1982 – Repertoire

The 1982 Repertoire:

You Are My Sunshine
Oh Happy Day
Blue Rondo a la Turk
You Are the Sunshine of My Life
We Are the Reason

from the 1983 DCI Championships program

SPIRIT OF ATLANTA

SPIRIT OF ATLANTA TURNS ON IN FINALS

Freddy Martin patted the ground before settling down next to his son on a practice field behind Montreal’s McGill Stadium.

It was just minutes after his Spirit of Atlanta had given what corps director Martin considered its best performance of 1982, and while still harried from the chaos swirling about him, he was greatly relieved.

“The magic you see out there comes from months and months of preperation by staff people who understand how to get those kids to peak at that exact moment psychologically,” Martin sighed in exhaustion.

“That’s basically what happened today,” he continued. “We wanted the prelims to be the best performance this season, and it was. It’s the best performance we’ve done since Birmingham in 1980, and we want the finals performance to glisten just a little bit more – to be just a little bit sharper, and so that’s what we’ll work on tomorrow morning.”

It is the director’s prerogative to begin fretting about the next performance as soon as his corps has left the field. But, with the increasing sophistication of corps drills in the past decade, Spirit Director Martin feels they have to maintain a competitive edge to stay one step ahead of the game.

Yet, a decade ago drum corps directors had only to concern themselves with such problems as discipline and punctuality.

These days, however, they are forced by the rigors of competition to address such subtleties as “the psychology of performance,” as Martin termed it.

“Performance is a trained art, and it comes from having total confidence and knowing exactly what you have to do at the moment you have to do it,” Martin remarked.

Still, corps consist of young men and women, not seasoned Broadway veterans. Martin, knowing their limits, asks only that his willing young troops work within them.

“The difference between a pro and an amateur is that a pro will perform every night, and an amateur will perform sometimes,” he observed. “We’re still an amateur activity, because none of the corps will give magnificent performances every night like a Broadway star has to.”

“On the other hand, it’s a very professional activity, because of the level of performance we consistently achieve,” the Spirit director said.

Reflecting Martin’s personal standards, the Spirit has improved steadily since its inception in 1977, to become one of the top competing corps. In fact, from a respectable first-year finish of 23rd in ’77, they leapt to a high of fourth in the 1979 and 1980 DCI finals held in Birmingham, Alabama.

A true southern gentleman, whose corps reflects his personality, Martin likes to think of the Spirit of Atlanta as amabassadors of the new, progressive south.

“The personality of our corps is the ‘contemporary south,'” he explained in a soft southeast coast drawl. “Atlanta is a very contemporary southern city. The abstract A – the geometric design on the front of our uniforms – is to demonstrate that.”