Cozy’s Corpsdom ~ We Hang Artists Here

| |

Strolling into the local coffee shop by Lake Corpsdom, I noticed the familiar gaggle of pool sharks in the back beyond the poker tables. Too early for a slaw burger, I order my black goo. As I take it straight, no chaser, sans sucar o leche, I don't have to worry about how they would straighten out the spoon when Bubba swashes the dirty dishes.

Unlike the Starbuck's Shoppes prevalent when I lived on Bainbridge Island in my sleepless in Seattle days (kava available on every corner and in the middle of the block…as one enters the ferry or steps off), this shop has a sign in the window: "We hang artists here." Yep, this is no cyber shop, no laptops to be seen. Nada wireless, one gets wired on coffee. Table chat revolves around how 20 acres of canola can provide enough biodiesel to fuel all the farm equipment.

Sipping, I pondered the artists I've seen, interviewed…stared at their foot soles from the bus aisle lately while in prone pad purgatory.

Hopping onto a bus June 28, I rode with the Atlanta CorpsVets from American Legion, Loganville, GA, to the Cardinal Sheehan Center, Bridgeport, CT, for some true drum corps. Dave Stollberg, subtitled with some of those doctorate titles, P.E. and such…the important distinction is that he's CV's executive type director, was gracious enough to let me join the CorpsVets' caravan of two buses for curb service breakfast buffet at Shoney's, where we got to make the acquaintance of Clem's Towing Service in Virginia.

Staten Island Tom, known as Colgan, CorpsVets business manager, demanded that I should write about how CV shoulda won in Bridgeport or he'd cremate me, deny me cooler privileges at future Holiday Inn parties with Ruben Ariola, Jimmy Russo, Jim Harris, Dave Medeiros and entourages, in return for my seat next to Daniel Sheets, teen soprano. If it hadn't been for the Hurricane, pirates 'n such at the Barnum Festival, I'm sure CV wouldn't have been bushwhacked by a bellbottom brigade of horsemen.

Under the lights, needing no advertising, the CorpsVets rehearsed at the stadium straight from the bus trip. At zero-too-early the next morn, it was back at it at the park in Park City along Long Island Sound, next to Empire, who were already at it from their relatively "short" drive from near Paetec Park. The Buccaneers were on the next field. With the aid of Jim Harris, brother of Art Harris, Tom Colgan and Dave Medeiros, CV assistant equipment manager, I was also able to catch a Connecticut Hurricanes rehearsal on the stadium field and to get Frank Ponzo, Duke Tereri, Curt Hawkins, Steve Raclowski et al. chewed out for gabbing during rehearsal…It's my job! Gotcha', Ponzo!

Mayor John Fabrizi was beaming by Emcee Ace Holleran during the DCA Bridgeport show. Holleran told me, "John marched drum corps as a kid; so, he understands how this works."

I kidded Fabrizi that I would somehow figure out a way to vote for him, to which Fabrizi responded, "We'll have to arrange that."

During the Barnum Festival Parade, the morning after the show, the CorpsVets were hosted pre-parade by Tom and J.B. Ackerman, in the huge yard of their huge home. Under canopy under gargantuan shade trees, the entire corps was fed by the neighborhood. One box of goodies stated, "For the CorpsVets, from (name forgotten), Drummer."

Hmm, I can vote for Fabrizi. I'm moving into the antique-filled Ackerman home, third floor. Then, I can vote for Fabrizi and hound Ace.

Holleran was also the announcer for the parade. He referred to the Hawthorne Caballeros as "The Bellbottom Brigade."

CV Fontaine's sis to sing at DCA Salem, OH

Here's some beautiful news — While sharing Taco Bell burritos at Woodbridge, VA, a Stonewall Jackson's throw from Shenandoah Sound's July 21 DCA show, CorpsVets Drum Major Marvin Fontaine stated, "Guess who's going to sing the National Anthem at the (July 28 DCAssociates) Salem (OH) show?…My sis."

Immediately, I drooled and it wasn't due to burritos. Fontaine's sister was Miss Ohio in 2005. I'm guessing that patriotism and singing are more of her talents. As if Empire Statesmen, Kilties, Govenaires, Minnesota Brass, etc., aren't enough reasons to buy tickets, ya' gotta catch this stunning beauty. If I were a rich man, I'd give a paycheck to see her.

Cincinnati Tradition marched drill with about 30 members in Fairfield and Centerville, OH! This is better than when I played in Director Tom Slade's alumni corps. Now, if they can just get to DCA. Tim Burke, former Empire, is with Tradition, working percussion, .

River City Regiment's current has ebbed to doldrums. I do hope they will hit the field even stronger next season and make it to Rochester!

Jeff Cox has the worst, most thankless job in drum corps — DCI housing. Thanks, Mr. Cox!!! Just try scouting for schools to host corps. Thanks to Ian Edwards, RJ Scott, Bill Wear, Jerald Sheets, et al., all of CorpsVets, for helping Cox recently.

Zeilinger, Gambetty, Willet, Plachta dream on in SoCal

Moving on to orange-colored skies near Orange County, I called Ron Zeilinger on an Impulse. Zeilinger shared, "We're doing "Final Fantasy VII," kind of dark, hip-techno.

"(Impulse) came off a championship last year! This year, the DCI schedule and school schedule were overlapping. Now, the show is finished, over 100 pages of drill, a lot for a Division III corps.

"Lots of our kids have gone on to other drum corps: Vanguard, Madison, Blue Devils, Boston, Carolina Crown…. A third of the snare line in Vanguard are from Impulse. We have a larger booster organization. Over 40 parents were at the last meeting."

Zeilinger continued, "We helped start Mystikal; we helped start VK. We created our own competition. We're all fishing from the same local pool.

"Five of our board are all marching Kingsmen Alumni this year (including Charlie Groh, Impulse executive director). Ryan Turner ("Voice of the West" — Hawaiian shirt honcho) is doing our public relations."

SoCal Dream is rambin' like a vintage Nash with Star Trek. I called both Seth Gambetty, director, and Thom Willet, brassy father of a late August-born baby (which kept him from making Rochester last year).

Gambetty said, "(SoCal Dream) is having a good year. The show is challenging."

Willet added, "You should come and check us out this weekend." Unlike last year when I did make Loud Music Symposium L.A. and two DCI shows, I'll be in Murfreesboro, TN, the Georgia Dome and Spirit's show at Jax State this weekend.

Mike Plachta, sop, revealed, "We have six sopranos. Any of them can play lead."

That sounds exactly like the San Francisco Renegades where Dave Leland, Nashville, TN, bari, told me, "We have thirds (bari), who have played lead before…"

…Hmm, Mac McEntire, Renegades visual guru, called me in the midst of the Bridgeport weekend. Remind me what we were discussing, Mac. I'm sure it was off-the-record anyway.

Speaking of Plachta, that reminds me, when making plans for DCA Rochester, one has the option of flying into Rochester, Buffalo or Syracuse. Just ask Plachta and Bill Howard, Dream sops.

No sex in drum corps?

Another drum corps suggestion: No sex during Thanksgiving. That way folks like CorpsVets Exec. Dir. Dave Stollberg won't be delayed making the DCA Championships like last year while wife Tammi stays in the hospital. (Tammi is back in CorpsVets' guard for aught seven.)…or Willet won't have to miss like he did during the '06 DCA Championships.

I'm outa' suggestions.

Publisher's Note: Cozy's Corpsdom features updates from the world of drum corps as only Cozy Baker can deliver ….. in his own unique style and presentation. A featured Drum Corps World reporter and contributing columnist for many years, Cozy travels the country as a competitive marching member, instructor, observer, and commentator on the state-of-the-activity. The opinions expressed in this column are strictly those of the author. (Cozy mug photo by Christina Mavroudis-Dempsey.) You may write to Cozy directly at mailto: cozy [at] drumcorpsplanet [dot] com

Posted by on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007. Filed under Cozy's Corpsdom.