A ‘Borg and a Baritone #23B: “DCI Hamilton”

Show #2 for Cincinnati Tradition was our “Home Show”: the evening of 6/25, in Hamilton, Ohio. Our report time at the stadium was 4:30 PM but I had to leave Louisville at 9:50 AM, due to Greyhound’s schedule. Speaking of Greyhound:

The bus was an hour and a half late.

Nevertheless, I made it to Hamilton with enough time to grab lunch and change before reporting to the trailer to unload props and equipment. Musically, I was pretty ready to go; physically, the problematic toes and toe area were still in poor shape. I wrapped what I could and tried to ignore the rest.

We didn’t have a big marching warm-up this time but did spend about 45 minutes with Andrew and Ray (Trumpet Tech), warming up and loosening the body and lips, before the show. The show went pretty well! There was a near-sellout crowd and they gave us a loud ovation when we took the field. I think that loosened us up a bit.

“Phrygian Gates” was solid. It did not have that weird start like it did 2 evenings before, but I was slow to step off in the first set; I did recover within a few counts. The rest of the song (overall) felt about the same as Sunday; for me, I think I played it better on Sunday but marched it better on Tuesday.

“Without Warning” sounded better on Tuesday, to me. I did the Visuals a little more smoothly, plus didn’t let my elbow droop near the end. I’m not sure if I played any better – I honestly don’t remember.

“Sanctuary” was weird – some parts were better, others weren’t. Our section had a moment where all of our “Check Engine” lights came on at once 😉 but we seemed to recover after the next set. I couldn’t get my breathing under enough control to play well, for a section of it – I kept having to breath after seemingly every note. However, for the big impact point of the piece, I was fine. That let’s me know that – using the ‘Car’ analogy again – my reserve tank has plenty in it. I just need to make sure that my main tank doesn’t dry out too quickly.

“Wind River” was pretty good, all-around. I want to see what this piece looks like with drill added.


So, the first chunk of competitions are over. The main things I need to work on, between now and our first “official” scored show in July, are (in order):

  • Precision. I need to make sure that I hit my dots (my spots in each formation, based on distances from yard lines, hash marks, and sidelines) every time, not just “get close”. That will take reps during rehearsals; it’s not easy to work on that at home, consistently.
  • Shoulder endurance. It’s much better than it was in early May, but I need to get my endurance back to the point where upper body carriage – firm elbows, correct horn angles – is automatic. Right now, it still hovers on the “manual thinking” line.
  • Breath endurance. This is a continuous process, both at home and rehearsal. I can get near the end of “Without Warning” before things get rough. Working out and fast-walking at home will help.

On the other side, I feel pretty good about the following:

  • Overall music. I still need to re-memorize the last chunk of “Wind River”; everything else is pretty good.
  • Marching “Phrygian Gates” and “Sanctuary”. It’s not that “Without Warning” is bad – I just feel better about these two, overall. Again, mental and physical reps are the key.
  • The show. This show is awesome! Once we get all of the drill on the field, and get it tightened up and cleaned, we will have a special show for the DCA and DCI crowds!

I got some pictures of the DCI corps, which I might post later. CT now has a month to clean and adjust our show. Our next competitions are in the last 2 weeks of July: one on 7/20 in Columbus, Ohio, and 3 on a mini-tour of Pennsylvania and Ohio, from 7/26 to 7/29 (my birthday will be at a show in Centerville, Ohio!).  As for this blog-within-a-blog, I probably won’t write as much between now and then, other a general “what’s new” post, but that’s very subject to change, which most of you readers already know about this blog. 😉

See you next time!

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