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cfirwin3

"Stop standing around! That's not how this works!" (Another Show Comparison)

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1 hour ago, StuStu said:

One of the main goals in '87 was to be as faithful to the original work as possible.  

The initial "draft" of the show was actually closer to the orchestral work, which wasn't working as well because there weren't any drum-corps-esque impact points punctuating the end of each section.  Some creative liberties were taken in the rewrites with the hits at the end of parts 1 and 3.

One other thing that I think is exceptional about this show is the melodic percussion writing.  It was very cool over the winter to learn new parts in sectionals, then combine with the percussion for the first time, and hear how the battery fit with the horns.  Truly genius writing.

And the company front was another amazing thing to be part of.  Early on the front disappeared in one count, which was later changed to a push that was crumbling from the ends. My one claim to fame is I ended that move on the 50 - for 8 counts I was the center of the drum corps universe.  Marc Sylvester wasn't exactly thrilled.  In rehearsal he once said "Dress down to StuStu - and Gawd help us awl."

Here's a video of an early season run.  To my knowledge it is the only recording to have surfaced of the early-season show.

And that's another big difference between today and yesteryear - with all the smart phones and go pros, kids today have dozens of videos documenting each step of the way.

 

Love it! Love the story about Marc Sylvester, too. Glad you got to be the center of the DCI universe for a while. Did Marc retire from doing drum corps or is he still around? He was so good. 

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17 minutes ago, jwillis35 said:

Yes, I agree with all this. I wasn't trying to say that all non-music majors are better, just that there are excellent non majors who are super talented (even if tenor sax players) and who can contribute once they put in the work. We still see that today, but probably to a lesser degree. There is no doubt that the top 8 to 12 corps today have much more depth.

As for the instruments, I totally agree. I heard Garfield's brass was in bad shape. And in general G bugles back in the day were not made all that well. As someone else noted, when the 3-valve bugles came out in the early 90s it helped, but the brass they play today is far better. 

A friend referred to it as "bugle salad".  A grab bag of horns of varying age, make and condition.  For a good part of the year a few of our contras were on valve-rotor horns, but I think they all had 2 valves by the end of the season.

Edited by StuStu
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2 hours ago, StuStu said:

One of the main goals in '87 was to be as faithful to the original work as possible.  

The initial "draft" of the show was actually closer to the orchestral work, which wasn't working as well because there weren't any drum-corps-esque impact points punctuating the end of each section.  Some creative liberties were taken in the rewrites with the hits at the end of parts 1 and 3.

One other thing that I think is exceptional about this show is the melodic percussion writing.  It was very cool over the winter to learn new parts in sectionals, then combine with the percussion for the first time, and hear how the battery fit with the horns.  Truly genius writing.

And the company front was another amazing thing to be part of.  Early on the front disappeared in one count, which was later changed to a push that was crumbling from the ends. My one claim to fame is I ended that move on the 50 - for 8 counts I was the center of the drum corps universe.  Marc Sylvester wasn't exactly thrilled.  In rehearsal he once said "Dress down to StuStu - and Gawd help us awl."

Here's a video of an early season run.  To my knowledge it is the only recording to have surfaced of the early-season show.

And that's another big difference between today and yesteryear - with all the smart phones and go pros, kids today have dozens of videos documenting each step of the way.

Many many thanks for sharing your recollections of that magical show as well as the videos, fascinating to see everything that changed.  I was fortunate to see you all early season '87 in NC and was so hyped.  

One thing I'm curious about...it sounds like the sops were taken out of the big statement after the follow-the-leader in part 3 (about 8:55 in the video mentioned here).  Is that correct, and just curious as to why?  That's the one thing I really missed seeing the final product in Madison.  Regardless though, I doubt that there's another production that has affected me so deeply (and continues to do so).  Cheers to you, sir.  

 

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1 hour ago, ExPitster said:

Many many thanks for sharing your recollections of that magical show as well as the videos, fascinating to see everything that changed.  I was fortunate to see you all early season '87 in NC and was so hyped.  

One thing I'm curious about...it sounds like the sops were taken out of the big statement after the follow-the-leader in part 3 (about 8:55 in the video mentioned here).  Is that correct, and just curious as to why?  That's the one thing I really missed seeing the final product in Madison.  Regardless though, I doubt that there's another production that has affected me so deeply (and continues to do so).  Cheers to you, sir.  

 

I don't recall that change specifically but I do remember changes in the music to provide different tone colors through different voicings, as well as making changes for clarity. (a/k/a "Mr. Hoseman").

One other point that comes to mind - this show does not have a bunch of 16th note chromatic runs because Aaron Copland didn't write the piece that way.

This piece does feature a ton of interval jumps, which require a great deal of accuracy to play cleanly.  As a friend once remarked you can hear the space between the notes.   Not as easy as it might first appear.

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8 minutes ago, StuStu said:

One other point that comes to mind - this show does not have a bunch of 16th note chromatic runs because Aaron Copland didn't write the piece that way.

Do you remember getting this page? I remember working my tail off to get those runs clean (they're actually pretty easy given 2 valves and the key), but don't think it ever went anywhere. I know Bari 1 had em, not sure about mello. Number 61 through 4 measures after 63 are in the final product (though the runs 2 measures before 63 aren't the same) and then it becomes the dissolving company front instead of the 4 measures of runs shown here..

Page8.jpg

Edited by frachel
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15 hours ago, jordsterr said:

Lots to agree with here.  However, having been in that line, it is true that we had some folks who were just learning how to play.  There were some music majors back then, and I was one of the few.  There were also some non-majors who played VERY well.  But there were a number of folks who were young or woodwind transfers.  My seatmate was a great guy who was a high school tenor sax player who was learning how to play 3rd baritone.  It was good that we only had two valves back then!  To top it off, I was told at the time that we had the oldest horns in the top 12.  I don't know that it's actually true, but we certainly did have our share of chrome plated DEGs held together with tape and a prayer.  I marched at Star of Indiana before Garfield, and the transition from those wonderful old Kings to the DEGs was a thing!  All that said, we worked really hard.  I don't know if we just wanted to or if they "inspired" us to.  LOL

At any rate, not a huge deal to play in G.  In reality, if you're a soprano playing a high C, it's really only a G. It doesn't feel like it, but it's true.  You just had to get your head (and ear) around it.  The bigger challenge was for us low brass guys getting used to treble clef like the brass band folks, including the contras.  For music majors who had already spent a little time figuring out trumpet fingerings, it was fine.

Nice wandering down memory lane.

I was one of the last to read and play on the G line.  With computer notation, they were able to provide bass clef transcription to the baris, euphs and contras.  But it is true that under the old G line, the music was scored as 4-5 voices with divisi all in treble clef.

But one thing worth noting about playing in drumcorps (which applies well to the old G centered lines)...

Balance and blend is an entirely mechanical construct.  The most important purpose in ensemble warm ups (which happens before ensemble music rehearsal and again before every show) is group calibration.  Playing in a slightly different tonal center and playing in tune was not much of an issue due to this valuable time.  Slurs and drills were used to program the minds of the members to audiate the overtone series of the key combinations on the instruments.  This is important (not merely for the differences in transposition) but also for mechanical tuning.  You just can't listen for balance and blend in a drumcorps performance.  You have to rely on the programming that you get from rehearsal to know that you are managing your dynamics properly, and you have to rely on the mechanical tuning regimen (horns often had etched measurements on the tuning slides to help with quick and consistent tuning) along with the warm up calibration to know that you are playing in tune.

Also keep in mind that most conservatory players are not strangers to playing instruments in different transpositions (especially the trumpet and tuba players).  Even a horn player (f horn) is accustomed to overtone series transposition by the nature of their double horn set up.

The issues cited about G transposition are overstated in my opinion.

Edited by cfirwin3

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3 hours ago, jwillis35 said:

Love it! Love the story about Marc Sylvester, too. Glad you got to be the center of the DCI universe for a while. Did Marc retire from doing drum corps or is he still around? He was so good. 

I last saw Marc a year or so ago adjudicating a marching band show. I was a wee bit star struck to say the least. 

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1 hour ago, frachel said:

Do you remember getting this page? I remember working my tail off to get those runs clean (they're actually pretty easy given 2 valves and the key), but don't think it ever went anywhere. I know Bari 1 had em, not sure about mello. Number 61 through 4 measures after 63 are in the final product (though the runs 2 measures before 63 aren't the same) and then it becomes the dissolving company front instead of the 4 measures of runs shown here..

Page8.jpg

Man! This is good stuff.  I'm glad we were able to coax you guys out to discuss this stuff in detail!

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On 7/11/2019 at 1:29 PM, jjeffeory said:

Wait.

Did corps not do cardio conditioning until recently?

I mean, when I marched we did it daily, and I know of at least one other corps that says that they did it too. I just assumed that everyone did cardio as part of their warmups/morning routine....

 

We smoked a few cigarettes and called it good.

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1 hour ago, frachel said:

Do you remember getting this page? I remember working my tail off to get those runs clean (they're actually pretty easy given 2 valves and the key), but don't think it ever went anywhere. I know Bari 1 had em, not sure about mello. Number 61 through 4 measures after 63 are in the final product (though the runs 2 measures before 63 aren't the same) and then it becomes the dissolving company front instead of the 4 measures of runs shown here..

Page8.jpg

I do remember this.  I spent HOURS working ok the mello runs a 4 after 62.  Those eventually were cut for the 2d mellos.  We did the pinwheels while the 1st mellos played the runs. 

Again proving one of the fundamental premises in this thread - the harder the music, the easuer the visual, and verse visa.  As true in 2019 as it was in 1987.

####, this is a fun thread. 

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