One of our favorite performances features this ground-breaking (and rule-bending) show by the 1977 Garfield Cadets.
The corps’ brass staff taught the entire color guard section to play on the old valve-rotor sopranos for the big push in the closer. As the company front drew near, the guard went up to the soprano section members and removed the old soprano instruments, then were interspersed through the horn line for a very loud company front push forward.
But as unique as that was, the highlight of the closer was the entire corps singing “Amen” at the end of the show, which caught the judging community off guard. The only vocalizing allowed in 1977 was by the drum major, and singing or other mass corps vocalizations was to be penalized. However, the corps staff found a loophole in that there were to be no penalties after the timing and penalties judge shot off his pistol upon the ending of the judged segment of each corps’ show.
By 1978, the rule on vocalization was tightened down at the then-annual DCI Rules Congress, and when the corps brought back “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” for the 1978 season, drum major John Hannigan famously presented a sign at the DCI World Championship Prelims that read, “SORRY, NO VOCAL AMEN DUE TO 1 POINT PENALTY.”