Well, we ended up not going to the Drum Corps Show. We got as far as Sharky’s in Thousand Oaks — GFG then realized she had a migraine coming on, and perhaps the sound of massed drums and trumpets in the hot, smokey wouldn’t be a good idea. So we meandered back through Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley, finding a quilt store in advance of Quilters Run, going along former Route 118 (Los Angeles Avenue and Santa Susanna Pass Road), and just relaxing.
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…
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.
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).
We just got the latest issue of DCI Today. For those of you who don’t know what DCI is, it is the organization that sponsors the drum corps activity. 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.
Normally, California doesn’t get to see the championships of Drum Corps, even though two of the top corps in the country (Santa Clara Vanguard, Concord Blue Devils) hail from California. It looks, however, like 2007 will be different, for the 2007 DCI World Championships will be held in Pasadena California (August 7-11, 2007). This is a welcome change from venues such as Madison WI or Orlando FL. This one we can drive to! We haven’t been to a championship in ages… I think since 1987, when we saw the competition in Kansas City MO. We’ll have to order tickets early.
But what of this year, you ask? First, there appear to be a bunch of new California corps, including more in Southern California. Back in the “old days” (i.e., when my wife was active), we had folks like the Velvet Knights, the Kingsman, LA Chinese… but they are all gone. But it looks like things are building back; we have:
- Division I: Blue Devils (Concord); Esperanza (San Diego); Mandarins (Sacramento); Pacific Crest (Diamond Bar); Vanguard (Santa Clara)
- Division II: Blue Devils B (Concord); Impuse (Buena Park); Vanguard Cadets (Santa Clara)
- Division III: Blue Devils C (Concord); Fever (Modesto); Hawthorne Gold (Hawthorne); Mystikal (Newbury Park); Yamato (Moreno Valley)
This has resulted in a 2006 schedule with lots of Southern California events (more than the two we were lucky to get a few years ago). I think the most likely ones for us to try for are:
- Sat, June 24. Corps at the Crest, Walnut, 5:00p. Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Pacific Crest, Blue Knights, Mandarins, Esperanza, Impulse, The Academy, Mystikal, Jester, Hawthorne Gold, Dream, Sr.
- Sun, June 25. Western Corps Connection, Riverside, 5:15p. Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Blue Knights, Mandarins, Pacific Crest, Esperanza, Impulse, The Academy, Jester, Hawthorne Gold, Mystikal, Dream, Sr.
- Wed, June 28. Corps at the Crest II, Newbury Park, 6:00p. Santa Clara Vanguard, Blue Knights, Blue Devils, Pacific Crest, Esperanza, Mystikal, Impulse, Hawthorne Gold.
- Sat, July 8. Drums Along The Pacific, Newbury Park, 5:00p. 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.
- Sun, July 9. Impuse Show. Bellflower. Pacific Crest, Esperanza, Mandarins, Impulse, Blue Devils B, Vanguard Cadets, The Academy, Yamato, Mystikal, Jester, Hawthorne Gold, Blue Devils C, Renegades, Sr., River City Regiment, Sr., Dream, Sr.
- Fri, July 28. Western Corps Connection II. Riverside. SoCal Dream, Impulse, Jester, Mystikal, Oregon Crusaders, Pacific Crest, Vanguard Cadets, Yamato.
[Note: For you Northern California folks, there are a bunch your way as well: 6/17 in Hayward, 6/18 in Modesto, 6/20 in Bakersfield, 6/30 in Pleasant Hill, 7/1 in Stockton, 7/14 in Elk Grove, 7/15 in Sunnyvale, 7/26 in Modesto]
I think, of the above, either 6/28 or 7/8 look the best, as they have the least driving. And then… 2007 in Pasadena!
Last night, we attended the Drum Corps International Tour of Champions. Wow! This event featured six of the top winningist corps (Phantom Regiment, Madison Scouts, The Cavaliers, The Cadets, Santa Clara Vanguard, and Blue Devils) doing their shows, plus an instant encore… followed by a combined concert show (just imagine 64 contratubas and over 400 horns filling the Rose Bowl, and you can get an idea!). No scoring, just college-age kids showing their talent. Wow!
This live page gives both video and audio from the show, but I don’t know how long it will be up.
As for the Rose Bowl itself: This was my first time there. I hadn’t realized how small the stadium was, or how close together the seats were. Now I understand when they complain about that facility. It is dated.
Today’s going to be a busy day, so I’m writing my entry now, as I won’t have a chance this evening. Why so busy, you ask. First, I have my East Coast meetings that start at 6:00 AM, followed by a conference committee meeting starting at 1:00 PM.
This evening comes the fun part. This evening we are going to the Drum Corps International Tour of Champions at the Rose Bowl at 7:30 PM, which will probably go to 10:00 PMish. For those unfamiliar, drum corps involves taking groups of about 100-120 kids, splitting them roughly into groups of percussion, brass, and flags, and doing 15 minute musical and marching competitions. This tour is post-finals, so we’ll be seeing the best of the best. Should be a fun evening, albeit a bit loud.