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Penguin2688

Drum & Bugle Corps at the Dixon Petunia Festival, Dixon, IL, 7/6/1

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Because most of these tiny shows get overlooked, and because I enjoyed it quite a lot, here is my review of Sunday's show! (Disclaimer: this review will likely be deficient in color guard and drumline commentary. I'd rather spare you "Wow, drumline's big" and "flags were nice but it was windy" because I admittedly don't have much expertise in these areas.)

Legends: This was my first ever experience with Legends. I found the hornline to have a warm and nice sound, generally, however, the visual element definitely hurt the musical delivery. Granted it's early July, so there's still plenty of time to get the feet out of the sound. I really appreciated that the (unamplified) pit had timpani. I enjoyed the concept of the show, though at times integration of horns and drums muddied things a bit.

Genesis: First viewing of this corps as well. Visually, a noticeable step up from Legends; this group marches well. The hornline sounds good, now if they would only turn down the awful synthesized bass in the pit. With 12 tubas, there's no need for electronic rumblings in the background; the one brass hit without synth was great. Shoutout to the mellophone section, who stuck out in a solid and good way. When the execution is up to the level of show design, it will be quite excellent.

Colt Cadets: Again, first time I've seen CC. The level of demand doesn't seem as high as the previous 2 groups but it seems appropriate for the younger/smaller Colt Cadets corps. I thought the adaptation and performance of Eric Whitacre's "Equus" for the DCI field was well done, as it's an especially rhythmically challenging piece. The hornline, though small, held its own.

Pioneer: I've only ever seen Pioneer once or twice, but always found them enjoyable. Musically, the material was traditional in a way (Pioneer's traditional style/traditional hymn tunes and Irish tunes) but also non-traditional in some of the settings of the music. I liked the brass book, I think the arrangements work. I do wonder if there is more to be done with the props in the show, the move around but don't seem to add much to the overall effect. Visual clarity (some especially notable lines and diagonals) looks like, well, July. The corps performs the show enthusiastically, for sure. Though the hornline is small for world class, they play reasonably well and I'd still rather hear it without synth bass beneath.

Jersey Surf: I'm unsure about the midi sounds coming from the pit; I don't mind the added effect of woodwind and organ sounds too much, but I think they'd fit in much more musically if the samples had some decay instead of just releasing keyboard-style. I loved the effect of the plumes gradually appearing on the members through the opener. Surf's hornline is growing up and they have an understatedly wonderful show to work with. The tuba soloist in the Copland and mello soloist in the ballad both played very well. Also loved the return to the navy blue uniforms, it's fitting for this program. I can't wait to see this show in August, as Surf has more time on tour this summer than they've ever had.

Colts: I'd been hesitantly looking forward to this show for quite some time since I love Pink Floyd. The corps really delivers. Hearing a hornline of this size and quality play parts of Dark Side of the Moon was really incredible. I don't have much commentary on the narration. I think it was delivered well and I understand that is evolving, though I don't know if parts of it would have been as effective if I had not know it as lyrics from Dark Side of the Moon. Radiohead's Everything in Its Right Place translates to the drum corps idiom incredibly effectively, I wanted to hear more of it. I'd seen a lot of complaints about the vocals in The Great Gig in the Sky, but I didn't find it to be disagreeable mostly on account of knowing the source material. Top split trumpets, and the trumpet section in general, were impressive (I'd noticed that last time I saw Colts live back in '12, too). I'm looking forward to see what happens to this show throughout the season.

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Thanks for the review!!

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What a nice review that is.

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