That’s what I thought when I was asked to write a review; I’m an electrician not a fancy journalist. But then I realized what a privilege it was to be asked to comment on this fantastic day. Banding is all about becoming part of an extended family, so the whole family has written this review – me, my wife Sarah and our two daughters, Hannah, 16, who plays the synthesizer and the flute, and Tash, 15, who plays the trumpet.
The Worcester Warriors ground is an impressive stadium, with AstroTurf, floodlights, a huge crowd and very talented performers. So come on – let’s bring the theatre to the rugby pitch.
Show title: Oliver Score: 39.78
Starting off the evening was Halifax BB/GB, a corps with very smart uniforms. With just 11 marching members and a varied age range, they put out an impressive and solid show. We enjoyed the choice of music; our highlights were the mellophone solo in ‘Where Is Love’, an up-tempo finale of ‘Consider Yourself’. The marimba player came across confidently as he added to the overall sound produced. Throughout the show the rhythms played by all sections came across accurately (the three bass drums laid down some great runs). We really enjoyed the use of umbrellas in ‘I’ll Do Anything’. Overall, a good job by all sections – well done Halifax!
Thurrock Marching Brass
Show title: Charlie’s Chocolate Factory Score: 49.78
It was great to see a corps with so many young members and even though it rained throughout, it didn’t deter from their performance. The opening staging was very aesthetically pleasing, and the props and the use of audio enabled the story to be told. Musically the show began with a solid opener with a terrific level of energy that led into a confident flugel/trumpet duet, as well as an impressive display of guard work, in particular with sabres. The highlights of this show for us were ‘Rocking All Over the World’ with lollypops for guitars, two surprise drum kits, and even a cymbal flourish from the guard. We enjoyed the solos in ‘Cheer Up Charlie’ and thought that the guard did a really great job throughout. The sound was strengthened by the expressive and confidently played drums as well as the frontline who worked together well, adding depth to the sound. This was a very young and enthusiastic band that filled the field with their smiles, and a clever use of rotating props which added to the theatre of the production.
1st Ibstock Scout Band
Show title: Dare to dream Score: 53.02
The first thing we noticed was how well turned out the corps was. The colourguard did an impressive job of setting the scene. The show started with a strong Star Wars opener played by the brass, which led into ‘Under the Sea’ with impressive flag work. There was a nice balance between the ensemble and the tubas which added to the piece. Next up was ‘Beauty and the Beast’ which had controlled frontline work, a great baritone solo and stunning yellow flags. Finishing the production, we were entertained by a flurry of pirates, sword fights, and a boat. With 15 members in the horn line, they managed to create a rich sound and we liked the part in where the drum line came to the front and played their parts effectively but also with subtlety. We thought that it was lovely to see an all-female frontline whose use of dynamics throughout the show created variety and expression. The whole show was supported by a creative use of props and there were clever drill and body movements. Overall it was a fast-paced and crowd-pleasing performance. Well done 1st Ibstock – a great show.
Dynamic Vibe Performance Ensemble
Show title: Whole Score: 58.82
When the corps entered the field we noticed the striking uniforms and the matching purple on the frontline’s instruments. Beginning with a clever drill that included plenty of body movement, the first piece (‘Creep’ – a favourite of ours) came across well. The frontline was well controlled and well balanced with the brass. Much more followed with a driving tuba, who played with confidence and great control, talented mellophone and trumpet sections, and the frontline playing non-stop with a well arranged ‘Land of Make Believe’. Throughout the show there was a good use of dynamics in each section. We liked the coloured lights on the tuba as it added to the overall effect and we thought it was great to see such a variety of instruments in the frontline (maracas, triangle, cabasa, tambourine and whistles) as they added to the musical variety. This production had a pleasant sounding horn line and the guard were well incorporated into a creatively written show. Good job!
Comets Performance Ensemble
Show title: From Here to Eternity Score: 59.98
The production began with an atmospheric opener from the brass and frontline. It was a great start from the horn line in particular – a great overall sound – and a nice mellophone solo. There were effective visuals throughout the show including step ladders to enhance the visual display. There was an enthusiastic baritone solo in ‘Oh Happy Days’ which had the crowd captivated while managing to maintain tone quality in the pouring rain. The production ended with an exciting rendition of ‘Ode to Joy’. The guard was very elegant with its flag and other equipment work while the drum line drove the pieces with enthusiasm. When looking at our notes, we realized that we hadn’t written much down because the show was so good we couldn’t stop watching it!
Stafford Brigades Youth Marching Band
Show title: Dare to Dream Score: 59.45
As soon as the corps came into the field, we noticed the fairy lights on the frontline and thought that it was a nice touch. We really liked the choice of music as it was modern and all had been huge hits. The show started with great flowing drill, which highlighted the strong drum line to start. This was then followed by a strong baritone solo with a lovely tone, and sweet sounding mellophones. The choice of ‘The Nights’ was immediately recognized and the distinct melodies came across well. We also enjoyed ‘Empire State of Mind’. Next was ‘Hallelujah’ which had a well-written and tuneful score and we particularly enjoyed the baritone and mellophone duet and thought the cymbal was effectively used. Then came ‘Counting Stars’ where the trumpet section worked well in unison. We thought that the fast-paced drill was cleverly portrayed and we enjoyed the sound produced by the brass when they came out towards the front line. Throughout the production we thought that the drill and visuals were very clean and creative, that the very strong percussion line played with confidence, demonstrating their understanding by producing clear downbeats, and that the brass were strong with very clean releases. The show had a very strong ending with lots going on.
Show title: The Chess Game Score: 75.23
This show started with an atmospheric, well-balanced front line. The colourguard stood out as their uniforms represented the theme of their show. In ‘The Sound of Silence’ there was a tight percussion line, confident brass line and good guard work. The front line worked together throughout to create a great overall sound, and the vibraphones played well together in unison. The show then built well and really engaged the audience to listen further. We appreciated the work of the bass drums as it was captivating. With only a small guard, Phantom Knights managed to fill the field with energy and we particularly liked the use of the chess pieces while we felt the colourguard’s flags effectively portrayed the concept of the show. In part 3, the horns produced a very rich, warm sound, whilst playing quietly which was impressive. Next came a jazz number containing a strong battery and a brilliant performance by the ‘high note guys’. We thought that the mellophone solo in part 4 was excellent and that the percussion line did a great job with the complex rhythms, creating a memorable, foot-tapping moment. In part 5, the brass played well together as a unit, especially the bass line which produced a solid wall of sound. At the end of the show, the chess board banner flag gave a dramatic finish. This was a great performance by all and a solid, exciting show.
Liberty Drum Corps
Show title: The Bench Score: 78.95
The show began with the whole corps setting the scene, revealing the homeless boy, and it captivated us from the start. The brass were well-controlled and the sound produced by the front line was beautiful, playing subtly to accompany the brass. The trumpet solo was confident and very tuneful while the tuba produced a lovely tone throughout which was dominant but not overpowering. Throughout the show, the bass and soprano lines worked well together creating a well-rounded sound. The trumpet solo was outstanding with excellent phrasing and an amazing tone quality. The drum line was confident and produced a driving tempo with complex rhythms while the frontline came across as a very strong and capable unit. We especially liked the vibraphonist at the end who played softly and was then complimented by the glockenspiel. The corps made good use of the field, showing their knowledge of the drum corps idiom, and every member contributed to the great story-telling. The colourguard worked well together and were very impressive to watch – it was ironic that the guard had lots of umbrellas yet the rain had finally stopped for Liberty’s performance! The story was told creatively producing a mature show and in our eyes the best guard of the day. We enjoyed the show and we didn’t want it to end. Thank you for a delightful performance.
Show title: Jekyll and Hyde Score: 81.85
This show really grabbed us this year as the brass were impressive, utilizing the full dynamic range, with a very strong trumpet soloist who played very confidently. The samples that were used set the mood of the piece and the scene of the show and we liked the facial expressions of by the frontline which portrayed the mood of the pieces. The staccato notes were played as one and the slurred passages were well executed and the mellophone solo came across tuneful and confident. The drum line was very strong and drove the pieces especially when playing the complex rhythms in the feature. The synthesizer and low brass played well to create a powerful sound and there were excellent soloists on the outstanding horn line. The section entitled ‘Confrontation’ came across very strong as played particularly well by the frontline and battery. The whole piece came across as a complete article with high performance levels. The drill was well-written with constant and flowing movement which worked well with the very gifted and committed guard who showed the emotion of the pieces. The piece entitled ‘No One Knows Who I Am’ had a very enjoyable duet played by the baritones. The tuneful horns held the crowd. The pace, visuals, music, drill and guard were awesome. We especially enjoyed the singing by the whole corps, it was a lovely touch. Well done, a brilliant show.
So what an evening and what a season – we got everything out of the day that we had wanted – entertainment, friendship and enjoyment. To all the performers and staff – all those hours of practice and hard work were absolutely worth it. To the helpers, officials and everyone else involved – same again next Saturday night please!
Matt, Sarah, Hannah and Tash Chorley
Photo’s courtesy of
Matthew Sewell & Richard Haw