I had trouble getting to sleep Friday night because I was so excited about going to drum corps rehearsal Saturday morning. I finally got about 5 hours of sleep, then got up and ready (I even ate breakfast, holy cow!) and drove to UTA to try to find the Fine Arts building. As luck would have it, multiple graduation ceremonies were going on that day, and it took me 15 minutes to find a parking spot, by which time I had no idea where the Fine Arts building was. So I just started walking in my best-guess direction and came across a lady who pointed me in a more refined direction. Then I saw a kid in a high school band jacket and knew I was getting close. The kid directed me into a set of doors, and then I found my way.
I registered and met Sarah, the mellophone section leader, with whom I had exchanged a couple emails. She was bright and friendly and welcoming. Then I learned that rehearsal was delayed a bit because of the parking situation and because the equipment truck wasn't there. After piddling around and doing nothing useful for a while, they decided to get going. We had a brief introductory meeting in the recital hall, then we all moved to the band hall for stretching and conditioning. The stretching was good. The conditioning was strenuous for me, but it didn't completely kick my ass, so this is a good thing. I need to get on a cardio routine asap!
I made it a point during stretching/conditioning to stay on the side of the room with the color guard. A corps can be so cliquey, with very distinct groups of guard, percussion, and brass (and of course sub-groups within that), and I don't want to be cliquey. No one knew me yet, or knew who/what I was, so it was a good opportunity to hang near the people I won't get as much time with later.
If I could give some feedback to the caption heads and knew it would be well received (I don't know them yet, so I can't tell that yet) I would advise them to be more inclusive of new people. Certainly no one was mean or rude, but neither were they exceptionally welcoming, aside from section leader Sarah. Perhaps because I'm in the service industry, my perspective is different than it would be had I stayed in the music/marching realm. Regardless, if a corps is trying to build a full hornline, they need to make newbies feel special. And so, I'm going to make a point of being very welcoming and inquisitive and show interest in new people at future rehearsals.
After a short break, the guard left to do their thing, and brass and percussion worked on marching basics. Oh my how I had forgotten how fundamentals kill the calves and feet. It is MUCH more strenuous to stay standing in one place at full attention than it is walking around my store all day long. My body is very different from when I last marched, and my balance is way off. My brain remembers what it needs to do, for the most part...even 14 years later...but getting my muscles to execute that is a challenge. I did fairly well when we were breaking down the forward march, but I'm going to need to practice the backwards march a whole heckuva lot.
It's funny how familiar all this feels. I can't say it's all comfortable...that only comes with hours and hours of practice. I can say that the first time we hit the 'set' position, my brain and body recognized it as something familiar.
Getting back into the practice of executing very specific instructions, such as "we're going 16 counts, vocalizing in 8s, each line leaving 8 counts after the prior line, remember to vocalize the push off and the close, and subdivide as well" while still trying to have good posture and march correctly...well, that was a blast from the past.
It was all those little things coming back into my mind again. I had a lot of 'oh yeah, I remember that thing' moments. It was very nostalgic for me. My calves and feet still hurt, by the way!
We broke for lunch, and finally the instruments came. There was a problem with the vehicle that was sent to tow the equipment truck, so several people had to go take their personal vehicles to fetch the equipment. I had brought my white gloves and my melli mouthpiece, and I got to play a mellophone bugle for the first time in almost 19 years. I can't believe it has been half a lifetime since I marched drum corps, and slightly less than that since I've played any instrument or marched at all. Wow.
We practiced breathing, horns up, and played a few warm up exercises. Then I had to leave to go to work. I couldn't take the horn with me, and I missed their working on the ballad for the show, but I'll get all that on January 10th when I'm able to stay for the entire day.
It felt good, playing again, though I was just a few steps above total-suckage. The horn felt good and right in my hands, and the whole experience made me smile. I hated to leave.
I've even found a horn on ebay and placed a bid. Hopefully, I'll win it and can have my own horn to practice on before next camp. I think if I practice even an hour a day, I'll be up to a decent level by January 10th.
Well, I think that's all for now. I have to get to bed.