Drum Corps International
After 4 1/2 months of waiting ...

After 4 1/2 months of waiting ...

by Drum Corps International

By Joe Smith After 4 ½ long months of waiting, camp finally came. I got to camp around 8:30 p.m. and there were people all over the place. The vets and the rookies were helping unload the food truck when I arrived. While I was registering and taking care of my uniform I had a chance to see many old friends that I will be marching with again this season.

Joe Smith
Last year Greg Orwoll talked to us in the cafeteria, but due to the amount of people we ended up moving that opening speech to the gym. Greg, unfortunately, never gave the friends and marriage speech that many of us were looking forward to. After the speech we split up into our respective sections to start rehearsal for the weekend. Friday night for the horn line consisted of checking out horns, setting up the arc and warmup. The arc ended up being so crowded that we had to put the contras behind us, and even then we were still very crowded. Once we started to play I realized what I had been missing for the last 4 1/2 months. Snack was the first time I saw almost all of the vets that I marched with. The lines were long but thanks to the efficiency of the cooks we were able to get everyone through very quickly. Even the parents learn a lot quickly. Friday night I wasn't able to sleep much though because I was very excited for what was to come on Saturday. Saturday we ate breakfast and then started calisthenics. Although we didn't get to hear "I still be diggin' on James Brown," we were very happy to see Beth Wilson. Craig Armstrong, our visual caption head, also helped out a lot with calisthenics. The gym was extremely packed, and only brass and percussion were there -- the color guard had already headed off to another school to do their own workout. After calisthenics we once again split up into our respective sections. This time we had a nice long warmup for the hornline. We then received the opener, "American Overture for Band," by Joseph Jenkins. I had just played the piece last Monday for concert band so I was able to compare the two and I must say it is a very good arrangement. It's a very strong mellophone piece, which makes me very excited to play it this year. We played through it and worked through the piece for a little bit before lunch.

In the afternoon the high brass started with a visual block. During this time we defined the Hindu, and went through it several times. We also defined the horns up, and went through that several times. After that we did some "across-the-floors" using the forward technique. After the afternoon visual block we worked in sectionals on the opener and also received "Winter" the opener from 1993, when the corps made finals for the first time. After dinner we had a meeting as an entire corps and had the chance to meet Rick Morey, our program coordinator, and also Al Smith, our drill designer. I had the chance to listen to Rick talk for a few minutes, but did not get the chance to listen to Al Smith because I had to go warm up for my personal audition. In the evening we started with horn ensemble and we worked mainly on "American Overture," but also put some time in on "Winter."

At 10 p.m. after a short warm-down, we had a short break where we had a chance to do some bonding activities. For the last hour and a half we had a visual block. During this visual block the entire horn line worked again on the basics and also learned how to correctly do slides. We did across-the-floors for a while, and learned what we could do better individually and found out what we need to work on between camps. Sunday morning many of us were sore after the intense day of rehearsal. It was also drum major Matt Gibson's 21st birthday, which everyone was very happy about. Sunday morning Craig led us in calisthenics (Beth Wilson was unfortunately not around.) We learned even more of what we should be working on to increase our endurance and strength between camps. After calisthenics we once again split up into sections. After our warmup we once again worked on "American Overture," putting some finishing touches on it for the weekend. Lunch was by far the best I've had in a long time. Those mint brownies were delicious and we had my all time favorite, gelatin dessert. So I really must compliment all of the volunteers, they really took care of us this weekend. This was by far the best I've eaten in a long time. After lunch we ran through everything, then had a short break while everyone set up for the performance. At every camp on Sunday, we hold a short performance where each section shows off what they learned for the weekend. The front ensemble played a Christmas tune. Then the color guard performed, which I unfortunately didn't get to see, but I heard it was amazing. The cymbal line did a short ensemble piece, and then the battery performed several short exercises. Finally the horn line came onto the gym floor and set up the arc. We played through our "Amen" chord progression to start. Then we played "America/O'Canada," which is a personal favorite of mine. After that we played "Winter," which featured a solo by Phil Snyder on soprano. We then closed with "American Overture." It sounded so good that I had chills. Everyone was very excited and we are all ready for the January camp to be here.

If you still want to audition it isn't too late. The Colts' next camp will be held Jan. 16-18 at a location that is yet to be announced. As Phil Snyder said, "This is the year to be a Colt!"

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