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

Page Five 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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Monday July 10
Port Huron, MI (DCI)

Here are my thoughts after attending the Port Huron show........

Kiwanis...... obviously a rebuilding year here, with a smaller corps.... they exert energy, and it is good they came out... efforts appreciated.

Southwind...... well balanced corps..... excellent arrangements..... corps' brass sound is developing rapidly, and perc. performance shows potential... score seemed a bit low, and this corps could challenge for a finals spot. Their book is well written, visual is much improved from last year, and once they develop some more confidence, they could move.

Crossmen........improved brass line, especially over last year..... they have a fine color guard and ok visual book........ drumline is just "there"; nothing special, especially when compared to the Thurston and Hannum lines of prior years....they execute ok, but book did not fit in many places, especially swing sections..... drum score seemed too high, as did the corps' score... Birdland was ok, but didn't hold up to past versions.........

Phantom.......... hornline is starting to have some fine moments...... there were some ensemble problems, but this is a tough book.....visual performance cost them tonight.... however, Music GE number was off of the mark..... Percussion is both proficient and musical, and some early season chopiness in musical transitions are now much smoother...... Guard needs to be cleaner to compete with the better ones...... I am fine with the new look uniform, but I must admit I liked the black better...... Even with some problems, this is a fine corps.... I thought they won the show by points......... it will be interesting to see what happens in the next few shows......

I was tired when I wrote my review, and realized I had not written up the Glassmen.... first I want to indicate that when I said I felt Phantom "won the show by points", I was talking about the battle between them and the Crossmen....

Here is my review of Glassmen......... fine show, although I believe Cadets 82 version had more continuity to it..... visual seems to be more solid than the musical product at this time (although they are certainly not weak from a musical performance standpoint).... how well the music jells could be a big factor, but I don't see them challenging the top 4 with this program, and in fact could be caught by others (Blue Knights in particular) if they don't tweek it a bit. They are a fine corps, though, and deserved the solid win......


First a note about my review. I was sitting on the 20 yard line so all my opinions are based on that.

Kiwanis Kavaliers
Like someone else said, this is a rebuilding year from them. The popsicle sticks / helicopters are nice but they need to be utilized more. If they had a full hornline they could be a lot lot better but then who couldnt. It took a lot of guts for them to go out there and play last nite and i respect them for that. Music kinda left me flat and there was many intonation problems. However there was one contra really belting it out. Kudos to him / her.

They should be in the top 12 for sure at the end of the year. Much better than the Colts show IMHO. Granted i havent seen the colts since toledo but there is SOOOOO much more potential in the Southwind show. Its very nice to see this orgination rebuilt and performing well again. They have anice round sound but could turn it up a notch as im sure they will by finals.Interesting drill, it kept my attention though dirty. They have a very nice sonorous sound that will be very nice to hear on the CD's at the end of the year

Start the complaining, but i agree with the placement. (see phantom) Very loud hornline from where i was sitting but there was a VERY loud groan from the crowd when they broke into birdland. At least ricky martin was different. As for the drill it was too much standing still. Love to knee bends and all that crap but they need to move around more. They should have beat PR tonite but they will be caught

Very excited to see the improvements since toledo. Very disapointed to see the dirtiness since Toledo. I understand they revaped the whole show and it will be better than Crossmen but there was two near meltdowns in the show. You cant have phasing that bad in mid-july and expect to be scoring 80's. They will beat xmen if they get the ensemble music together. Missing the bottom bass didnt help either

Excellent. Much improved. Reminicist of SCV with all the horn flashes and visual moves. Drum line is much cleaner. Will challenge for 4th at finals. As for the peaking early? no way, there is so much to clean yet in the show and add.Very nice balance again and GE is going way up. Then again this is biased because i just aged out last year (sorry). I just really like this show.

Like i said this is really biased but all the corps did a nice job.

Mike Lonesky
Gmen contra 96,99

Sunday July 9
Lakewood, NJ (DCI/DCA)

Just got back home from the National Dream Contest in Lakewood, NJ, and before I call it a night, I thought I'd share a few thoughts/opinions on the show. If this rambles a bit.... sorry. It was a long ride back home to Baltimore from NJ!!!!! Also, please remember that these are my opinions.... no offense meant to anyone. And being a former horn player, I tend to focus on the brass sections. If any offense is taken, I frankly am too tired to care right now!!! (LOL)

First of all, thanks to Glen Johnson and the rest of the "Dream Team" for giving me the opportunity to announce the show. It was my first "live fire" look at drum corps this season, and the first part of my "Northern Tour,"as it were: next stop, Clifton NJ for the Cabs' show July 22. An announcer's-table look at the Dream:


Skyliners, dead in the water two years ago, have come a loooooong way in a short time...pretty good sound for the size of their hornline, solid percussion and what looks like a fairly easy visual show. But where is it written in stone that senior corps have to run around the field like chickens without a head???? Sky's drill gives the horn players a chance to put out more sound than they would if they were dashing around. This corps is gonna be fun to watch at championships Labor Day weekend!

Bushwackers: I'm going to have to see these guys again, because I'm not sure I "get" what they're trying to do with the "Dark Side" theme! The show has kind of a "let's go over here, let's go over there; let's play some notes here, let's play some notes there" feel to it. When Bush's hornline plays as a full ensemble, they sound great for a relatively small line, with a full, deep sound. But unfortunately there seem to be more "sound snippets" than ensemble work.

Buccaneers: I try to not deal with "what-ifs", but watching the Bucs I couldn't help but wonder: "What if they had last year's (monster, 50-plus member) horn line playing this year's show?" I think with last year's brass and this year's well-designed "The Planets" show, the Bucs would be absolutely kicking everyone's butt already... but, this year, with a much smaller hornline, it ain't happenin'.... yet. GREAT drumline, huge colorguard, and some nice horn moments... but several rough edges as well.

Caballeros: Terrific, big brass sound most of the time, but also some rough edges that need to be ironed out for the Cabs to go for the DCA title come Labor Day weekend. Color guard looked good; drumline is improving (and is bigger than any time in recent memory) but still has quite a ways to go. I tell you what, though: one thing I've learned in the years I've either competed against or watched Hawthorne in action is to NEVER count them out of the title chase!


Spartans: First time I've ever seen them in person. Great uniforms and strong visuals, but I thought their brass book was a yawner and it appeared the crowd thought so, too. A tepid response at best. PLEASE... this is NOT a knock on the corps members... they're working hard, I'm sure. But the older I get the more I scratch my head at some of the musical selections of some of the smaller corps in the activity. It CAN'T be much fun for a kid to go out and bust his or her butt doing a show that simply is not drawing any kind of crowd reaction.

East Coast Jazz: Some nice moments in Bernstein's "On the Town," but the corps did not seem like the same confident, aggressive group that I saw a couple of years ago. Perhaps that confidence and aggressiveness will come with time and as the members mature as performers. It might not have helped me that I just recently saw the movie "On the Town" with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, etc. NO drum corps is gonna be able to top the original!

Jersey Surf: Wow...Excellent job with the "Carmen" selections! Aggressive, assertive, with the corps members looking like they were having a great time out there (something I don't always see in junior corps, and once in a while in senior corps.... members visibly enjoying themselves and translating that enthusiasm to the THERE's a concept, huh?!?!?!) Surf's percussion section might have been a bit TOO aggressive (dirty) during their feature, but hey, there's time left to iron out the bugs before Div. 2 championships.

Spirit of Atlanta: Sorry, but I really can't comment much on their performance, since I didn't get a chance to see most of it... I'm just glad to see they're hanging in there after their recent rough sledding. Their finale today didn't generate the crowd reaction usually associated with a Spirit of Atlanta show. Nonetheless: Spirit, I hope you stick around for a long, long time!

Carolina Crown: I never really cared for this corps' shows until last year's "Jekyll and Hyde" production. After seeing them at The Dream today, count me as being on board as a Crown fan! A well-done "Mask of Zorro" presentation, featuring a "goosebump moment" when the brass section comes to the front sideline and lets fly with a rich, deep sound at full volume. Also, another excellent color guard with some great feature work.

Alumni corps:

Wynn Center Toppers Alumni corps: I remember competing against these guys (when they were a junior corps) in the early 70s when I was with the Sacred Heart Crusaders from Manville, NJ. (No, I'm not 100 years old; I only FEEL that way sometimes!!!!!) According to their writeup, Wynn Center was the first African-American drum corps to enter junior corps competitions, in the 1950s. An important bit of drum corps history!

Archer-Epler Musketeers: Pretty nice job overall (in a standstill concert formation) from the USA's first alumni corps, but one question: Why did you guys set up so far backfield to play your show at The Dream? It seemed like you were a mile away, and made it a lot harder to hear you!

Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights: A knockout soprano line..... they are any number of competition corps who would probably love to get their hands on some of these guys! But next time, Sac, please play your warmup facing forward... there's some good stuff going on there, and since you're not on stage behind a curtain, there's really no need to turn backfield and play.

Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni: If you're a red-meat-eating fan of old-time drum corps, this is the corps for you to I've said before: sheer power, along with a lot of pride and history!!!!! Their baritone line set up shop right in front of me when they reached their concert formation, and let me tell you: these guys can melt several precious metals with volume. Wow!

That's all, folks...good luck to all the corps, junior and senior, for the rest of the season. I think I'm gonna go to bed now and sleep until Tuesday!

Fran Haring

Saturday July 8
Philadelphia, PA (DCI Atlantic II/III Championships)

Was a perfect day for a drum corps show. Not too hot and the no sign of rain in sight. The biggest problem in the morning was construction going on right outside Franklin Stadium. It disturbed much of the pleasure I would normally have watching a show. Now onto the review. I have decided to show the Div. II-III scores AND to show a realistic scoring not based on II-III sheets, I've shown a second score to demonstrate what the score would most likely be in Div. I competition.

McCULLOUGH ROYAL KNIGHTS (10th place Div. III, 21st overall. 35.70 III, 15.70 I)
Remember the Mighty Liberators from Rochester, New York? This corps reminded me of a small, beginning version of them with their selections called "Rejoice". They were very unsure of the drill with half of it not staged. A touch of self confidence can boost their morale. The had an old drum corps flavor. The percussion were off at the beginning. For 12 horns and so young (I swear I saw four year olds on the field.), the produced a good amount of balance. It was like watching a regional circuit Class "B" corps from the late 70's. (It made me feel young again. I'm 35.) They truly need a drum major to lead them. It could boost the corps into a true Div. III corps. They also need to cheer up a bit and def. need new uniforms. Hopefully the can find the money from somewhere. But for being utterly so young, one must admire their bravery for just going out there.

CADETS OF NEW YORK CITY (5th place Div. III, 16th overall. 57.75 div. III, 37.75 D-I)
Their program was called "A Broadway Dream" consisting of B'way melodies. Love the hats and the all white unis. The yellow band across the front can be brighter (non chlorine bleach?) A solid III corps. The guard uniforms really don't look like uniforms. Nice, loud opening. Powerful brass for 20 horns. A touching duet between a melophone and baritone. The horns needed to relax more into the music. A little overblowing that just seemed like nerves. Easily can be remedied. The percussion was the most powerful aspect of this corps (winning high honors for Div. III). Closer was very warm and touching.

QUEST (4th Div. III, 15th overall, 58.00 D-III, 38.00 D-I)
Performed "In the Beginning" (The Creation?) I was waiting for James Earl Jones to narrate. Simplistic, yet effective guard uni's. With the construction going on outside the stadium, it was impossible to hear them. Horns need to be a bit more careful and blend but they got better as they warmed up into the drill. Some nifty flag work. With a little work, the guard will be the strong section of this corps. A rush to the 50 during the percussion solo by the brass didn't work. Yet still exciting for a small corps. I'm amazed that only 18 horns can produce such a sound. An effective fast moving closer.

RAIDERS (3rd Div. III, 14th overall, 58.10 D-III, 38.10 D-I)
The stance of the Raiders when they stood on the field was one of pride. I knew I was in for something. Wonderful opening. Again, it amazes me that such small corps can have so much innovation. The reminded me a little of 81's Alliance. A 15 horn corps that went and womped in Open competition. Fast moving and pround guard. This is my first viewing of the Raiders and it's understandable why they're constant Div. III DCI finalists. I had to stop writing just to simply watch. The horn props made no sense. (I suppose the drill designer didn't know what else to do.) Thrilling to see a guard of seven produce so much color. A powerful little corps.

KNIGHT STORM (6th Div. III, 17th overall, 54.95 D-III, 34.95 D-I)
I just like the name "Knight Storm". Black full body leotards on the guard reminded me of 90's Magic of Orlando's performance. Storm had a spooky, bizarre little show performing the music of Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas". Musically, the small horn line (14 H) were much in synch. It surprised me because it's a somewhat difficult score for 14 horns. I don't understand the use of useless props during their show (or any show). Storm can do without the goobly-glop shapes in the middle of the show. Horn line and perc. had a fun time during "Santy Man". I don't get why guards start to do stretching exercises during the middle of the show calling it choreography. Don't do that Storm. It doesn't help. Yet, overall, a fun, good, spooky show.

KIPS BAY CRUSADERS (7th Div. III, 18th overall, 45.55 Div. III, 25.55 D-I)
An offshoot of the Kips Bay Knight Club, this was NYC's third representative in Div. III. Tiny, tiny corps of only 24 member. Their four member guard was VERY athletic. Horn line of 11 was a little choppy yet able to produce sound. The corps, performing "Zorro" reminded me of a mini-Caballeros and an early 80's Fulton Gauchos. DM had a good time. A colorful swordfight btn. 2nd DM and guard member help boost the interest of this show.

PHOENIX (NJ) (Div. III Champion, 12th overall, 67.20 Div. III, 47.20 D-I)
A loud, enthusiastic applause from the audience. Wonderful bari solo during "Circle of Life". Most powerful DIII hornline of the day. Nice sabre work. Classic "A" work drum corps show. The guard generated wonderful cheers from the audience. Flags very affective during "Can't You Fell the Love Tonight". Arrangement of brass was excellent. Rifles very precise. A chilling company front had the audience in awe during the reprise of "Circle of Life" First corps to fully capture the audience. Very good job.

SPECTRUM (8th Div. III, 19th overall, 42.55 Div. III, 22.55 D-I)
Along with Kips Bay, the smallest corps. Five horns. Five! The percussion knew to soften and balance when the horns played. I'm amazed that such a tiny corps can put on a complete show. Aux, perc, and horns all worked together. The sleeveless tops of the guard should go. They look like t-shirts. The unis can use something besides black and white. For a tiny, tiny corps one can't but admire the work these kids do. Where's the praise that the D-I kids get? These D-III corps (this one a mini D-III corps) deserve a great deal of credit.

SCENIC CITY (9th Div. III, 20th overall, 40.5 Div. III, 20.5 D-I)
What cool uniforms. Guard seemed a little out of synch. The drill was a clever design. The brass blew a bit too loud. The show seemed to be unfocused and a litttle bizarre. ("Sleepy Hollow") The guard seemed uninspired. The corps has some wonderful ideas, but has difficulty executing them. Hopefully a month on the field will help them realize their potential.

LAKE ERIE REGIMENT (2nd Div. III, 13th overall, 62.10 Div. III, 42.10 D-I)
A well balanced horn line. Four guard members just sat during the opener while tow guard rifles performed. (Very well I might say.) Keyboards never stopped in the opener and were very impressive. Again, an example of useless props. (What are the hourglass pieces for?) One of the cleaner D-III corps marching wise. The sky blue choice of the uniform truly work in the daytime. Extensive use of pit. The drill was very fast at the end and clean for this time of year.

JERSEY SURF (Division II Champions, 6th overall, 78.60 Div. II, 58.60 D-I)
A loud home town applause. First corps to take advantage of the whole field. I always loved the color scheme of the Surf esp. in the daytime, today was no exception. Though the largest hornline of the DII-III corps, I wished it would produce more sound. WONDERFUL sabre work. The guard is fab. Flags had a wonderful time working together and got the audience cheering. Best Surf I've seen yet. Each year they get better and better. I see them as the "Les Etoiles" of this year. They beat two Div. I corps later in the evening. This corps is improving so fast I actually could see them making the semifinals at DCI. Who knows, maybe they'll be the next Open corps of the East Coast. They def. have the potential. Their jass rendition of "Carmen" was exciting and wise. They won't be compard to SCV. A much different show with the use of jazz. GO GOR IT!

EAST COAST JAZZ (4th Div. II, 11th overall, 70.35 Div. II, 50.35 D-I)
Small corps for Div. II (48 members) Maybe they should think of going D-III and winning that division. Cleanest of the DII/III horn lines. Performed "On the Town", one of my favorite. The hornline, being the most powerful aspect of the corps, seemed to overbalance the rest of the corps. Percussion is struggling to find its purpose. Guard could def. use more color. Since they're in white like the rest of the corps, they need something. (One of the FEW times I might suggest props.) The hornline produce a true big band brass sound. Guard needs to get new flags. The carpet green enmeshes with the field, not bringing musch of a color to a corps whose guard is lacking color in the first place. Doesn't the word "color" of color guard mean something? Too bad, because the horns are so good. It's not the kids' fault. It's the designer. Find out what the word "color" means.

SPARTANS (2nd Div. II-eventually 10th overall in night show. 76.65 D-III, 56.65 D-I)
The "serious" corps performing "Glorioso-A Symphonic Poem". The corps is very "serious". The uniforms-serious. The drum line-serious. The colors of black, gold, and red-serious. Actually, I enjoyed the performance though it didn't capture the audience. Without the explanation of the show by the announcer before their performance, I'm not sure I would have gotton it. (the aftermath of persecutions is serious and that's what this show tries to demonstrate.) One of the darker shows I've seen. Sometimes it's good to have this sort of show admist all the razzle dazzle of the activity.

PATRIOTS (3rd Div. II, 9th at Div. I night show. 74.30 Div. II, 54.30 Div. I)
The potential for a fantastic show. Many drops with the guard in the opener (remedied at night performance). The color scheme of red, white, and yellow really work on the field. The horn line could use a little umph. Are they losing all the Rochester, New York horns to the Rochester Crusaders and the Empire Statesmen? Still, for 28 horns, they produce a full symphonic sound. So many guard mistakes today which is unusal for the Patriots. Usually it's their strongest section. The whipping water props serve no purpose. When the guard cleans up (which I'm sure it will. You can tell they have "it".), this will be a show to contend with.

Overall, I was pleased to see the smaller corps competing. My big dissappointment was not to see the Canadian corps. Where were Academie Musicale, Dutchboy, Emerald Knights. They are greatly missed in this divisional competition. I hope some of the smaller corps will venture out to this show next year. It would be thrilling and healthy to see a good 30-40 DII-III corps competing...and there's no reason why it shouldn't happen. So glad there are thse ventures for the smaller corps.

Warren Moore
Cadets of Greece 79-82

(I left before scores, so this review is without the benefit of knowing how the "experts" regard these units.)

What a PERFECT day for drum corps in Philadelphia. 14 Div II/III corps graced Franklin Field and entertained a very appreciative audience. Despite the construction noises and too much chatter in the audience, I had a great time. For most, this was my first viewing of the season.

Royal Knights: Small group. Never saw them before that I can recall. Formed in 1962 and from Washington DC. Wonder why I don't remember them.

Cadets of NYC - Impressed by the drum line. Very nice playing. Loved the sound of the snares. Brass soloists played with very nice tone. Guard work far from finished but what they did was very nice.

Quest - Strong drums and guard work. Show got off to a slow/quiet start and near lost me. Then they hit Duel of the Fates and I came to life.

Raiders - 2nd viewing of the season. Still think they should end the show 20 seconds or so earlier - on the impact. What's with this minimal ending? Makes no sense to me. Very nice guard work. Horns seemed to lose the sound in the movement at times.

Knight Storm - Nice show design. Loved the guard work and the use of masks. (Sorry, I can't remember any more)

Kips Bay - a shell of their former self, which was sad to see. Zorro theme. At times very strong and others rather weak. Visually very interesting but seemed to me the drill might be a little fast for the kids to march and play. Sounded great when they were still or moving slowly.

Phoenix - wins the award for most enthusiastic supporters. Must have been at least 25 adults in the stands who ran down after the show to help remove equipment and cheered LOUDLY for the corps (constantly). Very nice guard work. Good tone from the horns, especially the soloists.

Spectrum - Always like this corps. What guts it must take to hit the field with FIVE brass and tackle Phantom of the Opera. If they could just double the number of horns and finish learning the guard work the show this show would rock.

Scenic City - saw them last year in the debut. Wish they picked different music. Sleepy Hallow? Seemed to put a lot of people to sleep. What is it with movie soundtracks and small corps? They never seem to work. Find something with some UMPH in it. Some nice visual moments.

Lake Erie Regiment - Most of the time only a few guard members were involved. Another case of "need to learn the show", I suspect. Really enjoyed the drum solo though I thought the snares had too muffled a sound.

Jersey Surf - 2nd viewing. easily the best this corps has ever been. Div II finals should be in their future this season. I thought they were the best corps of the competition. Guard was spectacular. Drums, as always, were very strong. Perhaps Patriots and maybe Spartans best them in horns, but in every other area I'd give the edge to Surf. Crowd love them. Hard to believe this is a weekend/non-touring corps.

East Coast Jazz - 2nd viewing. somehow this show of familiar Bernstein tunes from On the Town hasn't grabbed me yet. I did enjoy the guard very much but somehow the show just doesn't go anywhere. Brass has a nice pleasant sound. Lots of solo guard work. The show needs some more energy, I guess. Maybe some of the solo work will become ensemble work as the season progresses, but it seemed like it was intended to be solo.

Spartans - 2nd viewing. Enjoyed hearing the story that is the basis for the music - something about Christians trying to maintain their faith in Japan after it was made illegal in the 1600s. Some nice percussion work. Horns sound great. I found the music to be interesting and expect to enjoy the show more as I become more familiar with it.

Patriots - Probably the best horn line of the show. Drums, also, were strong. I was very surprised by the number of drops in the guard as they have long been the strong point of this corps. If they clean up the show they have a very good shot at a repeat but today, at least, I'd put Jersey Surf on top.

All the Div III and Jersey Surf left the field with a great "street beat". You can tell these corps must do a lot of parades.

Well, time to wrap up and head back into town for the evening show. The day couldn't have been nicer. Thanks to all the corps.

(I expect I got lots of good pictures but don't have time to upload them now. Hopefully tomorrow morning.)

Christopher P. Maher
Maher Associates, Inc.

Philadelphia, PA (DCI Atlantic Championships)

After an afternoon of II-III competition it was time to see the big boys and girls. Four corps from the afternoon were invited to the evening Div. I competition. Those being Phoenix, Patriots, Spartans, and Jersey Surf. It was Jersey Surf that came out on top tonight, shocking many people in what is truly a class act. On with the review.

PATRIOTS (9th place, 53.65)
Seemed to be much more polished than the afternoon. Guard was much more on top of things. Jumped ahead of Spartans deservedly so. See II-III review for recap of their show.

SPARTANS (10TH place, 51.40)
Seemed a little tired tonight. Were much more on top of things in afternoon. (see review for II-III)

PHOENIX (11th place, 47.70)
I think they were just glad to be there and to be playing with the big boys and girls. Look for big things from them at DCI. (see review for II-III)

JERSEY SURF (6th place, 59.95)
People booed at the score, knowing it should be higher. I personally thought they were much closer to Spirit of Atlanta in score. They def. had a more enjoyable show. This is the corps to look out for this year. Much more improved from the afternoon. (In afternoon they beat Spartans by 1.95 points. In evening performance they beat Spartans by 8.55 points!) These kids seem DEDICATED! They were one of four corps that got standing ovations (the others being X-men, Boston, and Cadets) and their standing O was well deserved. Wonderful opening soli at the beginning as they tease us with excerpts from "Carmen". They use the fence props just perfectly and the guard-WOW-they get so kinetic and crazy by the end of the show, the crowd can't help but jump up in enthusiasm. Wouldn't doubt if they capture Div. II at DCI and even surpass Spirit and Pioneer.

TARHEEL SUN (7th, 58.05)
Smaller corps than previous years. I'm not fond of the uniform change. So what if their uniform was similiar to Southwind's. The bright yellow worked much better. I felt sorry for Tarheel to come after Surf's stellar performance. The horn line at the beginning had some difficulty but eventually came together. Wishing I could see more guard work. The horns finally came together during the "Suite for Jazz Band and Orchestra". Tarheel needs to find some more color if they're going to break into DCI membership this year.

KIWANIS KAVALIERS (8th place, 57.70)
Small in numbers this year. The helicopter pieces were effective at the beginning of the show but later distracted during the rest of the "Miss Saigon" presentation because they were lying in the middle of the field just not being used. I read a previous review in which the reviewing didn't like the pit and guard wearing the khakis. I actually found that they enhanced the interpretation of the show. (so much for opinions) Horns need some cleaning up, but they will come along. I can see this show improving in the coming weeks and hopefully we'll still have a Canadian representitive in DCI's Top 21.

SPIRIT OF ATLANTA (5th place, 65.00)
Either I thought Spirit's score was too high or Surf's score was too low. They should be neck and neck with each other. I'm looking for that day when Spirit returns to its tradition of wailing brass. The brass had major problems with their attacks and accents. Sometimes just plain overblowing trying so desperately to be loud. Work on the music, not the loudness and then Spirit can soar to at least a 15th place finish at DCI. If not, don't be surprised if Surf, Mandarins, and Pioneer (all smaller corps) finish on top. There are some beautiful moments in the show which just need to be realized during the spiritual numbers. Once they're realized, this will be a touching and special show.

CROSSMEN (2nd, 76.60)
WOW! The second standing O tonight. This show cooks. When the drill finally, fully comes together, I can see X-men easily in the Top 6, if not 5 spot in Washington. I heard one man complaining that they were doing things from the past, but I feel it's a wise move. The X-men are fully defining themselves. I love the guard (and other members of the corps) doing their "X" symbol throughout the show. They ROCK during "Birdland". The horns and guard just absolutely wail. Hopefully they can bring the percussion up to par and feature them more. The percussion are a Crossmen classic. Let em have their day during the show.

CAROLINA CROWN (4th place, 75.05)
Such a full show and what a well balanced horn line. The competition at this level is so steep this year. Phantom, Scouts, X-men, Bluecoats, Crown, Boston, and BK are going to be fighting for the spots this year. Any of them can end up anywhere-and that's what competition is about. "The Mask of Zorro" was the music, yet it seemed more symphonic than latin. I suppose that's the one problem "I" have with their program this year. Yet execution wise one can't help but admire their precision. Such a close call btn. Crown and Boston. Normally, I would place crown as 7th or 8th at DCI, but since competition is so tough this year I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up 12th even with what seems to be their best corps yet.

BOSTON CRUSADERS (3rd place, 75.35)
Yes, yes, yes. It's so fantastic to see this old work horse of a corps in the position it should be. They're wonderful and the theme of "Red" truly works for them. I can see them surpassing Phantom, Bluecoats, and Scouts and the East meets Midwest starting next week. The Red is hot and Boston is hot again this year. Last year was no fluke with their 9th place finish. When the two complete marching lines crosss at the 50, the audience goes bezerk. Classic, hot, traditional, precise drum corps. Thanks Boston for keeping that in the activity.

THE CADETS (DCI Atlantic Division I Champions)
How biased I am. I have gotton so tired of the Cadets winning over every other Eastern corps in the last 15 year. Cadets, cadets, cadets. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But when the announcer asked the drum major "Is your corps ready" some girl yelled from the stands "The Cadets are always ready!" and you know what....she was right. The corps had such a sense of youthful abandonement to accompany their precision that I couldn't help but sit and awe (despite my bias) and get chilled all over. How do they do what they do? They're just simply fantastic. Oh, they could easily win it all this year. And they've done something smart this year. Last year it seems that they displayed ALL of their technical abilities in the first half of the show. This year they have fun with it and slowly pour it onto the show so by the end you're just more and more and more amazed. I just don't know how they do it. They are just plainly unbelievable....yet they're there. "Whoa!" as Keeneau Reeves would say. And "Awesome".

All in all it was a great night for Eastern Drums Corps tonight. Cadets, Crossmen, and Surf were the big winners and look for big things to come from all three corps. Well, it's very late and I'm exhausted. What a wonderful night it has been.

Warren Moore
Cadets of Greece 79-82

WOW what a show considering it was only July 8th. Although my seats were sorta crappy and half of my vision was cut off because of a big metal support beam, the show was still kickass.

Patriots...I didn't see they're show in the morning, but i was talking to a caption leader from the corp before the second show and they seemed pretty pissed with the results. But lemme tell you, they're second show was really good, even though i wasn't diggin the yellow hard hats at all, they brought out the color guard, which was for the worse because at best they were half way decent. Marching wasn't that bad at all. This show will definately improve quite a bit, and best of luck to them this summer.

Spartans...As with the Patriots I didn't see the Spartans morning show, but I'm hoping that since they placed second in DII/III that it was a hell of a lot better in the morning than it was at night. The energy and enthusiasm just wasn't there at night. I found myself on a few occasions drifting off thinking about the Cadets. Marching is definately the Spartans strong point, I think at this point in the season the music is just too difficult for the brass. If they clean it up it will be a great show...good luck spartans.

Phoenix...Yeah baby, what a show by such a small Division III corp, to tell you the truth i thought they competed with the spartans. They had great sound, and thats such a surprise considering where they were just last year....great improvement guys...there is that sudden smell of victory in the air for phoenix this year...and believe me when i tell you, this corp is going a long way this year.

Surf...Wow...all i can say is Wow...I have a few friends who march with surf and before the season started they were telling me how good they were, but i wasn't sure if i would be able to believe it...Well lemme tell you the Jersey Surf has made me a believer...They were amazing, by far the best D II/III corp. Music was great, marching was great...And i was totally amazed by the Color Guard...Wow they were great, i didn't realize that a D II corp could have such a good color guard. Good luck surf and i wouldn't be surprised if I see you in the Semi's at open class finals in Maryland.

Tarheel Sun...Bleh...I just cant find it in me to like this corp...I will never understand why nor like the fact that they moved up to Division I. Surf definately showed these guys what was up, and there is no way that Tarheel beat Kiwanis. Another thing I didn't like about Tarheel Sun is their new uniforms. Tarheel Sun, isn't the sun supposed the yellow, for a second i thought i was watching the AFC champion Tennessee Titans marching around on the field. Their music was sloppy, and they need a lot of practice to even make it into the top 20.

Kiwanis Kavaliers...Theres always been something about this Corp that I like. But i definately thought that they're show was pretty decent, and I know that if there are some touch ups done this corp could be pretty good, and in no way should they be competing with Tarheel Sun.

Spirit of Atlanta...Well these guys were good, but I could tell that they weren't on they're A game. The energy just wasn't there at all, but from what i saw the drum line was tearin it up. These guys will definately turn some heads in the near future, with energy this show will be great.

Crossmen...They brought the crowd to life, as always. What a great show they put on, they deserved every point they got, marching was great, one of the best in the last few years. And it looks like the horns might actually play up to their potential. I was dissapointed in two ways though. Number one the percussion wasn't featured at all, i was waiting for another kickass 99' minute long stay standing on the 50 yd line drum break, but it never happened. Another is that they are playing birdland yet again, yeah its a great tune, but we gotta do sumthin here. Anyway great show crossmen.

Carolina Crown...I am very surprised to see how good this corp really is, they do deserve to be competing with Crossmen, and its gonna be a fight between them the whole year. Drumline was slammin and theres one part where all the horns come up front and blow you away, it is a great show, good job Crown.

Crusaders...Wow, this got the crowd jumpin, this was my favorite show of the night. Crusaders definately have the show to be in the top 5 this year, if it happens i dont know, but i definately think its a possibility, cant wait to see you guys later in the year.

Cadets...another good ol' cadets show...the highlight of miy night is the tenor spotlight, with the playing behind the back and the whole rotating between drums thing...WOW!!!! Everybodies jaws were dragging on the floor after that one. I heard that part was just added the day before so some of you might not know what i'm talking about. Anyway this is quite possibly the championship show of the year, good luck cadets...i'm rooting for ya!


So I attended my first corps show of the year and here are just some random thoughts -

Cadets - Always great performers - but the show lacks a quality that Cadets have been missing for a few years - they just are so good that they are not giving emotional qualities to what they are performing - seems almost routine anymore from a design standpoint. Let's dance in the beginng, play lots of notes, do something pseudo creative in the middle, and play loud and fast again - get big score --- I am personally waiting for a To Tame the Perilous Skies -like show again which knocks you off your feet without expecting it.

Crossmen - I am shocked to see an Open Class corps play the same song 3 out of 5 (?) years -- I actually longed to hear Ricky Martin. Lots of park and blow - crowd loved it - I think it is just about as far as it should go.

Crown - LOTS of potential here - they just need to sell the program with a little more fire. Seemed a bit off tonite - colorguard was arguably the best on the field - percussion was hot. If they can get that emotional quality in - they are looking at knocking on the Top 8's door.

Spirit - Glad to see that they are out and still doing it. Corps seemed young and they seemed to be pushing themselves -- if they would change the guard attire - the whole visual program would improve greatly.

Surf - Having been a Surf fan of sorts I was glad to see them do well - but not entirely sure why they did so well with this product. Intelligently designed drill works for them. Colorguard costumes were nothing short of hideous and distasteful - these are young people on the field, why dress them in such a manner? Clean and simple seems to be the theme with this show - I heard in the stands that they camped out all week and just rehearsed - you could tell. Spartans / Patriots and ECJ have LOTS of work to do - but from a program design standpoint, they all have a definite advantage here. The question is will their kids play with such heart? I would give it a few weeks to see lots of movement in Div II on the East Coast.

I have to also say it is sad not to see any of the Middle America corps coming to the East any longer - people say that they want to avoid the YEA dominated shows. I hope this changes soon!


DeKalb, IL (DCM Championships)

I watched 34 performances over the two days, and I had a great time except for the UP trains blowing through every 20 minutes or so. But here is my view on most everything.

General Butler: I really enjoyed their show musically. They have stuck to a more classical approach to Carmen and it pays off. I think there is a lot of room for growth here. I wish they would have used more props to frame the show and set the mood in a more operatic since like they did with Les Mis. The drum line needs a lot of work, but I really love this corps.

Americanos: They did Carmen too, but they did it the Americanos way. I appreciate that too, but I prefer a more classical approach. My wife liked this show over GBV's. I like the backdrops behind the pit, and their use of it during the show to hide the clutter of guard equipment. It has a lot of potential.

Kilties: The split in membership is hurting them, but the spirit remains true. I like the attempt of the Mohicans, but the show design lacks visually. There are some nice musical moments, and they are making progress.

Minnesota: I like the horn arrangements, and they have a good show technically. However, Chicago's music doesn't do a whole lot for me.

Pioneer: 2 good years in a row musically. I like the progress that they have been making. The kids are having fun and it shows. Their whole staff is making better decisions in the programming and they are reaping the benefits.

Southwind: I can't believe my ears. Holst done right. Very entertaining and good musically. I enjoy all of the show. With some cleaning they could surprise some people in MD.

Colts: Good teaching going on, but good teaching doesn't make up for ok music. The music is holding them back I feel. I like parts of it, and other parts just don't do anything. I have followed them since open house, and they have did a lot with nothing musically. I like the new uniforms, but visually they don't incorporate the colors enough.

Bluecoats: I like there show musically, and two things that I enjoyed were the use of the elastics on the poles and the feet it fits well, and the snaking drumline through the box drill move. This show is much better than I thought it would be.

Madison: I have followed them since open house too, and I am disappointed. They have a lot of potential musically, and it is failing. The staging hurts them. They phase all over the place, and this group seems to be weaker marching wise. The stripe on the pants shows this as plain as day. I saw them 3 times in a week, and I think they have hit a plateau learning wise. I soooo want them to get better.

Phantom: Musically, its a great show. The music is hard for people to understand if they are not familiar, but it's a better Phantom. I would like more of Jeux, but it's to late for that. I like this show more and more as I see them clean up. The new uni's are nice to see to.

Glassmen: It's an improvement over Kodaly, but Concerto in F is not a masterpiece. The kids play it with a lot of heart, and they are quite clean. This show will peak early. I would like to see them do more operatic/ballet scores. I could see this corps doing Mathis der Mahler by Hindemith quite well. They have a horn line with potential.

Cavaliers: I am warming up to their show. The hornline has made great improvements, but the percussion music doesn't fit rhythmically in my opinion. It's cool, but it hurts the show musically. The piece is based of a 4 note motivic pattern, but the battery doesn't complement it. The Cavies are like Colts in this manner. They do a lot with very little musically. Niagara Falls is not that great of a piece. I would rather see them do Gillinghams Concertino for Percussion and Winds with Heroes Lost and Fallen, and something else by Gillingham, if they want to dabble in new Wind Ensemble music.



Belleville, Ontario (DCA)

This was my first live Drum corps show in 20 years, a couple DCA and DCI tapes in the past, but nothing beats live. My wife & I spent the day at the Festival in Belleville and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We topped off the day with a great Drum corps show in beautiful weather, with an overflow crowd (over 2000 easily). The stadium is very small (low) so the drill really didn't show well for us, we were 3rd row from the top and the drum majors were higher than we were. But talk about in your face Drum corps!

First corps on was in Exhibition: The Dutch Boys from Kitchener. 20H/15D/18G (approx) You've got to admire these kids. Great effort, their show is a bit obscure to me as I've never seen the Lion King (Kids all grown up). Horn line got tired near the end but did well, the drum line rocked for most of the show (loved the disappearing act) & the guard was very strong (not sure about the uni). The crowd was very appreciative.

Kingston Grenadiers: 68.0 - 32H/20D/14G (approx.) Love the new uniforms, You've got to jazz up the drum majors uni though. What a musical show! Chuck M (my favorite) Saw these guys at a practice in May - Wow have they put it together. Strong Horn line, even stronger Drumline.(8 snares) Awesome snare - tom parts near end of show. Guard is small but good to my untrained eye. Very powerful & exciting show. As one of our Kavalier members said "much better than last year" Spontaneous standing O. Find 10H & 10G and these guys are competing for top 5

Rochester Crusaders:70.1 - 40H/17D/18G(approx) Bigger presence on the field than Kingston. (They seem to use more of the field.) Not sure why they beat Kingston by 2 pts.? They seem very even, Kingston has a better musical show , Rochester is better in size and presence. Their show didn't jump out at me or my wife though. Should be a great race to the DCA's. On a personnel note: it was great to see Pat Begly in the Cru pit. I marched with him in the early 70's in the Kawartha Kavaliers. Glad to see you still do your martian routine. And whats with the Cru Drum Major????? Maybe the reason the Crusaders didn't stand out in my memory is because of their Drum Major distracting from the show. At first he was funny and loose but after he yelled at the judges for the 5th time I couldn't tell you what the corps was doing. As one of my neighbors said "mum, taunting the judges, must be a new way of getting points"

Brigadiers: 80.2 - What can you say!!! 64H/30D/30G(approx) Great show, fast moving, musically exciting, and the quad line should win a special award, I have never seen a line this good before. The pit also stood out for their professionalism and showmanship. Love the new uni's & the back field prop, the small front stage is distracting though. One of the soloist had a few problems during the show but he got it together during the victory concert. Speaking of the victory concert, their warm-up was worth more than the price of admission.

Exhibition: Signal Corps - Toronto - Now this is old style Drum Corps. 28H/14D The Signal corps put on a great exhibition of 60's corps. Some good military style songs with a basic field drill. Only corps that had the crowd clapping along with their music. Certainly not as powerful or showy as the competing corps but not bad for true weekend warriors.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the evening. great weather, big crowd & in your face Drum Corps. You've gotta love it!

Life is Good
Larry Callaghan
Kawartha Kavaliers 72-78,2000-?

Friday July 7
Ft. Edward, NY (DCI Atlantic)

Now that I am awake (I had a five hour ride home last night, so I think a late morning can be excused), I will write a brief review of the Ft. Edward show. Since I reviewed many of these corps from Elkton, I will try to comment on my opinions of the progress of those corps.

The show was actually held in Glen Falls. I think the entire town came out for the show. The stands were packed into the end zone. The crowd was very appreciative. I was concerned about the arrangement of the stands which were obviously set up for baseball games, but it turned out not to be that bad. The weather was cool, but comfortable. My only problem with the show was the fact that people were coming into the stands throughout the first performance (Spartans). I was 50 yard line, 12th row, but the steps to the stands came right up in front of me, so, many people blocked my view. I was getting very annoyed. Thankfully, they began preventing people from coming in during the performance from that corps on (maybe they saw the steam coming from my ears). I was very happy that they did this, but I have found that at many shows, they do not and people come in and out throughout the performances. It should be mandatory, in my humble opinion, that there should be a no entrance to the stands policy during performances at all shows.

On to the review:

Spartans - (8th) - My first viewing of their show. Unfortunately, as described above, it was a limited viewing so I cannot give an honest opinion of their performance. I will say that the music was a bit obscure, but they handled it fairly well.

Tarheel Sun - (7th) - Again, this was my first viewing of this show. Musically, it was a very enjoyable show. There is alot of recognizable music here, particularly for old time Blue Devils fans. Percussion and brass seemed to be performing pretty well. The visual show may be where this corps is lacking. Marching seemed muddled at times. The drill was a bit plain. The corps should be challenging, once again, to make the top 17 this year. I had actually scored them a bit higher (slightly above Kiwanis)

Kiwanis Kavaliers - (6th) - They have improved quite a bit since Elkton and Clifton. The holes are beginning to fill (although there are still quite a few). The horns are playing with much more confidence and it showed in performance - the musical show was much smoother and clearer than a week ago. Things really began to fall apart in the closer, however. I noticed a few small musical changes and a different guard uniform change (from last week). The corps is coming along nicely.

Spirit of Atlanta - (5th) - I would award them with most improvement from last week. I did not notice many changes in the show, but the corps is obviously much more confident in their performance. The horn line was louder than last week and made fewer mistakes. Percussion is still the strength of the corps however. If they can enhance the visual show a bit (more guard work), they will be set for semifinals in Washington. As I noted last week, I actually like this show better than last year's.

Crossmen - (2nd) - The Crossmen have rewritten the end of Birdland. Much more movement now and I believe that it is better musically as well. They have also changed some of the marching in the ballad, but I still think there needs to be more change there. The hornline was once again solid and the drums are now a more noticeable aspect of the show (they definitely seemed to be playing with more volume). The corps has improved over last week and were the crowd favorites tonight. I will say it once again ---- this guard is awesome! They are a major asset to this show!

Carolina Crown - (3rd) - Their show was well received by the crowd - much more so than last week in Clifton. I did not notice any dramatic changes at this point. The horns have improved somewhat, but the guard is still making too many drops. The ballad, in my opinion, is still the best part of the show. Still, they are very enjoyable and will continue to improve what, as I said last week, I think is their best show yet.

Boston Crusaders - (4th) - This was my first viewing. I was very impressed with the drill that the staff has written for this show. Their opening move was one of the best of the night. Boston has a top six drill ..... it is fast, innovative and fun to watch. I think that this show has the potential to go places because of it. The key will be performance. Right now, the performance is well behind Crown and Crossmen both visually and musically. My only concern would be that they will not be able to clean up this show enough by the time finals comes around. If they do, they may pass both of them (and I have a Crossmen bias). I was not as impressed with the musical portion of the show. Percussion seemed to struggle at times. The singing portion of the show really needs to be shortened. The guard is much better than last years. The crowd also enjoyed this show.

Cadets - (1st) - In my opinion, the Cadets were the least improved corps since Clifton. In fact, I think they may have put in a better performance at Clifton. The corps seemed tired. There did not seem to be much energy in their show tonight. This was reflected in the crowd response which was much lighter than Crossmen, Crown or Boston. Still, I enjoy the show. The music is addictive ... it has really grown on me.

It will be interesting to see what happens tonight in Philadelphia.

Andy Keyser

DeKalb, IL (DCM Championship Prelims)

I thought Cavaliers (1st prelims, 83.00) deserved a higher score. They have an outstanding show that I thought clearly dominated by a wider margin than the score indicated and are in the hunt for finals in Maryland, with BD and Cadets. They dropped my jaw repeatedly, and it was great to see them do a very powerful as well as innovative drill that again added to the music as they used to do before Steve Brubaker moved on to a higher division. I loved all the water and waterfall imagery in their "Niagara Falls" show. They were easily my favorite corps at this show for the first time in a long time.

Glassmen (2nd prelims, 79.15) are more emotional and accessible than in recent years, to their credit, and do a very nice job with the Gershwin Concerto in F. I'm not sure what's up with the three park-and-bark sections (well, maybe I should call them park-and-purr, as they're relatively quiet or at least slow), which were musically very effective, but visually weak, but Glassmen make up for them with some tough fast drill at other points in the show. I enjoyed their show more than I usually do.

Phantom (3rd prelims, 76.60) played difficult music very impressively, but have been clearly left behind in drill design; their show, following Madison's (which it will do again tonight), did absolutely nothing for the crowd. I liked it, but was more impressed by it than knocked out, and I'd much rather be knocked out.

Madison (4th prelims, 75.90 with 0.7 penalty) was very entertaining again, but not as entertaining as in recent years. They didn't light the place up as they have in the past, but there’s still time to add more showmanship. They had some significant ensemble/phasing problems in the middle part of their show (as did Phantom during Rite of Spring), but the Scouts had a fun show that I did enjoy overall. Tough horn charts, but I missed the screamin' solos. How'd you like to march guard in those red rucksack Cossack uniforms in the DC heat in August? Sweatcity.

Bluecoats (5th prelims, 73.40) have a much improved hornline this year and have stepped up their score to match, and the color guard adds a lot to their show.

Colts (6th prelims, 70.20) were okay but not memorable, and I would have thought they were outscored by Southwind; visual field needs work, and I didn't like their distracting and subtracting use of color by the guard.

Did Southwind (7th prelims, 67.05) just insert a new opener or opener drill? After the rough time they had marching it in particular, they got much better, and I liked their show a lot. They should see some nice gains in score with some cleaning that will come.

I was stuck in the runway during Pioneer's show (8th prelims, 64.05) and am also sorry I missed the two Div. II corps, Blue Star (1st, 55.95) and Capital Sound (2nd, 55.70).

Hot trends this year in color guard: purple crushed-velvet pants, and long pikes that get twirled!

Ned Hamilton

Monday July 3
Bristol, RI (DCI Atlantic)

Just got back from the Bristol show; got a second look at the East corps' shows. On the whole the corps' performances were better this evening thn yesterday.

Cadets: Got a chance to get a better look at the guard under the lights. The grey outfits work better at night. I also enjoyed the guard's performance much more--looked much more like what one would expect from a Cadets guard. Some really nifty catches by rifles and flags in the "showing off" section. Drums sounded very clean. Hornline sounded great. It began to rain during their performance and the energy flagged a bit at the end. Overall, however, an impressive performance for early July.

Crossmen: I guess they didn't like losing to Crown yesterday, as they came out tonight on fire. Crossmen had the audience from beginning to end. Although I was pretty critical of the show in my post yesterday, a second viewing makes me realize that a great strength of the Crossmen this year is the marching members. They really seem to be enjoying themselves and are very good performers. They got the biggest hand of the night.

Crown: Another fine showing. It was pretty windy tonight, and the guard had some problems. At times they were very impresive, but at times they struggled with their tosses. This was Crown's, Crossmen's and Cadets', fifth or sixth show in a row, so they must be getting a bit tired. However, it didn't show.

Boston: Boston's show is very difficult this year, so it will take them some time to catch up to Crown and Crossmen. They are moving very fast for most of the show, and the horn parts are very intricate. As a result the show is pretty dirty--this was only performance #2. However, the talent is there. The color guard is very good this year--a big improvement over 1999.

Spirit: Spirit's score fell a bit tonight. They seemed to be a little less energetic than yesterday. However, I still think this show has potential to grow a lot.

KK: Also a perforamance that seemed to be more of a struggle than that given yesterday in Beverly. Horns, especially, seemed to be having difficulty getting the notes out. Color guard did a good job, however, and the audience seemed to respond quite postitively to the show.

Spartans: 1st viewing for me. I did not recoginize any of the music, and it seemed a bit esoteric. Some of it left me cold, but some seemed to have potential. Once they clean it up, I thing the entertainment potential will come out.

John Fitzgerald

The first number in parenthesis is how I think the corps fared entertainment-wise and the second number is how the judges placed them.

(Tied for 5th, 1st) The Cadets
I thought the show was performed very well. As usual for the Cadets, there were some neat drill moves. Parts of the show were dirty, but overall it was pretty clean for July 3rd. However, for the most part, I found the show boring. The two parts I really enjoyed were the sops playing on each other's horns and the tenors playing on each other's drums.

(DEFINITELY 1st, 2nd) Crossmen
WOW. What a great, great show. By far, the crowd favorite (and mine too). A lot of people have been debating whether or not it is as good as the 97 show, and personally, I think it is! The horn line plays extremely well. I also think they did a great job of integrating the guard for an impressive general effect (no, not the kind the judges look at). On the critique side, as people have pointed out, they sure do park and blow a lot. I don't mind it because they sound good and they are having fun, but it definitely takes some of the difficulty out of the performance!

(3rd, 3rd) Carolina Crown
A very solid show. Crown is just a few marks off Crossmen, in both execution and entertainment. I liked the music (it was taken from "The Mask of Zorro").

(4th, 4th) Boston Crusaders
Frankly, after waiting for so long for their first appearance, I was a little disappointed. They have a neat Latin-style show. Their opener, "Bolero" (Madison's ballad in '96), was performed well. They incorporate portions of it in their closer as well, and it's pretty cool. Like I said, the show is "neat", but it's definitely not spectacular. I think it is a dropoff from last year's. A lot of people think Crusaders will eventually catch Crown and Crossmen. I don't think they will catch either corps in scoring or entertainment.

(Tied for 5th, 5th) Spirit of Atlanta
Great job. The kids are trying hard and there is a NOTICEABLE improvement over last year. The drum line is smoking! As you can see, I rated them equally as entertaining as Cadets.

(7th, 6th) Kiwanis Kavaliers
Good show. I liked the theme ("Les Miserables").

(6th, 7th) Spartans

Ted Martin

Crown Point, IN (DCM)

Hey RAMDers, Spent the last few days in the Greater Crown Point area. Here's my full report:

Bandettes (31.8): Tough sell on what they are playing (Ellington). Keep tryin'. They have some good individual talent (mello was real strong).

Dutch Boy (34.35): First time I've seen these guys in a LONG time. Man are they young. It looked like there were 9 and 10 year olds out there. As you can imagine, with kids this young......However, from talking with sources close to this situation, they are doing the right things with this corps and they are headed in the right direction....

Bayou City Blues Sr. (39.4): Not a big fan of senior corps playing old Wayne Downey charts 50 beats too slow.....but, these guys aren't too concerned with precision and really just want to entertain, and that's what they did. Some good solo work in this group.

Cincy Glory (54.75): I was pleasantly surprised with this group. I don't like the '93 Star of Indiana-lite uniforms.....but, with only 10 horns they did a great job. So often small corps will try to overplay or underplay and fall into the "heroes and chickens" syndrome, but CG has a nice controlled sound with good balance. Drum line is nice and drill is nicely done. Wes Flynn arrangements are very serviceable. End of show obviously needs attention.

Americanos (55.85): Americanos are always one of my favorite Div 2/3 corps. They have a good show, but simply aren't executing it very well at this point. I honestly think CG should be beating them. Americanos are ahead at this point because they are larger. They aren't playing particularly well and the visual end needs a lot of work. They'll get their act together and be there come August, but right now, I think they better get it in gear or they are gonna get surprised by some corps they aren't counting on.

Tarheel Sun (58.9): Why the new uni's? And why the gray section on the shoulders? When the horns put their instruments up, you can't see the gray and they look like a big black blob. Last year's color was nice and would be ok for this show. Anyway, musically, this corps has a long way to go. I think they have anywhere from 3-5 holes in the contra section (I really couldn't tell because the holes kept shifting.....guess that tells you a little about the drill too....) alone. Announcer said they had 60 horns. I doubt there was 48 out there. Balance issues are big problem right now. Black unis are not good for the visual end. They'll be in semi's in August.

Bluecoats (71.25): Stayed with them all day so I got a good look. VERY powerful hornline that will improve when they get some things in tune (Doug Thrower just came on tour, this will be addressed shortly). Very entertaining show. Nothing that's gonna knock you on your tail, but very refreshing. I can't say enough about the percussion. Front ensemble sent me into a frenzy in their victory arch. I can't ever remember cheering for a pit, but they are selling this show so much you have to love them! Battery is simply the best the Bluecoats have ever had (16.1 puts them up there with Phantom and Cadets and past Madison in percussion). I'd like to see better staging in the drill, but that's getting picky (why can't drill writers figure out that balance is important in impact situations????? Can't have the contras on the 10 yard line for a power chord and expect it to sound correct......I digress). This show has a ton of potential and could push some of the top 7 corps.

Bluecoats, Carolina, X-men, Boston are in a cluster in the middle of top 12 right now. That's positions 8-11. I'd like to see the 'Coats push their way back into top 7. Show has the potential to do it. They have some things going for them here in the next few weeks that may make the scores jump (especially visual and GE).

Back to the victory arch. The Bluecoats aren't accustomed to doing victory archs, but I must say it was one of the best I've seen done. They weren't as precision oriented as SCV or performance clean as Cavaliers, but man, these guys can absolutely wail. And I'll say it again, this pit is alot of fun. Keep your eyes on the guys playing the cymbal rack and accessories......they LOVE what they are doing.

Altogether, a great evening for drum corps.

Darren Webb

I just got home from the 8 hour trek to Crown Point. After spending 2 days in the area, I found the town to be a nice piece of Americana. I will try to be unbiased however as a Bluecoat Alumnus it will be difficult.

Let me first say that I spent the day in the food truck helping out and I found a whole new respect for these people. The tasks that the support staff take care of in the background is paramount. If you haven't done this go and volunteer for one day for your favorite corps. (I almost guarantee they will accept)

Now for the show!!!!!!!

71.25 Bluecoats
Good strong horn line. This is not the typical Bluecoats that we have grown up with. It doesn't exhibit the traditional big band swing but more of a contemporary big band design. If I say one thing it is CHECK OUT THE DRUM LINE!!!!!!! The Bluecoats brought in Dan Delong of DCA fame who has these gus smokin. The percussion arranging is the best in Bluecoats history. The guard is excellent (as far as I can tell) They could be knocking on the doors of Madison and Phantom when some nuances and feet issues are addressed.

58.90 Tarheel Sun
First year in Division I and I have to say that this is great as Div I corps seem to be dropping like flies. Horn line had a good show by the expression of the brass staff on the sideline. Drum line needs to clean things up a bit. On a personal note, I like last year's uniform much better.

55.85 Americanos
They definitely have a difficult book, both musically and visually. The horn line is a bit bright at times and judging from America/O' Canada this can be due to one sop player. Drum line has some cleaning/watering to do but it should be tight by Div. II/III finals.

54.75 Cincinnati Glory
Let me say that I was impressed with the design of this show. The design team certainly had a handle on the level that the corps is functioning. All 3 books fit the corps. There is something to be said for writing music and drill for 10 horns.

39.40 Bayou Blues Sr.
Senior corps from Houston travelling to Indiana. Wonder how much alcohol was consumed in that trip. Had some soloists w/ chops. I kind of liked the humor that was involved. They could use some people in the pit for color and a little better equity in performance level from top to bottom of the sections.

34.35 Dutch Boy
Boy are the young. I can certainly relate to the diffuculty of a small, young, and inexperienced group. However, think of the future that this corps has. I hope to see them as a comtender in Div II/II in the next couple years.

31.80 Bandettes
They've got some strong individuals in the horn line. (Mello and Contra) They have some execution issues in the drum line. These girls are having trouble playing the parts. The biggest proble would be that there seemed to be a lack of performance intensity throughout the corps.

I look forward to my next show in Huntington WV next week.

Dan Brennan

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