Cozy’s Cruise’n

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We’re coming down the home stretch with this DCA season. There’s about a month to go, and so far the Reading Buccaneers have made it clear " We’re still the champs, and it’s for you to prove otherwise." Well . . . . it looks like at least four other corps are determined to provide that proof!

As usual, DCA corps are building to the Grand Finale. Everyone is getting better. Shows are being perfected and audiences are expressing their pleasure. This one will be interesting. There’s plenty of talent at the top end, and lots of entertainment throughout the rest. If you haven’t made plans for Rochester, do it now! It’s a great city, a wonderful venue and probably one of the best drum corps weekends you’ll ever have!

For me, it’s all about Saturday’s DCA Prelims. Here’s a chance to see EVERY corps, plus the battle for Sunday position. There is a certain intensity about Prelims. You can feel it. But, let’s not forget about the remaining August shows. Did you know, average score this month will determine the performance order for the all-important Prelims? That’s right . . it’s crunch time!

The season seems so short, and it really is compared to years ago. Maybe that will change. There was a time when the DCA Championship was held in mid September. I can recall the year in Bridgeport, CT. It was a cool night, and the crowd was so large, corps alternated playing to both sides of the field. Strange, but true.

On the DCI side, Allentown’s this weekend and then, right into Madison for championships. Whoa! Didn’t we just enjoy the Classic Countdown in theaters? The current DCA Champion Buccaneers will perform an exhibition to open the Saturday Allentown show, and hopefully, many will admit "Hey, these all-agers are pretty good!"

Our resident vagabond, Cozy Baker, has been all over the place this summer as member of the CorpsVets and stand-in with several other groups. He should write a book. That book will likely be heavy. Here’s Cozy’s latest installment.


Cozy’s DCA Planet
by Cozy Baker

The cozy trek pitter-patters on to Arnold, Troy, Georgia Dome, Rockmart, Madison, ‘Rachacha’

DCA aught six is the most fun one can have with clothes on, even in Fran Haring’s Hawaiian shirts, or in a uni. The all-age corps have surged from Arnold, MD, to Racine, WI, to Newbury Park and Bellflower, CA, to Rockmart, GA, to Houston, Binghamton, NY, to Waterbury, CT, St. Peter, MN and beyond. Houston? Only Dean Martin, Gulf Coast Sound, Frontier, maybe Bayou City Blues, would have "thunk" it.

Dick Pronti and Barbara Haring, DCA Individual & Ensemble/Minicorps co-coordinators, are doing a fantastic duty to keep the I&EMC at the forefront on DCPlanet. Snare drummers like Scott Smith, Shenandoah Sound; Chris Perna, Brigadiers percussion cap head; some guy named Lee Rudnicki, Renegades "July 7" billboards across California guru; Ace Holleran are pondering…; color guard entries; brass ensembles and more are entering before the August 19 deadline. (Entries must be in DCA’s hands by August 19. One can e-mail Barbara Haring at haringiande [at] comcast [dot] net . For rules questions, ask Dick Pronti, Rap48 [at] aol [dot] com .)

According to Mike B’s unofficial list, minicorps champs like the Erie Thunderbirds, Ghostriders, Mass Brass, MBI (defending champs) and Renegades will be joined by Star United, Shenandoah Sound, Heat Wave and SoCal Dream. Prime Time Brass – Are you primed?

Pronti revealed, "Remember, only two more weeks to sign up. Barbara said they are starting to pour in."

Pronti shared, "I met with the people at the Convention Center today. They are planning a real block party out and around the Center. It should be great; beverages will be allowed. From a spectator’s standpoint, it can’t be better. Main Street will be blocked off between the Clarion and the Convention Center."

Pronti added, "This stadium is great. People will be confused because it’s a new city, but facilities are great. Because of the new city, I think, people aren’t sure of travel arrangements, but it will be good." (Rochester has hosted the DCA Championships nine times since DCA’s inception in 1965, initially won by the Buccaneers, but has not held the Labor Day festivities since 1996. The new Paetec Stadium will work much better than Frontier Stadium, and you can hold this journalist to that.) Snatch your tickets now at .

Pronti summed up the DCA Championships in Rochester with, "The best I&E venues we’ve ever had, both for competitors and fans."

Say "hi" to Paul Chaffee, Fran Haring, Steve "Hairbear" Masters, myself and others as we "free float" around the two buildings of the I&EMC venues. We’ll be checking out the ever-increasing entries Barbara Haring is gathering, like the defending champion CorpsVets chorus with Greg Teems, Jonathan Thomas, Andrew Brown, et al.; Lee Rudnicki, Renegades snare; Anthrax Ripple, eclectic ensemble; Sam Signorelli, SoCal Dream sop; and a cast of hundreds. El Guapo – Are you in? We need our kilted sombrero fix.

I’ve seen a few drum corps stadiums in my time. According to Carla Morris, Spirit show host, I’ve seen many since Eve tempted Adam with an apple. Take this one to the bank: I have high hopes for the new soccer stadium, Paetec Park. It is so much better than most any other stadium, I believe. Allen Buell and Dave Bruni, Empire Statesmen boss and drum major, and their energetic crew have done an excellent job of establishing a memorable championship site.

The Rochester Convention Center area, along Main Street from the Clarion Hotel to the Convention Center, will be one pulsating street party, una la fiesta tiempo. Frontier Stadium in 1996 left a bit to be desired, seen from afar, but the ’96 I&EMC was a hit in Rochester that year. That will hold true in aught six. Want a comparison: Think Allentown street party.

Rudnicki dates ‘Shirley’ in I&E Snare Individuals

Only Pooh-bah Rudnicki would pooh-pooh this advance apology: "I hereby formally apologize in advance to DCA, Drum Corps International, WGI, the Percussive Arts Society, The National Association of Rudimental Drummers, the FCC, Vic Firth, Dynasty, Pearl, Zildjian, Drum Corps World, Drum Corps Planet, the City of Rochester, Hasell Harr, Ryan "outta-step-outta-mind" Cox, the Crossmen, Santa Clara Vanguard, the Cadets, all drum corps fans, every drum instructor I have ever had, the citizens of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Paris Hilton, Jeff Ream, Cozy Baker, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, my parents, the makers of Advil, and the Russians … for what I am about to do to Snare Individuals at DCA 2006. Please direct any and all complaints you may have in advance to my agent for I&E solos, Chris Nalls."

From 7 to 2 to 7 to 5 to 6 evil snares

You read it here. Lee Rudnicki, Renegades show coordinator and percussion cap head/co-arranger, just shared with me, "Hey Cozy – We have six snare drummers, with our center snare being Scott Kubitz, who marched Blue Devils. Despite the chaos of the winter, this is the best drum line we have ever put on the field, and will be so at DCA (you can promise that in print). Jerry Stewart is in the snare line, and (has) marched Renegades (every year) (after originally marching River City Regiment in Season 1.0 in 2003). He joined Renegades this year (and left RCR staff) at my invitation."

Rudnicki continued, listing all the snares, one of the top gossip items on DCP and in DCA circles, "Scott Kubitz (BD), Kelley Houpt (BD), Lee Rudnicki (former center snare for SCV), Jerry Stewart (Freelancers), B.J. Rambo (Spirit of Atlanta (CorpsVets)), David Guzman (Chick Corea)."

Regarding the brass, Rudnicki added, "Since we just filled the holes, we have the same amount of horns as last year."

Larrie Dastrup (on Efer), Greg Potter, Tiffany Carrico, Eric Boubreault, James Jackson, Rich Dorritie, et al.
Cozy-Phone photo courtesy of the author

CorpsVets and Renegades double up on DCP’s Gamin in Doubletree Hotel

Renegades and CorpsVets in the same hotel?! Allen Buell, you sly devil – Buell, Empire Statesmen business manager, or some other evil person, put the CorpsVets and Renegades in the same structure. Talk about party time. The San AndRenegades Fault has fissured to Rachacha and joined the mile-wide scorching of the Atlanta ‘Vets. I’ve driven miles to get to Renegades parties in the past. Now, I can merely walk down the hall to two of the best parties in all of DCA.

"Mayor" Tony Signorelli, Renegades bari, and Lesa Barker, Santa Clara Vanguard "developer" and former Reneguard, will run hotel security. Steve Signorelli, sop, and Tony’s son, will take names. Watch Barker. Lesa develops you when you don’t even notice.

Jennifer Gregory, CorpsVets, may have posted the truest statement with, "Oh, good god!!! The place will be leveled."

Tom Peashey pondered, "Who approved that?"

Lisa Dryden, Reneguard and former CorpsVets, might have posted an even truer statement, "Sure is going to be crowded there though."

Stu, Guard Diva, Reneguard, said, "That would be SOOOO awesome if Renegades and CorpsVets were at the same hotel."

DCP’s very own personality, Kevin Gamin, DCP News Managing Editor, former Empire Statesmen and Glassmen, posted, "My wife and I will be at the Doubletree."

Gamin opened a can of hams by posting, "So, Renegades, CorpsVets, other DCA fans, AND myself are all staying at the Doubletree Hotel in Rochester for DCA Championships. I’ll have my voice recorder with me. I’d love to get some interviews of members and fans for Box Center. Talk to me. I’ll make ya’ famous(er). Or infamous(er)."

Patrick Elmenthaler, ‘Vets contra, former Glassmen, stated to Gamin, "Given that we marched together so many years ago, and I am involved with CV, and we will be in the same hotel, and I have not seen you since banquet in ’95…I will be more than happy to spend some time chatting with you."

John Zaragosa, CorpsVets sop, sagely replied, "Be careful what you wish for."

I expect that Daniel Sheets, CV sop, now an experienced man of 14, will somehow get himself interviewed. Sheets has a way of showing up at those opportune moments. His father, Jerald Sheets, sop soloist, just can’t control Short Sheets.

Dannah "Princess Leia" Griffith, CV sop, will be busy taking in her first season in corpsdom in the Doubletree, I&EMC and Paetec Park. Gamin should interview her highness when he’s not interviewing Mistress Kelli.

I’d go off into a quiet corner with Mac McEntire, Renegades visual guru, his wife, JoEllen, Jim McFarland, Renegades brass caption head, or his wife, Nanci, sop, but they only call me when they are at the beach to rub it in. My objective is to be paid off in ones but continue partying at the Doubletree.

The CorpsVets and Renegades have a mutual connection. Many in the CorpsVets are Spirit of Atlanta alumni, who performed under Jim Ott, DCI Hall of Fame horn arranger. When all participants, including Jim McFarland, Renegades brass cap head, were correctly reminded of the reverence for "Georgia" at the ’05 DCA Winston-Salem, NC, contest, it was a bit of "preaching to the choir." What some didn’t know is that Jim McFarland, Mac McEntire, and more played under Jim Ott, Blue Devils brass staff. Corpsdom is a small world.

McFarland, by phone, further explained, "Jim Ott told me to play with the desire and passion. He transcended the norm. "Georgia" is like one of the pieces that everyone in drum corps knows. I sat down with our horn line and explained what "Georgia" means, what it meant to Jim Ott, and how important it is.

"You have to be willing to lose yourself in it. You have to have the commitment. Then the desire to play with the passion. Jim had a way of bringing out the passion. Then the passion takes over. When passion kicks in, Game Over. (In Winston-Salem during the mass corps performance of "Georgia"), you heard it in the CorpsVets horn line. There were at least two horn lines there who truly understood the significance. Jim would have stood in the middle of it and said, ‘Yeah!’"

McFarland went on about Ott, "He knew how to write and how to bring it out of us. There’s nothing I can say negative about Jim Ott. When he left Blue Devils for Spirit and we’d see them, we’d ask to hear the horn line, and Jim would play "Georgia," and we’d love it."

SoCal Dream, Kilties, Chops, Govies, MBI, Empire, Hurcs…Please have a great time. Join the festivities.

Dick Pronti spoke of snacks and beverages available by the Doubletree Hotel, "By the way, ‘Vets (and Renegades) are in a great hotel. The location is super for you. Krispy Kreme is across the street; the manager was my tenant for a long time, behind that is a liquor store with great prices – Market Place Liquors, plaza behind Krispy Kreme. (At Krispy Kreme), go over and ask for Vicki. She will work deals for the corps. I have put her in contact with Gold; they are making a deal…All kinds of restaurants in walking distance. (Renegades and CorpsVets) are within a mile and 1/2 probably of the biggest shopping plaza in Rochester. If you want the corps to cool off, take them shopping; it’s all air-conditioned."

Kilties at Clarion, Gold and Erie T’birds in Hampton, Holiday Inn Airport Dreams

Kilties fan$ should take up mellow J. C. Casper’s offer, "Stop over to the Clarion Riverside. That’s where the Kilties are staying. The Clarion is in the center of downtown Rochester, connected to the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. You guys will be in the neighborhood for I&E/ Minicorps at the convention center on Friday night anyway."

"Gold is about a mile away (at the) Hampton," Pronti added, as are the Erie Thunderbirds.

Mike Nash, SoCal Dream drum major, posted, "SoCal Dream will be at the Holiday Inn Airport." I highly suggest that folks get to know Director Seth Gambetty’s corps. Bob Briggs, drum major/sop soloist; Sam Signorelli, sop soloist; Dan and Mary Wolford, romantic sop duet; Michael Plachta, sop and former Guelph Royalaires; and many more will soon find out what today’s DCA is all about. I invite all to introduce yourself to these fine folks. I also hope to run into a few visitors from Director Tracy Freeman’s River City Regiment. Any of RCR coming? Glenn Disney, brass arranger?

Thom Willet, brass cap head, will miss Rochester as his wife is expecting. Willet, you need to schedule the stork better. There’s no baby delivery on Labor Day weekend in DCA.

Who else is at the Hampton? Who’s at the Market Place Motel? Both are near the Doubletree. There is a busy thread on DCP asking folks to list their lodging in Rachacha, with posts like: "Frontier is staying in two adjacent hotels, Residence Inn Rochester West/Greece and Courtyard Rochester West/Greece. – Chops at the Best Western Marketplace. – Crowne Plaza downtown for the missus and me. (Fran and Barbara Haring) as well as most of the Cabs Alumni."

Jeff Ream is in "a hotel." Tom Peashey is relaxing with his daughter and wisely avoiding the Bacchanalian bashes. Liz Duguay is homeless? and wondering where’s she’s staying – "I have no idea where I’m staying. I hope I find out soon." For Pete’s sake, George! Others of us are partying in various hotels and motels. Post your digs if you wish. DCP is awesome. Once, one had to be in the know to find corps lodging.

Hans Kloppert and Jubal are jubilant European all-agers

At the DCInternational Atlanta Georgia Dome Regionals, I was talking to John Zaragosa, CorpsVets sop and former Steel City Ambassadors, when Hans Kloppert, Jubal director and ancient oldest member on sop, snuck up. Kloppert brings Jubal from the Netherlands on an American tour every few years. Jubal put on a heart-warming show in the Georgia Dome. Kloppert, DCWorld photographer, has also assisted the Blue Devils video efforts at DCI Championships. Kloppert invited me to play with Jubal sometime, but I don’t know the key of Dutch. From scuba trips I led, I do speak some Papiamento, the native language of the ABC Islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Mi ta bon, danki – I am fine, thank you.

Thanks to Dan Acheson, DCI executive director, Ed Dempsey, marketing, Sue Kuehnhold, Jeff Cox, who handles the huge housing headaches, et al. for giving the CorpsVets, a DCA all-age corps, the chance to perform before a large, hometown crowd.

Alliance recruits at the Georgia Dome show

Alliance was swamped at the Georgia Dome answering questions by prospective members. Jeff Pastor, director, Terry Reilly, CEO and Shirley Smith, COO, were enthusiastic about the contacts they made. Many Rockmart, GA, ticket holders are abuzz about seeing Alliance, Gulf Coast Sound, Jackson Generals, CorpsVets and more at the DCA South Championships this Saturday. Buy your tickets at .

Thanks to DCI’s senior Web developer Ricky Fritzsching for seeing that the Atlanta CorpsVets were restored to the archives of the DCI Season Pass streaming that fan$ enjoyed so much during the DCI Atlanta Georgia Dome Regionals. Thanks to fan$ for requesting to see the CorpsVets.

I stood at the elevator to the Georgia Dome press box once but opted to return to the front sidelines, my fave spot. Later, at Hans Kloppert’s urging, I ventured into the VIP world. There, I chatted with Dan Acheson, DCI executive director; Michael Boo, DCI writer; and spoke with Jimmy Steele, Crossmen brass cap head; and Al Chez, Crossmen and Bush brass staff and a trumpeter on the Dave Letterman "Late Show."

VK DM Ryan Turner, MBI Minicorps, Jeremy Thompson to be in Madison

Ryan Turner will be the guy you see in prime seats at DCI Madison, probably drawing drill while observing the juniors. Turner just made reservations to haul a wardrobe of Hawaiian duds thanks to a prod by JohnD, some DCP honcho. Turner, the Left Coast Fran Haring, may snatch the mike away from Brandt Crocker. Turner writes drill for many units including SoCal Dream.

Catch the Minnesota Brass, Inc., Minicorps next Friday and Saturday night in Madison. I understand MBI will be performing at the gate entry area. Check for details.

Jeremy Thompson, recent CorpsVets field brass visual staff, has been on tour staffing Revolution. It will be wonderful to reconnect in Madison with Thompson who aged out with a ring with Lucas Kammerer, Madison Scouts member and Kilties viz staff, and 133 others plus in the 2003 Blue Devils.

I’ve been invited by some Friends of DCI to mix and mingle in Madison. Do I have to wear shoes to these shindigs? It’s a fair question, especially if you’d seen me after the CorpsVets performed at Spirit’s Jax State show. I also look forward to DCWorld’s annual bash, hosted by owner/publisher Steve Vickers, who met Brandt Crocker when Vickers was hired as the DCW editor in 1973.

Eschenmann and Minster roll back the Arnold storm clouds

Dick Eschenmann, DCA business manager, and Jim Minster, DCA Class A rep and judge, both did a phenomenal job of waiting out the severe thunderstorm at the Arnold, MD, show July 22. Thanks to Eschenmann and Minster for eventually letting the show go on. For numbers crunchers, just add up the miles that each corps racked up to make the show. Add the extra miles that Mon Valley Express required to shuttle their members to rehearsal then to the show after their bus blew a tire. Director Jeff Danchik even had to return the next week to retrieve the bus.

Shenandoah Sound, the Glen Burnie HS Band Boosters et al. had put in so much work to make the Arnold show happen, even enticing the U.S. Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps to join the festivities. It was a memorable show.

Jeff Weir directs the Naval Academy D&BC

Atlanta CorpsVets Executive Director Dr. Dave Stollberg, once a U.S. Naval Academy faculty member, arranged for the CorpsVets to tour the campus and check the excellent food and shopping in Annapolis. For James Wolter, center snare and USNA graduate, this Naval Aviation vet, Larry Rouse, sop, John Hoekstra, sop, and many more, the chance to see John Paul Jones’ crypt, to see the plebes march across the grounds and to espy the largest dormitory in America was a highlight of the Arnold trip.

Jeff Weir, USNA Drum & Bugle Corps director, gave me a wonderful tour of the campus. Weir’s drum corps provides the halftime entertainment for the Naval Academy’s football games and travels extensively. With over 400 musical members when the upper classes arrive, the summer session had 115 in June, which has "DOAed" (Dropped on Request) to 110. While Weir and I walked out of the Jones’ tomb building, we watched as a squad marched by with jody calls. The jody calls were not so politically correct in my days of Marine Drill Instructor boot camp. Weir spotted a couple of his battery percussion members. My feelings of patriotism and liberty, always honed and at my forefront, were recharged thanks to Jeff Weir and my USNA tour.

The Lewisburg show review thread includes in its title "uncensored." To those who have asked where I’ve "gone" (DCP-wise) – The Arnold review, also on July 22, a show featuring the patriotic USMC D&BC, has been censored after it went off into a far more important subject than a mere review, Freedom of Speech. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, my mother, father, grandparents, Laura Reynolds and William Shakespeare, not Benedict Arnold, all rolled over in their graves over the irony of the Arnold review fading away because it wandered off-topic into civil liberties…Let’s talk about…Fan$:

Annie and Bob Sullivan, super fan$

Arriving at the DCInternational Troy, AL, show July 25, I sat with Bob and Annie Sullivan, super fan$. It was a pleasure to see the Sullivans. Bob and Annie showed up on July 29 to see the CorpsVets and all the DCI corps at the Georgia Dome.

Donny and Timmy Allen appeared like Magic

When Magic was setting up at the Troy, AL, show, Bob Sullivan and I both spotted Donny Allen, the Rochester Crusaders brass arranger, ’94 DCA Showmanship winner with the Empire Statesmen, and Hall of Fame. When Donny pointed out his tall son, I flipped out. How time flies. I expect to be hearing a lot about Timmy Allen in just a few years. Keith Hall, Gary Winkleman, Tommy Allen, and others will be so proud.

I expected to see and spoke with Jimmy Steele, Crossmen brass caption head, former Empire Statesmen mello and DCA I&E solo champ. Steele and Allen know how to crank out horn lines that are prime brass.

Every time I speak with Vic Kulinski, Jr., DCA South rep, CorpsVets snare tech, I want to hear more about the latest Bridgemen Alumni experience. If only I could figure out how to clone myself in yellow. I’m a Bridgemen at heart. Big Lou, Liz Duguay, Kulinski, et al., are having a blast it seems.

Need a horn fixed on the road? Just find Paul Collins of the Brass Shop. Collins spends a lot of time on tour. Collins will be in Madison and Rochester.

See everyone at DCI Madison. Stop by the DCWorld booth, the golf tournament, the Madison Alumni concert next Wednesday night, inside the stadium and say "hi." The Wednesday night concert will include the Madison Alumni, Madison Scouts, Hans Kloppert’s Jubal of the Netherlands, and Capital Sound. A highlight will be to catch the Madison Alumni as they close the Semifinals.

I can’t wait to pick up Hairbear and head on up to Rachacha. What a memorable year. Share drum corps with a pal, with a loved one. Life is short. Subscribe to DCWorld, .

Don’t see your corps here? I use all appropriate news sent to me. To use Chris Nalls’, Renegades executive director, policy: The complaint department is open from 7 PM to 7:07 PM. Seriously, send your news and anecdotes.

Posted by on Friday, August 4th, 2006. Filed under DCA ... All-Age, All-Good!.