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

Page Ten 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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Wednesday August 2
Rome, NY (DCI)

I drove through some pretty dark clouds on my 4.5 hour trek to Rome, but it turned out to be a nice night for a show. RFA is a great stadium for a show, although I'm not to keen on the traffic situation...but what can ya do? I have to say that I was way out on the 10 yardline so I had a difficult time reading drill patterns, but I had a great view for execution. The sound may not have been as intense as a 50 yardline seat, but it carried nicely.

SCV Cadets...
Good show! They exhibited some good fundamentals. Nice sound, could have used a bit more contras, but again that could have been my seat. Excellent feeder corps for SCV. They are a solid orginization.

Well I wasn't too happy with their show. I did not like their arrangements at all. I thought the trade off in the pit and brass during Stars and Stripes was poorly executed and not thought out at all. I REALLY liked the battle scene, I think that is a Yankee Rebel thing. That was the high moment in their show. There was a fake sunburst in their closer...not close to the real thing. I liked last years program much more than this...I was hoping they would move up. Keep working hard!

I have to say the Rome performance was much better, IMHO, than in Erie. I'm still not a fan of the music, but after reading what others have been posting about change, I have thought about it, and I do agree, they needed some change. Not a bad show.

YES! They are finally back on their game. I really liked their show. I did think they were missing some screaming sops at times, but at other times they balanced up nicely...again it could have been my position. I like the use of the props in the front that the corps hides behind. It creates a nice change in the dynamics of the corps and highlights the percussion more in their feature. Guard looked good. BLOO!!!


For the second night in a row they impressed me. They have a great sound and a demanding drill, with some awesome dance moves by the sops. Good program. The new unis look nice.

HOLY MAN!!! Bolero as an opener ROCKS! I love the sling snare drums. Let me say Boston and Latin/Spanish rock. Good sound from the brass line. They are using the whole paralell line drill move again in variation this year, it's clean and looks cool. I always like the high step impact, classy and goes a long way back. They are using the same closer, or parts of it, as last year. I don't mind that, because it fits their show well and is a great tune. A lot of people thought they should have won, or at least beat BK. Well I'm a big BAC fan, but their drill is not as demanding as BK, and their sound is not as round as BK. BUT their show is more crowd appealing. If it was a crowd appeal contest, I have to say those uneducated in corps would put them ahead of SCV...

WOW!!! What a sound. So well in tune and balanced. It sent shivers up my spine. Adagio is amazing! Just when you think it can't get any louder, IT DOES!!! I really like their show, but it is not championship quality. No cool arrow/box move...or screaming park and barks. I didn't like the quiet ending during the show...but in their victory concert it seemed a bit may grow on me but I think the quiet ending is a Phantom of the Opera thing. I had them at around a 93.6...their score was VERY low. I don't know where they got hammered, I haven't seen the recaps yet...but c'mon...they were great.

Tommy Feagan is the man! I'm continually impressed with his technique and style. I do not like the new unis. They look like the Boy Scout Cadets, Troop 194. They still have the dark sound...but their was something about the solid color uniforms. I loved the black, it matched their deep dark sound. Aside from that, they were having some SERIOUS timing problems. There was a major tear in their program, the pit was off, the baris were off and I don't know how they got it back together. Several times I was hearing flammed attacks from baris to sops from across the field...and that wasn't my seat. Friends of mine inside the 40s said it was worse there. They had some GREAT moments in their show, a nice sound, but some serious timing issues that need to be looked at before DCI.

I really enjoyed this show. A nice venue, with a great 50/50 I think it was 1750 dollars...WOW! I was a little disappointed with some fans in my section. I do not believe in Booing any corps...because they all work very hard, but some pepple found it appropriate to Boo Blue Knights and Boo bostons score. Yes Boston was more crowd appealing, but everyone on the field works very hard, we should appreciate them all. Overall a good night for corps. I will be back to that show next year....if I'm not on tour myself!

Peace! See some of you this weekend in Buffalo for the Amazing showdown in DCA and DCI!!!


Hornell, NY (DCI)

Got a speeding ticket on the way down. Damn those work zones! Got there for some of Cadets rehearsal. Rain hit around 5 and I was starting to curse the rain gods. Let up by 6, though. Made for a cool night. On with the show:

Tampa Bay Thunder - Except for the hats, wearing the exact same uniforms as the Syracuse Brigadiers from last year. Had to do a double take. For a new corps, they are doing a great job. Nice horn line, with some great individual talent. I think the drill could of been much more demanding, as it tended to not match the music at times, and never really challenged the members. I liked the show, though. Can't wait to see you guys in the coming years.

Yamato - Wasn't really into this show. They had a large pole for one guard member to climb up (ala Cavaliers), but I wasn't quite sure what the point was. And from the comments I heard around me, nor were other people. It was only used once, at the very beginning at that was it. Corps performed well, but the show did nothing for me. And it still seemed very dirty. I realize they have only been together for a couple weeks, but they are going to have to work to clean it up by Maryland. Nice article about them on the front page of the Hornell paper. Hope someone picked it up.

Blue Stars - It had stopped raining by the time they came on. They could of put the plumes back on. Looked very funny without them. Show was decent, but lacked the crispness that I have come to expect from the Blue Stars over the years. Some nice visual work, and the corps performed the Orff pieces well. Just lacked that oomph, for lack of a better word. I really liked the cluster of horns/bell tones/various horn angles thing you did. Cool. Good luck in DC.

Spartans - bathroom/souvie break. Sorry, Spartans.

Southwind - I am kicking myself for not seeing you guys last night. Wow! Great show! Horns sound great and powerful! Really like the music selections as well. Guard was great, except for one or two small sections where they were a couple of mistakes/drops. Drill was awesome. Nice move into the company front. My mom was out of her seat on that one! The yellow unis are striking and unique. Give them a couple more years, I expect them to be a familiar face in on Saturday nights. Great work, Southwind.

The Cadets - Wow, wow, wow! For those who have been wondering, yes, this corps is as great as you have heard about. Just amazing from beginning to end. Guard was outstanding. Glad they got out of the grey into the much more colourful uniforms after the first number. Weapon lines were amazing. The hornline is wonderful, too, especially in the fun stuff at the end. For some reason, I had only thought that the sops did the play each others horn thing, so I was very surprised to see the mellos and baris do it, too! Nice feature, tenors! This was the show I was waiting to see all year, and I am glad I finally got the chance. Haven't seen the Cavaliers yet, but if I were to make the call between BD and Cadets, they NJ folks would have it. Going to be an awesome race to the finish.

Geoff Jones

Tuesday August 1
Erie, PA (DCI)

Well, the evening started off with some dark clouds, and we saw some heavy rain for 5 min just before Southwind, but after that it was pretty smooth sailing the rest of the evening. What a nice venue for a show, beautiful stadium, great views, great people and most importantly GREAT corps action...let's get started.

Lake Erie Regiment:
Not a bad performance. The hornline is the usual div III line. The sops need to play the entire show, that was one thing that was missing. They had one good sop player, but the other two need to PLAY. Good job, keep up the good work.

It needs cleaning! Hornline was very ratty. More attention is needed to staging...a tear between the baris and the snares was VERY obvious. Pit needs to listen back.

Kiwanis Kavies:
I loved the opening! Great effect with the helicopter rotors, and the open rolls, very cool way to start the show. The hornline needs a bit more power, they didn't seem to match up to the battery who is rather good *from a brass players pov* I'm not sure about the DM uniform...nobody has that much hair loss at 19 or 20...she needs to calm down the costume IMHO. Good show, CLEAN QUICK!!!

Spirit and esoteric does not go well together. It did not have the same entertainment value I have come to expect from them. No southern jazz, or powerful wailin chords. They executed deciently, but it's just not what I expect.

What can I say? This corps wowed me last year at Madison, and they did more so this year. Their warm up is stellar and their opener of First Suite in Eb by Holst puts the icing on the cake. They do have a bit of a madison sound with that sharp sop sound, but hey I liked it! Well balanced, and fairly clean drill. There were a couple of moves the members seemed a little tenative on...I'm thinking it was the slippery carpet. I was impressed with the battery. Guard looked good. Very nice job, keep an eye on this corps!!!

Well they went on last and came in 3rd...hum. First let me state that I don't really like the music g-men select...but I give them credit where credit is due, they execute! I thought they had a very well balanced hornline, and very nicely in tune. Their drill seemed clean and they performed. Powerful low brass section...extremely weak sop section. There seemed to be NO power in it what so ever. In the brass feature sections they balanced up nicely..but in the louder parts much more was needed. The ending was weak, not enough high voicing in the upper brass/low brass conversation. Not a bad show, executed well...I think their score should have been higher.

Blue Knights:
Who taught the sops how to dance??? Their show is filled with dance moves when they aren't playing. I like it. Some very interesting moves, the squatting thing was very great. Clean drill, good sound, and the always one of the most attractive. Wearing white on a rainy night though isn't a great thing...except for GE points! But seriously, I really liked their show. I hope they can just clean a few more points! Good job guys!!!

Blue Devils:
The verdict is in on Bb...TRUMPETS and HORNS ROCK!!! Tubas leave something to be desired. A bit top heavy, but very nicely in tune, and the trumpets cut in the rhythmic figures. Very awesome show!!! I like the use of the 360 degree turns...something they have been doing since the 80's if I'm not mistaken. Usual BD drill, clean, and tight. The hornline seemed smaller...I think I counted around 54?? They were marching a contra hole...must be he/she was sick. Awesome cool stuff.

Devs won high GE, Brass, Drums...Southwind won best DM. Good show everyone! I really enjoyed myself. I'm heading up to Rome tomorrow to catch SCV, Phantom, Coats, and some great competition up there. What a great activity we all are a part of!!!

Aaron aka Toast

Well, ladies and gentlemen, last night was my first junior corps show of the season, the latest I've been to a show in 10 years! I would first like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed every performance out on the field, whether it was a big corps, small corps, G or Bb, jazz or classical. EVERYBODY put out and it showed, both in the performances and in the crowd reactions.

Now, here's what I thought of it all...

Mellophones seemed to be the strongest section in the hornline. They could be heard all the time, no matter the volume level. They have a decent brass balance for their size. The drumline seemed to do a good job as well, especially considering how exposed their individual technique is with such a small line. There were some problems with the feet phasing and the small guard sometimes gets lost in the show. The corps needs to build up their endurance, as the hornline lost power in the closer.

Balance in the hornline is a problem, which makes them sound out of tune. The high brass is weak. Contras are VERY strong, and the hornline as a whole would do good to listen down to them more often. The drumline is strong, but there's still some dirt in there that needs to be swept up. Low brass members have problems holding their horns up and aiming at the right angle and direction. As with Regiment, Spartans let up in the closer.

Great helicopter effect in the drums and guard at the beginning of the show! The horns have a decent balance in sound, but the Spartans were louder. Turning from front to back and vice versa is not together and hurts the visual. Again, a good contra line, which helps the horns play in tune. KK also had endurance problems.

Another solid contra line, but the sops have a crass sound that takes away from an otherwise good horn sound. Baris have some players, but they need to learn some control, sometimes bark too much. Drum solo had some great flash, fun to watch. An improvement from last year, even with the difficult time this corps has had recently. Having Jimmy Steele working with the horns helps, too.

Was it raining? Southwind didn't notice! Opening drill move is the best in DCI this year, very exposed, but very eye-catching. This corps is Top 12 caliber and is exciting to watch and listen to. Could use more low brass sound, especially with the style they are playing. Drums really move during their solo.

Love the new uniforms. Love the drumline. Like the drill. Like the hornline. Would like the dancing sopranos if they didn't do so much of it. They do some cool moves and visuals, but there's no way they'll be able to clean it all because there's just too much of it. Plus, they can't take too much time away from horn and marching rehearsals to work on the dancing (learned that in Glassmen when WE danced around!). Music is great, the British know how to write.

I'm still against Bb horns for practical reasons, but I could not complain about the sound I heard from BDs hornline. Very balanced, very lush, almost symphonic. They are powerful, but the bite that G bugles have is lost with the Bb. The difference in sound, in my opinion, is not enough to warrant other corps switching from G to Bb. The music is incredible, made me forget that this corps spent many years playing big band jazz. Drums are sweet to watch during their solo, a lot of showing off and flash going on.

This is my family and always will be. This is also the best hornline they've put out in years. They presented the argument IN FAVOR of G bugles tonight. However, they could present it better with more punch at the impact points. Love Gershwin. The corps marches very well, but there are more drill moves I recognize from past years than i care to admit. The corps plays VERY well, made me melt in my seat. Great overall package, but living too much on potential right now.

Well, that's the news from Erie. Hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts about what I saw and heard. Please feel free to comment.

Kevin Gamin
Toledo Glassmen 1992-1996
Empire Statesmen 2000

Spent the day split between Glassmen and BD rehearsals. Interesting to see the two different instructional styles of the two very different corps. Glassmen sound incredible in arc, playing various chord progressions. Love that low brass. Small Bb note. When we got to BD, they were working on some difficult triple tonguing parts, and a really nice lick. Watched for about 15 minutes until I remembered they were playing Bb's. So far, not a big difference. Watched BD's runthrough. Was good, but I wasn't sold on the program just yet.

Off to the show!

Lake Erie Regiment - Nice little corps. Sops could play a little more, for my liking. Was having a hard time taking my eyes off of one girl in the guard (and no, not because of that, you perverts). She was just an incredible performer. Drew my attention for most of the show. Overall, nice show. Hope you have bigger numbers next year.

Spartans - This will sound harsh, but I was extremely bored by this show. Maybe it was just me, but it put me to sleep. It wasn't necessarily the music selections, but more likely the arranging. Just not enough there for me. And this is not the fault of the performers, who played what they were given well. Just a poorly written and designed show, IMO. Awaiting the flames.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - Much improved, and better than I expected. I like the red in the uni. One contra player stuck out almost the entire show. Really distracted me. Think this corps should of been in Div. 2 this year, but I wish them well. Overall, a nice package, except for superhero contra.

Spirit of Atlanta - Seems like I may be in the minority, but I liked this show a lot. Really have improved leaps and bounds since I saw them rehearse in Syracuse. The church scene music is still stuck in my head today. Nice work by the small group for that part. Drill seems to be cleaning up nicely. There is one mellophone player who really need to eat more. Man, is he skinny. =) Nice work, Spirit. Proud to have you in the Brigadiers organization.

Southwind - Rain started to hit hard, so we had a delay. I missed Southwind, unfortunately. Will see them tomorrow in Hornell.

Blue Knights - I am a big fan of this corps, and tonight they won me over again. I love the new uniforms, but in a way, miss the dots. What I always like about BK is the visual performance. I maintain that BK marched better than any corps out there, style and technique wise. Liked the flying soprano visuals. Show was just nice from beginning to end. Great hornline. Powerful. Not a drummer, but I think I know good lines, and BK had one for sure. And the guard was looking great in their white unis. nice work from them, too. Great show!

Blue Devils - Corps was on fire tonight. Won me over easily. However, this doesn't seem like a Devils show, and I wasn't sure why. I think what is missing is the trademark screaming leads that we have come to see over the years. They only had a couple solos, and nothing breathtaking. Guard was really great, and I liked the music alot. Oh, and wonderful work by the pit, especially that psycho run you guys have. Very cool. Drill was good, but not anything spectacular. Good job, BD!

Glassmen - Someone behind me asked if the Swedish Bikini Team was in Glassmen's guard, and I had to laugh. Those wigs sure are interesting. Really liked the show, though. I'm not that familar with Gershwin's Conceto in F, but I am going to go find a recording now. Hornline was very lush, and dark. Lots of low brass! However, there was one or two baris who overextended at times. Kind of edgy. I didn't find the show boring at all. Weakest part of the corps would be the guard. Not that they were bad, just not crisp. It's going to be really tight next week between the G-men and BK. In my opinion, BK were the winners tonight. But it could go either way.

Overall, a great night. Glad the rain stayed away for the most part, and enjoyed almost every corps. Now a quick trip home to Kitchener, then off to Hornell!

Geoff Jones

Monday July 31
Pittsburgh, PA (DCI)

This isn't your ordinary review post, so don't be upset.

I went to watch Phantom Regiment rehearse. It was so cool pulling up in the parking lot and walking a little bit and down over the hill, THERE THEY WERE! Shirts off, tanned kids, flags, shiny instruments... the corps in visual rehearsal. My brother and I were like 4 year olds on Christmas morning. It was surprising to me to see how much they were changing where individual people marched to in the set. The visual instructor was funny, he'd refer to people as, "purple shorts girl", "groucho", "hey khaki green shorts boy", and other ones that I can't begin to remember. The kids were very attentive, and knew when they were being addressed and changed what they were asked to immediately, I was impressed with the work ethic level. There are parts where certain color-guard girls wouldn't be in the show, or, the snares or tenors wouldn't march off the field at the end of the set to change drums they were carrying and if a set was being rehearsed that certain members weren't a part of, they were on the sidelines doing situps and pushups until they were supposed to be back on the field. I was impressed with the rehearsal, but... I said to my brother that I thought the staff could have been upped a notch or two in energy and attentiveness to the rehearsal as well. Not ALL of the staff, but some of them seemed almost to be taking a lackadaisical approach... (no names or sections mentioned). THE DRUMLINE!!!! Wow!! These guys have really tightened and cleaned up. I was very excited and eager to see what they had to offer. They have very good foot work and technique in their marching and the playing is at a new level now. I had read earlier that the snares and tenors have a part where they wear tri-toms with a piccolo snare and cymbal. (This happeneds to be one of the parts I got to see rehearsed)... I didn't like the thoughts of that, but seeing it and hearing it... VERY COOL! It works very well and I liked hearing matching piccolo snare parts. A concert percussion approach with the marching percussion members wearing it and playing it fit the music nicely and was enjoyable. THE BRASS! As always, I love PR's brass... very warm and uplifting sound. There were parts where that huge brass and overall corps sounds were filling me up with such intensity, (and the corps kept on pumping it at me), that I actually laughed out loud at one point which was probably my sensory overload bursting... I LOVED IT! I have read on here that PR doesn't have intense drill movements... (well, I didn't see the full show in rehearsal because they chose not to do a run through because the field was too crappy, but those people are right... the drill, that I witnessed, wasn't too exciting).


At the show, my friends and I heard Blue Devils brass behind some busses singing beach boy tunes about surfer girls and the west coast and stuff, we watched them singing and appearing to have a TREMENDOUS time (all the while, their body stretches were "choreographed" to what they were singing...the brass did some basic drill moves in a block, which I'm sure maybe a lot of corps do. The BD Color-guard...(as Michael Cesario would say)..."H-h-h-h-h-h-h-hOLY COW!" I watched them strecthing their bodies, and even that looked really neat! They have such finely tuned, in shape beautiful bodies for dance and corps that it inspired me to start jogging everyday and doing strecthes. They then played 80's dance music and did certain practice maneuvers to it. Let me tell you something, when the BD decide they want to have something MATCH, they MATCH it!!! The BD drumline walked by me to go warmup, and I wanted to follow to go watch, but I resisted because I really wanted to see PR drumline warmup (especially since I am auditioning there for the snare line in November). Cadets hornline all walked by including the drumline and BOY do they look hardass. At this point, the BD brass was in a very tight circle with arms wrapped around one another singing chords, which was SO pretty and neat. They have awesome singing voices! It was cool because after they held that last note which was barely audible, drawn out, and low, they broke the circle and started walking to get their horns and uni's and let me tell you, these beach boy singing/partying/laughing and smiling kids were now VERY intensely focused, not talking or smiling, just concentrating on the show in their heads and walking around like a bunch of bad asses (they are!!)... Now the color-guard for BD was doing big flag tosses in the air just as an enormous lightning bolt struck (which didn't stop them)... I went down to go see Regiment drumline at this point.

The warmups for Regiment are very tight sounding and good. I enjoyed watching them in front of some random person's house (do corps do this at other shows?)... anyway, the neighborhood is beautiful with rolling green hills and tall shady trees... some people saw some BD guys over in someone's front lawn walking around, and we said, "What's going on?" We walked over and there was the entire BD brass in someone's back yard... looking in through a window watching tv. Down back at Regiment, watching them rehearse some show stuff, it started pouring and so they all went inside the garage and hung up their plumes on coat racks, turned on a radio and danced and sang to Jackson 5. Standing amongts them with my friends I asked, "am I in the twilight zone?!" I got a snare lesson from the center snare in that garage which was very much appreciated. Brian Mason's cell phone rang and we found out the show was just cancelled... as we left the garage, it was nice of the Regiment drummers to shake our hand, appologize for not being able to perform for us, and encouraging to see us in November. Some of you who have probably read this might be REALLY irritated with me for my review because it isn't your standard one, but it's what *I* saw and interpreted from that, here's SOMETHING for you drum corps fans who like to hear about what your favorite corps do on the road... (they dance in people's garages to the Jackson 5). :)


PS. Regiment has an AWESOME T-shirt this year which says "Future Menace on top and on bottom is a little blond haired boy standing in a stadium looking down at a marching snare drum which is half the size of him and a trumpet and behind him is his shadow, a dark, Regiment looking uniform shadow... I LOVED the shirt.

Erie, PA (DCI II / III)

Plan was to get there for finals, but we ended up at the stadium at the beginning on Div. 2 prelims. Saw Mandarins from the side, but can't really comment, except that I hate when I can hear the guard yelling out counts.

I only saw a couple corps, as I was checking out souvies, and running into friends. Figured I would see the ones I wanted at finals. Damn rain.

Corps I saw:

Jersey Surf - Really liked this show, except for the La Fiesta part. Nice horn line, great drum line. Guard was good, too. Drill seemed to be still dirty in some forms. Liked the various styles played by the corps. Well done. The use of the fencing was unique, and not distracting. Thought they were going to score much higher then they did.

Capital Sound - Had to see this corps for two reasons. One, I played Newsies with the Cardinals in 93, and two, to see Terri's son Andy whacking his drum. Really liked this show. Just an overall fun package. I think the uniforms need a little something added to them. Not sure what, but they were just a little boring, for my taste (corps proper, not guard unis). And speaking of the guard (easily offended, stop reading here), what is in the water in Wisconsin??? Yeah, I am 25, but you really couldn't help but notice that more then a few guard members were, um, "cleavagely gifted". Where were girls like that when I marched? Oh yeah, in the Ventures and Bandettes. Anyway, excellent show, and good to see this corps improving steadily over the years.

(During Cap Sound, there was a director/tour manager on a cell phone one row behind me. I tried to read his name tag, but I couldn't, but you know who you are. Larger, black man, making plans to send his souvie folks straight to Kitchener or something. Thanks for nattering in my ear, you ass. Next time, leave the stands.)

Dutch Boy - Had to see the Canadians! Nice little show. Some really young folks in the corps. Was told that there are a couple 5th graders out there!! First bass drummer was especially young looking. Music of the Lion King was a good choice for this group. Guard is their best section, with the drums and horns not far behind. Marching was what hurt them. A little more clarity in technique, and you gain a few points easily. overall, good job. This corps should continue to improve thru the years.

That was it for prelims. Rain came down in buckets when Spartans came on, and I thought they were going to call the show. They should of. I was told that the Patriots were the ones who decided to halt their own performance. Good thinking. That field would of been incredibly slippery, not to mention that the lines were no longer visable. Sorry I didn't get to see more corps. Good luck to all as you head into Maryland.

Geoff Jones

Sunday July 30
Charlotte, NC (DCI)

Here's my .02 on the NightBeat performances (in order of appearance), some follow up to my earlier post regarding SCV's practice today, and a couple of other personal opinions thrown in.

Tarheel Sun 64.8 (8th)
Pretty good, but I was much more impressed with last year's show. Fairly clean. Some definite hot spots in the show.

Pioneer 72.15 (7th)
Very clean. One or two crowd grabbers, but overall, the show was pretty tame. There was one guard member who was constantly 1-2 beats ahead of the others. Very distracting.

Colts 80.35 (6th)
Really enjoyed the show. Reminded me of some of the great stuff Colts have done in the past. Good show, good sound, etc. The flags look great with the guard uniform, I just wish the guard looked as good with the corp. Something about the purple (guard) and the Red/White/Blue corps just too distracting... (please note, this is not the first, last, or ONLY corps where the guard uniform just don't fit...)

Personal note: I think the Colts got cheezed...I would have definitely placed Colts over Crossmen. Possibly even over Crown, but that may be pushing it.

Crossmen 86.05 (3rd)
NO. And I think about 8000 people will back me up here. I'm not a huge jazz fan, and I'm even less of a fan of the "Elvis the Pelvis" moves - but I can look past of of that. The show was ok, but nothing really got me on my feet during the show. (see my comments regarding Colts and Scouts). I TOTALLY do NOT get this.

Crown 83.4 (5th)
I'd been reading the posts, and was really expecting a major wow. The show was good. Couple of crowd grabbers for sure. Probably a 3 on the Goosebump scale. Keep in mind, this is the "home team", so the crowd always gets on their feet for Crown. Musically, I don't think Crown was as strong as they could have been. The drill had some really need parts. I'd like to see Crown and Colts back-to-back to make a better determination, tho.

Personal note: I'm NEVER one to root for the home team, it's against my religion. Despite my "distaste" for Crown, they're really coming into their own. Maybe a few more years they'll even break top ten, but not this year.

Cavaliers 92.0 (1st)
It's easy to see why Cavies are leading the pack. Show is full of Caviesque moves, etc. Brought people to their feet several times throughout the show. No question that the show is a crowd pleaser in addition to a judge pleaser. Awesome drill, awesome sound, awesome guard. Typical Killer show!

Santa Clara Vanguard 90.15 (2nd)
I'm a die hard SCV fan, but this year's show just doesn't do it for me, or much of any one else, judging by the crowd's reaction. Still same problems musically hitting the phase in the 2nd Bartok piece. Tonight, they were, without a doubt, cleaner and much more pumped than when I saw them practicing earlier today. However, the show is anti-climatic. This would work if the show really grabbed you, held on, and wore you down, so that by the end, you'd need the break, but the show just doesn't do it. Die hard SCV fans got to their feet once or twice, but it just wasn't an "OH, MY GOD!" show...At the end, the crowd was like, "That's it? That's the end?" Yeppers...

Madison Scouts 83.7 (4th)
AWESOME! Using the "Crowd" scale of judging, this corps would have been 2nd. HANDS DOWN. (Forgive me, SCV, but I gotta go with the crowd on this one.) Just like Cavies, the show is completely Madison in style, drill & music difficulty, etc. Loved it. Some totally awesome moves; wish I could see the show (live) again. Brought EVERYONE to their feet, several times. Don't know what the freak is going on in DCI, but if this ain't political, I don't know what is - Scouts got cheezed worse than anyone I've seen in a while.

I've been watching the posts and comments, and scores, and I just don't get it. If someone can explain the disparity between what I saw tonight and the official DCI standings (specifically, Scouts), I'd really appreciate it.

There's probably more I could say, more detail I could give, but I'll leave that up to another; it's late and I gotta work in the morn...jeez

Good luck to all of the kids on the 12th; wish I could be there, but we "old" folks gotta work for a living.

A. L. Young

Tarheel Sun - First time seeing them this year. Well, I really didn't see them! GRR....people decided that they had to figure out why they weren't in their correct seats and why there were other people sitting in theirs! So...gee...let's all STAND in the aisle while a corps in on the field! :( Ok...enough of my ranting. From what I saw, they were entertaining. Some drill issues and holes are really hurting them visually. The music sounds ok. Glad to see them in the YELLOW! Oh yeah, drum major girl, get looser pants! They are way too high and tight! :)

Pioneer - I didn't know Brigadoon was supposed to be entertaining. I've never heard it before and just thought it was some more Irish goofy music. Oh well, I was wrong. I liked this show. The last 2-3 minutes are great. If Pioneer can put the energy of their closer into the rest of the show, they could be a contender.

Colts - I thought the music was abstract, but the drill was decent I think...I was kinda low! :( My novice drum corps friend sat up high and said it was really a great show, so I'll take his word for it. I like the new unis. I loved the colors that the guard used. I usually don't look at guards, but they really caught my eye for some reason. This can be a Top 12 show.

Crossmen - Wow, what a hornline. I realized tonight that this is my favorite Xmen show ever. I love how they got rid of the red boxes with black x's from their uniforms and replaced it with the Maltese Cross! Really good move Xmen. The show is very entertaining and the drill is decent. They deserve their placements!

Crown - Hey, I still love the show, but the hornline which impressed me so much at the beginning of the year is really starting to disappoint me. They have so much potential with this great show, but the horns are very weak sounding. I think they will be fighting for 12th in 2 weeks, but I hope they pull it together. This being their home show, I really was expecting alot of emotion and I just didn't get it and I was practically sitting on the front row. GRR... C'mon Crown!

Cavies- OH MY GOD! This is an awesome show! They have the most powerful hornline I've heard all year. The drums impress me and I know NOTHING about drums! The drill is state of the art and the guard just makes you say WOW! They have a total package. I watched them rehearse today and I really dig this show.

Santa Clara - It was interesting seeing SCV go on after Cavies. I really got to hear how much weaker SCV sounds in comparison. However, SCV does create some excellent musical moments. The opening sequence while the horns are playing backfield is gorgeous. I also watched SCV rehearse today and got to see their full runthrough. The run in rehearsal really amazed me. I guess my bad seating location kinda ruined this show for me tonight. The ballad is possibly the best I've ever heard. I've never gotten goosebumps like that ever. Contrary to popular belief, the ending is awesome. I love the fading out sequence, it is different and effective. This is a very good show and I believe they can hang on to 4th and with cleaning contend for Top 3.

Madison Scouts - Finally got to see the show! YAY! Hey, it's not the most crowd pleasing thing they've ever done, but they have good drill, good music and excellent GE. The show lacks something, but I'm not sure what. I may get in trouble for this, but there is NO WAY that Scouts are .3 ahead of Crown. They aren't even in the same league. Scouts should be scoring up with Xmen. I think that the judges really need to pull their heads out, b/c Madison's product is leaps and bounds more difficult than their nearest competitors....and they are performing it too. Hey...I'm not a guard fan, but they looked like they were attempting some pretty difficult stuff....I think they are decent.

On a final note, Glad it didn't rain this year. It was kind of strange watching from the stands again! :( Kinda wish I were still out there. I loved Nightbeat last year. They are a great crowd to perform for.


Dave B here with my thoughts the day after Charlotte (sorry, I live in GA, left the show at 11:30 PM, got home at 3:30, had to work at 7:00, could NOT do my review sooner.)

Generally: Good venue, GREAT show overall, one of the best top to bottom that I've seen in years. I wonder why I (and the guy sitting next to me who marched Crown '98, '99) was able to call Madison's 4th place finish based on their performance and no one else could. Am I too educated...? ~_^ Once again, I was able to call the scores within a point or so, and the placements without a mistake, based upon each corps' respective performance. I just don't buy the politics/slotting argument on the large scale. (Dave's .02 adds to the ever-growing mound of pennies....)

The corps, in reverse order of finish:

Tarheel Sun: Fun show, though ragged at times. Very glad they've ditched the black tops/blue w/silver sashes for the yellow tops/red w/silver sashes. Corps looks very good in the late afternoon sun that they generally perform in. My score: 63.0 DCI: 64.80

Pioneer: Almost as much fun as THS, but MUCH better control. Point spread was well deserved. Spatz (mostly ^_^) showed just how good Pioneer's feet really are! My score: 71.0 DCI: 72.15

Colts: The new uni's give them a look that reminds me of BAC, don't know why. Otherwise, they look pretty good. Brass is strong, though it sounded strained at times, especially in the high brass. Feet and battery really need work. This show could be very good and I did enjoy it, it just needs a lot of polish. My score: 80.3 DCI: 80.35

Carolina Crown: This show is tons better than a month ago in Douglasville, GA, but, IMO, it SHOULD be beating up on the Bones hands down. It's not because there are too many little things wrong. Gaurd had a very good show, I thought. It's a great show overall, but the performance level isn't up to it yet. My score: 83.9 DCI: 83.40

Madison Scouts: Crowd didn't like the score (surprise, surprise ^_^), but really, it wasn't a bad one for what they showed me last night. Brass was good (LOUD, certainly) and the feet were really quite good, but the drums and the guard just don't measure up. I really enjoyed how Madison took some traditional Russian music and made it uniquely theirs. I think the show deserved what it got: not too great a score, but lots of thunderous applause. My score: 84.6 DCI: 83.70

Crossmen: THANK YOU!!! for putting the REAL cross back on the unis! That and the addition of the red trim this year make the new-style uni from last year a really classy get-up. Horns are really starting to sell the nuances of their show, but needs to sell Birdland better; it's good, but this IS the umpteenth time around, right? ^_^ Percussion is holding its own, but still gives up too much easy stuff. Guard not quite at last year's level, but close. Really good show with plenty of room to grow. My score: 85.6 DCI: 86.05

Santa Clara Vanguard: Where Cavies are looking to perfect the modern drum corps show, the A Corps has gone head-first into RE-DEFINING what the "modern" drum corps show can be. To put it as briefly as I can, the show is insanely difficult (in some spots the members are still surviving the show instead of performing/selling it), and yet they still do it well enough to bring out an emotional response. I feel no shame in saying that "Adagio" brought me to tears. I guess it IS a pretty cerebral show, moving from the onset of war, to the emotional carnage after ("Adagio"), to the unsettled peace and glimmer of hope that the conflict came out of to begin with. Those of you Who liked Star in '93, give this show a chance. _I_ thought it was awesome. My score: 90.0 DCI: 90.15

Cavaliers: I think I said "Wow!" about every 15 - 30 seconds during this show. The only real downside was that their battery just wasn't what I was expecting; about half the show was great, the other half, ...not so good. It was the simple stuff they gave away, which leads me to believe this was just an "off" night for the drums. Everything else was VERY good. It's going to be crowded at the top this year! My score:92.0 DCI: 92.00

That's how it happened. I was there.

Dave Ballard
Crossmen '87 - '89

Cincinnati, OH (DCI)

It's late...the Cadet entourage passed us on I-71...THAT'S how whupped I am... First of all, the announcer, Nick Clooney, had to keep reminding us that his sister is Rosemary and his son is George. hehe Anyhoo, my notes are all smudgey due to the light

Yamato (60.55) surprised us. Lots of talent and fun to watch and hear!

Anyone who can contact CINCINNATI GLORY(60.75)...your color guard was friggin AMAZING tonight!!! Keep up the great work! This corps needs bodies next year! They already have the sense to do a very good and entertaining show.

Troopers (67.20) were better (and bigger) than I thought. The "battle" was staged brilliantly and elicited great crowd response.

Spirit (77.15) also had a fun show. I'm not alert enough to recall where they were last year at this time...but it's nice to have 'em back.

Glassmen (86.80) were powerful, musical and quite the marching machine. I predicted them in second (recaps in the morning, i guess). It's my favorite "Concerto in F" production (there have been too many). Guard was on fire tonight!

Blue Knights (87.45). Brilliant!!! Even with non-recognizable, highly sophisticated music, I LOVED my first viewing of them this year! Nice new duds, amazing guard (a theme tonight!) and a spectacular sound. Top 4? Don't laff. Could be 7th...6th...etc...but 4th is NOT out of their reach!

Cadets (93.35). Saw their first show last month which was, they're EARNING these scores, baby. Wow. Best edition of them in YEARS. The hornline is their most impressive strength, believe it or not...and overall effect...wait...the guard is as good as 1996 (I don't say that lightly)...wait, the drumline is...oh, hell..we'll find out HOW good tomorrow night---er, tonight.

btw...whoever runs this show needs to get it the HELL out of that stadium... no parking (shuttle services were nice but not what we really want)...and I think I'm engaged to the gent who was seated in front of me...hey, it was either straddle him or take out one of his kidneys...GET THIS SHOW BACK TO UNIV OF CINCY!!! (or did all the Bearcat fans trash it beyond repair after the stunning victory over Wisconsin...) Oh...and to the fat, bigmouthed Glassmen lady dining on sour grapes: if you honestly think that the Cadets have no depth of sound due to Bb horns, you need to start drinking from Helen Keller's well. =)
Oops...I forgot. My roommate said that the soda and hot dogs were quite reasonably priced! (but wtf was up with all the MIRRORS in the men's terlet?)

Ipecac OH

Just got back from a great show tonight. Before you read this, know that these are opinions, my opinions. So if you feel they may bother you, go no further.

First off, hats off to the Fairfield band boosters. Very well run show, with very friendly people. George Clooney's dad was the MC, and god love him, he was a little clueless. He announced SOA as BK. After BK's first number, announced them again, as if they were done, etc. Nice guy, just a little comic relief I guess.

Yamato (60.55 - 7th) - What an entertaining show these guys put on, especially due to the conditions. During the first two pieces, a country station was playing over the loud speaker, and no one either seemed to notice, or knew how to turn it off. The audience got pretty riled up after a little while. It was ridiculious. But they went on, and it finally ended. Great uniforms!!! One of the best in DCI. This show is tough. They are really moving out there, and they have a big guard. But it is also quite sloppy. A little worrisome, knowing that Div. III only has a week and a half until finals, but I guess that means they have a lot of cleaning they can do and still score big points. I thought the percussion was good, but the horns have a lot of work to do.

Cincinnati Glory (60.75 - 6th) - I saw these guys last weekend and wrote a pretty negative review. This is my fourth time seeing them this year, and they have finally put together a great package! This show is really getting refined. The horns are really playing musically. The soloists are great, and there are a lot of them. The visual program is well designed and very well executed. Their biggest weekness seemed to be the snare line, which was far below the horns in execution tonight. I thought there would be a much bigger gap between these two groups, even though Yamato is so much bigger. I may have just been convinced back into attending Div II/III finals. (BTW - not one person responded to my last post, trying to convince me how great that event is ;-), although a few lambasted me on my negative posting of the Div. II/III groups at Centerville, anyway.....

Troopers (67.2 - 5th) - This was my first and what I would probably say my last viewing of these guys for the season. They are much improved over last year, and finally seem to be close to full size this year. The opener was very impressive, with a very clean visual program. Unfortunately, the show kind of went downhill from there. I thought the brass produced a nice full sound, but it was very blatty. I also thought that the arrangement of "America" from West Side Story was bizzare at best. They kind of messed with a good thing. Anyway, nice to see them possibly on the road to recovery. Maybe one day I will see them how I heard they used to be. I do not see them making semi's (the next show that I will attend). They seem pretty entrenched in 17th (I don't see them passing Pioneer), and I find it hard to believe that there isn't a Div. II corps that can beat them in quarters. Anyway, nice seeing them.

Spirit of Atlanta (77.15-4th) - These guys I got the chance to see twice last weekend, and what amazing strides they have made in the past week! This show is becoming exciting and memorable. The horn line in particular is really beginning to produce a great sound!!! This may be one of the best 15th place corps I have ever seen! (Is it just me, or is the execution of these corps improving every year? - wow!) I thought the closer was particularly intense. It just really came at you! The Music GE score should be soaring by now. My biggest complaint, is that the guard unis look terrible!!! I thought they looked faded last weekend, now they look even worse. It looks as if they have been washed about 50 times. I know they wear them every night, but find something that works better then this. Really hurts the look of the group in my opinion.

Glassmen (86.8 - 3rd) - I'm sure many of you were as anxious as I was to see the match up of the G-Men and BK. Who is going to get the last TV spot? After seeing these two guys, and Boston twice last weekend, I really think that Boston has no chance to catch these two guys. They are way ahead of them. Saying that, I was really suprised to see BK top the G-Men. I think that BK's show is much harder, especially in the horn book, but I think that the Glassmen simply out execute. The carriage of the corps is great, and they march some excellent drill. I thought the guard was much improved over last weeknd. I felt that Indy was a bad show for them, and I was right. They were on tonight, especially what I think is the best feature of this corps, the brass line. It is simply georgeous. I love the sound. Nice and dark. I love reading reviews on here, because they often point out something you missed. I was intrigued by one guy who pointed out that it was too much low brass, not enough soprano, he was right, and I think that is exactly what I most enjoy about it. Anyway, I really thought they should have bested BK tonight. It will be interesting to see how they do against each other on Tuesday and Friday. I give the edge to Glassmen for Finals.

Blue Knights (87.45 - 2nd) - Having said all that, I loved BK's show. I had not seen it previously, and thought it was very entertaining. This show is high powered and intense, and never stops. I think this is one of the most under rated corps in DCI year in and year out. You never hear about these guys, but they are always in the hunt, and never as much as this year! The drill is intense, they travel some of the greatest distances of any group. And that is their biggest probelm in my opinon. I have always felt that BK drill is too tightly written. Corps members seem to have hard times getting to spots, around other members, because everyone is so close together. I think it also makes the forms hard to read, and clean. The carriage of the mebers is really suffering, due to what they are being asked to do. I thought the horns played a difficult book very well, but I felt that they were holding back a bit too much. A little too controlled. The drum line and guard were great! The guard is well designed into the show, and is definately the best I have ever seen them produce. The white guard unis go great against the new corps proper. Although I may be one of the few that loved the old spotted uniforms, the new ones grew on me by the time the show was over. I realize that the new uniforms that all the corps are wearing are so simple, so they are a smaller investment, they just all seem to look alike. This should be a great fight for 5th.

The Cadets (93.35 - 1st) - I had not seen them since their very first show in Lima. I had seen Cavies four times, and BD twice, and was interested to see if they were truly as far ahead as the scores have been indicating. Can you just give them the trophy now? No wait - then I wouldn't be able to see all those great finals performances. These guys are amazing. There is so much going on during this show, that it is impossible to take it all in. Everytime you hear part of the crowd cheer, you wonder, what did I miss? The marching is amazing, the guard is it's normal fantastic self, the hornline is one of the best I have heard the Cadets produce, and the drumline shows off whenever it can! The scary thing - they still have two weeks to improve! And they have plenty I think they can clean up. BD is absolutely no match, and the only thing that I think the Cavies will take from them is percussion, and that by only a small margin. (The Cavies drum line is truly a machine - amazing! Especially those snares) Biggest gripe - the guard unis. Hated them when I first saw them. They were all in this light gray uniform that they now wear for about 30 seconds. I thought they were kind of plain, but this, everyone where something different and obnoxious doesn't work for me. But not as bad as the year they wore the ugly uniforms that were the same as the corps, just a different color. Maybe '96? I also would like to hear the trumpets warm up the sound a little bit. It is a little thin at times. But wow, what a show!!! Many have said that this is their best of all time. I would have to still go with my personal fav - '95, but this show is great!!! Madison fans should find a show here that they can understand why it beats them. The closer just never stops. You can almost not hear what is going on because the crowd is screaming the whole time.

Well, sorry I went on so long. I am so addicted to this DCI bug. Has there been a more interesting DCI season in the last ten years? There are so many tight races. 1 - 3, 5 - 8, 9 - 13. Although I have my opinions, I really only see one corps in the top 14 that you can really say where they're going to place for sure (SCV -- 4th). The rest have been so interesting to watch. I can't wait to go to DC. I think I may stop in and watch the top 8 in quarters (tried going all three nights, plus all day rehearsals one year, and wore myslef out by finals, but who can tire of the top 8?). I have seen them all except for Crown and SCV, and can't wait to see how finals shift out.

Hope this provided some insight,   Go Cadets!!!!!!


Although the stadium situation was less than ideal (I've heard there was some construction going on at Nippert and that is why the contest wasn't there, but it will return there next year) the rain held off and all in all it was a great nigh for drum corps. I would like to thank Nick Clooney for doing a wonderful job as the announcer. Funny, and enthusiastic and when he made a mistake, he was more than willing to poke fun at himself. Also, it was a good thing he announced theBlue Knights again at the end of their first number, I am sure some people might have thought they wee actually looking at the Blue Devils, but I digress. On to the show.

Yamato: I thought they had an interesting looking program. The horn line is pretty strong, but has some control issues as well as intonation issues not uncommon for a corps of their size. The guard tried some really interesing stuff, but the performance level just wasn't there. All in all a fine job considering it was only their second or third show I believe. They should do well in Div. III.

Cincinnati Glory: I have seen this corps a few times this year and I have been singing its praises since June. I shan't stop now! I always liked the musical selections and the visual program, but tonight they found another gear. The entire corps performed musically and visually much more strongly than they did last week. The guard was on fire. The soloists -- especially my favorite baritone soloist of the year -- were strong as well. Great sound, great look, great performance. I think they will do well in College Park. The only negative thing I can say about the show is that the guard really should not be smiling during Long Time Ago. It's a song of lost love and nostalgia. If I were interpreting a song a man sings about his love who died a long time ago, smiles would not be included. Obviously they were good if I am able to get that much into their show to find a flaw. BTW, I am now the proud owner of a Cincinnati Glory sweatshirt -- a mere $15 at the souvie booth, what a deal!

Troopers: Nice full sound, albeit a bit rough at times. It looks like they've filled some holes, indeed 5 members stood on the sideline during the closer, so it seems they've just added 5 new horns. Solid drum line and the guard tried, but they really need some help. The guard was far more competent than when I last saw them, but still the weak link overall. The Ohio crowd ate up the American theme though, especially the battle scene. Correct me if I am wrong, but when the Troopers do the Sunburst move, don't the members do a few counts of high mark time before stepping off? Well, they aren't now (or I missed it), but their signature move didn't elicit it's typical response. I think they will hold on to a semis spot, it's been too long out of semis for such an outstanding member of DCI. Major complaint: Why has the Trooper staff watered down the horn book so much? I would hope the kids could handle a slightly less pedestrian version of both America and Stars and Stripes Forever. It's holding them back I believe.

Spirit of Atlanta: Oh my goodness, there is a pulse! I like the quality of the hornline, the drumline and even the guard seemd improved since last weekend, but last week teh show flatlined in Centerville and I left Spirit for dead this year. Last night they turned everything up a notch and finally looked like they were enjoying the performance of the show. It is incredible what some energy will do! I hope they keep improving because the show is begining to take off right now. I doubt that they will catch anyone in front of them, but it will be a blast to see in Semis.

Glassmen: Solid, well constructed visual program, but in my opinion it is a GE vacuum. I do think that they had the unfortunate task of going on afer BK and Cadets. So just when the crowd is settling down after the Cadets tore the joint apart, here come the Glasmen with their solid, well constructed, slightly cerebral treatment of Gershwin's Piano Concerto. It just didn't work for the crowd. I personally do not care for this show, even though I respect and admire the talent of the members of the corps. Unfortunately, I just don't think they have been given the goods to continue their climb up the ladder.I really don't like the handle holding section by the guard and the pas de deux between the male and female guard, it just looks too forced and bit corny.

Blue Knights: I loved their show tonight. I haven't seen them since California, so I was eagerly awaiting their performance. And boy did they deliver. The crowd really seemed shocked at just how solid they were. The guard was absolutely incredible last night! I don't think I saw any drops and boy are they working! And the pas de deux worked very well for them especially the way the corps surrounds the couple at the end of the middle portion of the show. The horns are playingan incredibly difficult book while marching and dancing an incredibly difficult show. Although at times the superhuman step size is sooo large that it can be distracting. Oh well, that's not going to change now! I loved their sound last year and I think they are even better now. Incredible mellophone section. Tremendous control, balance and intonation. Well deserved victory over Glassmen.

Cadets: Well, I am still amazed at how much better they sound with the Bflat horns! Gone are the intonation problems that had unfortunately become trademarks of the Cadets in recent years -- heck even when they won it all in 1998 they had some pretty awful intonantion problems. Beyond that, the mellophones are actually "Mellow"phones. The sound no longer pierces the bones of those who listen to it. Easily the best they have sounded since 1993. The guard uniforms don't do much for me and they don't really march as much incredible drill as in the past. But, if any corps could drp the drill down a notch and still compete, it is most assuredly the Cadets. The begining is just outstanding! And clean! Oh my, the Cadets are clean! Just a fun, exciting show. I can't wait to see them again in Allentown.

Parting shots: First, I believe that some corps beat other corps early in the season because the perfomance levels are higher even though they have an inferior product. When the corps with the superior product increases it's performance level, they usually pass the corps with the inferior product for good. Last week, this happened in Centerville when the Cavaliers passed the Blue Devils. It happened again last night when Blue Knights passed Glassmen. In my opinion, the glassmen will not beat BK again this season.

Second, I am not convinced that the Cadets will win in DC. Having now seen all of the contenders, I think the Cadets and Cavies are going to have a great battle for the title. I am just happy that I will be there to see it!

Tony Lovenshei

Here are my thoughts on the show in Fairfield, Ohio last night:

Troopers: Corny Americana show, but the crowd liked it. The Troopers were very dirty for this time in the season, esp. the horns. I very much enjoyed the "battle scene" in which the contras likened themselves to cannons. Cool section.

Blue Knights: I've heard lots of good things about BK on RAMD this year, and I must say I was impressed with their show. Not the most exciting edition of BK, but their hornline can play well, and their show is well designed. Opener was the highlight for me - nice arrangements and exciting. The drill is challenging, but still needs some cleaning. BK does a lot of body movement/dancing/"artsy" poses during their show. I must say that, when it comes to this kind of stuff, I am a bit of a purist - give me great marching and music and I'll be happy. Even though the dancing fit the overall feel of the program, it still seems like a bit of a cop-out. I mean, really, they are NOT moving during these sections. Good show tonight for BK. Look for them in the 5- 6 spot in finals.

Glassmen: Had more of an effect on me tonight than in Indy last week. They received a good response from the crowd tonight also - there were plenty of Glassmen fans in the crowd tonight. Their show is getting a spark of life in it though, but I still think the music is a bit too inaccessible for the general audience. Brass sounded nice tonight, a little crass at some loud spots, but overall very balanced. Drums were fine, they didn't leave any lasting impressions on me. Glassmen's show is growing on me...I will definitely be listening to their performance on the cds this year.

Cadets: After their performance, my girlfriend said this - "Disney = cheeseball."
With that said, I have to agree, to an extent. The Cadets are playing REALLY well, their horns are great and their drums are playing well too. The crowd enjoyed them tonight. But I think their show is WAAAAY to bando. It came across (to me) as a really well excecuted marching band show. Way to gimmicky for my taste. I like it when a corps takes the field, does their thing and does it well, and then recieves their due response. I am NOT into a corps showing off. The entire middle piece (with drum solo and horn fingering feature) did not impress me very much at all. And I understand that it is working on a certain level - I mean heck, I am not ignorant of the fact that the crowd was going nuts at this spot. It just didn't impress me. MARCH AND PLAY. That's what excites me. The cadets move a lot in the opener and the closer (clean up those straight lines!), but the tunes inbetween are fairly static. It should be interesting when they go head to head with the Cavaliers who, in my opinion, have a much meatier visual book. So, overall impressions of the Cadets - an extremely well performed cheesball show.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Take care!

Jeff Spoonhower

Canton, OH (DCI)

I am sure we all got the scores for tonights show in Massillon, OH, so I thought I would post a review for the night owls to read.

For those of you who have not experienced the Massillon, OH DCI show, it is something special and certainly worth the price of admission, not to mention a flight from the west coast or where ever you live.

The show is part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival which this year took place from July 21 - 31. As many of you know, Canton, OH is where the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame is located, and events include parades, concerts, barbecue cook outs, the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, drum corps and much more. This year's inductees were Howie Long, Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana, Dan Rooney, and Dave Wilcox.

The drum corps show, co-sponsored by the Canton Bluecoats and the Hall of Fame committee, is held in Massillon, OH, a suburb of Canton, at Paul Brown Stadium. Paul Brown, of course, was the founder of the Cleveland Browns football team, and as a high school coach he won 23 State Championships at Massillon HS. Massillon's stadium holds about 20,000 plus people, and they pack it in for HS football games.

Tonights show probably brought in close to 4,000 to 5,000 (maybe more) people. It was a good showing, and the show was great!

Allegiance Elite - 54.65
Show - Music from the Video Game, Final Fantasy VIII
First time I have seen them this year and I was pleased with the show. It is entertaining and readable. Even though I do not know the music at all, I found the show to flow nicely until the end. At that point, the music became disjunct and out of control in spots. Intonation is not bad in opener, and I suspect that endurance is a problem. Their drum do some very nice things and never play anything too difficult. This I like because they know their role, to support and enhance the melodic line, not take away from it. They are not the best drum line out there, but the kids are doing a fine job of adding to the show. Lots of times when I see small corps, I feel there is this competition between the drum line and the horn line--like who can play the most notes. Good job, Allegiance.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - 64.55
Show - Miss Saigon
Always a favorite of mine, I just love how this corps begines the show. From the onset, the pit is decked in military camaflouge nets and their is a cluster of propellers in the middle of the field. I don't know if there was to be a double meaning to the propellers at all, but while they are in the cluster before the show starts, they look like crosses, depicting a veterans memorial, which would go quite well with the Vietnam setting. As the show begins, that cluster breaks loose and covers the field while spinning as the percussion provides the hellicopter sounds. A great effect! The musical arrangements are a bit watered down and articulations are often hard to discern. I was sitting right on the 50 and half way up, so I had a good vantage point for visual and music. I like the music, however, and it is very enjoyable. Kiwanis can put out some sound for a smaller corps, and the drill is quite nice. If anything, they lack that one beautiful moment in the show that one would expect from a Broadway show. The music is sometimes too driving and too loud all the time. Their show really needs some of those lush, soaring lyrical lines that are so present in the music of Miss Saigon.

Southwind - 81.35
Show - Intermezzo and March from "First Suite in E flat" by Gustav Holst, Legends of the Fall by James Horner, and Les Preludes by Franz Liszt.
Wonderful Show! Very enetertaining and a tribute to the kids who perform it and the wonderful staff who designed and taught it. I viewed this show a few weeks ago in Huntington, WV, and it was even better tonight. Their marching is getting lots better, and their horn line is just wonderful. The music is fun, easy to listen to, lyrical and powerful, and boy do they cover the field. This is a strength with Southwind. If they do make finals, it is because of a number of aspects, but none more than their visual presentation which is outstanding. Having said that, all that field coverage brings problematic issues such as phasing in tutti passages or overlapping musical lines where the melodic content is passed from one voice to the next. This was a minor problem tonight. However, if you can catch these guys, please do, they are worth the price of admission.

Bluecoats - 82.85
Show - Threshold
The Bluecoats are performing their best show since 1995 in my opinion. They are powerful, entertaining, and very colorful. When I first saw them I loved the show but it was obvious that the marching was weak. Tonights performance was stronger and the visual package is much better than last year's. There is a lot to clean in this production and there is no doubt that they will contend for top 12. Musically, I am not familiar with most of their repertoire, but I love the opener and middle tune. The closer is too short and needs to develop a bit more before the final climax. All the music is easy to listen to and that horn line is super powerful. One of their soprano soloists had a rough night as he did in the past two viewings that I have seen them. He is forcing, pinching, and basically playing from the neck up. He needs to open his apature a bit more and get the tongue out of the way faster and use his air column better. Southwind is creeping up on these guys and it could be a dogfight between the Bluecoats, Southwind, Carolina, and the Colts come DCI finals. However, I like the 'Coats chances. Overall show design and performance level is much better than the other three in my opinion, and what a musical drum line. GO Blooooooooo!

Phantom Regiment - 87.35
Show - Masters of Mystique (The Dawn of Modern Music)
Having read much about Phantom on RAMD, and this being my first time seeing these guys, all I have to say is WOW. I loved it!!! This is a great Phantom show that everyone should see. Is it the most exciting show they have ever performed? NO. But it may be one of the most complex. The visuals are not that difficult, but this drill is not as easy as people were indicating on RAMD. The drill is outstanding in terms of coordination with the music, and it is not clean yet, but I see it getting there come finals. The music is very mature and they have an outstanding horn line. I was most impressed with the low brass sound. Some have said that their baritones are not up to par, but I disagree, they were lush and symphonic tonight. The sopranos have some amazing power and control, although a bit bright for my taste. The real treat to this horn line is the mello section which has some serious notes to play. The overall intonation is just excellent! A real treat. I remember Spirit of Atlanta's version of Petrouchka, which I love, but there is much to love about this version as well. One of those aspects is the mellophones, so when you see Phantom, listen for this gem-of-a-section. Overall, this is a top 4, top 5 horn line. Come finals, I would bet money on that (although I do not bet, at least not that I am willing to admit publicly. :)

By the way, the music for Phantom was arranged by Mr. Michael Klesch, who was the Cadets brass caption head and arranger from 1985-1992. He has arranged some gems, including the Cadets Appalachian Spring, To Tame The Perilous Skies, and Bernstein Celebration shows. I knew there was a reason I loved these arrangements. I feel he is one of the true greats in arranging in DCI and Phantom is lucky to have him. Hope he stays with them for a while. There is a lot to this show and you will need to see it multiple times, but it is classy, emotional and very powerfull. I had chills when Phantom brought 11 tenors on the field, pounding away to Stravinsky' pulsing, percussive string transition from the Rite of Spring. If these guys clean this in two weeks...TOP 5!!! Mark my words.

Boston Cursaders - 87.45
Show - RED
Just barely out-pacing the Regiment, Boston has what may be the Show-of-the-Year. I am not kidding, what a great show. It was may favorite of the night as far as emotion and flat-out enjoyment. They are for real, and super powerful. I felt they had a power edge on the Regiment tonight. The opening set is rivetting. Two opposing company fronts start from each end zone and build numbers as they move toward the center, eventually colliding and then expanding into a wonderful block that simply sparkles as it hits and captures the audiences attention. From that point the corps never lets you go. You are in the palm of their hand the entire ride, and what a ride it is! The best moment of the show is their ballad, "Time To Say Goodbye" (Con Te Partiro) which many of you have heard Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli sing in duet fashion on PBS. It is a stunning presentation and maybe my favorite moment of the year. The singing that preceeds the bulk of this section of the show makes for a wonderful moment, and Boston does a nice job with it, although the bass voices need to project more and the pitch needs some work. Good idea though. Can they be top 5 this year? Maybe, but I doubt it. Time will tell. They have lots more to clean than does Phantom, but I am not sure that at this point that is a good thing. With just under two weeks left to finals, Phantom is in a better position to put that extra polish on their show and maybe one extra move at the end to complete what is a fantastic show. If they do this (Phantom that is), I see them challenging BK and Glassmen more so than Boston for that 5th spot. I have seen the Glassmen, and I think Phantom plays better and drums just as good, and frankly, Phantom has more GE than the Glassmen. What the Glassmen have is great drill. Boston will, however, be very competitive, and if they clean, the sky is the limit (5th, 6th, or 7th).

Blue Devils - 92.3
Show - Cinematic Music of Bernard Herrman
The Blue Devils have a wonderful opening number that is simply stunning from both visual and musical perspectives. After that, I find the show to be a lot of the same thing--the same visuals, same musical ideas, usual guard tricks, etc. I like it, don't get me wrong, they are wonderful to watch. Their horn line, as always, packs some serious power and man can they play accurately and in tune. They easily had the most power of any of the corps here tonight. I love the sound of Bb horns. Their marching is signature BD, clean, smooth, and elegant. I love it. The guard's technique is simply awesome, and from and overall perspective, this is what gives me goose bumps when I watch them; it's that excellence in all the performance areas. The music is fun to listen to and easy to discern. It is not atonal or too disjunct, but it does have a certain effects-driven quality to it. Lots of hits, bops, waves of loud chords, basically very repetitive in terms of ideas. What an awesome mellophone line! Listen for the licks in the closer. Drum line does the high sticking thing too much for my taste, but they are real good and a joy to watch.

One thing I cannot stand for, however, is the hanging over on release points by the sopranos. This is done too often and I feel it cheapens the quality of the music, not to mention a very fine horn line. In addition, is it necessary to hang over on the release of America The Beautiful? I thought that was embarassing tonight and so did the crowd. I could give a rats ass if you can hit a double high Q-sharp. Big deal!!! The only people I saw standing for that crap looked as though they had an IQ the size of my show ("yeah dude, check it out, he hit a high note. WOW") Try turning a phrase for once when you are playing the beginning of that tune instead of slopping through it. Come on BD, you are better than what I heard tonight after your show.

I have now seen BD, Cavies, and Cadets, and I can tell you that although the Blue Devils are not out of it, the race for the DCI crown this summer is between the Cadets and Cavies. It is a close one, but I must agree with one of the Texas reviewers by saying that it will take a Holy act of God for the Cadets to not win it. They are just that good this year.

Hope you enjoyed this review. I had fun tonight and the show was a major success.

Jonathan Willis

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