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Funny, the Blue Devils and the Crossmen manage to find jazz music every year and the members support it. The Crossmen played "In the Mood" and "Birdland" Were successful and made finals. Devils even played ragtime music and they placed in the Top 3. Saying you can't play jazz or develop a competitive show sounds like a cop out.

Let me tell you exactly when I stopped believing that only certain kinds of "real" music could be done successfully:

Early in 1992, when the Blue Devils announced they were going to play "When A Man Loves A Woman"...I, alongside many BD alumni wanted to just throw up. We all thought it would set new standards by both sucking and blowing at the exact same time. Our faith in Wayne & Co. wavered.

I think the result speakes for itself. The lesson learned? With creative design and arranging, ANY music can be done in a successful and entertaining way. And THAT my friends, is where the real challenge is for designers.

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If I told you that a Corps could play.. " Yes, we have no bananas " for an opening, and that it could work both competitive- wise, entertainment-wise, and demand-wise, some people might laugh at that notion. But it can be done. And it has been done ( Bridgemen ). Whether it's done in sort of a campy way, or a serious way, it really doesn't matter WHAT you play. It's all in the composition and presentation. If the Cavaliers, can do "James Bond ...007 ", ( or Cadets," Jethro Tull ") and pull that off, it just seems to me that there is little under the sun musically that can't work when put in the hands of creative and capable staff. On the surface, " When you wish upon a Star ", sounds like a highly cheesy song. But when put that in the hands of the highly creative staff at the Star of Indiana, it was transformed into a breathtakingly awesome and beautiful ballad for Drum Corps. It's all in the composition and the presentation, derived from staff members with talent, and just as importantly.....confidence.

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I've already thought about how enjoyable a Lynrd Skynrd / Charlie Daniels show would be and even though I'm not laughing myself silly, I bet the current members probably would. 

That's one of my main points. Us old timers might want to hear more diversity and recognizable stuff, and we want the corps to remain true to what we feel are their identities, but what would the current members have to say about that?

It's one thing for a corps like BD or Cadets to announce a repertoire that some find questionable, but in the end almost everyone will still expect those corps to finish in the top of the activity. However, take a corps that has been trying to establish themselves as a solid top 12 contender for a few years and it's not as easy. If Spirit stated that they were playing southern rock, no matter how entertaining it might seem to some us of old farts, the kids wouldn't show up I would be willing to bet.

Again, I'm not defending their choices, as I would love to see Spirit excel with shows like I used to perform in the 80s, BUT at the same time, I understand why that is not happening. And I will repeat on major point...all of the big names that put us on the map with our old style southern shows are not involved with any drum corps at this time...most have retired, or God bless them, have passed on. Maybe the folks behind the corps do not want to play the southern thing any more. Maybe the designers aren't comfortable in the genre of music that made us famous. Maybe they're ready for something different, and they are trying to find just what that will be. either way, they have the support of countless alumni along the way, whether they play Dixie or Bartok.

I can sit back and listen to the Ghost Train show or the Holsinger show, and although it isn't what I would have picked out for Spirit, they are enjoyable and have some wonderful moments, just as I would expect from any drum corps. I have to remember that this is MY corps, and they are evolving.

I hope that people can still enjoy Spirit, even if they aren't southern on the field. Those kids work just as hard as I did back in my day, and they deserve a chance. Let's not stereotype corps, even though that's hard not to do. I'm as quilty as anyone in that I expect to hear classical when I see Phantom...I expect to hear Western themes when I see Troopers. but at the same time, if Troopers ever changed their identity by not playing the western bit, I could understand it and hopefully learn to appreciate it.

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I was there the first year we made finals (1978) and it was not all southern or gospel music

Opener: "Walk Him Up The Stairs" from Purlie, which was "southern".

Drum Solo: an original piece called "Geodesic Dance" by Tom Float, not really any genre.

Concert: "Higher and Higher", written by Jackie Wilson, an R&B artist who grew up in Michigan. SOA's version was the Bette Midler version, who as we all know is a pop diva.

Closer: "Let it be Me", written by M.Curtis-P.Delanoe-G.Becaud. Had to do a little research on this one, it was originally a French song called "Je T'Appartiens". It has been covered by practically everyone from Elvis, Willie Nelson, Tom Jones, Bob Dylan, Brenda Lee, The Everly Brothers, and our version by The Pointer Sisters.

I was also there in 1979 and 1980 and it sure wasn't all southern or gospel then either.

That said:

What I find so different in 2004 than when I marched is that we played 4 great tunes and they didn't have to be a "theme". Everyone now has to have a show theme, ie. James Bond, Jethro Tull, Colors, Bohemia, Architechture of Life.... I really like some of the shows today, others I go get a hot dog. I really could care less about what they play, if they have to play certain types of music to score well, play them. I support Spirit because it is a great organization, it cares about the kids, and it gives the kids the same great experience that I had. Like Steve stated, when you're in the bottom tier of the top 12 and working hard to stay there, you can't be the innovator that Cadets or Cavies are.

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Strutta : I believe I recognized that St. Kevins song your group played. I Believe it was " All the Things you Are " if I'm not mistaken. Was that the one you played ?  Are the Legends of Mass. going to put on an exhibition, do you guys know, at Foxboro for next years DCI ?

The tune is actually a medley--


First played by Kevins in 1959 and many susequent years

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