Sophie's Blog: It's Friday!

Warm weather and a productive ensemble

It was a very hot day here in Johnstown. On this Friday afternoon, the color guard learned a Katie Hopkins dance for “Jingle Bells” in the field house, which was just as hot inside as it was outside. During a water break, I could see the members glistening with the sweat of their hard work. “If you’re not exhausted after this dance, then you’re not doing it right,” Greg Lagola informed the color guard about the challenging dance that Katie had written for them. I loved the dance and thought it looked really good for their first day of learning it.

Once the sectional was over, the members went back to the food truck to get some snack of carrots, celery, graham crackers and goldfish before going to a pre-ensemble sectional. The color guard had the entire turf field to themselves for that time while the hornline members sat on the curbs and were scattered throughout the parking lot near the food truck. They reviewed their music on their own in groups of three or more.


Daniel Riley was atop the press box on the microphone giving instructions and corrections to the guard, his voice echoing throughout Johnstown.

“Are you awake? Do you need to go say ‘Hi’ to my friend the fence?” Daniel joked during the set-by-set reps the guard was doing.

“NO!” they all responded loudly.

“Stop yelling at me!” Daniel joked back to the members.

“At least you have one friend,” Eric Babula teased Daniel, referring to making the members run to the fence, run back and then do the set again. Thankfully, they didn’t have to do that though.

They laughed and giggled before starting their next rep.

After spending some time with the guard, I noticed the hornline getting into their arc to start playing. I really wanted to see what they were up to, so I went over to where they were standing in the parking lot and took a seat on the pavement. The sun was setting behind them, casting beautiful lighting onto their horns. They played through “Rocky Point” (my all-time favorite corps song and cell phone ringtone), “Mahler Two,” “We Need A Little Christmas” and “Jump,” all of which sounded excellent! After about half an hour, the full corps came together for ensemble at 7:30 p.m.


“We’re gonna pace tonight like we have been the past few nights, chunking through what we have done, then do a full run of everything we know at the end,” Gino informed the corps before they began. “Then we’ll arc it up for the last 20 minutes.”

The Cadets have all of “Carol of the Bells” (parts one, two and three) on the field with music and choreography. Some parts of the show are rather messy as of right now, but I know that will change soon. The members work really hard and are very talented young musicians and performers; soon the show will start to come together and look even better. Every day that passes, the corps gets better and better.

At 8:45, when they were supposed to be done, Gino kept them just 15 minutes over to piece together “Jingle One” and “Jingle Two” with the new pit transition in the middle. That’s my favorite part of it so far! It’s catchy and fun and leads right into the swing section. Once ensemble was over, the corps went to dinner and enjoyed some delicious pot roast, ending the night with a great meal.


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