Drum Corps International
Russian Christmas in April: Report from an SCV camp

Russian Christmas in April: Report from an SCV camp

by Drum Corps International

This past weekend was the second April camp and the first full corps camp for Vanguard since December. This also marked the last time this pre-season that I would be taking a flight home from California after camp is over. On my flight out West on Friday morning I realized just how much I love the biscoff cookies that the flight attendants serve, and I wish I knew where to buy them so I could have some while on tour. Since it decided to snow in Denver where my connecting flight was, we had a half hour delay because they had to de-ice the plane.

On the field ...
After my flight got into San Jose, we picked up our luggage found a guard boy and headed off for the usual snack (thanks to Christine Morrow) followed by a short drive to the corps hall. Once again in the afternoon I went with a few friends in the horn line for another snack before camp started. During the first block of camp after warm-up, the horn line headed over and gave a performance for the people playing bingo at the hall. The horn line performed "Send in the Clowns." For once I did not wake up at 5 a.m. Saturday morning due to all the pigeons that are on the aluminum roof. During the day, the entire corps learned the drill for the opener and movement two. To be learning drill with the guard was a great experience, and it was nice to be able to actually have the integration of the guard and the horn line. The evening portion of the rehearsal brought chills to my spine. During the last portion of the block we did a full ensemble in the gym of "Russian Christmas Music." The arrangements of this music are simply amazing, so I must thank Key Poulan and Murray Gusseck for writing a great book.

Sunday morning we woke up at 7:30 a.m. to take full advantage of the last few hours of camp. After stretching we headed outside to learn part of the drill for movement three. After finishing the morning block, we ate a delicious lunch provided by the wonderful men and women of the cook truck.

During the afternoon we did full ensemble both standing still and marching. While we were running movement three, the horn line heard, for the fist time, a very cool addition to our show. In the front ensemble someone will be cranking an air siren. I must say I've always wanted to have an air siren in the show, just because they're so amusing. We then closed up camp by doing a full ensemble block with everyone playing and marching segments of the show, and then to put closure to the camp, we performed a full run-through of everything we know thus far. After camp I was picked up by an alumnus of the corps and was whisked away to a very nice home in Fremont. Martha marched with the Vanguard and her husband, Rich, marched with the Blue Devils, which provided some very great entertainment as they told me stories from their marching days. These very gracious people allowed me to stay at their house and then gave me a ride to the San Jose airport in the morning so that I could catch my flight back home to Iowa.

The full corps will be moving in on May 27, during our Memorial Day camp. This pre-season truly has flown by much faster than I thought it would. This season does look to be very excited and I'm very excited to see everyone in the new uniforms for the first time.

Past columns by Joe Smith: Getting ready Heaven on tour Bringing drum corps to the concert auditorium Making the line Getting ready The Right shoes Tie trickery Happy in California Hanging with drum corps buddies Iowa and "The Hitchhiker's Guide" Paintball and wind ensemble: A Wonderful weekend The Old horn Staying flexible On Personal motivation The Lure of strawberry smoothies In Praise of sponsors Loving the Phantom of the Opera A Picture is worth 1,000 words Dealing with tour withdrawal The Busy musical season A Hectic drum corps week Right where you left off The Other side Preparing for tour Getting away from it all: Report from a Colts' camp Strong winds, early sunset: Report from a Colts' camp Meet the visual tech New challenges in Dubuque My favorite place: Alfred, N.Y. Freezing rain, full ensemble: A report from Dubuque Discussing drum corps over the holidays