DCW On-Line: Richmond, KY Review

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Cavaliers wow crowd with ‘Samurai’ production at Southwind DCI competition

July 1, 2008 — Richmond, KY . . . Nothing can begin to describe the complexity of the 2008 Cavalier show of “Samurai.” What the staff is asking of these kids is phenomenal . . . and they are answering the challenge. The guard tells the story of the samurai with so much emotion, you feel each and every member is a warrior.

The horn line even gets into the action with their dance and body involvement. At one point they even jump over another member of the horn line in a karate kick-type motion.

The music is so haunting, at times it gives you a chill. Then, when they want, they hit you with that big sound. The percussion is extraordinary this year, not just in their playing, but with the movement while they play.

Is this peaking too early? I don’t think so. There is so much more to be added to the show, according to guard member Phillip Weitlauf. He said this show is by far the most challenging since he joined The Cavaliers four years ago. It will be exciting to see what develops.

Eric Humbert, trumpet player for the Bluecoats, was so excited about the corps’ performance tonight, but was a little disappointed that the scores had not changed for them or The Cavaliers since two nights ago. The Canton corps’ show, “The Knockout”, is the story of a boxer and they tell the story so well.

Bluecoats – Canton, OH
DCW On-Line Photo by Dan Scafidi

The drill sets the stage by forming boxing rings several times while boxers spar inside of them. The percussion is strong again this year and the horn line has my favorite musical moment of the year. It’s during a piece by Simon and Garfunkel when they form a block on the front sideline and just belt out several measures of the tune.

One interesting segment is when the guard is hitting the practice bags and the bass drums sound just like the hits on the bag. The design staff has come up with some interesting ideas that are loved by all in the audience.

Once again the Blue Knights have put a show out there that makes one sit up and take notice. “Knight Reign” is the title and it begins with the tubas making a thunder-like sound that is so unique . . . I have never heard it before. The guard has their perennial hand-painted flags that people have come to expect. Again, they are as beautiful as ever.

In the finale, when the horn line is playing a rendition of “Amazing Grace”, the flags cover the field with a splash of bright color that just takes your breath away. An interesting moment is when the rifle line is scattered within the drum line during the drum break; they are vibrating their rifles to coincide with the sound being made by the percussion. Again, Blue Knights seem to always come up with something unique.

The Blue Stars were just a hair behind Blue Knights in score, but with the show they are putting on the field this year, they might be passing them and others as the weeks go by. The production, “Le Tour”, is so creatively thought out that it doesn’t take you long to get into the “race” and follow the leader to the end.

Periodically, the yellow shirt, which signifies the leader, pops out onto the field. In the end, the entire guard is wearing the yellow jerseys for a race to the finish.

This corps has all the components this year. The percussion is strong, the horn line is outstanding and the guard is great. At times, some horn runs and drill remind me of the Star of Indiana, but the star made in the drill at the end of the show belongs only to the Blue Stars.

Blue Stars – La Crosse, WI
DCW On-Line Photo by Ron Walloch

Spirit’s show this year is titled “Pe-ri-4-ry”. The number four is always evident, especially with the four guard members dressed in a different color and usually at one of the four corners of the drill. Visually, the show is strong, especially in the opener.

As the show progresses, though, some drill problems were noticeable. This will correct itself I’m sure as days of rehearsal will be spent cleaning. “Equus” is so intriguing musically that it makes you listen to all the parts. There are so many parts going on at the same time and all sections of the corps are handling it well. The guard is in and out of the drill constantly, which adds so much to the show visually.

Music City Legend was the only all-age corps competing for a score this evening. This Nashville group started by letting the crowd know they meant business. The striking of the clock from the pit foretells the beginning of songs throughout the ages, beginning with “Moon River.”

The trumpet player from the sideline belted out some high notes that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Old drum corps people like the loud and brassy trumpet hits. This show is not yet finished, but was so enjoyable with what they had.

Cincinnati Tradition is another all-age corps and they performed in. This Latin show was greeted well by the audience, but you could tell they hadn’t had much time to work on it. With only two guard members, there wasn’t much color to add visually to the show. They stood and played the last song, “Maleguena” .

“Drums Across the Bluegrass” was hosted by Southwind. They are taking the year off, but there is still much excitement for the corps. Many in attendance wore the yellow corps jacket they received while marching with the Lexington, KY, corps. We all hope they are back on the field next year.

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Posted by on Friday, July 4th, 2008. Filed under DCW On-Line.