Drum corps competitors take precautions practicing in the heat

There are a number of outdoor music and athletic competitions going on in North Texas this week with national recognition at stake. Most involve high school or college students.

It's a delicate balance for performers and players giving their all to win while trying to be safe in the heat. The heat is no joke. Some have to work in it. Imagine being in it voluntarily to do what you love.

The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps brass section took several water breaks during the 108-degree Texas heat on Wednesday. The group out of Chicago is composed of 16 to 22-year-olds from around the world.

“We schedule water breaks to the minute,” said Joe Roach, the program director. “Right now, brass line is on what we call 15-and-5. So they’re rehearsing for 15 minutes and then they’re taking five off.”

Hunter Dorman is from Houston. He plays the tuba.

“All us Texas guys, we just motivate them,” he said.

The group is rehearsing for an international dump corps competition at the C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton on Thursday. That means two-a-day practices in the morning and at night with a three-hour lunch break in between to try to beat the heat.

Roach knows the temperature on the turf can be even higher than the actual air temperature. The percussion section steals moments in the shade in between practicing in line. The corps travels with a full medical staff, keeping water jugs full at all times and swapping in drinks with electrolytes.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re all hydrated,” Dorman said. “You have to be hydrated a day before because you’re going to be dehydrated before it’s too late.”