DCAT Chorus


DCAT at GAS 2024

June 09, 2024

Here we are at GAS!

From Sandy Hale

G.A.S. 2024, has come and gone! Eighteen singers, plus Wyatt Gill, our music director and Ian Hale, our treasurer, traveled to and from Williamsport, Pennsylvania for DCAT’s return to G.A.S.

Wyatt’s plan was for us to perform six songs which would be taken from different years in DCAT’s 30 year history. The list included RAGTIME, OVER THE RAINBOW, WONDERFUL WORLD, DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING, FALLING IN LOVE, and HALLELUJAH. Since Duke Terreri would not be able to conduct the Audubons this year while singing O CANADA, both the Canadian and American anthems would be sung by DCAT. As usual, DCAT and Bon Bons would sing The Lord’s Prayer together with Wyatt conducting.

Because of the reduced number of performers presently singing in the chorus, some of our ‘old’ music had to be re-worked as well as refreshed. We also had a new tune to master. Wyatt wrote a great arrangement of CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU, which proved to be quite a challenge for us.

The COVID pandemic had created a huge thirty month gap in our rehearsal schedule, so to prepare for G.A.S. we had to be diligent about trying to relearn a lot of music. We also had to work very hard to build enough stamina to be able to perform an 18-20 minute show - with no breaks. Wyatt ‘cracked the whip’ at regular rehearsals and extra Saturday rehearsals and got us into ‘performance-ready’ shape!

Rehearsals in Williamsport went well, but we did have the odd hiccup with timing or cut-offs. Our musicality was a little lacking from time to time as well. BUT, came time to perform and the chorus presented the kind of show that Wyatt had been hoping for! We had focus, we had energy and we followed Wyatt’s directions carefully. In short, we nailed it! We had the audience fully engaged from the opening chords of RAGTIME, until the last HALLELUJAH! Personally, I felt that this was the best DCAT performance that I had been part of since joining the chorus in 2013.

Apparently our American friends felt the same way about our performance. The compliments were many and varied and included positive comments about our dynamics, musicality and the variety of our repertoire. One woman even said that she thought our music was ‘heavenly’!? Most important was the fact that Wyatt was proud of our show and we knew within ourselves that we had done well. Time to exhale!

The Great Passport Adventure OF G.A.S. 2024

Since March, we had all been reminded about checking to see that our passports were up to date. Sometime in April I came across Ian’s passport so I looked for the expiry date. His ten-year passport would not expire until March 2025. So, I assumed that my passport had the same expiry date, since we both renewed them at the same time, right? WRONG! Apparently I had obtained mine a year before Ian did. (It was ten years ago, after all. Who would remember a little thing like that?) So, on Wednesday morning before our scheduled Thursday morning departure I opened my passport and found that it had expired the previous week. My first thought was “Is this what a heart attack feels like?” My second thought was “How could I be so stupid?” Thank goodness for Ian’s calm personality. He did not yell or rant (he probably should have), but instead got us out the door on our way to dealing with this problem. To make a very long story short, all of the official people that I dealt with at the passport office were as helpful as possible and I was able to have my new passport in hand by 12:45 pm Thursday. We drove straight to Pat’s house to pick her up and then off we went to Williamsport. Lesson learned!

From Diane And Mark Beauchamp

Mark and I met 15 years ago at GAS in Gettysburg PA so this GAS reunion was extra special for us. Not being able to go to GAS because of Covid left us all chomping at the bit. But we were ready for Williamsport PA this year. Our adventure started at 4 am on Wednesday, our side journey to Upper Darby to the VFW to experience Bill Ives vision of starting a Drum Corps Museum. We weren’t disappointed! He has so much memorabilia one cannot take it all in on one trip. We left Bill with some Canadian donations for his museum. After a great chat and my first Yuengling beer, we headed off to find a good Philly Cheese steak for dinner, we weren’t disappointed. Mark, Brian, and I were recommended a local family-run restaurant called Pinocchio’s. Best Philly Cheese steak ever! Bellies full we headed to Williamsport PA to the GAS reunion! Let the fun begin! It was great to see old friends after such a long break and I think, they were equally happy to see us. Music has a way of bringing people together. Lots of laughter, beer, dancing, a Kentucky Derby and we can’t forget hockey. Our performance on Friday night was a hit, all of our hard work paid off! Thank you Wyatt! Saturday’s Whacky Catz version of Batman was loads of fun, and the audience agreed. Great job Sandy! We enjoyed all the skits and performances on Saturday including our own Purrfections with the guest “the Moose”. The skits started my imagination going for 2025. One of my favorites is always the rope drums. Mark, Wyatt, Brian, and Doug played with the CANAM horn line, and I joined in for the final song of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” They all did us proud. My back was killing me after helping Bill set up his memorabilia and the Friday night beer bash and my liquid courage to think I was fit enough to still march with the drill team, although for a fleeting moment I thought I might die I made it almost to the end and promised I would not complain if I hurt the next day! It was fun marching with some of the drill team. The banquet was emotional especially for Mark as he saw his best friend on the screen in the memorial, I am sure many others felt the same as they saw their friends and family. I always love seeing the parade of uniforms, but it is also a sign that GAS is over for yet another year. Spending time with our DCAT family is always fun! Our adventure continued when we left, on our way home we stopped for “Dinosaurs” in Buffalo for some Brisket and Ribs. Life is good! Here’s to next year’s GAS 2025 God Willing!!