Corps come out strong at ‘Dixie Stinger’ indoor show

by Fran Haring, DCW staff

The Colonel would have been proud. The annual Dixie Stinger indoor concert, sponsored by the Yankee Rebels senior/alumni corps of Baltimore, kicked off the 2003 drum corps season with a night of tributes to and memories of Truman Crawford, the Marine colonel and drum corps legend who passed away in early March. Yankee Rebels Director Joel Leson says Col. Crawford touched a lot of lives in the drum corps activity. “Truman Crawford (worked with) more than 150 drum and bugle corps in his career,” Leson said. “He arranged for them, instructed them or in some capacity provided the music.”

The massed honor guards of the concert’s participating corps got things started on a colorful, patriotic note with a march-on into the auditorium at Baltimore’s Parkville High School, and the Audubon Bon-Bons Alumni Chorus saluted America (and Col. Crawford) with a beautiful treatment of The Star-Spangled Banner. The Bon-Bons then launched into their vocal repertoire, which featured an excellent version of This is My Country and a medley of tunes from “My Fair Lady.” The fair ladies from Audubon, NJ, are directed and conducted by Drum Corps Hall of Famer Rip Bernert, and are always a class act.

Next up was the Reilly Raiders senior/alumni corps of Willow Grove, PA, and once again the “senior statesmen” of the drum corps world delivered a knockout performance. Reilly started on a solemn note, playing a stirring rendition of Taps to honor Col. Crawford. The Raiders then turned up the heat, breezing through an outstanding repertoire of Irish, patriotic and pop melodies. Jim Cossetti, Drum Corps Hall of Fame member and one of the Raiders‚ soprano soloists, says Reilly’s show is a true stage presentation featuring a variety of tunes, “but it’s always the flavor of the Reilly Raiders. There’s always that Irish connection, the Celtic heritage that’s in the music.” As usual, Reilly’s brass section was in great form tonight, bringing the volume level up a notch or two from previous years while maintaining good tone quality and musicianship. The percussion was not too shabby either, especially that “swingin’ guy” with the snare drum and brushes who accompanied the brass during Count Basie’s Cute. The Reilly Raiders, purely and simply, are one of the most entertaining drum corps around today.

A bit of advice: If you’re going to watch the Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights, be sure to fasten your seat belt because you’re in for one heck of a ride! The style of this senior/alumni corps from New Jersey can best be summed up in three words…

For the rest of this article, check out the May 2003 issue of Drum Corps World!