DCW On-Line: Cedarburg WI Review

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Tenth “Rotary Music Festival” a near sell-out in Cedarburg

July 3, 2009 – Cedarburg, WI . . . I’ve been attending this show for most of the last decade and marvel every year at how well-run it is and the consistently growing audience that attends.  Tonight the Phantom Regiment easily topped the four-corps World Class competition and Capital Regiment led four other Open Class groups.

The stadium at Cedarburg High School holds 1,700 and I’m sure almost everyone of them was filled on this perfect night for a drum corps contest.  Organizer Layton Olsen and his son Ryan have a Rotary Club membership of well over 50 who keep the festivities moving like clockwork and I think this is one of the strongest line-ups of corps they’ve ever presented.

The Phantom Regiment has become considerably more clear in what they are producing under the theme of “The Red Violin.”  While the opener is the only tune from the movie of the same name, the balance of the repertoire is fairly familiar to most in the crowd, using material by James Barnes, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Benny Goodman and Phillip Wilby.  The highlight this evening was the swinging “Caprice  on Paganini” that was pretty much unlike anything the Rockford corps has performed, perhaps since the semi-jazz version of “Pagliacci” quite a few years ago.

Colts have improved their execution since I last saw this show in Middleton a week ago.  The “Ebbtide” ballad is wonderful, as is the opening and closing “Victory at Sea” selections.  The huge guard is dressed in black and white-striped nautical garb that supports the “Fathoms” theme well.  As always, the various sets of flags are particularly striking and the brass and percussion add greatly to the overall show.

Madison Scouts effectively open with the color guard “cloaked” in bright red robes, hiding the “superhero” costumes in blue, black and gold.  The storyline is fairly clear during the first half, but needs further defining in the last half.  The hornline has some very strong hits and the repertoire has more substance than some of their competitors in terms of flowing melodies and huge-sounding harmonics.

Pioneer has what may be their strongest corps in a number of years.  The theme is once again Irish, but it isn’t just the tried-and-true tunes this time.  Arranger Donnie Allen has put together an enjoyable set of selections including “Celtic Dances” by Brian Balmages and “Into the Raging River” by Steven Reinecke.  The guard debuted new costumes that are tan on top and dark green on the bottom that compliments the corps’ Kelly green uniforms with a touch of green, black and white plaid that has been taken from one of the corps’ jackets that were word back in the 1990s.

Pioneer, Milwaukee, WI
Photo by Harry Heidelmark
Courtesy of Drum Corps World

In open class, Capital Regiment’s resurging corps stayed ahead of Revolution and continues to improve night after night.  Taking two years off to regroup has proven good for the organization, as Rick Bays’ corps is solid across the board.  The one semi-weak area is the small guard, but the members work very hard to add to the program and they are effective.  The uniform  has been tweaked slightly and the music is performed to a high degree of competency.

Colt Cadets have woven five pieces of music into a show portraying “Lullaby & Good Nighmare.”  It winds through the show from a Billy Joel melody (“Lullabye”) to the “Theme from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” by Danny Elfman and concludes with Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”  The young lady who plays the main character is dressed in pajamas and has a bed on the sideline that she move into and out of during the show.

Racine Scouts have probably the most recognizable repertoire in the activity this year, under the theme “New York Scenes, Under Chrome Lights.”  It includes “New York State of Mind,” Give My Regards to Broadway,” “42nd Street,” “Harlem Nocturne,” “Sing, Sing, Sing,” “Manhattan Skyline” and “New York, New York.”  The larger horn line does an excellent job moving through the tunes and the drill is well-written for this small corps of 35 members.  The color guard adds to the look and feel of the cityscape and the red, white and blue uniform, first introduced in the mid-1960s, is sharp and nice-looking.

Dutch Boy from Ontario is smaller than the last few years, with 10 horns, 20 percussion and half a dozen in the guard.  The “Bizarro” theme is sometimes strained because of their lack of power.  The corps continue to wear their distinctive black and white uniforms with a bright red Canadian Maple Lear on the front of their shirts.  This was only the corps’ second show of the new season, so hopefully their ranks and confidence will continue to improve during the month between now and the DCI Championship prelims in Michigan City, IN.

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Posted by on Saturday, July 11th, 2009. Filed under DCW On-Line.