DCW On-Line: Warrenton, VA Review

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Crown defeats Cadets to win “Drum Corps in Fauquier” show

July 30, 2008 — Warrenton, VA . . . Carolina Crown once again bested The Cadets this evening by the narrow of margin of only sixth tenths of a point. Even in this close-scoring show, Crown took most of the major captions, with the exception of Visual GE and Ensemble Visual, which went to The Cadets.

There were several other battles also waged between Glassmen and the Blue Knights, with only a half of a tenth between them. Another contest was between the Crossmen and Colts, where the separation was only a tenth of a point.

Teal Sound was the only Open Class corps and they took home the gold medal with an exciting production.

It was a very warm evening, with everyone feeling a little uncomfortable as they waited patiently for the show to begin. Once the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps took the field, that uncomfortable feeling simply evaporated (but not, unfortunately, the sweat).

Carolina Crown had this capacity crowd in the palm of their hands from the opening notes of “Candide” and never let it go with their whirl wind production titled “Finis”.

The corps begins at the end of the “Candide” overture, playing it backfield before going into the first big hit. The opening drill is kaleidoscopic and fun to watch, while the first big brass hit is glorious with 80 horns that include 16 tubas has that kind of a wonderful effect.

The program hits nearly every positive emotional response like laughter during the “Barber of Seville” routine and the ethereal mood that is felt during the corps’ “Ninth Symphony” (“Ode to Joy”), “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Claire De Lune,” excerpts of “One Hand, One Heart” and the beautiful “Somewhere”, both from “West Side Story”. Joyousness is felt from the corps’ rendition of “Festive Overture”, mixed elements of “1812 Overture”, Copland’s “Appalachian Spring{ and the heavenly “Hallelujah Chorus”.

The brass was perfection and the percussion was artful and precise. It was a fantastic performance. The color guard made the program even more perfect. They executed with authority and their choreography is first-rate. This corps is on the fast track to make a big statement at the DCI Championship coming up next week.

The Cadets made a competition this evening as they performed their 2008 production of “. . . And the Pursuit of Happiness.” It is a very interesting program with a large circular platform that hosts a talk show with a host and a guest, Sarah Jones, who discusses what makes her happy.

The production is very powerful and the brass was stellar this evening. The Cadets know how to do patriotic like no other. The guard is outfitted in all purple and with the large gold silks set up the “American Elegy” number perfectly.

Color guard was outstanding tonight, with high tosses, huge forms and expert equipment performance. Brass has a strong book and they are superlative in their use of the music. Percussion was outrageous and the tenors were very clean.

Visual this program uses every inch of the field. The frenetic speed and woven integration of the guard and the rest of the field performers is breathtaking.

Glassmen never fail to impress as they enter the field with that outstanding uniform that simply fills the field with their presence. This year, the corps is performing a very approachable and simply fun show they call “Kar-ne-vel”. It looks as fun on the field as it is enjoyed in the stands. They rocked the house with strong visual program. The large brown chests were intriguing and used very effectively. The appearance of the balloons was cool and unexpected. The program is so replete with different imagery and cool music that the audience was entertained from start to finish.

Blue Knights – Denver, CO
DCW On-Line Photo by Harry Heidelmark

Blue Knights have a fantastic program titled “Knight Reign” and the show opens with a trumpet solo of a minor variation on “Amazing Grace”. It is beauty personified, with flowing patterns and voicing support by the rest of the brass. From this point, the music is not so easily recognized, but it is performed masterfully and they make watching the show a real treat. The “Jeux D’eau” piece is very whimsical, with the corps dancing around the field. The crowd had an enjoyable time with this corps this evening.

Crossmen entered the field with great confidence and authority. Their show is called “Planet X” and is based on a exciting new approach to Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” It is a wonderful production. The guard is outfitted in a futuristic spacesuit style and their opening frenetic flag moves set a stage for an outstanding performance. Brass is making great strides with a line that is maturing quickly. Percussion was exciting with a performance that never failed to entertain with their stylistic approach and accented punches. The corps has a very strong ensemble with all section contributing equally, which accounts for their nearly even spread of placements.

Colts took the field tonight and they performed their highly recognizable musical repertoire in their “Night and Day” production that kicks off with a full-voiced rendition of that Cole Porter number.

There is a bit of an “old school” feel of their total production performance as they deliver on all cylinders, musically and visually. The audience liked this corps and responded loudly to the performance. Brass has a great ensemble sound with minor individual issues that holds them back with the long downtime in the visual department. Percussion was exciting and they got the audience to sit up and listen. Color guard is talented and they perform with panache.

Third corps of the evening was Pacific Crest with their big corps. They played with some power and were able to really spread things out for some good visual credit with their interesting production called “Primality: The Ritual of Passion”. The music includes “Blood Diamonds” by James Newton Howard which has some very cool moments. “The Wind and the Lion” by Jerry Goldsmith gives all the sections a chance to shine, but some long programming starts to lose the audience. The final number is based on Cirque du Soleil performance of “Dralion”. It is a good production, but leaves some of the audience flat as it becomes hard to follow the visual program at times.

As the Mandarins enter the field, it is not hard to notice that they are on the smaller size of the World Class corps. But less does not mean small in all things. They have a strong brass section that makes statements as large as most other World Class corps of much larger size.

Mandarins – Sacramento, CA
DCW On-Line Photo by Francesca Demello

Their 2008 production is simply called “The River” and it has great potential, being an excellent vehicle to show off this very talented corps. They perform a very difficult book, both musically and visually, that was illustrated well with the guard in blue uniforms ‘”flowing’” between the banks created by the horns and drums from the northwest corner of the field in the opener to the southeast corner at the end. It was a fantastic concept performed very well.

The only corps this evening in the Open Class was Teal Sound with their large corps and their bigger sound. “Voices of the Seasons”, based on selection of music by Rajaton, is a real treat to behold. This corps has grown significantly from the start of the season and this has resulted in their vying for a top placement at the DCI Championship.

Kicking off the evenings’ presentation was “The Commandant’s Own” Marine Drum and Bugle Corps performing the “National Anthem”, followed by their highly musical 2008 field program, “Music in Motion”. The first half opens with an original composition by the corps’ director, Chief Warrant Officer-4 Brian Dix, called ‘1801”, followed by a rhythmic and visual percussion feature with a funny titled called “The Story of Mumble Happy Feet”.

The corps closes the first half of the program with “Malagueña”. The second half opened with Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Finale, Allegro Non Troppo”, from his “Fifth Symphony”. Next was a medley from the Tony Award-winning Broadway show “Jersey Boys”, that featured songs from Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. The Marine Drum and Bugle Corps concluded their 2008 program with their signature performance of John Philip Sousa’s "The Stars and Stripes Forever”.

This is always a great show to attend, the staff and management of the Fauquier High School District and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Network for Youth (MANY) has the vision of supporting young people with the necessary resources to participate in a DCI corps, support the needs of drum corps and, ultimately, to sponsor a world class drum corps in the Washington Metropolitan Area.

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Posted by on Friday, August 8th, 2008. Filed under DCW On-Line.