Ulasan GPMB 2009 Indonesia

Greetings from the next capital of drum corps, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Since years marching bands in Indonesia have been changing into real drum corps.

First time I participated in the Grand Prix Marching Band was in 1988 and every unit was still playing saxophones, slide trombones and sousaphones. In 1996 all bands in GPMB were real drum corps and now it’s estimated that, out of 1300 marching units in Indonesia, some 300 real corps are active.

Only those corps that can afford come to GPMB, not necessarily all the best!
Although there were 28 corps in prelims some real big shots were missing due to various reasons. Pupuk Kaltim (PKT) with a long list of Championships, planned to go to Europe and had no funds left for GPMB. Semen Padang, last year’s
runner-up, decided that the funds needed for the preparation of GPMB and the trip to Jakarta should be better spent on the victims of the earthquake that hit their city. Garuda Flight, the one and only corps using 3-valves bugles in G, was late with the preparation of their hornline, they sent their drumline and champion guard to Malaysia instead. Putri Santa Ursula Marching Brass, one of the pioneers in the transition to corps has decided to compete only once
every two years.
As I live in Holland now and GPMB is always between Christmas and New Year I was not in the position to watch for some years. When the organizing committee knew that I was in Malaysia for MWBC they invited me to judge GPMB. Who was in GPMB, enough quality left?

Twenty eight corps turned up for the prelims on Saturday, December 26. Twenty one in Open Class and seven in the School Division. GPMB has a no age rules but the corps are divided in schools, including universities, and others. Those others are community corps that are often sponsored by local or provincial governments,
companies or just by private funds. Corps from schools and universities that
march other members then students have to compete in the Open Class, making
the School Division small because most corps from schools march also alumni.

Another strange rule is that 70% of the participants in prelims will go on to Finals, imagine what will happen if 50 corps show up for GPMB! Anyways, 28 corps in prelims is a good turnout!

Out of the 28 corps in prelims some 20 made finals, do you want to sit out finals with 20 corps, I do!

Corps not making finals were disappointed and some of them were big names in the past, Crescendo Corps did not qualify, so did Saka Bhayangkara from Makassar who made finals for many years, promising. Saka Bhayankara is known for their lack of funds, many times they travel to Jakarta without having the money to return to their hometown. Two years ago they were obligated to sell their instrument to raise funds to return, talk about dedication! Others not making finals were Gema Sanada Busiyinah, Sekolah Tinggi Transportasi Darat for the school division and Drumcorps UMY, Angkasa Pura, Istiqlal and Bahana Putra Soedirman.

After the prelims 20 corps were remaining, 5 in the school division and 15 in Open Class.
The first three in Open Class were within a spread of one point! The rest of the pack was following within a short distance, all of them going for the highest honor in Indonesia.
Don’t underestimate the quality of the best Indonesian corps, they will make easily DCI Open Class Finals and probably approach the World Class Finals!
All of them have 100 or more members and their shows are just amazing! Only critical point from my side is their uniforms, every year they are in something new, more and more extravagant and a recognizable identity is not there.

School division finals.

La Tansa Corps, first time I saw this corps consisting of very young and talented kids. Nice show with traditional Indonesia songs, this corps needs more experience, score 46.28 points, fifth place! SMA Pusri from Palembang is a corps that has been around for some time, traditional
uniforms, tasteful! Their show was more traditional, nice hornline! Score 55.63 points, fourth place.
Korps Putri Tarakanita, an all girl corps from Jakarta and 8 times overall winner of GPMB was next, they look terrific, their good marching is still there, hornline with a great balance and sound production, good pit ensemble but weak battery, normal guard. Score 63.12 points, third place!

Bahana Sparadha from Balikpapan, school corps but sponsored by Indonesia’s state owned oil company Pertamina proofed to be better than Tarakanita. They took the floor and audience with a Michael Jackson show, great music, good arrangements and very nice uniforms based on Michael Jackson’s clothes. Score 72.55 point, third place!

Everybody was anxious to see Bahana Citra Kartika from Duri, also a school corps and sponsored by oil company Chevron. BCK swept all captions with their magnificent show of Pirates of the Caribbean including all gimmicks like saber fights. Their score was 80.39 points, first place in the school division. This score should have brought them a sound fifth place in the Open Class Finals, good job BCK!

Open Class Finals

First one to appear in Open Class Finals was Nawala Pos from Bandung, this corps is sponsored by the national post office. 120 members, playing original arrangements, kind of contemporary music. Good hornline, marching and showdesign, lower quality of guard and percussion. Score 60.50points, 14th place.

Next was Bulldozer, the corps supported by the Ministry of Public Works. Bulldozer
used to be a real powerhouse, wailing soprano’s and jazzy music! Their show is old fashioned, the wailing soprano’s are still there but dominate too long. Their drumline did not really memorize their scores but their guard looks good! Sorry Bulldozer, your good times are gone, you have to get better arrangements and better execution to make finals next time! Score 55.02 points, overtaken by Nawala Pos, 15th place.

Universitas Islam Indonesia from Yogyakarta is a corps that made finals for the last 6 years in a row. Nice corps to see, clean drill, horns, drums and excellent guard but a quite simple show. Score 63.40 points 13th place.

Sadahulung Padjadjaran comes from Sumedang, good corps , best hornline so far, good program about construction movements from Tim Hinton like “The Day Begins” and “Lunch Break” Score 65.02 points 12th place.

UPN Veteran from Yogyakarta is a newcomer, good music! Good score in M&M and Horns, Spanish songs as “Granada”, “One More Time”, “Matador”, “Concierto de Aranjuez” and “Malaguena” I really liked their appearance! Score 69.75 points 9th place, climbing three positions from prelims!

Gema Wibawa Mukti from Bandung is next, their show is kind of weird! Using original arrangements from Marco Beltrami like “Rise the Army”, “Father’s Funeral”, “Battle Trigger”, “Red Man Boogie” and “Heroes” they have adifferent style. Hitting drums and all other things you can think of by white and black figures is a central focus. They
received highest score for GE till now. Hmmm, quality of sound in drums is less but the guard is good! Score 67.93, 11th place.

A real newcomer, Jember from Jember and NOT sponsored by a local government or factory, just a drumcorps as most of them in the USA or Europe. Their songs were from Kingkong, “Overture”, “Beautiful”, “Rainforest”
and ”Kingkong Finale”. In only their second year of existence they do great, reaching 10th place with a score of 68.53 points.

Some of the corps in Indonesia have funny names such as “The Great Marching Band” from Palembang. The performance of this corps is really entertaining, using good and original music for their clean drill and good drumline, Score 73.42 points, 8th place.

Citra Derap Bahana from Yogyakarta are just different from others, clean and balanced
show using original music. Score 75.92 points, 7th place. Madah Bahana from the University of Indonesia, Jakarta is always special. Very good musicianship and an outstanding program, using big band music with their full sound! A real crowd pleaser with very well arranged songs like ”Moondance”, “Moonlight Serenade” and “Take Five”. Score 78.88 points, 6th place.

Gita Teladan from Jakarta is a real corps from a school but competing in Open Class. Already for more than 20 years they look a bit like Cadets and they are the only corps this year that kept their identity in their uniforms. Corps full of small youngster, guts and spirit but no money! Best hornline of GPMB 2009 playing “Festive Overture” from Shostakovic, “Romance” from Kije, “Comedian Gallop” from Kabaleusky and “Russian Sailor Dance” from Gliere, just wonderful! Good guard but their field battery is not up to standard. Great show for smallest corps in GPMB 2009, 70 members! Score 81.60 points, 5th place.

Udayana from the University of Den Pasar on Bali is a corps that is consistently placing in the top of GPMB, every year they have surprising and entertaining shows. They keep their tradition to wear ancient masks for the base drummers,
beautiful! This is also a corps without a big sponsor but what a show and colors.
People from Bali are real artists and Udayana is proof of that! Score 85.05 points, 4th place.
Gita Surosowan is a corps sponsored by the provincial government of Banten, near Jakarta. Apparently they lack no funds. Playing a Zorro show with good Spanish music they changed uniforms two times during a show of 11 minutes! Thecrowd went wild but the judges were not really impressed, score 85.24 points, 3rd place.

Everybody was waiting for Semen Gresik, always good scoring but never winning first place in GPMB. Their show is highly patriotic, all Indonesian songs about the struggle for freedom against the Dutch.
Colorful display by using red and white, the two colors of the Indonesian flag.
This huge corps of 130 members filled the floor with their display and the stadium with their big sound. After prelims they were second with only a 0.47 points difference from Bhina Caraka. This should have been their moment and all fans of Semen Gresik were confident that they would win. Unfortunately, their performance was a bit flat, as if all kids were too nervous. Semen Gresik took first in Display & Showmanship and Color Guard but the differences with Bhina Caraka were not big enough. Score 86.39 points, 2nd place.

This year’s champions are Bhina Caraka, sponsored by the governmental customs office. They have been around for more than 30 years but only last few years they are on track for a top position.
Nice uniforms, good display, marching, horns, guard and unbeatable drumline.
Classical music ranging from Rachmaninoff, Rossini, Puccini, Mussorgsky to Beethoven was the vehicle to show their enormous technical skills, brilliant show! Second in D&S, second in horns, first in percussion, fourth in Color Guard and
first in General Effect, total score 88.36 points, first place.

The quality of the corps in Indonesia has been improved tremendously over the last 15 years. Shows used to be bad copies of DCI but nowadays everybody plays original arrangements. Hornlines are on level with World Class DCI corps, drumlines and guard are following on a short distance.

One thing is still not well developed in Indonesia, corps don’t have their own identity. They change uniforms every year because parents and other people want their kids to win a prize, if it’s the prize for best uniforms it’s OK. The result is the most extravagant uniforms and colors of the guard not matching at all. I should like to propose to the organizers of GPMB to abolish all those extra awards and to the corps to develop their identity in style, music and uniforms.

Another thing is the division for corps from schools and Open Class. Those schools
are working as hard as Open Class Corps and Open Class Corps have as young kids as corps from schools.

My suggestion would be to integrate all corps in Open Class, like it was before 2001, or organize a real final with the 12 highest scoring corps from both divisions.
In that case BCK and Bahana Sparadha would have made finals also.

More information about the Indonesian corps is available on www.trendmarching.or.id a website that’s updated the whole year around. Many pictures, but all text is in Indonesian. Special thanks go to Founder of  Trendmarching  who gave his approval for the use of their exclusive pictures.

Wil Bijl*

*Juri : Music Analisis Percussion Line & Solo Percussion GPMB 2009.

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Short URL: https://trendmarching.or.id/read/?p=1298

Posted by on Jan 7 2010. Filed under Dalam Negeri, Events, GPMB GPJB, News, Review. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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