We, the Jersey Surf TubaTeam, set a unique goal for ourselves at the beginning of the 2013 season: to meet every contra section in DCI. Presenting ourselves on the field as one of the best contra lines in the world is, of course, a huge part of our gig. However, in addition to playing, marching, and performing at a world-class level, we felt that there was more we could accomplish.
For us, and for every member of the Jersey Surf, the Share the Love performance does not end when we exit the field or take off our uniforms. The TubaTeam wanted to demonstrate this Share the Love philosophy by offering our hospitality to those who also carry the big horn.
There’s a certain bond shared amongst all who play the tuba. We all experience the same absurd struggles and unique difficulties of hauling around a heavy, unwieldy horn that takes an immense amount of air to operate. We all carry the same sense of dire responsibility and deeply embedded pride that comes with providing the bass notes of the ensemble, the sense of timing and tuning that the entire drum corps depends on.
We knew it would be easy to make friends.
Throughout the summer, my seat partner and I kept a plastic bin under our seats, which we filled with individually bagged gifts of candy, inflatable guitars, toy dinosaurs, toy cars, bubbles, and any other fun, random, slightly useful knick-knacks and doo-dads we could find. We aimed to put enough of these items in the gift bag to supply each 5, 8, 10, 12, or 16-member contra section.
Each contra section from every corps received a gift and a note from the Jersey Surf TubaTeam. The note included a well-wishing message, all ten of our names, and a link to the Jersey Surf TubaTeam Facebook fan page, in case they wished to contact us.
After a show, after we’d changed and eaten dinner, a small group of us, rotating depending on the show day, would take a gift or two and deliver it to the designated corps. I kept a list on my phone of every corps we shared shows with and kept a game plan of who to gift each night.
Sometimes we could not find the members of the particular section and would leave the gift in a noticeable location, such as in the middle of the stack of contra cases.
Sometimes we would catch them as they came back to load their cases after a performance.
Sometimes we would walk in between a corps’ buses and ask other members of the corps where we could find their tuba players. Ultimately, we’d find who we were looking for and the love sharing would commence
When we found members of the tuba sections of other corps, we’d present them with the gift, talk, take a picture, exchange hugs, and leave the meeting with an entire section worth of new friends, whom we’d wave at, greet, and even hang out with as our paths continued to cross throughout the summer.
By the end of the season, the Jersey Surf TubaTeam had delivered gifts to and/or met all other 21 world class contra lines and 6 open class lines. We shared the love with 27 different corps!
Our most memorable love sharing adventures this summer:
–The first tuba section we met was Coastal Surge, at the show in Jackson, NJ, following their final performance of the year. It was an honor to welcome this first time contra line into DCI!
–We left a gift of bubbles with members of the Boston Crusaders equipment truck loading crew, in the hopes they would pass it on to their tuba section. A couple days later, we received a message via our Facebook page from a Boston tuba player, thanking us for the bubbles. They told us they’d had a rough day, and the bubbles at the end of the night had made them very happy! A few weeks later, in San Antonio, a couple of us were able to meet and chat with two of their members.
–In Opelika, we’d been able to meet and deliver gifts to the Mandarins contra line. Imagine how pleasantly surprised we were when two weeks later, in Centerville, OH, we were approached by the Mandarins with a bag of return gifts! Best of all, they had plans to give presents to the Academy contra line, whom we also planned on gifting that night. Representatives from the TubaTeam and Mandarins tubas waited patiently in the rain for the Academy contras to finish up horn loading so all three lines could share the love together.
–In Huntsville, AL, we hung out with the Music City contras and presented them with a bag full of dinosaurs, which they enthusiastically received. At prelims in Indianapolis, the Music City baritone and euphonium section gave our baris and euphs an entire box of matchbox cars, proving that sharing the love is indeed a contagious habit.
It was a joy and honor to meet so many different people from so many different corps. It’s a blast for members of different drum corps to support, encourage, and befriend each other through this grueling and rewarding activity.
What will the TubaTeam do in 2014 to top 2013’s love sharing expedition? Stay tuned!
Follow our Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/TubaTeam for updates, the story of our summer, pictures, 2014 audition information, and more!