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2008 Boston Crusaders
Courtesy: Drum Corps International

Spotlight of the Week: 2008 Boston Crusaders

By: Michael Boo
          Release: 01/02/2017
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Near picture-perfect weather was on hand for the week of the 2008 Drum Corps International World Championships in Bloomington, Indiana. Originally scheduled to take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis, construction delays on the brand new facility forced the move south to the campus of Indiana University.

Perhaps no one who was there will ever forget the miniscule 0.025 spread by which Phantom Regiment’s “Spartacus” show bested the Blue Devils in the Finals competition. And that was just the ending to a season that had more than its share of thrills.

Only in the Semifinals did Regiment pass the Cavaliers for the first time all season, just days after the Green Machine topped the Blue Devils in Allentown. Regiment’s late-season surge was all the more remarkable considering that in early July, the corps lost to the eventual seventh-place finisher Santa Clara Vanguard.

Also in July, Carolina Crown beat the Cadets for the first time in history. Blue Stars popped into eighth place after not being a World Class finalist since 1979. And the Madison Scouts advanced to the Finals after losing to three non-finalist corps earlier in the season.

2008 Boston Crusaders
2008 Boston Crusaders

Finishing in 10th place, the Boston Crusaders performed a show titled, “Neocosmos,” the title combining the words “Neo” (new and fresh), with “Cosmos” (the universe). Though not literal, the show was visually based on the futuristic vision of space as imagined by devotees of the 1920s and 1930s Art Deco movement. The show was divided into four segments.

The “Lift Off” section started with Richard Strauss’ opening fanfare to “Also Spracht Zarathustra,” best known as the opening theme to the Stanley Kubrick film, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Strauss, a German Romanticist composer who wasn’t related to Waltz King Johann Strauss, titled the fanfare, “Sunrise,” which was just the very beginning of a half hour-long tone poem written in 1896.

The fanfare commenced with the corps playing to the backfield as circles of corps members expanded like supernovas, turning to the front immediately upon being introduced by the contest announcer.

2008 Boston Crusaders
2008 Boston Crusaders

A gentle 3/4 time signature interpretation of Van Morrison’s “Moon Dance” fulfilled the first part of the segment titled “Exploration and Discovery.” The way the tune was cleverly manipulated into a format so different from its original style made audience members search for it with their ears, as it didn’t necessarily pop out without some deep listening. Morrison wrote the melody for his 1970 album of the same name.

“Moondance” was also woven into the soundtrack of “August Rush,” a 2007 film partly about a cellist studying at Juilliard School, the famous performing arts conservatory in New York City.

The on-field ballad slowly built to a big standstill musical impact that was quite fleeting, ending with the brass players facing to the back left corner of the football field before kneeling at rest. The song, “August’s Rhapsody” from the movie, also appeared in the corps’ production. It was written by Mark Mancina, a film composer better known for his scoring of films such as “Speed,” “Twister,” and “Moana.”

2008 Boston Crusaders
2008 Boston Crusaders

The on-field ballad slowly built to a big standstill musical impact that was quite fleeting, ending with the brass players facing to the back left corner of the football field before kneeling at rest. The song, “August’s Rhapsody” from the movie, also appeared in the corps’ production. It was written by Mark Mancina, a film composer better known for his scoring of films such as “Speed,” “Twister,” and “Moana.”

The color guard members donned helmets with long red plumes and solid red flags during the most intense segment of the show thus far to feature both brass and percussion.

During the percussion interlude, a Blue Man Group-like amplified percussion instrument was featured in the front ensemble, labeled “BAC-bone” (“BAC” is a common moniker for the corps that many attribute as “Boston Area Crusaders”). The unique contraption was constructed of large sections of PVC pipe with a moveable trombone-like slide operated by another performer, allowing the guttural-sounding instrument to change pitches while being struck.

2008 Boston Crusaders
2008 Boston Crusaders

The brass players collapsed into a block drill formation and performed some judo-like movements akin to the type Keanu Reeves demonstrated in the 2003 movie, “Matrix Reloaded.” What made that visual so appropriate was that the following piece of music was “Burley Brawl” from the movie, written by Ben Watkins of the British electronic fusion band Juno Reactor and composer Don Davis.

After an extremely short reprise of “Also Spracht Zarathustra,” one could hear little snippets of the corps’ longtime theme, “Conquest,” sail over the retreat to the backfield.

That led into a company front advance where the main theme was stated to bring the show to a glorious conclusion, demonstrating that members of the Boston Crusaders were remembering their past even as they journeyed into the outer reaches of the cosmos.

This week you can save on the World Championship DVD set that contains this Boston Crusaders performance.

Buy the 2008 DCI World Championship DVD set.
(Available for a limited time only for 20% off.)


Michael Boo was a member of the Cavaliers from 1975-1977. He has written about the drum corps activity for more than 35 years and serves as a staff writer for various Drum Corps International projects. Boo has written for numerous other publications and has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. As an accomplished composer, Boo holds a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition. He resides in Chesterton, Indiana.

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