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Every season, drum corps fans look forward to the Drum Corps International Southwestern and Southeastern Regional Championship events in San Antonio and Atlanta.
These two events not only served as the only ones outside of DCI World Championships where every World Class corps goes head-to-head but also where many of those corps unveil major changes to their show—including new music and drill for their closers.
These changes are meant to take the corps to the next level of performance, to excite the fans, and to bolster each corps’ case for where they should place at the end of the season.
These changes are often planned out in advance—sometimes before the season even starts—as a way to keep the show fresh throughout the long tour.
There is one show change, however, which has become legendary for a multitude of reasons—the “cross to cross” move which put the cherry on top of the end of the 1991 Star of Indiana’s show, "Roman Images."
"Immaggini Di Roma"
The show was already legendary in its own right—coming off their first Top 3 finish the previous season, Star of Indiana was ready to make their title run in 1991.
Wearing their glittering Centurian-style uniforms and performing the music of Italian composer Ottorino Resphigi, Star boasted a beast of a mellophone line and a visual program built on the foundation of drill writing genius George Zingali.
With just under two weeks left in the season, Star of Indiana had already amassed 23 wins and just two second-place finishes.
However, something was missings the convoy of buses and semi-trucks rolled into Boston on August 4.
The closer wasn’t what the design team thought it should be.
Enter Zingali, as Star of Indiana founder Bill Cook wrote in his recollections on the history of the corps:
"'Late in the afternoon, he (Zingali) told Jim--"the new closer is not right.' A few minutes later, he left the stadium. None of us knew where he had gone or if he would be back... About eight o'clock, George returned and said: 'we are going to have two crosses at the finish instead of one." The next five hours were unbelievable. He ran from one section to another telling members where they should be at the end of the final cross. He wanted them to count measures— 'count and run around until time to make your final set.'
Hour after hour, the corps tried and failed but finally, at 2 AM the next morning, the cross was seen. The next night in Lynn, Star put in the new move; needless to say, there were more than a few wrecks at the end but we won over SCV by 1.9 points.'"
Consider what George Zingali and Star accomplished that August night in Boston. First of all, Zingali literally designed the cross to cross move on the fly and on the field with the members. Nothing was written down prior to designing each section of the move. What’s more, Zingali was only able to be with Star that day because they were in Boston, where he lived. George Zingali was dying, but the chance to create something unique and special gave him the energy and inspiration to accomplish a drum corps miracle, especially appropriate with many allusions and images of Christianity woven into the show. The membership also took themselves and the activity to a new level, and not just competitively. It takes a high level of maturity and coachability to work as well as they did during those magical hours on the practice field in Boston, ensuring that Star’s show would “have two crosses at the finish instead of one”. The championship, Star’s only DCI title, was just the icing on the cake for their 1991 season.
There have been many special visual moments throughout the history of the drum and bugle corps activity, but Star of Indiana’s cross to cross move may be the most impressive of them.