To catch some of you up, I am currently in Colorado, but I am about to head back on tour with Spirit of Atlanta, the drum corps that I am teaching this summer. For those of you who don’t know what drum corps is (or think that it has something to do with drumming), here is a quick crash course for you:
*If you know all of this already, skip to the next section.
A drum corps is, simply put, a “professional” marching band consisting of brass, marching percussion, front ensemble (marimbas, etc.), and color guard. There are 150 members ages 15-21 from all over the country and sometimes world. These members come to audition camps in the fall/winter and then to a weekend rehearsal camp once per month through the spring. The corps then “moves in” to a location in mid-May where they stay for about a month (some corps move every few weeks too) to learn their whole show. Then, in mid-June, the corps go on tour. Corps from all over the country perform and compete in shows all over the United States. Each corps performs in a show most evenings, drives on tour buses to the next location during the night, sleeps the rest of the night in a gym, then rehearses the next day until it is time to go to the next show. We travel all over the country and rehearse/compete until the first or second week in August when all the corps meet in Indianapolis for the Drum Corps International World Championships in Lucas Oil Stadium. Here, all the corps compete against each other in a prelims, semifinals, finals competition. After the winner is announced, the season is over until the next fall audition camps start again.
Here is a video of the corps I marched in 2014 so you can get an idea of what drum corps looks and sounds like.
This summer, I get the privilege of teaching visual with Spirit of Atlanta, a corps based out of Georgia. I am a visual tech, meaning I teach from the field and help the members with their marching technique, drill (formations on the field), and other visual responsibilities.
While on this last stint of teaching at Spirit of Atlanta, God showed me a really cool analogy between my job and some of what the Holy Spirit does in the lives of those of us who follow Jesus.
The Holy Spirit as a Visual Tech
Simply put, my job as a visual tech is to get all the members to look the same and to make the forms look perfect. Of course, it is a lot more complex than that.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. -John 14:26
Marchers first need to learn how to stand, march, and play with correct posture. If their posture is wrong, it affects everything they do as marchers and musicians. Then they need to learn the correct marching technique, one that will get them to their dots the most efficiently and matching their fellow members in every detail. Throughout this whole process, my job is to help them learn awareness of what their body is doing and how to change it; to create good habits and work to get rid of bad habits related to how they carry themselves and march. I help them to learn their tendencies and then show them how to correct those tendencies to make what they do easier and more efficient.
The Holy Spirit does much the same in my life. He shows me the best way to live, the way to live a full and abundant life. As I learn more about the Bible, God’s guide for us, the Holy Spirit helps me apply it to my life. He helps show me the posture of my heart, shows me my tendencies and helps me to get back to the basics when I overthink. The basis of my faith is Jesus, which is like our posture in drum corps, if your eyes aren’t fixed on Jesus, everything falls from there. The Holy Spirit constantly points me back to Jesus.
On top of just the individual parts of visual responsibilities in drum corps, each performer is part of bigger sections within the corps. As a visual tech, I help members look at forms and figure out, “which way should I be looking to make this form look the best?” I point, direct attention, remind, and show members what the form looks like so they can get perspective of where they are at and what their role is as they march to the next set. Sometimes I yell so they can hear me clearly while they are marching, and sometimes I wait until after a rep to whisper in their ear a suggestion or reminder.
This is so like what the Holy Spirit does in my life and the lives of those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus. The Holy Spirit also points my attention to others, showing me how to relate as Jesus would. He gives me and reminds me of a broader perspective than just my own life. How do I fit within the church? How does the church fit within the city, the state, the world? I am not the only marcher on the field. I must be aware of my fellow marchers for the forms (and ultimately the show) to work. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is so clear on reminding me how to relate to a person that it seems like a yell, and sometimes it’s more like a whisper.
Sometimes I will only have to say something once for a member to get it and make a correction for the rest of the season, but more often times than not, I need to repeat myself or give a reminder later in the season. “Johnny, check your shoulders,” or, “Sally, you’re two steps outside of the line.”
The Holy Spirit is the same way, sometimes He will speak to our hearts and we won’t need another reminder. But then there are the things like, “Miranda, do not worry about tomorrow.” I need that reminder A LOT…
The thing that struck me the most when God showed me this analogy was this part:
As a visual tech, I may yell, I may constantly be giving corrections (trying to be positive), I may push the members to a point where they don’t think they can do it anymore, but I always have their best interests at heart. I can see their potential, and I love them and want them to feel what it is like to reach that potential.
The Holy Spirit might lead us into things that are scary, unknown, or exhausting. We may find ourselves doubt God’s intentions once in a while; but ultimately He has our best interests at heart, and He loves us more than we could ever fathom.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
*If you read this whole post and want to learn more about this “Holy Spirit” character, here are some awesome resources! You can also always contact me and I would love to explain more and talk with you. 🙂