Sunday, August 13, 2006


Last night, Drum Corps International held it's final competition of the year in Madison, Wisconsin. Before I reveal the results, I will share a bit about the quarter-final round, which Joshua and I watched live via satellite at a local theatre this past Thursday evening.

The program began at 6:00 PM eastern daylight time and concluded at 11:30 PM. If anyone had told me several years ago that I would
a) pay $18 per ticket to watch a drum corps show,
b) watch it for 5.5 hours and
c) enjoy it,
I would have accused that person of smoking something so potent that it has to be illegal.

As it turned out, the show was broadcast in about 100 theatres across the USA to approximately 20,000 viewers. Our theatre was packed. The show was really well done. It included lots of great information about the history of drum corps competitions and lots of clips from the past. At the end of that evening, the top six positions were:

1. Cavaliers - show: The Green Machine
2. Blue Devils - show: The Godfather, Part Blue
3. Phantom Regiment - show: Faust
4. The Cadets - show: Part Two - Through the Looking Glass (Alice in Wonderland)
5. Santa Clara Vanguard - show: Moto Perpetuo
6. Bluecoats - show: Connexus

All of these shows were incredibly exciting. You should watch the ESPN broadcast on September 5 to get a look at some of them. As you can see, the show themes cover everything from movies (The Godfather) to classical literature (Faust and Alice in Wonderland) to science fiction (The Green Machine) to philosophical reflection (Moto Perpetuo and Connexus). The range of musical and visual creativity on display in this artistic medium is astounding. It's really a lot of fun to watch.

Last night's finals turned up a couple of surprises. The final top six positions (with scores, 100 being the highest) are:

1. The Cavaliers (97.200)
2. Phantom Regiment (96.850)
3. Blue Devils (96.550)
4. Bluecoats (93.175)
5. The Cadets (93.075)
6. Santa Clara Vanguard (92.350)

As you can see, the Phantom Regiment jumped over the Blue Devils into second place. The Bluecoats jumped over the Cadets and the Vanguard into fourth place. And last year's champions, the Cadets, dropped down to fifth place! OUCH!

Also, check out how close the scores are! There's less than one full point between the top three positions. Then there's a gap before the next three, all of which are again separated by less than one point. This is intense competition.

So, that's the conclusion of the 2006 Drum Corps season. Now, our family's attention will turn toward the 2006 Marching Band season. As you know, Joshua has been attending daily rehearsals since August 1. He and the band traveled to Orkney Springs this morning for a week of intensive marching and concert band rehearsals. Check Dave's blog for their daily schedule.

Joshua took the photo below this past Friday morning. The sun was still low in the sky, there's still haze in the air and there's dew in the grass. These kids are dedicated! I'm looking forward to seeing their show and following their progress throughout the season.


Jenn said...

5 1/2 hours?!?! Seriously?!?!?

Dave said...


When we went to the compition in Allentown we were there for about 4.5 hours.

Josh's school hosts a competion, "The Oakton Classic" in October each year. Bands come from across Northern and Central VA to compete to be awarded the Oakton Classic grand cup. Last year the event started at 1 with the last competing band finishing at 9 at night. Before the announcent of the awards the two demonstration bands, Virginia Tech and Oakton High did their drills.

Over 25 bands were on the field that day. While some people come for only a portion, and others come and go throughout the day, there are hundreds who come for most of the day. All told there are around 3,500 people who attend the Oakton classic each year. Here in various school marching band is a viewed as a major sport.

Josh is going to be thrilled to learn that his Nana and Pupa are coming down this year for the Oakton Classic.

Barbara said...

I just haven't been able to get into Drum and Bugle corps at all. Maybe if we were in the States, I would be able to appreciate it more.