DCW On-Line: Louisville KY Review

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Seven DCI World Class corps face-off at Midwest opener

June 22, 2010 — Louisville, KY . . . On a hot and humid night at Papa John’s Stadium, some of the best units in drum corps braved the heat and put on one hot show for an enthusiastic in the first major showdown of Midwest units.

The Bluecoats were on fire tonight, taking top honors. “Metropolis” is the title of their show and they begin with Asphalt Jungle. The guard is dressed in jungle-like costumes and represents the few who are able to move in and out of Metropolis.

Eric Humbert Story, the corps’ drum major from Center Grove High School in Greenwood, IN, gave me his interpretation after the show. He is aging out this year after five seasons with the Canton, OH, corps. He is understandably proud of the corps and he should be. They were so clean, not only in their drill forms, but also in the crisp, clear sounds from the extraordinary horn line.

Mike Schaefer from Evansville, IN, commented that this horn line’s synchronicity with their dancing was exceptional. Coming out early with such clarity in all aspects of the show makes one wonder what they will be like in a month. I know I’m anxious to see this show more and more.

The Cavaliers have really stepped up their game the last few days with some good rehearsals under their belts. “Mad World” is so cleverly portrayed – one can see the circles on the field made by flags or rifles and the performers that are “trapped” inside this “mad” world trying to get out.

The dissonant sounds from the horn line give fans the feeling that distress is being felt in their world. “This is my rifle” is chanted from the horn line while all guard and horn players spin and manipulate rifles. Humor somes in at this point, ending th segment with a jazzy blues number that quickly ends with the tune Smile. This is to show people that with all the trouble in the world, you just have to smile to make it through.

“Madness” returns to end the production with typical Cavaliers-style drill to the finish. It’s a show that needs to be seen more than once to catch all the “Mad” nuances.

Phantom Regiment’s show this year is called “Into the Light: The New Moon in the Old Moon’s Arms.” It begins with the horn line in the lower right corner of the field and with the guard, dressed in various shade of lilac and purple, lining the perimeter and at a diagonal. The horn line is once again very reminiscent of what we expect to hear from Phantom. The emotion that exudes from each performer was felt throughout the stadium.

A solo trumpet player emerges from the corner of the field dressed in gold. I am supposing he is to represent the “new moon.” Again, emotion is very much a part of this segment.

The percussion was on fire tonight, taking top honors in that caption. All in all, Phantom is destined to rise in the ranks this year with this wonderful show.

The Glassmen made the crowd take notice from the first notes played in their warm-up. “Prayer Cycle” is going to take the Toledo, OH, corps to new heights this summer.

The opening dance sequence was very well-done by the guard. Some unique electronic sounds from the pit gave a tribal feel to the first part of the show. They seemed to be very strong tonight, with ensemble music. The horns were exceptionally strong, more on the high brass side, with a need to hear some low brass more in places. Overall, this group had a strong run with a very dynamic ending that got the crowd to their feet.

Wow . . . that is what most people thought of the opening statement of this year’s Madison Scouts. Everyone has been anxiously awaiting the corps’ appearance, mostly to see if a complete design team change would make a difference.

Well, what a difference it has made. Madison is using two very recognizable numbers for their show this year, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and Rhapsody in Blue. The guard represents the labor force at a time when new inventions and building was being done [the Art Deco era from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s].

The corps is constantly “building” with platforms, showing the audience and judges that this is truly a building year. Personally, I think their score was a bit low tonight, but I do know that changes and additions are still to come.

The new uniform, to me, is a winner. The short sleeves with white gauntlets are what make them the Madison Scouts. Madison alum David Adams from Indianapolis, IN, sat with me tonight and was proud of his corps, having marched in 1991. Amber Russell, also from Indianapolis, said, “Cold chills in 100-degree heat . . . now that says something!”

Teal Sound started off the evening fielding what appeared to be close to a full corps. Uniforms of cream with touches of teal and gold were very distinguished looking. The opening rifle work around the 50 yard line was very impressive.
The aggressive add-on horn feature at the beginning had the audience sit up and take notice. They seem to be taking a big step forward in drill design and music difficulty. I was very impressed with the total package this corps presented tonight.

Pioneer is not doing Irish music this year! Instead they have taken on a religious theme. I was most impressed with Make His Praise Glorious. They produced a good, solid sound and the drill seemed to be getting people where they needed to be for the best possible effect.

The drum line was in good form as well, sporting eight snares. Maybe it was just me, but I think I heard a touch of Irish in the last part of their show written into the score. I say, why not?

This was probably one of the best overall shows for so early in the season. Speaking with several people after the show, I think it’s safe to say that this year is going to be a fun oner to take in a DCI show. Let’s all support the arts and go see a show!

You may discuss this review on the DCP Forums. We’d love to hear your feedback.

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Posted by on Thursday, June 24th, 2010. Filed under DCW On-Line.