DCW On-Line: Orlando Review

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Carolina Crown tops The Cadets for first time in their history!

July 12, 2008 — Orlando, FL . . . On a pleasant evening, in a stadium that has held the world championships four times, a historic event occurred again as Carolina Crown beat The Cadets for the first time, before a crowd of 6,200 paid admissions.

Crown’s show is full of tremendous music that the average listener is going to know. This combined with a horn line that has, in my opinion, the best overall sound of any corps this year, a guard that is at the top of their game and the excitement that seems to be missing in many corps shows, has led to a very crowd- and judge-pleasing show.

Crown won GE Music, Visual Performance, Guard, Brass and Music Ensemble. Jim Coates of Crown had this to say about the corps’ performance tonight. “It was a very exciting show. We added several changes, which they handled well. The audience was very interested in the show and I believe they showed we have the most entertaining show out there.”

The Cadets’ show, “Pursuit of Happiness”, has changed the narration in the beginning to quote from the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . and the pursuit of happiness.” As usual, this is a very strong corps. George Hopkins had this to say about the show. “The ending just is not where we want it to be. It is currently a bone of contention with the staff. This is not the ending that you will see at finals, but we are not sure what the ending will be.” The corps took first place in GE Visual, Visual Ensemble, and Percussion 1. It will be interesting to see what type of conclusion they are able to create.

The Bluecoats’ show, “The Knockout”, was a big hit with the crowd. The corps placed first in overall percussion and third place in all other captions. The show was very energetic and enjoyable. The familiar music of “Rocky” provides a “feel good” quotient for the show.

Joe Falcon, one of the two drum majors, said, “Good show, with all of the changes that we’ve added in the second half of the show, we trusted each other and performed very well. Lot’s of energy.” I imagine this will be a big, crowd-pleasing show by finals, especially with the big knockout at the end. The use of narration was effective in the announcing of the fighters.

When one hears a modern version of “Conquest”, it can only be the Boston Crusaders. What a totally updated version of their trademark piece. As the corps explores a new vision, they are also trying to move to their highest ranking in DCI history. The corps was solid in every caption and finished fourth. The beginning, with the theme of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, is timed to hit as they are being told they can take the field of competition.

The horn line’s version of space chords received a great response. This was basically a home show for the corps since many of the members are from the Tampa Bay area. Wayne Dalton, on staff of the corps, was pleased with the show. “With the difficulty of battling the elements during the day and lots of parents and family being around, they came through well tonight.”

The Blue Stars have made a dramatic jump in the rankings and currently look like they would be in great shape to make finals, for the first time since 1979. The corps has changed the uniform pants to be solid white instead of the blue and white split of last year. This seems to give a much cleaner visual look to me. The non-corps fans that I took to the contest loved this corps and the show.

The show is a take off on the Tour de France. Terry Valentine, former director of Magic, had this to say. “The show is easy to get, I got it right away. The layering of the music in the finale was fabulous.”

The Percussion, Guard and GE Music were the strengths of this corps. I loved how they rolled a bicycle wheel from different guard members and liked the attention to detail of the winner putting on the yellow shirt for the next stage of the race. This is a well- thought-out show.

The Glassmen have once again come up with a fun show. “Kar-ne-val” is the theme of the show and the music portrays many of the circus themes we have heard from the past. References included “Man in the Flying Trapeze” and “Thunder and Blazes.” Magic tricks are performed, including a girl magically appearing from a box.

The ballad ends with the young girl, who has gathered balloons at the event, releasing them into the air. This brought a tremendous response from the crowd. The corps’ strongest caption was GE Visual in which they were fifth. I had several people around me who thought this was the most enjoyable Glassmen show they had ever seen.

The Colts present the music of “Night and Day”. They hit you with a tremendous opening sound. It is always great to hear tunes that the average person recognizes and the Colts certainly give you that. “Night and Day” by Cole Porter, “On the Town” and “Mambo” from Bernstein are among the highlights.

Strengths for the corps include Music Ensemble and Guard. One of the corps’ helpers who asked to remain nameless said that the “corps came out to attack tonight. They had lots of energy and really are selling the show.” I thought it was a very pleasing and emotionally fun show.

“Per-if-4-ry” is the title of Spirit’s show. One might expect this to be out on the edge of things and they would be correct. The kids are performing the show well, but it does not seem to connect with the masses, only the ones on the “periphery”. Highlights include guard members who mark out the territitory for the horn line.

Percussion was the strength of the corps and finished sixth in that caption, but percussion number 1 had them in fourth. Staff percussion member Joe Hobbs said, “The corps is starting to get it, being much more focused on our style.”

The Crossmen show called “Planet X” is a well-conceived production that brings Holst’s “Planets” into a modern era. This is a very young corps — I was told the average age was 16. “X” marks the spot in the drill as there were numerous and creative appearances of that formation in the drill.

Crossmen – San Antonio, TX
DCW On-Line Photo by Dan Scafidi

Al Chez, the lead trumpet player on David Letterman and on staff with the Crossmen, commented, “This is a tremendous bunch of kids. I am so proud of them. They take whatever we give them, no complaints, and they just work as hard as they can. The best work ethic I have been around.” Visual GE was the strongest caption for this corps.

I was amazed at the size of Teal Sound, 11 contras and they looked to march as many as some of the World Class corps. This was the only corps in Open Class at this contest. The show was based on music by the group Rajaton, a vocal ensemble of six Finnish singers.

The show is titled “Sounds of the Season featuring the music of Rajaton”. Rajaton means boundless. I felt that the corps was strong and should place well in the Open Class. The biggest strength appeared to be in GE Visual. The kids certainly had a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and exuberance in the performance and looked as if they were having a lot of fun. The crowd had a lot of fun with them.

I would like to thank Diane Peasel of DCI for her help in getting access to the people needed for interviews, and to Steve Vickers for allowing me to write for the last 24 years.

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Posted by on Thursday, July 17th, 2008. Filed under DCW On-Line.