Hey there drum corps fans! My name is Matt Tichy and I come to you from Denison University in beautiful Granville, Ohio, home of the Bluecoats Spring Training for the 2016 summer tour of Drum Corps International! I am a member here at the Bluecoats, and I play baritone in the hornline. Also, I am a native of Buffalo, N.Y. Over the summer tour I will be sending updates about what it is like to experience drum corps from the member perspective. Often, fans don’t get an opportunity to see what life is like for a drum corps outside of the show night. Through this, I hope to show you the inside experience of the 2016 DCI tour!
Our first place on this inside experience takes us to the Bluecoats schedule board. Every morning the daily schedule gets posted for members and staff to see where and when we are rehearsing that day. Throughout the summer, we rehearse on average between 10 and 12 hours a day. Over the course of the summer, we will put approximately 800 hours of rehearsal into our show so that we can have the absolute best possible product to perform for our audience members each and every night. A typical day with a drum corps begins with some physical warm up and training (running, core workouts, upper and lower body), then we have a block of time to focus on our visual and marching aspect of the show. In the afternoon, we break up into sections and practice our music and playing before we bring it all together for an evening ensemble rehearsal with the entire drum corps.
Here we have the Bluecoats Food Truck, aka the “Chuck Truck.” On the inside of this 18-wheel semi-trailer is a full-service kitchen which has the equipment, tools and supplies needed to feed an army. And that’s exactly what it will do. The food truck provides four meals every day for 200 members, staff and administration. That’s almost 68,000 meals over the course of one summer! The corps works very hard for many hours a day, and in order to do that we need the best and most nutritional meals so we can rehearse and perform at our best. And of course, we could not do ANY of this without the help of our incredible cooks and volunteers!
Even with the many hours that we rehearse and perform, once in a while we get some free time to relax and hang out in whatever town or city we may be in. For a few hours, we have the chance to be kids again without the many responsibilities of the drum corps activity. Tonight is our final free night in Granville before we leave for the start of the DCI summer tour next Wednesday! We decided to spend it by getting some ice cream with friends!
This past Wednesday, the Bluecoats officially finished spring training and left for the 2016 DCI summer tour! Over the next 53 days we will travel nearly 13,000 miles performing 34 shows in 18 different states! When we travel, our caravan of vehicles is quite large. It includes three coach buses, two large RV buses, three 18-wheeler semis, two mini trailers and one large 12-passenger van. Seen here is one of the member buses being packed with luggage.
After the first couple weeks of tour, we take a day off from shows and rehearsals on July 4th to honor our country by performing in parades. This year we were in the Boston area marching in parades in Plymouth, Duxbury and Wakefield, Massachusetts. The corps members always enjoy the 4th of July parades as we have a chance to get up close to perform and interact with many people and fans of all ages!
Matthew Tichy and Ruth Williams update: One of the great things about the drum corps experience, is that once in a while we have the opportunity to set aside the competitive aspect of the activity and join forces across drum corps to just simply enjoy music. And we had that memorable opportunity a couple of nights ago. The Phantom Regiment, Cadets, Bluecoats and the Boston Crusaders combined with the Boston Pops brass and percussion for a concert on the legendary grounds of the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA for an evening that was called the “Tanglewood Brass Spectacular!” The evening allowed the four drum corps to play some of their show music in a concert setting, the Boston Pops Brass performed a number of pieces including a tribute to each of the performing corps and the finale ended with a combined performance of the four hornlines and Boston Pops brass playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, conducted by Boston Pops trumpet and Cavaliers Brass Caption Head, Michael Martin.
Matthew Tichy and Ruth Williams update: This past weekend the DCI tour returned to Florida for the first time since 2012. The Bluecoats and Boston Crusaders performed in shows in Lakeland, Jupiter, and Daytona Beach. On Sunday, both corps performed in a parade in Epcot at Walt Disney World, and following that had a free day to enjoy the day in the park!
As part of the drum corps experience, we as individual people come at the beginning of the season and meet many people we have never known before. We start to get to know each other during spring training as we start to spend full days as a group. By the end of the summer, we consider each other not only friends, but family. Through these 90 days, we are challenged in the best ways possible, and through it all we always have people beside us that in the end we consider to be our brothers and sisters. They are some of the absolute greatest people I know, and I know that long after this summer is over, I will always have them as a part of my life.