August 8, 2022 – Wexford, Pennsylvania
I am in Wexford, Pennsylvania, deep into my 2022 DCI tour. This is the location where my 2008 Volvo, the old Grey Ghost, had transmission trouble back in 2018 while on tour. Today, I will be stopping into Bobby Rahal Volvo here to thank them again for helping me in 2018, and to share my story about my current dilemma. Coincidentally, this dealer is located within 4 miles of my trouble back in 2018, and the entire dealership team worked miracles to get me into the certified pre-owned 2016 car with a fair deal and I was on my way in time for DCI show in Akron that night. Four years later this car has experienced engine failure, and we are negotiating a solution. The loaner, a 2022 XC60 from Almartin Volvo my local dealer in Shelburne, VT, for this tour is performing beautifully and is a strong candidate for replacing the 2016. I decided on the Volvo brand for safety, reliability, and comfort. Though I have had some mechanical challenges, as all cars do, each time, the resolution has been satisfactory. I now also identify the Volvo brand with fairness and great customer service from their dealers.
I finally have time to catch up with you about my DCI tour. I last left you in the lurk about the outcome of the Friday night competition in Allentown. Well, the Boston Crusaders (BAC) took second place that evening losing to the Blue Devils (BD) by a significant margin. This is understandable given the long-term prowess of BD in such circumstances that they have been in before. BAC’s first place standing in the ranks prior to the show was a very new experience for them. As BD went on second to last, they had everything to gain and nothing to lose. The magic of J. Birney Crum shined on them as the BAC members stood and watched from the end zone waiting their turn to perform. This was a maturing experience for the venerable BAC, and they will continue to knock on the door for a championship medal. From this point forward through the finals, it is going to be very interesting within the top four corps as they vie for placement. Which one will not medal? Current rankings are: Blue Devils, Boston Crusaders, Carolina Crown, Bluecoats.
The Saturday show at Allentown did not disappoint. Mother nature cooperated and all corps completed their performances. Once again, the magic of the J. Birney Crum Stadium shined on all the corps. Every performance was levels above their previous shows earlier in the season. The Cadets home show brings out the best in them every year here. They performed Rear View Mirror with energy and precisions expected from this well-seasoned corps to the admiring and knowledgeable local crowd. The long-anticipated performance of the Carolina Crown – Right Here, Right Now! (rained out at NightBEAT), brought a fitting close to the two-day drum corps festival. Oh, those horns! Arguably to most fun and engaging performance of the year. This was a stellar example of 21stcentury drum corps hitting their late season stride. Oh, to have seen them perform on Friday head-to-head with the other top four.
As you know, I love all the corps and have favorite performance each year. This year, the show that really has been touching my soul has been the Troopers’ VorAcious that I wrote about in the previous blog. This is the prime reason for me to call an audible and head to Pittsburgh yesterday, another 5-hour drive for DCI. I am sure glad I did because it was a perfect evening for drum corps with moderating temperatures and a beautiful sunset. The high school stadium with only thirty-six rows is a very intimate setting for drum corps and the fans have an up close and more personal view of the members as they perform. Even though the top four corps were somewhere else this evening, those who were there, highly entertained us. Pacific Crest has really embellished their show: Welcome to the Void. Though this show does not seem to be the judges favorite, it is one of mine. I have had the pleasure of seeing it six time so far, and each time they bring on something new in the props. I have slowly observed their transformation on the field as they continue evolve the theme of drum corps’ past. The props are slowly melting away to the Void. I am not sure if I missed things before, or they have recently added them, but I highly recommend you watch and pay attention to the several musical and visual references to famous shows of the past. This is one to watch closely even though Pacific Crest will probably not be performing on Saturday night as they are ranked below the top twelve.
The evening was closed out by the Cadets. Each time I observe this show, I see and hear something new. You can bet that they are also adding and tweaking right to the last show. It was a pleasure to see and say hello to Ron Lambert, the Cadets director. Ron’s calm but inspiring manner is now leading this great corps of 88 years.
There is one more outdoor show tonight in Akron on my schedule before finals. This is the home show of the Bluecoats. They will be joined by two of the other top four ranked corps for a great head-to-head competition between Boston Crusaders and Carolina Crown. The Blue Devils are at another venue. I am looking forward to the energy of the admiring Bluecoats fans and the performance of the alumni corps celebrating 50 years of Bluecoats. I am also looking forward to the continuing evolution of the Pacific Crest, and another triumphant finish by the Phantom Regiment. The weather looks good for show time with no rain, but the heat and humidity continue. After tonight, there is no longer a concern for rain or heat as we will all be inside the Lucas Oil Stadium for the finals starting Thursday. I familiarly call it the oil can. It can also be referred to the icebox as it is quite chilly inside. I will keep you posted.