Legend of Texas 2000 Exhibition Review


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2000 Legend of Texas Exhibition Review

(Originally Posted on that "other" forum on July 21, 2000.)

The Legend of Texas gave a free exhibition performance last night in Temple, Texas.  It was only advertised on the back page of the Temple Daily Telegram, and were it not for the fact that my grandparents read closely, I'd never have known.  So, my wife and I trooped up from Austin ('bout an hour drive), picked up her grandfather, and made it to the stadium about 2 minutes before they started.

First off, they look pretty sharp.  The white uniforms look good.  White jackets with a star on the left chest and a stripe of red coming diagonally out of it, and white pants.  White aussies with red plumes.  Guard was casually dressed in jeans, vests, and western shirts.  They have about 29 members; I counted 3 snares, 1 tenor, 4 basses, 4 pit, 3 guard, 6 sopranos, 1 mello (great soloist, too!), 4 baritones, 2 contras and 1 DM.  They didn't have anybody at the souvie table - we found out later that the guard was having to work there, too.  C'mon, guys (and gals) in North Texas! Volunteer!  Only about 30-50 people in the stands - the small advertising by the paper must have taken its toll.  Bunch 'o Phantom Regiment fans there, which seemed odd, but like me, they'll take their corps fix where they can, I guess.

The staff began by explaining what each instrument is and having them play a section of their opener.  Gotta say this - even individually the brass has a great sound, and one MUCH bigger than their numbers indicate.  My only previous experience with DIII corps was Lone Star, and they had much better percussion than brass.  Legend's percussion was ok, but they didn't catch your attention nearly as much as the horns.

They next did a "drill down", and if you've never participated or seen one of these, you're missing great fun.  Basically a game of Simon Says, you form in a block and perform whatever command the staff / DM / whoever gives you.  You mess up, you leave the block and stand on the side.  (Unless you've done a military one - they're a little less forgiving.  Try doing push-ups until the block is done!)  Last one in the block wins.  It also allowed them to show off some individual marching technique, and as far as I can tell, they were just fine.  They weren't the Cavaliers out there, but they didn't make you notice any mistakes, either.

They then performed their field show.  If anyone has any desire to contribute to a corps, please send this group money and stipulate that it must go to a podium!  The cart they were using was wobbling all over the place, and we feared for the DM's safety once or twice!  Of course, he never actually fell, but still...  (I mean that seriously, too.  If you've gotta contribute, contribute to DII/III's in your area!)

From http://www.corpsreps.com, their field show, "A Day in the Life of a Cowboy," consists of:

    -Desperado (Eagles)

    -The Ballad of Billy the Kid (Billy Joel)

    -Lonesome Dove

    -Lil' Bitty ####-Ant Country Place (Carol Hall, from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas)

    -The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (Ennio Morricone)

    -City Slickers Theme

The show has one prop, a "saloon" cart on wheels out on the 40.  The corps hides behind that to begin.  As the show starts, the mello comes out and plays a solo to Desperado.  Nice solo, too.  I'm not normally a brass person, but it struck me more than once how nicely they played.  Full corps came out for Billy the Kid.  Bright, upbeat song.  Some phasing problems between the brass and drums (or just simple not togetherness) but not really noticible unless you're paying nitpicky attention to detail like me.  The drum solo in it was fairly standard, and it did irk me a bit that they parked the line right in front of the podium.  You can't see through it!

Their ballad (Lonesome Dove, I guess, but I didn't recognize it) was nice, but not really memorable.  They made effective use of their tiny guard.  I kept wondering why in the parts where the brass would hang slow chords out for one or two measures that the percussion would be playing stuff under it.  Not really heard much in D1 anymore, but it occurred to me that for a small ensemble you can't just let your brass hang out and blow people away with your volume.

The next part, which was both Country Place and Good/Bad/Ugly I suppose (I never really heard it in there) was the showpiece of the production.  Give lots of credit to the staff for writing drill and music that doesn't make a small corps act like a big corps (a problem I frequently had with Lone Star).  The saloon prop spins around and becomes the "inside" of the saloon, and tables are brought out.  The corps then goes into full Drunken/Senior Corps Mode.  (Just kidding!  About the Senior Corps part, that is.)  It's wonderful to see a corps stagger around while playing.  The drill is incoherent, the music is still clean, but it was a visual blast!  The obligatory company front turns into a brass kick-line with the percussion barely staggering out of the way.  Great fun.  They also put out a great ending chord, then the DM turns around, gestures, "Ah, wait," and has them double the volume.  Nice touch.

After that, they'd have been hard pressed to beat it with their closer, and City Slickers doesn't do it.  It's not bad, but seems bland after the previous piece.  Fairly short wrap up, too, but again, I didn't mind.  Good star formation at the end, too.

All in all, it was a surprisingly good performance.  If that's an indication of how they were performing in California, then they're getting scored 3-4 points too low.  It also made me wonder, "Jeez, what must the Mandarins be like, if these guys are that good?"  They asked for donations after the exhibition, as their bus A/C didn't survive the trip to California, so we gave $20 (all we had!).  Would've given more if I could've.

Basically, we had a pleasantly surprising good time.  It also felt good to support the smaller corps, and I'd highly recommend everyone get out and do the same!

Mike

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Bunch 'o Phantom Regiment fans there, which seemed odd, but like me, they'll take their corps fix where they can, I guess.

A good number of Texas folks have gone up to Rockford to march over the years.  Many during my two years with them in the early '90s.  Actually after you said that it makes me wonder who all was there.  Good to hear the great things on Legend of Texas.

Stefan Hildebrand

Sky Ryders 1989,1990,1991

Phantom Regiment 1992,1993

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you so much!

I stumbled on this page through reading the message board on soundmachine.org at work (okay so I'm bored) and at the bottom of the forums, the review of the Legend of Texas Temple,TX exhibition was posted.  I was a charter member of Legend and marched with them both 1999 and 2000 (in fact I was that lone mellophone soloist for the time), and when I found that post it made me feel warm and fuzzy all over again.  The exhibition was quite a memorable one, especially because of all the Regiment people that came and talked to us afterwards (which I am now an aging out member of).  I have many fond memories of my years with Legend and miss a a lot of it desperately, we went through a lot of battles those two years.  But anyways, thank you for taking notice of the little corps (they take a lot of crap) and for everyone that came out to those exhibition shows!

-April Sommer

LOT '99-'00

PR '01-'02

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