Thursday, October 13, 2011

hype of the week: 1996 phantom regiment

In 1996, the Phantom Regiment took the field with a different look, and a much darker feel than even this all-classical corps had been known for. The familiar gleaming, all-white uniform had been replaced by an all-black version, which gave the corps an almost terrifying presence on the green field. The program, entitled "A Defiant Heart", featured music from Shostakovich's first and fifth symphonies, which are definitely among the heavier works in the orchestral repertoire.

I don't normally put up an entire 12-minute field show for Hype Of The Week, and frankly I'd been sitting on it, saving it, for about a year; but I've been in a sort of heavy space since Rosh Hashanah and decided it was finally time to put this one up. In advance of racing my favorite course (PIR/Heron Lakes on Sunday) it feels right to share this now. I promise it's worth hanging in there for the whole thing.

The show proper begins at about 40 seconds in. Look for great close-ups of snare stick work at 3:32 and 5:21. The most famous theme of this symphony happens at around 7:00. More snare close-ups at 10:00 (dig the stick heights, matched beautifully!), followed right afterwards by some gorgeous drill-writing (check out the huge flags almost floating through the corps without hitting anyone!). The show ends with a massive, earth-shattering company front/wall-of-sound at 11:40, and you can stop viewing there or watch through to the end of the video to see Phantom announced as DCI Champions. It was (and remains), in drum corps parlance, a nearly perfect field show. Watching it again gave me goosebumps, a burst of strength, and even a little hope. Turn up the volume, go to full screen, and be shaken and even moved.

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