Cozy’s Corpsdom – Boptitude Test
‘Boptitude’ test – Entertain or ‘educate’ into boredom and financial ruin? Roll out VK!
“I am only a public entertainer who has understood his time.” ~ Pablo Picasso, 1881 – 1973
It was fowl play arising at cockcrow. Electric service abruptly ended for 15,000 residents in three north Alabama counties recently, shutting off alarms before half the folks were buzzed awake to get kids off to schools where they are still allowed, better yet, encouraged to exercise, to play tag far from Amherst, MA, forcing moms to put on makeup in the rayless gloom and dads to settle for a quick bowl of Honey Oats. It seems that a behemothic glob of bird poop had been allowed to accumulate over the years atop an insulator, and, when it fizzled out, spy satellites picked up total darkness on and near Sand Mountain, halfway to Spirit of JSU or CorpsVets or Music City Legend.
Being the off-season where one has less drum corps stuff to excogitate other than gleaning the latest Lee Rudnicki marketing ploys for the Skyliners and Renegades, I began pondering, comparing how the dark results of this clump of caca resemble some show repertoires. I’ve moaned in media since the last decade of the 20th Century, and while it has improved slightly in terms of entertainment, show choices for many alfresco performing arts groups like drum corps and marching band leave even light sleepers, not just Rip Van Winkle, snoring.
Eventually, many finger-snapping music lovers just stop…being……fan$.
Frank Dorritie, in his initial “Inside the Arc,” pontificated in extraordinary fashion. I’ll sashay on to what made me poke this volatile subject yet again ad nauseum:
VK is rumbling out in California once again after a decade off on a “Spaceballs” trek. My first inkling of this was before the public announcement when I toured the Kanstul Musical Instruments factory a mile east of Mickey in Anaheim, CA, on assignment in early July for DCWorld, www.drumcorpsworld.com . Troy Emmons, production control, told me about plans for the VK rebirth while creating a horn in front of me while Charles Hargett, marketing, looked on approvingly, and Ziggy Kanstul himself, president, was soldering his own new horn.
To educate some newbies and to recall nostalgia for the rest of us, VK, the Velvet Knights from the 1964 season through 1996, were the sophisticated clown princes of hilarity, always with superb execution and difficulty. As creative as Mark Twain and Groucho Marx, VK tickled our fancy with shows like:“James Bond,” 1986; “Magical Mystery Tour,” ’87, ’88, ’92; “Universal Studios/Hollywood Tour,” ‘90; “A Knight at the Apollo,” ’91; “Kartoon Klassics,” ’93; “A Midsummer Knights Dream,” ’94; “Harlequin Carnival,” ’95; and “Magical Mystery Tour in Space,” ’96 (per www.corpsreps.com ).
Emmons and Mayra Iraheta, president and secretary, respectively, of VK Youth Arts Organization, met with me in August, where I learned specifics of their plans. VKYAO already has Project L Winter guard and the winter group Full Force Percussion will flam away in 2007, as well as a minicorps. Dan Zeilinger, director; Joe “Spam” Miller, program coordinator; and staff are rolling the “spaceball.” Check www.vkyao.org about the Open House, Nov. 12, in Anaheim Hills, CA.
Iraheta stated, “Hey everyone, just like we said in the past – WE ARE DEFINITELY HERE TO STAY!
“As you all know by now, our staff is in place. We’ve had one staff meeting and another coming up this Sunday, Oct. 29. Let me tell you, these guys are ON FIRE!! The ideas our design tem has put together are AMAZING!! Just wait until we reveal our uniform concept, our show. It’s going to be an amazing season!”
Members of the VKYO winter drumline "Full Force Percussion" rehearse
Iraheta continued, “As excited as we are, we are also very hard at work fundraising, and believe me, every bit counts. Please, help us field our corps in 2007 in Pasadena, CA. All donations are tax deductible, large or small!
“For more information on how you, too, can help, donate, fundraise, join our Friends & Family or even our newest program Adopt-A-Horn, visit our website at www.vkyao.org or email us any time at info [at] vkyao [dot] org?subject=Inquiry%20from%20DrumCorpsPlanet.”
Iraheta summed it up, “Stay tuned. LOTS MORE TO COME!”
The Bridgemen Alumni have already prepped corps nuts on how a show can be hilariously entertaining and still nurture difficulty in aught six. Yellowjacket members like Vic Kulinski, Jr., DCA South coordinator and CorpsVets percussion staff; Sara Julian, ’06 Renegades and Sky Alumni bari; Liz Duguay, guard, recently in Hurricanes; et al. epitomize pizzazz. Now, think of an entertaining corps that goes beyond weekend warriors into the DCInternational arena with a full touring season, cockily entertaining us all the way to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, site of the DCI Championships in August 2007…That will be VK.
Allison Atkinson, DCWorld writer, has an excellent article with more extensive plans for VK, in the November issue of DCW.
The time is right! Sign on now as a VK member, staff or valued volunteer.
The fifth annual Historically Black College University “Honda Battle of the Bands” will probably be the fourth consecutive sellout in the 65,000 seat Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Jan. 27, 2007, featuring 10 bands. Consider that the DCI Regional Championships last August had 16,000 fan$. This is worthy of study. However, it’s not fair to compare. Highly subsidized by Honda, the reserved tickets are only $10. Prices and cultural differences aside, I prefer to concentrate on the entertainment factor of this gala. People like to rock the house. This show, known to many because of the “Drumline” movie, is dedicated to “steppin’ up and showin’ out!”
For corpsdom show time, I’m delighted to have the Bridgemen back on the field yet again, joined by VK, hopefully, and rejoined by Troopers, Kiwanis Kavaliers, Heat Wave, Kingston Grenadiers, and more.
~ Dorothy Parker, 1893-1967, “Death and Taxes”
Boo! to Mike Boo and Happy Halloween! Writing this column, I have the fourth game of the World Series on. The Detroit pitcher just mishandled an easy bunt, ultimately costing the Tigers the game to the St. Louis Cardinals. Four of the six errors committed by the Tigers have been by pitchers, a World Series record, and it’s only the fourth game.
Like Frank Dorritie, I must agree – Those pitching the themes have set records in the past for errors. It has improved slightly, only a teensy bit. Entertainment can have sophistication, too. I hope to see more thrilling shows like what I viewed in ’06 by a sampling of corps such as DCI’s Spirit, Crossmen, The Academy, Blue Devils, Bluecoats, Madison Scouts, Cadets, Cavaliers, Boston Crusaders, Phantom Regiment, Carolina Crown, Blue Devils C and B, Jersey Surf, East Coast Jazz, Impulse, Gold, Jesters, Revolution, etc., and DCA’s Empire Statesmen, Brigadiers, Minnesota Brass, Govenaires, Caballeros, Kilties, SoCal Dream, Renegades, Music City Legend, Carolina Gold, Chops…Heck, virtually all the DCA corps entertain. En toto, the alumni corps ecstasize first and foremost.
Gonzo journalism in an objective vein is difficult to say the least. “Seated” on the 42-yard line to start every CorpsVets show, I was giddy with how entertainment was the gist of CV’s “Vegas” show. Gary Hopkins, program coordinator; Dave Henry, brass arranger/cap head; Leif Marwede, percussion arranger/cap head; TJ Maunder, assistant program coordinator; Brad Hood, assistant director; Jeremy Thompson, viz tech; et al. raided numerous Vegas show styles and kept adding, piling on more GE ideas throughout the season. This past August had as many show changes, all positive, as any month I ever recall. Hopkins, especially, was beside himself in glee.
When one wants to think of ’06 in entertaining terms, think Vic Kulinski, Jr., as “Elvis in the house” and his cameo appearance in the famed Yellowjacket in the midst of the CorpsVets’ die boxes.
I rarely attack show themes during my summer contest coverage. The youth, the all-age, perform their assigned tasks admirably. Many off-seasons, I just can’t “hep” myself, and I lash out and lash out. Seeing it in print again recently by the esteemed Grammy-winning Dorritie inspired me to proclaim that I have seen more General Effect, my idea of GE, the past few years. We still have Frosty miles to go before we sleep. Make it so. Design and write for the ticket buyers.
And the obvious – Educating performers and entertaining can go hand-in-hand in symbiosis. They are not diametrically opposed.
A merry show equates to increased sales, and that is vital to survival. Few drum corps have ever had community taxes supporting shows like many marching bands that try to educate first, ignoring what most paying customers want. (I’m now repeating quilled laments of mine from five years ago, 10….) Increasingly, scholastic bands are having budgets cut. Just ask the Woodstock, IL, band boosters. Ask Canadians.
Larrie Dastrup – Thanks so much for introducing me to www.jazzplayerradio.com when Mac McEntire and I visited the Opus One Winery in the Napa Valley. Dastrup, Renegades high brass soloist, and McEntire, viz guru, came to mind as I listen to this “all-trumpet” online station.
One can “absofirmatively” order your DCP or DCW merchandise from right here at The DCP Store.
Send your news and PR releases about your exciting shows to DCP at press [at] dcpnews [dot] com?subject=HOT%20News%20Tip or Drum Corps World – Pat Chagnon for DCI and Jeff Ream for DCA. Remember moi, too, especially for the odd angles, anecdotes, and juicy tidbits. Send me a note at cozy [at] drumcorpsplanet [dot] com?subject=A%20Juicy%20Tidbit%20for%20DCP Outa here!
Publisher’s Note: Cozy’s Corpsdom features updates from the world of drum corps as only Cozy Baker can deliver ….. in his own unique style and presentation. A featured Drum Corps World reporter and contributing columnist for many years, Cozy travels the country as a competitive marching member, instructor, observer, and commentator on the state-of-the-activity. The opinions expressed in this column are strictly those of the author.