The Optimists Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
We're a Drum Corps
Submitted by: Gord LeFevreThoughtful comments from tenor drummer Gord LeFevre on the March 27 - 28, 2004, mini camp weekend
Something wonderful happened at the Legion on the weekend of March 27th and 28th. An itinerant, geographically-dispersed group of horn players, cymbalists and drummers morphed into a Drum Corps. We have been on the brink of doing this for the last couple of months now but I think it took the mini camp to provide the focus and format necessary to move us from practitioners to performers.
Some personal thoughts about the mini camp that I would like to share with you:
At the Thursday night drumline practice before the big weekend, Ric Brown shows me the rehearsal schedule . Privately, I think it's aggressive and that it will take a Herculean effort to maintain it. At the end of the mini camp, I'm pleasantly surprised and greatly satisfied that we have met the schedule.
On Sunday, we maximize our downtime due to a church service by going outside to practice entrance, set-up and exit logistics for the GAS show. Despite the cold, I'm immensely relieved that we are doing this. I notice the grassy area outside the Legion has been staked out to the dimensions of the stage. We practice entering and exiting the stage area to the street beat. I think to myself, this is the Optimists' Drum Corps I know and love. Leave nothing to chance and be the best you can be!
On Saturday and Sunday, I notice a rich, full, melodic sound emanating from the Nether regions of the Legion. Other drummers notice and comment about this too. We know the horn line is rounding into form.
Remarkably, the transition from drumline sectional practices to drumline ensemble practices and vice versa goes without a major issue for the entire weekend. Both instructors and line members are paying attention to all the little things that make a difference. It occurs to me that "all's good in the hood that is the drumline".
On Sunday, during the last run-through of the show, Kevin Matthew makes a point about the difference between practice and performance and urges the Corps to give its best performance during the last run-through. For me, this is just one more sign that opening night is close. I want to make this run through my best yet. I'm stunned by how good the horn line sounds.
- At the close of the mini camp, I sense something magical has happened and that we are a much different group of people but I'm really not sure why I think this. I'm talking to Vern about this and he casually says that I should have been out in front of the Corps during the last run-through, it was electric. After a few more days of ruminating on this, I can only say, "all's good in the hood that is the Corps." I can hardly wait for our first show in Rochester, N.Y.
Best regards, Gord