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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Drum corps pushes on in punishing heat

The Wichita Eagle

Students in the Teal Sound Drum & Bugle Corps practiced in the heat Monday at Valley Center High School for their competition tonight at Wichita State University.

Mike Steiner, one of the corps' staff members, said staffers anticipate the problems that weather will contribute.

"We don't chance it with the heat," Steiner said. "We know what it can do.

"We have a medical EMT and physical trainer on staff so that when we get to this part of the country we're prepared."

Jenny Quintero, 21, from Florida International University, said both mental and physical preparation are needed to handle the hot weather.

"We have to hype each other up or we won't make it through rehearsal," Quintero said. "We have an inside joke where we will say, 'Brrrr, I need a sweater.' We have to stay positive."

For the physical preparation, students drink water with electrolyte tablets.

"We're struggling," said Ian Mann, a student from Florida Atlantic University who is in his first year in the corps. "It takes about three days to hydrate, so we've been drinking water in advance." Mann said a rehearsal day can last from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. when the students go to bed on air mattresses or sleeping bags in a school gym.

Teal Sound is based out of Jacksonville, Fla. More than 250 students ages 15 to 21 audition for a spot in the corps; 150 are selected.

The students travel the nation to compete with Teal Sound against other drum and bugle corps. Tonight's competition at WSU's Cessna Stadium begins at 7:45.

Trainer Wally Jordan says warm-ups and keeping personal water jugs clean are also included in the routine to keep students healthy.

"It's grueling, but the rewards for the kids are worth it," Jordan said. "They know not to push past what their bodies are capable of.

"It teaches kids to be responsible for their well-being."

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