Crossmen Brass Blog
Saturday, July 7, 2007
11:43PM - More From the Road...
I appologize for not updating this in quite some time, but it's hard to find a computer that I can log onto without a school password, and can get on the internet without some school-blocker that won't let me get to Livejournal, and THEN find the time to update this. I did check my email the other day and I was surprised at the number of comments people left me =). Although, I will encourage readers to keep their comments positive and "drama-free", save that mess for drum corps planet forums.
The past couple of weeks have cone by REALLY quickly. Tour seems to take forever when you're in the middle of it but there's 35 days left (I think) and spring training seems like just last week. We've really lucked out this year as far as the weather goes, at least compared to the past few summers. When we had spring training in Kutsher's we had rain almost every day in varying degrees of intensity and duration, but I we've only had one block rained out so far this year (knock on wood!). We did, however, have a rather intense rain/hail storm come through just the other day during EPL (eat-pack-load). We watched the dark storm clouds pass directly over us during our ensemble rehersal, but not a drop of rain. But when people were lining their bags outside the busses to be loaded, the skies opened up with a furious downpour, unfortunately soaking a lot of peoples luggage. Fortunately for me, I had loaded my bags under the bus during lunch =).
We've had a few staff members coming in and out in the past few weeks as their schedules permit. We've got Tony Rideout teaching marching who is the most HILARIOUS and sarcastic person ever, the guard caption head Mike Sloan is back on (the guard finally got their new 2nd uniforms which they metamorphosize into [is metamorphosize a word?]), and Al Chez, the trumpet player from David Letterman's Late Show band. He volunteers to come on to teach every year when he's not doing shows. Al is fantastic because sometimes we get wrapped up so much in the mental/technical aspect of the activity, that we lose sight of the performing aspect of it. Al has an old-school approach to teaching a hornline: PLAY LOUD!!! This is exactly what the hornline needs right now, we have excellent teachers to take care of technique and balance and ensemble awareness, but now we're starting to get loud. sweet.
Much to our relief we had another laundry block tonight; I was wondering how much worse my dirty laundry bag could smell. Everyone went out and got some food then we spent the rest of the time studying dot books. So far two people have brought me gatorade and cookies =) I don't have the mailing address of where to send mail readily available to me at the moment, but be sure I will post it when I get a chance, probably tomorrow. The only problem is that there is about 4 or 5 different addresses based on when you send the mail and where we are on tour at that time.
Big Allentown regional tomorrow, DCI East baby. Its one of Crossmen's now many home shows (Allentown, West Chester, and now San Antonio). It's gonna be sweet, I can tell the corps is really excited about starting to play the big shows. We've been busting our behinds trying to clean up the show; it's a hard one, but with drum corps all-star Marc Sylvester running the show, I'm not worried at all. For anyone who may have doubts, I truly believe that we're going to be OK...
That's it for now, it's late, I'm tired, big show tomorrow, air mattress, yessss..........
Friday, June 22, 2007
9:52PM - More new from the road
So its been a while since i've been able to update this but we've been busy since we left our spring training site. We've been in a new city/state just about every day, a couple long bus rides, and not a lot of "floor time" makes for a pretty tired drum corps. We've also had a couple of rainy days that seemeed to follow us from state to state, but Mark Sylvester won't call off a rehersal for anything short of a lightning storm. I'm actually very proud of how the drum corps has been pushing through the past rainy, sleep-deprived week; we're getting better every day.
Today officially marks the end of our last week of spring training on the road and the summer starts "for real" tomorrow; we have our first show in Toledo, OH. I think the members are antsy to finally be performing, and tomorrow night will be a welcome payoff for all our hard work. Afterall, nobody does drum corps to goto spring training, its all about the screaming, cheering fans. I think once we get out in the public eye, we will have a new found sense of intensity and urgency to our rehersals. The show is AMAZING but its very challenging and its going to take a lot of hard work to pull it off. I'm not worried at all though; we have a heavy duty staff that will whip us into shape.
So right now i'm back from our second laundry day of the season, my stomach is stuffed full of chinese food (General Tso is a welcome break from food truck food), and I'm chillin in the staff room with Darryl Pemberton and a baritone player Meg Huber who wants me to write about how cool she is; shes OK, i guess, hahahaha. So it's kind of late, I'm tired, and we have a show tomorrow I should get some rest. I'll try to update this thing whenever I get the chance but its hard to find the time or an available computer. I think if my readers sent me packages of gatorade and cookies I would be more inclined to do so :) :) :) I love getting comments from readers, its refreshing to know that people read this and get something out of it. Also, if you come to a show, stop by the busses and come say whatsup.
Peace & Love
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
2:10PM - Spray Can Shenanigans
We're finally in the last week, "the home stretch" if you will, of spring training and I have mixed feelings about it. I'm really excited because we're finally going to get on the road and start our tour, which is the fun part, and the only reason why we march drum corps (who would march drum corps just to do a month of all day rehersals???). Once we start playing shows, it'll be sort of a reality check for the drum corps. It's really easy to get caught up in the day-to-day monotony of spring training and lose focus during reherals, zone out, and give less than your best. It'll be nice to get in front of some screaming, cheering crowds; it'll be really motivating for everyone. On the other hand, it's been very shocking to me to realize just how fast this summer is going, even this early on in the game. The three summers that I've marched always seemed like an eternity, but here we are in day 18 (I think) of spring training and it seems like it's been only a week. I guess it's not really that bad seeing as how we have 60 more days of tour, but that doesnt even sound like a lot; at least right now it doesnt....
So yesterday during the morning visual rehersal, we were learning some more new drill for the closer with the full corps (we have a TON of drill). Pretty much my only job during rehersals is to run the Dr. Beat metronome the whole time, and paint sets for people on the field. 2+ weeks straight with the metronome can be a very mind numbing job so I have to do find other ways to occupy myself instead of standing in the same spot for 4 hours. I usually do arm exercises with the long ranger machine that amplifies the metronome, and I do tricks with paint cans flipping then and spinning them, kind of like a bar tender would do "flair tricks" with bottles. Yesterday, as I was standing on the back of the field with my paint can, Jarrett called a "reset" command for everyone to go back to their spots to run the segment over again. I dropped the can to the ground without any thought of where it might land, it hit the corner of the long ranger, and with a loud HISS it punctured and sprayed paint <i>everywhere</i>. I had to pick up the spewing can and toss it away otherwise everyones stuff nearby would have been totally ruined. Unfortunately however, the ranger got painted, and peoples bags nearby got covered in paint specks....
I'm very excited about our "ballad" this year; its gonna be <B>SWEET</b>, keep a lookout for that........
That's about it for today. I don't know how frequently I'll be able to update this thing when we're on the road because we won't have an admin office setup like we do now, but I'll do my best.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
So here I am sitting in the admin office again while the corps is divided up in sub sectionals. It seems like this time is the only free time I get during the day; even during meals I am running around getting things setup and ready to go for the next rehearsal, chasing down metronomes, long rangers, moving the drum major podium from place to place, etc... Mark Chambers was nice enough to pick me up an iced tea from Sonic, so thats cool too.
A funny thing happened the other day during the afternoon hornline visual block. We were learning drill for the ballad, and the particular segment we were running has the hornline spread across the entire backfield, an all down the endzone line on side 1 of the field. All of the sudden, the sprinklers in the side 2 endzone came on. This wasnt so bad, except for the 2 people at the end of the line down there, so we kept going. After about 5 minutes, those sprinklers shut off, and the side 1 sprinklers turned on. This is where it got interesting. The entire line on that endzone was getting soaked, but still that was only a handful of people, so Darryl kept on pushing us through rehersal, until finally, those shut off, and the sprinklers on the back sideline came on. This was chaos. There was a mad dash to get people's drill binders, backpacks, and my long ranger out of the spray radius. We really had to get this drill learned, so we pushed through. As people were marching through the spray getting blasted in the face, I had an idea to put these big trashcans over the sprinkler heads. This worked temporarily, despite the remote flooding around the sprinkler heads, until the sprinklers in the MIDDLE of the field turned on. Exhasperated, and frustrated, we ran off the field into the parking lot and set up a basics block while I helped the field liners touch up our second field. The rest of the rehersal ended up being very intense and focused, despite all the confusion and we got done what we needed to get done.
History night was last night which was an awesome experience for me. Every year we do it, it shines some new light on the rich history and tradition of the Crossmen. We held it in the Piper-Bass Student center where we eat all our meals; the place isnt very big but it's air conditioned so that was a plus. As people were getting showered and cleaned up after rehersal, and setting up for the night, I realized just how special the night was. I was standing outside by the food truck, watching cars drive past on the road that runs past the facility, and I realized: those cars driving by have no idea who we are or what we do; that road that they're driving on goes on for thousands of miles, and connects and leads to other roads from coast to coast. In such a big world with so many busy people, the Crossmen all crowded in to this cafeteria, and alumni traveled 2000+ miles to teach us all about the rich history of our corps. Inside that building was decades of Crossmen, past, present, and future; the alumni put so much time and energy and money went into having this special little gathering for us; and that is awesome.
I can't wait until we get on tour. Spring training is going well, we're working hard and learning quickly, but going on the road will be a welcome break from the "daily grind".
Thursday, June 7, 2007
4:04PM - Laundry Day
- So today is day #14 of spring training. It's crazy, its been 2 weeks but feels like we've been here for 2 months already. The hours creep by slowly but the days fly by so fast. We had our first laundry day of the summer today, I went with the hornline in the morning, the drumline is doing their laundry right now during the afternoon block, and the guard gets the night block off to do theirs (lucky). I was fortunate enough to send my laundry home with one of the colorguard girl's mom the other day, so I didn't have any clothes to wash today. Instead, I went to this little place "Simply Delicious Tamales To Go", got some tasty tamales, then walked down to the grocery store, and got some gatorades. I spent the rest of the time at the laundromat highlighting the TONS of drill sets we have (actually I paid someone in gatorade to highlight it for me), then I slept the rest of the time.
- So now the hornline is in sub-sectionals and the guard is rehearsing in the gym while the drumline gets their laundry done. I'm sitting in the administrative office with Darryl Pemberton, one of our head visual guys, until it's time for me to head down to work with the hornline for the rest of the afternoon. Darryl just asked about this tradition we have called the "Prize Patrol", oh boy, if only he knew..."Ask and you shall receive"
- We've got about 10 days until we head out on tour and I'm getting more and more excited. Spring training loses its novelty very quickly. I everyone to come check out a show this summer. We're going all over the country so chances are we're gonna be in a city near you, or at least your state. Come check us out, and if you read my blog, come say whats up, its always nice to meet new people.
- Last, but certainly not least, I encourage all readers to send care packages of gatorade to the following address:
Garrett Dillon@ Crossmen c/o Morrisons
27 San Isidro
San Antonio, TX 78261
Sunday, June 3, 2007
3:36PM - Introduction
My name is Garrett Dillon and I am the assistant drum major of the Crossmen this summer. I marched baritone with the Crossmen in '03 '05 '06 and now '07; this will be my 4th summer. I'm from Virginia Beach, Va, I'm 19 years old, and I'm a junior business management/marketing major at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.
We're in day 9 of spring training and the show is coming along great. The show design is excellent, the staff are very talented, and we're working our behinds off every day to keep getting better and better. I've got to get to rehersal now but I'll have more updates throughout the summer. And remember, send lots of gatorade, cookies, and other tasty snacks.