In Which Ryan Makes Several Different Loud Noises
September 2022 | 3:9
Koopa hopes you are also settling in for fall.
What's Been Happening
August saw the traditional end of drum corps season and while there were countless challenges to the tour and will be more in the future, this felt as normal as anything has in a long time. Anyone who knows me knows I have a long relationship with the activity, and this year was most unique because the last 24 hours of the season managed to sum up the last 24 years of my career.
Working backwards, finals on Saturday saw a strong finish from Phantom Regiment with whom I’ve been working on the brass team throughout the pandemic. They were voted fan favorite for the second straight year, and whatever you think of online popularity contests it’s certainly not a bad thing. There’s plenty of work to do, but I’m as proud of the foundation that has been laid there as I am of any teaching or organizing I’ve done.
Friday night, I finally got to see a live performance of the Vanguard Cadets because they went on in exhibition as the Open Class Champions. This year my role was mainly design and staff mentorship as I wrote the brass book again, so a due amount of the credit goes to the folks that brought it to life but it was great to see even if I was watching from the back corner.
The reason I was watching from the back corner is that I got to perform myself immediately after the Vanguard Cadets with the Bluecoats 50th Anniversary Alumni Corps. If I even attempt to explain how fun and special that experience was it will take up the next six newsletters so hit me up if you want stories or videos.
Beyond the fact that it was a packed 24 hours full of really great people and experiences, on a personal level it was extremely poetic. Regardless of where I teach or if I’m even involved in drum corps, Bluecoats and I are kinda stuck with each other in terms of mixed history. It was extremely difficult to leave when I did in 2011, and while time has shown that to work out for everyone it’s still been great to reconnect in a healthier role. Similarly, the Vanguard organization will always be special to me for giving me a place to grow and learn to be truly excellent. Phantom Regiment is proving to be a place where I can continue to grow and give back to the activity at the same time. To be able to experience all of that at once was the culmination of a crazy amount of work no one will ever see… which is as good a summation of drum corps as I have.
May your masks smell pleasant and your packages arrive without incident,
Chart O' The Month
As mentioned above, Vanguard Cadets won Open Class again this year and swept all captions (except one of the two music analysis judges for some reason). Far more importantly, it was a great return to performance for the group after having two years off from the pandemic and a ton of other adversity to overcome. Huge credit goes to all the staff but in particular Thomas Hubel for all his work as brass caption head and many things that fell way outside of his job description but were handled with his usual excellence anyways.
Musically, the show grew out of a visual idea to travel to new areas in the field each movement and use that as motivation to have different musical ideas come out of that. The design team is always a treat to work with, in particular program coordinator Rob Ripley and percussion arranger Fred Emory Smith, and hopefully that joy comes across in the performance.
This picture is from a wetlands hike we did, and Johanna says I keep picking random animal pictures instead of cool plant pictures so I went with these really neat roots.
Did she actually mean cool plants or flowers and not a picture of roots that I asked her to take for some reason? Is she possibly still jealous that I correctly identified the rare mountain beaver? Only time and ignoring basic logic will tell.
Happy fall! I look forward to seeing many of you soon whether through clinics or judging, and as always I can’t wait to pick up new ideas and tricks of the trade from everyone.