Jul 7, 2005 6:50am
In the wee hours of this morning, we embarked on our 17-ish hour drive to the Netherlands – the final destination of our European tour. We left Italy and actually crossed through Switzerland on our way through France, then to Holland. Just before we left last night, we discovered an amazing opera house, where we used the facilities, that was built when my college was founded – 1854. The artwork and intricacies of the woodwork were incredible, just like the sunset in the square where we performed. The sunrise over the Alps this morning was also picturesque.
I think most everyone would agree that the best place we’ve stayed thus far was Lecco, Italy. That place was incredible in terms of scenery and hospitality. Our venue was nestled by a lake in between to huge mountains that seemed to parallel the bodies of water that surrounded us. We actually took a boat tour and got to see the gorgeous city and even windsurfers. The stadium was nice with 6 rehearsal fields, low turf, and good breezes – much appreciated by any drum corps member. Our hosts provided us with bunked beds, a welcome package, plenty of snacks, and souvenirs – outstanding on their part. We were also fed the best on this trip, so far, even if we had to walk over a kilometer to the restaurant.
The staff has appreciated our diligence in juggling performances, shows, parades, and rehearsals that are quite taxing. Back home it would just be rehearsal and shows, but here, the logistics are considerably more complicated, not to mention the added language barrier. The drunken crowd at the DCE show was by far the most excited – I heard they were doing the wave before we even came on. I think the Italians are more reserved and polite, as well as unknowing of the activity, so they aren’t as boisterous. Either way, everyone enjoys a good performance and is impressed by our presence and track record.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone is itching for some competition, not that we won’t encounter some in the coming days, but it’s mainly been exhibitions with Marching Show Bands and Jubal Drum and Bugle Corps. Regardless of how we do here, what really matters is what occurs when we get home. It’s tough rehearsing on fields we can’t paint but it really teaches us to use our eyes harder. Even though our chops are also getting beat up by the schedule and constant variability of performances, when we get home and only focus on our gig, they should be roaring and ready to roll.
In San Felice, I had my best 4th of July ever. We did our individual caption gigs, then our show, then our encore, but when retreat came, we played Ode To Joy by memory (that we just learned about 15 minutes before) followed by an amazing display of fireworks. It was directly over us and lasted so long. The best part was when the BD retreat block started singing the Star Spangled Banner – that experience meant so much more to me than doing the Bristol parade and show, I guess because we were all together, yet away from our homes and traditional festivities. Aside from our slightly charred uniforms and horns, the spectacle was absolutely thrilling.
It’s really tough missing home since we can’t seem to ever get in touch. Since we’re rehearsing all the time, we never get the chance to buy phone cards or even find a phone to use., not to mention, you have to buy a new card for each country. This is truly a bittersweet moment in my 4-year drum corps career. I’m soaking up this experience, sights, and memories, but am glad that my body won’t have to endure anymore extreme exertion once I’m finished. Being away makes you miss different things than just being away in the States. You also seem like you are missing out on more since the contact is limited. Overall, I think we’re getting along together well and supporting each other so that we continue to grow in the absence of the type of competition we would have at home. It’s tough to create the desire to push without the drive, but we’re getting it done. It think as the days count down, it’ll grow until we unleash in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I hope you all are as eager as we are.
Until the next episode… Ciao