The 2006 DCI Division II & III Championships (now Open Class) were held the morning of the Division I Finals in Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.

The weekend prior, all Division II & III corps competed across two days at the Great Lakes Open in Michigan City, Indiana. The success of that show set up Michigan City to become the home of the DCI Open Class Quarterfinals in 2008, which led to Open Class Prelims and Finals taking up residence in the northern Indiana town in 2011, where the events remain to this day.

The Division II & III Prelims in Madison saw 28 corps perform, with Impulse winning the Division III title for the first time and The Academy topping East Coast Jazz by 0.55 in the Division II Finals to cap off the corps' first trip to the DCI World Championships.

2006 Oregon Crusaders 2006 Oregon Crusaders

Oregon Crusaders' first season was 2000, but the corps didn't attend the DCI World Championships until 2004, and then, only went as far east as Oklahoma. The corps went undefeated that year and won the Division III title in Denver, impressive for a corps that went through its first few seasons with borrowed equipment and uniforms.

In 2006, the Division II corps finished in fourth place with “Echo,” a production that utilized the audio phenomena as a continual musical theme. Drill forms that continually contracted and expanded to the audio reverberations reflected the repetition of sound.

The show opened with the brass section facing away in the upper left corner of the football field. The drums faced away across the back, and the color guard spread in front of those other two sections, also facing backfield.

The opener of the corps production was also titled “Echo,” composed by Lewis Norfleet. At the time, Norfleet was program coordinator and brass arranger for Seattle Cascades.

2006 Oregon Crusaders 2006 Oregon Crusaders

At the beginning, a variety of distant horn calls layered upon each other culminated with the first big hit, as the horns turned around with a sound as bright as the yellow flags utilized by the color guard. The backfield was then again utilized to exploit the echo of brass sound bouncing off the concrete of the stands while brass chords repeated in quick succession, each time increasingly softer. Gradually, the wafting chords coalesced together into louder brass statements that brought the formerly ethereal work to a rousing conclusion.

A wrap-up of the melodic theme of “Echo” in the front ensemble percussion led into Richard Saucedo's “Snow Caps,” commissioned in 2004 for the Jefferson County Honor Band, a locale to the immediate west of Denver. Saucedo, who was an arranger for The Cavaliers and composed the corps' all-original music shows of 2001-2003, took musical inspiration for the work from the peaks of the Rockies Mountains towering over Jefferson County. The music was as dynamic as the Oregon Crusaders color guard's red flags seemed to want to melt the snowcaps.

A ballad by Norfleet came next, featuring a canon of brass soloists generating a soothing mood of lush, overlapping harmonies. Large double flags of blue shades accompanied them visually. After a slow crescendo, the corps turned backfield and let the end of the piece simply disappear into the back stands.

2006 Oregon Crusaders 2006 Oregon Crusaders

The closer was “Equus” by Eric Whitacre, the title being Latin for “horse.” The composer described the work as “dynamic minimalism” and “a piece that starts running and never stops.” It was written between 1977 and 2000 and expressed Whitacre's joy in using repetitive patterns “as long as they don't get boring.”

The piece, including a complex stationary bass drum feature that involved the five drummers spinning around while moving between the various drums, pointed the show toward its rousing conclusion.

A rhythmic volley of brass stabs was echoed by metallic percussion elements toward the very end of the show, concluding with the theme just one ricochet away from being uncontained.

Michael Boo was a member of the Cavaliers from 1975-1977. He has written about the drum corps activity for more than 35 years 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.