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About CrossmenAlumni

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  1. There has always been something about the Cadets that screams "AMERICANA," from the classic West Point-style uniforms to the decades of tradition and excellence which helped push the activity forward into new and exciting realms. It has been my honor to pay tribute to this iconic American corps in a pseudo-impressionistic style. It would be an ideal gift for Cadets members or alumni, or for any passionate drum corps fan. It’s acrylic on a 16” x 20” canvas and I’m selling for $250. If interested, or if you know someone else who may be interested, please send me a private message. Thanks!
  2. I believe the Iron Cross only lasted two seasons as the Crossmen feeder corps, 1979-1980. In 1979, their Class A Championship score in Birmingham, AL was (drum roll, please) .....12.05, good for 18th (and last) place In 1980, their score improved a whopping two points at the same event to a 14.05, but alas they dropped to 21st (and still last) place And this was under the tick system. I can only imagine what the judges' comments were like on the tapes or sheets. A guy who marched in the Crossmen in those days told me that he never remembered seeing the Iron Cross practicing all that much back then, but apparently they did like to play frisbee a lot!
  3. Many people know that the Crossmen were formed in 1975 as a merger corps between two long-time southeast Pennsylvania rivals, the Keystone Regiment and the 507th Hornets. They may also know that the name "Crossmen" was derived from the 507th American Legion Post in Norwood, PA, which was named after a World War I veteran named John Wesley Cross. What they might not know was that it was the members themselves of this new "supercorps" who actually chose the Crossmen name in a "Name The Corps" contest. Below is the actual sheet of paper with the many suggested names for the corps and a check mark next to the eventual winner. I've always loved this bit of history because the members were so inventive with their suggestions. And some of these names make me wonder "what if" in a very delightful way (#12, #26, #39 and especially #43!). Enjoy!
  4. When you think "early 90's Crossmen," you think drumline, and for me as a horn player in those corps, I cannot begin to describe the pure joy it felt to play our show with that amazing drumline laying down a groove behind us. Nobody looked or sounded like them. They were completely unique in the activity. This is my tribute to those Crossmen drumlines, and it would be a perfect gift for Crossmen members or alumni, or for any passionate drum corps fan. It’s acrylic on a 16” x 20” canvas and I’m selling for $250. If interested, or if you know someone else who may be interested, please send me a private message. Thanks!
  5. OK, I've slept on this and decided to say a few things here... 1) The Crossmen have had their issues with design AND performance the past several years, and hanging the star on *only* one of those aspects as being THE single reason the corps has faced some struggles is foolish. Last year, in particular, I believe was a complete and total organizational programming miscalculation on a grand scale at nearly every level, and couldn't have come at a worse time. But I stand by what I said in that if you want to be a finalist corps, you have to be able to perform and achieve at a certain level. Having one section clearly not at that level hurts your chances, having two sections not at that level really puts you against a wall, having more than that and you have no earthly reason to even talk about laying the blame at the designers (or one specific designer) for holding you back. Design can help you or hinder you when you're in that range and you're at or near finalist caliber performance levels in all captions, but I don't believe the corps has been at that point in a long time. 2) The Crossmen have been, are, and always will be THE BONES, no matter what music they play, what color their uniforms are, where they call home, or what place they come in, period, end of sentence. 3) The implication that some people are making that Carol Chambers is the reason why the Crossmen have not replaced Aaron Guidry due to her being married to the corps director is ludicrous. It's flat-out 100% wrong, not to mention over the line. 4) Bob, my initial gut reaction to some of your comments led me to believe that there was something you weren't telling us that was making this come off as a bit too personal. I mean you're certainly not the first person on DCP to rail against Aaron Guidry as an arranger. He's an easy and popular target around here. But the relentlessness of your attacks and some of the wording made me pause a bit and wonder what could possibly be motivating it all. As is usually the case, people come forward offline and start filling in the gaps, and well, it's starting to seem clear to me that you do have a very personal axe to grind here with the Crossmen administration. Whether that situation is completely behind you or not, I'm not sure and care not to speculate. It does, however, color your comments with a slightly different brush to my eyes. I'm sorry if things with the corps and you didn't work out the way you had hoped. Especially since you're an alumnus and former instructor. And you have every right to voice your displeasure with the arranging team as not being good enough for your tastes, or for what is being reflected in the scores. The corps has issues, that much is certain. They're working to figure those things out, and as they move forward, they'll have a lot of tough decisions to make. They know it. All I'll say is that I hope you have a great summer, Bob, and I'd like to think that despite whatever personal history or disagreements there are between you and the corps administration, you (and everyone here) could at least wish the Crossmen members the best as they continue working hard and trying to make their 2010 show the best it can be. 5) The following is a general comment and not necessarily directed at anyone specific in this thread. When it comes to alumni ranting about their corps online, it's a tricky situation for me. On one hand, I totally understand where they're coming from, as their comments are almost always coming from an area of caring deeply about what's going on with their corps. They've invested much of themselves in their corps and have earned the right to voice their displeasure if they see or hear something they don't like. On the other hand, I also believe in venting frustration and disagreements in the right place at the right time and in the right venue. Hiding behind anonymous screen names on Drum Corps Planet, to me, is none of that. Especially when that anonymity allows the speaker to be more inflammatory in their comments and more personal in their attacks than they would ever be if people knew who they really were. It's the nature of internet message boards like this. And to be clear, there are most certainly aspects of the current Crossmen situation that I'm not pleased with. I don't always agree with the things my corps does, or has done over the years. I almost left the corps (and drum corps altogether!) after my second year as a member because there were things that really upset me in how things were run. But I like to think that whatever issues I may have with my corps, I can discuss them in such a way, and using the appropriate channels, as to not cause any collateral damage to the people I least want to hurt, and that is the members of the corps itself. Sometimes, they are the ones caught in the crossfire and all they're doing is the best they can with this drum corps thing they've gotten themselves wrapped up in. Yeah, they're big boys and girls and they can handle criticism. But when some of the stuff they read is so nasty and inflammatory, and they see that it's coming from their own alumni, it erodes away at the very relationships and emotional bonds they're trying to build to their own drum corps. When it comes to the Crossmen and their alumni, we're dealing with a very rocky situation to begin with. The formal relationship there has never been consistently solid, and we have so much work to do in order to make the Crossmen alumni collectively a more giving, more viable and stable, and genuinely more reliable group that the Crossmen can count on in good times and bad. And despite disagreements, I believe that alumni should be able to put things aside and be there for their corps when the time comes. That's all I have to say here. I'm done playing the online game debating with anonymous screen names and getting worked up over stuff like this. I've been doing this far too long and spent far too much time with it as it is. I love discussion, I love debate, but sometimes it becomes too much of people talking at each other and not to each other. There's so much work to be done with the Crossmen and the Crossmen Alumni Association, that I feel my time would be much better spent in that direction. We're working on a series of things right now and in the coming months that will hopefully strengthen the ties we have to the corps, and help grow our own organization both in our geographic birthplace in southeast Pennsylvania, as well as in the corps' new home in the southwest. Hope to see many of you at some shows or down the road sometime. (Great to read your post, Chuck!) Coming Full Circle Bye DCP. All the best,
  6. I'll disregard the comment that I was somehow disrespecting Jim Prime. I wasn't, never intended to, and you simply took it the wrong way. We'll disagree on 2008. I thought that show was designed well enough musically that a stronger and more well executed musical ensemble would have propelled them into finals. But on the last point, we just won't be seeing eye to eye and we should probably stop trying to continue this conversation. In my experience teaching drum corps over the years and dealing with the judging community, excellence is the single biggest factor that bleeds into all other captions. And when you're in that zone of corps from 12-17, it is THE biggest determinant to getting the nod over someone else. Excellence IS effect. We obviously won't agree here. Have a great day.
  7. All I have to say is that for each of those years, I can think of only one section in the corps that even remotely resembled finalist performance calibre on a consistent basis, and that was the 2008 color guard. I'm not saying that the music design has been great all those years, either. But I am saying that focusing on just that one aspect when there are other issues at hand as well is short-sighted. If the corps can't march or play or drum or spin consistently well, it won't matter if Aaron Guidry is writing the parts or if Jim freaking Prime is. They've got a lot of decisions to make in the off-season, in a lot of different areas, and they know this. Why don't we all just wish them well for the rest of summer, and see how things shake out?
  8. Year four. And year one with the current design team around him, and YES, I think that does make a difference. Also year one of having more direct guidance from other people on the design team assisting him with that arranging process. You seem to think four years is enough, that there is absolutely no promise or worth in anything he's given them, and should be discarded. They obviously disagree and are willing to mix and match some of the supporting pieces and see if they can make something happen with him. Maybe they'll move on if it doesn't work out in the end this year. I really don't know. Regardless, I think Aaron Guidry is a very gifted musical arranger who is learning and adapting and gradually getting better at what he does in the DCI arena. I know I enjoy this show musically more than anything the corps has done since he started arranging for them in 2007.
  9. A combination of a lot of things. It was not the best winter in terms of recruiting and they've had problems filling those last few spots as far back as spring training. When I saw them back in June, they had people working into those spots, and some of them just didn't pan out and quit. Then other kids got injured and more holes opened up. It happens. I don't know if they have people for some of those spots right now and they're just not all the way through the show yet, but I know from experience that jumping into a spot mid-tour can be one of the most stressful and least enjoyable experiences for both the member trying to learn the show and the staff who has to get him in there. When I had to get a kid through the show like that when I was on staff, we often had kids come in, learn part of the show, decide it wasn't for them and quit. And this was when the corps was a solid finalist. It's a difficult process and can be very frustrating for everyone involved.
  10. When you're a solid finalist corps or gunning for a championship, I would agree. But you can't get into that conversation until you can march well, spin well, play well, drum well, and play in time together. They're just too inconsistent right now in just about every area of the game. We'll see how it shakes out in a month. Blue Stars? Blue Knights? Crown? Madison? Some advanced quicker than others. Some built pieces here, added some pieces later, some are doing well but still will be looking to address certain needs in the next year or two, which is what I've been saying. You're basically putting the Crossmen at YEAR ONE of their current design team coming off a horrendous season against corps that, for the most part aside from Madison, have been building and building and tweaking and adjusting for YEARS from where they started from on their current developmental journey. I can't state it enough: these things take time, and the developmental journey the corps is on right now will be changing and adjusting as the next few years roll on. Maybe Guidry is a part of that process, maybe he's not. I'm willing to see how certain things play out. But one thing I know the Crossmen need to do to help their chances--- march better, play better, spin better, and drum better, period.
  11. Sounds like you have an as-of-yet-unspoken axe to grind here with either Mr Guidry himself or Mr Chambers for deciding to give him another crack as arranger for this year's show. The fact is, they didn't bring him back out of blind loyalty. There's more to it than that. They assembled a design team this year and brought in a show designer who has had a successful track record with Mr Guidry that previous design teams did not have. They're giving it a shot and seeing if they can work together and make something happen. Maybe they make a change next year, maybe they don't. But there's a lot of background information I'm missing from you and your comments that make me question the real motivation behind much of what you say. That's just my initial gut reaction to what I'm reading. As for Crown, yes they are a shining example of what can be done when you reorganize and find all the right pieces at the right time. Only, they are more the exception rather than the rule. As I said, if it were an exact science, more corps would be able to figure it out. For most corps, you have to piece it together one little bit here, then another bit a year later, then maybe fill in some gaps two years after that, while trying to stay on a path that brings you more success slowly and incrementally.
  12. Thanks for stating this. I agree with much of what you said. It's generally accepted that making it into the top 12 these days is more about how well you perform your show rather than what you perform. They're very inconsistent performers right now, as to be expected with so many new and young members. Also, you are dead on about Aaron Guidry listening to and appreciating feedback, good and bad. He knows what the criticisms are, and from what I know about him, he cares very deeply about the Crossmen and giving them a great product. He has also been very receptive to having experienced drum corps programmers and designers help him address those issues and get better at what he does. He's an easy target for the critics, and a popular target (it seems) for many DCP folk. I suggest they actually try and talk to the guy. I think they may be surprised at how accessible he can be.
  13. I agree, and I *THINK* that's the area they eventually will wind up going into. Maybe not with that exact kind of jazz, but with more of a jazz slant to what they present musically than most other corps do. It will be interesting to see what happens.
  14. That's a bit too simplistic a take on it, I think. Jazz can be very exciting in drum corps if done properly. And there's the rub. It's VERY hard to pull off, and that's one of the big reasons why a lot of corps stay away from building an entire show around it programmatically these days. Even the Blue Devils. They pick and choose their spots to go all out with it, and when they do, it's usually some of the best and most exciting stuff on the field.