A ‘Borg and a Baritone #9: “Camp 6 – New Level!”

A different vibe was in the air on Sunday – did we just level up?

Greyhound tried its best to screw up the entire weekend.

More after the Break.

I should have known from the very beginning that Saturday would be… ‘trying’: I actually got some sleep! Except that I slept until 10 AM, *just* late enough to put a little bit of a crunch on time. That crunch went away when my trip to the laundromat took barely an hour, including TARC time.

I packed, disconnected my U-Verse box, killed a little time, then headed to the Greyhound station.

That’s where the trouble started.


I got to the station around 3:00; my bus was scheduled to leave at 3:35. When I went to check in my under-the-bus bag, the clerk told me that my bus was late. 3 hours late. Instead of sitting in the station for 3+ hours (I normally do that on Sundays), I walked back to the nearest #4 TARC and went home. At about 5:30, I headed back to the Greyhound station, getting there around 6:05 for an estimated 6:30 departure.

The bus left at 7:50. I got into my hotel at 10:15 PM, about 45 minutes before I would have lost my reservation. No real down-time, no time to do homework. GRRR. On the bright side, it was the nicest, cleanest hotel I’ve been in , this season. Kudos the Kingsgate Hotel and Conference Center!!

Sunday was much better, for the most part!

Warm-ups was led by Justin (Jesse was running a few minutes late). He introduced a few new stretching and warmup options. Combined with Jesse’s routines, I now have a loaded book of stretches and exercises to use at home.

We were in Full Brass for the first 2 hours. Besides the breathing and buzzing warmups, Jake (then Andrew) went over timing and tuning. I wasn’t playing nearly as flat as 2 weeks ago, but there’s still more work needed. We then went to work on our ballad, opener, and touched on our 3rd tune. It was weird, however – the last hour of Full Brass felt “hectic”; it felt like we were trying to cram 3 hours of rehearsal into 1 hour of time. That wouldn’t be the first time on Sunday that that happened.

We then went into Visuals for an hour, give or take. We worked on transitioning between forward and backward steps. Everyone seemed just a tick slow; I don’t know if we were all tired from the morning but it took Calvin getting on us – nothing terribly “harsh”, just a “wake up, people!” announcement – before we started clicking. We ended on a positive note, which is always good.

I did not leave my lunch in the hotel room, this time. 😉 Tried to get a little more HW done but could not understand the video that my professor posted. Awesome!

After lunch, we went into Sectionals for a hour or so. The Baris/Euphs stayed with Andrew and worked on the new 3rd tune. It went OK, considering we were sight-reading. Once the rest of the brass came back, we all worked on the 3rd tune.

Have you played a video game that cranked up the difficulty before you fought a mini-boss? Well, Andrew turned the intensity up 3 difficulty levels, became the mini-boss, and proceeded to dissect the Brass section into quivering chunks. I’m not sure if we even got to a Check Point.

The finer details – not moving the valves in time, marking time, missed attacks, etc. – were hammered into us; if we missed one of them, we played that section over. I’m still a little irritated at myself for missing an entire bar of counting and blatting out a note during a 4-count, full Brass rest. We had to repeat that section. Bahh.

Those last 2 hours also felt like we were cramming hours worth of info into 1 or 2 hours. Maybe it was just “one of those days”?

The last 30 minutes of the day was Full Ensemble: Brass and Percussion. It was my first time hearing the opener with the Battery and the Front Ensemble (I missed the camp where the groups played together). I reeeeally like the Percussion parts; it’s easy to hear and feel how their parts lead into the Brass line’s entrances. Other than a couple of sloppy entrances by the Baris/Euphs (one of them was me – my note just did not ‘speak’ on time), it was a solid ending to the rehearsal!

There are certain musical phrases and notes that I love hearing in marching band and drum corps shows. Mellophone 16th-note runs and ‘stings’ are some of them. Our 3rd tune might end up my favorite, for those reasons. We’ll see. 😉

Overall, I think I stayed at about the same level as last camp. I took a small step back with “focus” mistakes: missing 2 entrances, where there was no reason to miss one, other than not paying attention. I also took a small step back with my feet: last camp, I thought I might had torn my Plantar Plate before the camp; 2 days after this past camp, I am pretty sure it’s torn. I did not make it out of Warm-ups before the left foot tried to start a riot. Thankfully, I don’t have much left to do this week (that’s not work) that requires shoes or walking, so I’m going to tape the toes/ball of my foot and take it as easy as possible; it doesn’t mean I’ll become a hermit, it just means that shoes are optional until Saturday afternoon.

Despite that, I think I took a few small steps forward. I played closer to in-tune than the last few camps. I’ll continue to work on buzzing on my mouthpiece (with a tuner, when possible/allowed) to get a more consistent, in tune sound. I also didn’t have many elbow issues: the elbows stayed out, with only 1 time where I let the left elbow drop noticeably. I need to work on that a lot, especially when we get horns to check out. Maybe the biggest step forward: very little shoulder pain after the camp! Stiffness was expected but neither shoulder was sore, even with how long we had our horns up this time. Progress!

I thought the group overall responded well after that sluggish start. We (Brass) responded with a better effort after lunch, even with some mistakes. Andrew pressed us – hard – near the end of the day but there were no hanging heads, no pouting, and definitely no grumbling. We “survived the boss fight” and leveled up – now, what do we do with our “new stats” on the 24th? We’ll see!

Going home.


Our rehearsals are over at 6; I usually get to the Greyhound Station by 6:30; my bus home leaves at 9:50.

I killed some time reading and listening to music, trying not to let a lot of fresh-out-of-practice soreness get to me. I looked at the Arrivals & Departures board:

10:24 departure.

Ok, not terrible but it will cost me the last TARC home, once I get to Louisville.

10:24 goes by. And 10:30. And 11:30. And 12:00.

At about 12:15, everyone waiting on the Louisville-Nashville-Atlanta bus got $50 vouchers for “inconveniences”. Cool!

12:30… 1:00… finally, at 1:15 shows up.

And takes forever to load.

We left Cincinnati at 1:40 and got into Louisville at 3:22. I booked Uber and got home at 3:55 AM, Monday morning.

I have a 5 AM alarm for work. I went to work on no sleep at home, maybe an hour on the bus. Although I got about 5-6 hours on Monday night, it is currently early Wednesday morning and I am still wobbly from lack of sleep. Thank you for screwing up a good of my weekend, Greyhound!!

I have half of the tour costs paid off – thank you, Federal Refund! I hope to completely pay everything off by the 2nd march camp. As for the next camp, my bus trip will be paid for by vouchers; the hotel should also be fairly inexpensive. I want to work on fitness more, especially this week. For playing, I need to continue to buzz my mouthpiece, along with working on memorization. There are also videos of us marching that I can study; I definitely need to lock down the CT marching style.

See you on the 24th of February!

2 thoughts on “A ‘Borg and a Baritone #9: “Camp 6 – New Level!”

  1. WOW. You are Superman. Well, actually more like Cyborg, but I feel like that’s too much of a gimmie THE POINT IS THIS! You are amazing and you are doing what you love. Kudos to you, Herr Bonner! Kudos to you!


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