A ‘Borg and a Baritone #24: “What a Day-Weekend!

Saturday was Show Day #3: DCA Columbus! More on that in a moment.

The 4 weeks between DCI Hamilton and DCA Columbus were spent hammering Movements 3 (“Sanctuary”, the Ballad) and Movements 4 (“Wind River”, the Closer), musically and physically (going set-to-set). For me, this helped with some troublesome set changes that I could not seem to get the hang of, in Sanctuary; by the end of Saturday’s rehearsal, I was comfortable with all but 2 of the sets. It also solidified a big chunk of music in Wind River; it wasn’t that I didn’t know it, it’s that I wasn’t playing it confidently enough.

Before we got to Columbus weekend, there were 3 of 4 days where the temperature was between 92-95 degrees in Sharonville, but the Heat Index was between 101 and 108 on all 4 days. It absolutely took a toll on me last Sunday, plus it was borderline last Saturday and today. Last Sunday, I sat out the last 20-30 minutes of rehearsal because, for the first time that I can remember, I had Heat Exhaustion. We were in the last set of the show, I tried to play my part, then got really chilly and pretty dizzy. I went off the field as soon as we stopped. The other two times, I just sat out 5-15 minutes because of lightheaded-ness. Even today (Sunday), I sat out for about 10-15 minutes, just to get the core temperature down and to fight off the lightheaded-ness. I have a new cooling towel and some new, lightweight shirts for the rest of the season; hopefully, I won’t have to miss too many more reps, especially since we about to enter the “cleaning weeks”. That heat was brutal, made worse by my Warfarin.

DCI Columbus was fun!

The ‘band’ – myself, Kara, Madison, and Danny – got back together for the carpool to Columbus, after an intense, 4 hour morning rehearsal in the heat. Some really good/funny/enlightening conversations were had!

After a warm-up with Andrew and the Brass Staff, we headed to the High School stadium that was hosting the event. It was small but there were a few hundred people there. Also there was Class A corps (and Soundsport Gold Medalists, and hosts), the Columbus Saints, who had a steampunk-based show, and Small Drum Corps Circuit (SDCA) champions and Soundsport Gold Medalists, the Rogue Hollows Regiment (from northeast Ohio).

Rogue Hollows was in exhibition, so they went on first. They were awesome!! They were high energy and got the crowd into their jazz/big band-based show. Columbus was next; their show was “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Jazz”, a pretty cool show with Steampunk crossed with Jazz, and maybe a little Gothic thrown in on top? Anyway, they were fun.

We went on last. To me, we knocked the opener out of the park! Fans were standing and cheering before we finished the piece – always a great sign!

The second movement went well, also. I struggled just a tad with the body movement section. Other than that, it felt like we performed and marched it better than at Hamilton.

Sanctuary was the “problem”, although I don’t think it was as shaky as previous performances. For starters, the Baritones didn’t all bail during a section where we’re flying towards an end zone. We also all seemed to get most of the new sets down. I ran out of playing gas about 3/4 through the song, although I got a 2nd Wind (no pun intended) by the start of Wind River. I also let my elbows drop way too many times, near the end of the song, something I had worked on NOT doing. It’ll be a focus again, this week at home.

Wind River was good. I think we nailed the first half of the piece but ran out of gas (as a whole corps) to close the show. I struggled with stamina but, somehow, played the hardest section of the show (for the Baritones) maybe the best of the year (until today). Considering that Columbus was our first full, no-metronome-backed run, I’d we did pretty good!

We ended up with a 70.55, about 15 points ahead of the Saints: it seemed like a solid score to get us onto the DCA scoreboards. I think we are 7th or 8th, overall. We got some really good feedback (and a few compliments) from the judges. What impressed me more was the ovation that fans gave us – that was an awesome moment!

Then there was Sunday.

Rather, it started Saturday night, when my uniform bag disappeared; it had my phone, a change of socks, my performance gloves, and non-marching shoes in it. I luckily did not have my wallet in the bag, plus I brought my laptop along, so alarms for Sunday’s practice weren’t an issue.

What were the issues started with Uber. I usually Uber to rehearsals. I did not remember my password to log in via the laptop (opposed to just using the app on the phone), so I tried to reset it. Uber has a 2-step ID process: I typed in a new password and they sent me a 4-digit code to verify my ID. That code went to my phone. When I emailed them about my situation, their response was to send me the same link and ID process that I just tried. A 2nd email resulted in them asking me to find another phone, screenshot the working app, and they’ll reset the password.


Next attempt at a ride was Yellow Cab. Our rehearsal started at 10:00; I played email-tag with Uber from about 9:15 to 9:55. I called a cab a little after 10. At 11:20, they still hadn’t arrived. My final option was to call our Support and Volunteer Staff and ask if one of them could pick me up. I finally got to the rehearsal field at about 11:35, over an hour and a half late. I HATE being late, even 2 minutes late.

As for the rehearsal, it went pretty well. Andrew and Nick wanted to push us and make us uncomfortable, so we could start playing and finishing well, when our stamina is low and conditions are bad (which “94% and humid” are ‘bad conditions’). I had a couple of moments where my horn angle wasn’t where it should have been (and Andrew got on me for it) but I also was one of the few Low Brass members that could play and mark time to 2 of the “Big 3 ” spots in the closer on a moment’s notice (which Andrew and Garrett thanked me for). All in all, it was a frustrating beginning to what ended up being a decent Sunday!

I also got my bag back – one of the other members had grabbed it my mistake. Sweet!


My biggest weaknesses, at this point in the season, are breathing stamina and inconsistent horn angles. My arms, shoulders, and wrists have no been big issues for about a month, thankfully. The main issues is regulating my breathing when the body is telling you to stop moving. I think just more workouts at home is the key to fixing that. The horn angles: that’s inattention on my part. I’ll fix that by Friday.

My biggest strengths are: music and work ethic. The work ethic is making sure that I’ve worked on anything that the Staff -Kendra (Visual), Andrew (Brass), Nick (Show Coordinator), and any of the Brass Techs – has told us to fix or improve, whether I’m using a horn, buzzing on my mouthpiece, or just doing mental run-throughs of the show. The music is from me just simply looking at it, listening to different click tracks on our hornline Facebook, buzzing or humming different passages, or playing different passages. Playing doesn’t happen a lot b/c of work and school conflicts, but buzzing, listening, and (especially) humming happen a lot. I said it waaaay back in December and January: I will not be the Weak Link that’s holding CT back!

Now we have the biggest weekend of our season: the Pennsylvania-Ohio Mini Tour! We leave at 7 AM on Friday and perform in Sheffield, PA Friday evening; travel to Peckville, PA on Saturday morning and perform in the biggest competition of the year (all Top 10 corps will be there) on Saturday evening; travel to Brockway, PA for a non-show day, then end the tour in Centerville, OH on Monday with a show that night. It’s going to be a long 4 days but a fun 4 days! Peckville is our focus, as we need to get a high score to set us up for DCA World Championships at the end of August.

It’s been an exhausting, weird, painful, fun, good weekend! I need to rest!

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