Sophie's Blog: Moving and spinning? Don't die!

A little taste of every sectional

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Today I made the long trek to the elementary school field where the guard was putting their flag work to drill on this cloudless Friday afternoon. They finished 31 pages of the opener and put the flag work to the couple of sets that I was there to see. I believe the very beginning of the opener is a group dance. It was very warm today, and some of the members (including guys) have already started sporting the “diaper” look, where they roll their shorts up really short so it looks like a diaper.

“Moving and spinning – don’t die,” Eric Babula said from atop the scaffolding. When they started the rep and took three sets, some of the flags hit each other, making a metal clanking noise. “Perfection,” Eric said sarcastically, and I couldn’t help but laugh along with the members.

As the members were learning each set, Sam Watson and Katie Hopkins raced each other to see who could spray the most dots with white spray paint. The color guard went from one set to the next, using the spray paint to mark their spots so they wouldn’t get lost or confused.

It was a very giggly rehearsal day, but also very productive. I was so happy that I went to this sectional; usually I wouldn’t walk down to the field since it’s so far away, but today was too beautiful to miss out. The guard and the staff have a great relationship. They can laugh and joke around with each other and still get work done. I think it’s really great when staff and members can be friends but still have that student-teacher relationship during rehearsal, especially when the sectionals are as fun as this one.

“I love this color guard!” Sam Watson exclaimed. I couldn’t agree more.

The funniest part was when the house behind the field started playing Skrillex music really loudly. It seemed like they were having a pool party or something, and Eric kept trying to talk to them over the mic, asking if we could go to their party. After maybe five minutes, the music stopped, but the distractions didn’t. It must have been coming from the house next to the other one, but there were small children screeching from behind the field! It was so hilarious! Member Evan Turner said that every time he heard the screaming, he laughed so hard that he almost peed his pants (not literally though). It was quite an eventful and amusing sectional, and overall a good time that made me wish I had never broken my foot.

After snack, I went to the front ensemble’s sectional to see what they were up to. I’ve never seen a pit sectional before; I was very curious as to what they did during that time, and it was such a treat! They might just be my favorite section, after the color guard of course. They seem to have just as much, if not more, fun than the color guard, and oh my goodness are they talented. Every time I watch them, I lose myself in their skill. It’s extremely impressive and unreal the things they can do with those mallets. They can play so fast; I can’t even see the mallets moving! Even though the pit isn’t marching around the field, they are definitely working just as hard as the rest of the corps.

Next, I made my way back to the color guard, passing by the tuba and drumline sectionals on my way. When I got to the field house where the guard was, I found them rehearsing a dance feature for the ballad using large ramps (about nine feet long), built by our wonderful volunteers. Katie Hopkins and Curtis Ulhemann had the dancers run up the ramp, slide down the other side, run back up that side, and dance on top of it. It was so exciting and intricate! Every day, I’m amazed at what this color guard is doing and how talented they are – and the hornline too! I went to watch the last half-hour or so of the full brass ensemble (the pit and drumline were having a percussion ensemble by themselves), and I was simply blown away by their sound. It’s so crisp and beautiful; I was smiling and tapping my foot to the beat. The sound of the trumpets screaming and the baritones ringing warms my heart. It’s the sound of drum corps, and nothing can compare to that lovely sound.

I think the guard is doing drill with the rest of the corps tomorrow! I’m so excited to see the whole thing come together. It’ll be the first time that the corps and the color guard will be doing drill together, and Evan said there are some pretty crazy pass-throughs (guard members going in-between hornline/drumline members) where the flag work is not designed for passing through anyone. Looks like it’ll be an interesting morning trying to figure all that out! I can’t wait for another day; I’m having such a great time here! Hopefully the weather will be as gorgeous as it was today.

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