Last week, we focused some editorial power on drum corps memories from our Canadian friends and thoughts about drum corps north of the American border -- we are Drum Corps International, after all. This week, we'll be devoting some attention to drummers, drums, and other percussive discussion points. This article bridges both editorial topics quite nicely. By Scott Litzenberg My first finals competition was Montreal in 1982 as a tenor player in the upstart Eastern corps, the Garfield Cadets. That year, prelims were at McGill University stadium in the daytime, and it was very warm outside -- by Canadian standards, anyway. You only performed indoors at Olympic Stadium if you made finals. Each corps had a half hour of rehearsal time on finals morning to do a run-through in the stadium to get used to the echo and reverb. We had done a rehearsal day soundcheck in that stadium on first tour to find the best placement for the sidelines, and we were pretty used to the echo. We arrived at the stadium for the rehearsal and as we got off of the bus, it was snowing -- very lightly -- but it was snowing! A big contrast to the next year in Miami when it was 92 degrees at 10 p.m. on finals night! It was fun to come into the stadium and do the run-through, but it really did not seem that big of a deal. That night, after our warmups and pep talk, it was time to go in for finals. As we walked down the tunnel, you could tell things were very different from the run-through earlier in the day. The Crossmen were finishing their performance and when they finished, it was our turn to head in. The sheer volume of their ending of "Russian Christmas Music" and the 32,000 people cheering was incredible. As we started to move, all I can remember was the rush of adrenaline that we felt as we entered the stadium and saw the crowd. I was not in the corps yet in 1981 when the finals crowd was 40,000 -- I can only imagine what that sounded like! When our performance ended, we knew we had just done something pretty special and were very excited as we waited under the rear tunnel for retreat. We watched out of the rear tunnel as Phantom brought the house down with "Spartacus," the Blue Devils blew everyone away with one of the most perfect performances ever, and Vanguard capped off the evening with the bottle dance -- and you couldn't even hear them when the show ended because of the crowd's volume. Listen to the DVD and you can hear how corps struggled to hear themselves over the din of the crowd. It was amazing! To experience that rush of my first finals competition in a setting like that is amazing, and it is a moment that I will never forget. Oh, yeah, leaving that night was pretty cool, too -- we moved up from fifth place in prelims to third at finals, and left that stadium with some pretty amazing memories. Scott Litzenberg
Garfield Cadets - 1982, 1983
Crossmen Drum Staff 1985, 1986
Crossmen Director 1987 to 1989
DCI Contest Crew, 1999 - present