Harrison High School Field Day Journal Entry by Adam Dalton

In an effort to keep the Phantom Regiment Phans from all over the country up to date on what’s going on down here in Atlanta, we are going to start posting journal entries from various members of the 2008 cast after every rehearsal and performance weekend. My name is Adam Dalton and this is my second year with the PRWG. Before now I marched with The Cavaliers Drum Corps and the Study Winter Guard. I live in the metro-Atlanta area and teach elementary school band.

This weekend marked the first performance of the 2008 Phantom Regiment production “It Takes Time” at the SAPA Circuit Field Day. The weekend started off earlier than usual Friday night with our movement choreographer Michael James coming in to continue filling in parts of the show. We were all very excited to see Michael again and the butterflies (no pun intended) were already starting to show in anticipation of our performance the next day.

We also met two new members Beth and Christina and they jumped in head first and caught up with as much of the show as they could before the end of rehearsal. While Michael taught the dance line their choreography, Stephanie worked with the weapons to clean the weapon canon and made us more comfortable going into the 7’s. We finished up and folded the floor a little after midnight and headed home to rest before our first show.

Saturday morning we started around 10am with a quick stretch and dance class. We started at the end of the flag feature and worked our way backward through the show trying to detail parts and make everyone as comfortable as possible with the show before the performance. We spent more time on the dance choreography we learned the night before and made sure our “silk trick” would go off without a hitch. That’s all I’ll say about that…you’re going to have to see it to find out what I’m talking about. We also worked to get Christina in the whole show. We finished up with a couple chunk-throughs of the show and ended rehearsal with a run.

We left our rehearsal site around 3:00 and made our way over to the show at Harrison High School. Everyone grabbed dinner and went straight there. Even though we don’t have uniforms yet, we all wanted to make sure our Karen Hall make-up and hair was perfect for our debut. Some people started on their hair and make-up right away, but some of us got a chance to watch a couple shows and walk around with everyone sporting their new PRWG Jackets. A lot of us got to see friends that we knew and even some PRWG alumni that we hadn’t seen in a while. It was great to be in the environment and watch our friends and other groups perform.

We started our stretch and dance block around 6:30 and finished with enough time to do our pre-show hype which usually consists of random singing, a lot of noise, and a round of “mashed potatoes.” It was our first show hype so it was a little impromptu, but it was a great way to start our warm-up. We made our way to warm-up and thanks to the great people at Harrison High School, we were able to warm-up in the auxiliary gym and actually get out some real tosses and have enough room to practice yet another PRWG roll to the ground flag toss.

We walked out into the performance gym and found the front and back bleachers were packed with screaming fans. As we opened our floor, we discovered that the extra five feet of floor we thought we would have was not there. Our floor stretched from the front row in the front, all the way to front row of bleachers in the back. This meant that our opening movement, which is all off the back of the floor, had to now be done on the tarp. We had to ask the spectators sitting in the front row to move back in the bleachers.

The show was a blur of excitement and noise as the crowd went crazy from the first rifle toss all the way to the final flag toss. It seemed that anytime something went into the air, the noise level grew by 100 decibels. The show has a great energy and a great feel to it which makes it a lot of fun to perform. It is a different mood from last year’s production so people were excited to see that change from us.   I thought the entire show went off without a hitch, except for what seems to be a PRWG tradition of some sort of music malfunction at our field day performance. Thanks to the wonders of the new iPod touch (and Adam Sage’s big fingers) our music started about 10 seconds into the show and had to be stopped restarted. But nobody let that effect them and we had a great first public run of our show. The feeling after we got off the floor was of both excitement and relief as those “butterflies” in our stomachs were finally let go.   

We concluded the weekend on Sunday moving forward in drill and starting to stage the last minute of the show. All in all, I think it was a great weekend and our staff was very proud of us and how we did. I can’t wait for our next performance at Kell High School in two weeks, and I hope you check back in for the next installment after our rehearsal camp next weekend!