Saturday, July 10, 2010

Crowders Mountain State Park and DCI FirstBeat

On a recent Sunday I drove to the Charlotte, NC area to attend a drum corps event at Ft. Mill (SC) High School. Since it started at 7:00, and I didn't have other plans for my afternoon, I hit the road after church and spent the afternoon at Crowders Mountain State Park. I got there around 2:30 and first hiked the Backside Trail that leads to the top of Crowders Mountain. It is around 3/4 mile in length and pretty steep, so it is quite a good workout; the park map describes it as "strenuous," and I concur with that description.

Looking up at what I was about to ascend

I was wearing my Camelbak and drank quite a bit from it (every time I use it, I'm reminded that it was a very well-spent $25.) The view from the top was spectacular! I spent about 20 minutes up there just relishing the view and the quiet.

After getting back down I still around an hour before I needed to get moving toward Ft. Mill, so I hiked the Fern Trail, a gentle mile-long trail through the woods, and then the Lake Trail, a gentle mile-long trail around a lake (imagine that!) Both were nice and relaxing.

I then hit the road and headed to Ft. Mill, stopping for a bite to eat at a Subway just down the road from the stadium. By the time I got parked, walked to the stadium, got my ticket from will-call, and got seated, it was about 5 minutes until showtime ... perfect timing!

The show, as Drum Corps International shows almost always are, was a blast. From a prime seat near the 50-yard-line about 20 rows up I got to see 4 top corps (Cadets, Cavaliers, Carolina Crown, and Spirit), a smaller corp (Teal Sound), and two all-age corps (CorpVets and Alliance.) There is a cutoff age of 22 for the primary class, but there are around a dozen all-age corps that compete in their own class. They all put on entertaining and well-executed shows, and this was one of the very first events of the season, so they'll only get better from here!

Carolina Crown performing an encore after all the performances and score announcements. Corps traditionally use silver instruments, but Crown is using lacquered brass this year - looks sharp!

During the intermission I went down and browsed the merchandise booths for all of the corps and purchased a "last year's model" Cadets t-shirt in the bargain bin for $5.  After the scores were announced and Crown performed a sideline encore, it was around 11:00 by the time I got on the road and around 12:30 when I got home. The next day at work was a little rough, but absolutely worth it. :-)


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