Cozy’s Corpsdom ~ Clogging or drum corps?
Rolling into Murfreesboro, the choices were to continue staight on East Main under the banner prompting one to attend Uncle Dave Mason Days with clogging and buck dancing or turn on Middle Tennessee Blvd. for…"Are you ready for some drum corps?!"
Actually, Todd Tanji's pal, John Donovan, and I continued on through town for Lebanon HS, TN, home of the Blue Devils. By a weird coincidence (saber in cheek), DCInternational's own Blue Devils were on the stadium field practicing. Dave Gibbs, Scott Chandler et al. were perky and friendly as always. Following a run-through, I had a chance to chat with a few members.
Lebanon High School field – Lebanon, TN
Giovanni Laidler, lead high brass soloist, paraphrased advice from Van Mathews, brass staff, recalling, "Work smarter, not harder…Get beside us, get behind us, but don't get in front of us…Success is failure turned inside out."
Laidler's father had suggested, "Be the best you can be at all times."
Kayla Nelson, bari, is a lady I interviewed last November at Bands of America in Indianapolis, when she auditioned for Blue Devils. Nelson gained her experience marching for Director Greg Orwoll's Colts. Nelson quoted a cute staff adage, "Raise your hand if you're going to suck this rep."
Pedro Ramos, BD lead high brass, "Performing in drum corps hurts, but, when you're home alone, you don't remember how you hurt. The day you have a good performance is when you step on the field and step off the field and don't remember what happened in between."
Ramos continued, "This is my last one. I turn 22 next week."
Luis Mora, middle horn, spoke of his Blue Devis experience, "It's hard work, but I'm enjoying it. When you're home alone, you don't remember the 8-1/2 hours. You remember finals night.
John Donovan stated, "I'm very excited about the level of competition this year, especially that there are fair number of screamers this year, a well received return to the stratosphere of treble clef. I think this is one of the more exciting seasons recently, and I'm really looking forward to the remainder of the season and to an exciting championship in Pasadena."
Donovan added, "I'm looking for to sharing the championships. With the championships in Southern California, it gives me a chance to introduce a number of friends to the drum corps activity."
Murfreesboro night show is worth the trek
On Friday the 13th, Music Ciy Legend, a DCAssociates all-age corps from nearby Nashville, performed the National Anthem with 26 brass plus battery and drum major. The intonation of Director Scott Rhodes talented corps was remarkable, arousing the anxious crowd.
The Blue Knights started the competitive portion. BK had a controlled show. At the point where the high brass cascaded upwards, they stopped…I just know BK has the horses to go on up"
As last year, Carolina Crown had another entertaining show. Rosie (Miller) Queen and the guard staff have done a phenomenal job again with the guard. "The William Tell Overture" is familiar, classical, yet a toe-tapper for the audience.
Adrienne Ward, of Memphis, concentrating on guard, shared, "I fall in love with them year after year. Usually, you find the group that is the best (sabers, flags, rifles, etc.), but I couldn't figure out which to watch. They were all just spectacular."
I loved the Bluecoats criminal show. The opener ends in a star, logical. The narration works! The guard touch of using silver metal briefcases was brilliant.
Santa Clara Vanguard — I just couldn't take my eyes off the four cymbalists in the opener. Familiar SCV visual additions abound. The percussion was so on.
Opening after intermission, Phantom Regiment had the prettiest drums. Sorry, that does sound cheesy, but I was taken by the color tone. Each of the drum soli were thrilling, so precise.
The Blue Devils won the crowd with "Winged Victory." The battery has the most visually demanding drum soli as I've ever seen, at least recall.
The Cavaliers opened with the most impressive B-flat high brass solo I've ever heard in DCI! Catch the Billy Joel tribute.
The narration wasn't as annoying as I thought it would be after all the comments I'd heard…Yes, I am speaking of The Cadets. All sections were on fire.
Bob Smith, Hoover, AL, spoke of his view of the Georgia Dome performances on Saturday, July 14. "Artistially, I think the music is interesting. The music is very different from when I marched. The crowds will be a lot more receptive to the shows if they went back to the style of shows, like back in the 60s and 70s. We always 'Yearn for the old days.'"
My take in the middle of 2007 tour — The off-season meetings must have been interesting. Corps are turning their brass loose, giving them "permission" to play louder, controlled, obviously, but cranking it up. Fan$ are enjoying more soloists than at time in recent years. Thanks! Let DCI and all corps know if you enjoy the increased solos.
Time to wrap this up…The CorpsVets will be performing the National Anthem and "Georgia" for the Saturday night Georgia Dome home crowd!
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. (Cozy mug photo by Christina Mavroudis-Dempsey.) You may write to Cozy directly at mailto: cozy [at] drumcorpsplanet [dot] com