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Corning Recap

I always find it logistically difficult to talk to the band after a competition is over. We are split up on four buses and there isn't a good time or place to have a detailed discussion of what happened, but I also don't like waiting three days until our next rehearsal to have that talk.

So...I decided I would write a little here, and if you were interested you could read it.

First thing first. Great Job!! It was a really good performance and for our first time out I couldn't be more pleased. I think it is one of our best first shows in quite a few years. Many things went very well. I thought overall the band sounded and looked very good. The big flag worked!! It didn't cut anybody’s head off which is good. The crowd really liked our show, I think that is safe to say. There were a couple little things that didn't go perfectly. Little things that always happen with first show jitters, but we got them out of our system and they won't happen again.

What about the judges and our score? For those of you who don't know there are six judges who are all looking at different things (3 visual & 3 music). They make recordings of their comments while you perform and then the staff listens to them and briefly gets to meet and talk with the judges at the end of the competition. 

What did the judges say? Overall very good things. They seemed to like the show very much. They seemed to be into all the things we are doing. What can we do better to increase our score? There are three categories of things we can do to improve:

1, Finish the show. There are many things that are not done yet. We need to get the puppets in, some guard work finished, guard blinds, costumes and a bunch of other details. This is easy and was going to be done regardless of what the judges said tonight. Goal is to pretty much have everything done for next week except a couple little things we are still waiting for (like the new guard silks we ordered last June...why are they taking so long to get here....IDK!!!!).

2, Make a few quick and easy fixes. There are always a few things that judges see and say "hey why don't you do this instead of that" and we say "oh yeah, that’s a good idea, I never thought of that." Usually these quick fixes you only get after your first competition, because after the first comp you fix them and then all the "easy fixes" are done. That is why you usually get a little bump in score after your first competition. We will do these things in the next couple rehearsals.

3, Clean the show. This is the hard one, and the only one that really matters to you. To bump the score we need to march cleaner, play cleaner and spin cleaner. The judges didn't say we were bad, but the better we do this the higher the score will be.

Marching cleaner specific feedback: 

-use correct marching technique: rolling feet, horn angle/facing, up on toes when marching backwards
-keep your intervals equal: when marching from form to form the interval on either side of you should be the same. When in a halt (like in the ballad) it is even more important to make sure your intervals are correct since you aren’t moving and we can see any mistakes for a longer period of time
-when we hit a halt don’t move
-when you snap your horns up at the end of the singing you need to lock in (all hit it together and don’t move)

Specific music feedback:
-the different songs are different stylistically. We need to play each song differently and exaggerate those differences. For example, the way we play the opener has to be different than the way we play the ballad. We tend to play everything a little bit too similarly. This about the differences in articulation that you need to use in the different songs.
-everyone needs to play out equally. We are still hearing individuals stick out since not everyone is playing the same volume
-we need more dynamic contrast and we need the impacts to be more impactful (see above, not everyone playing out this will help here as well) 
-keep in mind that in order to do all the things listed above you must have your music memorized!!

All in all a really good show and you should be happy and proud of all your hard work. That being said this is the start of the hard work we need to do. You have to ask yourself what kind of band do you want to be this season. We don’t get to win just because we want to. All the bands want to win, but only one gets to. We have a really good show this year and a lot of potential. We (the staff) will get the first two things on the list above done, but we need you all to work on #3. We are in a good place, but in order to take it to the next level we are going to have to continue working hard and diving into all the little details that will make up the difference between 3rd place and 2nd or 1st.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, feel good about what you accomplished, and be ready to work hard on Tuesday, because that is what will determine what kind of band we are going to be this season. Slow and steady wins the race.  We can’t give up. We have to stay focused, determined and put everything we have into marching band during every rehearsal and every performance we have left.

I'm super excited and can't wait to get to it. See you all Tuesday!!!

-Mr. Bill