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For 40 years, the Crossmen have enriched and shaped the lives of young musicians through music education and the performing arts. The 2014 Drum Corps International summer tour represents Crossmen's 40th competitive season. Follow along as Crossmen Executive Director and Corps Director, Fred Morrison, records the daily highlights of the Crossmen Alma Gitana Tour.


June 2014


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Crossmen Blog

Crossmen Tour 37 "renewal" Day 17-Monday, July 4th, 2011

The fourth of July is one of the busiest and most exciting days for the Crossmen each summer. Our traditional first parade of the summer is the Bristol Independence Day Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island. This year marks the 226th consecutive version of the parade. The nice thing for Crossmen each year logistically is that we pack and load at our Mout Hope HS housing site and walk the block to the warm up for the parade. The convoy drives to the post parade staging area and then meets us at the end of the 2.5 mile 300,000 spectator route. We stage with two young friends carrying our sponsor's banner with the Crossroads Pub as our underwriter for this historic parade. Following the sponsor banner are two guard members with the black Crossmen parade banner followed by the balance of the guard, hornline and battery. The pit members function as the water crew. They did a great job making sure that all of the members were sufficiently hydrated.

Entertaining the crowd along the parade route this year seemed to be job number one for the Crossmen. Marching in a precise block while playing "March America" and this year's cadence was the bulk of the route's performance. This was countered with an outrageous, in your face, go to the curbs park and bark freestyle of the "Spinning Wheel" hit! when the parade stalled along the way. The crowd loved it! There were signs along the way with "Crossmen Please Play HERE" scrawled on them.

We get to the end of the route to find the convoy in place with the wraps and fruit the food crew prepared for lunch in advance of the parade. We are one of the last groups to march at Bristol but now have the challenge of traveling to Wakefield, MA by the 5pm step off for the second parade of the day.

The traffic is horrendous! Stop and go as everyone is leaving Bristol at the same time because the entire parade has come to its conclusion. We are sweating it! One of the motorcoaches has decided it needs to renerate its emissions system because the stop and go mess has created this condition. John pulls the guard bus over in a lot along the way in order to push the magic regen button at the back of the coach. The rest of the convoy continues its snails pace approach to the interstate. We get stretched out by all of the traffic lights going out of town. The RV misses a turn but quickly comes up with an alternative. Some of the coaches arrive and get parked. The balance of the convoy unloads at the base of the exit ramp since we arrived right at the strike of 5 and the first units of the parade have stepped off.

The Madison Scouts seem to have the experience the Crossmen have as some of their coaches are with ours in the lot and their food truck is behind us on the ramp. Dan and I chuckle about how crazy the whole episode semed. The parade official said that it happens every year. He encourages me to not worry about it as "all is good." We have about ten minutes to dress, warm up,line up and step off on the mile route. It looked like we did this every day and that it was planned that way.

We settle in for the march down the route performing our same repetoire of March America, the 2011 cadence and the Spinning Wheel park and bark. The Crossmen are responding to the crowd at a higher level as the parade progresses. The ovations are rewarding.

In the lot at the end of the parade we share a meal with the Scouts of burgers and such. It is a nice way to end the busy madness of parade day.

The staff and some of the admin team are treated to a back yard bar-b-que at Visual Coordinator, Ed Devlin's, family home. We can see the Crossmen convoy from Ed's back yard. Not only are Brass Captionhead and Brass instructor, Jason Buckingham and Doc Jones great teachers they are awesome on the grill! Tasty meal, relaxing environment and wonderful host and hostess. This was a much needed break to a hectic day. Thanks Ed! 


Our sponsor for the Bristol Parade is Crossroads Pub Restaurant from Warren, RI

The Bristol Parade brings out many historic groups with revolutionary war uniforms and instruments. As an example this bass drum and uniforms worn by the 1774 era Kentish Guards from East Greenwich, RI

Brass instructor, Ryan Johnstone, warming up the hornline prior to step off at the Bristol Parade

Battery warm up prior to Bristol Parade

The equipment has changed by leaps and bounds the last 250 years.

Posted by Fred Morrison on 4th July, 2011 | Comments | Trackbacks

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