Here are just a short few thoughts that I put together while watching the World Championship Open Class Finals on Saturday, Aug. 8, organized in the order the corps performed. For those of you who were in town and didn't attend this event, you truly missed out on something big. Not only is entertainment king in the Open Class, but this also may have been the first glimpse many fans got of some future World Class corps. The kids in the Open Class corps work just as hard as those who tour more extensively in the World Class, and more fans deserve to be exposed to this thoroughly entertaining group of corps.
Photos by Craig Olear.
7th Regiment New London, CT 7th Regiment has a really aggressive sound for such a small corps (of just 46 members). The demand on a number of soloists throughout the "Excalibur" show is quite extreme. It was great to see this corps in the Finals for the very first time in the corps' history.
Memphis Sound Memphis, TN Memphis Sound had only 15 horn players among the corps' 54 members, which is the smallest horn line of all corps in the Finals. "Celebrations…Rebirth of a Planet" featured an amazing amount of trumpet exposure which the group handled very well.
Legends Kalamazoo, MI I'm not entirely sure what the Legends' program title "Incrementum" means, but the musical presentation of Ravel's French Impressionistic Daphnis et Chloe is one of the most tasteful musical books I've seen this year from any corps.
Velvet Knights Pasadena, CA I miss Velvet Knights. Well, I missed them until now. There are so many special memories that come back while watching "Cirque D' VK…Lions, Tigers and SHARK!!! Oh My…," of the World Class Velvet Knights of the late 1980s and early '90s. Only these corps members with their interesting sense of humor could get away with heckling their own soloist as part of the performance!
Raiders Wayne, NJ "Isle of Hope" of Raiders is a sensitive journey of the dreams of immigrants to the New World. The narration keeps us on track in such a way that more corps could benefit from listening to the effectiveness of the monologue.
Revolution San Antonio, TX While this is the 10th anniversary of Revolution, the "elementALL" show is the 9th the corps has put on due to a one-year hiatus the corps took in 2004. It's typical of the corps' prior presentations, full of technical music that challenges the members and impresses the fans.
Oregon Crusaders Portland, OR "Equilibrium" is a creative theme that seems to work well for Oregon Crusaders. I'm intrigued by how the performers start the show while playing on their backs and how they stand on teeter-totters to convey the theme.
Capital Regiment Columbus, OH It's nice to see Capital Regiment back on the field after taking the last two years off. The crashing sounds of lightning the corps uses in their production "The Storm," would not be nearly as effective without electronics which are now allowed on the field after the rule passed for this season. The show exhibits a nice balance between the violence of the storm and the refreshing aftermath.
Teal Sound Jacksonville, FL I thoroughly bought into "The Velvet Rope" show concept of Teal Sound which I would have to say was one of my favorites among the Open Class this year. It was certainly daring for the corps to place an actual rock band in the front ensemble, with three guitar players and a drummer to bring the audience right into a club and rock concert. But instead of being a gimmick, the guitars not only conveyed the theme quite well, but also blended into the show with the brass and percussion sections in a way I would not have expected.
Citations Burlington, MA It's a lot of fun to watch the excellent color guard section Citations has put on the field the past two years. The corps has never medaled before and stands a real chance to doing so do to the strength of the visual program of "Portraits of Desire." The show captures so many of the moods of romance; tender and demure and brash and flirtatious.
Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets Santa Clara, CA Snippets from many famous love songs make up "A Story of Love" by the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets. It doesn't seem to tell a specific story as much as it just references several iconic love moments. You practically need a scorecard to keep track of all the familiar melodies that make an appearance in this show.
Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets
Blue Devils "B" Concord, CA Enjoying an undefeated season thus far, Blue Devils B takes the "Pursuit" theme of its 2009 program and literally runs with it. After the fragile intro of popular artist Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek," the members often run toward something unseen, seemingly chasing after whatever else one pursues in life.
Blue Devils B
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 print and Web 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.
Photos by Craig Olear.