So this past weekend was Drums Along the Rockies (DATR)!! For those who aren't aware of drum corps, it's similar to Marching Bands. The differences between the two are that Drum Corps only have brass and percussion instruments accompanied by the color guard (marching bands have woodwinds). In drum corps, you travel the US for about two and half to three months playing approx. 11 minutes shows (marching band shows are a little shorter). You travel on chartered buses, sleep on high/middle/elementary school gym floors (or wherever else you can fit 135+ people). Days are spent rehearsing, from sun up to sun down. If there's a show that day, then you practice until a few hours before you have to go on. It's a lot of hard work, requires a lot of discipline and is very fulfilling! If you want to know more, check out the Drum Corps International (DCI) website here!
But anyways, my mom marched in 1984 with the Casper, Wyoming Troopers (check them out here!) and I followed suit marching in 2005. In the year that I haven't marched and for as long as I can remember, we have attended the Denver competition DATR. There was one year there wasn't DATR, but that was because the World Championships were in Denver in 2004, so there was no need to have the normal show! Yeah, so last year when I studied abroad in Japan, it was the first year since I can remember that I didn't have any drum corps experiences. It was sad, but at the same time I was doing something amazing! Thankfully the weekend of DATR last year I went with Sharien to Kyoto, so it helped keep my mind of what I was missing back home!! Being that it has been two years since I've seen a drum corps live, I was super psyched! What's even more exciting, is that they have added a new show! A couple years ago they added an extra small show in Windsor (a small town north of Denver), and I guess last year they switched locations to Loveland (a bigger town than Windsor, also north of Denver). I was so excited to get to see two shows this year! So, to continue this rant, I'll just do a breakdown of the two days!
The old finales, the top 12 corps on the field in 2001.
So on Friday, my Mom was busy, so I chilled at home in the morning and caught up on the latest season of "So You Think You Can Dance." She came home around noon, and then we went corps hopping! Corps hopping is when we go and watch them practice. It might sound really boring, but I find it interesting and entertaining. Especially with ensemble practice! Oh wait, let me explain this real quick for those that might not be band geeks or know! XD In drum corps, there are three types of practices: Sectionals, Visual, and Ensemble. They are actually pretty strait forward. Sectionals is when each of the groups break up into their parts (guard, percussion and brass/horns) for separate sectionals. Sometimes it gets broken down even more (like pit, battery, bass, tenors, snares, etc.). Visual is when the corps get together to work on the drill, or the marching movements and shapes that they form on the field. Most of the time they don't play when they work on visual, especially in the beginning of the season. (During visual the pit just still does sectional practice or practice for moving onto and setting up.) Lastly, and the one most fans flock to see, is ensemble. Ensemble rehearsal is when everyone is together on the field and they try to fix melding and drill issues and see how things blend together and just perfecting the whole package of the show. Most ensemble rehearsals end with a run through, which means that they run their whole show like they were at one of the competitions. It's really fun to watch and see how they fix little segments of the show and slowly improve (but maybe it's because I've marched before that I find it so interesting ~_~). On show days, you can tell that they hold back to not tire or wear themselves out, so even if you happen to see their practice, it's a completely different ball game that night with the lights, uniforms, and the member blaring (or performing for the guard) their souls out to the audience!
Okay, so since I've explained that, what my Mom and I did for most of the afternoon on Friday was watch Phantom Regiment's (my favorite drum corps) ensemble rehearsal. It was so much fun! I kept getting excited and wanted to scream and cheer and clap, but it was just practice. I hadn't heard a live drums in two years though, so instead I kept grabbing my Mom's arm in excitement. What really made it fun though, was that we were both reacting the same way! Like at one part in the show that night, I turned to tell my Mom that I just got chills and she had her hand over her heart and seemed to be completely drawn into Phantom's World. We did small things like that both nights! But anyways, that night was DATR Loveland. It was really weird for me at first. The show was held at Thompson Valley High School. That's were our regionals
Phatom's closing from this year's show, Juliet!
The next day, we had to pick up my aunt and grandmother, so we didn't do as much corp hopping. My mom, younger sister and I woke up early and checked out Santa Clara Vanguard's (SCV) rehearsal. Based on their online schedule, I figured it would be visual or sectionals, and it ended up being sectionals when we got to the high school. We watched the percussion sectional for a few hours. When they broke for lunch, we headed home and prepared everything for the big show. After picking up the family in Longmont, we headed to Denver and good ole Invesco Stadium (Home of the Broncos! XD). I call this the "big show" because it had two more corps that didn't perform the night before and it's in a nicer stadium for both the performers and audience. What's sad though, is that during the Seattle Cascade's performance they were pulled off the field. It was raining, so we thought at first it was the pit electronics, but then the lighting warning went out right after the sound of thunder, so everyone was told to take shelter. I definitely wouldn't want to be one of the members holding a giant metal horn or flag pole in the middle of thunder storm! After like 15 minutes they let everyone back out into the stands and the Cascades restarted their show. I just felt really bad for them. It really screws with your mental game when you have to sit there and wait to start the show, let alone have to stop in the middle of a song and then come back a little later and restart. The adrenaline in your system isn't as strong, but thankfully it didn't seem to affect them too bad! SCV and Phantom both had someone slip in the show, but it didn't seem like anyone was too terribly hurt. I felt that Phantom and SCV did a lot better the second night, but it ended up being the Cadets that took home 1st place. I don't really know why. Their drill looked really sloppy to me and their pit was way too loud (as well as the 2nd place Blue Devils). I was bewildered along with the rest of the audience, so when they announced Phantom in 3rd place, the entire stands actually booed the judges. The Cadets show this year is probably the first I've ever enjoyed, but it seemed sloppy to me and just didn't have that something special. As for the Blue Devils, the last show I really like from them was in 2005, and this year's show didn't seem to have much emotion in it. I don't know why. But I do have to give it to their hornline. Yeah, so beside the disappointing score results, I had a really fun weekend. It flew by way to fast and I'm sad it's already over. Also, I was sad that I wasn't able to see the Troopers (Proud Alumni Here) or the Cavaliers (Their tenors (the multiple drums/quads/quints play upside down). If I had the money I'd fly to Indianapolis in the beginning of August for the world championships. To end this rant (otherwise I'll keep going forever...trust me...) I'll say that if you want to check out more there are links to each of the corps on the DCI website as well as a bunch of other goodies. (I'll post the link again so you don't have to search for it again!!)
The picture I tweeted, notice the grayness of the sky!
Okay, so to get me off my drum corps high (it's still running through my mind and will be until August most likely), I'll start my next fangirl rant, but this one is shorter! The latest chapter of Skip Beat! was released!! It came out on the 5th, and I read it the next day. It seemed a little short, but the previous chapter was a released two weeks beforehand, so that's probably why. In this chapter, we saw the conclusion of the first confrontation between Cain Heel (Ren) and Murasame-san. Following that, there was some cute interactions between Kyoko and Ren, where Ren left Kyoko utterly confused and questioning herself as an actor (like usual...). I won't rant too much about this, so if you really want to know more details, check it out! It's chapter 177 (we're already on 177 O_O)!! The sad thing is, we have to wait like another two months until the next release. Chapter 178 is not released until August 20th. It's so long away! T_T
Kyoko confused about what happened with Ren.
Okay, so finally, I'll talk (as briefly as I can) about fandoms! First off (because it's a smaller rant) is Arashi! Their new album was released on the 6th! I haven't gotten a chance to listen to all of the new songs yet (because I was busy with DATR), but I love the ones I have listened too. I also really like Sakurai Sho's solo song this album. I think it might be my favorite of his solo songs! XD Hopefully I get through the rest of them by my next blog post, so I can update you on my favorite songs and such! (See, I tried to make it short! XD)
Okay, so onto my final rants, which is my ELF fandoms (and what most of my rants are about, sorry nonfans)!! Anyways, first off, I want to wish a Happy Belated birthday to our Big Universe Star Kim Heechul!! His birthday was on the 10th! I did send wishes via Twitter, but I'd thought I'd post something small here as well!! (You can skip it if you want!)
Dear Kim Heechul,
I want to thank you as well as wish you a Happy Birthday! You are such a character and I love you as do all ELFs! It may seem like you have a lot of antis, but I have never met one or come across one! I love that you are there for the members, especially Leeteuk! You make me smile and truly give a good name to AB types! I hope to see you forever in your element, and can't wait to see you acting again! I hope that your last year in your 20's is amazing! We'll miss you when you go to the army, but we'll always be waiting for you!
My favorite Heechul gif! I remember watching this live in Japan!! XD
In other ELF news, I received my SS3 photobook and poster the other day!! I opened it up right away and spent over an hour slowly looking through the photos. I almost want to buy another one to keep safe and have one that I can look at regularly. I also was sad that the folded posters inside weren't unattached and like a seperate goodie so I can actually put them on my walls. But, I love it and had to rearrange a little to put the new poster up! (I don't know what I'll do when I get the 5 jib posters & the two SJ-H posters. ~_~) Oh, and speaking of 5 jib, preorders are starting to go out! I'm guessing that means that it'll be coming out soon (hopefully)!! I can't wait. The choreographer that was one of the dancers in BoA's American MVs and that choreographed TVXQ's Mirotic has tweeted about rehearsal with Super Junior. ELFs around the world (including myself) are ecstatic to see the new dance! (Especially since Mirotic had some really good choreography!) But anyways, I sure hope it comes out soon. I'm getting so freaking excited that it's hard to me to be patient for too much longer!!
Okay, so I'll stop ranting here!! As usual I'll leave you with a gif!