I once went out for beers with a friend named Bob, who served as a U.S. Army military policeman in the Vietnam war. He told me that he joined a V.F.W. post after discharge and that some of the World War II vets at the place made him feel as if he were personally responsible for losing Indochina to the communists. He said that the ribbing became especially intense in 1975 when Saigon fell, and the TV at the post showed images of helicopters lifting off the U.S. embassy roof with desperate refugees hanging on to the landing gear.
Among the aspects of the drum corps activity that have changed over the past five decades, it could be argued that the visual elements have been the most affected. The standards “back in the day” included marching in straight lines, wearing uniforms that matched exactly in color and style, and adhering to extremely stringent rules. Today’s visual programs have changed so much that many alumni claim it is “no longer drum corps.” Admittedly, some of the changes have diverged glaringly from the activity’s original roots. And yet, many of the same elements that made people “drum corps nuts” back in the day still exist today. (more…)
In Part 4A we discussed Rules and Judging. In this article, we will cover Attire.
For decades it was easy to identify a corps marching into a stadium from a simple glimpse of their uniforms. Until the late 1970s most corps wore uniforms that were a part of their signature. Many were classics worn for decades. A majority wore cadet style uniforms with shakos while others had roots derived from other styles. There were the military inspired (Troopers, Knights), scout influenced (Madison, Racine, St. Paul), ethnic (Caballeros, Kilties, Muchachos), police inspired (Bluecoats, PAL Cadets), and nautical (Stockton Commodores, IC Reveries).
Up until the late 1960s, the equipment permitted on the field was quite limited. Other than “legal” musical instruments, color guards carried flags, rifles, and sabers and rarely anything else in terms of equipment or props. If you fast forward to today, the contrast is stunning. In addition to a much wider range of guard equipment, almost every corps brings additional non-musical items onto the field. (more…)
Design/Movement – 20th Century
The early years of “marching and maneuvering” in drum corps involved parade formations and straight lines with heavy military influence. Marching behind the corps proper and executing “the manual of arms” were often the extent of contributions from color guards. Most maneuvers involved platoons and squads at tight intervals. Drum lines were largely pinned to the 50 yard line. Fast forward to this century, and what is presented on the field these days is very different from those original roots. (more…)
Allentown – August 7, 2021
Drum corps fans packed the stands at Birney Crum Stadium Saturday night under perfect weather. The wide range of age of those in attendance showed that drum corps is alive and well and sought after by fans of all ages. We drove a six hour round trip to view a show that spanned less than half that amount of time and I had my doubts as to whether the trip was going to be worth the effort. But I was rewarded many times over, finding myself declaring this or that “was worth the drive” following a certain horn or drum sequence.
Should there be competition among the Arts? Easy decisions are made on the football field, baseball diamond or at the track meet tape. Whoever is fastest or scores more points wins. With Art, subjective minds decide what/who is best – usually for the rest of us. Is Citizen Kane the greatest film ever made? (more…)
George Del Monte: He was, in the truest sense of the term, a living legend. Educator, musician, playwright, and…most of all, a friend. Better yet, was our BFAM (Brother From Another Mother) relationship. Over the years, I’ve saved every piece of email that we shared, including those which he wrote in Italian, to encourage me to learn it better. After all, I am/was a Sicilian from Brooklyn (BklynMario).
Among drum and bugle corps people, there is a special place in heaven reserved only for them. Now George is also a member of that group.
By Neal Smith
I always wanted to reproduce this ever since I got involved in designing visual shows. With the aid of the Pyware software that I use and having Ken Wheeler send me the audio from the 1967 Crusaders I was able to put this together.
I believe the Crusaders performed the Cross Through in various parts of their show from 1962 to 1968. I can remember marching this and hearing the crowd respond to the visual and thought——-“How Cool is This?”
The brass line drill in the video is the exact of the design that we used and I have tweaked the guard to add to the visual effect. Maybe the only good to come out of my design business being dormant due to Covid is that it allowed me to finally get this done.
Hope you enjoy————1967 with a bit of a twist!!
by Eric Reasoner
Film Scoring: the “art” of creating music for motion pictures – music that will “underscore” the dramatic moments on screen.
Drum Corps: the “art” of creating a musical and visual entertainment experience … (well, you fill in your own definition if you like).
Film scoring and Drum Corps, an interesting pair – different worlds, yet some familiar ground…opposite methods used in development, yet alike in overall intent.
Musical form and visual form, which comes first? The scene or the score, the drill or the arrangement, which one is the primary element? Good question. The answer is … it depends. Let’s see.