Camping, Musically

Still chewing on May here.  One of the fun things we did was band camp with Rainbow City Band.  It was held over a weekend at Fort Worden in Port Townsend (where most of the movie Officer and a Gentleman was filmed), and it represents sort of a breakpoint between the sit-down concert season and the less-structured marching season.  The fun started on a Friday night with a music rehearsal (of course), then a talent show that sounded like a gas.  We missed it, because I was out of town the week before, and didn’t arrive at SeaTac until nearly midnight Friday.

Mrs. Perils & I got up at 5 Saturday morning in order to catch a ferry at 6:10, as I really wanted to attend all of the planned activities on Saturday.  And planned they were.  Even as a late arrival, I still participated in 1 sectional, three music rehearsals and 3 marching/playing rehearsals in about 36 hours. In between, there were festive mealtimes in a dining hall where we sat at various tables and really got acquainted with other band members.  Our Tuesday rehearsals are so tightly focused, and the space is so cramped, that I actually had not met many of the people from the other side of the band. I was gratified by the warm and ready acceptance of Mrs. Perils, and of us as an entity.

The piece de resistence occurred Saturday night. The theme for the weekend was Alice In Wonderland and, after our post-dinner music rehearsal came a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.  All of the communications about Band Camp had encouraged costumes, but since I was out of town the previous week I never got anything together. This, as it turns out, was a huge mistake.  The costumes at the party ranged from clever to extravagant.  There was a fully-formed green caterpillar with a hookah, Tweedle Dee & Dum, a Cheshire Cat, various playing cards including the Queen of Hearts with a formidable-looking axe, and one or two Alices in drag.  The costume that tickled me the most, however, was a guy in street clothes with a pregnancy tester hanging around his neck.  When we asked what he was supposed to be, he looked at it, frowned, and said, “I’m LATE! I’m LATE! I’m LATE for a very important DATE!”  There were numerous tables with various board and card games going on, and every 20 minutes or so, the Mad Hatter would scurry around the room forcing people to move and mix with others at different games.  Among all of the wine and other beverages and hors d’oeuvres, someone uncorked a huge barrel of a deadly concoction called Strip and Go Naked (contents: beer, lemonade, vodka), as if this occasion needed more encouragement.

We slept in a large dormitory building that used to be barracks at the Fort, and the organizer thoughtfully polled everyone regarding their bedtime/noise level preferences, and arranged our accommodations accordingly.  We were fortunate to land at the end of the “quiet” folks, as there was apparently an after-party to the tea party that left one wing of the band decidedly fuzzy Sunday morning.

At one point during our marching practice, we were approaching a chapel in which a wedding had just been consummated, and it was our (or their) misfortune that we were just finishing Bad Romance (Lady Gaga).  We tried to make it up to them by playing Over The Rainbow and Don’t Stop, but I’m not sure they were amused, and it seemed politic for us to hie ourselves to another part of the facility.  One other amusing thing: a guy who played French horn during concert season is playing Glockenspiel for marching, explaining that he’s bisectional.

We got a lot of work done, and had a great time.  Even got several beach walks in (click to enlarge):

The trumpet section…and the perspective of the drumline


  1. beatriz:

    It was so much fun! I’m not sure which characters in Alice we would have gone as, still think a couple of Mome Raths would have been fun and esoteric…

  2. I think you hang around with interesting company! Sounds like a blast. Too bad you missed the afterparty, though. It could have produced lots of interesting photos and the consequent boost to the bank account arising from the destruction of the photographic media.

  3. Phil:

    Yeah, John, we actually heard a little apprehension from some folks who did the afterparty - recalling prior years, when they didn’t remember a thing about it, but saw themselves all over Facebook the next day.