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Though this is not a "performance" review.  I am giving a little run down on the Cavaliers move in camp.  I posted this on RAMD as well, but thought it might be better appreciated here:

I had the opportunity to watch the Cavaliers rehearse today at DeKalb.  Before I go on you should know I am a Cavaliers “homer” but I have been watching drum corps for 30 years and do know quality when I see it.

The Cavaliers have had their move-in camp at DeKalb for many years now.  I have been going and watching them put together their show for at least six or seven years.   It is a great place to watch a corps work and I really enjoy it as they run a very efficient practice session.  I try to make sure I am there for the full corps rehearsals, which are usually after dinner.

I got there right before the evening session began and I got to talk to Jeff Fiedler for a few minutes.  Jeff is a great guy, always taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with the alumni who visit.  He told me the corps is more experienced this year, with many more returning members than last year.  He also said the corps is more mature.  This was evident as they started practicing.  For the same time frame, they were marching and playing at a much higher level than last year’s corps.  Attendance was also good with nearly no holes.

I counted 63 of the planned 64 horns present.  They are marching 20 trumpets, 12 Mellophones, 20 baritones and 12 Contras.  Only one bari was missing.  I don’t know the planned drum numbers, but 9 snares, 4 tenors, 5 bass, and 9 pit were present.  I think they may be marching 10 snares and 5 tenors, but I didn’t get to ask.  Again, I don’t know the planned number for the guard, but they had 34 present.

The 2002 show consists of three movements and a recap ending.  The three movements are “Melody”, “Harmony”, and “Rhythm”.  This rehearsal consisted of the first movement, which the corps has learned completely.  I was told they will start learning the second movement on Tuesday.

The first movement is fast and contains the shifting geometrical pictures the Cavaliers are so well known for.  Michael Gaines wrote the show again, and if the first movement is any indication, it will be another barn-burner.  I clocked it at about 3’ 40”.  The show opens in an asymmetrical pattern on both sides of the 50.  A baritone soloist starts the show and a file of trumpets blow out into a fan pattern which immediately contracts leaving three trumpet soloists.  The rest of the corps moves through various pictures and forms into a curved front that turns around for the first big hit.  It is vintage Cavaliers.

While the first portion of the movement is quite exciting, the second portion of it has a series of “Holy cow!” Cavaliers moves that leave you in awe.  I will try to describe the series.   The horns are in a sine wave form from the 20 to the 20 and they move it into a company front.  They turn backfield and start a fugue.  As they start playing the fugue, the horns from the right side of the front begin dropping back or going forward in half-time.  There are triplets against duples musically and at some point each member goes to full time movement toward the end zone.  The result is the front is collapsing to the left and there are people marching all over as files start appearing moving toward the end zone.  The whole front eventually turns into ten files which then turns into a tight box.  The horns come down and a drum feature begins as the box morphs through a cross and back again.  The horns come up and this then turns into a full horn wedge.  The wedge “shimmies” and then the horns again march in half-time or full time with a series a zigs and zags causing a cascading movement that result in two wedges, which turns into a box.  There are a few more great moves before the end of the opener, but this series is not to be missed!

The original music by Dick Saucedo fits the marching to a “T”.  I am looking forward to hearing the other movements later this week.  The horn line is playing quite well for the second day of camp.  (I’m a brass player – don’t ask me about the drums!)

I am very fortunate.  Living in Rockford I can see both the Cavaliers and the Regiment building their shows.  I am going to get to the Regiment camp next week and see how they are doing.  I work with a staff member from the Regiment and he said they are doing well.

All for now,

Rich Gortowski

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Rich, Excellent run down of the Opener.  Wish that I knew that you were out there, would have introduced myself to you.  Don't know if you saw some of the alumn sitting around, but I had my corps jacket on, with a white hat sitting in the stands.  I was sitting with two older alumni, both with wives, then when they left, moved to another location with a couple other alumn's.  

Just as you said, this show is going to be very interesting, and can't wait to see the rest!  PM me sometime, and maybe we can try to get together for a show!

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