Yes yes, I know I know… Y’all ate tired of drum corps shit. So this will be it for awhile.
But I have to tell you about Prelims.
The day dawned grey and sucky. 80% humidity and hazy/cloudy/sprinkley. Ad with the threat of real rain later.
We had a great day of rehearsal and a great run-through at the end of practice. Then it was time to eat, shower, and prep for our prelims performance.
We had a third place seeding as you may recall, given our last show scores before the championships. Since one other corps pulled out of competition, all the start times were shifted.
So our scheduled performance time was something like 7:34 pm.
Annapolis is a new venue for the championships, and because of this, there were some fucked up things.
Like warm ups.
Because of limited space around the stadium, there were specific warmup zones. In which you only had 45 minutes of warm up time.
Our normal warmup time is roughly 2 hours.
This meant we had to do a pre-warm up in our hotel parking lot. Next to an interstate. And with tour buses idling nearby.
Then we headed to our warmup zone– where the sky started taking on an ominous color.
Midway through our warm up time, the weather hit. Lightning started flickering and rain began.
And the competition was placed on hold.
Because we had no shelter handy and only one bus rushing back to our location, we stood around under trees trying not to get wet.
And that’s when the folks of Annapolis opened their hearts and homes.
Our entire baritone/euphonium section was invited into a lovely home nearby. We stood around in their kitchen for 30 minutes and chatted with the people about who we were and where we were from, etc.
They we’re wonderful impromptu hosts.
Then we ventured back out and got in the 2nd bus. And waited. And waited.
There was a break in the weather, so corps number 5 and 4 were hurried onto the field to perform as we were rushed to the stadium for staging.
Just as corps #4 finished, there was a huge crack of thunder and the sky’s opened up. We got soaked while dashing for safety under the stadium.
And the competition was delayed again.
It’s now like 9-something and lightning continued to strike within the safe zone, so the 30-minute delay kept getting reset.
We were getting punchy. We’d had rehearsal all day, we were soaked, and had now been on uniform since 5:30 or so.
We were also getting anxious. What if the remaining Prelims were cancelled? How would that affect the top 3 corps? Would we have to do a short Prelim performance on Sunday morning? Or would the championships be forfeit?
The officials kept saying the show must go on– despite the delays.
Soon it was after 10 pm, and the corps was dissolving into an unfocused mess. We were ensconced in the Navy locker room at the stadium, and going stir crazy.
I tried to get some focus back by leading a horn stretch.
Then our leaders had everyone gather for a big group restretch. It got oddly quiet.
And then we did singing run-throughs of our show intro and closer. The drums used their sticks on the floor, horns sang, and guard mimed their work.
I wish I could describe the energy, the intensity, and the emotion in that locker room when we did these run-throughs. It was goosebumps inducing.
I think I’ll remember that moment forever.
Shortly thereafter, the all clear was given and we quickly dressed in order to get on the field for a re-re-rewarm up.
After sitting for roughly 3 hours, we only got like 7 minutes to warm up. But after the locker room, I knew we were ready to throw down.
Besides, it had literally rained on us every rehearsal all summer, so rain was our hype.
We took the field and those crazy, wonderful, incredible, die-hard fans that were still in the stadium cheered so loudly…. It almost made me tear up.
I’m tearing up now remembering it.
And then we threw down the absolute best performance of our season. It felt incredible– do energetic and emotional– and the small, loyal crowd remaining responded so enthusiastically!
What an experience! Given the delay and the adverse weather conditions, and really all the shit we had to wade through all season, the performance was in a way a group catharsis. And really quite magical.
Beat of all, I finally got to perform the kind of amazing drum corps show of which I had always dreamed of being a part.
Our Bonnie & Clyde Prelims show is definitely something I’m going to treasure always.