Posted on behalf of The Phantom Southerner, who posted this originally in the DCA forum by mistake.
This is the Crusaders first year in World Class, having won the Open Class championship last year, and after you see them, you’ll probably be wondering what took DCI so long to convert them to the upper tier of competition. I’ve been reading a book about near death experiences, so this opening has particular resonance with me (sorry Phantom Regiment, but even though I'm a lifelong Phan, Dvorak’s “Going Home” Southern gospel theme has never been more effectively presented). It’s a show about the passages of life and death, set in the South (this is going to be a big hit in Atlanta), and it’s clear that the theme is embraced from the beginning. The music is wonderfully intertwined with the show concept and drill throughout (example, using the New Orleans funeral procession with the combination of custom written music and Gershwin is a perfect coupling in terms of style), and very well performed by a group of musicians who will develop over time as they are challenged by a very strong and complex musical book. I was impressed by the sophistication that still engages the audience throughout. The guard is talented and utilized very well in providing framing and interpretive color, and their uniforms enhance the Southern feel. The cross motif shows up throughout, especially at the end, as their closer is their own take on the classic Star of Indiana double cross move, albeit a bit slower. The electronic pieces (synth) are effectively blended with the music so that they aren’t nearly as distracting as they might otherwise be. This show proves you can be cerebral AND entertaining (anyone listening out there in Concord?), and I simply can’t get over the degree of nuance and attention to detail that the staff has exercised in developing it, because you normally don’t see it to this extent with a corps at this level. Once they get this show cleaned, it will really impress with the points they’ll realize before the year is out. Consider this a shout out and thanks to everyone in the Crusaders organization for a job well done!