By Andy Dittrich
Capital Sound Full Week number three
After a successful opening set of shows, the sentiment through the corps was very similar from person to person: "Let's clean this awful mess up!"

Andy Dittrich
While not taking way from the effectiveness of the performances last week, there is no doubt that they were just a terrible dirt fest. We spent this week trying to knock off a good chunk of the dirt off of our show. Our weekday rehearsals were mostly spent cleaning up the opener drill, and working a couple new people into it. Friday was an eight-hour day, with some more drill cleaning, with the drums working out our drum solo drill. We have been finding that our musical "ticks" have been mostly related to drill problems, and/or focus issues. Thus, we have been working out drill problems, cleaning up style issues, and doing many, many reps, to clean up both visual and musical dirt. We started using the new drums this week, and got rid of the old "silky silvers." The tenors painted the inside of their shells black, and all of the carriers had to be painted black, as to not stick out amongst our black pants, and the black at the bottom of our jackets. What we have not received yet are the "scoops," which are the snare sound projectors. I would say that we need to have those relatively soon, as our snare line does not cut at all without those. Our drum covers, and 12-inch tenor heads haven't arrived yet either. Hmmm ... we need those. Saturday we took the corps picture at the Capitol building in Madison, Wis., which is always kind of a drag, because its hot, and we walk a few blocks uphill, in uniform, to get to the site. Plus the farmers market is always going on then, so there are people asking us to play, when we aren't going to be playing, which I imagine is disappointing. After sweating through a perfectly good black T-shirt for pictures, we changed, got onto the busses, and headed to Waukesha, Wis., for some rehearsal and the show that evening. Rehearsal in Waukesha was a short one, but very productive. Our snare tech was back this week, and he led us through some tracking/basics. We work hard, but it has been paying off so far, as we have been just getting cleaner and cleaner. We then did some more cleaning on the opener, and got a run-through in before show prep. The show went pretty well, it was Pioneer's home show, and I was able to see a few of my friends after the show from some other corps. All in all, a frustrating day at times, but it ended up going very well. We left for the next stop that evening. Maybe this is a reiteration, I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but being a section leader is hard, especially in the drum line. Knowing the standard tendencies of percussionists, and also being part of a drum line whose members and staff seem to run through constant mood and morale swings, my job can be awfully difficult sometimes. This weekend was just one of those weekends, where the responsibilities of tempo maintenance, discipline, motivation, performance quality, and overall morale just became too much at times. While some of those things aren't necessarily my responsibility, they are definitely things that, over the past three years, I have prided myself on being able to maintain. However, some days, it can really start adding up. Fortunately, we didn't run into any serious problems, and the section remains a pretty close-knit group. Sunday was one of my favorite stops, Woodstock, Ill., which includes a parade and a show as a part of the "Dick Tracy Days" festival. We rehearsed the closer drill for a couple of hours in the morning, then headed out to the parade. We had a quick warm-up, marched the not very long parade in the standard 90 percent humidity, and headed back to the school with just enough time to fit in a run-through. We put on a fantastic show tonight, and reflected on just how much the show has cleaned up this week. The corps is headed in a great direction, and we are set to do some amazing things this year. It will be a couple of weeks until I write to all of you again, as we leave on our first tour, a ten-day, on Friday of this week. Make sure you catch us, and make sure you come talk to me at some point. I love feedback.

Quote of the week : "That drum line is hot!" -- Al Ratcliffe Project: Bringing the good, the bad, and the ugly of drum corps life. Andy Dittrich is the center snare drummer for Capital Sound, and is a fifth-year member of the corps. He is a 17-year-old senior at Romeoville High School in Romeoville, Ill., and he will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall, studying English. He'll be contributing weekly reports to through the summer.