Drum Corps International
Thoughts on the 2005 DCI Classic Countdown shows, part 3

Thoughts on the 2005 DCI Classic Countdown shows, part 3

by Drum Corps International

DCI.org's Mike Boo wrote introductions to each of the 12 drum corps shows that will be broadcast on the big screen at the DCI Classic Countdown. We'll be running two more introductions each day. Here's the third excerpt. 1980 27th Lancers This is the same corps that brought so much pride to the activity after its well-televised appearances at the 1980 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies in Lake Placid, N.Y. Word is the corps had a relatively minor role planned in the closing ceremonies, but after the success of the opening ceremony, the powers-that-be opened up to a greater participation for the closing ceremony. Only .35 from defeating Blue Devils for the DCI World Championship title, this show was a virtual compendium of the corps greatest selections and moments. Virtually a musical carbon copy of the year before, the music was greatly tightened up and polished. The corps came out smoking from the very beginning, and many thought this was the year the title would finally go to the East Coast. It would be two years before the wunderkind George Zingali would revolutionize the world of drill with his "flex-drill" forms for Garfield Cadets, but in this show, we see the nucleus of his inquisitive and expanding mind when it came to drill design. Symmetrical forms turned on an angle were no longer perceived as being quite so symmetrical. Here, he was playing with the "rules" before so dramatically breaking them. On the big screen, the giant rotating wheel in "Danny Boy" should seem even grander than normal, and the rifles breaking through to the front will likely appear more like a guided missile than a guard. 27th's guard was always the talk of the activity, (introducing double flags and many other innovations), and when their rifles lay down to do their final spinning maneuvers, you can hear the audience screaming its approval. On the DCI timeline, this performance is the ultimate crowning achievement of a corps that had many such moments before fading into our collective consciousness. In a number of theaters, undoubtedly there will be some tears shed during this performance by those who still remember 27th as a cherished family member. 1989 Santa Clara Vanguard SCV almost took it all in 1988 with much of the same music, and in 1989 returned to the field with a re-engineered, revitalized, tightened, polished, octane-boosted "Phantom of the Opera" that walked off the field last in Kansas City with the highest score to date, breaking a four-year streak of finishing in second place. I don't remember any corps storming off the line with quite the same degree of raw power and pure adrenaline as this corps did with its opening fanfare. The "take no prisoners" mindset had clearly settled in with a vengeance into the brain cells of the members. As strong and dynamic as this show could be, its quiet moments were very much almost beyond being of the opposite emotions. Tear-jerking and tender as could be, these moments allowed the show to take the viewer on a virtual roller coaster of ups and downs that left all shaking and perspiring at the end -- and that was just among the fans in the stands. The corps had fought against convention before by occasionally ending their shows quietly, but this ending was the quiet ending to end all quiet endings. As the "Phantom" sat in the magical chair and was covered up by his attendees, all eyes were on the white cloth to discern any movement underneath. And yet, there never was any movement. The corps finished its final soft chords and allowed them to ascend into the heavens as the cloth was pulled away to unveil, well, nothing. It was effective beyond effective, as if something had been ripped out the chests of all who were watching. If you've never seen this ending, it likely sounds hokey and contrived. And yet, it was anything but. Over the years of DCI selling its awesome Legacy Series of DVDs, 1989 has consistently been the top seller, determined by fans with their pocketbooks. This show and this performance is a major reason why that is the case. Read part two

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