The Cavaliers!

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by mrfabulous963, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. Weedyweidenthal

    Weedyweidenthal Pianissimo User

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    Sep 25, 2005
    that's what i call a good post...that saves lots of time on limewire. :D
     
  2. cmcdougall

    cmcdougall Piano User

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    Feb 3, 2005
    Im really not trying to be rude, I guess I just don't understand what turns people my age on to drum corps so hard, I just dont get anything out of it, I mean its cool I guess but just explain.
     
  3. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

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    I don't really think there's much to explain -- it's one of those things you either love or don't.

    I would suggest you go find Cavaliers, Madison Scouts, Phantom Regiment, Santa Clara Vanguard, or Southwind performing live somewhere (I'm sure I missed someone, but it's late...). Get yourself a 50 yard line seat and watch the big dogs perform.

    You'll either fall in love for life, or you won't. If you don't, there's no point in anyone explaining it. If you do...well...then you'll understand why some of us draw a clear distinction between quality drum corps (or marching bands) and these prancing dog and pony shows you see at most colleges.
     
  4. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

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    I never thought it was anything special either, untill my friend talked me into joining The Academy in 2004. For me, it took first hand experiece to find out what was so special about it.
     
  5. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    For those who do it, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation will do.

    Having said that, and having marched for years when I was younger (dirt was still a new idea! ;-) ) I came across this parable that has since made me think about things perhaps a bit differently:

    "Once there was a devoted mason and a builder of things, who loved great buildings. He ventured to France and entered the Cathedral of Notre Dame. He looked upward and opened his eyes wide in awe. He gasped. Respect flowed.

    "What a building! What an architect! What craftsmanship!" The man knelt, bowed by the expanse, humbled by the height.

    "I must share this with my friends and fellow builders," he whispered in reverence. "But how will I get them here... to France!?"

    So, he had a wrecking crew come in. A large iron ball crashed through the cathedral reducing it to it's "essence": Brick, Concrete, Wood, Glass.

    Gathering as much material as would be allowed on his return flight, he hurriedly packed the "cathedral" into his many suitcases and carry-on.

    Upon arrival home, he began his task with joy and enthusiasm. There was an 8-foot gap that needed filling! But he had done this before and had won many awards!

    A brick here, a slab there, a piece of stained glass here, some wood there, decorated by a flag or two here... and suddenly, there was a wall.

    The man invited all his friends and masonry students and pointing to the wall, he said with resonant pride, "Look... It's the Cathedral of Notre Dame!"

    Does this sound absurd? Well, some marching band directors do this often and against the desires of the composer, by taking works which are designed for a specific Time and scope, and reducing it to its smallest and least significant denominator, "sound".

    There is a better way! If you want to exercise creativity, write your own shows. Your kids will love it. Involve them. Let them write too! In this way, Integrity is preserved, and most importantly we are advancing Music and Music Education by pioneering new works, specifically crafted for the idiom.

    Oh, there's one other part to the story! The mason... well, he never got permission to bring in that wrecking crew. He's now analyzing the architecture of the state penitentiary. Sound absurd? Well..."

    Think about the shows drum corps commonly do: Pines of Rome; Spartacus; Bernstein's Mass and Jeremiah Symphony, Firebird Suite. These corps have roughly 11 minutes on the field. Pines reduced to 11 minutes? Yes, they got me to listen to these and many other works I would never have thought to look for, but, I repeat: Pines in 11 minutes?
     
  6. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

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    ...You should hear the version of Russian Christmas Music I had a band do in 4 minutes (it was their closer). Proof that sometimes it IS possible to capture the essence of a piece in a very narrow time frame. It was outstanding.

    But I do agree with you -- the problem with much of the music is it's too condensed. You get the melodies, but lose the emotion. Considering how many drum corps already write their own arrangements, I'm sure they COULD write new music if they wanted. The problem is that fans want to hear something familiar, and performers want to do their "favorites". How many of those kids are ever going to get to play Tchaikovsky, Holst, Beethoven, etc., once they're done? This at least gives them a chance to appreciate such music directly.

    I think people should be exposed to new music and would appreciate it just as much as the "classics". The problem is, you just can't deny the "OOOH--Phantom is doing Tchaikovsky's 4th" factor. It just gets people interested. They're more likely to shell $15/ticket to see that than "My Nothing Song" by R.J. Zeller.....
     
  7. ROGERIO

    ROGERIO Mezzo Forte User

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    Great stuff Dan.... thanks for posting those links.

    I love the stuff. Gives me goose pumps...

    If a mad scientist told me he could take me back to my youth for one thing... and yes, ONE thing only... I'd choose to be in a Drum and Bugle Corps.

    Those of you that got to experience it are very lucky.
     
  8. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    RJ- I know. Again, many of my first experiences with these pieces came from drum corps. It just seems a bit wrong to take something as great as Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring or Gershwin's Concerto in F and reduce it so much and add all these funky, incredibly difficult, drum parts that they had no intention of including. Sure, the arrangements sound great, and I agree completely that hearing Santa Clara or the Cadets or Cavies play those just blows me away, but, then again, where is the rest of it? (Yes, I have been known to be right up on my feet with the rest of the crowd! Who can deny the kind of power that 60+ brass has? Remember Santa Clara doing Barber's Adagio? It wasn't just loud, louder and oh my gosh my eyeballs are bleeding; it was full, fuller and holy cow the stadium's gonna explode!)

    It feels like sneaking chocolate cake for breakfast...you really like it, but know deep in your heart it's not right. And who knows...if you can write something meaningful for this crowd, you just might make a name for yourself. And people will then want to pay their money to hear your works. Don't forget...at one point in their lives, all composers were unkowns. (For some it was just at a younger age!)
     
  9. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

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    Can't argue with any of what you said, Glenn. Especially the drum bit -- I know it's a DRUM and bugle corps, but for heaven's sake can they just lay off the excessive percussion and let what IS left of the composer's original sound come through?

    Yeah...I'd rather hear the original. But you can't deny the power of what some of these groups can provide.

    A couple years ago I went to a show that included Madison, Southwind, and Minnesota Brass. Southwind hit a climax in their ballad that just grew, grew, and grew. Not just loud, but full, rich, completely enveloping sound. You felt you were swimming in it....

    ...then they stopped, suddenly, and you could hear a pin drop. It wasn't until they stopped that you realized how loud they had gotten. It was so clean, so pure, there was no distortion or stridency at all. It never SOUNDED loud, but when they had stopped, the change to quiet was immediate and severe. I've never had goosebumps quite like that before. It was like the dream where you're falling and suddenly you wake up, heart pounding and struggling to cope with reality. Simply amazing. I was ready to go home right there, my money well spent.

    And somehow, MN Brass won for best hornline. Gimme a break. Yeah, they had Frank Minear (who sadly has since passed away) and can scream with the best of them, but the sound didn't come close to Madison or Southwind on that particular day...but that's a completely different rant for another day.

    Your point, that despite the sheer magnificence of their performances, the originals are still better is well received. And it WOULD indeed be nice to hear more original works out there....

    Z
     

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