The 1995 Drum Corps International World Championships returned to Ralph Wilson Stadium outside Buffalo for the second time, after first visiting Orchard Park in 1990.

Earlier in the season, the Cavaliers lost to the 2nd place Cadets of Bergen County twice, 3rd place Blue Devils four times and 4th place Madison Scouts seven times, so the corps was considered a dark horse entering the final week of the season. But as World Championship competition got underway, the Green Machine won all three contests by increasingly larger margins, opening the spread from two tenths over the Devils in the Quarterfinals, to eight tenths over the Cadets in Semifinals, to more than a point over the Cadets in the Finals.

Magic of Orlando had first earned a spot in the Finals one year earlier and repeated as a finalist in 1995 after scoring sixth tenths over Blue Knights in the Semifinals competition. The corps’ 12th-place “Danse Animalé” was comprised of all-original music composed by DCI Hall of Fame member Robert W. Smith, who had come to Magic during the corps’ first season of 1990, after Suncoast Sound disbanded.

The show explored the different types of creatures that inhabit the planet and how humans project themselves onto those animals, as well as how they project the spirit of the animals onto themselves. In return, the humans took on animal traits for their various rituals.

The show opened with the members of the horn line gently swaying back and forth to “Sea,” as if being long strands of ocean kelp. The color guard members, wearing a variety of undersea headdresses of fins and corals and covered in strands of algae, spread out from primordial ooze carrying a single strand of kelp 20-yards long, billowing up and down to the cresting and ebbing of the waves.

After the climactic fanfare to the introduction, the music turned intensely rhythmic as the waves of the ocean became more pronounced. Four stingray props sailed overhead, followed by six jellyfish that wafted up and down as if climbing the currents of the ocean. The Queen Starfish was carried across the field by four of her servants. At the end of the piece, the waves washed ashore and the audience began a new venture.

1995 Magic of Orlando
1995 Magic of Orlando

“Land” introduced us to the peaceful creatures of terra firma, frolicking amidst the pastoral sounds that captured the tranquility of their existence. Gentle African drumming accompanied the color guard members who were now wearing a variety of tribal headgear.

The music became faster and rhythmically ritualistic as humans with spears ran out into the clearing with the idea of turning the earlier animals into lunchmeat. Dancers took on the look of predator animals in order to appear more fierce.

The first creatures of the air were born in “Sky,” with the color guard putting on headgear made up of long feathers to portray birds of flight. A rhythmic ostinato in the front ensemble percussion introduced sky blue flags, prior to all members of the guard picking up long fabric “wings” and flying off the field upon the last note of the music.

For this week only, you can save on the Legacy Collection DVD that contains this complete Magic of Orlando performance, along with all finalists from the 1995 DCI World Championships.

Buy the 1995 Legacy Collection DVD.
(Available this week only for 20% off.)

1995 Overview

Discount DVD offer ends Monday, July 6.

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.