A review by Michael BooMore than 4,000 theater-goers were treated to the premier performance of Shockwave, the new audio-visual extravaganza from the folks that brought us Blast!, on Sept. 28 at Eisenhower Hall Theatre at West Point, N.Y. (home of the United States Military Academy).The 47-piece troupe is comprised of former drum corps and marching band members, as well as performers who never touched a drum corps or marching band field.Judging by the massed audience reaction, Shockwave is destined to become as major a hit as Blast! has been. Of major note to drum corps fans who have loved Blast! is the reality that Shockwave goes places Blast! only hinted at. It's edgier and the repertoire is more contemporary than Blast! It includes a section of saxophones who double on other woodwind instruments. The visual ensemble equipment shies away from traditional drum corps weapons, and movement takes the place of marching.But the movement is fast and furious when need be. It will come as a wonder to many that the cast can play while executing the continuous and strenuous movement demands. For example, at one point, wind performers perform while bouncing on the floor atop special spheres. It simply has to be seen to be believed.Shockwave is a production drum corps fans and their non-drum corps friends will adore and talk about for days afterwards.The producers and staff are a "Who's Who" in drum corps circles. Like Blast!, which is still touring strong, Shockwave is produced by William A. Cook and James Mason, (formerly of Star of Indiana), with Mason also serving as the artistic director. The musical director is Blue Devils' Wayne Downey, with longtime corps arranger James Prime serving as musical consultant. Donnie Vandoren is the associate producer, Jonathan Vanderkolff the staging director, with choreography by Vanderkolff, Jim Moore and George Pinney.The repertoire includes a number of past hits from DCI corps. Among the pieces corps fans will recognize from the field include "Prelude, Fugue and Riffs," "First Circle," "God Bless the Child," "Blue Rondo a la Turk," "Adagio for Strings," "Channel One Suite," "Carmina Burana," "Good Vibrations," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Swing, Swing, Swing."For a schedule of the cities Shockwave and Blast! are visiting, check out www.blasttheshow.com. Michael Boo has been involved with drum and bugle corps since 1975, when he marched his first of three seasons with The Cavaliers. He has a bachelor's degree in music education and a masters degree in music theory and composition. He has written about the drum corps activity for over a quarter century for publications such as Drum Corps World, and presently is involved in a variety of projects for Drum Corps International, including souvenir program books, CD liner notes, DCI Update and Web articles, and other endeavors.Michael currently writes music for a variety of idioms, is a church handbell and vocal choir director, an assistant director of a community band, and a licensed Realtor in the state of Indiana. His other writing projects are for numerous publications, and he has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating.His hobbies include TaeKwonDo and hiking the Indiana Dunes.But more than anything, Michael is proud to love drum corps and to be a part of the activity in some small way, chronicling various facets of each season for the enjoyment of others.
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