Comfy Seats…And Cozy, Too!

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Just returned from a visit to Rochester and PAETEC Park. Wow! Things sure are coming together up there. Gone is much of my apprehension about the facility being ready to host our most important event. The home for our 42nd Annual DCA World Championships should be broom clean by Labor Day Weekend.

Joining me there was DCA President Gil Silva who remarked “ Gee, I’m feeling so much better about this.” Our last visit was late October. At that time, words were needed to describe areas of interest to us. Yesterday, our eyes took over.

Only the private Club Level will be less than complete for our event. No real problems there. The judging panels, Staff, VIPs, etc. will simply use folding chairs, temporary partitions, etc. Accommodations for ticketed customers are finished.

Parking availability was a pleasant surprise. New paved lots are being laid down as we speak. Visit for new parking locations. The common areas of the facility are simply fantastic. Beautiful bricked plazas, television monitors, abundant concession areas, and an awesome undercover booster table marketplace await. Unique, molded plastic, chairback seating, wide aisles, and excellent sightlines will make PAETEC Park a popular place to enjoy all-age drum corps.

As you have already been told, the playing surface and lighting is NFL quality, designed to meet the needs of regular ESPN broadcasts. Have to mention the 2.5 million dollar, 95 ft. tall video scoreboard. To see that ground level prior to being raised this week was pretty cool.

Our team was warmly welcomed by Drum Major David Bruni of the host Empire Statesmen and Allen Buell, his very capable business manager and event chairman. We got a chance to meet several civic officials, the stadium owner, tourism planners, etc. Rest assured, this city is “ into it.” DCA is being positioned as the region’s premier summer event.

Did someone say Cozy?

Here’s the lastest from DCA’s eye on the activity. Enjoy!

Cozy’s DCA Planet

by Cozy Baker

DCA? ‘What’s shakin’, babycakes?’ ~ Jeff Kievet song title

“They danced down the street like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live….” ~ Jack Kerouac, 1922 – 1969, “On the Road,” 1957

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true.” ~ J. Cardinal Suen

“Life is too short to blend in.” ~ Paris Hilton

“Constancy? I opt for contumacy!” ~ Cozyism

Memorial Day weekend is almost upon corpsdom!!! The pitter-patter of Dinkles at corps entry gates is nigh. Once Paul Chaffee and other staff give the word to take the field, corps will resound with the first openers of Tower of Power, Luck Be a Lady and more. We’ll get to see Niki, sans flag, marching soprano, and Penny, bdjazz93, in the pit with Music City Legend in Open Class!

Keith Hall posted a thread wishing luck and success to all corps. I can only add that I wish the same for one and all. I’m ready to smell some diesel fumes…if corps can afford it.

Leapfrogging back a few decades, fans applauded incessantly at the antics of one corps after another. Entertainment was the focus, and those corps clambakes included some top-hat off-the-sidelines characters. While some units have become politically correct, many all-age corps are still milking the crowd for ovations.

DCAssociates crowds are quite charmed to see the Govenaires and Chops, Inc., join the festivities. How Minnenippliesota can profusely crank out so many Brass, Incorporateds, is a marvel. The price just to see these northern corps makes DCA worth the entry with fine musicians like MBI’s Roger Grupp, Dennis Tischhauser, and MBI’s peerless percussion.

Anthrax Ripple?

Pepe Notaro, the preeminent showman, not to be stopped by the introduction of artificial turf eras ago, wheeled out, on a wagon, a sand bucket to thrust his gargantuan mace. Chris Nalls, Renegades executive director, portrayed “The Ghost of Pepe Notaro” in the 2004 Crunchy Frogs. Anthrax Ripple? One can only imagine what Rudnicki & Rogues will levitate for I&EMC, Individuals & Ensembles/Minicorps.

Loujaue “Jay” McPherson, Mon Valley Express contra, referring to Anthrax Ripple, posted, “Sounds like a drink from ‘Sanford and Son.’”

Speaking of classy, Alliance will continue to be Class A. Jeff Pastor, director, revealed, “The opener is on the field and part of the ballad. Next couple camps will be working on music and such.” Regarding his neighbor, Pastor said, “Alliance wishes CorpsVets the best for 2006 and hope they pop into the top ranks of DCA.”

Kilties 70th!

Bryan Butler, Kilties visual caption head, sent the following, “Alright, as of now we are about two camps ahead of schedule (from) where we were last year. After this camp we should only have about one minute of drill left. Also, last year we had 12 holes going to the first show; as of now, we only have three.”

The Mad Plaid have an all-new vis staff, including Bryan Butler, ’94-’99 contra, Blue Stars; Pete Harvey, tech; and Jeff Thomas, tech.

Contra cuties

Click into DCP Forums to see an impressive photo of 11 Hawthorne Caballeros contras lined up. The Cabs’ 60th year is going to truly be as outstanding as Ritchee Price wailing on Call to the Matadors. That pic is not as gorgeous as the scenery Assistant Director Loujaue “Jay” McPherson, contra, enjoys in his Mon Valley Express contra section. BlondeContra is one of two young contra ladies in MVE. Catch Lara, Lindsey, Jay, and MVE at DCA Manassas, VA.

The CorpsVets have 10 contras; forget Big 6’ 10” Ken Huff, Carey Dryden, Patrick Elmenthaler, former Glassmen, or Executive Director Dave Stollberg – Mary Colleen is the cute one. (Save your correctness tirades. I never claimed to be politically correct. Refer to the “contumacy” quote above.) Frank “El Guapo” Cardenas, Kilties sop, posted a photo of the Mad Plaid contras, some “beefily” sandwiched between Joe Fazzari and Chester.

Lisa Dryden, lisard5, quipped, “Yes, the CV contra line is pretty hot.” Lisa should know.

DCA Minicorps – The Rodeo Drive of corpsdom! Be there! Be seen!

Tom MacDonald, brassomaniac, is forming a minicorps, Albany tk2 Project, saying, “…a fun, relaxed atmosphere, a blank canvas with no restrictions, and our own unique personality reflected in our choice of tunes; plus high, fast and loud!

”Also, I agree that a positive attitude is a must – This has to be fun. It’s my belief that, in an up-close performance, the audience will never have any more fun than they perceive YOU to be having.”

Interest in MacDonald’s minicorps is promising as he revealed, “If we get many more responses, we’ll have to move to a larger site – Not complaining, of course!”

D.A., maestro of cheap Ray-Bans

Donny Allen, Hall of Fame and prime pooh-bah for his minicorps, revealed, “All I can tell you about PTB (Prime Time Brass) is that it is a lot of fun. It is made up of players from Empire, Brigs and Cru that can’t or don’t want to march anymore. The talent is enormous!!! We set up like a big band and let it rip.”

Allen added, “I also wrote for Crusaders. They are playing a show called “The Classics,” which includes classical stuff like Firebird Suite, but actually consists mostly of classic rock tunes: Stairway to Heaven (hmm, ’06 Renegades, too), Light my Fire, and School’s Out by Alice Cooper.

Gene, melligene, posted mischief when he started a thread pondering “This Donny Allen guy – What’s his story?” Tom Peashey responded, “Simple answer – He’s Jimmy’s little brother…Tommy’s big brother,” and bariforhire stated “He’s Walt and Monica’s middle son.” Kay, irishcab95, swooned, “He’s a dreamboat.” Keith Hall summed it up, “Donny Allen is a terrific music arranger for band and drum corps. His talent for teaching as well as playing (is phenomenal).”

PMing Allen about “his” thread, Donny responded, “HAHA, too much fun, Cozy…I also have two sisters, Karen, who is older, and Nancy, who is younger. I am the middle child of five that goes boy, (Jim), girl (Karen), me, Nancy and Tom. Dad was the quartermaster, first for the Ridge Culver Statesmen, then, St. Joe’s while Jim and I marched there.”

To those few who don’t know Timmy’s father, “DA” has quite a few feathers in his shako. Just check out the DCP donnymusic signature. Tommy, soprano and visuals, has his own accomplishments. Donny and Tommy have won DCA rings.

Alumni party to ‘Muchasamba’ ~ Jeff Kievet

Frank “Ironlips” Dorritie posted about alumni shows saying, “Alumni shows are the most fun you can have in drum corps with your clothes on.” Dorritie is a member of the Buglers Hall of Fame. The 2006 inductees are: Frank “Buzzy” Bergdoll, Jeff Kievet, Al Chez, Ernie Fessler, Ted Sasso, George DelMonte, Mike DelVecchio, Bonnie Ott, and Bill Hayes. Click into the full DCP news story for more. Get your tickets to the DCA Alumni Spectacular and Championships at . For Kievet’s “For Once” CD and other music, go to .

Fran Haring sent, “We had a good time at the Reading Buccaneers’ "Spring Preview" concert Saturday (May 13). The concert was bigger and better this year (the second year it has been held), with a bigger crowd – Excellent facility, too, at Twin Valley High School in Elverson, PA, where the Bucs rehearse. The Twin Valley people are very nice folks. They told me they love having the Buccaneers there.”

Buddy Rich once refused to meet Steve Gadd

Steve Gadd, member of the exclusive league of extraordinary gentlemen drummers, is semi-retired in “Rachacha,” Rochester, NY. It is appropriate that a thread has been started by Tom Peashey regarding this paramount talent, a man who ranks with faves of my brother, Joe Baker, drummer, and I: Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Joe Morello, Neil Peart, Billy Cobham (corps vet), Louis Bellson, Steve Barnes, Steve Davis, et al. Personally, I put Gadd right with Rich and Krupa. Gadd, former Crusaders snare, attended the Vince Bruni wake and has kept up with drum corps. Gadd learned from the best, including Colin Campbell, ’06 World Hall of Fame inductee.

A hometown buddy, Dave Carpenter, walking bass guitarist artiste, told me that when Gadd once tried to meet Buddy Rich on Buddy’s tour bus, Rich refused to go forward to meet young Gadd. Gadd, the gentleman; Rich, the guy who once said at the mike in a show in Dayton, OH, “We’re glad to be here in…in…What the hell is the name of this town?”

A much better gent with a microphone is Fran Haring. Haring is “the voice” from the Reading Buccs concert to Dover, NJ, to “Rachacha” Labor Day weekend.

Pepe made a guest drum major appearance with ’86 Empire

From DCWorld, Sep. 1986, by Ed Cagney: “Two corps tied for first place in prelims; neither corps won finals; the new champions had never won a contest before today; there was more changing of places than ever before in a DCA finals …The high-spirited Skyliners of New York City won a standing ovation for just coming off the left end zone in a company front at the start of their show! DCA fans went delirious and got excited with the emotion of seeing a good corps perform an old-time entry so well. Sky could do no wrong after this start, and even though their scoring might not be as high as some of the other corps, their entertainment level was terrific! The ending "traffic jam" and push to the front sidelines won another standing ovation, full of joy, from an audience who truly loved them. Skyliners also won two special awards: best drum major–Butch Anderson, one of the classiest and most personable leaders today; and best honor guard (or A-squad, as we used to call it!). The class of Butch Anderson shone…With the smallest corps in the finals, the Empire Statesmen of Rochester, NY, won the hearts of the crowd with their fun antics and appealing music. Unique features included segments with the Three Stooges, the Andrews Sisters singing group and the indomitable Pepe Notaro making a guest appearance as a mace throwing drum major!” Subscribe at .

To John Zaragosa, CorpsVets sop, and other Steel City vets, sorry for conjuring up bad memories. We hope that Ed Cagney, the DCW ’86 reporter, is recovering bountifully from his recent health problems.

Get off your glued-down gluteous maximus and perform!

‘Tis hard to believe that many corps are still looking for performers in spring. I beckon one and totality to get off your derriere and rotary dial BR-549 to contact your nearest DCA corps. The dues are relatively cheap, the weekend warrior (politically incorrect? Pffft!) timetable still allows most work schedules. If you are a burned-out age-out, get over it. To bandos who have pondered, “What is all this corps crap?” – Life is a wasting. Believe this sagacious sageness: You’ll be sorry about lost years, and they can’t be recovered. Marching DCA, even as a last-minute newbie, beats the heck out of scouring flea markets this summer for Elvis on velvet. Drum corps is the next best thing to canoodling.

Contact your nearest corps for openings. A few: Kingston Grenadiers: Horns and two colour guard spots; Alliance: bari, snare, tenor, mallet, auxiliary percussion; CorpsVets: mello, bari.

Steve “Hair Bear” Masters, ’90 and ’91 DCA Showmanship trophy with Steel City pit, called me to report Sandy McNeal, Steel City, Brigs and Westshoremen pit phenom, the man who caused the DCA Showmanship award to be created, is possibly looking to perform ditto. McNeal resides in the Pittsburgh area and would need a ride, I believe. Allow Sandy to wear his sequin hat and let the claves clamor conga!

I’ve enjoyed numerous e-mails and PMs from my new and old Renegades pals. I’ll see y’all July 5 – 12 for LMS LA and two DCInternational shows July 8 – 9. I can’t wait to see Dream, Kingsmen Alumni et al. in sunny Cali. Everyone say “Howdy!”

Speaking Of Howdy Doody, Lew Anderson, 84, the last and best of three Clarabells, died of prostate cancer May 14. Anderson was famous for his only spoken words as a sidekick to Buffalo Bob (Smith), 1954-1960, “Goodbye, kids,” tearfully uttered on the last show. Anderson was a well-known clarinetist bandleader whose All-American Big Band played The Red Blazer club and is now ensconced every Friday night at Birdland in NYC. Trivia: Who was the first Clarabell sans Hawaiian shirt?

Corpsdom could use more Jolly Jesters. The Velvet Knights have a winter guard and an indoor percussion unit. Fantastic, but I’d love to see the drum corps back on the field in “Magical Mystery Tour IV.” Fortunately, DCA has primo entertainers.

Lee Rudnicki, entertainment lawyer, Renegades marketing disher-outer, sent to me, “I am finishing ‘The Triumph of Evil,’ a novel about the Renegades that will be released this summer.” Maybe, the book will explain Lee’s post: “Guitar players can be a good thing…(Deleting my story until the book comes out).”

‘Corps’ is ooh-la-la French, ‘Corp.’ is Dynasty

Not many DCA aficionados make this mistake. Typically, one spots it more as an eyesore on DCI posts by newbies, some vets. Folks, we’re “corps” (silent “s”), which works singular or plural.

Liz Duguay, LegalEagle50, caught me in Cozy Mistake #169, this year. Duguay correctly reminded me that 1994 was the year the Hurcs entered the Flavian Amphitheater with “Ben-Hur II” with sop soloist John Glynn. I must have been bushwhacked by a “Nightmare Before Christmas” lapse. The Roman Colosseum was begun by Vespasian, inaugurated by Titus in 80 A.D. and completed by Domitian.

While Googling for Pepe Notaro info above, my own ramblings came up first…Googling from another angle, I popped up again. What can this scribe say? I adore Notaro. Can someone recover the mold? Off to listen to Flight of the Bumblebee….

“I am Merlin who follows the Gleam.” ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

DCA in aught six promises to be the finest year ever in its resplendent annals. Buy your tickets for the Peanut Gallery at . The CorpsVets have tickets for sale for the DCA South Championships in Rockmart, GA, August 5, . Join it. Just flaunt it!

Posted by on Sunday, May 21st, 2006. Filed under DCA ... All-Age, All-Good!.