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2000 BD wasn't a "classical" show - it was based off of jazzy soundtrack pieces. The closest that BD has ever been to a "classical" show was 1998's "One Hand One Heart", where they played Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet (or an interpretation thereof since it was interwoven with West Side Story bits)... heck, I think even Rondinaro made a comment on the PBS broadcast regarding that.

And I beg to differ, 2000 BD was a BAD4SS show - the last 3 or so minutes of the music are incredibly intense and the hornline just throws down. IIRC, the primary weakness of that corps was the drumline. That's my fav sounding of BD's hornlines since they went to Bb, actually... I guess since that was the first year of Bb the hornline was still used to playing loud[er]. I've noticed that as the years have passed since Bb was added, the arrangements have had a different feel across all corps, and the 2000 Cadet and BD shows still had a "drum corps" feel whereas, to ME, the newer arrangements remind me more of things I'd hear from bands or wind ensembles.

Oh, and "Tommy" rocks. Period. Larry Shane's soprano sends chills down my spine literally EVERY TIME I hear the show. Never failed. Visually weird and quirky, but then so were most corps during the late 80s/early 90s period.

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What brought spirit back from the dead in 1997 was their history, heritage and roots.  I don't necessarily think that they needed to stray to far away from that identity, but i guess this is why the designers get paid the big bucks.

1997 was no different from most any other year for Spirit. They finished in 17th and struggled competitively all year.

From 1978 until 2000, the corps played "southern" music except for two years...88 and 89. In 88 we still maintained our standard of making finals placing 9th (besting the 10th place finish the year before), yet our show was as anti-Spirit as you could find (petrushka).

As an alumnus that has been quite active with the corps up until recently, I too long for the days when we can play our traditional southern style show. But, along with many former members, we have grown to accept that that probably won't happen any time soon, if at all. Even back in the 80s, we struggled to find a repertoire that would compete on the levels that we desired. Luckily, back then we found a good mix that worked. However, we all know that even though Let It Be Me was one of the most memorable closers of all time, it simply wouldn't compete as part of a show today. Shows today are so complex and difficult that our old standard of southern jazz just can't compare. Even though I marched in a top 6 or 7 corps, I never played music as hard as Spirit plays today and I never marched a show as difficult as they attempt now.

I also realize that the staff that put us up there with those famous southern shows are all now gone from this activity. Not one of our staff members or designers that put us on the map back then are involved with drum corps today (with one possible exception...Scott Chandler). So, the heart of Spirit in the 70s and 80s is sort of lost. Todays designers probably don't want to be pigeonholed into a particular style, especially one that is viewed as outdated and non-competitive. And the soul of our former organization, Freddy Martin, hasn't been involved for the last few years. Now, as a part of JSU, I expect Spirit to remain contemporary.

Spirit is at a disadvantage because we were so identifiable for so many years with our particular brand of show. But now, maybe we are a corps in search of a style...I can name quite a few corps that really don't have a certain "style"...BK, Glassmen, Boston, Crown, Colts, heck, even Cadets. Look at those corps collected repertoires over the last few years and you'll find quite a variation in music genres and approaches. Spirit is no different...they're just not southern any more. The corps is simply trying to fit in, I think...trying to find what works for them and the judges at the same time. And yes, you DO have to take the judging community into consideration, because if the corps begins to slump in competition, the kids won't be there to support it. Sorry to say...

These are just my opinions and should not reflect on the Spirit organization whatsoever.

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Oh, I liked " Tommy " from Blue Devils, BAC Contra. Don't get me wrong. We were just discussing Corps styles Re. Spirit of today, and earlier versions of Spirit of Atlanta. We were saying some corps have been able to develop sort of a unique style that works for them,vis a vis, Blue Devils and their style which tends to be Jazz. " Tommy ", I said, while quite good, was a departure for them. It was a different musical genre exploration the year they played " Tommy ". It was more Rock Opera.

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ssorrell : You are correct about Spirit of today, and Spirit Corps from earlier years. They are in transformation. And you are correct that quite a few Corps do not have a " style " per se. It was just suggested, that being based in the deep south, Spirit has an advantage that perhaps they have not tapped into just yet. Maybe they will in time. There is a Corps today that has a theme revolving around summertime, and a train going thru a community, a bygone era, if you will. That is tailor made for Spirit. There is so much that Spirit can tap into with their location that can be wonderful. Spirit does not have to be " contemporary ". We have those corps that can explore that. Spirit can find that " southern spirit ' if they look close enough. That show can be modern too. If they find it, they may very well find something truly unique that fans can be drawn to. But I did read your explanation about Mr. Martin, and the staff changes at Spirit. But this is no knock on the new staff. Just a suggestion from some well meaning fans here, that's all. Best of luck to Spirit.

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ssorrell : You are correct about Spirit of today, and Spirit Corps from earlier years. They are in transformation. And you are correct that quite a few Corps do not have a " style " per se. It was just suggested, that being based in the deep south, Spirit has an advantage that perhaps they have not tapped into just yet. Maybe they will in time. There is a Corps today that has a theme revolving around summertime, and a train going thru a community, a bygone era, if you will. That is tailor made for Spirit. There is so much that Spirit can tap into with their location that can be wonderful. Spirit does not have to be " contemporary ". We have those corps that can explore that. Spirit can find that " southern spirit ' if they look close enough. That show can be modern too. If they find it, they may very well find something truly unique that fans can be drawn to. But I did read your explanation about Mr. Martin, and the staff changes at Spirit. But this is no knock on the new staff. Just a suggestion from some well meaning fans here, that's all. Best of luck to Spirit.

Isn't ironic that a corps based at a university where the marching band is called the "Marching Southerners" can't "contemporize southern music?

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Believe it or not, if the Blue Devils came out playng a straight classical show or Phantom breaks out with a show of broadway tunes, people will lose their minds more than they have over amplification.

Blue Devils DID do a straight classical show - 2000 (crappiest show of the last 30 years for them too)

Classical ??

~G~

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It worked for some, but the Blue Devils doing " Tommy " just didn't seem to fit  as another example. At least not for me anyway.  But I can count on one hand the number of times the Devils did a show, that it didn't seem to fit for me.

As a stand alone show, I thought "Tommy" was great. Especially the color guard. But when placed into context between the 89 and 91 shows, stylistically, it a real WTF moment.

I commend them for their diversity. All corps for that matter that are confident enough to recognize their style yet stray away from time to time should be commended..it means they will play it with the same professionalism and level of excellence as any other style they choose. "Tommy" is considered one of their more "successful" show.....they took a style and made it their own, sold itlike any other show they performed up to that point.

~G~

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Isn't ironic that a corps based at a university where the marching band is called the "Marching Southerners" can't "contemporize southern music?

If you look at the repertoire of the Marching Southerners, of which I am a proud alumnus also, you'll find that they never play anything "southern" in their field show. They do play Dixie and Quilting Party, two very southern tunes, as part of their off field repertiore every year, just as Spirit retains "Georgia" for concerts and retreats.

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Believe it or not, if the Blue Devils came out playng a straight classical show or Phantom breaks out with a show of broadway tunes, people will lose their minds more than they have over amplification.

Blue Devils DID do a straight classical show - 2000 (crappiest show of the last 30 years for them too)

Classical ??

~G~

Yes - Bernard Herrmann music all (i believe). Orchestral music in all cases, except for the theme from Taxi Driver. After that the show went down hill from there. And BAC_Contra. That hornline was the WORST Bb hornline to ever hit the DCI field. Even of lower quality than the Cadets of the same year. I think it was mostly because it was the first year of the Bbs, but the sound was VERY thin, and VERY out of tune in some spots.

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