Members’ Journal – On the Road
It has been somewhat difficult to find time to write in the past two weeks. Beginning on June 19th, we have been constantly rehearsing to improve our show. It began with a rained-out show day in Sevierville, TN. We had to rehearse inside all day because it was pouring outside. We ended up doing a standstill that night, but it was nevertheless full of energy, especially our encore. That night I saw a friend from Cavaliers and we headed to Indiana.
Tuesday was my favorite day that week, as Evansville, IN. Not only did our score go up 6 points, but I got to see two very close friends Bluecoats (my boyfriend!) and the Cadets singer, who is the cousin of my other friend from Bluecoats. I was in a great mood when we departed. On Wednesday, my personal morale went plummeting. I didn’t have a very good show in West Virginia. I think it had something to do with high elevation; I couldn’t breathe by the end of the show. I had also lost my inhaler and shower bag earlier that week. I had to make the call home, finally, to get my prescription refilled.
On Thursday, we rehearsed, once again in West Virginia. At 2am, we were awoken by the fire alarm! At first, no one moved because we thought it was a false alarm. Low and behold, five minutes later, a staff member rushed into the gym and told us to vacate the building. Apparently there was an electrical fire elsewhere in the school. We finally were allowed back in the building forty-five minutes later to go back to sleep. I guess that was the reason for our groggy mood that day, which began at 8am. During ensemble, I got “squished” out of our follow-the-leader drill in the third movement. The mellophones were marching backwards in a circle, and my step-size was too big, so the person behind me reached out a hand and told me that. Well, the person in front of me heard, and started taking bigger steps to try to compensate. I wound up tumbling to the ground but jumped back into the drill with no injury.
Friday we stayed at a very nice housing site in Sykesville, Maryland – totally Box Five! The show that night was our best show yet, with lots of energy – and even better, we had a Wal-Mart run following the show, and I finally replaced my shower bag. Saturday, we not only got to have clean laundry, but we also had a free day at the inner Harbour in Baltimore. Unfortunately, I had virtually no money left after replacing all my lost shower equipment, but a few gracious friends paid for me. We ate lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen, and spent the rest of our day at Barnes and Noble and Best Buy. To be away from drum corps for a day was greatly appreciated.
On Sunday, we returned to rehearsal in New Hampshire. We changed some parts of the third movement and closer. Monday, we had another show day. We cleaned our changes so they could go in that night. It felt like a rehearsal day, though, because we woke up at 7am and got straight to work. I was exhausted by the time we performed in Nashua that night. I don’t believe I had my best run due to that exhaustion.
On Tuesday, we had two parades in Bristol, RI, and Wakefield, MA. We woke up at 5:50am in order to do a standstill for TV in Bristol. We played the closer and Georgia. Afterwards, we were the last group in line for the parades. We got a great crowd response; they really seemed to enjoy our parade tunes. That night, I was really happy to have time to spend with my friends from other corps. All the corps present set up their food trucks, and we were allowed to eat from any corps present. My friends and I enjoyed some Cadets cuisine, then followed up with Dunkin Donuts.
Wednesday, we had the Fort Edwards, NY show. The score went up almost four points, even though none of us seemed to think we’d had good show.
On Thursday, I got some bad news from home. I found out I didn’t receive my IB diploma, by one point… I tried not to let that disappointment affect my performance in ensemble. I’m glad I wasn’t at home; if I had been, I would be still dwelling over the failure. But instead I was with a drum corps, and I had something productive on which I might focus. The same day, the staff began “breakfast club” to help individuals with marching. I was not placed in this group, although I personally do not feel like a good marcher. However, over time I’ve noticed less bounce in my sound; so it’s good that I’m improving.
On Friday, we got a 75.3 at the show, and finally I had an excellent show. Afterwards, I once again got to hang out with friends from Crown after the show. The next day, we added more changes to the show. My favorite was when we added body movement in the ballad – it’s like we’re reaching out to the crowd, begging them to throw us a baby. For the next three days, we were in Buffalo, NY.
Sunday, we did a standstill in downtown Buffalo for their “Taste of the Town” festival. The crowd was literally as big as finals night! We played our show as well as Georgia. The crowd demanded an encore; not known something else the horn line could play, the drum line played their cadence with the drum set player from the pit!
On Monday we had a show in Erie, PA. I was surprised how much energy we had in our run. The crowd really dug our show, and we received applause in places such as our ballad, where we had never gotten applause. I loved it!
Tuesday, we had a show in Hornell, NY. I had an even better run than the show on Monday, though we didn’t get as much of a crowd reaction. Nonetheless, the score went up by about two points. After the show, encore was rained out and I got to hang out with a friend Boston Crusaders. I also met up with the new head drum major of The Magic, Matt. He first introduced me to drum corps some years ago, as he was drum major at my high school, so it was pretty cool to see him again.
Today, it has been raining most of the day. We attempted to do ensemble outside, but it started pouring on us, so we went inside to listen to the source music for our ballad. I think hearing the real music opened our eyes to the emotion behind it. When we finally played the ballad ourselves, it gave me chills; it had a different quality, even from my spot in the arc. Staff members and marchers alike were crying! I hope the emotion transfers to our performance tonight, when we perform in Buffalo, NY, and finally move on to another state.
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 DrumCorpsPlanet.com – 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.