With last night’s results in the book, the Summer only activity of Drum Corps has come to a close, and a new champion was crowned for the first time in their organizational history. The Carolina Crown took home their first world championship with their show “E=MC2”; they also took home a few captions including Brass and General Effect. Their show, from a General Effect and visual standpoint, was phenomenal. Here is the link to see their performance of the show in San Antonio back in July: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uUkx8FB9Fs.
Throughout the season, they shared the top spot with the Blue Devils, who finished in 2nd in last night’s finals. Their show, “The Re:Rite of Spring”, was their modern spin on a piece that is celebrating it’s 100th year anniversary of The Rite of Spring, a ballet composed by Igor Stravinsky. Back in 1913, the Rite of Spring was controversial and took a while for audiences to appreciate the overall message that Stravinsky intended. With the Blue Devils ‘rewrite’, they tried to put a jazzy, modern twist to the classic piece. And for the most part, it sounded great, but when I saw the live theater show on August 8th, it had some moments where I wasn’t sure what was going on. An early season run of half of their show is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cerzywteGZ0.
The Cadets finished in 3rd last night with their show “Side by Side”. Their props would divide up the field in various ways, with a color on the props would depict the mood of the tune. Their impact moments were huge and loud. The drums and percussion took home the Fred Sanford best percussion caption with their high drum score. The one thing I must say is that the color guard used some flexible poles that they used for some choreographed routines, but they would step on it to make it into a circle, and when they released it, it would spring up and the effect was well taken from my perspective.
The last corps I’ll focus on in detail is the Santa Clara Vanguard, which their show “Les Miserables” was a popular show due to everyone knowing the music (especially with the movie coming out late 2012). Their uniforms fit the show’s era (French Revolution). The arrangements were well written and the corps performed it very well. The use of the backdrops in the back of the field (which had buildings and scenes of France) doubled as hiding spots for members to disappear from the field in order to feature certain sections of the corps or soloists. This was well thought out because in the tune “Bring Him Home” the soloist is by himself on the field with the guard while the rest of the corps is behind the backdrops playing accompaniment to what the soloist was playing. The drum line was playing at a high level the entire season. The stuff they were playing was difficult, groovy, and it was clean. I am shocked that they didn’t get the Fred Sanford Drums caption. At the moment, I am unable to find a video for anyone who wants to see the full show, but if I find one, I’ll leave the link here for all who want to check it out.
And here are the following shows that I saw at the theater show that caught my eye that I want to briefly mention. The Troopers’ show “Magnificent 11” paid tribute to the army unit stationed at Fort Caspar, the 11th Ohio Calvary. Throughout the show, their forms would make the number ’11’, which would appear 11 times in the show. Their brass sounded great and they also did their old school ‘Sunburst’ effect, which was the last impact moment of the show. Although they didn’t make the top 12, they are definitely heading in the right direction for next season. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i913waMVCMQ
I did mention the Crossmen in my last blog about drum corps. Their show “Protest” was well done, and I did say they deserved to be in the top 12, but they finished 14th on Friday’s Semi-finals competition, eliminating them from the Finals round on Saturday. This is another corps that is doing great stuff. The Blue Knights did a show titled “No beginning, no end”, which revolved around the concept of a circle, which has no beginning and no end. Their use of colors had no end, where it looked like every color was used in the flags of the guard. Overall, it was a great program that the Blue Knights did this year.
The Cavaliers, an all male corps who had a great run of championships in the 2000’s decade, did a program titled “Secret Society”. This concept focuses on the world’s secret society and how people from an outside perspective sees these exclusive groups. The music overall was very dark and their uniforms fit the concept (black hooded robes and uniforms that had the pyramid shape with the eye in the middle). The other all male corps, the Madison Scouts, had a great concept show to commemorate their organization’s 75th year anniversary. “A Corps of Brothers” is based off of a true story of a lone survivor of a marine unit stationed in Afghanistan. The music and sound effects set the scene for the group of guard members, who show the journey of going from boot camp to their assignments in Afghanistan. The innovative effects I enjoyed was the helicopter sound effects as well as the marine unit going through boot camp and running on top of the marching snare drums (the heads of the drums are made of kevlar so they couldn’t break). Towards the end of show, the lone survivor is left staring at his fallen comrades as the corps starts to sing “You’ll never walk alone”. In the theater show, the camera angle showed the alumni of the corps stand up and sing the piece with the performing members. That was truly a special moment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mipDwJr9GUw
Finally, I want to mention the Boston Crusaders, which did a program called “Rise”. Now, before I describe this show, I just want to mention the fact that show concepts and ideas are formed before the members audition and are selected in the late calendar year. So I found it very coincidental that their show, which is based off of recovering and rising from a catastrophe, comes from a drum corps located in the area where the Boston Marathon Bombing took place this past April. When they came out of the tunnel in Lucas Oil Stadium, the use of baby powder would portray the dust and soot from a bombing tragedy. Their uniforms, normally red, black and white, were replaced by grey and black. As the show progressed, the grey uniforms were removed, revealing the red uniforms that is normally associated with the Boston Crusaders. Overall, I liked this show. We all go through some tragedy in our lives, but we must rise above in order move on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvF3Pfv5p6c