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NME Legacy

Phantom's 2013 Show of Shows

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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!

 

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