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 first excerpt. List of 12 corps to be shown at DCI Classic Countdown After I was asked to offer a few comments about each of the shows that were voted into the DCI 2005 Classic Countdown, I was struck with the realization that I actually did have 30 years of DCI memories.
Wow, 30 years -- my memories of the DCI corps of the 1970s predate the birth of any of our current marchers. Instead of listening to DCI CDs and watching DCI DVDs at home, perhaps I should be investing in a series of Lawrence Welk recordings. Egad, I also remember him being on television in our house. Must – find -- reason -- to -- keep -- breathing. Suddenly -- hard -- to – lift -- feet. OK, enough of the self-pity. I realize my memories of drum corps since 1974 (the first year of any available DCI video recordings) is something to cherish. What I love about the Classic Countdown project is that it is bound to introduce new cherished memories to younger drum corps fans and arouse old memories in fans that saw these shows live. There are so many wonderful shows and wonderful corps to remember, there was no way to get all the worthy ones into a single event. May this inaugural Classic Countdown be such a success that DCI is forced to do it again and again, introducing more shows to more fans and raising memories of beloved corps over the ages. While we individually might be sorry our personal favorites didn't make the voting cut, all these shows will more than hold our interest on the big screen. That's the BIG screen, with equally BIG surround sound. It's always best to be there in person, but this will be the closest we'll ever come to recreating that experience for those who really were there and those who weren't. And, it's a sure sign that the first DCI shows in June aren't really that far away. This might just help us make it through those final weeks until we can once again sit in seats not nearly as comfortable as those in our host cinemas, risk sunburn during the day and bug attacks at night and love every minute of it. 1974 Kingsmen This was the one show I never saw live. I entered drum corps rather unexpectedly in the fall of that year, dragged to a corps rehearsal by my best friend in college. But I bought the LPs and played this show repeatedly on my roommate's record player. Thankfully, he too was a corps addict. Those of you not yet born then may have heard of LPs. They hissed and popped and scratched easily and we were darned happy to have them, as they were the sole product available to the public. Video recordings weren't even available yet -- we were awaiting the invention and wholesale availability of the VHS machine. Anyhow, I constantly marveled at the intense sound this corps delivered. "Mambo" off the line seared at my eardrums and I could just picture myself sitting on the 50 absorbing it live. It didn't matter that the corps ended in third place. They were only .75 out of first and had beaten every corps at least once. My fellow corpsmates told me that Anaheim was a corps that ate hubcaps for breakfast just to toughen up. Listening to this recording, I could believe that. Here, we get to see from where Bobby Hoffman was coming. A very healthy dose of curvilinear drill was changing how people thought of drill, and Bobby was at the forefront of that revolution, two whole years before he took over the creative reigns at the Bridgemen and totally turned the DCI world upside-down. Look closely for the mallet players. This was the first year they were allowed on the field. Let the creepiness of "March to the Scaffold" from "Symphony Fantastique" give you chills and the contagious pop bop of Tower of Power's "So Very Hard to Go" make you bounce in your chair. This was well before theme shows were the norm, so the musical selections don't really have anything to do with one another -- and yet they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, making this show one that has something for everyone while offering everything for all. 1975 Madison Scouts I have many memories of seeing this corps live. It was my first year marching with the Cavaliers, and as such, we saw a lot of Madison all season long. Perhaps much more than we wanted, as the Scouts were steamrolling the competition all summer, bar for one show at DCI Midwest when they lost prelims to the Santa Clara Vanguard. DCI was only in its fourth season, but as California corps had won the first three world championships, it seemed that breaking the California stranglehold was an awesome task for any corps east of the Rockies. I remember my mom going on and on about Jimmy Elvord's horn line, which would finish the season in Philadelphia with its third straight brass trophy. Those opening thrilling notes to "Slaughter on 10th Avenue" could bore through lead. Madison had this thing about melody, and nothing else was allowed to be more important than a memorable melody at all times. Consequently, whether you were a fan or a competitor, you couldn't shake their show from your consciousness as you were leaving the stadium -- and far beyond. I was introduced to the magic of Maynard Ferguson through the corps' rendition of "MacArthur Park," its stratospheric soprano riffs bouncing off the clouds and electrifying all, but it was the company front push in the opener of "Slaughter" that fans still talk about, claiming that they had to fight to stay sitting upright on the bleachers. Drum corps as a threat to the sanctity of the eardrums. You had to love it. All corps had a drum solo or two. Madison didn't just play a drum solo -- they had fun with it. "Dueling Banjos" was about as foot-stompin' a time one could have without lifting a mug of home-brewed paint thinner and yelling "hee-haw!" And what was it about those closing chords of "The Way We Were," also heard at the end of the opener? The ever-ascending chords, louder than exploding grenades, never failed to yank people out of their seats screaming. So simple yet so effective -- the perfect drum corps tag. Tickets for DCI's 2005 Classic Countdown will cost $12.50. Tickets can be purchased now bigscreenclassroom.com or at participating Regal, United Artist and Edwards theater box offices. Stay tuned to DCI.org for other details as they become available.
The Anaheim Kingsmen in 1974.