Everything You Wanted to Know about Riveters Capo/DnT Tryouts but Were Afraid to Ask
Guest post by Megan Drake (@drummerlib) and Tina Ettlin (@tinalope_)
I’ve always felt that there’s a sense of mystery surrounding how people get to be a Riveters capo or members of the DnT crew, which isn’t the best. In an ideal world, everyone knows how to join us so that no one feels intimidated or unsure about volunteering to join us. So, now I’m writing my first ever blog post so that everyone DOES know how it all works.
I can’t count the number of times that people have come up to me at a Thorns match and said something along the lines of, “I’m a drummer/trumpeter/horn player! I’d love to join you guys!” My response is usually something along the lines of, “That’s great! Sign up for the e-mail list and keep an eye out for the call for volunteers that we send in the off season!” I do that for a reason. There’s so much going on during a match that I know I won’t remember any one person that expressed interest to me and I’d never want anyone to feel left out or excluded. Having everyone come through a single place makes it so much easier for us to manage and greatly reduces the likelihood of anyone being accidentally excluded.
That said – having the volunteer form only come out during the off-season creates a barrier to volunteering. So, we’ve decided to make a change. Now, the volunteer form will be available year-round. The link will be printed on the chant sheets and linked from the Riveters website. Anyone can express interest in joining the Riveters Capos or DnT at any time.
Yes, the link is here too: https://forms.gle/GpgEB5SjgqTjAN587
That’s the first step to joining our crew – expressing interest. Now comes the fun part.
We currently hold at least one try-out session per season, during the preseason tournament. We are toying around with the idea of holding a second set of tryouts mid-season, but a lot of that depends on our needs as the season goes along.
Here’s how tryouts work for DnT:
Anyone that is trying out on a horn is given the sheet music in advance. Yes, the Riveters have sheet music for all of the chants that include horns. Yes, you can still improvise within reason. We’ve just found that people tend to find it easier to join when they have music to use for practicing before tryouts. There’s no sheet music for the drums, though. The beats aren’t hard and you’ve been hearing the chants for a while. We’ve never had anyone struggle too hard with picking it up.
When tryout day comes, anyone interested in drumming is put on a drum. We’ve got spare mallets so there’s no need to bring a pair, but you probably want gloves so your hands aren’t destroyed. There’s at least one (if not more) experienced DnT drummers also on drums so there’s someone doing the beats that you can follow. The match starts and the capo calling chants gets us rolling. Your job as a person trying out is to do your best to keep up with the drumming / horn playing. We know you won’t be perfect. All of us still make mistakes at matches on the regular. All we want is for you to hit the drum hard and keep within tempo. (DON’T RUSH K THX) If we see someone having a bit of a hard time picking up a particular beat (some of the chants have a lot of syncopation), one of us will be very overt with how the beats go so that it’s easier to follow. This is also why some chants go longer than expected on tryout day. We want to give the people trying out a good shot at learning the complicated beat.
This means – If you’re in the crowd, please don’t yell at me if Onward goes for 10 minutes on tryout day. It’s happening for a reason and it’s preseason. Chill TF out.
Once the match is over, all DnT members at the match get together and decide as a group what the results are. Some people are full members right away. Some people are subs for a while before they become full members. Some people stay as subs. It all depends on what we need within DnT, how you fit in the crew, and how you did during your tryout. We let you know that day if you’re still around in the stadium. Otherwise, you’ll get an email from me. It’s pretty rare for someone to not be at least a sub, so try not to stress too much.
For capos, the tryout looks like this:
We will find a spot for you during the match – either in a bucket, on the mainstage or at the top of 107. Depending on the amount of people we have trying out, we may switch people out or change your spot during the half. I highly recommend bringing cough drops or lozenges to help protect your throat.
The biggest (and maybe the most obvious) thing we will look for? Know. Our. Chants. It’s the biggest part of what we do. We know you may not get the hand signals right off the bat but we have a key to give you to help you learn.
Another part of our job as capos is getting our sections back on track after something happens on the pitch because yelling at the refs is evergreen and our people are incredible at it. Stay engaged with your sections and keep the energy up. The people around you feed off the energy you give to keep the North End the powerful presence everyone loves.
Just like with DnT, we will get together after all the tryouts finish and discuss the results. We do like to keep a solid list of subs because sometimes one of our full time capos needs a match off. We’re all human! Our hope is to one day get the lower bowl fully involved so more permanent capos are needed.
That’s pretty much it! We know that we all have lives and we are all volunteers, but we do ask that you sign a code of conduct when you join. The gist of it is basically:
- If you’re a full member, you need to be a season ticket holder
- Be professional during matches.
- Be reliable – if you commit to being at a match, be there.
- Be sober during matches. A little bit o’ the sauce is fine but you’ve got a job to do.
- Pay attention. Again, you’ve got a job to do. No being distracted by your phone or even the match.
Oh, and if you decide to fill out that handy-dandy volunteer form and come try out? WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!
See you in March!