Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Congratulations to Me

I have been promoted to district manager.

To be accurate, I am the interim area manager for one half of my original district.  My boss, my DM, has a 6-month temporary new position for a special project type of thing, and the district was split in two, with half of the stores going to me, and half to another person whom I know well and have worked with for many years on committees and in field training.

Yay, go me.  We currently have the #1 district in the company, and we plan to keep it that way.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Show Tonight

The show went ok on Friday night.  It was hot, the sun was bright, but we made it through, which is actually saying quite a bit considering everything that has stood in our way so far this year.  The crowd applauded where they were supposed to, and nobody fell over from the heat.  I played my solos well and was pleased with my marching.

Yesterday we rehearsed from 9am to 7:30pm, got a LOT accomplished, and I have a 1pm call time in Denton for our 2nd performance today.  We don't actually perform until 6:30pm.  Our show should be much better tonight because we got the first-show jitters out of the way and had that great rehearsal to clean up a lot of stuff.  It was fun to watch all the other corps perform.  It brings back memories of when I marched DCI in 92.  

If you want to join our unofficial corps mascot's facebook page, go search for Octopookie Vigilantes and send him a friend request.  I'll approve it and then you can see some of the silliness we're up to.  Octopookie is an octopus-shaped cookie that I bought from my store and brought to rehearsal one day in May.  I declared him to be the unofficial corps mascot, and the thing has exploded from there.  Octopookie attends rehearsals and performances and will travel with us.  He has lots of photos on facebook, so be sure to go on there and find him.  

Too funny.  Well, I need to get showered and ready to head off to Denton for this next show.  Have fun!

Also, here's a link to an article on us:  Vigilantes.  You'll have to scroll down for the bit on us.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Hey everyone, I wanted to post something that happened to my drum corps last Saturday.  I'm copying and pasting our public relations person's forum post here:

The Vigilantes will hit the field for the first time this week.

After a handful of standstills, the field show will debut this Friday at day 2 of the DCI Dallas show. The corps will have a long Saturday rehearsal and a second opportunity to perform Sunday evening at the DCI show in Denton. The corps is excited to get it all on the field and in front of some rather large crowds (Dallas is usually 15,000, Denton 20,000). Due to circumstances beyond the corps control, no scores will be announced. 

Last weekend was what Vigilantes affectionately call a power weekend. The corps rehearsed from 9-9 on both Saturday and Sunday with high temperatures of 103 and 104 per the weather reports. There was good news and a fun break during the Saturday lunch break.

The corps has been talking with a new fast food chain that is moving it's headquarters to the area. The grant process has been encouraging. A few members of the management team decided to eat at one of the restaurants for lunch, talk with the store manager, and develop some local lines of communication. As fate would have it, the corporate marketing director was to visit that store during the visit. So, the fund raising guru asked to talk with her when she arrived. The marketing exec was there to film footage for internal corporate videos as well as commercials. During their discussion it came up that the drum corps was a few miles down the road and available to do some performing.

So calls were made to get the corps to the store quickly. Once at the store, Brass Caption head Mike Rossi taught the brass a quick arrangement of Michael Sembello's "Maniac." Paul Rennick and his crew drew up drum parts and Jenn Vaught taught some guard work. 15 minutes later cameras rolled! After playing that tune (it coincided with their email "club" that sends out coupons and promotions to loyal customers), the corps played the field show opener ("It Don't Mean a Thing (If Ain't Got That Swing).

The impromptu show was played in front of the restaurant. A good bit of a traffic jam was created as drivers passing by would stop to watch and listen. The marketing team loved that as they took the opportunity to hand out coupons for free meals. It was not planned at all, but it gave the corps some much needed exposure and a short break from the oppressive afternoon heat. The restaurant brought trays of food and drinks as well as providing T-shirts for every member of the corps. Once filming was complete, the marketing team was ecstatic. They were hoping to get some happy customers on film when they arrived, but got a live drum corps instead! Many had never seen one live and commented that they got goose bumps during loud volumes. 

The corps has been promised film once clean up is complete. The corps will share with the public when it becomes available! 

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Three Months Is a Long Time

I must admit I have temporarily/semi-permanently/who-knows-for-how-long dumped my blog in favor of Facebook.  Yes, Facebook, that delicious evil pastime that I once swore I'd never join nor enjoy.  But enough of that...on to what's been going on in my world, specifically my new hobby:  drum corps.

We're at the height of the season, now, rehearsing a couple of weekends a month on both Saturday and Sunday from 9am to dark as well as hornline sectionals Monday nights 6-9.  There are also optional Wednesday night "Drill Club" rehearsals from 7-10+pm.  I'm thoroughly enjoying all of it.  

In June I only had one day where I didn't have either work or rehearsal (or both), so it's keeping me busy, which isn't exactly a bad thing.  The current problem we have is the heat.  A couple of weeks ago the heat index was 114 degrees, and that can be dangerous if we're not careful.  The staff is very good about ensuring that we have sectionals (working on music and not marching on the field) during the hottest part of the day, but even in the shade the temps are well over 100 degrees with the heat index.  

I tend to drink 2 gallons of water + gatorade each day that we have a full rehearsal.  With no bathrooms at our rehearsal site, this might first seem like a problem, but it's not.  When you're sweating that much, and even though you're drinking as much as you think you can hold, you still don't have to use the bathroom except at lunch and dinner breaks.  When I cool down at lunch/dinner and the sweat dries, I can literally scrape salt off my arms.

Our corps website is HERE.  Our uniforms look nice (they're brand new), and we have a fun show, it's just not ready to perform yet.  Due to our fluctuating numbers, we've had to re-write the drill a few times, and we still don't know all of it.  If you're not familiar with how the marching/playing piece works, this may sound silly to you.  But for each shape we make on the field, there is a very specific set of coordinates that each person has to hit, and it takes lots of time and hundreds of repetitions to hit the set, play the music correctly, do it in time at tempo, step off at the same time, look good, etc.  

Regardless of not being ready right now, we have two shows next weekend.  One is Friday night the 17th, and the other is Sunday night the 19th.  While we've already done several standstills, these will be our first shows on the field marching.  And this is our hometown crowd, so we've GOT to be good.  Keep your fingers crossed for us.

My endurance is improving, which is a very good thing.  I'm trying to think of something comparable, and this is what I came up with:  go run around the block for 10-12 minutes.  Now, do it again, but this time hold up a 3 1/2 pound weight in front of  your face, put on black and red clothes that cover you neck to wrist, top to ankle, add gauntlets, gloves, a hat that has no breathablility, throw in some 100+ plus heat, add that now you can only take a breath every 8-10 seconds, and you've got our performance situation.  Of course during rehearsal we don't wear the uniforms, but we do 'take it back and do it again' for hours.  Frequent water breaks are vital, and we make sure to continually hydrate ourselves.

Well, time is running short, so I'll have to stop this in mid-stream for now.