Indy of Bust for DCI 2023

BAC is on a water break at Decatur High School, Indianapolis.

August 10, 2023 – Indianapolis, Indiana

9:00 am

Oh, how the days fly when you are having fun. Once again, I have made it to Indianapolis for the DCI World Championships. I am again behind in keeping up with you on my 2023 DCI tour. I left you two days ago in Ohio on the way to Canton for my last outdoor drum corps show, the home show of the Bluecoats. This is one of my favorite shows of the year because of the excellent line-up and being late in the season. The Innovations in Brass event has been in three different stadiums over the past three years. My favorite was the Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, with the partial roof that pushed the sound directly into my wanting ears. Having outgrown that, this year it was at the Pro Football Hall of Fame stadium, one of the largest drum corps venues of the year for me. My seat was in the second row in tier two, 50-yard line, perfect! 

The Garden of Love. It’s weird but good.

Alas, the bad weather caught up to us. Rain delayed the show by 30 minutes. And then, after the first corps performed, it rained again, causing another delay. Finally, the rain stopped, and it was announced that Blue Stars, Phantom Regiment, and Boston Crusaders would perform at a standstill due to the wet field. Today’s drill can be challenging on a dry field and dangerous on a wet one. If it remained dry, the Bluecoats would perform the final show on the move for the local fans.  Each stand-still performance went off without a hitch other than some lingering showers, causing the speakers, electronic consoles, timpani, keyboards, and other pit instruments to be covered. Much to the delight of the locals, the Bluecoats rolled out their entire entourage and regalia for another eclectic expression of the Garden of Love. I saw……I saw…..I saw. Since the Boston Crusaders did perform on the move, the last head-to-head with last year’s silver medalists was everted with no scores. We will have to see how things shake out at the three final shows at the DCI Championships in Indianapolis later this week. 

The original paved US highway.

After a good night’s sleep at the value hotel in Canton, I headed west toward Indianapolis without a pre-arranged plan other than trying to avoid the interstates as much as possible. I slowly cruised across the Ohio landscape, beginning on the Lincoln Highway, Route 30. One hundred years ago, it was known as the Ideal Road for its modern design with drainage, formalized curb cuts, and paved (concrete) surface. It was the first modern road to cross the country from Lincoln Park in New York City to Lincoln Square in San Francisco, California. It’s curious how I have traveled along a piece of the original cross-country road every year. It is fun to look for historic signs, buildings, and original infrastructure from those days long since passed. Interestingly, drum corps started right when this original paved road across the country was completed in the 1920s. In the open countryside, the road is less traveled and well-maintained. One can make good time without the stress of trucks, crazy drivers, and the narrow lanes through construction zones on the interstate. The payback is going through each small city and village downtown, which is not necessarily a time saver. On two-lane roads, you know you’re about to enter a town when you see a ubiquitous boxy dollar store that sits on the landscape like a turd on the outskirts of town. This is the way that I traveled all the way to Muncie, Indiana. I had no schedule because the next show was on Thursday. 

Mounds State Park, Anderson, Indiana.

It took all day to lollygag through Ohio, entering Indiana in the late afternoon. While in Muncie, I visited Ball State University for a recharge. College campuses are an ideal oasis from the rat race of traveling. I took a long walk through the campus, ending at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center, where I found a nice grand piano. A short session satisfied me by washing the road out of my mind for a while. Recharged, watered, and ready to hit the road again, I headed south toward Indianapolis. I planned to camp at the Mounds State Park in Anderson, about halfway from Muncie; however, it was closed when I arrived. Instead of sleeping out, I chose to get a hotel room. My choice could have been better, but it was cheap. I used my sleeping bag instead of getting under the covers. Sleep, shower, and leave.

Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana.

Finally arriving in Indianapolis on Wednesday morning, I headed to the Boston Crusaders rehearsal at an area high school. I have been to many rehearsals but have yet to tire of them. There is always something to learn. I assumed that other corps were doing the same thing, eking out the last bit of precision in the movements and clarity of sound. Minor changes, including new endings, are being worked on by the corps encamped across the region at various high schools to push that GE score slightly higher. These are the rehearsals that matter, as it will all come down to the following three shows, with the final ranking determined by the Saturday performance. The rest of Wednesday was spent meeting up with drum corps friends, having dinner, and then some late evening repartee, sharing stories of the past year and this year’s corps and shows. Fighting to stay up until midnight was challenging but necessary as the evenings would be late throughout the week. 

Drum Corps bothers Bill and Steve, my seat neighbors.

3:00 pm

Today is a show day. I am in the stadium in seat #14 in section 140, row 10, at the 40-yard line on the right side of the fifty. I brought my writing station into the stadium so that I could keep you posted as things progress. This is the sound zone. Thirty-eight corps will perform today, including many of the Open Class corps: Les Stentors, Raiders, Colts Cadets, 7th Regiment, River City Rhythm, Guardians, The Battalion, Columbians, Southwind, Gold, and Spartans, in that order. A run to the airport to pick up a friend and a late lunch at Shapiro’s Delicatessen kept me from catching all the corps. Only 20 corps from today will make the cut for Preliminary Finals on Friday, so many of the early performers were performing their last show of the year. That was evident in the emotions on display following each performance. This close to the field, I could see the faces and the tears. They left nothing out and put it all on the field. Having been highly entertained by the repertoires and movements of the corps that I had not yet seen this year, I knew that I was in for a fun night. It was a great beginning. It was the first intermission and time to meet up with friends for some mid-show merriment. I will post this update now and keep you posted as the ultimate summer music games continue.

Peace out for now.

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