Drum Corps International
I  & E notes -- part 2

I & E notes -- part 2

by Christina Mavroudis

Here is a sampling from an I&E enthusiasts notebook: 5:22 p.m. – Getting back to the percussion ensemble area I discover my seats been confiscated. It's a dog-eat-dog world! Sympathetic folks give up a space and I'm back in business. Their son, a 19-month bundle who knows about vocalizing taboos during performances, is a kick. He is thoroughly entertained by the drums and horns. Aren't we all! SANTA CLARA VANGUARD MIXED ENSEMBLE SCV's front ensemble had been practicing Samual Hazo's "Ride" for many months, but when the opportunity came to add horns, the fit was a natural. So eight brass linked up with the ten mallets, timp, and set-drum for some award-winning sounds arranged by Jim Ancona. While not amped, the ensemble sounded bright and sassy, one of the loudest of the afternoon. Stuart Shulman, SCV's drum major and one of two ensemble contras, said, "We've been practicing outside so we didn't know how it was going to sound indoors." For Shulman, who was celebrating his birthday, the title couldn't have come at a better time. SOUTHWIND CYMBAL ENSEMBLE The six members formed up with two large cymbals in the back and four up front on splash cymbals. The tonal splashes were finger flipped to give a Doppler sound. The opening so quiet, you could hear the kitchen staff and warm-ups nearby. Quality technique mixed with drum-speak and a clap/vocal segment gave an edgy end to this tight group. CAVALIERS PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE Performing to Beethoven's "Piano Sonata," this ensemble had nine keyboards, one auxillary member, and a timpanist featured front and center. The latter's controlled and finally tuned timpani added a beautiful bass sound, complimenting the orchestral sounds. They ended the way the performed – assured and confident. CAPITAL SOUND PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE The song and arrangement were near direct translations of Styx's "Come Sail Away," but David Hoxetter's arrangement for the six members was a welcome addition to the contest. It began with music box keyboard sounds and ended with an audience-approved rock out section SANTA CLARA VANGUARD BASS They wore white jerseys with the word JONZ emblazoned in red on the back and the Vanguard star over their heart. With a 'thank you' to their percussion staff, the five-bass team whipped into their production creating unique sounds with unique stick and brushes. Their routine was solid, no gimmicks, and contained quick and precise runs (including one-handed versions), head-to-head work (including a taiko set-up for one man) and the ring-around-the-basses gig they originated that fans look forward to each year. JASON PIAZZA (EAST COAST JAZZ) – HIGHEST MELLOPHONE NOTE He's a 17-year-old rookie who never been in drum corps before this year. Jason has a penchant for instruments playing a variety of horns before settling on the mello. And today, he won the highest note on a mellophone. Encouraged to enter the contest with his age-out friend John Gifford, he wasn't even prepared and had to borrow a moutpiece. "There wasn't much of a crowd, but they seemed excited for me. I went for a double C. Then John got the double D. I was dry-lipped but thought I'd try is again and nailed it – the G above double C." DANIEL LAMOUREUX (BLUE SAINTS) – SNARE When last we left Danny, he was doing solo soprano for his Canadian corps, Blue Saints. I ran into him again at the I&E contest, having just received his sheets. "So how'd you do?" "I got 17th in the snare category." Snare? "Wait! Didn't you play sop yesterday at the Division II/III show?" Come to find out, while Danny's condition (rickets) prevents him from hanging with the drummers, he is still passionate about the snare. "Last year I placed 27th and this year I got 17th. That was my goal," he said quite pleased with the results, "I made top 20 going up ten spots." The impacted event has had up to 99 performers in previous years, so to make such a high echelon was an obvious honor to him. 7:05 PM - The show was over. The scores were posted. And one by one the strips with name and score left the board preventing end of day performers from actually seeing their placement. SCV Bass line knew their score, but not their placement. Anxious to find out, a quick inquiry gave them the news they wanted to hear – champs once more. Headed outside, through the glass window, I could see a young man in The Academy corps jacket preparing to enter a taxi. Reaching him in time, I got the story of ... MATTHEW PETTERSON (THE ACADEMY) – BARITONE Matthew arrived in Denver that morning, the only representative of The Academy, a corps out of Arizona that went undefeated in their first competitive year. The seventeen year old had to hurry back to band camp, but said, "It felt good to represent the corps." Matthew placed an impressive third place, waved good-bye, and got back into the taxi. It was a great end to a pack-filled day. Can't wait 'til next year!

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