Seattle Cascades and program coordinator Nick Benson — from the outset of the 2022-2023 drum corps offseason — wanted to develop an on-field production that would achieve specific goals and serve specific purposes.
After three years of inactivity, the 2023 edition of Cascades needed to be accessible. It needed to be entertaining. It needed to connect with the corps’ community. And it needed to be something performers would love.
“Revival” was the end result.
“A lot of (our show design process) stemmed from coming back after our hiatus,” Benson said. “We tried to find something that would work for recruiting purposes, and also make a statement as we got back out onto the drum corps stage.”
“We want something that is understandable right away, that people will recognize and will be entertaining for our members to perform,” corps director Ray Severns added.
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For 2023, Seattle Cascades’ production is a story of renewal, rebirth, regrowth and reemergence.
According to Benson, “Revival” will depict a journey from dark to light, told through the lens of Gothic Revival imagery. Subliminally, along the way, the story of Seattle Cascades’ own reemergence will be told as well. However, Benson noted that corps designers didn’t want to build something overly complex for a corps currently in the process of reemerging.
Come be part of the REVIVAL! Register for the February 18-20 Camp in Scappoose,...Posted by Seattle Cascades Drum Corps on Saturday, February 4, 2023
“We tried to keep something simple,” he added, “so that it has legs to just work on its own for a group coming back out after a couple of years off.”
As a corps on its way back to the field, one of Seattle Cascades’ main goals was to develop a show concept that would generate several different forms of excitement — that is, excitement among prospective auditionees, excitement among active performers, and excitement among fans and community members.
“Revival” officially went public January 14, with the release of a video trailer. Severns noted a high level of engagement surrounding the corps’ announcement, an influx of communications from local members of the community, and a rousing in-person reaction from January camp attendees as several positive signs of a successful show reveal.
“(Members) wanted to see the video multiple times (at Cascades’ January camp),” Severns said. “There was cheering, and it was all of the things that we were hoping for. And then, it quickly garnered a couple thousand views on social media — it’s done quite well — so we're hoping to continue that momentum as we move forward.”
In terms of music, Benson noted a handful of unique selections drum corps fans can look forward to hearing from Seattle Cascades in 2023, including an opening movement that features a metal cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.”
In continuing to develop a Gothic Revival atmosphere and aesthetic, Seattle Cascades will also utilize often-used drum corps pieces such as David Gillingham’s “Stained Glass” (2000 Santa Clara Vanguard, 2003 Carolina Crown) and Frank Ticheli’s “Angels in the Architecture” (2011 Cadets, 2015 Pacific Crest), with a closing movement of Eminem’s “Revival.”
By selecting a combination of recognizable popular music and selections that will be familiar to the ear of drum corps fans specifically, Cascades designers’ aim was to further play into the corps’ goal of creating an easily-accessible production.
“It's still music that connects to the audience — that people, whether they're into drum corps or not, are going to recognize immediately,” Severns said. “We wanted to serve all of our audience members.”
The first opportunity for drum corps fans to witness Seattle Cascades’ “Revival” competitively — both literally and figuratively — will be July 12 in Ogden, Utah.
And the corps’ hope is, from day one of its return season, that audiences across the country will love what they see.
“We want people to remember us,” Severns said.