By Matthew J. Smith
Seattle Cascades
Since I have relatives here in the Seattle area, I decided that
I wouldn't fly home after the Memorial Day weekend camp to save money. I had somewhat been planning that portion of the logistics all along. With that being said, there hasn't been anything major to report on, however, there has been this clock ticking and running out of time, and my mind has been going crazy.

Matthew Smith
With Memorial Day being the last camp we've tackled, all-days are just two days away. So much has been going through my mind, as well as many others in the corps, I am sure. With trying to keep drill sets in memory that were learned in two days, changes to music that occurred, and trying to figure out what to pack, it's been quite an experience. While I have been here in the Seattle area, I've managed to put in much more practice time than what I usually have when I am at home. All I have been able to think about is the tour, and the hard work and motivation that is going into it. Many people who have marched before have asked me "Matthew, are you scared?" "Are you nervous?" "Can you survive on the road?" Surviving on the road will be cake for me -- I was born to travel, this is what I do, and it's what I live for! While I am not scared, I am a bit nervous about this, because I've never been around this group of people before, and I don't want to let anyone down this summer. There is this feeling I get when a staff member asks me to do something in front of the group, or play something, and when I make a mistake, I feel as if I have let the group down, and the staff member. The look an instructor gives you can make or break your performance in an ensemble rehearsal. I know, I know, we aren't supposed to be staring at them, but come on! That's been going on in my mind for about two weeks; I have had dreams about being called out (hopes instructors Steve or Lewis is not reading this). Since there is too much going on in my mind right now, I am going to go off on a tangent. My family always tells me that I pack too much when I go away, and this is true. It's a habit, and a habit that I have had to break. I overpacked coming up here to Seattle, just because I wasn't sure of what exactly I wanted to bring on tour. Now that I have narrowed it all down, I will be leaving a duffle bag full of clothes in my uncle's garage when I depart tomorrow morning, and taking what I need on tour. I've unpacked and packed my bag a total of 32 times, trying to figure out how to place things in there to make it fit. Now you and I both know, once the tour starts, none of that stuff will be put in its "place." So I decided I would pack a day or two early, and leave enough clothes out for me to wear until I left. Since this is going to be a long journey, I made sure I went down the list making sure everything I need was in that bag! Where am I right now? What am I thinking? Am I forgetting anything? What if I make mistakes? Does it matter? There are too many questions and too many possible answers to deal with right now. The time is running out, and I have this strange feeling that I will leave something behind, something really small, but something that has a lot of value to me. I can't figure out what it is yet, but by the time I do, it may already be too late! This is what happens when you have so much going on in the brain, and you're trying to keep important information from escaping, all the while you're going on with your daily routine. Oh well, I am done with packing, and I would like to enjoy my last days here with my relatives before the tour. So I will let the clock tick, and let my brain unwind while I have a nice home cooked meal before the journey begins! See you all at the end of the month when I give an electrifying report on the beginnings of the tour, my thoughts, and our first shows. Accelerando archives Matthew J. Smith, a baritone player from the Seattle Cascades, will be filing periodic reports from the road this season. Smith is a 20-year-old student at California State University, Fresno currently studying music (clarinet emphasis). He wants to become a music educator. You can email him on tour at and put Matthew J. Smith in the subject line.