Drum Corps International
Freezing temperatures, gale force winds, scorched skin, aching muscles: Report from an East Coast Jazz camp

Freezing temperatures, gale force winds, scorched skin, aching muscles: Report from an East Coast Jazz camp

by Drum Corps International

By Malika Stepasiuk
East Coast Jazz snare
Freezing temperatures, gale force winds, scorched skin, aching muscles. No, not an alternative trailer for "The Perfect Storm," but just a summary of East Coast Jazz's recent camp. Driving into our oh-so-familiar rehearsal site on Friday afternoon, I couldn't help but get excited. Half of the corps was already there and by 7 p.m. the roster was nearly complete, including something we haven't seen since November -- a color guard. With nearly all of the corps ready to go (two of our snare drummers as well as two trumpets hail from Japan), we set up for our first stretch circle of the year as a corps. It was pretty amazing to look around and see that everybody had that sparkle in their eyes, the one that you see in the eyes on finals night. The vibe from the group was spectacular and after a quick run we split up into sectionals. The guard was bussed over to another facility so they would be able to get through logistic things as well as begin to learn work with out the accompaniment of the brass and percussion. The horns began going over the numerous changes and edits that had been made to the show in the past weeks as the battery began to learn the closer. As the temperature dropped lower and lower, the horns and battery retreated to the comforts of the bingo hall, leaving the pit to fend for themselves with truck-loading detail. The next morning began with sectionals on a beautiful New England morning. However, Mother Nature didn't think it was time for drum corps to be outside and sent ferocious winds throughout the parking lot. Some sections found solace in alcoves created by the nearby mall, but most were left to fend for themselves. The guard showed its determination to push through as they braved the winds and began doing fundamentals despite their flags being thrown yards away the instant they began a toss. The horn line began to get ready for next week's drill as they tracked the opener around the lot. A return from lunch saw the guard returning to basics and learning some work as the battery and horns began their first outdoor basics of the season. Needless to say, there were quite a few members wishing they were back inside with the give of a gym floor and the lack of potholes. The pit continued to work on the ballad and refreshing the closer throughout the afternoon as the drum line began to track excerpts and exercises in preparation for drill and upcoming parades. Sectionals resumed after dinner and as everybody soon realized, even with a wind you can get sun burnt. *Note to the wise -- windburns can hurt more than sunburns at times, so be careful! The corps plowed through till the end of practice and hit their sleeping bags without any hesitation. Sunday morning began with a much-needed stretching out and quick run. The guard continued a tireless effort to brave the elements (now more mental than anything) and finished the weekend off very strong. Every vet was excited about the talent level of the rookies and every rookie was excited about finding a corps to call their own. The brass and percussion split into sectionals for the morning portion, and after lunch came together to ensemble the closer and run through the first three numbers. It was exciting at the end of practice to see that although eyelids might have been drooping from exhaustion, everyone held heads and horns high with pride. Our next camp has us learning the opener on the field as well as the first appearance of the 2004 East Coast Jazz "in motion" at a parade in Rhode Island. Like in the movie, we are guaranteed face some unseen problems throughout the course of the season. With the dedication and determination of our members, we hope to be more than an overused example of why you should always look at the forecast before you go sailing. We hope to raise the bar of expectations and to show the country that baseball isn't the only great summer activity in Boston.