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Winter Quarters Days 16 - 20

Day 16

Back to work!
There was a pretty raucous storm last night, so everything's wet and mucky today.
Train yards can get pretty gross when it rains.

We ran through our music (nothing new), mostly focusing on the stuff for the King Charles Troupe since it's
a bit harder and we just recently got it. I like that piece a lot, but was getting frustrated at my inability
to play it well today. There is a section where I can play an improvised solo, and if you know me well, you know how miserable I am about improvising. I have almost a nonexistent jazz background.
Fortunately, here at the Greatest Show On Earth®, I am blessed with patient coworkers who are willing to let me work through it in my own way. Thank you guys, really. This is the first time I can work at improving this aspect of my playing without fear of being sneered at and/or fired. I can't tell you how much that means.
Tomorrow will be better :)

And I KNOW it will be better because I got my new slide in the mail!!
Didn't I mention? I'm trying to make a copy of my boss's horn, a Minick small bore trombone.
Minick horns are SUPER difficult to find; the one that I get to play here on the circus is very
literally one-of-a-kind. As much as I love playing it, it's not mine, and although I do still have my
adorable King 606, it just doesn't compare to the quality of the Minick.

So at my boss's suggestion, I picked up a Conn 100H bell back in Oklahoma City.
He was then kind enough to put me in touch with a guy who makes and/or sells custom slides, and who
had a lightweight Conn slide similar to the Minick's. It's a Frankenbone for sure, but it sounds great and with some bell work might come close to sounding like the Minick!

Other than that it was an uneventful day.
On the way back to the train Brett saw a frog in the road.
I hopped out and picked it up, and we were almost back to the train when it slipped
between my fingers and started hopping around on the dashboard.
Lucky Brett didn't freak out!
Frog was recaptured and returned to the wild :D

Day 17

12/12/12! Or Check 121212 ;)
Appropriately, we got our in-ears today!

It is awfully humid today, making it very difficult for some of us to play.
Nothing of note happened today...just another day at work.
Although we're having to repeat the same like 10 songs over and over,
there's a purpose behind it, and we'll be getting most of our new music next week.
So we're trying to stay positive and not get bummed by the repetition :)

Day 18

We're bummed by the repetition. Lol.
We've been told that we'll get more music once the Gold show is finished.
Right now we're in the 'calm before the storm'. Boy I hate waiting!!
But if I ever start getting frustrated because we're playing the same music over and over,
all I have to do is think about last year when I was working my a$$ off to stay afloat.
All I have to do is think about all the people out there having to work in dangerous conditions,
or for too little pay, or for employers who take advantage of them. Or all the people who desperately need
work to support their loved ones, but can't find a job.
Thinking about these things, I can do my best and play to the best of my ability.
Because I am a lucky duck.

Day 19

The band got to run through the Clown Blowoff gag this afternoon!
We solidified some things that had been confusing, and worked through the parts where
cues needed to be given. I'm REALLY excited about it!

We also got to perform WITH everybody today for the first time! Woooo!!!
It's great to finally be doing something other than hashing it out in the back room.
Though that's an important step, it was hard to do it for so long without participating in the show.
Playing on the arena floor, even if we can only play some of the music, makes me feel like we're participating
and doing our job and all that awesome stuff :D

And we got to see the acts, finally! Although there are some rough spots, the show looks great so far!

I was really impressed by the new horse trainer (very sorry, I do not know his name yet!)
One of his horses seemed nervous about the things going on in the show...
loud noises, lights, fast movements, etc.
He led this horse around the arena floor while the band was playing,
and while the trampoline act was practicing. It would start and try to pull away, but he talked
to it, occasionally gave it treats, and waited patiently while it adjusted to the environment.
This took probably 20 minutes.
I was awestruck by how patiently and gently he treated his animals.

Everyone--floor crew, lighting, sound, wardrobe, performers--
--is working really hard and making it come together.

Here's the evidence :D

The ladies are so graceful :)

(photo courtesy Nicole Feld's Twitter)

Gold Unit kids having a blast!

(photo courtesy Nicole Feld's Twitter)

Wardrobe has made these awesome Ringmaster hats!

(photo courtesy Nicole Feld's Twitter)

Day 20

They were doing a cue-to-cue today, so the band was back in the back room rehearsing.
Cue-to-cue or 'tech' rehearsal is
"working the show moment-by-moment, writing the lighting cues and working out the flow of scene changes. Often times actors are present to work out the timing of lights alongside movement or other stage action. It also helps the actor to know the lighting cues to aid in transitions and hitting marks."

So while the performers were working on the lighting cues, we rehearsed our stuff.