From a Blue Stars' press release: The Blue Stars' 2004 program is entitled "Blue Stars: Reloaded." The title is most fitting and reflects the sudden growth and new direction of the Blue Stars organization. Since fielding a corps of 51 members and capturing the 2003 Division III DCI Championship, the corps has nearly doubled in size and will compete in Division II during the 2004 season. Growth has occurred across the board in all captions, and most visibly in the new 50-member horn line and expanded color guard. "Blue Stars: Reloaded" will feature the music of three prominent Japanese composers of anime film and television soundtracks. "When [Program Consultant] Andy Combites first played the tunes for our design team, we were completely taken with them," recounts John Wasson, brass arranger for the show. "The music is contemporary and full of energy, and spans a wide range of musical styles from symphonic to jazz to rock. And much of the music of Japanese anime is virtually unknown to American music fans." The 2004 show will open with music from the anime television show "Gundam Wing," composed by Koh Otani. The Gundam franchise has spawned numerous television shows and video games over the years. With all the action and drama of a typical science fiction movie, the piece begins the show with a high-energy blast and features the larger brass line and powerful battery and front ensemble sections. The second song is the latin/jazz-influenced "Tank!" which is the theme song from the "Cowboy Bebop" television series, composed by renowned film and jazz composer Yoko Kanno. The offbeat "Cowboy Bebop" has gained notoriety in the United States through its run on The Cartoon Network's late-night "Adult Swim." The show's quirky attitude and sassy style are effectively supported by Yoko Kanno's high-energy retro-mix of cool jazz and latin styles with contemporary dance and techno rhythms. Joe Hisaishi's lush orchestral score for the motion picture "Princess Mononoke" provides the third selection in the show in a beautiful and haunting ballad entitled "The Legend of Ashitaka." Princess Mononoke is the creation of Hayao Miyazaki, the godfather of Japanese animated feature films and director of last years' Academy Award-winning animated feature "Spirited Away." Hisaishi has released over 60 albums as a pianist and a composer of jazz and orchestral music. For the closer, the corps returns to Koh Otani's music from "Gundam Wing." This selection showcases the battery and front ensemble and traverses the styles of avant-garde, rock and fusion to bring the show to an energetic and spectacular conclusion. "Designing and writing this show has been an exciting endeavor," said Wasson. "The wide span of musical styles affords the corps a wonderful opportunity to showcase its versatility and artistic depth. Capturing and communicating the style and uniqueness of this relatively unknown music has provided a stimulating challenge to the corps staff. The entire corps is excited about the music and the opportunities it provides for fast-paced and ever-changing visual presentation." "It's been a blast designing this show with Bill (Sucha), Gary (Swanson) and John. I can't wait until Garret Decker gets a chance to help us realize our visual concepts and ideas on the field this summer with the drill," added Combites. As the Blue Stars enter this competitive season, they are committed to retaining the musical integrity and sophistication that has characterized their rich and successful history. With this new and exciting program the Blue Stars are "reloaded" and ready to take the field in 2004!
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