This has been a very eventful week for the Cavaliers. We have been to four states and have performed five times in the last eight days. Unfortunately, the weather hasn't always been cooperative, with rainstorms occurring periodically almost every day. Despite the weather, the Cavaliers have made tremendous strides and are continuing to experience a successful tour.We began in Shelbyville, Ky., on Monday and Tuesday. Monday was spent rehearsing and making some small changes to the program. Tuesday night was an exhibition and another opportunity for us to become comfortable with our performance. Everyone was glad to get the chance to perform for the many alumni and fans. After the show, we packed up and headed south -- with a few pitfalls along the way.About halfway through Tennessee on Tuesday night (approximately 3 am), the horn bus unexpectedly stopped. We were all told to "abandon ship," and bring with us what we needed for the next few days. At the time, we thought it was a problem with an oil pump or a fuel line, but it turned out to be much worse. The entire engine needs to be replaced -- which puts us without the horn bus for a month. So now, instead of five comfortable buses, we are back to four buses, and with a full corps of 135, plus staff and volunteers it is a little tight. Not to fear, as a replacement bus should be here by Thursday in Bloomington-Normal, Ill.After our bus adventure, we arrived in Jacksonville, Ala., and the heat and humidity were waiting to welcome us. We were able to clean the show both visually and musically, and by Thursday, we were ready to go up against some new competition. The Blue Devils met us at Jacksonville State University for the first of many showdowns. Our performance that evening was very energetic, undoubtedly our best of the summer, and we were very pleased with the final results. That night, we enjoyed a snack provided by JSU Sprit. Everyone made a few new friends while eating donuts, cookies and numerous other goodies.Dothan, Ala., was the first of many rainy days in a row. We spent the entire five-hour ensemble block in the rain, which was quite heavy at times. However, we all knew that we couldn't afford to go easy. Although we were soggy and cold - it was about 65 degrees - we were able to get a lot done. That night in the show we again were rewarded for all of our hard work.The trip from Dothan to Orlando, Fla., was very long and we were again greeted by heavy rain. This time, however, it didn't stop for quite some time. We were able to get about two hours of rehearsal in before we had to call it quits. We only managed to get about halfway through our run-through before the lightning made us rethink our plan. The show in Orlando was in the Citrus Bowl, where it was announced that the 2003 Drum Corps International World Championships would be returning to Orlando. It was very cool for us to perform in such a large venue, and the crowd was very receptive. This was also the first time that we saw the Cadets, along with the Blue Devils. It was a great chance for us to see how we all compared. About 6,500 people viewed the show and they let us know how much they enjoyed it. The next day, we got up early and headed to Disney World for a parade. Of course, the hot Florida sun reminded us how wonderful it is to wear uniforms and walk down a crowded street. After the parade through the Magic Kingdom, we all enjoyed some much-deserved free time. Everyone went their own way, some to MGM, some to EPCOT, and some stayed in the Magic Kingdom. The new guys all enjoyed their time by taking part in the first annual Cavalier Scavenger Hunt - a friendly bus competition.Columbia, S.C., was more of the same weather that we had been so experiencing thus far. The day started out very hot and bright. We were set to rehearse for four hours, but we had to again cut early due to thunderstorms. The horn bus riders finally got some of their stuff back from the earlier bus incident. The show in Columbia was our last opportunity to compete with The Cadets and Blue Devils before we go back to the Midwest. Again, we were very happy to continue our streak of success. We are now headed into some rehearsal days and then more shows in the Midwest: Illinois and Minnesota. We are all very anxious to have some additional time to solidify different portions of our program and make our performance more confident even. By Brandon Barrometti (Cavaliers drum major) and Ryan Ling (Cavaliers assistant drum major) Barrometti and Ling are both 21, are both from Ohio (Cincinnati and Wilmington, respectively), are both aging out at the end of the season, and are both Cavalier veterans. On Wednesdays this summer they'll be contributing diary notes for our "From the Road" feature. Ling, a former baritone player, is in his fifth year with the Cavaliers. Barrometti, a former tuba player, is in his fourth year. "I think this has been the most fun pre-tour yet," Ling said of the 2002 Cavalier season. "A lot of us are looking forward to doing something different this year," Barrometti said, noting the new feel of the Cavalier show.
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