So it’s Over . .

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Despite the Saturday rain, DCA 2006 was one “Hades of a weekend.” The energy of everyone in attendance, performers and fans, was unlike anything I have ever seen under such trying conditions.

With your indulgence, I want to use this space to thank a few folks who usually fall under the acknowledgement radar. First, Tim James, Director of Sales for the Greater Rochester Visitors Association. Most of my GRVA contact was with Tim. He was always a source of sincere appreciation and understanding. Could not have been more necessary than for 2006.

Next, Matt Ford, Executive Vice President of the venue’s major tenant, the Raging Rhinos pro soccer team. Matt was on duty every hour of the event. He exuded a certain sense of determination to make this event work. It carried over to all of his people. That was my sense, and I’m grateful.

Norm LeFrois, member of the local organizing committee, also someone who has spent his entire life in service to drum corps. Seeing Norm again at a pre-event meetings (many years after my Allentown days) provided me a feeling of security that I sorely needed.

Vicki Nunan, DCA tabulator and so much else. Talk about hard work! She’s there when DCA needs her, and that’s what makes this whole thing work. If only I wasn’t so old, so married . . .

Bill Thorpe, Cozy Baker, Bill Flaker, and Charlie King. Four individuals I had never worked with before, yet four people who have spent many years trying to advance this wonderful activity. Also four people who offered me all the help I need. They delivered, and I expect to cash in even more of those chips during 2007.

Al Murray, Dynasty Vice President and dedicated sponsor of DCA. If every potential sponsor of DCA had Al’s foresight, all-age drum corps would be in living rooms throughout North America.

Cecily Kulp. Here’s a woman, with her family, that dedicates itself to serving DCA. If you are reading this, you have purchased a 50/50 ticket from Cecily, or benefited from her helpful guidance with this activity.

I could come up with many others, just not sure Drum Corps Planet has enough bandwidth. But that’s the beauty of drum corps. We are a dedicated family that keeps growing. It’s tough to keep up!

What say you, Cozy?

Cozy’s DCA Planet

by Cozy Baker

My name is Ernesto! ~ Rock stars united, lesbians, peel the cosmetics

Regarding the DCAssociates Rochester Championships, one DCP poster bluntly sneered, “To all DCA corps, but especially to those (who) run DCA, get your (caca?) together.”

I don’t clench the keys to the ignition of DCA. I’m one of the pooper scooper peons. My PS is poised at parade rest. I’ve already etched a big brown "7" across Ernesto’s wrath. That’s what ALL of us did, fan$, staff and members – The show went on because there was no tornado or severe lightning threat. Delaying a day was not a viable option.

Other threads, started and actively involving Fred Windish, Dick Pronti, Glen Johnson, Fran Haring for wife Barb, et al. DCA potentates, have solicited suggestions and responded to posts. In the mode virtually invented by Hall of Fame Tom Peashey; i.e., pooh-bah, glimmering with aura, descends from on high to mix and mingle with us riff-raff, DCA has opened itself up for inspection, asked for suggestions, passed them on to appropriate officials like PAETEC Park, food vendors, city officials, etc. Heck, even the Scranton/Moosic City/Lackawanna County officials have gleaned DCP threads. What more can we ask? A Hershey bar? For more premium seats, I know! When that many feathered war bonnets emerge from the council tepee in such an unostentatious tenor, we Indians should and have passed the peace bagpipes and proffered our suggestions, with politesse please.

DCA Prelims 23, Ernesto 0

Ed Mason, Music City Legend, and many others summed up the way so many DCA folks cinched their rain ponchos tighter at the Rochester Prelims during the pelting pejoration, with a cavalier, flippant attitude of “Is that the best you’ve got, Ernesto?”

Shakos off to Alliance who were pulled from the field, waited out the monsoon delay, then found a way to warm up and put on one fabulous performance. Anyone got some Alliance photos? Seriously, Harry Heidelmark’s camera failed him during the downpour.

To those who experienced that fizzled drizzle named Ernesto at the DCAssociates Prelims in Rochester, I would say that everyone, fan$, staff and members, got a shot of soul vaccination. ($1 to ToP, Tower of Power.) ‘Twasn’t easy but I finally trekked through the entire 80 pages of Live Updates posted on DCP, 27 + 3 pages of DCA suggestions, nine pages of the minicorps thread, etc. While dodging raindrops from the elevated PAETEC deer blind (Bucc blind?), I had no time to read responses. I just kept refilling my quill pen and typing with fingers chilled to my sun-denied ankles.

Hmm, other than one short comment by Danielle, there was no Live Update review of the CorpsVets during the Ernesto monsoon that whipped the DCA Prelims into an icy party. I’m guessing that Kevin Gammin, DCP editor, et al. were hypnotized by the Vegas die boxes.

Mike Meyer, when John Donovan posted I had arrived at the laptop after competing with the CorpsVets, yelled, “WOOHOO! Live interview!”

Tony, TennTux – Thanks for your nice greeting online. Mepot – Thanks for your warming comments.

Garry wants a beer from Jeff DeMello, as DeMello had graciously delivered some froth to me while I “brrred” doing Live Updates. Just dump a pitcher of brrrr cold water over Garry’s head and his hand will cavalierly robotically reach out for la cerveza.

Julie Holmen, River City Regiment DM, said, “When you buy that beer for Garry, I’ll take one, too.”

I enjoyed the beer and warmed my hands curled around Styrofoam coffees, typing in the chill alongside Kevin, Danielle, Key Poulan, Todd Tonji, JohnD, Tom Peashey et al.

Jerald Sheets taunted me, bellowing in print, “Make sure you remove your uni before drinking beer. Dem’s the rules. (Couldn’t resist getting in one more section leader "bark" in before the end of the year.)”

One of my favorite remarks from a poster, Steve Williams, “I miss getting my face rearranged by the Renegades!!!!!!!”

Referring to the Bushwackers’ horn line, Kevin Gamin stated, “This horn line is so warm, it’s making up for the cold wind.”

Geoff Jones, DCP staff and Renegades baritone, had to rub it in that he was warm in his room, knowing when to report to his corps based on DCP’s news updates of the rain delay, promptly delivered by DCA. Earlier performers like SoCal Dream competed, rushed back to their hotels, sat in hot tubs, then typed responses to the Live Updates, mostly rubbing in “Don’t you wish you were here” tonic.

And, from a man who simply has the DCP signature: “yeah… I’ve marched in some drum and bugle corps” – Doug “Pooh Bear” Kenyon: “Ernesto’s wrath… or maybe Lothar blowing off a little steam…Good to CU in Madison. We should have talked more. That was Ralph "Redwood" "Mr. Blue Star" Marsh sitting next to me.”

Kenyon added, “The main reason I was in Madison was to see my daughter Kayla perform and the Scouts Alumni. Hope to see you again soon…Mr. Gonzo Cozy Chops….pb. I wanted to say thanks to Gonzo Cozy for being a great dude to all corps people over the years. Cozy, Mike Boo, and Steve Vickers are the best at keeping the entire drum corps community informed!”

Humble Pooh Bear was “that” mid-80s Blue Devils bari soloist, marched in the Kilties, Royal Airs, Renegades and more. Kenyon is most proud of his daughter, Kayla, marching in the Colt Cadets.

Rachacha Prelims mantra: No 1987, no ’87, no ’87….

Have the judges dried out yet?

Larry Callaghan thanked the DCP staff and the adjudicators, saying, “Thanks again to all for the blow by blow. It’s been fantastic. And how about a standing O for the judges, 9 hours in this ####, amazing. They’ll need a whole new crew tomorrow, as these guys will still be in the hot tubs.”

As Ernesto has earned its way into the annals of corpsdom history, I now list the following judges who braved the elements of hydrogen in two parts and oxygen during the Rochester DCA Prelims: John Kreitzer, FIELD visual; Eric Smith, Ensemble visual; Antoine Blalark, color guard; Tom Rarick, FIELD percussion; Chris Pagotto, ensemble percussion; John Maiello, FIELD brass; Paul Hinman, ensemble brass; Judy Ulchinsky and Mickey Kelly, visual effect; Richard Ludwig and Mark Thurston, music effect; Glen Johnson, chief judge; and Vicki Nunan, tabulator. If one needs an explanation of why “FIELD” is in all-caps…Well, you weren’t there dodging those raindrops. To me, it was a meteor shower, not simply a downpour. It seemed like each tear-shaped water droplet had its own turbulent storm.

And that wind. Imagine spinning when the wind hits 23 mph and higher. The fan$ and the guard, both color and honor, deserve much admiration for enduring.

I understand why Mike Boo kept saying the temperature was in the 50s and wondered why it was so cold. I can only say that drenching numbed to the metatarsus.

During DCA Prelims, when Minnesota Brass was doing some Bill Chase charts, featuring Roger Grupp and others, I typed, “Roger just oscillated the rain. I saw the wave patterns in the sheets of rain.”

I posted during the Prelims Live Update, “During our CorpsVets show, the wind took off several Aussies. I stepped over a cg dealer’s cap. Greg Teems, dm, without missing a beat or step, moved from backfield to the front, scooped up a visor and put it on like it was part of the show. Class act. Quick thinking.”

Ed Dempsey, DCI marketing wiz, formerly in the Buccaneers, the Buccs which preceded the Royal Lancers – I read after the monsoon that your better half, Christina "MAV" Mavroudis-Dempsey, put you in debt for a hot cocoa, when Mav posted, “Cozy…find Ed and tell him to buy you a hot cocoa on me!”

To Julie Holmen, River City Regiment DM, I posted at the end of the Prelims Live Update, ”Hi, Julie Holmen. RCR needs to show up here in Rachacha next year.”

Holmen responded, “That is the goal! Finances are the issue, but more members are stepping up to make it happen.”

Jeff Ream, describing those of us who persisted in posting during the Prelims gale in the VIP permafrost, “These guys are true drum corps nuts.”

I like Justin Staub’s adage: “I think, instead, they should be called Drum Corps Planeteers.”

Ace Holleran flipped in his thoughts, “Huge props to DCP crew for due diligence in posting during monsoon. A great addition to the activity.”

Next year, considering the rapid advances in technology, I expect that we’ll see short video snippets of live/slightly delayed action on the dry, arid PAETEC Park field. Actually, I’m not a seer; I have insider’s knowledge. Let’s hope it panoramas out.

Cupcakes was stale, not in Rachacha

John “Cupcakes” Curran, legendary Hurricanes brass, missed his first DCA Championships since 1966, meaning he’s only missed the first one and the latest. Curran was missed. Curran posted, “My first D.C.A. was in 1966 with the Lt. Norman Prince ‘Princemen’ of Boston and I’ve been to every one since. It’s really hurt not being able to go this year, but this has surely helped to ease the pain!”

Diane Bledsoe, North Cali Di, former Renegades cg ’03-‘05, who so loyally followed the Prelims Live Update, summed up, in 60 words or less, the format that all-age corps typically endure during the summer on the Left Coast doing exhibitions, lamenting, “It is just so fun to come out to shows where you are treated well, instead of what can happen when your corps is put on before the popcorn vendors show up and the Honor Guard hasn’t even started the show. It’s tough to come from a top DCI corps and then get treated like crud in your own backyard.”

Alas, to be denied the Sunday night show. The fan-cherished Racine Kilties did not make it, yet scored their highest score ever with their Hall of Fame inductee Gerry Kelsey horn book. Everyone else has improved, too. With more guard personnel, look out for the Mad Plaid. I’m sure Joel “Lothar” Magnuson smiled from the heavenly hills above.

Alan Winslow, DCW photographer, formerly in the Empire Statesmen, the “over-age” St. Joe’s, etc., passed away September 23. Winslow attended Rochester knowing it was his last drum corps championship. He stepped off the plane in San Antonio and reported to the hospital. Winslow was always a pleasure to see at shows.

Rick Hoeffert, charter Kiltie Sr., died recently. Hoeffert will be missed.

I&EMC was orgasm dot com, baby!

Mike Covell, Ghost Riders contra, provided an orb of history, saying, “A great year for minis. It just wasn’t that long ago that we were playing in a parking lot in the dark. Who’d a thought it’d come to this? Thank you DCA and thanks to everyone who performed.”

Imagine Dimitri Shostakovitch flush with 20 Viagra and one emptied can of Red Bull, donned in flamboyant yellow. That’s how Star United figured out how to defeat the Renegades, Mass Brass, Minne Brass, Ghost Riders, Erie Thunderbirds et al. Chris Rutt, churning mello, was beaming along with his peers. An original Star drum major, Becky Wood Saddlemire, energetically jumped in to lead a tight horn line and precise percussion.

"Mini Corps was fun, but I bet Class A would be better. Time will tell.” ~ Michael Chromik, Star United

“Simplify.” ~ Thoreau

To the question regarding Star United, “Where are the members of Star United from?” Ace Holleran, DCWorld staff writer, simply answered, “Heaven.”

Dick Pronti and Barb Haring, DCA I&EMC co-coordinators, did y’all process Renegades Minicorps sop Doug Peterson’s suggestion? Peterson, Hugada, proffered, “Move the seats and the bar closer to the stage. It’s hard to throw babies that far and you spill your beer when you do!”

6’10” Huff in a towel or ensnared snarling lesbians?

Toughest drill maneuver of the entire DCA Championships was myself and anyone else trying to catch both the Atlanta CorpsVets Top Gun Contras and Lee Rudnicki’s snare “solo,” as each was scheduled two minutes apart in different Individual & Ensemble venues…I did it! I enjoyed and guffawed during the entire 10 CorpsVets contras performance, donned as they were in costumes from Navy dress whites (CorpsVets’ Executive Director Dr. Dave Stollberg, a new daddy with wife Tammi, was once on the faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy) to flight suits to…well, Big Ken Huff, a towering eclipse in a towel. Huff alone was as avant-garde as Lee Rudnicki’s entourage.

Wishbonecav summed up Rudnicki’s soli devilishly, “Score doesn’t matter. If you can imagine a winged angel soaked with blood, a satanic gnome in a sparkled jock, a monk-like character reading messianic passages aloud, two same-sex modern dancers (from Garth Fagan, perhaps) gyrating, gesticulating and otherwise getting "fresh", and not ONE, but TWO guys dressed as Hostess Twinkies, you have musical theatre to rival Blast!

”The applause meter registered low as a dumbfounded hall of snare drum fans were left to ponder a deeper, metaphysical reality previously unknown to them. Quizzical looks and agape jaws were the order of the day.

”To quote Dire Straits: Hey, yeah the boy can play. He got the movies, color teevees.”

Just think back a couple of years ago to Crunchy Frog on a smaller, less reptilian scale. Horny toads it wasn’t. More like a Bacchanalian horny lesbian love-in, R rated, led by Caligula from Slingerland.

Yep, Fred Windish, DCA marketing guru, was in attendance. Windish was the one with his jaw dropped to the pile in the carpet.

My sources have informed me of Rudnicki’s ’07 program. His plans are to enter his snared soli “Masturbating Mastodons.” Someone pick Windish up off the carpet.

I was fortunate to be announcing the duel between Frank “Ironlips” Dorritie and John “Grass” Urspruch, Dorritie on a c. 1950 Getzen single-valve/slip-slide tenor bugle and Urspruch on a Bb trumpet. Dorritie won this battle and graciously stated, “To be on the same stage as John Urspruch is a great honor for me. He’s my hero.” The Dan Scafidi photo of Grass in September DCW is classic,

Urspruch, equally a gentleman, responded, “Likewise, it was a great honor for me to be on that same stage ‘O Great Sultan of the single valve slip slide horn.’” DCP Member No. 17, 357 added, “As Frank Dorritie is my hero.”

Touch of Bush class

The Bushwackers, celebrating their 25th anniversary, marched an honor guard of offspring of original members in Rochester. Dennis Argul, brass arranger, had his daughters, Hannah and Sydney, in the honor guard, along with the sons of DM Brian Law, Nicholas and Tyler. I had heard of this fitting anniversary touch. Thanks to Harry Heidelmark, DCWorld photographer, and DCW for the details. Subscribe at

Room #432, Geoff’s Party Central

Geoff “Poodle” Jones, DCP staff and Renegades bari, hosted a four-day gala in his Doubletree Hotel room. Last time I saw the beer keg, it had stretch marks. I want a T-shirt. Did Tom Colgan drive the CorpsVets trailer back to Atlanta or San Francisco? Dave “Pancho” Medeiros missed quite a festival.

I’d say keep an eye on the Rochester Crusaders, Music City Legend, Frontier, Lakeshoremen, Kilties, CorpsVets, and more. I see promise there.

My take on DCA Rochester glitches: There will be more food and sarsaparillas next year, all over town and at PAETEC Park. I intend to prick some honchos’ skins over handicapped parking, widening gate access, etc. For I&E color guard – Use the stage? Carpet the stage? These issues will be fixed with your inputs. Chorus venue? Done. Acoustics for minicorps? Hopefully, much better in ’07 sans square dancers, who, by the by, enjoyed us. No ’07 tropical depression, guaranteed by the mayor. 🙂 Thank you, Rochester police, for your hospitality!

Scott McCoy, Hulka, Music City Legend, won the I&E snare individuals. McCoy, Guardsmen Cadets ’86-’87 and Cavaliers ’93-’96, summed up the DCA Rachacha experience better than PR scribes like Fred Windish or moi, contemplating, “Being my first DCA experience, all I have to say is the DCI-only folks are truly missing out on A LOT of fun, good people and great drum corps.”

Posted by on Monday, September 25th, 2006. Filed under DCA ... All-Age, All-Good!.