Members’ Journal – Dog Days of Summer

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Since July 12 the summer has quickly been flying by. That night the Buffalo show turned into a standstill because of the amount of water in Zunn Tire Park . I’d like to say we won that show, because we received a crazy standing ovation after playing Georgia. The next day we had rehearsal in Decatur, IN. I remember two very long blocks. By the end of the night we were exhausted. After ensemble we were allowed to go swimming in the pool at the school. The grass in the football stadium was quite tall; we flattened it before the show on Friday, since we were at the show site.

On the actual show day, we gave a DCI clinic. Everyone was a little bit frustrated because we had to wear member shirts during ensemble. Nonetheless, the clinic was fun and the show that night went well.

On Saturday, July 13, we had a big day, the Battle Creek Focus show. Our performance time was around the dinner hour and it was blazing hot as we pulled up to the stadium. A random spectator on the road said, “There is no sun, there is no heat, the hottest thing out here is Spirit!” That man made my day. We had a great show despite the weather. Since that day, we’ve been using that phrase as a pre-show hype. Unfortunately, I had an asthma attack at the end of the show. I was wheezing in the closing set. They had to take off my jacket and give me water, and I felt better after that.

Later on, I went out with the baritone section leader, her dad, a contra player, and a friend from Southwind. We ate so much food that day! As I walked up to the stadium to hear scores, one of my friends from Bluecoats offered me his pizza, and somehow I managed to down it.

The next day, we had rehearsal in Elizabethtown, KY. We stayed at the high school, and their band camp started on the Louisville show day, so they watched our ensemble rehearsal. At the show itself, we had a good run; we kicked up visually.

The home show day in Jacksonville, July 18th, was very sporadic. We rehearsed for four hours before we got down time to hang out with family and friends at JSU. We relaxed before we went on last that night. Of course the crowd was nuts! The show had bounds of energy, almost uncontainable. The encore was exciting.

Unwillingly, we went to Louisiana. One of the volunteers made those things you put around your neck to retain coolness, and we were able to rehearse better while wearing those. I don’t think the show that night was my personal best. On Thursday, we were in Houston, TX, and we shared a housing site with SCV. We had our best show to date that evening.

On Friday, we had a rehearsal day at our San Antonio housing site. The ironic thing is that the staff bus broke down during travel, so we rehearsed with only the brass caption head! When the staff finally got there, things finally moved on. Unfortunately, I started getting a cold. I felt dizzy during ensemble, and nearly went to bed early. Happily, I pushed through to the end of the day without sitting out.

On Saturday, I felt better; we rehearsed for three hours before leaving for the Alamo dome. For two years now, San Antonio has been my favorite regional. We performed two awesome shows; the evening show was better than the afternoon show! It was my first experience in a finals. The night show was delayed 15 minutes as we were at the gate. To keep the crowd entertained, we played Georgia while facing backfield. After the show, I got a gallon bucket at the BBQ place across the dome, and I waited until my friends from other corps performed so I could hang out with them the rest of the night. We went back to our housing site to get sleep before our free day.

On that day, we went to the Riverwalk, and this freeday, unlike last time, I had money. I hung out with most of the same people from that day, and we ate lunch at Chili’s. We watched Pirates of the Carribean 2 at the AMC movie theater. Then we got ice cream before heading back to the buses.

Monday, we were back at our housing site in Louisiana. It started to rain in the morning, and we had to use a parking lot field for ensemble. The Baton Rouge show turned into a stand still because of lightning. Once again, we got a standing ovation after Georgia.

On Tuesday, we were in Montgomery, AL, rehearsing for the Troy show. We had a good amount of energy with which to make it through the day. We were treated to a Chinese food buffet for dinner, and I had four plates of food! We had a nice show that night. On Wednesday, we stayed in Russellville, AL, at the show site. It felt like a rehearsal day with a show at the end; it was a long day. Our hard work paid off, though, with visual and musical improvements. We performed encore to another home show crowd!

Thursday and Friday, we rehearsed at JSU for the Atlanta regional. Saturday, we got an awesome crowd response; it felt like yet another home show. I spent an hour and a half with friends from other corps. Sunday, we were in North Carolina for Crown’s home show. I say the same friends I had the day before; but I don’t think I had a very good show, as I got sick again. I couldn’t hear out of my right ear, and I felt dizzy.

The next day, I felt better and had a good show in Salem, VA, but I felt sick on Tuesday. It was burning hot in Stafford, VA, where we stayed before the Warrenton show. The police came up to the hornline after visual block and told us to go inside. We did brass block in the auditorium where we had slept. After ensemble, we had to pack up to take showers at the show site, because ours didn’t work! Crossmen were nice enough to share their showers. The show itself was horrible. The field was slippery, and I tripped on a direction change into jazz run. While trying to catch myself from falling, I missed the next horn move. Later on in the same movement, I got off step after slipping again. A lot of other people apparently had bad shows too, but somehow our score went up. The hornline ran through music together after the show; we were halfway through Georgia when a police officer told us to stop playing due to a noise ordinance. The past two days, we’ve been rehearsing for Allentown. It’s crazy to think that there’s only a little over a week left in my summer!

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 Thursday, August 3rd, 2006. Filed under Member's Journal.