The inaugural Downingtown Classic

This article can be found published on the Reading Buccaneers.
The Reading Buccaneers getting ready to perform their show Saturday night. (Candice Monhollan)

The Reading Buccaneers getting ready to perform their show Saturday night. (Candice Monhollan)

DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. – The sounds of brass and drums filled the July air as drum corps took over Kottmeyer Stadium at Downingtown West High School Saturday night.

The inaugural Downingtown Classic, hosted by the Reading Buccaneers and Downingtown Music Parents Association, featured six corps competing against each other in the Drum Corps Associates circuit and one junior corps in exhibition.

The hometown favorite Buccaneers stole the show with their 2012 production of “The Black Symphony.” The 128-member corps closed out the competing portion and left the crowd on their feet. They swept all captions and came in first place with a score of 87.00 out of 100, marking their fourth consecutive victory this season.

“We had a solid run,” said Paul Cullen, brass caption head of the Buccaneers. “It was a little unsettled; we had numerous opportunities to make corrections and they made quick corrections within a beat or so. The education of the drum corps is good – it’s high. They are using the tools that we’ve given them.”

The crowd kept the applause going from start to finish for the Buccaneers as they fed off the performance.

“It’s a great stadium for drum corps,” Cullen said. “You’re right on top of the drum corps. There’s no track, you get all the volume and sound coming right at you and it’s very easy to get engaged quickly. I know the horn line, the drum line and the front ensemble felt that. You could see the smiles on [the guard’s] faces. They were enjoying the connection the crowd had with them because they were that close.”

Ed Otto, band director at Downingtown West High School, helped coordinate and run the first annual show. He admitted they weren’t expecting the large turnout.

“Usually when you have an event like this for the first time, it’s sparse,” Otto said. “It was almost packed all the way. We didn’t have any parking spots left. We almost went across the street to the church.”

The show opened with Downingtown West’s marching band as they previewed its show for the school year. The competing corps followed after.

Atlanta CV out of Atlanta, Ga., placed second with a 75.85 over Cadets2 out of Allentown, Pa., who finished with a 75.30 after a one point penalty. Rounding out the bottom three were the Bushwackers out of Princeton, N.J., with a 66.40, the White Sabres from Dansville, N.Y., with a 64.75 and Shenandoah Sound from Manassas, Va., with a 59.20.

The Raiders, from Wayne, N.J., closed out the evening with an exhibition performance.

The drum corps show at Downingtown was the first since the mid-‘80s. Some who were in attendance then came out to see its return.

“A lot of them were here watching,” Otto said. “They were really impressed and had tears in their eyes and were glad to see the event back.”


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Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Drum & Bugle Corps

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