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

Page Six 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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Saturday July 15
Denver, CO (DCI)

Great show, except for the rain that came in the middle of Colts' performance. VERY good level of competition out there!

Missed the first two corps because I was waiting for my group of people to show up and give them their tickets. Seattle Cascades were in first with a 70.05, Impulse in second with a 68.4

Allegiance Elite - 60.05. Interesting show and hard to sell with pretty abstract music. Still some cleaning needed to do, but I think this is their last show (?). Nice work!

8th - Tarheel Sun - 60.55 - I liked them, but my dad said that Channel One Suite being done so well by many other corps before kind of left him flat.

7th - Troopers - 63.9 - Casper is alive and well, I'm excited to say. This show was very entertaining. I can't wait to see it in August when the brass line is full and the drill is clean. Great job, Troop!

6 - Colts - 74.7 - I don't see what people don't see in this show. I think that it may compare to last years' show. I thought it was very entertaining and very well executed, considering the fact that it started raining in the middle of their performance. Can't wait to see you guys in August!

5 - Boston Crusaders - 78.25 - VERY Entertaining show from the Crusaders this year. I really like the Latin-style for them and I wouldn't be surprised if the guard won High Honors tonight. Man can they spin! Go BAC!!

4 - Phantom Regiment - 78.8 - I was really impressed with PR tonight. I thought they beat BAC by more than they did. Rite of Spring is terrific and Tommy Feagin is quite possibly the best conductor ever on the field. He has such precision and control. Go PR!

3 - Blue Knights - 81.55 - Cool show. I thought they were a little off tonight (and at their home show?). I dunno. Maybe it was me. I thought they seemed nervous. Or maybe I just expected a little more out of them? I don't know. Anyway, the show is excellent and will definitely be in the hunt for Top 5 (maybe 4?) in August. Still lots of cleaning. They WILL NOT max out their show this year before Finals like in years' past. Terrific job, BK!!

2 - Santa Clara Vanguard - 82.6 - GREAT show! This show WILL be in the hunt for the title. The music is beautiful. I LOVE the opening movement, both Prayers of Kierkegaard (BK's ballad in '97) and the Bartok Allego Molto. Adagio for Strings was the highlight of the night. This is a very well designed show. This show reminds of '98 and I think SCV will have that late season surge like they did in '98. My favorite show of the night.

1 - Cavaliers - 85.9 - I was really impressed by the Green Machine tonight. I thought they deserved to win, but not by that much. 3.3 points? No way. Oh well. I had two problems with this show: 1. The use of past drill moves. Come up with something more original, please! and 2. Too many "flowy, expanding" drill moves. That's kinda hard to explain. But, I thought I was watching a past show. Tonight the guard lost the brown uni's gradually throughout the show. Nice design, but I feel they will max out their show and SCV will end up ahead of them. Anyway. congratualations Cavies on a well deserved win tonight!

Well, it's late and I need to go to bed. Congratulations to all of tonight's corps' and good night. I can't wait till DC!!!!


This was my first drum corps show in about 5 years, so please excuse me if I sound a bit dated.

The first corps on the field were the Seattle Cascades (1st div II). They seemed to have a nice solid corps but were a bit short in marching fundamentals. They seemed to project their sound well, but really didn't have a solid idea of what their show concept was. I really liked their soloists throughout the show.

Next on were the Impluse from Orange Couny, CA. I really liked their concept of a day in the life of a school. It created a nice flow throughout the show. This corps deserved much better than 2nd place in division II. They performed much better than the Cascades and had a much more complete concept. The drum line was up to division I standards and this corps will definately be a threat in division I next year.

Last on for division II were the Allegience Elite from Calgary, Canada. (3rd in division II). A smallish corps (23H, 13D, 10CG), they performed a straight drum corps show (kind of hard after the crowd reaction from Impulse). Note to corps, please consider cutting down the size of the V's on unis, they really distracted from your look.

First on for divison I were the Tarheel Sun (60.55 and 8th place). They played a nice rendition of Channel One Suite and seemed comfortable on the field. They needed a bit more of a challenging drill to move up in division I, but they seemed primed for the future.

Next on were my old alma mater the Casper Troopers (63.9 and 7th place). They have improved immensely over last years' corps and seem to have the horses and show concept to make a push for the top 16 in D.C.. A nice hornline that needs to become a little more aggressive in their playing. The drumline was very solid (as good as Colts). The CG has improved also. (Note to Trooper staff: PLEASE BURN THE CLOSER FLAGS, THEY LOOK LIKE PRACTICE FLAGS. THERE MUST BE SOMETHING BETTER THAN THOSE!!!!!!)

Next on were the Dubuque Colts. A rock solid hornline and nice overall show. I'm afraid they have absolutely no chance for finals but should be around 14th to 15th. (6th place 74.7)

Phantom was the first of the "big-boys" to perform. The show was all Phantom but the uniform tops looked like they were stolen for the '79 Madison Scouts. I understand that corps need to change with the times, but tradition can be as strong a change. This corps should be a strong contender for top 6 honors this year. (4th place 78.8).

Boston performed next (5th place 78.25). They were straight old-time drum corps, with a distinct attitude. Congratulations Boston, you should break into the top 8 this year.

The Cavies stormed in next. This corps is probably the best in their storied history. A fantastic hornline, an awesome drumline, marching that looked like the Keystone Cops on steroids. I just wish that the CG unis didn't look like homeless sailors. (1st place 85.9)

Santa Clara performed next. They brought the house down with their typical Vanguard show. Their hornline wasn't as awe inspiring as Cavies, but they were much "purer" in their tonality. This corps should definately be in the top 3 by DCI finals. (2nd place 82.6)

The hometown Blue Knights performed last to a steady standing ovation. An excellent show design backed by solid performances throughout the corps. They did seem a little flat in their performances, but the basics were there to challenge for the top 6 this year. (3rd place 81.55)

On a personal note: it seems that the current drum corps activity has forgotten marching basics. Throughout the competition it seemed like being in step wasn't a necessary part of the show. I'm sure Jim Jones would not approve of even top corps forgetting this basic skill. It also would help the musicianship for the lower level corps.

Daniel McKnight

Troop--Same old corps. Good performance tonight.

Colts--Don't like the new uni's, sorry. They performed well. The rain that started pouring down mid-show was COLD, by the way. Got distracted for a few moments in the middle. The horns have a nice round sound most of the time. My general impression is that they don't move as much as the music dictates, but what they do is pretty good. I'm told they re-learned lots of new drill recently.

Boston--Love the show. Thought they were ahead of PR. The horns play like top 8. Drums seem fine (but I'm a horn person, so I really don't know!). Solid performance. One note: the program listed their horn caption head(?) as the composer of their first two productions. I'd suggest that it be clear in future programs that the opener is an ARRANGEMENT of Bolero, and not an original composition (I know everyone here probably knows that already. but I'm for giving credit where it is due).

PR--Uniforms (the tunics) remind me of 27 for some reason!? Solid sound in the horns tonight. I do like Petrouchka (somehow I keep hearing Spirit's version in my head though!) Drums did not impress my drum friends, though I'm told that they got second in the caption. I'm not a PR fan, so I don't have a whole lot more to say, but it wasn't "offensive".

BK--Clearly above average for them, and have capitalized on their success of last year. BUT...the show was compromised in many ways tonight...I sense that they over-hyped, which caused a LOT of mistakes in the horn-line (I stopped counting after 20). Overall, I see a solid production. Would've liked to see them at their best though. And I agree with many on RAMD...put a shirt on the dude in the guard.

SCV--They are playing "catch-up" right now, and are almost there. The show hasn't gelled yet to the seamless consistency it needs to be, but I see it coming in a week or two, maybe it will take until finals?! I liked Adagio very much. I wished I was one more section over to get the full impact of the horns. I'm not sold on the end of the closer yet (a "down" ending), but maybe it will grow on me.

Cavaliers--Very controlled, clean show. No complaints from the hornline. My impression is that they might peak early. I was 10 rows from the front, so the wavy drill was lost on me. I'll see it higher in Maryland though. Good choice of repertoire. Enjoyable performance tonight, but I did not agree with the point differential between them and SCV. Thought it was closer than that.


Seeing that i have had the pleasure to march both Blue Knights and Phantom Regiment, I have some comments I feel i can make.

First of let me say that the show last night from Colts to Blue Knights that this was an excellent showing of all corps.

Colts: Great show, I personally thought you had and edge on BAC. Good stuff comin from their battery.

Crusaders: Fun show but, why all the reprises of other drum corps? Good performers doing what they are supposed to do though.

Phantom Regiment: Definetly their best show from a design standpoint since 96. I've been told that they just learned eight full minutes of new drill begining last week. Which would explain much of their drill issues. I believe they have got an excellent show, and I'm kind of upset I didn't get to march this show. I believe once they clean it up they SHOULD be top five. They won ensemble music last night and got 2nd in drums when almost EVERYONE expected fourth if not lower. Also the gaurd was incredible KEEP THAT UP LADIES!! and if the fellas and ladies in the percussion section keep playing like last night it should be all good. As for the brass, don't try to outplay your opponents keep on being MUSICIANS, I have so much respect for you!!!! SUTA SUTA SUTA SUTA SUTA SUTA SUTA SUTA SUTA SUTA SUTA SUTA

Blue Knights: I heard they were smokin all day in rehearsal, but just got nervous in front of the home crowd. Theirs is a good show, Robbie Billings is an excellent visual designer. Their guard is great, and when their drumline plays, they will be hard to stop. I personally thought, and you'll all will think i'm biased, and maybe i am, but one of the few reasons they beat regiment was because they went on an hour after them.

Vanguard: Their show was great from a performers aspect but i don't think that their show is as good as 98 or 99. These guys really perform well and they will dually get rewarded for that.

Cavaliers: Now what to say...maybe PHENOMINAL!!!! These guys are already august clean. Excellent show, drill, music, guard,PERCUSSION, wholy *@%#!!!! Incredible for July 15th. I saw them rehearsing the day before, and I belive i watched a "tickless" run through, twice of the opener. Brett Kuhn, Mike Macintosh and the rest of Cavaliers staff, My hat is off to you. I feel this show is Championship material... keep in mind, i havn't seen Cadets and BD but this show and these members are AWESOME, and this is coming from a former regiment member.

so thats my opinion on DATR
David Killinger
Blue Knights blip year 95 bass
Phantom Regiment 98,99
Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble 95,96,98-00

Jacksonville, AL (DCI)

Hello.. This is Michael Bell here.. I just got back from JSU and the Drums Across America show in wonderful Paul Snow Stadium on the campus of JSU, for those of you who have never been to our lovely campus you really should next year because the sound in Paul Snow is HARD TO BEAT, it isn't a huge college stadium and the sound is great!!!

on the review

Scenic City (47.25)- Ok, So I understand that this is a great group of kids and that they really try hard, but when will the show design people understand that this music isn't easy and itmakes no sense. Nothing is played very well and the stuff is horrible to try to understand. This staff it seems to me put what they wanted to hear on the field and not what could be played.

Tampa Bay Thunder (65.25) - WOW, WOW and yet another WOW.. This show excited me from the first attack. . I was very, very impressed. I know that I have never had a great love for Jimmy Newman and I have even aired some of my frustrations on here about that, but Jimmy, if you read this, NICE JOB. I am very impressed. This corps will go a long way in 2 years. 2 Years and we will see a Div 2 or 3 chamion in Tampa.. Very exciting music, great drumline and wonderfully played. Other than just a few band places in the middle tunes this is a great show, well designed.

Spirit of Atlanta (68.45) - Ok, again I don't like this music. It was played so much better tonight than in Douglasville a few weeks ago, this hornline has great potential, unfortunately the season is only so long. I don't care for the musical selections, not exciting nor are they hummable. Well.. lets see, drumline rocks.. Clint Gillespie is the MAN! The Hornline is good at times, but not great ever. The pit is better than in years past. The guard, while not as pretty as some in the past they are just as usual a decent but not great guard. The Drum Major.. Man.. She is beautiful... not a bad conductor either : )

Southwind (73.90) - I really enjoyed this show. I love Holsts suite anyway but this how is so great! The sound they make is incredible! I was very impressed all the way around. Guard, wow.. these are some lovely ladies, the hornline was LOUD and the drumline played some crazy stuff. Very impressive. This drumline has great potential to go far this year. I was impressed with the snare line.. the pit was good but not great and the rest of the line wasn't bad. Ok. So then the musicality of the corps in general was outstanding! Very impressive.. Thought for a while they could be BlueCoats, but not sure what I was thinking. I will get to that in a minute.

Carolina Crown (76.20) - VERY GREAT SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love this show.. Not the way it is played but the musical selections and the visual stuff is great. Ok, the drumline is great, wonderful and they played lots of notes. The Hornline isn't as loud as BlueCoats but they are loud and they are controlled. Impressive stuff.. The ballad is the best part of the show!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great ballad. I thought that in Douglasville and I think that tonight. I couldn't ask for a better ballad to be played. Now I want to see SCV and Adagio for Strings.. OK, well.. the guard was on.. they were great, I was impressed. The PIT is outstanding.. Lots of notes. Everything was clicking.. Suprised they got beat by BlueCoats..

Blue Coats (77.75) I like this show, I don't love this show but I liked it. Very LOUD HORNLINE!!!!!!! WOW.. What a sound. I was very impressed with the sound you guys got. The drumline Iwasn't as impressed with. Could have a lot better line there. I did like the pit dancing and stuff but the battery just didn't play a lot for my tastes, however it could be that the hornline was just that loud and good.. oh well.. I didn't think that they would be Southwind by as much as they did and i didn't think they would be crown at all.. So .. I was confused by that to begin with.. Now I think I will go with them and say nice show.. Can't wait to see it again In Murphreesboro.

Glassmen (82.60) - very cool show, clean and wonderful, didn't care for the musical selections though, but i did like this show. I can't say that i have liked a Gmen show in a while buti did like this one. The hornline has such a great sound the drumline.. WOW they play some notes. The PIT was great and played some notes too. I just love the sound, darkness that they put on the field. Impressive.. Never really caught the guard other than the wigs.. IT is better than Ladders : ) .. Ok well.. I don't know much else to say other than I can't wait to see it again and see if the music grows on me..

Cadets (86.75) - This is probally one of my favorite shows I have ever seen.. I haven't liked a show this much since 97 Cadets.. This show is incredible. From the Clocks to the end it is excitement excitement and more.. WOW, everything is incredible. The Clocks section is so difficult.. Very impressive.. Like last year i find my self almost distracted by how great the guard is! They were ON FIRE tonight.. Guard was incredible. Hornline.. Wow. what a sound, DARK DARK DARK, Bb horns are DARK and they are SWEET. I love this sound. I can't get enough. Can't wait to see BD and their Bb horns now. Well.. Drumline, man what can you say? 10 snares and almost clean as anything.. I can't get enough of this show.. The "fun" section towards the end is one of the most fun parts of a dci show i have ever seen.. I can't believe some of the stuff that goes on during the part. The tenor line.. wow what a solo. Hornline.. Man fingering other valves, who thought of that? Whomever it was .. Genius! Then the ending is incredible. What a show, top to bottom.. I haven't seen any other contenders so I won't say they will win, but it is ashow to reckon with.. Can't wait to Murphreesboro for them to duke it out with the best!

Corpsvets (exhibition) = WOW.. Nice HUNTER MOSS RULES! I enjoyed this show.. Big Ken.. You put some monster sound through that horn!! WOw.. I really enjoyed it.. Leaps and bounds better than in douglasville.. Very cool..

Retreat was nice to see again in Jacksonville.. first time they have done that in a few years.. LOUD O Canada the beautiful was nice!

Cadets Victory Concert.. Not much to it as usual, but a nice concert. Cadillac of the Skies I assume was the first tune.. But the second I do'nt know .. But it was NICE!! Very loud and out standing.. Then they did the "Fun" section of the show.. What a great part.. Man.. This really got the crowd to their feet.. Nice..

Guys.. Really you should come to JSU to watch a show if you can.. The sound is comparable to anywhere.. I have been all over to watch shows.. And the only stadium even close is Alton, Il . .What great stadiums these are.. WEll.. good luck to all the corps.. See you in Murphreesboro

Michael Bell

Well, I made it to the Jacksonville show this year. Great show overall. Let me take it corps by corps and point out the "highlights" as I saw them.

Tampa Bay Thunder - These guys stole the show in my opinion. The bring out this huge drum line and pit for the size horn line they have (21 in all) and they are a first year corps. Great sound. Good show. Look for more of them in the future.

Scenic City - The program director should have thought a little harder on this one. He decided on a show (based on the movie "Sleepy Hollow") that was too tough and drill was even more advanced than that. The kids had a tough time. I will say one was injured (that I could tell). Give these kids a success style show for their size. I believe that you will see their numbers grow and their commitment get even bigger.

Bluecoats - Not their best and not their worst. The front line barricades made for cool staging. They still can play with the best of them when it comes to jazz.

Southwind - It sure was good to see them again. I waited to see how the time under Madison had been and I was not disappointed. They were GREAT! Have never sounded better. Very clean and polished look and sound. Guard was HUGE and good! They beat Spirit (I had never witnessed this before).

Carolina Crown - What a guard! Rifles, sabres, flags...they did it all and wore me out watching them. Clean stuff and tough stuff. Just watch them next time you see them. You will forget the rest of the corps is even on the field (even though they do a great job as well). Definitely a clean show and deserving of the 3rd place they received.

Cadets - What can you say!? They had me from moment one, grabbed me by the throat and kept my attention the entire show. Sound! Show! they had it all. I was OK until they had the drum feature and then I saw the hornline line up to the side and play these rips on their own horns and then put their fingers on the horn next to them and rip off the same licks in question answer style. AWESOME!! I thought I would come out of my seat (they did it again at retreat and I about lost it again). GREAT show. They are definitely going for the title.

Glassmen - Clean. Classy. Full. They are the Glassmen.

Spirit - Home town corps. They did well but I was kind of bummed to see them smaller this year than I remember. Hang in there guys, You have a great show and a great organization.

CorpsVets (exhibition) - Show went well. All the tunes were recognizable and I enjoyed myself until they got to "One More Time Chick Corea". The I lost my mind. This tune was AWESOME! The soloists were out of this world and they brought the house to its feet. Their sound was great for a senior corps this late in the show (I know how tired you can get). It was great to see my corps do so well, They have inspired me to come back next year. Great sound and I know you will do well at DCA. Good luck.

It was great to see full corps retreat and get a standstill from the Cadets. See you in Murfreesboro.

PS - Stop by the Drum Corps Miniatures table and get some of the best drum corps figureines you can buy. Beautiful. They even have Bridgemen from their blindfolded drum solo year (yellow coat and all).


It's 2:30am and I am still so excited about what I saw tonight that I couldn't wait until tomorrow to write my review of the show in Jacksonville, AL.

I made the trip with a good friend from Atlanta with one sure thought in my head and several (as I would learn) misconceptions of what to expect.

NUMBER ONE.... If you have the opportunity to see The Cadets live.... DO SO!! This is easily my favorite show and I don't see how anyone could beat it. And yes, The Cadets won tonight.... by more than four points.

That was the sure thing in my head.. that The Cadets would WOW! me, and it was so impressed... as was my friend. The horn switch I feel has added a richness to the sound, and I loved it. I had been listening to the Disney CD for months and was really excited about The Cadets playing it. After the show I purchased several Cadets CD's mainly because I can't get enough of them.... and this show isn't helping with the addiction... okay,, I love The Cadets.... I didn't write down the scores because you can find them on the scores page here.... but I did make some observations that I will share. These are my observations of course, and mean no harm...


6th Place Spirit of Atlanta... well, we were both disappointed. I truly felt that CorpVets was more entertaining musically. I am from the south and really didn't get it. Sorry. I didn't enjoy the music, and if it was just to difficult... why not try and do something visually? The guard uniforms are terrible. Some of the red is so faded it looked like orange and pink on a few of the girls. But the guard is better than last year. I felt this was the high point of the show. Big cheers from the locals and appreciation for the show, but that's about it. Spirit is not top 15 this year...

5th Place Southwind.... GORGEOUS guard unis and the ladies were serious about the job. Some really nice moments. Southwind sounded great and I see them getting better... the music was recognizable. First Suite in Eb was very nice. My first viewing, and I really liked the show. But, the competition is just to great for them to make top 12. Not this year.

4th Place Carolina Crown... well,, from the first 2 minutes I knew Bluecoats beat them. I was really looking forward to seeing Crown because of the numerous reviews on this board.... Crown must have had an off night, or Bluecoats are that much better. Where is the volume? I got it at the park and bark section, but they were practically in the first row. The ballad number is pretty. The guard I have read is top 5... well, there were rifles the air... and bouncing on the ground. I enjoyed the music, but feel Lassiter High School in Marietta did a better job with it. I really do love Crown... I have been a big fan for years, but I am worried at this point..... hope it was just a bad night for them. What's up with the Japan National Flag?

3rd Place Bluecoats... VERY LOUD... I love the opener. Gave me my first chills of the night (but not the last). I was impressed with the guard... did some innovative things with springy fabric... different and nice effect. The crowd was blown away by the brass. No one seemed surprised that they beat Crown.... I loved it.. thanks Blue! During the retreat and playing of America O Canada... it was obvious that Bluecoats kids got the chops and the lungs... WOW!

2nd Place Glassmen... I did not like the arrangement of Concerto in F. It is recognizable...despite some other posts. But all I could think of was The Cadets... after all, I had just seen them. The guard unis are nice... we loved the wigs on the ladies. There is some nice drill movement, but I didn't feel there was any depth... Not really disappointed, but it was a hard act to follow. Should have been on before The Cadets in my opinion.

1st Place The Cadets.... well, this show is VERY DIFFICULT. The guard is AWESOME and the music is ,,, well it's my favorite so far. I bought the CD and will more than likely play it for a few months. What is up with he chick spinning the flag at company front for ever? is this just another Cadets thing?

After seeing the show and all I truly see Bluecoats above Crossmen and Crown. Maybe even BAC.

So to close, it was a wonderfully warm and mosquito filled night. I am sure I will feel it tomorrow. The Cadets victory concert was delightful.

Burt Whistler

Hi all...just returned from the Drums Across America show at JSU in Jacksonville, AL. Didn't write anything down, but I would still like to write a review. Overall good job from the's the rundown of the evening:

Tampa Bay Thunder (65.25): Well, I'll have to say that I was impressed with the energy and sound these guys produced. What POWER from such a small hornline. It might have been nice to see the colorguard move together, but an overall outstanding job from a new corps in Divison II. It will be interesting to see how you fare in a couple years.

Scenic City (47.25): Well, this show was a little rough...ok, it's a lot rough. I was trying to find positives and found very few. I don't think that the music or the drill was easy enough for this group. There were some very inventive drill moves, but it would have been nice to see them executed. I'm thinking that the designers of this show should think again next year and design the show around the corps and not vice-versa.

Bluecoats (77.75): WOW - thank you Bluecoats for improving since last year. There was obviously a lot more heart going into this show, and a lot less dirtiness... I must say I was VERY entertained by this show. Hornline was smokin', but it would be nice if every section had a a baritone player, I was sort of let down. It was like, "Hmmm...nice soprano feature...oh, good feature mellophones...contras, good job...great percussion...ok, baritones are next....baritones???" GUARD! Wow - good job! It was VERY entertaining to see the pit members getting so into the music...proof that caffeine pills work. Kind of surprised to see they beat the Crown, but based on volume and entertainment value alone, they outperformed Crown...nice job.

Southwind (73.90): Loved the show...not just the music and the drill, but the execution was very nice and very professional. First Suite in E-flat was VERY nice to start the show. Was kind of left flat the rest of the show, though. I felt at first like this corps was controlling my heart beat, but if they had actually been doing so, I would have flatlined mid-show. I think a little more excitement needs to push through the show and not waste it all at the beginning...kind of reminds me of last year's show... Great job overall though, guys. LOVED the guard outfits! So tasteful and eye-appealing with such lovely ladies. Nice work, too. Good luck, Southwind. Maybe you'll see the finals soon.

Carolina Crown (76.20): I LOVE Mask of Zorro. When I heard Carolina Crown was playing Mask of Zorro, I nearly jumped for joy. I knew that they would do a GREAT job on this show. However, I was kind of disappointed. I thought they were a little uninspired or something tonight...not what I was expecting after seeing Jekyll and Hyde last year. It reminded me more of the Alfred Reed show...weak. I'm sure after seeing some past scores, they were having an off night, but let's not make it a habit, Crown. It could be SO good if you'd put more into it - MORE SOUND!!! I did like the show though - very moving and inventive. Whoa - great guard again this year. However, it would be nice if they made a few catches here and there, and maybe if you wouldn't take out the horn players with your rifles, they could play a little louder. But, as I am a huge fan of Crown, I must say good job guys and let's keep the excitement up lest the Bluecoats beat you again...

Cadets (86.75): I've never been so afraid that goosebumps were permanent! WOW!!! I had heard reviews of this show and heard the Liquid Audio recording off the site, but WOW! I was kind of skeptical about the B-flat horns, but when they parted my hair with the dark, full sound, the skepticism melted away. I loved the opener...very inventive. A lot of people didn't like all the backfield marching at the beginning, but I thought it made the impact all the sweeter. Chaos had intense drill, which I might add was carried out with cleanliness overall. Loved the guard all the way through (except the uniforms, but it was very inventive) - nice work. I must say that when I heard the recording of the little percussion features and solos and everything, I was expecting something cheesy. But, WHOA, was it ever impressive. As a brass player, I was EXTREMELY entertained by the hornline playing each other's valves (and the TUBAS - hee hee). I don't think I've ever seen the Cadets have so much fun - I think that's a good help for the GE this year. I think that the assistant drum major (at the beginning of the show) should try not to rush - the front ensemble was way off from the backfield brass. Other than that, SUPERB job, Cadets. Looking forward to another Cadets year at finals!

Glassmen (82.60): What a hard show to follow the obvious winner of the evening! But good nonetheless. I always thought that the Glassmen were a little weird, but tonight's performance was wonderful. Glassmen, IMO, has one of the most full and supported sounds out of all the corps. (Would sound lovely with Carmina Burana..hint hint...) Was captivated all the way through. But then there was something missing...oh yeah, the piece of cloth on the colorguard's bellies. I'm sorry, but those are horrible. The Tinky-Winky Teletubbies look is not cool! I liked the wigs, but overall, I was disgusted by lack of taste and practicality. But, I tried not to let that bias my opinion of the show. Good brass, good percussion, great pit, nice guardwork. CONTRAS - WHOA! - you guys rock!!! This is my favorite Glassmen show yet, and I'm sure that Glassmen will be a contender in finals for a long time to come (as soon as they figure out how to dress the guard).

Spirit of Atlanta (68.45) Well, they certainly turned on the crowd for the evening (of course, so would have a six pack and a football game). I wasn't as easily entertained. I thought that the hornline was loud enough, yes, but not as accurate as they could be. The drumline was great, as usual, but could'nt cover up the sloppy hornline. I was expecting a little more after last year's performance...maybe a few soprano soloists that didn't sound like mating cats, but guess not. I'm sure that this corps could be good, but they never turn on the juice. They're always out to entertain the audience so much that they forget to get any better. Well, that's nice that they have heart, but you can have heart and make it to the finals too... Oh well, guard work was overall pretty good. Drum major did well too. Hope to see some movement next year - PLEASE!

CorpsVets (Exhibition): Loved the musical selections...loved the energy...didn't like the approach. It reminded me of when I was in high school and we had a day at band when our parents marched our show. They weren't accurate at all and it seemed like they didn't care. I guess you tend to focus on important things as you get entertainment. And that they had a lot of. Second time to see a senior corps (first being the Reading Buccaneers) - thanks for the entertaining exhibition!, what a great year! I loved the encore! Cadillac of the Skies is one of my favorite pieces and it was played as emotionally and beautifully as intended. Fantasic! I would have liked to hear more of the Rocky Point Holiday, but it was nice to hear a piece I knew and loved. Would love to hear the whole thing though... Good job once again on THE part of the show. Made a memorable evening!


Scenic City (47.25) - I can't really say much for the staff of this corps. They are pushing these kids way too hard for being as small and inexperienced as they seem to be. You can tell that it's not the marching members fault that the show looks and sounds so...well..bad? They will come about in the next few years, if the staff figures out what they are doing?

Tampa Bay Thunder (65.25)- These guys really impressed me for being so small. Their pit had some good players and the drum line was doing some very nice work on the field. The hornline is really making a great effort to sound excellent. This corps is definitely moving in the right direction!

Spirit of Atlanta (68.45)- I have a very good friend who marches in Spirit this year on Baritone. Go Devo! I don't know what some of these other reviewers are smoking, but this is one of Spirit's best shows in years! They are struggling with some parts of the music and they changed the drill the day of the show, which I find impressive since it was only a little dirty at times. They had a good sound, but I feel that they could have put out alot more at times. Definitely could be marching harder and really sinking their heels into the ground, and they could be playing louder for sure. I know because after the show they played a standstill of Georgia outside of the stadium. It was excellent and LOUD LOUD LOUD! They have a shot at finals, but they really have to get down to working hard. The drumline was one of the best in years. Again, I liked the guard uniforms. AND WHAT A DAMN CUTE DRUM MAJOR! WOW!

Southwind (73.90)0- HOLY COW! These guys have really improved! The drum line is playing some crazy stuff at times, and their drill is pretty intense. They march well and the o man...they can play. Put out much more sound than Spirit. Really knocked me out for being so young to Division One. Nice Job Guys! Good music and visuals.

Carolina Crown (76.20)- WOW! These guys have gotten much better. I actually liked a Crown show for once. The opener was very nice, as was the ballad. I felt they could do something with the last few bars of music for GE. The COLOR GUARD WAS GREAT! (CUTE TOO!) The brass line had some hard licks and they were pretty darn loud too. They have some drill issues to attend to, but this isn't the easiest drill on earth either. There were a few people out of step at times. I really find this to be ridiculous for this late in the season. I mean come on people, get in step at least? They have some cleaning to do and their program should be a Top 12 finish. Drum line was very tight.

Blue Coats (77.75)- NOW THESE GUYS WERE LOUD! Still not as loud as in the past, but definitely what Crown and Spirit should have put out in the volume and power area. Another great (and cute) color guard. Did some really good work. Their drum line played some means licks, and the pit was great! I love the guy with the drum in the middle of the field. He stole the show! The drill was really nice, although they did have some cleaning to do in it. Their show should be Top 12 if they continue on the route they are on. NICE JOB BLUE!

Glassmen (82.60) - What can I say? These guys were probably, at times, the loudest thing there tonight. Their brass is phenomenal! Very nice attacks and releases. Talk about some bad ass Contra players! The drum line pounded out alot of freaking notes too! Their marching performance was excellent and they had great GE. There is something missing from this show though? The crowd went more crazy for Crown and the Blue Coats and Cadets (getting to that part). All in all, they are a great great great corps and are definitely going to have to fight off the Blue Knights (who are smoking this year) and some others for 5th place again. Great music, but the contour is missing maybe? Or maybe it's the fact that I don't like Gerswhin on the field, on anywhere else for that matter.

Cadets (86.75) - And worth every point! I can't say much more that the other reviewers haven't said. This corps was definitely the most entertaining, crowd appealing, fastest moving, best drill written corps there. These guys and girls march their asses off! WHAT A DAMN GREAT DRUM LINE!! 10 Snares???? and they can play it like nobody's business. Talk about a tenor solo too! Geez man, this show was so insane. There was so much going on at once, I thought I was watching SCV for a minute due to all of the visual stuff going on. I didn't know who to watch. The trumpets (yes trumpets which sounded excellent) had a visual where they pretended to play one another's valves with some awesome licks in a question answer sort of thing. I thought they were really playing one another's trumpets but someone from another corps told me when they asked a member of the cadets if they were really doing it, he had said it was just a visual. Either way, it got the crowd on their feet! The opening section with the ticking clocks and the time flags was just great!! Talk about SOME CONTRA SOUND!! I haven't seen a Cadets show like this one, ever. Talk about some serious innovation. The drill was fast as all hell and very clean. All other corps there should take notice of how insanely great The Cadets are at marching performance. The pit was great, and the color guard was very entertaining. Definitely a Top 3 show. They could win the whole thing, who knows yet. Can't wait to see this show again!

I don't have much else to say. The Corvettes were very entertaining! The retreat took a long time to form but America o' Cananda sounded nice. Maybe I was sitting close enough to the center but i was in front of the loudest corps that night, and I could get over how "not loud" the ending of America O' Canada was with freaking 8 corps?? Man? What happened? The corps were so loud last year? I don't want any corps to play out of control but they have got to have more gas than this? All in all, it was a great show! Going to be quite a battle all throughout the top twelve this year. Glad to see so many corps raising the standards, which really needed to happen.

Marc Martin
Music Education Student
University of Louisiana at Lafayatte

Warren, PA (DCA)

A "For What It's Worth" review of the Warren, PA DCA show.

The show started right on time with an exhibition by the Steel City Ambassadors Alumni Corps. With 28 horns and 15 percussion they started a bit slow but caught fire half way through their opener and they and the crowd got together and had a good time during their performance.

First competing corps was The Allegheny Night Storm with 6 percussion and 17 horns. No comment! 5th-45.3.

Next were The Grenadiers from Kingston, Ontario. WOW!! Haven't seen them in a couple of years and was pleasantly surprised in how good they had gotten. 30 horns(looked like 3 holes), 18 perc., 13 guard and 7 in the pit. Good solid show with plenty of movement and big solid endings on every song. New uniforms look great. 4th-71.3.

There seems to be brewing a rivalry between the Rochester Crusaders and The Grenadiers and it's working out in both corps favor. Crusaders marched with 42 horns, 17 percussion, 18 guard and 6 in the pit. Really looked good. Good horn show with a much improved drum line. Guard was effective with a lot of color. Their show was solid until their closer of "La Suerta". If they can firm up that number they'll do very well Labor Day weekend. 3rd-73.6.

I OD'd on Phantom of the Opera a long time ago. Empire Statesmen brought me back! They marched 54 horns, 15 percussion, 20 guard and 9 in the pit. Excellent show with excellent staging--but rough. Depending on how much they clean this show will determine just how solid a second place corps they are or a contender for the crown come DCA's. 2nd-80.3.

Sryacuse Brigadiers. What a corps! They've put it all together. They move at just the right time and they "park n' bark" at just the right times. Their show was very, very clean and LOUD. Guard is excellent. Depending on how much the rest of the contending seniors shape up from now until championships---the Brigs drum line should carry them if needed. They marched 63 horns, 19 percussion, 20 guard and 9 in the pit. 1st-83.9.

Mighty St. Joe's Alumni corps put on an exhibition next. This seems to be their best year ever. With 59 horns, 17 perc., and 23 guard they really look and sound very good.

No captions were announced. The Brigadiers did a victory concert that rivaled anything I've ever heard before. Great--in your face drum corps.

Looking forward to the show in Buffalo on June 5th. Should be great.

Bob Peterson

Friday July 14
Columbia, SC (DCI)

Tampa Bay Thunder (52.8) - Much improved since I last saw them in Duncan, SC over two weeks ago. The horns are still the weak link, but the balance problems with the drums did not seem as noticable. I enjoy their show. It seems to fit a young, inexperienced corps. Soloists are good, visual show is good, and the drums seem good. The horns run out of gas toward the end. They will get stronger and be a little bit of surprise come August.

Spirit of Atlanta (66.7) - Also much improved since Duncan. Also held back by a somewhat timid hornline. I like the show. It is well designed and I believe the closer especially could turn out to be a real crowd pleaser. They need a little more confidence in their playing. In Duncan I didn't know if they could make semi-finals. Now I think they will squeek in to 16th or 17th place.

Bluecoats (75.2) - They have a finalist quality about them as they perform their show. Solid in all areas. I enjoyed the entire performance from start to finish. My only complaint is in the guard uniforms. (Please skip to the next paragraph if you are offended by critizism of a color guard's appearance) Some girls are not meant to wear an outfit that exposes the midriff. Unfortunately for the Bluecoats many of their guard members fall into that catagory. This look was not a good choice by their visual staff. Other than that, if I am a staff member for the Bluecoats I am pushing to beat Crown rather than trying to stay ahead of the Colts and Southwind.

Carolina Crown (76.5) - In Duncan I thought they definately would finish the year ahead of Crossmen and that they had a shot at the top eight. I don't feel that way tonight. I did not see enough improvement from their hornline. I like their show. Their guard looks great. The drums sound good. I just don't get the feeling that the horns will generate the sound and excitement necessary to sell the program in August. I hope I am wrong. Crown needs to look over their shoulder. The Bluecoats are coming and they might just catch them before the weekend is over.

Glassmen (81.6) - Beautiful show. I enjoy them much more this year than last. They sound great. They look great. I thought the guard was fantastic (loved the wigs). The music was recognizable. They just lack those moments sprinkled through the show that makes a very good drum corps great. Maybe they will be added during the next few weeks. Definately a top six drum corps.

Cadets (86.6) - Scored a little high tonight, I thought. A very energetic, well designed, well performed drum corps show. They have the moments that make a great drum corps. The solo/ensemble section toward the end of the show is wonderful. There are spots to work on for sure. The horns had a few problems tonight. With that being said, I question if they have the goods to win it all. I don't think this years Cadets place in 1999's top three. I will see the Cavaliers and SCV in two weeks in Charlotte. I'll reserve judgement until then.


Well, it's nearly 3am and I am finally home. I've done alot of driving in the past 2 days just to see the same corps perform. I'm glad I live halfway between Columbia and Winston Salem though, it made it easier for me. Ok...on to my review.

With a score of 44.3-- The announcer! This is the same guy from the Beanpot Invitational in Boston. He had the crowd yelling Whazzzup to each corps before they entered the field and then we had to do his traditional, "YOU! may take the field...blah blah blah. It was funny, but it got old really quickly. I will remain an optimist though!

Tampa Bay Thunder -52.8- Unlike last night I could actually hear the corps b/c I was on the 50 instead of in the endzone. I just couldn't see the drill b/c I was so low. They STILL impress me. The drums are spectacular, but the feet and horns are still messy. Overall, I was happy with the performance.

Spirit of Atlanta -66.7- A train came by the stadium during the show! I hate it when that happens. I think that makes it 2 years in a row for Spirit and trains in Columbia. I'm really not sure what to say about them except I like the music more and more each viewing, but the drill (what little I saw) is their biggest flaw. If they can make a commitment to the visual program, they will greatly benefit.

Bluecoats -75.2- This was a rather interesting show tonight because I was sitting next to one of the drum major's MOM! So, I had to politely bite my tounge if I didn't like something. No worry, there wasn't much that I didn't like. Bluecoats' jazzy show really shows off their powerful hornline. I was quite impressed with the full sound that they acheived.

Carolina Crown -76.5- Another "sorta" home show for Crown tonight. They must have worked very hard today because the show was not as good as last night's. I was sitting near the front, and I could barely hear the hornline. They sounded weak in comparison to all the earlier times I have seen the show. I was disappointed after the good comment I made about them last night. The ballad still rocked. I got a chance to get my face blown off tonight, but that was about the only highlight. They need to watch Bluecoats, because they will be knocking on the backdoor shortly. Also, a note to the students....Tony doesn't care that you are yelling at him all through the show. He's doing his job, and probably isn't paying much attention to the screaming and hollering of his name. So, please sit and watch the show next time and don't scream for him! :)

Glassmen -81.6- Ok, I heard the music really well tonight. I love it. I suppose it's an acquired taste. Something about the music just moves this show for me. The drill is Top 3 all the way. I'm not backing down from my statement last night about them hitting the 4 spot at Finals. What is up with the staff guy that blows the whistle and waves the British flag at the beginning? Gershwin was American right? It's confusing and my girlfriend find's him irritating. I am just confused! :)

The Cadets -86.6- WOW! Can these guys get much better? The show is so good right now, I can't see much room for improvement. I finally saw the guy jump over the other guy's head while he tossed the rifle. It was neat. There is so much to watch in this show, it's impossible to catch it all.

Corpsvets - Hey, these guys rocked. I mean, it's obvious that they aren't out there for numbers, but rather to please the crowd. I loved In the Stone. I've never seen these guys ever, so it was fun.

The Train- 0.00- Very odd chord structure. I think it stuck out of the ensemble too much. Not a good thing this late in the season. It made an appearance during Spirit and right when Crown was about to go on, but they let them wait for it to pass. I hate how close the stadium is to the tracks.

Free tickets -100.00- Wow, the first perfect score all season! A big thank you to Chris Buck and all the people that put on the Columbia Summer Music Games. I'm glad to hear it's free again next year. It was a great show.


Thursday July 13
Winston-Salem, NC (DCI)

Rained pretty much all morning, with showers off and on during the afternoon. Nothing falling frrom around 4:30-5:00PM until about midway through the show, when it began misting lightly, which slowly got heavier through the last half lf the show - Carolina Crown, Cadets, and Glassmen. Weather hurt the attendance, there being many seats open in this normally sold out show. Despite the AM rain, the field was in good shape. It never really got muddy throughout the a pretty well made field with a good crown in the middle and lots of drains along the sides. The high humidity and mist must have made the weapons and stuff the guards used slick and hard to handle, as there seemed to be more "drops" and missed tosses in tonight's show than usual for this time of year, for all of the corps.

(I am really not techincally competant enough to seriously review a show, the following are my "Joe Six-Pack in the stands with his coke and popcorn" the way, the audience really let the corps know how much they appreciated their performances. This audience DID NOT sit on their hands, and all of the corps truly deserved the acclaim!!)

First out was Tampa Bay Thunder. WOW, what an improved show!! They are doing very well for a first year show, and the audience was very appreciative. There have been lots of changes since I saw them last in Lynchburg, and they really sell their show. Thunder has a couple of really GOOD brass soloists! Score 51.1/Sixth Place

Next was Spirit of Atlanta. MANY changes and improvements in their show. Cleaner, more melodic, with major changes in the music, causing it not to be so "weird" as it was when the season started. MUCH more enjoyable than before. Their battery feature brought out long applause from the audience. It is quite showy and very well done. I like their music far, far better now than at the first of the season. Audience really enjoyed the show. Score 65.4/Fifth Place

Third up were The Bluecoats. Even my non-skilled eyes could see that their opener still needs cleaning, and the last half of the show is far better marched than the opening portion. The music was really well performed. Guard work was "quite tasty". A little more attention to spacing and drill in the first half would help a lot! Very enjoyable show over all, and that great Bluecoat ensemble sound is there! Score 73.7/Fourth Place

After a 17 minute or so intermission, Carolina Crown came on. I dunno what you call it...I believe it's phasing...but there was a little difficulty in the opener, but it was short, and got straightened out quickly. The color guard was magnficent throughout the show. The ballad is simply beautiful! Crown got the first general audience standing ovation of the show at the end. Score=74.8/Third Place

Fifth to appear were The Cadets. WOW!!! Their show was the hit of the evening, earning many long and loud bursts of applause throughout. Their closer with the "acrobatics" on the drums, and the brass reaching across to finger the valves on the horns of the player on their left "brought the house down". They are certainly going to be right at the top at finals. It's gonna be a really tough struggle for first in Silver Spring on August 12, and the Cadets will be in it to the end. Great guard work, supremely performed brass and percussion, clean drill, a tremendous show in the "Grand Tradition" of The Cadets. Score 85.0/First Place

The Glassmen rounded out the evening. VERY IMPRESSIVE. This was the first time this season I had seen The Glassmen, having seen the other 5 corps at least 3 times each, a couple more than that. They did an impressive job with their Gershwin. Drill was clean. The percussion and brass did a great job with the music, and the guard work got many audience bursts of applause during the show. Very enjoyable, great sound, and impressive guard performance. Score 80.5/Second Place.

After the scores were announced, and the various awards awarded, the massed corps played "America/Oh Canada" and then had an "old fashioned" retreat, where each corps, in reverse order of finish, played a brief concert piece and then trooped the stadium as they marched off the field. The audience "ATE IT UP"!!! For their "Victory Concert", The Cadets played the beautiful "Cadillac of The Skies", part of their opener, and the end of their closer, complete with the "acrobatic" drumming and brass "cross fingering" from the show. They received another full audience standing ovation, as the ever heavier mist continued to fall.

All in all, a VERY enjoyable evening's entertainment - though quite damp. The audience didn't let the mist get in the way of their enjoyment, nor their show of appreciation for all of the corps.

I was very impressed, by the way, by the behavior of all of the high-school bandmembers sitting near my wife and I. They were quiet during the show, at least in our section - section 29 - and gave every corps standing "O's". There was the normal "teen ager" behavior between the corps, but as soon as the announcer began to introduce the next corps, the kids all sat down, shut up, and paid attention to the business at hand! They behaved better than most adults did at the shows previous to this one I had seen this year. The bandmasters of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools are to be commended on the deportment of their students in the stadium!

Ray McCrary

Tampa Bay Thunder-- 51.1-- This was the 2nd time I've seen this corps. The show has gotten better. The drill is alot cleaner and the drums are simply amazing for a first year Div. 2/3 corps. Hopefully they will grow next year and the hornline can match what the percussion is producing scorewise. Am I the only one that thinks of Eric Cartman when they play "Come Sail Away" ?

Spirit of Atlanta-- 65.4-- 2nd time for this corps too. Much improved since the Spartanburg show. I hated the music the first viewing, but tonight I actually dug the show. They are nowhere near ready to compete for Top 12, but maybe a few years and some good music will help. How about traditional jazz?

Bluecoats-- 73.7-- This was my first time seeing them this year. I enjoyed the show, but I can't for the life remember the music. It was performed well, but it's not an easily "hummable" show. Maybe when I see them again tomorrow, I go into more detail. I like the colorful "thing" across the front sideline.

Carolina Crown-- 74.8-- This was my third time seeing Crown. Maybe it was b/c this was somewhat of a homeshow, but this was the best performance I've seen out of them ever. The drill is already cleaner than it was last year AT FINALS. (I should know, I marched). That was the missing ingredient. Crown easily has a Top 12 program and the hornline is catching up to the drums and outstanding guard. Diego's Goodbye gives me goosebumps everytime (even though I was practically in the endzone tonight).

The Cadets-- 85.0-- WOW! 2nd time seeing them and they are MUCH MUCH better than 2 weeks ago. They added 8 beats between the drum solo and horn solo so the fans can shut up to hear in time. The closing drill has been rewritten and is pretty clean already. I'm not sure if they did it in Spartanburg, but the drums did the kick after their solo, and tonight the hornline did it after theirs too. This is a very crowd appealing show. IMHO, this is the best Cadet show I've ever seen. (I'm not that old, so I don't care about 87 or 83 :) ).

Glassmen-- 80.5-- Very good horns, very good drums, very good drill. Gershwin...well, surprisingly, I liked it. It's not as appealing to me as 98, but I love it alot more than last year's production. This is a very good corps and I wouldn't be surprised if they finished as high as 4th in Finals.

The Finale-- 99.9-- GREAT FINALE! Traditional style. The corps played themselves off the field, and we were treated to an encore performance by the Cadets. Those guys can entertain! It was kinda short (tick). The rain held off, but it misted all night and the field was slippery. I saw a G-men land on his G-butt! Great show Winston Salem, but you need to do something about letting the fans down where the corps warm up. It's not a rock concert, the performers don't mind the fans watching them "backstage"!

Till tomorrow in Columbia, CYA!


Hello's 4 am and I just got in fromt he show. I'll try to be as coherent as possible. First off, I would like to thank some people that were in attendance of tonights show:

1. The guy three seats down from me who just didn't get the "Non-Smoking Stadium" rule.
2. The two couples in front of me with an umbrella big enough to cover at least half of the audience.
3. The Spirit Alum behind me for the wonderful commentary on how big of "dummies" (yes, that is a quote) Tampa Bay is because they didn't perform "Old Fashioned Retreat" to their standards.

Thanks for making my evening wonderful, you guys!

Anyway.....the stadium was not great--not tall at all, providing for that "up close and personal" feeling with the corps. As someone has already stated, it drizzled ALL NIGHT! Didn't stop for anything. Near the end, the drizzle started turning foggy, causing some corps sound to be swallowed whole, especially backfield playing. Alas, here are some general comments for each corps:

Tampa Bay--got some great soloists, pretty messy feet, some quite nice guard moments, great drums....I felt that their Drum Major has matured very much since I saw them two weeks ago in Duncan, SC. He looked more intimidating tonight....Although, the drums are great, they cover up the hornline way too much. Horns could still open up more and give more. Overall, I'm glad to see them progressing the way they are!!! Keep it up, Tampa!!!

Spirit--also better than two weeks ago....great start, but then it headed downhill. There were some major phasing problems after "Southern Harmony" and there was LOTS of dead time in between pieces (we're talkin' 25 secs at least). I don't like the drill. During the high moment of their show, it just SCREAMS color and silks--look to the left about 15 yards, you'll see them. =\

Bluecoats--I have yet to enjoy a Bluecoats show....until tonight! Man can they wail! Show was executed quite well....GREAT Guard! Nice color! They are out for blood after being dissed last year!

Crown--Great job again tonight! Unlike the earlier poster, I didn't see that many drops, I don't think...but then again it's 4:15 in the morning. Love the guard and the Ballad is amazing! Great Job, Crown!!!!

Glassmen--Performed and executed very well. I really don't like the music. Don't remember anything else....bah.

Cadets--I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!! It's great!!! Like I said earlier, the fog ate up their sound tonight. Guard was right on! For that matter, _everything_ was right on!! Can't wait to see them again!

Ok, time for bed. But before I go, I must say these are my humble opinions. I didn't make you read them.

Brandon =)

Wednesday July 12
Alton, IL (DCI)

It was a warm evening, but the rain stayed away. And I saw...

Tarheel Sun - 60.70 - The new uniforms are pretty dark, I like the old ones better. The drumline and hornlines are solid. The guard is featured throughout the show. It's hard to do "Channel One Suite" without being compared to the Blue Devils, but these arrangements are way different. This corps is still in early season form, it will be interesting to watch them push towards College Park.

Colts - 72.20 - the Colts are playing a pretty inaccessible show this year. The drill is pretty challenging and the horns are struggling from time to time. There is still a lot of work left to be put in the guard book. Colts are going to have to start pressing or they'll end up getting left behind the possible finalist bunch. Frankly, I don't enjoy this year's program nearly as much as I have their last several efforts.

Boston Crusaders - 76.20 - Wow!! Boston means to prove they belong in finals!! The entire show is accessible and interesting. They play well and the guard is phenomenal!! The drill is coming along and the corps is strong from top to bottom. The singing goes on a little long for my taste in "It's Time to Say Goodbye" but there's some gorgeous heavy horn work there. I wasn't sure I believed that Boston deserved the high placement they got last year, but this year I would have no problem believing that they are a 9th place finalist.

PR - 79.15 - Phantom was not as strong as the were at Dekalb. The mellophone line is spectacular. Phantom has chosen a book with a lot of down-tempo music. They often have trouble sustaining visual interest since the forms often take a good length of time to develop. The guard is good and the drumline is strong. Madison beat them last night in Fort Wayne, but they were pretty solid tonight.

Cavies - 84.45 - Cavies have made a large number of changes since Dekalb, especially at the end of the show. They are truly starting to generate some excitement. They are strong from top to bottom and the show flows well. I'm not sure I get the "jailbird/sailor" costumes for the guard although I did see a lot more "flowing water" type visuals tonight. They have taken at lot of the "flowing-into-the-form" type of drill that SCV did last year and refined it quite a bit. It's cool, but I also imagine it reduces the demand a great deal since you can easily dress the (growing) form as you enter it. At the end of the opener, they set off a car alarm about a block and a half away, well done Cavies!! They are the great hope for the Midwest, as I don't think any of the other DCM corps will catch them. They put on an aggressive victory concert (thanks Cavies, wish I could have heard one at Dekalb as well.)

Madison - 77.40 - Madison is having a bit of a down year. They're still fun to watch, but I can't get used to the Russian music. The guard is really struggling. The weapon line really only has one type of toss, and they keep stepping out to catch it. They spin poles (ala Star Of Indiana '93 -- and a lot of others this year) but they're filthy!! If you can't get 16 counts of drop spins together in July, it's going to be a long summer. Tonight's effort was pretty sub par, there was some sloppy marching and a lot of blown notes (especially in the mello line.) I know Madison doesn't really care about placements or score, but they may well end up in 10th this year. I can see Boston catching them (and Xmen are beating Boston.) I wish them well.

Robert Berry

Ok, so on the Regiment webpage it said the show was starting at 7:30, so when we got there at 7:15 and Tarheel Sun was on....I was a little upset and confused! Heres what I thought:

Oh and on a side note, I bought tickets on Monday, so my seats were ON the 50, but in row F. SO I am saying what "I" saw, but mostly heard....I DID NOT have any heighth to see the great forms!

Tarheel Sun (6th Place): I like their new uniforms compared to the hideous yellow things....other than that, I saw the back of a lady who had pink/purple hair cuz I was late cuz Regiment gave wrong info on their website, but more or less....MY problem.

Colts (5th Place): Their show is slightly growing on me......I hope they make top 12, but its gonna be REALLY hard this year. ITs AMAZING how much the Colts Color Guard Unis look like the PR Unis....weird!

Boston Crusaders (4th Place-76.2): THis is the first time I have seen their show, and I must say it is COOL! Bolero is kicking some ass, and the colorguard looks great. This Corps has impressed me immensly in the last three years! Unfortunately I would have to disagree with the narrow point spread between them and Madison, Madison is not that close to them.

Madison Scouts (3rd Place-77.40): I am definately not sold on these guys yet....they went on last and they just seemed to disappoint me over and over again. I dont know whats different about their guard this year, maybe its the boots, but it makes me sick to my stomach watching them. THe hornline is good, but not great.....I must admit, their sop line this year is the BEST I have heard, they can go high and STAY IN TUNE! WOW! My Fiance also applauded them, and she HATES the squeelers of drum corps! THeir drill seemed clean (again from ground level) But the show isnt doing anything for me like it has in the past!

Phantom Regiment (2nd Place-79.15): Now bear with me because this is MY corps and I do have a bias for them! The improvements from the Normal show, to Rockford were GREAT, but the improvements from Rockford to NOW is BETTER! There seems to be a slight pulse coming from these guys! The new closing set is an awesome photo opp. so save a shot for that (which I didnt because I didnt know it was there) The guard is LIGHT YEARS ahead of anytime in the past 2 years! Granted I can tell their marching is still weak and hurting them, but I am excited! Oh and a note from the PR guys, There is a spot in the closer where in one count they all stop playing, drop their horns and do some body work for 5 more counts of silence......THEY PUT THAT IN THERE FOR US!!!!!! If you ever wanted to make the CD's, now is your chance....on count 2 of that, they want everyone and anyone to yell SUTA!!!!!!!! PLease do it, It would be REALLY COOL! (yes cool as in copying from SCV last year).

Cavies (WINNERS-84.45) Ok, so I dont know what to think of these guys. I liked them in ALton, HATED them in Rockford, and tonight they were awesome again! The drill is excellent, the drumline is tight, and the hornline is LOUD! That brings me to the ONLY problem I have with them.....the Hornline! I dont know if it was a bad show for them in the hornline, but I think they are getting their scores in brass off of being loud and fast......that may be fine for yesterday, but it was MESSY as all hell tonight, and if it is consistently that way, they need to fix it soon or they are going to be in some serious trouble. THey seem way to out of control! Oh yeah, and another problem I had with the cavies is that EVERYONE else after they finished the show left to the crowds right without trooping the stands....well, someone didnt give the cavies this memo and they trooped the stands and were on the back of the track when the Scouts were playing their onfield warm-up. I dont know if it was an accident or not, but it was kinda rude.

All the corps had a problem with the heat and the sweat in the colorguard, lots of rifle and sabre slips from sweat on their equipment, so I wont even comment, also because I am a contra player and have no business commenting on something I have no clue about.....Ill let my fiance the CG member talk about that.

Overall, it was a great show, I saw lots of friends and even some people I dont know that know me from the last 5 summers (so if they guy that was holding the kid that said hi to me and I nodded and walked away from is out there in cyber-ville, Im sorry, I dont remember who you are). Finale was cool, good to see the cavies drumline in front so they arent taking their own sweet time marching out there 50 yards behind everyone else. America/O Canada was cool, Im so used to being in the back of it all, all I ever heard was me playing REALLY loud!

Sorry if I pisseed anyone off, this is my review of the show!

Darren Dukart
Phantom Regiment,
Contra, 1995-1999

Tarheel Sun - (My Score - 59.70/ Actual - 60.7)

It's good to see real enthusiasm in a slightly smaller corps. Especially on their closer, this corps showed sincere passion about what they were doing. Good balance in brass, but the guard was a bit behind the other captions. The uniforms are subdued, and that appeals to me for some reason. Solid practice time should be enough to allow Tarheel Sun to at least make quarterfinals.

Colts (My Score - 70.7/ actual 72.2)

The uniforms are nice, people have dissenting opinions about them, but I'm not one of them. They keep the eyes busy and concentrated on the look longer than usual, that definitely helps the visual a little bit, of course it is a matter of taste. As for the show concept, I was somewhat at a loss to figure out just what they wanted to sell. With several good horn players and some nifty marchers, this years' program lacks ensemble cohesiveness otherwise, and without that, any show will be hard to sell. If the staff wants this set-up to work, they need to smooth it out in every caption. Even then, with this years' bumper crop of headhunters, it will be a hard road to finals for the Colts. Good luck, guys.

Boston Crusaders (My Score - 77.8, actual - 76.2)

Ok, so the judges almost got the score right, but I just need to ask: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?????????????

This package....every part of it, was the 2nd most difficult book out there tonight. If I have to pick at anything at all, it would be slight field brass tone quality and phasing problems. This is, without a doubt, the best show I have ever seen from the Crusaders, and absolutely a top 8 contender. They have got the goods, and as far as crowd response, the "oohs" and "ahhs" were off the scale. When they clean this thing, and get a shade of extra confidence, Phantom, Madison, Crown and Crossmen be warned...Boston will catch and pass all of you at finals. If the judges drop the leashes of tradition and take a good neutral approach before judging this great corps...the scores and placements will rise. The opening set, by the way, got one of the best crowd responses of the evening.'s all yours this year! Keep cleaning!!!!!

Phantom Regiment - (My Score 76.5 / actual- 79.15)

Judges, see last review and the sentence in caps. The way we score Phantom's marching is based on where one looks.....if you watch the big plumbed bucket-hats (which was the only thing noticeably Phantom-ish about their new unis), then field scores will be up a little. If you watched their feet, well then, not so good. I couldn't help but to notice the sloppy phasing on a drill that's not on par with three other corps I saw that evening. Guard - I love ya...always have, nice work tonight. Low brass has always been a trademark, and luckily there are shades of it still present in this years package. Very nice job by the contras this year. However, compositely, the adrenaline wasn't there, the pagentry and larger-than-life Phantom presence was nowhere to be found. Their closer was musically similar to 1988 Spirit of Atlanta's, but nowhere as exciting as it was in Dixie. Like my friend Emeril says, Phantom needs to kick it up a few notches for this show to keep up with the 7-11 pack.

Cavaliers (My score - 85.2/ actual 84.45)

What an effort to be spontaneous this year!!!! It usually is up to SCV or the Cadets to throw us for a loop, but the green machine are the innovators now! The drill is so kinetic and well-performed this early in the season. The judges won't have much to do at finals, they might as well plan a smoke break for 11 1/2 minutes.

Brass: jaw-dropping, as usual. Guard: truly sold this show with great control and enthusiasm. Drums: I LOVE the split-second head tuning adjustment in mid-drill. That takes too much concentration. Fantastic synchronization. UGH..they are just machines. They will be top 3 at finals with ease, and have a 40% chance of taking it all. Niagra Falls is an amazing show.

Madison Scouts - (My score - 77.5, actual score - 77.4)

One thing you can count on is good brass impact with the Scouts. Anemic musically, they are not. Visually, I was let down a bit. The marching was above average, yes, but I couldn't helped to be bothered by the ease of their show, especially in the mid-sections. A great college band could have done a few charts off the middle 5 minutes! The stick-twirling was NOT there......they need to work on that if they want to avoid hearing groans at finals. The percussion was good tonight, I enjoyed watching them....and as usual, the closer had good impact. I admire the Scouts for breaking with tradition a little bit to try something new with this Russian show, but comparitive to the Cavvies and Crusaders, it needs more sophistication to fly. First, the Scouts need to clean what they have now, then add more punch to it.

The Cavvies played "Over the Rainbow" after their encore...I have never heard it before from a wife would have loved it! Thanks greenies for that one!

Patrick Laxson

Tuesday July 11
Huntington, WV (DCI)

Just got home to OH from WV, so here are a few thoughts about tonight's show. Marshall's stadium is very nice and there was a crowd of probably 7-8,000 in attendance. The show was very well organized, with America/O Canada finishing up by 9:45! Amazing!

Tampa Bay Thunder (49.8)- This group seems to be off to a decent start for a first-year corps. Yes, there are lots of tone problems in the brass and ensemble problems in the guard, and the show doesn't seem to make much sense, but hey, they've got over 50 kids on the field and they're touring! The red, white and black uniforms look nice and the drums seems to be solid.

Spirit (63.65)- While there were some decent moments (the horn line plays pretty well in tune and the guard had a nice feature using the purple flags), this show got almost no response from tonight's crowd. They definitely need something in the way of GE! Each section seems to be okay, but they just need something to work with. Especially uncomfortable was the soft ending towards the middle that got absolutely no applause or response.

Southwind (69.5)- They have made great strides since when I saw them earlier! Wow! This show got probably the most response of any tonight (except for maybe the end of Cadets' show) and deservedly so. They have a complete package, and tonight the horns played very well, with a beautiful sound and great sense of pitch, and the guard looked elegant as usual. It's funny that this show got lots of response from start to finish for various things (horn hits, guard moves, and percussion effects), yet my guess is they trailed everyone that finished above them in all GE captions. Go figure. Sure, they don't have a Cadets-type drill, but what they have they do well, it looks good, and its fits the music! They were a crowd favorite tonight!

Bluecoats (71.85)- There are many nice parts of this show, with the horn line tonight being very strong, but they still have some elements to work out. Some new sets near the end never quite hit, causing the end of the show to have some problems. The guard now takes off the silver tops with another top underneath, but the remaining look isn't very flattering (at least from the 45th row tonight). The drill still has some very segmented moments, and I still think they need a better transition from the end of Air leading into Threshold. But, the show was stronger overall than the last time I saw it, and continued cleaning should push them above Crown.

Crown (74.8)- Tonight was my first viewing this season, with very high expectations after all the posts about them. Their show tonight seemed very BLAH. While Southwind got about 7,000 people on their feet at show's end, Crown got about 150. The horns didn't seem nearly as good as Bluecoats or as controlled as SW. The guard had some good moments, though I didn't understand the almost two minutes that about 15 of them just wandered around with no equipment, doing basicall nothing. Is there a prop yet to come? And while the show has some okay music and drill, it doesn't seem to compare to last year's offering. I usually like CC alot, but tonight was not one of those times. (Hey, I still bought a t-shirt afterwards!)

Glassmen (79.2)- They also were much better tonight than when I saw them last, but that's expected since it's been almost a month! This corps still has lots of great big pictures and some nice speedy drill in spots, and the hornline is very good. But again, it got very reserved response. It's funny that as I watched, my mind kept thinking back to 85 Spirit and their rendition, complete with some great pairs guard work. I don't mean that as a cut, but those big, gripping moments seem to be missing from this production. The soloists were outstanding, and the guard has some great use of color (though the wigs are still strange). The score gap both above and below them seemed deserved.

Cadets (84.5)- While I didn't really like the first time I saw this show, tonight was a great package! They have some wonderful drill moments as usual, and those postings that kept complaining about the pale, grey guard look, you'll be glad to know that the grey is only around for the opener. After that, the guard reappears in lively pink, orange, and red for a much better visual image. The drum line was a showstopper tonight. There were no weaknesses in any area. It will be fun to see how this show continues to transform in the next month!

Time for bed......


Review: Drums Across The Tri-State - Date: July 11 - Where: Marshall University Stadium

7. Tampa Bay Thunder - 49.8
So nice to see another Florida corps start out strong. Tampa's marching about 54 total kids which is not bad at all for the early stages. Their 2000 show, titled "Tragedy at Sea," is quite enjoybale. The music is comprised of the following selections:
        a) Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald, by Gordon Lightfoot
        b) Visions Portside, by Ken Watts
        c) Come Sail Away, by Ken Watts
        d) Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor, by Chuck Mangione
During the drum feature, in the mallets, you also hear a few strains from "Poppeye The Sailor Man." All the music has been arranged well, and the horns and drums do a good job of selling it. What they lack, like power and clarity or articulation, will come with experience and a bigger horn line. I hope the kids are having a great time because it is sure nice to see another competing drum corps.

6. Spirit of Atlanta - 63.65 Spirit is a good size corps this year. They have at least 46 brass out there, a full drum line, and a large guard. The horns can put out a lot of sound and I felt the drumming was just great. Not sure who writes their drum stuff, but I thought it was super--and their snares sound like snares, not popcorn. Simply judging the basics, Spirit plays well, minus a few articulation and balance problems, and they drum well, but they don't march very well. I like the drill, I think it is well written. They look to me like a band or corps that has come fresh out of camp having just learned the show, a bit too sloppy and the style is still not defined. This is hurting the showmanship of their program, it's not just the music. As this show cleans, Spirit will start to convey to the audience the power and emotion that is in their show. The show is titled "Spirit of the New South." Selections include:
        a) Jubilee, by Morton Gould
        b) Spirituals, by Morton Gould
        c) Southern Harmony, by Dr. Donald Grantham
        d) Glory and Grandeur, by Russell Peck
All of this music is incredible stuff. For those of you that do not know the Morton Gould stuff, I highly suggest getting recordings of it. I will check my CD collection, since I have this stuff, and maybe post later on RAMD where you can find these recording. The Grantham work is a modern concert band tune that is also worth finding a recording of (NTSU) I think. If anything, I felt the music might have been a bit too choppy, therefore the audience was not given enough time to hear and take in each theme. Complex music takes a while to set it, and when it comes and goes faster than one can process that information, the enjoyment factor is, obviously, not there. That was my read on Spirit's music, but I will say that I want to see the show again. I do believe that this show could grow on a person with enough viewings.

5. Southwind - 69.5 (thought they should have scored a 72.00)
Holly WOW! That sure didn't stink. Great job Southwind, you sure got my attention. In my honest opinion, I though Southwind had the Bluecoats last night. It will be close between those two corps. Southwind does some things extremely well. The first thing that hit me was their intonation--simply excellent. The balance of the horn and drum line is another fine point. Then you have those well written arrangements. The show music is:
        a) Intermezzo and March from the First Suite in Eb, by Holst
        b) Legends of the Fall, by James Horner (noted film composer)
        c) Les Preludes/Totentanz, by Franz Liszt
Everything works as far as shaping, the general effect impacts, the development of theme, it is all there and is a big reason the people loved their show. Yes, they were close to Lexington, KY last night so they had some what of a hometown crowd, but something tells me they are entertaining all the fans that see them around the country. As for the demand in there show, they may not have enough to be top 6, but they certainly have enough for top 12--trust me. I would not be surprised if they make it that far. Also, many thanks go to the Madison Drum and Bugle Corps Associations, Inc. for helping these guys out when they needed it. Just as with the Cadets and YEA helping the Crossmen many years ago, it shows that cooperation can be a good thing.

4.) Bluecoats - 71.85
The Bluecoats are back and definitely have a shot at top 12. Yes, I feel that Southwind is just as good, so the race for those final spots of the top 12 this year will certainly be exciting. This year's show is titled "Threshold." Selections include:
        a) And on Sixth Day, by Patrick Williams
        b) The Witch, by Patrick Williams
        c) Air Antique, by Klaus Ogerman
The Bluecoats still know how to put out some sound, and they have a strong horn line, but it is their percussion this year that stands out as being very special. Some great writing, and the kids are playing well. The guard is very colorful and good, and the overall show packs enough GE to entertain most fans. What they are missing at this point is an opener that grabs the audience a bit faster, and they need to clean. Their marching, like Spirit's, is real dirty. There was some performance problems with their show last night. From the opening strains of the baritone entrance, one of the lead baris missed a note which kind of had the crowd wondering right at the beginning of the show. The soprano soloists throughout the show seemed to be getting a double buzz and their high notes were thinning out. The mellos at times sounded like there was only one player, and I could've used more Contra sound in the closer. However, having said that, none of this can't be cleaned. The overall show is there, minus some simple tweaking, and if the 'Coats execute this show come finals week, they WILL make DCI fianls.

3. Carolina Crown - 74.8
Carolina was a bit off last night. Not sure why, but there show has MUCHO potential. Talk about a good drum line, they have one. And that drill is not the easiest thing I have ever seen. When it comes to demand, these guys will definitely get some credit where credit is due. To go even further with it, however, they will need to clean and clean fast. Time is slowly running out, and Carolina has more to clean than do the Bluecoats. I need to see this show a few more times because I feel it will grow on me. I love the music. The show reminds me of something the Scouts would do, very latin and driving. If it lacks anything, it may be the type of energy the Scouts bring to a show. The music comes from the Movie "The Mask of Zorro," composed by Thomas Horner. The music is grouped as such:
        a) Main Title
        b) The Ride
        c) Diego's Goodbye
        d) Stealing the Map
There are a number of excellent GE music hits that are sure to excite bigtime when they are clean. One is around the middle of the show when the horn line parks themselves right on the front sideline, kneels and lets the audience have it. In addition, the guard is quite large (38 members) and is a real visual treat for all who will see Crown this year. However, I thought they were extremely sloppy last night. Flags did not look together. Could have been a bad night for them. Overall, this is a good solid show that simply needs some bigtime cleaning.

2. Glassmen - 79.2
The Glassmen have been on a tear the last few years, placing top 5 and looking to do so again here in 2000. There is an obvious difference when they perform vs. all the corps before them. The horns sounds awesome at times, the drumming is first rate, and the drill is very good, but something is lacking. The music is Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F, one of my favorite American works and a difficult challenge for field. Spirit's rendition of this work was so well done in 1985 that it is hard to hear anyone do a different interpretation. The Glassmen do a wonderful job with establishing the main themes, and there is some nice emotional musical moments, but I feel the brass book is watered down just a bit too much, and that may be why I felt the show lacked something. I need to hear it again. Don't get me wrong, the Glassmen are pretty awesome this year, but kind of dry. There are other things to watch with this corps, so even if the show doesn't quite grab you, or you don't care for the arrangement of the Gershwin, you must check out the performance qualities. From that standpoint alone, they were a treat to watch. They play well, they drum well, they march very well, and their guard is wonderful. I imagine they are strong across the board in the performance captions. As for remaining top 5, there is no doubt they could do it again, but I have to wonder if the GE is there. A corps like the Blue Knights could easily nip these guys by semis or finals--or sooner. The Glassmen definitely need a few more big GE moments to safely retain top 5.

1. The Cadets - 84.5
A 5.3 spread between them and the Glassmen seems high, but my friends thought it could have been higher. The Cadets are simply that GOOD! No, it's not the hardest show they have ever done, which is why I like them so much more this year over last year, or for that matter the last 3 years. This show is more like the 1994-96 years, fun, exciting, great GE, at times cute, at times gimmicky (if that's a word), and at times flat-out incredible drum corps precision. These guys can march this year, WHOA can they march. I have always liked the Cadets, but I have never always bought into that philosophy of lets make it harder and faster and always try to innovate. There are times that I want drum corps to do what works, to stop trying to re-invent the wheel. Innovation is great, but don't forget what works--great music and great visuals. It's that simple.

Well, this year the Cadets have brought all that to the field, and, yes, there is a little innovation. Where do I start? Well, let's start with the music. The show is titled "We Are The Future." Selections include the following:
        a) Reflections of Youth
        b) Search for Self
        c) Family and Fun
        d) Life
By the way, this music was commissioned by Disney for their year-long Millenium Celebration. The composers of this original music are Gavin Greenaway and Ira Antelis. I am not sure about Ira, but Gavin composes in Los Angeles at a place in Santa Monica called Media Ventures, which is the studio that Hans Zimmer (Lion King, Nine Months, Crimson Tide) built. There are about 11 composers or so that work at these facilities which are just incredible. I only mention this for the MIDI/Compositional hobbyists and pros out there. You may want to check there web site at I think you will find their site and the bio info quite interesting.

Ok, back to the review. As others have already stated, the music is very exciting, upbeat, and rhythmically driving. This allows the Cadets to really feature their drum line which is phenominal. The show opens with all kinds of clock sounds, all ticking at different tempos, and there are these gigantic flags in the background that have Roman numerals on them indication the passage of time. While this is going on, the horn line is playing backfield and immediately starts to build to a climax which, when it hits, is pure POWER. I mean, I haven't heard the Cadets play this loud since the mid 1980s. The Glassmen have a very powerful horn line, as do the Bluecoats. Neither came even close to the Cadets. Their sound is enormous and actually might be a little bright when playing that loud. However, lots of this is due to the fact that their mellos and trumpets are real strong, and their lower brass tends to be voiced higher in these sections. Whatever the reason, it is a different sound. There is definitely a difference in the sound of those Bb horns vs the G Bugles. I like both, so it is not a problem for me.

As the show continues, you are simply wowed by the musicianship of that horn line and drum line. The dynamic contrast is well done and was more noticable than with any other corps at the show. The intonation is real good too, but there were moments last night that the intonation was not good at all. I know that the Cadets are using a different tuning system this year, and I was told by one of my former students, a baritone player with the corps, that it has been incredible. However, a few intonation problems were audible last night. The guard is wonderful, and regardless of the color scheme in the first selection, their technique is still at another level from most.

About 3/4 of the way through the show, and after a number of WOW moments, you are treated to the grand finale. This is what I like to call it because once it starts, you can feel them building to the end of the show. The Cadets use these Japanese Sordo drums to create this groove (like a 40s swing feel but slower). Once this has started, the horn line starts a type of VAMP, which showcases many of the themes played by each section. While they are doing this (kind of off to the back field) various percussion players step out of their form to take mini-solos. A snare, then a tenor, then all the snares, then all the tenors, the basses, etc. The flags are doing the same thing. It is so fresh and exciting that people simply start applauding after each mini-solo. Then the tenor players use the tenors set on stands on the sideline and do this whole tenor shuffle in which they play a great solo moving from tenor to tenor, and then eventually play on the drums behind their backs. Maybe not an original idea, but done very well, and the crowd goes nuts. Just when you think you have had enough, the horn line gathers to the right side of the field (the audience right) and starts this sort of "anything you can do I can do better" section. When they do this, the horn players must play their own instrument, and then valve the instruments on both sides of them. When they come out of this, they hit this chord that is SO loud that I thought I was hearing BD. Much of this is due to the fact that one of the trumpets holds the note well after the release point, a very high note. It is very comical and at that point the crowd is on their feet.

Finally, the Cadets hit this company front, push lots of sounds at you and then do one of their patented whip-lash drills to close the show. This show ranks right up there with their 1995 and 1996 show in my opinion. Can it win this year? Well, I think there is no doubt it can win, but will it? Who knows. The top 4 will be pretty darn good this year, as they always are, but these are not your 1999 Cadets.

Just one more thought that I had. For the encore, the Cadets did a short tag from their 1983 rendition of Rocky Point Holiday. They do not play the entire piece, only the ending tag. I was wondering why they would only do that much and not the entire tune. When they play it, they are even louder than during their show, if that is possible. I mean, I thought I was listening to the 1983 Cadets last night in standstill. Then I thought, what if they are planning on using that tag to eventually conclude this show. Oh my, would that be sweet, and it could easily be done shortly after the compnay front. Imagine that with a Z-Pull!!! Works for me.

Hope you enjoyed this review.
Jonathan Willis

Ft. Wayne, IN (DCI)

The weather started out perfect for a drum corps show, but progressed to be just a TAD on the chilly side. It's not the best of venues and the field is less than desirable, especially for horn players (very thick grass and lots of holes, etc.). I apologize in advance as I know nothing about percussion and probably cannot make any valid comments about that section. SORRY!

Glory - Aaron Copland show. Very traditional with a think 10 horns on the field and maybe 5-6 guard (didn't count the percussion). Lots of problems in the hornline (unbalanced, TQI). Have a long way to go before they will play well as an ensemble. The cologuard didn't do fast twirls or hard twirls, but they did some cute things for the division that they are in. In the ballad they play around with ropes which was cute to watch, and also some pretty solid sabre work. The strength if there had to be one, would have to be the guard IMHO.

Tarheel Sun - Well you go from 10 horns to however many TS has, and it makes a big difference. At times they can pump out some volume, but again lots of problems music. Very poor TQ at this point. The guard had LOTS of phasing and some pretty bad writing I thought. Really wasn't put on to watch that was that enjoyable. Hope they can clean things up all around and tweak some things to be more successful.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - I remember watching a staff member on the field tuning one of their timpanis all the way until the drum major was finishing their salute...Don't they have plenty of time to do that before? I thought it was pretty distracting and pretty unprofessional as well. Anyhow, Miss Saigon. A step of from Tarheel Sun I thought but still lots of slow, non amusing drill, and horns that dont' know how to balance themselves that well. As for the colorguard, same as above really, it seems I remember July being cleaner than this.

Crossmen - I have read reviews and I have been at finals for the past few years, not really caring too much for the Xmen especially last year. This show was very close to Madison and Phantom tonight, and rightfully so. This corps has what the 1997 corps had as far as excitement, volume and just plain entertainment. The colorguard has some problems and are pretty dirty, but very incredible for this point in the season. They have an entertaining weapon book to watch, but not too solid yet. I forsee them catching Phantom very soon and possibly staying ahead of them the rest of the season. I never would have thought to have said this before I saw the show, but they were the deal tonight. I thought they were 1st place.

Phantom Regiment - I don't really like the show. They are executing it like Phantom, but the first half of the show really just sits there. The ballad is all about the brass, the writing of the Shoenberg piece, and their symphonic pagaentry. It will be a good drum corps moment by finals. The closer I understand was just rewritten (probably not for the first time) and, well's the Rite of Spring. Some cool music. Lots of tonguing to keep the brass busy, very exposed. Lots of risk. Visually a bag right now. Concerning placings, I forsee them staying pretty stagnant and IMHO out of the top 6 once again. Close but no cigar P.S. The new uniforms, my two cents...They make them look good marching band uniforms. They don't look good from a distance, they dont' look intimidating like they used to and hopefully they don't last long. Get rid of the khaki and put them in white!

Madison Scouts - The warmup sets the mood nicely for the Russian theme and then starts the opener. It's very flat for awhile, the colorguard on the brink of being pretty good. Keep it up guys! They pick up the pace at the end of the opener and the rest of the show keeps building for the better visually and musically. The hornline is very very good and I think they march their asses off. You will not see higher toes unless maybe at SCV. I thought the show had a lot of potential and would surpass the pirates in entertainment value, but it seems to be missing something. I don't know what it is, but I hope it turns up. It is a fun show to watch and the crowd digs it. The judges did tonight. Best of luck to the Madison Scouts this season. It'll be a dogfight all the way until Finals.

Thanks for your time and thank goodness for drum corps.


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