15 June 2008
Let's see, I've moved out of the hell hole that was my home for a year. I moved back into the dorms for summer classes and then my final semester in the Fall. It's a lot better living here I don't have to worry about rent or having enough money for food. So it's definitely a step up. Plus I don't have a roommate right now so I have the place all to myself which is nice.
The army is going rather well. I was suppose to go to Iraq with the 39th IBCT from Arkansas starting in May but Colonel Bishop, who is one of my highest commanders, said that I would be needed for a later mission involving Vermont. It has been finally announced that the 86th IBCT (Mountain) from Vermont will be activated for a mission to Afghanistan sometime in 2010. So I plan on putting myself on the volunteer list for that mission and we will see how it goes. But I doubt they kept me in state for nothing when I could be fighting. I have some pictures of my "Blues Brothers" stint but they are all on facebook so whatever.
The Brigadiers are off to a good start for the season. The entire show is on the field and now its a matter of cleaning the drill and music to make it as awesome as it is. Our first show is July 5th, which is right after my week of touring with the Army so I'm going to exhausted with all the driving but whatever. I love playing in this hornline and it's gonna suck if gas prices keep going up and I have to stop. But I should be able to make a lot of shows which would be nice or just join later in the year, say June or something to save all that money up to that point.
Still living the single life, still no idea what I want to do for a career, still unclear where I want to settle, but I do know I want to get my Masters in military history from Norwich which is an online degree so that'll make things easier.
23 February 2008
The National Guard has been going pretty well. I started singing with a microphone for the first time this past drill. Let's just say I sound as bad as I though I did, but that's what happens when the commander arranged it outside of my range. So I've been singing at that high range for the last two weeks to hopefully get it in shape for the upcoming concert tour. I can't wait for this tour to be over with because hopefully I won't have to sing anymore after this, well at least at that range anyway. A new thing I'm trying out, arranging. Yeah shocker I know considering I have absolutely no knowledge of arranging AT ALL! But I found this really cool thing that Carolina Crown did so with the help of some people I'm basically going to steal it and arrange it for my MST. So who knows how long this will take because I'm going to have to get the pitches by ear and the rhythms shouldn't be too hard to figure out.
Brigadiers update, ah yes drum corps oh how I love thee. February camp was such an amazing success I wouldn't have believed it unless I was there. Our hornline is already bigger than it was last year at Finals, but it's great because we have a lot more talent plus the new Dynasty Bb horns make our sound THAT much better. We are still looking for some more tubas to get to 10 or even 12 if we really push it, but that would be awesome. But I've kinda become the default section leader of the contras. I don't know how it happened but Randall and Andy started coming to me for advice on things and I guess everyone else assumed that I was in charge haha. I don't mind it I just find it weird that last year's "rookies" are now running the section because the other vets didn't come back for various reasons. But the music is absolutely amazing and I can't wait to put this stuff on the field!
School is going....and going....and going...and....you get my point
Oh and I'm 23 now....yay *sarcasm off*
Ok bed time finally
28 January 2008
This weekend was a pretty good one. Saturday I drove to Boston to hang out with Caroline who I met on New Years (now that I think about it, going backwards may confuse you all lol). I had a blast. We went ice skating (one of those outdoor ones), then we headed off to dinner and then went back to her dorm and watched Pirates of the Caribbean. I wasn't able to spend the night there because of her roommate so I drove back that night. Which actually was great because I was practically the only one on the road.
This past Thursday was the filming of the Late Night Saturday TV show, which is a local version of Saturday night talk shows. The reason why I was there was because it was National Guard appreciation day or something like that. So one of our MST's, small ensembles, which this time was our Ira Allen Combo which is a mix of swing/latin music was chosen to perform. So I was there mainly to provide logistic support and answer questions anyone might have about the band after the show. We ended up getting a lot of praises which was cool. I'll post the link of the performance as soon as they put it up on the website.
Last week classes started as well. It shouldn't be that bad of a semester for me considering they are pretty easy classes so far. The only class I might have a problem with is my Comparable Religions class, mainly because I'm not religious so my views will be completely contrasting to everyone else's.
My MST (Musical Support Team a.k.a. small ensemble) for the Guard is coming along nicely. I'm suppose to have my vocal numbers, yes I am singing, memorized by this drill coming up so hopefully that will happen. *crosses finger* I am looking forward to going out on tour though because I'm the front man of the group so I get to have the most fun.
Brigadiers, ah yes drum corps. We did have camp this month and it was great. Although the brass numbers are still low, mainly because of the vets not coming back yet, it was great. the brass line has the whole opener memorized basically at this point. We ensembled with battery and pit which was cool, the opening drum statement is awesome! This month's camp is still 3 weeks away so I just hope time flies.
New Years haha. Well I came up to Boston from NJ to go with Lauren and her cousin Caroline to one of her friend's parties. It was fun definitely better than what I would have done, which was nothing, in NJ. So it was worth coming back early for.
Ok so back to the present. I'm just going through the paces of classes and finding a job. I have to be honest I haven't really been looking that hard for a job but I guess I should change that especially since the touring season will be here sooner rather than later. I've been trying to straighten out some stuff with the VA (Veterans Affairs) regarding my benefits and such, which I hope will be resolved soon.
27 December 2007
I saw the new National Treasure movie. I liked it but Bombard said he hated it. Well fuck him :-P It was as good as the first so it was nice that it didn't suck.
Other than that I haven't been up to anything, just watching movies and playing on my brothers old xbox. Definitely looking forward to heading up north for Drill and eventually BRIGS!
20 December 2007
I think that my only plans I have is Christmas Eve dinner with my whole family. For some reason they decided that they would come here this year. Which means I can't come up with some excuse for missing out lol. So I'll have to be nice and actually pretend I care about my screwed up family.
I do have something to look forward to however. The first weekend in January I have drill, so I will be out of NJ sooner than I thought. Then the weekend after that I have camp *crosses fingers* Hopefully there will be no snow so we will actually hold camp. I'm excited to see the number of contra players we will have. Supposedly double digits but we shall see. Plus it'll be nice seeing all of my friends again. Maybe I won't be the only one still awake come 2 AM. Last year it was a tradition to close the bar and stay up until morning during normal camps/non show days. Maybe it was because it was the first camp but it seemed like me and Mike Brooker were the only ones up. I need to recruit some people lol.
07 December 2007
I've put in a couple of applications to a bunch of places but I've only heard back from United Airlines. So hopefully I start hearing back from some other places otherwise I'll be commuting to Burlington for work.
I've also come to realize that I'm an idiot. I never thought I would still feel this way after so long of putting it out of my head. But I guess they will never go away.
I've taken the steps and I've started eating a lot healthier than I have been the last couple months. I hope I can stick to it otherwise I'm screwed. So now that I've started eating better I need to start exercising more. I haven't been doing it nearly enough and it's time to kick it into high gear. I need to fit into my Class A and Dress Blue uniforms come March, so I have my work cut out for me. I refuse to get them altered because 1. it costs money and 2. it's an incentive to lose weight. My goal is to reach my weight I was after I came back from AIT. So yeah, lofty goal, but I think one worth attaining. Oh please I want to look better in my Brigadier uniform being that the pants are pretty tight.
So we'll see how everything works out.
26 November 2007
So Thanksgiving is over and it was yet another boring break for the most part. I went to Atlantic City with Bombard on that Tuesday. He was down seeing his girl for the holiday so I dragged him away for a day. I blew about $80 which I shouldn't have, but I did anyway. Friday night I went to PJ's with Kelly and then went back to her house to watch a movie. Other than that it was a pretty uneventful week.
Saturday was the 2007 Brigadiers banquet. This was a lot of fun, it was good to see some of the people who aren't marching this year for whatever reason. I was awarded "Rookie of the Year" for the brass section, which I have to admit was pretty cool. Andy Buchmann got "Most Improved Performer" in the brass section. So basically the contras received 2 of 3 awards for the brass. Not too shabby for the best section in the corps :-P
This weekend is a drill weekend. All of our MST's (Musical Support Teams, or small ensembles) are going out and playing at a bunch of the different unit's Christmas parties. Saturday is a rehearsal day for my MST but on Sunday we are play for the Aviation guys. it makes sense to sound the loudest group to the place where the party is in a huge open hanger lol. My group is the brass group, which is basically the people who didn't fit into the Jazz group or the Country group. So we have 6 trumpets, 2 mellos (yes the play mellos and not french horns), 3 trombones, 2 tubas, and a drumset. So basically we're along the lines of a mini-corps from DCA. We don't play the same music as a mini-corps we go for more entertaining stuff. I don't remember everything we're playing, but I do know a majority of it is Blues Brothers stuff. I'm one of the Blues Brothers, they just don't know which one yet.
15 November 2007
14 November 2007
The one thing I am looking forward to is Bombard and I are going to Atlantic City one night since he'll be with Jes in Jersey for the holiday. It'll be my first time in AC but it should be pretty awesome. I invited Kelly to come along but I don't think she will because of work, but we'll see.
So with camp coming up I've been going over the new exercises that Pete sent out. I'm glad that there are more chorale type pieces than last year. It'll provide some more variety than there was last year. I'm particularly excited about playing Adagio this year. We played for part of the year last year, but for some reason it was dumped. Hopefully we stick with it this time because I really like it as a piece and even more so because of the contra parts. The numbered exercises are different too but not any more difficult or anything. I'm just glad to be back in the game finally.
29 October 2007
Matt Clancy, my unit's newest member died Thursday morning. I found out on my way to Boston. Although I didn't know him that well, he was an amazing player and seemed like a really nice guy. RIP SPC Matt Clancy
Ok, so now onto the good...
I just got back from an amazing weekend in Boston. Headed down Friday with Bombard after my long drive back from NJ visiting my parents. Friday night we headed out to the bars with Lauren and her friend Erin. spent the night just drinking and having a good time. Saturday was the Flyers/Bruins game (the main reason we went down in the first place) and of course the Flyers WON!! I didn't feel so stupid for wearing that Flyers jersey after all haha. After that we headed to a bar right across from Fenway Park to watch the World Series game. The place was so incredibly packed that we decided to head back to Lauren's place and order some pizza and watch the game on TV. I can't remember what else we did for the rest of the weekend. Man did it suck to leave.
My week home was pretty uneventful and boring. I had dinner with Kelly one night and that's really all I did. Everyone else was doing something so I kinda just hung around the house and bought a bunch of stuff that I needed.
I'm looking for a job to start putting away money for drum corps, rent, and other things. I convinced my little brother to come and check out my corps. So we'll see if he stays with us or if he goes because he doesn't like it. So who knows.
I'm still single of course, not like that will change for a long time.
I do need to break out of this funk that I've been in. Just being lazy and not doing anything, yeah that needs to end right now.
04 September 2007
First, drum corps season has come to a close. DCA Championships were definitely the highlight of my summer BY FAR!!! I mean I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend not only this past weekend, but my entire summer. I absolutely loved the contra section this year. The 6 of us got along so incredibly well. The other 5 guys (well one's a girl) are some of the best people I have ever met. Never once did we get into an argument, bicker, or put down one another. Everything was constructive criticism in order to make ourselves better individually as well as a contra section. I'm glad I picked this corps and can't wait for next season.
- Christine, is one tough chick and no doubtable the most attractive person in the section haha. I learned a lot from her this year especially early on with just the little hints that she gave me now and then. She always had a good attitude and could make anyone smile on a hot muggy day, especially in Reading lol. I'm a little sad that Shawn and Christine aren't coming back next year, but they need the time together and as Randall put it, "to make babies to keep this corps goin". So I wish them luck in the future as a family.
- Jason, also brought a lot of experience to the table for the section. His years in Spartans and Cadets were also key to our success. What he learned there, he shared with the new guys and thereby improved us all. I'm glad he's coming back next year, we're gonna need his experience to keep the section going.
- Andy, while new to the section he was in his second year in the Corps. This kid had so much heart it amazed me. My first camp here I saw him standing behind the contra thinking, "there's no way this kid can play this thing, it's as tall as he is and he's way to small to carry it". But sure enough this kid proved me wrong and by the time came to marching on the field he could easily carry this hunk of metal. His playing improved so much from the first camps it amazes me. I'm definitely proud of him and happy is coming back
- Randall, the late comer to the section lol. This was his rookie year in drum corps and he definitely picked the right year to start He did struggle at first because he did join about 5 months late and therefore was that much further behind everyone. Sure enough though he did catch up and proved to be able to hack it with the rest of us and made a fine addition to the section. Glad to have him back next year.
So I guess the biggest thing for me is that I might have to move back to NJ. My financial situation has hit dire straights and therefore a move back to NJ I think is inevitable. I spent a lot of money on gas this summer traveling for Brigs, mainly because I'm so far away. I easily spent at least $3500 on gas alone. So I think this is really the only option I have left for me because staying here just isn't going to work. None of the jobs I was hoping for ever panned out so now I'm stuck jobless with absolutely no money.
I'm taking classes online instead of at Norwich for a lot of reasons. But I think it's gonna work out for the best in the long run,
23 August 2007
Drum corps is going rather well so far. Last weekend at our home show in Syracuse we posted an 89.263, which is only 2.5 points behind the 1st and 2nd place corps and we are just over a point from Minnesota Brass. With the way we've been rehearsing we should be able to break into the low 90's this weekend for sure. This weekend is definitely going to be a fun one. I'm picking Bridget up at Philly Airport Friday night and then heading from there to Reading where our show site is this weekend. So she's the only friend I have that has/is coming to see a show and she's from Wisconsin. Makes me think about my friends just a little you know. So I'm really looking forward to this weekend, it's really the only I have to look forward to since I don't have a job or anything lol.
I don't know if that Barre PD job is going to work out anymore, I've been trying to get in contact with the chief but he hasn't gotten back to me. So I'm thinking about going on some ADSW orders for a little while. oh I forgot to mention that I'll be taking online courses now since Norwich kinda kicked me out because of my grades. So now I'll go somewhere cheaper and transfer all my credits in and still get a NU diploma. Since it's a state school, unlike NU, the Guard will pay for most if not all of it.
So I guess the big thing going has really been job hunting. It's funny that this happens now because I got a call from a couple companies who read my resume online and wanted me at their companies, go figure that I turn them down because I thought i was getting this PD job. UGH!
13 August 2007
My week home in Twp basically consisted of doing nothing, nothing, going to the bar, nothing, going to the movies, and that's about it. Things have definitely downgraded in Twp, but that probably has to do with the fact that I've lost touch with so many people since HS. Oh well. But it was definitely a nice break from the usual routine here.
This week coming up I have a National Guard class that runs Monday-Thursday. It shouldn't be all that bad because I know Carrie is taking it and some other people from my unit. The only thing I'm worried about is the IV needle part. We have to stick each other with these things in order to get practice in it. Great, nothing like being a pin cushion for these huge ass things lol. But the training is worth it in the end I guess.
This coming weekend's show is in Syracuse NY. So at least I know how to get there and not get lost haha.
Sorry this isn't more enlightening but it's 0100 lol....I'm sure you all understand
01 August 2007
This past weekend was a camp weekend for the Brigadiers and not a competition weekend. We really needed the extra rehearsal time to clean and improve the show. Although for me, I have to relearn parts of the ballad and the entire closer because we closed 2 contra spots we used to have. And the way I was positioned on the field with the 2 holes, I was about 10-15 yards away from the rest of the contra line for the closer, which looks pretty weird. So I have all new dots which kinda sucks but I'll be fine. Plus I also have to learn the lower splits of the music now because Shawn needs help with the lower part since John isn't coming back. It's more or less just octave stuff but some of it is 4ths, I'll be looking at it the next couple of days so I can get it down.
Hmm what else....ah, during our FTX in September we have the oppurtunity to either do a 10K ruck march or a 10K run/walk. So a couple of us are rucking up and bringing our instruments along, I think we're playing something from National Emblem, but I forget I haven't looked at the email in a little while. So I think that will be pretty funny to see/watch.
I guess that's it really, I know my life is pretty boring, but it should pick up in the next 2 weeks as school gets closer. But we'll see.
22 July 2007
I think it's time for a newer car and one that won't keep breaking down.
12 July 2007
Well so a lot has been happening since I’ve last updated some good and some not so good.
- Yulia and I aren’t together anymore
- I’ve moved off campus into my own place
- Summer AT is over with
- 2nd session of classes has started
- Drum Corps season is still going strong
So yeah, Yulia and I aren’t together anymore. The night she came back she said that she didn’t have feelings for me anymore and that she would like to remain friends still. It’s kinda funny how girls always say that but always run and hide so that it’s impossible for that to occur. But it was odd because we still hung out over AT and it wasn’t too weird for me. I mean you figure the 3 ½ months we were together, 3 months of it she was away so it’s almost as if we weren’t ever really together. But as of right now, it looks like the whole “staying as friends” thing might actually pan out.
I moved off campus and I like it so far. It’s nice to have a place to call my own in a sense. I mean yeah I have to admit it is a mobile home and it looks shitty from the outside, but it’s really nice on the inside. My internet isn’t up yet because I’m still waiting for it from my parents. Not like I’ll be online more than I am now, because the only people I really talk to are the people in the contra line, but it’d be nice not having to use Jen’s computer all the time.
So another summer comes and another week of AT goes by. This was my first summer AT with the band and it was just as fun as the two spring AT’s I have done with my unit. These people are possibly the greatest group of folks I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. We had a bunch of concerts in all of these small towns all over Vermont, of course I don’t remember any of the names haha. But we were well received as we always are and that’s what makes my job so enjoyable.
The 2nd session of classes started last week when I was on AT so I am now trying to play catch up and I am failing miserably. I’m trying to teach myself the stuff we’re learning now but I can’t because it all requires the knowledge of the 2 chapters of work I missed. So the test we had today was possibly the worst out of the 2 sessions combined. Oh, I got a B in the first session so I am hoping that I can get another one so I can raise my GPA. It’s pretty much the same people as the first session except we lost 2 people and gained two different ones. So the class is the same size, just a couple different people
The Brigadiers are driving on through the drum corps season. We have changed about 65% of the drill so we are still a little low on our score. But I think the main thing that is killing us now is our brass and percussion scores. We seem to be dragging ass out there but I have faith in us. This weekend is one of our home shows at Central Square High School. I have no idea where it is but it can’t be too far from the Middle School where we normally rehearse before the competitions start. Since I’ve had off this week from work I plan on heading out there early so that I can actually get some sleep before a full day of rehearsal.
After the show on Saturday night, I need to drive back to Vermont for an Air Force deployment gig that is scheduled for Sunday morning/afternoon. Also on Sunday is the ceremony where RSP officially hands Yulia back to the band after successfully completing all of her training. So it is yet another really long weekend for me with very little rest and a lot of driving.
Today, I sent in a request for some USMCR officer info. Figure I need to keep my options open for what exactly I want to do with my life. While actually commissioning in the USMCR is very remote, it is still a possibility.
Another thing that has been bothering me is that I find myself a bit depressed over the last couple of weeks. I know it has nothing to do with me breaking up with Yulia because it’s been happening since before she came back. I don’t know what It is exactly, maybe I don’t get out much, my life is too mundane, or what it is. But I do hope that I will be able to snap out of it pretty soon because I’m tired of it.
Well I should finish unpacking, clean up and do my homework. Later
24 June 2007
Summer classes are going well so far. I mean it's not necessarily hard but it is a lot of time consuming work. Which kinda sucks because I don't really have as much free time as I would like at night. But I'm doing pretty well in the class so hopefully I can keep that up.
Work kinda sucks the big one. I mean all I do is weedwack for 5 hours everyday. I mean yeah it doesn't sound that bad at first, but when you do it over and over and over again it really sucks. The only thing good about it is the money. I mean once I start getting the normal paychecks it'll be nice having the money to pay off my credit card which has a shitload of stuff on there because of my trip to South Carolina which ended up costing a hell of a lot more than I thought. But the trip was worth it.
Drum corps is going ok so far. We had our first competition in Wildwood at the Convention Center. We did ok for our first show, but we still placed 4th. People are saying the numbers were screwed up and we should have been in 2nd, but who cares, if anything it'll give us more incentive to work harder. This coming weekend we have a show in Conneticut somewhere. Bristol is coming to mind but I don't know if that's the right place. It's on an actual football field unlike Wildwood, so maybe we won't be sliding everywhere.
I guess the biggest news is that I might be moving off campus into this trailer type thing. It's one of those permanent trailors thats more of an apartment then anything. It's only $300 a month because my friend will be paying the other half. She's pretty nice so I don't see a problem living with her, besides none of us will really be there besides to shower and sleep lol. So we'll see how that goes.
Yulia is at AIT right now at Little Creek Amphibious Base, VA. She's suppose to be done right around the 4th of July but I don't know when I'll see her. Her friend who's been watching her stuff, is picking her up from the airport. I'll be on AT with my unit and she's suppose to join us at some point but I don't know if she actually will. So yeah, it's up in the air as to the first time I'll get to see her.
So I guess that pretty much sums up everything that I've been doing. I know not at all exciting believe me I wish it were otherwise lol.
29 May 2007
Yulia is still in boot camp. She is supppose to graduate on the 8th. I'm flying down on the 6th so I can be with her on family day which is the 7th. I then fly out on the 8th, her graduation day around 7 PM. So I at least get to spend some time with her, even though I know its not as much time as we would both like but it's better than nothing, especially with how expensive it is. So I'm really looking forward to that because I do miss her. She actually called me on Friday when I was heading up to Syracuse, the second time she's called. I was surprised that she did call because I told her to use her phone calls to call her family in Russia but hey I'm not complaining lol.
Drum Corps is going pretty well. We have the whole show down on the field and now the staff is hard at work to change it so we can relearn a bunch of it the bastards lol. But I really like the show, I just hope we get better at playing it lol. Wildwood show is only 3 weekends away so we need to get on the ball.
I just moved back into Norwich yesterday and classes started this morning. The class doesn't seem like it'll be too hard but it will be a lot of work unfortunately. I'm rooming with Bombard which is awesome because with some of the people here I would have gone nuts. With what we've planned out so far it shouldn't be a bad summer. We are looking into this job that we were offered last night. It pays $10 an hour with the only problem being we won't be able to work as much as this guy likes but maybe with two of us he'll let us work there. So I hope it goes through because I could really use the money for gas for all my drum corps shows.
My two weeks home in NJ were pretty boring. I only hung out with Kelly and did some house work and such. So it was boring for the most part, but I kinda needed to do nothing for a little bit.
I guess that's about it for now. I mean thats pretty much what's been happening here in a nutshell.
21 May 2007
OK, that may not describe the standard gear for most soldiers, but it’s quite accurate for the members of the 25th Infantry Band, who along with their Army brothers and sisters have recently been extended in Iraq. Yes, Schofield Barracks has a band in Iraq and they’re playing in places not even Toby Keith would visit.
Armed with rifles and bullet-proof vests, they tote their instruments far beyond the so-called safety of Baghdad’s “Green Zone” to small security stations that are strewn throughout some of the most dangerous places in the world. And they would have it no other way.
“When you’re standing there in your full battle gear, when you got your vest on and everything else on ... and they’re holding flashlights so we can read music and play Christmas carols, and all the guys are singing Christmas carols with you, and you see their faces, and they come up to you and put their arms around you, you can’t beat that. That’s when you realize, that’s why I am here,” says Sgt. 1st Class Michael McClaran of one of his favorite military moments.
Military units have used music for a variety of purposes for centuries - to position troops, signal orders in camp and to spur men on to victory. The jobs may have changed, but the spirit remains. According to the U.S. Army website, our nation’s fighting musicians got their start in 1633 when drummers were used by the Colony of Virginia for marching practice during militia drills. The first actual band in the colonies was formed in New Hampshire 20 years later, and consisted of two drums and 15 oboes. Col. Benjamin Franklin marched a thousand men with hautboys (musicians) and fifes in ranks in 1756, and throughout the Civil War, two world wars, Korea,Vietman and anywhere else U.S. forces have been sent, the bands have gone along to provide much-needed relief to service-members.
Think about it. How many of us plug in our MP-3s to get us through a difficult day at the office? Now imagine what kind of stress reliever you’d need when your biggest worry is not a cantankerous boss, but a sniper hidden among a thousand innocent civilians just waiting to part your hair with a high-caliber projectile.
While the 25th Infantry Band took off for Iraq last year, one member was left behind for another, more somber mission: to play Taps for fallen soldiers and for veterans who have passed. It’s a job that’s as soul wrenching as it is inspiring.
Sgt. James Sproul, a trumpet player for the 25th Infantry Band, has played at more than 160 such events throughout his five-year career, and though it may seem like the toughest gig a musician can have, it’s one that he takes great pride in doing.
“It’s an honor,” he says. “I do the best I can for the family. Even if I wasn’t a military person, I would want to do something for them. Something genuine. It’s also an emotional thing ... I had a number of times when a mom or a wife that was left behind comes over and mentioned how well it was done, how well Taps was played. For those types of performances, that’s what I am there for, for the family.”
McClaran agrees on the importance of playing the simple song well.
”Taps is not a difficult bugle call to play, but it’s the hardest, hardest bugle call to play emotionally. When you play at a funeral and the family is there, it’s very emotional and it’s very difficult because you want to do your best. It’s a lot of pressure.”
In addition to their duties raising the spirit of those in combat, members of the 25th Infantry Band are expected to stand a post like any other soldier. Their musical duties sometimes come a half day after providing security wherever they may find themselves.
“I’ve never had a problem with somebody getting off a 12-hour shift and then picking up their instruments into a 5-ton, doing a performance, then pack things up and go back to base, then unpack everything before going to bed,” says McClaran with pride. “I’ve never had anyone complain about that because it was an opportunity for them to play, and that’s what all of us want to do. We want to go over there and play for the troops.”
Units wanting a visit by the 25th must put in a request. From there the band figures what it can do and sends the appropriate group, whether it’s a jazz ensemble or something a bit more uptempo. It can sometimes be as few as two musicians going out to the middle of nowhere. All of the musicians are capable of playing in numerous configurations.
“If a unit is ready to go home and they’re having a farewell barbecue, we’re not going to send a brass quintet, we’re send a rock band or a combo and they’re gonna have some fun,” says McClaran.
The current French horn player and former tank commander has another idea for the guitar-and-drum-based segment of the band. McCaran said he would like to set up the rock band in one of the old forts that line that Iran/Iraq border, turn the amps toward Tehran and let the rock ‘n’roll fly.
30 April 2007
Brigadiers.....nice fake out with showing only 20 brass and then openingthe curtain, after introduction, to show the rest of the corps'. Nice move. Great, Great show. IMO the BRIGS are way ahead of their normal learning curve. If their drill matches their show they're going to be a force to deal with. Did I mention the Bari solo....? Does she play sweet or what....? WOW!!!!!!....and.....did I say WOW!!!!
Brigs were on next. Large pit in front of the stage was largely unheard, again just an acoustic thing. I think I counted 37 brass. Oh My God "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" was the lushest, most full (great grammar eh?) sound of the evening. Beautiful balance. The young lady baritone soloist in this piece was exceptional, as was her partner in the duet portion. I heard they expect and are writing for more brass members for summer competition. Large and clean percussion section. They seemed totally in control and confident. My buddies, who are sort of DCIish...thought they had a great show for this summer and can't wait to see them on the field so the visuals can help interpret the music. I would love this corps to play "Shenandoah" for a warm up or corps song.
Syracuse Brigadiers - I am on record saying that I did not like their 2004-2006 productions. I am also on record as saying that 2001 is one of my all time favorite drum corps shows ever. This show has the potential to be one of that latter for me. A "Greatest hits" mix if you will of classic brigs stuff that boarders on amazing. "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is just as beautiful now as it was then, Guenevere (I believe that's who that was) was absolutely amazing, easily top 3 all time DCA bari/euph soloist. I'm a huge fan of Spanish Fantasy and unfortunately I have to say this.... I miss Roland. While the trumpets you have playing the solos and fills are doing a good job they do not project as well as some of the soloists in the past. I'm not saying it sounds bad, but it just doesn't have that UMPH that the previous version did. Everyone can't march with every corps so you play what you've got and you did a nice job. Definitely a top 5 show at this point, great work!