Friday, August 24, 2007

One of my favorite all time drum corps stories.

We were at camp in Oceanside, ready for a runthrough. Except we had no drumline. As we started to wonder what was up, they appeared from behind the school wearing brand new uniforms.

Brand new uniforms that Robbie Carson had gotten the boosters to make without telling the rest of the staff. We pretty much hated them. They were a variation of the classic VK uniform of a satin type blouse with a cummerbund and black pants with a shako. This type of uniform was pretty standard in the late 70s BD wore one like it prior to 76 and Cavies wore one as well.

Anyway, we called a staff meeting and went into the band room to "discuss". The majority of the staff was quite vocal in their dislike of the new uniform. Gregg Clark said, "We should just wear Hawaiian shirts." Jack Bevins said we could do what we wanted, as long as we kept it under $3600 for the entire corps.

Charlie Groh and I, along with two members of the Color Guard (Andy Cross and Craig Root), went to the fabric store, where we found the fabric for the shirts - 75% off. We bought every scrap from every store. Sandi Turner and I found the hats at K-mart. Paul Zubrod on the drum staff found the Khakis at a surplus store. And someone else go tthe shoes donated by Vanns.

Clark wanted to do a color change with the uniform, but we were out of money. Luckily, we got a gig playing at a sporting event at Stanford that gave us all free T-shirts, which the corps wore under their uniforms (at every show). In the drum solo, the horns pulled their shirts off to expose the yellow t-shirts.

Changing the look of the corps had a side effect - we started adding humor to the show. Lots of humor. The record skip in Left Bank Express was one of the early ones. Another was the push in the opener. The horn line had struggled with the push all year. Mike McCool suggested that, instead of hitting the push, we would "psych" the audience and just put our horns down and wave at the crowd while the Pit played the push. Problem solved.

In later years, the VK took the humor aspect to dizzying heights. And it all happened because a drum guy had uniforms made that crystallized the rest of the staff into a team.