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November 15, 2019

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Flags, horns, drums, wooden rifles and singers

Meet this year's Cadets - here's their performance Sunday night at ONU

Story and photos by Monty Siekerman
Flags, horns, drums, wooden rifles, and singers all took center stage at the ONU Bill Robinson Field on Sunday evening when the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps gave a free "Thank You Ada" performance. The show received an extended standing ovation from the crowd.


The dramatic choreography and playing of Leonard Bernstein music greatly pleased the 1,000+ people in attendance. This year's crowd rivaled last year's attendance although rain was "iffy" in the forecast on Sunday. In fact, it did sprinkle a little when the show was to begin. But the rain ended quickly, and delayed the opening by only half an hour.

The two-hour Bernstein "Mass" was rewritten to fit into the corps 11 minutes that the group Hall on the field when it performs in competitions. Those who own Bernstein music (he died in 1990 at the age of 72) seldom give permission for this piece to be performed, but after months of negotiations, it was allowed. The corps played the piece in three acts titled "Faithful; The Fallen, The Forgiven."  

In addition to their competition piece, band members entertained the crowd with a few additional selections. About 1,000 people showed up for the 11-minute performance, but the extra music made the effort even more worthwhile. The evening began with the "Star Spangled Banner," but there was no American flag to be seen.

The Corps, founded in 1934 and headquartered in Allentown, Pa., includes 100 band members. Another 50 people are directors, cooks, and organizers of the corps. Eight vocalists were added to the mix this year.

From sunup to sundown, the members of the highly-rated corps have spent the past two and a half weeks in Ada perfecting their music and on-field movements. Before arriving here, they practiced in Johnstown, Pa., for two weeks.

Drum Corps International competition begins June 22 in Indianapolis. About 8,000 people will pay admission for the show. The Cadets will perform nearly 30 shows in 15 states before returning to Indianapolis for the world championships Aug. 10-12.

Now the Cadets are ready for the road and the strong competition it entails to find out which corps in the U.S. and Canada rate the best.

Ada will be rooting for the Cadets.