By the Time I Get to Rochester ….

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Actually, Glen Campbell’s lyrics fit my situation very well. I’ll be on my way soon for six solid days of another love, this thing called drum corps. My wife, Chris, will see my note when she rises but, unlike Glen, I’ll be returning to her after all.

The time has come, DCA marketing for 2006 is almost over, yet the PR part of my responsibilities continue on. Just hoping I don’t need to improve public relations too much in the Empire State! The DCA Championships presented by A.J. Wright is a huge undertaking and there will be a few rough edges but, be assured, Allen Buell and his team are ready to smooth it all out and send folks home satisfied.

Forty-four corps of all shapes and sizes are about to converge on Rochester for one final, season-ending blast to the delight of thousands of fans, most using DCA Weekend as a kind of class reunion. Can’t wait to see so many friends from the past. Just hoping I’ll recognize them, as hair color does change, or leave the building altogether!

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to this effort, especially my new friend, Cozy Baker. As you have read, Cozy is opening his own space, an expanded DCP column covering the entire drum corps activity. We wish him well, and appreciate John Donovan’s judge of talent. Cozy’s Corpsdom is sure to be a hit.

By the way, Cozy’s leaving early for Rochester, too. I’m sure we’ll hear all about it!

Cozy’s DCA Planet
by Cozy Baker

The summer caravan espies Paradiso Nuevo, the Rachacha cha-cha oasis!

The uni is hanging. I have visual wiggles to practice. My soprano is handy. The dog-eared dot book is packed. Clothes need to be Tided…again. The lawn needs another buzz cut. My e-mail and cell phone are maxing out. Folks, fan$, DCAssociates Rochester is almost upon us. I’m flexing my fingers to type DCPlanet Live Updates along with a talented tangible crew while performances ensue at PAETEC Park Labor Day weekend.

DCA Dixie, DCA Corn Belt, DCA Left Coast – Who would have "thunk" it? Each of these regions has grown and will roll into Rochester ready to challenge the Northeast domination. Realistically, it will be tough to buck the Buccs, strike back at Empire, whack Bush or out-latin the Cabs. I do predict this – This is truly the most competitive DCA Championships we’ve ever had. The middle of the pack will fight to find alpha dawg. The colossal rugby match on the skyline for that treasured 10th place, will determine who wears the pants…or doesn’t.

Few corps are left in stealth mode now. Minnesota Brass has a complete package led by Brent Turner. The Brigadiers, Hurricanes, Gold et al. have all improved dramatically. The crowd will love Music City Legend, Frontier and more. CorpsVets have a Vegas show that will increase winnings, weddings and Elvis sightings.

Class A may be the cream of the corps. Heat Wave has had a temporary chill, but stalwarts and newbies have put on spikes rather than Dinkles to fight it out. SoCal Dream, with Director Seth Gambetti, DM Bob Briggs, Mike "Darkman" Nash and Mike Plachta, is not dozing. Jeff Pastor’s Alliance was tight and took Class A South when I viewed them August 5 at the CorpsVets’ hosted DCA South Championships in Rockmart, GA. The Govies and Chops are as fantastic as ever. The White Sabers are scoring well. The Lakeshoremen are strong again. It’s going to be the best Class A ever…I sure miss Heat Wave though.

Mathew Kilanowski, CallipygianKing, Chops mello, thanks for starting the popular "DCA Standings" thread. With limited time lately, I’ve still checked into the latest standings when I can.

Fran Haring will eradicate the Hawaiian real estate boom while we shade our eyes when viewing Fran at the DCA mike.

I&EMC, the Times Square of corpsdom

The Individual & Ensemble/Minicorps party…uh, competition, has had so many RSVPs returned for reservations that all of us will need a beer or sarsaparilla when we visit the raucous Clarion or other hotels later. Dick Pronti and Barbara Haring, I&EMC co-coordinators, have made Donna Ernst proud. My free-floating status has been changed back to announcing a horn venue. I’m calling your name three times and moving on. Be there. Be brassy, flamming, spinning or me-me-meing vs. the CorpsVets choir and more.

The only excuse for missing the action for a few minutes would be to enjoy the fragrant delicacies in Rochester. If I’m awol, I may still be out looking for the missing Wubs or a dugout.

I&EMC has grown and morphed. The August 19 deadline to enter has passed. In 1996, with more lax rules, I was approached by a gentleman, who asked if he could still enter the Contra Individuals that was about to begin. He entered, went on first…Won. Winning minicorps or horn ensemble once was done with a beer in hand while running through the music in the parking lot at I&EMC. The Erie Thunderbirds changed that. Now it takes many hours of scratching your head over ASCAP, uh, rehearsals to win bragging rights.

Anyone play a horn? Bring it to I&EMC, jump in at the end after the Minicorps champ is announced to experience the thrill of playing "Auld Lang Syne." I loved the patriotic number last year, but we need "Syne." It’s a win-win. We’ll play "Battle Hymn" to warm up the audience, then hit ’em with a Kenny Norman-conducted, hopefully, Gerry Kelsey-conducted also (both ’06 World DC Hall of Fame inductees) "Syne." Ritchee Price, ’06 HoF – Have your horn there, please. Everyone from Joey Pero, Frank Ponzo and Roger Grupp to all fan$ are invited to join in.

Ace Holleran to emcee the Alumni Spectacular

The Alumni Spectacular will be another superb event. The Yellowjackets will be upon us – Bridgemen, baby! Add that to the cast of Cabs Alumni, St. Joe’s, Sky Alumni, Scout House, Park City Pride, Boston Crusaders Sr., Erie Thunderbirds and Yankee Rebels. Ace Holleran will pull his announcements and historical additions from his sleeve. BMW convertibles are banned from sliding into homeplate…uh, driving onto the soccer field.

News from "2005 was the largest DCA Championship ever in terms of number of competing corps. It should be a great year (2006) for corps and fans alike!"

If you enjoy your DCA Championships week, there are many to thank. Allen Buell, Empire Statesmen business manager, serves as the local host. After working closely with Steve Vickers, DCWorld publisher, who has done the same task for the DCInternational Madison Championships years, I know that Buell has had his tux sullied numerous times trying to handle such a gargantuan assignment. Thanks to Dave Bruni, Empire boss and drum major, and many other Empire folks.

Gil Silva, Larry Hershman, Fred Windish, Glen Johnson, Red Corso, Dan Rippon, Dick Eschenmann and more have worked hard to make this a memorable week. Ms. Silva will be busy in the VIP suites helping to host and toast the fan$, from bigwigs to cozy laptoppers. Tom Peashey will actively contribute. I expect to see Paul Chaffee, Ace Holleran, two former Matador volunteers, William Aldrich-Thorpe, Steve Masters et al., working behind the scenes to make Rachacha cha-cha.

The DCA staff includes:
– Gil Silva – President
– Larry Hershman – Vice President
– Glen Johnson- Secretary
– Michael Corso – Treasurer
– Dan Rippon – Asst. Treasurer
– Dick Eschenmann – Business Manager
– Fred Windish – Public Relations Director
– Rich Templin – Judging Coordinator
– Dick Pronti / Barbara Haring – I&E Coordinators
– Jim Minster – Class A Coordinator
– Vic Kulinski – DCA South Coordinator
– Amber Roeker – DCA Central Coordinator

DCWorld and DCPlanet will both have a strong presence at the Labor Day weekend Rachacha championships. DCW will be distributing free newspapers – Yep, freebies. Subscribe at, and get a free CD by High Brass. Catch Ace Holleran’s DCA Finals report.

Kevin Gamin, DCP Managing News Editor; Tom Peashey, 2006 World DC Hall of Fame inductee and former DCA marketing guru, Todd Tanji – He’s some BoD prez but I’m more impressed with his high brass skills with Minne-Brass; and a cozy cast will reach through keyboards to keep DCPers abreast of on-field action. It’s not DCI Quarterfinals in theatres near you, but the pop and popcorn prices are much cheaper. Enjoy some snacks for me.

John Donovan, DCP Grand Pooh-bah, himself will be there. JohnD will be the one with the beaming smile.

I’ve left a hermetically sealed Web envelope with JohnD, bristling with my predictions for the winning corps for the new Pepe Notaro People’s Favorite awards for all four captions, one competitive and three alumni. I’m also predicting what corps will win the Showmanship award. I just don’t know what section or person will win it.

Gulf Coast Sound suffer from pirates

Dena Anderson, Gulf Coast Sound viz tech and CorpsVets – mello (2001 – 2005), explained when I asked about a recent theft, "Here is what happened to the GCS crew on the trip to Rockmart.

"GCS rehearses at and houses their equipment at (a church) in Houston. Sometime within the 2 hours prior to us loading and leaving for Rockmart on Friday 8/4 at 7 pm, the trailer was broken into and 2 snares, a xylophone and miscellaneous percussion pit equipment were stolen.

"So, I called my boyfriend Andy Smith (CV Snare 1999-2005) and asked him if, while we were on the bus heading over there, could he contact Greg Teems (band director host and CV DM), Dave Stollberg (CV exec. dir.), et al., and see if we can procure some equipment to get us through practice and the performance the next day. Of course, they helped out and GCS is very grateful. We’re still scouring the pawn shops for the missing equipment, and this really hurts GCS as we prepare for Rochester…nothing to practice on, and we still have to find someone in Rochester that can let us borrow some equipment to use while we’re there. It’s hard to replace something like that so late in the season. GCS has a new trailer and brand new uniforms this season; so, money to replace a xylophone is very scarce."

Anderson continued, "Anyhow – sorry I didn’t get to meet you in Rockmart. I was hoping to. It was a busy day. Things with GCS are going great, as we hope to do well in a VERY competitive Class A competition in Rochester. This is by far the best corps GCS has fielded, and the whole group has worked hard and is very stoked about their upcoming performances.

"Thanks for your kind words."

Drum corps stick together. Kudos to all corps who assisted and will assist Gulf Coast Sound in Rochester.

Renegades plan evil adventures in Rachacha

Mac McEntire, Renegades viz maestro, gossiped about the Renegades who are practicing hard in August sans any DCA scores, "Mmmm, well, the Renegades…while hiding out on the West Coast have emerged as brand new drum corps, having fully left behind our slow start, and are now running at Warp 7. The last three camps have seen us return to the performance level of last year, and this weekend we are poised to surpass that."

McEntire enthusiastically revealed more, "’Adventures in Time’ has become something even Stan Kenton (no stranger to drum corps in his day) would be proud of. Be sure to check out the sophisticated visual story line of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ now and the subtle new ending. And make sure not to miss the new surprise ending of the show. It will take you by surprise.

"Yes, folks, the Renegades are preparing for the annual invasion of the East, as ready and as hungry as ever. And oh, by the way, we are still really LOUD!"

McEntire reminded me that Jim McFarland, Renegades brass caption head and Blue Devils instructor, has applied his Zen touch to the brass and "has the horn line at a new level of performance, one worthy of competing for the horn title."

Allen, Allen, Murray, Ream, Gruber, Katz, Hy and more

At DCI Madison, on Quarterfinals day, Donny Allen magically appeared on souvie alley…Never saw him again. Alan Murray, Dynasty VP, was socializing with folks at their booth before Quarterfinals…Never saw him again either.

Tom Allen – Welcome back to DCP. You da’ bomb! Jeff Ream needs more competition if Ream will ever give the rest of us a chance to post. Ream won’t venture beyond his safe predictions.

Reviewing some DCA marketing from back in the winter, I found, "Jim Gruber of the Reading Buccaneers was voted Director of the Year for 2005. This award is decided by closed ballot of the directors of all the member corps." Gruber is my kind of drum corps person. This same man, who led the Buccs to another championship last year and is commanding the top this summer, was recently noted on DCP as going out marking yard lines to help the corps. Is Gruber unusual? Not at all. Thankfully, many in corps pitch in, no matter what the slotting in corpsdom’s hierarchy.

Here are some memorable and thoughtful quotes:

Alan Katz, Caballeros business manager, talking about late-season tweaks, "We have two sleeves and something up both of them."

Steve "Hairbear" Masters, former Cincinnati Tradition, Steel City, Brigs, Westshore, Kilties, etc.: "All non-Northeastern corps owe a debt of gratitude to Minnesota (Brass) for all those years, for beating on that door" (DCA door).

"In 2006, I plan to announce some shows in G and others in Bb, just to see if I can notice a difference." ~ Fran Haring, drum corps announcer

Hy Drietzer said (for the record): "’You can put as many valves on it as you want. Just keep it in G. That’s what gives DRUM CORPS its distinctive sound’ (not to mention musical personality). Very sad that the "activity" chose not to listen to its greatest "music writer" ever." ~ Elphaba

"Last year (2005), it was Cabs, Bush, Bucs, MBI and Crusaders that were Bb. I don’t expect Brigs to go to Bb this year, or Empire, and especially not the Renegades. But 5 of the top 12 corps did play Bb horns last year." ~ Donny Allen

"Yes, Gold bought the Crusaders G brass last year (2005). And with my friend Chris Bernatos arranging it, I am sure it will be very cool." ~ Donny Allen

"Lakeshoremen are also Bb." ~ Paul Kozlowski

CorpsVets are G.

See y’all in Rachacha in 2006 and 2007! Please say "Howdy!" in any key to Fred Windish, John Donovan and me. If you have a memorable time, let boss Gil Silva know.


Posted by on Thursday, August 24th, 2006. Filed under DCA ... All-Age, All-Good!.