"The Zone [dreamscapes in four parts with door]" of the 2005 Cadets was one of those shows that shouldn't have worked, and yet it did. It was so intentionally strange, and yet the audience loved it. The brass and percussion sections were wearing their uniforms backward and the color guard started the show with backward faces, leading fans to wonder if the corps was coming or going. However, it worked. Those wacky elements didn't stop the corps from scoring 99.15 (tying the 2002 Cavaliers for highest score ever), while taking Overall General Effect, Visual Performance, Brass Performance, Percussion and Color Guard. That's all of the top honors. And the door…What was with the door? It even made it into the title of the show. On a night in Foxboro, Mass. that broke a 101-year-old record for heat and humidity, the Cadets pulled magic out of a hat and delivered a performance that left the sweating, heat-exhausted audience stunned. Prior to the week of the '05 World Championships, the corps had lost to the Cavaliers seven times and beaten their nearest competitor three times. But then the corps won all three shows in Foxboro and opened up a 1.525 spread in the Finals. Much of the music in "The Zone" was from the movies Kill Bill and Bjork's Dancer in the Dark, mixed with original material created by staff arranger Jay Bocook. The whole show was very surreal. Or maybe it wasn't. Perhaps it was normal and those of us in the stands were figments of the imaginations of the creative staff. At least, it seemed that way at times. During the un-judged opening segment, we were introduced to the intrepid schoolgirl who was about to enter the door as corps members whistled "Twisted Nerve" from Kill Bill. A narration based on Rod Serling's introduction to "The Twilight Zone" let us know we were about to enter "The Zone." The schoolgirl approached the door amid cries from the audience proclaiming, "Don't do it!" Apparently, she neither heard those warnings nor noticed the address on the door was 1313. She was instantly spit out the door, wearing a raincoat as color guard members spun water-reflective flags to Jay Bocook's "Liquid." (In truth, there were four different schoolgirls, allowing the door to seem to ingest and regurgitate the dimension-traveling girl at will.)
"Overture" from Dancer in the Dark was particularly subdued and hypnotic, with the drums setting up a repetitive rhythm that was as haunting as it was cyclical. The color guard members revealed chess piece icons on their costumes as the schoolgirl moved drummers around as if pieces in the game. "Cvalda" also from Dancer in the Dark, started with the schoolgirl once again being spit out by the door, this time wearing a hard hat. The piece was accompanied by a variety of percussion segments comprised of different combinations of drums and industrial sounds. The piece then descended into a variety of wacky utterances with the drummers creating their own verbal rudimental vocabulary. "Vertigo" had the four schoolgirls meeting themselves in front of the door, trying to figure out if they were different personages or in fact the same person. Bocook's "False Mirrors" had a definitively "Medea's Dance of Vengeance" vibe to it, the frenetic pulsations eventually sending the schoolgirl(s) back to the safety of the door, with the show ending as all were brought back to reality to the theme of "The Twilight Zone." One last effect would be saved for Finals night. The door would spit out its last character, a member in a DCI judge's shirt, carrying a clipboard and quickly getting on with the job of determining a score for one of the most incredible late season performances ever witnessed on the field. This week only, you can save on 2005 World Championship Audio and Video Performance Downloads on the DCI Fan Network. Buy the 2005 Cadets 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 2005. (Available this week only for $15.99. Regular price: $19.99.) Offer ends Monday, April 25 at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Performance excerpt of the 2005 Cadets.
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.