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Cavies, MBI, Blue Stars take Midwest titles

by Dr. Rosalie Sward, DCW staff

The Cavaliers (Rosemont, IL)
Photo by Ron Walloch

July 12, 2003 — De Kalb, IL . . . In the 26th year of Drum Corps Midwest/DCI Midwest Championships held at Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, there was a packed house for finals night, but it was surprising that there were quite a number of quality empty seats for division II and III prelims and the division I Eastern corps on Friday night — I would have thought everyone would have taken advantage of this opportunity to see the Eastern competition.

It was a weekend of red-clad color guards, velvet guard costumes, raspberry, grape, lavender and red/orange flags with checkerboard or quilt-like designs, tangos and silent tosses. It was amazing to see the number of changes since my last show report on June 23.

The Saturday night show began at 6:00 PM with an exhibition by the 180-member Royal Aires reunion corps, whose average age is 55, performing for their second year with a tribute to their former music arranger, Truman Crawford, who passed away earlier this year. The corps played…

The competition began with the four senior corps (three from Minnesota and one from Wisconsin) and, although there is no age limit, most of them looked as if the membership was fairly young — 20s or 30s, although the Kilties have a few more relatively “seasoned” players, and all of the guard members were fairly trim. All of these corps specialize in squealer soloists, duets, small ensembles and marching cymbals.

As is the case every year, first place went to Minnesota Brass, Inc., who received the award for “Most Improved Corps” of 2002 and, who, like The Cavaliers and Blue Stars, were unchallenged for first place in their divisions this year…

The Governaires, although small, have made great strides in quality and appeal over the last few years. Their “Celebration of Life” was conveyed through an energetic performance, the vocal announcements of the drum major and the entertainers in the pit…

The drum major (introduced as Johnny Kickstand) of the third place Chops, Inc., was dressed as a nun who blessed the corps and wore red tennis shoes, until late in the program when he miraculously changed into one of the Blues Brothers…

For the more traditional taste were the Kilties who create a colorful tableau wearing Scotch-plaid kilts on the field (and other kilts off the field). Their program, “Fanfare for the Common Fan,” was…

There had been 12 corps competing in division III prelims, and the top two competed for the championship.

The winning Blue Stars are in a class by themselves in Midwest Division III competition, as seen from 6.95-point margin over the second place corps. Their increasing ability to conquer their difficult program of 20th century music and their consistently good (from year to year) marching skills set them up well for the rest of the season…

In second place were the Marion Glory Cadets from Marion, OH, whose show title, “Oppressions in Red,” was quite descriptive not only of their militaristic Russian program, but quite accidentally a commentary on all of the red that saturated the field this weekend…

The Cavaliers celebrated their 55th anniversary by expanding drum-corps’ all-time longest winning streak to 56 this evening and decisively winning all captions. Their “Symphony of Spinning” could be considered an advanced visual textbook for drum corps…

The absence of the Phantom Regiment left a huge space in the scoring as well as a classical musical and emotional void, but this year they made DCI Midwest proud by taking second place at “Drums Along the Rockies” with a score of 85.65, which would have placed them in a strong second place at the Midwest Championships.

Second place was awarded to the Bluecoats who moved ahead of Madison with a program of variety and improved dynamics, besting the Scouts in all captions (general effect, visual and music), but Madison was higher in the sub-captions of GE visual, visual ensemble and music/brass. The Bluecoats’ attractive…

I had been anxious to partake of the 65th anniversary celebration “Green, Red and Gold” program of the Madison Scouts and to hear the music of the French Canadian Benoit Jutras who has been a composer for Cirque du Soleil. His music has been described as eclectic, melodic, minimalistic and percussive, and under the skillful musical arrangements of Scott Boerma, it had a large dose of Madison…

Closing in on Madison were the Glassmen, with a point spread of only .45. Glassmen topped Madison in the music caption by five-tenths but Madison was higher in GE and visual. The Glassmen always have an excellent musical and visual presentation, even though it may not always be understood or fully appreciated by the casual spectator…

The Colts stood alone in fifth place, 4.2 points behind the Glassmen and three points above Southwind. The show has lots of contrast with some ear-catching brass flourishes and impacts, high rifle work, a drum line on the move and an active pit…

I always look forward to Southwind, both because of their presentations of classical music selections and because their yellow uniforms provide variety and a fresh look on the field. The female guard members were…

Capital Regiment continued their musical adventures from climbing Mt. Everest last year to “A Brave New World” this year, with their newest challenge being to compete in division I…

Pioneer strives to be a competitive member of division I with their difficult 20th century musical program and a fairly widespread drill that expands to the 15-yard lines. The brass ensemble was…

At the end of the show, the ONLY competing division II representative of DCI Midwest, Capital Sound, appeared in exhibition…

However, Capital Sound was not the highest scoring corps in division II. The first-year corps from Tennessee, Memphis Sound (which is not yet a member of DCI Midwest) beat them in prelims by one-tenth of a point. I was extremely impressed by this corps’ presentation of…

For the rest of this article and much more, pick up a copy of the July 18, 2003, issue of Drum Corps World, or subscribe by clicking on the link below.

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Drum Corps World is published as an on-line electronic magazine by Sights & Sounds, Inc., Madison, WI. It is supported by advertising from manufacturers, service providers, corps, circuits and show sponsors. The publication began in October 1971 at the same time Drum Corps International was formed and has been produced continuously as a tabloid newspaper until April 2011 and on the Internet since May 2011. It is released monthly, as well as six additional e-mail blasts, one in late June, three during July and two in August.

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