Member’s Journal – December Audition Camp

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Time has flown by this semester. It’s another drum corps season, and I was very anxious to return. Over the past couple months I’ve been insanely busy being a music major and participating in college marching band. I had to miss the first Spirit audition camp due to the big rivalry game between FSU and UF. Returning to Jacksonville, AL was something I’d been looking forward to for months.

Since I go to school in Tallahassee, FL, I don’t have to fly to camps this year. Not only does this save money, but it makes the monthly treks to Alabama more exciting. I left on Friday with a friend/baritone vet I go to school with after my last class of the day. She had two people her former high school that drove all the way from Tampa the night before to continue a carpool with us. The trip took six hours after driving in a circle around Dothan, AL because we missed a turn. I took over navigating after that.

When we arrived for check in, I accidently gave more money than I had planned to get ahead in my tour fees. Thus, the rest of the weekend I had no money for food…oops! Well, that will make paying in January easier…Anyways, I checked out a mello and talked to some people from last year for about an hour.

Around 8 we had a full corps meeting to discuss the course of action for the weekend. We did about an hour of visual block before setting up the horn arc for warm up. We split the hornline up by A’s and B’s for the next day’s arc/visual blocks. We wrapped things up between 11-12. I couldn’t fall asleep very quickly because I wanted to catch up with more people, but I didn’t get too far before the Asst. Drum Major stepped in and said, "Lights out!"

I woke up Saturday morning to find out it was 15 degrees outside. Thus, we did conditioning inside (thank goodness). When we got to the push ups I was beginning to remember the physical part of drum corps…We ate breakfast where the A’s from the day before were routed to Leone Cole for visual. The B’s were to go to the PC for brass; I was a B. There were five other B mellos. We ran through the breathing gym and warm up sequence while individuals were auditioning. About halfway through the warm up sequence it was my turn to go downstairs. I had brought my French horn to camp for my prepared piece because that’s what I’ve been practicing the most this semester. I was asked to play an articulation exercise on the mello as well as my F and A flat major scales. After that, I played the part of the Hindemith Horn Sonata on my French horn. I received some positive feedback and walked out the door with the music for "Alto 1."

The rest of the morning the B’s moved to visual. This year we changed the marching style slightly with a right hand trail, more natural leg movements/positions, and different finger positions while holding the horn at carry/stand by. I messed up the first few times trying to get used to the new style, but I caught on fairly quickly.

For lunch, a friend was kind enough to pay for me. In the afternoon, the full hornline went to visual. Before dinner we had another brass block. By the time brass block was over, my knees were killing me. We have this new emphasis on a slight lean forward that I guess killed my knees. I sort of hobbled to the car to go out for food. I didn’t want to stand up when we came back for the evening. The rest of the night we worked on music (Salvation and Georgia) with subsectionals and the full hornline. I don’t have a comparison to this time last year because I showed in January then, but I’d say the hornline sound as a whole was not too shabby. We’re working on some issues that weren’t addressed until tour last year; that’s a good sign.

We had a full corps meeting at 10 to start discussing how the summer tour is looking. We were also introduced to one direction our 2007 show could take. At first I was hesistant with the concept, but it made much more sense after our corps director explained it. I’d say more, but it’s not my place to. I like it….we’ll see how things go.

It was not hard to fall asleep on Saturday night!

On Sunday I woke up, rolled up my gear, and moved it out of the bandroom where the girls were sleeping. There was no conditioning because we had to clean up the PC for a JSU opera rehearsal occurring that afternoon. The breakfast line seemed quite long. We headed over to Leone Cole for a quick visual block. The rest of the morning were marching and playing auditions. I messed up a few times with rolling into halts (last year’s technique…) instead of toeing them and having some feet in my sound; it wasn’t horrible. Of course I could have done better.

Before lunch, we were divided into groups (1’s, 2’s, and 3’s). I was happy to be placed in the 1 group, meaning it’s very likely I’ll have a spot again this year. My carpool and I had to leave right after lunch to head back to Tallahassee because the two high schoolers from Tampa had to get back there at a decent hour. We cleared things with the staff before heading out. We were about at hour outside of Jacksonville before I realized I left my mello mouthpiece behind. We called someone from JSU to see if they could find it (I know exactly where I left it). Hopefully I’ll have it back before next camp. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a mello before the January camp, but I was told that I can prepare the next audition piece on my concert horn.

Happy holidays and let the 2007 drum corps season begin.

Publisher’s Note: Michelle is a member of DCI Division I corps Spirit of JSU, a music education major at Florida State University, and a member of the DCP Forum Support Team. Member’s Journal has been a regular feature column of this summer – 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. Our thanks to her and the Spirit of JSU staff for helping make this column possible – and all the members of Spirit of JSU for a great season.

Posted by on Sunday, December 10th, 2006. Filed under Member's Journal.