DCW On-Line: Endicott Review
Hurricanes blow past DCA field in Endicott
July 19, 2008 – Endicott, NY . . . The on and off downpours that hit the Endicott area did not prevent the “Sounds of the Susquehanna” show from carrying on as a large contingent of drum corps fans were treated to an outstanding event. The show was delayed briefly while the heavy rain, thunder and lightning forced many fans to seek drier surroundings. The Syracuse Brigadiers Alumni Corps performed the National Anthems of Canada and the United States, but were unable to perform an exhibition due to the weather conditions.
The Connecticut Hurricanes continued on a major roll tonight as their 2008 season continues to strengthen with their "Journey West" program. Many visual changes were noted in the opening "Billy the Kid Suite" as Doug Oravez calls the Hurricane settlers from the right end zone while Thomas Greenhalgh answers the call in their solo assignments.
The color guard is led onto the field by Jonos Pergely and Sarah Zello as this duo is featured in many parts of the show and portray their roles effectively. At the first music hit, the guard breaks out large orange silks that were well-timed with the musical charts. The visual package is loaded with moments that are eye-catching as the snares weave in and out of the drill forms while the weapons use a silent toss at the impact moment.
The yellow and gold silks at center stage then rotate through the forms and create a large circle around the corps. Jaime Acosta is a featured soloist in the opener and does an excellent job. The ballad of "Shenendoah/Mariah" displays the talents of Whitney Slade on solo silk and Phil Waselik on baritone solo. He had elbow surgery a few days before the show, but still showed true drum corps determination by going out and performing with his corps.
Fourteen rifles are displayed during the percussion feature in "Hoedown" as the front ensemble displays talent and energy. This year’s version of "Mag 7" had the fans on their feet as the volumes builds then picks up the tempo as Doug Oravez continues to connect with the fans and brass judges with his solo work.
The wagon train convoy started in Bridgeport with much success and each week is growing in size and drum corps fans who witness their show this season will be pleasantly surprised and definitely entertained. The Hurcs swept all captions this evening and served notice that a top-five finish is becoming a reachable goal come Labor Day weekend.
The Syracuse Brigadiers had many hometown fans on their side as the membership had performers from the Endicott area in their marching ranks. Their program, "Reflexions, the Music of Samuel R. Hazo", is loaded with all the ingredients needed to win over the judges and fans. The opener of "Sevens" has the brass line in pods in a full-field spread with the color guard set to the right on yellow and gold silks.
Brigadiers – Syracuse, NY
DCW On-Line Photo by Richard Wersinger
The field percussion opens this number with the brass playing to the backfield, then turning to the front with a nice push of volume to the stands. The brass line is smaller this year, but still produces a quality sound that at times lacks the volume. It still sells the musical program.
Nine rifles are teamed with the percussion line as their tosses are very well-timed with the percussion hits. In the ballad, the color guard uses long silver poles as a brass ensemble plays at mid-field with a very balanced sound.
The remaining brass line members display various body visual poses as the drill form expands and ends from five yard line to five yard line. The number ends with the corps facing the left end zone with arms extended out.
Be prepared for "Ride" as the closing number has many visual effects packaged in it while eight sabers are showcased and the remaining guardis on multi-colored silks in a straight line across mid-field. The drill forms rotate, condense and expand to a big ending finish.
I was very impressed by the Brigadiers’ performance tonight as this was only the second time out in competition and can be a very dangerous show when cleaned and polished. As of now it appears that percussion and color guard are ahead of the brass line, but with new members being added, the Brigs will become a total package threat.
The Rochester Crusaders, with Carol O’Brien on the podium, are making great strides since Bridgeport with their Russian theme program that will keep them among DCA’s top 10. "Cathedral Chorus" from “Russian Christmas Music” opens with the corps in files spread between the 20s as a strong baritone solo begins the musical book. As the volume begins and the tempo increases, the first big hit of the musical charts came through big time. As I reported from Bridgeport when I was disappointed that this did not happen, the Crusaders were in your face with the big hit tonight.
The crab step move by the brass line from left to right was neatly done and effective, but some overly aggressive brass notes were heard. The color guard uses red and silver silks and pass through the brass line at center stage.as the brass line ends a strong opening statement. The ballad "Stranger in Paradise" features a strong lead soloist with the horns in an arc form as the color guard shows good body control and structure through their dance performance.
The drum feature is wild as the Crusaders placed second in field percussion with the snare line displaying their talents up close and personal. I liked the drill forms written in this segment as they move from files, rotate, then separate and reattach to a block at center stage. The contra line begins "Great Gate of Kiev", then is joined by a brass ensemble with the color guard spinning sword props. The final musical push to the front ends in a condensed form as the Rochester Crusaders gave a very strong performance tonight.
Fusion Core fell victim to the heavy downpours as they entered, only to be called back as the field was rechecked by their staff and DCA officials before they reentered. The show title is "Momentum" and this Class A corps displays much of their title. The brass line begins the show in a straight line across mid-field with the field percussion in files. The brass line performs a nifty 360-degree spin which was quickly and effectively done.
Horns are very well-balanced with a strong baritone soloist and a lead brass quartet. The drill form shows files that swing gate out with the color guard using purple and white silks in between. "Today is the Gift" features a brass quartet with many body visual poses used by the remaining brass line members.
Fusion Core – Rahway, NJ
DCW On-Line Photo by David Rice
The front percussion ensemble is joined by the snare line which added volume to the musical book. "Ride" is the closing number as the guard uses yellow silks with five rifles joining the brass block. The line then moves into files facing backfield and rotates to the front as the program ends. Fusion Core’s strength right now is the brass line as they placed third in music effect with a well-balanced sound that definitely will have them in the hunt for the Class A title. Only negatives I thought were that the brass line ran out of steam at the end, while the color guard needs to bolster their scoring.
A big welcome back to the Kingston Grenadiers as they returned to the competitive ranks for the first time in 2008 and came through with flying colors. They open in a full-field spread as the color guard used red swing double flags with the familiar "Malaga" as the opening musical number. The brass line posseses a very good lower sound along with the mellophone line. The brass line moves from right to left then stops in a concert form and spotlights a lead trio.
The ballad of "One Hand One Heart" has the horns in an arc form with the guard on gold silks at the center. The corps uses the field very well for a small unit and has the color guard well-placed to display their talents. The color guard finished third tonight in their first show of the year.
The percussion feature in the closer of "Echano" was well-done as the snare line moved to a rack of drums set up across the front sideline. I was curious as to the spread in the percussion numbers between field and ensemble as the 1.4 number was the largest of all corps tonight. The Kingston Grenadiers have to be very satisfied with their show this evening and final score number. For the first time out in 2008, you would never know it after seeing their performance and once again, a big welcome back!
The White Sabers are using the music of Robert W. Smith with the "Great Locomotive Chase" as the opening number. The corps is very small, with only 16 brass, but has a large percussion section that numbers 20. I am not sure what purpose the 11 pyramid tent props serve. The color guard uses large gold silks in the opener, while the brass line is led by a good sounding low brass section.
Feet need cleaning with the marching technique, but this will be easily corrected during rehearsals. Much credit is to be given to this small but energetic corps as the White Sabers will gain in strength with more brass members joining the ranks.
Due to the weather conditions, a drum majors-only retreat was held as the scores were announced and the Connecticut Hurricanes filled the area in front of the fans to perform a victory concert. I can’t wait until the Cabs, Hurcs and Empire hook up next week in Lawrence, MA, as the fans there will be treated to a great night of competition.
Thanks to Dave Baker and his staff for the great hospitality as I spent the night nice and dry in my own press box room on the 50 yard line.
The Connecticut Hurricanes honor guard wishes to pay tribute to Ellie Dube who died in a car accident on the way home from the Clifton, NJ, show. She marched for three seasons with the corps and was a part of their championship run. She marched for the Hawthorne Caballero Alumni color guard as well as the Light Brigade. She will be greatly missed by all those who knew and marched along side her.
Finally, an apology to all of the alumni corps and competing units as I used the terminology "trumpets" to refer to the brass soloists at the Clifton show. I have now been taught the difference in the brass used by the different corps and stand corrected. I believe, though, that my review of the alumni corps at the Clifton show gave each alumni corps a great deal of credit and information.
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