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Inside the Arc – “Annapolis Time Tripping”

Now that I think about it, the whole episode unfolds like a slick Hollywood script, except it really happened. If you doubt it, just ask the others. They were there, too. It’s the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, that most excellent event that stretches summer by one more glorious day. This time holds special meaning […]

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Inside the Arc – “It’s Just Not Drum Corps Anymore”

Napoleon is probably most responsible for the popularity of combining music and marching in modern times. While he was out conquering the world, he stumbled upon a Turkish “Janissary” band with cornettos, shawms, cymbals, and a thing called a “Jingling Johnny” that resembled a hi hat on a broom stick. He proceeded to buy one, […]

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Inside the Arc – “Don’t Know Much About His-to-ry”

A very wise friend of mine named Jim Elvord once stood up at a corps staff meeting of a top national contender and asked the following: Who are we? Where are we? Where do we want to go? How are we going to get there? Everybody wanted to skip right to number 4. That would […]

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Inside the Arc – “The Pit That Ate Drum Corps”

One popular scientific theory holds that the universe continues expanding, a result of the incredible force generated by the Big Bang. There seems to be a good deal of evidence for this view. Whether this will go on forever is debatable, and even Einstein struggled with this problem. After all, why wouldn’t the collective mass […]

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Inside the Arc
“The Dut Must Die”

A hush falls over the audience as the ensemble turns backfield and shapes the hauntingly melodious beginning strain of a deeply moving ballad. The pit percussionists layer tasteful textures onto the rich brass sound, the timpanist applying a perfectly balanced and feather-light touch to a roll even as a gentle wind chime floats above it […]

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Inside the Arc
“The Hunt for Bugle Genesis”

A few days ago, I held in my hands a valveless trumpet upon which ringing fanfares were once sounded in the Royal Court of His Majesty, James II of England. This rarest of horns may also have served to enliven Shakespearian dramas and comedies of the period. Crafted of copper and brass in London by […]

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Inside the Arc
“Judging the Judges”

On a Sunday afternoon in mid summer 1968 it’s oppressively hot and humid in Jersey City. We wear uniforms made of wool blend, and don’t care. The “breeze” feels like one of those moments in mom’s kitchen when you open the oven to see if the roast is done. It matters not. We have to […]

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Inside the Arc
“Riggie, Maynard & Me”

Ironically, there exist some individuals who have had a profound effect on the drum corps activity yet are generally unknown to many younger practitioners of the art. It’s the duty of the rest of us to pass along knowledge of their substantial contributions. That said, here’s a story about one of them, a man whose […]

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Inside the Arc
“Echo – Schmecho”

It’s a blazing hot Sunday afternoon in 1962 and a couple of thousand of us are watching the Garfield Cadets challenge Blessed Sacrament for bragging rights to Jersey and the rest of the civilized world. They build a massive company front, push it forward to the very edge of the sideline and high mark time […]

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Inside the Arc
“This Is Your Brain On Drums”

Percussion General Effect has been around a long time. In his book “The World in Six Songs”, Daniel Levitin (“This is Your Brain on Music”) poses the following scenario describing why our ancestors who could drum held some distinct advantages: A small group of early humans are asleep in the pre-dawn, near the embers of […]

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