DCW On-Line: Kingston NY

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Empire Statesmen prevail in Kingston

August 7, 2010 — Kingston, NY . . . Dietz Stadium was filled with excited fans who turned out to watch seven DCA units battle it out.  The weather was perfect for the 14th annual ?March of Champions? sponsored by the Childrens Home of Kingston.
The Empire Statesmen are presenting ?OZ, An American Fairy Tale,? combining the music from the ?Wizard of Oz,? ?Wicked? and ?The Wiz.?  They tell a story on the field that is complete with color, visuals, musicality, props and characters such as the Wicked Witch who leads the horn line onto the field with her broom.  Many different body visuals are displayed by the horns in the opening set as they begin playing to the backfield, then turning as the guards breaks out silver and gray silks on the first musical hit.

The front percussion ensemble and horns project a storm-like sound.  Dorothy and Toto enter the show while DM David Bruni dons an emerald green coat.  The front percussion ensemble plays an integration of many musical selections, with Ease on Down the Road being the featured number.  The horn line portrays the soldiers marching into the Wizard?s castle with members of the color guard using large poles swaying in time with the music. 


The witch melts away from Dorothy?s water bucket.  Over the Rainbow fills the field with color as the guard uses multi-colored butterfly silks, charging to the stands in a loud and strong closing statement.  Taking high honors in brass and total effect, the Statesmen are primed and ready for the last few weeks of the season and a strong finish at DCA in their hometown.

The Connecticut Hurricanes are hot on the heals of Empire and have closed the gap to less than a point in total score.  Their 2010 show, ?Heaven Sent,? is very demanding in drill while being highly visual and entertaining.  First-year Drum Major Hayley Milliman leads the corps as Tyler Prophe is the featured trumpet soloist in the Joyful, Joyful opener.  As always, the guard projects a huge amount of color, visual highlights, weapon skills and role portrayal which make them one of DCA?s best.

Not to be outdone, the percussion section has emerged into a serious contender.  They display many body and hand visuals throughout, including playing with their hands instead of sticks in the ballad.  Whitney Slade is the featured angel performer on the field as she is forced to choose between good and evil, depicting the    message of the seven deadly sins.

Paul Beaumont is the featured trumpet soloist in God Said, while the horn line ends in a large park-and-play.  The closing number of Gloria leaves you wanting more from the corps, in the mix for a high placement come Labor Day.  The Hurcs captured high visual, percussion, color guard and honor guard this evening.  Losing to the Statesmen by two points in brass kept the corps out of the top spot and if the brass scores can start to climb, the sky is the limit.

Connecticut Hurricanes
Drum Corps World photo by Richard Wersinger

?Behind the Mask? brings the Hawthorne Caballeros to the field and they present their program in pure Caballero style with tons of energy and emotion.  The snare line and front percussion ensemble begin the musical book as the horn line kneels to the backfield across the front sideline, rises in sections with overtones of their famous ?rumps? played.  The drill patterns are very rapid and demanding, while the guard uses mask-figured silks that are integrated very well into the opening set.

The mellophone line is showcased at center stage while the saber line tosses were well-timed with the musical hits.  The horns demonstrate many different body visuals before the big park-and-play segment, then finishes with a big push to the front.  The front percussion section is very artistic while the battery moves from side to side in drill patterns at rapid speed.  And keep an eye on the cymbal line, rarely getting credit for the job they do.

The Cabs have a very talented baritone soloist this year and their trumpet line is truly vintage with several outstanding soloists.  The color guard is much improved as they placed second in the caption with their work skills and visual presentation definitely adding much to the show.

The closing number is truly filled with intensity and volume, along with soloists who ?call to the bulls? as the show pushes to the front in a loud and strong finish.  Placing second in color guard, brass and music effect, the Hawthorne Caballeros, as always, are a crowd favorite and may have the sleeper show in DCA this year.

Daring to push the envelope a little farther each week, the Bushwackers enter the field to a slow bass drum beat on a rolling rack. Immediately getting into their show, ?Voodoo,? the color guard and corps members grab your attention with their visual entrance and they haven?t started the show yet!  Over the past few seasons I have seen many different approaches from this corps and this year?s opening is one of their best.  The corps has added members since I last saw them and has greatly improved in all areas, especially in the percussion section.

Placing second in field percussion this evening, this part of the corps keeps you focused on their playing while the front percussion is artistic and talented.  Drum Major Andrea Schloz was named ?Best DM? this evening and is to be commended for her efforts.  As always, the Bushwackers have a strong and talented color guard to support the visual package. 

During the percussion feature, the horn line places their horns on the field and joins the color guard in a circle form set to the right side of the field.  Many different body visual shapes and forms are displayed to accent the show?s theme.

The horn line features a very solid trumpet section and is well-balanced in all aspects. Definitely a show on the rise, the Bushwackers have a great deal of potential left in the tank and will put a curse on you if you don?t think it has.

The lovely Carol O?Brien leads Fusion Core as this corps once again stamped themselves as the frontrunner for the DCA Class A title this year. Combining the music from ?Wicked? and ?Jekyl and Hyde,? the New Jersey corps opens in many different body poses and visuals.  The opening drill pattern is fast-paced and always changing, well-supported by the rifle line and purple silks used by the rest of the guard.

The shows title is ?Changing Perception? and what you think may be happening on the field may actually not be, such as the silent trumpet soloist in the opening set.  The color guard has improved in their role portrayals and weapon skills as demonstrated by the prance step to the front along with the brass line. 

The contra duet in Over the Rainbow was nicely done, while the horn line switches to kazoos in the percussion feature.  The percussion section continues to strengthen and is well-supported by a small but talented front percussion ensemble.

The silent silk work in the closing number was well-timed as the drill pattern quickens and ends at center stage with a loud ending statement.  Fans gave Fusion Core a deserved standing ovation.  This corps has the entire package to garner the Class A title in Rochester and so far is well on its way to doing so.

White Sabers is another corps that has improved very much the past few weeks. Performing music from Cirque du Soleil, they open in a full-field spread as the front percussion ensemble begins the chart.  The trumpet solo was cleanly presented and is surrounded by purple and gold silks by the guard.  I noticed the guard has improved in its presentation since I last saw them in Hornell, NY, and sells their roles to the top of the stands much better.

Body visuals by the horn line were nicely done, while the saber quartet in the ballad portrayed their roles well.  With the size of the horn line increased, the corps still has a solid base to grow on in the next few weeks before finals.  At times it sounded like the percussion section was overpowering the brass which can be easily fixed.  As I stated in my Hornell report, I respect the effort put out by this small corps and enjoyed the music as well as the determination.

In its first year of DCA Class A competition, Excelsior is presenting ?Anastasia? as their 2010 program.  It appeared that some nervousness was evident as ages varied from very young to some older ones.  The trumpet soloist in the opening number performed his charts very well.  Some incomplete guard work was evident which hurt their visual scoring.  The percussion feature, with the front percussion of 10, was nicely done.

Some timing lapses by the brass line in the closing number of Pictures at an Exhibition were evident, while most of this presentation was park-and-play to the stands.  I appreciate the effort put out this evening as it is going to take time and more members to build this unit into a solid one and much patience to make it grow.

Opening the show tonight in exhibition was 20th Century Ltd. from Highland, NY.  This unit is well-known as a parade and exhibition unit in the Central New York area and did its best to keep the fans entertained.  The ?Batman? segment showcased the guard in different colored facial and head gear to enhance the visual presentation.  Battle Hymn had the color guard with red, white and blue silks.  The 26 horns were well-balanced and produced a nice sound, supported by a talented percussion section.

The Muchachos from Manchester, NH, are celebrating their 50th anniversary and returned to Kingston to entertain fans.  The corps entered from the left goal line with a working silk line of six.  Their Spanish music medley featured a strong trumpet duet as well as an excellent baritone soloist in Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor.  Fans really got into the closer of Oye Como Va and clapped in time with the music featuring vocals by the corps and a strong trumpet and baritone soloist. 

A track-side encore of this number as they trooped the stands had the fans cheering loudly at their excellent exhibition.

To conclude the festivities, the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni had a show within itself. Starting off the line with 12 rifles, the famous ?rumps? were heard and fans were up as this outstanding unit entered.  As always, Drum Major Jim Russo had fans solidly in his corner with his conducting style.  The ballad of MacArthur?s Park showcased all sections of the horn line as they displayed soloist after soloist who blew everyone away with their talents.

Not to be outdone is the percussion section, extremely large and talented as displayed in their feature.  A working silk and rifle line was effective in their work and visual presentation.  The color presentation of Flamingo Cha Cha pulled fans from their seats with a trumpet trio that blew away the front row of seats and all behind as well.  The fans truly enjoyed this excellent performance.

Nick Avossa served as emcee for the evening and did a great job of keeping the audience involved and entertained.  An Olympic-style retreat was followed by a victory concert from the Empire Statesmen. 

Fans in Dietz Stadium tonight were always respectful of the corps performances and makes this event one of the best stops on the DCA tour year after year.  Dr. John Carr and his staff are to be given a great deal of thanks for running this event.  Thanks to DCA officials Gil Silva and Glen Johnson for their valuable assistance.

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

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Posted by on Friday, August 27th, 2010. Filed under DCW On-Line.