While the Academy will not debut its its competitive program for the 2008 Drum Corps International Summer Tour until the end of June, the corps will still be in full performance mode early on as it focuses its efforts toward an indoor stage show scheduled for June 6 and 7. The program titled "A Night at the Show," to be held at Tempe Center for the Arts in Arizona, will feature a variety of full ensemble and small group performances from Academy members. According to corps director Mark Richardson, the inspiration for the production came from staff members who saw how eager corps members were to prepare pieces for off-the-field performance, most notably for the DCI World Championship Individual and Ensemble competition. "Most of these performances would not be able to be showcased within our typical drum corps experience," said Richardson. "In light of the fact that we have access to a brand new state-of-the-art facility at the Tempe Center for the Arts, we thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for our kids to experience performing a different kind of show." While fans will be able to get a sneak peek at the Academy's 2008 show, "Vienna Nights," during the three performance series, almost 90 percent of the 90 minute indoor production will be comprised of other musical pieces, marching drills, dance and color guard selections, and contributions from staff members. Richardson says that some sacrifices in preparation for the competitive season had to be made to put together "A Night at the Show." Four days at the beginning of June will be dedicated to technical rehearsals inside the Tempe Center for the Arts, but with 75 percent of corps members living in Arizona, he says that it's been feasible to hold extra rehearsals for the production while still continuing regularly scheduled rehearsal camp weekends. After the indoor performances, the corps members will have three weeks to dedicate to preparation for their first competition.

Mark Richardson addresses Academy members during a
rehearsal at the Tempe Center for the Arts.
It has always been the goal of the corps staff to utilize the indoor production to help the members become better overall performers, Richardson explained. "From an educator's standpoint, it seems like a crime to have access to great musical teachers for such a huge amount of instructional time and only have the members experience 12 minutes of music," he said. Among the selections corps members are working on for the show are choral transcriptions, brass chamber music, original works for brass and percussion, orchestral transcriptions for mallet percussion and an improvisational piece to the Charlie Chaplin silent film, "A Night at the Show," which was the inspiration for the title of the indoor production. The color guard will present a scaled down version of the show they presented during their winter guard season which will be enhanced by additional creative lighting. In addition to visually enhancing some of the brass selections, there will be other guard-focused selections, including a tribute to Charlie Chaplin. Tickets for "A Night at the Show" are now on sale. Visit ArizonaAcademy.org for more.