I very clearly remember the first time I painted a field. I was a vizh tech for a drum corps and the caption head was running a horn set, over and over and and over again. I got it. It was a highly exposed impact moment, but the battery was left standing for a good 45 minutes. Sometimes that happens. At the start of the lunch break one of the battery kids, Cat, came to me and said, Ray help, we’re dying out there. It was vizh all day, and it was going to clearly be a horn focus from the caption head. I figured it out, went to the truck and got all the paint gear. I eye balled the field making it parallel to the one there, which I had helped paint, but didn’t really pay attention as to how it was done.
When the kids came back from lunch, I was like, Yo, caption head dude, I’m taking battery and we’re going to work on some stuff on this other field. It was all good 😀
I very quickly became quite the excellent field painter 😀 (No comments, Jeff, about my field hash issues) 😀
The next year, I remember painting two fields every rehearsal. One for the corps and one for the guard. I would geek out on getting it done, because that’s where it happens, the magic – the show – the performance. I know most groups that need a field to get stuff taught and rehearse use a crew, and a sometimes involuntary crew, but I prefer to work alone. When people offer to help, I politely accept, especially if time is of the essence, but I usually get to a location with plenty of time to get it done before the kids show up.
One of the reasons I like doing it is because it is concrete evidence that I expect myself the same as I expect of the students: be thoughtful, plan, be prepared, get it done. Also the precision involved is something else for me to point out from time to time; I want them to move with precision and they have precise marks which to do that 😀
One of the joys of working with Monrovia is the stadium with the turf field. It doesn’t give me a chance to play with paint much, but its happened a couple of times. One time last year on a Saturday, there was a conflict with a pee-wee football tournament and a band rehearsal. I busted out the tools and showed 5 or 6 kids how to throw down a field. Another time was during the past summer’s band camp; there was some conflict with a sport team about stadium use and I painted a field so they could learn drill.
Glendora has a custodian that lines the field for them. Once however, he didn’t reline the field between rehearsals as he usually does, and there were practically no lines! I am sure in the past the kids carried on, as was expected of them, but seriously; kids need lines to do well marching. I am sure it was more then amusing for some of them to see me walking up and down the field with this funny machine making yard lines for them. It is really important if you expect kids to achieve something with a level of excellence, that you give them the best opportunity to do that 😀
Speaking of, gaks, those 4 step marks on the yard lines, very helpful. If it were up to me, I would throw the whole 4×4 grid down (green yard lines in between the whites, and green gaks every 4 steps on every yard line) but I think that would be asking too much too soon. Right now, I am starting to make sure they have gaks on the 5’s (45s, 35s, etc.) The director at band camp made it seem like he didn’t care for them too much (like the metronome, which serves in a similar role musically, a point of reference) But that is all it is. A chance for the kids to set and reset their drill with some accuracy.
This is about to get super field painter geeky. Here’s your chance to bail out…
Still there? Okay then 😀
So in Glendora’s Opener, there’s the first impact moment that’s 32 counts. 8 echelons, 52 steps long at visual 4s rotates into 9 files, with the band at grid 4s and the weapons at 6 point something steps. Its awful right now. Partly my fault, but I hope to fix that. Straight line path marching! I created a subset at 16 counts 😀
That creates 75 inch intervals with the band members, and 40 step long echelons. What I discovered though that since the weapons rotate a single line into 2 lines, straight line marching won’t work for them. I made an achievable subset close to their straight line paths, and in a form that compliments the band’s form around them 😀
So from my little paper and pencil and ruler marks and transferring that to a football field, slight problem 😀 After painting those sets yesterday I could see side two weapons file is closer to the band file closest to them then side one weapons file and the band file close to them 😀 If any adjustments need to be made, though, at least there is something to make field reference too 😀
This should clean up that moment and make a highly impactful visual moment 😀