Sunday, June 21, 2015

Enjoy the Silence of No Narration

DCI West
Stanford Stadium
Palo Alto, CA
Saturday, June 20, 2015

I met up with Bro at his house on Thursday night, and he drove us all (V, Mr. B, Miss O and me) up to V's parents house in Oakley, CA on Friday.  I spent most of the ride organizing a show that will be taking place at my house in July.  We spent the rest of that day enjoying some family time by going swimming and sitting in the spa.  At one point, Bro accessed a periscope feed of one of the awards ceremony at the drum corps competition in Fresno.  I think it would be cool to watch drum corps while swimming or sitting in a spa.  The drum corps would be live, of course.  That would be a big swimming pool at the top of the stands, so maybe that's not very feasible, but I can dream.  Also, one would get really prune-y skin from being in the water for the length of time that we watch drum corps shows.

On Saturday, we all went to the flea market and the kids got some Pokemon cards.  Then Bro and I went to Palo Alto to start our drum corps competition season.  Bro had bought tickets that included a BBQ with the Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard alumni, which was pretty tasty.  I didn't really want to wear a wristband with balloons on it, and the guy marked up my arm when he put an x on my wristband, but that's OK.  During the BBQ. we were treated to BD Alumni playing some music, including "Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor".  The current BD members also played part of their show for us.  We had heard them during their stadium run-through while we were shopping earlier in the day, and they sound great, of course.  Then the current SCV members played all of the music from their show, which made us very happy.  They sound amazing.  We were also treated to the new arrangement of "Send In The Clowns".  They now take it at a quicker pace, and Bro says it's more like their original show and brings forth more emotion.

I bought a Blue Knights shirt because with their signature dots and a heart in the corner.  I was disappointed last year when they didn't have a shirt with the dots, so I made sure to buy one this year.  I also bought a 2013 SCV Les Miz CD, as well as a Blu-Ray of their Scheherazade 2014 tour.  

Our seats were in Row CC, seats 4-5, which were on the right 45 yard line and one row below the top row.  Brandt Crocker was the announcer.  Yay!  

The Freelancers Alumni Corps played as a warm-up to the competition, playing "Home", "Tiger of San Pedro", "Diego's Goodbye", and "The Shadow".  I asked Bro if it was a "Kung Fu Panda" show, because of the tiger.  But I didn't know if any of the characters names are "Diego".  APPARENTLY, I just don't know what I'm talking about, because Tiger has nothing to do with the movie, and it all sounded nothing like the music in it.  "Diego's Goodbye" is from "Mask of Zorro".  

The Star-Spangled Banner was beautifully played by the Blue Devils trumpet ensemble.  I love when the national anthem is played live at these events.

Repertoire: "The Color of Crime" -- The Area is Secure by C. Beck; Pinch of a Finger by C. Beck; Perfect Day for a Murder by C. Beck;  Feeling Good by A. Newley; Dreamsville by H. Mancini; The Damburger Incident by C. Beck; Dragalong Dreyfus by C. Beck; Chasing Yuri by C. Beck; Pink Panther by H. Mancini

Their screens are a pretty dark blue.  Is the CG wearing masks?  Or is that face paint/make-up?  Their warm-up is a little bit of Mancini's Pink Panther, which is cute. Those purple sunset-like flags look familiar.  There is a pedestal with a pink diamond, which I guess is the "color" in the title.  The only narration they used was a woman's voice saying "Access Granted" when they take the diamond.  I'm OK with that.  They form a diamond.  Not like on playing cards, but like a jewel.  Bro likes the zipper formation at the end, which I did not see.  I don't think the show is finished yet.

Repertoire: "Prismatic" -- I. Beam of Light: -- Luminosity by J. Whitbourn; The Analog Kid  by G. Lee, A. Lifeson & N. Peart; II. Refraction -- "Now You See Me" by B. Tyler; You Know Where to Find Me by I. Heap; III. Brilliance -- I Am The Doctor by M. Gold

Their props are reflective prisms.  I was worried that someone would jump up and poke themselves in the eye, the tips look so sharp.  The CG wears neon color-blocked uniforms.  I like that contra feature.  Please straighten the lines of your prism formation.  

Dear lady 2 rows in front of us:  If you're going to knit during the show, please don't examine your blanket for all of us to see while the show is playing.  It blocks our view of the field.  I know you're here for SCV, but that's rude.

Repertoire:  "On Cloud Nine" -- Act 1: "Awakening" -- 'Life' from "Prometheus" by H. Gregson-Williams; Act 2: "Finding Your Voice" -- 'The Girl with the Plums' from "Perfume" by R. Heil, J. Kilmek & B.T. Twyker; Act 3: "On Cloud Nine" -- Title track from "Big Hero 6"  by H. Jackman

They are still using their drums from last year's "The Road Not Taken" show.  I really like the high brass sound.  The percussion section is doing well, too.  CG doesn't seem finished with the last part of the show, as they weren't really doing anything but standing there.  Those white/transparent big flags are pretty.  Bro thinks the kids might want to watch this show because they play a lot of "Big Hero 6".

Repertoire: "The Beatles" -- Magical Mystery Tour; Can't Buy Me Love; Yesterday; Eleanor Rigby; Drive My Car; Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band all by J. Lennon and P. McCartney

The percussion section is pretty loud and impressive for corps made up of such young people.  The CG wears majorette outfits, and they know how to pose well, like all BD CG gals do.
Blue Devils C color guard

Stanford Stadium staff is telling people to go to their seats because they don't want people to stand in the vomitories, but it's the middle of the show, and they're all trying not to disturb the other spectators.  Sigh.


Repertoire: "Resurrection" -- I. The Awakening; II. Warrior; III. The Dynasty of the Emperor; IV. Forever In Stone all from "Resurrection" by K. Poulan, S. Womack & M. Hunter

No narration!  YAY!  Their drums have Chinese characters on them, which translate to "Resurrection".   Nice brass sound.  Nice percussion feature with some taiko, although you know me, I could always use more.  :)  So, is the CG actually playing those instruments, or are they only pretending to play?  I wonder how that will look when the CG gets their uniforms.  Perhaps they'll be debuting their uniforms at the Moonlight Classic.  They didn't use those creepy dead doll things that were situated backfield, so maybe they'll have more to do with the show later in the season.

The CG now has their uniforms, and they are a pretty purple color, which changes to red when they make their skirts.  The ballad soloist needs more love.  I want to watch that percussion feature more closely.  They seem to be beating the hell out of those drums.
Start of "Catalyst"

Repertoire: "Because..." -- Because by J. Lennon & P. McCartney; Rush by J. Bocook, K. Shah & M. Jackson; Apres Moi by R. Spektor; I'm Alive by A. Watts; Fly to Paradise by E. Whitacre

Their screens are semi-circles, and they're quite effective in this show because you can't see what they're doing behind them, even from our height in the stands.  They are also reflective, so you see the grass in the reflection, which is a cool effect.  They bring out the flags from behind the screens, which was a beautiful way to present them.  I love that the flags have dots on them!  I don't like the CG uniform color, though.  I also love the accented beat that they use throughout the show, like daDUM daDUM daDUM.  The brass sound is absolutely gorgeous.  I like the mellophone solo, and I do like it when the trumpet joins in for the duet, but it would be much nicer if the volume was more balanced.  Cool black/white "s" things that they spin hypnotically.  Cool body movements, too, as BK does.  My reaction:  "Aaaaaahhh!"  The show is still unfinished, as I didn't cry like Bro predicted I would.  I have heard the music, though, because I caught a bit of their rehearsal at my alma mater (Arcadia High School) earlier in the week.  I'm really looking forward to seeing the full show.

Repertoire: "City of Light" -- I Love Paris by C. Porter; Horoscope by C. Lambert; Clair de Lune by C. Debussy; An American in Paris by G. Gershwin; Symphony No. 3 (Organ Symphony) by C. Saint-Saens

They start their show in the formation of the Eiffel Tower.  Bro had to tell me what it was because I was being blind or something.  They also form their rectangular Phregiment symbol at one point.  The gold color works for the "Clair de Lune" piece.  Interesting transformation to the cross formation.  Such cute hats/glasses/gloves at the beginning.  I could do with less synthesizer and piano.  I like the contra ensemble during the Gershwin, such fun.  Yay -- cancan!

Repertoire:  "The Spark of Invention"  --  Invention in A Minor by J.S. Bach; Virus Attack by A. Bhatia, Pure Imagination by L. Bricusse & A. Newley; Piano Concerto by J. Corigliano

Wow, that was AWESOME.  Horns, percussion, great show!  I love the musical arrangements.  You could hear a pin drop during the first minute of (almost) silent drill (piano and marimbas only).  Love that trumpet ensemble during the Bach, leading to full corps doing the counterpoint.  The percussion feature includes the CG holding the drums for the drummers, and eventually holding them with their feet.  Formations of a coil and Jacob's Ladder, as well as a bird to represent Tesla's friendship with a pigeon.  SCV's rendition of "Pure Imagination" might actually make me like that song, because there's not too much of it.  They're still using their Scheherazade drums, but the colors still match, os that's OK.  Awesome drill, music, everything.  I LOVE THIS SHOW!  The audience gave them a standing ovation, deservedly so.
Start of "Spark of Invention" 


Start of Jacob's Ladder


Repertoire: "Ink" -- Dark Forest by D. Glyde; Sweeney Todd by S. Sondheim; The Giant Attack by S. Sondheim; The Mad Hatter's Tea Party by G. Goodwin;  I Like You by GOT7; Children Will Listen by S. Sondheim; Last Midnight by S. Sondheim

More white props, lots of them.  One of the sets of props looks like steps up to a lifeguard station to me.  The show starts with the snare drummers sitting on top of them.  At one point, the CG is spinning the rifles from them, and the crowd liked the effect with all of the different levels of rifles.  I need to look out for that at the next show because I was concentrating on something else.  Wow, those trumpets.  That note was really high, trumpet soloist!  I love the pink on the right arm, especially when the brass is facing right, so that you can see it well.  They form the word "INK".  The CG lead plays all of the different female lead characters, like Snow White, Cinderella, Alice, and Little Red Riding Hood.  During the final drill, someone marched onto the prop and back on the field in order to keep the formation, but the other people went around it.  I like the music from this show, but it's a bit disjointed.
Snares at start of "Ink"


Open Class
4) 38.50 -- Blue Devils C
3) 48.55 -- Golden Empire
2) 56.80 -- Blue Devils B
1) 57.60 -- Vanguard Cadets

World Class
6) 59.85 -- Mandarins
5) 61.00 -- Pacific Crest
4) 66.40 -- Blue Knights
3) 68.05 -- Phantom Regiment
2) 71.90 -- Santa Clara Vanguard
1) 73.45 -- Blue Devils

Bro and I were exhausted when we got back to Oakley, so we're resting up today before going to Sacramento.  

Next up:  Moonlight Classic

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