Drum Corps International
Download of the Week: 1996 Madison Scouts

Download of the Week: 1996 Madison Scouts

by Michael Boo


1996 Madison Scouts
"A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: Part Dos," like the show that preceded it, was intentionally left untitled by the Madison Scouts' creative staff. The name was referenced in the annual Drum Corps International yearbook as a possible subtitle and then was picked up by others. Remembering back, fans had also embraced the title, "A Drum Corps Fan's Dream," for the corps' 1995 production in the same manner, adding the prefix "Part Uno" in retrospect to the name of the earlier show. Madison corps director Scott Stewart had made mention of both possible subtitles during the pre-season, and had also presented the opinion that "'Madison' is the concept," since there was no concept that inspired the program other than fan-friendly music that was destined to thrill and enrapture. The corps staff considered the 1996 show to be the second half of a two-year Spanish-styled production, and as such, the pre-show drill maneuver of an advancing company front dissolving into the corps' trademark fleur-de-llis was a flashback to a maneuver in the fourth place 1995 show. The show itself started quietly in the fleur-de-lis with Arturo Sandoval's "A Mis Abuelos," then a brash full-horn hit and a screaming soprano solo brashly interrupted the proceedings, leading into a full company front rotation. From there on, everything—including the audience's ears—was engulfed in a sonic fiery vortex of intensified frenzy. It was a classic Scouts opener that left the fans begging for more. Maurice Ravel's "Bolero" reduced the flames on the field down to simmer, with much of the piece being played backfield as accompaniment to the lushly maroon flags in front, ending in the bombastic manner in which the original source music does.

1996 Madison Scouts performance excerpt.

Michel Camilo's "En Fuego" ("On Fire") seemed to start way too soon for the brass players to give their lips a rest before screaming high notes once again, but a lengthy percussion break was mercifully programmed to do just that. Then the cymbal section and some front ensemble percussionists picked up large red circles and went behind the snare and tenor drummers, revealing the circles to be large drum heads that they employed for fancy, booming stick work. The color guard members put on toreador jackets for Bob Holman's take on the Kenton Band of Ernesto Lecuona's "Malague?±a," a staple in the corps' repertoire for which it had visited several times in prior years. Brightly colored Spanish blanket flags filled the front of the field with fire. Then the horns and drums quickly moved into a wedge, moved it to the front and then on a diagonal. The brass players spun around in the wedge and somehow reached deep into the soul of their scorched lips and found one last bit of sheer screaming intensity to unleash upon the audience, whose ears must have been close to shouting the Spanish term for "no more," "No mas!" Seriously, you should consider buying the download of this show for that move, if nothing else. At the end, the corps placed sixth, two positions down from where it had placed the previous year with "Part Uno." However, it's likely no one in the stands thought any less of the show for that, as their ears were still ringing from the closing of "Malague?±a." Surely they didn't mind what place the corps finished, as long as they finished with a bang. This week only, you can save on 1996 World Championship Audio and Video Performance Downloads on the DCI Fan Network. Buy the 1996 Madison Scouts Video Performance Download. (Available this week only for $3.99. Regular price: $4.99.) Buy the Audio Performance Download bundle of all 12 Finalists from 1996. (Available this week only for $15.99. Regular price: $19.99.) Offer ends Monday, Oct. 24 at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Michael Boo was a member of the Cavaliers from 1975-1977. He has written about the drum corps activity for more than a quarter century 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, Ind.