This is shaping up as a week to remember in Cadetland. Yesterday I allowed my curiosity about the corps' 2012 production entitled "12.25" to get the best of me, so I traveled out to Allentown. I went out there as a skeptic, and returned a true believer. Never in a million years did I ever think that a program based on Christmas would sell in August. Well, all my skepticism is now erased. I arrived early enough to catch The Cadets' outside concert in downtown Allentown as part of that city's "Music in The City" summer program. I was stunned. Before I heard the corps perform I would have settled for "not embarrassing." After hearing them perform I now have visions of medals dancing around in my head. I don't want to tell you too much, because I honestly don't want to spoil the surprise for you. I will say that the musical program is nothing like you probably expect. Not a whiff of cheese. What they're playing is exciting at times, and overwhelming beautiful at other times. Great horn line, great musical score, an unbelievable pit. I won't try to give you an evaluation on the drum line because I don't know what I'm talking about when I'm in the percussion arena, but I did observe an intensity and I did feel an energy, and I did see some pretty dramatic stick work.
That evening was The Cadets' indoor concert in Allentown's beautifully restored symphony hall. The building alone was worth the price of admission. Indoors, of course, it's much more difficult to get a valid reading on performance proficiency. It was, however, much easier for the musical score to register...and once again, register it did! I'm still smiling from ear to ear like the cat that swallowed the mouse. This is sacrilege, but I loved the cream and maroon uniforms.
Next to impress was a dance performance choreographed by Katie Hopkins that drew the audience, myself included, into another realm. The talent of our 2012 color guard is another reason for smiling ear to ear.
Finally, Cadets2 took the floor, and literally caught me totally by surprise. Another great musical program, another great horn line, a drum line that appeared to my uneducated eyes as flawless. Their first appearance ever, and they received their first standing ovation ever. Another nice touch was that the entire corps of Cadets entered the theatre to watch Cadets2 perform, and they too were on their feet applauding at the end of Cadets2 performance. I think DCA will be pleased with what their newest member corps is about to bring to the table.
I'm not in the prediction business (I leave that to the crazy people who like to live on the edge), but judging exclusively on what I saw and heard yesterday, I think 2012 is going to be a year to remember for anyone whose heart beats in tempo with The Cadets (all of them). Obviously I did not see their marching program, but honestly, who has ever seen a Jeff Sacktig drill that wasn't spectacular. There is also the unknown element of how well the kids will be able to mesh the playing demands with the marching demands of the program...but then again they're Cadets, they will probably do just fine in that regard.
Tomorrow is the big North Jersey unveiling. The corps will put on a full-uniform performance for Alumni, parents, friends, supporters, and others at Northern Valley Regional High School in Allendale, NJ. The corps will rehearse all day (spectators welcome), with the full uniform performance at 7:00 PM. Don't expect to see an early-August level performance. They show is still not finished, and the parts that have been learned have not as yet had the time to become polished. That, however, will come in the next few weeks. I can't personally guarantee it, but I can tell you that as of yesterday I have total confidence that it will happen.
After the performance there will be the distribution of the 2012 member-only caps by the alumni to our newest Cadets as an expression of our pride and our solidarity with the 2012 marching Cadets. This is where the lifelong bond begins as Cadets past and present gather together in the closed circle, place their hand on the shoulder of The Cadet standing next to them, and sing The Holy Name Hymn.
The weekend concludes on Sunday when the corps travels to The Church of The Most Holy Name in Garfield to honor our founding institution on the occasion of their centennial celebration. Following the 10:30 mass, the corps will be assembled in the street in front of the church to put on a fully-uniformed standstill exhibition for the alumni and church members present (approximately 11:30 AM). All are welcome. That evening the corps will have some free time in Manhattan.
So that's how we stand as the 2012 season begins. It looks as though we have yet another great Cadet Corps. We have a Cadets2 corps that is exceeding all expectations. We have closed the circle with Holy Name Church and re-identified with our history and heritage.
And, last but certainly not least, "The Story of The Cadets" will go live on the internet at midnight tonight. Go to www.theholynamecadets.net
There is no charge to access the site, and no registration requirements of any kind. Advance reviews have been very enthusiastic. We think your reviews will be just as enthusiastic.
For Holy Name shall always be...