Member’s Journal – March Drill Camp

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This past weekend was pretty awful for me. How’s that for an opening sentence? Allow me to explain… Two days before camp, I woke up with a runny nose and sore throat. I felt dizzy, exhausted, and generally did not want to move. I went to bed that night not sure if I was going to go to camp the next day. I slept for 16 hours in between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning after taking Tylenol PM to knock myself out. On Friday morning I called my mom to tell her I was going to camp because I woke up feeling a little better. The friends I was carpooling to camp with stopped at Wal-Mart where I picked up some Dayquil before departing Tallahassee.

When we finally arrived in Jacksonville, camp had already begun. The horn line was doing visual in a different location that normal. I thought I knew where it was, but it turned out it was somewhere else. For 10 minutes, I lead five other people around the campus in hopes of finding the building. Luckily we ran into someone in a Marching Southerners 20-J jacket that led us to the right location. During visual, I felt light-headed. I had trouble concentrating on the instructions. When it was time for the brass warm up, I didn’t put as much effort as I normally do in the breathing exercises because I’d breathe and sniffle, breathe and sniffle. I was thinking about lying in bed at home and feeling better. I made it through the rest of rehearsal definitely looking forward to lights out. I had a horrible time sleeping that night. In between the renowned lights that do not turn off in the band room and rolling around trying to get comfortable, I don’t think I slept for very long.

On Saturday morning I was hoping we wouldn’t run for conditioning. My wish came true because the most we did was abs work. I took Dayquil during breakfast so I could breathe through my nose a little bit better. For the first half of the morning block, the high brass was in visual putting more of the opener on the field. We added more horn moves. I was glad to have a mostly complete dot book ready to go because it made finding my sets much easier. The second half of the morning block, the high brass went to brass warm up. That is where I started breaking down; my arms were shaking holding up my horn. I felt short of breath, so I took out my inhaler from my rehearsal bag. Overall, I felt as weak as I was the first time I ever held up a mellophone my freshman year in high school marching band – it was embarrassing. There wasn’t much I could do about it, except push through my flu. At lunch I was moody, and I really considered calling my mom telling her I wanted to go home. Knowing that was irrational, I ate a good lunch and drank a lot of water.

In the afternoon, the full horn line was back at visual. We put more sets of the opener on the field. The only thing I can say about the drill is that I move. A lot. I have backwards to forwards direction changes nearly every set. With the rest of the drill we put on the field on Sunday morning, I continually feel like I’m moving backwards. Before dinner, the brass was back together for some music. Since the warm up that morning had been rough playing the memorized lip slur routine, groups of instruments went in front of the horn line one at a time to play them. It was for our own good. People have to do their homework in between camps. I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been physically (goodbye free time), but I did have my music memorized. My biggest problem with the lip slurs was remembering if one started on C or G… By the time my mello group was at the front, I didn’t mess up any of them. However, I could have smoothed out the lip slurs more.

After dinner, we did detailed work on the opener. We went into sub sectionals for a little over an hour. At the end of the night, we got a small sample of our ballad to play. I am already in love with it! I am excited for when we start ensemble-ing the whole thing. After lights out, I had a much better time sleeping. I was determined not to roll over or wake up once.

I did not want to wake up on Sunday morning. Thankfully I felt a lot better than the past few days. I took some more Dayquil. I did not feel as physically weak as the day before. After conditioning and breakfast, we put more opener drill on the field. As I explained before, that drill has me moving backwards for a while. We did a full run of what we know. I was tired after our last run because of the fast pace of the drill. We did air and valve which helped me put the musical phrases to the drill segments. The rest of the morning block, we warmed up for ensemble in the afternoon.

After lunch, we spent time chunking the opener. The battery and pit have full books for the opener now. We got to ensemble with them until the end of camp. My lips we extremely chapped because it was cold and windy outside during visual. I pushed to the very end where we played the full opener with the percussion. I still thoroughly enjoy our opener, especially the mellophone parts.

I’m on spring break, meaning I drove from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, from Tallahassee to Tampa, and from Tampa to Fort Myers to get home. 24 hours after camp ended, I arrived at home because of how I carpooled. Now that I look back at camp, I would have had a lot better time if I wasn’t sick. I’m glad I did go instead of heading straight home with the flu. Next camp we’re going to start putting music with the drill, get the new King baritones and mellophones (YAY), and start working on the ballad. Hopefully I will feel better!

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 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. 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 Monday, March 5th, 2007. Filed under Member's Journal.