On July 11, the stands were packed at the football field at Metamora Township High School.
People had come from all over the area, and from other states, to see what was going on at the field.
However, it wasn’t a football game that had people entranced. It was the River City Rhapsody, a group of six drum corps that had audience members cheering and entertained well into the night.
The event, the third time it’s been held at Metamora, is only one of the many tour locations that Drum Corps International participants will play in before the championships in August at Indianapolis.
After a half-hour delay due to a judge arriving late, the competition got started with the only Open Class band there, the Colt Cadets from Debuque, Iowa.
The Cadets had one of the more humorous field shows of the night. Their set, called “Alive!” focused around five different color mutations that were brought to life and became part of the group. At the beginning, the mutations wandered around, trying to find their bearings. However, by the end, they were smashing cymbals together with the rest of the corps.
The last five groups were all part of the World Class ranking.
“World class is a larger classification for larger groups,” DCI brass judge Brad Huneycutt said. “They also do a little bit more of a challenging program overall. Open class is some of our younger groups that are maybe training or doing shorter tours throughout the summer.”
The Cascades, from Seattle, performed a set called “Shinto” with a distinct oriental feel. The percussion line came out dressed in oriental garb, which was interesting to see, and even performed some various moves towards the end.
The next group is the one that wowed me the most, the Madison Scouts from Madison, Wisc. The group has kept their all-male roots from 1938, when it was founded as a Boy Scout corps.
The corps had huge sound coming up, and got some of the biggest cheers from the crowd. In addition, they even threw a bit of a capella singing in the middle.
After a brief intermission, the Spirit of Atlanta from Atlanta showed off a bit of “Sin City.”
Their Vegas-themed show had plenty of recognizable bits of Vegas songs and memorabilia, from poker chips to Lady Luck. In addition, I even caught myself humming along to “Luck Be a Lady” as they played it.
The Phantom Regiment from Rockford topped the show in both music and story. The corps walked away with first-place honors with their show, “Turandot.”
Based on the play by Giacomo Puccini, the corps did a great job of telling the story of Turandot and Calaf as they fall in love and find each other. Even without knowing the names, or knowing a thing about the play, the audience could still easily follow the story with the mood and flow of the music.
Page 2 of 2 - Finally, the Blue Stars from La Crosse, Wisc. Wrapped up the show with “The Blue World,” which featured pieces from Antonin Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.”
The set focused on sailors finding a new land across the sea, and had some interesting visual pieces with it, including a pier.
After their last song, the Blue Stars took about a 10 minute break before coming back out to entertain the audience again with an encore.
Overall, the Rhapsody provided plenty of entertainment for everyone out there. If they do make a return for the fourth year in a row next year, this is a show that’s worth checking out.