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 Post subject: Whitewater Thoughts
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:33 pm 
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Went to Whitewater, site of the first two DCI Championships, with my brother and his wife. We had primo seats on the 40 yard line (left of the 50) and 43 rows up. Simply put, the weather conditions were Sauna. To give you an idea of how hot is was, the show coordinator for Spirit of Atlanta sat next to me, and we talked briefly. He teaches at Southern Mississippi. It was cooler there in Hattiesburg than in Whitewater.

Sporting my "Drum Corps is Evil" shirt purchased from the Renegades, it wasn't too long that I was spotted by none other than GW Frog. We talked during intermission. Nice to have met you, GW. Always good to put a face to the names who post here. GW, please chime in with your thoughts!

We didn't arrive in time to catch all of Colt Cadets, so I'll confine this to the World Class corps we saw.

PIONEER - Their opener was much more solid than in Cedarburg. Maybe they were grateful to march in the shade. Their horn sound started to get crass in the second tune, "I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen," and the corps seemed to have trouble simply holding the tune together. It appears Pioneer picked up 4 new horn players, who stood on the sidelines most of the show. What I thought was unusual is that they jumped into the drill for the last tune.

GLASSMEN – Tonight’s winner for most stuff on the field, including 7 plexiglass panels and 15 flats, which bordered the entire length of the front sideline. They also had a number of golden “mirrors” which they used very nicely in their ballad. Last, the guard also carried plexiglass shapes approximately the size of rifles. Their show theme is Glassworks, with five movements. Sand contained Philip Glass’s “Mishima.” Clear Glass was comprised of an original composition by Key Poulan and Rob Ferguson. Shattered Glass was an original composition by Rob Ferguson. The ballad, Mirrored Glass, was James Horner’s “Ethiopia III (from Beyond Borders).” The finale, Stained Glass, was an arrangement of the final movement of the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. While there were good moments throughout the show – such as the full diamond form at the end of the opener and the use of the golden mirrors and flags in the ballad, the show didn’t connect with me until the Saint-Saens closer. Bring everything up to this level, and this show could contend for a finals position.

SPIRIT OF ATLANTA – Liked them just as much as in Cedarburg. The opening hit is a real “wow!” moment, featuring a form that spread from 15 yard line to 15 yard line. Really nice soprano solo to open their second piece, “Luck be a Lady Tonight.” What can I say? The members really seem to enjoy performing this show. It should be interesting to see what happens as cleaning and modifications occur over the next weeks. These guys have a decent shot of catching the Cavies.

BLUE STARS – Their opener, “Fate Has Smiled Upon Us,” came off much better than at Cedarburg. The wedge at the end of the New World Symphony was very effective to me. Not that anyone from their staff us going to read this, but I’ll say it again – I wish they would stagger breathe through the climax of the Vaughan Williams ballad. Right now, what they are doing is the musical equivalent of saying, “ I lo (breathe)ve you.” Speaking of the Vaughan Williams, I saw lots of emoting by members of the guard standing on the “dock” at downstage right. Sure hope the staff puts in some equipment/dance work to replace that.

BLUECOATS – A much better performance that in Cedarburg. I didn’t pick up any of the synth distortion that happened two nights earlier. The initial hit is a wonderful Oh My God moment. I was struck generally by the use of color by their guard to flesh out pictures throughout the show. Goosebump City at the end of their show with an end zone to end zone form. How high this places in Indy I cannot say. But I will say that they were magnificent on this night. The. Complete. Package.

MADISON SCOUTS – What a difference a year and an instructor makes for their drum line. They really kick butt in the opener. My general impression is that the real work of cleaning and changes will occur in the middle of the show. The opener is very effective, and the last 4 minutes is Goosebump City in both sound and visual. My brother remarked that their marching was really clean for this early in the season.

CAVALIERS – Since I made the comment in the Cedarburg review about the Cavies depending too much on the audio sampling to carry the theme, I made a point of looking for more instances where other sections of the corps reinforced the theme. It didn’t take me long. At the end of the opener, the horn line is split on either side of the battery, with each section of horns making the number 15 on the field (15-drums-15). Anybody else catch that? My brother remarked about how dirty their snares were playing. I’m not sure if it was the actual snares playing badly, or if it was the audio sampling underneath the snares – which sounding a lot like radio static – that made them sound dirty. Either way, the effect wasn’t good. Can the needed cleaning and changes be made? This is a proud organization with talented staff and members, and I’m sure they will do their best. But, I keep reminding myself about the saying about putting lipstick on a pig. This may not be the right vehicle for them. By the way, their guard came in 5th tonight. When was the last time the Blue Stars beat the Cavaliers in guard – sometime in the late 1970s?

Next time I will see any corps will be championship week in Indy. Have a good summer, and if you see any corps shows, write down your thoughts and post them, please.

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Jim Anello


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 Post subject: Re: Whitewater Thoughts
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:32 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2002 9:16 pm
Posts: 1055
Location: Laredo, Texas
I haven't seen anybody live in person yet. Hopefully, San Antonio...but haven't purchased tickets yet. I'm happy to see Madison climbing , as well as Spirit. The Cavaliers have a talented corps, but the show design has hurt them some. From what I'm reading, they are trying a different visual approach. So far, it hasn't been working. I think they did much better in Kalamazoo, so I'm not counting them out of the top 6. They still have time.

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Dennis O. Eveland
Composer/ Arranger/ Band Director
Cavalier Alumni
Laredo, Texas


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