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mfrontz

Innovations in Brass, Pittsburgh: June 26, 2019

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Music City: Very cute and accessible show. The 'city mouse, country mouse' scrims were a nice touch. Enjoyed hearing Paul Hart's Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra. Nice guard work in the closer - didn't particularly understand the symbolism of the flags, but they were pretty. Swing flags! One complaint. We now hear participant safety ad nauseam, and yet there's a power cord running right up the 35 with people marching over it. Sigh. At least there wasn't a tarp.

Spirit of Atlanta: They had to wait for ten minutes while an injured person in the audience was tended to and taken to the hospital. I like the concept and the showmanship of this corps, a step up from last year. Their demand is higher than their performance level at this point, which is exactly how it ought to be. There is an issue with the pit and stage being about 25 yards from the speakers on side 2 - noticeable phasing between the live and amplified sound, particularly  in the drum set and the field percussion feature. Certainly this can be fixed. Color guard - good and nice flag work in the beginning of the show. Brass soloists were great. I don't like the hornline hiding behind the set for seemingly one-quarter of the show. But overall this is a corps to rave about.

The Cadets: The obvious - the percussion is the strength of this corps; the guard is the weak spot, and the designers at least need to be working together for a couple more years to come up with a medals-worthy show. My son mentioned this in the theater and I agree: the drill seems Blue-Devilsesque. But forget trying to imitate Zingali, Sylvester and Sacktig - forge a new visual identity. There were moments when I felt the theme was working; but in other parts I'm not sure that they know what they're going for yet and it's obvious the members don't either. Last year seemed so positive - some people here called it an 'exorcism,' but this year we're back to talking about the demon, if you will. I don't know that this was the wisest move. Nevertheless I enjoyed the show more than I thought I would, and when the members know what they're to do, they execute with verve, precision and power. In Allentown, with a more partisan Cadets crowd, there may well be a different and more positive energy to the program. 

Excursus: both Boston Crusaders and Cadets overdo the sung vocals. Cadets were particularly egregious by having a big brass hit in 'Troubled Water' and then an uncertain vocal conclusion to the phrase. Perhaps this will be cleaned up over the season, but my preference is that if you have a familiar song, you sing it once and then let the brass and percussion carry it. A french horn or trombone solo following a big hit would have been so much better. More than half the audience knows 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' anyhow. 

Boston Crusaders: I was unprepared for the excellence of the guard. One might think that is silly but it's not. I made sure to sit on side 2 to catch in the face the herald trumpets playing 'Fanfare for Rocky' and I made a good choice. I am less enamored by their use of Tears for Fears. Their percussion was a little under-scored. The placements tonight were exactly right, but spreads in certain areas could be quibbled with if you like to quibble. Boston is doing a little self-reference with the David and Goliath theme, I'm pretty sure. But the problem is: unlike Goliath, the corps above them have no weaknesses. 

Bluecoats: The sky last night and this corps: as if God joined their visual staff as a consultant and suggested they try a new backdrop. Purples, oranges, yellows, blues. It seems banal when you get to the top corps to say, 'Their brass was awesome, their drums were awesome, the show concept was incredible etc.' So I will say one thing that concerns me, and it's the thing that concerns me about Bluecoats every year. Their ending is great and completely appropriate to the entire piece, and shouldn't be changed. But it's in too soon. It's going to be boring by the end of the season. If there's one thing the Devils know how to do (and they know how to do a lot), it's put in a new ending a couple weeks before finals and put the cherry on top of the show. What do I know, however?

Crowd response: Bluecoats, Boston, Spirit, Cadets, Music City. 

Took a friend to her first drum corps show, she loved it. This is a good thing. 🙂

 

Edited by mfrontz
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thanks - great read and I agree on everything!

BOTW is so ubiquitous - having part of it song is extremely unnecessary - everyone is already "signing along in their heads"

Same could be said for Boston's pop song & most of Bloo's show IMO

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16 hours ago, George Dixon said:

thanks - great read and I agree on everything!

BOTW is so ubiquitous - having part of it song is extremely unnecessary - everyone is already "signing along in their heads"

Same could be said for Boston's pop song & most of Bloo's show IMO

Perhaps not .... I assure you there are students that cannot sing the lyrics of the Beatles ... it was a long time ago. We forget that there are multiple generations of people in a show and ON THE FIELD.

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26 minutes ago, Amazed&Stunned said:

Perhaps not .... I assure you there are students that cannot sing the lyrics of the Beatles ... it was a long time ago. We forget that there are multiple generations of people in a show and ON THE FIELD.

There are only a few of the Beatles' songs that I can sing... the Beatles broke up many months before I was born. That doesn't affect my enjoyment of the show, though.

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believe me,  that is not the ending you will see at the end of the season

 

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