Thursday, July 16, 2009

SCV Takes My Breath Away

Southwest Corps Connection
June 24, 2009
Glendale Community College Stadium -- Glendale, AZ

It was about 100 degrees or so during the day in the Tempe area, and had cooled down to a balmy 98 degrees by the time we arrived at GCC. We laughed as we tried to figure out which corps were practicing as we passed them. By saying "we laughed," I actually mean that Bro laughed at me because I was being idiotic about the confusion of all of the different corps wearing blue. Bro and I checked out the souvie trailers and I bought a bag from SCV. Bro said that I didn't need another bag, but I just looked at him like he was crazy. What the heck does "need" have to do when I'm supporting my corps? What the heck does "need" have to do when I'm buying a bag, for that matter? Anyway, it looks like the SCV uniform: green, with a red sash situated diagonally from one corner to the other, and it's closed by a drawstring. Once I used it, Bro was, like, "it looks like you're wearing the uniform!" and all talk of "need" went away. I also bought an SCV CD of their new show because I'm already familiar with the music, and, um, HELLO. It's VANGUARD.

Our seats were situated on the 20 yard mark, to the audience's right of the 50. We were about 8-10 rows up, and the stadium is pretty shallow anyway, so our seats were pretty good. Although there were no backs to the seats, there was plenty of leg room so that people could get by easily. The seats were just concrete, nothing fancy, but at least they stayed cooler than they could have been had they been aluminum or something ridiculously hot.

The Star-Spangled Banner was played on the trumpet by David R. Coolidge, who played for the Madison Scouts from 1994-1997.

The Academy Summer Youth Guard of the Arizona Academy of Performing Arts did a routine to "Love Shack." Call me a prude, but I don't think that this is an appropriate song for a group of 14-year olds and under to perform with. Did they even KNOW the song before they were taught to dance to it? And um, hello, it's *Love Shack*. It's in the title. You don't need to hear the lyrics to know that they should be using a different song than this one. Like "Erotic City." ;)

Repertoire: "Life" (Original music by Incognitus)
They're not wearing masks, so I got confused about who they were. No wonder all of the blue was confusing me out there! Aren't they afraid we'll figure out who they are if they don't wear their masks? Or is it just too dang hot to wear those things at the moment? The color guard was wearing masks, though. Bro noticed that the corps is wearing hats this year, which may impede the whole mask thing, but then I remembered that SCV had their aussies on as well as their masks for "Phantom of the Opera," so that's not an excuse. They have a big silver flag with the Incognito icon, while the sound of a heart beat is played by the synthesizer. This heart beat leads to the bass drums playing the same beat. The synthesizer sound made me think of King Kong, and I didn't really like it. The rifles have a little heart on each one. The show ends with a flatline sound, which presumably means that it's the end of Life as we know it. I said, "So...they died." Bro's response: "It's not a happy show." It also needs work intonation-wise, so that at least the Life part can be happier.

Repertoire: "Western Side Story" -- Cave by R. Peck; Adelina De Maya, Movement 2 by J. Curiale; One Hand, One Heart/ John Dunbar Theme by L. Bernstein / J. Barry; Spaghetti Western, Movement 3 (Noon of Fire); Gun Battle from Billy the Kid by M. Daugherty / A. Copland; Pentium by P. Graham

The color guard was dressed like Native American Indians, so with the Troop's regular uniform, it's like a Cowboys & Indians theme. I really like this show. The music was awesome! I love all of the western touches to the West Side Story music. I especially like that they kept the 3/2 timing of "America" for the "Adelina de Maya." They had flags with a picture of sabre going through a heart during "One Hand, One Heart." I like the black drum heads. See? You can just use a suspended bass drum like the Troopers did instead of making heart beat sounds with a stupid synthesizer. Nice rifle ripple! The show is very well done, and I hope to see it all 3 days during Finals week!

Repertoire: "Shiver" -- Winter by A. Vivaldi; Glide by R. Newbury & J. Ausdemore; Landslide by S. Nicks; Tarantella (from The Blue Room and Other Stories) by P. Kline; Coronation (from Stardust) by I. Eshkeri

Are they cold? The guard is wearing ski vests. They must be way hot in those things out here in the desert. Do these people not remember that this is a *summer* activity and will therefore be out in the sunshine? Anyway, the all-white flags are really pretty. Bro "appreciates the overall excellence as exemplified by the guard proper traversing the field as the rifle duet made a toss." APPARENTLY, the Bro has been listening to color guard critique a lot lately. The soprano solost played really high, making his own face turn really red. I don't understand how the snowball turned black. Did it get dirty rolling down the mountain? They made a snowflake! I wonder if it's different for every show. ;) There was a whooosh of wind, during which the corps made their hats move up and down as a reaction to the wind. Cool. The guard has ski poles. I actually didn't hate "Landslide" like I usually do. Perhaps I just hate it when it's sung. All of the women have fake ponytails...or they've all grown their hair to look like fake ponytails. Their practice flags are least I think they're practice flags, since they're not the usual hand-painted ones. Excellent guard work all around.


Repertoire: "Ballet for Martha" -- Ballet for Martha by A. Copland

The old uniforms are back! I like the contrast of their uniforms with the drum major ones. Pretty color guard uniforms: yellow/white/black with long, flowing skirts like Martha Graham. The tiny bass drum player plays on a tiny drum. (I found out later in practice videos that this is the only girl on the bass drum line, and she is, indeed, much smaller than the guys). This corps makes me smile. The show is BEAUTIFUL. I really liked all of the solos/duets/trio, especially that trio. They all paused for their breath in unison, leaving the crowd hanging, and we all finally exhaled when they played again. Sigh. The company front is amazing, especially the last note held out, to about 20 counts. Hey! The DM is using a baton! Bro is irritated by the use of the synthesizer for the bird tweeting sounds. I agree with his irritation, but am slightly amused by his emotions as well. Somebody tried to yell "Vanguard," but it just doesn't work with this show at all. (Later that week, SCV sent out a message to their fans, asking that we refrain from the Vanguard yell this year because it is inappropriate for this show). Great rifle work. I like the dark green drums. I also like the contras' arms in V formation during the drum feature. This show really, really floored me. WONDERFUL. I'm really glad that I saw them before Finals, or I'd be upset that I was missing it all that time.

Repertoire: "Imagine" -- Imagine by J. Lennon; Children's Hour of Dream by C. Mingus; Hunting Wabbits 2 by G. Goodwin; Sky Blue by M. Schneider; Haitian Fight Song by C. Mingus

Cool umbrella with the clouds on the underside. It reminded Bro that he can't wait to get his Phregiment umbrella out of storage. The CG wore blue & white cloud tops. They had light bulb flags at one point. I thought that the drum corps dancing was weird. Rockin' horns, especially the contras, and cool drum feature. This corps likes to strip. I can't actually remember the last show where there wasn't any stripping involved. Today, the corps took off their jackets toward the end, revealing a black t-shirt. I saw in a live webcast since then that they now strip to the same blue & white cloud shirts as the CG. I don't really like it. Bro thinks that they'll have a surprise later with the stripping thing, although I don't think that the shirts were exactly what he had in mind. "...2, 3, Bloo!"

Repertoire: "The Ascent" -- The First Ascent, Call of the Mountain by J. Curiale; The Storm, An Alpine Symphony by R. Strauss; Lifeline, An Alpine Symphony by R. Strauss; The Final Ascent, Kingfishers Catch Fire by J. Mackey

They have a ladder on the field. And a rope. Pretty purple & gold flag, as well as the long blue flag. They yellow sash is pretty, but I'm not sure if I like it as a belt. Intonation was great, as always.

Encore: Santa Clara Vanguard :)
They played a little bit of "Ballet for Martha," then their signature "Send In the Clowns." I love the long hold and the breath: WOW. (I'm loving how people breathe today, I guess). I closed my eyes for part of the song because the visual was getting in the way. Amazingly, wonderfully, gorgeous. Thank you, SCV.


Open Class
54.0 Incognito

World Class
66.90 Troopers
67.70 The Academy
71.90 Blue Knights
74.60 Bluecoats
76.30 SCV -- YAY!!!

2nd Encore: The Academy
The guy that did the National Anthem also played with The Academy for the encore, and his solo was ... wow! They played one of the latin songs from "Danzon," a show that I really enjoyed when they won the title for Division II. Their small bass drummer is also 12. Must be the rule or something.

When we got back to the car, the temperature was 96 degrees. We actually fared quite well in the heat, since there was no sunshine beating down on us, and a very slight breeze wafted through the stadium several times. What a nice drum corps show, filled with plenty of World Class corps! SCV winning just takes the cake. :)

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