favorite show of 2001 et al
1. INTRO - Hello. Welcome to "Seven," which just might be the start of a regular column for me. It starts on RAMD, but I think sCORPSboard is going to run it, and maybe I can convince DCW to do the same (Steve Vickers, you out there?), in which case it may exit RAMD and go live there. So, here we go.
2. MY FAVORITE 2001 SHOW -- My favorite show of this season [so far] is the Seattle Cascades (really). Yes, they are not going to win DCI, but their show is very original and entertaining, and at no time to you get the sense that the show designers spent their winter sitting around trying to figure out how to sound or look like SCV, Blue Devils or the Cadets -- which is very cool. So, I would show somebody that. If they liked that, I would probably take them to watch SCV, and then try to distract them by dumping popcorn on their lap when the infamous "rap section" came up. ;-) Seriously though, the rap has grown on me, and it represent a completely different musical sound/experience than ever heard in drum corps ... but it would be better if the corps was moving during it, instead of dancing around like rappers (that's the part I am not so fond of). BTW - The first 30 seconds of SCV's show is GENIUS.
3. VANGUARD CADETS -- have 10 snares (read that 10x). This is awesome, and I am glad that they had the courage to march all 10 with such a relatively small hornline, especially since the "mission" of a cadet corps is to train as many kids as possible. I understand they are hearing about "balance problems" from a judge or two. Frankly, I didn't think their show had many drum-to-horn balance problems, and it could be an issue more of perception rather than reality. In other words, people see 10 snares, and instantly assume they are too LOUD. I once taught a high school line in CA (Logan) that marched eight bass drums -- the original plan, of course, was "7," but then one more kid named "Alf" (really x3) showed up and wouldn't go away ... so then there was eight (7 + Alf). Anyway, so the story goes, I wrote approximately "zero" bass drum unisons when the horn line was playing (save the last note of every tune). And what do you think we heard about all year? Yep. Bass drums too loud. At each and every critique, I found myself explaining that eight bass drums wasn't really that loud - it just gave us a wide range of pitch to use in the show. Eventually, everyone figured it out, and we won drums at WSUMBC. So - the point is, I would ask anyone checking out the SCV Cadets to (i) don't assume 10 snares = too LOUD; and (ii) Remember, that BIG drum lines are a great thing, and help make drum corps unique among the marching activity (or once did, and should do so again), so give them a break. Hopefully, we (Renegades) will march between 11 and 13 snares next season. BIG is good. Yadda Yadda.
4. BLUE DEVIL C CORPS -- Someone should try to get the Blue Devil C corps on Leno. We had one anonymous person on RAMD this year state that the Blue Devil C corps was more entertaining than the Renegades. I could not disagree. How can any corps be more entertaining than a 4-year old cymbal player? You can't. Not even Hopkins can figure that out...
5. EVIL RENEGADE TOUR #1 -- The Renegades tour to the Northwest was fun, and it was great to see our arch-enemies/pals, the Northwest Venture, especially since they are 2x as big as last year. Other than the fact that the set performance order of the shows was silly, the shows were great, and it appeared that the attendance of the Seattle show picked up considerably from last year (which is cool). After the second show (Kelso), the Renegades played a concert in the parking lot, which ended up being one of my all-time greatest drum corps experiences (really x3). That might sound odd to say about an after-show parking lot concert, but the corps was absolutely f***ing phenomenal, and there was a few hundred people watching -- including the show sponsor who contacted the corps 24 hours later saying how great he thought it was, and formally requesting that they return next year. Hearing the corps in the arc, I couldn't believe it was the Renegades, especially relative to the sad 2-horn player and a ham sandwich ensemble rehearsal we had in the winter of 1999. It might be even funnier next season, when the corps marches 70 brass...
Disclaimer: #6 is where I randomly and half-seriously antagonize people. Concert percussionists, bassoon players and people from Fon du lac, WI continue reading at your own risk.
6. PITS - Is there a pit in DCI that doesn't sound and look 100% like every other pit in DCI? Talk about a lack of diversity. In fact, the only pit that even slightly broke the mold that I have seen so far this season, is Pacific Crest (the corps, not the toothpaste), when they hit some really loud things. As a test, we should line up fans, and have any pit play their book (assuming the fan doesn't know the show already), close their eyes, name the pit ... and win a million dollars. I bet they can't. Good thing electronics are illegal in most states ... we might go back to the times when you could actually tell the difference. I say we call it even, bag the pit, and save the truck space ... or at least disqualify every corps that has over four keyboards, starting with Boston. ;-)
1 Issue 1, Tue, 7/10/01