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First off, I would like to thank all the groups that participated in the Classic this year for making this the best Classic to date. I didn't get to see very much of the show, but I will make a few comments on what I did see.

  The East Rochester Jazz Orchestra, Led by Ron Bowks, who is also the conductor of the Ghost Riders Mini Corps opened the show. This is a group of about 20 local musicians that rival most touring jazz groups. I only got to see about 2 minutes of their performance, but what I heard from this group was outstanding. Individual riffs were excellent in all sections. Reminded me of the Radio City Jazz Orchestra led by Wynton Marcellus. Thanks to Ron and the group for opening the show for the last three years.

 I didn't see the United Alumni from Canada.  People who commented on them said they were a big surprise. Lots of old familiar tunes with some great solo work. I hope to catch them during the year. Thanks for coming folks, eh.

 Rochester Crusaders were not at full strength tonight but very entertaining. Percussion was most impressive. Donny Allen has written a book that will need a lot of work to pull it off execution wise, but they are well on their way. Solo work was nice, using all the lead sops. I was told that there were several members missing due to school commitments. Donny was the man of steel conducting, less than two months after major surgery. Thanks Cru for a wonderful performance.

 Empire Statesmen. These guys know how to work a crowd. They opened the show with about 30 horns and an equal amount of percussion. Just when you thought that was it, here come another 16 horns down the sides of the audience. What a balanced sound. New uniforms are sharp. Percussion is at the top of their game, lots of youth in the pit. Soloist were outstanding. Joey Pero is playing notes I never heard before and with the greatest of ease. Joey is my pick for Soloist of the Year in DCA this summer. Statesmen look to be moving up this year in DCA. Thanks go to Mr. B, and the Statesmen for making your first appearance at the Classic a memorable one.

 I didn't see Syracuse Brigadiers but I heard a tape later on. All I can say is Blue Devils never played Spanish Fantasy any better. Nice to see three of St. Joe's Alumni out there, all three are over fifty years old.

Thanks Brigs for another great performance.

 Steel City Alumni. Didn't see them on stage but saw them warm up in the gym. Lots of talent in this corps. These guys can blow a house down. I really want to see more of them this summer. Thank for making the trip guys, you really know how to party.

 St. Joe's - seemed to be a decent job for our first performance of the year. We usually do the Harrisburg show two weeks before the Classic, but due to a scheduling problem, the Harrisburg show was the same night this year. Big percussion section this year. I think we had 9 snares and 6 tenors and basses. A little smaller horn line, around 60. Baritones are much improved this year. A little weak in the Lead soprano section but we had a couple missing. Had a couple of minor phasing problems in the new America opener, but overall a nice show. Harold McJury and Bob LaDuca have done a fine job to get us ready this year. Donny Allen's Arrangement of our opener, God Bless America/America from Westside Story/ America the Beautiful, is a gas to play. Thanks Donny for all your help.

 Most of the corps came back on stage for the traditional playing of Auld Lang Syne. As an added bonus, Donny Allen conducted his arrangement of God Bless America, which will be played in mass at all DCA shows this summer. About 200 horns, what a sound. Brought tears to most eyes.

 On to the party at Dandrea's Party House. The place was mobbed; all corps attended this year. The downstairs bar was packed, as was the dining room. Upstairs in the main ballroom, the DJ was cranking the tunes and everyone was dancing and having a good time. I didn't have enough time to chat with everyone I wanted to; there were just too many old friends there. I was going to call Jeff Ream in Harrisburg at midnight, but it was my birthday and lost track of time. I tried calling a 3am, but just got the recording. Must have been a short night in Harrisburg. Sorry Jeff.

 On behalf of Mighty St. Joe's Alumni, I would like to thank everyone who attended this year's Classic. Let's do it again next year.

There are some pictures up on our web site along with some MP3's of our performance.

For pics, go to:  

[email=http://www.mightystjoes.com/MSJ-Classic-IX-Photos.htm]http://www.mightystjoes.com/MSJ-Classic-IX-Photos.htm[/email]

For St. Joe's Sounds, go to:

[email=http://www.mightystjoes.com/MSJ-Classic-IX-Sounds.htm]http://www.mightystjoes.com/MSJ-Classic-IX-Sounds.htm[/email]

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