Saturday, March 18, 2006

Up State Beat
By Carol Merkel
DCN July 11, 1962

First off, thank you, thank you everybody for the many, many cards, phone calls, etc., from all over Drum Corps - - they really made my stay in the hospital and convalescence seem much brighter, in spite of contests missed. Corps people are wonderful! Well, now doc says I can be out and about again and our first "out"ing was...

The Grey Knights 14th Annual Tournament of Drums, June 30, Rochester, N.Y. How do they do it? A beautiful warm night and huge Aquinas Stadium filled with thousands of enthusiastic fans again.....

After opening ceremonies and an exhibition by the N.Y. State Champion High School Band, the Holley Hawks, the first competing corps, the Royalaires appeared. As usual, they did a fine show with their popular "Love" theme. The one wee, small objection we had is that there is hardly any change from '61..... a new concert number "next week" should help.
We still like "Put Your Arms Around Me," "A Love Affair To Remember," "I Love You," "Don't Blame Me," and 40 horns on "Love Walked In" make for a beautiful sound. Drum Major Stand Biggs' new red jacket contrasts beautifully with the all-white uniforms of the Corps.

New to Rochester fans were the GAY BLADES of Washington Carver. The crowd went for their concert of "Temptation" that solo is too much. That cross-through on "Sunny Side Up" really fits the beat of the number - - everytime an accent comes up, another man passes through. We enjoyed the continuous rifle work by one talented Color Guard man who marched all over the field - - let's enlarge the whole Guard and not carry the flags at "trail arms" during the drill. Attractive navy blue military uniforms with red accents fit our idea of a sharp uniform.

LES TROUBADOURS, the French-Canadians from Quebec, are really colorful. Although only organized two years ago, they can come right up and compete with the best of the Corps. Frankly, we didn't recognize too much of their music, which is all French, except "Marsellaise," and "Alouette," and the concert, but it was lively and appealing and their Drum Major, Color Guard Captain, and dancing cymbalists add much to the show.

Our favorite - and the crowd's - were the (how else can I explain it?) fabulous MARKSMEN. We hadn't seen this Corps in several years and what a surprise! From the big, field-wide company front off the line on they were a treat. If I had to pick a favorite number I think it would be "Give Me The Simple Life" but their whole repertoire, played by 30 horns, is great. Vinnie Ratford-inspired mammoth Color Guard and full company fronts playing to the stands really impressed; they made me feel (careful, you're treading on thin ice) like I was listening to the Norman Prince of old. 'Nuf said - - we have become permanent, enthusiastic Marksmen fans.

The INTERSTATESMEN, final Corps to appear and eventual winners, were hot this night. Bill Hooton has done a fab job with their drill, coming up with some real sharp maneuvers like the beautiful flag circle drill with flip and the unusual concert formation where the front ranks of buglers kneel and oblique ranks behind them, forming two "Z"s with the third ranks. Best soloist of the competitors, too, especially on the gorgeous arrangement of "Who's Sorry Now?" How can he hold that final note so long? Also like the "Saint Louis Blues" and color pres of "On The Mall." All in all, a powerful combination; one to shake the big powers (Why weren't we in Milford, eh, boy's) in days to come (soon).

An exhibition was put on by the OPTIMISTS and now we know why they came so close to Garfield. It's a "Big, Wide Wonderful World" off the line Opti is out to conquer it. We like "Let Me Entertain You," "I Believe," "St. Louis Blues," and especially the concert with its contrast between the nice, smooth "I'm in the Mood For Love" into a swinging, dancing version of "Down By the Riverside." Ivor B., where did you ever get the fabulous idea of having two oblique company fronts crash (almost) into one another - - never saw any other Corps try that but it looks great. "The Party's Over" is a good exit choice. Jimmy, that uniform is everything they said it was and more.

Last but certainly not least - - host Corps for the evening, the GREY KNIGHTS in exhibition. Much has been changed from last year, for the better, and we think the bestest of the newsest are "Give A Little Whistle," "I Could Write A Book" and the "Stereophonic March." Vinnie Ratford has written a GE-packed drill which utilizes the mammoth Color Guard to full advantage. The unique "clock" drill to "Time on My Hands" has to be seen to be appreciated - - the flags form the numerals as the rest of the Guard forms the hands with a flag tipped sideways. BUT, this disturbed us very much and I'm sure it did our Canadian friends also - - please, boys, DON'T use the Canadian flag and tip it sideways. Would you like it if someone else did this with the American flag? Outside of this, a beautiful job from the Knights - - the crowd loved "Sugar Blues" and Louie Race's color was never better. Do riflers Norm and Frank stand behind you, Louie, to shoot you if you goof? We look for big things from the Knights in competition this year.

The retreat ceremonies included not only all the above units but the Grey Knights Jr. Corps, the DUTCHTOWN LANCERS, who are doing a field drill for the first time this year. Good luck to you, kids!

Scores, for better or worse, were announced:
1. INTERSTATESMEN ............... 80.80
2. ROYALAIRES ......................... 74.40
3. MARKSMEN .......................... 73.80
4. GAY BLADES .......................... 65.25
5. LES TROUBADOURS ............. 56.65

Around town ... The next big contest to be held in Rochester will be the famed N.Y. - CANADIAN ASSN. CHAMPIONSHIPS on Aug. 4, also hosted by the Grey Nights, with 18 Corps in the prelims and 10 to be chosen for the finals. The N.Y. - Canadian, while involved in work for their championships, is also making plans for individuals to be held this fall or winter, possibly in Geneva, and for Color Guard contests in the off-season. We are sorry to see Norman Prince pulling out of so many early season contests. Come on, boys, you're keeping your public dangling.

The CRUSADERS have certainly been having some ups and downs - first losing to the Interstatesmen by two points in one contest and being outscored by St. Joseph's of Batavia in another ... and then coming back (after changing the drill in favor of more GE) to defeat the Interstatesmen by two points at Herkimer June 23. They have changed plans to go to the Legion State and Nationals and will travel to Minneapolis for the VFW instead.

Speaking to the Herkimer contest, there is much talk going around of some "shady dealings" June 23 but we print nothing that we do not know for a fact ... however, the Thunderbirds' score was later changed moving them up a notch from last and so was the Crusaders, which, however, did alter their win. We suspect much of the error was due to faulty tabulating, but don't think it right for one Corps to play outside the stands while another is on the field. A strict penalty should be levied for this sort of thing.

Guess that's about it for now... see you all at the Mardi Gras July 14.

New Drum Corps Book
DCN July 11, 1962

We normally would not take the reader's valuable time to discuss the efforts of a manufacturer who sells to drum corps, but the Getzen Company from Elkhorn, Wisconsin, have just released a new bugle catalog, "Bugles by Getzen".

This catalog is a remarkable piece of work, in that it devotes very little space to the products Getzen manufactures and sells, but rather is utilized to give valuble information on many subjects that are most dear to our hearts.

Here are just a few of the subjects they ably cover in "Bugles by Getzen": "Why You Should Sponsor A Bugle Corps", "Fund Raising", "Should Your Child Belong in a Drum & Bugle Corps?", plus range, fingering and instrumentation charts - and even examples of how to work with banks in financing your Corps purchases. There is an excellent article on "Basic Information", written by Lee Carlsen, about bugle music and sections.

We suggest that anyone interested in Drum Corps should try to obtain one of these books. I believe that Getzen dealers around the country will be able to supply your needs. Mr. Getzen has informed us that free copies of the manual are available to all business managers, directors and instructors.

Our hats go off to you, Mr. Getzen, for supplying the Drum Corps public with an excellent reference book. Congratulations from the bottom of our hearts.