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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 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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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 SCV!

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 work!!!


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 adieu...

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 evening.

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.

Mark Sperry

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 big crowd.

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!!

Matt Vincoli

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 guard.

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 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 help them.....

Tarheel.....young corps....low performance levels haunt this corps this year....again, they do have some 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 better show....

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 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 show..........

Blue 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 5th........

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 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 lower.......

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 notch brass line that will battle Cadets for top brass.....fine, fine brass 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 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 Madison

Bluecoats.......much improved from last 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 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 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 of Maryland.

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 first night.

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 in Maryland.

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 machine.

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 Orlando.

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.

Mike Ferlazzo

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 not).

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 place 78.0.

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 place 74.6.

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.

Bob Peterson

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 Scholarship.... 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 gonna rock!!

John Fitzgerald

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 wanted.

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.

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 next week.

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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