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

Page Eight of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Sunday July 23
San Antonio, TX (DCI)

CADETS - Wow! I was thoruoghly entertained. They get to show off a lot and do it extremely well. Amazing drill and very clean. I could tell a difference in the quality of sound from the B flat horns and it definitely is for the better. The biggest differnece is the presence of the contra bass sound. I could actually feel it all the way up to the nosebleed section. As long as there are no woodwinds, sousaphones, concert French Horns or trombones I'm all for the key change. Think of it this way...what if they adopted horns keyed in C or F? Would there be as much controversy? Everyone thought the nearly 4 point spread between them and SCV was a little too much.

VANGUARD - Much better performance than last night in Houston and the score shows it. Dean Westman's arrangements are dark and beautiful. The horns are laking a bit in execution and control. The drill kicks ass and is getting cleaner. The first time I saw the show I didn't really like it but it's growing on me. It doesn't hit you in the face at the end. Adagio for Strings is excellent but somehow I was expecting something more. Could SCV be a dark horse? They've been playing catch-up all season long. They have not peaked yet. Also recently filled a couple of holes in the hornline.

BLUE KNIGHTS - Great body movement from the hornline. Guard is excellent. Not sure yet if I like the new uniforms or not. Tough drill...lot's of running.

PHANTOM REGIMETNT - Their best show in 4 years. Musically superb. Drill isn't as hard as Blue Knights but it aint easy, either. I think the new unis are ok. They seem to go well with the tone and mood of the music they are doing. Need more clarity musically in Petrushka...inner voicings sound a bit muddy. Great show!

CAROLINA CROWN - Their best corps ever and definitely their best guard ever in my opinion.

SOUTHWIND - This is one of my absolute favorite corps of the year. "First Suite in E flat" is wonderful. "Legends of the Fall" is a major goosebump moment! This was my third viewing of them and tonight they nailed the end of the show better than previously. (i.e. phasing between the pit an battery) If they haven't peaked and can make a surge they'll make it to 12 place at finals. They just need to clean the drill more.

PACIFIC CREST - I am so glad these guys decided to come to Texas. This show is so well designed and the kids play and march it very, very well. The theme may be a bit on the "artsy" side for some fans but for me it was a joy to watch and hear. It's such a shame they won't be in DC this year because they'd make 16th spot easily. They will go to DCI in Buffalo next year. Another western powerhouse is on it's way.

TROOPERS - Great to see them doing much better. I enjoyed the show for the most part. Brass quality is lacking. Guard needs help in equipment. Drums are their strongest asset. Theyr'e still marching with several holes in the hornline. I think they should have changed the drill a bit by now to close in those spaces. Too late in the season to fill the spots with rookies.

TARHEEL SUN - Some good moments for them toinght. I think they have decided to just have fun with the show. They pulled off the ugly grey tunics to reveal yellow ones underneath with red sashes...which I liked. Drill needs major cleaning. Drums overpower horns way too often. Overall it's an entertaining show but may be just a tad too difficult for these kids to clean.

LEGEND OF TEXAS - They have fun and they play quite well...a performance they can be proud of.

It's 2 a.m. Central time and I'm pooped!

Brent Unger
Bayou City Blues, mellophone
'88 Star of Indiana, mellophone

General comments: Domes are not great places for indoor music pagentry, but if it must be done, the Alamo Dome is the best places I know. You have the usual boominess and over balanced percusion, but compared to the dome in Indy for BOA, the Alamo City is by far the better place acoustically. I would also imagine that the weather in S.A. is far more friendly in November.

Venting Just a Bit: It is great for band directors to bring bus loads of students to see the world's greatest marching/playing events , but does anyone insist on accepatble social behavior from their students anymore? There were two groups behind us that were awful. Adults around them tried the polite stares at first, moved quickly to insistent shushing, and then unloaded with stern "shut ups" and "you need to keep quiet." The adult chaperones with the students seemed to be offended that someone would tell their kids to be quiet. I found out the names of both schools and though as tempted as I may be to give their school names, I will only say that one was from San Antonio and one from the Texas valley. I would assume that there are good students and concerned administrators back home who would rather the name of their school not be mentioned.

Disclaimer: I want all corps to do well. I know that corps can have "off" nights and "quirky" performances. My comments are to give insight to my perspective tonight.

OK, enough of that. Review time.

Texas Legend: Though I agree with their placement tonight, it was not the weakest program of the evening. The staff has obviously tried to write a vehicle that will allow a small, young corps to have fun, be physically challenged, and musically pushed in the right direction. The dome really made their percussion much too overbearing for the horn line. It is great to hear a small corps horn staff keeping the sound within the acceptable sound box; not sacrificing tone and pitch for volumn. Body control, musical depth in the horn line, pacing, and attention to detail is very lacking. Some pleasing musical phrases, some cute entertainment spots, and a few applause moments within the show. Good luck in the future.

Tarheal Sun: This was the weakest program of the night. I know that members don't always work their hardest or push 100% all of the time, but often times it is the decisions of the staff that seems to carry the most fault. There are obviously some real talents in the corps. Though not playing within balance, many of the individual horns sound that made it into the upper deck were dark and clear. The percussion section seems to have its share of players and the guard has its share of good dancers with some very good basic training that they picked up somewhere along the way. However, I found the horn, percussion, and guard books to be less than creative, insightful, or well thought out. The performance itself was riddled with dirty everything. Many of the ensemble music problems are written into the show; melody and rhythmic pulse jumping from one part of the field to the other. No one can keep that together. (though Devils make a great run at it from time to time.) The corps did not play a note together until about two minutes into the show. The talent of many of the members deserves better planning. I would also like to see the corps embarrasing display at retreat to be redirected into something at least somewhat classy. Many members of the guard and horn line spent most of retreat trying to distract, anger, or intimidate the far superior corps on either side of them. The fact that the staff allows such behavior is a great indication of their weakness for understanding the activity.

Troopers: I hope they fill the what seemed to be 8 horn holes very soon. This factor alone caused great probelms reading their drill. Other RAMD reviews described parts of their show as cheesy. It did not come across that way to me. It is a Troopers Show: red, white, blue, All American, Purple mountain spangled, stars and stripes hype. There is more depth to the corps in all areas this year but things are still quiet rough around the edges. The drum line is better; most notable the tenor line, playing some tasteful parts here and there. The guard work is somewhat unmusical and not well staged. Color choices and silk designs are ackward for the show concept. Drum major is exceptional and some G.E. moments are there. Most notable is the wonderful brass arrangements. Though the closer was hard to distinguish because of dome percussion amplification, the horn book approached some really old standards in some very fresh, well voiced, well paced ways. Always pulling for the Troop.

Pacific Crest: As with the majority of America, my first viewing ever of the corps. I hope this is the mark of their future, because if they keep moving ahead with these basic concepts, we may end up with three Cali corps in finals in a few years. Most notable......great drum line, solid show construction, very capable guard, a show for a smaller, though not small corps that the members can acheive with attention to detail. Some rough edges in all aspects but some real "10" moments as well. Someone who understands cleaning feet is obviously on staff. Some memebers over blow out of the ensemble too often, many transitions not working visually. This group was a pleasent surprise and I hope to see them move up the ranks. Cool corps name too.

Southwind: Everyone I heard from was right....they are good. I don't care for the yellow uniforms. They do not seem to fit the corp image and border on offensive ( maybe because they remind me of Tar's uniform color). All aspects of the corp seem equally balanced though I found the percussion book to be over written and hacky at times. I do not think they are quite up to finals standards this year, but I could be wrong. It depends on who of the door knocking corps cleans up the most in the next three weeks. The show flows fairly well despite the somewhat disjunct music choices. I was extremely sold on the first 2/3 of the product and may be overreacting because of the comparison, but the last two or three minutes seemed to be borrowed from a different show. The brass arrangements were GREAT!!! I have been told that Scott Boerma did the honors. If not, cudos to whom ever did. The ballad was one of the shinning moments of the night; the arrangement as well as the performance. Way to go South Wind. Best to your future.

Carolina Crown: Good show, great guard with several odd glitches tonight, improved horn line, solid percussion. Timimg seemed to be an issue tonight as well as individual ensemble control. The Zoro theme is understated and maybe is the source for some hidden GE boost between now and DCI. Form and interval control seem to be rougher than sould be for only three weeks left to clean. Contra basses need a permanent drill friend. Somone near me discribed thier horn angles as a row of bad teeth (no offense meant....but it is rough). Enjoyable show that does not over hype the Spanish flavor of the music to the point of sounding like bad high school band arrangements.

Phantom: I like the uniform. Get rid of the black belt and play a different show and I think most everyone would start to accept the new look. The red looked great under the lights and was not over done. The plumes are not put on correctly and this causes them to bounce and wobble out of control, bringing a lot of attention to many feet/tempo problems. (also resembles the way a lot of high school bands wear this type of plume on helments). The show is so hot and cold, mostly cold. The strongest element is the drum line, drum major, and some of the well written guard phrases (some are staged well some are not). Three moments in the show resemble the Regiment as most of us would like to see it: The ballad, the beginning of Rite and about one minute before the end. The horn line sounds good, but seemed to be missing depth in the baritone line (odd for Regiment), and surprisingly weak in the soprano line. Intonation was a problem as well as individuals sticking out of the ensemble, mostly baritones. The guard uniform is inspired and some of the silk designs are a definate step up over the past few years. The show is not well paced and lacks definition and impact (subtle or aggressive impact). Much of the drill is laborsome and some transitions into drill changes too obvious. Though I thought them musically superior to BK, the visual and show concept is weaker. A weak start to the show seems to set you up for disappointment. The body movements at the beginning are not musical or graceful and the opening hit seems to contain some odd voice leading that pushes you away rather than pulling you in; an old Regiment trademark. I really want them to be good and I found the three strong moments in the show to be stronger than any three moments in the last two years combined. They are not bad at all but I can't help but want them to be PHANTOM REGIMENT! It will be hard to make television in 2000.

Blue Knights: Most of what I read was true here also......much improved, a whole different unit than ever before. Negatives out of the way first: I do not like the uniform at all. It looks like "Average Band" and makes them look dirtier than they are. I kept hoping that the very distracting white flap would be turned up to reveal a different, cleaner look. It would have really capped their improvement to have gone to a better uniform. At times the show seems to lack direction and focus, viually and musically. The drum parts are a bit over written and there is a lot of drill cleaning to do. Positives: There are many. Great horn sound, best tuning of the evening, impressive and tasteful pit, very strong guard, very solid drum line ( some individual breaks tonight) some great drill and some newish visual ideas. This show paces highs and lows well and seems to jolt you just when you decided to sit back in your seat. Guard staging is superior to most and the guard performs like they know it! A few soprano cacks and a lack of contra sound places them a little behind Regiment in sound quality, but balance, blend, demand, and tuning will give several a run for their money. Feet are much improved over the last decade and some drill sequences are as clean as any, some are as dirty as any. Overall very impressed. I like it when the typical top groups are made paranoid by the likes of BK.

SCV: Not what I was lead to believe. Though maybe not a contender this year, they are very good and may make a few nervous one of the three nights in Maryland. Drill is excellent but also a little predictable. The guard was not on tonight and I hope this is not a typical performance for them. If this is truly where the guard is, they have a lot to do to carry their weight when all is said and done. The drum line is very good and seems to have some moments superior to Cadets, who won drums, but are also plagued with some inconsistencies in performance level. Tuning problems dotted the performance too often for what I would expect but over all, the brass play with a darker sound than last year and have some real sensitivity when asked to play that role. The down ending does not bother me nor does it thrill me. Something seems to be missing out of it, hope SCV finds it and a few more special moments before finals week.

Cadets: What can I say...deserved to win by a spread (92 seems high for July 23) over SCV. Well balanced team of performers who know they are performers, and take no time in letting you know they are performers. The drum line is very strong; maybe a notch over past few years. The guard is excellent. Of all the multi palate guard uniforms over the years, I like this one best; all guard members in differnt uniforms based on a purple/magenta/rose/petuna wash. I noticed no lack of sound with the Bbs and if SCV was an 8 on the volumn scale, Cadets were an obvious 10.5. They have all moods, all tempos, all visul textures you can put into 10 minutes. Though nothing is "new' , the show delivers with a huge entertainment value and attention to cleanliness, scope, and variety. Gonna be a contender, and if not the winner, will make alot of peolple happy along the way.


Here's the review for the one live show a year I get to see...

Got to the Alamodome at 2:45. Been there a bunch for football, basketball and Billy Graham, but never for corps. I was curious to see how it sounded since in the 99 Big XII Championship game, we were in the opposite end zone from the Texas band (and Nebraska too, for that matter) and couldn't hear diddly.

So, we're waiting to enter, and who do we get to see but...

Revolution, San Antonio, Texas (Exhibition) - great sound for a tiny corps. I hope this catches on. Texas has way too much talent not to have a bunch of competing corps. Uniforms were nice but the color choices (black pants, gray jackets, red on the jacket, black hat - sound familiar?) were uninspired. Goes with everything, though, so what more do you need? Guard was ... well, kinda trashy in their dancing. Would have preferred classier stuff. Ah, maybe I'm just getting old.

They open the doors at 3, and we finally get to get into the blessed air conditioning. Everyone but Phantom had their souvie stand up. (Phantom got there at 4) Finally broke down and bought a ton of drum corps miniatures. If you haven't seen them yet, go to Buy lots. Encourage him to make more! They already own a place of honor on my bookshelf.

SCV had the most adorable little teddy bear in uniform. My wife punched me in the arm until I bought it for her. Does anyone know if a company does those, or does the corps make the uniforms? I'd love to get more of them, but don't know where / how to look! The Cadets had some neat stuff, but nothing that made me just want to go spend-crazy. Pacific Crest has nice souvies, mainly because their logo is so mellow! BK's tour shirt would have been great except for the gauntleted hand on the back. Tarheel Sun had mostly generic corps stuff, not much with their name / logo on it. Troopers had some nice henley shirts, and Crown at least had a gas can out with a hole in it for donations (yes we did). Overall, there wasn't a whole lot I could live without. DCI had a nice booth up - they were selling videos and CD's. I finally bought the 97 vids, since you can't get a good copy of them. We also registered for their drawing and miscellaneous stuff.

The Cadets gave their leadership clinic at 4. We went up to our seat (section 313 - upper deck between the 40 and 45 on the left) and watched it from up there. Couldn't hear a thing that Mike Cesario was saying to the kids, but we got to watch the corps play a bunch of their show stuff. The brass gave a little clinic, the guard gave a friggin' long and boring clinic, and then the percussion blasted 'em. You could tell the guard part was getting old when people left in bigger and bigger groups to go get good seats in front of the pit. Tell me that they're not there for the drums! But, then tell me why drumlines keep getting smaller. I don't get it. Oh yeah, before I forget - don't the Cadets know *anything* besides their show? All they played was that 30 second clip of Rocky Point Holiday that's available on their web site, and even that's without percussion.

Clinic ended about 6, Cadets packed up and went to do whatever it is that little Cadets do before performances. For god's sake, DCI, stop blasting us with that godawful music in the interim of stuff! Half the people on the upper deck were covering their ears (really) because it was so loud and screechy. *Finally*, after we could barely stand it, we got to the show portion.

National Anthem was played by the Boston Brass. Liked 'em. Guy behind us knew them, and was filling us in. For some reason, the people on either side of us weren't there, so we had room to relax. I can't say for the lower deck, but the upper deck was solid between the 30's. If the lower deck was any indication, there was probably 20-25,000 people there. Why not bring Finals to the dome? It's not like their Finals attendances are that much better...

First up was...

Legend of Texas, Lubbock, Texas. (10th, 49.80) They weren't as "on" as they were the other night in their exhibition, but the dome could have swallowed them up, too. Got to see the drill from above this time, and it was pretty nice. Read my other review of them for the full details, but they even managed to get some "ooohs" from the upper deck with their sound. Not bad for the little guys, eh? We thought their score should have been in the high 50's. Percussion was loud, but we found out as the night went on that it was the dome, not the corps.

Pacific Crest, Diamond Bar, California. (7th, 72.60) To everyone who hasn't seen them, get tickets to go to California next year. It's awful that these guys aren't going to DCI. (Is that still the case?) They would wipe out Div II and sure as heck beat some semifinalists along the way. It was my wife's favorite visual package of the evening. I didn't hear the ensemble problems that some other fans did. Cross motif everywhere you looked, and that was kinda neat - to see where it would appear next. The percussion (which was bigger, for instance, than Phantom, Troopers, SCV, and some others!) was terrific! They put out as much sound as Southwind. We'll have to see next year whether or not the corps is really that good, or if they had just the perfect show for them this year, but it was a blast!

Tarheel Sun, Cary, North Carolina. (9th, 59.95) First off, they ditched the Starfleet uniforms! Yay! Neat moment, too. I didn't know what to expect from them, but "laid back" is the best way to put it. Not very formal or military - just out there to entertain. Unfortunately, their show music choices just aren't that great. They played pretty good, but the drill seemed uninspired. When people finally caught on to the fact they were playing Channel One, I heard a collective groan from the upper deck. Might as well try to play Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Again, they didn't mess up or anything out there in their performance, they were just a blah selection of music that stacked the deck against them from the start. Just from listening to the cd's and now finally seeing them, though, I think their on the right track.

The people that sat next to us finally arrived in the MIDDLE of Tarheels show, pushed us out of the way, asked us if we were in the right seats, didn't believe us and had an usher check them. Then the guy next to me spent the whole show kicking my foot so he could have more room. The only thing he didn't do was pull out his cell phone and start yakking. (Although someone DID do that behind us and over. Idiot.)

Troopers, Casper, Wyoming (8th, 66.70). First time I've gotten to see "America's Corps." Hokey? Yes. Cheesy? Yes. Fun to watch? Yes. The battle scene after the opener was great! The only real problem I had with them is that they never really fully developed any musical theme. Just when you'd get into what they were playing, they'd switch. They were the first corps of the night, though, to utilize the entire field, and that was neat to watch. They did have a LOT of holes, though. They had to perform at 8 the next morning, so after their performance, they got to troop (hah!) the stands and leave.

Southwind, Lexington, Kentucky (6th, 82.15). Wow. Great show. I actually liked the yellow uniforms. Under the artificial bright lights the black seems blacker and the yellow brighter. It works really well. Guard was in a burgundy so deep to almost be black, too. I read a lot of reviews that said their music "was better than I thought it was going to be." I went in thinking it was going to be pretty good, anyways, and was still surprised. They can crank up the volume when they want to! The percussion had a lot of exposed parts, and played some nice stuff, but it was pretty conventional stuff. Not up to par with the later corps. However, having said that, I think they can realistically contend for the 10-12 spot before this is over. Really. They're that improved. Oh yeah, one more note. Dan Potter, the announcer, sent me an e-mail in 96-97 in response to my criticism that Southwind is one word, not two. He did it again all night. Grrrr. (Just kidding! It's not that big of a deal!)

Carolina Crown, Char... er, Ft. Mill, South Carolina (5th, 82.15). I had them scored as 82.2, it was about the only one I got right all night. Let's get this out into the open first. I love Crown. I've liked them ever since I first heard them in '93. I even bought their CD so I could have the earlier performances too. Still with me? Good. I hate this show. They've managed to take a decent soundtrack and screw it up. How, you ask? I'm glad you wondered. First off, there's really only 4 good melodies in the entire score. 3 of them are medley'd in the first song, and the "love" theme is played to death in the second. That would be fine if it was a 6 minute show. The second half is just "cue" music, and it's a mess. (Just say out loud, "Baamp......bamp....bamp bamp." and you get the idea.) The guard really should be wearing just ONE style of black outfit, and they had some timing problems in the performance. For a show about Zorro, black and red was consipicuously absent. Lot of pastel flags with Z's on them, but ... that's Zorro, The Gay Blade. ("Red like a rose? Plum.") Ok, now to the good. Their percussion was on fire! They had a great book and played the heck out of it. The guard's dancing was good, and the sabres fit perfectly. The brass did what they were supposed to do well, but what they were supposed to do wasn't good at all.

We got an intermission then so that DCI could blast us with more screechy music. We also got to see some of the Brass Roots video on the big screen. That was neat. DCI's "prize patrol" selected my wife to win a shirt, but when they threw it, it hooked to the row behind us and the teeny girl that caught it refused to let go of it. They were also tossing vids and cd's!

Blue Knights, Denver, Colorado (3rd, 86.30). I miss the old uniforms. These are more professional, but the old ones were more distinctive. Besides, they didn't have BLACK anywhere on them! I'm tired of seeing everyone go to black uniforms. I think that the corps that use predominantly white should get extra points. Ok, enough about that. This is a wonderful, magnificent show! The corps is so much more sophisticated this year than anything that they've done before. The music isn't what you'll go home humming, by any stretch, but it is so well performed that you won't mind. The real steal of the show, though, is the visual. The "floating' guard in white is terrific. The body movement (yes, a la Star 93) really does add to the show, and I noticed about 2/3's of the way in that they are very good at making you focus on the sections of the field that they want you to. Their drill designer deserves a pat on the back for this show. They put out tons of volume, but only in a few spots did they really let loose. I think they really could break top 6, maybe even top 5. (I've heard the Glassmen, and these guys are much better. To me, anyways.)

Phantom Regiment, Rockford / Loves Park, Illinois (4th, 86.25). I was curious to see if the crowd was still solidly behind Phantom after the dissapointments of the last two years. They've always been a favorite in Texas, and I saw more Phantom shirts in the dome than any other. Yep, crowd still loves 'em. Beige jackets aren't that bad. White pants look awesome out there! They looked like they were glowing. I'm mad at RAMD for all of the knocks that they've given Phantom. They've put together a heck of a show this year. It's not one that's going to make you scream your head off for 12 minutes, but it's not designed to, either. They are missing some middle brass sound, which is very noticable in the ballad, but it just makes them sound a little more like everyone else. Jeux was indeed too short, Petrouchka didn't have much up and down to it, and Rite of Spring was a blast. The dome helped them a lot, since the drum sound was amplified. I would have liked to have seen them do more with the concert toms / snare / cymbal setups that they use. The corps also "dances" a LOT more than any other Phantom version. All in all, it works. My wife and I both had them placed over BK; she had them over the Cadets! I guess it's apples and oranges - whether you like mainstream or a little "out there" stuff occasionally. I could see them back in the top 6, too. This should get interesting in the next few weeks.

The Cadets, Bergenfield, New Jersey (1st, 92.05). Why'd they shorten their name to just The Cadets? There's more cadets out there than just them. Anyways, let me add my disclaimer to this corps - I loved 'em when I started following DCI, I started to not like them after the 95 season, I couldn't stand them by last year. I was very happy when the Cavs beat 'em out of 3rd. Ok, now that said, their show this year is really good. Their marching is so much improved from the past few years, it looks like a different organization. They had more "1st Class" drill moments out there than you can count. They're still not playing anything that has a consistent flow to the melody, but they've got so many great moments in the pleasing sounding score that you won't mind. The ballad is forgettable, but the finale might just be the greatest "performance" that DCI has ever seen. Seriously. Let's put it this way - when they got to the closer, people started running down to the front of the deck to see better. When they did their victory concert, EVERYONE on the upper deck stood up to get a better view, and they got an ovation when they started. 2 main reasons - the tenors, who put out maybe the best solo I've ever seen, and the brass with their group fingering excercises. In the victory concert, they played the solo parts, and just ended. That's all that we wanted to see, anyways. Wow. I am very pleased to say that they really could win it all, and for the first time in 5 years, I wouldn't mind it one bit. Now that all that is out of the way, I think their score was too high. Should have been around 90. They weren't THAT much better than SCV.

Santa Clara Vanguard, Santa Clara, California (2nd, 88.25). I've read a lot from RAMD about how this isn't as good as last year, etc. Get over it. This isn't last year. This is a different type of show, no matter how much people want it to be in the style of last year. This one is much more cerebral. And for SCV this year, cerebral drum corps does work. Lots of body movement like Regiment and BK, and like them it works. Wonderful drill, wonderful reversal of sets at the end. Crowd loved the cymbal player who jumped up and two others slice their cymbals under his legs. Only corps of the night that had dead silence when they started. Only corps of the night that had a moment of dead silence when they ended. Didn't really know where they were headed with the "Age of Reverence" thing, but to dumb it down for those like me who weren't sure - church music. The whole show comes off as a religious play, almost. Works *really* well, too. This is a corps that if they can push past some of the other bigguns and do damage, I wouldn't mind it either. They carry themselves like a champion.

To all of the people who scream to get on the CD's, I hope pianos fall on each and every one of you idiots. Especially the group that yelled right on top of BK's first note. Way to screw up the CD's that everyone's going to listen to forever, you morons.

Whole lotta HS bands there, but none of them near us so I couldn't tell how well behaved they were. Glad to hear that Bayou City Blues came, that was nice of 'em to support the other Texas corps!

People next to us left before the scores were announced. Yay. More room for us. I wasn't surprised that the Cadets won, but I had it a lot closer. I thought Phantom should have beaten BK, my wife thought that Phantom plain should have won. I guess the best compliment that we can give, though, is that we really enjoyed ALL of the shows. She didn't like, however, the movement from some of the corps during retreat. I liked BK's guard floating here and there - it just drove her crazy! She thought, and almost had me convinced, that Tarheel Sun was just being rude with all of their movement - right up until they started doing a kickline and one guy started making snow angels on the field. How can you not like that? I'm glad that *everyone's* not doing it, but it's funny to watch.

The announcer made a "special" announcement that the Cadets were indeed going to give a victory concert. What, do they not do that normally? They didn't play a lot, just their opener, the 30 second Rocky Point clip, and their closer up to the end of the ensemble solos. (Like I said earlier, don't they have any other music? I thought they had Cadillac of the Skies and all of that stuff?)

So, show FINALLY over (and my wife sick of the Cadets. While she liked the show, she put it like this - "I saw them before their show [in the clinic], I saw their show, and I saw them after their show [victory concert]. I don't want to see them any more."), we try to leave via the 2 working elevators. Everyone on the upper deck, and they've got the stairs and escalators closed. [sigh]

Anyways, that's my review. If you disagree with my opinions, great! Post and tell me why. Don't tell me I'm an idiot 'cause "these guys work hard" yadda yadda. I know that. Bad show design isn't their fault. I don't think there was a corps out there (Revolution and Legend included) that didn't perform well. I just try to review WHAT they did, not so much HOW they did it.

Mike New

Centerville, OH (DCI)

Koodos to the Centerville Jazz Band for hosting what has become the best coprs show in Ohio, maybe excepting the Toledo show. These guys know how to put on a class show. So many volunteers, and always a great line-up. They always seem to get the top two corps every year. How do they do it? This year was no different (excepting the Cadets). Only problem, parking. We got there a half an hour early, and there was already a line out of the lot 3-4 blocks long, and it wasn't moving. We cut up (sorry to admit that ;-), and found too many band dad's trying to "organize". I think one to many there. I wonder how some people even got parked in time. There were empty spots everywhere, and we are at a standstill for several mintues, anyway... Great announcer, and great press. Saw a report on the news - very nice. The show:

Some of you will hate me for saying this, but thats OK. I will be in DC on Tuesday for Finals week, and was really planning on sitting in on Div. II/III finals for the first time, but after tonight, I am having second thoughts. Someone tell me that it gets better? Right now the jacuzzi at the hotel sounds more inviting. The shows were just way to boring. I cannot imagine a whole night of this? Anyway,

Cincinnati Glory (8th-57.35) Since I last saw them, they have added three horns, and I think 2 guard. They have gotten much better, especially musically. But the show goes no where. I am still searching for the high point? I thought they bested Vagabonds.

General Butler Vagabonds (7th-58.85) I also saw them earlier, and I thought they were much more exciting the first time. Maybe I was in the car too long coming from Indy - but it just didn't do it for me. I thought everything was much softer than last viewing, and much more dull. Nothing like last year's great Les Miz show.

Patriots (6th-61.7) I was excited to see the defending Div. II champs for the first time, but wow, what a let down. Huge guard, pretty well done. I had no idea how the water things fit with the show at all. Was there a point? Drumline seemed to be the strong point of the show. Very large, and well done. The music - John Adams? Is this really accessible to the average - heck - above average fan? I teach music, and found it to be the dullest thing I have heard all year.

Spirit of Atlanta (5th-74.45) I saw them last night, and liked them better then. They need to work on making some impact moments with the audience. There really is nothing here to get the audience involved. At one point the corps tries to get the audience to clap, and the were successful, with about 10 people. I think the guard uniforms are not working either. From closer view (than the dome), many looked faded, like they had been washed too many times. Just wasn't an exciting look.

Bluecoats (4th-81.6) Finally a show the audience got into. The guard was not as hot as last night. The horn line did a nice job. The need to get more fullness to their sound. I do not understand the point of marching 7 cymbals. They have about 20 more in the pit, is that not enough? I just look at them and see 7 wasted horns. They could really use that extra sound if they have any desire to push past the Scouts.

Boston Crusaders (3rd-84.1) What a great show. Having seen almost all the div. 1 corps (ex. BK, SCV, and Crown), this is my favorite show of the season!!! I love the theme, think the marching is excellent, and the book is very challenging. I think their confidence is building, and I am excited to see how far the can go. I think at least 8th is guaranteed, and I can see as high as 5th. Great show again. They got two standing o's, the most of any corps of the night. The ballad is my absolute favorite of the year - will Adagio beat it? I don't see it till Quarter's, I can't wait.

Blue Devils (2nd-89.85) I said the Cavies would beat it - and they did!! Although I couldn't believe it! I thought they were absolutley on fire compared to last night. The brass sounded great. It amazes me how long and even their phrases are. Always with the appropriate amount of rise and fall. This show is intense! It does not stop, it just keeps coming at you. It will be interesting to see how they react to being in this unfamiliar position. I was kind of relieved to know I would not be hearing a victory concert from them, as I think they have tended to get out of control over the last few years. Last year after finals was unique at best, and last night, instead of hearing their show again and being amazed, players tended to just blast as loud as they could and the tone really suffered (especially some of the lead trumpets). I know that I am not the only one who thinks this, but I know a lot more just love to see/hear them play. I just wish it was the same BD that competed so fiercely 30 minutes prior. Cavies and SCV always give such a classy encore. I applaud them for that. I wish Cadets would play more than just 30 seconds and then out of there - I digress. (I know I will be flamed for this last paragraph - whatever)

The Cavaliers (1st-90.0) Like I said - I thought BD blew them away tonight. They did not seem to be as hot as last night, where I thought the score was much closer (as it was) .But none the less, this is a great show!! The guard is so athletic - it is amazing! Where as the BD guard is fun, and very tight, the Cavies guard is everywhere. I don't know how they do it for a whole show, say nothing about practicing all day long. For the encore, I got to see the snare line up close. These guys are a machine!!! Go ahead and give them the high percussion award right now!!! The Cadets will have their hands full. They are absolutley amazing. There is not one moment where they do not act as one. I have never seen so many stick tricks. I loved it. I think this corps only weakness is the brassline. It is a great sound, but it tends to thin towards the top IMHO. BD definitley has them beat there. But I think this is the best Cavie guard and drumline I have ever seen. But with the usual growth that the Cavies tend to make, I am sure the hornline will match the other two very shortly.

Well, I see the Cadets and Blue Knights next Sunday. I am excited to see Cadets again, and BK for the first time. It is definitely going to be a great finals this year!!!


Well, after attending the Indy show on Saturday, I thought my weekend of drum corps would have been complete. Then I found out that there was a show the next day in Centerville, only 25 minutes away from me! So there I was again in the stands Sunday night. Here are some impressions

Cincinnati Glory: Brass, nice tone quality and balance. Good to hear a small hornline not over-blowing in order to compensate for their small size.

Bluecoats: Brass is strong, drumline didn't do too much for me, they were't featured all that much. (not solos, but placement on the field) Coats are still having quite a few phasing problems, they have lots to clean still (i guess that goes for everyone though)

Boston: Yes! Nice job again tonight, Crusaders. You had the crowd. Hornline is playing well - nice balance and timing. Drumline, I want more during you mini-feature. Some phasing problems still, but I do not doubt that they will be cleaned. Keep up the good work!

BD: Clean but ungodly boring. Please understand, folks, that I do not HATE the blue devils. I love them! Well, I should say I used to love them a lot more than I have the past few years. They play extremely well, but their show is just so dry! It seems like their goal is to impress the heck out of the crowd by performing technical exercises for 11 minutes. I feel like their is something critical missing in the design of their show - call it "heart" maybe? The crowd was pretty much dead during entire their show, except for section where the pit is playing a fast (and long) run. I must say I really like the arrangement of the opener, and the "Psycho" shower scene reference (guard stabbing at eachother with sabres while honline screeches quarter notes), but after that the music becomes pretty inaccessible. I can't see much improvement in store for BD, they are just so clean already. BD PLEASE PLAY JAZZ AGAIN!!!

Cavaliers: Not a great show for the Green Machine tonight. This was my 4th time seeing the Cavies. Brass was pretty sloppy tonight in certain sections - mellophone runs in the opener, a big soprano *frack* in the 2nd tune (or third?). I was kind of surprised when they won, but VERY excited none-the-less!!!! (as was the rest of the crowd) Their show is incredibly well designed. I still want more at the ned of the show though. SOmeone else commented on this too, I believe. The show peaks about 30 seconds before the end, and then the actual ending comes off a bit anti-climactic. The show is VERY musical - FAR more musical than any other show I have seen this summer ( only corps i have not seen are CBC and SCV.) The crowd was really digging them tonight. When the Cavies clean this up all the way, they are going to be something else!!! It's goping to be close between CBC anc Cavies at the top. Also, I shoudl mention the the victory concert sounded WONDERFUL!!!! What a great hornline this year!!

Take care all,
-Jeff Spoonhower

Well, it has been a couple of days now, so I will only share with you the impressions that have truly stayed with me.

GBV -- I thought their program was pretty well constructed, but they still are having some pretty big performance errors. Just not as solid as last year's program. At times they really over extended themselves and the results were not that nice. I thought Glory was the superior Div III corps tonight.

Glory -- Very nice brass sound. Low brass is the strength and as a result, Glory has a solid sound that is rare to see in a Div. III corps. The guard is terrific, but there is one section where half of the guard sit on the sideline while the other half does some sabre work. Why can't the other half be doing something? I guess it hasn't been learned yet. The only thing missing from there program is the effect that comes from a larger horn line. They do create great effects in a quiet and truly musical manner. It is good to see a Div. III corps that embraces it's ability to be quiet!

Patriots -- Well, not as good as last year. That being said, I liked the musical program, but really felt the "Construction 2000" theme was really strained. Aside from a cool opening, they really never developed the theme at all. And how can a construction show end with nothing being constructed? Guard was not as good as Glory and the uniforms really didn't work for some of the girls. Now musically, I disagree with one of the other reviews. I loved the Adams piece. "The Chairman Dances" were played very well and I thought it was very exciting. The interpretation of the music visually was lacking, though. I was humming the tune the whole night long! I would like to see them mount the Cultural Reveolution ballet from the opera "Nixon in China" by Adams, they do his work that well.

Spirit -- Well, I honestly remember nothing about this show! The sound was pretty nice, better than last year. They march much better than the recent past. And the percussion was very strong (according to my sister, the family percussion expert). They were her third favorite drumline of the night. BUT, the show does not really embrace the audience. They have opportunities to take the audiece, but just when they have the chance, they back away. I think it is poor writing. That is why I am not too worried about Spirit's future. The talent seems to be in place, but the program just isn't there. Oh yeah, thank goodness the guard did not wear those hideous pink, lacey outfits I've seen in pictures.

Bluecoats -- Solid horns and drums. I noticed some pretty bad phasing between the pit and battery and brass, but I'm sure that won't be there in August. I really liked the program. I thought the music was enough traditional Bluecoats, but with enough modern twists to allow growth of their musical repertoire. I really enjoyed the guard's new use of equipment. The poles with the sabres and the poles with stretch material was a great visual effect. It will be even better under big stadium lights. Also, the surprise soprano soloist at the end was cool, great use of the screens.

Boston Crusaders -- I really thought that they looked way too dark on the field tonight, but then again, this is not the brightest stadium out there. The opening is cool and the corps sounded great. Drums seemed pretty weak to me. The guard was on fire tonight, major improvement over last year. The drill is very well written and the total package is top notch. However, the show looses steam during the ballad and really lost me musically at that point. The singing doesn't take too long necessarily, but the whle ballad does! Also, they reached the peak volume in the middle of the ballad and by teh time they reached the climax, the volume did not go where it should have gone to reach full effectiveness. And the rest of the show really lacked the interest and punch that the opener did. Maybe they were just tired. I'll see in Allentown.

Blue Devils -- I really like their music this year, but it really isn't terribly effective right now. I actually enjoyed them more in Glendora than I did tonight. The sound really didn't hit me like it did then. I also did notice the vanishing high voices during the big chords, maybe there is something to the whole Bflat thing. I think they have lost their edge. The sound just doesn't blow you away like BD normally does. The guard are very clean and it seems that the show has been changed to make their work a little clearer. I just think they need to do more flag work. Too much weapon and dance!!! And the closer is awful!!! I am so glad that BD can count and play loud quarter notes, but I think what seemed to be ten measure of it is just ridiculous. The closer contans WAY too much DAH, 2, 3, 4, DAH, 2,3,4,DAH DAH, 3, 4, DAHHHHHHHHH. And the drumline does way too much of the same stuff at the end. Also, the mellophone run at the end was nowhere near as clean as it was in Glendora. That is such a cool run at the very end. I know it will be there in August, but tonight, not good. Cavies deserved the victory tonight. BD will not beat Cavies again this year, IMHO.

Cavaliers -- This is one of the best, riskiest shows I've ever seen from the Cavaliers. The style is a big change from what we have all coem to expect from them, and I applaud them for taking the chance and trying something new. I never thought I would hear squeelers in the Cavaliers. The horn line had some problems tonight, but the victory concert allayed all concerns. They sound incredible. And the drumline . . . WOW! The stick work is incredible, I agree with other posts, they are a machine! The guard is the best they've had in a while. And thank goodness there is a guard out there that still does big unison flag work. It is impressive as anything when it is good, but I guess the other guards are just afraid they can't get it clean, or else more would do it. But why do their rifles appear to weigh 10 ounces or so? These guys toss it around like a toothpick. There must be a difference because other guards don't look like that, anyone know?

Parting shots: Cavaliers will be right in the thick of it in Maryland. I will see Cadets this Sunday in Cincinnati. Bluedevils won't challenge for the title. I actually think that Vanguard will catch and pass them.

Tony Lovenshei

Saturday July 22
Indianapolis, IN (DCI)

Hello, all! Just got back from Indy and DCI Midwestern.

Have to hit the sack, but thought that I would share some observations from the show. I'm a little punchy from the trip, but will try to share what I remember.

General impressions of RCA dome as a DCI venue: Great place...plenty of parking, plenty of stuff to do within walking of stadium before show, great crowd control and traffic, etc. Seats inside were great. I sat in lower deck for Div II/III and seats were fine for both drill and sound. In the Div I show, our seats were in the upper deck (about the right 40-45, Row 16) and they were perfect. Best drill seats I have had for regional show since DCI Midwestern was here in Champaign, IL at UIUC's campus.

How do corps deal with the reverb in a dome? Some pretty well, and some not well at all! Percussion lines in some corps overdominated and obliterated the hornline. Others adjusted well. The corps that made the best adjustments here were Bluecoats, Boston Crusaders, and Cavies.

On to the shows:

Kiwanis Kavaliers--62.3--Nice show. It's starting to develop. I like the helicopter blades on poles and the effects that they gave. The music is getting more secure. Unfortunately, there are a lot of holes in the drill and they're not going to be filled now. I often wonder when the corps make the decision to close in the holes or to go with them there!

Pioneer--70.3--Big spread and well-deserved. They have improved tremendously and were well-received. The hornline is playing with more maturity and is not as strained. As in past years, they have worked steadily and the show is turning out to be a pleasant one. New guard uniforms are a plus.

Spirit of Atlanta--73.25--Yep! She IS gorgeous! DM, that is! I like the show and see some growth in this corps from last year. Not a lot of the drill sticks out to me in memory at this late hour. What I do remember is that because of the percussion reverb, the more intricate opener (Morton Gould--Jubilee from Spirituals) was swallowed up and lost to me in the upper deck. However, the second number (Southern Harmony) was based on the hymntune, "What wondrous love is this?" and is gorgeous! I will be listening to this arrangement of the beautiful modal tune from the early 19th century South a lot!

Colts--78.95--Second time I've seen them this year. I don't think that they have top 12 show this year, but they are trying really hard. The drill is cleaning up nicely, and the guard is improving. Like the yellow ragtorn flags at the beginning of the show.

Bluecoats--80.0--Have seen lots of comments about the messiness of their drill, and was looking for it. However, I found it in better shape than I expected. What I did see is trademark Bluecoats in my mind--good small groupings in drill, and nice really large concert set forms. Also, several blocks of different configurations. However, the transition drills were muddy. Part design and part feet. Definite improvement over last year overall. Bigger sound. Like the flag designs also. Most importantly, they were able to balance their percussion in the dome. The percussion were powerful when they needed, and let the hornline become the forefront when needed.

Crossmen--81.1--Started the "in the mood" really nicely! Nice moments and drill in this show, but it grew a little tired at the end. I didn't mind Birdland again; heard some groans around me. What someone reported here on RAMD is true--this year's arrangement of it is really different. Colorguard is great as usual, but they didn't do nearly as much unison flag work and it wasn't as crisp as previous years' units. More weaponry and individual skill than unison work. Overall, great classic Crossmen show. Don't see this show or Bluecoats reaching Madison or Boston.

Madison Scouts--82.50--Really nice show tonight. Definite crowd favorite and pleaser (no surprise, huh?) Guard has been getting a lot of flack, and tonight they addressed that. The guard gave a nice performance tonight. Very few drops. I do think that the guard is not as strong overall as previous units, but is coming along. Also, the cossack uniform coats seem a hindrance for the guard to execute smoothly and in sync. Also changes the type of equipment work. After they throw off the coats, the type and quality of the equipment work increases. Percussion were on. Hornline was also on. Boston sings, so now Madison sings. Or has that been there all along? I forget. The drill is quite busy and nice. So why are they scoring lower? Here's my humble opinion: the execution of the drill is a little too's the type of drill that without perfect execution, it seems muddled in places. Also, the Madison hornline sound, while one of my favorites, doesn't fit the Eastern European music style. Their sound is not a dark sound, but bright. Also, their sound is top-heavy and the music seems to ask for more bottom sound. Their hornline worked for Pirates of Lake Mendota, but not for the Cossacks. JMHO.

Boston Crusaders--83.45--Whoa! WOW!!! I was so pleasantly surprised last year with their jump in performance level. I had heard all of the comments about how this year was better, and I was not disappointed. The crowd loved them, and with reason. They have taken it to another level this year. What is all the hype about? Let's count the reasons: The music is fun. Everyone connected with all of the music from beginning to end! The sound is phenomenal. No, it is not the top 4 or 5 sound, but it is very powerful. More importantly, it was one of the most balanced hornline sounds I heard tonight. Also, it is a very dark and sonorous sound. "Rich" is the word. People have remarked pro and con about the corps singing in the Passion section. Let me say that I didn't find it too long a passage. Instead, I found it also a pleasing blend and not too long at all. It adds a lot to the show. Percussion are very balanced, have lots of guts, and in my ignorance of percussion, I thought played well. Colorguard is much sharper than last year. As last year, their choice of flags are creative and add a lot visually. The guard work is cleaner than last year, and complements the show. Drillwise, this show is one of the best and most cohesive designs that I have seen. The opener is a phenomenal sequence of drill as frames collapse and pick up hornline members while leaving guard members strewn across the field. Maybe the drill isn't hte most complex, nor are the arrangements the most difficult, BUT they have a TOTAL package this year and it sells. From the beginning to the end. I remember BAC of years past, and while enjoyable and well-performed, their shows bored me a little. NO WAY for this year. They are now one of the "big boys"! Congratulations! I could see them as high as 7th in the end.

Sidenote: Couple sitting beside me were at their first corps show. Didn't really know alot about the differences between high school band and corps. kept comparing the shows to Indiana High School band shows. Until BAC, they didn't seem overly impressed. When BAC came on, it was the first time that they were a little "ga-ga" and it was maintained throughout the rest of the show (Madison, BD, Glassmen, and Cavies). Their favorites were BAC, Cavies, and Madison.

Glassmen--85.20--first time that I have seen them this year, and I need to see it again. I do like Glassmen's attention to triangles in their drill as signatures of their corps logo. I liked the improvement in the color guard. Much better than last year, and able to handle more advanced equipment work. Wigs didn't bother me nor did they distract me. Percussion is nice. Hornline is powerful but held back a tad just as I have read and described here on RAMD. Drill is quite complex and nicely written. As usual, it has some great moves and forms mixed with a few transition drills that are muddy. The beginning of the show was rough overall drillwise as the corps went on right after Blue Devils. This only highlighted the fact that the drill for G-men is one of those that forces the corps members to move both awkwardly and at rapid speeds. You could see their plumes wobble as their carriage and posture was not very stable at first. Lots of spacing problems as well. As the show wore on, the kids seemed to settle down and were more comfortable. Then, their posture and their carriage became more stable and uniform and the drill cleaned itself. The arrangements of Concerto in F are actually pretty good, but yes, they're not Cadets 82 nor Spirit 85. Partially these arrangements hold back because there are too many spots where the kids are stilll marching awkwardly.

Cavaliers--89.50--Wow! What improvement here in the last few weeks. The ending is now exciting, and the drill has lots of new nuances added in. The "Niagra Falls" is growing on me, and I really think that this show has potential to be the winner in DC. The hornline is even stronger and is playing with maturity and confidence. The percussion line is going at it. The drill is aweing. Their marching execution is pretty darn clean. Just a couple of spacing problems here and there. Overall, it is vintage Cavies, but then again, it isn't! There are enough different things this year that it is not the same old Cavies drill. The colorguard is quite tight, but this was probably the difference tonight in BD's winning. The Cavie colorguard still spins flags in unison like no one else, and they did quite a bit of this. I like the new dark blue, pink, and silver flags at the end. They are the type that will look great only with excellent synchronization and Cavies have this. However, in weaponry, they are great, but had a few drops tonight. Show design-wise, it is better than BD's hands down, and I think that they will clean it up and soar to the top (or at least to a head-on collision with Cadets!). They really got the crowd going tonight--they and BAC and MS.

Blue Devils--89.6--Were they better than Cavies tonight? Yep--cleaner. The music is interesting, and the hornline is as powerful as you would expect. The opening drill is quite phenomenal, and highlights a visual strength of Blue Devils--excellent upper body carriage! The guard is fantastic--on weaponry. Another known strength, but very little flag work. I really like the guard uniform and the opening flags (their sharpest). Especially the two-sided aspect of the uniform and the two-sided flags--this really amplified the methods of madness theme. Drill is fastpaced and energetic, but loses steam about 1/3 way into the show. Found that the drill became less interesting as the show continued. Yes, they are typically razor sharp. Yes, they are louder than loud can be. However, unless they add some GE, I see them maxing out before finals!

Funny sidenote: Friend who went with me is a professor in educational evaluation. He had gone to Murphreesboro with me last year to his first DCI shows. Was blown away there. Still blown away here, but flipped out during scores. I would point to the corps' name on the scoresheet that would receive the next placement and would guess the score. When it clicked that I really did know who was going to place where, and could approximate the score pretty darn closely, then it also clicked to him that the scoring system is a norm-referenced system and subject to--gulp!--slotting! He knew nothing of the yellow slip incident and subsequent conversations! He was flustered leaving the stadium and most of the way home as he became more frustrated with the scoring system and the lack of interrater reliability in the system! I say we unleash his expertise on DCI to clean up the scoring system!!!

I am nodding off now as I type and I must be up in 4.5 hours to lead church music. So, I must go to sleep. I apologize for anything stupid I have just written while I was in snoozeland! Smile.


I drove 3 hours for this show, and I was not disappointed.

Here is a very very bried description of what I saw with each corps....well, those I gave a hoot about:

Kavaliers: Very familiar music (sarcasm) I agree with dude....too many wholes make the drill seem dirtier than it actually is.

Pioneer: After I woke up from my brief offense, I did wake up at 6am to get there! I saw that Pioneer, a corps I thought was Irish was playing Scottish music...or maybe I was smoking crack. They have a decent show, but visually lacking any luster and jazz licks at the end could use some work.

Spirit of Atlanta: Ok, I have never ever been a Spirit fan, and tonight didn't change my ways. I think this corps has come a long way since I saw them last year. They have a nice sound, and the "southern" theme is pretty cool. DM is good looking, but an awful conductor. :)

Colts: FINE SHOW...I had read boring reviews about this show, but I was pleasantly surprised with the potential that this show possesses musically. The Colts have a WONDERFUL bari line that will blow yours socks off.

BlueCoats: Amazed. I am simply amazed. I usually compare a corps to what it was the year before, but this corps is something else! I will have to almost agree with that crazy dude jumping up every five seconds on the fifty yard line....This show is EXCITING. That horn line is something else, and will, in my opinion, put the Coats back into finals where they belong. Wonderful show...enjoyed the antics of one conga player (j.l.) hahah, Guys, if you see this dude going off on the cymbals, it will put a smile on your face!

Crossmen: Wonderful guard...bleh bleh bleh. I really enjoyed the colors of the show. I did not, however, enjoy the music. It was rather clean, but I just couldn't get into "Birdland" for the tenth time this decade. Great performance though.

Scouts: So much improvement has been done in the month since I last saw them. The color guard no longer sucks, and the drill is much more exciting. I enjoyed the show greatly, but I will agree with other reviews and say that the music is too bright. I'd like to hear this stuff with some dark colors.(something like that...I couldnt think of anything smart to say...its almost 5am here.)

BAC: OMG, I would never consider myself a Boston fan. I read all these decent and nice reviews believing that Boston was just on everyone's good list because of their renewed arrival. I was WRONG. This corps can PLAY. I stood on the edge of my seat waiting for what was going to happen next. I thoroughly enjoyed this program which includes an amazing hornline, much much much much much much improved drill from last year, and a great color guard. This is a show you do NOT want to miss. I want to see it again. Thanks Boston, for proving me wrong.

Glassmen: I really enjoyed this semi-clean performance by the Glassmen tonight. I don't really know the music very well, so I can't comment too much on that. I really enjoyed the color guard. Everyone else had to comment on the wigs, but I ignored them, and the guard work was easier to focus on. Great percussion I really enjoy listening to that pit. Great mellos, once again as well.

Cavaliers: Yes, I am a Cavaliers fan. Yes, I feel that the Cavaliers should have won tonight, but that is besides the point. This is the best flowing and most thought provoking show of the summer. It is both complex and simple, classy and jazzy. I really, really love this show. It had been a complete month since I saw this corps last, and the improvements made were AMAZING. I loved the ending 2 minutes of drill. So much movement and much to look at. Great show Green Machine. I believe this show has title potential...very much so.

BD: VERY clean, but what is there to this show? Can someone tell me what this show is about? I enjoyed the show, but I didn't understand a lick of it. They, in my opinion, have anywhere near the total package that BD has had in the previous years. Yes, it is clean, very clean, but it is majorly boring. I didn't agree with the first place finish, but who cares? Its not finals.

Hope I didn't offend anyone in my review. It is almost 5am, and I have been on the road since the show was over. Feel Free to email me any comments.

Steven M.

Hi everyone. Quick impressions of Indy last night:

I was on the 45 yd line in the upper deck, in the 11th row up. The sound was pretty awful up there. I pray that finals NEVER end up inside a dome. Brass sounded very mushy, and anything below a mezzo forte was pretty much lost. The drums, because of reverb in the dome, really sounded muddy, esp. when the cymbals were making a lot of noise. Visuals were great though!!!

I just want to comment on the top few corps here:

Crossmen - pretty good tonight, had a decent crowd response. Their drill is readable, but not too demanding. Brass nice job, percussion, where are you? Not much happening in the drums. NO MORE BIRDLAND PLEASE!!

Bluecoats - loud hornline, show didn't leave any impressions on me.

Boston - Great job! Very exciting, pretty clean, lots of room for cleaning. Had the crowd on their feet tonight. Complex drill, and interesting to watch. Good job Boston!

Madison - 3rd time seeing them this summer, small changes have been added, but they haven't had any real impact on the show. Ensemble has gotten much cleaner, brass is wailing as usual, they sound nice. Pretty good crowd resonse, esp. at end. Lots of booing at their placement, I cheered for Boston though!!

Glassmen - Beautiful, complex drill, brass sounds REALLY nice, drums as well. Performing the heck out off this show, but HORRIBLE ARRANGEMENTS!! NO GE!! I'm not trying to be mean here, but i kid you not the Glassmen got NO response from the crowd tonight. Again, the members are performing so well, but the show is not written well. I f no one claps, then something is wrong.

BD - clean and boring, didn't get much response from the crowd tonight. Cavies will pass them.

Cavies - Wonderful. exciting, got a GREAT crowd response, lots of really nice changes (GE) have been added to the show, I would like to see a bigger ending though. Brass is doing extremely well, and drums and guard are performing wondurfully as well ( a few drops in the guard). Biggest crowd respose of the night, beautifully designed and performed show. Room for cleaning and GE additions, will be 1 or 2 at finals.

Take care,

Jeff Spoonhower

Wow - what a weekend! Just got back from both the Indianapolis, then Centerville show. What a great year this is for drum corps. Really some interesting races, with only a few corps seemingly "locked" in for placing so far (i.e. SCV - 4th is all I would try to call actually). As far as the Indianapolis show is concerned, I knew when I ordered the tickets, I would hate the dome. I have seen many BOA Grand Nationals there, and the sound is awful!!!! Now when it comes to November and BOA, I will give a little to not be sitting outside freezing to death. But for DCI in the middle of the summer, I think it is awful. It was impossible to make out what most of the brass lines were playing, regardless of how good the corps, because of all the echoing the persussion did. If the Texas heat makes a dome a nice change of pace, then leave it down there. As for the Midwest, give me the good old out doors. By the way - I was on the 45 mid-way up the upperdeck. I would think pretty good seats - awesome to see visuals, the one plus for the dome.

As for the show:

Seattle Cascades - exh. What a great group!!! It is nice to see a group venture so far, and I was glad to see them. Very impressive. The dome did them good, making them sound louder than I felt they probably were.

Kiwanis Kavaliers (11th-62.3) - Decent show. The opening helicopter thing was cool. I thought they did a great job of framing the corps, and making the field a little smaller and more managable for these guys. They really need more horns, way too small to be Div. I.

Pioneer (10th-70.3) - As I've said before on here, I really like this show. I never thought I would say that about Pioneer. I thought they should have beat Spirit. The size of the hornline I would of guessed hurt them.

Spirit of Atlanta (9th-73.25) - For the first viewing I thought they were OK. They were much cleaner than I thought they would be after reading posts on here. I thought the show was well performed, there just isn't much there.

Colts (8th - 78.95) - I am very happy to see how far this show has come since I last saw it. Unfortunately it still ranks as my least favorite Colts show (except for the Biker chick show). The horn line is playing much cleaner, and the marching has also really improved. Unfortunately, I think this show is destined for 13th.

Bluecoats (7th-80.0) - For any of you who are worried that last year was going to spell the demise of the Coats need worry no longer! This show is nothing like it. The guard is much improved, and the horns are doing a nice job. I loved the interesting equipment the guard uses, and their use of color I thought was great!!!! I did not like the the props they set up along the front to hide things behind. They look way too homemade for a corps this good.

Crossmen (6th-81.1) - This show was fantastic!!! I loved the music. Classic music, that defiantely needed to be redone. And the guard was of course phenominal!! I do not know what YEA feeds it guards - but can I have some? The were tight and exciting!!! I thought they were the best guard of the night (ex. BD and Cavies of course). High visual points here! I look for them to pass Madison soon. (I thought they should have beat them tonight.)

Madison Scouts (5th-82.5) - Madison fans, I am sorry. I think this is going to be a long hard year for you. These guys started out the year weak, and it is not getting better. The soprano sound has to be one of the ugliest in Div I. It is so tight and shrill, it often feels like fingernails down the chalkboard. They play two dynamics - loud and $#$%^&% loud. Just doesn't work for me. And the guard has not improved much, except that I assume the whole show is finally done. The boos are getting softer as their score was announced. I think their fate is settling with their fans. I think 10th or 11th is imminent. (Will the Bluecoats also pass them up? This is a longshot I think - but could definitely happen.)

Boston Crusaders (4th-83.45) - It must defiantely be the the new millenium, because in the same year, I like a Pioneer show, and LOVE a Boston show!!! I think this show is fantastic!! Musically, I think it is one of the best designed shows out there. I love the ballad!!! "The Prayer" by Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli is such a great choice!! (I think they need more ladies on the upper part near the end of the vocals) This was my favorite show of the night. I love the colors of the flags, and what an intense rifle line! I left with a Boston t-shirt. Loved 'em. I think it is going to be an interesting race for 5-7 with Boston, BK, and G-Men.

Glassmen (3rd-85.2) - I am a huge Glassmen fan, but I must admit that this show left me very flat. Since seeing them early on, I expected much more improvement then I saw. Their biggest strength is definately their fantastic horn sound. It is so rich and dark. I think this is what might end up keeping Boston at their heels. The color guard to me is awful. I hate the uniforms, I hate the design of their work, I hate the guard. (Not the kids mind you). I really think, now that they have the execution, and they are a top corps, it is time to get rid of some key members of the visual design staff, and come up with something a little more main stream. I was very dissapointed. Hopefully the 5 days off they get this week, will give them the new energy they need, as they take on BK next weekend.

The Cavaliers (2nd-89.5) - What a great show!!! It is very powerful, and very exciting!!! FANTASTIC drum line!!! The visual show was by far the most demanding of the night. They have started to add some very cool gimmicks, that are typical Cavie. After watching some of their moves, I sat their wondering what sicko comes up with these moves, and how the heck do you chart them? They are awesome, and so original!! A lot of the moves just flow so well. I still do not understand the guard uniforms, and think they are hideous, but that is just me. I like the guy who described them as turds in the falls. The flags themselves are beautiful, but the unis - uck!! They are definitely going to be in the thick of the race come Washington!!! I think they have so much more that they can clean, compared to BD - watch them passing them soon.

Blue Devils (1st-89.6) - I must admit that I thought that the Europe trip would really hurt the Devils chances of repeating - but I was sorrowfully wrong. I am getting sick of seeing these guys constantly winning!! (I never get sick of seeing The Cadets win ;-) Well, I may have to witness it again this year, because the are hot!!! The brass is awesome - although they were near impossible to hear because the percussion were banging so hard!!! How do you cover up a BD Brass line? They did it. The guard, as always, were an absolute joy to watch. The have a quality that only they and Cadets possess, in my opinion. They are so fun to watch - they are so electric. And mistakes - you didn't see any!!! Having a truly 50/50 guard, really helps as well. They play off the opposite sex so well. Biggest problem I thought - they seem too clean all ready. Everything is so sharp. I do not think they can hold off The Cadets and Cavies for three weeks. I look for them to finish 3rd, with The Cadets and Cavies fighting it out, although nothing would suprise me with them.

Great show - I think this is really a great year for the guards!! I saw so much great work, could incorporating the guard score upped the anty a little for them? Great job guys!!!


This is by far the best show I've gone to all year, after previously attending the Oswego, Toledo, Bloomington/Normal, DeKalb and Des Plaines shows. Some superb shows out there this year, and tonight was a real treat, with 7 or 8 of what will become this year's top 12 in attendance in front of a large crowd.

How was the dome? Well, it maginified corps with balance problems and muddy musical performances. Corps with good balance and clean playing fared much better. Anyone with an overbalanced drum line suffered more from the reverb.

Kiwanis Kavaliers
First up, the Kavaliers have some nice energy and emotion in their show. What they are lacking are numbers, particularly in the horn line. What horn line they do have is way too top heavy. And there must be at least 10 holes in the horn line for which they have not re-written drill, making for a poor visual picture on the field. Color Guard is a strength for the corps, with some nice silks (Love the big red flags with the half sun of yellow) and other props. Kiwanis may really struggle to stay in the top 21 this year. The decision to go Division I instead of Division II may not be wise.

This year is the most enjoyable I've found Pioneer. I liked them for the first time last year, and enjoy them even more this year. The corps likes to perform and puts out a lot of energy. Their biggest challenge is balance -- the drum line completely overwhelms the horn line at times, and the drum book is not very musical. These problems were magnified in the dome last night, but have been problems at previous shows as well.

Spirit of Atlanta
Despite all the negative talk of the season on Spirit -- and the challenges they had to get to the field this year -- I think this is their best corps since returning from their off years. The show is much more sophisticated, yet still musically quite enjoyable. And the hornline is much more musical this year. The guard is also improved, and brings some very pretty silks to the field that perfectly accent this year's theme (New South) for them. Spirit has a good shot at 15th, I'd say. I might even see them pushing Southwind for 14th if they continue to clean and build on their current momentum.

I want so much to like this corps after loving their shows of the past 2 years (and especially last year -- my fav from Dubuque since 95's Sunday in the Park show). Unfortunately, I can't. They do some things pretty well. Hornline plays well, and marches pretty well too. Color guard is not a strength, though, and their outfits are not a plus. The new uniform for the corps makes them very bland. Gone is any pizzaz or sparkle. Off white instead of white was not a good choice for pants color. Hopefully, these uniforms will not be around too long. Of the show, it's ok. The music book is sometimes enjoyable -- until the end. Once they pick up after forming the Plus-sign type formation (where their show ended early season) their show is completely unmoving emotionally. The music is just not translating. The end just maginfies what the problem seems to be for this corps this year -- it just looks like the staff said "ooh -- it's the new century. We have to be different." Well, different it is, and not for the better. The fans in the stands voted with their indifference to this show. It's unfortunate because they obviously have talent. Like Glassmen, it's too bad they don't have a better vehicle to show off with. They may be the best 13th place corps ever, but I don't see them making Finals.

I thought these guys were a little underscored tonight. Actually would have had them at least another point away from Colts, and really would have placed them ahead of Crossmen. Blue is roaring back this summer, with a wonderful hornline and well designed show. Their weakness at this point is in marching. At times some people are clearly out of forms. They are getting cleaner, but have quite a bit of work to do before College Park. Blue really grabbed the crowd tonight, and at times had me ready to stand, with noticeable excitement at several points in their show. Hornline sounded wonderful, with probably the 4th best sound of the night behind Crusaders, Cavaliers and Blue Devils. This is a show to watch, listen to and enjoy. It's also great to see that they haven't succumbed to the current trend to grab new uniforms like Colts and others who all look like bland marching bands now. The white pants are appreciated, and the helmets and plumes still look great. Makes them feel like a drum corps. Nice job, Bluecoats.

Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy Crossmen this year & think they have definitely improved after last years less than stellar effort. I just don't see the rampant praise these guys were given in early reviews. Hornline is improved over last year (what wouldn't be after last years less than top-12 hornline?), but still doesn't have a very rich or deep sound -- especially compared to Bluecoats or Crusaders. The musical arrangements are ok, and at times really nice. At other times (particularly Birdland, which I do NOT mind them playing again), the melodic line is too hard to distinguish. The guard is strong again, although less so than the past 3 years. Part of their problem is the awful guard uniforms, which just make them look dirty. The corps proper uniform is better with the red stripe added, but is still very plain -- not a help with the upbeat jazz show they are trying to pull off. I could see Crossmen in the 10 through 12 group again this year.

Madison Scouts
The Scouts are the Scouts. The formula just seems to be getting dated. Well, again, maybe that's not true. The formula works best with the right show design, execution and music. 1995, 1997 and 1999 (Maybe they are becoming an odd-year corps???) were outstanding. This show is not. Execution-wise, this is the weakest I've ever seen Madison, or certainly their weakest since 1990. Marching is ok, but the drill doesn't always make sense. Too much move to an area of the field just to do it, without fitting into the music. Drum line is really struggling at times. Hornline is strong, altough the music they are playing this year begs for a darker, deeper sound than Madison is known for producing. The worst section is by far the color guard. While improved, these guys are not together. Tosses are getting close to being thrown and caught at the same time, but speed and height in the air is all over the place. Flag work is very, very ragged. On a positive note, the show -- and particularly the ending, is starting to sell more. The end may be making some people forget how weak the rest of the show is. Most people around me got more into the shows of Bluecoats and Crusaders than they did the middle portion of the Scouts show.

Boston Crusaders
Oh My! Everything being said is true. This is one of the best designed shows of the last few years, not just this year. Boston has assembled a wonderful design team that understands how to wed visual and musical impacts. The show just doesn't stop pleasing -- there are no down times. The middle ballad section (Passion -- Based on Bocelli's Con Te Partito -- excuse the spelling) is just gorgeous. Huge goose-bumps from an activity that doesn't always produce these anymore. And not the only goose bumps from thier show. They keep you involved and excited the entire show. And (take note, Madison), they do it while executing. The hornline had a deep, sonorous sound with a gorgeous bottom. And the marching is great, with wonderful body carriage and posture to boot. I thought they were unfairly scored in field visual tonight behind some other corps that they deserved to beat in field visual (Glassmen and especially Madison). Color Guard is also vastly improved this year. Probably the weakest, or least strong section of this corps is it's drum line. May be the only thing preventing the Cru from rising to a 7th or 6th place finish. I can even see these guys threating Glassmen. They absolutely did deserve to beat Madison tonight. Their show was the most well received by the audience for the evening, with the possible exception of Cavaliers. While you had the usual boo-birds out when Madison was announced, the boos were loud, but from scattered individuals. Many more people were glad to see Boston place where they did, it seemed to me.

Glassmen are continuing their recent theme -- "Is there a crowd up there somewhere? We don't really care." Only this year, the problem is much, much worse. Drill wise, they have taken a step back from last year's wonderful drill, altough it is still a good drill. What it does do is put some unrealistic ground coverage demands on individuals, with marching technique negatively affected. Musically, just what in the hell is this staff thinking? The musical arrangement has some nice moments and a lot of junk. It's an incredible waste of what is probably their best horn line yet. Glassmen are too talented not to make top 7, but they may in fact fall in to 7th, or even possibly 8th. Right now I'd put them in 6th behind Blue Knights, but judging from how Phantom is now scoring and improving and how Boston is coming on, Glassmen's spot in top 6 is not secured this year yet, that is for certain. They got less crowd involvement than any other corps on the field tonight. I actually started getting sleepy during their show. There were a lot of people that didn't even really applaud, must less stand, at the end of their show.

Oh so close tonight, and oh-so deservedly so. This show is really growing. The end of the show is really igniting now, with some great visual impacts. The last 30 seconds or show need some help, though to live up to the excitement generated in the minute or so before it. You never want your last few seconds to be a let-down to what's gone on before, and Cavies have been a victim of this in the past. With what the staff has poured into this show so far, I'm sure that won't be the case. Musically, Cavies are really, really good. Devils switch to Bb's has actually left Cavies with a better projecting horn line from the upper deck, with a much more brilliant sound with a top and bottom. Drum line was smoking tonight. Guard had a few drops tonight, and a few other problems & you have to wonder if that cost them a tenth or 2 in guard. Might have been enough to put them over BD...

Blue Devils
BD has a very, very well designed show, particularly from a visual perspective. The show really reflects a kind of swirling madness, from the flowing drill with lots of cool slow 360s by the horns to the flowing music -- ebbing and flowing at a very, very fast pace. Guard is wonderful as well, with strong equipment work as well as their trade mark movement. What's missing are highs to this show. No tear the house down points like last year. I give some of the blame to that to the Bb horns. They take the high end of the sound out somewhat. Horns are still powerful, in a deeper way, but not as exciting. BD has a few cleaning issues not characteristic for them for this time of year, but from a drill perspective they seem to move more this year too. I think Cavies may just catch BD this year. IT's gonna be a barn-burner for these 2 right to the end. BD, Cavies & Cadets are just too close to call right now, and you'd have to say SCV is the wild card -- who knows what they can do with their show in the next 3 weeks.

Bud Phelps

Houston, TX (DCI)

First of all two things. Leave the kids with a baysitter, and mr anouncer turn off the PA during corps.

Percussion One --- A exhibition by a independent drum line. They were having fun, and laid down some good lines.

9th Legend of Texas -- Loved this show. Small corps, second year. And they are having fun. With some cleaning and tuning this show will do well at finals. All members dancing during the show, wonderful, glad they were the first corps. Really brought me in. With the 46 something they scored I feel that they should have been much closer to Allegiance, maybe even passed them.

8th Allegiance Elite-- A young corps. With what I felt might have been an off night. Music from Final Fantasy 8. Didn't know the music, didn't pull me in. One of their guard girls looked to be about 12, that's great the younger they get hooked, the better. Really felt that their 51 something should have been near Legends.

7th Troopers This placement I don't understand. I don't think that Pacific Crest was above them especially not by a whole point. Troopers were fun, the music though a somewhat cheesy package was recognizable. The Sousa treat at the end, and the Revolutionary battle were high points. Id have to see recaps to know why they were below PacCrest. GE for me was right there throughout this show.

6th Pacific Crest I will admit, they were clean, and technically good, but for wat Ive heard about them i was expecting more. The show left me flat, and the music was not a hummer. I can't remember much of this show. Sorry guys in RAMD, this show did nothing for me.

5th Southwind Order of preformance had them on after Troopers, so I got a treat of two corps in a row that got me out of my seat when they were done. Southwind was loud, mostly in tune, and again fun. They should have a fun column on sheets, kind of like extra credit. That way corps the crowd likes can get some oofph. I like their unis too, not blue. Alot of corps are going that route it seems. Liked them, Can't say because this will be my only shoew this year, but I would say top 12.

4th Carolina Crown Great show, great music, intricate drill (from my fifth row seat) and the guard was amazing. I would say the scoring is right on with them, when they clean, they will be in finals for sure. Crowd liked them so did I.

3rd Phantom Regiment Somewhat of a crowd favorite. Yells of SUTA heard many times before the show. Im not a fan of them at least I wasn't until tonight. Really liked the music, and Rite of Spring was great. Don't like the khaki unis though. Just doesn't seem like them. Tommy Faegin is a great conductor.

2nd Blue Knights People have said this show lacks emotion. To an extent yes, but it is still great, loud powerful, fast. This show i think will be on the Telecast. I wanted them with a higher score, but I also want SCV with a higher score too. Hardimon writes amazing material, and the way that line is taught is great. Played the corps on for retreat too. Im tired right now, but this show was good. And will only get better, but might peak soon.

1st Santa Clara Vanguard A slip in points from Dallas, even though a friend in the corps said Dallas was flat for them, and tonight was right on the best yet. Too bad the mebers of the corps can't check this because I would tell them, forget the green shirts, you have another chamionship in my mind, and in alot of fans who saw you tonight. The package is all there. Music, drill, emotion. Watched them rehearse all day so I got to see drill from Press box level. Amazing, Rosander did it again. Westman and his arrangments should be touted as some of the best. Agnus Dei gave me goose bumps everytime they played it today, I got to hear it 3 times YAY. I do wonder sometimes how people teach their own arrangments. This show can't and won't peak, look out finals night. Drum line to me has alot of 89 in them, visuals that fit great and really wow the crowd. This is just my opinion, but, TAKE IT ALL VANGUARD!!!!

Revolution -- Great little corps, jazz theme this year was great. Really nailed alot of licks, I for some reaosn expected this corps to be bigger. With more numbers this corps will do well, good luck. Eric, will the jazz continue next year??

BCB -- Drum major proposed to his girlfriends using the corps. Best moment of the night. She said yes. These guys were fun. Curious as to why not the entire corps played national anthem. Can't even begin to guess at DCA placement at Syracuse. I don't know how seniors work and have never seen one. Some screamers though.

Sorry if you don't like this review, Im working 8 hrs tomorrow, and didn't want to forget my thoughts, its late. Good luck to every corp member this season.

Adam Quap

Clifton, NJ (DCA)

The Haring family "Northern Tour" (Baltimore, MD to Clifton, NJ) is over.....some thoughts on the Clifton DCA show:

Exhibition corps:

All of them were a treat! The West Sayville Golden Eagles (senior parade corps) played the National Anthem and several other tunes to warm up the crowd. Nice sound!

Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights Alumni: their killer soprano line once again knocked me out, and the rest of the corps wasn't too shabby either! It was great to see an old friend, Jim "Nuclear" Powers, in Sac's drumline.

Phoenix: excellent DCI Div. 3 corps....full, controlled brass sound, solid percussion, and an easy-to-follow "Lion King" show. The kids looked like they were having fun out there.

NY Skyliners Alumni: appeared in full uniform instead of the red golf shirts/black pants they have been wearing...rocked the house as usual...strong brass, outstanding percussion. Nice to see George "Sidemouth" Richardson back in action for some of the soprano solo work!

Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni: a big-time explosion of sound and color. Featured a special guest soloist appearance from former Hawthorne Muchacho great Jeff Kievitt. (Cabs Alumni and the Caballeros competition corps finished out the evening with a combined performance of "Flamenco Cha-Cha"... my ears are still ringing!)

Competition corps:

NY Skyliners: high-energy, totally recognizable show, big sound for the number of horns they have, and an underrated, very strong percussion section. Sky, clearly, is back!

Bushwackers: quite an improvement from the National Dream show a couple of weeks ago...their "Dark Side" show made more sense to me this time.... and the uniforms look great under the lights.

Connecticut Hurricanes: didn't get a chance to see their whole show, unfortunately.. but they got a nice standing ovation at the end of their "Celtic Pride" program. I've gotta catch their whole gig this coming weekend at the show in Cumberland, MD!

Empire Statesmen: the first time I've seen them this year, and I can't wait to see them again.....a thoroughly entertaining, well-conceived treatment of "Phantom of the Opera"...needs more cleaning, of course, but wow....Empire was "on" at the Clifton show. A must-see for any fan who (perish the thought! LOL) buys a ticket to be ENTERTAINED!

Reading Buccaneers: I was told they were missing some horns, but the ones who were there were getting the job done....seemed to tire a bit near the end of their demanding "The Planets" program, but, hey, there's still a lot of time left to build more "staying power." A flat-out excellent percussion section and an improved color guard.

Hawthorne Caballeros: pure power drum corps, and absolutely another must-see this season! The featured "Three Sopranos" soloists were smokin'... and showed a sense of humor with their three-man "mini-wheel" while the rest of the corps was doing the trademark pinwheel move during the "Espana Cani" closer.

It was a terrific night in Clifton... a lot of fun, and GREAT weather. The only downside for me: a PA system that was on its last legs....extremely weak volume. Oh, well...stuff happens!

Fran Haring

The weather was absolutely perfect for a drum corps show!

6th Bushwackers, 67.2 No Penalty
Bush came out of the gates strong, looked clean and put out a good show. This was a much better performance than Lakewood NJ. Lots of heart!! There were some Phasing problems, but recovered nicely.

5th Skyliners 70.0 no penalties
Always a favorite of mine. First of all I am glad to see them competing! There has been a vast improvement from the National Dream show. I Stopped by there practice site at the Dream. They were working hard and the practice is showing. NY Sky was clean at times. They were a bit on the dry side, they seemed a bit tired. But all in all improving!! Keep it comming!!

4th Hurricanes 76.1
The Hurcs came out looking very sharp, their opener is definitly different. The music is really decent, however they seemed to lack power throught the show. I felt that the show was flat. The impacts were weak and The only thing that stands out is the cymbal player, who in my opion is over doing his part and distracting. Yes we know the cymbals are heavy and yes we know you have to strain and lean back to play them. But there has to be a limit. Love the color and visual stuff!

3rd Buccaneers 80.5 no penalty
This night was not the Bucs night. Right from the gun everything seemed to go wrong. This was by far the worst performace I have seen from Reading in years. There were several dropped rifles which are usualy deadly on tagret! I am pretty sure a horn player or 2 was knocked down. This corps is usually at the top of the game. Saturday, I am sure was a disappointment to them as well as the fans. Their KILLER DRUM line was on! They are always on!! Visually this corps is exciting. The second number is the only number that looked right on target. The rest all had some problems. Reading will be back with a vengance! COUNT ON IT!

2nd Cabballeros 81.2 no penalties
This show is all out drum corps. The power that exudes from this corps is hard to describe. The horn Line is outtta sight!!! The drum line is hot!!!, the guard was definilty on target. The Cabs rifle line is a sight to behold, some of the things they do are astounding and right on the money. A REAL contender for the DCA championship. Definitly the crowd favorite!

1st Empire Statesmen 82.3 no penalties
One of the all time great theatrical shows. Phantom, A tragedy that will rip your heart out. A well performed show, very visual, music that will make you cry! The impacts are much improved, The whole show is improved since I last saw it. This presentation of Phantom is in my opinion better than the SCV's Phantom show in the 90's is it good enough to win DCA..time will tell.

Overall this show was a real showdown between 3 killer corps. This was a drum corps fans dream come true. The Fans won this show. I do have some issues with the judging as evidenced by the Toms River/ Clifton NJ/ controversy. Some of the scoring was to me a bit errrrrr,. strange. There is no way some of the scores reflected what was put on the field. The American Legion Championships in Scranton Pa, will be one of the Best shows this year. I believe for the first time this season Syracuse will be there as well as the 3 corps that were here tonight, possibly setting up one the most interesting DCA chamionships in years.



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