Ohio’s DCI Summer Music Games 2024

July 2, 2024 – Mason Ohio

8:00 am

Today is a show day. This will be my final show of the Midwest Tour. Tonight, the Bluecoats are here to shake things up in their backyard. Boston Crusaders, Carolina Crown, and Phantom Regiment will be here to duke it out with them. Some in our group predict a shake-up at the top of the rankings. I predict I will be moved to tears again by the sights and sounds and the awesome display of talent. I will be looking for changes and tweaks in the shows that I have gotten to know. I anticipate experiencing the Bluecoats for the first time this year. Hey, what’s in a name? Since there was no show last night, I decided to do some long-overdue research on the show themes.

Drum corps is strong in the heartland of the Midwest. It was great to see Wisconsin’s Madison Scouts on the field for the first time this year the other night in Lisle. Mosaic is a show that pieces together elements of the corps’ identity through musical arrangements and drills that echo the past with a new and forward approach. The smiling faces indicate a gender-balanced corps that is ready for the future. Another fine corps, The Cavaliers, from Illinois, were our hosts for their home show in Lisle. Looking sharp and confident, they opened to the enthusiastic local crowd with the swagger they are well-known for, metalized, according to their description of Beneath the Armor. As the show progresses through the precious minutes, emotions are revealed, shielded, deflected, contemplated, reflected, and finally, transformed.

The Phantom Regiment from Illinois continues to push the bounds of consciousness with Mynd, a powerful portrayal of the power of our minds. Where do they think up such themes? My Midwest tours have drawn me closer to this corps with an annual visit to a rehearsal. Another corps that I visited with is Blue Stars. Having seen this corps perform at several shows these past two years and meeting some of the alumni (Kirk and Radar), as well as the staff, I feel more connected with this esteemed, founding DCI corps. The Colts complete the Midwest Corps extravaganza. On Fields is a very creative portrayal of our culture on fields. This is the most recognizable repertoire of the bunch. Their marching and musical talents are equal to the task of the complex, creative program. This could be the sleeper show that moves up the rankings. Bravo to these esteemed Mid-west corps, bringing the combination of talent, creativity, and commitment to excellence to the field.

10:00 pm

It’s in the books. The final of four shows of my Midwest tour is over. Of the four World Class Corps in attendance tonight, the local boys and girls of the Bluecoats took the top spot by half a point. Following them, the Boston Crusaders edged ahead of Carolina Crown on their third match-up, with Phantom Regiment on everyone’s heels. It was another fine evening for an outdoor performance. The hot sun on our faces caused much squinting before it dipped below the trees. Each corps once again showed improvement, and subtle changes were noted. The Bluecoats, not blue, performed a powerful and precise show entitled Change is Everything. The Bluecoats are the embodiment of change. It will take me a couple more times to see this show before I write any more about it. It is one of those experiences like, “What did I just see and hear?” No matter what it meant, it was good.

Since onboarding with my drum corps brothers, I have been unable to catch a rehearsal or arrive early enough at a show to catch some action in the lot. I have not been able to catch up with the Boston entourage since rehearsal before the Premiere show in Rockford on Wednesday. What I have been able to do is watch the show from the stands in competition four times now. This show has a lane. What an outstanding example of a near-mid-21-century drum and bugle corps. Enough said for now.

It’s time for me to get back to the post-show merriment with the boys, a final opportunity to celebrate the person who brought us together for these past three days, the late Sandra Bertelle, who purchased our tickets in February before her passing. Tomorrow, we all head home to our respective lives. Thoughts and visions of Sandy, drum corps shows, and personal experiences with friends will linger. We will meet again along the way in Murfreesboro, Wintston-Salem, Boston, Allentown, Reading, Canton, and Indianapolis. The summer music games have just begun. See you there.

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