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Part 7: My Kingsmen journey

by Jeff Davis, DCW staff and member of the Anaheim
jdavis57@sbcglobal.net

This article was originally published in the June 1, 2007 issue of Drum Corps World (Volume 36, Number 3).

Yet another update from the world of the Kingsmen. We saw the drill for the second drum solo and the move into concert. The contras (not tubas) are especially excited to see they are pretty much on the front sideline for the concert. Should get plenty of face time.

I really like the final formation for the drum solo, it’s almost evil looking. I believe we will get through all these sets at our March kamp. While the kamps are especially noteworthy, it is the weeknight rehearsals where the true test of where we are as a corps can be found. It is too easy to get caught up in the large numbers showing up for kamp, but on Tuesday night when 50 to 60 horns are breaking it down, the guard is doing “blind runs” (equipment work with their eyes closed) and the drum line does what they do best, that’s when how far we’ve come really shines, individually and as an ensemble.

A section that really seems to have turned it up a notch as of late is the baritones. Our Tuesday evening rehearsals have seen a great jump in the number of baritones and they are sounding great. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there’s been some heavy baritone recruiting going on. One of the areas we’re working on is to not play so loud. This is contrary to human nature and the 1970s mentality of “loud is good.” But I guess if 150 horns are out there individually, we won’t need to play loud because we’ll have plenty of support.

At every rehearsal there is a 50/50 raffle. This past February kamp it was close to $1,000.

In some cases, the winner(s) have donated the money back to the corps (how generous). We’ve also offered hotel stays and luxury box seat tickets to Angles baseball games, all donated by KAC members.

The corps plans to be cash neutral come August and this is one way of taking in money, but not too much. I’ve tried calculating what I’ve spent thus far, and frankly, I stopped. First off, if the wife knew (which I suspect she could probably figure it out), I’d be on the hook for something expensive. Second, it doesn’t matter. Though I’ve yet to come to grips with the finality of my involvement with the KAC, when all is said and done, it will have been worth whatever price paid come August 10, 2007.

FYI, for those interested in knowing what’s happening with the Kingsmen StarCorps, on Friday April 20, the Kingsmen StarCorps held their “First Annual StarCorps Soiree” at the Knotts Berry Farm Resort Hotel. This was the first “official” fund-raiser as work begins to put a Kingsmen junior corps back on the field. The immediate goal was to raise $61,000 in start-up money and I have been advised the “StarNight Soiree” was a big step toward meeting that goal. In addition, there was a silent auction and attendees heard about the plans for putting the junior corps on the field.

So, now you’re up to date, but you can always check www.kingsmenstarcorps.org for more            information.

March Kamp 2007 – Western H.S. Anaheim, CA

First, a big thank you to Western H.S. for the use of their facilities. Sandy Hench (band director and KAC Freedom horn player) and Ken Nease (facilities manager and KAC baritone) have made us all feel welcome. Now, onto the kamp details. It was fairly cool this weekend. The sun didn’t even bother coming out on Sunday and was probably in the very low 70s and overcast.

Not as much done musically this kamp, as we concentrated on visual. Saturday started with marching basics, focused on some start and stop issues, as well as half tempo marching.

Then we moved on to a refresher course of what was learned the previous kamp and got the out of towner’s (OOT’s) up to date.

On Sunday, we finished the second drum solo and the move into the concert formation.

Speaking of which, the last part of the drum solo has some of us brass players hauling booty, reminiscent of today’s shows. I, unfortunately, am part of the “booty haul” gang. However, 75% of the visual program is DONE! The closer is all we have left to do and we are right on schedule to have the drill done at the May kamp.

By now, you’ve all seen the new, and I stress, “new” uniforms. That was such a blast and many of us are eager to wear them again much sooner than August 10. There’s a chance we’ll be doing a local DCI show and, as I get that solidified, I will let you know. Now, for those of you thinking it’s going to cost too much to do DCI this year, WHAAAAAA! I have a friend from the east who is flying into San Francisco and out of Los Angeles for less than $300. If you wait until the last minute, you will get hosed.

There had been a concern about a “curfew” at the Rose Bowl. However, our step off time is          approximately 9:35 PM and we will be finished before 10:00 PM. To the marching members competing that week, you may or may not find yourselves in the stadium around 9:30, so be sure to track us (KAC) down in the parking lot. We shouldn’t be too hard to find, just follow the rest of the crowd to the great big “Blue” area. Time permitting, it will be a parking lot performance for the ages, don’t miss it. Included will be the wedding referred to in a previous article.

In case you’re wondering what our musical selections are, well, you’re just going to have to keep on waiting. I can tell you that it is a tribute to the Kingsmen which includes music from 1972 to 1974.

So, you tempted yet? You should be, 100
brass belting out the best of the Kingsmen, I’d sell my grandma to see it!

April Kamp 2007 – Western H.S. and Cal Baptist University

Because we are such a “mobile” corps, this month’s kamp was held in two places. Actually, it was just scheduling conflicts. I was really psyched for this kamp. I’d been doing a lot of traveling for work and all, including the previous week in Madison. This prevented me from being able to attend the Tuesday night rehearsals. So, I was in need of a KAC fix.

As usual, Saturday was “catch-up” day. Sunday we worked set to set on the closer. I am happy to report, we have nine sets left in the drill, which we probably could have gotten to, but decided to work on making sure the sets were correct (just the perfectionist in us I guess). We have been assured the rest of the drill can be learned in an hour.

As far as weekend highlights, wow, that’s tough, there were so many. I’d say topping the list would be seeing 21 contras, or kontra’s as they prefer to be called. There is even a KFC (Kontra Fan Club), so far they have one “official” member, the honorable Queen Kari. That’s all I’m going to say about that. ($1 to Forrest Gump.)

All told, over 90 brass in attendance, 45 percussion, including 14 snares, were in force as well. The guard always represents well and the “file” in the closer is AWESOME! Oops, I may have let the cat out of the bag there. Actually, it’s just a tease to get ya’ll to come to Pasadena. There’s a lot to see and do in Southern California, you’ll be sorry if you miss it.

Back to kamp details. Our learning curve has come way down, we’re getting through sets much faster and retention is better. Keep in mind, we’re old and don’t remember things as well as we used to. Continuing on that vein, it is also not as easy to move come Monday morning. I consider myself to be in decent shape, but I’m hurtin’. Oh, to be young again! Heck, to be 30 would probably do most of us some good.

It’s hard to believe we have a total of just 20 rehearsal days before we hit the field at the Rose Bowl. When we started this endeavor, it seemed so far into the future. But now, time is moving much quicker, the intensity level is higher, I wouldn’t say we’re desperate, but I would say, we want to be the best we can and the realization that it’s practically over is sinking in.

I am going to miss it. I’ve made a lot of friends that I know I will probably never see again. I have 20 days left to get to know the rest of the corps. Guess I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’ve also been imagining what it’s going to be like when we hit the field, when that first blue uniform comes into view, it gives me the shivers. I’ve also thought about how I’ll feel in the parking lot after the show. Will it be a sigh of relief? Will I be glad it’s all over and get back to my “normal” life, whatever that is? Will I be a basket case?

Perhaps all of the above. I’d love to hear from or see some of you who have been following my Kingsmen exploits. Meet me in the parking lot after the show.

Lastly, as I alluded to earlier in this article, I am happy to announce we have been invited to             perform at the Impulse show on July 14 and there is also a “dress rehearsal” scheduled for the evening of August 8.

As Barbie might say, “It’s a Kingsmen world and I’m a Kingsmen girl.” Well, I’M not a Kingsmen girl. Oh, forget it.

That’s it for now, to find all Kingsmen all the time, go to, www.xkingsmen.com.

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