BigW

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BigW last won the day on January 26 2015

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  1. My thought for the day: Spartacus had to be one badaxx dude. It took SIX Phantom Baritones to kill him. Now for work. Where we are ALL Spartacus, except for the supervision and management.
  2. There's a reason that the style of the brass playing was different. Ticks. You played differently back then to be tick-proof. The style corps played was also bent to that. Being a bit more musical, bending things, phrasing more subtly, etc. meant a lot more of a risk of a tick. The old horns also have a nasty bite to them. I played in a closed room with a Kanstul and my Ultratone and people could tell the difference between the two. Granted, everyone played on them, it was a more even playing field. I played on one of the Beta test System Blue horns last summer, and other than the utter fragility of the build of them- there's no real choice in terms of how they play so nicely in tune with a great, mature sound and respond at the drop of a hat as compared to the G horns. Believe me I know it's an arcane art and a challenge to play on a G horn and I enjoy that challenge. The problem is this-- you have a limited amount of time to train your horns, you have a fair amount of corps turnover ever year, and your competitor is playing on a horn that's easier to teach on and get a better sound out of that's more in tune... the last thing you want to do is compete with both hands tied behind your back. As for the glocks- funny you mentioned them, Scout House Alumni used them exclusively and when they used them in the 1960-1965 period pieces they did, they were fine. The big problem for them was beating the tar out of them with copper mallets to get them loud enough to reach the stands. My guess is that mallets were an innovation as well to give percussion more of a dimension and effect BITD. Again, someone looking for an edge and a way to beat everyone else. Maybe also in some instances, get another kid down the street who needed some shape and discipline in their lives on board. I think with some of the recent changes, the DCA show design people have been aware of their corps' brand and tradition and have tread very carefully. A lot of this reminds me of a conversation I had at DCI East prelims circa 1982-4... 33-35 years ago where someone complained about the Bridgemen, and I responded, "Strip away the Pimp hats and Raincoats, all the extra stuff on the field, and put that show out raw musically and visually. Is the drill well written? Say it... YES. Are the Horns and drums well played and are the arrangements really, really good? Uhhhhhuhhhh... the basic elements are THERE." So far, so good for DCA on those metrics, I think for the most part.
  3. Also makes sense. Certain things John wrote, I've been discovering had for a lack of better terms, "fiddly detailed things" from the original source material that might (More like LIKELY) be taken out by others. Listening to BD '82 for instance there are certain things here and there Downey took the croodles and bumps out of to clean things up in Chuck Corea that Westshore still has within their arrangement.
  4. Figured CT would stay A- right now the DCA website lists Tradition, the T-Birds, Chops, Excelsior, and the Southern Knights as the 5 right now. I have no clue if anyone from Open will move down. My guess is when the deadline hits, we'll officially know if anyone makes that decision. With the 5 right now, I figure the competition to be pretty intense. Any one of the 5 that think they can take a coffee break and assumes things are 'good enough'- will be a bit surprised, shocked, and disappointed when the rubber meets the road at a show.
  5. From his clip on his website, I think it is the original piece by Pendowski- how he got a copy... my guess is went to Towson and looked there since the piece is "permanently out of print" according to one publisher when I went looking. Nice Rafik Mankarios vid up of his band playing it as well. Another little nugget I found recently was a clip of the BBC Big Band with Lalo Schifrin, John Faddis, and Rafael Berroa with the band playing Schifrin's Latin jazz Suite at a German Jazz festival. Love the band, and the solo work. Was great to watch and listen to Berroa, I wasn't familiar with him until then, he's wonderfully sublime.
  6. Frank hit every nail on the head that I learned in a couple of excellent Music Marketing courses. The huge cash trough dried up in the recording industry. A lot of aspects got tossed out the window there to cut costs. The A and R end (the talent development end) has been largely cut to a nub of what it was- now, performers pretty much have to prove to a recording label they have done the ground work and can do x and y without their assistance. I've been saying that the various copyright holders would take something rather than nothing for some time here on DCP- Hopefully things will proceed towards that goal.
  7. Talked to you folks at Highland Regiment at a ToB contest last fall and I figured you'd be more than okay and it was a question of when and not if. I know I'll eventually see you around at a DCA contest barring health issues on this end. It's okay that when isn't this year. In this activity, plans don't happen overnight without ridiculous influxes of cash (Star of Indiana for instance). BD didn't make finals in their first DCI appearance (another thing forgotten over the years). Plans for a corps can take several years of work and serious effort at underpinning a strong business model underneath the organization and finding the personnel and growing them before you can finally pluck some fruit off of the tree. My comments are more directed at some folks who have bemoaned the "35 minimum rule" over time that I get tired of hearing. I thought about the whole minimum size rule some more. Work allows me to think about better things than work, thankfully. Otherwise, I'd go mad. I figure if I had to put forth a small corps, what's the smallest I'd want it to be or think could be competitively be viable? Brass: 6 Trumpets 4 Mellos 6 Baris 2 Contras All of that predicated on the fact all of them can play out well, hard, and without any concerns or self-consciousness (like Sun Devils did). That's 18. Percussion: (I'd like to see Jeff's comments on this, I'd take his advice on any alterations here) 3 Snares 2 Tenors 4 Bass Drums (assuming I have to be small- otherwise 5) Front Ensemble: 2 mallets 2 Tympani/accessory 1 Electronic specialist 2 Old people who can play sideline stuff on brass, can help with accessories/electronics, and conduct. (Someone like me) That's 16 people. I have 34 already. add in a bare minimum of 8-12 guard. That puts me to 42-45 people. My thoughts are that anything less than that- you have some weaknesses and lack of balance that forces the design team and instructional team to really work to cover up those issues. I don't want to fight in DCA with one hand tied behind my back. Class A is very competitive. More than some people would like to think. So, perhaps the minimum size of 35 is actually very generous. Food for thought.
  8. Just realized something- the whole issue with corps and show hosts has been an on and off again issue for decades. 1979- Westshore was asked to disinvite itself from the Fresh Air Fanfare because they didn't want a "...corps of our caliber ruining their fine contest." I remember those words clearly because I sat there as the letter was read to the corps at the first rehearsal I attended. So does Fawber. That letter spurred the corps more than the writers could have imagined- for years afterwards. We're talking about a corps with 48 horns, 30 drums, 30 guard, and a DCA finalist for the two previous seasons who got crapped upon by a show host. Making it more interesting, we finished sixth that season. Can anyone imagine a show host telling CV (the 6th place finisher last season) or Bush (9th place last season) to stay home and not come to a contest now? On the related '35' topic- maybe... use it to spur the corps to recruit more, build... and as a goal/chip on the shoulder rather than griping.
  9. Thank you for spelling that out, John. I remember seeing a few fly-by-nights in the early 90's that appeared at a contest or two then crashed and burned due to weak management, instability as well as numbers. I've been to shows where I cringed at some of the comments coming from some of the paying audience concerning some of those groups. I can be a hard case and critical but for God's sake, I literally cringed at what was said. I'm more understanding and I wouldn't have gone there. Some of those people I'm certain had the ear of contest management and let them know how they felt in no uncertain terms about those groups as well. My guess is in the one case, some of the people making those comments were part of the show management team. When I was mixed up in Garden State in the mid-90's there were some very small groups within that circuit. Southern Illusion had 6 brass and 6 percussion, and about 8 guard, for instance and did credibly for that small a team, but I'd argue that Garden State was a circuit designed for very small developmental teams that didn't have much of an operating budget and in most cases were also extant to build character with inner city kids, and in that way they did very well-- but that's not really DCA's goal nor purview. Building character and helping kids is an indirect side effect of the DCA activity more than a main goal. People want to see effective teams performing watchable and accessible shows in DCA. Whether anyone likes it and I don't like it for the record- there's not a lot of sympathy or empathy for a group that's struggling/unwatchable. Also, if you have an under 35 team... do Minis. Do Sound Sport. Do WGI Winds. Build the program from that and grow into DCA. Those paths exist, and to be blunt, if you can't get it out of those types of venue, stay there and do well at that. No point in trying to do something that sets up the overall program for eventual failure and having people in the audience shaking their heads and remembering the group in a bad light 25 years later.
  10. Scott's a fascinating cat, a real Westshoreman even though he might be better known for his work at Brigs. I've always liked his sense of humor and his kindness to the folks I've been around with him as well as his candor. I guess all of that sizes up a lot of us for the good and bad of Westshore, but I think it's a good combination for the most part.
  11. I was lucky enough to see the Brigs during their run at Hershey, and yeah, definitely an enjoyable and tight corps regardless of how derivative or not the charts were. When a corps is really good- a lot of little picky things like that can be easily forgiven. As for the Crusaders- the loss of the horns and debt incurred from getting said horns pretty much put a permanent end to things there. Brigs? At least they have their Mini corps and are still doing some small scale things now and again. The problem is this-- The Brigs understood it took a lot of money to fuel their dragster. Would they want to come back with a modest version of themselves and show up and fight for 8th place? I somehow doubt that. If they come back it would likely be with every gun a-blazin and not a half cocked effort, and that would take a few BMW's worth of cash.
  12. Mike laid it out simply- We played jazz in the West Coast style and our selections were also in that vein. To me, it's a rather refreshing contrast to the traditional East Coast Swing era stuff and that more swingy style. Here's a loaded question.... Was it a problem for the Brigs when they were using Wayne Downey and pretty much re-exploring all the great Blue Devils charts for their shows?
  13. As for people who would be upset by any comparison, that's outright insane- and I'll use the term outright idiotic to have been offended by it. 1976 to 1982- Who was the big influence in the overall activity in terms of excellence, success, musicality and quality, and the total show concept? It wasn't the Vanguard. I'll give anyone reading this that clue. Yeah, they won the 2 championships the Devils didn't, their 1980 show was ahead of its time visually and paid in spades for that, but BD was the edge in so many ways. There were other great corps, but in terms of having everything together in the total package.
  14. Had nothing to do with it where this person was concerned. My thoughts then and still about this individual were, "If you have that kind of a hangup with the personality of this corps and who we are in terms of the west coast jazz style, then why the (intercourse) are you here?" I know why they had the hangup, but I don't want to go into too many details publicly to protect the identity of the very, very, guilty. Though I will give a hint- this is the individual I tried to strangle in my sleep on Bus 1 some time in August. Neidiger would remember for certain---he saw the whole thing go down. I remember vaguely, mainly the rocking headache when I woke up and Neidiger laughing his can off at me.