Went to see a friend's son perform with @thecadets (Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps) tonight out in Jersey. A work-in-progress preview performance, but superdupercool nonetheless.
I've probably admitted it before, but I was a total high school bandgeek. Played clarinet (section leader, natch, until my senior year, when I quit in a fit of teenage defiance), and so I never marched drum corps.
But, of course, we grew up watching DCI competitions on tv and at school, and when I heard my friend's kid was gonna march Cadets, I was over the moon. Ya'll, they're so good, that even my mother knows who they are. (In fact, I still keep calling them the Cadets of Bergen County. Heh.)
Mind you, for these couple of hours tonight, I totally lived vicariously through this kid. Heh. Plus, the night was totally like one of my beloved behind-the-scenes tours!
So much fun seeing all the band parents - the ones snapping up all the band swag at The Cadets Fan Shop (!), wearing not one, but two layers of branded windbreakers, and blankets, talking about past shows and past showdates where they last met. All of them keeping a watchful eye out for where their kids were, or might show up. It's such a different world, and it was fun watching my friend and his family experience that firsthand.
Loved watching all the pre-show activity - kids running around the borrowed high school facilities, half in uniform, jackets open, getting ready in bathrooms and locker rooms, then meeting up with their small sections and instructors to go over last-minute feedback and advice.
And then - best part ever - marching off lockstep and battleready, to join the rest of the group, shutting out the world, eyes hard and facefront, determined and never wavering, despite family members standing nearby and waving them off.
The show itself was interesting - without giving away too much of it - it's called Between Angels and Demons, a show of opposites, exploring man's inherent good versus evil. The corps was divided into two sides, both in uniform and show moves - two warring factions, and their battlefield the entire 100 yards of the football field.
It's a difficult show with more than 200 sets, and man, watching the fast moves and transitions at eye level was absolutely dizzying. It's something I'd never taken into consideration, as most of the tv coverage is from high above, to allow you to see all the pictures.
As expected, the Cadets were terrific, having built a good foundation so far, and one that will solidify with each day of practice and each performance. When we see them again in competition in a couple of months, you just know they're going to have an amazing show and dominate DCI.
The best part of the night though, was learning how some things just don't change. For the most part, Cadets were marching by twos and small groups - of course, in lock step and perfect form, something that amazed my friend's family.
I tried to explain that it just becomes second nature, walking in step with whomever you're walking beside, and if not, doing a little hopstep to make sure that you are.
It's so second nature, that even 20 years after my last show, I totally found myself walking in lockstep and squeezing some toothpaste with each step. (I kept the toothpaste thing to myself...no need to let the dork flag fly that free!)
*The opening strains of our high school rallying cry:
How are your eyes?