The Long Ranger is dead ☠️ Long live the long ranger! As soon as it went away, another brand stepped in to take its place: The Anchor Audio MegaVox. There’s always a love-hate relationship between ensemble directors and these devices. People forget to charge them. Then in an effort to delegate charging responsibility, they get left in cars and then stolen (true story). They get abused! One of the most vulnerable, and critical components is the speaker cone – it’s what makes the MegaVox MEGA.

The cone is molded with three small tabs of plastic. While the cone is recessed behind the front face of the MegaVox, the fabric case is not enough to prevent damage. Anything that sneaks in an hits the code will surely break it off. On any given equipment trailer, there are many opportunities for things to jostle around and break a cone.

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I did my first tracking block with Phantom Regiment. Well, the first time we called it “tracking.” I had done it at Irondale in high school, but I didn’t have the vocabulary at the time.

That was like 30 years ago, but it is still a very effective tool to increase confidence with simultaneous music & visual responsibilities.

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My wife has recently been looking at scratch & dent auction items on a site called It’s a midwest based auction site that handles everything from estate sales to scratch & dent returns.

She has purchased several things from it including:

  • Fancy AFℒ️ dance bag
  • Bed frame
  • Cat wheel
  • Dishes

Her latest item is something that could be a game changer in multiple ways. It’s a GE Profile Combination Washer/Dryer with Ventless Heat Pump Technology. We both wanted this thing for two different reasons:

  1. For her: Combination washer/dryer (it does both)
  2. For him: Heat pump drying – efficient electric drying that only needs a 120v outlet
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…also marching band, WGI, etc. Well we did it again this year at Minnesota Brass. This season’s problem to solve: harmonicas. The 2023 Minnesota Brass production “Speakeasy” used Billy Joel’s Piano Man as the ballad. I thought it would fun to play a little ditty on harmonica, so I worked with our arranger to put it in.

Playing Harmonica

I had never played harmonica, so I did some research. I wanted to make sure it was achievable, and that whatever I ordered would be suitable. I started with this youtube video and some harmonica note charts:

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After using an old Garmin GPS last year, I hinted that I might switch to (also owned by Garmin) the Navionics Boating app. To get the party started, I shopped for cheap tablets during Amazon Prime Day.

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