DCW On-Line: Auburn NY Review

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Brigs capture “Drums Along the Owaso"

July 11, 2009, Auburn, NY . . . I don’t want take credit for the weather, but the sunshine did start to come when I got into New York State. Up until 3:00 PM it was not certain if this show was going to go due to a large amount of rain and storms.

I must credit the organizers from the Rochester Crusaders for getting everything ready. They were even pushing the water off the track with wide brooms at 5:30 PM. Unfortunately, the crowd was very small as a majority of people must have thought the show was not going to go ahead.

First on the field was Excelsior from the Capital District of New York and Western Massachusetts with 20 horns, seven drums, eight colour guard and no pit. This year is the culmination of a five-year climb for the corps to get to the competitive field. Led by Drum Major Donel Mysliwiec, the program depicts the ageless love of Robin Hood and Maid Marian.

The show opens with “Robin Prince of Thieves,” followed by “Arthur is Born.” Next came “Everything I Do I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams, going into “Midor Nigor.” The corps finished with “The Nemesis.” At times the corpshad individual horns playing too loud and basically sticking out. The drill was a little rough. The colour guard, even with its small size, used the field well.

Shenandoah Sound from Manassas Park, VA, was next on the field with 13 horns, seven drums, nine in the pit along with four in the colour guard. Drum Major Sayer Thomas-Kulp helped the corps take the audience on a journey that is truly out of this world. By taking music from composer Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum’s “Shadows of Roswell,” the show calls to light conspiracy theories of “are we alone.” This production started out with amplification of an announcer speaking at the same time as the horns were playing. The horns could not be heard. There was constant movement and use of the field, but again, the drill was at times not in step. The rifle carrier did do a lot of tosses, but looked like it was an individual show at times.

White Sabers from Dansville, NY, came up next. The corps show is celebrating 25 years of “Cirque du Soleil” with 16 horns, six drum line, five colour guard, six in the pit and under the direction of Drum Major Jim Morton. They use songs from “La Nouba” and then selections from “Quidan.” The show then goes into “Atmadja,” “Urban,” “Distorted,” more from “Quidam” and “Incantation.”

This show did have a lot of activity, with the colour guard in particular. The one thing after seeing this corps the week before was that, during the entire show, some horn line members never stopped moving their legs even at standstill, which I didn’t see the week before.

White Sabers, Dansville, NY
Photo by Richard Wersinger
Courtesy of Drum Corps World

Fusion Core from Morris County, NJ, was next on the field under the direction of Drum Majors Meg Spatz and Emily Rautenburg. They field 16 horns, seven drums, 14 colour guard and six pit members. This group is doing a show I am not certain has been done before, being that it is music composed for the corps only. The show is titled “Progress, Chaos, Order and Meaning — Reflections of Earth.”

The production opens with “Chaos” going into “Space Life and Home Vignettes,” all of which leads into “Celebration.” The corps had good volume for its size. The colour guard was very active and the whole corps used the field very well.

The Brigadiers had the next spot in the show, fielding 26 horns, 10 in the drum line, 20 colour guard and eight pit members. Under the direction of Drum Major Kevin Mixon, the corps presented selections from “Pictures at an Exhibition.” The show opens with “Promenade” going into “Newrythmics.” The rest consists of “With Each Sunset,” “The Red Machine” and ending with “A Young Person’s Guide to Orchestra.”

I have never seen a corps’ horn line in one number lay down, sit, lean back and still produce the volume that Brigs. They use the field well and the colour guard was by far the best and most active of any of the corps.

The host Rochester Crusaders were on last, with 26 horns, 10 in the drum line, five colour guard and eight in the pit. The show was under the direction of Carol O’Brien, Steve Stoddard and Rod Keppel and is called “Land and Space — the music of Gustav Holst.” The opening number is “Intro to Mars and Jupiter.” followed by “Moorside March,” “Fantasia on the Dargason,” closing with “Hymn from Jupiter.”

The show appeared to have a rough ending for the horn line. The colour guard is very small and at times not together.

Mighty St. Joe’s appeared in a weather-shortened exhibition as the lightning decided to return.

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Posted by on Friday, July 31st, 2009. Filed under DCW On-Line.