Sun, Jul 25, 1999...The Leicester Cycle Drome
Today was my first DCUK show of this season, so it was a good opportunity to see all the competing corps for the first time. Most (if not all) of the open class Corps were in attendance at the show, which incidentally is the last show of the first half of this season.
The first Corps in competition today was the show sponsors The Statesmen Cadets. The Statesmen are a junior Corps with the average member probably only being about 10 - 12 years of age, hence the name "The Statesman Cadets." Statesmen have a great little guard, which are dressed in red tops and perform cleanly using purple flags. The Corps have an overall enjoyable performance, with a group of competent individuals, especially the soprano soloist who plays a high clean note in the middle of the show. I also like the Pit feature in You are the Sunshine of My Life. Definitely a Corps to watch as they progress through the ranks.
The theme of the Stateside's show is the Wild West. Being a member of the '96 Boston Crusaders I recognized and enjoyed their opening tune Grover's Corner, from Our Town, by Aaron Copland. I have to question how many notes this corps are trying to play, it is my feeling that their book is a little bit too difficult for them. The corps suffer a few timing errors throughout their show, probably due to the shear amount of notes the brass line are trying to play. Stateside's drum line demonstrates creativeness by playing on the rims of the drums and they also play some effective licks. I believe if they had the right book, that is not as ambitious, then this corps would be scoring well by finals.
Phoenix's show is based on music from the Phantom of the Opera. They use silver drums, which reflect in the afternoon's sun. I really don't understand why this corps uses two Drum Majors, for a relatively small Corps I think the extra person could be but to better use in the brass line, where he / she is most needed. Also one of the brass players was actually holding his music in front of him, so this didn't impress me very much either. The impression I get is that the Corps has people missing at today's show, so therefore they have to march spaces. Obviously the show is incomplete; I would like to see their show again once completed come the second half of the season.
Encore performs a show called Rock Anthems. Again hard to see how they justify two Drum Majors. They have a nice Mellophone solo at the beginning of the show that is carried off well. All throughout their show it was difficult for me to work out the music that they was actually playing, I didn't hear much Rock. They have a competent brass line, but I am afraid Encore's overall show wasn't my cup of tea. I was let down with the title of the show Rock Anthems, which didn't live up to my expectations.
Guardsmen were the 5th Corps to take the field of competition today wearing blue uniforms with a white sash, white shakos. Guardsmen have the best A class performance today; I feel that the Corps is really of open class standard. I loved their choice of music Austin Powers, which they performed very well. They had a nice round powerful sound. All three sections really performed well here at Leicester today. The Corps use multicoloured pop heart scenery, which really brightens up the Drum Corps field. Their guard does an especially great job mimicking the antics of Austin Powers with their bright multicoloured union jacks. I thoroughly enjoyed their show which is easily accessible by anyone.
Once again two DM's, but I wont dwell on that. Poynton Perform music from The Wiz to good effect. I believe that Poynton have members missing today (couple are marching DCI Corps Southwind), which I think they sorely missed. Poynton are a personal favourite Corps of mine, I like this Corps style very much. At today's performance the Corps couldn't seem to nail the end of their musical statements, I think once Poynton field their full Corps, they will be yet again a strong contender for the A Class trophy come finals. Their young soprano soloist is just awesome.
The Black Knights had a good overall sound today with a powerful brass line, which could play loud when necessary. Although sometimes I felt the brass line did over blow in places, particularly the low brass. The corps uniform consists of black jackets with gold trim and white pants. I get the impression Black knights are another corps marching spaces at today's show, especially in the Drum Line. I thought the Corps was very lucky to be placed in third position today, I personally would have put the corps in fourth.
Spirit Of Bristol
Spirit of Bristol wear black uniforms with a white sash, the guard complements the corps uniform by wearing white dresses. Spirit start their show in a very solemn mood reflected by the Guard wearing black cloaks with hoods and bearing a big cross. The Corps play music from Carmen, which starts off sounding and looking strong, but I am afraid as the show progressed, their product got generally weaker. Spirit seems to be a relatively young corps with potential if they had the right musical book, which I believe they donut have at the moment. Nice to see a corps from Bristol again, and I look forward to seeing them in the future.
Kidsgrove had a nice sound today and I liked their full on Jazz show very much. This is by far the best season Kidsgrove have ever had. They have a nice overall sound balance that is controlled beautifully. I am sure by finals this corps will be placed higher than ever before in any previous years. Well done!
6th Hove Scouts
6th Hove wear cream pants with a black trim, green jackets with gold sash, black shako with red plume. Just this season 6th Hove have moved up to open class, so they are relatively new to this standard of competition. I must say they have made the jump from A class very well. But they do seem to play on one level quite a lot of the time, I feel the corps as a whole need to add more dynamics to make the show more readable and interesting to the listener. 6th Hove has a good little pit that uses a variety of different instruments to great effect.
Cadence had a clean performance today, which they performed with a confident approach. Their show is all classical music, which I personally am not a great fan of. I can't help feeling that if the tempo was cranked a little, then the show may generate more excitement. Cadence used their percussion in the pit for one of their tunes, which greatly added to the ensemble sound of the pit. I also had the Corps in second place due to their cleanliness at this stage of the season, but I have to ask the question; how much more does this show have to offer?
The corps perform music from the Phantom of the Opera, wearing cream uniforms decorated by a black sash. The brass and the percussion really get in to the theme of the show and wear half face masks. The Senators have a strong well-balanced overall sound, complimented by very clean visual work. Today's Senators show was well worthy of first place, even though I felt the points gap between the top four Corps should have been closer than it actually was. My only gripe with the Senators show is I have seen it all before and I am waiting for the famous magic trick come finals. However, they seem to have a knack of picking these winning Drum Corps books, which are easily accessible by all.
Concord are by far the hardest Corps for me to write about, as I have been a member of the Corps for the past 10 years and the last two previous seasons I have been their Drum Major.
Concord lined up today wearing powder blue uniforms decorated with a sequined red sash, which really looked classy in the afternoons sun. After just coming off a three-day rehearsal camp Concord started their performance, The Music of John Rutter very strongly and in a confident manner. I was getting all excited with the show until the corps seemed to run out of gas and started to suffer from fatigue problems. I thought that in places the corps found it hard to drive home those finishing musical statements. I believe the corps had a better overall show the week before at the Cudworth show, maybe the long three-day camp took its toll. I do feel when Concord perform their programme on fresh legs and the cranked tempos are maintained, they will surprise people as always on their 15th anniversary come finals night. They have a great overall package this year, the best I have seen in the past five years. I didn't agree with Concord's position, I thought on today's performance they should have been placed 3rd.
From Sheffield, England
Thanks to James A. Salt ( email@example.com) for directly emailing this review!
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