Cadets living in past, present and future as they win in Lima

by Vince Lamb, DCW staff

June 27, 2004 — Lima, OH . . . Fresh after their first victory of the season over the previously undefeated Cavaliers the night before, The Cadets (64B, 19FP, 12PP, 34G, 2DM) illustrated why their fortunes had reversed since the first contest in Toledo. They handled the transitions more fluidly, maintained better control over tempo and time signature and communicated more effectively with the audience.

They also displayed a sense of humor, with the women in the guard stripping the shirts off the men to reveal vests underneath and a baton twirler appearing in the middle of Living in the Past — a flashback to the 1950s and earlier, when baton twirlers marched with many corps. Instead of being an innovation, it was a revival of a very old drum corps idea. The anachronism didn’t bother the audience, who answered the performance with a screaming standing ovation.

Since 2000, the best Boston Crusaders (66B, 17FP, 12PP, 40G, 2DM) shows have displayed an underlying similarity to the New Beetle. Both have enough of the basic form and style of the original to satisfy all cravings for nostalgia and reassure the driver that he’s driving the same basic car that he drove in his youth, but all of the modern features and technology to be able to succeed in the 21st century.

This year’s show has that combination of traits — the best of old drum corps (and the old Boston Crusaders in particular), emotion, toughness, power and attitude, and the best of new drum corps — musicality, aesthetic and intellectual appeal, and innovation. The Beantown corps is among the first to bring to life one of the promises of amplification — forceful coordinated narration during the show. At the end of the performance, the audience sat stunned for a moment, then erupted in an awe-struck standing ovation.

The Bluecoats’ (62B, 22FP, 10PP, 36G, 2DM) show is a tribute to the power of emotion and the program lives up to its promise by having a lot of emotional appeal. True to their traditions of crowd-pleasing music, all of the “Mood Swings” in the program are positive — not a down moment in the show. Even the ballad is lovely, not sad.

When asked about the intent of the program, visual instructor Jon Cordell agreed with the above assessment, saying, “It’s all about the love, baby!” The fans certainly loved them back, giving them a wild standing ovation.

Another promise of amplification was that the mallet players in the pit could play with a concert technique and still be heard from the stands. Spirit from JSU (62B, 22FP, 10PP, 33G, 3DM) delivered on that promise. The delicate tone fit with the subtle and intricate program full of intellectual and aesthetic appeal that the corps performed. The corps also demonstrated that it still could stir the fan’s emotions by playing with both feeling and power. The spectators rewarded the corps with an appreciative standing ovation for a very well-played show.

Having their hard work validated by their unexpected finish ahead of Magic of Orlando in Louisville the night before, Capital Regiment (61B, 18FP, 11PP, 22G, 2DM) displayed increased confidence in their performance. They exuded energy, charging up the fans. During the final minute, both the guard and the pit smiled with pleasure at performing in front of the friendly crowd. The audience responded with an enthusiastic, almost gassed, standing ovation.

Before Magic of Orlando (61B, 18FP, 11PP, 27G, 2DM) commenced their program, one of their volunteers asked the crowd, “What’s a pirate’s favorite letter?” The crowd responded with a mighty “ARR!” That set the tone for a performance that was sportive in the sense of being both swashbuckling and humorous. Despite some rough spots, the audience was firmly on their side, giving them numerous rounds of applause and rewarding them with a standing ovation.

Mike King, director of the Marion Glory Cadets (21B, 19FP, 7PP, 2G, 2DM) spoke happily about his corps’ show and season. “They had a great show and the crowd responded to them well.” Regarding the corps’ ability to balance between the full drum line and the slightly undersized brass section, he said, “That’s a credit to our instructors.”

As for the members, “This is certainly the biggest corps we’ve had since I took over 14 years ago, and most likely the best, with the possible exception of the 1997 corps,” he exclaimed. King was optimistic about filling the corps’ color guard, as a second member performed tonight and another was set to join later in the week. He projected six marching by Kalamazoo on July 10.