This past weekend, DCI East was held in Allentown, PA, at the famous J. Birney Crum Stadium, which is one of the most historic venues that is part of the DCI Summer Tour. This two-day event set the tone for finals week, and I was able to witness every second of it.
As Dan Potter put it, this was the “penultimate-weekend” for the Drum Corps season.
Jeff and I flew out Wednesday night to Allentown. It wasn’t until midnight until we touched down at Lehigh Valley-Allentown Airport.
A two-hour layover added a lot of time to the trip. Fortunately, the hotel was close to the airport, so it didn’t take long to get over there and checked in. I remembered that it was Shark Week, so I was able to enjoy some of the wonders of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel (since we didn’t have cable at the apartment, we couldn’t watch it. It wasn’t long until I passed out.
Thursday was a travel day around the area. Jeff and I spent time looking for corps rehearsing in the area to get some more Drum Cam footage, and get corps members to read the script the announcers say, so people will listen to it more when they hear it in the stadium. There were only two corps in the area that day, Cascades, and Mandarins, so we left the hotel around 12:30/1 p.m. We found the Cascades bus, but not the corps itself. After driving around, we decided to find Mandarins. We did, and got some good video. After that, we drove around some more to try and find others. At 5 p.m., after we got food, we decided to cut our loses, and go back to the hotel to do some work.
We went down to the lobby around 5:30 to do some work. After doing some work, Jeff discovered a disc golf course 10-minutes away from the hotel. It wasn’t a tough decision to go disc golfing.
First, we stopped at the Army and Navy store to pick up some discs. I had no idea the amount of detail in each disc. There are different ones for each throw, from a putter to a driver, with each one having different speed, spin, fade, etc… After we got our discs, we headed to the course.
The course itself was extremely challenging. The holes wound in-between groves of trees, and up steep hills. It felt like playing Augusta as my first round of golf. To give you a sense of how bad I was, my first throw almost went into the hole that that was adjacent to the first one.
But over the course of the game, I started to get used to the whole game. But then I was thrown a curveball. The 8th hole had a lake right-smack dab in the middle of it. And there was no way to go around it.
Fortunately, I was able to tomahawk it over the lake. I saw threw it a little high, and it started to dip. But it landed just feet from the water, in an angle, like Excalibur.
The second-to-next hole wasn’t easy either. It was a 30-yard throw to a base of a cliff, then the hole was up on the side of the hill.
Once we were done with that one, we started to notice it was getting darker, and becoming a lot harder to find the disks when they went in the woods. We decided to call it, and walked to rest of the course.
A quick drive later, we were back at the hotel, ready to fall asleep. As we were doing work, Brittni, Jenny, and Allison came in, and I went to Friendly’s with them. What an experience. A short time after that, I hit the hay, ready to hit the ground running Friday.
Friday was a normal show day. We headed over to the stadium around noon to set-up. Teal Sound was rehearsing at the stadium, so we got some awesome Drum Cam footage of a cymbal player, using the GoPro. The guy does flips and other acrobatic things during the show. A lot of awesome footage.
During the show, I got corps members to read parts of the script, to turn into a video instead of having Brandt Crocker read it. It will save his voice, and maybe make people take notice.
After the show, I was able to catch Bobby in the lot, when he was walking back to the buses from the food truck. It was awesome getting to catch up with him. It great to see how much he was enjoying tour, and touring the country. He had a lot of funny stories from the road.
Once we got back from the hotel, we hung out downstairs in the lobby with Chris and Mike Boo, who were doing some articles. A couple of the video guys were going to the bar, so Jeff and I went to have a drink. I was able to pick their brains, and ask how it is working in a live-production environment. I learned a lot, and had a lot of fun.
Saturday was kind of a wash-out. It started to rain around noon, so we couldn’t get the drum cam footage that we wanted to, from Carolina Crown. We stayed in the lobby working until 3:30ish, when we had to go to the stadium. When we got there, everything was already set-up from the night before, but we just had to waterproof everything. A jacket on the camera, a ripped up poncho over all of the connections, and a lot of paper towels did the trick.
It rained off and on for the first half of the show, as well as the first three corps of the second half. During intermission, I was able to catch up with Jamie and Seanley during intermission. I hadn’t seen them since tour, so it was awesome. Gate showed up before the Cadets performance too, so I got to catch up with him for a bit as well.
The rain really started to come during Carolina Crown’s performance. I had to put the rain jacket on my camera, so I couldn’t use the viewfinder, and had to use the eye piece. I had to pick my shots more carefully, because I didn’t have the advantage of being able to use one eye to look around, while the other was focused on the viewfinder.
The rain stopped briefly for the Cadets performance. Once again, they put on a SHOW! I am impressed every time I see the Cadets show. Sheer brilliance. They have the whole package to win a World Championship this year. But once the Blue Devils went on, the weather turned south. There was a band of bad storms going right over Allentown. Half-way through the Blue Devils run, it started to pour. Once they were done I headed straight to the press box, to get the camera out of the rain.
That made breakdown very interesting. We had to make sure everything was dry before we put it away. it took a little longer, but we ended up getting everything packed. Truck loading was the same way. But the rain didn’t slow us down. By 12:30 a.m., everything was on the truck, and we headed back to the hotel. Pizza and beer were waiting for us back at the hotel. Not too bad.
Sunday was a marathon travel day. I had to wake up at 5:15 to get to the airport. My flight out of Allentown was at 7:10 a.m., getting into O’Hare at 8:30 a.m. CDT. My flight to Indy was original scheduled for 11:56 a.m., but got delayed two hours. Finally, a little after 2 p.m., we took off. We ended up flying through a bunch of storm clouds, making it a very bumpy and uneasy decent into Indy. So glad I don’t have to fly into Indy anymore.
Miles travelled: approx. 1600 mi
Hours of footage: 2.5 hrs
Holes of Disc Golf: 16
Michigan City, IN: 8/8 – 8/10
Indianapolis, IN: 8/10-8/14