By Chris Weber Despite the frustration of receiving noise complaints from rehearsal facility neighbors, the Boston Crusaders may be in a very advantageous position for such an early point in the season. Drum major Bryan Marion explained that currently the Crusaders have their entire show visually and musically on the field, which is further along than they have probably ever been this early in the season. With their first show on June 24 in Charlotte, N.C., the corps will have almost two weeks to practice and become more comfortable with the entire production.
The Crusaders have been rehearsing for approximately two weeks at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. "We have definitely had some challenges with our move-in facility," said corps director Howard Weinstein. "The university staff has been wonderful but the area has not been as supportive as far as their 'welcomeness' of our sound," he added. After looking into alternate rehearsal sites, the corps' management team decided that it would be more practical logistically and financially to stay put. As a result, rehearsal schedules have been altered somewhat drastically to accommodate the area. "We've adjusted our rehearsal blocks so that we aren't playing outside after 5 p.m. anymore," said Marion. "We aren't, however, losing any rehearsal time by doing that. At first it was a bit of an inconvenience but now everyone is used to the new schedule." Weinstein explained that ensemble rehearsals have been moved to the afternoon instead of evening and visual blocks or playing inside have taken the place of the usual ensemble time. "The staff has been really flexible, the members have taken it in stride and the student leadership is probably the best I've ever had to help deal with a situation like this. This noise issue has really been the only negative of the season so far and everything else has been only positive," said Weinstein. The corps staff and marching members are very much looking forward to performing their show, titled "The Composition of Color." "What makes this production a little bit different from what we've done in the past, is that about 70 to 80 percent of the music is original composition," said Weinstein. "Where it is typical from years past is that everything is effect based. We write everything around effect and make the music and visual work with that." The entire show is based on color but it is not as literal as one might think right away. "Everyone has the opportunity to form their own interpretation of it," said Weinstein. "This show isn't just here's red, here's green, here's blue. The concept is more here's different shades of color and different textures used to match those colors." Marion said not to worry about fans that might not be able to appreciate an original music-based show concept. "The overall show is geared toward the audience. There are a lot of effects that are there specifically for the audience to enjoy and for them to get into the show almost as much as the members themselves will," he said. "While we try to make the show pleasing for both the audience and the judging community, if it comes down to one or the other, we are definitely more concerned about making the show more enjoyable for the crowd." Working through the pre-season noise complaints, the Boston Crusaders are looking forward to tour especially the June 26 Louisville show. This tour stop will be the corps first DCI major event in June that they have taken part in for more than five years. "We are looking forward to making a good impression there and having a good start to the summer," said Weinstein. "That being said, we're working really hard through our spring training process to come out a notch cleaner than we usually do." As for a prediction of the corps success this summer: "We have slowly been making ourselves better and working our way up over the last five or six years, and this season will definitely be another step in that direction," said Marion. "We're really looking forward to attempt to make a larger jump than we have in the past, overall in competition and also in performing a show that everyone will enjoy."
The Boston Crusaders' brass line does "across the floors" at a recent rehearsal. Photo courtesy the Boston Crusaders' Web site.