1999: Sondheim Snapshots

1999 Though a new sense of family was born in 1998, “family” isn’t as potent a recruiting tool as success on the field. The 1999 season was frustrating for a corps trying hard to re-establish itself as a contender. In an attempt to go back to what had worked before, we returned to the works of Stephen Sondheim, including selections from Sunday in the Park with George and Sweeney Todd.


While it may have sounded similar, the corps drastically changed our look in 1999. The old Magenta and Blue uniforms were now 15 years old and had taken a beating. So the tops were replaced with solid black jackets that would serve as the base for the corps’ changing look over the next four years. The dark look was greatly contrasted by the guard’s extremely bright, primary colored uniforms.

Dennis Argul continued in his role as Brass Caption Head, Arranger, and Show Coordinator throughout the season. The percussion section struggled early on, though, and partway through the season, Snare Tech JR Bechtel, a returning member from 96- 97, was promoted to Percussion Caption Head.

Much like in the past, the Bushwackers spent most of the season battling it out with the Sunrisers. Unlike the past, though, both corps had fallen on hard times and were battling for placement in the middle of the pack, not the championship, as the top 5 corps were well out of range.


Not to say that placement isn’t important, but regardless of rank, Bush always rehearses like the trophy is on the line. This was perhaps never more clear than on Finals day in Allentown, PA. The corps was rehearsing, trying to maintain a 7th place spot over the Sunrisers. It had been a rainy weekend, as a hurricane was in the area, and at one point, it got extremely bad. Out on the muddy field in a torrential downpour, the staff told the corps to get back on the busses to wait out the storm. The members unanimously refused…it was Finals Day and we were rehearsing, regardless of the conditions.


As if to put a period on what had been a hectic season, we had one more debacle at the last minute. On the way to the stadium for our finals performance, the bus driver somehow forgot how to get to the stadium and got lost. By the time we got there and got all of our equipment unloaded, there was almost no time for a warm-up. The drum line literally played 16 on each hand and then went to take the field. Somehow, between the rain and the warm-up though, it all worked out, as we played our best show of the season and ended on a positive note.

Sondheim Snapshots:
(from Merrily We Roll Along), Next (from Pacific Overtures), Pretty Women (from Sweeny Todd),
Putting it Together (from Sunday in the Park with George)

Drum Majors: Chris Kilian & Jerome Kimbrough

PRELIMS: 7th – 85.8
FINALS: 7th – 87.8

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