While still in recovery from the marathon weekend (16 hours of rehearsals, 4-5 hours of parades in the 80+ degree April (!) heat), I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what we have accomplished in a very short amount of time.
MCV members from near and far: “old-timers”, alumni, newbies, Old Guard friends, and international guests all converged on Bedford, Massachusetts for our first drill weekend in preparation for the Basel International Tattoo in July. As a fifer, I first must say what an absolute thrill it is to play with so many talented, dedicated individuals, all focused toward a common goal: making the best sound and presentation we possibly can. And I can say, without hesitation, that this Tattoo performance will undoubtedly go down as one of MCV’s finest.
Each day of the weekend began with some serious work on the music, indoors. Let me just say that after playing with these guys for almost 3 years, I am still awed by the overall quality of the sound we produce. It makes it difficult to hold my own part, because sometimes I just want to listen! Most of us had the music memorized already, so when it came time to go outside and work the drill, we could focus mostly on the steps.
It is no small task to coordinate music and drill for a 24-person fife line, 12-person drum line and color guard, but our new drill master (mistress?) Janis was up to the task. The detail with which she crafted our 7-minute show was unparalleled and left little to interpretation, given the 451-slide PowerPoint she created to detail practically every single step (!) of the drill. Smiles and good will permeated the entire process, which, not surprisingly, made it all “stick”. By the end of the day on Sunday, many of us were playing AND marching the entire show, top to bottom. Not that it was perfect, by any means, but for this to be our starting point for the next drill weekend in May, and then the real show rehearsals in Basel, I feel we are well on our way to putting on another world-class performance.
We topped off the weekend with Patriot’s Day parades in Lexington and Concord (which was the reason for choosing this particular weekend for the drill rehearsal), marching both parades with 4 ranks of fifers, and a strong drum line. This year’s Lexington parade was made that much more interesting with record heat (I think I heard it was over 90 degrees!), but we plowed through the parade sets along shadeless streets, thanks in no small part to our superb support team, whose vigilance kept us hydrated, and mopped us up when necessary. They are truly the unsung heroes of MCV.
It was exhausting. It was exhilarating. It was a weekend filled with cementing old friendships and kindling new ones – the kind of bonding rather unique to a group such as MCV, which is really more like an extended family.
As of this posting, only 85 days til the first of 15 shows!! I can’t wait!
Chris Myers, MCV Fifer