Saturday, March 25, 2006

Drum Corps Quotes
By Jerry Dreva
DCN August 8, 1962 issue

Now that the halfway mark of the '62 season has been reached, it might be appropriate to take a pre-convention look at the Midwest and at those corps that will be in strong contention as finalists in Minneapolis.

At this time a very strong representation of Midwest corps can be expected to compete at Minneapolis. At least eight have a good chance to make finals. Let's take a look at that group and its chances now.

Still on top in the Midwest, although not nearly as strongly as last year, are the Cavaliers; and they can be expected to give everyone a run for their money at Nationals. Although they are far from unbeatable, the Cavies still possess that combination of a high quality performance plus good execution that could well give them a repeat of last years' victory.
The loss of two veterans in the snare line has weakened it somewhat, but it shouldn't be enough to hurt them greatly. Again look for the Cavaliers in the top three.

Rated a close second to the Cavaliers in the Midwest are the Royal Airs. Strong M&M, fine GE show, plus the top drum line in the Midwest should easily give them a place in the top five. The only thing that might possibly hinder the Airs from going all the way at Minny is their relative newness to National competition. Possibly bugles will be their weak caption, but their nearly flawless execution in M&M should boost their score sufficiently to see them two or three notches up from their seventh place finish last year.

Always a favorite VFW competitor, the Black Knights will again present a strong show. The Knights have gained some needed points on the bugle sheets with their cut of twelve men from last years' 39 man horn line. How much this will effect their GE score is still to be seen. The Knights would be doing very well if they can repeat their fifth in Miami.

Greatly improved from previous years in all but one caption are the Madison Scouts. The new uniforms and music have added "class" that was formerly lacking. If the drumming caption was reduced to five points, I'd bet Madison for the top three; but, unfortunately, a corps doesn't become a National champ with outstanding marks in three captions and a lousy one in the other. The horn line is undoubtedly the best in the Midwest, and the M&M has been much improved with the elimination of several of the old "typically Madison" maneuvers; but unless a vast improvement is made in the drum line in the next weeks, look for Madison in the bottom half of the finalists.

Returning to VFW Nationals after a year's absence, will be the Norwood Park Imperials. Although in a rebuilding phase, the Imps have been a consistently good performer this year. Fine M&M plus a good GE show should again place them in the top ten. The new repertoire is both different and interesting, and Rick Maass had written a drill that fits the music very well. Be sure to look for the Imperials' new uniforms. They help greatly in getting across the "new look of Norwood."

The Kilts of Racine should produce some results on the sheets that will be exactly the opposite of last year. Formerly weak, the drum line is now the Kilties' pride and joy. Their always fine horn line is lacking something this year due mainly to the difficulty of their music. The M&M has been steadily improving under the tutelage of Carl Last. High drums, the best drill in the Midwest, and a little bit of their fine reputation should all combine to squeeze the Kilts into finals.

A corps that will really have to fight for a place in the night show, but could very well get it, is the Racine Scouts. Equally fine drums and horns, with a very appealing repertoire, could be just enough to push them across. Against them is their newness at National Competitions and their poorly constructed drill. Watch these boys, though - with a good show they could pull a few upsets. Listen especially to their soloist in "Sweet Georgia Brown."

The last of the midwest corps that you might be seeing in the finals is the Vanguard. This year is proving to be a real fight for the kids from Skokie as they have been defeated by a couple of the "lesser" Illinois corps. But they have been recovering beautifully, and by the middle of August should be just about where they belong in the rating of Illinois corps. Lots of spirit and memories of Logan Square could land the Vanguard a niche in finals.

So there you have a little preview of what to look for at Minneapolis. Expect anywhere from four to six midwest units in the top ten, with lots more "comers" not making the night show.


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