One of the members of this awesome group is my son, Colby. He auditioned in December 2010 and started going to Camp Weekends in January. He had to fly to Phoenix seven times between December and May! On June 5 he arrived there for the last time. . . The Academy practices or performs nearly every day, so he is busy. They have two tours- a regional tour that will end tomorrow and a national tour that will begin on July 21.
Each member is allowed to have one bag, so as you can imagine, they are fairly large and packed tightly. Most of the kids use a bag like this:
These bags are great because they have two compartments. I'm not sure where Colby has all his stuff at this point, but he has to keep his clothes and his air mattress and air pump and toiletries and everything else in there. The kids had to sleep in the gym mezzanines at the school because the gym floor wasn't fully cured from its new coat of shellac. Most of the girls left their bags in the hallway or got a guy to carry it up the stairs for them because the bags get so heavy!
Arriving at a school in the middle of the night is pretty standard. The bus rides double as sleep time (although Colby says it is pretty loud on the bus most of the time) and then they get to "hit the floor" for a few hours on their air mattresses. The drum majors are in charge of waking everyone up and they have an hour to eat, dress, fill their water bottles and try to get awake. Then rehearsal starts.
The parents and other volunteers who run the day-to-day details of the Corps are amazing. It takes a strong group to feed about 190 people four meals a day. Yup. Four. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack that looks like another meal. It's estimated that the members burn 5000-6000 calories a day, so they tend to be hungry! Most of them lose weight during the summer because they just can't eat enough to maintain. (And no. . . I will not be going on this weight loss plan- I am WAY too old for this level of physical activity!!!)