Thursday, March 4, 2021

Drum corps playing 'Mars' from 'The Planets' and a virtual parade for Marching Music Day

March Forth, because today is Marching Music Day! Normally, I'd celebrate by sharing videos of the marching bands and drum corps, if any, in the most recent Rose Parade, but this year's event was cancelled and I already used the 2019 video for the 2021 New Year's Day entry. All is not lost, as two of my favorite resources for marching music, Drum Corps International (DCI) and Music213, reached into their archives to create two videos I'm using today. As an environmentalist who believes in creative reuse and recycling, I approve!

I begin with DCI asking Who did it best? | Mars, the Bringer of War.

Four performances by three different corps over 30 years of "Mars" from Gustav Holst's "The Planets." Which one did it best?

0:08 1985 Cavaliers
2:23 1995 Cavaliers
4:38 2012 Santa Clara Vanguard
7:13 2015 Music City
The consensus from the comments on YouTube is 1995 Cavaliers, but I'm partial to 2012 Santa Clara Vanguard. What do you think?

I conclude with Arcadia Festival of Bands Band Review Championship Performances: 2010 - 2019 compiled by Luis of Music213 for last year's Virtual Parade at the 67th annual Arcadia Festival of Bands.

Arcadia Festival of Bands Band Review Championship performances from 2010-2019 featuring interviews with championship directors [...]
I appreciated the history and context in this video. As an educator and scientist, I particularly enjoyed Diamond Bar's director describing how he used Luis's videos as part of his lesson plans to improve his band's performance. I'm glad I'm not the only teacher to use YouTube videos in his classroom!

This was one of four videos Luis made for the event. While I'm fairly confident that enough students, teachers, parents, and spectators will be vaccinated by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year that there will be physical parades this fall and winter, I'm saving the rest in case the pandemic prevents that. After all, I'm an environmentalist; I conserve my resources.

With that, happy Marching Music Day!


  1. I think I have to go with 1995 Cavaliers. But 1972 Des Plaines Vanguard, competing in the first DCI Championship Finals, deserves at least an Honorable Mention. DPV played "Mars" in 1971 as well, before DCI existed, and were a pioneer in playing pieces from the classic repertoire on the field.

    1. I found the video of 1972 Des Plaines Vanguard and the corps only plays a snippet of "Mars" as a fanfare before segueing into a nearly complete arrangement of "Jupiter." Sneeze and you'll miss it.
      1972 Des Plaines Vanguard - with actual video and sound
      Not only is the selection too brief, there doesn't seem to be a complete video of the show available. On top of which, I don't think DCI has the rights to it; it's on the Des Plaines Vanguard YouTube channel. Since DCI is promoting its back catalog as much as anything else and Des Plaines Vanguard isn't part of it, including the corps doesn't serve their purposes.