Drum Corps International
Coping with diverse Northwest weather conditions

Coping with diverse Northwest weather conditions

by Drum Corps International

By Jared Reno
Seattle Cascades
Friday, May 23, 2003 Stuck between a marketing midterm, a labor economics midterm, and a massive group project in that very same marketing class, I found myself driving without textbooks or notes to Everett, Wash., for the final camp before all-days. Oddly enough, I was driving without fear of having to play catch-up with the drill I had missed two weeks earlier, or the fear of having to work until midnight Tuesday night, then study for my midterm that would be taken at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. Instead I was driving with Jamie Yarbrough, author of the last installment of Run-Through.

Cascades members Kyle (lead soprano) and Melissa (lead baritone) enjoy some rare down time during the Memorial Day camp.
One of the best things we experience in the activity known as drum and bugle corps is the bond that is established between members of our own corps, and members of other corps. Since I had been in Jamie's shoes the year before, I decided to see if her fears for this camp, and for this season, were the same ones I had last year. Her fears were practically identical to the ones I had last year: Learning drill, all-days, rehearsing in horrible heat, memorizing music changes the day of a regional and maintaining chops. All I could tell her was to do her best and she'd survive. We arrived at the school minutes before rehearsal was to begin at 9:30 p.m. I didn't even take the time to put my stuff in the gym, instead I dropped it outside of the cafeteria, grabbed my horn and my wrist brace, and headed inside where the arc was just getting dressed. At 9:31 the ready front was called, a slight change from previous camps where the horn line was ready early. I thought that surely this was going to start the corps on the wrong foot, but I couldn't have been more wrong. The evening block went great, working on technique and running through some show music before rehearsal ended at 12:30 a.m. Oddly enough, I don't think most of us wanted it to end. I once heard that if you're locked in a room where you can't see the outside world, and have no clocks, that your internal clock won't tire you as quickly. I believed it, because when 12:30 came around I thought we had another two hours of rehearsing to go. I took this opportunity to pull out my camera and see what variety of activity I could take a picture of. Most people were showering, or already asleep, but I did manage to take a snapshot of Kyle, one of our lead Sopranos, and Melissa, one of our lead baritones. Lights out came around at 1 a.m., and seven hours later we woke to Jimmy Fursman's morning weather report and our morning jog. Saturday, May 24, 2003 When 8 a.m. rolled around the corps was ready to go. The weather looked great outside and the pace of many of the members during the jog was quick enough that you would've thought we were going for a six-minute mile. Many of us took the hour in the morning to shower and get ready for the day's events by clearing the gym for the guard and grabbing everything we would need for later in the day. At 8:45 a.m. the drum line loaded the air porters and vans to head over to the high school so that they could clean some drill. Meanwhile, the horns started music rehearsal at 9 a.m. The next three hours flew by for the horns. We spent time memorizing the closer, "El Salon Mexico," and making sure that "Oblivion" was ready to put drill to. Just as quickly as it began, it ended, and the horn line was ready in shorts and tank-tops for the fabulous weather that had been given to us every Memorial Weekend in the recent past and that was being given to the drum line that morning. Sadly, nature decided to break its trend. What started off as sunny and warm quickly turned gray and wet on the horn line during the drill session. At least twice we were called under cover from lightning that was surrounding the field. We didn't take time off during those periods, though. Because the school's copy machine was broken, there were only a few copies of drill in the hands of our staff. We broke into sections and got our dots in our dot books until the rain broke. When it was all over with, the horn line had put all the sets of the ballad on the field, except for one set which had to be manipulated with the guard in order for the rest of the corps to grasp what was supposed to happen. We arrived back at the middle school, where we were sleeping, wet, and cold, but satisfied that we had worked through adverse conditions in order to accomplish what we set out to accomplish that afternoon. Many members of the corps took the hour-and-a-half dinner break to relax, shower and change into drier clothes. I laughed as I walked into the gym and saw people catching sleep wherever they could. That's usually the sort of thing you see during tour itself, not at a camp when you're actually getting eight hours of horizontal sleep. The evening block was spent sectionalizing parts of the show. For the horn line, that meant getting revised parts to "Libertango." The new parts really sell the tango segment of "Danzón!" quite well and the improvements turned the piece into a crowd-pleaser from top to bottom. We had a corps meeting at 10 p.m. and lights out at 11:00 p.m. Sunday, May 25, 2003 As is typical of a drum corps summer, all days all seem to blend together in that each day is hard to distinguish from the ones that came before it. This Sunday was no different in that aspect. We rehearsed music in the morning, getting quite physically fit as Todd Zimbelman, our brass consultant, felt we needed to get stronger quicker. The afternoon was spent cleaning drill to "Huapango," then refreshing "Harp Concerto." It seemed that today was going to be a day of strength-building in all aspects. During the afternoon block we weren't at horns-up for maybe 30 minutes of the four-hour block. That evening we got together in the gym and ensembled the show. We also had our first full-show music run-through. It wasn't "nats" clean, or even close, but it was very encouraging to know that we actually had the show memorized well enough to go out and perform it the next day. Monday, May 26, 2003 Show day. We cleaned the school, packed, and drove over to the high school for rehearsal that began at 8:30 a.m. We finally were given great weather. The sun came out sometime after 10 a.m. and the temperature rose to a very comfortable level. That's when the burning for most people began. I learned my lesson last year during all-days. There are a couple of rules I now abide by: 1. Always wear sunscreen, even if you don't think the sun will come out.
2. Always wear a hat. Nobody wants to experience sunburned eyes.
3. Sport the not-so-stylish "Lawrence of Arabia" look: Take a standard workout towel, and wear it under your hat so that your neck and a good portion of your face are covered. Lunch was 30 minutes long, as we then started rehearsing for our performance at 2:30 for parents and other onlookers. The corps was chopped after a hard weekend, but we pushed through it, taking every moment to really perform for those watching.
        
All in all, the camp was much more successful than last year's Memorial Day camp, and I think we're on the right path for a great season. As I sit here now listening to recordings made of the camp I can't help but wish final exams were over and all-days was beginning in an hour. And in case you were wondering, I think I did very well on the labor economics exam. Have a great summer. You'll be hearing from me on the road. This summer, bring somebody who has never been exposed to a drum corps show to one. It's like a disease that everybody needs to catch.