It was a night not unlike any late July night in Chicago. This was Lafayette, LA. Hot. Humid. With the hope for a breeze.
As we walked around the area surrounding Cajun Field, home of the University of Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns, my thoughts went back to a summer night in 1959 when my high school band traveled to Riverview Amusement Park in Chicago. At this time, there was nightly marching band competition, complete with judging in categories of: inspection (uniform, gloves, shoes cleaned or polished), marching precision, and playing.
The Mandarins organization was founded in 1963 as the Ye Wah Drum and Lyre Corps, created for the youth of the Sacramento Chinese community. One year later, the ensemble added bugles and a color guard, and took on its current name in 1967. Mandarins’ programs often focus on Asian influences; the program was entitled: "Destination America: Journey of the Paper Sons."
During the performance, the judges submit scored sheets, and each judge provides a tape of commentary for each corps, recorded live throughout each performance. The categories being judged are:
The "Visual Effect" judge sits in the stands and determines if the visual program is being “sold” to the audience. Are the drill formations, movements and evolutions and the choreography of the movement, dance and other maneuvers easy to “read” and do they create an emotional impact?
The "Music Effect" judge sits in the stands and considers how successfully the performers “sell” their musical program (the “book”) to the audience, including a consideration of the emotional impact of the presentation.
The "Visual Ensemble" judge sits in the stands to assess how well the corps members march during a performance and assesses how well the design team creates a show where the music and visual program work as a single entity.
Founded in 1963 as the Junior Dukes, the Colts were also known as the Legionnaires and Colt .45 before adopting the corps’ current name in 1976. Iowa’s governor has declared the Dubuque-based Colts as “Iowa’s Ambassadors of Music.” “Field of Dreams” was their program theme.
The Troopers are the only competitive junior drum and bugle corps in the state of Wyoming. The corps, founded in 1957, represents the state of Wyoming in numerous performances and events during the year. The Division I corps is known for their long and storied history, and is often called “America’s Corps”. "Magnificent 11" was the theme of the show.
The competition continues...after a break for some food.