Saturday, August 8, 2020

Phregiment Phandom

If this had been a normal summer, tonight would have been DCI Semifinals night.  I got a hot dog at lunch today because, APPARENTLY, I miss stadium food.  When I sent a picture of my food to Bro and V, Bro thought that maybe he should go buy a personal pan pizza and eat it 3 hours later.  I laughed and laughed.  Tonight, I'm watching DCI's broadcast of the Hall of Fame ceremony.  Congratulations to Robbie Robinson, Sal Salas, and Tony DiCarlo!  I got a big smile on my face when they showed part of SCV's Les Miserables show and their Scherazade pillows during Sal Salas' section.  I'm digging the fact that the Hall of Famers are toasting the new inductees from their homes.

Today's drum corps memory is about Phantom Regiment, or whom I like to call "Phregiment".  Back in June, which feels simultaneously like 5 years ago and just last week, I wrote that "Harmonic Journey" was one of my top 3 Phregiment shows.  Were you curious about the other 2 shows, or did you already know?  

I think that I enjoy Phregiment so much because of their focus on symphonic music for many of their shows.  Their musicality is lush, and I really liked their traditional helmets and plumes, as well as that beautiful color guard.   I think that they're my favorite non-California corps, with a close second going to The Academy.  So I'll share with you in no actual order my favorite Phregiment shows.  

1989: New World Symphony

I've never actually watched this show until a couple of weekends ago, when Phregiment was streaming a bunch of shows, but I really like New World Symphony, and if I was Dvorak, I would want Phregiment to play my piece just like that.  I guess those poufy hair things were the fashion at that time, because they look like SCV's CG from their Phantom of the Opera show that year.  This show took 2nd to SCV's Phantom.  Either way, a Phantom was going to win that year.

2011:  Juliet

I love the story of Romeo and Juliet, even with its tragic ending.  This was played from Juliet's perspective, and, SPOILER: she kills herself at the end.   This came 3 years after the Spartacus show, and then there was Turandot.  Their corps director said that they've gotten pretty good at the dying stuff now.  I love the drama, I love the CG uniforms, and I love the music. I also love that they incorporated their signature song, "Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral" into the show.

2007:  On Air

I like this entire show, but my favorite part was the Flower Duet from Lakme.  Here's a video of the drill design with the duet audio.  I always need to bring you a different perspective, right?

2005: Rhapsody

A boy in the color guard!  What?  Lots of umbrellas.  Gershwin.  I would have been thrilled if this show had won in 2005.

Bro found my trip reports from 2005, so I'm sharing the Phregiment portion with you here.

Allentown 08/06/2005:



Repertoire: "American in Paris" and "Rhapsody in Blue" by G Gershwin
They have a LOT of umbrellas.  A LOT.  The sole male color guard member was great with all aspects of his performance.  He danced like Gene Kelly, and at one point, even tap danced!  Yes, on the grass.  OK, he wasn't actually tap dancing, but he did the movements while the drummers tapped the side of their drums, which made the effect of tap dancing.  They had a lot of costume and umbrella changes.  The music is very clean, but they need to straighten out their drill lines at the end of the program.  This is a wonderful show, and got both V's & my votes for favorite show tonight.

Quarterfinals: 08/11/2005
"PHREGIMENT    95.275
Beautiful sound, and clean runs.  Where are all of the other umbrellas?  I swear that there were more of them at the end when we saw them in Allentown.  Ryan said, "Even the pregnant lady stood up!" (to applaud)."

The pregnant lady, by the way, was V, with Brady in vitro.

Semifinals: 08/12/2005
"PHREGIMENT    96.075
In yesterday's report, I forgot to mention the rain sticks. In order to get the audience to participate, Phreg is asking people to stop by their trailer to buy a rainstick, so that we can make it sound like rain before the show starts, since they have those umbrellas.  We went to the trailer, but they were actual rainsticks, which were $26.00 each.  The guy in front of us yesterday told some BS to the people next to him, saying that Phreg strategically placed people in the stands to play the rainsticks.  I wonder how much other stuff he makes up because he doesn't actually know the truth?  Anyway, $26 was too expensive, so we didn't buy rainsticks.  I said that if they were, like, a $1.00 or so, we would all have them.  Ryan said that he'd even settle for a Pixie Stick at this point.  
Oh...umbrella formations!  I missed the second one, because it went too fast.  Great contras, great keyboards, great everything.  LOVE this show."

Finals: 08/13/2005
Fantastic music!  Oh, and nice diagonals. :)  Girl, do NOT drop your flag!  It's FINALS!!!"

2003: Harmonic Journey

I wrote a whole blog post about this one.  

2008: Spartacus

This was my vote for favorite drum corps show that's not SCV.  The Khachaturian ballad was exquisite, the battle was awesome, and the slaying of the drum major at the end was iconic.  They all stayed in character from before they got onto the field until the very end.  I loved the mood that they set at the beginning, such a perfect way to start the show.  Not only was there drama on the field due to the storyline, but the competition itself had its own drama.  Phregiment was in 3rd place on Quarterfinals night, 2nd place on Semifinals night,and 1st place on Finals night by 0.025.  It was like they were killing the competition one corps at a time.  The crowd was absolutely electric that night, and they got the participation they wanted for the General Effect boost when people started standing up in the stands and yelling out "I! AM! SPARTACUS!!!!"  I was one of them.  What an awesome show.  It was fun to see some of the folks talk about it on Zoom during that Phregiment stream that I watched.  

Blog post from my first viewing, at the Rose Bowl:

"I. AM. SPARTACUS!" (Or, as I heard it the first two times: "Hey! You! Whatcha Got?!" Yes, that's what I actually thought I heard. Perhaps the corps should enunciate the first two times a little bit more). "

Blog post from Quarterfinals:

"Very, very, very cool. Violent, but cool. I'm Spartacus, too!"

Blog post from Semifinals:

"The violence never stops."

Blog post from Finals:

"Most gorgeous solo of the entire day: that mellophone solo during the ballad. Bro wondered if this soloist was part of last year's Lakme duet.'s possible."

"1) And with a score of 98. 1 - 2- 5 (collective gasp), PHANTOM REGIMENT!!!!!!!"

I don't know what their corps yell "SUTA!!!" means, but SUTA, Phregiment!  Keep on bringing that baton.

Next Up:  Not Finals

Friday, August 7, 2020

The Geometrics of 2002

DCI Finals
 Camp Randall Stadium
Madison, WI
August 10, 2002

It's Throwback Thursday!  Today would have been Quarterfinals Day of DCI Finals Week, and I went to work today.  I remembered the other day that there was one year that I didn't get to go to Finals because I didn't have enough seniority at the time at work.  I was on the waiting list, and one of the guys that was approved never actually went on his vacation, but cancelled too late so that I could arrange travel and buy tickets to the event.  I was livid, especially because that was the 35th anniversary of SCV and they had a special performance, at Drum Corps Mecca: Madison.  So ever since that time, I have never wanted to talk about that year, and never wanted to see any of the videos.   I did see some of the early season performances, but don't remember much about them because I wasn't blogging yet, and I really didn't want to be reminded of missing such a fun event.  

But this year is like no other, and I decided to finally break down and watch Bro's DVDs.  I thought this night would be fitting not just because it's TBT, but also because Quarterfinals is the time when I get to see shows I haven't seen live yet, and most of the corps' shows on these DVDs are foreign to me.  So yes, I'm watching these in reverse order, with lowest Finals score first, and so forth.  This should be fun for me...I hope it is for you, too.

Let's go back in time 18 years.  Get your flux capacitors fluxing, and your TARDIS tardising.  It's 2002!

I am typing as I watch, and viewing the Multi Camera setting, with audio setting at Dolby Digital 5.1.

Repertoire: "City Riffs" -- On the Town; Simple Song from "Mass"; Prelude, Fugue and Riffs; Make Our Garden Grow from "Candide",  all by L. Bernstein

Ooh, I like the guard uniform tops, like suits.  A couple of rifle drops early in the show.  I like the change fro mthe bright yellow flags to the yellow ombre to green ones.  Nice marimba runs during the duet.  The purple and blue flags are very pretty.  Ooh, nice stockings!  Are they actually stockings?  Cute head bobbing by the bass drummers during the contra feature.  Do that tumble, girl!  I don't know how anyone can do the splits, much less after a tumbling pass, but that's because I never had those talents.  I like how the female guard tops are business in the front, party in the back.  Oh, wait.  They're not all like that.  Never mind.  I like that one guard uniform, then.  Their shoes are cute, too, because they are t-straps!  Clearly, I'm just shopping for my own guard uniform at this point.

Repertoire: "Desert Winds" -- The Wind and the Lion by J. Goldsmith

Looks like the drum judge on the field asked if oneof the tenor players was OK as they had put down their drums for a bit while the others continued.  He joined later on.  One of the CG guys kinda looks like my friend Ed from UCI choir, but he would have been too old to participate in that year.  I do not like those peach/brown/mustard color flags.  Eeww.  Are they supposed to be lion color?  Is the movie about an actual lion?  I've never seen it.  Go, bass drums!

SPIRIT from Jacksonville State University
Repertoire: "Darkness Into Light" -- Easter Symphony, Mvt. III, "Symphonia Resurrection" by D. Holsinger

Aw, she's already crying, and Brandt is still announcing the corps!  That's a big delta on their uniforms.  The CG is wearing masks. They are not covering their nose and mouth, though.  I've become far too focused on people's masks these days.  Oh, it sounds a bit like Bond!  Nice cross formation.  Yay, cymbals!  They did a headchopper move.  Yay!  The drums formed a delta.  I like those red flags with the hint of Spirit blue in them.  Now that other girl is crying!  

Repertoire: "The Signature Series" -- Heat of the Day by L. Mays & P. Metheny, Candle in the Window by J. Murphy & F. Wildhorn, and Strawberry Soup by D. Ellis

I miss Bones.  Nice red all over, CG!  Oh, the corps comes on to the field after the pit begins playing.  Neato.  I like that brass opening!  Run, drum judge, run!!!  There's their signature marquis cross!  Oh, I understand the title now.  I like the blue flags with the gold stripe across the middle.  Trio of screaming sopranos = triple the fun!  I like how the pit player in front of them was all smiles.

Repertoire: "Odyssey" -- Introduction & Dance arr. by B. McConnell, C. McNutt, & J. Meyer;  Millennium Symphony, Mvt. 1 by M. Kamen; Scherzo from "Millennium Symphony" by M. Kamen; Javelin by M. Torke

The drum major winked as he took off his hat/shako.  I like those CG uniforms with the halter-ish bra top and accents on the pants, with the boot showing.  If I could pull that off, I would totally wear it.  Those are big drums they're carrying around!  That soloist looks familiar, like he's the one that was the focus of two of the last shows they ever played, but then he would have had to be, like 16 or something if he was still around in 2008 or whenever that was.  He played very well.  I've decided that if I had any sewing talent, I would design a line entitled "Drum Corps Chic by Sher".  These are the kind of things I contemplate during drum corps, so we're right on point right now.  

Repertoire: "Urban Dances" -- Paradise Utopia from "Concerto for Bass Trombone"  by C. Brubeck; New World Overture from "Dancer in the Dark" by G. Bjoerk, S. Sigurjon, and T. Lars

I miss those helmets with the long puffy plumes.   I like how fast they move while in block formation.  Ooh, inset of soprano soloist!  Nice! I like that rockin' piece!  

Taking a short intermission to watch "America / O Canada" by everyone at Finals Retreat, because it's on the same DVD.  Also, I need to put on my headphones so I don't wake up my dad.

Repertoire: "Heroic Sketches: The Passion of Shostakovich" -- Oppression: Symphony No. 10, Mvt. II; Introspection: Piano Concerto No. 2, Mvt. II; False Hope: Piano Concerto No. 2, Mvt. I; Victory and Celebration: Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad", Mvt. IV, all by D. Shostakovich

I love when Phregiment plays Shostakovich.  They are the Shostakovich Corps for me.  I also dig the uniroms with the tan top and white pants, and that sash is snazzy on the drum major.  Those CG uniforms are very Russian-looking.  Love it.  I'm going to call that drum color "butterscotch".  Nice solo leading into the ballad with the iridescent flags.  Pretty.  They're acting like it's OK that their friends tried to behead them with the sickle props.  Final kneel with kick out!

Repertoire: "You Are My Star" -- Appalachian Spring by A. Copland; You Are My Star by R. Seeley; The Music of Artie Shaw by A. Shaw

If they don't form at least 5 stars, I'm done with this show.  Why do they think I need to read throughout this show?  I guess this was before narration.  I do prefer this over the talky-talk.  Choir corps!  I like the iridescent flags with the stars on them.  That doesn't count as a formation, though.  Fun jazz dancing.  Conquest!  I was thinking, "That one guy in the pit is about to lose it," and then the next shot is of him crying.  Awwww.  They formed the American flag with their bodies laying on the ground!  I'm done with this show, though.

Repertoire: "Sound, Shape and Color" -- Trivandrum by G. Henderson; Symphony No. 2 "Romantic"  by H. Hanson; Symphony for Organ and Orchestra by A. Copland

The Aussies!  I like that opening hit with the bright orange and silver flags.  Aw, greeen-feathered soloist.  I wonder if this year's age-outs still get green feathers.  Triangles!  Yes, I will likely name all of the shapes that I see.  Even the tip of the flag is a little orange triangle.  Circles!  I have always loved when the corps gets into little groups of 3 and 4.  Those are big double flags, and I like the purple with the little bit of an orange ellipse.  It's square time, though.  Those reflective square props are interesting the way they can collapse and stuff.  Diamonds!  Uh oh, now all the shapes are on the field, and we get to see the Viper!  Oh, the detail on the CG uniform has each of the shapes on it.  I like that.  VAAAANNNNGUAAAARRRRDDD!!!  Oh, look how the CG poses at the end by making shapes with their arms!  No, they did not spell "Y.M.C.A."  

Here's my one picture from tonight:

Repertoire: "An American Revival" -- Times Square from "On The Town"  by L. Bernstein, B. Comden, A. Green, & R. Edens; Dreams Come True from "Field of Dreams by J. Horner; Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by D. Raye & H. Prince; New York Memories (Fancy Free) / America the Beautiful by L. Bernstein

Was it a big Bernstein anniversary in 2002?  I like the horns blaring like taxis, although that guy in the stands was a bit late calling for one.  Who was singing "New York, New York"?  Was it the audience?  Their props had writing on them that I couldn't read on some.  I like all of the tributes to the USA this year, almost a year after 9/11.  I love all of the fun during "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"!  Nice tribute with the reenactment of the Iwo Jima statue and the 9/11 photo.  

Why did they have to show us the sirens?

Repertoire: "Jazz-Music Made in America" -- Ragtime/Maple Leaf Rag by S. Flaherty/S. Joplin; I Got Rhythm / Fascinating Rhythm by G. and I. Gershwin; The House of the Rising Sun (Traiditional Blues); Channel One Suite by B. Reddie

I'm sorry, but that DM's salute was limp.  Ooh, bowler hats!  I like that soprano solo!  Hi, soloist!  (He waved at the audience.)  What fun to play Joplin on the marimba!  Rockin' the Gershwin, BD!!!  Ooh, that note is high.  Is this when all of the hair dancing started?  Great solo on HOTRS.  All the drummers circling the high hat stand was fun.

Repertoire: "Frameworks" -- I. Melody; II. Harmony;  III. Rhythm all by R. Saucedo, B. Kuhn,  and E. Johnson

I have heard many good things about this show.  Let's see what happens.  I love that DM salute.  Nice solos bouncing off of each other to open the show.  I like the drill of picking up folks as they move down the field, then get into a really tight block before opening up again.  Yeah, snares!  I heard that shave and a haircut bit from the basses!  "One and four and..."  starts the CG dancing with the frame of corps dancing around them, and I love it.  You know how I get irritated when people are supposed to be in a straight line, and they're not?  I can't get irritated at the Cavaliers today.  Whoo!  That was fun.

The Cavaliers won all captions that night, capping off their undefeated season and winning their 3rd gold medal in a row.  Congratulations, guys!!!

I looked for Bro, V, and Chun in the stands, but I didn't see them.  I'm now listening to the audio of the show designer of Cavaliers.  I miss hearing the audio of the designers and judges in later DVD releases.

Well, now 2002 exists in my brain in DCI.  That year got a lot better for me, as that was my Pretty Woman year.  I'm hoping that 2020 gets better, too.

Next up:  Not Semifinals

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Missing Indy with D'Saints

Today is Wednesday.  Not just any Wednesday, but now in times of COVID19 quarantine, it is I'm-supposed-to-be-in-Indianapolis-but-they-canceled-DCI-this-year Wednesday.  

So instead of traveling on a plane today, I went to work.  Instead of checking into a beautiful hotel room today, I'm at home.  I did manage to see Bro and V today so that I could pick up something that I'll be writing about later this week, though.  I also ordered Thai food for dinner for my dad and me.  I did eat a doughnut this morning (instead of for dessert after dinner).  So I've been trying not to whine about not being in the city that I've been in for the last 12 years at this time of year.  But it's annoying and I'm really irritated at the people who aren't taking this pandemic seriously and are walking around with no masks and attending huge gatherings and spreading the disease.  I mean, I've been annoyed for months, but this week, I'm more annoyed than usual, even though the DCI was season was canceled at the beginning of the pandemic.   

You see, DCI needed to make their decision early.  How were they going to rehearse, even outside, with people dancing on the field, lifting each other when we're supposed to be socially distancing?  How were they all going to be sleeping on gym floors while staying 6 feet apart?  It was the best decision they could make, and it was made even before the science showed that the major way of spreading the disease was with respiratory droplets.  There have been several seasons when a majority of a corps is sidelined because of some virus, and with all of those kids coming into contact with other kids across the country, it would have been a nightmare.  I was wary of sitting next to strangers in the stands, too.  Heck, I can't even get into a car with my brother because he's not from the same household as me, much less share a hotel room!

So I totally get it.  But I am still entitled to have feelings of sadness.  I try to deal with it by posting these memories, so let's go back to some old trip reports to remember happy days in Indy, shall we?  This post is not focused so much on the corps, but on us:  Bro, V, and Me.

First, the traditional song I sing whenever we go to Indianapolis:  "Indiana" by Rockapella, video with lyrics, guys not shown.  This one is of the guys singing live in Fishers, Indiana.  Dude, that's fast!

Here are links to the actual trip reports, and a blurb from each report.

Our first year going to Indianapolis, and we got lost.  I still kind of get lost.  I'm glad we don't drive anymore when we're there.  

"I sat in the same row as a lady from Indianapolis, so I got some tips on where to eat. We'll see if I actually get to Houlihan's, Shapiro's Deli, or St. Elmo's."

2020 Update:  I have still never eaten at these places. 

Lucas Oil Stadium construction was not completed in time, so we drove to Bloomington every day of the competition.

"We went to the Greenwood mall and bought flip-flops for both of us at Dick's Sporting Goods. I know, I know. MORE shoes, Sher? But, but, they were on sale! It's Bro's fault anyway. Take this girl shopping for shoes and you know she's going to look for some for herself. "

2020 Update:  I still wear those flip-flops when I go to Indianapolis.  I call them "My Drum Corps Shoes".  Once, I couldn't find them in my house when I was trying to pack for Indy, and went ballistic until I finally found them where someone else had put them away.  

This was the first time that DCI Finals was held at Lucas Oil Stadium, and we've got a lot more years to go.

"We then went to lunch at Tastings -- A Wine Experience.  You can purchase a card for whatever amount of wine you want to get, and then can try as many wines as you'd like with your card, based on the price of the wine.  So you would get 2 oz of whatever.  I had 3 wines, and Bro had 4 in order to use up the card.  Unfortunately, his 4th wine bottle had run out so he didn't get the full 2 oz, and the card wasn't charged the full rate either.  The trouble is that we then had a balance on the card for less than any of the other bottles available.  Oh well.  He had a Filet Mignon Pizza, and I had a prosciutto-wrapped pesto shrimp plate.  Both dishes were very good.  I enjoyed my wines, and plan on purchasing a couple of them when I get home:  a St. Supery Moscato from Napa, and a Villa Maria "Cellar Selection" Sauvignon Blanc.from New Zealand. "

2020 Update:  Tastings is now a traditional place for us to lunch for Finals week.  They do not have the Filet Mignon flatbread anymore, so we order the Goat Cheese & Fig flatbread.  We do order the Filet Mignon Salad, though, as well as the Ahi Tuna.  Bro always brings his Tastings card to Indy.  This is the eating/drinking establishment I miss most this week.

Bro and I shopped.  I bought a bracelet from Madison, because it has a fleur-de-lis charm, and a Devil's Staircase shirt from SCV.  Bro noticed that Phregiment and Academy had not yet opened their booths.  We bought some food for lunch, and ate at our desk."

2020 Update:  I've been shopping for DCI stuff online, but mostly purchased stuff from SCV.  I will be sitting at a desk for what should be Quarterfinals Day and Semifinals Day, but it will be a desk in my office, and I won't be so excited about having a desk those two days.

"SCV -- 91.85*
Bro (before the show started): They've changed the whole thing.
Sher: It looks the same to me so far.
Bro: They're going to do it all on their hands.
Sher: And play with their feet and buttholes?
Bro:  That would be funny.
Sher:  That would be gross!
Much inappropriate giggling ensued."

2020 Update:  I still giggle a lot when I read this.

"I brought snacks to munch on when we didn't want to deal with concessions.  But I did need water, and since the people working concessions were actually band boosters, they left the cap on the bottle for me. Bro told me to save it for another day.  So I did."

2020 Update:  We still have issues with needing to keep bottle caps in our bag.

This was the year that my netbook died, so I did a live blog during Semifinals.

"We hadn't had any breakfast yet, and Starbucks was way crowded, so we found another coffee place called Bee Coffee. (They are still working on their website).  Their flavors of drinks looked quite delicious and original.  I ordered a HoneyBee Latte, and Bro and V ordered mango smoothies, which were quite yummy.  My latte was fine, although after having a taste of the smoothies, I wanted something fruitier, but oh well.  Next time. "

2020 Update:  We've been back to Bee Coffee a couple of times.  I still haven't had a smoothie.

This was the first year that we stayed at the JW Marriott.

"Since this is such a nice hotel, they don't have stuff to buy or a gift shop or vending machines or ice on each floor.  ICE.  You can call to have it delivered.  I didn't want to have to tip someone for ice, so I did the self-serve thing and took my square ice bucket to the 2nd floor, where they had about 5 ice machines in a row.  

Later, I got hungry again and went exploring, finding the walkway to the Courtyard.  At the Courtyard, they had a little bistro and a marketplace for snacks.  So I ordered some wings, bought Gatorade, and made my way back to the room.  But you know I wouldn't be telling this story for nothing.  I think I got onto 3 elevators before I was on the correct one to get to my room.  There are 2 banks of elevators.  I'm supposed to take the low-rise one.  I kept taking a high-rise, which shouldn't be possible to go up to those floors with my key, but on up it went without me even pushing a button.  Oops.  It was just a comedy of errors, and the other guy waiting for his elevator was not as amused as me.  He must be a bundle of joy at parties."

2020 Update:  I don't get confused about the elevators anymore, but I'm still perplexed about having to go downstairs to get ice.

"This morning, after I woke up and took a shower, Bro took a shower, and while he was in there, I needed to go downstairs.  I took the key card, which was in the thing that keeps the lights on.  So Bro was taking a shower in the dark until he got out to get his key.  Sorry, Bro!"

2020 Update:  We were just laughing about this the other day.  

" I had tried to get their attention but they were out of earshot.  Then I showed them what I found on the menu.

Sher: 2014 Force of Nature Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, CA

Yup.  A wine with the name of Vanguard's show!  It was perfect.  I couldn't find it with the other wines, and the server said that it is usually available, but they could open a bottle if I wanted a glass.  We all wanted a glass, so after I tasted it and decided that I liked it, we ordered a bottle.  I thought of bringing the bottle home, but Bro saw that we could get it through Bev Mo, so I just took the cork.  The wine was quite good, and paired well with our food.  Happiness!

It's good that I didn't take the bottle, because we didn't have time to walk back to the hotel to put it in our hotel room before walking to the stadium, and our bags were searched."

2020 Update:  This is still my favorite wine that we found at Tastings, and it is also my favorite time we've been there.

"I also bought a Cadets shirt for a friend's daughter, but it took me forever to decide because most of the shirts had the name of this year's show, and I don't like the show.  I don't know if she liked the show, either.  I did end up getting her one with the long intro that irritates me, but I didn't want to get her another black shirt, and I didn't know if she'd be OK with the ones with the crosses.  Why don't they have more generic shirts?  Ugh."

2020 Update:  I still haven't seen my friend, and I still have those shirts for her.

"We came back to the hotel and had drinks at the bar.  My watermelon margarita was kinda SCV colored, which made me happy.  It's nice to be able to speak freely, knowing that everyone around you is an SCV fan.  What would happen if someone walked in wearing another corps' shirt?  Probably immediate quiet and some looks.  I like staying in the same block of hotel rooms as my favorite corps!  We can all be drunk and happy together."

2020 Update:  This wasn't the first time I booked our hotel with SCV, and it wasn't the last.  My plan is to continue booking with them because of this feeling I quoted.

"On Thursday morning, Bro and I got up early, ate a donut each, and walked to Lucas OIl Stadium.  We arrived earlier than the gates were scheduled to open, so we watched the Colt Cadets color guard do their warm-ups.  Thank goodness they didn't search bags, because I had a bunch of snacks to help us last through our 14-hour drum corps day. "

2020 Update:  I miss my drum corps snacks.  I usually get them at the Farmers Market by my office, but they haven't been open since the pandemic.  At least I don't think so.  I'm usually work from home on those days now.  

I hope that I will have new memories to write about next year at this time.  I might lose my mind, wanting to eat EVERYTHING and go EVERYWHERE.  It might need to be double the number of days I'm usually there.

To Better Days

Next up:  Not Quarterfinals Day

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

That Viper, Though

I couldn't possibly post all of these drum corps memory blogs without mentioning the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets.  

They are the "B" corps in the SCV family, and they have a great legacy of their own.  When we've gone to SCV Family Day / Pacific Procession, we've seen them at humble beginnings of the season, and my, how they grow by the time they get to Finals, and obtain higher scores than some of the Division I or World Class corps!  

My favorite SCVC show was their 2000 "Journey From The Darkness", performing music by Rudin, Holsinger, and Melillo.  I loved the music, the drill, everything about this show.  

I'm wearing the tour shirt from this show, and it says "Journey Out of Darkness", but the wiki and CD say "From The".  So is my shirt a limited edition due to the error?  I think I did buy it on sale. Maybe that's why?

Ooh, I found video of their winning performance!  The person titled it "Journey Out of Darkness".  I'm so confused now.

I love that opening number, which had the intensity of quintessential SCV shows, like 1999, and the intensity doesn't stop until the show is done.  I miss those Aussies.  I also miss seeing more corps on the field than props.

They performed this show so well that they won the Gold medal for Division II.  At that time, there were different score sheets for Division II /III and Division I.  This didn't seem to bother SCVC a bit when they competed in Quarterfinals with the big kids, and scored so high that they made it into Semifinals; a first time for any corps to have both the A and B corps compete in Semifinals.  

Here's another video, either from Division I Quarterfinals or Semifinals.

I was like a proud Mama that day, and I had only been following the corps for a year or two, but I saw a parent of one of the SCVC members and she was beaming about how well they did.  

They wrote lyrics to their ballad, and I don't know any of them except the ending three words: "Santa Clara Vanguard", which they sang after their encore, and I sing it when I listen to the recording of their show.  

Some of my other favorite SCVC shows:  

2012 "Heroes and Legends" with the ending including a corps member wearing the traditional SCV uniform instead of the modern uniforms we see these days.  Here's a rehearsal video of their trademark Cymbals Viper from that year.  I love watching this.

2013 "The Art of War" with their "Adagio for Strings" reminding me of 2000 SCV.  Also,they do "Night on Bald Mountain", so yeah, I love that!  Hey, that drum major was Carl Huang!  He later became a drum major for SCV's "Babylon".  He has lots of medals, that guy does.

2017 "In Pieces" with their innovative stages and cool uniforms.  Here is a Cymbal Cam video during rehearsal, so you won't see their uniforms.  Hey!  It was uploaded by a friend of my former roommate's daughter!  I didn't know that he played with Blue Stars last year.  Cool for him.

SCVC has gone back to going to Finals every other year instead of every year, and this would have been a year for them to go to Indianapolis, so it's even more of a bummer that we couldn't see DCI this year.

I'm looking forward to next year's showdown!

Next up:  Not traveling to Indy

Monday, August 3, 2020

Hooked on Finals: A Drum Corps Fan's Story

It's story time.  Time to tell y'all how I got roped into this whole DCI Finals thing.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sherry who loved watching marching bands.  She auditioned for her junior high school drill team, got in, and marched for 2 years.  Although she couldn't fit marching band into her schedule when she got to high school, so she didn't audition, but as a member of the orchestra, she supported the Apache Marching Band by selling programs at the annual Arcadia Band Review, and attending high school football games just to see their halftime shows.  On some Thanksgiving weekends, she would join her brother in watching Drum Corps International on PBS.  This is when they would show the Finals competition that was recorded in August of that year.  Little did Sherry know while she was watching those shows that it was Bro's dream to someday go to DCI Finals.  Bro eventually graduated after falling in love with precision marching even more than Sherry, even though he never marched.  When Bro graduated from college and moved near Santa Clara, CA, he began to attend rehearsals and shows featuring the home corps, Santa Clara Vanguard.  Bro got us tickets to my first live shows in 1997, and of course, I was hooked.  I enjoyed SCV's "Fog City Sketches" and Blue Devils' "As Time Goes By", and the Cavaliers succeeded in making Sherry enjoy the music of Stravinsky for the first time as they performed "The Firebird".  (Yeah, I wasn't fond of that until then.)  

Bro decided that we were going to Madison to attend DCI Finals in 1999. I asked for time off of work, and except for one year before this COVID19 one, I have always asked for time off during a specific week in August.  :)  Bro's best friend, Chun, was convinced to attend these shows, too, and the 3 of us made the flight to Madison, WI.  

Madison is pretty much Mecca for DCI fans, due to a rich history of Finals competitions there,as well as some regional competitions.  At that time, Finals took place in different locations around the country, but every once in a while, they came back to Madison at Camp Randall Stadium.  The residents of Madison were well aware, then, of what drum corps was about, and the competition was featured on the news to let people know why there were a bunch of kids playing instruments and tossing flags all around town.  We went to Individual & Ensemble competitions by Lake Mendota.  We attended SCV rehearsals near the Oscar Mayer plant, which was less than fun for our olfactory senses, yet we stayed for a couple of hours.  I will always remember the several moments when the brass players were told to sing their parts instead of play their instruments while they went over their drill again and again.  I loved every moment of it except for the odor.  

We had our non-DCI adventures, too.  Bro needed socks because I think he forgot his, so we went to Kohl's department store.  We were not familiar with Kohl's at the time because it hadn't made its way to the West Coast yet.  We needed some food for snacks in our hotel room because we knew that we would be getting home late during our evenings there and wouldn't have any room service available.  So we asked the cashier at Kohl's where the nearest grocery store was located.  She looked at us like we had each grown an extra head out of our foreheads.  We tried other words for "grocery store", like "supermarket", or "market", or "a place where you buy food that's not cooked".  Then she finally understood us and told us there was a store nearby.  We later realized that Kohl's also had a grocery store!  Not at that present location where the cashier girl was, but another place.  Maybe we bought our groceries there, I'm not sure anymore.  

I remember the very long circular ramps leading us to our seats high up at Camp Randall, and being able to hear sirens behind the stands, as well as some corps warming up, especially BD.  I remember being overwhelmed by how much excitement happened that night by everyone in the crowd, and the electricity that was felt for every corps.  I also remember hearing other people on the shuttle bus talk about not understanding SCV's show because the music wasn't catchy enough for them.  I felt the steam rising in me, and Bro said that he was proud of me for not mouthing off at the people.  He knew.  They were Troopers fans and apparently, you can't do anything non-patriotic or whatever.  They are called the Vanguard for a reason.  OK, I'm getting all mad again!  It's 21 years later.  It's a whole person-old-enough-to-drink ago!

I also remember going to a restaurant on Finals night (IHOP or Denny's or something open late), and talking to a guy from the Cavaliers.  He told me that he had a lot of fun that summer, not like one of his friends who was a member of the Cadets and just worked hard the whole time.  Bro told me a moment later that maybe I shouldn't have been talking about another corps when there was a guy from the Cadets standing, like, 5 feet away from me.  Oops.  

Spartans won Division II and Mandarins won Division III.  I think we saw that happen.  I remember Spartans doing a Russian show, but when I looked up just now what they did that year, the title doesn't look familiar.  Maybe that was a different year.

Here's what I remember about the corps, besides what I'm currently watching on my very old 1999 VHS recording (!):

12th place: Colts
I got nothing in the memory bank, I guess.

11th place: Carolina Crown
Their show was "Jekyll and Hyde" from the Broadway show.  I love, love, LOVE J&H, and this was my first time to see Carolina Crown.  I didn't remember them from the PBS broadcast, maybe because they hadn't placed high enough back then.  I loved the costume changes the color guard did throughout the show as they showed Jekyll becoming more like Hyde, and being white on one half and black on the other during the Confrontation between the 2 characters.  Crown has always been special to me because of that show, even when they make choices with which I don't agree (WHEN are they going to get away from those wacked out freaking hats?!?!?!).  

10th place:  Boston Crusaders
I had heard of this corps but had never seen their shows, because this was the first year that they actually made it to Finals.

9th place: Crossmen
Nice to meet you, Bones!  No, I didn't actually meet Bones, but I loved learning about their tradition of having a phantom corps member saluting them during Finals week, and I now always try to get a picture of them.

8th place:  Phantom Regiment
Ah, Phantom.  I certainly remembered them from the PBS Broadcasts, and was happy to see their Tchaikovsky show.  Upon seeing them again tonight, I said "Hi, Tommy!" to the drum major on the screen.  I remember that he won the Leadership award that year, and he made a speech to the age outs.  They don't do those speeches anymore.  

7th place: Blue Knights
The shooting at Columbine happened in 1999, and BK had 2 corps members whom were present at the school on that horrible day.  The corps had patches in tribute to the victims of the shooting, and DCI did a little segment about them during the PBS broadcast.  I think I cried that night when they talked about it.  Back then, they still had a local artist hand-paint all of their flags, and I loved the uniqueness of it in a world of mass-produced, computerized designs.  BK was shown on TV that night in Madison instead of the Scouts because of the marching order, due to BK being in 6th place at Semis, and the live broadcast was only meant to be for the top 6.   I was not happy about that, seeing how beloved the Scouts were to their community.

6th place: Madison Scouts
"Jesus Christ Superstar".  This is the show that is just MADISON for me, my favorite one of theirs.  I loved the electricity in the air when they took the field, and the people in the stands went all CRAZY for them, rightly so.  It was so entertaining, from the beginning solo introduction to the end rapid formations from the fleur de lis to the cross to the star.  They are so loved in Madison that the local TV stations ended up showing their performance later that night on their news broadcasts.  Or was it the next morning?  I can't remember.  I got the tour shirt from that show, and Bro gave me a hard time about wearing a Madison shirt to an SCV rehearsal.  But I really like that show!  I never made that mistake again.  :)

5th place: Glassmen
I don't remember much except that I liked the shininess of their uniforms.

4th place: The Cadets
APPARENTLY, they work too hard.  They were the defending champions, so I get it.

3rd place: The Cavaliers
This was a great show, with the main theme of "Ode to Joy".  I loved their "diamond cutter"  movements, and their athleticism.  They were awesome.  APPARENTLY, they had fun.

1st place: Blue Devils and SCV (tie)
I love that the first time we went to Finals, our favorite corps won!  SCV was a point behind BD on Semifinals night, and they cleaned up their show by 0.8 to catch them!  (BD lost 0.2).  When the tie was announced, the crowd went bananas.  Chants of "SCV! SCV! SCV!" rang out throughout the stands, and SCV itself was as stoic as they were supposed to be.  I love that it could be heard during the broadcast, too (announcement is at the 5:25 mark). 

BD's " the edge of time" is one of my favorites, partly for the memory of that night, and partly because I just really like the show.  I just didn't like the color guard uniforms.  It reminded me of spiderwebs and it was creepy, not cool, like Spider-man.

SCV's "Inventions for a New Millennium" is one of my favorite shows, DUH.  Anyway, I love it for the drill, the music, the performance, the intensity of drum major Michael, and the green feathers in the Age Outs' Aussies.  I also love that Bro's friend Kenji was part of the corps and we were really excited for him!  I cried during their encore of "Send in the Clowns" as they dedicated it to one of their corps members who died in a car accident coming home from rehearsal that year.  His brother, who was in the accident with him, continued to play with the corps, and got to win for both of them that night.  And now I have tears in my eyes again.

Chun was our photographer back then, so I don't have corps pictures, or at least not ones as good as his.  Here's a pic of the 3 of us on Finals night.  I wonder where I put that sweatshirt?  

Sherry has only missed DCI Finals one time since then, which will be noted again later this week.  But for now, let's say that we'll get back to our Drum Corps Happily Ever After in 2021.

Next up for the blog:  SCV Cadets

Saturday, July 18, 2020

DLR LotD 07/17/20

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Friday, July 17, 2020 -- Special 65th Anniversary Edition

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disneyland is closed for its 65th anniversary, so I didn't get to do my traditional DLR Birthday trip.  Instead, I'm watching shows about  Disneyland on Disney Plus today.  I decided to have a Line of the Day from each show.

A Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland -- 1955
"For the next few weeks as far as we were concerned, all roads led to Disneyland." -- Walt Disney

Disneyland Around the Seasons (Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color) - 1966
"There are quicker and quieter ways to find out the time, but they're not as much fun." -- Walt Disney, about the clock at It's A Small World

The Imagineering Story: S1 Ep1 -- The Happiest Place on Earth - 
"The plaza, or the hub, is the heart of Disneyland." -- Walt Disney

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!  See you real soon, I hope!

5 years ago at the 60th anniversary

Saturday, July 4, 2020

A.Ham at My.Home

Hamilton on Disney+
July 3, 2020
The Sherry Cave

Yes, folks, I'm blogging about Hamilton from my house as I watch it.  I sent this Pic Collage to Bro and V.  

The last time I saw this show was in Puerto Rico with Lin Manuel Miranda reprising his title role, and I got all emotional thinking about that awesome trip, and the show that they gifted me for my birthday.  Then I started crying and realized that I needed to go back to watching the show and blogging already.  Also, those M&Ms needed my attention.

Love the vocal percussion during the opening castle logo.  Oh my gosh, I'm so excited!

I'm so happy that I can do this and maybe pay better attention another day, like tomorrow.  

I'm also happy that I get to see all of the performers that I hear when listening to my CD, even though I've liked all of the touring performers, too.

"Don't modulate the key and not debate with me!"

Love seeing Jonathan Groff's facial expressions as King George.  I love seeing all of the facial expressions up close!

That lighting with each BOOM!

Rewind is about to break my heart again.   Oh my gosh, her voice is so awesome!!!

Liz is watching right now, too, and loving the close-ups.

"Call me 'son' one more time!"  Whoa, so angry.

Lafayette / Jefferson is probably my favorite role(s) besides Hamilton.  Oh, it's Joe's, too!

I cannot help but say "Immigrants.  We get the job done!" with them, even when in the theatre, although without any sound.

"We'll never be free until we end slavery."

This is drum corps, but dancing with real-looking rifles and a live orchestra instead of brass instruments.  Also, you can't see the instruments.  So maybe Winter Guard?

Uh oh, here comes George again.  Crazy mofo.  "Awesome. Wow."  King George is from the San Fernando Valley.

"When your people say they hate you, don't come crawling back to me."  (You hear that, current President!?!?  Oh, sorry, I'm a little stressed out about our country right now.)

So, what actually happens to Theodosia?  I need to do some research.

Ooh, intermission!

I don't think Jefferson actually needs that cane if he can dance that way.

"We all know who really does the planting."

Love that cabinet meeting, especially when they reference Grandmaster Flash. 

So love Eliza providing the beatbox.

"My dearest, Angelica".  Grammar is important, and I love that they note that.

"Tell my wife John Adams doesn't have a real job anyway."

"Screw your courage to the screwing place." -- Macbeth / Beauty and the Beast / Hamilton

...and then Sherry gets pissed off at Hamilton.  But then again, he was a Tom Cat.

"I said that last time, it became a pastime."  Hey, that word is in my blog title!

Love that "Room Where It Happened" groove.

"You must be out of your go*&*mn mind!"  and then he talks about speaking with King Louis' severed head.

"I'm sorry.  What?"

Yes, George, history has its eyes on you.  Love King George's not realizing that a leader can just step down.  Also, his reaction to John Adams becoming president is hilarious.

Uh oh.  Ominous music.

Such power in Eliza's voice during "Burn".

"Everything is legal in New Jersey."

CRYING NOW.  Unimaginable.

"Can we get back to politics?"

"At least they know I know where France is."

I sometimes wish that my first name started with an "A", so I could sign letters like in the "A.Ham" / "A.Burr" way.

Ahhhhh, this countdown.  Sooo good.

Wise up, eyes up.

I love when she tells her story.  It's making me cry again.

That was so great!  Thank you, Disney, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the cast and crew of Hamilton!  I needed this to make my soul feel better in such a tumultuous time.  Weird,huh?  Because it's not like this is a happy-go-lucky kind of show, but it's just...ahhhh.

Good night, and Happy Independence Day, USA!