Arrrr Kissinger

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About Arrrr Kissinger

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  1. Goodman Stadium, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA?? Great facility, great parking, centrally located in the Northeastern Corridor, easily accessible via Interstate highways, plenty of reasonable hotels nearby (Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton), proximity to major airports. Nearby casinos have great entertainment venues and offer an opportunity to either win back the money you've spent on travel--or an opportunity to lose your shirt! It is, however, a grass field, albeit one of the best around. For many years, the Philadelphia Eagles used this location as their preseason training site. Drainage is excellent. Total seating capacity is about 16,000 including the boxes, so about 8,000-10,000 seats are available on the "Home" side. Near-by Lafatette College, with a total seating capacity of 13,000 (8,000 home seats), has a turf field. What does DCA look for when making a "deal?"
  2. Fran, it was good to hear you again. Nice job, as always. Just a couple of comments on the show from one who enjoys listening but doesn't know anything technical!! The alumni programs made me realize that I should start attending (and supporting) these corps. The combined years of "experience" of these groups is mind-boggling, and listening to them perform brought back a lot of fond memories. But best of all, you could tell they were just having FUN. I was amazed at how far the Belvederes have come in such a short time; the Reilly Raiders seemed to have a slightly smaller corps than last year, but quantity was never a match for quality--and they've still got it. I think this might have been the first time I've been blessed to hear Blessed Sacrament, and I hope it won't be the last. Their performance brought back memories of '70s drum corps: cool stuff. And the Skyliners Alum were, well, the Skyliners Alum: big, loud, and very entertaining. Admittedly, I'm a Bucs "homer," so I was anxiously awaiting the Senior Bucs. The numbers were up and there was a lot more depth than I can remember in a long while. The Bucs always promoted themselves as the "Balance in Blue," but hearing the harmonies and various tones left no doubt about who you were listening to. An updated look and some new music surrounding "Beyond the Sea" is all a old fan could ask for. And seeing the Bucs' competition corps lined up around the outside of the auditorium in support of the Alumni kinda puts a smile on this old guy's face. And then came the main event! I've always admired the way the educational aspect of the Bucs' Mission Statement emphasized musical excellence, but there were times when I thought the music was a a little dark and unrecognizable (remember, I know nothing about anything technical) wasn't always fun. And then there's this year's DANS MA CHAMBRE (In My Room.) Between my wife and me, I can't tell you how many times the words, "Wow," "unreal," "holy crap," and "goosebumps galore" were used. The show opens with Ruslan & Ludmilla Overture and sucks you in with a really nice French Horn solo before all the horns let loose (I think I counted 58 horns, but there may have been 59). Then 2 'bones opened What A Feeling in a moderated tempo of the Flashdance song which just went nuts from there. My head was flipping back and forth as if I was mid-court at a tennis match as the horns on each side of the auditorium were competing with alternating notes. I can't wait to see how this translates to the field show. And then there was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Just freakin' amazing. If each of us admits it, we have that CD with one special track which we play over and over and over again. This will be that track!! What a perfect song for drum corps. In Benedictus, the pit and French Horn had some interesting interaction before everything started to break loose again only to have the program finish the same way it started--with the French Horn pulling at your emotions. Musically, it was an incredible show, somewhat reminiscent of the way Empire's selections brought the crowds to their feet. Bucs' fans know that we'll be in the hunt again. I'm in Atlanta for the next few weeks and would like to drop by a CV practice just to get another "fix" of drum corps. CV will be at Landisville and should be a match up that could give some insight as to how all the corps will stack up at Finals. Get your tickets NOW.
  3. The West Reading Police Cadets were really an idea of the police chief of West Reading as a way to keep the kids out of trouble during the summer. I can't remember if there was such a thing in those days as "Juvenile Detention" (your father's BELT is what you were trying to avoid), but the police gave the "hell raisers" in West Reading a choice--either march with the Cadets or they'd make your life miserable. Life was different in the 50's, and this was the first time some of these kids worked towards a cause; discipline, hard work, esprit de corps, and the belief in something bigger than themselves worked wonders on these kids. And, as intended by the police, many of these hell raisers grew up to become pillars of the community. I've been honored to present one of the Big Sounds awards, and on the night Amy had to hold the event at Governor Mifflin's stadium, I brought Charlie Ziegler along with me to make the presentation. Seventy years prior, Charlie had been playing the bugle with the West Reading Police Cadets. Charlie (who served in WW II) and Bill Kline (who served in Korea) were mentors to me when I came back from Vietnam. . . . a time when I was mad at the world and everyone in it. To this day, I can't go to a parade or drum corps event without thinking of those guys. I still remember the yellow and black AeroCoach buses they kept parked at Dick Hinsey's Cities Service gas station at Fourth & Penn Avenues. They looked like bumble bees on wheels! The West Reading Police Cadets helped establish the concept of drum & bugle corps in Berks County. When the Cadets finally disbanded, the Bucs were the "next step." The "old guys" at the Bucs would have to say whether West Reading provided any impetus to the new organization. Gotta say, though, that when I scan the stands at Big Sounds, there are still a few people left who will, fondly, talk with me about the people of the WR Police Cadets. Nobody remembers too much about what the corps did, but they can talk for hours about its members!
  4. Thanks, Fran, for the weather update. If you were responsible for the weather for this show, directors should hire you for their events: it just doesn't get any better than it was on Saturday night. The Mrs. and I got out our old Corvair convertible to make the trek from Wyomissing. Simply a beautiful night. First off, let me qualify myself as an "attender" and not a "poster" so take my comments with a grain of salt. Generally, I watch the show rather than comment on it. 1. ENCORPS- I was pleasantly surprised to see this corps' appearance. With their intention to "bring back" a DCI corps to northern New Jersey, I'd say they're off to a great start. I can't imagine the challenges one faces to start a new corps today, but they had a good number of members on the field and did a really nice job. Gotta wish them well. 2. I still struggle with "unfinished" shows. This is July folks, and there are only 7 more weekends until the main event. Perhaps if there were some way to carry over competition points into Preliminaries, I wouldn't have come away with the feeling this was, obviously, a Pre-Season event. At least when I go to Spring Training games for baseball, I don't expect to see a polished product; but once the season begins, I'm paying to see their best. As it currently stands, you only have to win one event to win the DCA championship--September 2. Nothing else matters. Ever go to an opening night of a theatrical production and after the Second Act be told to come back on closing night for Act 3?? Maybe it's the frugality of the Pennsylvania Dutch in me, but if I PAID for it, I want to SEE it. 3. I'm a Bucs "homer," so I'll get over this next issue: I miss the "Balance in BLUE." Before Reading came on the field, I was looking outside the fences and wondering, "Where the heck are the Bucs?" Can you imagine the fan base of the Bluecoats murmuring "GREEN" when they marched on. Nah, something seemed sooooo wrong. Then it appeared the "Bugganeers" were sailing the ship into the shallow waters of the marshes! I have to admit, though, the use of flyswatters at the end of the show was cute. Forty years ago, whoever would have thought the words drum corps and CUTE would be mentioned in the same sentence? Man, I must be getting old. Looking forward to Big Sounds to see the finished product. Fran, please tell me I won't need an umbrella!!
  5. I'm still struggling with amplification. Last night at the DCI show in Chester (great stadium, by the way), I was sitting at the 25 yd line watching the Blue Coats play at the 50 yd line while hearing the music through a speaker at the 5 yd line. Something seemed wrong with that picture! When horn line played backfield, they marched into the corner where there were 2 mics--so no backfield effect. Much of the show was the same volume. As a former sousaphone player, I LOVED BC's tuba section--i think there were 16--but I was ticked on the big impacts when the entire section was overpowered by the bass from the keyboard! And, while I'm nitpicking, there was a tune where I could hear the featured musician, but I couldn't SEE him--couldn't find anyone on the field who was playing it. With all the electronics, I wondered if that portion was live or was it Memorex. Maybe the fact that there were two 5-second stretches when the center speaker scratched--like there was a bad speaker wire--was enough to give Crown the win. Blue has a a GREAT show which, IMO, on this night was a victim of the 12 or so speakers on the field. Maybe all is honkey-dorey if you're sitting at the 50 where the judges are; maybe there should be a judge between the goal line and the 25 to hear what those paying ticket holders are hearing. Then maybe the corps would get the amplification figured out very quickly. Maybe this will evolve into a caption for "sound techie."
  6. As always, great job Big W. Let me preface this by saying I'm a Bucs "homer," but I really LIKE C2, and think they have a really nice show this year. Maybe I'm the only one who felt this way, but for me the amplification of the pit caused an issue in the last two minutes. Their pit is HUGE--I think I counted 13 marimbas--about twice the size of other corps, and just when the excitement was building for their close . . . . it seemed like someone turned up the amplification of the pit. When the show was over, I had to ask my wife, "What the heck just happened?" Was the pit there to support the corps or was the corps there to support the pit. IMHO it got waaay out of balance. I love C2's brass, and I felt cheated. My seats were right at the 50, Row K. Not super high, yet not too low; perfect seats to watch (and hear) the other groups. It bugged me the entire drive home and the first thing I did was log on to DCP to check if anyone else had comments. Alas, I'm getting to be an old geezer so maybe I'll chalk it up to an "age thing." But I'll definitely be looking for this again tonight at Big Sounds. After the Landisville drenching, Amy Snook must have had a one-on-one with God. It worked . . absolutely NO RAIN forecast for miles around!! The company I work for allows me the opportunity to present the second place monetary award. Hope to see y'all there. Should be a great night. R. Kissinger
  7. From the season's beginning--the Buc's Spring Preview--I felt Fusion would grab the attention of a lot of DCA folk. Congratulations to the members and staff for a truly enjoyable show. The excitement for the next Spring Preview is already beginning to build.
  8. I heard the Cabs are BIG this year; perhaps they picked up a few from Empire? Historically, the Cabs were slow coming out of the box. If that's the case again this year, Fusion could be an early season surprise. Heard them at the Bucs' Spring Preview Saturday night; if their drill execution matches their musical presentation, it could be an exciting show.
  9. Franklin Field (University of Pennsylvania) in Philly would be interesting. Turf, and the Eagles used to play there before Veterans Stadium was built. Not much more than an hour's trek for Bush, Cabs, Windsor Reg, Cadets 2, and the Bucs. Should attract some bodies to the stands.
  10. I had the honor to present the 2nd place award last night to C2. When I shook hands with the DM’s, you could almost see the sense of satisfaction in their eyes. The improvement from what I witnessed at Scranton was simply amazing, and the consistent improvement from Downingtown has to be what the corps directors could only hope for. Parents, you’ve got to be proud!
  11. Great job, Amy. And kudos to the Downingtown parents--smiling faces all over the place! Possibly the best food concession we see all year. Got to meet some of the "enemy" fans from Minnesota--what a classy group of people. We appreciate the 22 hour journey to show us their program. The trip had to be a killer. Nothing makes sport or the DCA activity stronger than good competition. Here's wishing the MBI family all the luck (well, ALMOST all the luck) in their endeavors this year. See you in Annapolis.
  12. Hey, guys. If you're looking for the "Most Dangerous SHOW" to see this year, you definitely want to add the Downingtown Classic to your list. The announced lineup is quite impressive, but the local scuttlebutt is that one more corps may be added shortly. If so, you'll want to have tickets to this one. Bucs Cadets 2 Atlanta CV Bush White Sabers Shenandoah Sound and possibly ONE MORE that could give an early indication of how exciting Labor Day will be! If it happens, get ready to send your check while tickets are still available. Stay tuned.
  13. Time to get away from the combativeness of the Predictions Thread and stir up another hornets nest by talking about "All Age" and how it will be impacted by future programs. At the beginning of the season there was much discussion about the 25 year "age out" of the C2 organization—and everyone seemed to be up in arms about it. During the course of the season, though, it was interesting to see how the Cadets 2 grew up and presented a terrific show with what we previously called "kids, youngsters, or rookies." I'm not sure what their average age was, but they started to get their act together in a hurry. Let me preface this topic by saying that I am a Bucs fan, and was blown away by their presentation this year. My wife and I housed a forty-something trumpet player who struggled with the physical demands of this year's show. Until she had to withdraw due to work-related issues, we could see the physical toll the Black Symphony took from her body. A young 'un took her place. During a discussion after the Downingtown show, I commented about all the movement and how amazed my wife and I were with the pace of the performance. She said that there were only two forty-somethings in the corps (1 in the hornline); 4 or 5 thirty-somethings in the horn line, and the rest were what I called "kids." The physical demands of this year's show was the reason for the dearth of older members. Which brings me to the point I want to make: with the ever increasing athleticism required to perform the shows the top DCA corps are presenting, will we be watching members "age out" by the time they turn thirty just because they will no longer be able to keep up with the physical requirements of the show's design? The Buc's forty-somethings were exceptional (1 marched with a fractured foot she injured in practice), but I'm not sure a corps made up of mostly "senior" members could have held up to the demands of the season. Will the average age of compeitive corps soon approach that of Cadets2? Last year at this time everyone treated the age limit George set for C2 as heresy. Could it be that George saw the necessity for a "youth movement" in order to be competitive? Knowing the mindset of the Buccaneers' organization and their quest for excellence, I don't see them taking a step backwards for the upcoming season. 2013 will probably be another year filled with physical demands. You're not going to beat 'em with an alumni corps. Your turn. Got any thoughts? Roy