A ‘Borg and a Baritone #13: “Good Vibes”

This was the first back-to-back weekend rehearsals of the season, and the first one I’ve had in 11 years. 

Finishing this post late, due to Food Poisoning that kept me off my feet for over 2 days.

Saturday 3/16
Starting on Friday evening, there was a … “good” vibe in the air. That’s the best way I can describe it.
It was cool but very sunny on Saturday. The Greyhound bus leaving Louisville was a few minutes late (15-20 minutes) but nothing too bad; I equate it to TARC (Louisville’s local transit) being 4 or 5 minutes late. The trip up to Cincinnati was nice, quiet, and full of leg room. My Uber driver to the hotel provided a few pleasant surprises during the short drive:

  • She knew what a Euphonium was!!… because she is a former Trumpet player. who just recently decided to pick a horn back up
  • She knew what “Drum & Bugle Corps” was
  • Her Mom was a Bari/Euph player (also a Baton Twirler)

I couldn’t recruit her to CT but she did say that she would keep up with us, via our website. Sweeeet!

Just as sweet was the hotel that I stayed at. I have been going ‘cheap and close’ with hotels for the Winter and Spring camps, to save up for the Summer. This hotel ($88 before fees/taxes) was approaching the upper end of what I was willing to spend… and it was absolutely worth it, in convenience, location, and comfort:


I made a trip to perhaps the smallest Target I have even seen (for a couple of lunch items, to locate a bolt to fix my music stand with, and a snack), saw some more of the city, and got back to the room to knock out a big chunk of Systems Architecture homework. It was arguably the best overall Saturday I’ve had this season!

Sunday 3/17

The “good vibes” theme continued into Sunday. Our warmups focused on the arms and shoulders, something I need to do more of at home. After getting good and stretched, we then split into Sectionals: the Low Brass went with Tony, player/Tuba Tech, for the first hour, then all the Brass worked with Andrew for hour 2. This was Precision Time: between Tony and Andrew, we focused on a couple of warmups and the beginning chunk of Song 3, drilling down on such things as clean note attacks, volume vs. sound (there is a big difference between playing loud and “blatting”), and foot timing vs. ear timing (basically: if you are not watching Jordan (our Drum major) and moving your feet with her hands, you are late). 

Visuals focused on putting what we’ve learned the last 2 or 3 camps – posture, forward marching, guiding, sliding – all together. The exercise, called “Donkey Kong”, put us in rows of 6;the 1st row marched forward 8 steps, slid to the left for 8, and held for 4 counts. Row 2 then marched what Row 1 did, while Row 1 switched their slide to the right. After the second hold, Row 3 went, and so on. It forced you to guide left and right in your row, to watch your step size, and, as we worked on later, to pay attention. If you slid left, when you should have slid right, you and a corps mate are going to have a bad close encounter; thankfully, that didn’t happen.

The second part of Visuals was on paying attention. Christopher brought up the fact that some of us were missing step-offs, direction changes, and even horn-ups, because we weren’t mentally focused on what was being relayed. The second exercise was still forwards and slides, but we all marched together – no alternate row directions. What made this a “paying attention” exercise was that Christopher changed the tempos between reps, with only one announcement on what he wanted us to march. If the first reps was at 120 beats per minute (bpm) with a right slide, the second rep might be at 90 bpm with a left slide, and 3rd rep might be at 132 bpm but still with a left slide. We tightened up our focus, especially by the end. It was a good Visual Block!

My left foot wasn’t too sore during lunch – I didn’t need to pad and tape that Plantar Plate area this time! The right big toe was pretty sore, so I did have to splint and tape that joint for the rest of the day.

The back half of the day, we took our 3rd Song to the Woodshed, starting with more Low Brass Sectionals. Once the rest of the Brass joined us, we focused on attacks, dynamics, and not letting “musical moments” be wasted by inattention. The last 30 minutes was Full Ensemble (Brass and Percussion). it started off a little ragged but started to improve by the end of the day. I think we (Brass) could have used another 15 minutes with them (Percussion), though. All in all, it was a really good camp!

Then Greyhound struck.

For the third time in 2 months, my bus left Cincinnati over 2 hours late. This time, instead of leaving at 9:50 PM, it left at about 1:25 Monday morning. Guess who got home with about 1:15 before his work alarm sounded??? While I somehow made it through 8 hours at work on Monday, I had to take a Personal Day today. just to rest. We’ll see how I feel on Wednesday.

I now have a couple of weekends off before the next Camp. There’s one off-weekend in April, then we go full-blast – every weekend, Saturdays AND Sundays – until the end of August. I made a mistake of not bringing my horn home, so I’ll have to work on my arms, chest, and shoulders while I’m off. Personally, I was a little more sore in the upper body than normal but I think it was just me getting used to back-to-back weekend rehearsals (with little down time on the weekdays in between). Other than that, I can’t complain – it was a good Camp!

See you on April 7th!

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