In the fifth straight year of World Championship events at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, a new record of five Open Class corps advanced to the Semifinals competition from Prelims, all placing between 20th and 25th.
Fitting between Troopers and the 16th-place Pacific Crest was the 14th-place Crossmen and 15th-place Colts. Between Pacific Crest and the Open Class corps was the Oregon Crusaders in 17th, Mandarins in 18th, and The Academy in 19th place.
Pacific Crest repeated the corps’ placement from 2012 with “Transfixed,” a story about the journey of love that laid bare the rockiness of relationships as well as celebrated the intervening moments of romance.
With a final 16th-place score of 82.300, Pacific’s highest placement on the score sheets was 13th in music analysis, with other captions finishing between 15th and 18th.
The show opened with the sound of a beating heart, which was often repeated throughout the production. The corps was divided in two, each in the outline form of a heart. The lower right segment of the corps largely stood atop a ribbon of a purple heart-shaped riser that was utilized throughout the show to accent various drill formations.
A male and female color guard member, each wearing a heart on the front of their costumes, cautiously approached each other to check each other out during the opening fanfare, which ended with the full corps forming the wave-in-crest logo that not only represented the corps’ identity, but also alluded to love having ups and downs like ocean waves.
The fanfare segued into the pop piano ballad, “Fix A Heart” from singer Demi Lovato’s 2011 “Unbroken” album. According to Lovato, the song was written as she suffered heartbreak. Despite the sad origins, the piece was rather upbeat. Throughout the show, except for the drum break, two members somewhere in the horn line or color guard formed a heart by joining their bent torsos together.
Next, Michael Markowski’s mostly bombastic “Instinctive Travels,” which served as the centerpiece of the show, was written for concert band in 2009. It was treated as a battle between different sections of the corps, full of tension.
Markowski was influenced by the 1990 hip-hop album, “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm,” the debut of the alternative hip-hop band, A Tribe Called Quest. While no typical hip-hop beats were heard during the piece, repetitive rhythm was the work’s primary feature.
The music reached an emotional climax, stopping to continue on with a ballad as two hearts made up of brass players moved apart from one another. The ballad was loosely based on a quotation of “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” a 1915 church hymn by Martin Shaw based on the 17th Century tune, “Royal Oak,” offering the main contrast within the Markowski work.
A racing heartbeat led into the closer of John Mackey’s “Incinerate,” the third movement of his 2011 percussion concerto, “Drum Music.” The composer wrote of this movement: “After countless percussion concertos have worked so hard to prove that drummers should be seen as more than just rock stars, I’m pleased to report that the last movement of my piece is going to ruin it for everybody.”
This was love at its most turbulent, akin to when two people consider hanging it all up and dissolving their relationship.
White hearts on the purple flags expressed hope for romance to flourish. The two original members of the guard who had approached each other at the start of the show now gathered at the purple heart-shaped ribbon riser in the lower right corner of the field, just as the open form was filled in by purple cloth.
Those two members’ hands clasping together suggested that perhaps there was room and possibility for true love to prosper after all.
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.