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For those that have never been to an Loud Music Symposium event (note...that would be ME!), I can tell you that it's...well...it's different. But cool different. Sort of. You see--LMS's are a conglomeration of musical talent in a variety of "acts"...sort of like a variety show. So last night, as the the MC of the event, I got to announce and bring on each act. And no...it's not ALL drum corps. Which is the cool different "sort of" part of the review. So I'll just start with my wish. It would be a thrill and a half to have a LMS event that was strictly ALL CORPS. But...considering the season is off to a start and some corps' staffs would fall down in a frothing seizure if they were to take away from valuable rehearsal time to come do a "silly stage show", I think my wish is probably a pipe dream at best. But I like to think a little outside of the box, because if you think about it, a LMS CORPS event where we in the activity could invite those OUTSIDE of the activity into an environment most can relate to (i.e., an auditorium or concert hall and sit in cushioned chairs), and let them hear what a corps can do standing still would be, in this reviewer's eyes, a BOON for the activity. WHY? Because then you could say to those outside of the activity (i.e., city, county and state politicians, band directors, school principals, civic group leaders, PEOPLE WITH MONEY!!, etc) after the event is over..."YOU SHOULD SEE WHAT THIS IS LIKE WHEN THESE KIDS (or old people--cough cough) ARE MOVING AROUND ON A FOOTBALL FIELD!!!"

Case in point--I had a chance to talk one-on-one with one of the acts, a very very talented singer/songwriter by the name of Lara Schuler. I asked if she had ever heard a corps before, and she said no, and she was quite literally blown away. I then asked if she had gone to a corps show before and seen a corps perform on the field--and she meekly said, "Well, no...but I did watch the movie Drumline." SEE WHAT I MEAN!?!? The people OUTSIDE of the activity (with no insult intended to Lara) haven't a clue what is going on WITHIN our activity, until we do something to get them to go!!!!! So...I did what any announcer/MC guy would do, and told her to come to the Bellflower show on Sunday so she could (cough cough) HEAR ME AGAIN (har har--THAT'LL get her to show up!), but in all seriousness, and more importantly, so she could SEE what goes with the music that she heard. Ahhhhhhhhh well...sorry for the pontification on this point...but Lee Rudnicki, who if I'm not mistaken, is the brainchild behind the entire concept of LMS, can REALLY do much good for the activity. And he knows this. Well, after reading this, he'll know it even more. Now we just need to think of a way to make an ALL CORPS LMS WEST COAST event happen. Preferably on a stage bigger than the floor space of most master bedrooms nowadays (I'm kidding...but it was a smaller stage).


OK...so...let me say this first. I know it's not drum corps, but I do want to say a word or two about the non-corps acts.

The Torrance High School Jazz Band provided some great sounds. VERY controlled and professional sound. Great drummer. And they even played an old drum corps standard!! TIGER OF SAN PEDRO!! It was cool!!

EBackwardsE, the first group, was cool, but I didn't appreciate their sound/style. It was "Nirvana"ish. Dime a dozen to these ears. But it was cool to have them on stage.

Reneguard, 6 beautiful women, did a great on stage mini-mini-mini winter guardish routine to some very cool music. For an "adult" guard, they were quite good. Unfortunately, the size of the stage created instances where their flags became more like percussion instruments as they clanked against each other--but it was in time to the music!! :worthy: But they were great in their PERFORMANCE. That's what I was really noticing.

The Lost Disciples, who have a GREAT BACKSTORY to how they formed and what makes them what they are today, were AWESOME! I think the lead singer, who I had a chance to banter with before the performance, was a great performer. At times, he actually made me think of the lead singer dude (sorry--don't know the name and I don't want to go look for it) for Blood, Sweat and Tears. I mean...REALLY sounded like him. But then he'd do more of the "punk" type vocals and growling thing--sound system wasn't all that hip and I don't necessarily run out to buy CD's of bands that have the lead singer that growls a lot, so I didn't appreciate THAT...but I appreciate his PERFORMANCE. Very personable, and a GREAT SOUND to the band. Wish the electric guitar dude was louder. He was overpowered by the bassist.

Earl Brown--snare soloist extraordinare. What a great guy! And what chops. He did some wicked things with his sticks that sort of made me think that he was a martial artist as well as a great musician. He'd flip those sticks around and was VERY deliberate with some of his moves. Huge range of dynamics, great rimshots, and very personable and a definite crowd pleaser!! Great job Earl!!

Lara Schuler--like I said before, very very talented, great voice. Unfortunately she was in an awkward place in the program, and if I were king, I would NOT have put her on after So Cal Dream, but I'm not king, and I'm sure there was a reason why she was where she was. She was a solo act, and to me, brought a nice "down" time to the show (albeit in my eyes not at the right time). But other than her talent, she and I had occasion to talk before and after the show. She's just straight out COOL! Really cool. I think this being her first time at an LMS event made her and I bond a little because it was my first time too. Cool show by her. Hope she takes me up on the offer and gets to the Bellflower show (note to Sara Julian--BRING HER!!).

And lastly--I have to give a special :ph34r: to a very DIFFERENT act...Eddie The Rat. Eddie The Rat is not a PERSON...it's a group. A group of 4 souls who have found a fellowship as a band of musicians headed up by composer Pete Martin that find solice and comfort in creating some very...I can't even think of the right word...surreal (that's not right)...different (overused)...avant garde (yeeeeeeeeah...I guess)....MUSIC. Minimalist one moment invoking Philip Glass...the next minute....RAGE....not polyrythmic, but polyTEMPO. Truly. There was one part where, if my ears were "reading" it correctly, where a piano was playing a repeating motiff, the "lead singer" was playing something on bells completely seperate yet strangely A PART of what the piano was doing, and then composer Pete Martin on a contraption that more belongs in Renegades' pit going HIS way...THREE seperate tempos, and then in a blink of the eye, BAM, they came right back together. It was sort of like a musical rubberband...stretching stretching stretching....BAM. And then it comes back to its original form. I excitedly compared notes with Lee Rudnicki afterwards. He kept saying "GENIUS" over and over and I kept saying "WHAT THE...THAT WAS GREAT" over and over. Truly something I don't think can be described but only experienced. And THEY WERE AWESOME. Loved it.

Now--on with the corps review.

SO CAL DREAM--being their drill writer, I've not had much of an occasion due to my schedule to be able to rehearse with them, but I've been in constant contact with their staff and administration, and of course, saw them at the Walnut show. While I know they had work to do on their show, I didn't realize the AMOUNT OF WORK THEY HAD ACCOMPLISHED since I last saw them. HOLY COW!!!! They were absolutely on fire. The drum line is clean and polished, the horns sounded FANTASTIC!!! Even the baritones at the beginning of the opener sounded lush and IN TUNE. Bob Briggs lit the crowd up with his virtuosity...the ever-loving ever-present ever-posting Sam "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful" Signorelli did GREAT on his solo, as did Tony on mellophone. As a matter of fact...let me count the soloists in the corps. There was Bob, Seth (THE DIRECTOR!!! HELLO!!! TALK ABOUT COMMITMENT!!), John (the music arranger's arranger), Sam, Tony, The Wolford Duet (took me by surprise, and it was DANG good and DANG CUTE!!!), and the quintet. What is that? TWELVE??? WOW!!! Oh wait...a baritone duet too!! FOURTEEN!!!!??? Good GOD! I'm really serious about this--there are some TREMENDOUS musicians in So Cal Dream this year, and it really showed. After their performance and as Lara Schuler was getting set up, I stepped outside of the auditorium to get some air, and walking by with a HUGE smile was Lee Rudnicki--"WHOA, they came to play tonight!!" My response, "I know...Man...where did THAT come from??" They were very polished, very musical (LOTS AND LOTS of dynamics and phrasing!!), and just had this sense of PRIDE about what they were doing up there. Great job So Cal...and that's NOT just because I'm the drill designer. That's because you guys are simply GREAT!!! And I know I know I KNOW it's going to sound trite...but if they take THAT sound back to Class A competition at DCA...holy cow. They WILL make an impact, that's for sure.

KINGSMEN ALUMNI CORPS--seems like a lot of time has passed since their debut at the Walnut show two weeks ago, when they debuted and KNOCKED THE CROWD ON ITS COLLECTIVE BUTTS--at least those that were polite enough to stay in the stands (that would have been everyone above the age of 21 just about--sore subject with me--but I digress). And I was VERY excited to have a chance to actually see them up close. As a sort of interesting side note, I stood backstage as Kingsmen were coming on to set up, and I had a chance to look at everyone as they came on stage. I was just amazed seeing the faces of the horns and drums as they came on stage. And I was feeling--psychicly I guess--the "history" coming off these men and women. Most probably had no idea who the geek in the suit was standing there holding the curtain back for them, but I just wanted to do SOMETHING to help them set up, even if it was just hold a curtain. Anyway--they basically did the exact same program last night as they did at the Walnut show--Warm Up, Folk Song Suite, George of the Jungle percussion break, and American Salute/Johnny. Volume wise--of course they were loud. The acoustics made the balance a little bit of a problem--but I wasn't looking for problems, so really, who gives a rat's ###. But what I DID notice was this. This corps is simply AMAZING from a musical standpoint. There were no cracked notes, no ugly whack whack sounds, no tuning issues. They sounded REFINED, CLASSY, VERY MUSICAL...in other words, they sounded like....that's right....THE KINGSMEN!!!!! I'm soooooooooooo proud of this group, so NOT worthy to be associated with them, but sooooooooooooooooo digging that I get to be. Folks--the Kingsmen Alumni Corps is the REAL thing, and come August 10th, 2007, Drum Corps International will know it too! Great job--and a GREAT standing ovation from the crowd. Special quick nod to DM/Corps Director Gary Kean. He was TRULY conducting. Class act!!

and finally...


No no no...they ARE the San Francisco Renegades (that was a little inside joke), and I'd like to start off my review by apologizing for two things. First, for completely making up off the cuff filler announcements lauding the Renegades and their influence on the senior corps activity. It was just how I felt as a semi-professional observer and participant in the pageantry arts. I realized that when I speak off the cuff I butcher things--telling the crowd they had a LMS in SOUTH Carolina last year (good one Turner)--but more importantly, I was rambling whilst standing behind the curtains READY TO GO was the corps. DOH!!!! Sorry about that. The second thing I have to apologize for...((sigh)) well, I had it in my mind that based on what I have been reading on the Internet that perhaps this was going to be a "down year" for the corps, so honestly, my expectations were not as high as they have been in previous years.


From their opener to the closer, Renegades last night were ON FIRE. They have a HUGE sound, with GREAT music that is the most "modern" sounding stuff I've heard them play. They open with a very very different sound to "Adventures in Time" (which I compared directly against Suncoast's and BD's versions--they take a little of both PLUS make it their own). I actually was thinking it was undertempo--ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh they made up for that later. Terrific solos by Chris Nalls...and the soprano soloist...if I'm not mistaken, and I'm sort of old and blind...but I think that was Larrie Dastrup. But I'm not positive. I know Larrie by his legend and by his name--haven't met him personally. Chris Nalls did a couple of his legendary lip trills. WOW! Cool stuff. "Stairway to Heaven" was SWEET. I really enjoyed it...recognizable and well done. Drum solo was very exciting--a 12/8ish sounding creation. Looked like they were having fun. And then the closing--hard to describe, but I heard references to "Stairway" and "Time". I remember there was a feeling in the music (specifically coming from the sopranos) of the music going up...whatever lick they were playing...and then, it modulated...and it was even HIGHER. I mean...holy cow. It was high loud and fast times 7!! I'm not kidding. There is NO doubt in my mind that the Renegades are solid musically speaking, and by the time they get to DCA, it'll be a very interesting finals. Of course--I haven't seen them on the field yet--so THAT review will be coming on Monday after I see them at the Impulse show.

Well...I've been de-virginated...I can now say I've experience an LMS, and heck, I even got to be IN IT!! I was and am and will be honored to have been asked to MC the event. Special thanks goes out to Lee of course (who I FINALLY got to meet after all of these years), but also to Anne, JoJo, Zak, and the rest of the 'Gades backstage "let's keep this #### show rolling' crew. You guys were great. I need to give a special thanks to Anne. Folks--she told me that she has been doing this for some time now, and that she's used to setting things up. I'm telling you--she had this event DOWN. Spreadsheets, times, schedules, phone numbers--all right at your fingertips. It was almost scary the amount of organization she did. Of course, it all gets thrown out the window when TWO ACTS DON'T SHOW!! But we worked together to get past that and make the show run. Special thanks to Thom Willet as well...GREAT job being the facility facilitator facilitating the facilities. Just keep smiling brother!!! And thanks to all of the other volunteers that helped to make this a success.

And thanks to the 300 or so in the audience...you guys sounded like you were having a good time, IN SPITE OF ME...and next year, let's get 600 more so we can stuff that auditorium.

RIGHT THOM!!?!?!?!?

I'm out...have a great day.

Edited by Ryan H. Turner
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Again, Eddie the Rat defies description. Long live Eddie the Rat!!!!!!!!

Wish I could be there for the upcoming shows..............

Thanks for the reviews..........

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(Snip-pity Do Dah) -- I had a chance to talk one-on-one with one of the acts, a very very talented singer/songwriter by the name -- (Snip-pity Eh)

I'm out...have a great day.

McMe not be too Snip-pity, but........

Careful Mr. T.

U get grounded - U no play bari - Me big upset B)

Mc Watcher

Edited by McDuffy
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...the ever-loving ever-present ever-posting Sam "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful" Signorelli did GREAT on his solo,

More like"don't hate me because im short, fat, and balding..."

Beautiful?? You need new glasses, Ryan!!

but it WAS nice to finally have a solo after all these years....and I haven't heard anyone call out my name during a show since my mother and sister (mostly my sister) at the 84 Riverside show...

And actually, there are only 10 soloists...Bob, Tony, Jesse (bari) and Dan Wolford pull double duty a couple of times...

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mannnnnnn I wish I was there WAHHHHHHHH

sounds like it was friggen awesome...

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Since I missed the Walnut Show a few weeks ago, the LMS-Torrance performance was my first live drum corps performance in just under 26 years....it was great....my fellow KAC members were in all their glory and I cannot wait until DCI 2007....now, I have heard much about the Renegades, and have heard that there are many former Blue Devils in that line....got a chance to hear them live and they were absolutely evil.....Stairway to Heaven left my jaw dropped and Chris and Larrie's solos were awesome....I was standing at the side door near the stage and got a live glimpse of what modern senior corps sounds like other than the recorded version....I have missed much and hopefully will be able to march at least one season with the Renegades in my lifetime....what a treat B)

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It was nice to meet you Ryan!

Yes the stage was interesting for the Reneguard but it was still fun :)

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Sorry to have missed meeting you Ryan! Lara said to tell you sorry she couldn't make the show, but she definately wants to catch a corps show now that she knows what it's all about.

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Ryan said:

Case in point--I had a chance to talk one-on-one with one of the acts, a very very talented singer/songwriter by the name of Lara Schuler. I asked if she had ever heard a corps before, and she said no, and she was quite literally blown away. I then asked if she had gone to a corps show before and seen a corps perform on the field--and she meekly said, "Well, no...but I did watch the movie Drumline." SEE WHAT I MEAN!?!? The people OUTSIDE of the activity (with no insult intended to Lara) haven't a clue what is going on WITHIN our activity, until we do something to get them to go!!!!!

This is EXACTLY why LMS isn't a strictly drum-corps show. It is one of the reasons LMS was invented.

How many times have you been in a thread titled "How did you learn about drum corps" and many many many people say "I'd never heard of drum corps until my friend, Gus, dragged me to a show. From that very moment I fell in love....."

Make it an all drum corps show and what do you get? An audience full of drum corps folks, the same drum corps folks that go to all the other drum corps shows. Make it a show where there are other acts and what do you get? A bunch of opportunities for "love at first site".

Making the drum corps activity grow = a good thing.

Ryan, it was good to finally meet you! :)

Edited by LisaLisaMoMeesa
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Good point Lisa...nice to meet you too! :ph34r:

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