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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2000 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews - As Posted on RAMD!

Page One of Reviews

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:
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Go to Page 2 of Reviews!

Saturday June 17
Concord, CA (DCI-Pacific)

Mandarins were VERY strong, perhaps their best corps yet. SCV-Cadets also quite strong. BD-B marches well and has an accessible Chicago show, but horns a bit thin.

SCV has an extremely entertaining show... Adagio for Strings is a powerful arrangement that had my spine tingling. But they haven't finished the show yet. Blue Devils are remarkably clean for so early. They also march well and their horns sound fabulous. The final production left me a little cold.

Must mention Renegades outstanding debut, which received the first standing-ovation of the night. Fantastic soloists and a great in-your-face style that the crowd appreciated.

BD's encore was electrifying... they did the entire show and really turned up the volume for the home crowd.

All in a all, a thrilling start for what promises to be a great season!

Scott Gordon

The Mandarins were very clean this early, but I was very dissappointed to hear absolutely no low end in their brass line. I personally liked SCV cadets better, but that's my opinion.
I was also dissappointed to see that Shockwave wasn't there. anyone know the story on that?

SCV was definitely smokin last night! they were a little dirty, but that was to be expected. but the the end of adagio literally gave me chills all over. they had some major "moments" in their show, even though it wasn't totally done. can't wait til next weekend to see the full show.

BD was also very good, but I agree that their show also left me kind of flat, but I'll probably learn to love it as I have the past few years. the drumline was really layin down some major notes, lots of split parts in the snares. anyone who experienced their encore last night knows that there is absolutely NO argument for Bb instruments being less loud than G.

Renegades were pretty bitchin, but from all the hype, I was expecting to see about 200 people on the field(not really, but you get what I'm saying) but their show was cool and the soloist was amazing.

and I don't want to forget to mention the definite crowd favorite last night, Blue Devils "C"! they were good as always.

Marlon Hopper

Well, the scores are already in so I'll just add my comments.
First of all, the US Open had ALL the hotels surrounding the Bay Area FULL, so I had to drive until about 5:00am until I found a room. Sorry for the late review.

Before I go into a review, I'd like to share some of the conversations that were going on around me before and DURING the show. Most of it consisted of the fact that was no "competition" in Division I last year. Three groups of people felt that after the first two weeks of the season, the big boys were basically slotted. Everyone seemed to think the real competition was in Div II/III.... If that was true last year, it looks like it's going to be true this year as well... The second conversation was from the some students from Antioch High School. They were talking through everyone's performance. Some good, but most of the comments were bad. That wasn't a fun thing. I wanted to yell shut up, but I thought better of it.

> Patriot's Praise
First on was the Patriot's "Praise Corps"...Wow were they small. I have to give them a hand though. They certainly were there to have fun. Their music is from "Prince of Egypt". There were three large backdrops around the field that were used to stash equipment. On was of the prince of Egypt, one of a village, and one of some Egyptian hieroglyphs. The wind blew them around a few times before and during the show. The hornline consisted of 3 sopranos and one baritone. The percussion section included 3 cute cymbal players that couldn't have been over ten! They were pretty good too! The guard was probably the best section of the corps. They has some interesting flags, and managed to do something like the bottle dance at the end. I really appreciated the baritone solo in the beginning. The performer had a good sound. This show needs A LOT of work, but that's what they're there to do... During intermission I overheard someone in their corps saying they got a negative score. Guys and gals, don't worry about scores. Just have fun and learn!

(a note from the Sound Machine webmaster - for those that don't know, the Patriot's Praise is coordinated by the the parents of a Christian based home-schooling cooperative base in the high desert area between San Bernardino and Barstow. No feeder programs, no classrooms, just parents wanting to do what best for their children. Not bad if you ask me!)

> Mandarins (all other captions)
These guys have a great show. I love it! The music fits together very well, and I think the arragments fit the corps size. Actually, it sounds like somethin SCV should be playing. Some people were having fun about the fact that they played something from Star Wars, but it fit into the show perfectly... These guys can put out some sound for 18 horns, but it would nice to have 2 more contras for more of a bottom sound. Only two were out there tonight. I talked to a mellophone player in their corps and she said that their baritone line is full ( for them). The guard was fantastic! They seemed very mature, and I like their book. If I remember correctly, there's a lot of rifle work in the show. The percussion was pretty hot too. These guys will do very well in August.


I saw Pacific Crest last week during their family day. As good as the Mandarins are, I believe they'll have problems with Pacific Crest. PC should be in open class... Too bad they're not going to DC. I'm not a HUGE supporter of the corps, but I really think they're "that" hot... Think of Suncoast Sound (1990) during finals. No PC's show is not like Suncoast '90, but I think PC is similiar in size, ability and design to do that well.... ( Now give me my money ;0) ) We'll see what they're made of next week when Impulse, PC, SCV cadets, BDB, and Mandarins go head to head.

> SCV Cadets (General Effect)
Pretty darned good. They have new unis this year ( which look like the open class corps, except they have orange in the top instead of green). The show matches their big brother's style too. This show is very well designed and performed by a competent group. My only problem is that the drill for the closer was not finished. When the drill is added, their scores will jump a bunch! Their pit plays some mean parts! I thought they sounds like a top 17 pit.... This show will do well come finals....

Entertaining show!. They too have new uniforms. Their uniforms look like the A coprs, except there is not silver in the top. It is instead cut unt half by a dark purple, horzontal line. It looks nice. They had 22 horns, and the got a nice sound out of them. Their marching was great for this time of the year... Have fun guys and gals!

Cute.... They played TV show themes. Most number of standing O's of the evening!

> BD
For those of you in Europe: You're in for a real treat! I haven't cared that much for BD's shows from about '94 on, but this show rocks! Stylistically, the show has taken a bit from many years, and put them in a form that I really enjoy. As an example, the opener has a feel that is an awful lot like their 1988 show (Happy Days Are Here Again Old Black Magic Goodbye Yesterday Since I Fell For You ). Other parts of their show are like the Casablanca show. Oh, the soloists are incredible. It was neat to watch the first soloist play with those black gloves. You could seeing the rings sticking out! The B-flat horns don't sound that much different than the G horns. They're also just as loud ( as far as I could tell... my ears still rang!) Their show is a championship calibre show. I really enjoyed it. I really like the triplet runs near the end that the sops and mellos have. The music was way out there.... I was curious about the contras. There were only 9 of them ( I know ONLY...) From looking at the drill, either the contras are very dirty in the marching department ( doubtful) or they're marching with a few holes.... I can't really tell anything about the drill. The guard was fantastic!!! There are some flags that are black on one side, and "tye dye" on the other... They were cool... The worst thing that I can say about them is that the sops hacked an entrance during the middle section, but the mistake was NOT repeated during the encore.... The percussion has a DEMANDING book. The pit is awsome, but the snares steal the show... They have parts of the show where only two snares are playing, then they stop adn two other snares finish the phrase. It's a cool effect both visually and aucoustically... They are definately top 3...

Well, they've taken the formula from last year and found some new music to plug in.... The visuals are all back, and the mood set by the corps is dark, powerful and mysterious... It's frigin sweet. I really like the show <sarcasm> except for Stained Glass... It was too short </sarcasm>... They were a little less polished than BD, but don't let the score fool you. They earn that 69.8 with only 2/3 rds of the show. When the closer get put on the field, their score will go up a few points. This seems to be how they worked it last year and look where they landed... I can't wait to hear Stained Glass next week in Riverside... One thing, I really would like to see something in the drill to make me say "WOW". The drill is fine, but they could put in LOTS of more intricate or glory moves.... I was curious about their contras too. There were only 7. Wonder why??? There was so much going on, I cant remember very much about the show. The music is REALLY cool, the guard seems better ( stylistically) than last year, even though the uniforms are pretty much the same right now... The drumline is great. No specifics on them right now, I just wanted to soak in the show. Adagio for Strings is "haunting"... The best part of the show was at the end of Adagio. The corps sustained a loud dissonant cord, changed the cord a bit in the middle voices, and then lower voices, all the while the sound kept growing and growing, the drum major just put his hands down , and waited for what seemed like an eternity.... ( 15 seconds???) Just when you thought the sound couldn't get any louder, he cranked up the volume even louder and finally cut them off. I think the marching batter was on the left hand side of the field using ride cymbals to add to the volume at that time too..... It was very powerful.... This could be Rondo's musical moment of the year... I believe this show is top 4.

This is going to be an interesting year. Can't wait to see BK and Gmen bump with BD and SCV....

> Best Senior Corps: Renegades!
They're EVIL! I thought they were going to be bigger.... About 25 horns 7 snares, 1 tenor, 4 bases, 8 guard..... The drumline was smokin! The guard was fantastic too. I didn't care for the amplified pit, but hey, that's the choice... If you're on the West coast and want to march, you should go with these guys. They have a future! I'm thinking about it, but after the drive to Southern Cali from that neck of the woods I think I should give it a few days ( Didn't like the drive home).... Oh, the soloists are incredible. You should check out their sound clips....

Cavies '90

Is it drum corps season already??????? Hooray!

I had a great time at Precision West on Saturday except for one complaint - the stadium is already very small and cramped, yet people were allowed in during performances and there were constantly people roaming up and down the aisles and trying to squeeze into their seats at VERY inappropriate times. I hope that the BD organization took note of that and will make changes accordingly for next year.

I guess there's some kind of misunderstanding about Patriots Praise. They were listed in the program as the Patriots from Rochester, NY. Sure, they were tiny, but a bunch of us were saying "applaud your asses off for these kids......if a tiny little corps like that can haul butt out here from the east coast, why can't the Cadets, or the Crossmen, or the Crusaders?" Oh well, now I find out they're from southern CA. D'OH! OK, whatever, but the kids still put out a great little effort considering their group's size and young age.

SCV Cadets came next, and they were definitely larger and stronger than in the past few years. The drum line sounds pretty good (kudos to captionhead Dave DiLullo and company....a former corpsmate of mine). I really like seeing how George Brown and his instructional crew have turned this organization into a wonderful training program for the A-Corps while still allowing it to function as its own strong and entertaining unit.

Mandarins were awesome but would we expect anything less? I was SO happy to see the hornline doubled in size this year. I agree that they could have used more low brass, but on the percussion side this was the strongest and cleanest Mandarins drum line I've ever heard. The guard was lovely, as always.

BD B was next. Loved their show of all Chicago tunes, especially "Beginning". Like SCV Cadets, BD B has some real promising talent in the corps and you can see it's a great foundation for the kids who will eventually move up into the A-Corps.

BD C, or the "Baby Blue Devils" as my friend Lauri calls them, were next. Anyone who doesn't love this corps til it hurts is pure evil inside. I instantly fell madly in love with a tiny little soprano player who couldn't have been any older than 4. There was also an adorable tot in the color guard who was super small compared to the other girls. At one point, everyone was spinning a rifle but her. You could tell she was kinda scared (probably cuz the rifle was bigger than her). Finally, she got one big brave spin in and the audience went nuts. Really cute!

Waaaaaaahhhh, I miss Pacific Crest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Renegades, the new senior corps in town, were next. Man, they were a blast! It was SO great watching the corps, accompanied closely by Larry Dastrup and Chris Nalls screaming their heads off on sop and mello, for ten minutes solid. The drum line sounds great too! I don't know if he's reading this, but it was extra cool to see my friend Stuart Miyasoto playing bottom bass drum in this corps. Stuart's one of those guys that always wanted to march corps but never did, and regretted it. It's GREAT to see him out there kicking ass on bass drum with all these other drum corps studs from SCV and BD! Congrats Stuart!

SCV - ahhhhhhhh, goosebumpies. I'd seen them do a standstill performance the week prior and was kinda like "eh". When I saw it on the field, I kicked myself for being a Doubting Martha! The show is gorgeous, fast, exciting, loud, and intense. It was almost too fast and intense for me to the point of being I didn't know what to watch or when or where. The show is only 75% done and the guard had no uniforms (I was surprised to read someone else's review - Jeff, Cavs 90 - who mentioned that the unis looked like last year's unis, considering they weren't wearing unis......just varying degrees of all-black outfits). The group I was with fall agree that with a full show and a guard with unis, the spread would have been about 1.5 instead of 3.5. SCV has a shitload of cleaning to do, but it's a hot show. Jeff, top 4? I say top 2 and no less.

BD - I'm very disappointed that I can and will only see this show once this year....and Precision West was it folks. It usually takes me about 3-4 viewings to really warm up to BD's shows, and I think it would be the same this year. I do like the show a lot, but like several other reviewers mentioned it left me a tad flat whereas SCV had me goosebumpy on several occasions. The show is EXTREMELY clean in all areas right now. Horns sounds awesome, and drums were smokin'!!!!!! Loved the guard uniforms a LOT, although a friend who was with me said "I'm a big queen, and I wouldn't be caught dead in those pants". I disagree, I think they look really nice!!!

Final thoughts - BD and SCV will definitely be battling it out again (probably along with a few others) for the top 2 spots again this year! I feel that while BD's hornline is much tighter, SCV has the better hornline in terms of balance and overall sound. BD is wonderful, but too top heavy (my husband, as a former BD brass player, told me that they tend to emphasize sopranos.....which would explain what I'm hearing). Both drumlines are awesome, I couldn't even begin to pick that apart or predict. BD won marching hands down....until SCV cleans up the marching a bit, BD will kick their patooties every time.

Looking forward to watching SCV go up against Glassmen and Blue Knights at Pacific Procession in two weeks, but BD will sorely be missed!!!!!!!!

Martha Leeson Garcia
SCV Pit 1984-1987

Toledo, OH (DCM)

Okay, got my sleep and ready for my review. This is what I love about corps shows, each person has their own opinion about what they see, from the seasoned veteran to the rabid fan to casual observer.
As a general statement, the shows this year from the midwest are much better than last year. This will make the run for the Championships interesting this year. Many of the corps have stepped out thier usual musical traditions.

39.75 - Cincinati Glory
General consensus here, small but nice sounding horns. Could tell the early season jitters.

40.75 - Capital Regiment
They have twice the horn size but didn't have the needed volume. Sounds like they did a lot of recruiting and have a lot of rehearsal ahead of them.

44.80 - Americanos
They had a great sound for thier size.

One general statement of these corps, the percussion battery overwelmed the horns in most of the shows. This made for trying to listen to the music very difficult. Wish you could put a volume knob on a snare/tenor player - beside loud and G-D loud.

51.10 - Pioneer
For a long time Pioneer was always percussion heavy. This year they were able to find a hornline, and a darn good one also. They have the volume, the seasoned sound. And they were fun to listen to for a change, esp the last piece. I was watching them just park and blow.

55.30 - Southwind
Depending on the lower Top 12 corps, when this shows cleans up there could be a race for that 12-14th place finish. This is very enjoyable show. Many of the corps should take a cue from these guys.

57.30 - Colts
Not a lot of good things to say. First off I hope they announcers never read the intro to the show. I'm sorry, but the audience doesn't care. Plus it's long and boring. Now the show, the sound is more timid this year. Doesn't have the excitement from the past. This is not good for them. Oh, and the show is not done. They don't have a closer yet.

67.00 - Phantom Regiment
Many people I talked to in the stand like what PR is putting on the field. It is true that the show is very dirty, but there is hope that it will clean itself up. I did mention stepping out of their box, well PR is not doing a Jim Wren horn book, it's a Cadets, influeanced, style and man did they have that PR feel with the Cadetish horn rips. This is the show to watch for.
I did have a couple other issues, they need to do something with the opening minute of the show, it lulled the people to much. There was no anticipation from the audience. Then suddenly it was like someone turned on the switch and they went into 4th gear. Just one word: CLEAN. BTW, PR got 3 standing O's during the show.

67.20 - Madison Scouts
Where as PR got 3 O's, Scouts got 2 (I didn't count it, Vince did and a he told me). Still, Scouts have packaged another entertaining, thrill a minute show. When I first saw what they were going to play, traditional and classical Russian music, I didn't have foggiest idea what to expect. I was wowed by them. They are putting energy on the field this year. They just need to keep cleaning and keep pushing. The judges can't deny them this year.

68.30 - Glassmen
I have 2 major gripes about the show. Actually one about the corps itself and the other with the way the show was run. About how the show was run. There were a lot of very angry people at this years show. It came from the parking lot attendants. From what I heard, someone was rehearsing on the north parking lot, so it was blocked off. But either someone DIDN'T tell the attendants to remove the barricades, or they were told not to remove them. This made 300 parking spots unavailable and people had to park elsewhere. This is a very poor organization that would do this to it's paying public.
Second, and this is my biggest gripe. It's the guard. Since when does the paying public want to see have naked young ladies on the field? It's bad enough when there are entertainers as Brittney Spears and Christina Agulaira running around half naked, wearing skin tight clothes and having half of thier front open to the public. Call me old fashion, but I hate seeing this influeance on a corps. Instead of instill hard work and self-worth on a color guard, some half-crazed, pedophilic, guard director wants half naked young ladies on the field. I'm just sad I bought my G-Men stuff before I saw the show. If other people feel this way about the show, please tell Glassmen.

72.90 - Cavaliers
WOW!! When could Cavie play jazz licks?? I though Niagra Falls was some mid 20th century orchestra piece. Was I wrong. This piece has a strong jazz influence to it. Enough to make me want to purchase the original. here I come. Oh, and what's with the guard uniforms? They are so brown. As someone I overheard in the stands, they looked like shit (not they way they did thier work, but how they looked like). I thought Niagra Falls was blue, not brown. Oh well. :)
I do the drill this year, it's very flowing compared to the past years. Doesn't hurt the eyes. This could be the year for Cavie, but they will have to watch out for Scouts and PR.

Steve B

It is late (3am), I just got home, but I will try to give a decent review of the show tonight. First off, I am so glad that drum corps season is finally here! I have waited for this night for a month now, and had a great time. The discussion below are MY OPINIONS. If you are uninterested (I could understand why), than please do not read any farther. I WILL be posting some negative comments.

I think my biggest suprise was with the amount of unfinished shows tonight, especially in the color guard department!!!! Now I know it is VERY early, but I have been going to shows for ten years, and tonight it really seemed to stand out to me. There were so many shows unfinished. Anyway....

CINCINNATI GLORY - 10TH (39.75) - I was impressed with these guys. Their ten horns made a decent sound. This is one of the best shows I have seen a little guy do. Not in anyway original, but nicely done, with recognizable melodies. I thought they had improved from last years beginnings.

CAPITAL REGIMENT - 9TH (40.75) - First thought - WOW have they gotten bigger since last year. Up to 23 horns! I always count the horns because it seems like every tiny corps has a plethera of percussion and no horns? Anyway, bigger, but really needs to work on the brass sound. Very out of tune, but it is early, and I like the show. Pretty entertaining.

AMERICANOS - 8TH (44.8) - These guys really were hot! They had a smaller hornline than Cap., but boy could they play!! Very well done brass line.

PHANTOM REGIMENT - 4TH (67.0) - I am not sure what to say. I think my friend said it best, "they have a long hard year in front of them". Although the scores were very close tonight, I thought they were leaps and bounds the worst of the four big guys. Although I thought it was a little better than there first show last year, not by much. The horn line is obviously the strength here. But after the opener, it goes way down hill. Lots of times I couldn't tell if the color guard was doing some kind of freestyle, or if it was just chaos, of course other times they were just holding there equipment because I guess it wasn't learned? As far as the new unis go, I liked the return to the white pants (never really cared for the black thing), but don't care for the peasenty looking tan tops. I thought they were in financial trouoble? How did they swing this? Anyway... I just hope they turn it around. It has a lot of potential, the opener was very exciting, but it isn't close yet. I think a top six finish is a long shot.

MADISON SCOUTS - 3RD (67.2) - Who did the scheduling here? They put Phantom and Madison before Pioneer, Southwind, and Colts? DCI knows it all I guess.... Anyway, I thought they did a nice job. Guard unis are great. The horns and percussion are solid. But this one amazed me. The guard does not know easily half the show. This may anger some guard people out there, but what does the guard do when the corps is learning all the music and all the charts? They were quite good, and the guard just walked through the charts. Who knows. I thought that Phantom should have easily been four points lower. No one around me understood how these two scores came to be so close.

PIONEER - 7TH (51.1) - I must admit it, this is the first Pioneer show I have ever willingly stood for. Nice horn sound and interesting show. I wish they would get off the Irish thing, but this one was unlike their past shows. Their closer of "It's Almost Like Being In Love" was rockin', and is the best song I have ever heard them do - nice job!

SOUTHWIND - 6TH (55.3) - They had a well designed show. After reading their repertoire, I thought that it would never work. The pieces seem to bizarre to put together, but they worked great. I really though that they might have a chance at finals this year (not that it is early enough to decide anyones fate) until I heard....

COLTS - 5TH (57.3) - From the first note, you were reminded what a finalist corps sounds like, even a bottom one. Southwind just doesn't have the depth in their sound that the rest do. I hate to say it, but this year's Colts show is boring. After the last two year's I have really have grown to like them, but this just didn't do it for me. I hope after repeated viewings it grows on me. I also wonder if their show is finished? It just kind of ended, no one knew how to react. The drum major had to bow twice before applause started. I had read that last week they weren't done. Maybe they still aren't. Is this a good sign?? I hate the new unis. I thought the old ones gave them a distinguished look. Now they look like a maroon and cream version of Carolina Crown in my opinion. But who am I? I thought their score was way too low. I would have added five points. I thought it was a toss up between them and Phantom, with Colts winning Visual, and Phantom winning Brass.

THE CAVALIERS - 1ST (72.9) - I hate to say it, being a Glassmen fan, but these guys are the class of the Midwest this year. They were amazing!!!! Isn't this how all the top corps used to come out? What has happened to Phantom and Madison? Anyway, the music is great. As for others saying this is not entertainging, I think it is their best show since the Planets. The guard is great. There is a portion in the end they still don't know, but only about 30 seconds worth. The flag colors work really well to depict the rushing water. The thing I think they have on the Glassmen is their difficulty. Maybe not as much visually as musically. Although I think the G-Men book is much harder than last year, it still doesn't compare to the Cavies. And the percussion? Not a line came close! With the Glassmen heading out to California, there is no competition left. My only negative comment - The guards uniforms are horrible. I do not understand what the striped jailers shirt with the burlap sack over it had to do with the Falls. I hope they are just some sort of early season thing ready to be replaced.

GLASSMEN - 2ND (68.3) - I was shocked by the spread between them and Cavies. I thought Cavies were better, but not that much. If you liked last year's show, you are going to love this one. And if you still think they are a fluke, then you are crazy - because THEY ARE FOR REAL! This show is much more accessable. I also think they have bumped up the musical book a notch or two. I really loved it. I wish them the best of luck in California. They are definately headed back to the top five again this year, can they move up? Who knows.

I am going to reserve judgement to how good the Cavies and Glassmen really are until I see The Cadets on Tuesday. I am psyched! But I can tell you, that this year is as good as any for the Cavies to make a run. They are definately the hottest corps in the Midwest so far this year!!! Congratulations Cavaliers (Boy I hate saying that :-) )!


A few quick thoughts on the Toledo show.

Americanos - very impressive at parts. need about twice as many horns to balance drums and guard

Pioneer - wife liked 'em, but I was snoozin'

Southwind - again a very entertaining show. great visual book. thought sure they'd be over Colts

Colts - I am a fan of this corps, but this show may have to grow on me. It doesn't seem like Colts, too academic. Not a big fan of the new unis, either (red/white jacket w/ black sleeves - looks like Carolina Crown's new unis, white pants).

Phantom - Really liked all 3 parts of this show, just not sure if they fit together right now. Very dirty musically and visually...lots of demand. Hated the new unis (tan jacket, white pants) at first, but the reserved colors in the guard look really nice with them. If they can clean it and make more sense of it, this show will definately see them back to top 6. Lots of neat dissonance.

Madison - Loved the first few minutes, then it fell flat to me. Maybe just an off night? Definately not as much demand as PR, but cleaner.

Glassmen - Entertaining and familiar (!) musical book, but they need to open up more...they play it too reserved. Also, they've got that same old puke your guts out Glassmen guard colorscheme. Guard girls in wigs? Why?

Cavaliers - WOW! Possibly the best June drum corps I have seen since Star. They are being scored way low. Drill, Guard, Horns, Drums...all are fantastic. Nice reserved guard design and that signature nonstop Cavvie drill. I dunno why the "Cavvies aren't entertaining" thing is going around RAMD...everyone I heard at the show loved them. It's still way early, but I'd say they're contenders this year.


Show number 2 of the 2000 season for me after going to Oswego Friday night. Was a beautiful night Saturday night in Toledo. The threats of rain did not materialze, and temperatures were great. Still getting used to going to shows where you are burning up (Texas shows are so hot!). The stadium was an excellent venue as well, although they certainly could have opened another concession area, as the lines for the one small station that was open was ridiculous.

Cincinnati Glory -- This new corps was very small tonight, and obviously had first show jitters. The show is designed very nicely. The brass line was tiney (I counted 9). They had one outstanding baritone player (congratulations to whoever that is). Color Guard will be a definite strength for them. Wonder how many horns they will end up marching.

Capitol Regiment -- Ohio's other new corps was much, much biggger. Horn line was well over 20, I believe, and total corps was around 55. Horns had a very early season sound. They are playing a fairly difficult book, so Regiment obviously has ambitions on improving on their 1999 Divison III placement. Color Guard needs some serious work. Percussion was definite strength of this group. Show is not designed nearly as well as Cincinnati Glory's show.

Americanos -- Always nice to hear Carmen on the field. Very enjoyable music book, as usual, from these guys. Horns were a good step up from the first 2, as was visual performance. A nice show for Americanos. They should be a threat to make II/III finals.

Phantom Regiment -- Just like last night, show order made little sense tonight. Why in the world were Regiment & Scouts on before Pioneer, Southwind & Colts? In most respects, Phantom was much sharper Saturday than they were in Oswego Friday night. This is by far their best designed show since 1996. The new uniforms are stunning and classy. Brass is ragged due to a very difficult book. Difficulty in both book & drill is helping their Brass scores. At times, the deep, dark sound they generate is outstanding. Visually, I felt like their drill is the most difficult I saw. They are also marching very filthy right now. Color Guard is leaps and bounds ahead of last 2 years' editions. Will be interesting to see how much they can clean this show. I think the show has as much potential as their 1993 show, and may follow a similar trek of improvement -- although with a little less talent than the 1993 corps. They are definitely back as a Top 6 caliber corps and I believe have a good shot at a 4th or 5th place finish.

Madison Scouts -- Wow! Horn line has potential to be outstanding this year. 1st half of the music book is tremendous. The second half lacks the same intensity. Some great soprano licks in the first part of the show. Very impressive. Percussion seems to be a standard Madison-fare drum line. Not as impressive as the brass line by far. Color Guard is at this point (very early point) the corps great weakness. Were the flags ever together at any point? The uniform has a disney-theme feel to it, dressed as Cossacks in full red pant/jacket outfits with hats. Uniform takes a turn for the worse when the jackets come off & top half becomes a billowy yellow shirt. Uniforms were so baggy (although in Cossack character, I'm sure), that they made the guard look even dirtier. I hope they clean up some. At this point they don't add anything to Madison's show, and those guard impacts are usually a Madison strength. By finals, I would give the edge to Madison over Glassmen for 6th, but then again, who knows what we will see this year out of Blue Knights, Crossmen or Boston.

Pioneer -- Lot's of power for a small corps. 2nd half the show obviously hasn't been worked on as much as the first half. The music book is very enjoyable. One of my favorite Pioneer shows. Drum Line is intense and enjoyable. Color Guard sure needs new outfits. The velvety dress thing has run it's course for Pioneer (maybe new unis are coming later)

Southwind -- Wow! This corps is huge. Was Madison's direction ever a god-send for them. Nice big, deep sound from Southwind as well. Musically, I think they are close to Colts. Visually, their drill is much more enjoyable than Colts, but not being performed as well yet. Lots of great drill. A very nicely designed show. Very crowd accessible, but not "cheesy." A much more mature corps in 2000. They could be fighting for a finalist spot come end of the year, although a step up to 13th or 14th is more likely.

Colts -- Ok, I liked the show a little better Saturday than I did Friday. Horn line really stepped up tonight, with a lot more power and sound than Friday. That being said, sound & power are no where near last few year's efforts. This show lacks the spark & energy of previous Colts shows. The new unis, with dull white pants & black shakos/plumes may be contributing to that. I sure miss the white they used to bring to the field. Not one of Colts' premier shows, although I will admit some bias in that I though last year's Colts' show was their best one yet, a real barn burner. I'm disappointed that Colts' seem to have lost their crowd-first approach this year & become just another rank and file play to the judges with obscure, uninteresting music corps. Perhaps this will change & the show will grow into more. I hope so. I've always liked the Colts (Ok, well except for the biker chick year)

Glassmen -- Waited for these guys with much anticipation after the last couple of years. Huh. Nice. Ok. That would some up what I saw Saturday. The horn line is wonderful and percussion solid. The Gershwin music is enjoyable, and there are a few beautiful moments. But the show lacks bite, or edge. It's just nice. The guard is the weakest since 1997 for G-men. The spacey uniform, shiny flag bit for Glassmen has worn old, especially the flag silks. Drill is very nice, and marched very well for this early in the season. I don't see that much room to grow in this show for G-men, and I think they will have difficulty maintaining their Top 5 place, and possibly top 6. Nice to see another strong corps become a year to year threat, however. This may just be their re-grouping year. I certainly don't see them placing over Phantom by the end of the year due to the difference in difficulties of show between the 2.

Cavaliers -- This is a powerful corps this year. Brass in dark and strong. The music book is not the most appealing, and is generally dark in tone. Drum line is phenomenal. Guard is also strong, and amazingly clean for this early in the year. Drill in interesting and strong, although nowhere near the eyepopping drill of the last 2 years. There is a fantastic "waterfall" effect in the middle of the show, with loud, intense music to go with it. Horns are in opposing arcs flowing down to the front and middle of the field, with files of guard doing the same in between with blue flags. Highlight of the show once I caught it tonight (didn't notice it yesterday). Corps certainly deserved their placement tonight, and the gap in scores. Question is -- how high can they go with this show. It lacks an emotional lift and the last 1/3 of the show is flat & musically not very interesting at this point. The corps has a way of working wonders during the season with drill & impact, however, so who knows. They better look out, though, or Phantom will be breathing down their necks by finals.

Retreat took forever to get going. I really don't understand this -- why is it so impossible to get the other corps lined up and ready to go while the last corps is on the field. The energy of the show really disapates when their is a 20 minute dead break between last show and retreat. This is a problem at most shows & nees to be addressed.

America the beautiful was great tonight. Lots of brass power -- most of it coming from the direction of Scouts & Phantom. Phantom's contras just rock at the end (thanks, guys).

Looking forward to headign to Bloomington Wednesday night to see Cadets thrown into this mix. Should be interesting, both from a placement and brass sound perspective.


Put this in the category of better late than never, and bear in mind that I didn't take notes at the Glass Bowl...too busy trying to take it all in. Whenever I post a review, I like to reveal my (known) biases, and they are as follows:
1. Glassmen Alumni (from the really dark ages).
2. Bugle Guy (ignorant of drums and guard, but appreciative of a well written and rehearsed ensemble).
3. Music Major (But never even attempted to make a living at it).

Glass Bowl Stadium is a superb venue for a drum corps show, and for a multitude of reasons, the show was VERY well attended. First corps of the night was Cincinnati Glory. Ten horns is not enough, obviously, but my hat is off to the staff, but mostly the kids, for hanging tough. It probably seems futile, and it may BE futile, but don't let anyone deprecate the effort and the GUTS it takes to give a full performance with a third (or less) of a corps. I know the frustration and agony of several seasons like that...God Bless You, Cincinnati Glory, the drum corps fraternity respects your courage and your dream.

Next up, Capitol Regiment, looking great and sporting a larger group than last year. The book isn't particularly what? Ohio can use twenty more drum corps, and Glory and Cap Reg. are boldly stepping off the starting line. Take note Glassmen and Blue Coats: you had best reach down deep and help these corps in ANY way you can (by the way, they MAY be doing that already, I don't know!)

Americanos were next. Bizet's music is timeless, and the treatment at the hands of the horn and drum arrangers is exquisite. I salivate to think of what this book could sound like with a full complement of players. Americanos' bugle line was small but tasty. Yet another hopeful sign of good things to come.

Phantom's new uniforms are cool, and to me, they made the biggest STATEMENT of the evening musically. I heard them saying, "We are back, don't you dare write us off!" Phantom's horn line knocked me out! By the 10th of August the "Rite of Spring" will be BURNT into the pages of Drum Corps history as one of the greatest presentations of all time. (You heard it here first)

Madison Scouts were next, and surprise, surprise, SURPRISE...the crowd loved them. The arrangements are neat as usual, and even I, a visual ignoramus, could see some real challenging stuff in the drill and guard. It should be a REAL DOGFIGHT all season long in the GMEN, CAVIE, SCOUT, PHANTOM rivalry. When the guard show is completely learned (written?) it should be great fun to watch as well as listen to. Others I spoke to indicated the drum section was not particularly well prepared, just passing along a stray comment, I don't really know.

Following an intermission (which in my opinion is always better than following Madison) came Pioneer. They seem to be "up" this season from what I remember of last year. I, like many other old-timers, have ranted and raved at show writers to go back to recognizable music. Pioneer's book is "Brigadoon" and it's really memorable, "singable" stuff. Alas, it is also hopelessly dated and I must admit that it doesn't work nearly as well as I thought it would (does reality EVER measure up to our memories?) Bravo, Kids!!!

Speaking of dated, Southwind's show seems lost in the 70's or 80's. I like their look, I like their technique playing and marching, and they are fundamentally sound in every respect, but I didn't get a SINGLE musical or visual surprise in their book. Do not take this as a criticism of the kids or their caption instructors, only of the show design. It felt like the designers did not really believe that the quality or quantity of personnel would be on hand to pull off an ambitious book. I bet they NEVER make that mistake again. Bravo, Kids!!!

Colts looked great in new uni's...should be a great visual tool. Horn line was dynamite (in my opinion VERY underappreciated in recent past). What's up with the pit, though? I should have acknowledged another bias above...they don't write NEARLY ENOUGH RESTS for the melodic percussion in this book or i n many others. My opinion (flame away if you must) is that the constant multimallet attack of the marimba destroys the ensemble by adding a dense layer of sound that detracts unless used sparingly and tastefully. When will some show designer get the GUTS to reduce the pit size and increase marching members? Bring the snare drummers up front if you need more players in the pit for special effects.

I have always been a big Cavies fan (what's not to like?) and was really eager to hear and see the new show. I hope it grows on me as time passes, but first hearing was not particularly satisfying. This is probably not a completely valid comparison, but the "Niagara Falls" music seemed a pale and amateurish composition exercise when compared to Phantom's Stravinski. Oh well, I guess every composer suffers in comparison to him. Truth be told there was much about all the color guard uniforms and routines from each corps that I "just didn't get". Having said all that I was particularly clueless about the cavies' guard, what is that all about?

Last on were the Glassmen as hosts of the show. I had been eagerly anticipating the new show ever since I heard the word Gershwin (see earlier comments), but "Piano Concerto in F" is almost completely unfamiliar to me. It seems destined to score really well, and the kids really execute the book pretty well for this early in the season (ditto ALL the corps). I liked the guard uniforms (and wigs), but as usual, couldn't figure out how the dance movement enhanced the music or drill at all. I know it can be done, having seen the Cadets and Santa Clara in previous seasons, but few designers seem to be able to integrate the guard into the production in a sensible fashion. Maybe the damned guard routine has to be written first instead of last?

General Observations: Foul weather throughout the Midwest for the entire week preceding this contest made me worry that many of the shows would be "unlearned". In fact, it seemed to me that ALL units were further along than last year. The level of brass playing gets better and better with each passing year. The intonation of the bugles (or trumpets, I guess) is the best I've ever heard. Have we reached some sort of saturation point in the free drill? Where is it going from here? Those of you lucky enough to catch more live contests as this season progresses will have to judge that, as I'll be unable to attend any more contests due to work and family commitments. Write reviews and I'll "go to contests" with you on RAMD.



Hello, i noticed that i differ with many of the opinions that were posted about the toledo show so i think im going to put my 2 cents in. Whatever i say is not meant to make anyone mad or disgrace anything. You never know how people will take some things.

Cincinatti (sp) glory
for being such a small corps i thought the performed really well, especially in such a big stadium and in front of such a big crowd. for having less than 15 brass players the sounded very even. Good Job !

Capital Regiment
Also good for a small corps but i expected a lot more sound from a bigger hornline. Im sure there were some kids just put in in the past week and they dont know the show yet but im sure they will come around

Bizet ..... again? While well performed, im kinda getting tired of bizet. The performance of Mountain Pass (their ballad) reminded me of the glassmen and i noticed many of my fellow gmen alumnus took notice of their rendition. Good and im sure they will challenge for the top spots in their division.

Southwind ( i know these arent in order)
Enjoyed the performance of the legends of the fall piece. Its nice to hear some of the great movie scores put on the field. They have a lot of potential and has a very good shot of playing in DC on saturday nite.

Didnt like the new unis. Maybe they should did crown's jekyll and hyde show from last year to match their uniforms. Didnt care much for the music nor the 5 minutes of prologue about the music. I did miss the speech about Iowas Musical Ambassadors (or something close to that) that they seem to say every year however. Most said they didnt have a closer but i really didnt seem to notice.

The open house recordings took away some of the surprise that always happens at the first show. IMHO they will be the crowd favs again because they take the "cossack" music and make it crowd pleasing. Congrats to the scouts for bringing soviet music to the field and making it enjoyable to those with a small musical pallete. Loved the guard uniforms but iwould leave the coats on until the closer. The yellow shirts reminded me of Colts 97.

Welcome back Phantom ! I really enjoyed their show even though i must say i was apprehensive to hearing schoenberg but they performed it very well. I think they had the best dark sound of the nite. Even better the cavaliers. I love the closing metered acclerando lick to close out the show. Also liked the slap to the face by the sops at the beginning of rite of spring.

Yes, they should have won the show. No, they shouldnt have won by the margin they did. Yes, they have a very round sound and are VERY loud , No, i couldnt hear any sops except the leads for most of the show. I like the music but i wish i could switch madisons show with cavies. Imagine Scouts playing niagra falls? The funk part was very different. Probably the last funk beat played since what is hip? in the 70's. Good show but catchable

I must admit that this is partially biased since i just aged out last year from the glassmen but im surprised / not surprised at the negative reviews that they recieved. 1st... the guard unis so much has been made out of the Risque' uniforms. IF you actually looked close enough you would see that the "flesh" is actually material in the shape of the glassmen's shield. As for the "adult" nature of the uniforms? every year there are at least 3 or 4 corps that dont believe in full body suits. Colts 97, CBC 96 had some VERY tight tops, Kristy (britney??) Spears in 97 PR. If you feel uncomfortable around Glassmen guard members and at their shows then might i recommend castration? People make it out to seem like they were naked out there! Hardly, if they were Gmen would have one for sure (JK!) 2nd... Quality of the show Already people are talking about how the show is boring. These are the same people that wait all year to talk about the glassmen being boring. Last year people rode us all year about playing "unreachable" music. It was too "out there" and too "harsh" blah blah blah but in the end people seemed to like it. Please refer to track 5 of the 99 CD's. This year they play gershwin, the poster boy of reachable music and still its boring?? give me a break. They deserve credit for not only changing their entire style, but putting a quality, difficult show that is enjoyable for the Corps first-timer along with the age-outs from 1973. Give them some credit. I agree, their show wasnt as well performed as it could have been. Nerves? yes... scared to play in front of all the alumni and their friends for the first time ? Yes... Unnerved by the fact that the DM podium didnt make it to the field on time? Yes!!... We will see how the match up against the big boys out west and we will see if they are still boring when they come back to the midwest

I know that people will be mad about things i say but remember they are just people out there and many of us can remember being out there. I welcome comments.

Mike Lonesky
Glassmen contra 96,99

South Brunswick, NJ (DCA)

Finally, the wait is over! On a beautiful June evening, DCA inaugerated the millenium's first contest in the tri-state area in the new "Kraft Stadium." Four corps appeared before a small but enthusiastic audience, just enough for those in need of their early season fix. The comments below represent my reactions as a spectator to the corps, hopefully supplying those interested but unable to attend the show.

SKYLINERS - 4th Place - 56.2.

Yes, people, Sky is back! The corps looked healthy with good numbers in all sections.. The 26 person horn line, which carried a few blanks for people not prepared for this show, was supported by an almost full-sized drum line (5 snares, 2 tenors and 5 bass) plus a 16 person guard.

The strongest section seemed to be the drum line. Their presence dominated throughout the first half of the show, which at times caused balance problems, something expected at the first show and can be easily remedied. The line looked very young in age but definitely not in talent.

Sky's biggest surprise was their visual performance. Their show was not only complete, but is also was performed on a respectable level. This is very un-Sky, especially at the first contest. Sure, the demand may not be as great as the other corps, but they definitely have a show this is attainable.

The horn line has grown in maturity over last year's product and has plenty of room to grow even more. The mellophones were appreciated in "42nd St." especially. Once again the job description of the horn staff included playing the show as John Arietano and Ken Green performed solo work from the pit. The endurance for the horn line to play the whole show is not there yet.

The guard has the bodies. Now, a lot of work has to be added in order to determine how much that section can support the program.

The uniforms of the corps? Some people are going to be disappointed. A compromise from the original design was necessary due to finances, I understand. On the positive side, once the players are in the carry or playing position, the plain chest are becomes moot.

Sky is definitely not an "A" corps this year. They have a very realistic potential of making finals on Labor Day week end, depending on how their work ethic.

BUSHWACKERS - 3rd Place - 57.9 (1.0 penalty)

Bush has had a history of painful winters that caused them in the past to come out late in the season and introducing their package each year carrying many blanks. So, it was surprising to hear they would make this early show.

First impressions are so important, and Bush achieves this is a positive manner. The corps has a rich look (both financially - even though they may not be - and aesthetically) by both the corps and the guard. The corps is wearing a Belleville Black Knights-type chrome helmet, the third headwear change for them in this past decade. The all-black uniform has a purple cross piece that is very tasteful. The guard also has striking costume that will bring the attention to them at the appropriate moments.

The horn line was a small 21, carrying a number of blanks. (The show might be written for 30.) But could they play! They exactly how much volume to give to create the most pleasing blend. The "Dark Side - Star Wars" package has the unique construction that audiences expect from the corps. It is the type that allows a listener to discover something more about it with each hearing. Expect this horn line to beat lines twice their size this year.

The drum line was large, possibly reflecting a growing program, 7 snares, 2 tenors, 5 bass and 4 cymbals (the only corps to use them on the field tonight). How questionable their playing ability is, I cannot say. This will be the section that determines the corps' finishings in all shows.

The guard was a large 26, but their contribution could not be determined by how incomplete their show was. As always, they have a lot of talent.

The biggest problem area was visual performance. Not only was it obvious they were not ready to perform this show, but they also demonstrated a significant lack of technique. This is so uncharacteristic of Bush who always in the past displayed a highly professional style. That has to impact upon the effect captions.

So, does this mean to count Bush out as they were almost beaten by Sky? I don't think so. The horn line is ahead of last year's and has a more balanced sound. The guard has the seasoned people. The visual program is behind but the easiest to fix. And the drum line will not be trying to recruit throughout the season. That means Bush has recovered from their nadir of the past two seasons.

HURRICANES - 2nd Place - 63.0.

Any storm warnings that are happening in CT are good ones. A healthy corps made the field with 38 horns and still having a few blanks. The drum line was also an almost-full 6 snares, 2 tenors and 4 bass.

Hurricanes is another corps that exemplifies the DCA philosophy towards entertaining the audience. Their package of "Far and Away" was so pleasing and so suitable to the new Hurc approach the packaging. (I guess it did help sway my opinion that the 1999 show was my favorite.)

The most surprising positive of the Hurcs was the horn line. It was the first time I (although maybe not others) could say they sounded pretty. The new former Sun/Bush staff is moving the corps in a direction that will create its own identity and also create a new draw of members.

The guard is obviously very talented but many of the effects have not been incorporated yet into the show. The Hurc package involves telling a story, so it is not just a case of teaching guard people dance routines and equipment work. Their roles are actually composed over time. That makes the anticipation exciting. But tonight it hampered the effects.

If we can consider the DCA finalists a two-tier structure, Hurricanes can be considered caught in no-man's land. They have successfully pulled away from the lower tier; now they have to see if they have the ability to venture into that sacrosanct upper tier. It will be interesting.

CABALLEROS - 1st - 66.2

The first time I heard the Cabs, I could only say, "Well, I liked 'Beautiful Maria'." Then, catching a drill practice a week ago, I said "Oh, so that's why that is arranged that way!" Now, having seen the Cabs for the third time and the first time in a contest, I can say I am finding more things that I like. (Yes, I am a pretty strong critic towards the Cabs; maybe for defensive reasons).

The Cabs are more than ready! Their show displayed a consistency that no other corps had. Their 48 horns gave the audience more power than any corps, but they did it with a knowledge of how to maintain in pitch. The Cabs give the audience the excitement though their Latin music that create advocates for senior corps.
It is not only the genre, but the structure of the package. There is the build of tension to a climatic high, followed by an appropriate release of that tension in the succeeding phrase, which then sets up the next impact.

Also, what made those climaxes even more enhanced was the support of another talented guard. They did color through staging better than anyone tonight. So look for good things from those 14 flags. Is that the whole guard? Oh, let's not forget about the 6 sabres and 10 rifles. A guard bigger than some "A" corps!

The won-me-over-tonight number was "Hernando's Hide-away. It is more than just a contrast to the powerful opener. There are many cute aspects to this number that will only enhance the value of the others.

The soloists? You always expect the Cabs' soloists to be on a certain level. This year, you will be wrong. They are even better.

The drum line of 6 snare, 2 tenors and 4 bass represent a growth in that section's program. But for the Cabs to be a contender, the drum line has to more than good. Everyone will be watching to see how they stick up against DCA's best. An aside: Give credit to the demise of the final segregated section in the corps: the drum line's bass line includes two females. Go, girls!

An over-view comment: four corps and all four shows start with the playing backfield.

So, the first show of the season is a pleasant memory. If anyone has any reactions to my comments, feel free to respond, either publicly or privately.


Phoenix, NY (DCA)

I can't begin to tell you how great it was to get out and see a show so early in the season.It was a fantastic evening for drum corps after all the rain we've had in upstate New York lately.Anyway here are my thoughts on the show.

Leading off the night the Rochester Crusaders, or should I say the "Fabulous" Rochester Crusaders as I hear they've gone back to. I must say I was pleasntly suprised 45 horns as I counted, 23 percussion (only 4 snares I'm told they have 6) 26 in the guard. I couldn't be happier for an organization that seemed only two years ago to be on the brink of not making it to the field. Their show is quite entertaining all Stan Kenton; Artistry in Rhythm, Time for a Change, La Suerta de Los Tontos. The hornline I think to be capable of great things, however tonight they seemed to me a little flat and lacking in heart. It could have been fatigue or it could still be uncertainty with the show but whatever it was, they just didn't seem to have that "take that" attitude. Drumline is much improved and if they really do have the other two snares that I hear they have they could really suprise some people. Guard does some really nice things and is an excellent compliment to the corps. Staging of the guard though at times bothered me. It's great to see Don Allen on the podium, he's one of a dying breed of the throw back guys and the corps seems to respond for him. My only question is their soloists, seemed to have an off night no offense intended. Maybe it was early season jitters but it might be the only blemish on what I think may be an otherwise "Fabulous" season for them. Can't wait to see you again. 4th-59.9 (1 point penalty).

Next up Kinston Grenadiers new uni's look great.Their show as the announcer said is a tribute to Chuck Mangione although there are a few segments in the show that I just don't recognize as being Mangione. The drunline is probably the biggest suprise (9 snares, 2 tenors, 5 bass) the battery does some nice things and will be very interesting to watch as the season progresses. The hornline is on the smallish side though 28 maybe, which lead to and probably will continue to lead to balance problems. Guard was about 14 and seems to still be in the process of learning the show. Overall I think Kingston has made progress over the winter and will be one of the corps this year that will be a suprise to some. This show I'll have to wait to see again before I comment any futher. Good first show though with some nice solo work. Good Luck. 3rd-60.3

What can I say? How about Broadway meets Drum Corps. I must say that I was suprised by the Statesmen tonight. I wasn't sure what I would see from them this year but I have to say their off to a decent start. Phantom of the Opera "Statesmen Style" is different. The show starts as mysteriously as it ends.The hornline has a nice sound and numbered somewhere in the upper 50's, the guard is small for a Statesmen guard only about 18 but effective. The drumline (17 in the battery and maybe 7 in the pit) however doesn't appear to be a vintage Statesmen drumline, only time will tell. Overall the show is nice, complete with a plethara of props which includes a boat and a disappearing act at the end. I'm not sure what to expect from Empire they certainly seemed ready for tonight however, they have some things to address as do most corps at this time of the year. Just one question what's with the wigs? Looking forward to next time 2nd- 69.0

Last but not least the Brigadiers.People can say what they want, Brigs are just flat out good and from the opening gun left no doubt who would win tonight's show.Complete with new uniforms that sort of remind me of the Sacramento Freelancers, the Brigs let the crowd know that they intend on defending their title. It's easy to sound overly biased when assessing this corps and if I do I'm sorry. The hornline tonight 64 and they let you know that. The drumline 18 in the battery (8-snares, 5-tenors, 5-bass) and a bunch in the pit.The drum line has come along way and I 'll let you judge that for yourself if you get a chance to see them. The guard again is extremly large and also very talented. Syracuse is in your face drumcorps and if your faint of heart you might better stay home. They seemed to be in mid to late July form already, and the scary part is they're only going to get better. This is a corps that has a great group of soloists and let's you know it too. City Rhythm Suite ala Madison with a twist of Blue Devils is a drum corps fans delight, Harlem Nocturne provides a nice break with a unique approach, and Artistry in Rhythm is about testosterone. Enough said see for yourself. 1st- 73.3

This promises to be a great year.Can't wait for next time and hoping this helps the fan who coudln't this one have something to look forward to.

Get out and support your favorite corps!

Bob West (speaking from a fans perspective)

Brass Bands Finale at Gettysburg

Just arrived home from a great day in Gettysburg - it is wonderful to be able to combine my two favorite things (ooops ...other than my wife ....hi honey!)- drum corps and the Civil War. It was pretty wild seeing the Crossmen and Cadets practising with cannons and monuments in the background. It was also pretty thrilling to see the marine drum corps/silent drill team perform at such a historic location.

Now that I've got this stuff that you readers don't care about down, let me share a few comments about the Crossmen and Cadets.

It was great to see the Crossmen open up the season with such a large and solid horn line. Their stand up performance proved that this is a solid line with an entertaining musical show ..... after hearing them today and last night in practise, I think this might be the corps most talented horn section in a few years. They fell apart a bit when they marched their show, but still pulled off a nicer sound than the corps did at their preview last year. By the way, the red addition to the uniforms was nice added the color that was missing last year. The drum line was not the best I have seen the Crossmen field, but they still did a nice job. The guard appears to be quite talented. Some mistakes tonight due to some early season uncertainties, but that should disappear by their first competition. The guard is doing more dance than last year (or than the two years prior). Visual show was a bit sloppy, but it had some nice moments. The Crossmen should be quite entertaining this year and I suspect a better finish than many people have been predicting on here. By the end of the season, Birdland will be one of the best parts of this drum corps season.

I had not heard or seen any of the Cadets show before today. I personally did not notice much of a difference in the sound of the horns..... still sounded like a drum corps to me. Some dirty spots here and there both visually and musically, but overall they marched and played a good show. The guard is already very clean. Drum line is once again very strong. I must admit that I liked the second half of the show much better than the first. There weren't as many high impact visual or musical moments like I would expect from the Cadets. I suspect they will be adding them as they go along. I would guess they will break the 70 mark by their first competition based upon their performance.

Not to slight the other performing corps ....the Hanover Lancers did a very nice job. I enjoyed hearing the old favorites Danny Boy and Russian Christmas Music in one show .... brought back old memories of 27th and the Crossmen. And the Marines ....what can you say ....awesome!

Overall, there was a nice turn out for the show that was part of a day full of musical performances in the town of Gettysburg. Perhaps the town should consider hosting a drum corps show in the future.


Just got back from the Brass Bands Finale at Gettysburg tonight. On tap were the:

Hanover Lancers: (local parade corps) Nice blast from the past. I get to see these guys a couple times a year in local parades. Cool to hear them for more than 20 secs!

Xmen: Did entire show in standstill and then did a full run through. The Xmen have a humungous hornline this year and man can they play. I can't say enough about how mature this line sounds

compared to previous years. Look for great things from this corps in 2000.

Cadets: First chance to hear Bb from a drum corps. They made an obvious effort to PLAY LOUD and they were loud (but not as loud as they were on bugles). The music was fine and it didn't sound like a band but it was definitely less bright. Good or bad , it was different. Let's hope Yamaha donates full lines to the rest of the corps who want to switch. As has happened in the past, the show has a gimmick -- it was certainly unique but I won't spoil it. I *WOULD* have liked to see the practices where they *learned* the gimmick. It *was* cool. Last number standstill.

USMC D&BC + Silent Drill team. Same dependable product.

Mike Simaska

I'm sure glad I got this show in before Cadets and Crossmen took off on their tour. The rain held off making it a good night.


I don't know what the big deal is about Cadets using Yamaha (band) instruments. You wouldn't know if you didn't know! And oh yea(h), they sound really good too!!! (62 horns) What caught my eye tonight was how tight the drum line is for June (9 snares, 5 tenors, 5 bass). The color guard is in a tasteful neutral colored uniform to offset the wonderful colors used on flags throughout the show.

Well, the Cadets have left themselves a task of cleaning another show full of Cadet tradition. Fast and driving. Should be fun to watch develop. The opener is interesting, giving you all these clock sounds, while back field the guard is using these hugh 12 foot poles and the hornline forming its first big movement of the night. There are several spots in this show that will draw crowd applause, particulary during the third piece where its a "anything you can do I can do better" segway show casing the talent in all sections of the corps (drum line/hornline/colorguard).

I'm going to use a line I read on the newsgroup somewhere, "I have a good feeling about this show". Even though they did not do a moving closer, I'm sure it's ready. The show is dirty now (who isn't?) but I'm sure the next time I see it they will be marching the hell out it. Even dirty they still look good! You know, just as well as I know, the Cadets will get their usual nomination for being in the thick of things come August, why should this year be any different? Nice show.


Something old, something new. The Crossmen are definitely ahead of where they were last year. All I could remember was all those wholes they had in the hornline. Well, they had 60 horns marching tonight and producing a nice sound. Word has it they will march 62. Drum line will hold it own as well as the colorguard. The color guard is a little tentative of what they're doing right now but hell, they just showed up to camp only a couple of months ago. I'm not here to be critical. I am a little concerned though with the drill design. I'm sure it will pick up as they work on it. I really like what they do with the second piece "Caravan" musically, rythumically and visually. All I can think about is what if the YEA corps had a show as early as the mid-west corps (6/10), I wonder what they would look like? It was only my first show and I haven't quite let everything sink in yet. . .not to worry, Crossmen will maintain their finalist status.

The Commandant's Marine Drum and Bugle Corps

My hat goes off to Scott the drill design coordinator for the Marines D&BC. You said they would have a fresh new design to them and my God, they do. Damn, can they play those horns. The mellophones have some nice parts and you hear them throughout the show. Very nice version of "Don't let the sun go down on you", emotionally moving with strong sop soloists. I don't think these guys and gals march anything over 120, but they sure can make the hairs on my neck stand up (and I don't have too many there either).

A Fan of the Arts

Friday June 16
Oswego, IL (DCM)

Boy, it's been a long time since I've seen a June Drum Corps show (1991). I've forgotten how spoiled I've become not seeing shows until the July Texas Tour. Now that I live in Illinois, my season can be more than 3 weeks.

June shows are ragged. Period. Everyone there tonight was ragged, to different degrees. The show was run nicely, although parking was an incredible pain. Did they plan that at all?

Joliet Kingsmen -- only got to see from the sidelines, but it was great to see these kids out there trying. Great to see some minority representation in Midwest Drum Corps, too. I wish these guys the best.

Blue Stars -- This may be a heck of a show. The end got pretty ragged, and the brass sound is not mature yet. Drums seemed a definite strength, as did Color Guard. Definitely have the potential to win Division 3, I'd say.

Capitol Sound -- First time I've ever seen them. I was impressed. nice new uniform. Music book is solid. I enjoyed them. Don't really like the trash cans, etc... by the guard, but I guess it fits the theme from the movie (NEWSIES).

Phantom Regiment -- Why in the world were they on this early??? Before Pioneer & Colts? Come on! I've been quite worried about them after a winter of not too positive press, but I have to say I was quite intrigued by their possibilities this summer. I would have to say their show was easily the most difficult of the night. Why Cavaliers keep their horns tight, PR spreads them out and exposes them. Of course, that will haunt you in June, but will be impressive later. Music book is very, very full. Also by far the most energetic and exciting show of the night. I will have to admit, I absolutely loved the black uniform and was dreading seeing it go, but the new uniforms are dynamite. The pure white pants are incredible, and really give the corps a GE lift. Brings back memories of the high-class all white days of the late 80s/early 90s. The middle piece of the show (forgive me for not having their pieces memorized) was absolutely gorgeous. looks like the show stopping slow movement of Regiment is BACK -- (Can we say Reliable Rondo's favorite musical moment). Not to gush, this corps is also absolutely filthy right now. Difficult drill was not pretty. Had a huge trainwreck in the beginning -- 4 or 5 people piled up on the ground. Fortunately no one was hurt. the last rotating block was hardly a block tonight, but if the clean that, the end of Rite of Spring & the show will really rock. PR was way ahead of Colts & only 4.5 back from Cavies. They may be top 6 bound again. The Color Guard is certainly vastly improved over the past 2 years' debacles. I don't know if it is the uniforms or not, but they sure do look young(never seen a PR corps look that short!) Maybe they can finally put the last few years behind them and move back up in the elite. Was also great to see the old Block movement to take the field, too.

Colts -- I absolutely loved their show last year, and maybe it is prejudicing me, but I did not enjoy the Colts tonight. I don't like the move to off-white in their uniforms, either. The pure white pants always gave the Colts pizzaz. That's what's missing from this show. Maybe it's just June (again, it's been forever since I've seen June shows). The music book was very uninspiring. I've come to expect much more entertainment (and volume) out of the Colts. Hope this is just a rough start. If it isn't, they could be the one sitting on the outside looking in at Finals.

Pioneer -- They really held their own going after PR & Colts in several respects. Their show is very pleasing, and a hell of a lot more entertaining than Colts (I'd rank them 2nd in Entertainment for the night, after Phantom). Horn line is small (counted 36), but they were louder than Colts! Some overblowing that does need cleaned. The end of the show obviously hasn't been worked much yet, but the 1st half was quite nice. Pioneer looks like they are gonna fight like hell to stay in top 17. Will give Patriots a run for their money, though I'm hearing great things about them. Pioneer needs to pick up more horns to secure themselves a Semis spot.

Cavaliers -- I was waiting with much anticipation for these guys after their run at the end of last year. Maybe that was the problem, because I was very disappointed. Musically, very uninspiring after a great couple of music books from them in 98 and 99. Visually, looks interesting, but without a WOW move or 2 like the past couple of years. Some neat "flows" to go with the Niagra falls water theme. I didn't think their show was that difficult to be honest. Especially musically. And somewhat jazzy music just doesnt seem to fit these guys. Additionally, it looks like their visual demand is not as high as Phantom's either. That's tough to say without seeing from up high, however, and it could be that the fact that they are cleaner than PR just makes it seem that way. Cavies are certainly cleaner than PR. I don't know if PR can clean a very difficult show up enough to catch them or not, but I'd have to say their show has more potential than Cavaliers.

All in all, was a great night. Had a first timer with me, and he enjoyed it, although I had to point out a few times that things will be much, much better come August. 2 things disapointed tonight. 1) Color Guard shows are no where near complete, and most corps don't have their 2000 flags out yet. 2) Musically, with the exception of Phantom & Pioneer(to and extent), was very, very drab. Hope other corps have more interesting musical books than what I heard tonight out of Cavies & Colts.

My humble opinions,


Kingsman-got to give them credit their real young and try their best.

Kilties-not very exciting performance this year but in the past its been like this until DCM finals. I hope they can turn their show around because I loved them last year.

Blue Stars-DCM Champs Maybe DCI Champs?? They are incredibly good this year. Drumline Rocks.

Capitol sound-Not a very difficult show. Good brass.

Phantom-hmmm I don't know about the new unis. White pants, Tan top with red accents. Looks like a new corp. Their sound is so good this year. The music is good and the drill is much harder than it has been in years past. There was a traffic jam in one of their fast drill moves; 3 or 4 people pilled up in the center of the field. All in all their idea of a show is much improved this year. Look for phantom to move up to top 6 this year.

Colts-I like the Godspeeds the opener. The rest is just boring right now. I hope it gets better.

Pioneer-much more entertaining than colts and phantom. They held their own. Look for them to be movin on up this year.

Cavies-I saw them in practices and I loved their show and I couldn't wait to see their show up high in the stadium and I wasn't disappointed. Now that I used to many ANDs I will get on with the show. This year their brass is much improved over last years and here is. The cavies brass score was 1.1 ahead of phantom. The drumline rocks a usual. New visual aspects to the show brought to you by the cavies a usual. Look for cavies in the top 2.


Saturday June 10
Menasha, WI (DCM)

First show jitters and a difficult spring for rehearsals left all the corps shakey, to say the least. There are going to be some great moments in drum corps around here, however.

Racine Scouts: A nice little corps. Numbers are hurting them.....about 10 horns, 10 percussion, no guard. Spirited and talented kids do a great job with fun tunes like, "Popeye the Sailor" and "What do ya do With a Drunken Sailor."

Americanos: A much smaller corps than last year playing music from Bizet. Fine percussion line; talented guard; hornline is small (less than 20), but don't be fooled by this weekend....they will be crowd-pleasers again this year.

Cap-Sound: What a giant leap from last year. Good numbers in all sections... and talented. This corps could content for Division II DCI Championships.

Pioneer: Well, who knows? Larger corps this year that looks great on the field. Solid percussion line. Not sure about the brass line and its ability to pull-off this rendition of "Brigadoon" (sorry guys, I like the 1997 Kilts arrangement better). This arrangement, as another fan said, would be great with a hornline of 50+.

Blue Stars: Did not get to see them on the field......but watching the drum line rehearse........this is going to be a solid of the best in Division II. Guard is talented and seems to have better numbers than last year.

Kilties: Well, I will try to be objective. Kilts are in a transition year for many reasons. Horn line is solid and almost in mid-season form. New style of opener is a crowd-pleaser with some powerful moments ...... but "is a bit redundant", says one fan ....... Loch Lomond/Scotland is beautiful and exciting...... fans stood throughout the closer both evenings. Let's face it, the percussion line is small and experiencing some problems but is pulling off an interesting book. Talented guard is very small, but drill arranger has worked them nicely into the show. A difficult total package that needs a lot of cleaning by DCM.

Madison Scouts: Whew. A strong, powerful and entertaining show .......but we were spoiled in 1999--a show which I believe was one of the most exciting and entertaining shows in dc history. The 2000 show has large shoes to fill. Another dynamic warm-up leading into a powerful opener ....... and the difficulty of the brass show should make a statement to the top four from 1999. Percussion line is even stronger than last year's. Madison will contend for a top-four spot at DCI.

Colts: Got only a glimpse of them. New uniforms and a huge, powerful horn line .... only half their show is finished ........ but the Colts will be one of my favorites again this year ........ crowd loved what they were seeing.

Early season stuff, hot weather, a 2.5 mile parade in Appleton, mosquitos you could saddle ........... these things contributed to some rough moments in everyone's shows .......... and this year's compacted DCM schedule will not help matters ........... should be a great year for drum corps ....... especially in Division II.

Will look forward to seeing Cavs, Phantom and a complete Colts show next weekend.

Bob Doran

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