1979 – Repertoire

The 1979 Repertoire:

Georgia on My Mind
Geodesic Dance, Wendy Carlos
Sweet Georgia Brown
Let it Be Me, The Pointer Sisters

from the 1979 DCI Championships program

Spirit of Atlanta

When grits fits… why not swing with it?

No one is suggesting that every Spirit of Atlanta staff member loves to eat grits, but they do have a healthy respect for that famous standard-bearer of Southernism.

Corps director Freddy Martin says an audience has certain expectations of a corps based on the corps’ home state or area. He cited the Troopers of Casper, Wyoming, as an excellent example of how stylism can be enhanced by regional identity. The Troopers’ selection of the Old West cavalry uniform and their use of some thematic music links did much to build the unique Trooper image.

Atlanta’s first year out, in 1977, told them a lot about the comfort of doing your own thing. “We deliberately stayed away from being Southern,” says Martin, “and we found we were just not happy with that.” There is no substitute for the worldly wisdom that comes from a season or two in the drum corps trenches, and Spirit’s 1978 show slipped into itsnative Southern style with mighty fine results. Those who listened closely even heard the corps whistle “Dixie” as it entered the field.

1979 will find Atlanta keeping its heritage up front and visible. A mood-setting fanfare of “Georgia on My Mind” will precede their opener, and later in the show, drum corps fans will be treated to a little tune called “Sweet Georgia Brown” done Basie style.

Stylism must sometimes give way to other considerations, however, and Atlanta’s staff opted for some trade-offs when choosing the corps’ opener, Buddy Rich’s “Nuttville.” Martin said last year’s music tended to spotlight the horn line; this year’s show, the staff decided, should include a tonic for their ultra-talented drum line. He explained that the drum line contains some incredible musicians, and that each member of the section reads music. “Frankly,” he shrugs, “they got a little bored last year.”

It is safe to say that if the drum line got bored, the audience did not. Nor are they apt to be bored with the Southern fare offered up by Spirit of Atlanta in 1979. And that ain’t whistlin’ “Dixie”!


Freddy Martin

4994 Austell Road

Austell, GA 30001


Nuttville (Buddy Rich Band)

Sweet Georgia Brown (Count Basie)

Let It Be Me