This past Saturday, I spent the entire day at Band Camp.
Before I get into the meat of the recap, I want to point out that technically I was at “Corps Camp”– not “Band Camp”. There’s a difference.
Bands have woodwinds (clarinets, flutes and saxophones– blech!) and are geeky and grody. Drum Corps only have brass instruments and are cool and athleticy.
But… it’s more humerous for a 40 year old to say he was at band camp all day, so for the sake of the blog… I was at Band Camp. (But if you call it that, I’ll cut a bitch- I’m just sayin’).
Saturday dawned and looked much like this:
Oh yeah. It was rainy. And like 55° F.
And I had NOT had nearly enough sleep or coffee to deal with that shit.
But we needed to learn drill, so weather be damned. We got in our rain gear and marched our little, wet butts off.
If any of you participated in a marching band in high school or college, you know that learning drill can be somewhat of a daunting process. You have to learn your spots, figure out the correct step size in order to get to said spots in the correct number of counts, learn how it fits with the music, watch your body postion and horn position, etc.
But unless you were in a really competitive marching band, it probably wasn’t all that crazy a process when you broke it down. You probably had week long camps to learn the show and daily rehearsals to learn everything you needed to. Even in college there were daily rehearsals to learn the very basic halftime drill that would be performed the next weekend.
When you are in a competing drum corps that only has rehearsals like once a week, take the intensity and ramp it up by a factor of fifty. The drill moves are faster and much more difficult, and there are way more movement in general. You have horn movements and body movements to remember in addition to where you are going.
It becomes imperative to keep up your focus and intensity the entire time. And the instructors have very high expectations, so the sheer pace of the learning is incredible.
Even in a downpour.
Suffice it to say, at first break this is how I looked:
This is not a Christmas face.
I was wet, and my glasses were rainspotted and fogging, I was frustrated by my lack of drill perfection and things were pretty grim overall.
Furthermore, our head visual coordinator (the primary guy who teaches us the drill and coordinates from up on the scaffolding while yelling things) somehow knows my name. He doesn’t know everyone’s, not by a longshot- but somehow I got on his radar.
And it’s my WHOLE name, too. Which I heard yelled through the megaphone “CB! Quit looking at your damn dot!”
(We march a “grid system” on the football field and in each drill set you have a specific ‘dot’ that you are aiming for. Evidently I was turning my head too much to look for my dot during rehearsal.)
*facepalm* *chagrin* *despondency*
Of course it does not help matters that I have a teensy crush on him (he’s straight, naturally).
And shortly after that, I had a compete brain meltdown and realized my worst fears. During a runthrough, I skipped two charts and just started marching in my own little world, which can be extremely dangerous in fast-moving drill.
I’ve seriously had nightmares about this very thing.
To compound it, I totally broke my body carriage and focus and did a shitty job of recovering to get where I really needed to be. There was more megaphone yelling about not breaking down and recovering better.
It was almost enough to make me cry.
But then things turned around.
We had a small break, and I got a chance to process the drill and walk through it by myself so I could start putting the moves together with music. I needed that bigger picture fit.
Then after lunch and before rehearsal ramped up again, I did the same thing- just to solidify all that we had learned. (Plus it had stopped raining by then, which lifted my mood and enhanced my vision considerably.)
By the end, I was marching the SHIT out of our opener- hitting my dots, doing all our body moves, etc. And that’s when I started noticing other corps members still having some trouble. They would momentarily forget where they were going or forget a body move.
But not I.
And that felt pretty damn good. It was all coming back to me… finally.
By the last runthroughs, we had the entire opener blocked and on the field. Before May. Which as I understand doesn’t ever happen.
If the rest of the drill is anything like Bangkok, this show is gonna bangROCK.