DCW On-Line: Stoke-on-Trent UK Review

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DCUK Stoke held by Kidsgrove Scouts

July 4, 2010 – Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, U.K. . . .  Nine corps turned out to the Northwood Stadium for the first DCUK competition of the season.  Hosted by Kidsgrove Scouts, the current DCUK champion, it was set to be very interesting. The weather looked very overcast as doors opened and threatened the show with rain all day.

The event was very well-attended, with a packed stand throughout the day. Kidsgrove Scouts took the Division I segment of the show, closely followed by The Company.  Kidsgrove continued their winning day with a well-deserved victory for their feeder corps in junior class.

The day kicked off at 12:50 PM with the junior class.  There was just the one corps in competition today which was Kidsgrove Juniors.  This corps has grown stronger and stronger over the past three seasons.  A feeder corps for the Kidsgrove Scouts, they seem to do very well with recruitment. Their show is titled “Kidsgrove`s Got Talent” and it was very strong fortheir 28 members who seemed to enjoy performing the show.

The open class began at 1:00 PM with Black knights from Gravesend, Kent, performing a show called “4motion.”  The 38-strong unit sounded strong and the use of props was very inventive.  It gave a Blue Devils feel.  The drum major did very well to recover when his podium collapsed midway through. Their new corps director, Paul Richards, seems to have taken the corps to yet another level.

Spirit of Coventry from Coventry, Warwickshire, performed their show titled “Imagine.”  It was their first season back on the field since 2008, having only exhibited at DCUK Finals last September.  Their music by Lennon and McCartney was performed well by the 40 members. The show was well-executed for such a young corps. They sounded very good.

Liberty Corps from Northhampton performed “One Way or Another.”  It was their first year in DCUK having formed in early 2008. They sounded strong in places and the new guard looked great.  They marched 33 and looked great in their new uniforms.

The Company Performance Ensemble from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, played next.  They are also new to DCUK, having formed from the Northern Star D&BC. They looked great in their new uniforms and played some great melodies. Their show is called “Expect the Unexpected{ and it was played with power. The “1812 Overture” and Michael Buble’s “Cry Me a River” sounded fantastic. They put out a total of 52 members.

The Pacemakers D&BC from St. Mary Cray, Kent, played their show of music from “Take That.”  There were some nice solos and the baritone duet in “Relight My Fire” was balanced and easy on the ear. The corps’ new Dynasty drum line looked great and the new guard performed a strong routine. The Pacemakers fielded 33 young people.

Poynton Commodores from Cheshire played their show called “Communication.” They were one of the smaller groups to compete, fielding 25, but had a strong brass wall. They always have a great themed show and are always strong competition.

Staffordshire Knights from Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, played their show,”life cycle,” the current DCUK A class champions.  They seem to get stronger and stronger each year. They had a very balanced and controlled sound and have a very strong mellophone section. The 35-member unit had a good visual package and the company front at the end gripped the audience.

Kidsgrove Scouts
Drum Corps World photo by Harry Heidelmark

The final corps in competition was the Kidsgrove Scouts. They were by far the biggest corps in competition, fielding 83. The show, titled “The Heist,” made the most of their 41-strong horn line.  The corps travels to America in August to compete at Drum Corps Associates. This show will certainly fit in well and by finals should sound excellent. They had a great crowd.

The Olympic retreat was played on by the Kidsgrove Scouts and showcased all the competing corps.  The corps were invited to play the National Anthem as part of a massed band led by the Kidsgrove Scouts’ drum major.  This sounded great and the crowd seemed to enjoy it.

I enjoyed the show a lot and look forward to the Warrington competition on July 18 hosted by the Poynton Commodores, where the four-time DCUK champion Dagenham Crusaders will compete for the first time since 1988.  It promises to be a great 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, July 22nd, 2010. Filed under DCW On-Line.