Monday, October 13, 2014

Spirit's Ready to Tango

With the roster almost set, Spirit Indoor is back and fired up about the 2015 season! After placing 5th our first year of Independent Open, we can't wait to get back at it, work hard, have fun, and play sick music!
This past weekend at camp we worked on technique, basics, and dove into the music for Book 1- HOT OFF THE PRESS!!!
Our show theme this year is Tango! The program explores passion- love and hate, with their opposite- indifference! We do this through the art style of the tango, a very sometimes "bi polar" style of music, to show that actually love and hate aren't opposites- they're similar because they're both passionate emotions. Book 1- the Love book- is an arrangement of The Lieber Tango. Get ready for some sick licks and tricks!!!
All for now- stay tuned for the next update on Book 2!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

We are Americans

One of the most important things about the pageantry arts, is the ability to make design changes to the show. This year more than ever, at The Cadets we have been moulding and sculpting our show on a daily basis. Sometimes we base a change on the commentary of a well respected judge, but also, our excellent staff has been implementing changes strategically throughout the season to strengthen the show, and to constantly present the same adjudicators with a slightly different version of the Cadets. We spent the last three days implementing our largest reconstructive change to the end of our show. There is a whole new excerpt based on Lincoln Portrait, and then the Simple Gifts melody explodes out of Lincoln Portrait completely un-foreshadowed. Visually the corps spreads to the legal boundaries of our performance venue from end-zone to end-zone, and from sideline to sideline, and simple gifts develops with a chaotic flurry of motion resolving into a tight company front arc! Last night we performed the new ending for the second time, and it is powerfully emotional. All 7,000 people at the show jumped to there feet and I could tell that the final words of the narration gave people a sense of hope and pride for this country. "We can and will resolve the problems that now confront us, we are Americans." -Ronald Reagan

Monday, August 4, 2014

Thoughts from a Cadet

Sadly, my second year of marching with the Cadets is nearing the end... But what a fabulous season this has been! We have 9 more days to crank and be the absolute best version of the 2014 Cadets possible. These past few days we put the last big changes into our show including a passionate new ending, which the crowd goes crazy for!

One of the best feelings in the world is knowing that you've positively influenced someone else - even in the smallest way. The Cadets show is full of emotion, zeal, and inspiration, giving the audience a sense of hope of how we as individuals and as a country have the power to change our situation and get through challenging times. Knowing you're a part of sharing this message is a great feeling! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Forming of a Cadet

The Cadets are on the move toward Bristol, RI to perform tomorrow evening, and then to march in the oldest Independence Day Parade in the country. I can still vividly remember 12 years ago, when I picked up my first marching horn as a new member of Spirit of America Band and attempted to march the 5-6 mile parade in a navy blue wool uniform in the 90°F heat of July. I didn't make it, I fell out in the third mile. In 2004, I approached my second attempt with some lingering fear, lucky for me it poured rain, and I quite enjoyed the cool wet experience  At this annual event, it is amazing to remember over a decade of band...and now drum corps at the highest level. Each year I have been stretched as a person, outside of what was safe and comfortable, and I am very grateful for all of the great instructors and mentors that have helped me grow this far.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Home of the Brave

In 1814, the British ship HMS Nimrod threatened to attack Falmouth if they did not surrender their two brass cannon.  The town refused the demand and suffered hours of bombardment from the ship - but never backed down and the Nimrod moved on.
On Tuesday evening, the Fife and Drum Corps was invited to participate in the Falmouth Historical Society's celebration of the 200th Anniversary of this event. Due to some scheduling conflicts, a few of us "alumni" were asked to play. We pulled together uniform parts from various current members - (the main objective being finding something we could fit into!) - and brushed up our chops on the fife. It was going to be a short event for us - a couple of pieces while marching amongst the tables of guests, then stand and play the National Anthem and march out.  We rehearsed and walked though it but it's impossible ever to know exactly how it will go.
We arrived at the Inn and unloaded and got ourselves ready.  Coming up the stairs to the hall outside the dining room, the excitement in the room was palpable - People talking and laughing and greeting eachother - some in period costumes, a detailed replica of the Nimrod standing proudly on display.  A brief introduction and ringing of a ship's bell and the doors swung open.
We marched in to phones and cameras flashing - beaming smiles on faces as we wove among the tables. People clapped along to Yankee Doodle - I felt a burst of energy and pride - we were honoring history, and the lives that benefited from the courageous stand of a small town. You could feel the pride in the Falmouth residents.
We arrived at the front of the room and turned to face everyone as we began the National Anthem. And I was hit with a wave of patriotism that took my breath away. Every person leaped to their feet as the first notes sounded, and then they started to sing - not the tentative half-singing we often do in a crowd when you hope the person next to you doesn't hear you - or the rowdy singing that obliterates the words in a stadium. This was the kind of singing done by people who knew what these words meant and were singing with all their heart. I looked around as I played, starting with the older man about 4 feet from me who could have given Pavoratti a run for his money, and I realized there were veterans in this room. These were people who had probably seen "the rockets red glare" and had been spurred on by that beautiful banner yet waving! And my next thought was that this is a generation we are losing - men and women whose love for this country flowed in their veins - fired by personal experience. And I felt proud and moved and humbled and so grateful. There were tears in a few eyes as we marched out - including mine.
Later in 1814, Francis Scott Key caught a glimpse of those broad stripes and bright stars over Fort McHenry and was inspired to write what would become our National Anthem.  I hope we will never as a county lose the meaning of these words - so hard earned every day.

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mandela Effect

Tis the season.  Advent, Christmas, Chanukah, Sandy Hook...
At this time of year needs and expectations tug at our hearts in magnified ways.
Nelson Mandela's recent death has trumped - or perhaps enhanced - whatever season I find myself in.
Spirit of America's trip to South Africa two summers ago has provided me an awareness of this man's life for which I will ever be grateful. The fact that he could hold forgiveness and reconciliation in his heart after 25 years in jail amazes me. I lose that ability simply being stuck in traffic. But his choices and the life he lived offered hope to a nation, and will serve as a beacon for future generations.
Thank you Nelson Mandela.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Healing Our Culture of Violence

It's feels ironically perfect that tomorrow our winter percussion kids will be providing music for Cape Cod's forum on Healing Our Culture of Violence. That a form of music created by hitting things can provide a backdrop of beauty, energy, and joy for this event is fitting. Almost redemptive......