Jeff Fiedler Interview
Jeff Fiedler has been the director of The Cavaliers in Rosemont, IL, since September of 1990. Recently, he assumed the position fulltime. Fiedler is a leader in drum corps as the chairman of the DCInternational board of directors. He is a graduate of the prestigious Northwestern University School of Journalism.
Few corps have explored as many various music genres as the Cavies. I recall fondly "Bully" in 1969, later "Semper Paratus," the U.S. Coast Guard anthem, and enjoyed Holst’s "The Planets" series in the nineties. The "Green Machine" was founded in 1948 by fellow DCI Hall of Famer Donald Warren, known in the beginning as Boy Scout Troop 111 Drum & Bugle Corps. Warren, the Cavaliers’ president, was in the original Hall of Fame induction class, while Fiedler joined later. "Splooie" is unique to the Cavs.
I’ve had numerous occasions to chat with Fiedler but rarely in an extended conversation. During the DCI January meeting in Atlanta, we had an opportunity for this interview. Fiedler was vibrant as he emoted about last year, the future and the Cavaliers’ plans.
CB: Talk to our readers about The Cavaliers last year.
JF: It was probably the most difficult because of what we were presenting. The concept was so strong and so visual that it required us to attempt more layering than we’ve attempted before. The concept required us to be more diligent. June was very much a work in progress, unusually, in a "we are cleaning, but we are adding to it" (mode).
CB: What do you have planned for the 2007 Cavaliers?
JF: I think in a couple of ways we’re…This will not be a Cavaliers’ presentation that people may have an expectation of. Because of that, we are doing music of one of the best composers of the last 40 years — melodic lines.
Among people who want to shut their eyes and hear, they can relate to the music in a more immediate fashion. They will be able to access our presentation more quickly because it’s Billy Joel.
CB: What do you think about some of the rules proposals being considered?
JF: This is not a stagnant activity. Some of this evolution is obvious and some is harder to discern. We are evolving into more system changes.
Today, they may not necessarily pass, but the activity on the field might need all of us to look at a new way to adjudicate. We have a 21st Century activity being judged by a 20th Century system.
People get annoyed with proposals. This is a constantly changing activity. Different things are happening in music, in media, and we have to react to that. You may not agree with that.
CB: What would you like to add?
JF: Over 7,000 kids auditioned for Division I corps, 7,500 with Division II/III, and we only have room for 3,800 – 3,900 available.