Band Camp 2010

By Lindsey Davis

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It’s 8:00 a.m. The crisp morning mist sends goose bumps down your sunburned neck while the thick grass dew seeps into your shoes. The sun has barely risen and you are fairly certain you are still asleep. You can hardly stand on your blistered feet but you know you have more than 12 hours of rehearsal to get through so you laugh it off with morning warm-up songs and, the crowd pleaser, a massage train.

Welcome to band camp!

This is a typical start to a morning of the weeklong UMass Minuteman Marching Band Camp with a coil of emotions ranging from exhaustion to enthusiasm.

All 359 “bandos” train from sunrise until near midnight on the practice alongside athletic teams on the fields next to the Mullins Center. Rehearsals are spent learning drill formations, intricate marching techniques, flag work and specific horn angles. All of this is done while memorizing hundreds, if not thousands, of measures of music to perform during the pre-game ceremony, halftime and post-game show of football games.

With temperatures reaching 96 degrees and instruments as heavy as 30 pounds Band Director George Parks “said that instead of swimming in a pool, we should swim in our own sweat,” said sophomore trumpet player Charlotte Brown.

“I feel like we’re constantly in an oven, but it’s worth it in the long run,” said freshman trumpet player Adam Mejaour.

The band has already constructed a full visual show to “a collage of music” composed of “The Wind and The Lion” theme song, Gloria Estefan’s “Oye to Conga” and a medley of Madonna hits, according to senior clarinet player John Haigh.

The movements of the band, color guard, drum line and front ensemble have been coordinated down to each beat through rigorous and meticulous practice.

“There’s a lot of people on the field…[and] a lot of them haven’t marched before,” said Haigh. “Some of them haven’t even played in this style band. [Some] haven’t been in an atmosphere like this but it all really came together this week.”

And what happens here at band camp does not stay at band camp.

The work done here by the band and staff continues all semester and will take stage at venues including the University of Michigan, Gillette Stadium, Allentown, Penn. and UMass’ own McGuirk Stadium.

During the fall 2009 band season, the marching band preformed at the University of Delaware, Collegiate Marching Band Festival in Allentown and the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association in Lowell, Massachusetts. The band also starred in Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers’ “Shady Esperanto And The Young Hearts” music video which received over 235,000 hits on YouTube.

Blog entry by Lindsey Davis. She can be reached at [email protected] Video production by Davis and Managing Web Editor Chris Shores. He can be reached at [email protected]