2015 UK International Summer Spectacular Review
I was quite excited to be asked to write a review on the International Summer Spectacular, held in Woking, UK on the 4th July 2015, I must have been because I started scribbling my thoughts down the night before! Wondering what I might expect from such a unique gathering, Drum Corps form Ireland, Holland, the UK and America all in one place, what an achievement, Bravo Alan Thompson and all involved at DCUK.
Travelling down to the show, I might not have been on a bus with 50 other excited corps members but still there was talk in the car about what the day ahead would hold, memories of days gone by and the future that lies ahead.
So here we are, my first Drum Corps show for sometime and sitting in the stand it feels like 20 days, not 20 years, since I was marching. The same vibe, the same gathering of families and supporters with their cool boxes and the same scattering of overseas corps jackets worn proudly by those who have earnt the right to wear them.
The days proceedings start with the Blue Devils International Corps coming onto the field to hold their clinic, and as I sit and observe the participants I can only hope & pray that they realise what a fantastic opportunity this is to be a part of, one which they will probably never have repeated. Even the horn lines warm up sounds fab! The guard have been split into small groups and are being taught a short movement and flag work routine, the horns, drumline and percussion are developing their warm up techniques and putting them into practise. And WOW the culmination of 90 minutes work was inspiring, give me a flag pole!
And so, here we go, 3pm on the 4th July and the competition starts, first up the Junior Class Corps.
May I take this opportunity to say the comments made here are not meant as a judgement on any corps but merely to offer my personal thoughts and opinions on anything that moves me in a positive or negative way, after all that is what a review is all about.
If there was ever an award for cuteness Cadence Cadets would surely win hands down – 11 out of 10 on that score and the determination of one little girl to get ‘Olaf’ finished is truly inspiring. Good projection and smiles from one of Thurrock’s rifles in particular and well done to the guard member who carried on despite not having her equipment.
Now Open Class, I had actually forgotten the army of people it takes to shift what seems like more & more equipment around. Equipment used sometimes to better effect than others, don’t have it just because you can I guess is the lesson to be learnt here, sometimes less really is more.
Some highlights for me from the first half of Open Class include uniforms and flags from Phantom Knights and Cadence. Both uniforms were very effective for the subject trying to be portrayed, the colour of the ‘ice’ flag at the end from Phantom was perfect and what a brilliant effect from the black ‘wave’ flag from Cadence it rolled perfectly.
The props used in both the Celtic Crusaders show and Beeches show for me were a great example of less is more, the Crusaders mirrors were put to good use giving the illusion of half the corps disappearing at points, and a special mention to their multitasking drumline and for making it sound like there were more than 4 of you! The round table with it’s shields and the Sword in the Stone from the Beeches were moved around just enough, and I have to confess I didn’t miss a colour guard until near the very end when I realised there wasn’t one, so well done to the designer.
And the award for good projection and storytelling has to go to 37th Scouts, love the role play at the beginning and the male member of the guard looked like he was having a whale of a time, good catch btw!
Interval time, I’ve been here for 2 ½ hours and it’s flown by. Another bonus to being part of Drum Corps are the lifelong friends you make, even if you haven’t seen them for years you have a connection with them, something in common, there’s another familiar face, I’ll give them a wave.
Looking forward to seeing the Dutch corps, having never seen one is the Dutch way different? Well I can safely say with Jubal on the field in front of me, that is what a Drum Corps should look like, gives me goose bumps. Their show hasn’t disappointed either, clean, organised, efficient, professional.
Now Company, I absolutely love what they do, I love the costumes, I love the theatricality of it all, I love the way they push the boundaries and I would dearly love to see this show again when it is a little bit cleaner. There is so much going on, so much colour and I know once it all clicks it will be FABULOUS, very Moulin Rouge.
And last but not least my thoughts on the Kidsgrove Scouts show, their marching technique is excellent, love those toes. Gorgeous summer solstice flag work & colour, it actually makes you feel warm watching it. Once the ending is as tight as the rest of the show I would love to see it again. It’s Kidsgrove Scouts day for me today (and yes I did write these notes before I knew the results).
Thank you to Jason Oates and Chris Gibbs my travel buddies (and fellow corps members from back in the day) and also Jo and Adrian Clark for keeping me company and being two more lovely drum corps folk.
It takes discipline, comradery and dedication to be part of a successful drum corps, characteristics which I am very proud to have learnt and carried through into the person I am today because of this fantastic activity. The sad thing is people reading this already know about Drum Corps so the important thing we must all keep trying to do is reach the people who don’t and keep this life changing, character building, inspiring activity alive & kicking.
Report by Natasha Lea
Former marching member of The Beechmen, Trilogy Colour Guard and The Crossmen.