DCW On-Line: Rochester, NY Review

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Vince Bruni “Preview of Champions” hosted by Empire Statesmen

July 4, 2009 – Rochester, NY . . . You could not ask for a better day for the start of the competitive DCA 2009 for some of the corps than this day.  The weather was perfect and the Growney Stadium at St. John Fisher College was the best setting for a drum corps show.  The host Empire Statesmen easily led the five-corps line-up.

The event started with the Empire Cadets doing one song.  This group varied in age and size, with one bass drummer carrying a rudimental bass that I think was bigger than he was.  The number they played was very short and the corps made a good attempt at playing it.

The competition opened with the White Sabres taking the field under the direction of Drum Major Ben Chaffee.  The corps takes you through a journey into the strange and exotic world of Cirque du Soleil, playing selections from “la Nouba” and  “Quidan.”  The music was filled with intricate patterns and relied on horn techniques that at times appeared to have rough spots for the 17-member horn line, but I know that this is just the start of the season.  The repertoire had many tempo changes and the drums, along with the colour guard, kept pace and were using a fair amount of the field.

Off the line next were the Kingston Grenadiers, celebrating their 50th year in drum corps.  They are also, I believe, the only competing all-age drum and bugle corps left in Canada.  The show was titled “Artistry in Motion” and featured music by Stan Kenton and his orchestra.  The corps had 17 horns and they played the arrangements sounding like more than what they had.

They opened by recognizing their celebration with their corps song and Kenton’s arrangements of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” then into “Artistry Jumps,” “Pegasus,” “La Suerte de Los Tontos,” ending with a “Artistry in Colour” reprise.  The colour and drum line were kept active during these numbers, also adding to the style of the show.  This corps is directed by Drum Major Rob Summers.

Coming next were the Brigadiers with Drum Major Kevin Mixon.  The 2009 show is a new rendition of Mussorsky’s famous “Pictures at an Exhibiton.”  “Promenade” goes into “Newrythmics” as the opening number and showed the talent of the colour guard and the drum line.  They then played “The Red Machine” followed by “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.”  The corps has an entertaining show with a very active colour, but was a little smaller than expected.  I’ve been told they will be bigger.

Brigadiers, Syracuse, NY
Photo by Richard Wersinger
Courtesy of Drum Corps World

The symphony comes to the stadium when the Rochester Crusaders take to the field.  Drum Majors Carol O’Brien and Justin Miller directed the corps through the “Land and Space — the music of Gustav Holst.”  They opened with “Intro to Mars and Jupiter,” followed by “Moorside March,” a number that is seldom done in drum corps, but is a regular in concert band. 

“Fantasia on the Dargasson” gave the corps a chance to show their versatility and they closed with “Hymn from Jupiter.”  The Crusaders, during the entire show, were able to get the crowd involved and did show their versatility throughout the entire production.  This season is dedicated in memory of percussion arranger and instructor Rick Rogers.

Last but not least was the Empire Statesmen.  The corps was, by far, the biggest, with by my count totaling 50 horns.  Under the direction of Drum Major David Bruni, the Rochester corps presented their 2009 show, “From Many, one . . . the American Destiny.”   This production opened with “Fanfare for the Common Man,” written in honour of the men and woman fighting in the Second World War and that was followed by “Amazing Grace.”

The corps then played musical themes of Gordon Goodwin’s “Sing, Sang, Sung” and the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” followed by “One Voice’” and then a musical and visual celebration of the “American Destiny.”  This program was definitely done in the Statemen’s style for the horn line and the drum line, but I was really impressed with the colour guard being so involved in the show.  They were all over the field!

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Posted by on Friday, July 17th, 2009. Filed under DCW On-Line.