Monday, May 22, 2006
Renegades Reality Blog.
Disclaimer: This edition is solely about drum corps. Non-drum corps fans, this is not relevant to your life, and it will make little to no sense to you. So, please scroll down, visit the Blog 7 archives, or come back to Blog 7 tomorrow.
Still here? Okay. Here we go.
In the history of the San Francisco Renegades, the corps has faced extreme adversity numerous times. In fact, the Renegades have been through many situations that would have folded most other drum corps. Each time the corps finds itself in these dire circumstances, the Renegades not only rise to the challenge, but the corps miraculously comes out of the experience stronger than ever.
I don't know how or why this always happens, but it just does.
I've had an opportunity to reflect on many of these unbelievable situations over the last few weeks, as I work to finish my book about the Renegades ... a book that now reads like a novel, because so much of what happened over the last seven or eight years defies rational explanation.
Well, my friends, this weekend, it felt like I stumbled onto the a few of the pages I have recently written ... or maybe the first three pages of the 1993 Vangard story, Tale of a Drum Line.
The Renegades are faced with a crisis. In fact, if this crisis is not solved soon, the corps will forced to re-consider late summer travel plans, and you may not see the Renegades at DCA this year.
No, I'm not being overly dramatic. Allow me to explain.
Last year (2005 season), we went through a dismal winter with our brass line. After a few winter camps with 28 horns standing in front of us, we spent hours and hours working to get horn players into the corps. The day of LMS 6, horn players unexpectedly came out of the freakin woodwork, Superman came out of the phone booth, and before we knew what had hit us, we had the best horn line in Renegades' brief history, even winning horns in North Carolina.
This year, the horn line is fine. Ditto for the guard, and the pit, and both sections are well on their way to improving significantly from last year.
Unfortunately, the snare line has not fared as well. It is kind of like the horn line in 2005, without the happy ending in the spring. I saw this coming back in September, when one at a time, the entire drum staff had to dramatically scale back their time commitments to the Renegades due to moving away, commitments to other corps, and other personal reasons. This was also the case with our snare line.
On Wednesday, we were at 6 snares. Which is not ideal, but I came in 2nd in drums at DCI with 6 snares once upon a time (86 Garfield Cadets), and we were only 1 snare drummer away from the mystical ..7. So, we were fine.
On Thursday, we were down to 5 snares, after one drummer's summer work schedule changed dramatically. After not sleeping all night due to laying awake and trying to figure out how to solve this issue, I sleepily boarded a plane to fly to this weekend's rehearsals on Treasure Island. As I boarded the plane, I got a call from another snare drummer, who was calling from the emergency room. He needs emergency surgery. As the flight took off, we were at 4 snare drummers.
As the plane landed in Oakland, I got another call from another rookie snare drummer, one who has never marched drum corps before, and who I expected to quit sometime. Well, he did. As I drove to the camp, we were down to 3 snare drummers.
As I got to the camp, I learned that one our of remaining three snare drummers is MIA, and presumed to have left the corps.
Which suddenly puts us at exactly 2 snare drummers.
And a ham sandwich.
Point of fact, the two snare drummers are veterans of the Blue Devils, so there is not a tic to be found. But, two snare drummers does not make a DCA Finalist corps, let alone trying to be heard over a nuclear horn line.
I have never seen anything so strange as what has happened to the Renegades drum line over the last few months (except for about 90 other things that have happened to the Renegades). Since we have been unable to find one reason for all of this, it is starting to feel more like the evil Hand of Fate than anything. So, where does this put us?
Well, after searching for months, we've just added a former center snare of the Vanguard to teach the snare line full-time. He starts at the next camp. Now, we need to find a snare line for him to teach.
The Renegades are now on a country-wide search for five or six great DCI caliber snare drummers. Money is not a factor, as we have donors willing to pay tour fees, dues etc. to get these snare drummers in the Renegades. We can probably even find frequent flyer miles or donors to get someone a plane ticket out to the West Coast to do this if need be.
If we succeed, I believe the Renegades can win DCA this year. Period. The show, and the corps, is too good for me to think anything else. In fact, we just might have to win, just because.
If we do not find more snare drummers ... well, there are numerous scenarios that can play out here, but none of them are good.
So here we are.
We need one more Renegades' last-second miracle.
The Renegades have had more than their fair share of them, but this would be bigger than all of them if we pull it off. The Golden Chapter in the book, perhaps.
If you are a great snare drummer who wants to work hard to form a world-class snare line, and have an experience you'll never forget, drop me a line. Ditto if you and a few snare drumming buddies want to move to the West Coast for the summer.
If you know any great snare drummers without summer plans, send them our way.
If you want to make a donation to the Renegades, there has never been a better time.
If you want to say a prayer for the Renegades, now is the time.
I will keep you all closely updated on the status of our snare line, aka the status of the corps. Think if Blog 7 as being kind of like reality-television, but think of it as "reality blog." Frankly, I don't know how this will all turn out.
If we don't get our miracle, it has been one hell of a ride.
If we do ...
Is your corps is looking for new members or just trying to fill a last minute whole, or are you looking for a place to march...
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