Hooray For Harrisburg!

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(and other Spring concerts). What a day in PA! The “Forum show,” as it’s also known, was back for another year. If ever there’s a vote for best indoor drum corps concert, cast mine for Serenade in Brass!

Presented at the downtown state capital complex for over three decades, this popular Five Star Brass production never fails to satisfy. The bill included The United States Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps, plus alumni corps representing some of DCA’s biggest names, the Buccaneers, Caballeros, Skyliners, Westshoremen, and Erie Thunderbirds. Add in Park City Pride, Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni, and Hip Pickles who were recently voted Best Percussion Ensemble by Drum! Magazine. Top it all off with a performance of the 2006 Hawthorne Caballeros and you’ve created an evening that’s tough to beat!

Pencil in this edition of the Caballeros to your list of contenders for the next DCA World Championship crown. The corps was huge, enthusiastic, and brimming with talent.

Didn’t really matter this year’s concert was a mostly Alumni corps display. It’s brass and percussion. It’s live music that reverberates within you. It’s the unofficial start to the new season! Drumlines practicing outdoors, people roaming around outside in half-uniform with brass instruments in hand, it’s enjoying a magnificent facility that’s worthy of an admission charge even without our favorite music!

Completed in 1931, the Forum Building’s 1763-seat amphitheatre is home to the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. A true work of art, from its astrological, star-studded ceiling, wall murals that depict man’s progress through time, and beautiful woodwork, the Forum is a Keystone State, Art-Deco treasure.

For me, the best aspect of Serenade in Brass is watching renewed friendships among drum corps enthusiasts. I see this every year on downtown Harrisburg sidewalks, in neighborhood restaurants, at the incredible post-concert party. Yes, it’s about drum corps, but it’s as much about good people. It’s about the fraternity we all share. That’s comforting to me.

It was a great surprise to encounter Lee and Donna Deshler. Lee and his family had been away in Vermont for thirteen years. Now relocated back to eastern Pennsylvania, Lee performs with the Buccaneer Alumni corps. He’s having the time of his life! Our pre-event dinner at a downtown Irish Pub became a family reunion, all the while surrounded by a room full of revelers representing Mighty St. Joes, Park City Pride, and the Naval Academy. If only a few more wait staff could have been there!

The sold-out concert, reminiscent of the old Evening With the Corps shows at Carnegie Hall in New York was again emceed by Larry Hershman, DCA’s new Vice President. Not one to miss an opportunity, Larry amused all of us by reminding the audience to enjoy candy bars from other manufacturers, not just from the local Hershey’s plant. It was obvious most in the crowd understood his message!

Good to see DCA President Gil Silva made the trip down from Rhode Island. He was joined by DCA Treasurer Red Corso. Interestingly, Gil explained this was his first ever Serenade in Brass.

The post-show party, held steps away at the Crowne Plaza Hotel ballroom, brought back enjoyable memories of American Legion and VFW halls during my younger days. Much more gray hair in attendance at recent Serenade in Brass parties, but that’s a good thing. Oh, what stories!

A chance meeting at the hotel lounge provided good conversation with a new friend, Albert Carocci. Al spent most of his life in Connecticut area drum corps. After a ten year absence from corps, Al saw a local performance by Park City Pride and thought “ I can do this!” Now playing soprano for the corps, Al was about to appear in his first Serenade in Brass. He revealed his doctor back home advised him not to make the trip. Said Al, “ Hey, this is drum corps, I’ll play!“

Elsewhere on these DCP pages, you’ll find music reviews from those better qualified. That’s not my expertise, but for now, please join me in proclaiming “ THE 2006 SEASON IS HERE!” Let the games begin.

Posted by on Sunday, April 9th, 2006. Filed under DCA ... All-Age, All-Good!.