Side by Side Unveiled

A detailed description of the show from the design side

The 2013 Cadets present:

Side by Side

SBS3.JPGfeaturing the music of
Samuel Barber

Musical Selections

1. Adagio for Strings
2. First Symphony in One Movement:
       a) Allegro ma non troppo
       b) "Scherzo" (Allegro molto)
       c) Andante tranquillo
3. Medea's Dance of Vengeance

In recent years, the programming goals of The Cadets have centered around concepts that can be understood in one viewing, and yet call for the audience's return; they exist as much for enjoyment as for the opportunity to see what lies beneath the surface. With this in mind, Side by Side is a marching music presentation that centers around the possibility of presentation.

From field positioning to tempo interpretation, and from instrumental contrast to the potential multiplicity of visual ensemble conceptions, Side by Side creates a varied tapestry of contrasting notions.


The Towers
Sixteen 10-foot, four-sided towers allow the field to be carved for visual and musical design flow.

  • The opening: The field is split side-to-side down the 50
  • Scherzo – The field is split from front to back
  • Scherzo – Towers assist in the forming of a grid
  • Ballad – The field is split on a diagonal

And at other times, the colorful towers are dispersed to enhance ideas not as aligned with the concrete, Side by Side framework.


From the silks, to the guard costumes, to the towers, color shifts as the mood and intensity of the program shifts. Color is easy to conceptualize but noteworthy, we believe, for the unreserved commitment to the modification of impression.

For reasons that range from obvious to sublime, we have abandoned traditional weapons for our own, internally created implements. These props create possibilities for use beyond weapons while allowing the performers to demonstrate the same skills inherent to the activity.

In addition, 10-foot poles are used in the ballad, creating focus and a field full of activity and interest -- not to mention some pretty cool shaking effects.

And then, there is the show:

Movement 1
We begin with "Adagio for Strings" as the pre-show, introducing a theme which is woven throughout the entire program. At the same time, the Side by Side concept is clearly introduced.

In a short period of time (when timing officially begins), the opening theme from Barber’s First Symphony rings from a nearly empty side, answered by the full corps on Side Two and the percussion (moving in double-time) on Side One.

Here, in fact, is a microcosm of what to watch for throughout the program: Visual and musical contrast quickly and succinctly presented through Jeff Sacktig's manipulation of the mass.


Movement 2
Musically, this is best understood as a percussion feature with brass accompaniment.

Visually, it is an exercise in staging – seeing what one hears and hearing what one sees.

Overall, the intention is to move the eye and challenge the mind. We move from front ensemble, to solo, to front ensemble, to solo, to front ensemble, to a kaleidoscopic grid, to the full ensemble, to percussion, and back out to the full ensemble. And so, note the layering of "Adagio."

There is no resolve here. Indeed, the actual resolve is the first note of the third movement.

What is interesting for The Cadets – a group raised on the value of applause – is a clear intention to stifle applause in favor of wonder and tension. How does it work? What will people feel? Is entertainment more than the obvious ovation?


Movement 3
A soloist is contrasted against the ensemble in perhaps one of the most haunting builds presented in a stadium in a long time. And again, "Adagio" can be faintly heard in the electronics as the strain runs alongside the exposition.

pole_ballad_2013.jpgThis peace is about the elongation and growth of tension. The musical phrase of “Andante tranquillo” moves forward without interruption for two and a half minutes. The battery is silent, the pit is subdued and the brass carry the glory and intensity of a magnificent composition and adaptation.

Visually, as mentioned, this is where the poles become critical to a full-field production.

And again, through design, we move seamlessly into the closing production. There are tradeoffs; time will tell how our choices evolve to elicit what is necessary and desired.

Movement 4
"Medea" is a piece The Cadets have always wanted to perform, and now we do.

At 192, we finally move.

(Of note, with the program not calling for "high-speed chase music" at all times, we opt to coordinate with the needs of the music throughout the program. We move at the rates required. And here, speed is required.)

Watch the production as section after section is visually featured. If "visual musicality" is indeed a legitimate term, then here it is in all its glory.

The closing of the piece, though not quite the show, gives to you "Adagio" and "Medea" side-by-side for the first time. The impact is haunting, impactful and pretty darn fun.



Side by Side can infer stark conflict or arm-in-arm unity; it is a matter of interpretation and ultimately a choice as to how to live. And what begins with "Adagio" should end as such, in a moment of quiet contemplation.

Happy summer from The Cadets.


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