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BigW, July 19 in DCA All-Age Corps and Alumni Corps Show & Event Reviews
Next, the Bucs. Yeah, when the announcer asked of the corps was ready, someone(.. Aunt Mabel, maybe?) yelled "THEY'RE ALWAYS READY!". ..................
May I suggest some non-bandish alternatives? Please? Please, please, pretty please. Leave the band stuff for the fall and don't let it infect DCA?
"RBCG!" (1$ to their staff)
"Give em' Hell!" (1$ to my Mom)
"Aaaaar, me Buccaneers!" (1$ to Brother George Parks)
"Kill 'em all, let God Sort 'em out!" (1$ to Arnauld Almaric)
"NO QUARTER!/GIVE NO QUARTER!" (Give me 1$, definition for Aunt Mabel: " Show no mercy or concession; in its original usage, show no mercy for a vanquished opponent." Much more fitting for the Bucs, and more DCA appropriate. I hope Aunt Mabel or Ashley's Mom doesn't faint from reading that.)
There are a few more I can think of which would be a significant improvement over the overused and hackneyed "THEY'RE ALWAYS READY!!!". Corps are NOT always ready, even the Bucs. Especially when they're having chow or napping on the bus. They need to relax, chill and eat some, you know. They're not always ready, please, Ashley's Mom and Aunt Mabel....
Let's cut to the "Behind the Suit" show, which is a definitive high-energy package that's one of the best of that genre. From the look of things, the Bucs realized that they're far more athletic and stronger than everyone else, and they've built a show around their advantage and dared everyone to match it. As I said earlier, it's a very well coordinated fast-paced ship full of "BANG! POW! ZAP!, and KABOOM!" and well performed from beginning to end. The Bucs can run out the guns faster than any other crew in DCA and keep firing over and over, and they don't run out of gas.
It's an exciting show, with a raucous opener with a neat distorted Trombone feature, and things move quickly from element to element, only really taking a bit of a break with the introduction of the Barber Symphony segment that quickly builds steam back to the quick pace again. The Barber segment is easily my favorite segment of the program, some fantastic arranging and angles on the piece.
One of the modern catchphrases of the activity is whether a team "sustains and delivers". The Bucs design team and performers make sure this is met to an extreme level, and it's exciting and pretty impressive- though honestly, I preferred the "Black Symphony" and "conZENtric" a bit more than this program- I just like it when the show pace shifts around a bit more than this program and has 'slower moments'- The Bucs do show for a bit that they can play pretty and do the ballad thing to check off the box, but most of the program runs at breakneck velocity. (By the way, that 'sustain and deliver' catchphrase, who came up with that? It sounds like some ad copy for a male enhancement commercial...)
The other fascinating aspect of this show is how it's taken some tropes and memes associated with one particular group and... made them work a lot better. The catchphrase narrative leading to music associated with the statement. The narrative never intrudes upon the music and never takes over the program and becomes the program, which can be a problem with that sort of thing. The whiplash drill, the cutting mid-voice heavy brass sound at one point... I can go on, but I found that also pretty fascinating and a bit amusing.
The Bucs have effectively dared everyone to run with them and play their brand of fast-break drum corps. It'll take a team that can show they can run at times with them as well as perhaps argue that their program might have a more rounded, deeper, and introspective musical dimension. It will not be an easy task.
The Final program of the night was the home corps, Cadets2. with their "Once Upon a Lifetime" program, which taps into that Americana/Apple Pie/Rural America from 1919 to 1941/nostalgia vibe that the Cadets organization has made their own over the decades. The show's music is very much composed of Drum Corps Comfort Food, and there's nothing wrong with good comfort food. I'll start by saying that the brass section was well prepared and that they spoke with a strong, unified voice in their performance. I've been really tough on the C2 brass section in previous seasons about this, and I have to give them the props that they're now speaking as an ensemble in mid-July. They also move a lot better, even compared to last season, which was a major improvement. (Yeah, I know the one Tuba went down- I'm sure some folks were all over that, but he recovered well and I hope he's okay. No one who's ever performed wants to see anyone go down like that and risk getting badly hurt.)
Right now, C2 is better prepared than last season in terms of performance quality than they were last year at this time. My main issues are structural issues, not with the performer. And the two gripes I have can be easily fixed, and I'm sure something will be done in the first instance, what will be done is the big question.
Reading the show copy, the Rocking Chair is a visual meme and icon for the program. That's fine. I get that, the reasoning is all well and good. The problem is, right now there are a couple dozen of of them parked on the field that sit and do nothing at this point throughout the program. At Nazareth with the low stadium, they caused a lot of visual distraction and clutter. When I notice this as an issue... it's not a good thing. Will more content be added to make the chairs more interactive? If not, they can keep one or two somewhere to keep the idea in people's heads, but take the rest and sell 'em to Cracker Barrel otherwise.
The second issue is in the end segment where they have a brass quartet set up for the discussion of the wedding. Okay, that's also a good connection with Americana and could make for some good musical moments, but right now they either need miked or the rest of the corps really needs to back off so you can hear them clearly, especially the French horn and Euphonium. Right now, they're nothing more than a visual prop, and the four of them deserve to be more than window dressing. The Euphonium player also needs to get more of the full, round, characteristic sound of the instrument when they are audible and not sound like more like a marching baritone. Gripers can take note that I'm a Euphonium Major that takes the instrument very seriously and that I may just know something about playing one for 45 years.
C2 has a solid program, their performers I believe have a better handle on the package than they ever have had at this point in the season, and they should finish well if they can keep cleaning and refining the little issues like the chairs and quartet.
Before I duck out, I'd like to thank Larry at YEA for his kindness with the phone ticket sales in my regard. He does a great job, was very patient with me, and I think YEA is very blessed and fortunate to have him on board.
It was also a great day to be with the Thunderbirds, they're good folks that are pushing forward in the right direction. I miss 'em when I'm not around them. The activity is more like it was than some people want to realize in the most important ways- the people involved, the competitiveness, I can go on. That's were it counts. God willing, see you at Williamsport.
Congratulations on completing your review! Always comprehensive and helpful. More folks need to understand how much time it takes to produce these writings. Particularly, with all the stresses of REAL life.
If I was near, I'd wipe your brow with a rolled, wet towel !
(now . . . . get back to work!)
23 minutes ago, Fred Windish said:
(now . . . . get back to work!)
(now . . . . get back to work!)
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