So Cozy …. How loud was it?

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As promised, our man Cozy Baker is back with his impressions of last week’s Loud Music Symposium at the San Francisco Bay Area’s Campbell Heritage Theater. This Renegades sponsored evening of decibel worshipers has apparently cast its spell upon another new disciple.

Drum Corps Associates member corps have thankfully managed to maintain individual identities. It’s a diverse group in philosophy of performance and appearance style. Beyond competition rulebook requirements, fans CAN tell our performers apart and find something new to like every twenty minutes, or so. Any performance by the San Francisco Renegades is a much anticipated happening.

Easy to picture Cozy squirming in his seat during his westbound flight. The chance to be evil, if only for a few days, appeals to all of us, more so to free spirits like Mr. Baker. Oh, to be clothed in black (and within steps of Mistress Kelli)!

Yours truly also had the pleasure of spending a weekend with the Renegades last summer in North Carolina. It really is bewitching. For me, joy was in discovering the people beneath the menacing dark glasses. Here’s a well-run organization of talented, fun-loving performers. Responsible, friendly folks having the time of their drum corps lives!

Good & Evil work well together. Our beloved Renegades prove it. Enjoy!

Cozy’s DCA Planet
by Cozy Baker

LOUD ‘Renegade for a day’…hmm, LA couple o’ days

"The triumph of music is enlightening to the ears." ~ Elaina Fierro, Reneguard

"Hay una fiesta en mi soprano corneo, y estas invitanda! ~ Cozyism

"It was a dark and dreary night" (sorry, Snoopy) as I drove by the Tara plantation to catch the zero-dark-thirty Ford tri-motor flight to "The City," San Francisco. Lee Rudnicki might shovel a lot of hype, but the LOUD Music Symposium, especially Number 7, was truly an event on April 30. Having missed the Chinese New Year’s Parade where Frank Ponzo, Grass, Frank "Ironlips" Dorritie, Kiltie Chester, et al., had such a blast, I had to get back to Mac McEntire, Renegades visuals genius, regarding a "second chance." If the parade is as much fun as LMS 7, then I must wear black and red for the Chinese New Year’s, then do the LAst tango at LMS LA, July 7.

After settling in with my hosts Mac and JoEllen McEntire, Mac, JoEllen and I took off for, where else, Mars, corpsdom’s Mecca. Cruising los caminos, we "vistaed" Mount Diablo, a prominent mountain which rules the horizon, a landmark for many drum corps nuts, having contributed to the name of a little drum & baton corps which morphed into none other than "Los Diablos de Azul" – The Blue Devils. At Mars, the various units of BD, whether A, B, or C, refine their talents. BD A pit was rehearsing while Pete Emmons, Troopers DM…Broadway…BD A corps manager/tour director…., was mowing ’em down.

Dorritie, Harris, Scott J., McFarland, Downey

Moving along to the BD A drill rehearsal, it was a veritable parade of Hall of Famers and significant other corpsdom contributors. "Ironlips" Dorritie, a hero to me – "He da’ man!", emerged from some cave beyond Mount Diablo, along with Wayne Harris, Kingsmen alumnus. Scott Johnson, BD percussion arranger/cap head and Renegades arranger, took the time to chat, much appreciated. Mac and JoEllen McEntire seem to know everyone, and they kept strutting by…

Jim McFarland, Renegades brass director, strolled through the gates. Thanks to McFarland and McEntire, I was being given the opportunity to step into the fighter pilot soprano line, and I did not want to be indign. I had heard much ado about McFarland, ex-BD who marched with McEntire. Jim’s stature is slim, but his talents are Buddhaesque in front of a horn line. In conversation, he remained humble. I was to be impressed at his rehearsal.
After viewing Wayne Downey "Himself" run a Blue Devils A horn arc, we went to the home by the old oak tree where I plopped on the same sofa where Emmons has napped so well. I lingered around the walls of the McEntire guest room, which is really one huge trophy case of memories.
McEntire: ‘No sniveling!’
Mac McEntire is one of the finest visual geniuses in all of drum corps. He marched Blue Devils along with Jim McFarland "elbow-to-elbow" as a champion. JoEllen spun in the BD trophy years.

Some of Mac and JoEllen McEntire’s resume (Corpsrep or Google to flag mostly champ years):
’76, ’77, & ’78 BD lead soprano. JoEllen, ’78, ’79 and ’81 BD guard
’79 BD, was my first year teaching….just a drum marching tech.
’80 Bayonne, visual consultant
’81 Bayonne, visual staff, (or in the Bridgemen’s theatrical terms of the day, "Technical Director")
’82 – ’85 Freelancers, visual technique head
’88, ’90, ’91, ’92 Madison Scouts, visual consultant
’93 Allegiance Elite, visual caption head, Canadian National Champions
’00 – ’04, Kilties all-age, visual caption head
Bright-eyed and evil-tailed, we 680ed the Sunday morn commute to Leigh HS, Exec. Director Chris Nalls’ band director school. Wandering around the parking lot warming up and stretching, I met lovely Kelley Houpt, snare, and Thom Shearer, instructor. Lani Pratt, Frenchie ooh-la-la horn, drove up. It must be the paradise of California – Everyone was so bouncy ‘n chummy. Munson Chan, mello and quartermaster, set me up with gloves; J.T. Tinoco, issued the black ("Yellow jackets?") long-coat.

Jim McFarland, Jedi maestro

Jim McFarland, brass guru, spread his mat, assuming his Yoga stretching positions. "Kewely" and calmly, McFarland has an ambiance all his own. His command radiates, permeates, not in a gruff barking manner. Donny Allen’s brusqueness works for the Rochester Crusaders; Gerry Kelsey’s, Empire and Kilties, and Guy Kammerer’s, former Mad Plaid, enthusiasm prevails; and David Henry’s, CorpsVets, entertaining genius percolates as well. "McFar" has his own unique style, like a Jedi maestro.
McFarland tweaked the "Stairway to Heaven" show charts. Jim said, "I want ffff, not fff, as written."
I penciled in an extra "f," then wrote "wbbb," an old Ohio State Jazz Band term (not for family viewing). Travler Garvey, Eric Boudreault, and other lead sopranos chuckled at my translation.
Pulling up cones and moseying to the Campbell Community Theatre, Mac and I arrived early so that Mac could visually check the "McEntire" situation. Mac belonged with his badge, which pleased the backstage police. I snatched Francesca DeMello’s badge from the rock star room, added my DCWorld press pass ID and chanted the Karma, "I belong." It was old home week to run into both Jeff DeMello, Renegades prez, and Francesca DeMello, photog extraordinaire. (But there’s usually been a dugout when I visit with them?!)

Snares ensnared, Romanian Sarah

Several superb groups were doing their sound checks. Some Renegades’ snares just had to woodshed more outside, including Kelley Houpt, led by Thom Shearer. Mellow Munson Chan was chowing comfortably, and I ran into Jim and Nanci, sop, McFarland sandwiched in the Subway.
McEntire taught us how to squeeze a Black Bart blustery pirate ship into a bottle; i.e., stuff large corps in black onto a seemingly miniscule stage. Next, we rang the rafters with a thrilling rehearsal sound check. (Note: Bartholomew Roberts, Black Bart, was perhaps the most successful pirate of the time, with the capture of over 400 ships and over 50 million pounds of loot.)

Off to a fundraiser meal at a local restaurant, I chowed with Mac and Doug Peterson and met Peterson’s wife, Deb Peterson, Reneguard, and BD B son. Lani Pratt, ooh-la-la Frenchie, flitted about, and I had a wonderful chat with Charlie Powell, ’04-’05

Heat Wave contra, who migrated to the Renegades.

Powell declared, "I wish I’d known about senior (all-age) corps sooner!"

Adorned in black, obligatory pics snapped, Lee Rudnicki, show coordinator and percolator potentate, made the proper introductions for me to Sarah Nash, a recent immigrant from exotic Romania. I camera-phoned Sarah ‘n Lee, Sarah…Sarah…Sarah, while we discussed international relations. Sarah hopes to enroll at the University of North Texas, where she’ll have international affairs with Tasteebros jazz majors.

Flipping hats, DCW scribe/sop/DCA visitor/sop/fan/sop, as rapidly as The Three Amigos tongue passages at DCA I&EMC, I scampered hither and yon to view performances and rejoin the patient "we-be-kewel" horns. I had time to get to know sops
Carol Smith (hope to see again), Tiffany Carrico, Nanci McFarland, Larrie Dastrup, Travler Garvey, J.T. Tinoco, James, et al.

Reneguard a la rosa roja

The horns were beckoned across the courtyard to a private showing by the Renegades colorful guard. Castanetting pulsations were Lisa Dryden, Deb Peterson, Andrea Tobin, Tiffany Mackey, current cg, Lesa Barker, retired, and Emily Mavroudis, staff, poster child in a proud Mav and Ed program ad; i.e., Christina Mavroudis-Dempsey, DCW staff, and Ed Dempsey, DCInternational marketing. Their captivating latin caliente choreography melted our collective los corazones.

‘From evil empires unknown….’

Tossing my ice mug aside, all shades set, we marched onto the stage like an angary, intent on no prisoners. The Toccata staccatos ack-acked brilliantly over the fan$ approving roar.

The drum soli was classic Adventures in Time. Each section had their twinkling under the spotlights, paradiddling in exquisite rapid-fire precision. DM James Barany truly exuded the dark side of the Force.

"I love being a ‘rock star!’" ~ Lisa Dryden

After the showdown, some of the Reneguard graciously socialized with McEntire and I. It was memorable to delve into the minds of Lisa Dryden, Elaina Fierro, Amy Wright, and USAF Capt. Al Yeh. All waxed poetically.

Amy Wright summed up the entire DCA philosophy, "The passion of performance does not know age or boundaries."

Elaina Fierro added, "Renegades – Relive the moment!"

Al Yeh simply stated, "Seven. LMS seven."

McEntire mysteriously wrote in my notepad, "S.Y.T.O."

Jim Nordin, Renegades "6th man" and SCV alumnus," commented on Dryden’s DCP photo, "Lisa – nice avatar!!!" (Avatar: A goddess coming to earth in human form?" My, my!)

Dastrup, Dugada, BD3BK2R2, JT, ContraRich77, drumlaw80

Larrie Dastrup, Renegades soprano soloist, pondered the season, "It (Renegades) will be a lot different than anything else that’s out there this year."

Doug Peterson, dugada, upper, upper sop and BD alumnus, posted, "Cozy, it was cool having you out with us. I noticed the plaid pinned on your uni and for a moment wondered what kind of corps would allow that? Then, I realized, the Renegades would! Dude…Hope to see you again sometime. Once a Renegade, always a renegade. Evil gets under your skin…Has anybody seen the dude’s glasses? Truly one of kind. "

Travler Garvey, BD3BK2R2, lead sop, BD/BK alumnus, opined, "Cozy was flying his Kiltie colors at LMS. It was awesome. That’s why I love senior corps. You get to march with different people from different corps. The season hasn’t started yet, and (I) have had the opportunity to perform with two Kilties already, and Mac (McEntire) doesn’t count."

Lee Rudnicki, Renegades legal marketing pooh-bah, summed up part of corpsdom, "The Kilties and Renegades have always gotten along well."

John "J.T." Tinoco, soprano/evil uniform guru, commented to me, "Well, CB, how did you enjoy your first evil experience? You seemed quite natural in the Black 🙂 Hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we enjoyed having you in the line. It was great meeting you, sir; hope to play in the same line with you again in the future – 7!"

Rich Skare, contra solo mio, dementedly demanded, "You want me to play what?!"

Post-LMS 7, Mac and I took a leisurely drive to Napa Valley where they grow some mighty fine Concord corps, uh, assorted grapes. Larrie Dastrup, Renegades and former BD sop soloist, had arranged a tour for us of the posh Opus One Winery. One bottle costs a couple of days pay, a month’s salary for a corps tech, but it is exquisite at the Robert Mondavi/Baron Philippe de Rothschild vineyards, . Dastrup, may your sop never dastardly shrink to half size. Graze!

LMS LA with ‘Gades, Dream, Kingsmen, Reneguard…SaraNYC

Lee Rudnicki, a founder of the Renegades’ anfractuous scaling of the DCA cliff, proudly proclaims that the Renegades will have their LOUDest, lewdest, uh, best attended LMS ever! Catch So Cal Dream and the Kingsmen Alumni, fresh from their June 24 debut. Grab these hot tickets ASAPly ahora, or from other performing units. Renegades DCI appearances: July 8, Mystikal Show, Newbury Park, CA; and July 9, Bellflower, CA. Bring your EarAmps!

Sam Signorelli, 84Bdsop, Dream sop/DM, regarding the afterburner noise, suggested, "Maybe you should have the audience sign a "hold harmless" release, too…."

"Fais-moi l’amour." That’s what I say whenever I hear heart-pounding robust fusion. LMS 7 and LMS LA are two showcases of a delectable "really big shuuue." (Apologies to Ed Sullivan, namesake of the theatre where Al Chez, Bushwackers consultant, wails for "The Late Show.")

Sara L. Julian, SaraNYC, Bridgemen alumna, Skyliners alumna, and Renegade wannabe, revealed, "I heard a rumor that I might be there. Maybe." Yep, Julian is flying in, to which: Mike Braga, Tansea, ’73-’75 SCV, ’76-’78 Kingsmen, ’04 SCV TOR, exploded, "Oh, no way!!!! Awesome!!!!!

Having a rare off-weekend, I’ve booked a Boeing! jet to LA-LA land to be "Renegade for a Day" ditto. I’ll have to camp out on Venice Beach to save on my DCW, DCA and DCP per diem.

To JoEllen and Mac McEntire: I can’t express in my limited vocabulary how much I appreciate the warmth of your home. My concepts were flipped from backwards to straightforward in your trophy room. To Jim McFarland: You’ve inspired me to ping the soprano on all three cylinders. To the entire Renegade family: Evil rules! ~ 7!

Subscribe to DCWorld,
for more way cozier news of the Renegades and Blue Devils on Mars, in the June 2 edition, including Wayne Downey "Mother Goosing" the horn line until 2302 military time.

Click your heels into for more evil, a cozier slant on letting the good times roll-step, including a review of performing units at LMS 7, and Lee Rudnicki’s blog.

Posted by on Saturday, May 6th, 2006. Filed under DCA ... All-Age, All-Good!.