Members’ Journal – Second Week of Camp

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Another week of move in has come to a close. By now everything is fairly routine, and it’s a matter of pushing to the very end to survive the Alabama heat. Monday began with a difficult breathing block around the stadium field. We ran a mile with sprinting a good chuck of it. I had trouble breathing because my inhaler for exercise-induced asthma started running low. After running we were marching and playing on the field. We had to strive for perfection, especially in the ballad where I could have sworn we played the same chord at a hold 15 times until every attacked and released together. I was losing focus because of the high temperature. I think we took a step backwards in terms of improving because the hornline had trouble concentrating. We also had some people dehydrated from not drinking enough water. From that day on we have had water at often intervals to prevent the same thing from occurring. During ensemble that night my legs were burning after “Waltz of the Mushroom Hunters.”

On Tuesday another person had to go home because of shin-related injuries. By then we had another person to cover the hole, so everything worked out again. Visual and brass blocks were difficult. Visual was demanding because it was similar to the brass block the day before where we wouldn’t move on until everything was perfect. In brass I didn’t have as much trouble breathing during the breathing block. We had just learned the rest of the drill to Waltz in the morning, so when the brass staff said we were going to be marching and playing the new sets I wasn’t exactly sure how the visual lined up with the music. There were a couple collisions when running the segments. In ensemble my mellophone was hit by a saber in a 16 count visual in the opener. It was no one person’s fault because I think I did the visual too quickly and the guard person was a little too far forward. No problem, it was a dent in the bell that could be easily fixed.

By Wednesday visual became more fun. Marching Waltz became easier. Brass was enjoyable as well. We did a mellophone sectional near a building with a lot of bees. I have to admit I have a phobia of bees. When they flew near me when I was playing I got freaked out. It’s something I can look back at and laugh at now. Ensemble at night was great. We had this amazing performance during our final run of the night because we had energy. I loved it! I only hope every run through will be like that from now on. We set new boundaries that night.

Thursday’s brass and visual blocks were nice. The entire third movement was finally on the field. We started wearing shakos for our last run through of the night during ensemble. I was excited because I felt like it was a real show. Heck yes show bun.

On Friday we had to sign up for the buses to ride during tour. I hope I got on the brass bus. Our brass caption head brought in one of his good friends to help with our hornline, specifically the mellophones during ensemble. I was in a excellent mood because I recognized who the person was. Before dinner I got a new, non-dented mellophone.We did tracking of the long F scale volume exercise that kills my lips. I had fun during ensemble with the added mojo section in Waltz.

Yesterday it was burning hot! I could see the heat rising from the stadium as we entered it for conditioning. We changed the mark time style per suggestion of our brass caption head’s friend. I didn’t mind it at all because we’re actually doing things I’m used to from my previous corps experience. The ballad sounded a lot better after marching and playing it during brass block. I had a dot test during dinner for all the sets in the opener. I luckily only missed three because of .25 or .5 step intervals. My run through during ensemble was my best one to date. I am starting to like the third movement more and more as I get better at marching and playing it. I am now a big fan of the mojo.

Today the hornline and percussion are playing the ballad at a memorial service for a JSU professor who passed away recently. If there is any emotion to put into the ballad, this is it. This time next week we will be leaving for tour!


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 Sunday, June 11th, 2006. Filed under Member's Journal.