Empire Statesmen First Show Of Season
Rochester’s Empire Statesmen are on the road again next weekend, for a two-day rehearsal camp and Saturday evening exhibition in Dundee, located between Keuka and Seneca Lakes in New York’s Finger Lakes region.
The two-day camp on June 20 and 21 is based at Dundee Central Schools, which includes Dundee Elementary School and Dundee Junior/Senior High School, located at 55 Water Street. The Empire Statesmen’s first field show of the season will take place at the school on Saturday evening. Their first contest of the season will be the Vince Bruni Preview of Champions, on July 4 in Growney Stadium at St. John Fisher College in Rochester. Last year’s contest attracted a capacity crowd.
This year’s production is titled Out of Many, One: the American Destiny. The musical theme explores well-known and appealing music, including classical, religious, popular and patriotic selections, illustrating the mosaic of American spirit, identity and values.
The field show will open with Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, written in 1942 to honor the common men and women fighting for their country during World War II, followed by Esprit de Corps, a stirring march based on The Marines’ Hymn.
Amazing Grace, a favorite around the world with supporters of freedom and human rights, will be presented as a tribute to fallen heroes.
Each section of the corps is featured in a production number based on the musical themes of Gordon Goodwin’s Sing, Sang, Sung and the Andrews Sisters’ Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, including a high velocity percussion feature between the two numbers.
The show will conclude with music featured on the album titled One Voice, to illustrate the country’s tradition of merging shared cultures and beliefs.
Earlier in June, the Statesmen traveled to Geneva, New York for a two-day camp, with a schedule including an evening of fun and recreation before two days of intensive practice to prepare for the start of another summer season of field contests. The short road trip to Hobart College in Geneva has become a tradition with the Empire Statesmen, offering corps members the opportunity to bond and strengthen social ties within the group, while they put the finishing touches on their field show routine.
Hobart College itself is an institution rich in American heritage, emerging from the school founded in 1796 as Geneva Academy, at a time when the town was on the main transportation route from the northeastern seaboard to the western territories. John Henry Hobart was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York when he visited Geneva in 1818. Geneva Academy had closed temporarily. Bishop Hobart initiated a public fund raising drive and erected a new building, which was elevated to college status when it opened as Geneva College in 1822. It was renamed Hobart College in his honor in 1852.
Hobart was the first American college to establish a three-year English program to educate young men about practical occupations, including agriculture, merchandising and manufacturing while maintaining a traditional four-year classical course for those intending to enter other professions.
Since first competing in 1983, the Empire Statesmen have won five Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championships, four American Legion national titles, and the triple crown: the DCA and American Legion titles and the World Show Band championship in London, England all in the same year in 1998, when the field show featured music from West Side Story. Empire Statesmen have finished in the top four during DCA championship tournaments for 21 consecutive years. In addition to winning five championships, the Statesmen have finished in second place six times; in third place six times and in fourth place four times.
In addition to presenting the sixth annual Vince Bruni Preview of Champions contest, the Empire Statesmen will host the DCA world championship tournament in downtown Rochester for the fourth year in a row in 2009, with events running from Friday evening through Sunday evening on Labor Day weekend.
The Empire Statesmen drum and bugle corps is a self-supporting independent group that represents the city of Rochester across the United States and Canada and as far abroad as Europe, the Caribbean and South America. The corps also sponsors the Empire Cadets marching band for city and area youngsters, as a community outreach program.
For tickets to the Preview of Champions or information about any aspect of the Empire Statesmen organization, call (585) 266-2232, e-mail esmen [at] rochester [dot] rr [dot] com or visit the Empire Statesmen Web site at: www.statesmen.org