Day One: Sectionals and Rain

Johnstown drizzle didn't keep The Cadets from getting off on the right foot


Well, what originally looked to be an entirely rainy day turned into a moderately productive first day of Spring Training. The corps woke up at 8:30 this morning and had an extra 15 minutes before the Day Meeting to get their things together and make their way to the field. Ten minutes before The Day, the entire drum corps was already sitting on the 50 yard line chatting and listening to Michael Buble’s rendition of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”

At 9:45 sharp, George stepped into the middle of the circle to kick off the day. He spent some time setting the tone for the day, Spring Training and the season: “Once you commit to something, you do it.” He emphasized that regardless of the changes in leadership throughout the winter and spring camps and despite rainy days like today, the 150 people in the corps this year are The 2012 Cadets. “Congratulations to everyone who is here,” George said. “Now, today, it’s going to rain, and we’ll work through it. This whole thing is a process. Every year, we always start with nothing, and we go from there. The first day of Spring Training, we’re never impressive. We’re pretty terrible. But then things start to happen, and before you know it, we get there, every year. The Cadets that you love and came to be a part of is happening right now, and you’re in it. That’s pretty cool. You’ve got a 78-year legacy behind you. We are in this together. So let’s get started.”

Then Drum Major Kendra Orcutt led the horns and drums in a sequence of stretches while the color guard headed down to the field house for dance class with Curtis Uhlemann. The corps remained divided into sections for the remainder of the marching morning, and Jarrod Huntley (our visual caption head for his second consecutive year) and the rest of the visual staff reviewed and refined the basics of marching technique until lunch at 2:00 p.m.

Today was a cheeseburger day (one of the most delicious lunches here), and the volunteers started grilling burgers as early as noon to have them all done by lunchtime. At 2:45, the corps split into sectionals for the rest of the day. The rain did eventually come around 5:00, so everyone stayed in sub-sectionals inside for the rest of the evening.

After dinner, all members and staff attended the first Hop Meeting of the summer in an auditorium across campus. This year, George wants to focus more on the staff-student relationship. “It’s something that’s easy to overlook, but you have to realize that on some days when it’s raining and they’re tired, the kids are only out there for your approval,” George told the staff in a meeting this morning. So tonight, instead of a more traditional meet-the-staff format, he told the Cadets to divide themselves into groups of five and to pick one staff member per group to sit with them. George then prompted us with questions that got everyone talking about our personal experiences and what brought us here and keeps us coming back. It was a great new approach to acquainting members with staff from different captions, and people seemed to leave very encouraged.

The meeting ended just before 11:00 p.m., and the members split off into their own section meetings and extra practice sessions. They will wake up at 8:00 Monday morning for day two.


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