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Winter Quarters Days 7 - 11

First off, to see some Ringling Bros. Official behind-the-scenes photos of Built to Amaze,
Fully Charged Gold Edition, and more, CLICK HERE!
(to the person who asked my why people don't get to 'tour' the train or eat in the Pie Car,
check out the Breakfast With The Stars event!)

And here are some behind-the-scenes videos of our progress thus far:


Choreography Video

Day 7

A day off (for performers anyway).
There was a bus run to a nearby mall.
We were dropped off at noon, to be picked up at 4pm.
Kind of a long time at a mall, but it was pretty huge and there was a Target nearby too. So I enjoyed walking around and getting Christmas ideas...though truthfully at this point I mostly know what I'm getting people.
Got myself two small candles from Yankee; one pine scented, and one 'black coconut' that's supposed to come out in a larger size in the spring. I like vanilla/coconut/cookie scented candles because you can combine them with almost any other candle scent and it'll smell good :)

Other than that, didn't do much. A nice relaxing day.

Day 8

We didn't have new music today, so rehearsed what we've got while waiting for the performers to go on lunch break so we could set up in the bandstand for the first time. The sound guys weren't ready for us during lunch, so we took an afternoon break at the train.

Good thing too, because I was feeling awful for some reason...shaky and faint and just yucky. Not sure why.
After the break we came back and set up, and spent probably an hour testing our sound levels.

Because our bandstand is split, we have in-ears so we can hear not only the track and click, but each other as well.
The sound levels are very important; if you play trombone, for example, you need to hear the bass and drums but not so much trumpet 1 (he's right next to me). On the other hand, the bass player may need to hear drums and guitar but not trombone, or less trombone. That's why getting sound levels just right can be kind of an obnoxious process, because you've got nine people wanting nine specific blends of instruments, track, and click in their ears, and nine different volumes. So the sound guys have to start at a certain level, and bring it up to where everyone's mostly comfortable, then tweak it to individual specs from there. It took quite a while, but was worth it for all of us :)

Other acts were performing while we were doing this.
The dog act is totally hilarious, I love it already!
The unicycle guys are amazing...wish I could do that!
And there's a trampoline act that looks SO cool.
Can't wait to see it all with lighting!!! It's gonna rock!

Once our sound was mostly leveled out, we played through the opening number.
After we finished, I was surprised and happy to hear the performers applauding us!
Brett says the acts love to have live music. I didn't really believe that until today.
Thanks guys :)

Day 9

More rehearsal, first in the back room and later on the floor.
Last year for Fully Charged, I was on the inside of the bandstand, closest to the portal.

This year they want to try putting me on the outside edge of our enclosure,
either to mess with the sound or possibly because I'm a girl (going along with the Boy v. Girl theme).
This means that instead of having trumpet 1 and sax on my left, they're now on my right.
I usually wear one in-ear in my right ear and keep my left ear open to hear the house music, a habit I picked up while working at Busch Gardens. Now that everyone's on my right, I've switched to having the in-ear in my left ear and left the right one open. It's been an adjustment...everything sounds very different!...but hopefully I can adjust by January.
The sax player is now where I used to be, so he's having to adjust big time too.
We played through everything several times, had a nice meal break, and played some more.

This morning we were offered first dibs on some unused keyboards that are to be sold off.
I had a look but didn't buy anything, as most of the smaller ones weren't weighted.
Other band members got good deals on some sweet equipment, though!

Day 10

Today Jameson (keys) Brian (guitar) and I found out something special about our involvement with the Clown Blowoff, an act that takes place at the beginning of the show to rev up the crowd. I can't say anything about it, other than it's going to be fun and I'm going to have to learn to act and improvise. AWESOME!!!
Jameson and Brian have both acted before. I'll have to watch carefully!!

Day 11

My favorite show vehicle, the tank/zamboni/street cleaner with the scissor lift,
is gonna dump a big pile of soap on the clowns during one of their gags.
I didn't think that thing could get any cooler <3 <3 <3
Most of the props and cars in the show remind me of a Tonka play set.
You'll see what I mean ;)

In other news, the company has insisted on getting me a trombone just for the Clown Blowoff,
rather than having me use one of my own.
I had brought in my little King 606 for use in that bit, and also my big ol' Bach 42 for some Christmas stuff,
so my 'office' quickly became a trombone fort:


There are 4.5 trombones in this picture. Can you spot the 0.5? Hint: it's just a bell section.

Jameson, Brian and I worked on the Clown Blowoff bit with Alex and Irina (star clowns).
It's gonna be pretty funny. I am nervous and shy, but that's ok for now because it'll make me 'believable' for what we're doing. And Jameson is loud and silly and Brian is....well....he's himself :) That gives Alex three totally different personalities to work with. Of course, once things get rolling...cue the shenanigans. Muahahaaa...