Drum Corps International
Thoughts on the 2005 DCI Classic Countdown shows, part 4

Thoughts on the 2005 DCI Classic Countdown shows, part 4

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 fourth excerpt. 1991 Star of Indiana They came, they saw, they conquered. For sheer spectacle, it was hard to beat "Roman Images," based on "Pines of Rome" and "Roman Festivals," two parts of Ottorino Respighi's Roman trilogy. Before there were Regal Theaters, there was regal theatricality on the field courtesy of this show that shimmered, glimmered and pulsated. Star of Indiana had been moving up through the ranks since their first year pop into the DCI World finals in 1985. Everything seemed to sparkle, from the uniforms to the large rotating coins spun by the guard. It was the closest we've ever come to making radio contact with some distant pulsar. Climbing out of the tough Midwest (which gave us all three of the top finishers that year), the corps tore up the turf with its total package, highlighted for many by Jim Prime's seemingly continuous flurry of mellophone runs and the technical brilliance of Donnie VanDoren's slick horn line. Despite all the memorable features of this corps, though, Star did not win a single caption outright, but instead tied in three captions. The strength of the overall show carried them through. We have many legends in drum corps, and one is how drill writer George Zingali taught the final from-one-side-of-the-50-to-the-other, cross-to-cross routine one night. This came towards the very end of tour, after he went home for a few days to contemplate a stronger ending to the show. Witnesses say he literally taught the evolutions off the top of his head. One cross dominated the left side of the 50, then members were sent flying across the field as if being spit out of a giant centrifuge. The human brain could not fathom everything that was going on within the flurry of activity, so it came as a huge surprise when suddenly, the giant cross suddenly appeared on the right side of the 50 without warning. It was George Zingali's final masterstroke of genius, the final piece of drill for which he would fondly be remembered. 1992 Velvet Knights There is simply too much going on in this comedic tour-de-force and tour-de-farce to even begin to talk about all the sight gags. After it was first posted on DCI.org that the show had made it into the 2005 Classic Countdown, many who weren't around and hadn't witnessed this show on DVD asked how a tenth place show could make the cut. Easy. This is the single funniest, whacked-out production ever to hit the field. It's so much more than simply a laugh-a-minute. It's a laugh every five seconds. Oh, it's so much more than the sight gags. But when it comes to sight gags, they just don't stop, some which you have to concentrate on to catch. A shark fin being pulled across the field on a rope to the "Jaws" theme was a long-standing VK sight gag, and although not seen in this show, it was often seen during pre-show on-field warmups. This year, the shark would take on a much larger starring role. This was part of VK's ongoing now-and-then series, "Magical Mystery Tour," earlier witnessed in 1987 (with trips to Chinatown, Brazil, Africa and California) and 1988 (with trips to Greece, Latin America, Africa and the U.S.A.). This third time around the world took us to Brazil, Japan, the former Soviet Union and Hungary. It was the final destination that put anyone who had received stitches during the previous eight months in severe danger of splitting them. You've all heard how it's not over "until the fat lady sings." Well, she appeared (as a Wagnerian Brunhilde caricature) to the critical panning of a large moving shark that had been saved for finals and kept hidden under wraps until the end of the show. Seeing the shark edge towards "Brunhilde" was enough reason to gasp for breath, but seeing the shark get the upper hand and swallow the lovely creature -- or attempt to, at least -- well, I've never heard such laughter fill up a stadium. Loud, long, prolonged laughter. If laughter is good for one's health, then everyone in the stadium added to his or her life expectancy that night. Oh, the show wasn't all just fun and games. The corps was pretty good, too. Voters wouldn't have selected this show for the Classic Countdown if the corps didn't measure up to the gags. Read part two Read part three

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