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A gorgeous night in Landisville PA, just west of Lancaster resulted in a great evening with two alumni corps, a brand new DCI Soundsport corps in exhibition and 4 DCA corps in competition in a return to Hempfield HS after a year’s absence.

First up was the Skyliners Alumni with a spirited exhibition. Their 2018 production featured classics from the annals of Skyliners history with “New York State of Mind”, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”,  a Medley of “Victory At Sea” and “America The Beautiful”, “Harlem Nocturne”, “Elk’s Parade”, the exit medley of “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” and “Lil Ole New York” and of course ending with the Skyliner signature ending. The crowd responded enthusiastically to many great soloists and of course that Skyliner snare line doing their thing they do so well.

Lots of fun old school Sky with tuns covering decades of material. 

Up Next was a brand new corps from New Jersey, Encorps! Participating in DCI Soundsport for now, the goal is to move into DCI competition soon. Their 2018 production is titled “This Is How We Do It!” The underlying story that builds through the show is about getting a reluctant member to commit fully to being a part of the corps. The show has a decidedly “Jersey” Feel, with Roundabout by Yes with some very true to the original rock classic musically and some nice afro Cuban percussion grooves thrown in as well. “Family is the ballad has some well thought out pacing as it builds to the musical impact and a nod to Bridgemen past with a hint of “Land of Make Believe” noticed. The percussion was featured with “in The Market Place which then led into “And Love Goes on” building with a well done finish that includes the front sideline banners being flipped to reveal an encouragement to support the first year corps and buy T-shirts! The show is well thought out and designed for the limited rehearsal schedule and allows for the performers to shine, especially musically. This new face in the crowd is off to a well-received start!

I can't say enough about how well designed this was for the kids talents and the schedule. Lots of good planning here andif the financials and recruiting keep pace with the design, this corps will be one to keep your eyes on

 

Edited by Jeff Ream
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First in competition was the Bushwackers with their 2018 production “Pablo”! The show began with recorded vocals helping set the Spanish feel, and then the low brass brought the familiar rhythms of “the Canyon” to life, layering in all of the voices on by one building to the first true impact moment of the show. The percussion was featured after the impact, and when the brass re-entered, the corps played at a halt with the very active and colorful guard around them. The corps turned backfield to fade out to end the piece. “Nature Boy” changes the pace with a trumpet and trombone duet from behind the props, and the temp picks up after a bass drum feature and builds to a visual block with the brass playing isolated attacks overtop of a very bust percussion book. “White Rabbit” starts with the front ensemble and tenors doing a clapping rhythm under a recorded Spanish guitar sample which sets up the battery percussion for an extended feature. At this point the brass was stationary here and the guard was active on flags. When the brass re-enters the low brass took the lead and the corps spread out with brass on side 1 and percussion on side 2, leading to some ensemble issues for this early in the season. The brass then returned to lead the corps to the conclusion of the show for now. 4th place 65.3, 4.8 in penalties.

Some good ideas here, but balance brass to percussion is an issue. Hopefully the brass holes get filled in, as some staging helps cause the issues and stamina is needed. The show has a lot of potential, but with more to be added, they must be sure to not neglect cleaning whats already there. 

Following Bush came Fusion Core with their 2018 program “When I Grow Up….”.  At first glance seeing the guard is attired as little kids at play, you can see the show will be fun and mirthful. A recording of “When I grow up” is playing, and the front ensemble starts the show with the guard role playing as little kids would do! The low brass starts the Silverado theme as the “kids” play Cowboy complete with horse sound effects. The build to the full corps impact built nicely. Many sections were featured throughout the song, and “High Noon” is heard as we have a good old fashioned duel by the Cowboys. A big rifle toss starts a nice big slow push on the catch. The corps proper condenses the form as the guard surrounds the corps here. A small brass ensemble is next back to the full corps pushes to the end of the piece in a company front for “Magnificent 7”, with the percussion splitting the brass form and charging the front sideline. “Jupiter” changes the mood as the Cowboys become spacemen, complete with an old fashioned space helmet being worn, and sound clips of old NASA recordings. Musically the piece builds to a nice full corps impact while the spaceman plants his flag on the moon.

“Abrams Pursuit” take us into fire fighter territory including a very active percussion break complete with siren sounds. The mood changes with the corps playing backfield, then as they turn front, the corps proper is on side 2 with the huge guard all on side 1. This ten leads to the corps moving center with the guard passing through them with eye catching red flags. The corps builds to a company front pushing forward, with the guard on the rainbow assortment of flag colors, the drill splits up, only to reform into a company front as the “Magnificent 7” makes a return for the ending.  3rd place 72.9, .2 in penalties

This is probably going to be the "awwwww" show of the year. the closer needs fleshed out more for the firefighter stuff, and the usual end of show stamina issues for this time of year are evident. Some hidden comedy gold with the stuff the guard is doing, and there could be more to come. The biggest thing visually i noticed is the percussion stays behind the props for almost 80% of the show. 

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Clad in a black version of the classic Cadet uniform, Cadets 2 entered the field with a huge look due to the spread visually. The 2018 program is “Industrial Awakening, and the props shaped like gears help sell the idea before they are even used. Vocal and piano start the show off followed by a French horn solo staged out on the field, and then the familiar “On The Waterfront" rhythm starts coming from the tenors and basses. A trumpet solo enters from side 1 with the brass entering backfield, building to the famous hit with the corps on side 1 and the guard filling side 2. “That Next Place” changes the mood, with a unique approach with all of the keyboards on vibes. The mid voices and baritones are featured well, and at the big impact the Brass is all on side 1 with the guard on purple swing flags. The piece then works its way down to a mello/baritone duet.

Factory like sounds come from the speakers as “Future Markets” begins, and the gears start to rotate with a well done bass drum feature. The tenors and snares have their moments, and then the entire battery has a fun jam feature. Horn whistles lead into trombones and low brass on side 2 with a full corps has a good old fashioned park and bark with the guard around them. “Big Apple” concludes the show with a big brass moment that leads into the tempo picking up and when the fun musically began to happen on this night the corps remained in place for the remainder of the show.  2nd place 75.9

Obviously not done, the show has a ton of potential. Some serious musical beef that needs to get their feet under them and address some balance with brass vs electronics. I won't predict finals placements, I'll just say the show when clean will be a lot of fun. Noted the great reaction they got entering the field given the issues the parent organization has been through the last few months. 

Finally the hometown Reading Buccaneers entered the field. The field is covered with props shaped like grass to help set the stage for “Here to There”. Getting from point A to point B isn’t easy, and the “Bugganeers” show you how a corps of Bugs makes it happen. As the show begins the Bugs are hidden in the grass and begin to emerge and sound clips of the great outdoors help set the mood. “Hummingbird” is a great meld of vocal drum speaks and drumming happening in a duel as well as together by the tenors that had the crowd wowed. The trumpets enter with “Hunting Wabbits”, followed by a bass drum moment that brings in the low brass that builds to a huge full corps impact. The pit and weapons have a moment followed by several bras ensembles complete with bug jumping sound effects, then the snares get their moment bringing the full corps back in. The guard here stands out with their bright yellow uniforms with blue flags, and the brass plays a 16th note run up and down through the voices that builds to the end of the piece. Stormy sound effects change the mood and the tempo picks up with a big fast drill movement with a full sound from the corps to bring the storm to life. Things quiet back down with rain sounds as a mello brings the “Danse Macabre” melody to life. Many sections are featured leading to some fast movement that ends in a block where the corps does body movements while finishing the piece.

 The storm comes back and the Bugs scatter. A trombone solo is featured while the keyboards play with one hand, and rain sticks in the other. The bugs start to emerge ….and as the pit sounds bring them out, a series of flyswatters appear with comedic sound effects helping to see the bugs get swatted. “Symphony 4” begins to build with the battery on side 2 with the vocal drum speak coming back. Organ sounds help usher a nice slow push by the whole corps. The guard is on a giant picnic blanket and the tempo picks up with the sections re-entering the drill one at a time into another big impact with organ sounds, and the Bugs power to the end to reach their destination. 1st place, 80.1

On a first view, i know I missed stuff and honestly, i may have gotten things a smidge out of order. The corps is definitely into the identity of being Bugs, and while many alumni grumbled about changing the uniform to more modern costuming, the show wouldn't work otherwise. Clearly the most prepared corps of the night, with fewer stamina issues than the pack. It'll be fun to see the show grow. 

Ending the evening was the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni, with their 2018 show consisting of La Virgin de la Macarena, Tequila Mockingbird, El Boro, Cha Cha Cha Flamenco, Concierto de Aranjuez and the Caballeros Signature Finale. Featuring a nice amount of 70’s early 80’s drill, great solo work including 2 percussion features, and even 2 pinwheels during the legendary “Rumps” in the closer, the Cabs Alumni had the crowd in the palm of their hands from the moment the iconic Street beat kicked in following the “Bull Call” announcing their presence.

Usual fun Cabs Alumni show! I stood at track side for it, as I just wanted to be down low to feel the vibe. 

A Final thought….longtime “voice of DCA” Fran Haring had announced during the offseason that he was stepping back from announcing as many shows as he has, possibly including Championships. Fran has announced for DCA since 1983, and to all of us that marched during those years, that voice was the one you always wanted to hear. As this is most likely the last chance I will have to hear his voice ring through the speakers, I just want to thank him for so many great moments for all of DCA with his voice guiding us through it all! Some calls obviously stand out more than others for me ( and others I'm sure), but it truly feels like the end of an era, and I hope everyone takes the time to thank him for being "our voice" as well as being a great guy with occasional wardrobe issues

 

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Great review as always!!!

And thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated!!!

When I find out more about where and when my season's going to end, I'll let you know. :tongue:

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