Summer starts early at Music in Motion

by Andrew Wheeler, DCW staff

Capital Sound earned third place at their season-opening home show July 12.
(Photo by Ron Walloch)

June 12, 2003 — Middleton, WI . . . According to the calendar, summer is still more than a week away. But summer began in Middleton, WI, on June 12 with Music in Motion, the first drum corps contest of the season. Middleton High School provided an excellent venue to welcome corps back to the field and fans back to the stands for an evening of great drum corps that surely bodes well for the summer to come. Capital Sound’s home show featured six corps (the Racine Scouts, who were scheduled to compete, were unable to make it), all of whom performed surprisingly well for a first show of the season.

Madison Scouts
Sporting new-look uniforms for the first time in many years, the Madison Scouts took the field to the loudest applause of the evening. Winning every caption and subcaption with the exception of visual performance, the Scouts served notice that they are back and hungry. The show began with…

The Colts took the field with perhaps the strongest opening of the evening, involving the entire corps. Cantus Laetus featured…

Capital Sound
Taking the field after intermission, just as the stadium lights were beginning to take effect, was Capital Sound. The hometown favorites were greeted with loud applause and responded with a crowd-pleasing show. The opener, To Dance in the Secret Garden, started…

Blue Stars
As was the case early last year, the Blue Stars took the field with interim guard uniforms; the final ones have apparently not arrived yet. But in contrast to last year, this year’s interim uniforms looked well coordinated and not out of place at all. Gavorkna Fanfare opened with a big hit from…

As with the Blue Stars, much of the guard work in this show is still under construction — not surprising for a start-of-season show. The 14-member brass section projected surprisingly well for a first show, and the overall effect of the show was very entertaining. “Zorro Rides Again” began with a percussion-only section that built to include…

Joliet Kingsmen
The first thing you notice about the Kingsmen when they come on the field is how young they are. This corps is a throwback to the roots of drum corps, when the activity was more youth-centered and less oriented toward musical professionalism. The audience seemed to understand this and responded enthusiastically to a show that was…

Show experience
To understand this part of the review, you’ll first need to read my other article in the June 27 issue of DCW about reviewing the show experience. The objective here is to review the show as a whole and give some sort of indication of how the overall experience was.

For show promotion, I give 15 out of 20 points. The show did not have a Web site of its own, but information was readily available on the DCI site and tickets were easy to get by calling the number they listed. It would be good in the future to include information about the exact address of the school and the time of the show; but overall, a good score for promotion.

For corps lineup, I give 15 out of 20 points. This was a solid lineup; although it didn’t feature any of the “top” division 1 corps, there was quality all around tonight, and the lineup was certainly an attractive one.

Show venue (by subcategory): For stands, I give 25 out of 30 points. That’s about as high as I’d ever expect to give to a high-school stadium (as opposed to a college stadium) and Middleton earned every point of it. The seating was excellent, providing enough room front to back and side to side. The stands were high for a high-school stadium. Traffic flow was a bit of a problem, with only one exit down a long ramp from the stands, but this was a minor glitch in an otherwise excellent venue.

For concessions, I give 8 out of 10 points, again a good score. Variety was a little above average, but they did not run out of anything and they get bonus points for staying open after the show, giving people a chance to get something for the long ride (two-plus hours, in my case) home. Lines were a little long but moved well.

For bathrooms, I give 7 out of 10 points, again, a pretty good score for a high school stadium. They were clean and well lit but could have been supplemented by a few port-a-johns for a crowd the size that was there.

For parking, 5 out of 5 points. The parking was very close and easily accessible; couldn’t have asked for more.

For extras, 4 out of 5 points. There weren’t many souvenir stands at this one, with only Madison, Colts, and Capital Sound represented. But the show rates extra points for being bug-free — a feature that will be appreciated by anyone who has ever sat through a mosquito-infested show before. Overall venue score: 49 out of 60 points. This is an excellent score, reflecting the quality of the venue. If you ever get a chance to go to a show at Middleton High, go.

The overall score for the show, then, is 79 out of 100 points. I consider this a very high score for a high-school stadium and a local show — I’ve rarely been to one better than this one.

Thanks to the Madison Drum and Bugle Corps Association for their hospitality and for putting on such a great show — as anyone there would say, it was a wonderful start to the summer.

For the rest of this article and more coverage of the summer season’s opening weekend, check out the June 27 issue of Drum Corps World!