfortable shoes to march in, but boy are they shiny. My toes automatically felt like they were being rolled higher. I found out there was a possible mellophone alternate spot open, so I called a close friend about filling it. If she does, she will be here on Tuesday provided she finds the money to do it. I hope she is able to find the aid to do it. For the breathing block we ran about a mile again, but I had trouble breathing. Since that day I haven’t been having as much trouble. We did an integrated brass arc during brass block. It made me a little nervous because I could not hear any other mellophones but myself. I messed up a few times, but the point of the integrated arc is to make sure everyone is playing every note of the show. I know what parts I have to work on to make this individually happen.

On Thursday we put part of the closer drill on the field as well as added visuals to other parts of the show. We ran for 15 minutes in the breathing block. I was able to keep up with it the whole way because it was a slower continuous pace. I even was breathing in and out on the right counts. A new rule was implemented about wearing shirts after rehearsal. I had a personal sectional with the mellophone visual tech to get better at marching and playing. I asked him if I could have it because during the ballad specifically, I could hear feet in my sound while marching double time. He pointed out I had a tendency to jab my right foot into the ground as opposed to the left in the forwards and backwards technique. I was only getting the bounce in my sound on beats 2 and 4. It was a strange realization, but since then I have been trying to compensate for it. I didn’t have a very good run of the show at night because I think I was too focused on marching better. In doing that, I got more frustrated with myself when I messed up.

On Friday morning Jolesch was here to take our pictures in uniform. We had a more relaxed morning until 11 am when visual block started. We broke down our marching technique down at 40 bpm. It helped greatly with my feet timing because I could hone in on the “an” counts. Ensemble at night was better than Thursday except for the fact that my shako decided to practically fall off my head for the final run.

Yesterday was our first show day—finally! We had a schedule similar to one on tour. Visual in the morning included learning even more drill to be performed at night. In brass block we were very nitpicky with details. The mellophone section played the first note of the brass chorale in opener 57 times. It was very hard to concentrate after doing the same thing over and over and over and over. A different person would mess up each time. I got the the point where I couldn’t even tell if I was. Luckily ensemble rehearsal was a better atmosphere than the frustrating one from brass block. It was hot outside, but we put a great amount of energy into the final run of the day before the preview show in the evening. The preview show itself was an amazing experience. Here I was in uniform warming up and stretching as a Spirit member for a crowd just here to see us. The run of the show was our most energetic by far. At the end of the show we arc’ed it up to play Georgia and an encore of our closer. As the hornline marched out in twos, the drumline played a cadence I had not heard before.

Today my stuff is packed up. I am ready to hit the road. We’ll have the full show on the field by the end of this afternoon. See you at our first DCI show on Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama!

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 18th, 2006. Filed under Member's Journal.