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Flashback Friday: Blue Devils Hater No More

2010 Blue Devils, photo by Michael D Morse
2010 Blue Devils, photo by Michael D Morse

The 2010 Drum Corps International World Championship audio recordings came up in my playlist this morning. This was the season where the Blue Devils won playing what may be the Stan Kenton Orchestra’s most polarizing music, City of Glass, as part of their championship show, Through A Glass Darkly.

Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of BD at the time. I was on the bandwagon of hating the corps because they were pretty much the New York Yankees of drum corps. The 2010 Blue Devils changed my perspective and my opinion, however, and compelled me to write about it on my old website. Here is what I wrote a decade ago for your enjoyment.

I’ve been pretty hard on the Blue Devils for the past couple years. Whether it’s been musical selections I can’t stand, tuba lines I can’t hear, or uniform designs I can’t figure out, I’m more likely to speak out about what I hate about BD instead of what I like.

This year’s show is no exception, especially after they teased me with the joint offerings of a horn line on King horns AND a show of Stan Kenton music. If there’s one thing Devs do right, it’s Kenton. Imagine my disappointment when La Suerta de Los Tontos is barely even hinted at in the show, then imagine my horror when City of Glass, a composition people walked out on when it was debuted in 1947, turned out to be the centerpiece of the musical book.

It was Michael Cesario who caused my perspective to change. While listening to the August 9th DCI Field Pass podcast, he said the following regarding the Blue Devils show:

I’m smelling a game changer here. I’m smelling a new paradigm. It’s intriguing because they clearly have a  vision of drum corps in the future and they’re already heading there. To do that, there’s not a whiff of the stale…Now, I don’t know if I want to hear a violent show every year or every night, but that’s the beauty of Drum Corps International.

What caught my ear from the above quote are the terms “new paradigm” and “violent show”. The last time I heard those words used to describe the same drum corps show was in regards to this one. Go ahead and watch. I’ll wait.

I think I get what the Blue Devils are doing this year. I’ll have to listen to the show again, plus really pay attention to the corps’ performance during the Quarterfinals cinecast, but I’ve had an epiphany about this show and I don’t think I hate it like I used to. Take another look and listen and let me know whether you agree or not.

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