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The View from the Guard
Lisalisamomeesa Johnson, Guard

LisalisamomeesaHey there….LisaLisaMoMeesa here bringing you all the news from the color guard world.

First, a little about me. I’ve been involved in various performance groups since 1983. I started out with baton, went to drill team, then color guard. I even did a brief stint of competitive cheerleading in high school (yeah, I know...).

Once I graduated high school, I immediately began teaching high school color guard. I’ve taught all over the bay area. Some of the schools include Cupertino, Leland, Gilroy, Saratoga, Mtn. View and Los Altos high schools. Seems if the school was named for a city, I taught there. I also taught at Spirit of Sunnyvale, a now-defunct summer youth band.

I went to San Jose State University, where I double majored in American History and Political Science. I was also in the Spartan Marching Band colorguard for 5 years.

I’m now getting my certification as a paralegal. I’m also trying to decide if I’m crazy enough to actually go on to law school. I’m currently working as a paralegal at a networking company.

I am sort of a tomboy at heart. I enjoy camping, hiking, fishing (yes, fishing) and going to the beach. My boyfriend and I are planning a three-day hike from Castle Rock in the Santa Cruz mountains out to the coast this summer. I love reading, (current book – “Kingdom of Fear” by Hunter S. Thompson) wine (Mondavi Coastal Cabernet), and I’m actually learning to cook (I used to burn water).

I’ve got a gray and black tabby cat named Jimmy who, oddly enough, has recently become the center of controversy on RAMD, the internet drum corps newsgroup.

I’ve played the violin and the cello for about 10 years, and I’m thinking about picking up the violin again (if someone knows where I could pick up some lessons cheap, let me know) I’m also taking a Russian language class.

I was born in Phoenix, AZ, and grew up in California. I also lived in southern England for a time and spent a summer travelling through Western Europe, biking and riding the trains and staying in youth hostels.

I came to Renegades last May and I’m totally converted to the dark side. I’m 100% committed to the mission of helping make the Renegades the most famous (and/or infamous) drum corps on the face of the Earth.

Ok…that’s probably MORE than enough about me.

April Camp

Putting flag work to drill.  Always a scary proposition.  A lot of times, the work gets written before the drill.  It's always fun...make that "fun," to find out if you do the work you'll take out three or four hornline members.

The day started out with a quiet stretch and I noticed several new faces.  A few ladies from the Santa Clara Vanguard Alumni Corps are joining.  More awesome talent to be added to a unit already chock full of talent.  It's such a joy and a gift for me to be amongst so many talented men and women.  I quietly hope some of their good juju rubs off on me.

We spent the morning going over the latest work Mark taught us at last camp. Straight away it's noticeable that most of us attended sectionals in the off time. The work is a bit tricky and, of course, fast. But by taking it count by count, movement by movement, we all get it down pretty well.

We noticed a Coast Guard helicopter flying close by, close enough for us to wave to the pilot.  It wasn't until later we learned it was a former drum corps member.  Small world. 

And it gives me a great idea about getting the guard to the field on Sunday when we join the corps. Imagine the hornline/drumline's amazement at the landing of a helicopter and 30+ guard members pouring out.   As it turns out, (as you will read later) Sunday's field rehearsal had it's own eye catching amazement.  (heh.)

After lunch we began working on drill and flag work. Set by set, step by step, movement by movement, painstakingly working it into the drill and CLEANING it as we learn, therefore not "learning" any mistakes.  When suddenly....it happens.... we hit "THE BLOCK OF DEATH". 

I wish I could tell you where in the show this occurs, but that would entail me digging my drill sheets out of my camp bag, still stashed in my trunk.  Suffice it to say, after about a minute or so of 200 bpm, dancing, leaping, running, spinning, turning, etc., we suddenly lock into this block that RUNS across the field and does some very VERY difficult flag work, that, WHEN we pull it off will be one of the highest points, visually, of the show.  I believe it will be the first of many points in our show where the guard says "We are kicking ass and taking names".  Period.

Night block. We're in our hangar.  I've grown to call this place "home".  When we're working and I get tired or frustrated, I just look to the left and see the Bay Bridge all lit up. To the right, the sparkling lights of The City.  Ahhh...

Night block is dedicated to CLEANING.  More like disinfecting.  Each beat is subdivided and each move is defined.  Everyone in the guard is helping one another. It is clear when all is said and done, there will be no weak links in this guard.  We all carry each other like brothers and sisters, either helping or asking for help.  Towards the end of the night, many of us check out mentally. Our staff realizes this, but keeps us on task and as focused as possible.

After closing announcements, I head home.  I know it's a 45 minute drive. I've had offers of sharing rooms and places to stay. However, I actually enjoy the drive home.  The last two camps, I've driven home Saturday night. I enjoy getting in the car, playing some soft music (tonight it's Nora Jones) and crossing the Bay Bridge.

By the time I get home, my muscles have frozen up.  I walk in like a 90 year old lady and my boyfriend has a hot bath waiting for me, complete with candles and a glass of cabernet.  I think he's a keeper.

Sunday morning, the drive in was gorgeous.  I always listen to something heavy and fast on the way to rehearsals.  This morning it was "The Sickness" by Disturbed. It wakes me up, kicks me in the head and rearranges my DNA.

The morning and afternoon is more of the same...CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN...and then we clean some more.  Sorry to bore you, but that was the focus. When we finally join the rest of the corps, we notice them watching us. I'm hoping they like what they see, since we've been working so hard.

<next paragraph = major foreshadowing of Pizza Orgasmica II>

After about 20 minutes or so, I hear someone ask, "Is that chick naked????" We're all stunned. About 100 yards away is a photo shoot...a "nakey" photo shoot. I'm just wondering to myself "What is she doing with that hose????"  You know...... {sigh}  "ONLY at a Renegade rehearsal" is about all I can say about that.

As we don't yet have work or drill to the last part of the show, the horns and drums play the rest of the show standing still and Rich Duarte gets on the drum set.  We've all agreed that the drum set ups his "babe points" majorly.  I'm telling you....chicks dig drummers!

All in all April camp was a success.  We got alot accomplished, alot of ground covered.  It amazes me at the end of each camp, just how far we leap ahead.  I can't wait for everyone to get a really good look at us. I promise, you are going to be amazed.

If you have any comments or just want to say “Hey”, drop me a line at lisalisamomeesa@renegades.org.


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