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  1. Madison's Drums on Parade

    Did anyone make it to Madison (okay, Middleton) last weekend for Drums on Parade? What a phenomenal night. Madison won. The Cavaliers were second. Third, fourth and fifth were only separated by a 1/10th of a point. I don't remember who was third and fourth, but the Troopers were on the raw end of that spread in 5th. Holy cow! Both the Madison Scouts & the Troopers have, in my opinion, must-see shows ... if you like that kind of old-fashioned good-music-emotional-punch shows. Madison's show was noticeably better from just 8 days earlier at Phantom's show. While this competition wasn't in Illinois, I'm bringing it up because there are some good shows coming up ... 7/5 ... Lisle 7/14.... NIU Sadly, neither the Troopers nor Madison will be at those shows. If you want to see Madison ... and I highly recommend you do .... Their last close shows before DCI in Indy are ... 5 – Friday - Whitewater, WI - The Whitewater Classic 6 – Saturday - Michigan City, IN - Pageant of Drums 10 – Wednesday - Waukee, IA - Celebration in Brass 11 – Thursday - Muscatine, IA - Percussion on the Pearl 12 – Friday - Dubuque, IA - Music on the March
  2. After a day of thunderstorms and rain in north central Illinois on Friday, June 21, the weather turned out perfect for Phantom Regiment’s Show of Shows that night. Although it wasn’t sold out, the stadium at Belvidere High School was probably at least 75% full of drum corps fans, especially as the night progressed and groups like Madison, the Cadets & Phantom took the field. Results for the evening: Cadets: 74.1 Phantom Regiment: 71.3 Madison Scouts: 68.7 Blue Stars 63.1 Pioneer 51.4 In Open Class, the Colt Cadets received a 56 for their show “Red.” The Colt Cadets seem to be keeping pace with their recent years’ successes, and they had some in the crowd on their feet by the end. With the pit members “jamming” and their choreographed poses on the field, the Colt Cadets received some enthusiastic responses from the crowd. Highlights from the World Class corps’ shows are: Pioneer’s show entitled Anan Nua, which is Celtic for “new spirit,” featured Contemporary Christian music. Pioneer got the crowd clapping in the middle with their production of New Orleans-style “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.” “Joyful Joyful” in the closer was well received, too. Pioneer seemed a little tentative with their drill – certainly not unexpected this early - and two mellos each had a run in with whatever those blocked easel pieces corps use to cover props & guard equipment are called. However, everyone ended up on their feet for a nice closing fanfare. Next, the Blue Stars took the field with their show “Voodoo; I Put A Spell on You.” Opening with the Etta James’ classic “At Last”, the show had strong blues and jazz feel throughout as it followed the demise of love gone wrong. The guard used both sabers and voodoo dolls to help tell the story. By the end of the evening at Belvidere High School, several little girls in the crowd were proudly playing with the cloth voodoo dolls available as a souvinir at the Blue Stars’ trailer. I took my 11 year old and 14 year old daughters to the show. The 11 year old is taking both snare & French horn lessons this summer because she can’t decide what she wants to play come fall. She’d never been to a corps competition. My 14 year old is an incoming freshman and has her first marching band practice this next week. She hadn’t been to a corps show since she was little. They both enjoyed the Blue Stars’ show and were on their feet by the end! Little did they know what awaited them as the Madison Scouts took the field with their 75th anniversary show. Madison’s 2013 show is called “Corps of Brothers - 75 Years of Survival” and it was built around a military brotherhood theme. The guard sported desert camouflage and, at one point, used some really cool large flags simulating helicopter rotors. The Scouts incorporated their “You’ll Never Walk Alone” into their show as a closer as guard members carried off some of their fallen brothers. It was incredible! Although I am a Phantom fan, this 2013 Madison show was by far my favorite of the night. Of course, it was a crowd pleaser like the Scouts’ shows often are, but I think it’s also a pretty good show with a great concept, good music, strong visuals and a good drill that has some interesting points. I was disappointed with their score. As the summer continues, I hope they improve. My girls loved the Madison Scouts! The Scouts were their favorite, too. The Cadets had a big sound and, of course, crisp marching with their show “Side by Side”. I wasn’t wild about the drill. The show incorporated what I can only call big rolling prop closets. There were 14, cloth-covered 10 ft. towers that were a major part of the show. These big rectangles on wheels were different colors on each side matching guard uniforms in color. They were used to sort of direct the visuals and design flow. Frankly, I found them very, very distracting. Guard and sometimes playing members moved these towers no fewer than 11 times! It might have been more … my counting sort of got distracted by the towers themselves. The end of the Cadets’ show was very muted. Honestly, I was surprised that it was over. The Cadet’s website describes the end as a “moment of quiet contemplation.” That is certainly accurate. The Cadets’ show is highbrow drum corps. It will be well received. It was well received by the judges at the Show of Shows. But, it’s not for me. I’m a summer blockbuster kind of gal and, while I can appreciate the critically acclaimed masterpiece, I don’t often truly enjoy it. I did like the 10 ft poles the Cadets’ guard used during a ballad. Those were sharp and visually interesting. Phantom Regiment closed out their home show with their “Triumphant Journey.” Since the concept is basically a fairy tale, I thought the girls might enjoy it. They, however, were still blown away by Madison and so were probably a tad bored by the technically better shows that came after. Phantom’s music was good and I think this show will keep developing. I didn’t make many notes. After being dazzled by Madison and then disappointed by the Cadets, I think I was just a little dazed. Phantom’s scholarship and awards presentations, encore performance and such were all well done. Phantom’s overall classiness was reinforced with their special tribute to Madison in honor of the Scouts’ 75th anniversary. The combined Phantom/Madison presentation at the end of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was tremendous. I haven’t been to a drums corps show in years. Now, after last night, I’m contemplating at trip to Madison next weekend for Drums on Parade. I’d like to see the Troopers’ “Magnificent 11” show and a real return to their “western” tradition. But, I can’t lie. I’d like to see Madison again!
  3. 2013 DCI Season

    So glad the 2013 season is underway. Congrats to Carolina Crown for winning in Mesa, AZ, tonight. Who is going to Belvidere on Friday night for Phantom's Show of Shows?
  4. Incoming freshmen at any high school in Illinois who plan to join their school’s marching band are invited to participate in a volunteer research project regarding participation in high school band. The purpose of this study is to learn more about children’s participation in band over the course of their high school career. The goal is to unearth positive stories about marching band and the benefits students receive from it. These perspectives may be used in the future to help promote marching band in a positive light. Selected participants are subject to parental approval. Participation is confidential, voluntary and may be discontinued at any time. Participants will complete a few questionnaires over the course of their high school band participation. A limited number of participants may be asked to keep a diary or answer more detailed questions about their marching band experiences. School affiliation will not be identified. Information gleaned will not be shared with schools, teachers, booster organizations, etc. This project will endeavor to discover positive benefits of marching band participation for students. Information gleaned may be used at some point in the future to promote marching band in general and the positive impact it has on participating students. To learn more, please email: ahrobertswriting@gmail.com Participants are needed before mid-June.
  5. Incoming freshmen at any high school in Illinois who plan to join their school’s marching band are invited to participate in a volunteer research project regarding participation in high school band. The purpose of this study is to learn more about children’s participation in band over the course of their high school career. The goal is to unearth positive stories about marching band and the benefits students receive from it. These perspectives may be used in the future to help promote marching band in a positive light. Selected participants are subject to parental approval. Participation is confidential, voluntary and may be discontinued at any time. Participants will complete a few questionnaires over the course of their high school band participation. A limited number of participants may be asked to keep a diary or answer more detailed questions about their marching band experiences. School affiliation will not be identified. Information gleaned will not be shared with schools, teachers, booster organizations, etc. This project will endeavor to discover positive benefits of marching band participation for students. Information gleaned may be used at some point in the future to promote marching band in general and the positive impact it has on participating students. To learn more, please email: ahrobertswriting@gmail.com Participants are needed before mid-June.
  6. Freshman Students Sought for Research

    Incoming freshmen at any high school in Illinois who plan to join their school’s marching band are invited to participate in a volunteer research project regarding participation in high school band. The purpose of this study is to learn more about children’s participation in band over the course of their high school career. The goal is to unearth positive stories about marching band and the benefits students receive from it. These perspectives may be used in the future to help promote marching band in a positive light. Selected participants are subject to parental approval. Participation is confidential, voluntary and may be discontinued at any time. Participants will complete a few questionnaires over the course of their high school band participation. A limited number of participants may be asked to keep a diary or answer more detailed questions about their marching band experiences. School affiliation will not be identified. Information gleaned will not be shared with schools, teachers, booster organizations, etc. This project will endeavor to discover positive benefits of marching band participation for students. Information gleaned may be used at some point in the future to promote marching band in general and the positive impact it has on participating students. To learn more, please email: ahrobertswriting@gmail.com Participants are needed before mid-June.
  7. 5K Walk/Run in Newton, IL, to Benefit Miss D Scholarship Fund Race Part of Newton's 19th Annual Strawberry Fest Early Registration Now Being Accepted Newton, IL – The Third Annual Miss D’s 5K Run & Walk will take place on June 1 during the annual Strawberry Fest in Newton, IL. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Miss D Scholarship Fund, honoring long-time Newton High School band director Carolyn Domineck. Carolyn (Miss D) Domineck, served as band director in Newton for more than two decades, establishing this small school as a powerhouse among downstate Illinois marching bands. In recent years, friends of Domineck’s established a scholarship fund to honor her, her contributions to Jasper County and the positive influence she had on hundreds of NCHS students over the years. This annual 5K event is the scholarship fund’s primary fundraiser. The 2013 race will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 1 on the square in Newton. This 5K is sponsored by the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce and local businesses. The race offers a $200 cash prize for the overall male and female winners as well as $40 first-place cash prizes in each of the following categories: 14 & under, 15-18, 19-29, 30-40 and 40+. Early registrants will score a race t-shirt as part of their registration, and all participants can enjoy free homemade strawberry ice cream at the event. Pre-registration for the race is now being accepted. Runners and walkers can download the form from the event’s social media page on Facebook under Miss D’s 5K Walk/Run. The early registration fee, due by May 21, is $20 and includes a commemorative t-shirt. Same-day registration is available and will take place in front of P.S. Realty on the square in Newton from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. race day (June 1). The race-day registration fee is also $20 but does not include a t-shirt. Runners and walkers who register after May 21 may purchase a t-shirt for an additional $15. Anyone wishing to purchase an event t-shirt without participating in the race may do so by completing the registration form with the “shirt only” option and sending it along with $15. All individual shirt orders and race pre-registrations should be submitted by May 21 to the address on the form. Domineck passed away in December 2012. Race organizers are hoping to draw more entries than ever as a tribute to Miss D’s legacy not only to the NCHS band program but to women in music and to small school marching bands as well. To learn more about Miss D and the scholarship fund that bears her name, visit www.missd.fbcnewton.com. To learn more about the race, visit the Miss D’s 5K Walk & Run page on Facebook. Or, contact June Bierman by phone at (618) 783-3524 or by Email at jmbierman@psreal.com Make plans to visit Jasper County and enjoy the 19th Annual Strawberry Fest. Run the 5K in the morning and take in the Festival later in the day. Strawberry Fest takes place Friday, May 31 and Saturday June 1 on the Square in Newton and features Miss D’s 5K, music, food, entertainment and more. The Jasper County Chamber of Commerce welcomes craft and vendor booths for the event. To learn more, visit the chamber’s website at www.newtonillinois.com.
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