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The Sound Machine Archive Presents|
2000 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews - As Posted on RAMD!
Page Eleven 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
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Sunday August 6
|East Rutherford, NJ (DCI)
Ok, I don't have much experience writing reviews, but I thought some people
would like to know a few details about the show:
Jersey Surf: Missed most of the show due to traffic, but whatever I
saw looked great! Last time I saw them was in 98 and they were much
improved this year.
Spirit of Atlanta: This was my first viewing of this corps and I was very
pleased with their show. Their drumline and brass were much better
than I anticipated! I look foward to seeing you guys in the future. Good Job!
Crossmen: What a great show! Much improved over last year. Caravan
and Birdland were great. Wasn't crazy about their guard uniforms but their
execution was top notch. Drumline did a good job selling the show. This and 97
are my favorite Xmen shows of the 90's. Once again Good Job!
Phantom Regiment: WOW! I loved their show. I wasn't expecting much from the
comments on RAMD, but i felt they def. nailed their show tonight.I just loved
the sound of their brass! CG and Perc. are MUCH MUCH improved. Definitely a
step up from 98-99. I didn't really find the drill all that boring etc. I could
see their scores being a little lower than others in GE, but not much. I
thorughly enjoyed their show! GREAT job.
Boston Crusaders: Maybe I was expecting too much, but their show didn't thrill
me as much as others tonight. I thought their brass was no where near the
quality of Phantoms. Cologuard was about equal to Phantom's but Phantom clearly
beat BC drumline wise. Did not think that the singing was necessary in the
ballad. I know they are trying to do something a little different, but i don't
think it worked that well.(I was up really high and it was also Giant Stadium,
so i could be wrong).
Anyway, I thought the show was good, but it certainly didn't wow me.
Blue Devils: Ok, it usually takes me a while to get into BD shows. I usually
have to listen or see their show a couple of times before I dig it. I knew
after listening to an MP3 of their show this year, it wouldn't be any
different. I hoped that the visual would really add to the excitement of the
show, but it didn't(well at least not as much as i hoped). The first half of
the show I was digging, but when the N X NW section came, I felt that the brass
arrangements were very blah. Not BD exciting at all. While the were very clean
in all areas, the show didn't wow me. Sorry BD i tried to like.
SCV: WOW! WOW! What a show! I wasn't expecting much from the early season posts
about them, but i was pleasantly suprised. Everything about the show was
incredible. Color Guard is SOO much better than years past. Drumline was
awesome as usual. SCV def had the most appealing visual show of the night, and
maybe the most difficult. I thought they should have been much closer to bd and
cadets, but my opinion doesn't really matter so whatever...Anyway great job
Cadets: What can I say? Simply amazing. From top to bottom they have it
all(except nice CG uniforms-ugg). But that doesn't take away from how amazing
they executed the show. Drumline was smoking tonight, def. one of their better
lines from previous shows that I have heard. They def. have the chance to take
it all at finals. I also thought that there should have been more of separation
from BD and them. Ooh and the solo part of the show was unreal! AMAZING!
Well its late, and I have to work early tomorrow. I am sure i made more
grammatical and content errors than i can count with all my fingers and toes,
but I am just trying to throw some of my opinions out there. I am sorry if i
offended anyone, I am just trying to be honest and relay to people what I saw.
I still have the utmost respect for everyone in this activity. Keep up the good
OK, it's time for my annual review of the show at Giants Stadium. Every
year I usually manage to irrate someone... last year it was the drill writer
for the Cavaliers, who privately (email) and diplomatically disagreed with
me on some of my comments. His points were well taken... if only everyone
were so civil. Just a note for those reading--I admittedly am not the best
judge of percussion, so unless someone seems particularly clean or dirty, or
does something else to distinquish themselves, I probably won't have much to
say. A few general comments: my seat was right on the 50 yard line, but in
row 6 (which equates to about row 12 in the average stadium). Perhaps it
was the my location, perhaps it was the humid air, but the low brass was
very hard to hear from almost every corps. On a positive note, I'm glad to
see so many guards spending a lot of time doing some top notch weapons work.
I remember the days of all flags, all dance, all the time and I'm glad that
we've gone back to incorporating weapons into the guard over the past
several years. Although, what's with all the mismatched velour on the
colorguards? Yikes! Well, at least it's more forgiving than spandex. The
great B-flat versus G debate is pretty much a bust. The G horn lines
sounded "harsh" in comparison, and the B-flats had better intonation. Given
the more sophisticated arrangements of the past several years (and probably
the addition of the third valve), the difference to the "average" Joe in the
stands is probably minimal. Though if you were to put a B-flat horn line
next to a G line from 10-15 years ago... My big concern was volume... I
really didn't think the B-flat lines would be able to produce enough sound
to create the impact associated with drum corps. Shows you what I know.
They may not be the absolute loudest hornlines I've ever heard, but they
certainly are loud enough. Enough with the generalities. Without further
Jersey Surf--this corps has come a long way in the past few years. The show
was well designed, and the kids really sold it. I didn't get the
narrative... somehow it just escaped me what storyline the guard was
telling, but it didn't matter. The show's music, guard work, and drill
stood on it's own. Horns sounded a little thin at times, but they also had
moments of very solid playing. They have improved leaps and bounds in such
a short period of time. The music, guard work, and drill were challenging
to the corps, but not totally above their heads. Too many times you see
smaller corps attempting shows that they do not have the talent to pull off.
The staff/show designers have put together a program for these kids that
challenges them, yet is within their grasp. Very entertaining start to the
Spirit of Atlanta--I give the members credit for going out there and doing
their best to carry on the tradition of this corps... and I give the show
designers a big thumbs down for giving them one of the most boring shows I
have seen in awhile. Design aside, the corps may not be finalist material,
but like everyone else they are out there working hard and hopefully having
the experience of a lifetime. And that makes them winners anyway. As a
side note, I thought the unis looked great.
Crossmen--from a "toe-tapping" entertainment point of view, one of the most
enjoyable shows of the evening. Nice choice of musical selections, good
interpretation by the horns, very nice guard work, a drill that holds your
interest. Percussion didn't have the "groove" of past years, but that
doesn't mean that they were bad. Just different. IMHO, one of the best
ballads of the evening. Very nice job.
Phantom Regiment--OK, what a corps of contrasts. If their feet matched
their playing, they would be looking at a top 5 or 6 placement without
question, IMO. Horns sounded great, percussion too, and they really nailed
the music tonight. One observation--this sounded like perhaps the most "top
heavy" edition of the Regiment that I remember. The deep sonorities just
weren't there. At times they sounded more balanced and blended well, but
overall it wasn't the sound I expected to hear. Of course, everyone sounded
somewhat top heavy tonight, as I stated in the beginning. "Rite of Spring"
isn't for everyone, and I thought the arrangement could have been better,
but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Horns were definitely better than Boston, but
ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... the feet! The drill has it's moments, but the design is
still lacking. And it's dirty--perhaps the result of too many rewrites and
not enough cleaning??? Without looking at the recaps, I think that visual
really has to be holding this corps back. I thought the unis were a fresh
new look--if they were being worn by the Scouts or Troopers. I didn't think
they were a match for the Regiment, personally.
As a side note... after all the Kristi Spears "hub-bub" a few years ago, I'm
surprised I haven't heard the women (OK, and some of the men... ) getting
some payback and talking about the cut on the pants for Phantom's DM this
year. They certainly were talking about his booty in the seats around me.
I must find out who his tailor is... maybe he/she can do something to help
the way I look in... ohhhhhhhhhh, never mind.
Boston Crusaders--man, has this corps come a long way the past couple of
years. This was one of my favorite shows of the night. Horns were solid,
but lacked the punch needed to get them to the next level, IMO. Feet were
pretty clean, though. From my vantage point, they looked cleaner (marching)
than SCV tonight. Show was much more difficult than I expected, well
designed, and it was executed well. Very nice visuals, great music. I've
never been a BAC fan, but I liked the way they incorporated Conquest into
the show, and didn't just literally "blat" it out as in years past. Great
job--they've won me over.
Santa Clara Vanguard--loved the show, hornline really coming together, some
wonderful moments. Another fantastic drill and visual program. "Adagio"
didn't grab me as much as it seems to have done with others, but very effect
ive nonetheless. Hornline not quite as polished as BD and Cadets, but
pretty close. But the feet were DIRTY. Maybe they just had an "off" show
from a marching standpoint... if that's the case, they have a shot to be in
the hunt next week. If not, then I really think they have too much cleaning
to do in a week to compete for the title. As much as I think their show is
better designed than say, BD, the execution is lacking. Personally, I
think the down ending would be more effective if it developed a little
quicker. I "got" it, but IMHO it needed to be tightened up just a little
bit more to really work.
Blue Devils--the automatons strike again. I was really looking forward to
this show--Bernard Herrmann is one of my favorites. Technically it was damn
good--though I thought the middle voices were a little weaker than usual.
Then again, the glory parts in this corps usually go to the sops, and I
don't think the middle voices are used to playing such a demanding book as
they are being asked to play this year. And the snares seemed very muddy
during the drum breaks. Marching was probably the cleanest of the night
(Cadets were close, though). And I will even go so far as to say that the
drill (which I usually am quick to bash) is more demanding than usual this
year, though still not in the same league as the Cadets, Cavaliers or SCV.
BUT, Wayne Downey has found a way to take some absolutely wonderful music
and make it almost boring, IMHO. In a nutshell, drum corps used to take
great--and sometimes "obscure"-- music, boil it down to it's essence, and
put on an interesting show--sometimes challenging to the audience and
participants, but interesting nonetheless. Blue Devils seem to be mastering
the art of taking interesting music and making it (flame wars begin here)
obscure, obtuse and boring. It's wonderful to listen to their technical
proficiency, but it's also boring given the arrangements. I felt the same
thing happened in the WSS/R&J show a couple of years ago--the idea of BD
playing WSS whets the appetite, but in the end the arrangements were nothing
special, IMO. We know they can play... give them some challenging
arrangements that are also entertaining. One does not have to be exclusive
of the other. BD can be deadly performers in finals, and they are within
striking distance. But my gut tells me they have probably maxed out this
show... I'm not sure that they can do much more with it... and what they
have may not be enough to win it all. A solid top 2 or 3 finish on
execution alone, though.
Cadets--show doesn't live up to it's hype (and I'm a Cadets fan), but once
you get through the unmemorable snoozefest called the ballad, the rest of
the show makes up for it. The opener is typical Cadets; though not one of
their best efforts, still enjoyable and I admit I had a smile on my face by
the end of it. Horn line was the most balanced of the lineup to my ears...
I heard more low brass from this corps than any other this evening. The
challenge section was great... perc sounded very clean. Loads of GE from
all sections. The part where the horns alternate between fingering their
own horns and their neighbors is great, though it could be a little cleaner.
Then again, no one said it was easy. :) Overall a great drill, solid
hornline and percussion, effective and clean guard. Is it good enough to
win the title? Yes, but they could easily come in third. A typical Cadets
finals week push and they will be tough to beat. Unlike BD, they still have
some room to clean, and if they are "on" it could be enough to put them over
the top. Of course, I'm sure the Cavaliers will have something to say about
that too. :) I did catch the very end of the clinic, and during the
run-through the Cadets' marching was sloppy in spots. But they really
pulled it out during the show when it counted. It should make for an
interesting championship week.
OK, enough of my thoughts... just remember, we are all entitled to our
opinions, no matter how wrong you may be. :) Just kidding. Really.
Here's my review of the Big Apple Invitational at Giants Stadium.
The weather wasn't great, but could have been worse. It rained before the
show started andduring Jersey Surf's performance, but stopped for the rest,
for the most part. Despite the weather, it was a great show, with a pretty
Jersey Surf- This was my first time seeing them, and I was impressed. They
had a good sound both volume wise and intonation wise for a small corps.
Their show was called "reinCARMENation" and put a different spin on Carmen.
It was arranged well and was pretty entertaining.
Spirit of Atlanta- This was my second time seeing Spirit. The show grew on
me a little, but I still didn't find it overly exiting. A cymbal player
dropped one of his cymbals early in the show, and most of the crowd noticed--
poor guy! It seemed to me that everybody was watching him and the cymbal on
the ground more than the show itself-- I know I was.
Crossmen- I really like this show. It is well known music, done really well,
it is exiting and very entertaining. The park and play sections are great.
One of my favorite moves is in Birdland where the corps compresses and
spirals in to a circle on a decrescendo and crescendo as they unwind-- real
nice effect. The brassline sounds great and the guard is good. They are
definitely are crowd pleaser this year. They might move up a place from
their finish at finals last year.
Phantom Regiment- I had heard mixed reviews on this show-- but I personally
liked it. It starts off a bit slow, but builds pretty quickly and has enough
exiting moments to keeps you interested. The ballad was very pretty-- the
deep, dark Phantom low brass sound is there and it is beautiful. Very good
show-- better than the past few years and hopefully good enough to get them
7th or 6th at championships (I'm a Phantom fan)-- and hope they don't come in
8th again. Just a word on the uniforms: they're pretty nice uniforms and
don't work too badly with the show-- but they're just not Phantom at all.
They should go back to the black uniforms of years past ( the black w/ silver
sash was my favorite)-- these unis just don't fit them and their style.
Maybe they can sell them to another corps-- they would look good on someone
else-- but just not them.
Boston Crusaders- Very exiting show. Loud, energetiic, and entertaining.
Their ballad (Time to say goodbye) was very nice. I agree with many people
that say they will place high at finals. This show definitely has the
potential for it.
Blue Devils- I never really cared for BD's shows (with the excepton of a
few)-- I never really found them especially exiting, and a bit flat. This
year's show was different though. I really liked it. It was very tense,
exiting, wild, and LOUD. It never quit. I was really pleasantly suprised
with their show. I wasn't really expecting anything special, but was
suprised. This show may have changed my opinion of them.
Santa Clara Vanguard- I had heard positive reviews of this show, and in my
opinion they were right-- a great show. Very powerful-- great sound. The
guard was good too. The ballad was pretty, but was a bit disappointed with
the famous " super long chord" that everybody was talking about. I was
expecting a bit more. The ending is a bit anticlimactic, but is not too bad,
it fits the show. Reminds me of their '89 Phantom show. Overall a very good
show as usual from SCV.
Cadets- What a great show!! I saw them about a month ago in Clifton, NJ.
They were great then and they are even better now. Just an all and all great
show. The hornline is great, with a great sound and the great mello runs, as
usual. The drumline is clean, and the guard is very energetic, and clean as
well. This show is just a total package. I still love the "showing off"
sections-- the crowd went wild for them. The drill is clean too, with some
great moves. They are definitely either 1st or 2nd at finals. They just
have total command of this show-- with great stage presence-- which is
important when you are gunning for 1st place. Definitely the crowd favorite
of the night ( they were the "home team") but they would have gotten a big
response even if they weren't.
Well, overall it was a great show, even though the weather could ahve been a
bit better, with many great performances. Giants Stadium is a great venue.
Most of the placements of the corps were predictable, but everyone (including
me) was a bit suprised at how close BD and CBC were-- the crowd oohed when
the CBC's score was announced-- .05 ahead of BD, should have been a bit more.
Anyway, a great show-- a very enjoyable night.
It is definitely going to be a hard fought race in DC next Saturday, with BD,
the Cavaliers, and the Cadets neck and neck for the title. There are so
many great corps this year it is going to be very interesting and exiting. I
can't wait until then!!
Saturday August 5
|Allentown, PA #2 (DCI)
Pride of Soka - The corps took the field . . . only the drum line
wasn't there! The announcer was very amusing. The poor hornline and
color guard had to stand on the field and wait 10 minutes for the drums
to show up! Once they finally took the field, they put on a pretty
good show. I was especially impressed by the quality of the color
Southwind - Great show! If they don't make finals this year, they will
next year for sure! Clean color guard, strong horn line, and solid
drum line. There was some challengin drill, and at one point a contra
almost hit the deck. Everything turned out OK, though. Good luck to
Southwind at semis.
Bluecoats - Great comeback from last year! In my opinion, they were
head and shulders above Southwind in every aspect. They'll be in
finals for sure. Go Blooooo!
Crossmen - Excellent show! Easily the 2nd most entertaining show of
the night. I saw them about a month ago and loved them then. However,
they've improved a TON since then! Way to go Crossmen - a corps this
activity can really be proud of. The park and blow sections (which are
pretty often) are entertaining, but definitely lower the level of
difficulty. No complaints from the crowd, though!
Carolina Crown - Great corps. They definitely deserve to be in finals.
They aren't nearly as entertaining as Crossmen, but I actually think
they are the better corps. Their color guard is awesome! They are
huge, but very clean. Good luck to Crown at finals.
Boston Crusaders - Incredible show. I saw them in early July and they
have come a LONG way since then. The ballad is my favorite in DCI this
year and the ending is spectacular. In my opinion, they do a perfect
job of pleasing the crowd and the judges. I think they deserve 5th
this year without a doubt The color guard had a few rough spots
tonight, but they should be good for finals.
Phantom Regiment - Good performance. Definitely an improvement over
last year. In my opinion, the show is boring, but I'm not a huge fan
of Phantom's style. Also, I'm not a big fan of the new uniforms. Good
luck to Regiment at finals.
SCV - Impressive show. They have very challenging drill, and they
perform it very well. I was particularly impressed with their snares
(visually and musically). SCV's show is definitely not very
entertaining, but they will be a solid 4th place corps at finals.
Cadets - The Cadets are VERY impressive this year. The first half of
the show isn't very entertaining, but it's highly technical and it's
performed very well. I LOVE the second half of their show! All of the
gimmicks are great. The sops, the tenors, everything is so much fun!
The second half of the show is one of the most entertaining/exciting
segments of any Cadets show in a long time.
Madison Scouts - What can you say about Madison tonight? They were
simply ON FIRE! They were scorching. So much talk was given about the
guard having problems this year, but I tell you what, I didn't see a
single drop tonight. They were on! Madison's drill this year is
fabulous! The hype about their drill moves at the end of the closer
and at the end of the opener is more than justified. Without a doubt,
Madison was the most exciting, entertaing, and crowd-pleasing show
tonight. I highly disagree with the people saying that they are dirty.
They have some rough spots in a few forms visually, but other than
that, they are tight! In my opinion, they deserve 3rd tonight, but
that won't happen.
Good job to all competing units! I hope you enjoy the review.
Edward J. Martin
Allentown had great weather for both nights....good crowds both nights,
although definitely more people Saturday....here is my take on the corps......
Beatrix....good to see someone from England...whereas not at a high level of
proficiency yet, they did have some good moments, and exposure here can only
Tarheel.....young corps....low performance levels haunt this corps this
year....again, they do have some moments.......in the future, perhaps a simpler
visual program might allow this corps more time to focus on how they play
...selecting a tune that BD won championships with is not a good idea, either.
Kiwanis.....obviously a rough winter and thus small size really hurts
here....they have some moments, but not enough.....again, in this situation,
doing a simpler drill in order to focus on music performance may be a key to a
Troopers.....nice size corps....sometimes the performance level was excellent
in all sections, but not consistent.......musical arrangements too fragmented
and choppy....if they can now grow to full size and come up with stronger
arrangements, the future could be hopeful.....
Pioneer.....great example what a smaller corps can do with good
coordination....they executed pretty well...........strong percussion....it
would be interesting to see this corps with a 64 person hornline........
Spirit.....after hearing alot of early bad press, I found them to be pretty
good...whereas they don't quite have the vehicle or corps necessary for them to
contend for a finals spot, they are molding into a solid unit that performed
fairly well........if they can hold on to their people and come up with a
strong show next year.........we'll see.....
Colts......also better than early reports....performance level was quite
respectable......the show simply does not have enough musical GE....fragmented
arrangements that lack continuity to put them in next Saturday night's
Blue Knights..........wow.....interesting musical and visual music product
performed very well.....strong in all captions....potent hornline......drumline
is absolutely one of the very best, with very clear and musical percussion
writing.....whereas the corps is one notch below contender level, they
certainly are contending for "best of the rest", and will be in the hunt for
Glassmen..........I don't get it.....this corps has reached a high level of
performance, but they are a "driver without a car".....the musical arrangements
are very choppy and lack continuity and musical emotion.....play Cadets
arrangement (1982) arrangement of Concerto in F, and then listen to
this....there is no comparison.........yet somehow, this corps got a stellar
number in GE music??? It looks like the judging community will have them in
the hunt for 5th, yet their lack of musical GE should have them much
Cavaliers..........wonderful visual program......guard and drumline will
contend for top honors....horns pack punch, but there were some noticeable
brass performance problems.........again, this did NOT SHOW UP on the
recap....WHY???? The musical program is somewhat fragmented, but it is better
than last year's, and all of the "moments" are sold visually as well as
musically.....a fine show, but these two weaknesses....brass performance, and a
some fragmented arrangements, will cost them the title, but they could
certainly get second next week.....
Blue Devils........top notch brass line that will battle Cadets for top
brass.....fine, fine brass sound........how they lost brass performance is a
HUGE mystery to me......attention to detail in marching technique is
stellar.....they did seem to labor with tempo a little tonight at
times.....drumline seemed to have an off night performance-wise, but they have
a strong line, but this is perhaps their biggest weakness, if they have
one......second half of program seemed to lack musical impact....just not as
exciting a musical production as they have had in the past.....they are strong
performers that never give up, so you will have to be "on" to beat them.....my
prediction, a solid third next week......
Saturday opened with shows by two Japanese Corps....again, it is great to see
the activity growing there, and both had some moments...the first one had
arrangements that were pretty well written....hopefully their exposure to the
best here will only help them grow......
Southwind...........Fine corps and show.....very solid brass line, and they
really performed tonight.....this corps should be MUCH, MUCH closer (ie tenths,
not points) to some corps in a battle for 12th........unfortunately, it is very
clear that they are already SLOTTED for 13th or 14th NO MATTER WHAT THEY
DO....this is a well written show that should be in the hunt for finals, but
again, they are already SLOTTED out...............( ie the judges love the
Bluecoats.......much improved from last year....show has some nice impacts, and
all sections perform well....there were some noticeable individual brass
problems that again, DID NOT SHOW UP in the numbers, which confuses me.....they
also had a level of individual marching technique that was below
Southwind......percussion line is solid, and guard performs well......score
seemed about 2 points too high for the level of performance that I saw......
Crossmen......big brass sound, and they sell their product well.....musical
demand not as strong as other finalists....their hornline has improved from
last year, but again, there were noticeable individual problems that did not
show up in their score.....guard is very fine and does alot to sell the visual
show.....drumline does not compare to the potent and exciting lines that they
have had in the past....they don't necessarily detract from the product, but
this line is weak compared to all other corps around them, as the battery
doesn't generate much effect and also had some noticeable performance problems,
and they lack keyboard work in the pit.....they could finish as high as eighth
next week, but to me, this is a 10th-12th product.
Crown.....this show is pretty-well written musically, and has some fine
moments.....drumline is stellar performance-wise and musical, and they have a
great pit/keyboard section......some problems in brass and visual performance
may have cost them, but they are cleanable at this point.....this product seems
stronger than Bluecoats or Crossmen, but it seems as though they have been
"slotted" as well.......in my opinion, they should be a strong 10th next week,
but it is looking as if they are already "slotted" in the #12 spot.........
Boston:.......WOW!!!!!! very strong brass job tonight....I was stunned by the
low number by the brass judge....not sure who he was listening to.......The
product is cohesive and very well arranged, well staged visually, strong CG,
and they are selling it......fine, balanced performance level in all captions,
and they are starting to become stellar.....they should be on TV in 5th, and if
SCV doesn't execute, 4th is not impossible here.....if they can continue this
progress, the east coast will soon have 2 national contenders.......
Phantom.......they had some early show jitters that had some noticeable phasing
problems.....full, rich horn sound......drumline executes very well, and the
multi-percussion marching rigs are used very effectively....musically, the show
has too much dissonance for the average fan to grab on to (Right of Spring is
like that), and this is a negative from a GE standpoint.....a strong
performance level will give them a single digit finish, but an eigth or ninth
place finish is likely....
SCV......strong visual program, and they performed well in all
captions......whereas they have fine brass and percussion, they are not stellar
enough performance-wise to contend in these captions....musical book is
somewhat fragmented, but the visual program does much to minimize that...the
build in Adagio for Strings is probably the biggest musical moment/impact.....
if they had a few others that strong it would enhance their GE....they are
working hard, but this looks like a solid 4th place product this year.........
Cadets.........they have it all.....stellar performance levels in all
captions....musical book makes strong musical sense and strong
arrangements.......brass line is very strong, and their new horns have made a
very positive difference......the last four minutes (tenors behind the back,
tradeoffs, and horns valving other horns)....are both innovative and GE
loaded.....typical (for them) great visual program with great guard....this
corps was easily 2 points stronger than ANYONE this weekend, and I was a little
baffled at their low winning score....the only way they will go down is if they
don't nail a job next Saturday, as this is the finest product on the field this
year by far....even if others manage to hang with them in the performance
captions, this show wins hands down in GE......
Madison.....I was expecting to see a very weak corps from the scores I have
been seeing.....I don't know who is being judged here, but it is not
them.....they should be crunching certain corps in the musical/brass captions
and GE Music captions (Crossmen, Crown, Bluecoats) that they are losing
to....whereas visual performance is not at contender level, it is not as low as
they are being given....this seems to be the corps that the judging community
loves to dump on.....I hope they know who the fans were booing for 5 minutes
after the score.... this corps belongs in the 6th to 8th range, and yet it is
VERY OBVIOUS that they have also been slotted to finish lower.....you think you
have heard booing, wait until next weekend.......
BYE and enjoy the rest of the season!
The Cavaliers and Cadets were crowned DCI Eastern champions on Friday and
Saturday night respectively and positioned themselves, along with the Blue
Devils, as the favorites in this week's DCI Championships at the University
But while those corps took to the forefront in the title race, Allentown and
J. Birney Crum Stadium may have been the biggest winners as the city and
legendary drums corps stadium magnificently hosted its 24th consecutive and
possibly last DCI East event and was appropriately rewarded with ideal weather
and big crowds both nights. J. Birney Crum Stadium is finally receiving
much-needed renovations next year and will be unable to host the event next
summer, or possibly again since the renovation could leave its future as a
premier drum corps venue in doubt. I attended my 22nd-consecutive DCI East
Championship in that wonderful relic this weekend and I'm sure I wasn't the
only fan in attendance who reminisced about the wonderful memories I had
witnessed there over the years. I witnessed my first live junior corps show
there with the 1978 DCI East Championships, and was hooked for life.
This year's edition was spectacular with each show having its own distinct
flavor. The Cavaliers bested the 11-corps field and nipped defending DCI
co-champion and rival Blue Devils by a tenth (93.75 to 93.65) in Friday's show,
which offered more abstract yet enjoyable music. The Cadets may not have played
their best show, but still managed to hold off the surging Santa Clara Vanguard
(93.80 to 92.35) in Saturday's Allentown finale -- which fittingly had more "fan
friendly" shows with potentially eight of the 12 DCI finalists this season.
It's not what you play but how you play it. While few fans were familiar with
the music of the Cavaliers' (65B-28P-32CG-3DM) "Niagara Falls" program, the
corps does a magnificent job of selling the concept -- much like Santa Clara
did last season while winning a share of the title. The visual program is once
again stunning and hands down the best of the season -- replete with its
trademark fast-paced, ever changing symmetrical shapes which had the crowd on
its feet throughout. But the most appropriate moment of the show might have been
one of the slower ones in the second movement as the brass blows air through
its horns, simulating the sounds of the falls, while forming an undulating,
wave-like block on one side, with the guard slowly spinning bluish silks at the
end of the form on the other side. The Cavaliers swept percussion, brass and
color guard -- with the percussion appearing like it might be headed for high
honors in Maryland with fourth-tenths lead over the Devils and easily one of
the cleanest on the field. All the notes, visuals and execution that you've
grown to expect from the Cavies are there from the section (9S-5T-5B-9P), which
was a show in itself during the encore concert. Of note in the concert, while
it was an awesome sound with the corps playing so close to the stands, more
than one fan was struck by how hard this music was to appreciate without the
stunning visuals. Fortunately, the "fan friendly" Cavies delighted the remaining
crowd with one they were sure to recognize as they played "Somewhere Over the
Rainbow" to close the performance.
The Blue Devils (64B-26P-34CG-2DM) may have a different name for their shows
each year, with this one's being "Methods of Madness," but they continue to
have the same trademark Blue Devil texture -- no matter what horns they use.
The creative staff knows the formula that has worked before -- uncanny
execution, big brassy sounds, thunderous unison drums (8S-4T-5B-9P), a fabulous
color guard and just enough drill with a lot of boxes to please the judging
panel. Hey, if it's not broke, don't fix it -- and the Devils have certainly
not been broke as they have marched their way to four of the last six DCI titles.
They have all the elements to make it five in seven years, although their
performance levels may not quite be up to past standards -- possibly lagging
from their three-week trip to Europe. That's bad news for the rest since the
Devils were within a tenth of the Cavaliers and only .15 off the Cadets' score
from Saturday night with one week of practice left. This year's show is dark as
expected, featuring music from Aldred Hitchcock films, and the opening fast-paced
backfield side-to-side moves with the corps turning 360's just to tease the
audience might be the most memorable moment. The incredibly fast runs on the
keyboards in the middle of production also stand out.
The Blue Knights (64B-25P-36CG-2DM) look a little Blue Devilish in their new
royal blue uniforms with black pants and shoes, and apparently they're playing
that way too as the Knights finished third on this night and appear poised for
their first top six finish in their history next week. The "Colors of Brass and
Percussion" show featuring music by Peter Graham is not real approachable, but
much like the Cavies the corps sells it with its visual program and flair. New
Hall of Fame inductee Ralph Hardimon has another winner in his percussion section
(7S-4T-5B-9P), which finished third on this night and was just two-tenths off the
Devils. Hardimon's Blue Knight percussion lines are now approaching some of the
levels of greatness he had in his earlier lines at Santa Clara. The guard is
beautiful once again in every sense -- featuring gorgeous girls and the best color
of the night, and possibly the weekend, in those wonderful hand-painted silks.
The main question the staff of the Glassmen (66B-27P-30CG-2DM) must be asking is
"who schedules the order at these events anyway?" The Glassmen had the unenviable
position of being sandwiched between the Cavaliers and Blue Devils -- something
which also happened to the corps in Indianapolis. The corps did its best with its
"Concerto in F" program, which was easily the most recognizable music among the
top four corps on this night. But after the incredible lightening fast show by the
Cavaliers left the crowd drained, the Glassmen could do little to win the crowd on
this night with a much slower paced production. It was actually sad, since if
properly seeded on this night, the Glassmen might have been a fan favorite with
the Gershwin drum corps favorite. Glass percussion has joined the DCI upper-echelon
in recent years and this summer's edition is right there again -- trailing the Blue
Knights by just two-tenths and the Devils by four despite being smaller
(6S-4T-5B-4C-8P) than past versions. The guard uniforms are lovely with the corps
trademark triangle cutout around the navel, and the girls all wearing wigs to
create a uniform appearance. Take heed Glassmen, while I couldn't remember much
about the actual show -- possibly still being in Cavalier hang-over myself -- your
music was the only selections I caught myself humming out of the stadium on the
The Colts (64B-31P-27CG-2DM) are trying to be "the comeback kids" in their bid to
remain in the top 12, but they may be running out of time as their fifth-place
finish Friday came with a score of 82.20 which was nearly three points from the
rest of the finals' contenders Saturday. What's more, improving Southwind was right
on their heels with an 82.15 Saturday. The Colts new red and white uniforms with
dark military accents are a cleaner look than their old mainstays, and their Steven
Melillo music in "Wait of the World" fits with their darker appearance. Unfortunately,
it might be a little too abstract for the fans and judges alike, although the Colts'
drill might be the most ambitious this corps has tried yet. It cost them on this
night, as they lost at least one brass player at a direction change who went down
at the pivot. Brass apparently holds the key to the Colts' fate as they were a rather
distant sixth on this night with a 14.4 (out of 20) -- losing by half a point to
Spirit of Atlanta and beating Pioneer's 36-person horn line by just two-tenths. The
corps as a whole seems to be proficient in each section, but none really stands out
and may be good enough to pull the corps into finals. Colts had been surging in recent
weeks, but they'll need a major spark next week in order to make the Saturday show
Spirit of Atlanta (50B-29P-22CG-1DM) has gone through a lot of well-documented
turmoil this season and appears to have weathered the storm quite well. It's
"Atlanta: Spirit of the New South" show has grown in terms of maturity and
performance. You can actually now hear some of the old Spirit sounds coming from
the brass, no doubt from the guidance of the corps' legendary brass instructor
Freddy Martin, who is now corps director. Unfortunately for Spirit, it is destined
for 15th in Maryland -- no more, no less. There's just no where for Atlanta to go
after finishing sixth in Friday's show with a 78.35. Spirit just isn't good or big
enough to catch either Southwind or the Colts, but has a similar size and strength
edge on Pioneer -- with almost a three-point lead on this night. Both the color
guard and percussion (7S-4T-5B-4C-9P) sections seem to hold the key to that
superiority over Pioneer, with each of them scoring a definitive 1.1 advantage
Friday. The percussion feature, particularly the back-sticking licks in the snare
line, is a highlight in the show, although the new Dynasty drums are tuned far too
wet for my taste. Spirit should take a lesson from the Blue Devils, who get a much
crisper sound from their Dynasty equipment.
Despite losing to Spirit, Pioneer (36B-28P-20CG-2DM) won the fans in the first
half of Friday's show with their presentation of "Brigadoon." Pioneer knows its
smaller than most of its competition in Division I, but the corps doesn't seem to
care. The show starts fast, is well-written for the size of the corps, and has some
familiar and well-played music which fits the corps' Irish image. It learned last
year that the "name of the game" is quality and not quantity, for the most part,
and appears destined to improve upon its 17th-place finish from last year -- unless
there's a Division II corps which can beat them. But just like Spirit, Pioneer's
position appears to be set as it seems to be a lock for 16th in Maryland. While not
as big as last year, Mickey Hartzog's percussion section (6S-4T-5B-4C-9P) continues
to be a highlight for me. It's got groove and an identity which will serve the corps
well if it can bolster its overall size.
"America's corps" also appears to be back after several years of struggles as the
Troopers (54B-29P-20CG-1DM) have now put true Division I-sized corps on the field in
each of the past two years and are making strides with their performance -- steps
which might just get them back into semifinals this year, although they face the
most serious threat from Division II's best. The Troopers finished eighth Friday
(71.95) and make their own case for being America's corps this year, playing a show
which is true Americana. The fans love the Battle of Baltimore which eventually
produces the Troopers' version of the national anthem. The drill moves more than
past years and is replete with a more subtle Sunburst. All sections are improved
from a year ago, with the guard definitely appearing more contemporary than past
years. Take a closer look at some of the performers in this corps -- there are some
real youth in the Trooper ranks. What an accomplishment it would be for Casper to
make it back into semis! If the staff can keep some of these green troops together
for future years, the Troopers could once again turn into a Division I fighting
Give Kiwanis Kavaliers (26B-25P-18CG-1DM) some credit. Easily the smallest Division
I corps on the field, Canada's only D-I corps is doing justice to its "Miss Saigon"
production. If the Kavaliers doubled the size of their hornline, they probably would
be semifinals' bound in Maryland. As it is, the 25 brass on the field (one apparently
coming in soon) is just too small to sell this show, which has some nice moments --
like the opening guard move with the chopper blades to similar helicopter sounds
coming from the pit. If nothing else, Kiwanis has blown past Tarheel Sun -- 69.90
to 66.40 on this night. Despite the lead, the full percussion section (7S-3T-5B-10P)
still appears to be underutilized and fell to Tarheel in the competition.
The staff of Tarheel Sun (44B-22P-16CG-1DM) just doesn't seem to know where to take
its 2000 production titled "SWWEET." Since seeing them in Philadelphia July 8, the
corps has aborted its uniform change (thankfully) -- switching from its black, gray
and blue "Star Trek: The Next Generation" uniforms back to its beautiful yellow
jackets, now sporting a red Madison-like sash. But while the uniforms are improved,
the show sadly is not. In fact, I felt it was better in my first viewing from all
sections. There are still far too many individual errors at this time of the season
and the corps really isn't selling music the crowd could appreciate with "Channel
One Suite" and "Suite for Jazz Band." The battery also lost one player at each
position since my first viewing (going from 6S-4T-6B-9P to 5S-3T-5B-9P), possibly
to fill it holes in the drill. Who knows? Try as it might, it appears as if Tarheel's
season will end Thursday at College Park.
Beatrix (40B-26P-20CG-1DM) put Dutch drum corps on display as it opened Friday's
show with a pleasing presentation of "Yentl." There are some nice moments in this
show, although the performers appear far to inexperienced (at least by our standards)
to score with this show. Marching fundamentals lag throughout the show, and so does
endurance through the ambitious book. Still, it's nice to see the true "international"
aspect to Drum Corps International. The crowd gave them a nice welcome too.
I had just gotten telling everyone I knew that The Cadets (66B-29P-30CG-2DM) would
win the show Saturday and probably next Saturday at finals too. Their performers
and show are just too good not to win it all, and the Cadet staff knows how to get
them to the winner's circle. Unfortunately, the only thing that could stop the
Cadets is -- well, the Cadets. They nearly did that Saturday as they clearly didn't
have their "A game" for their performance of "We Are the Future," although it was
still good enough to beat the Vanguard solidly. Projection was lacking the pop it
had when I witnessed the Cadets in Philadelphia, lines were ragged and the crispness
in general was not up to their standards. Still, this show has it all -- including
the players to take it to the top. If I were a betting man, I'd still make the Cadets
the favorites, but Saturday's effort probably tightened things up a little more than
they had been. The percussion (10S-4T-5B-10P) feature, particularly the tom and snare
breaks, followed by the brass lick featuring the performers fingering their neighbors'
horn, is still a fan favorite and the highlight of this show. Even the championship
encore seemed to lack energy, right down to the drum majors barely acknowledging the
crowd before abruptly leading the corps away.
If there is a "dark horse," it is the Santa Clara Vanguard (64B-28P-32CG-2DM) --
a corps which knows how to play that role very well. Truth be known, the Vanguard
probably had the crowd on the edge of its seat as much as anyone Saturday with its
"The Age of Reverence" show featuring music by Samuel Barber, Bela Bartok and David
Gillingham. It must be good if the crowd is once again drawn into rather distant
music -- and it is. The guard, in my estimation, is much improved from a year ago
with a lot more equipment work and much less modern dance and shaping. The corps
as a whole still does some of the most innovative body shaping on the field,
starting with its opening set which features a full diagonal on either side of a
circle of guard in the middle. That form reappears with the diagonal in reverse
while the keyboards gradually fade away to end the show. The Vanguard continue to
give judges and fans a like something fresh and innovative. And surprise, the
percussion section (7S-4T-5B-4C-8P), which had been down by comparison to last
year's edition, beat the Cadets to take high honors by three tenths Saturday. The
Vanguard won't wow anyone with their number of notes this year, but they are once
again impeccably musical.
While they won't be among the contenders for the top spot in Maryland, the Boston
Crusaders (64B-29P-33CG-1DM) may still have the best all around show of the year
with "Red" -- depicting the different shades of the color through music. Every part
of this show is so well done with a fast-paced drill which is easy to read, to the
vocal beauty and then gorgeous sounds of "Passion" (my goosebump moment of the year)
to the fury of "Fire." The Crusaders have it all, including the performers, to bring
the house down with this show -- and they do with multiple standing ovations. Last
year, the Crusaders made DCI's elite top 12 for the first time in their storied
history. This year, particularly after their third-place finish Saturday night
(89.25), I think it's going to be hard to keep them out of the top six. It would
be great to see them open the live broadcast on PBS Saturday night, although that
might be a reach with both the Blue Knights and Glassmen having a say in that matter.
Like the Vanguard last year, the Crusaders use a trademark drill move twice in the
show with huge straight ranks marching towards each other, meeting at the 50, and
them expanding into a big wedge. On a personal note, it is so good to hear the
Crusader battery (7S-3T-5B-14P) playing on Premier drums this year instead of the
Ludwigs they had been using for a long time. They truly project better.
What's all the fuss about Phantom Regiment's (66B-23P-32CG-1DM) new uniforms? I
heard people talking about "how ugly" they were and when I saw them, I liked them.
The colors tan, white and red aren't so hideous and create a much needed brighter
look for this corps then the all black appearance since the early 90s. I can think
of a lot of other color schemes which were worse on the field. Need I remind fans
of history that Phantom was in white a lot sooner then it went to all black --
which was a controversial change back them, particularly with the purple accents
that first year. Uniforms aside, this corps can really play -- as evidenced by
their brass beating the Vanguard for second (18.3) and the Cadets for second in
percussion (18.5; 7S-4T-4B-8P) as the corps finished fourth overall (88.55).
Unfortunately, while the music in the "Masters of Mystique" program is stellar,
the visual program is lagging -- with the color guard finishing a distance fifth
on the night (.7 down to the fourth-place Crossmen) and the corps also fifth in
visuals (.5 down to the Crossmen). If the Regiment could find a magical solution
to the visual problem which ails it, it too could get in the hunt for fifth through
eighth. Unfortunately, magic in DCI is limited to the Vanguard and a corps from
With The Crossmen (64B-29P-34CG-2DM), fans and judges alike know what they're
going to get and the corps delivers -- with a jazz show of old favorites which
really sells in "At the Crossroads." But while it appears like the same old X-men,
complete with "Bones" who stayed around for the whole show Saturday, these are
very different Crossmen. Unlike the classic corps of the late 80s and early 90s
which built the shows around the percussion, these shows are built around the
talented guard and impressive brass section -- with the percussion (7S-3T-5B-4C-10P)
lending appropriate support. The guard finished fourth (18.2) while the brass
beat Boston for fifth (17.5 to 17.3) as the corps finished fifth at 86.80. The
percussion has come along way from a slow start this season, but was still a
distant eighth on this night (16.4), just beating Southwind by two-tenths. While
the X-men may finish no higher than ninth next week, sit back and enjoy the music.
It doesn't matter how many times they play "Birdland," it still rocks.
The Bluecoats (59B-32P-30CG-2DM) appear to have shored up their bid at making it
back to DCI finals after a year's absence -- particularly with their upset of the
Madison Scouts (85.60 to 85.25) for seventh Saturday. The 'Coats appear solid if
not outstanding in all areas this season during their "Threshhold" show -- beating
the Crossmen in both brass (17.7) and percussion (17.1), and the Scouts in both
color guard (16.5) and brass. The large percussion (8S-4T-5B-7C-10P) appears to
be particularly improved from some of the past editions now under the leadership
of DCA best percussion guru Dan DeLong. While the jazzy music is not real familiar
to the crowd, they seem to be buying it nonetheless because it offers that old
Bluecoats brassy sound which was gone a year ago. It appeared just a week ago as
if the Colts were gaining on the 'Coats in that bid for one of the last spots in
finals next Saturday, but based on Allentown it would appear as if Canton is
solidly back in. While the corps hits you with its big sound in the
"Introduction-Overture," and really displays life in "The Witch," the highlight
of the show has to be the big impact in "Air Antique" with the brass and drums
blasting in the front and the guard spinning pretty pink swing flags in a block
behind and to the right.
Of course, it has almost become tradition for the fans to "boo" whatever score
the "crowd favorite" Madison Scouts (66B-33P-28C-1DM) receive, but this year I
have to agree that their scores seem exceptionally low for their "The Cossack
Brotherhood" show which seems to put so many demands on the marchers and musician.
While the color guard is not one of the corps' best, it certainly didn't seem to
merit a last-place finish (16.3) among the Division I corps Saturday -- losing to
is sister corps Southwind by a tenth for that honor. What may have seriously hurt
the guard's score, and the corps for that matter in its surprising eighth-place
finish, was the perplexing positioning putting the Scouts on last -- with the
judge's standards being raised before by consecutive performances of the
championship contenders Vanguard and Cadets. Granted, if any non-contender corps
can accept the challenge of following the Vanguard and Cadets, not to mention
another crowd favorite in Boston, it's the Scouts -- in fact they seem to relish
it. And they didn't disappoint, bringing the crowd to its feet with its show of
Russian favorites with one of their more fast-paced drills ever -- moving
furiously from side-to-side throughout. Maybe the judges would like to see the
staff at the critique and know they cared about the corps' score. But if they
cared about the score, maybe they wouldn't be that entertaining -- and that would
be the true loss for drum corps.
Don't look now Scouts, but you may have created a monster in Southwind
(64B-31P-32CG-1DM) -- which is in just its second season since being reborn with
the help of Madison and is now a serious finals' contender after placing ninth
Saturday with a score which was just .05 below the Colts (82.15). Like the
Bluecoats, Southwind appears to be solid in all areas this season -- although
like the Scouts, the visual program seems to be holding them back as evidenced
by their dead last placement among Division I units in visuals (24.40). Madison
was the only corps close, just .55 up in the caption. Still, Southwind got the
crowds' attention as the first corps Saturday with a full brassy sound during its
ambitious 2000 program. With a solid four-point lead on the next level of corps,
Southwind could control its own destiny during quarterfinals and semifinals in
Maryland as it will set the standard for the judges among the finals' contenders.
While the program featuring "Intermezzo and March from First Suite in E Flat,"
"Legends of the Fall," and "Les Preludes/Totentanz" is more demanding then last
year's reincarnation special, it probably still isn't demanding enough to overtake
the Colts or Carolina Crown. But just like you'd expect from a Madison-influenced
corps, Southwind seems more concerned with delighting the crowd anyway -- and it
does that very well.
The Taiwanese Taipei Yuehfu (44B-21P-20CG-1DM) opened Saturday's show and surprised
the crowd with its mature sound while playing some Russian favorites -- beginning
with "Festive Overture." The program, while slower than the other 10 competing
corps on the night, was entertaining nonetheless and projected a good ensemble
sound. The percussion (6S-3T-4B-8P) appeared to be the weakest link in the corps
as it placed last during the show (12.6), although it was the guard which was
dominated by the Japanese Pride of Soka by a whopping 1.3-point spread. Still, the
64.7 final score was enough for 10th and makes Taipei Yuehfu an interesting addition
to DCI's Division II lineup next week.
In truth, Pride of Soka (37B-27P-26CG-2DM) would have beaten their Far Eastern
rivals had it not been for a two-point penalty which was the result of one of the
most bizarre things I had ever seen at a drum corps show. As the corps made its
way onto the field of competition, it appeared to have no battery (5S-3T-5B-5C-9P).
Knowing that several smaller corps have gone without marching percussion in past
years, it simply appeared as if the corps had grounded its percussion. But after
some frantic discussions between judges and the corps' staff, it appeared as if
something was terribly wrong. That's when it was announced that the corps seemed
to be missing its drummers, and it wasn't sure where they were. Talk about a
failure to communicate -- or possibly a language barrier. After about five minutes,
the line found its way to the stadium and hustled on to join the rest of its corps
to the sarcastic applause of the crowd. While even the corps members laughed at the
unbelievable scene, it wasn't a laughing matter when the two-point penalty kept the
corps from being in the basement (63.95) with its show titled "Joy." The show moves
incredibly fast at times -- maybe too fast as the brass particularly lost some of
its energy and clarity as the program progressed. Still, Pride of Soka offers a
contemporary American program which could be a surprise at Division II Championships
-- provided it doesn't lose its drumline again.
See you at Byrd Stadium for quarterfinals.
|Buffalo, NY (DCA)
Here is another of my "For what it's worth" Reviews.
This was supposed to be an "Eastern Regional" show. Without Bucs, Cabs,
or Hurcs, it seemed like just another great Westen New York/PA
show(which is quite alright).
I was at the Warren, Pa. DCA show a few weeks ago so I will also be
stating how I think the corps that were in both shows have improved(or
The competition started with the Night Sorm and I am happy to report
that they were much better than they were in Warren. I still think this
is way too tough of a show for this size corps, but you can tell they
haven't given up on it and are working very, very hard. They marched 19
horns, 6 percussion, 2 pit and no guard. 7th place 50.5.
Next up were the Kingston Grenadiers. I like this corps. They do a
very good job with Chuck Mangione music. The corps looks good and
sounds good and the crowd loved them. They marched 33 horns, 15
percussion, 12 in the guard, 4 in the honor guard and a pit of 8. 5th
Bushwackers came in from New Jersey and did a pretty good job.
Following scores throughout the season as I do led me to think this was
going to be a pretty empty show. It isn't by a long shot. At times
during the show they had the best "sound" of the night--a tribute to
their brass arranger. The problem is that they are a bit short in brass
numbers and some of the low spots of the show are really low. They
marched 29 horns, 16 percussion, 8 in the pit, and 22 in the guard. 6th
Minnesota Brass came the Eastern Regional and "WOWED"the fans in the
stands. They do wail! I saw them at Madison last year and think they
were a bit better last year. With some cleaning in the next couple of
weeks they should do very well again in Syracuse for the DCA finals.
They marched 49 horns, 16 percussion, 8 in the pit, and 19 in the
guard. Third place 83.8.
Empire Statesmen from Rochester just can't seem to put a dent in the
spread between them and Syracuse. Their show was a bit cleaner than it
was in Warren but that's to be expected by this time in the season.
They just haven't found the spark to give them a chance to catch up.
"Masquerade" lulled me a bit tonight. A lot of talent in this corps
though, so they still have a chance to pull it off. They marched 54
horns, 14 perc., 9 in the pit, 20 in the guard. Second place 86.4.
The 2000 senior behemoth known as the Syracuse Brigadiers rolled through
their show next. They really lite-up a lot of faces of "old timers"
that I saw responding to their show. They also were a bit better than
when I saw them in Warren but again, that should be expected. Being big
is one thing, but playing music that the audience at senior shows really
can identify and like is a great assett too. They are the ones to
catch--if you can. They marched 63 horns, 19 perc., 9 in the pit, 29 in
the guard and 4 in the honor guard. First place 89.2.
This was the Rochester Crusaders show and they competed last. The
reason I am comparing corps with what they did in Warren a few weeks ago
is because of this corps. They easily have made the greatest
improvement of all the corps. I was pleasantly surprised and happy for
them. As I've stated before--seeing them as they were about three years
ago I thought they would be folded by now. As the scores were being
announced I thought they would get at least an 80--maybe 81. They
didn't on this night but they will soon. I don't think they can crack
the top three or four corps come finals but they could lead the rest of
the pack. I don't know a damn thing about guards but I think theirs
fits their show the best and does a very good job performance wise.
Fourth place 79.5.
In exhibition again was "Mighty St. Joe's" Alumni Corps. I keep waiting
for these guys(and girls) to disappoint me and they refuse to do it. The
corps looks good, sounds good, and the people love them. The horn line
sounds great anchored by a great Mellophone section and the solo work of
the great Dave Martin. They marched 62 horns, 22 percussion, 15 guard
and 7 in the honor guard.
The weather was great. The stadium is great. Thanks for another drum
corps evening in my life.
Thursday August 3
|Lynn, MA (DCI)
Showers and high humidity did not dampen the crowds enthusiasm or the corps performances
last night at the Boston Crusaders home show at the Manning Bowl in Lynn, Mass. The
Crusaders seem intent on improving on last years 9th place finish as they came within .01
of beating the much heralded Blue Knights. Below are my thoughts on last nights show.
6th 61.25 East Coast Jazz
ECJ seems to be having a bit of an off year. They have improved greatly since my last
viewing in early July but their 'On The Town' book does not fit them as well as previous
jazz shows. They will be on the cusp of making it into Div II finals.
5th 70.2 Troopers
While there seems to be a good deal of talent in the Troopers poor show design and execution
are holding them back. When are they going to up the sophistication level of their show? Does
anyone really need to hear the 'Star Spangled Banner' and 'Stars and Stripes' again? I think
they need to take a page from their own play book circa 1986 and contemplate a serious program
change. Come finals they will find themselves in a battle for 17th place with the top Div II
and III corps.
4th 77.55 Spirit of Atlanta
Spirit has also made great strides since even last week in Tenn. However they too are
suffering from poor show design. Audience reaction was low key to say the least. I know
their director left at the beginning of the season so hopefully next year they will return
to their roots of southern jazz. Come finals they should be 15th.
3rd Bluecoats 84.85
Blucoats are much improved over last years sub par offering. The Patrick Williams music is a
much more sophisticated selection than previous years big band show. Does anyone else remember
Boston playing Threshold in the late 70's early 80's? Anyway, the hornline sound great and the
guard uses a lot of innovative equipment and the audience really got into the show. If they
can improve their visual show next year they could be really competitive. I predict a solid
12th place finish for the in D.C. next week.
2nd Phantom Regiment 87.65
Phantom has a much better sound than the previous two years. Although this is only the second
time I have seen them their show is growing on me. I love 'Petroshuka' but their arrangement
was a bit to truncated and staccato for my taste. 'Night Transfigured' is shaping up to be one
of the best ballads this season and the deep dark Phantom sound is finally coming back. 'Rite
of Spring' really rocked the house with excellent kettle drum support from percussion and much
control from brass. Visual program is still lacking and tempos during much of Petroshuka are
SOOO slow. I predict an 8th place finish for Phantom.
2nd 88.6 Boston Crusaders
Boston was RED HOT last night in front of their home town crowd. As many people have said this
is one of the best all around designed shows this year. Visual show is really Boston's strong
point and execution has improved noticeably even in a week. The intersecting company fronts at
the shows end and beginning looked super.I cannot understand why they have been receiving sub
par brass scores. They have a beautifully blended hornline and the final chords during 'Conte
Patiro' were stunning. I loved the 'Carmen' references at the shows end. The restating of all
the shows themes coupled with some fast and furious drill moves really got the crowd standing
on their feet. If they would just add one more drill move at the end instead of standing still
for the last 30 seconds the audience would go wild! So far this season they have passed Carolina,
Crossmen, Madison, and Phantom. I truly believe that Blueknights and Glassmen are next. I predict
a stunning 5th place finish for Boston next week!
1st Place BlueKnights 88.6
BK eked out a 1 tenth victory over Boston. I was disappointed in their performance last night.
At the shows beginning they had a major phasing problem in the hornline that took about 30 counts
to pull together. If they want a top 6 finish this year mistakes like that are not acceptable this
late in the season. That said their music selections just do not grab me like last year. I have
listened to their show several times on the mid season CD (which by the way is pretty bad) and I
just cannot relate to the music. Visual design seemed to keep them between the 30's. Perhaps is
was just an off night. I predict a 6th place finals finish.
What a night at the historic Lynn Manning Bowl. For the first time in about 15
years the outcome was unpredictable. All I can say it was great drum corps.
East Coast Jazz 61.25. What great improvement in just one week from Chicopee.
On The Town is really coming together quite nicely. Entire package solid. I
feel their score was a bit low should have been in the upper 60's. I heard
they had a 12 hour bus ride from Kitchner the night before.... Good job..
Troopers: 70.20 All I can say about the Troopers: CLASS ACT top to bottom.
The thread of different American hymns through history from the American
Revolution at the begining of their show through America from West Side Story
and the Finale of Stars and Stripes Forever was well paced..... Matt Crum is
doing a splendid job of getting the corps out of debt and now is fielding a
full corps I believe it the brass line was about 56.... The spread with Spirit
of Atlanta is ridiculous.
Spirit of Atlanta: 77.55 Some time I feel as though I lost might thought
process as I was watching their show. Great improvement since Beverly... The
kids are working extremely hard ... It is now up to the designers to do their
homework in the off season.... Their musical package this year is dull.... The
highlight is the drum solo.... Smart move in keeping them together instead of
the running around during their solo like most corps...
Bluecoats : 84.85 Big Improvement over last year the Threshold piece was well
paced.. bigl improvement with drum line this year.. Corps should make top 12.
Blue Knights: 88.7 The corps looks like a modified Blue Devils uniform...
helps the corps with the dark Knights image... The drum line is superb don't
understand why Phantom took top drums.... The corps moves well and plays quite
good.. But there is a key incrediant missing from their show.. General Effect
or should I say Communication to the audience... Everything is on the field
and not getting upstairs.... Ensemble numbers should be quite good and
Performance Numbers.. but GE is lacking.
Phantom Regiment: 87.65 Their show starts out like a classic Phantom Regiment
show that draws the audience in... The drill... is hurting them the most..
They put in the Classic Phantom Kick which is always a great move.. and the
rotating triangle.. During the Rite of Spring with all those quads neat
stuff... But it goes on to long and there were some ensemble slight cross
tempos that hurt this production... The sound of the corps is really different
this year.... I guess Jim Wren is retired he is surely missed....
Boston Crusaders: 88.6 What a fabulous show from top to bottom.. The design
team really did their homework in putting together this Gem. You know a show
is good when a 10 minute show seems like it is over in 5 minutes... What the
Blue Knights have in technique Boston has in General Effect..... The horn line
is splendid,,,,,, great teaching...... Lush sounds..... Colorguard really hit
a tight show... The singing is goosebumps I don't use that word lightly....
Goosebumps are lacking in this activity... The Crusaders have the package to
move up within the next week.... I counted 4 standing ovations in their
show.... They sure are going to electrify Byrd Stadium this coming week....
One thing I hope they do by next week is to let that last note build into a
better crescendo at the end... reminds me of the Cavaliers ending in 92... If
they draw that out longer with percussion build it will do the trick...
Top 5 you bet this team knows how to peak them at the right time look at last
year jumping over corps each night during finals week... Does this show have
more room to grow. absolutely...
Crusader Senior Corps: Very solid performance by this group. brought us down
memory lane...... They always have a fabulous performance in Lynn which I
counted 4 standing O's.
Paul Cain once again did a fabulous job MCing the show... One of the
Highlights of the night was the presentation of the Jason Maxner
Jim Cronin director of the Boston Crusaders and Dan Greer President of the
Boston Crusader Board are two class acts... other people that I noticed the
hard work of Bill Binford and Joe Ricci at the gate the two unsung heros of the
Boston Crusaders Organization they are there thick and thin..... I believe the
crowd of 4,000 are now all heading to Maryland..
Said I wasn't going to write any more reviews, but, what the heck!
Got to the show late, just as intermission was starting, so I only saw the last
four corps. It seems that it rains at this show every year, and last night was
no exception. However, the rain didn't seem to bother any of the corps'
performances. Of course it rained hardest during Phantom. Bummer!! Does this
corps have bad rain karma or what? Rememember, Madison--Mid America show, '96?
Anyway, I thought all 4 corps did very good jobs, and I enjoyed all four shows.
Bluecoasts were quite a pleasant surprise. I've never been particularly a fan
of this corps, but I like this new direction. Horn line was loud and had a
real nice ensemble sound. Color guard was good too. Big improvement over 1999
and quite entertaining.
Blue Knights: I like the new uniforms and love the visual show. From some
reviews I've read, I was expecting body movement up the wazoo, but there was
not really that much, and it was very, very well integrated. I could have
enjoyed even more. The execution of those body moves was also excellent; not
one person looked clumsy. This drill has numerous interesting moves, a few
nice suprises and great field coverage and CG staging. However, musically the
horn book left me totally cold. BK seemed to be having projections problems,
as well. The sound wasn't coming up to my 36th row seat. This was surprising.
As those who have been to a corps show in Manning Bowl know, this stadium may
have the best acoutics for dc of any stadium anywhere. The sound here is
unbelievable, fantastic, so BK's non-projection was a bit of a surprise. I'm
wondering how they will sound in a larger stadium.
Phantom. As Phantom marched onto the field, I thought, Here come the
Browncoats. However, when the show started, the uniforms worked very well on
the field. My reaction to Phantom was the flip side of my reaction to BK: I
loved the music, but was not overly impresssed with the drill. I thought all
the arrangements were wonderful (Klesh is good at what he does), and I love the
sound this year's line produces. The opening of 'Rite of Spring' with all the
triple drums was terrific--a great impact, and the ballad I've heard so much
about was quite beautiful. However, Phantom, I think, is vulnerable in visual.
They really did not move in comparison to their two close competitors here
tonight (both of whom are boogying around the field quite a bit), and the drill
was rather run of the mill, I thought. However, I felt Phantom should have won
GE Music and was surprised to see that they did not. Overall, I really enjoyed
the show and am eager to see them again on 8/10/00.
Boston: The fans went crazy before, during and after Boston's performance. I
turned to my friend and said, "That's almost 20 years of not having a contender
to root for." Boston put on a very exciting performance tonight, as one would
have expected. I like how aggresively they approach the show performance.
Overall, I do not like the show as much as last year's (e.g., the treatment of
'Time to Say Goodbye' could have been a lot more emotional and beautiful; the
end of the show seems a bit pretentious with the recapitulation of all the
earlier themes not working for me). However, the growth of the corps over the
past two years is truly impressive, and for us dc starved Massachusetts folks,
a Godsend. Before tonight, having seen Boston early season, and from what I
had read about Phantom, I thought that PR would end the season ahead of BAC.
After tonight I am not sure. Boston's horn scores are coming up, they've got
the GE, and they clearly have fire in the belly. Phantom could still do it and
also catch BK, but my knawing uncertainty about them, again, comes from the
drill issues mentioned above.
At any rate, best of luck to all these four corps. You all impressed me. DC's
I went to this show with the full intentions of taking notes and trying to give
a good recap based on the fact that previous posters to RAMD have asked for
more people to contribute reviews. As well as the fact that most of these corps
are made up of (great) kids from all corners of the country (and world) and
have parents and friends dying to hear how they did. The following recap is
based on notes I wrote into my program as the corps were performing.
Paul Cain is exactly right when he says; "we hear about how the kids in this
country are destroying themselves but we never hear about these what these kids
have done to get here!" -paraphrased Paul, YYYOOOUUU! the man.
Weather was mid to high seventies (a little hotter on the field) with a mild
breeze (that really brought out the hard work of all the color guards) with all
the corps performing under the lights at Manning Bowl. It got muggy later with
a light shower just as Phantom was entering the field, but that passed until
the scores when it rained again.
Valiants in exhibition put a cool little percussion based story with an
accompanied painted canvas backdrop. We are probably talking 10-14 year olds
doing a bang-up job. Great program keep up the good work.
East Coast Jazz 61.25 I was really impressed with the lower brass ecspecially
the mello section. Since there were only four of them, they made thier
prescence known. The color guard was very energetic really drawing the crowd
into the "on the town" performance. I felt that for thier size, they were
pulling off some "big core" moves out there. Lastly I dug the quad solo. they
were on. Good job for a bunch of very tired (I heard they had quite a bus ride
home) performers.I could see many of them going to any division I corps they
Troopers 70.20 I have always had a soft spot for the casper troopers. Maybe
because they go way back in this activity and they carry name recognition but
even if I didn't, you could not be from Boston, know your history and not love
thier show. I loved the battle scene they pulled off on the field right down to
the couple of quad players that were walking around aimlessly after the battle
(reminded me of the soldier in "Saving Private Ryan" that was looking for his
arm that was blown off) I'd call that visual. I felt thier formations were very
tight between the 35 yard lines. I thought the colorguard was under utilized
because they had a coreographed piece in amazing grace that was excellent.
There was alot of foot taping with the ending of thier show to america and
stars and stripes with excellent lower brass, contras in particular would have
done John Phillip Souza proud. I thought they should have been closer to
Spirit 77.55 I felt these guys were having alot of fun. The opening Jubilee
number had some great mello's. I think the drum major did an outstanding job
directing and keeping the corp focosed through some very tricky timing changes.
The drum solo with these guys was a real eye catcher. The pit starts with a
nice prologue as the percussion section are on an oblique approach from the
right hand 30 yard line hoofing it to an accompany front dead on the fifty.
They didn't stop there as they played off each others drums and hoofed it to
thier next mark. Great job.
Intermission: two ice cold buds. I should have only had one because I did not
get back to my seat in time for the beginning of the bluecoats. In keeping with
drum corp etiquette (which was lacking in some areas tonight) I watched from
the tunnel as to not be walking to my seats while a corp is on the field!
Bluecoats 84.85 I caught them half-way through threshold. I love those plumes.
Thier tempo really moves nice with thier routine. I was particularly drawn to
the finesse of thier cymbal line and the amount of fun the colrguard was
having, big smiles and thier use of ribbons was a nice touch. Sorry I do not
have more on the brass end from my vantage point but I am a big Pat Williams
fan and recognised all thier arrangments.
Blue Knights were on next 88.70. The uniforms definetly jump out at you. I did
think of the Blue devils but when they go back field its solid dark blue and
they are sharp. They have a tight technical show with alot of leg kicks, knee
bends, kneeling etc.. that I think fits with what they are trying to do. I
really liked thier expansion and contraction moves that lead to an accompany
fron t and center burst move that was cool. I could really feel the mood
changes with thier "essence in time" part of thier show and had a good ending.
I felt that thier drum line was number one tonight wow! and kudos to a great
contra run after the drum solo sweet!
Phantom 87.65 It began to rain a litle when they took the field and I could see
the colorguard working to keep thier equiptment dry during the transitions in
thier routine. They did a great job with these flourescent green
"pole-vaulting" poles that really looked nice against THE TIGHTEST square block
formation that I have ever seen (has there been any teeth nocked out practicing
that move?). I being a drummer obviously loved the 11 tri-toms sequence but
felt that blue knights took the percussion caption. I also thought the uniforms
harkened back to 27th days (maybe the colrs and being from Boston) but they
grew on me.
Boston 88.60 I am a huge fan (even though they spelt my name wrong in the
program book). I have notes all over the Boston page of this program.
Colorguard WOW! what confidence (way to go Kristin). I like the singing though
I know alot of people do not. I just wish they projected thier voices a little
more (like Ed Dennon God rest his soul). I watched thier show and had thoughts
of Dom Banculli (God rest his soul) screaming "cover down" "Straighten those
lines" obviously these kids are listening. The fundimentals are showing, they
are disciplined. These guys are 100% better than Beverly and I must disagree
with a couple of previous posters that felt these guys were scoring higher than
they should be. The pace at which the two accompany fronts are approaching each
other had me cringing like you do when you hear a car screaching to a halt and
waiting for that CRASH! instead it explodes in reverse and brings the sound
straight to you. No park and blow here. They did play back field alot for
affect and it worked ok. Thier use of full core "waves" and hand stokes really
grabbed your eye. I know finally saw what all those other posters were talking
about, they were VISUAL! Lastly, I felt they got bested in the percussion area
but at no fault of the bass line WOW!!!! and the quads. I can not wait until
Boston Seniors They won thier caption (ha, ha). Mondo was great! the triple
tonguing from the sops was dead on and I liked the bass drum run. I lost my
voice screaming during "the call" from conquest. They pulled off quite a few
solo's too. Great job!
Lastly, To Debbie, you should be very proud of your son, He removed his hat as
he approached to recieve his Jason Maxnor award, he walked with full military
bearing and he wore the honor of the award all over his face. I bet he is quite
the son, you did a good job raising him.
Disclaimer; I just wanted to give a positive review of what I saw from where I
was seated. I am sure there are things I missed, and things I included that
maybe other attendees have missed but this was for all the parents who could
not be there. I hope I painted a nice picture of a wonderful evening at a great
show. See you in D.C.
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