DCW On-Line: Tom’s River NJ

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Hurricanes march to strong season with win in New Jersey

August 14, 2010 — Toms River, NJ . . . What could be better than the Jersey Shore on a perfect summer day and an excellent DCA show at night? This year?s ?Jersey Shore Invitational? was the right answer to that question.  Sponsored by the Toms River East High School Marching Band and the Bushwackers, the cool breeze from the Atlantic Ocean was just right for the large crowd.

 Connecticut Hurricanes may have some divine assistance on their side as their ?Heaven Sent? program continues to strengthen. The opening moments of Joyful, Joyful have the brass line facing the backfield while guard members with white angel wings are lined across the front line and at back center stage, adding much to an outstanding visual package.

The front percussion ensemble opens the musical charts along with Tyler Prophe on trumpet solo, while each section of the horn line is     showcased in the musical book.
Kevin Murphy?s percussion section this year is definitely greatly improved and a serious contender for high honors in Rochester.  The visuals performed, as well as the 16th-note bass drum runs and some serious licks from the quads will grab fan?s attention.


Whitney Slade is the dark angel featured in God Said and has to choose between good and evil as her role portrayal was superbly done.  This number is fun and enjoyable, with a strong weapons section up front and in your face.  The brass line ends in a large park-and-play as the ensemble performance is strong and will greatly improve with confidence from the individual performers with the visual demands.

A brass ensemble at center stage begins the ballad as the color guard using silks that resemble stained glass windows in a church end the number kneeling on the ground and looking to the heavens for approval.  The closer of Gloria ties in all elements of a highly-visual program that is full of demand.  Taking high honors in visual, color guard, percussion and effect, the storm warning flags are flying at their highest point.

The Hawthorne Caballeros are presenting ?Behind the Mask? as their show title and are once again using a powerful Latin music book that always wins over the fans.  The snare line and front percussion ensemble open the musical charts as the horn line rises in waves from their kneeling position across the front sideline.  The color guard uniforms as well as their mask figure silks may be the coolest in DCA as they portray their roles very well.

Overtones of their famous “rumps” are heard from the horn line as they begin playing to the backfield in a very fast-paced drill pattern, then turn to the front with a big musical impact hit.  Many body visuals are demonstrated from the horns and percussion in the opener, while the tosses from the saber line were high and effective with the musical hits.

The mellophone section is showcased at center stage and the trumpet soloist is truly vintage Hawthorne.  The opening drill flow is rapid-fire and the corps seems able to handle it well as a large company front push to the stands ends the number.  The weapon section is strong and is well-placed within the shows design.   The timing on the ripple-down rifle tosses from front to back in a semi-circle added much to the visual production.

The front percussion ensemble is large and talented, presenting a great deal of energy and connection to the fans in their playing.  The Cabs seemed to have increased in size in the horn line and have a trumpet section that can battle it out with any other in DCA.  The low brass section, especially the baritones, have a quality sound that they project well to the judges and fans.  I liked the hop-step, side-to-side drill form demonstrated by the horn line in the closer as the prance-step marching has been cleaned up.

A trumpet soloist calls the bulls and more overtones of the “rumps” are heard as the drill pace quickens and the Hawthorne Caballeros conclude a strong presentation that had the fans on their feet.  The Caballero horn line was the best in the show tonight and will be in the mix come finals night.

A show all by itself has to be the opening entrance and warm-up from the host Bushwackers as they entered the field from the end zone to a slow and eerie bass drum beat that is slow in pace and definitely sets the mood and tone of the show.  The color guard immediately gets into their role portrayals as they place skulls across the front sideline to set the mood as the bass drum soloist at center stage continues his beat and the snare line moves from side to side, swaying with the beat.

I have to commend the gentleman on the bass drum as he is very artistic and maintains his role portrayal during the performance in the front percussion ensemble.  The horn line opens the musical book in a short park-and-play as the “Voodoo” show is under way and perform a 360-degree spin move twice in the opener.  The Bushwackers? horn line is not large, but makes up for it with using full-field depth and spreads which are effective for a small ensemble.

The demand is highly difficult in the musical and visual writing, but they appear to be handling it well and stamina does not seem to be an issue.  The color guard uniforms remind you of a primitive native tribe, but their role portrayal throughout was effective. Their weapon tosses tonight were high, as their design is there as well as the talent and I definitely do not agree with their last-place finish in color guard tonight.

The percussion line is continuing to gain momentum and are expressive in their playing, not overpowering the horn line.  The horn line uses many different body visuals in their program as a small brass ensemble at center stage begins the closing number and percussion feature.  The horn line joins the color guard in a double circle form set to the right in a “voodoo-like” ceremony that was highly effective.

Your choice with the 2010 Bushwacker show is either to like it or not and I enjoy it a lot as the corps continues to cross the line doing something unique and different to win over the judges and fans.

Drum Corps World photo by Richard Wersinger

A corps on the rise has to be Fusion Core with their “Changing Perception” show that features the music from Broadway shows “Wicked” and “Jekyll and Hyde.”  Drum major Carol O’Brien leads this Class A powerhouse that has been coming on strong each week and is now ranked first in the Class A standings as of this writing.  The new uniforms of black and purple are DCI-like is design and are striking in appearance.  The opening pose by the corps is highly visual while the color guard uses solid purple silks and is supported by the rifle line.

The horns appear to be well-balanced and fans will get a kick out of the silent trumpet solo by Matt Steppe who appears to nail his high note solo without playing.  The color guard has improved greatly since the beginning of the season and has added a great deal to the visual presentation.  The percussion is lagging in scoring as they trailed the field tonight ,but nonetheless have put out a solid effort each week.

The percussion feature showcases a brass quartet, then gives way to a contra duet playing Over the Rainbow that was fun and entertaining.  The horn line then plays kazoos while the rifle line displays their talents up front.  The fans should enjoy this potion of Fusion’s show very much.  The closing number has the brass line in a short park-and-play as the drill form compresses to a block form.

The silent silk work with the horn visuals was well-timed as Fusion Core finished third in visual effect this evening.  The only drawback I noticed was that the intensity level from the corps was not as strong as last week in Kingston, and their performance and stamina level seemed to lack at the end of their show.

All-in-all, Fusion Core is a force to be reckoned with at Class A finals and with their total score tonight,they may break the Sunrisers? Class A record score by season?s end.

Another Class A contender is Carolina Gold and if you are a fan of murder mysteries then you will enjoy this program.  ?Primary Suspects” is the show theme and it uses the music of television shows and movies,  then blends in the primary colors red, blue and yellow to present the visual package.

The color guard is dressed in these three colors separately as the guard was on target tonight with a third-place finish in their caption.  The musical book begins with a small brass ensemble playing the “Perry Mason” theme, but tragedy strikes as a trumpet player is suddenly ?murdered? on the field.

The featured trumpet soloist standing behind the front percussion ensemble was extremely talented and nailed his assignments with ease.  I liked the question mark silks used by the guard to accent the show?s theme.

The murder investigation of the trumpet player begins with the “Dragnet” theme as the music selections help track down the killers and bring them to justice.  The percussion is very strong and will be a contender for their caption title at finals.  I last saw this corps at the ?Barnum Festival? and was definitely impressed by their improvement tonightd.

The potential is definitely in place for a high placement in Rochester and with some more cleaning and individual stamina improvement, Carolina Gold will be in the hunt for a Class A title.

The Toms River East High School Marching Band played our National Anthem to begin tonight’s festivities and then presented their 2010 field show ?Vortex,? which is a program about tornados.  This fine unit concluded their week-long band camp today and gave the fans an outstanding first viewing of what to expect from them this fall.

An Olympic-style retreat was held as the scores and caption honors were announced.  The Connecticut Hurricanes performed a victory concert for the remaining fans.  Thanks to Jay Morlot and his staff of the Bushwackers for their hospitality and for a great evening of drum corps.

Also to the band backers from Toms River East High School for their assistance in making this an enjoyable day and night.  Special thanks to DCA officials Glen Johnson and Dan Rippon 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.