All-Age, All Good ~ The Mob in Rachacha
"Here's a scoop for you, Cozy," DCAssociates President Gil Silva told me at DCA Rochester. "The Kingston Grenadiers are coming back out next year!"
As if DCA Rochester wasn't a big enough success, to have our Canadian brethren join DCA once again, is more of a rush than barreling over Niagara Falls.
Silva's news capped off one of the finest DCA Championships of all time since the first year, 1965. The weather was flawless, Allen Buell's committee hosted corps and fan$ with the hospitality of a Dixie picnic, the precision of a Borg society replicating Utopia and the entertaining grace of Tony Bennett.
Fran Haring, in his "high-tech" Hawaiian shirt, was a welcome sight, making it in to emcee Finals. Collectively, we all wish Barb Haring a continued rapid recovery. Barb, make it back next year to help run Individuals & Ensembles with go-getter Dick Pronti. Pronti will need able assistance to handle more than 18 minicorps and increased I&E entries.
Granddad Tom Peashey was the other familiar voice on the microphone for Semifinals. Ace Holleran emceed the "false start" penalty and "ejecting" Vic Kulinski, Jr., Bridgemen antics and all the other Alumni Spectacular corps. With three Canadian corps, Les Diplomates, Scout House and Optimists, the alumni show was a highlight.
On the sixth day, DCA Showmanship was created
In 1985, according to Fred Windish, while Windish, DCA President Mickey Petrone, Red Corso et al. were observing the stupendous pizzazz of Sandy McNeal percolating in the Steel City Ambassadors pit, the consensus was to award McNeal with…Well, what?…Ah, with a suddenly-created on-the-spot "DCA Showmanship" award. I understand McNeal was simply acknowledged with Showmanship, as there was no trophy to present. Since that day, Showmanship has been a regular presentation. McNeal, along with Steve "Hairbear" Masters et al. won it in 1990, Steel City pit, and 1991, Westshoremen pit. The Syracuse Brigadiers' superb Quebec bari soloist, Genevieve Danis, enraptured us her "First Time" to snatch Showmanship this year.
Ed Dempsey was the magician behind the Jumbotron. Yes, Dempsey is the familiar face who hid in the press box, nose buried in his laptop, from past DCInternational contests as he, until recently, worked marketing out of the Addison, IL, office. Dempsey was also brushstroking the videos on the Rose Bowl Jumbotron at DCI Pasadena.
Paul Chaffee did a superb job once again of running Minicorps and the DCA corps entry/exit gate. Chaffee is the Racine Scouts director and has often worked corps entry for DCA, DCI, DCMidwest, etc.
Hall of Fame bob to the top
The Hall of Fame banquet was a huge success…I hear. Many of us were at the stadium. Dan Rippon worked his band kid workers. Eschenmann fretted over every li'l detail.
At Prelims, Jimmy Centorino came to mind. At DCInternational in Pasadena in August, Centorino and his son, Jimmy, both performed the National Anthem for our annual DCWorld banquet, www.drumcorpsworld.com . I rode with the Centorinos to the Rose Bowl, where Centorino, Sr., performed the National Anthem for the DCI Semifinals.
The Kilties, for the second year in a row, didn't make the night show. I feel for the Mad Plaid, but they are already focused on December 1-2, their annual banquet and Open House. With Scott Stewart as their new director, the Mad Plaid can't wait to pipe in '08.
Music City Legend, with their killer mob show, were worth a Penny Hyatt inserted in wingtip loafers. Scott Rhodes' MCL did superbly with frontline performers Joe Murphy, contra, and sop stratospheric sizzlers Scott Tornado Steward and Vinnie Ciesielski. This show would have easily made Finals a mere few years ago.
Jerry Kelsey did a jaw-dropping task with his charts and brass cap instruction for the Empire Statesmen's Maynard Ferguson tribute.
An armada of corps on the horizon
Jose Gaspar has shed his chains to emerge from the abyss as a new Tampa corps, Gasparilla, with Keith Hall, Frank Williams et al. staffing onboard, escaping the gangplank. The Austin Stars are madly charging near the Hill Country, an Oasis by Lake Travis. Prairie fires have been spotted sounding off. High Country Brass has taken over the statehouse steps at 5,280 feet in Denver. Tom Slade's Cincinnati Brass has already started a hopeful DCA season with a September 16 rehearsal. I met with Slade that day.
Fusion Core scored a coup, hiring Chris Kilian as their brass caption head. Kilian, yep, has long been associated with the Bushwackers as drum major and more.
Passing Dick Eschenmann as I returned to the field after returning a horn slide to the CorpsVets after their Finals performance, I commented, "Dick, I showed no favoritism while working on the field." (Thank goodness for the patriotic bunting that adorned the rails, a great place to hide, cheer, and yell for Thu Powell in the Renegades pit.) My point is that we all have some corps connections, but most of us typically put favoritism aside to "get 'er done." The judges have a tough assignment to adjudicate objectively and Rich Templin's crew does a credible job.
When Drum Major Mistress Kelli Giles emerged from her Renegades coffin, the lady to Kelli's (stage) right, Christina Mavroudis-Dempsey, proud mom, had pre-told me, "That's going to be my daughter, Emily!" Emily Mavroudis is a Santa Clara Vanguard ageout who has performed in and staffed the Renegades guard.
Chatting with Cindy and Dick Eschenmann Monday morning, Cindy said, "Last night, you were busy. I saw you running everywhere." Like Donna Petrucelli, DCA PR boss, who walks miles every day, I get my exercise by simply seeing or hearing a problem and responding. DCA has given me various titles, like Tom Peashey telling me one year when then new Prez Gil Silva was in a foot cast, "Cozy, you're going to be Gil's aide de camp." "You mean I'm Gil's gofor," I said. Well, this year I had two of my own aides. They worked harder than an Ohio drill team. "I must be coming up in this teeny tiny niche activity," I pondered as I hauled trash cans around.
No one toiled more than Dick Eschenmann. Gil Silva, Larry Hershman, Red Corso, Dan Rippon, Glen Johnson et al. labored mightily to set the table with delicious entertainment. The www.fivestarbrass.com ticket buyers ate it up.
The Bill McGrath, Sr., family relished having the DCA Championships in Rochester again. Irene, Bill McGrath, Jr., brother Tom McGrath, his sister, and children were all over Paetec Park, Crown Point Plaza, etc. Steve Vickers, along with George Iacono, recent A. J. Wright CEO, made DCWorld a major presence with the distribution of 1,100 DCW issues, www.drumcorpsworld.com .
Starbuck's vente redeye is "Groh'n" on me, but it's wearing off FINALLY after drinking one on the way to the Alumni Spectacular. Next year, Labor Day weekend in aught eight may require two eyelid-propping kavas. Make plans for your Rochester tickets, www.dcacorps.org.