Senators & Commodores take the honours at Leicester

Whilst travelling towards Leicester, on what looked to be a day that was going to be wet, windy and cold (in keeping with the rest of the great British Summer!!!) I was starting to wonder whether or not the show could possibly still go on considering the conditions and driving rain that I was travelling through. Thankfully as I drew nearer to Leicester the rain stopped and the sun made a few brief appearances from behind the clouds. 

Deciding to arrive early in order to hopefully catch a few Corps rehearsing I was pleased to see a number of Corps already set up and practicing in time honoured fashion on the park in Saffron Lane. Although not as many as in years gone by, when corps had to arrive at the crack of dawn to ensure a place to rehearse on the park, there was still a buzz around with the sound of horns and drums from the Corps all mixing together in the air to produce a special sound and feeling.

After spending some time at the park I moved onto the stadium where, just by chance, I arrived in time to witness the whole of the Kidsgrove Scouts assemble in the stand to watch, enjoy and encourage their own junior band as they went through their competition routine on the field. That really was a great thing to witness and the support the juniors received from the senior corps must have been something special for the youngsters on the field. 

So onto the day’s competition and first to take the field were the Kidsgrove Scouts Juniors. Although they were the only participant in the days Junior division they treated us all to a really rousing performance and what an improvement there has been with this young unit since the last time I saw them - which was here in Leicester back in June. With such talent on display it’s a sure thing that the future of the Kidsgrove organisation is secure.

The first corps on in the National Open Class were Concord from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Now with the boys and girls in blue you know what you are going to get and boy we weren’t disappointed. These guys may have only had 11 or so horns on the field on Sunday but they played and sounded like only they can with the power and passion that we have all come to expect from this corps. With their repertoire of music based on the theme Gangster Chronicles coupled with the clever use of the multi tasking battery and pit musicians along with the prison bar props around the field made this a most enjoyable show to sit and enjoy. 

Next up were the Staffordshire Knights with their 2008 production “Emotion in Motion”. I have to say that this Corps has been showing steady progress all season both on and off the field. Not only have they been able to re-equip the corps with new equipment, including new horns and new drums, they have also managed to present us with a new look uniform for 2008, no mean feat on behalf of the staff and fundraisers for this corps during such difficult financial times. As for the corps on the field I particularly enjoyed the arrangements of some of the world’s greatest composers ranging from Puccini to Holst and Stravinsky to Greig.

Last on in this class were this season’s front runners and current class champions Poynton Commodores with their production “The Tapestry of Life”. For the large part it was based on music that I didn’t recognise straight off however the many strong medleys all worked extremely well and there were also a number of strong whole corps moments the helped push this corps into first place on the day. It’s not difficult to see why Poynton are the front runners going into finals.

First on in the International Open Class were the reigning DCUK Champions Kidsgrove Scouts and the largest corps to take the field today. With their show entitled “Cirque D'illusion” This corps are on a mission to retain that coveted title they won last September in Burton. There opening 30 seconds or so of the performance sets the scene with a classic circus theme building from the front ensemble creating an air of expectation and anticipation which didn’t disappoint throughout the whole performance. Their rendition of the classic “Send in the Clowns” was played with purpose and emotion. Have they got enough in the tank to push it all the way? Only time will tell and I for one hope there is more to come from this great Corps during the next few weeks. 

The last competing corps of the day were The Senators from Eastleigh Hampshire, with their program based on the Seven Deadly Sins. The Corps unveiled its new look uniform for the musicians and a new themed costume for the guard. Whilst this corps are the reigning European Drum Corps Champions, having spoken with their Director, they are also on a mission to regain the DCUK Championship title for an unprecedented and record breaking eight time in two weeks time. It will be a brave man who will bet on the Senators not realising the aspirations of their Director in Northwich. The Senators are looking extremely strong in all areas and captions, particularly in what has been their Achilles heel over the years “the Colour Guard” and now that the horn line has filled out they have managed too, in the large part, clean away that un-Senators type sound they were producing early season. 

At the conclusion of the day’s events it was nice to see so many horn players come front and centre to participate in the massed piece Ava Maria and the playing of the National anthem and in particular the participation of a very young member from Concord who joined the ensemble.

On reflection a great, albeit slightly short, day with much to enjoy and admire and even more to look forward too by way of the fayre that will be on display in a couple of weeks at The British Drum Corps Championships at Northwich Victoria’s Marston Arena. 




© Drum Corps United Kingdom 2004