Cadets learn 56 new drill sets

Some much-needed long rehearsal days at Western Carolina University

The rehearsal days are finally here! The Cadets are in the middle of their three-day stay in Cullowhee, NC at Western Carolina University. George Hopkins is back on tour as well as a nearly full panel of design staff, including brass arranger Jay Bocook and drill writer Jeff Sacktig.

Yesterday, the corps learned a whopping 56 pages of new drill in the rain, which admittedly sounds a little more intense than it was. The trumpets learned new drill in much of the ballad, and the full corps learned new drill which accompanies new music in the first half of the closer. The end remains the same, but the members have new spots in the drill because of the new drill preceding it—thus, it was like learning new drill.


“We’re really just trying to make a simpler connection from the end of the ballad, which is the message of the show, to the glorious finale,” Jay Bocook said. “The end of the ballad is the light-bulb moment of the show, and it ends in a processional like you’re going to church, but we basically want to get from there to the company front in the closer in one thought, not several thoughts like it is now.”

The Cadets have several days in a row with no shows, so the staff is taking full advantage, tweaking the show as much as possible. Considering the number of reps The Cadets do of each part of their show throughout the summer, even the smallest count change can be a significant mental obstacle. It’s much easier to teach changes on rehearsal days so that the members have a few days to reprogram their minds and muscle memory before they perform the new material in public.

We’re sleeping at a nearby middle school and busing over to the stadium each morning, and the rehearsal schedule has also been adjusted somewhat to accommodate a music clinic hosted by the college. Over 300 students registered for the clinic, and as I write this, they are in the stadium doing an hour of basic visual technique with The Cadets.

Thanks again to Yuichiro Hidaka for the photo!


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