DCW On-Line: Bowling Green OH Review

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Bluecoats sweep show at Bowling Green sponsored by Glassmen

June 24, 2010 – Bowling Green, OH . . . One of the benefits of being a drum corps fan in the 21st century is that there are so many resources available to us on the Internet when it comes to following and, in my case covering, our activity. My review of the 2010 Glassmen “All-Star Review” is no different, as I am writing this article in Google Docs while referring to the Drum Corps Planet discussion thread which I updated live during the show.

At the same time, I am listening to the Audio Performance Downloads which DCI released just a few days after the show took place. While these are all examples of how amazing today’s technology is, what’s also amazing are the drum and bugle corps of 2010. The six performances I witnessed here tonight were all incredibly powerful and very strong for just the first full week of the season.

The Bluecoats have started with authority, winning two of their first three competitions. Tonight they took all captions except Percussion en route to a solid victory over Phantom Regiment. “Bloo,” as their fans affectionately call the corps, has put forth a very aggressive and demanding program called “Metropolis.” The musical book is incredibly demanding and features an amazing low brass line, complete with tubas who play many split parts with ease.

The rest of the corps is no slouch, especially a stellar color guard and what may be the strongest visual program the corps has ever put out. The performance did not let up, finishing as strong as it started. It is very possible that the 2010 Bluecoats will do the same with their season.

Bluecoats, Canton OH
Drum Corps World Photo by Jeff Hiott

Phantom Regiment led fans “Into the Light,” performing a show based around Michael Kamen’s “The New Moon in the Old Moon’s Arms.” While the music is very contemporary, J.D. Shaw’s lush brass arrangements quickly show that it fits Phantom’s style perfectly. The percussion, which placed an uncharacteristic fifth at last year’s championships, are back with a vengeance in 2010, taking top honors tonight and showcasing the aggressive, yet tasteful writing which Paul Rennick is known for.

The guard uniforms are very lovely and provide a colorful contrast to the all-white of the corps proper. One new twist in this year’s design is the use of a featured soloist, who represents a “spirit guide,” leading the corps and the fans on their journey. The soloist will change in and out of uniform throughout the show, donning a different costume for his guiding role. Phantom has already proven this early in the season that last year’s ninth-place finish was an exception and the corps will do much better come August.

The Glassmen are another corps that is having a banner year early in this season. A few days ago the G-men achieved a feat they’ve never done before by scoring above 70 for the first show of the season. Tonight the corps, with their production “The Prayer Cycle,” continued the strong start with a performance that fed off of the home crowd’s energy and gave it back 10- fold.

The music is an eclectic mix of styles, each evoking audio imagery of a religious nature, hearkening back to the show theme. The corps performed strong from start to finish, building off last year’s success as well as the preparation from the every day rehearsals of spring training. The members are very immersed in their show, which bodes well for the Glassmen as they look to move up the ranks this year.

The Crossmen opened their season in Bowling Green, performing a show of all Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays music titled “Full Circle.” The corps has itself come full circle in 2010, returning to the artist whose music has done more to define the Crossmen throughout the years. Indeed, the show is a retrospective of Metheny music which the corps has performed in the past.

The drum line has found their groove early, as they finished third tonight, passing the Glassmen in that caption. The corps is stronger during the second half of the show, which is most likely due to having rehearsed that section of the show more up until the start of the season. This will change as the first half gets the attention it needs and the corps works to return to finals, traveling full circle in a competitive way.

Teal Sound is the newest member of the World Class division and they have put together a show which demonstrates that they belong with the big boys. “In the Presence of Enemies,” named after one of the songs Teal performs, features the music of alternative rock groups Coheed and Cambria, Dream Theater and Jordan Rudess.

Teal is no stranger to Dream Theater, having performed their music in 2004, but this year’s rendition finds instrumentation more appropriate to the show’s musical genre, as they once again incorporate members of a rock band into the pit. The show is very aggressive, both in performance and design, and Teal makes the most of it, especially in percussion, with some strong beats thrown down by the line throughout. Like Jersey Surf last year, Teal Sound has earned their membership in World Class.

Pioneer has taken a different approach to their show design in 2010, focusing on the corps itself instead of its usual Irish heritage. Performing a show based around their corps prayer, the Milwaukee-based corps enters the field to a gospel arrangement of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” complete with church organ sounds emanating from the pit.

The show features a unique mix of musical selections for the corps, including Sandi Patti’s “Make His Praise Glorious” and “The Doxology,” but they show their belief in the concept is as strong as it is in their prayer, especially in Ensemble Music, where they placed fifth. The season will tell whether or not Pioneer’s new direction takes them to the promised land of a stronger competitive result in Indianapolis.

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

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Posted by on Monday, July 12th, 2010. Filed under DCW On-Line.