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2019 BOA Grand National Championships


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William Mason’s show is a Cartwright show through and through. What Lies Beneath. I’m not sure if there’s any relation to the Zemeckis film of the same name, but I’m going to guess probably not. Bright, tropical-colored, spotted boxes line the back corner of side 2, with slides coming out of them like tongues. The print on the boxes sort of reminds me of L.D. Bell’s guard dresses from 2007, while the print on the platforms reminds me of Broken Arrow’s 2006 show, Aqua. On the spectrum of odd Cartwright productions, this is one of the more left-leaning, abstruse ones, sort of like 2014’s FaceMe. The music is predominantly by Paul Hindemith. The opener features some very interesting arranging of both Hindemith’s Turandot from the Symphonic Metamorphoses and Mathis der Mahler. In fact, it’s this arranging that I appreciate most about the show. It opens very slowly and carefully, subverting our expectations of how marching band openers usually develop, and allowing for the oddness of the Hindemith arrangements to sink in. Like most Cartwright shows, it develops visually in grand gestures – long, flowing forms that take up the entire field, submerged in seas of flags. Something unexpected: a fairly accomplished rifle line. That’s nice to see. From start to finish, the show is pretty fresh and engaging, but when I watched a prelims video of this show earlier, I was hoping for a performance that was a little bit more polished, as I don’t think this one nearly reaches the heights of Mason’s 2016 production, World Out of Balance. In the finals performance, there were some issues with phasing as well. But if you recall just a couple years ago, when they did that show with the Percy Granger music, this one is definitely a step in the right direction.
 

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William Mason’s show is a Cartwright show through and through. What Lies Beneath. I’m not sure if there’s any relation to the Zemeckis film of the same name, but I’m going to guess probably not. Bright, tropical-colored, spotted boxes line the back corner of side 2, with slides coming out of them like tongues. The print on the boxes sort of reminds me of L.D. Bell’s guard dresses from 2007, while the print on the platforms reminds me of Broken Arrow’s 2006 show, Aqua. On the spectrum of odd Cartwright productions, this is one of the more left-leaning, abstruse ones, sort of like 2014’s FaceMe. The music is predominantly by Paul Hindemith. The opener features some very interesting arranging of both Hindemith’s Turandot from the Symphonic Metamorphoses and Mathis der Mahler. In fact, it’s this arranging that I appreciate most about the show. It opens very slowly and carefully, subverting our expectations of how marching band openers usually develop, and allowing for the oddness of the Hindemith arrangements to sink in. Like most Cartwright shows, it develops visually in grand gestures – long, flowing forms that take up the entire field, submerged in seas of flags. Something unexpected: a fairly accomplished rifle line. That’s nice to see. From start to finish, the show is pretty fresh and engaging, but when I watched a prelims video of this show earlier, I was hoping for a performance that was a little bit more polished, as I don’t think this one nearly reaches the heights of Mason’s 2016 production, World Out of Balance. In the finals performance, there were some issues with phasing as well. But if you recall just a couple years ago, when they did that show with the Percy Granger music, this one is definitely a step in the right direction.

 

I was getting Bell 2007 vibes from the visual, too.
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I can’t tell who’s having more fun...the woodlands or CTJ!!! These definitely go into the category of “shows I wish I could go back in time and march in”!! Major props to the choreographer for CTJ, all the movement is just a ton of fun and never stops. That will be a tough one for Avon to follow.

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Coming into the season, we thought CTJ would be one of the ones to beat. They’ve been so consistently great in Texas that it was hard to not have them at the top of the pack going into Nationals. Despite maybe underplacing (but not underperforming!) a little bit this season, there’s absolutely nothing to be upset about. The show this year, The Circle of Life, is a fine sequel to their amazing 2017 production, and at times it makes nods to that show, as when they quote music from it in the opener. In true CTJ style, the show is scorchingly difficult, both musically and visually, but the execution is outstanding. Also, in true CTJ style, the show is consistently inventive, and buoyant, and eclectic, and crowd-pleasing. One thing that CTJ does consistently well is taking us on a truly diverse emotional journey. They allow themselves to be sad and happy and funny and serious, sometimes within the span of a few minutes. Their shows are always so full of life and character, and this production is no different. With The Circle of Life, they continue to push the boundaries of the sort of movement that a high school band can achieve. It’s not the cleanest show we’ve gotten from them, but it’s way more than enough. The musicianship from the soloists was just totally astounding. Totally delightful. When the show is over, you just want rise to your feet and throw babies onto the field.

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