Three California corps debut at Renegades’ symposium

by Lesa Barker, special to DCW

May 11, 2002 — Cupertino, CA . . . There are certain things in life we can all count on — the rising sun, paying taxes, inflation and the fact that the San Francisco Renegades will have to choose a larger venue for “LOUD Music Symposium4.”

Held on a beautiful, balmy evening in Cupertino, CA, the “LOUD Music Symposium3” concert did not disappoint onlookers. Playing to a capacity crowd, the evening started off loud with a rock and roll band, MOODFRYE. They set the tone for what was to be delivered for the remainder of the evening: very loud music.

Photo by Francesca Colombini

Next was the Stewart Tartan Pipes and Drums of San Francisco. A local favorite, in existence since 1980, they highlighted their performance with a stirring rendition of Amazing Grace alongside a number of Renegades.

The Phenomenauts were a crowd-pleaser and crowd-shocker, with their toe-tapping rockabilly style and futuristic props and gear. The group treated the audience to flaming cymbals, bubble machines and a toilet-paper launcher.

River City Regiment, a new senior corps from Sacramento, made their debut at LMS3 with 13 horns and a multitude of skilled drummers. This year’s repertoire includes Old Man River from “Showboat,” Mario Ruez Armengol’s Brassman’s Holiday, the ballad Now You’re Gone by Frank DeMiero and Fanfare by Hugo Montenegro.

“We’re elated and gasped by how we came off tonight,” said Mike Phillips, River City Regiment President. “We received great comments from the crowd, and LMS3 is an excellent stepping stone to our field show. Everyone had a great time.”

Next was a trio of Renegades guard members. They performed “BLAST!”-like maneuvers to a 2001 Renegades tune, One More Time Chuck Corea by Gene Puerling. The interpretative dance portion of their piece bordered on risqué — which certainly captured the crowd’s attention. If the trio is indicative of the other 21 guard members taking the field this year, fans might want to keep their eyes on the guard in 2002.

The Santa Clara Vanguard Alumni Corps, gearing up for a gig at the 2002 Drum Corps International Championships in Madison this year, made their 35-year anniversary debut at LMS3. Taking the stage with 53 horns, the SCV Alumni Corps treated the audience to a number of classics from the Vanguard junior corps’ storied history. Led by alumni directors Scott Pierson and Rick South, their repertoire includes three medley production numbers: Suite of Famous Composers, Championship Years and On Broadway. Alumni Corps’ Public Relations Director Brad Andrews said it was impressive to hear the sounds coming from those 53 horns.

“We anticipate fielding 100 for both performances at Pacific Procession and in Madison,” Andrews said.

When asked what it meant to debut their 35-year anniversary show tonight, Andrews had this to say: “We need more pre-season still opportunities like LMS: great venture, great time and good for our activity.”

Taking the stage, the floor of the auditorium, the area behind the curtain and the space along the side of the auditorium were the hosts, the San Francisco Renegades. Boasting more than 70 horns, the Renegades opened the evening’s performance with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, the second number in the 2002 field show. Baritone soloist Tony Pon and soprano soloist Rich Duarte displayed their virtuosity.

Their next tune was Mambo from “West Side Story.” It may prove to be a Renegades’ signature number. The drum solo, written by Renegades President Lee Rudnicki and Ed Teleky, is appropriately titled Undiscovered Lionel Richie. The final number was In the Stone, by Earth Wind and Fire, the corps’ parade tune.

Last, but certainly not least, was the evening’s showstopper, the “Tribute to America.” It involved 135 horns — yes, 135 River City Regiment, Santa Clara Vanguard and Renegades horns playing Samuel Ward’s rendition of America the Beautiful. Both gripping and moving, this piece caused the audience to take notice of the accomplished horn players brought together just for this evening. It wasn’t enough to bring down the house by belting out the tune just once. With the audience now on its feet fans demanded an encore performance that was happily delivered. This time, however, even louder than the first time!

Mike Palmquist, one of the stunned spectators, and a member of the Caballeros Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps, was invited on stage to perform with the mass. Having traveled all the way from Houston, TX, to attend his first Symposium, Palmquist had this to say: “I’m glad I took the time to fly out to San Jose to go to LMS. The corps, RCR, SCV Alumni and the “Evil” Renegades were spectacular. It was truly a great weekend.”

At the conclusion of the evening’s event, Renegades Director Chris Nalls added, “I was extremely pleased that the concert went so smoothly. All the groups were polished performers. It was especially great to see River City Regiment present their show! The growth of drum corps in the West is truly inspiring. And the Tribute to America — Wow, was that ever loud!”