Review: An Allentown tradition older than Musikfest!
I am much better versed in musical theatre but every since I started dating a former PSU Blue Band musician (Penn State Marching Band for those non Staters) I am becoming familiar with this world of Drum and Bugle Corps International (DCI). The grueling daily full day rehearsals combined with the cross county travel by bus from May through September is a commitment these 13-22 year old individuals make that, well frankly blows my mind. It’s difficult enough to commit to a college, let alone give up your summers at such a young age for marching band camp. I really admire these kids and their families who support them as this level of commitment is hard to come by in today’s world.
Traditionally corps would wear their marching band uniforms no matter what theme their corp was performing and they would have just their instruments to convey their message. Today most of the bands seem to have traded that tradition for costumes that they feel help get their musical message across a bit better and hey have added props not just for the color guard but for them too. Their music used to be taken from the archives of pop, rock, classical, country, etc. Now, thanks to copy right laws and the ridiculous amount of money artists want to license their music, the directors have taken to writing new music scores and have shied away from more popular, recognizable music to save that money and the headache of obtaining the rights. Either way, the final product in all cases shows you just how talented the staff behind all these groups really are.
The performances this year ran the gamete with a few standouts. Mandarin and The Academy had the most creative and entertaining themes. Blue Devils and Carolina Crown had the most solid sound. The remaining corps were talented but their performances lacked that one sound or the ability to understand exactly what their story was. My overall favorites were the Blue Devils. The complexity of their music combined with the difficult movement and integral color guard was executed practically perfect.
The DCI organization is broken up into three main classes, World, International and Open and this year marked the 45th anniversary of DCI and it’s Eastern Classic at Allentown’s J. Birney Crum stadium. A two day competition that features 24 Corps is the last, or next to last if you are a past champion, competition before the finals in Michigan City, Indiana. The Eastern Classic this year had representatives from the International and World classes. Although they perform together they are judged separately and ranked based on their respective class (DCI.org).
Here are the final results:
Company – Chesterfield U.K. – Tomorrow – 66.5
Blue Devils – Concord, CA – Metamorph – 95.513
Santa Clara Vanguard – Santa Clara, CA – Ouroboros – 95.0
Caroline Crown – Ft. Mill, SC – It Is – 94.463
Blue Coats – Canton, OH – Jagged line – 93.4
The Cavaliers – Rosemont, IL – Men are from Mars – 92.45
Boston Crusaders – Boston, MA – Wicked Games – 91.188
The Cadets – Allentown, PA – The Faithful, The Fallen, and The Forgiven – 90.838
Blue Knights – Denver, CO – i – 88.488
Phantom Regiment – Rockford, IL – Phantasm – 87.0
Blue Stars – La Crosse, WI – Star Crossed – 86.5
Crossmen – San Antonio, TX – Enigma – 86.15
Madison Scouts – Madison, WI – The Last Man Standing – 84.0
Mandarins – Sacramento, CA – Inside the Ink – 82.725
The Academy – Tempe, AZ – By A Hare – 82.65
Colts – Dubuque, IA – Both Sides Now – 81.025
Troopers – Casper, WI – Duels and Duets – 79.463
Spirit of Atlanta – Atlanta, GA – Cross Roads – 78.063
Oregon Crusaders – Portland, OR – Encompass – 77.3
Pacific Crest – Diamond. At, CA – Golden State of Mind – 76.15
Genesis – Austin, TX – The Other Side of Now – 74.875
Seattle Crusaders – Seattle, WA – Set Free – 72.225
Jersey Surf – Camden County, NJ – Make It Our Own – 70.475
Pioneer – Milwaukee, WI – Irish on Broadway – 65.925