Last night's show in Clifton Stadium brought The Unity Project home to the former North Jersey stomping grounds of The Cadets. Thousands of drum corps fans packed the house as World Class competitors shone.
Once again, the Bluecoats' Session 44 show topped the evening with a season-high score of 81.65. Carolina Crown’s Beast netted 80.4, Boston Crusaders' SOS clocked in with a 79, and The Cadets finished fourth with a 76.7.
The Cadets, despite a slight drop in numbers, have seen steady improvement since the Allentown show, July, 30, improving from 73.8 on July 1 to a season-high 77.1 on July 3. This week the corps also participated in three parades on July 4 and marched in a parade in Raritan, NJ, yesterday before the contest.
Today The Cadets have a planned rehearsal day in Virginia and will be performing in South Carolina tomorrow, followed by shows in Florida and Georgia. The Cadets return to Pennsylvania August 1 for the Tour of Champions event in Chester.
The sounds of horns and drums echoed throughout the Lehigh Valley Saturday as seven drum corps performed for an appreciative audience in Allentown’s J. Birney Crum Stadium.
Spectators who braved the heat were treated to a hot drum corps show, led in competition by the Bluecoats’ “Session 44” production, which took first place with a season-high score of 78.3. Allentown’s own drum corps, The Cadets, jumped almost two full points over their last outing with a 73.2. The Cadets drum majors, clad in the traditional maroon and gold cadets, let the corps onto the field to perform their 2018 program, “The Unity Project.”
Rounding out the World Class were a much-improved Spirit of Atlanta (66.4) and Music City (60.6). New Jersey’s The Raiders were the only scored Open Class corps of the night, finishing with a 48.8.
In exhibition, the show’s opening act was New Jersey’s Encorps, debuting their first-ever public performance and Cadets2 followed. Prior to their performance the Cadets2 brass ensemble opened the night by warming up near the Cadets Community Picnic in the park. The picnic was attended by some 150 friends, family, and alumni of the two drum corps. Alumni representing all iterations of the corps were in attendance, including members of the Holy Name Cadets, Garfield Cadets, Cadets of Bergen County, The Cadets and Cadets2.
Cadets2's offering served as an appetizer to what would become a special evening of celebration of Cadets’ traditions. After the scores were announced, alumni friends, and family of both corps filed onto the field. The two corps’ horn lines combined to play “O Holy Name,” the corps song of The Cadets, after which the alumni gathered and engaged in the Caps for Cadets tradition. Alumni handed member caps to The Cadets and members of The Cadets handed caps to members of Cadets2.
The evening ended with each corps huddling together, hands on shoulders, to sing their respective corps’ songs, “Launch Straight Through to Victory” (Cadets2) and “O Holy Name.”
The Cadets will finish the East Coast leg of their 2018 tour on July 5 with another home show in the corps’ old stomping grounds of Clifton, NJ, after stops in Lawrence and Lynn, Massachusetts, and Cranston, RI. Cadets2 follows up with a performance next weekend at the Buccaneer Classic in Landisville, Penn.
Eric Kitchenmen, Adjudication Coordinator for USBands, has been hard at work with a team of fellow adjudicators, updating the Criteria Reference System, known colloquially as the back of the sheets. To honor their hard work on this project, the USBands Team thought Eric could speak to these changes best.
Why was the decision made to update the sheets? Who contributed to it?
"One of the most frequent complaints we were receiving from directors and adjudicators was about the back of the sheets. The complaints were predominately due to the vagueness of the current sheet. To address this we had a focus group of several adjudicators who commented on their caption of expertise. The result of their input is this new sheet which will assist both adjudicators and ensemble directors in understanding their scores, rankings and ratings. We wanted to create a stronger tool for the adjudicators to see very clearly the criteria for the corresponding scores. Adjudicators will be able to dig deeper when evaluating ensembles."
What do these changes mean for directors?
"A better understanding of the scoring system and clearer communication. We wanted a clear explanation of the scores so directors could see why their ensemble received a particular score and what they need to focus on to improve their score. The new sheet also creates a common language for the critique process, making commentary from an adjudicator easier to follow.”
So, will groups be able to better understand A Class vs Open Class?
"Yes, the differences are clearer: “A Class” refers to ensembles with basic to intermediate skills while “Open Class” describes ensembles with intermediate to advance skills. We will have six sheets split across the two classes for assessing: individual music, ensemble music, visual, overall effect, color guard, and percussion. With this level of detail, directors will know the expectations to be successful in their class. We now have listed details to be used as points of comparison instead of having only one word like always, sometimes, often, etc."
Do you expect to make more changes to the sheets?
"This is a work in progress. Any additional changes will be a collective effort from band directors and adjudicators. Moving forward the Advisory Board will also have oversight over the criteria."
USBands is excited to begin the immediate use of the new Criteria Reference System sheets. The completion of this project is the achievement of another milestone in USBands’ three-year strategic plan.
While The Cadets Hall of Fame Committee is still in the process of detailing and documenting its overall elective process and bylaws, the members felt it important to immediately address the requests they have received for the removal of George Hopkins from The Cadets Hall of Fame.
In an effort to maintain the integrity of The Cadets Hall of Fame, the committee unanimously voted that if a Hall of Fame member behaves in a way that is not aligned with the values of The Cadets, and therefore does not live up to the standards of moral character for a Cadets Hall of Fame member, they should be considered for removal from the Hall of Fame. Given the adoption of this criteria, and under the guidance of the YEA! Board of Directors, George Hopkins’ membership in The Cadets Hall of Fame has been revoked.
The committee will continue to work on its bylaws and procedures, and plans to finalize and announce all details by July 31, 2018.
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