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Did I mention it's only February?
by, Dave Leon
 
The marching guys meet at 9 a.m. Saturday to go over the 21 pages of drill Jay Murphy sent us for the weekend. There are rewrites to be taught, so we're pretty much starting from scratch.
 
We go over each move and make sure that each guy knows what's going on with every section. I pay particular attention to the baritones, since that's where I'll be spending most of my time. Everything looks pretty straightforward, so after breaking things down for a few minutes, we're ready to go.
 
Learning drill is always an arduous process. If a certain move for one section is complicated and needs more eyes on it, it can be kind of a pain for everyone else if they don't really move much or they have something relatively easy to do for that set. Boredom can set in, and if things move slowly, chaos can result from lack of attention.
 
The Saturday morning block was an example of that. Granted, it's not like we had a full-scale jihad on our hands, but things weren't as efficient as they could have been, so we take a mulligan and decide to get to it again after lunch.
 
We have another potluck lunch, and being on Atkins (like everyone and their mother), it was nice to see that folks brought lots of Atkins-friendly food. I take the lunch break and chat with a few of the members. It occurs to me that I miss being on the field and I will miss performing this season, but at the same time, for the sake of my own sanity (and that of my fiance), just being on staff this year was good for me.
 
We get back to it after lunch and push as hard as we can. We don't get through all of the drill, but at the rate we're going, half the hornline has one of those 7-11 Slurpee Brain Freezes where all motor skills officially stop and you're left in a heap in the corner pointing at the nearest building and saying, "look, mummy...there's an airplane up in the sky."
 
After the afternoon block, I head home, happy with the work that was done, and looking forward to the next day.
 
Sunday morning comes up quickly, and it's back up to the island for Shirley Dorritie's workshop on performance. Fascinating stuff. I hit her up to see if she'll talk to my high schol students. Thankfully, she agrees.
 
We head back out to the field (parking lot) and get back to it. The last few pages go by rather quickly, and now we can concentrate on getting the line to march and play.
 
Easier said than done.
 
We've already added a few little visual flourishes to the drill and some folks are having a hard time putting that together with playing their individual part. I'm not alarmed, though, since it's still way early in the season. Better to get to these problems early and get everyone the reps they need so we can really hit the ground running when the season officially starts.
 
After all is said and done, the horns are able to get through a few good runs of what we have, marching and playing. The problem spots are starting to clear up already, bit by bit.
 
We learned 21 pages of drill in 2 days.
 
Did I mention it's only February?


- Dave

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