Just heard Crossmen's 2002 show.


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Just had the wonderful fortune to be able to hear the Crossmen's summer production as done this past week. This show is a solid, rocking journey already, and we haven't even begun yet!

Heat of the Day starts with a quiet horn and pit swing, and then the middle horns come in with what sounds like a 6/8 single note rhythm over it. A very fast one. Even in this early point in the season, they've got great definition on the notes. Eventually, the rest of the horns add on, and after a long run, hit the power chord of the intro. The song, like a lot of Metheny, is hard to sometimes distinguish between 6/8 and other meters. I would say, though, that this song sounds like the Dark Lord of the Sith Metheny. Very Spanish - more like something the Blue Devils might play. The 6/8 single note rhythm keeps getting laid over the melodies, which adds to the tension of the piece. I kept getting reminded of Day Danse from the Blue Devils 1994/5 shows, but this one ratchets up the intensity a bit, and never really loses the swing to it.

Candle in the Window seems to roll along about 120 bpm, though I'm just armchair guessing on that. It's a very restrained piece - no real big highs or lows to it, until the big hit right at the end (before the quiet denoument). Very old school DCI ballad. Surprisingly, there's not really a solo in it, either. They make up for it, though, with some great full-section high soprano parts. Drummers will be happy to note that there is a drum part to it, too... :)

Strawberry Soup starts out with soft percussion. Then the brass comes in (also fairly softly) voice by voice, quickly reaching a power chord. Then to the melody we all know so well. For those of you who've heard this before, it feels like a cross b/w the Blue Devils and Madison Scouts in 1993, which means that it's pretty darn faithful to the original. The swing section has a short drum break in front of it in this version. The end of the swing section features some rippin' upper brass runs, then right back into the swing section again. Then, a *lot* of full corps unison hits. When you get to the quiet restatement of the melody (where Madison was singing in '93), the melody is repeated 4 times, once while the snares / tenors / basses / full battery get to wail. Sounds like the feature this year is integrated into the song proper. Oughta be interesting to watch to see how they highlight the drums visually, since they're not standing alone musically. Finally comes the show's ending, which seems to be in 5/4 and uses held-out chords with variants of SS being played under it to a final unison chord (or a 5th, I dunno, but not a major chord) while the entire battery churns out 16ths to a double quarter note corps-unison finish.

Overall, this is going to be a great show. It's darker in tone than last year's music, especially with Senor Metheny being used this time instead of Happy Metheny. :) I was curious to see how this'd be pulled off using a composer that I'm not that fond of for an opener and an *old* corps standard for a closer, but they've managed to create a show that will leave no doubt that the Crossmen not only have a voice of their own, they'll make you remember it long after you've heard the show.

Mike

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I'm sponsoring a Crossmen flugel this year and she'd been giving me little updates before leaving for camp. It sounds like it is going to be AMAZING! I am so looking forward to seeing and hearing it live (7/13 in Cincy is feeling like a very long ways away)!! In the mean time I just keep listening to the electronic snippet of Heat of the Day on the Crossmen's website. Are there any actual recordings floating around the net anywhere?

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I stopped by Crossmen camp last night. Got to hear them working on Strawberry Soup and then a full run through. Visually this is going to be a big step up for Crossmen. The new horns sounded great, lots of power and volume! Guard looks strong as usual, as does the percussion. This will be a very entertaining show and hopefully will fare well competitively.

Chris

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