A report by Andy Hewlett
After an absence of 21 years, the IMG SoundSport Glasgow show brought the competitive Marching Arts back to Scotland with a bang. The Bellahouston Sports Centre provided an excellent venue, which ironically had also hosted the first Scottish Drum Corps Show in 1982.
Hosts Blue Barons had publicised the event well, particularly amongst the Scottish Drum Corps Alumni community, and spectators started arriving early, eagerly anticipating for what many of them was their first experience of a marching event for 20 or 30 years.
Comparing today’s event was local boy Rob Steel who can now add announcing to his long list of Drum Corps talents. Rob set the scene by explaining what the Indoor Music Games were about and how the SoundSport system worked.
First group on this afternoon were the Tin Soldiers from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Most of the members are alumni of Concord and other Sheffield corps, some of whom had appeared with Concord at the last Scottish DCUK show in 1996.
The Tin Soldiers appeared with a smart new look, in black shirts, red ties and white braces which really complimented their show of music from the 1920s and 30s. With the inimitable Glyn Boyington acting as a fine Master of Ceremonies, Tin Soldiers created an excellent Dance Band style mood with a concert performance which really connected with the crowd. The major part of their show was a clever arrangement of music from the musical Chicago, which gave the opportunity for an experienced brass line to show what they could do.
The group concluded their performance with an entertaining version of Big Noise from Winnetka, featuring a well played trumpet solo which was very much appreciated by the Drum Corps fans watching.
Making their IMG SoundSport debut today were the 2nd Port Glasgow BB from Renfrewshire in Scotland. Featuring 13 Eb Cavalry trumpets and the only marching percussion section of the day, Port Glasgow dominated the arena with a well rehearsed marching display. Their show began with the horns facing downwards before moving into a programme of Eb favourites.
3 marching glockenspiels greatly added to the performance which included The Entertainer and Lord of the Dance, before a Scottish medley of Scotland the Brave and “we’re no awa to bide awa” which was very well received by the local fans. Whilst watching I realised that it must be over 25 years since I last saw an authentic Eb band and Port Glasgow are a credit to this fine tradition. Talking to their bandmaster Willie Hamill afterwards he said that they are looking for some Eb baritones to add to their lineup, so if anyone has one tucked away in the attic, please get in touch.
Another group making their IMG SoundSport debut today were the Buccaneers from Billericay, Essex who flew up to Glasgow, rather than making the long road trip from the South East. Consisting largely of Drum Corps Alumni from the Essex area, Bucs took the floor in Corps polo shirts, giving them a casual look which suited their style perfectly.
From the first step off to a tune entitled Phoenix, it was clear that these experienced performers were going to give us a real Corps style performance, ably complimented by a guard and static percussion sections.
Neil Sadaka’s Breaking Up saw the guard make good use of streamers before moving onto fans which again worked well. Buccaneers completed their show with a very entertaining version of Legend of the One Eyed Sailor, which got a great reaction from the crowd.
Blue Barons entered the arena to rapturous applause from the home fans. Wearing a modern version of their traditional uniform, the Barons featured 11 horns, 6 guard and 3 static percussion and presented a show entitled A Night Out with the Barons.
The show got underway with There May be Trouble Ahead before moving into Moondance complete with moon and star props from the Drum Major and Guard, as well as featuring an excellent baritone and contra trio. The finale of All Night Long really sold the party atmosphere with a very well played baritone solo and the guard on multi colour flags interacting with the horns.
The Barons got a great crowd reaction with a performance that was a big improvement since their first outing in Dublin back in February. With the contest now concluded, it was down to the DCE judging panel of Twan Trienekens, Barry Davis and Marco Harder to decide the results.
The retreat got underway with all four groups returning to the arena, whilst being piped on by a traditional Scottish Piper in full regalia, giving a splendid Scottish feel to the event. The Barons wowed the audience with a special performance of their “Wall of Sound” signature piece, which had everyone on their feet. Then it was down to the results which were as follows:-
Tin Soldiers – Gold
IMG Premier Class
2nd Port Glasgow BB – 59.2
Buccaneers – 79.7
Blue Barons – 88.65
The day concluded with encore performances from both Blue Barons and Buccaneers, which brought the first Indoor Music Games season to a fitting end. As the clearing up began, talks were already underway for dates for next years contest. Congratulations to Show Organiser Iain MacMillan and everyone at the Blue Barons on a successful and thoroughly enjoyable day, which was capped off, in what is fast becoming an IMG tradition, with a social evening.
With talk that a third Scottish corps is currently being set up for next season it looks like the activity north of the border is really on its way back.
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