2011 DCW On-Line: Centerville, Ohio

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by Ron Baysinger, Drum Corps World staff (BNMB [at] aol [dot] com)

July 6, 2011 — Centerville, OH . . . A warm but beautiful night was the setting for the 32nd annual “Soaring Sounds.” The only thing missing was the hot air balloon that usually soars over the stadium at the beginning of the evening. The one thing that did continue to soar, though, was The Cavaliers. “XtraordinarY” continues to amaze people by taking them on a journey each and every night. Nature Boy is the string that runs through this show and the solo performer that we join on this journey tells the story well.

I talked with four-year guard member Ethan Bridges from Bellview, IL, and former member Chris Hartowicz. They collaborated that the show is like a Cirque du Soleil production. There is usually a central figure and the audience follows him through the journey. That is what the Cavaliers’ show is all about . . . the journey. We see upside down tenors, trumpets, bass drums and guard members. We see tight-knit drill with guard performing awesome work while on the move. We hear some incredible music while visually being treated with beautiful colors. This show has it all and we are there to just enjoy the journey.

Mike Schaefer from Evansville, IN, stated that this is definitely one show that needs multiple viewings to catch all that it has to offer.

Blue Stars begin their show, “Rebourne,” from behind the scaffolding in the backfield. Each section uses this prop at one time or another. It visually takes the audience away from the normal field of performance and forces us to give our attention elsewhere. This visually is refreshing to the eyes. It still concerns me that the front of the prop is just black plastic. Maybe that is to change.

The characterization is much more profound than the last time I saw this corps. They really bring the audience into their performance. The guard is cleaning things up, which is quite a feat for work designed by Michael Shapiro.

Glassmen, Toledo, OH, 2011. (Drum Corps World photo by Jeff Hiott)

Glassmen literally take the audience into the world of vampires in their show, “Immortal Beloved.” The central characters are the focus and they portray their roles well. The pit electronics are very effective in giving the eeriness of the situation, but the horn line is incredible in giving fans real time drum corps moments. As the drill moves around the field, the guard is positioned in and out in such an interesting way.

The designers have done an excellent job keeping the focus where it needs to be. During one section, the medley of Moonlight Sonata/Can’t Help Falling in Love has half the guard spinning moon flags, while the other half spins ones with suns. Again, the literal meaning of the show is brought out and allows the audience a way into their show.

The opening horn ensemble for the Troopers makes you think of the “old” Troopers with bells chiming in accompaniment. But then the show takes on the “new and improved,” with exciting drill and wonderful music. The show is called “The Road Home” and I feel they are on the right road towardto finals.

Speaking with Dave Reeves, musical arranger, he stated the corps’ direction this year is to set out to find that new road, while still harboring some of the old feelings for which the corps is noted. Visually, they are marching a much cleaner show and the guard is doing some impressive work to make the whole visual package a winner. This has all the components to make it finals again this year.

Right on the heels of Casper corps and vying for a finals bid is the Colts. Both have been trading spots the last few shows and will probably continue to do so until the end of the season. “Deception: The Jagged Edge” is the title of the show. The new uniforms even have that jagged edge emblazed across the front. The guard brings out the theme beautifully dressed in gray, with one guard member in white and one in black. This obviously represents the white and black swans from “Swan Lake.”

I hear that the white swan is being portrayed by Director Greg Orwall’s daughter. Both swans do an excellent job keeping with the theme. The corps is playing well, marching well and the percussion is on fire this year. Adrienne Palmer, a first-year snare, said this is the hardest thing she has ever done, but also the most fun. Her mother, Terri, sat beside me tonight and is very proud of her daughter. Colts definitely have taken a turn for the better.

Teal Sound, Thomasville, GA, 2011. (Drum Corps World photo by Jeff Hiott)

Teal Sound was the first corps of the night that gave the audience a full drum corps sound. The audience always loves that loud, blaring music. Teal Sound was here to comply. From the opening of their show, “Sinvitation 7,” the Georgia group takes us through some of the seven deadly sins.

This audience was definitely a glutton for some real drum corps. The drill and music fit together so well. The ballad is smooth and the closer from “Angels and Demons” gives the audience the full gamut of good and evil. The mideastern flavor in the closer draws the audience even closer in the final moments.

Legends from Kalamazoo, MI, gave a rousing performance of “Skyscapes.” In the opening number, Cloudburst, the stage is set with all-black uniforms and gray flags that give the ominous feeling of doom. With each number, the mood changes and the corps gives us some wonderful moments. The percussion stands out with a large battery and full pit. Corps members dance well during percussion features and the sound the horns produce is awesome. Legends will definitely do well in Open Class this year.

Rounding out the Open Class this evening was the Blue Saints. Their show is called “Stranded,” but it was hard to follow the theme with such a small group. With only five horns and a small drum line, the corps does a great job of pushing through with professionalism and effort. The guard has beautiful flags that really add visually, but the bright colors do not speak to the title of the show. Kudos to the kids, though, for marching and playing, and giving the audience their best.

The evening started with Cincinnati Tradition, an all-age corps. This show is a Zorro-themed production called “Elcorazon de Andalucia.” It opens with a beautiful mellophone soloist surrounded by five guard members in pretty purple costumes. The drill moves very slowly and it is evident they haven’t had a lot of time to work on this show yet. The guard is incomplete in many areas. It’s difficult with an all-age corps with only weekends to work on a show. We do know that they don’t have their finals until a month later than the juniors. This will give them much more time to tie this show together.

Posted by on Thursday, July 14th, 2011. Filed under DCW On-Line, FrontPage Feature.