A ‘Borg and a Baritone #8: Camp #5

A couple of quick lessons learned this weekend:

1) Always check the refrigerator

2) Greyhound will have that ONE trip where their lateness will affect other stuff

More after the Break….

Saturday was relatively uneventful. The main issue was with me leaving my water jug at home. I took a chance that the Home Depot next door to my hotel would have a smaller, 1-gallon jug; they didn’t. Oh well, I made do with a Coke bottle and a few refills. It was a pretty relaxing night in the hotel!


Sunday started out frustratingly. My hotel room had a mini fridge; guess who left his lunch (including a Tupperware container) in said fridge?

Things went much better from there. Warmups featured a 7-minute, full-body exercise, broken down into 2 reps of 3 sets of exercises, with a short rest between reps. It was not easy but it wasn’t horrible! I hope I didn’t just jinx myself by writing that…. 😉


Next was an hour and a half with Andrew (Brass Caption Head). We spent a lot of time with breathing (which I felt like I improved on since Camp #3), tuning, and timing. The timing not only focused on moving our feet in time, it focused on moving our valves in time with the music and with each other. I don’t if this was a focus in Camp #4 but I definitely picked up a few techniques to work on at home. As for tuning, I think I finally found the breath support I was looking for, but I am still playing too flat, at times. Some wood-shedding with my tuner is now on the Home Menu.


After that, I got my first taste of Visuals (1 1/2 hours). Christopher (Visual Tech/Visual Caption Head?) got the blood flowing again with a few laps around the gym (ugh!). After some breathing and stretching, we focused on the basics of forward and backwards marching, in the Cincinnati Tradition style. The backwards march was particularly interesting: Cameron taught us a new way to see and feel how our feet are supposed to move. It took a lot of getting used to but I felt pretty decent about it by the time lunch rolled around.


Since my lunch was sitting about 10 minutes away from the rehearsal site, I went to McDonald’s for lunch – thanks for the ride, Justin! Not the healthiest lunch I’ve ever had but it worked. 😉

Before we started the afternoon sessions, I got to sight read some music with Justin and Emily. I’m hoping we get to work on that again; it’s not show-related, just some fun, pretty challenging side music.


Also before the afternoon session, I got a visit from a couple of old “friends”. I had a Plantar Plate tear about 8 months ago (maybe more). I started having the same pain, in my left 2nd toe and under the ball of my foot, a few days ago and it, unfortunately, did not die down on Sunday. Marching was not pleasant, physically. The other “friend” was a couple of joint issues: my left wrist and my right big toe. The wrist usually just bothers me after a rehearsal but this time, it was red and sore; the toe was the same:

I have to let them rest and keep calm before the next camp.


The afternoon session was strictly Full Brass (3 hours). Timing and tuning were again the focus, but this time, the Opener and the Ballad were the setting. This was also my first crack at the Opener – I didn’t have the Battery playing with the brass to hear how the Euphonium 2 part fit in but I did like some of the hits from the Brass. The Mellophone part, though:

We were collectively sounding really good by the end of the day! A great end to Camp #5!


Unfortunately, the trip home was plagued by delays. I thank Justin again – with the suggestion of our Program Coordinator, Nick – for dropping me off at the Greyhound Station. Saved me some money and some time! My bus home was supposed to depart Cincinnati at 9:50 PM. It’s not terribly unusual to leave a few minutes late – it’s just the nature of bus travel. However, leaving 40 minutes late – after arriving, cleaning, and prepping the bus on time – is very unusual. I got back to Louisville at 12:25, missing every late TARC that could have gotten me home. An Uber trip later, I arrived home at 12:45 and got to bed a little after 1:30… for a 5:00 AM alarm for work.


There were many positives to take away from Camp #5. On the group side:

  • Even with quite a few members missing, we got a lot worked out with the Ballad
  • Visuals went well; it felt like we were getting into a groove before lunch
  • We cleaned up some timing issues that happened in Camp #4 (I missed that camp)

On my side:

  • Better sustained breaths
  • Horn angle, minus a couple of moments at the end of the day, stayed where it should, plus my elbows didn’t tuck in much
  • I wasn’t completely gassed by the end of the first warm-up, like the first camp. Progress! 😉

3 of the things I need to work on for next camp:

  • Tuning – making sure I’m not consistently flat
  • Cardio – while not horrible, I need to keep improving on it. I am a 40-year-old rookie, marching for the first time in 5 1/2 years, trying to keep up with members that are currently marching/playing at their schools, and are half of my age (or less)
  • Left Elbow – it still has a bad habit of not staying out. 😉

Despite the physical issues, I really enjoyed this camp! There’s some serious, big time talent in this corps, and it is starting to show in every Brass section (I can’t speak for the Color Guard or Percussion yet). We can still use players in all sections, especially the Front Ensemble, so if you are reading this and know someone who may be interested in marching, let me know! Next camp and post in 2 weeks!

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