Istanbul hotter than band campPublished 9:49am Tuesday, August 11, 2009
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
Second-year Chieftain Marching Band Director C.J. Brooks lost 27 seniors to graduation and is rebuilding a “young band” with 35 freshmen this week at band camp.
Sun beating down on the grid marked off behind the soccer fields in Northwest Park didn’t seem to faze Brooks as much as his musicians – perhaps because he just returned from even toastier Istanbul, Turkey, where he visited exchange student Ogulcan Kus.
“I think it was a wonderful first day of band camp,” Brooks tells his panting troops before dismissing them until 8 this morning, which means arriving at 7:50, ready with instruments and music.
“You should feel proud of yourselves. You’ve got nine sets of drill on the field. (Today) we’ll have it marching and playing. Tonight, go to bed at 7 (laughter). Do get some rest, drink lots of liquids and have a good dinner.”
Brooks, who guided Dowagiac to its first I in four years last fall, seems to value fun more than some of his predecessors – at least the kind that builds camaraderie.
Monday’s rehearsal ended with “section Olympics,” in which the flag corps, which has its first young man in its ranks, triumphed in passing a roll of toilet paper without tearing it.
Water balloons will be tossed to cool off another afternoon.
There are also theme days. Opening day everyone wore school colors, orange and black. Today is crazy hat day.
Clarinets took their turn at cleaning up the field, while trumpets were tasked with tidying the bandroom.
They polish formations early and at the end of the afternoon and duck indoors for sectional rehearsals during the midday heat.
Over and over again, the band tackles 32 counts during which they flow from a box into a slinky snake as part of the 2009-2010 field show from the opera “Carmen.”
At 5 p.m. Friday they will convene on Chris Taylor-Alumni Field to perform in public what they have learned.