‘Super Jaws’ and water balloons end band camp on high note
“A Night at the Movies” Friday evening followed mornings and afternoons at the football field.
Chieftain Marching Band’s fall 2013 field show features music from “Jaws” and “Superman” — “Super Jaws” in musician parlance, since one flows into another from a shark fin formation — “Jurassic Park” and Danny Elfman’s “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetlejuice.”
Leading sixth-year Director C.J. Brooks’ 86-member band on the field are Drum Majors Isabel Vasquez and Kenneth Creameans, who will be attending camp at Central Michigan University to get acclimated to his new role.
“We’ve got a good group of 14 or 15 seniors,” Brooks said, and that was after he and his staff awoke June 14 to find they stealthily pitched three tents and camped in his backyard during the night.
That prank gave an early start on the last day of band camp to the traditional mid-morning cry of “water break,” when a barrage of balloons splat as seniors break out super soaker squirt guns and shaving cream to initiate underclassmen.
All week musicians have been sweeping up and down the practice field at the corner of Spruce and Paul streets.
“It’s shaping up as a very productive year,” Brooks said, climbing down from his tower on the practice field to move to the roof of the press box. “We’ve been on top of stuff, and the kids have picked up stuff so fast. Their marching is really good this year and they’re good players.”
With 14 trumpets in his largest section, Brooks knew the brassy Superman theme would be a solid song selection.
“I try to pick music flattering to the sections that are really strong,” he said. “We open the show with a nice mellophone solo because we’ve got a very strong mellophone (marching French horn) section for the Jurassic Park theme. I’ve got three sousaphones and a baritone sax for a good foundation. Uniforms were fitted by Wednesday afternoon, so moms are on top of stuff, too.”
Monday and Tuesday were overcast, while Wednesday’s “stifling” weather was reminiscent of band camps of old in the dog days of August.
June is usually cooler, plus musicians remain in “school mode.”
Band members took Memorial Day’s miserable parade weather in stride.
“They fought through it. I was proud of them,” Brooks said. “A lot of people were impressed we didn’t cancel. Scott Rose took a picture of me with my hair plastered and my eyes closed. I look like I was praying for it to stop raining.”
Mornings are devoted to marching basics, with sectionals after lunch.
Band builds camaraderie competing in section Olympics, plus theme days — Monday, orange-and-black day; Tuesday, superhero day; Wednesday, neon day; Thursday, sports team day; and Friday, each section wore an assigned team color.