Putting the opener together

"It sounds like a drum corps down there!"


The Cadets just finished another gorgeous groundhog day here in Johnstown. The horns and drums reviewed the first 31 pages of drill this morning and went into sectionals after lunch. The hornline made the trek down the “Trail of Tears” for the first time today—a 15-minute hike down a gravel trail through the woods to a nice set of grass fields.

But I stuck with the drums, who had to find a different area of campus to rehearse in than their usual spot; a couple was getting married in the chapel right where drum sectionals have been. (Hopefully distant metronomes and Christmas tunes didn’t disrupt their special day.)

The drumline played through the whole show for the first time today, which was a big step forward musically. “They’re working hard,” Colin (our percussion caption supervisor) told me later at dinner. He wasn’t kidding. Once the drummers hit the field to work on “Carol of the Bells” in sectionals, they didn’t waste a moment of rehearsal time. When Jake Gall told them to “Get a quick drink,” they literally sprinted to their water jugs on the front sideline and gulped down water as they started running back. We may have a mostly-rookie drumline this year, but those guys are working hard.


After snack from 6:30 to 7:00, the full corps met up for the very first time in the stadium (color guard and all!)to put “Carol of the Bells Part One” together. The guard has some great dance choreography at the beginning, followed by flag work. Meanwhile, the hornline was playing much louder than anyone expected.

“It sounds like a drum corps down there!” Gino said after The Cadets released the final chord of Part One. “Nicely, nicely done.”

Since George won’t get back until tomorrow, Gino spoke to the corps at the end of rehearsal again today. “Boy oh boy, I don’t think I’ve seen a production come together so fast as that did today,” he said enthusiastically. “For your first time playing and marching that as an ensemble, that was very good. Everyone up there [in the press box] had their mouths open when you guys played that last note. You guys are eating up the lesson plans each day, you’re getting through it, and tomorrow we’ll learn more drill and continue the process,” Gino said.

“More” drill may have even been an understatement. The number of Cadets’ drill pages doubled tonight, so they have plenty of work to keep them busy in the coming days.



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