Troopers Director Fred Morris Interview
'The long blue line is very long!' ~ Morris
Fred Morris is one corps leader that I keep running into symmetrically all over America. At the Bands of America Championships in Indianapolis in November, he and Steve Vickers, DCWorld publisher, were the first familiar faces I encountered…Saw Morris again in the Yamaha VIP suite in Indy…Then, in late January, at DCInternational's meeting in Atlanta, yep, there was Morris again when I arrived at the Sheraton Courtland. Morris was in the midst of an interview with DCI's Michael Boo. Check dci.org for Morris's interview with Boo.
The Troopers had to take last year off. Executive Director Mike Ottoes, Morris and Program Coordinator Scott Koter are leading the starburst corps back onto the 2007 field. Checking the Troopers' web site just before I submitted this, I saw that there are still a few openings in both brass and percussion, and, of course, plenty in guard once Winter Guard International wraps up. Morris had plenty to say when he and I paused to visit.
Cozy Baker: What news do you have for me since we talked in Indianapolis in November? (Check DCWorld's January issue for that interview and the December DCW for Mike Ferlazzo's interview.)
Fred Morris: We are full with 64 horns. We have 30 percussion right now. Guard will be whatever.
CB: Where have you held auditions and rehearsals?
FM: We did Cheyenne (WY). We did Knoxville, TN. We bring our staff out of the University of Washington to do Cheyenne. We'll split camps again in February and March, with percussion in Houston (TX) and brass in Knoxville and Cheyenne.
All-days are at the University of Wyoming in May through the Memorial Day weekend. On June 9, we go to Casper for a big fundraiser. On June 14, we're with the community band. June 15 is "Thank You, Casper," then we hit the road.
Troopers plod through snow, buses, too
CB: With the winter storms, that has affected your rehearsals.
FM: We had to shorten in January. We lost Sunday rehearsals, but we accomplished all our goals. We played through our opening tune, both brass and percussion. We have additional pieces for our February camps, 2-1/2 pieces.
We played our opener, and it just blew me away. We have 10 tubas, 22 baris, 12 mellos and 20-something trumpets. (Yes, the Troopers have new Yamaha B-flat instruments if you missed that news.)
We have 447 interest forms. 110 were from Boise; five were from Japan, one from Canada. 123 actually walked through the door — Just brass and percussion.
27 are returning kids. Most who marched elsewhere are back with us. The long blue line is very long.
The horn line is full. Percussion is headed the same way. We are carrying 13 snares right now. We'll have 10 in the pit. These are rough numbers.
From Japan to Nova Scotia, they come
We have kids from Japan. They came in from Japan one Thursday through Sunday, then flew back to Japan.
We have a gal from Nova Scotia. The gal, a mello, said, "I just think this is cool. I always find out things about this corps."
CB: What will make up the 2007 tour?
FM: We'll have a full tour. First, Sioux Falls, Allentown, across the South, Texas, Denver, then the championships (in Pasadena).
It is an exciting time in Trooper Land. I'm proud of these kids and staff, from top to bottom. It will be a good summer. Tell 'em to come out and see us.