The Cadets’ 2014 Production, Promise: An American Portrait, tells the story of American prosperity through the speeches of three of the most iconic presidents of this country: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.
This recording is from a rehearsal, so the members are not in uniform, and there are breaks in the show. However, every part of the show is performed, so nothing will be missed in viewing this video.
Overall Score: 97.90
General Effect: 40.00
The most successful aspect of this show was its general effect. The story presented by this show is told so well, and conveyed almost flawlessly to the audience. The narrator makes this a little easier to achieve, as the story can be told through words as well as music. However, the music does an amazing job telling this show’s story as well. When the excerpts of speeches are triumphant, the music is very energetic and powerful. The music creates a sense of courage and strength that ties in beautifully with the message being conveyed by the excerpts. When the story of the stock market is told, the music adopts no definite key, making the music seem chaotic, an amazing representation of the confusion surrounding the country at the time of the stock market crash. However, the music then becomes more energetic when the speech excerpts tell of people getting back to work after the crash. Finally, the last piece, “Simple Gifts” from Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” finishes the tale of success with an incredibly optimistic and prosperous melody. Also, at the end of the show, President Obama’s speeches are sampled, thus putting the show in the present, and truly connecting the audience to the show.
Visual: 19.10, 18.90, 18.90 – 28.45
Color Guard: The color guard does a very good job throughout the entire show of supplying energy to the music. The constant costume changes keep the audience on their toes, and adds variety to the show that a lot of drum corps lack. Also, their actions are very difficult, and are very synchronized. All of their tosses are thrown to the same height and are caught at the same time, which, surprisingly, adds a very strong layer to the music. The tosses and catches, if executed correctly, emphasize key parts of the music, and make the music’s effect that much greater.
General: Overall, this show is incredibly visually demanding. The music is at incredibly fast tempos, which asks a lot physically of the performers. The musicians are running for nearly half of the show, and it still sounds as if they are playing standing still. Also, a lot of their forms include diagonals and curves, which are very difficult to execute. These forms also add a lot to the overall effect of the show. For example, the flag created in the very beginning of the show immediately introduces the topic of the show to the audience. However, some of the easier forms were not executed perfectly, and took away from the overall visual effect.
Music: 19.60, 19.80, 19.50 – 29.45
General Music: Overall, the music played by each section fit together very well. The parts complimented each other beautifully, and made the corps sound like one cohesive unit. The music was played with a lot of emotion, making it very easy to be thoroughly entertained by this show. However, there were times when some sections slowed down/sped up more than others, and the ensemble sound tore. This took away from the musical effect of the show.
Hornline: This hornline was incredible. They had incredible dynamic contrast (very quiet to very loud), and maintained sound quality throughout the entirety of the show, despite all of the running they were doing. Also, they played with an incredibly warm sound throughout that allowed them to pour every ounce of emotion they had into the show, without the sound becoming ugly and off-putting. There were very few times when the horn line was not balanced throughout, but these times are what kept them from a perfect score.
Percussion: The percussion added a lot to this show. Every recording heard was the responsibility of the front ensemble to play at the right time. The music played by the front ensemble (and the battery) interweaved beautifully with what the hornline played. The music was incredibly challenging, and the musicians executed it nearly flawlessly. However, there were times where it sounded as though more than one person was playing per instrument.