The 1984 Drum Corps International World Championships at Georgia Tech’s Grant Field were originally to be held at Miami’s Orange Bowl Stadium for the second year, but various factors led DCI to move the final week of the season to Atlanta without affecting the rest of the original schedule.

The Garfield Cadets’ title-winning “West Side Story” show led the corps to achieve 76 wins over two seasons in a row, a DCI record. It almost didn’t happen, though, as Blue Devils surged at the end and came within a tenth of a point of ending Garfield’s reign on the last night of the season.

Madison Scouts’ fifth-place show began with Victor Shoen’s “Ballet in Brass,” an opener the corps had performed in 1962, 1973, and 1974, and would also bring back in 1985 and 2001. Shoen was the music and orchestra director of “The Big Record” television series that was hosted by pop singer Patti Page and was sponsored by Oldsmobile. The production started with an extremely brief and relatively quiet chorale, then jumped into “The Fire and the Flame,” the most volatile, screaming segment from the suite.

For the second year, the entire corps wore white military-like jackets that were a departure from earlier uniforms inspired by the Boy Scouts. The opener was more authentic than performed by the Scouts in past years, with the inclusion of segments from Shoen’s original composition that didn’t appear in the corps’ earlier versions.

Next came Greg Hopkins’ “Waltz of the Mushroom Hunters,” from the Buddy Rich Band’s 1973 studio album, “The Roar of ’74,” the same album that also gave “Nutville” to the drum corps community. Trumpeter/arranger Hopkins performed on that album (and later on Rich’s “Stick It” album) and also backed up an impressive number of the most famous traveling musical acts.

The work began with Hopkins’ take on the chorale from “Interrupted Intermezzo,” the fourth movement of Béla Bartók’s 1943 “Concerto for Orchestra,” before moving into the swinging main section of the work that featured a melody quite loosely inspired by the Bartók work. This concert selection was primarily a standstill production, with a number of drill form changes interspersed. In the early 1980s, corps were still doing standstills in the middle of their shows.

1984 Madison Scouts

1984 Madison Scouts

Immediately upon the conclusion of the piece, the corps proceeded into a full-scale percussion feature brought back in a reworked fashion from 1983. It was an original work titled “Calico,” that was inspired by melodic ideas from the musical, “Cats.” This segued into “Memory” from “Cats,” which also served as the corps’ 1983 closer.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber piece became one of Scouts’ iconic closers, in the spirit of earlier end-of-show hits from the corps that included “Brian’s Song,” “The Way We Were” and “Through the Eyes of Love.”

After a company front morphed into a gentle arc, the music turned eerie and somewhat sinister, quoting from the ethereal beginning of the musical. This transitioned into the main instrumental theme from the musical, allowing the brass section to deliver some intense volume for which the line had long been famous.

For this week only, you can save on the Legacy Collection DVD that contains this complete Madison Scouts performance, along with all finalists from the 1984 DCI World Championships.

Buy the 1984 Legacy Collection DVD. (Available this week only for 20% off. Regular price: $35.95.)

1984 Overview

Discount DVD offer ends Monday, June 15.

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 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, Indiana.