Member’s Journal – Second Week of Everydays

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28 May 2007
Monday, 11:20 pm
The dreaded days after off-time… in the morning I woke up in a fairly good mood. I've been having toast with peanut butter almost every day – it'd be awesome to keep those toasters on tour; somehow I doubt we will. In visual we started putting third movement drill on the field. We are supposed to march our five to fives as opposed to toeing them. It's tough for me to do, as I'm a short person with short legs, though I'm sure I'll get the hang of it over time. In brass I didn't really want to hear our caption head say, "You guys are still in a free day mood," because that happened every Monday during everydays last year. I thought we were doing well until we got to sub-sectionals.

The mellos integrated with the trumpets. I just happened to stand near the end of the third trumpets and I heard a part I'd never heard before. By the end of the block we still got the "I hate free days" speech. Darn it! Before ensemble, I found a baseball where we did brass arc, and the mellos played catch while singing and marking time to all the parts of the show we have now. It was fun and productive at the same time. The rest of ensemble was a little bumpy until the full run at the end. The run was better for me than yesterday. After ensemble we had to run and do conditioning, but we got to run with partners. My partner's knee was bothering her, so we kept the pace slow. We're supposed to be running for forty-five minutes by the end of everydays. Hopefully tomorrow will be more smooth; I think the bumpy time was due to the off day and new people coming in.

29 May 2007
Tuesday, 11:12 pm
I don't know what it was today that didn't make me feel all that good. I was hoping we'd get more done than yesterday. We did visually but the opener and ballad seemed stagnant. Our brass staff pointed out how it's a different person that attacks/releases wrong each time. I know we're already better than last year, but who isn't? In our sub-sectionals we worked more on the third movement, which now I've got fully memorized. After that was the glorious thing called tracking. Usually tracking is one of my least favorite things to do, but this time I felt great. You know, it really doesn't take a lot to step up your game. This year, especially, I have to do that, as a vet, to set a good example. I just feel better about everything I've been doing- marching and playing. What gets to me are the things I can't control, like the group not playing together, or habitually standing with bad posture. Instead of doing ensemble at night, we set all but four sets of the third movement in the drill; that brings us up to 132 sets of drill down; hopefully soon it will be both marching and playing. We have our visual coordinator here for a few weeks; I'm ready to get better!

30 May 2007
Wednesday, 11:30 pm
I finally feel like we got a lot better. In visual we had some rocky etiquette moments, but everything cleared up by the end of the day. Our visual coordinator and drill writer are both here to help us. In brass we definitely took a step forward; we chose to be good. In ensemble we marched and played the third movement. I personally thinks it's the hardest drill- and music-wise, due to the 5/4 time signature. The mellophone part doesn't easily land on direction changes, but I got better with each rep – I still have a long ways to go. I was getting frustrated. We were told to play like the name of the movement, "Controversy". Well, I was getting angry anyway. The rest of the night we marched and played the opener and ballad. We are now up to 137 sets, both marching and playing. I'm glad we're moving forward! Hopefully that block has vanished.

31 May 2007
Thursday, 11:45 pm
I'm worn out mentally. Today I felt unfocused in everything we did. We changed the last two sets in the third movement and cleaned drill during visual. I especially spaced out during brass, when our caption head spoke as we held up our horns. In brass we detailed most of the music we have. Ensemble was visually-oriented, as the visual coordinator tweaked and added horn moves, drill moves, and music. It was our first night wearing the new uniform jacket, shako, plume and gauntlets for the final run-through. It felt good to be in the uniform and I actually have a shako that fits properly and stays on my head. We had the night off from running, for our good work. I checked my voicemail after rehearsal, only to hear a good message from my mom about a college scholarship. For whatever reason, I started feeling really homesick. I haven't been home for a good, extended amount of time since I graduated high school. I also miss my friends. I think it's a mid-alldays slump. I'm going to call home soon.

1 June 2007
Friday, 11:18 pm
Welcome to June, drum corps! You must be better than May within 24 hours, whether you like it or not. My day started on a good note. I felt nice and stretched out heading into the visual block. We cleaned and added similar things to yesterday during drill. The full visual run-through of everything we know went well. Horn arc also went well. It was at a different pace than normal; our caption head a last minute conflict. We still remained productive. We read through the first 16 bars of our closer. I've only played a couple Gillingham pieces in my life, but I think I need to listen to the original "New Century Dawn." I can tell the mello parts are going to be fantastic. Right now the mello solo in the beginning may turn into a section soli- that'd be awesome! During ensemble, I nearly got killed by a contra in one of our opener drill moves, then I got called out from the box for overcompensating on the next set- oops. I love the transition from ballad to third movement. The third movement tempo was bumped up without telling us; we handled it surprisingly well. After a good full run, we did some basics and running. The bad part about this was that the running was suicides up to the 50-yard line. I had not used my inhaler, and was unable to breathe somewhere after the 35-yard line. I pushed to the 50 and walked off the field wheezing. I went to grab my inhaler with the color guard staring at me. One of the staff members came over to ask if I was all right. I finally regained my composure and was about to rejoin the horn line in running until I saw they were doing suicides back to the end zone…. *bad* idea for me! I wound up joining the injured people on the sideline, doing Pilates. The thing about suicides is that they are how I found out I have asthma in 2005. It was pouring rain as we went back to pack up our horns and rehearsal bags; I really hope it isn't horribly humid tomorrow. The weather has been decent so far.

2 June 2007
Saturday, 11:26 pm
Today a great day. The morning was filled with beautiful weather – clouds and a breeze. We continued to clean and revise drill and horn moves. In brass we were able to put out good sound and work on all the show music. In ensemble, we had our expected Saturday night crowd. For whatever reason, I made stupid mistakes in rehearsal, but the run-through was okay. After ensemble the mellos held our "passing the beetle" ceremony. I turned in my dot book for the check; I should be okay… I put in everything I could think of. Tomorrow we have free time in the morning; I plan on sleeping in.

3 June 2007
Sunday, 11:27 pm
Sleeping in this morning was fabulous. I felt refreshed going into rehearsal. We had brass outside; we were going to chunk through the show. All of a sudden, the sky grew dark and very windy. I did not feel comfortable standing under tall trees, holding a metal instrument. We hustled into the music building, where we began playing the closer. We had a trumpet from '06 come in to fill a mello hole last week; they were given the lead mello part to the closer; that made the 6/6 part divide uneven. Realizing that most people on first part were reluctant to switch over to second, I volunteered. It was different, and I approach with the attitude that now I'm filling a bigger supporting harmonic role. We had a two hour break for dinner and ensemble ran fairly smoothly. We added singing to the end of our ballad, which includes some of the original parts of "Hide and Seek." It's kind of funny; the girls are singing the alto part while the guys are singing the soprano part. We want the soprano part to be heard, though, and there are more guys. My dot book passed both checks; now our next assignment is to complete a second dot book by next Monday. Only one more week of JSU, yay!

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 Sunday, June 3rd, 2007. Filed under Member's Journal.