North vs. South

This evening we went to see Corps at the Crest II in Newbury Park. This was our first (and possibly only) Drum Corps show of the season. The corps in the show were: Santa Clara Vanguard, Blue Knights, Blue Devils, Pacific Crest, Esperanza, Mystikal, Impulse, Hawthorne Gold. What is drum corps? The best way to describe it is to take up to 135 kids, divide them roughly into thirds (color guard, percussion, brass), and put them on a football field for a competition judged on its musical quality, its coreography, and its precision. This is a large activity, with corps from all over the country.

By the way, we drove the new car there. It performed wonderfully. I’ll post pictures of it tomorrow. But on to the real performers…

Division III

The first corps up was Hawthorne Gold, a new corps from Hawthorne. They were very small. Their repertoire was The Black Widow by Joe Malone and John Leguizamon. I thought they were OK for a new corps, but didn’t strike me all that well. They got 3rd place.

Next was Impulse. Now, I normally like Impulse; they are the successor corps to the Velvet Knights, and usually have a fun and crazy show. Not tonight. Their program was selections from the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. They just didn’t have their crowd appeal on, yet still they came in 1st, with a 60.45.

The last Division III corps was Mystikal, the local corps for the area. Small guard (2), but strong brass. They did a program called “Deconstructing Uptopia”, with music by John Mesham (their head arranger) and Bill Garcia (head of their percussion staff), and one Aaron Copeland number. They were good musically. They got 2nd, with a score of 50.6.

Division I

The first Division I corps to play was Pacific Crest. Esperanza was scheduled before them, but their truck carrying the brass instruments and the costumes for all but the guard broke down. More later. This was a program I really liked; they did numbers from City of Angels, and the guard appears to be having real fun. They came in 4th, however, with a score of 65.1.

Next up was the Concord Blue Devils. If you have never seen these folks, you’re missing something. They are one of the top corps, and for good reason. This year, they did music from the Godfather. There was a strong guard program, and great marching. And loud. Did I say loud! They came in 1st, with a remarkable score (for this early in the season) of 80.8.

Next up was the Blue Knights from Denver CO. Alas, their show didn’t turn me on at all. The program was called Dark Knights, and consisted of Piano Concerto Op. 38 by Samuel Barber. They came in 3rd, with a score of 70.7.

The Santa Clara Vanguard came next. This is also one of the best corps around. Their program also consisted of music pritten by their brass staff, called Moto Perpetuo, with four movements: Chains of Reaction, Newton’s Cradle, Echoes of Time, and Speed of Sight. I thought I would find this dull, but this was a very strong performance. They came in 2nd, with a score of 76.6 (4.2 points off first).

Remember I mentioned Esperanza. The corps with no brass and no uniforms. They went on last. Santa Clara Vanguard loaned them their horns so they could do the show, and the players marched in shorts and T-shirts. Their program was called Chakra, and consisted of music by Ravi Shankar, Philip Glass, Nicoli Rimsky-Korsakov, and Surinder Sandhu. I thought it was a strong performance, but they came in 5th, with a score of 60.0 (below the 1st place Division III corps).

All in all, though, it was a good show. There’s another show in Newbury Park on 7/8 (Mandarins, Esperanza, Pacific Crest, Mystikal, The Academy, Vanguard Cadets, Blue Devils B, Impulse, Yamato, Hawthorne Gold, Jester, Blue Devils C, Dream, Sr., River City Regiment, Sr., Renegades, Sr.), but we’re not sure yet that we’re going. Note also that the 2007 DCI World Championships will be held in Pasadena California (August 7-11, 2007).