Atlanta CV: An Inside Look – Part II
During the past year or so, Atlanta CV has gone through some major changes within their organization. Starting with changing the name of the corps, beginning a winter percussion unit that competes in Percussion Independent World Class in WGI, and in their recruiting new members. These changes seem to have been a great success in their recruiting, fan base, and marketing presence.
When you talk about family bonds in drum corps, I need to mention the CV Stars. In CV, their symbol of the family is the metal star that is featured on the front of the uniform. The star is the personal possession of each member which belongs to them and stays with them for life. To earn your star, you must complete a competitive performance with CV. That means in the first show of each season, tradition holds that all rookies take the field with no star on their uniform. Before the next show, a special ceremony is held where the entire corps gathers and the veterans present the stars to their new family members Every veteran present personally shakes hands, hugs, and welcomes each of the new members in. This ceremony is powerful, emotional, and always tearful. I am sure that every drum corps has some form of tradition, ritual, or symbol that they have that becomes very special to its members. Personally I think that is one of the best things about our activity in which barriers can be crossed and a new family comes into play.
The star has even remained with a few members who unfortunately passed away. More than one member has had their stars placed in their caskets. Jason Lowe is a notable story here as he was a member of the corps who was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 while a member of Spirit of Atlanta. The cancer and treatments made marching impossible for him, but he could not give up his love for drum corps. Despite the pain and struggles, he was a member of CV in 2001 playing in the front ensemble. Jason lost his battle with cancer in August of 2001 at the age of twenty-one. Each year, Atlanta CV awards the Jason Lowe Memorial Scholarship to a marching member of a DCI corps to further their dreams, and to keep Jason’s story and spirit alive. This gesture on the part of Atlanta CV is another great example of all the unknown good things that happen in our activity all the time.
In 2015, Atlanta CV will be performing “Eyeconic” as their program. It starts with using the concept of the eye and how it can not only be the window into someone’s world, but how many different ways the eye can be its own form of expression. The show is coupled with visual aspects of the eye theme and musical moments that can be considered iconic. The corps this season is again led onto the field by the dynamic duo of Marvin Fontaine and Dan Detweiler as drum majors. Marvin is an original member of the corps for eighteen years and was named CV Member of the Year in 2014. Dan has served as drum major since 2012 and was named CV Member of the Year in 2013.
Being a drum corps in the South definitely brings challenges, especially with the travel budget. The reception that Atlanta CV has gotten from the fans up North when they travel to that part of the country has been very special to them. The special bond they formed with the Empire Statesmen at their last home show was also a special time for them. Drum corps in the South is now starting to gain momentum with several new corps coming on board joining Open Class members CV, Alliance, and Carolina Gold. The hope is that a large enough group of corps can be built with each corps presenting a show of their own all within driving distance.
Many thanks to David Stollberg and especially Scott Keefer for their support and contributions in getting the story of Atlanta CV out to the fans of DCA and all drum corps fans. For more on CV log onto the DCA web site and find out why they changed their name.