“In second place with a score of…………….” We’ve all heard those words in one context or another. For drum corps fans, the announcement of the scores is the moment to hold one’s breath and to cross one’s fingers, hoping that the favorite team moves up in the standings. Of course, that excitement often turns to amazement, disbelief, shock, and perhaps a bit of anger. “Those judges…….” Or “How did THAT happen? My team was clearly better.” Or “It’s a fix. They always win.” Gosh, I am sure we have all heard a long list of complaints after a competition some time or other. We can probably agree that even in professional sports the audience reactions are not so different. “How could they miss that interference call?” Or “It was clearly goaltending, and they didn’t call it.” Or “It was a fumble. What’s the tuck rule?” Yes, you have to remember the “Snow Bowl” days for that last one.
I made another trip around the sun last week. It started me thinking about corps memories from nearly six decades ago.
I remember the night my best friend and I tried out for the color guard, but I don’t remember anyone else who tried out that night. There were nearly a hundred of us (all girls at the time), and I remember that my friend, Jeanne McGinness, and I were the only two who made the cut that night. Jeanne’s older brother, Paul, was a soprano then (they call them trumpets now) in the hornline, and they’d just come back from the 1962 Nationals in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Just listening to the stories he told was magical.
Back in the day, drum corps played complete songs. Remember that? It was common for a corps to play a march or martial-type song ‘off the line’, a Spanish Jazz piece for concert, and a ballad for their ‘exit’ with a production number in a completely different idiom. Back then, it did not matter if those songs were related in any way. This meant you could get a variety of musical styles in a single corps’ performance. With a few exceptions, programs did not have a ‘common thread’ or theme. Take, for example, the Madison Scouts 1975 Championship program: ‘Slaughter on 10th Avenue’ (Broadway show tune), ‘MacArthur Park ‘(pop), ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ (classical with jazz influence), ‘Dueling Banjos’ (bluegrass), and ‘The Way We Were’ (ballad). This type of mixed idiom program was the standard up through the mid 1980s. (more…)
Chick joined the St. Rose Scarlet Lancers in the Fall of 1956, and left to take a job with his father and uncle at a dance club in Hyannis during the mid-1959 season. He marched the entire 1957 class B season, 1958 class A season, and part of the 1959 season.
Two things that stand out with me about Chick were his incredible sense of humor and his love of the Drum Corp activity.
It was a simpler time in New York City. Corps directors had jobs in the real world. Instructors had no assistants— they taught what they created. Corps members were from the neighborhood, and “outsiders” were from a relatively short subway stop or bus ride away. An entire corps could fit on one bus, with all equipment stored in the undercarriage. Our ad-hoc staff was volunteer fathers, uncles, cousins, and former corps members. (more…)
Calling all drum corps members: drummers, guard members, and horn players alike. If you have been out of practice, it is high time to get back in shape! This season is going to materialize before you know it and you had better be ready. The first few times out on the stage, field or street this season will give us all a tremendous psychological boost. Will you be ready? (more…)
I hate Covid-19. I hate it more than most. I think I had it in January ’20 – that weekend I sounded exactly like Barry White. As of this writing, Ohio – as well as most of the planet – has been mired in shut downs. Covid has been deemed a worldwide pandemic of epic panicking proportions. I don’t hate the virus as much as the reaction to it. I do have dear friends who are scared for their lives, and I respect their decisions to stay quarantined even after Ohio reopened restaurants. Remember the scene in “E.T.” when the government people raided Elliot’s house in those scarifying sterile getups? I’m pretty sure one of them was my server the other day. (more…)