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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
1998 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews - As Posted on RAMD!

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:

Thursday August 6
East Rutherford, NJ (DCI)

Great weather, comfortable temperature and humidity levels. Great seat--on the 48 yard line near the bottom of the upper tier.

Scores have already been posted. I will try to keep this as positive as possible, but you're going to have to take the good with the bad. Remember, these are opinions...

In order of appearance:

Jersey Surf--Wow, has this corp improved immensely over last year. Where as last year they struggled with their program, this year they did a nice job handling and selling the show. Nice show design for a corp of this size and very entertaining. They look like they about doubled their membership over last year which has helped tremendously. Impressive considering that they only travel and compete on the weekends. I think they were judged on the Division 1 sheets and they definitely deserved to beat the Troopers.

Troopers--This was kind of sad to watch given their long history. The kids were working so hard, but the talent level and the numbers just aren't there. Lots of problems musically, and members were out of step throughout the show. Color guard better than I was expecting based on previous RAMD reviews, though weapon work needed alot of help. I really hope they can rebuild, but IMHO they should drop down to Division II while they do this... I actually thought their score was a little high. Again, the kids obviously were working very hard... take nothing away from them.

Blue Knights--I'm not surprised they beat Crossmen tonight--their feet were cleaner and their ensemble horn playing was better. Love the butterfly wings! And all of the Brenda Vang flag designs were great and used to great effect. I felt the second half of the show was much more enjoyable... good ending to the program. Drill and visual design was very good with alot of demand. There were a few moments where they had a very "Phantom-esque" horn sound. I think this is the best corp they have fielded.

Blue Devils--OK, here's where I may get myself into trouble... I will admit they had the cleanest feet of the evening. And the color guard was excellent. The horn line was fairly clean, but very uninspired in their playing--and they weren't very loud... Cadets, Scouts and even the Crossmen put out more volume. The horn line seemed to be going through the motions... almost like they weren't challenged and were bored with the show, IMHO. As for the show design, I have to agree with most of the other people on RAMD. This concept looked great on paper, but doesn't work on the field. I didn't think it was possible to take the WSS music and make it boring... until now. The Tchaikovsky was actually the better part of the show IMHO. The talent is there, but the demand is not there in both drill (per usual) AND the horn book, which surprised me. Enough, before I get myself in any more trouble...

Crossmen--After seeing this show, I told the person next to me that it would be close between them and the Blue Knights. She was skeptical until they announce the scores. Show has alot of great moments, but they are too far apart. Closer was the best part of the show. Drill design not as strong as last year. Good job selling the show, color guard very good, but they don't have the impact that they had last year (could be the staging and equipment). First percussion line that really stood out in their playing and impact. Overall I enjoyed the show and with alot of cleaning could keep them in the Top 6. Best GE up to this point in the show.

Madison Scouts--GREAT show!!! Love how the guard is integrated into the rest of the corp for the opener--great equipment work throughout the show. This is vintage Madison--in your face entertainment. Hornline is solid and the arrangements are great--wasn't sure what to expect of the Peer Gynt music, but IMHO this was the highlight of the show--very effective and cleverly arranged. Even though this was typical Madison and Rememberance was done before, the whole show felt fresh. Feet were cleaner than usual for the Scouts. I agreed with their placement, but not with their score. They were a good 2-3 points over Blue Knights & Crossmen, and much closer to the Blue Devils.

Cadets--OK, let's get to the point--I liked the show alot, but I didn't think it was as good as the last several years in design (and a little easier than last year's show). There are alot of great moments, and the hornline is superb. Per usual, they had more than their share of "gee whiz" drill moves and horn licks. Loved the never ending, ever building dissonant chord. Percussion was great, with several great features. Guard was good, but not quite at the level of past years. Ending drill sequence was fantastic. Great brass sound throughout, especially during the ballad. Overall, lots of demand and GE, great execution, very enjoyable. Capable of winning it all this year.

I rarely disagree with placements and scoring, but tonight... guess there's a first time for everything. Prior posts about Madison's score were correct... they are scoring too low. This is from someone who usually think the Scouts scores and placement are correct, despite how entertaining their shows are. And IMHO (and those of everyone around me), Cadets should have beaten Blue Devils. And a 95 was too high for either corp...

Thoughts on Finals... I think the Devils may be close to maxing out their show. I don't know what else they can do to it, where as the Cadets still have some cleaning (mainly in the feet) that should get them more points in Orlando. I think Devils could end up in 2nd or 3rd. I think Glassmen will take the #6 spot, and could sneak past Madison if the judges don't start scoring them where they belong. Crossmen should battle it out with Blue Knights and Phantom... 7-9 is all up for grabs, and any one of them could possibly surge into 6th as well. Personally, I like this uncertainty! Makes it more interesting.

Mark Sperry

Just some random thoughts on the show at the Meadowlands:

* Sign when entering the parking lot noted the "band show" and directed the "band busses" to the parking area.

* Letter in the program from Governor Christie Whitman hails "the marching bands participating in this entertaining competition".

* Madison selling Bridgemen T-shirts and all their souvie people wearing them.

* Jersey Surf playing "Pictures of Spain", come on the field just after the 1974 Muchacho show is played over the loud speakers. Talk about trying to fill BIG shoes. The sop soloist has to follow a legend in the activity playing the very same solo - and does a GREAT job. Surf show also includes songs played by Madison 96 and Blue Devils 94 - some of the best drum corps ever. They did it very well. For a primarily weekend corps, they've made great improvments since the beginning of the season.

* Troopers sounded much better than at Ypsi, but I wasn't suprised they were beat by Surf. The corps is just too small to create the impact you want to see from them. Hope things can turn around for their membership next season.

* Blue Knights looked and sounded great, but I was suprised they were so close in score to Madison and a point ahead of Crossmen. Only my second view of this show, but was much more impressed than at Ypsi. At one point, the guard has butterfly wings and the cymbals raise one young woman up in the air. The wind was just perfect - running from front to back - it really looked stunning.

* The Blue Devils show still hasn't "captured" me. I'm very impressed with their performance and the show is growing on me. I love the Romeo and Juliette music, but WSS still feels overdone. This was the only show that got my wife on her feet for a standing O. She usually doesn't like the Blue Devils that much, so they certainly are doing something right.

* I love the Crossmen show and think it is getting better each time. Not sure where they'll end up at finals, but the kids should be proud of what they've accomplished. This is a very entertaining show, though still room for a lot of "cleaning" - especially it seems the marching. They have some of the most pleasant drumming on the field this year. I thought this show was equal to Blue Knights and was suprised by the score difference. Intersted in seeing the recaps.

* Madison was Madison. Loud, energetic, exciting. My son (10) has announced that he wants to march in the Scouts some day. Now when I see them I try to imagine Brian out there and I get teary. There is something about this corps that just makes you feel good when they're on the field. Can't believe they didn't score over 90, but I guess scores don't matter that much. I don't like the guard uniforms - but I love everything else about the show and wish I could see it twenty more times this season. Thanks DCI for the midseason CD - I'm wearing out track one, disc one.

* Loved the new ending for the Cadets show. Similar setup to the old ending, but the movement is so much more spectacular - and is impossible to explain. Need to see the recaps to see just where they are falling short. They sound clean, look great, have an interesting visual show. Drums - especially the tenors - are fun to watch. This is not my favorite Cadets show, but I do think it is championship quality and I'll be very excited for them should they win.

* We left right after the Cadets and didn't stay for the alumni presentation and scores (2 1/2 hour drive home and wasn't sure our 2 year old would let Grandma put her to bed - but she did). Looked like the kids were changing out of uniforms when we left, so I guess there wasn't a full retreat. I'll be interested to hear how the finale was and whether BD had the chance to do a victory performance.

* The VIP food was great (for me). Too often it is fancy, but this was perfect - cold cut sandwhiches. The VIP parking was confusing. The seats good (4 rows behind the judges and right on the 50). Really enjoyed seeing the pictures of the Muchachos and hearing their show.

Well, just Allentown and finals left. I'm excited but wish it could last a few weeks longer. This has been a great season with so many wonderful shows. I'll be excited for whoever wins and for any corps that exceeds expectations or reaches a new level. Unfortunately the competition means that other corps will fall short. I hope the message the kids receive from the fans is that they are all champions, regardless of the scores.

Christopher P. Maher

Wednesday August 5
Salem, VA (DCI)

AMERICANOS: This show puzzeld me alot...i just didn't get the theme at all. The hornline was definetly led by a solid Melo line. Drum line is having some trouble hacking their parts but they are in decent shape. I think that overall they had a fairly mediocre show tonight and because this was the first time i had ever seen this group, i have nothing to judge off of.

YOMATO: This to me was probably the most eye opening show of the evening. I mean i was partially skeptical when a 16 member hornline stepped onto the field, but my skepticism was soon erased totally when i saw the precission and technicality in not only thier playing ability, but more impressivly, thier marching style. Every step was defined and each member had a crisp step and they play very well on the move. The drumline is extrodinalrily sound and will provide a good backing for this corps and future versions of it. Look for this corps to make so serious noise at Finals next week.

TARHEEL SUN: I have had the pleasure of seeing this show about six times this year and it is one of my favorites of this season. I could visibly see that the kids were mentally and physically worn down by a rigourous tour that they have been through. I think that this corps is going to take Div.II/III this year and will make some serious noise next year. Tonight there were alot of mental mistakes made in the marching execution of this show. I saw this corps on Mon. night of this week in Sevierville, TN and they brought the house to it's feet w/ one of the most entertaining shows of the evening. I would not bet against this corps come next tues. night when they take the field for Finals.

SPIRIT OF ATLANTA: This show was on fire tonight!! the horn line was sizziling from note one!! The gaurd had that extra saunter in their seductive step that absolutely wowed the crowd into a frenzy. I absolutely love this show....the horns are as loud as ever but now they have that controlled edge about them that is necessary to be a world class hornline. Spirit is a definete contender for that last spot in Finals and could very well be performing on next Sat. night. I could not hear the last 15 seconds of this show because the mom of a Spirit member was going absolutely bazerk. She was yelling right into my ear but it was worth it because she then gave me a hot dog that her husband had bought her and she didn't want.

CAROLINA CROWN: I saw this show on Mon. in Sevierville to and it was much cleaner tonight. I was taken aback by the complete reconstruction of the drill throughout the entire show. I think that is works much better w/ the drill that they are marching now. The Contras were on tonight, as was the snare line. THe contras just grabbed me by the throat early and said "You hear this dark sound, I wish others would." I really enjoyed listening to the horn line because it is a very entertaining show.I think that the crowd kind of held back on the applause after the show because they were still attmepting to regain thier vocal chords after yelling in immense amounts for Spirits show directly before this one. About the scoring between Spirit and Crown: I think if Spirit had gone on after Crown, they would have outscored them.

PHANTOM REGEMENT: I finally got to see the Phantom show that supposedly is going to make top 6. Well all i gotta say to that is, that is a crock. This show was incredibly executed, playing wise and no one out there had better fee tonight then did my boys from Rockford. This show boasts one of the best horn lines that Phantom has put out in years (in my opinion they are supreme to even the '96 line that won brass all three nights at Finals) I think that the one thing that beat Phantom was thier snare line. I just thought that they were very dirty and i could see alot of ticks on easy visuals and some stuff that should have been piss clean were just rammed through. I gotta give major props to the Mello soloist!! I think that she is going to be the next Zack Riggins (Soloist at Phantom on Mello from like '92-'95). This young lady has one of the best tones i have ever heard and after i saw her solo i kept my eyes on her marching to see if she was just as good at that and she is a marching fiend!! Kudos to whoever found her out there and convinced her to march at Phantom.

BLUE KNIGHTS: I had heard so much about this show, and it is probably the best they have EVER done. I loved the Mello line....they just were on tongiht. Hornline is technically superior to most out there right now but the addition of a few more impact points in the show would definetly increase the Brass perf. score. There were times when i just wanted to turn up the volume a few more notches. VIsually i loved loved loved New World!!! Major Props to the gaurd: Wow talk about aiding the visual program w/ the butterfly wings. I really liked the Tenor line at BK. They play very clean and the drum feature as a whole is clean as balls. BK is going to surprise alot fo people next week.

MADISON SCOUTS: Gaurd was on tonight!! I love the fact that they start the show in uni's simillar to the corps...neat visual effect. Horn wise the Euphoniums were kickin' some major ass w/ a fat sound. THey compliment a very very talented lead Bari section extrodinarily well. the contras were on tonight as well....Got a tall kid...he looked to be the tallest in the contra line that marched one of the best indivitual shows i've ever see tonight. Drum Line is clean clean clean!!! They are very good and Bass line is ramming serious notes and the 4 rookies on tenors are pimp slapping thier feature in the face. Fine show!!

I realized why i participated in Drum Corps tonight when the crowd gave a standing ovation to the Phantom Regement who played "Amazing Grace" in jubilance that the ordeal w/ the Colts didn't turn tragic. It was spine tingiling listening to 14 contras play the bass line to "Amazing Grace"....WOW!!!.....The announcer also said that the general admission profits from those who were sitting in the grass int he end zone and those sitting back field, were going to be donated to the Colts to help them w/ the cost of continuing thier season.


Tuesday August 4
Winston-Salem, NC (DCI)

First of all let me say I marched for four years and have been a spectator for 8 years after that and tonight I had a first...Read further to hear it. A great crowd on hand tonight full from end zone to end zone 4000? in a show whose money goes to a Children's hospital. The show was underwritten by the Cook Medical Group...ala Bill Cook!

I arrived during the East Coast Jazz performance so their review is a little shorter.
67.8 East Coast Jazz
They sounded pretty good and had some very nice soloists. The show seemed to run out of steam near the end, but should give them a nice shot at placing well in Orlando.

72.6 Tarheel Sun
My first viewing of this corps ever...I was impressed! They have some marching phasing problems in the opening number, but overall marched pretty well. The colorguard has a nice visual effect with rainbow colored accents on their black skirts. The corps in bright yellow made a very colorful contrast on the field. I liked it! The pit grabbed my attention with 12 members, the pit really could show a few of the top 12 how to put more energy into their performance. The sopranos had some nice moments which pinned my ears back and the ending was powerful and well done. Overall a great performance by a neat corps.

74.8 Pioneer
I really like the tan pants, however they make the lower body almost disappear on the field. The snares separated into two voices were different than I expected. They play them as two different sections and I like it. The sounds are very distinctly different and works well. The guard pulls out some nice purple, yellow, and green flags. The field is covered with color and looks great! The drum solo had some nice moments in it which included some great pit visuals! The trooping of the stands surprised everyone and they jumped to their feet and clapped along as the corps passed in review! This horn line can really play!

80.1 Spirit of Atlanta
Good Powerful opener that just seemed to lose a little steam as it went along. The drum line was a little dirty in the drum feature and seemed to stand still and play alot. The crowd loved the bass drums dancing with the guard and this obviously helped their performance percussion score...(sarcasm off) The end of the show is fast paced 180bpm and they march it well. I was a little disappointed with this show, however they are improving and I expect them to make a run for it at finals.

82.7 Carolina Crown
The announcer had to make an announcement that I have never heard at a show..."Please refrain from using laser pointers during the show, as this is distracting to the members" Interesting! The Carolina Crown continue to improve and continue to be one of my favorites. I must say that I do not like the guard in baby blue and brown, Yuck!!! The horn line was louder and cleaner than earlier in the year when I viewed them. The guard seemed to be on tonight catching almost all of their tosses and executing well. The drum line is also improving with an especially well done bass drum run in the solo. The ending is powerful and worthy of any top 12! Good Luck!

86.5 Bluuuuecoats
Hey...the singing is a nice background effect. It seems to add to the show and not be distracting like I expected. The guard seems to spend alot of time changing costumes but performs well...and as they trooped the stands well, they look nice also...nevermind. The corps really had my attention when they played Autumn Leaves. I remember when they played it in 1988. I'll never forget the soloists that year. This years are not quite as good but do the song justice. Overall the corps is typical Bluecoats but seem to be a little off what I am used to. I still enjoy their energy and toe-tapping music.

88.2 Phantom Regiment
Vastly improved. This is my third viewing of them and they are really starting to come together. I had them in first tonight but the judges didn't ask my opinion. The horn line is louder and cleaner. The rotating blocks are all in need of some guiding down the angles. There are people sticking out of them all. I had a thought during the show. The horns that are played as Herald bugles in the pit would look better with some Royal looking banners hanging from them. Just a thought... The one complaint with this years Phantom show is that it is too quiet and reserved for me. I want to hear Phantom loud and in your face. They might finish 7th this year, but I don't think they will make top 6.

88.4 Crossmen
Lose the black crosses on the unis. Make them red or white, as they are just not visible from the stands. Nice opening Statement seemed to scare the crowd to death.LOUD!!! The corps show can be summed up as 1/2 a great show with lots of marching and playing and the rest of the time standing in a horn arc and playing while standing still. I thought I was listening to a victory concert. I enjoy soft tunes in drum corps, but you can still march. I think the Crossmen will get passed by the Phantom Regiment and will probably finish 8th.

Overall a great show and the corps are all improved. I look forward to seeing the corps in Charlotte this Sunday! I'll report Later!

Jamison Eige

Monday August 3
Sevierville, TN (DCI)

Beautiful night for corps, mid 70s with light breeze and low humidity (for TN anyway). Attendance was announced as "over 4000".

BD continues to clean and perfect a show that will win at Orlando, unless the Cadets and/or SCV can pull off a miracle. The horn line can strip paint off concrete while maintaining intonation and musicality, while the drum line sounds like the hammers of hell (I mean that in a GOOD way, haha). Could this be the year that the top three are spaced only .1 apart?

XMen have gone to all black jackets for their 2nd tour, and the DMs are in nice silky, gauzey pantsuits. Their show is intense and they're really jacking up the level as Orlando draws near.

Bluecoats....I just love 'em... they really blew the house down tonight. M&M continues to be troublesome at times, as well as the guard work. Gonna be interesting to see where they end up this year. Go Bluuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Tarheel did themselves proud tonight. Nice arrangements and unis; they need to punch up the dynamics a bit more (not just louder, mind you, but more contrast) to compete with the big boys.

Carolina Crown was the surprise placement of the night. I had them higher than 5th, but what do I know... RCM sounded just wonderful, ya can't help but get good feelings remembering how SCV worked this piece, and Crown does a great job with it.

Pioneer had great unis; reminded many in the audience of the old Scouts unis. Danny Boy sounded great, and they played to the stands as they trooped off after the show. Great show, shades of Riverdance???

The Volunteers continue to attack a demanding show. They've revised the opener for the 2nd tour. The brass book had the horns worn down about half way thru. Nice arrangements and M&M; those kids have lots of guts. I wonder what they'll do next year?

David "wishing I was 18 again" Myers

Sunday August 2
Centerville, OH (DCI)

What a night for Drum corps! It really was the perfect night, with temperatures in the upper 70s at show start, and staying comfortable all evening. The show was sold out, and had been for nearly a week. For starters, this was the best crowd that I've had the privilage of viewing a show with. Absolutely none of that usless chatter that many complain about. Anyways, on with the corps...

This was my first time seeing the Mandarins, and boy was I impressed. They had a nice, mature sound and actually did some tough drill. All in all, an enjoyable show.

Cincinnati Glory
The closest thing to a hometown favorite, the corps did not disappoint. The corps came out hot, with their soloists doing well. Their percussion was dirty, and their horns had some trouble during the middle, but they pulled it out near the end.

I love Pioneer. I also love their new unis. One thing that was a bit disconcerting was that their uniforms make the tall people look REALLY tall. I think it has something to do with the length of the tan legs. Anyways, the review. Pioneer had its moments, but really failed to take advantage of a crowd that wanted to enjoy their show. They did get a standing O, but I felt like they could give me more.

Spirit of Atlanta
SOA was on tonight, despite what their score indicated. The hornline was great, the drumline on and clean, and the drill looked really good. I seriously thought the corps broke 80. The corps never did push the dynamics to far, though. With their great hornline, I wanted them to unleash 1 triple F.

Blue Knights
The Colorado corps came out and blew the fans away. They were all around great, and I knew that the Gmen had their worked cut out for them. I think the show is unbelievable, and most definitely could be a top 6 contender. Any other year, and this corps could be pushing for that 5th or even 4th spot.

From the first note, the Glassmen let everyone know that they owned the field. The corps was unbelieveble. Their score confused me, because if any of the Top 4 performed this well, they'd be above a 90. The hornline has a maturity that surpassed the Cadets and was just a little bit off of Blue Devils. If this corps was scored like they deserved, they could be a championship contender.

Blue Devils
The Blue Devils deserved a Standing O from just their warmup. Like I told my friend, Blue Devils means perfection. And they were perfect. I went into the show with some negative thoughts about this show, but I enjoyed it alot. The show did lack difficulty, but the crowd sure didn't care. Perfection does mean something. Definitly a treat watching this show.

The Cadest were unbelievable! They had the crowd going from the very beginning. The only corps to get "spontaneous" standing ovations throughout their show, it was clear who the crowd favorite was. The "Stonehenge" them wasn't exactly apparent, but who cares?? They rock. It just goes to show that the average drum corps fan doesn't judge a corps and all its hardworking members because of something the administration.

Overall, it was an awesome show, the best I've ever been to. And I've been to some good ones, right here at Centerville(Star vs Cadets 93, BD vs Cavies 95). After seeing both BD and Cadets, I think that the Cadets are in a better position to win the show. The one thing which probably cost the Cadets was a particularly dirty section that the sopranos were doing chromatic runs. In the practice that I attended, they said they'd dump it if the section didn't get clean. So, get rid of that and the Cadets probably tie or win. My point is that the Devils are perfect, and very little room to go. The Cadets still have lots of room to improve, and the difficulty just blows the Devils out of the water.

I believe that a lot of show sponsers could learn from the Soaring Sounds people. This show was sold out last week, and the Stadium holds over 6,000 people. The show ran ads about the show since before the season started. What really impressed me was a full page article about Drum Corps, AFTER the show was sold out, in the local newspaper. Then, it was on all the newshows and in the newspaper the next day. This kind of exposure only helps to get more people next year. Also, the show was well organized. The lag time between the last corps performing and the awards was nonexistant. I went to a show earlier this year in which it took over 40 minutes to get the scores, and there were fewer corps then. It was a great show, one that I'll always remember. Quite a showdown in the little town of Centerville. Maybe next year they can get Santa Clara and Madison!

Adm Shaggy

Canton, OH (DCI)

Well, my first show of the season - FINALLY.

With me were three Drum Corp virgins - my 81 year old mother ("mom"), my sister and her husband (Lenora and Jim). We switched some tickets to get my mother in the second row. I switched between the 2nd and the 7th rows, so I saw no drill formations whatsoever.

Seattle Cascades (60.9) - they were working hard to sell this show. I (as close as I was) noticed that there was no blend between the sections. Everyone stuck out as they passed by. Sorry to sound negative, but the guard needs work. One girl actually stepped on her flag twice. The guard looked totally disinterested and was wildly out of synch.

Mom thought they were great. Lenora &Jim were grinning.

Allegiance Elite (61.6) - I love the show concept. The tribal masks, flags and shields were beautiful. The drum feature brought down the house. However, the brass shield carriers looked as disinterested as Cascades guard.

Mom and Lenora liked them. Jim, a former percussionist, loved them. (they didn't know what was coming and I was grinnning from ear to ear.)

Trooper (63.9) - Welcome back Troop - they worked really hard to sell the show. Ensemble needs work. But they were sure having a great time.

All three thought they were the best so far.

Les 'Etoiles (75.2) - Wow - a great job. Loved the music, the guard unis, the brass, the percussion.

Jim was annoyed that the pit was on platforms because it did block our view. I told him there was a reason for it (didn't tell him why). Well when the pit rolled out, the guard come out from under the rolling pit and the drummers started spinning, mom almost wet herself. Lenora and Jim were the first two on their feet for a standing O.


At intermission, they were amazed by the performance of Les 'Etoiles but liked the Troopers the best. And while I'm at it, I'd like to publically thank the organizers of this show. I flew in from NYC and had a rental car. I wanted to get handicapped parking (because of my mother). They sent me a VIP parking pass that put us 15 feet from the entrance. Then they helped switched some tickets when we arrived to get my mother seated in the second row. A million thanks to the organizers!!!!!

End of Intermission

Carolina Crown (83.8) - I thought they were superb. I also thought they should have beaten the Bluecoats tonight. The first guard that really had the crowd cheering. The brass was wonderful, ensemble was great. I only wish I could have seen the drill better because they were flying across the field a few times.

Jim and Lenora sat with dropped jaws and my mother just giggled with glee.

Bluecoats (85.6) - Great show design. Excellent brass scoring. My only complaint, albeit a minor one, was that I wanted more sound out of them. Guard was great. One slight bobble by a soloist.

Mom loved, loved, loved the music. Jim loved it and Lenora was in tears. Afterwards, Mom put some Kleenex in her ears 'cause it was too loud. :)

Phantom Regiment (86.0) - I love PR, but from what I saw and IMHO, this is a really poorly designed show. Nothing distinguishes itself as a major moment. The brass was not together at the beginning of Un Bel Di. The Berlioz began and ended. The Pines were well played. But there was no fire, no patented PR smooth sound. I kept waiting to have my ears blown out (especially in the second row). It just never came to life at all. I was surprised they finished second. Also, the Guard Togas work great for the Berlioz and Respighi, but are totally out of place for Un Bel Di.

Mom, Lenora and Jim were bored. They appreciated the skill involved, but they liked Crown and Bluecoats much better.

Madison Scouts (90.1) - Great show - Great scoring - Great Guard work. Loved the Swinging Pete. A few minor kvetches. I really dislike the guard in all white for Remembrance - its a really hot tune and the white, IMO, is out of place - I want to see the guard unis reflect the heat of this tune. The other kvetch is the last note of Remembrance - I want the Scouts to hold the last note and thrill me with increasing volume. Not a staccato blip.

All three were in tears.

Because we were so low, we lost alot of the reverb from America/O Canada, but they loved it. But because we were so low, Madison Victory Concert was literally in our face. In fact the soloist in You'll Never Walk Alone was 10 feet from my face. The Scouts were having a great time with their Victory Concert. Mom, Jim and Lenora were amazed when the Scouts took their hats off and they saw how really young these guys are. All in all a great show.

Ed "Boxer" Jones

Pittsfield, MA (DCA)

Seniors are Back in Pittsfield!!!!

Generations: Say them last week in Johnstown, NY. I think they are slipping a bit. A lot of cleaning is needed musically, lots of wrong notes, overplaying, some of the sounds coming out of this Horn Line were really funky!!! Beat Chieftains by 1.4 Pts. Lost to them in Horns (Chieftains have about half the amount of Horns). A far as drill it was difficult to see due to the distance of the stands to the field (Rochester all over again!).

Chieftains: They got a standing ovation from this crown before even playing a note! I understand they paraded down Pittsfield and did a concert on Saturday. I was told the Contest sold several hundred tickets after the performance. By far the Crowd favorite today (of course they warmed the crowd up Saturday to support them!). I passed their table on the way in, I think they sold out! Lot's of "BLOW THIS" shirts and hat in the crowd! As for the show - WOW! They can play! The Horn Line is out of this World (1/2 the size of Generations) BUT they play with control and emotion. A lot of talent there. The Percussion line is progressing nicely as well as the Pit (4 Excellent Mallet Players). As for the Guard.... Getting much better, they added a Male Solist Performer. He Can toss & catch any guard equipment out there, what a performer!!! Where did he come from??? The Guard added Sabre work in Far & Away this week, which included a triple toss and catch before the company front (they nailed this). They are my new favorite to win Class A again. Like I said last week, never count this corps out - August seems to be their month! The Crowd Clapped them off the field to their Cadence. To any Chieftains out there.... Is the rumor true that you purchesed 60 HORNS from DEG for next Season?

Much improved as well, they keep cleaning and cleaning. Nice work. I think they may catch Hawthorne this yearor may at least scare them!. The Crowd also loved their show. Guard was a bit tentive today. But like I said earlier, it is hard to judge their performance because of the distance to the stands.

Should have scored higher, MUCH higher. They perform with class and style. They go after crowd appeal and accomplish that every time. I think they should have won the show but... It's tough when you have two Corps who are so close in talent.

Getting better. After a slow start this year, this Corps has also come a long way. I guess they are determined not to get knocked out of the Top 10 by the Kilties! Solid Performance. The Guard keeps on getting better, week by week. The Visual Presentation is Awesome.

Jamey Galle

Saturday August 1
Ypsilanti, MI (DCI MidWestern) #2

Well, here it is... my last review of the last drumcorps show I attended this year. :(
**** I HATE COMPUTERS (sometimes). I was busy writing my review last night around 3 AM so I could put down my thoughts while they were freshest in my mind and I got the lovely "blue screen of doom" with about two sentences to go. I wanted to cry. So, this is my second attempt at writing this review... if you're reading it, I made it!

The weather at Ypsi was absolutely gorgeous for the second day in a row. It was a little cooler and the wind was a little more brisk as we headed into the evening, but it wasn't anything that bothered the guards tonight. The hot dogs still taste awesome. :D And the polish sausage stand was doing some serious business as well!

This review is dedicated to one Mr. Tony Flores who thinks I shouldn't be able to share my thoughts with all of you because I never marched in a corps. Well neener neener ha ha ha, I'm doing it anyway!

Let's get started with the corps. First off the starting line tonight were the Troopers (10th Place, 62.4), always a fan favorite for the nearly 20,000 in attendance tonight (!) The Troop is in the throes of another rebuilding year, and the idea that they should have gone to Division II has been advanced by RAMD members. I must say that I agree with this... the corps, while full of tough kids that are sticking it out this year, is simply not big or accruate enough to justify an Open Class standing this year. With that said, the corps still has some very nice moments. The "Silverado" piece includes a very well staged "battle" between the guard and the percussion section with the hornline outlining the action. The patented Troop "sunburst" appears during the closer andwhips the crowd up in time to give the corps a standing ovation at the close of their show. This year's Troopers, although a far cry from their glory days, looks to be on the right track. They are entertaining with the crowd and have lots of kids that aren't afraid to gut it out (even if it means missed or cracked notes). Hopefully the future will give this corps some more members, and a shot at playing on Friday (or Saturday) in the near future.

Following the Troopers were Les Etoiles de Dorion (9th Place, 73.3), who continue to show us that numbers aren't needed to get results, simply talent. Is anyone else wondering what this corps could do with a full 128 members??? As it stands, they have maybe 80 members, but the entire corps is polished and exciting. Their brassline is absolutely outstanding for their smaller size (they came within .1 of Spirit of Atlanta in Brass Performance) with nary a missed or cracked note. This is a good indication that some solid, strong instructors are teaching this corps and making them succeed. This year Les Etoiles is doing selections from the motion picture "The Rock", and being an owner of the soundtrack, I am happy to say that I could hum right along with the corps tonight (something I couldn't do with BD the night before, BTW.) The arranging and staging for the corps maximizes sound and precision and gives them the illusion of looking and sounding much better. Although they are smaller in numbers than the Troopers, they were much better in terms of presence and clarity. The guard and percussion help accent their strong hornline with some very respectable work. The two ensembles really start to cook during the closer, when the pit rolls out onto the field and the "spinning snare" contraption goes into use. This gave the crowd its first real reason to stand up and cheer tonight. Right now this is a darkhorse corps to make an appearance at Semis.

Up next was Spirit of Atlanta (7th Place, 77.7) and WOW was I impressed with their performance. With the music of the South, SOA delighted the crowd and made a strong case for their resurgence. LOOK at all the people! Spirit is almost sporting a full corps this year, and that's a reason to celebrate in itself. The corps proper is nicely attired in a deep purple jacket (which seems to be the color of choice for Southern Corps :) ) and white pants. The hornline, although slightly dirty, can put out some real sound and treats your ears to quite a ringing during their opener, "My Friend" and "Way Down Upon the Suwanee River." The guard shows its stuff during the lilting ballad "Precious Lord, Take My Hand", hoisting crosses with purple cloaks. The guard got tonight's "Marry Me" award from my Glee Club friend. Last I heard he was planning on moving to the Deep South to find himself one of these lovely belles. :D A well-enjoyed, entertaining show is topped off by "Sweet Georgia Brown", which gives the percussion and brass sections time to jam, much to the excitement of the crowd that was happy to see them back on their feet again. Congrats to SOA for a banner year, and one which will be pointed to in the future. This is the year people will look back and say "Spirit of Atlanta started their comeback here."

The Kiwanis Kavaliers (8th Place, 76.1) were up next, and they've greatly changed their show since my last viewing of them. All of these changes are for the better, in my opinion. First off, the corps has COLOR now! Yay! The somber and brooding all-black corps has dressed their guard females in tasteful blue and green dresses and put their men in several brightly colored sportcoats. THANK YOU, that was needed badly. Now that the corps has color, it seems as if the entire show is much more interesting and available for the fan in the stands to watch. The visual and musical aspects of the show are starting to come into greater focus, and the kids are marching and playing much better now than earlier in the season. It's as if someone flipped a light switch. :D The real impact statement of the "American in Paris" show comes during the closer, when the guard strips off their outergarments and don several multi-colored sashes. Each member has a flag that matches the color they're wearing, and when they cut loose, it looks like a rainbow is exploding across the field. Nice effect! And a very respectable effort from KK this year. We should have no problem seeing them in Semis this year if they keep the hard work up.

Up next, the Magic of Orlando (6th Place, 82.6) and their hornline of wonders. This... hornline... can... WAIL. To start their "Muddy Water Blues" production, the corps starts with "God Bless the Child." They parked and pratically blew the stands away, and the crowd's hearing with it. As if we cared; we all cheered like loony people. :) This hornline is LOUD, clean, and sounds like God's Holy Brass Section right down here on Earth. Magic keeps the crowd entertained and happy throughout the show, occasionally wailing us senseless throughout the entire production. :D The wonderful hornline is complemented by a fun-loving guard that is a hoot to watch. Magic's guard gets the award for best costuming this year. Instead of dressing everyone in the same skimpy outfit and embarassing some members, each member gets a different and unique look. The slimmer members flash some skin, while the larger females are tastefully dressed in more conservative attire. This gives the entire guard a sharp, appealing look. And the rich red Creole outfits look wonderful. Have I mentioned Magic's hornline yet? :D Many fans around me compared them to BD's hornline that performed on Friday. And the comparison isn't that far fetched! Combine them with the guard and a percussion line that isn't afraid to break some rules with their low-tuned snares, and you've got a corps that is great to watch and a blast to listen to. What a wonderful year for the Magic of Orlando.

The Glassmen (3rd Place, 87.9) were up next, and you could immediately tell they were the "hometown" favorites with the barrage of cheers, hollers, and greetings they received when they were setting up. This is a hell of a corps this year, and it's been a real treat watching them grow and improve over the last couple months. Their percussion line is one for the ages (.1 away from winning Perc. Performance tonight) and the music of Borodin gives the corps a thrilling, exotic flavor that drives the crowd wild. Let me take a moment to say that the guard deserved the High Colorguard trophy tonight. They were ON FIRE, and I didn't see a single drop, misstep, or kite crash tonight. It was like they were charmed. The hornline is holding their own as well, with some crisp brass runs and powerful moments that really complement their awesome percussion counterparts. Every part of this corps is clicking right now, and the judges are really starting to take notice. My favorite part of their show is the beginning of the closer, "Polovtsian Dances" when the entire corps whips around and nearly knocks you senseless with power and precision. WOW, I wish I could take in that passage every night of my life until I die. :D If you've seen their show, you know which one I'm talking about. This year's show is masterfully produced and arranged, with a ton of talented kids. GMen, take the drill and visual parts of the show up a notch next year and you may very well be looking at a Top 3 corps as we head into the next decade. How's that sound?

The Blue Knights (TIE 4th, 85.6) are an interesting contrast to the Glassmen this year. It's quite a treat watching them head-to-head. Where the Glassmen's show makes you want to cheer and hoot every 15 seconds, the "Masters of the Symphony" production from this year's BK draws you into their musical and visual web and holds you in rapt attention for the entire show. BK's flags (and butterfly wings) this year are a sight to behold as they are flying through the air, and they complement the corps' pieces so wonderfully. They are suitably bright and jarring for the loud Shostakovich, easy on the eyes for the Tchaikovsky, and the butterfly wings are incredibly lovely for the Dvorak "New World Symphony" ballad. BK had my prettiest musical moment of the night, when the corps is beautifully playing the climax of the Dvorak and the cymbal lines hoist a guard/butterfly in the air and she flaps her wings, and the entire crowd goes "Oh..." :) Combine these moments with some whipping drill that makes you think "CBC" and a joyous and entertaining Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as a closer, and you have a rich and varied show that the crowd stands up and gives an appreciative ovation to. Like the GMen, this may be the best year yet for the Blue Knights.

Up next, the Cadets of Bergen County (TIE 1st, 93.0) who gave an incredible performance. This is my second viewing of their show, and I must say that it was much more enjoyable this time around. This really is a show that requires repeated viewings in order to fully appreciate it. The music of "Stonehedge" is a bit darker than anything CBC has played in the recent past, but all of the classic Cadet elements are here: a wild whiplash drill (no falls tonight, BTW), a technically superb guard, and a show that is pure eye and ear-candy for the crowd. HOW does this corps MOVE so fast and still play at the levels they do? Their brassline was simply astounding tonight, and they deserved to win Brass Performance. Almost every soloist and ensemble was perfect tonight, and the entire section had some thrilling brass runs that drove the crowd batty. My only real criticism of the corps this year would have to fall on the guard. (Imagine that!) Don't get me wrong: they're every bit as stunning and precise as always. But... they don't SMILE very much. They have this... pained... expression on their face a lot, kinda like they're passing gall stones or something. :) I don't know if they were told to act like that this year or not, but they just don't look as happy to perform as in the past. Still, this is a must-see show this year, and the Cadets are looking to be right near the top of the heap once again. With some minor tweaking, this corps could take it all come finals night. And that's quite a statement coming from a sentimental Cavie fan. :)

Do not adjust your medication levels: the Phantom Regiment (TIE 4th, 85.6) may very well be waking up!!! Their show has undergone some major rewrites since my last viewing of them, and although I still don't think it's enough, the package is much improved. First the good stuff. Phantom's "Music of Rome" production starts with the Roman Festival Overture. This is classic, Grade "A" Phantom. The 70 member brassline is LOUD, meaty and crisp, and the visual and percussive impacts are very thrilling. PR gets the loudest cheers from the crowd during their opener. If Drum Corps shows were only 3 minutes long, Phantom would be perhaps 4th this year. But then things go downhill. One thing I noticed tonight was that the bottom fell out of the brassline, which is very uncharacteristic for them. In past years, PR's contras were almost scary with their powerful and clear playing. Tonight I was straining to hear them after the opening number. This is very unusual, and I don't know why it's happening... I can see them out there, and I know they're playing, but the sound just isn't getting to us. Also, even after the rewrites for the closer (Pines of the Appian Way), the entire corps plays to the backfield WAY too long! Phantom is enamored with the back stands for almost half of the closer, it seems. I felt like standing up and yelling "HEY!! We're OVER HERE!" When they do finally turn around and give it to us, most of the crowd has already "lost interest" and the impact crescendo doesn't happen. From here on out, it's much improved. The staging and power of the corps comes through well, and I was happy to see the goofy shields gone and replaced with some excellent oversized flags that give the corps some presence on the field. Add the large gray Roman banner at the end of the show, and the crowd gets excited again and gives a rousing ovation. Phantom is looking much better than before (thank heavens), and although the show isn't quite up to their high standards, they should now have a fighting chance to hit 7th Place this year.

The evening's competition was closed with the appearance of the Santa Clara Vanguard (TIE 1st, 93.0) and I was instantly jealous of all you West Coasters out there who got to see this show a lot. I'm going to be wearing out this track on my finals CDs. YES YES YES, Santa Clara has got a show that can win it all this year. Their opener, "Ghrog," is by far the best opening number of any corps in DCI this year. The piece is so angry and percussive and uncharacteristic of SCV that I was drawing "Star 93" comparisions during it. The opener is excellent, infectious, and VERY COOL. SCV is really rocketing across the field this year, especially during the opener. Their speed matches that of CBC, and their visuals challenge the Cavies. It's like the best of both worlds. And the percussion section -- HOLY COW. It takes something special to take out the GMen percussion section this year, but SCV has it. The crowd gave an almost startled ovation to them at the end of their closer. The Vanguard suddenly takes a hard left into some lighter, more familiar Copland for the next two tunes, "Hear Ye! Hear Ye" and "Down a Country Lane." The helter-skelter drill calms down somewhat and the corps concentrates on wowing you with some lovely brass and percussion passages. Included in this section is a very cool guard feature where they flip over "limbo sticks" and get a good response from the crowd. Speaking of crowd responses, the dancing Tenors in "Dance Panels" are an ABSOLUTE RIOT and had the crowd rolling tonight. One older man behind me who was laughing so hard he has tears exclaimed, "I didn't even know they could MOVE like that!" This section and the entire closer gives the corps a happier, free-spirited approach that the crowd eats up and really loves. Make no mistakes about it, my friends: SCV can and may very well win with this year's show, and bring home their first ring of the 90's. After the scores were announced, the crowd was treated to a dual-encore performance (aren't we lucky!! :D ), highlighted by an emotional performance of "Send in the Clowns" by SCV that almost put me in tears. That song alone was worth the price of admission, and I'm so glad I got to hear it.

Some thoughts as we head towards Allentown:
** The Glassmen are MUCH closer to catching Madison than anyone else is to catching them. A 5th Place finish for the corps from Toledo is definitely not out of the question yet this year.
** With the resurgence of Phantom, suddenly there's a logjam for the 7th place position, with BK, Crossmen, and the Bluecoats right there.
** The Colts are on the bubble again this year, standing in 13th after Ypsi. But -- Carolina Crown is a scant .2 away from them, and it's going to be a heck of a fight to see which of them gets to play on finals night. Right now, I think Magic is safe - for the moment.
** Anyone want to place a wager on who's going to be on top come finals night?? Cavies, BD, SCV, and CBC all have the goods to get them there -- now it's time to see who wants it the most.

Well, that concludes my last review for the year. I want to give a sincere thank you to RAMD for the flood of kind and supportive emails that I have received over the course of this year. I have saved every one of them, and I cherish them. :) I'm just a happy 20-something kid who loves this activity and tries to share my thoughts with everyone out there. Although I'm bereft at having MY season come to an end with Ypsi, I give a hearty congratulations to ALL the kids out there this year and wish them the best as the great Drum Corps train rolls towards its last stop in Orlando.

Thanks for reading.

Jeremiah Peterson
Drum Corps Fan

This is a review of the drum corps show at Ypsilanti. It's the last show of the season I was able to attend. Tho this board is used by those who have closer ties to and better eyes for the shows, I hope this post will be found by a few who can't attend the shows but would like to get a general feel for what happened on the field on Saturday night from someone who could attend.

Beautiful stadium, beautiful but very hot weather. Rough travel to and from the parking for some because of construction. Thousands of people attending. One ladies washroom for the stadium. It flooded before the show, forcing a long walk to one of the scattered portapotties near the buses or major restlessness during the show. DCI had been kind enough to provide a volunteer who explained to the 100 plus in line what was happening.

For this show they had Celebrity Patrol. At a sign-up desk you got a little gold sticker. Between performances it would be announced that the patrol was looking in a section for someone with the sticker on them who would be given a prize like a shirt. How they determined who would get a prize I don't know because the closest I got was to see the promotion in action was a shirt being thrown to someone which was intercepted by someone else. Using the time honored drum corps method, I bought a cheap seat and moved later to an open better one. Most of the time that works at the shows.

Side comments:
1. Am I the only one who doesn't like hearing a corps practicing off the field while another corps is performing.
2. The beautiful free DCI booklet should have a cheap plastic magnifying piece attached for those of us over 50. That small print!!!
3. Another comment: I counted, as best as I could, how many horns, snares, quads, etc. What happened to the days when different corps might have different proportions of guard, brass and percussion based on the the show to be performed. Why was there a consistency of approx. 6 snares, 4 quads, 5 bass drums, 4 cymbals, 6-9 pit, around 25-30 guard, etc., etc. Was there some sort of agreement behind the scenes?

TROOPERS--One of the nice things about the Troopers was that in the past you could always understand their show without a program. Until I looked at the colorful booklet provided free by DCI that listed the repertoires of the shows, I had no idea what they were doing on the field. The description given was Forging a Frontier. Though I didn't understand how the music fit the theme, except by title, the guard was having a great time, not well coordinated, pantomiming shoveling and fighting and all sorts of things. It was fun to watch them. Finally the Troopers came to life when some real western, recognizeable music was played. The audience enjoyed and the show ended on a good note.

LES ETOILES--As I wrote in the Mid America Review, this is one polished gem of a show. Because the number on the field was small (rough count 25 horns, 4 contras, 12 guard, 6 pit, etc.) I had expected a weaker performance before I saw them peform. No way. Powerful sound. Good guard coordination. Nice soloists. Quick moves. Nice choice of music. The staff here should write instructional material for small corps and bands and the performers should take a bow.

SPIRIT OF ATLANTA--Did Four Seasons of Jazz, a fast paced brisk show. I thought the announcer said Summertime in the South, but who am I to quibble. The show started with players and guards back to back, a move that other corps also found interesting enough to start their shows with. From then on it was a Guard show. Barbie dolls on the drum corps field. This guard ( approx 30) exudes sex appeal and showmanship. They wore one-piece light maroon skin tight outfits. I had to keep forcing myself to get back to the music, excellent and big in numbers tho it was. Whether the guard was working with wooden crosses, big gold flags, or huge pale yellow see thru flags at the end, this seemed to be a guard show that was enhanced by a very competent corps with nicely chosen music.

KIWANIS KAVALIERS -- Did American in Paris. There must be something in Canadian water that grows corps like this and Les E. A fun start with "men" in business suits and women in street dresses and straw hats. Corps wore black and silver with silver horns, well polished, creating a stunning effect. Although music and guard and timing were extremely well-done and enjoyable, I was left exhausted at the end of the show. The overall effect seemed a little too frantic with so many guard costume changes and flag changes and corps movements. If I saw the show several times and knew what was coming, I probably would have enjoyed it even more. But for a first time view.....Cadets as a role model?

MAGIC OF ORLANDO--This is a music show. Even the second time around I hardly noticed the guard who were perceived by me as flashing bits of color. Maybe it was the dark purple corps uniforms against a dark field and the small amount of color on the guard uniforms, or maybe it was the haunting, exciting music itself, but music and playing were ALL I could take in and concentrate on. It was for this show that I traveled from the Chicago area to Ypsilanti. And yet, maybe because of where I was sitting, higher up and off to one side, that it seemed a little different than in Champaign. The solos didn't stand out from the background playing as well as in Champaign. Sitting higher up, I didn't feel the same tension from differentiation between fast and slow, loud and quiet, solo and mass as well as I did when I was front and center. But Magic, you were the magic in drum corps for me this year.

GLASSMEN--Overall they are surpassing Phantom I think because they are doing Phantom better than Phantom does itself this year. A huge amount of brass. A solid classics show. Excellently coordinated pictures and music. With Glassmen I noticed the music and not the guard. The solos like This Is My Beloved were perfect. The group bow was charming. And most of all a drill that emphasized Lines-- moving, coordinating, standing still, executed to near perfection with music was wonderful to listen to, i.e., Stranger in Paradise comes from the classics but is recognized by most as pop music. No exciting new heights or challenges, but a WOW show in that the boundaries were set for a hot corps show, polished, finished and presented. No rough edges left.

BLUE KNIGHTS--It was my first time to see Glassmen and Blue Knights. Maybe because they were back to back my notes are weak as I was looking for differences. I didn't find too many. I enjoyed the show. Nothing jarred me. I disliked nothing. But nothing seemed to stand out. The marching was crisp. Many pic were composed of lines. The color coordination of the uniforms and the guard was pleasant. Blue Knights may get adrenaline up when competing as a top corps in smaller shows, but among the big boys that played here, my adrenalin was not kicked up. If they came before Glassmen...who knows.

CADETS OF BERGEN COUNTY/BERGENFIELD, NJ--Opened with the back to back thing. Interesting opening in that everyone was off to the left side except for the soloist. And that set the stage for the Cadets show for me. Cadets were all drill. The music without the drill was well done but couldn't stand on its own for this ordinary audience member. The Cadets seem to be a corps that either has taken some adrenalin exciting food or has pulled every physically fit member out of the gyms of NJ. (A side note for any newbie, which I was for the first five years my son was in corps, a picture is a spot in time where the corps stops and looks good before moving on to another looking good pose. How you get 120 people from one picture to another picture is a science in itself.) The Cadets have pictures down to a science. How many roll steps (newbies, a roll step is different from plunking down your feet as you move. A roll step is toe moving down to heal or heal rolling to toe. Looks very good.) can be done in in a second or over a yard backward movement. Whatever. Cadets know. Getting 120 people to play music together while doing a difficult drill (Hint: Maybe this board should have a permanent list of definitions for words like drill and pics and roll steps) is what the Cadets have down to a science. And does the audience thrill to this kind of show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PHANTOM REGIMENT--Putting Phantom on after the Cadets this year is just asking for trouble. Except for those who will always love Phantom (unconditional love which is pure), the audience whose adrenalin has been kicked up by Cadets is now asked to jolt down and look at a quieter performance. Can't happen. While musically Phantom has a great sound, the performance is very slow compared to Cadets. So we concentrate on the guard. Here we have pretty little girls who are not doing pretty things. (Do all of them really have long ponytails in real life?) If the outfits convey one message but the activity of the guard conveys another message, you just leave the audience wondering what they missed. Even the colors clash on the field: the beige of the guard with the orange of the corp sashes with the blue and yellow of the flags. Phantom I love you, but your coordinated vision of what the corps is to do needs to be restored. Enough compromising with everyone and everything. You are Phantom...let's hear you roar!

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD--I am probably concentrating on drill here as I am not a musicologist and don't understand the music itself, although it was interesting. A wonderful rippling, waving opening which fits the music, drill and music combined. Here we have some drum corps newness as three or four small group pics blend into a larger tortured pic over and over again. For me there was one very small exciting section where the movement of the guard actually mimicked the sound of the music in a very dramatic way. The guard sat on the field as a group and moved their arms to the music as I remembered it. (Keep in mind this is the first time I have seen this show) It is a fast moving show and there is much to try and capture in the memory. This only shows that some shows need to be seen over and over again to appreciate the effort put into planning them.



OK Mike.. you may be the only one who reads this thru, but I followed thru as you suggested I do.

Dot M.

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