Movie-loving drum corps fans showed up to theaters coast to coast this past Thursday, April 26, for Drum Corps International's spring cinema event, the 2007 Classic Countdown. And whether fans showed up with friends, family, fellow corps alums, or alone, one thing is for certain, when they arrived, they found a community of rousing, vocal drum corps fans ready to share in the excitement of drum corps performances. "This was the first time I have ever seen a DCI Classic Countdown, and I have to admit, it was awesome," said Edward Williams of Tampa, Fla. "... I got to talk to members from other corps like Phantom Regiment, and I also got to meet older alumni from corps like the Cadets." Even though Darla Stellings of St. Petersburg, Fla., said she was disappointed when her 15-year-old son who is now in marching band didn't want to attend this year's Classic Countdown, she found she wasn't alone when she came to the theater last night. "I was amazed at the age range of fans who were there—from a two-month-old girl to silver haired 'youngsters,'" said Stellings. "Everyone was talking about their favorite corps and who they hoped made the Countdown ... I loved it!" This year's program featured eight favorite corps performances as chosen by drum corps fans on DCI.org earlier this year. In a programming twist for 2007, the eight performances shown in the theaters were not revealed until fans were cozy in their theater seats enjoying the show. "What a wonderful time my family had at our first Classic Countdown—popcorn, pop and eight great drum corps performances! It was really fun to watch the older shows, as I was surprised to see how good they were," said Rick Peters of Canton, Mich. The eight "finalist" corps for this year's program included a range of years and corps including: 1980 Bridgemen, 1987 Garfield Cadets, 1989 Santa Clara Vanguard, 1993 Star of Indiana, 1994 Blue Devils, 1995 Madison Scouts, 2006 Phantom Regiment and 2006 Cavaliers. "I hadn't seen half of the shows on the list, so viewing those for the first time on the big screen was a great experience," said Meaghan Simms who attended the event in Florida. "It's so awesome to be watching a show from the 1980s one minute and then watching two shows from 2006 the next." In the end, the 1989 Santa Clara Vanguard was named '07 Classic Countdown Champion, after receiving 3970 votes to the second place 1995 Madison Scouts (3211 votes) and third place 2006 Phantom Regiment (3162 votes). This is the second time the '89 Vanguard has been at the top of the Classic Countdown list, also winning top fan voting honors in the inaugural Countdown in 2005. "Even though Drum Corps International showcases competitive performances by the world's most elite and exclusive marching music ensembles, events like the Classic Countdown are really intended to serve one purpose—to provide an opportunity for the entire community of drum corps fans to enjoy each other's company, and to celebrate Marching Music's Major League," said Drum Corps International's Ed Dempsey who manages the coordination of DCI cinema events. "Sure, there are bragging rights involved with which corps the fans choose to appear on the big screen, but the Countdown isn't as much about competition as it is about engaging our community of fans," Dempsey said. Those fans who may have missed this spring's Classic Countdown theater experience, can mark their calendars for this August, as "Big, Loud & Live 4," Drum Corps International's annual live cinema broadcast of its World Championships is brought to theaters across the nation for only one night. This live event will showcase performances from the 2007 World Championships in Pasadena, Calif. "'Big, Loud & Live' is one of our most exciting theater events during the year," said Dempsey. "With an attendance of more than 20,000 at last year's cinema event, we're excited to have those fans who might not be able to make it to Pasadena for this summer's World Championships, join in on the action from their local theaters." Complete "Big, Loud & Live 4" information and a theater can be found on DCI.org in the coming weeks. Until then, fans can rest assured that as drum corps are gearing up and making final preparations for full-day rehearsals starting at the end of May into the beginning of June, that brass, percussion and color guard performers are getting ready to start knocking on our drum corps doors. As we keep crossing off those calendar days looking forward to the official start of the Summer Music Games Tour in June, Brad Ford a fan from York, Pa., may sum it up best: "It was so amazing seeing drum corps on the big screen last night at the Classic Countdown ... It made me think one thing all day today, 'How long till the first show?'"
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