By Joe Smith This past weekend was full of new sensations and a strong wake up call that move-in is now less than two months away. The drill camp that we had was the fifth Colts camp for the 2004 pre-season, and now only two remain before move in. I have been looking forward to this camp since August 10, because we finally started to learn the drill for the show.

The Colts rehearse last weekend
Friday night we found the new camp location much easier than I had anticipated. The group I rode up with was one of the first to arrive. Shortly after walking in the door we found out that there was a dance going on somewhere else in the building. So there were unfamiliar faces wandering about most of the night. After putting my stuff in the gym I headed out to help unload. Once all the equipment was in the school and registration was completed, we headed down to the gym. There we received 28 pages of drill and had time to sit down and highlight our section and the 50-yard line. We then spent most of the evening in visual, where we broke down many parts of the marching technique. Then for about the last hour of rehearsal we warmed up in the horn arc and then ran the opener, "American Overture," several times. Before snack each section of the horn line met together with their section leaders. Several sections, including the mellophones, took the time to even do pushups together.

Saturday we woke up to the familiar sound of Matt Gibson's voice. After breakfast was over, we all loaded onto buses to head to Oregon, Wis., where we would be learning the drill. Several of us on the two-hour bus ride decided to learn of Gibson's new love, poker. We learned how to play Texas Hold 'em and proceeded to do that most of the way to our second home for the weekend. We also took the time to catch up with our bus driver, who many of us had not seen since November. After we arrived at the school in Wisconsin, we went to the gym where we did our morning calisthenics with Beth Wilson. Then as a corps we jogged a couple laps around the large parking lot. The brass and percussion (there was no guard this camp) then grabbed drill binders and water and headed out into the brisk morning air. Well, actually, that's probably an understatement. It was quite cold and it seemed as though the gusts of wind were strong enough to blow a small child over. Both the morning and afternoon blocks were spent learning drill. It took approximately five hours to learn and put equipment to all 28 pages of drill that we had received on Friday. After dinner we broke into sectionals to warm up. The original plan for the evening was to warm up and then head outside to full ensemble what we had learned that day. Unfortunately, though, the sun set quicker than anticipated, and so we changed to plan B. The evening was then spent mostly in sectionals working on cleaning the opener. The percussion then joined us in the gym to track the music. If I remember correctly, we tracked for almost an hour, but it felt much shorter than it really was. When we finished our last run of what we knew, we heard the clapping of a group of kids that seemed to migrate in to watch during our evening rehearsal. We then closed the night out with a stretch lead by Beth Wilson before heading to the buses.
On the two-hour bus ride home Gibson once again brought the cards out to play some poker. Chris and Graham, our two horn line members from Canada, joined us up front to play as well. We even had the chance to joke about how they pronounce the word decal in Canada. After we arrived back in Dubuque we unloaded and then had snack. Sunday morning came almost too soon it seemed. I was still sore from Saturday, but very satisfied with how things went. After a breakfast of eggs, cereal and something else that I don't happen to remember we headed down to have our morning calisthenics with Craig Armstrong, our visual caption head. Near the end of the session they decided that we should run some wind sprints. We ended up doing about four sets of down and back in the large gym. We then stretched out a bit more; I especially needed it because my legs felt as though they were Jell-o. We found out after calisthenics ended that eggs and wind sprints should not be paired together.

Much of the morning was spent warming up and then working on the ballad "Ol' Man River." We then broke off for our lunch break and several members left during the break because of the long drives they had ahead of them. After lunch we warmed up a bit again and then worked on "Ol' Man River" and "Celebration," the closer. After about an hour of rehearsal the horn line set up for the short performance we would give. The horn line then performed "Ol' Man River" for the small audience of parents, friends and percussionists.

I am personally very pleased with how camp went and how everything is coming together. I am now very happy that I made the decision to miss my senior prom for camp. I'm very excited for move-in, which is only 7 1/2 weeks away for the Colts. Our next camp is the 23-25 of April, and on that Sunday we will be holding our spring debut in Dubuque with the Colt Cadets.

Strong winds make me Furioso!