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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2001 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews - As Posted on RAMD!

Page Ten of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Monday July 30

Winston-Salem, NC (DCI)

I just got home from the Winston-Salem show tonight in North Carolina. It was my first show of the season so my first impressions come a little late... never mind that basically the Charlotte show this coming Thursday is just a repeat of tonight adding Glassmen and Spirit of Atlanta... so I'll be going to finals this year not having seen the majority of the current top 12-13 corps. At any rate... in playing order:

1. Micro Magic put on an exhibition. All I can really say is cute.... reminds me of something I might see at Disney World so maybe that makes sense... They have a decent Soprano and one really decent Contra... Despite all that, great luck in fielding a corp next season!

2. There was an actual band putting on an Exhibition named "Spirit of America". It felt a little out of place hearing piccolo's (and other woodwinds) at a Corps show but otherwise it was pretty decent. Other than doing some freakish arrangement of Simple Gifts that never came out and gave us the big push that song deserves, it was ok.

3. Kiwanis Kavaliers - 67.2. Well, what can I say? I've always had a difficult time judging corps from other countries... er, Canada. Kiwanis and Les Etoiles were always pretty much grouped together in my mind. Regardless (and missing the perpetual spinning drums Les Etoiles used to always use), Kiwanis played up to my expectations. Nothing really wowed me but they certainly had moments. Possibly the best I've heard from them ever... but hard to even compare to all the corps that followed.

4. Carolina Crown - 84.5. I made the 2 hour drive from Winston-Salem to Mint Hill, SC at the beginning of the season for Crown's exhibition. I was meeting friends for the weekend anyway, so I wasn't QUITE as crushed when I pulled up in rain so hard you could barely see an inch in front of your face to a closed gate with a Canceled sign on it. Everything I know of Crown this season therefore is what I've read on here and elsewhere, seen as far as scores, and pulled down from some MP3's I've seen on Audiogalaxy that all really, really sucked. I therefore was ENORMOUSLY surprised at how truly great the show was. I enjoyed it more than anything Crown has done since 1995 with StormWorks... maybe more in places. It's an extremely well written show with some really impressive drill. Crown has always excelled with the drumline and guard, but what killed me was the hornline! It was fantastic (in comparison with the past). They came right out punching and played the best I've ever heard them sound. I really was impressed. In fact, as far as the visual effect, drumline, and overall show impression, I'd have given Crown the edge over Madison... if I hadn't HEARD Madison... but I'm ahead of myself. The drill is clean and fast and the music, though getting a little muddy towards the end (as well as a bit weird) was great. There's a great Baritone/Euph section that must be heard. As usual, I think Crown leans too much on props. This year was certainly no different. It's the most props they've used since maybe, Chess, The Art of Movement show they did in 1996. I really didn't like those big sheets of metal carried around by the guard. Also the tires were a bit much.

5. Madison Scouts - 85.7. Well, it was definately the Scouts. Despite what some people say, I think the Scouts earn their placings the past few years... sigh. I love loud and I got it (more on that in a sec) but there's more to a great show than blowing out my eardrums regardless of how excited it might make me. I'll also say that AFTER this show I cannot be truly trusted to give any other corp an accurate assessment on volume as my ears are still ringing now. That said, OH MY GOD. They came out and punched out my eardrums, ribcage, and a few organs. Last year SCV did it when they did the "Adagio for Strings" part of their show all bunched up on the sideline together (most awesome experience so far for me, IMHO). This year Madison did it with their intro, then proceeded to do it for the next several minutes. I thought the show well performed but mostly I wasn't impressed with it. Don't get me wrong, I loved the music, but the drill and guard just didn't do it for me. The drill itself didn't really seem to introduce anything new... the coolest moment was when they formed a diamond and starting spinning the inside from the middle out... awesome move. It was a lot more awesome when I saw it for the first time last year, though (can't remember who did it). Other than that the show just wasn't very inspiring. BUT, if you want to be flattened against your seat, you'll love this show.

6. Blue Knights - 82.6. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings or anything... but this show just doesn't do it for me at all. I'm not sure what I dislike the most... well, maybe those spotted guard uniforms... yeah that's probably the worst part. Nothing really stands out so it's hard to comment much. I was a little disappointed as I've always like the Blue Knights... and whoever maintains their website ( does a fabulous job showing the scores for the season and all... but I didn't like the show. I wish I could give better information, but maybe that's the problem... nothing worth remembering. Well executed, good guard (bleh uniforms), uninteresting. I haven't seen the Bluecoats yet, nor have I seen the Colts. But I think the Blue Knights are currently the closest to falling out of the top12. I'd say unless something changes, they'll be at 13 come finals.

7. Santa Clara Vanguard - 92.3. Awesome from start to finish. Dazzling clean. Fast and furious. I love this show. I can't wait till Finals (I'll be there in Buffalo for Quarters, Semis, and Finals). If the Blue Devils and Cavaliers (as well as Cadets) continue to pull ahead of SCV, their shows must be unbelievable. I loved the drill and loved the sound. Since they won, as part of their encore they played "Send in the Clowns". God, I wish I had some kind of recorder with me. It sent chills up my spine.

Well, it was a great show. Take my comments as, well, my comments. Hope to see you all at finals.

Matt Philmon

WHAT A LONG DAY!!!!!!!!!!

I got to Winston Salem at noon! Stopped by East Forsyth High to check out SCV and what did I see??? About 10 Tubas fall down on top of each other! Yes that's right, SCV bit the dust in visual rehearsal. It was quite honestly the scariest thing I've ever seen on a drumcorps field. All was well though and only minor bruises to the horn!

I headed over to Mt Tabor High School a bit later to see my old buddies at Crown! I didn't stay long, but I did notice that they've done some nice things with the show.

Hopped back in the car and headed to West Forsyth High for Madison's clinic! We arrived and were met by hundreds of high schoolers. Madison had just ended their runthrough and broke up into sectionals to let the kids take part. It was really cool of them, but I wasn't really interested in watching the kiddies play drumcorps, so we headed to get our tickets and back over to SCV's rehearsal. We got there in time for Vanguard's final runthrough before the show. WOW!!!!!! WHAT A SHOW!!!!!! and FREE TOO! This time no tubas bit the dust, but a snare player did. I was worried about their footing!


MicroMagic - Hey, they are small, mildly entertaining, but not as good as when I saw them in Columbia! What happend? This is probably not a good way to entice kids to come march with a potential corps next season, however I do applaud them for what they are doing.

Spirit of America - Not a bad marching band show. Feet were dirty, but the music was good. Unlike the other reviewer, I enjoyed the closing piece which contained the melodies of Simple Gifts and Waltzing Matilda. I guess everyone expects a big Cadets push everytime they hear it, but I don't think that's what this group was aiming for. The arrangement of the two songs overlapping was quite neat if I must say so myself.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - It didn't do much for me. Not at all. I think Tampa Bay Thunder would take this corps! They are so small, I think they should reconsider which Division they compete in. I wasn't expecting to hear An American in Paris during the show, so that was a pleasant surprise. Other than that, blah!

Carolina Crown - WOW! They've worked their asses off since Columbia. This is really a Top 12 show with flare. I've been wanting to say this all year, now I can..... THIS IS THE BEST CORPS CROWN HAS EVER HAD!!!!! Even better than my 99 group! This show has awesome music and visually this corps does great things to help sell the program. The guard has a new "opener" uniform since the last I saw them. I'm really pleased with how they are performing. This show might contend for 10th or higher after it's all said and done!

Madison Scouts - What a sound! They are loud and MUCH better than last year. The small guard is still troublesome though. Overall, I think Crown has a better show, but Scouts have a better corps. The scores are right, but that's about all that is keeping them above the lower grouping. The drum major, Joel Carter is awesome. He really gets into the show, and adds excitement. That last chord in the show is really fun for the whole family! :) Entertainmentwise..this show is a big plus!

Blue Knights - Well, This is my favorite BK show. However, it's not really that good. They are trying to do too much visually and not enough marching. I think it's great that they are confident enough to try so much "experimental" stuff, but it's not working for them. I love the redheaded guard girl. She is a babe. The hornline is pretty powerful, but I think that is b/c they were one of the few that actually were playing on the old G Bugles. The drums are pretty sweet too. Lots of good individual things happening, but the total package isn't there.

Santa Clara - Holy ape crap. This is my favorite show this year. I've seen all Top 4 corps and I must say this is the best of the 4. SCV gets better and better every year. (yes i like 2000 better than 99) This show is no exception. Jug Pickin and Fat Blues is pretty tight! Lots of trademark SCV moves highlight this show. It kinda reminds me of a hybrid cross between Cadets 99 and SCV 98 with a subtle clock motif ala Cadets 00. I really hope this show wins the title.

Encore - Geez I love Send in the Clowns. I'd never heard it live before, so it was really great. I just wish I had a recording as clean as they played it tonight!

Overall, Great night for drumcorps.. I'll report more from Charlotte in 3 days!


Greetings ALL! This is my first review on the soundmachine! These observations and opinions are purely my own. Now to the good stuff!

1. Micro Magic - EXHIBITION. All I can really say is that as a recruiting tool...I am not sure how well this worked. Compared to the later groups of the evening...just not the flavor I think a potential Drum Corp marcher would want to see.

2. BAND - "Spirit of America" - EXHIBITION. I am EXTREMELY involved in a HS band program...and I felt that including a band...even an all-star band in the actual show lineup was a mistake. An exhibition performed "pre-show"...maybe. They did sound pretty good...but they better...they march members from the ages of 10-60. They should not have been included in the FINALE...and the biggest mistake of the evening was to let the only BAND'S drumline play the CORPS on for retreat. AAAAHHHHHHH! Overall...good music...but in my opinion many of their members should be marching drum corps.

3. Kiwanis Kavaliers - 67.2 - 5th Place. For what they have, they do very well. However, I feel that they might do better in a lower division. Either get over the hump and get full blown into Div I, or be a powerhouse in Div II.

4. Carolina Crown - 84.5 - 3rd Place. Crown is not my favorite corps. Never will be. BUT...I think this is the best show that they have ever put out. The concepts are outstanding and clear. The hornline is pulling off the book. The drumline is outstanding (as usual). The Crown Guard...pretty solid as well. Drill is challenging. The overall show has a very artsy Cadets feel. BUT...and that is a big key...they are pulling it off. KUDOS. I heard all of the comments about them not being in the top twelve...forget that...they are in.

5. Madison Scouts - 85.7 - 2nd Place. Well, it is nice to see that the Scouts have come out fighting after the off-season drama. I was very disappointed in last years effort. It was obvious from the second they stepped on the field...toes sky high in the true Madison marching style...that the 2001 Scouts are serious. The hornline pulled off more difficult runs (while moving) than any other hornline tonight. During the drum feature...did everybody see the Cymbal toss? Very entertaining show. Placement was right on tonight. One negative might be a little too much backfield performing during the middle of the show. Without politics...might place above 7th or 8th. LOL! usual...when you don't go to critique or DCI get what you pay for at finals.

6. Blue Knights - 82.6 - 4th. The highlight of the BK show was the colorguard. However, the uniforms are HIDEOUS. Drumline had good accents...but little lower dynamics. The hornline seemed to stay between the 30s either parked or in a variation of a horn arc. At one point, it seemed like they parked for minutes...YES...plural...minutes. Drill was not very exciting (see horn arc comment). Without immediate attention...BK is dropping several places at finals (if they make that).

7. Santa Clara Vanguard - 92.3 - 1st. A spectacular intellectual drum corps creation. The hornline is the key to this show. WOW...what a hornline. They probably outscore the Scouts with a lower difficulty book. Two words...sound quality. I don't see them getting the crown. Mainly due to the guard. When the guard changed to neon flags/poles...they were hugely exposed. Wonderful show...truly. The standstill was better than the show. That shows that the stress of the music and drill are still taking a toll on the corps. Who is to say how much they can tweak it before finals? Hmm... Tonight was the first time I have heard them play "Send in the Clowns" (SCV Corps Song). Very few musical moments bring me to tears...but this was one of them. Once again...what a hornline. Like other was a special moment. I wish I had a recording of it. It was like you could feel the love the members had for what they were doing and their corps. Truly moving. Go SCV!


A couple thoughts from the show last night....

First off, what an absolutely beautiful evening for a show!!!! Weather was nothing short of perfect!!!!! We left Knoxville a little late so we got to the stadium about 30 mins before show time...therefore we got some pretty bad tickets (in my opinion)--around the 40, front row, side 2. The bandos were out in full force tonight and they were the worst I've seen this year. Talked...errr...shouted during every performance. All in all, a very well run show though. On to the show:

Micro Magic-- I enjoyed them for the most part. They've got a kickin' mello line and guard does good for what they've been given. Program says "this 40 plus member ensemble", yet there was maybe 20??? Hope to see Magic back in full force next year!!!

Spirit of America--From the other two reviews, it looks like I'm alone in the fact that this "show" scared me. The opening had these cubes with elastic type material over them with people inside the cubes trying to get out. Scariest stuff since "Psycho". The "Simple Gifts" tune should have been called "Variations on a Theme of Simple Gifts"...I really did not enjoy that arrangement at all. They had a "lost baritone" bit in the middle of the show that lasted for way too long. Also, I'm not clarinet virtuoso, but playing with a clarinet parallel to the field can't be considered "good playing". Again, I'm no guard virtuoso but....if you're gonna give your guard rifles, teach them how to properly toss and catch.

Kiwanis Kavaliers-- Third time seeing these guys in 5 days....they've got a really nice show. First time I saw them in Sevierville I could barely hear the hornline over the percussion, they've since eliminated that problem. Nice soloist moments. Only complaint is about the guard....if you're gonna have a slit that high and have your girls rolling around on the ground, please give them some form of bloomer. I saw things I did not neccesarilly need to see last night.

[insert unneeded intermission here]

Carolina Crown-- I've got to say I absolutely love this show since the first time I saw it on Saturday morning!!! Great stuff coming from these guys! Phenomal guard! Beautiful ballad! Madison should feel some nibbling on their heels....

Blue Knights-- Like many others...I almost like this show, but it's missing that certain something. "American in Paris" is very nice to hear. Don't like the guard uni's either.

Madison Scouts-- Fourth time seeing these guys in 5 days! Best I've seen yet (but then again, can I really count Indy???)! Great stuff going on here. I keep hearing people say that they don't think the guard is adding much...I'd have to disagree. The guard is integrated fairly well into the show. They've got some nice moments (nothign like '99 though).

SCV-- Saw these guys in the dome for the first time so I actually got to hear the show this time. I like the show...can't say I love it, but it's got some great stuff in it. I like how they keep the time theme constant throughout but don't overkill us with it. Great guard stuff. Really like New Era on the field. Not sure they can catch Cavies or BD.

SCV Encore--Great to hear the show IN YOUR FACE style. Clowns was great as always! was a very nice show! Enjoyed everything except getting home at 4 am. =( Can't wait for Philly this weekend!

Brandon =]

Pittsburgh, PA (DCI)

Just got back to Ohio from PA land....

A big crowd with LONG ticket lines didn't get the evening off to a great start, and the 45 minute wait didn't allow me to see Bandettes, but here are a few things:

Americanos- I really enjoyed this show tonight. The horns were very solid and the guard was quite good also. I really thought they were up on Blue Stars tonight, but guess not...

Blue Stars- The guard seemed to be the strongest point of this show tonight, with some great work going on. The lack of a clear horn sound bothered me tonight, with melody lines hidden much of the time.

Bluecoats were on FIRE tonight! Wow! This is the best I've seen them! The show was definitely clicking tonight in all areas, with the horns having a great show! I really thought they'd be closer to PR and Crossmen tonight, but again, what do I know? The guard was very good this evening, and this show was a non-stop thrill! They may continue to surprise people all the way through Finals next weekend!

Phantom didn't seem to have the "wow" factor like the last time I saw them, though the show is still pretty amazing. The horn sound was very good, but there seemed to be lots of "iffy" moments in ensemble. The drums seemed good as well, though I still have trouble when a line does nothing for a couple minutes during a show. Just a personal gripe.....

Crossmen were just as entertaining as they were at last viewing. There were lots of goosebumps in this one, thanks to amazing horns! The places without much drill bothered me again, but I guess it's not enough to bother the judges. The guard was up to their usual standards, thought the red flag sequence seemed really dirty. There were lots of nice pit moments as well!

Cadets- This was the first time I've seen Cadets this summer, so I was caught up in all the stuff going on! Even though I've read some negative reviews, I like what they're doing, helped by the fact that I like the tunes alot! There's way too much to soak in with only one shot, but the horns were INCREDIBLE! Yikes! I like the different moods thanks to the varied style of music, and I can easily see them pushing up for next week! I also loved the Rocky Point warm-up, as have most reviewers here!

P.S. to Baldwin-- Open more ticket windows!!!! (-:


Pittsburgh, PA and Baldwin High School always seem to put on a wonderful DCI show and last night was no different. The weather was excellent, the stadium was just about packed, and the entertainment was good. Ticket lines were a bit too long (which is good for the show sponsor and DCI) so maybe they can add a few more next year.

Division II/III
Bandettes - Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada
Score - 67.85
Show Title: The Drive
Repertoire: On the Road, Traffic, Road Rage, In The Clear, and Arrival

Not sure who originally composed this music but it is very enjoyable and adapts to the field quite well. The arranger this year for the Bandettes is Larry Kershner, a name many long-time drum corps enthusiasts will remember. The idea with their show is to take you on a journey by car in which all the sensation and emotions of driving are musically presented. Their horn line is very small but plays well with only minor balance problems, and much of that has to do with the fact that these young ladies are nothing more than a chamber ensemble in which every player has a greater responsibility. There is some excellent guard work in this show and their percussion was solid. Good work, Bandettes! It would be nice to see and hear what these young ladies could do with about 30 or 40 more in the corps.

Americanos - Menesha, WI
Score - 78.50
Show Title: Twisted in Time
Repertoire: Opus I, Opus II, and Opus III
Composer: Taras Nahirininiak

This year's music was originally composed for the Salvatore Dali painting "The Persistence of Memory." Much more complex than past shows I have seen from the Americanos, this show still has that basic Latin groove setting the feel for each new mood, but things are much more unpredictable. Overall balance levels seem to be pretty good, although I felt they had some rough spots in the closer with musicians sticking out of the texture, and the percussion line was a bit too loud for the horns at the end of the show. The guard work was very good and pretty clean, and I really enjoyed their body work.

Blue Stars - Lacrosse, WI
Score: 79.95
Show Title: The Legend of Alcabaca

As Blue Stars were taking the field, I was telling my friend some of the history of this corps. Some people may have forgotten, but they were the favorites to win the very 1st DCI Championship in Whitewater, WI in 1972 before being upended by the Anaheim Kingsmen.

Of course, they are no longer large enough to compete on that level, but they still perform well. This year's strength seems to be percussion. I was very impressed with their line. Large but very musical and very clean at this point. Brass seemed solid to me as well, although they really needed about 10 more of them in order to have better balance with that percussion section. Guard work really enhances this show. The closer left me a bit flat, but I highly recommend that those going to Buffalo catch this show.

Division I
Bluecoats - Canton, OH
Score: 86.15
Show Title: Latin Sketches
Repertoire: Candelabra Rumba, Red Cape Tango

As with all corps, I am particularly fond of certain shows. With the Bluecoats, 1987-90, 94, 97, 2000 stand out as some of my favorites. My all-time favorite Bluecoats show is 1995, and probably still is, but after last night I will have to rehash those thoughts. The 2001 edititon of the Bluecoats is easily their best show since 1995. Entertaining from the onset to the closing strains, this show is a musical and visual treat. The opening fanfare sets the tone for what is to come. The brass is excellent, their best horn line ever--maybe. Percussion is also strong and do an effective job of laying down some wonderful grooves that will have you tapping your feet. Their ballad is beautiful and takes up a good portion of the show, but it is so well done that you simply enjoy the moment, not question its length.

By the way, Kudos to Paul Kish, the talented Baritone soloist from my Alma Mater, Youngstown State University, for the wonderful solo in the ballad. This is one of the best solos on the field this year--period! One of the Baritone soloists for the Cadets show this year is also a Youngstown State University guy (Carl Newyear) who also plays a wonderful solo in the opener and closer of the Cadets show. Kudos to you as well, Carl. It was good to see you guys out there doing well.

During the closer the horn line, in addition to laying down the Tango feel, uses leg kicks along with some Tango dance positions that enhance the total effect for the audience so much so that you feel like dancing yourself. WOW! I was having so much fun that I didn't want the show to end. Great stuff. You need to see this show if you haven't. The Bluecoats will no doubt impress many at finals! Should finish strong at finals.

Phantom Regiment - Rockford/Loves Park, IL
Score: 88.30
Show Title: Virtuoso
Repertoire: Concerto for Orchestra (Bela Bartok) and Festive Overture (Dmitri Shostakovich).

I was excited to see Phantom for a number of reasons. 1) I love this music, and 2) I always enjoy and appreciate the very musical way in which Michael Klesch arranges. Boy was I NOT dissapointed! This show is awesome from a musical perspective. So demanding, so exposed, ultra musical, but very satisfying.

The opening statement by the horns is wonderful and daring, but they nailed it. The overall horn line has a bit brighter sound that normal, but it is well balanced and very refined, especially in the chorale setting in the middle of the show. Intonation is not much of a problem for Phantom as well, but where they seem to be lacking at the moment is phrasing. They play with beautiful shaping and dynamic control, so it is not that, but there are problems with a number of the members in each section dropping phrases too early. They will be sustaining a passage and you can hear people drop out early, and sometimes the control starts to lack at the ends of phrases. Now, there are some reasons for this: the primary reason is that Phantom is not hiding anything from a musical perspective and the responsibility on the individual member is very demanding. In fact, I would say their musical book is every bit as demanding as the Cadets this year. From an exposure perspective it is more demanding. There is just no place to hide and therefore the book itself is exposing some weaknesses. The opening strains of Festive Overture was a classic example where the sopranos are exposed but the release points are not quite together. This helped to create some phasing problems and also feet problems. These are the things that Phantom has to clean, but if they do--LOOK OUT!!

In my opinion, they have a solid percussion section, great pit, their visual program is outstanding (contrary to what I have been reading), the guad is excellent, and the horn line is wonderful but not quite clean yet. My only concern for this show is the overall GE. I would need to see Glassmen and the other top 5 corps to get a read on how Phantom compares. If this corps cleans the music and the visual (some interval problems still, but their drill is very difficult), they should challenge for top 5--Easily!

Crossmen - Newark, DE
Score: 88.40
Show Title: Late Night Jazz
Repertoire: Wee Small Hours, Harlem Nocturne, Flyin' home, Guaguanco, Fire Dance ( a drum corps classic)

Yep, no doubt about it, the Crossmen have a wonderful, very entertaining, and well designed show--and boy do they know how to perform. I really enjoyed their soloists last night. They have about 4 or 5 soprano soloists who are simply outstanding. This horn line has a lot of power, WOW! I was impressed with their quality of sound and the arrangments are outstanding. Kudos, Chuck Naffier!! There is a neat section during the percussion feature in which the Crossmen utilize a little "Anything you can do I can do better" similar to the cadets, but very different as well. Their interpretation is wonderful and clever and very exciting. Their percussion section is very strong, and I appreciate the musical pit writing and the fact that the snares were not too loud so as to overpower the overall musical lines. The closer is classic drum corps--In Your Face!

From a competitive stand point, the Crossmen are a bit cleaner than Phantom and are showing more command of their show, but Phantom has more room to grow at this point. This can be a plus and a negative. What Phantom has to master musically is really difficult to pull off, and at this stage of the season most corps would rather be in the Crossmen's position in terms of being pretty clean with some room to grow. However, Phantom pulled to within a tenth last night and they still have much to clean. That much does bode well for them. Finals will be exciting--I can't wait!!!

The Cadets - Bergen County, NJ
Score: 93.50
Show Title: Juxtaperformance
Repertoire: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Benjamin Britten), Moondance (Van Morrison), Hanabal Ballad (Hans Zimmer), Farandole (Georges Bizet)

Wow, Wow, WOW!!! No doubt about it, the Cadets have a brass line and percussion line that can play with anybody. From the beginning of their warm up to your face, in which they play an excerpt from Ron Nelson's "Rocky Point Holiday," the Cadets serve notice that they are great performers.

The opening of the show is a flurring of runs, starting with the mellos and working through the rest of the voices, which culminates in the sudden impact of the fanfare mainly derived from Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra." They don't really allow Young Person's Guide to become a long-winded musical centerpiece of the show, rather they do what was inteneded by Britten when he composed the music, they highlight the various instruments of the corps. This is effectively done by solos, small ensembles, and large tutti sections emphasizing the main theme. The closing drill to this section of the show is unreal and when clean is sure to have the audience wanting more.

The transition into "Moondance" was neat and well executed. All of a suddent the mood is one of having fun. Although there is not a ton of drill movement at this point, the staging is excellent and the overall idea is presented well. The push to the front side line at the end is awesome and they just need to kick the music a bit more to get the audience on their feet at the end of this production. Maybe a longer shout chorus.

The Ballad from the movie "Hanabal" is very moving and beautiful. The Cadets horn line has so much control in all the exposed sections that they make this sound easy, but, in fact, it is not easy. The intonation is impeccable, and the phrase shaping is wonderful. What a sound out of this corps. All the solos were gorgeous, including those in the opener and closer. Way to go Carl!!!

The closer is the real treat in this production. Farandole is the classic Cadets type of music with all the amazing horn runs and the intricate and complex overlapping of thematic line. When this one cleans the Cadets will have jaws dropping in buffalo for sure.

Overall, their horn line is amazing, and percussion is also amazing! Their guard is a top 3 unit and they had some moments last night that were very eye catching. I actually love those new spinning devices that remind you of rifles--although I will state for the record that I am not apposed to spinning rifles on the field. As for the overall show, their weakness is GE visual. There are some visual performance problems but those will clean. However, I am not sure they have the GE to take another title this year, but you never know with these guys. I haven't seen the Cavaliers or BD, but from what I am reading it sounds like the Cavies have the goods. What the Cadets do have is a shot at winning high brass, percussion, a top 3 spot in guard, and a top 2 spot in visual execution once they clean. That may very well be enough to put them in first. If they can get their overall GE scores up, this show will be dangerous, but the clock is ticking.

I will be in Erie, PA tonight and should have a review up by early morning tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Jonathan Willis

Sunday July 29

Centerville, OH (DCI)

A good night for a contest and Centerville is always a good show. I agreed with all of the placements, but I really do not know if the first three were judged on the same sheets. I think they weren't because they should not have been scored so high, but maybe I'm just crazy. I had Glory at around 54 and yet they received a 68.8. So when you see the scores, you should be as confused as I was. One final note, to the people going up to the Madison Scouts table after the show telling them that everyone in the audience thought the Scouts should have won, please speak only for yourselves. Noone in my group agreed with that statement. Also, there is no discount if you flatter the corps.

First up, GLORY CADETS: I saw them a few nights earlier in Cincinnati where I thought they were better. I think the uniforms look cheap and really take away from the total package. The horns really seemed to struggle tonight. But I must admit that the stadium was probably the most quiet stadium Ihave ever experienced, so the 13 horns had no problem being heard. The opener is nice as is Buckaroo Holiday. Onething I must mention, isn't that tallest ladder a little dangerous with NO spotters beneath to break the fall of the guard? I'm just thinking about your potential liablity if she falls. That being said, it is a nice touch. It just seems to be lacking the same kind of confidence and quality that they had last year. Solid, but not spectacular. It's a shame that Cincinnati has lost its corps.

YAMATO: A little harsh sounding at times, but all in all a good performance from all captions. The horns had some problems, but I thought the balance with the percussion was nice. I also really liked the use of the Japanese drums on the sideline -- I'm glad that you used them throughout and not just for one moment. Everyone in my group was duly impressed, especially considering that it was only their 4th or 5th show. Much to do to clean the visual program, but the corps has a really solid core and could contend for D2 Finals.

CAPITAL SOUND: Very nice production of the Prince of Egypt. Well balanced hornline with power and control. Didn't really like the corps uniforms. Not much else to say about these guys. Solid, well-crafted show that entertained, but ultimately did not demand too much of either the audience or the members of the corps.

COLTS: Well, this was the source of little dispute in my group as my two friends complained of being bored to tears, while my sister and I really enjoyed the total visual package. I saw them in Cincinnati on Thursday and I thought they had a much better show tonight. The impact of the music was much stronger and really was performed much better than in Cincy. The guard performed much better tonight as well, and for that, I found the visual impact of the program much improved as well. General reaction to the guard uniforms were negative, but they neither offended nor impressed me. I did notice that at the end of the ballad they used white flags just to frame the corner where they are standing. I think that they were new, but I am not sure. After seeing them twice now, I have to agree with my sister that they need to bring those flags out during the ballad itself because as the music builds to a big moment, the visual does not reach the same sort of climax. The Guard simply continue the dance they had been doing during the entire ballad. The flags were single hand flags and they looked very nice on the field. They could have a major impact if they were revealed at the impact moment in the ballad. So Colts staff, if you are out there (and I'm sure you are), consider it. I liked their show so much that I decided to buy a t-shirt, my first Colts shirt -- well done Colts.

MADISON SCOUTS: What canI possibly say about the Scouts? They are the type of in your face drum corps that the fans in Centerville eat up. However, after seeing them in Cincy, I think they had an off night. I actually thought the horns had an off night, but they managed to beat the Bluecoats hornline? The visual performance was way off compared to Cincy. They hadmajor form, interval and technique issues tonight. However, the field looked overgrown, so maybe it was just a difficult field on which to march. I must echo my friend's sentiments here by saying that I could care that a soprano can play a really high note, if that not is going to be played so out of tune that it sounds like little more than a random squeal -- you may as well be a Bluedevil if you are going to do that. The show just lacked the same punch that it had on Thursday. I just think they had an off night. They deserved 4th, but I think Colts should have only been a point behind.

BLUECOATS: WOW!!! I loved the tango section on Thursday, but tonight, they were on fire from beginning to end. According to my friend, this was the most entertaining show of the night. And I completely concur. I thought the hornline was simply gorgeous last night. They had the warmest sound of the night and more importantly, they created wonderful moments with simply playing as loud as possible. This year, the Bluecoats brass and percussion create moments not only by what they play, but with what they don't play. They create drama and really sell this program. I for one am sold and can not wait to see how it all plays out. I am so glad I chose to wear the Bluecoats t-shirt to the contest, they certainly made my choice teh right one. In typical Centerville fashion, the crowd booed when the Scouts lost to the Coats, but I am always at odds with the Centerville crowd because they are hard core Scouts and Devils fans.

Glassmen: My first viewing of GMen this year and I am quite impressed. The hornline doesn't have the same quality of sound as the Coats (IMHO), but the style really fits the style of music they have chosen to perform. And the percussion . . . WOW!!! I can not believe they lost to Devils. They play was well as the Devils, but the distinction is that the GMen line actually knows a little something about playing musically. Yes, they can be as powerful and savage as the Devils, but they also know how to compliment the musical offerings by the corps. And teh pit was outstanding. I didn't even mind the guard's uniforms, and I can not remember EVER saying that about the Glassmen. Now, that being said, they really need to work on how they program their shows. This show is outstanding, but it really draws a line between the audience and the show and pretty much says, don't cross it. The crowd simply does not know when or what to applaud. When the crowd wanted to applaud, the corps starting something else and put an end to that. And going on after Madison simply exacerbates the problem as Madison pretty much drained the energy from the crowd and GMen's show simply can not overcome this problem. Second place is where they belonged.

BLUEDEVILS: Dah, 2, 3, 4, DAh DAh, 3, 4, DAHHHHHHHH. Next, proceed to the "technically proficient mambo". And Voila! There you have the Bluedevils opener this year and just about every year since 1994. Although it is not always the opener, that is the structure that seems to occur. That being said, I don't dislike this show nearly as much as I should. I can't explain it. While they are doing everything that they always seem to do, and do in the typical Bluedevils fashion -- savage robots -- I still end up liking this show. I think it is because the show has enough new elements where they don't necessarily sound like the Devils. They were easily the best there tonight, but I just don't feel like this is a championship show. I've not seen any of the contenders except the Cadets, but the Cadets should not beat the Devils this year (although I haven't seen the Cadets since July 4th), but this show doesn't feel like a championship program. I could be way off, but who cares, I still enjoyed it. Maybe that's it. I aonly enjoy the Devils shows in years when I feel that they won't win the title. Hmmmm. . . it all makes since now.

Final Note: I can not believe the difference between a Bluedevils victory concert and the Crossmen victory concert. Maybe it's because the Devils have done soooo many victory concerts while the Crossmen haven't, but the kids lacked any kind of emotion during the concert. It looked liek it was the world's biggest chore to get them to stick around and play: wheras, the Crossmen seemed to genuinely enjoy performing their show. The Devils looked like little robots. It was a little scary that they could have such little connection for their show and their fans. Sorryto have inconvienced you Bluedevils!

Why don't they let the audience pick, by applause who they want to see? I guarantee that the Scouts would have done the show last night, and maybe they would have actually enjoyed doing it. Oh well, next stop Buffalo!

James L.

Centerville High has a beautiful facility, ample parking, excellent grandstand and competition field, easily accessed from the expressway and a great choice of dining facilities just down the street. Weather was warm and humid. Rained hard early in the day. After the Colts performed you could see the haze settle on the field.

Marion Glory Cadets (12H, 11D, 7G, 6Pit) - Marion, Ohio Score - 68.80

Aaron Copeland's music is Americana, dissonant and difficult to say the least. It is harder to sell with the limited size of this corps horn line, who gave an inspired performance. Enjoyed the new guard uniforms and 6 or 7 silk changes. Nice body routines with the split rail fence and the audience certainly appreciated the leaning ladder segment. The corps never seems to venture past the 40's and the drill is not as demanding as the music. The contra bass player is outstanding and hammed it up by putting his arm around a judge.....I loved it. Hang in there, you have demonstrated that drum corps come in all sizes and shapes. Keep challenging yourselves. Let see how far you can go.

Yamato (24H, 13D, 16G, 10Pit) - Osaka Japan & Riverside, CA Score - 71.20

If I am not mistaken this was only their second show of the season. The corps consists of members from Japan and Southern California holding separate practice sessions simultaneously in two different countries. Unique corps structure concept. Weakest link the horn line. Scythian Suite is a tough piece for the sopranos that needs more rehearsal time. Pit was the strength and carried the corp through weak moments. Guard work was not always coordinated. Not bad for a second show. Great drill exposure for Class II/III corps. Sorry, too much of the "tom-tom" drums but a nice snare/tom-tom feature up front. Drums sometimes overpowering the brass.

Capital Glory (34H, 17D, 22G, 10 Pit) - Madison, Wi Score - 78.20

Nice red, black and silver corps uniform, guard wears purple body suits. All the music is from the "Prince of Egypt". Opener starts with a pit feature and silent drill. Moving triangles and S curves formations are nicely done by this group. A nice bongo feature and Bari solo. In Exodus, horn block showcases flag work. Good mello solo and guard dance in Chariot Race. Nice flowing drill throughout but horn execution suffers. Drill seems to be this groups forte.

Colts (64H, 21D, 32G, 10 Pit) - Dubuque, Iowa Score 83.55

Large Division I corps with IMHO the best uniform of the night. You kept the crowd entertained with music selections. The show has imagination and nice brass arrangements well suited for drill and abilities. If anything is lacking it seems to be energy. You are not selling your show and you do have a show. Nothing new or imaginative about drill (sorry I call Cadets drill... diamond box with interior lines revolving) but doing it well. Horn power is lackluster from such a big group. Multi colored shields are interesting and fight scene is captivating. Watching the wounded limp off stage reminded me of Des Plaines Vanguards rendition of West Side Story fight scene from 1970's. Ham it up a bit and get into the music more. Poor out your emotions and sell this piece. Nice field coverage from 15 to the 15 in the ballad. Horn runs are a nice touch. If you are going to do a sort of musical with props then you have to show us that you feel comfortable with it. Music needs a large injection of emotion. Looking forward to seeing you guys again.

Madison Scouts

I will not coat my comments with sugar. The crowd loved them but I am sorry to say that this corps is just not as good as they used to be. If you are going back to the file cabinets for old favorites great..... just have the intestinal fortitude to play this music as well or better than your predecessors. I think my criticism falls with the staff not the marching members for a lack of imagination and innovation. Please get a seamstress or tailor to refit the white slacks. I get turned off by the cockiness displayed by the soloist a.k.a. screamers/squealers. Sorry but I don't see that as talent, double triple and quadruple tonguing and good intonation impress me. Loved the moving bass in the second piece and the horn wall of sound. Play to the crowd but do it well and you'll see the Boston Crusader phenomena happen all over again.

Bluecoats (63H, 22D, 32G, Pit 9) Canton, OH Score - 86.65

Some parts of the horn book and drill are not very challenging but are well executed. This corps sells there production as they should. Love the original music and congrats to the music designer. A nice tempo change and a kneeling horn line in second number. The leg step out thing with your back turned is nice but gets a little too much later on. I want more drum intensity from this corps. Is it me or are they soft on percussion. Love the tympanist in Red Cape Tango, strangely although he continues to play the same four notes I just can't get past him. Love the integration of pit and horn line. Please play this haunting melody by the soloist perfectly with no cracks and maybe to the end zone or to the front. A strong solid performance tonight.

Glassmen (58H, 22, 36G, 14 Pit) Toledo, OH Score - 89.40

Tonight's performance was described as flat. You guys tend to understate things a little. Squished is a "more better" description. An off night for the G-men guys and girls at least IMO. Let's stack up the excuses one by one. High humidity a fog rolled in after the 30 minute break. G-mens horns sounded muffled with not much power or sound until the end of the first piece. Maybe you should have warmed up a little like BD. G-men did do a clinic right before the show plus coming off two high energy shows the last two nights. The opener is for me music that says anger and anarchy. Leg stomps and guard body movements seem too little here so I wish they could use equipment! The horn music begs for visual support in this piece and is just not getting it. I like the body and flag positions at the end of the opener. Guard has come a long way since Jackson. Ballad soloist sounds a bit tired. Just a suggestion, split solo with a second soloist with a slightly different style on the piece to give a little perspective. The restrained symbol crashes and snare line sound are favorites. Love the intensity of the tympanist and the whole body movements especially from the keyboard players. Got to be the best pit out there this year. Music is maybe more challenging than BD's and drill just doesn't stop. Integration is much better this year. Drum line is your strength. Come on horns!

Blue Devils (68H, 19D, 40G, 8 Pit) Score 93.60

A well designed show including music and drill. Nothing real outstanding but just well put together. Horn line was solid and confident and well balanced. Did I hear this or am I crazy. Is the pit playing the same exact melody as horns slightly out of pitch almost mimicking them??? As simple as it is I love the guard escorting the soloist to the front. Overall guard drill and routines are well choreographed. I like how you sell your show and show us that you enjoy doing it. You drew us into the show and I never got loose. Drum line does not carry field symbals having replaced them with pit symbals and adding 40 guard and 68 horns. Again a southern california sound that is very pleasing to my midwestern ears. I need to see the show three of four more times sorry just my first viewing.


Sorry it's a little late, but after getting home at 3:30 am Monday morning, and then having to go to work that day ... well, you know.

At any rate, it was a great day for drum corps: not too hot, not too humid. It had been raining off and on for a while, but cleared up early on Sunday and was only partly cloudy by showtime. For some reason, the show kicked off with the launching of three hot air balloons from the field. I'll never understand why some of these local shows feel the need to add various weird bells and whistles to the opening ceremonies. Also, something was up with the show's announcer. Not only did he refer to the Glassmen as "the Crossmen" at least three times, but he called Cap Sound "the Troopers" once! Where the heck did that come from? Finally, for those who've never been, there's a farm just behind the stadium at Centerville High. Watching the llamas provided a nice diversion between corps.

Blue Devils are incredible this season. I didn't believe the hype surrounding them this year until I saw them live. They are kicking some major butt in every caption. The horn line is simply spectacular. If the Cavaliers (or anyone else) do hope to beat them again come Finals night, they're gonna have to be pretty darn exeptional. This was perhaps my favorite color guard ever except maybe for the '99 Devils ... and by the way, this is one color guard that really does know how to dance and do it effectively. 1st, 93.60

I'm sorry, Glassmen, I'm sorry, but I just did not like this show. It was performed extremely well, of course, but it bored me silly and left me feeling absolutely nothing. Everybody I spoke with after the show felt pretty much the same way, too. Like one of my friends said, "There's not much show in their show." It's like going to a movie that has incredible special effects but a bland story inhabited by bland characters. IMHO, this is perhaps the least interesting program I've ever seen by a top-twelve corps.

And what's wrong with Glassmen's hornline? They never play louder than mezzo-forte. I know the kids must be good, so the staff needs to let them open up at least once in a while. Most of the hornline's body movement (or whatever they call it) totally did not do it for me, either. A lot of the drill seemed very cluttered and hard to read. I will say that the ballad was very nice and the flugelhorn soloist was quite talented. Speaking of the ballad, though, even if the battery's not playing, surely there's something they can do, isn't there? Having them stand completely still on the back sideline is pointless. How would it look if the hornline just stood still and faced backfield during every corps' percussion feature? 2nd, 89.40

Wow! IMHO, Bluecoats have their best - and most entertaining - program in years. Great, great stuff. It's a good, old fashioned, straight-ahead jazzy drum corps show with a slight Latin flair. I really, really dug this show. The horns sound very nice, maybe better than any 'Coats hornline I've ever heard (although a friend of mine in the soprano line admitted that it was a weak performance for them). The soloists are great. I love their music this season. I really enjoyed their guard, too. The male/female pairing in the tango section is a nice touch. 3rd, 86.65

Madison is just incredible this year. You all know that I've never been part of the "Scouts got screwed" crowd, but for the life of me, I really can't understand why they're scoring so low. I kept trying to detect weaknesses, and there just aren't that many. To my relatively inexperienced eyes and ears, their visual and brass would seem to be about on par with the Glassmen's. Plus, it's a simply awesome show ... and real friggin loud, too! And there's nothing to say about those soloists other than "Wow!" The guard does look like they're wearing copies of a rejected Brian Boitano figure skating costume, but I can forgive them that. 4th, 85.85

Colts were the Colts. What can I say? It's a nice show, well put together, and well done. Except for the ballad ("Non nobis domine" from Henry V - a piece which I've always loved) nothing sticks in my mind as having been particularly spectacular, but on the other hand, nothing sticks in my mind as having been the opposite. The hornline has a nice, solid sound. The battle sequence was pretty cool. I definately do like their new unis - which I'd never seen in person before. The only complaint I have (and it's minor) is that the handbells in the ballad are totally inaudible. 5th, 83.55

Capital Sound has a quality show. The "Prince of Egypt" repertoire was a great choice for this corps, although in a few places the arranger got a bit carried away and the music slid into obscurity. I know they're doing very well in Div 2 this season, and they deserve to be. These kids are great performers. A poor decision by the drill writer - guard too close to the horns - led to a collision and fall. I'm sure this will be ironed out soon. 1st in Div 2/3, 78.20

It's great to see Yamato doing so well. I enjoyed this corps a lot. The music might have been just a little on the challenging side, but they did a solid, respectable job nonetheless. The floor toms (Is that right? I'm not a drummer, as you've probably noticed ...) were very effective. I honestly expected them to be more than 2.9 over Glory Cadets. 2nd in Div 2/3, 71.70

Glory Cadets presented a nice, solid show. They would have done well to field about a half-dozen more horns, but other than that, it was a good program. They present a very accessible program of recognizable Copland music that's very well arranged and suited to the level of the performers. I will admit that before the season began I was expecting a lot more from this corps. After Glory's successes over the past few seasons, I'd hoped the merger would lead to a breakout year in 2001. 3rd in Div 2/3, 68.80

Dan O'Neal

Huntington, WV (DCI)

Group: Spirit of America
My Ranking: *exhibition*
Actual Ranking: *exhibition*
I saw the very end, wasn't impressed... bad visual, poor blend in the brass.

Group: Micro-Magic
My Ranking: *exhibition*
Actual Ranking: *exhibition*
Fun little thing, small group. Used some electronics and amplification, they did a good job of getting the crowd into the show. Speaking of which, a guard member got into the crowd and actually pulled a few local guys out onto the field and danced with them. Good show from a small group. It'll be cool to see Magic make their return next year.

Corps: Tampa Bay Thunder
My Ranking: 1st in Div 2
Actual Ranking: 1st in Div 2
Cool. Much improved over last year, I enjoyed hearing their show. They have a pretty good wailing sop soloist, but their sop line doesn't play within the ensemble... sticks out like anything I'll get out. The alto, tenor, and contrabass voicings fit together just great, and they're pretty solid, but the sops don't cut it for me yet. They'll do well in their class, though. I hope to see Tampa Bay starting a tradition of coming to the Huntington show so we can see how they get better each year. Tampa Bay, we appreciate you coming here, really. Keep working and everything, you guys do a good job.

Corps: Kiwanis Kavaliers
My Placement: 4th
Actual Placement: 4th
Small corps, but they do what they can. The soprano soloist gets exposed a lot in this show, and he's a pretty good player, not a thing missed in the solos, or at least nothing stands out in my mind. There was some cool work simulating traffic and all that. Pretty cool show from Kiwanis, could be a lot better if they could add in a few more members, especially in the horns.

Corps: Spirit of Atlanta
My Placement: 3rd
Actual Placement: 3rd
God, their hornline has POWER. Certainly a step up from some of the previous years I've seen them, pretty cool show, too. Really liked it... this corps will certainly be one of the powerhouse hornlines in the next couple of years, they show a lot of potential. The visual was absolutely terrible, though. Sloppy as all... well, you get the point. If they could clean that up, they'd have something going. This sounds, and looks like, some of the Spirit of old.

Corps: Carolina Crown
My Placement: 2nd
Actual Placement: 2nd
Well, I think the show was about the same as last night. Maybe a little more impact because some of the corps' members knew their family members were in the crowd... still some neat things percussionwise with the industrial props. Once again, could be a lot cooler if the alto voices would step up. This could be an immensely entertaining show, potentially, the mellos just need to put some 'cheeseburger' behind their parts.

Corps: Santa Clara Vanguard
My Placement: 1st
Actual Placement: 1st
Wow. They were a little more relaxed tonight, and it showed. They let loose and the crowd went wild... the stadium went insane on the first impact. I know by finals night that this show is going to have a standing ovation at that impact. I was wanting to start a chant for "S-C-V!" Once again, I'm impressed by the show. Wonderful impacts... and it sounds like an orchestra or wind ensemble on the field. The show flows well, and has great effect, and the rap section was great again tonight. Also... that's a euph line.

Encore: Vanguard...
Great. Simply great. It was even better than the clinic at Indy on the 28th. Send in the Clowns was beautiful, and I kept wanting them to play Adagio for Strings, haha. Oh well.. anyway, Vanguard totally goes nuts on the volume at standstill, and I got as close as I could. I swear, drum corps is gonna make me go deaf.


Saturday July 28

Indianapolis, IN (DCI Midwestern)


Carolina Crown - [84.0, 3rd]

Some people say that they just can’t get into Carolina Crown’s “Industry” program, but I enjoyed it very much. Throughout the entire show, there is always a sense of movement – even in the ballad. The opener starts with a percussive drive, and picks up the hornline as they push through the aggressive opener. The guard is an integral part of the opener and ballad. It’s after the ballad, however, that my attention started to waver. The same drive in the earlier part of the show just wasn’t there, and carries throughout the show, until about the last minute, where it picks up again and finishes nicely. Overall, an interesting show- can’t wait to see the end product. Crown will be making Finals this year, and it will be nice to see them in the night show.

Southwind - [75.9, 7th]

Southwind has always reminded me of “semi-classic” drum corps style since their return to competition. Their “A New Era” program continues this tradition. Some good sounds, nice rhythms compliment the show. However, the guard just seems out of the ensemble picture – they aren’t really featured often and are stuck to one side mostly. Your guard is good, Southwind – put them in the spotlight a little more! Overall, a good show, but with all the other fierce competitors, it’ll be a hard run to make Finals. Nice salute from Madison when they receive their scores.

Pioneer - [70.7, 8th]

First of all, the new uniforms are a plus. Both corps and guard look great, IMHO. Pioneer seemed much smaller compared to the first two corps, but still sold their “Irish in the Civil War: A Quest for Freedom” (whew!) program well. Arrangements throughout are nice, especially the opener. Strains of “America the Beautiful” really accentuate the closer well, without coming out too cheesy. Some occasional marching problems and brass clarity issues still linger. Pioneer is still very much in the fight for Semis.

Spirit - [79.45, 6th]

Didn’t think I’d like Spirit too much from what I’ve heard, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Spirit’s “Ghost Train” show is pure classic, from the new/old uniforms (Very nice!) to the crowd appeal (“All aboard for Indianapolis!”) make a good, solid show. Spirit does a decent job of keeping the audience’s attention, but falters at times. In the end, I had them in 5th at least- don’t know why they were lower. Still, a strong showing from the South and possibilities of an outside chance at Finals.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - [67.75, 10th]

Kiwanis Kavaliers seem a bit smaller this year, but still have the intensity of larger corps when performing their 2001 show called “Manhattan”. Lots of familiar Bernstein music, and performed very well. Very nice soloists! Don’t know about the subway prop- doesn’t add much other than a platform…hmmm…anyway, KK’s on the right track for a shot at Semis. If they clean the marching, count them in.

Troopers - [69.8, 9th]

Good to see corps like the Troopers in competition. I was excited about their show, “Tribute to an Uncommon Man” featuring the music of Copland. However, some of the arrangements just don’t do it for me. “El Salon Mexico” was good, as was the soloist, but the rest of the show seemed to drag. Also, was there a sunburst? I didn’t see it. Keep working Troopers, corps like you remind us of what drum corps is all about.

Blue Knights - [82.05, 5th]

Why did the Blue Knights not make the night show? I actually found their “Blue Toons” show very fun and entertaining. From the loud “duts” at the beginning (Funny, Troopers were rather loud…) to the Trittico lick, and all of the other crazy stuff (watch the contras) makes for a good show. It’s a solid technical show, and has some really great moments. I will be very upset if these guys aren’t in Finals this year. Great show!

Bluecoats - [85.55, 1st]

Bluecoats really turned it on with their show, “Latin Sketches”. If one word could describe it, ATTITUDE would be it. From the drum major, to the direction changes, everything screams attitude, and it is well placed. An all-around strong show, with no glaring weak points. Should they have won? Maybe. A surprise for me was that they didn’t win any captions, not a bad thing (Star 1991), but intriguing. Will they make finals again? Yes, and they will surprise a lot of people on the way. Go Bluuuu!

Colts - [82.70, 4th]

Although their placement seemed rather low, “Chivalry” works with the Colts really well. Medieval themes are used throughout, and the shields in the battle scene are used tastefully and benefit the show. Great color guard, but the uniforms are pretty bad and don’t really reflect the show’s theme. All in all, Colts are back! They will be in Finals, and they seem on their way up.

Madison Scouts - [85.1, 2nd]

“BLOW MY FACE OFF!” is what one fellow fan yelled as the Madison Scouts took the field. “Hot Jazz, Madison Style” does just that with it’s opening chord (The loudest of the night, by far). However, for the middle section, the Scouts lose you somewhat. It doesn’t seem like the power of the opener carried over. But from the drum break to the end- WOW! The drum break is excellent, and the cymbal toss is great. The drum break needs to be moved from the Right 35/30, so more people watch it instead of the wild marching (still a treat, however) of the hornline. I almost missed the cymbal toss! But, in the end, the Scouts do what they do best: entertain.

***Souvie Review***

Oh, if I had more money. I’d buy every corps out. Every single corps has great souvies, so go support your favorite corps and others and buy what you can.

Also, please buy something from Phantom, for me. :)

See you tonight!



Madison Scouts - [84.3, 9th]

Since I’ve reviewed this corps earlier, there isn’t much to say. However, the Scouts did turn it up a notch and woke up the crowd, who appreciated it very much, as always.

Phantom Regiment - [87.45, 7th]

(First of all, Phantom Regiment is my favorite corps, so there may be some bias.)

PR’s 2001 program, “Virtuoso” is a very strong show with lots of visual and musical treats, I loved all of the small nuances visually, and the brass sound was nice and warm, especially after the crappin’ loud Scouts. (I like both styles, mind you) Their opener is very light, and moves into a beautiful ballad that sounds like classic PR. What I found interesting was that they moved right into the closer, Festive Overture. The opening chords are something great, and leads to a powerful and emotional ending. Great show!

Go Phantom!

***Interlude: Cody and PR members***

I’m planning to try out for Phantom next year, and as I walked back to the Phantom booth, there they were- Regiment members. I was in awe. I said “Good Job” in a meek little voice, and they responded, and one member noticed my new PR shirt…”Nice shirt, man!” Gulp. “…Thanks…” I stammer.

I hope I’m more confident for my audition!

Bluecoats - [85.35, 8th]

Bluecoats seemed right on as earlier today, maybe even better. Crowd enjoyed them, as did I. Go Bluuuu!

Carolina Crown - [82.8, T –11th]

Crown’s opener and ballad are really starting to grow on me. However, like I said earlier- the rest of the show doesn’t really stack up. I’m not sure why. All in all, a good show, and they are Finals bound.

Boston Crusaders - [84.05, 10th]

Yes, some of the drill is from last year, but who cares? Many corps do this (Z-pull, anyone?) so why aren’t the Boston Crusaders allowed to? Anyway, after watching BAC’s show, “Harmonium”, something seemed missing. It was all around good show, Finals quality, but it just didn’t have the power and intensity of the 2000 show. There’s not much more I can say, a good show, just not my type. Keep up the good work, though, BAC – make me eat my words. :)

The Colts - [82.8, T- 11th]

Since I had seen them earlier, I went on break a little early. Congrats on moving up!


I hate crowds. I really, really do. Grrr. Hate hate hate.

Crossmen - [87.75, 6th]

Nothing really stands out as amazing in the Crossmen’s show, “Late Night Jazz”, but then again- nothing stands out as bad. It’s a well balanced show of music, marching - everything. It’s also really good to see the members really enjoying their performance. However, the drum major needs to lighten up a little, conduct with some swing! Anyway, great job Crossmen! Top 6 may be in your reach this year.

***Interlude: George Hopkins***

I had an aisle seat on the 50, and guess who sat on the steps next to me to view The Cavaliers? George Hopkins! Stunned as I was, I shook hands and introduced my self to him. No matter what you think of his ideas, he’s a nice guy. Nice to meet you, Hoppy! :)

The Cavaliers - [93.55, 1st]

You could feel a change in the performance level as The Cavaliers started their show, “Four Corners”. It’s as if the level went from “Awesome” to “[wild scream] Awesome!” (yeah, stupid scale, so sue me. :) Anyway, everything about the Cavies’ performance seemed to “click”. It was an entertaining show, and championship quality. Loved the quartet, loved the corner soloists. To me, they seem the favorite to take it all.

Santa Clara Vanguard - [91.1, 4th]

I love the Santa Clara Vanguard, and their 2001 show “New Era Metropolis” just as much. This show tells a story, but not one so literal that you have to know everything before the show. Full of “life in the big city”, SCV pulls out if with style! A little unsure out of the gate, with a few horn fracks, didn’t upset SCV as they did the rest of the show beautifully. The “New Era” chant/rap is awesome, and really draws your attention. The broken clock motif in the flags is a plus as well, as is the “closing box” drill from 1999.
Another thing- love the old style drum major uniforms at retreat, and the guard captain doing a “Bottle Dance” kick for the salute, Should not have been 4th by any means, top 3 at least. Bring it home, SCV!

Blue Devils - [93.3, 2nd]

I have never been a huge Blue Devils fan, but I do like what they do from time to time. “Awayday Blue” fits this…at times. The best way I can put it is that the show just…goes. There is nothing bad at all about this, great playing, marching- it just doesn’t draw me in like others do. I think BD should’ve been 3rd or 4th, actually, and I was surprised that they had undefeated as long as they were. Outside shot at the championship, I think. (D’oh, I have them winning on Nikk Pilato’s predicition site!) Best of luck, BD. Keep the attitude and intensity into Finals.

***Interlude: Hoppy’s back***

Hoppy returned to the steps next to me to watch his corps perform. He seemed very please, clapping a lot!

The Cadets - [91.75, 3rd]

First off, thanks for the “crowd facing Rocky Point hoo-hah! Warmup”! Very much appreciated.

Anyway, the show. I actually like it, folks. It may be without a theme (or is”No theme” a theme? Hmmm….) but it is still great. The Cadets are great at what they do, no matter what. The changing styles of the four movements of “Juxtaperformance” show what these guys can do. I especially like the groves in Moondance, and they smooth flow into the “Hannibal” theme. (Vide Cor…sorry, I’m tired) Farandole is great, and ends the show in a Cadets style. I liked it. Great job, Cadets! They are still in the hunt, but only if they stop changing things – the drum majors said they were changing things all week. Take what you have and run with it, Cadets!

Glassmen - [88.8, 5th]

Sorry about your performance slot, Glassmen. However, I didn’t seem you guys cared, because you came out strong! Glassmen’s 2001 show, “Imago” (Imago, Imago…say it a few times, makes you feel modern…Imago…yes, I’m still tired…Imago…) Glassmen weren’t “boring” as some would call it, but were upbeat during the opener and closer, and surreal through the lush ballad. Awesome soloist. Great job- Glassmen will be on the DVD this year, love it or hate it.

***Final Thoughts***

Overall, a great show. Nice venue, great lineup. Echo wasn’t too bad, but noticeable. Point of note: There was a severe thunderstorm going on, and because of the dome, the show went on. Maybe Finals shouldn’t be in a dome, but keep the Regionals here, please!


Madison Scouts- 9th, 84.3
WOW! I have seen them 4 times now, counting the Open House and this corp gets better every time. I really think these guys should be beating Bluecoats, but their Color Guard and low brass (mostly Contras) is keeping them back. Once that gets fixed... watch out..

Phantom Regiment- 7th, 87.45
Phantom was REALLY CLEAN tonight. I think they should've been 6th, but oh well. Drumline doesnt do much, althought the bassline is pretty solid. Lots of posing, and pleas,(ballet stuff)and lots of other things like that. I wasn't really feeling that, but their guard and Visual package is strong. Nice job Phantom!

Bluecoats- 8th, 85.35
Bluecoats didn't really surprise me too much, although they have gotten better as tour has gone by. Drumline is weak at times, and I don't think they should be beating Scouts. Color Guard uniforms aren't very appealing, but are very crisp with their work.

Carolina Crown- 11th, 82.8
This was my 1st time seeing Crown. and I normally don't care for their show, but I like Crown's show this year. In their opener there are lots of things going on, including the snareline playing on blocks of wood from the guard, souds cool. The brass line is pretty weak, and the drumline was very solid.

Boston Crusaders- 10th, 84.05
This was my 1st time seeing Boston too, and I really wasn't feeling this show. I liked 99 and 2000 shows, and they are just trying to do what they have the past two years. The drill move with the two lines coming together was done at least 3 times during the show. The brass I thought was ok, drumline wasn't too great, but not too bad. Their arrangment of Marimba Spirtual I did not like, maybe it was just the dome. Hopefully these guys will at least stay where they are so we can see them again at finals.

Colts- 11th, 82.8
This was my 3rd time seeing them, and they get better every time. I've been a Colts fan for awhile, and I like this show. I thought they shouldve beaten Crown, and could give Boston a run for 10th with some cleaning. Drumline is rock solid, brass is ok. Go Colts!


Crossmen- 6th, 87.75
I was impressed with Crossmen, and I love the opener. What a soprano solist! wow! One of the best all night! They deserve to be top 6-7, although I have a strange feeling they have gone as far as they can go, and will end up 6th or 7th at Finals.

Cavaliers- 1st, 93.55
Two Words- ROCK SOLID. Cavaliers have it all this year, and a great guard. I really thought the snareline isnt cutting it as good as last year, and coming off the high-hats was pretty dirty, and some 9,18 stroke rolls need to be cleaned. Brass is awesome, should be 1st or 2nd come finals.

Santa Clara Vanguard- 4th, 91.1
This was my favorite show of the night. I thought they shouldve been above Cadets, but only my opinion. I love this whole show, and I don't get tired of it. (Similar feelings to Scouts show) I hope these guys maybe can sneak in Semis and Finals and maybe take it!

The Cadets- 3rd, 91.75
I wasn't as impressed as last year, but I still like this show. They are cruising the whole opener, and Moondance was awesome! I like these guys, but I don't think they should be beating SCV.

Blue Devils- 2nd, 93.3
Woo! BD was smokin tonight. Really thouhgt they were gonna win. Snareline needs to be cleaned up a little, and once they do that, Cavies will have to crench their teeth. Go BD!

Glassmen- 5th, 88.8
Tough to go on after the top 4, but they made a statement tonight, proving they are 5th place. Drumline is very clean, and brass needs some work, but it will come. Hopefully they can maintain 5th place for two weeks.

Well, thats all- next show I will be in Buffalo for Div.1 Semis and Finals!!!


To let everyone know before I start my reveiw, I was sitting in the 25th row of the upper concourse of the RCA Dome. The top row of the stadium is the 26th. So my judgement of the show may have been affected by oxygen deprivation. Please bear with me. I also want to give kudos to the designers of the RCA Dome. Even though I was at the top of the stadium, the players did not look like ants. I could see everything that was going on on the field without needing high-powered binoculars (sp?). The sound quality also seemed better, though delayed a bit. I watched one of the pit players for SCV paying the hi-hat and the sound was getting to me a half second later. I should also mention that this was my first and only show of the season and first time seeing any of these shows.

Anyway, I will reveiw the corps in order of finish.

11. (tie) Colts/Carolina Crown: I had a hard time accessing either show. Nothing about their shows really grabbed me. Granted, Crown's concept was interesting, but it just seemed like more of the same esoteric stuff that corps have been doing for the past 8 years (starting in '93 with Star). Same for the Colts, I really couldn't put a finger on what their show was about.

10. Boston Crusaders: i was really disappointed with their show. Once again, nothing grabbed me about this show. I actually asked somebody if their starting position was the same one they used last year. I realze now that it was completely different.

9. Madison Scouts: Great show. Best of the bottom 6 IMO. I really enjoyed the drum feature, with the cymbal toss over the drumline. Excellent stuff. And the hornline was no less amazing. Great work. I think they should have placed higher than 8th. Maybe 6th, but not 8th. However, I'm starting to see a split between the Scouts and the other top corps. It's not about their performance of the show, but the content of the show. In their pursuit of entertaining the crowd (which is a noble pursuit), I think they have lost something. The top corps' shows seem to have a different quality to them. Maybe it's complexity, maybe it's difficulty of music, I don't know. All I know is I noticed a difference. And that's also goes for the rest of the corps in the bottom 6.

8. Bluecoats: Interesting show. Not as good as Scouts, but it did have it's moments. I especially liked the ballad. The horn line was making sounds that almost didn't sound like they came from a bugle. Almost electronic in nature. I felt like this corps, along with some of the others, were consciously (sp?) using the excessive reverb in the stadium to their advantage. It added something to the show that I don't think you could get in an outdoor stadium. I feel this is the best show the 'Coats have put out in a long while. I also feel that if they keep improving on their show concepts along these lines, they will be back in the top 12 in no time.

7. Phantom Regiment: I have been a PR fan since way back and I've read the hype that people have given this show. I didn't get it. Once again, nothing grabbed me about this show. The marching was clean and the performance was good, but nothing seemed to set this show apart from the others.

6. Crossmen: I liked this show. Very clean and very entertaining. This also is where I noticed the separation I spoke of earlier. They seemed to have something more than the others did. This show does not touch their '97 show, but comes close. If they keep working on the show, they should place relatively high.

5. Glassmen: Against my better judgement, I stayed to watch this show. I was going to cruise the concession tables during their show, but I thought to be fair, I should watch their show to try and see if there was something here to enjoy. I was wrong. In their defense, I tried desperately to find some way to access their show. I couldn't find anything. It just seemed like more of same. I haven't liked any of their shows since they changed to the unis with the gold triangles.

4. Santa Clara Vanguard: Extremely interesting show. It's not one of my favorites, but I found alot of interesting elements about their show. I especially liked the beginning of the show. The music box effect with the alarm bell ringing shortly after. Then the corps turns and blasts the audience. Way to get your attention! I also liked the building tension with the siren in the middle of the show. This is definiely a show I want on audio, if nothing else.

3. Cadets of Bergen County: I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but Cadets got robbed. I thought their musical program was astonishing. I was amazed by the amount of talent these kids had. I actually said in the middle of their program "What are these guys doing here?" I felt they have way too much talent to even be in the same plane of exsistance with the rest of these corps. I really liked their treatment of "Moondance". It had the same kind of swing that the original had with a little bit more. The visual portion of this show could use some work, but the music is priceless. Say what you will about George Hopkins, but he knows how to pick his players. This group could conceivably stand on it's own and if thet do leave, they would leave a hole that I don't know could be filled.

2. Blue Devils: I expected alot from this show, but didn't get much in return. It seemed that the guard was performing a different show from what the corps was playing. It seemed to pull itselt together at the end of the show, but it wasn't much to speak of. I expected this show to be lighter with maybe a hint of comedy here and there. Maybe a bit bounceier too. But it seemed to move along at the same pace and almost be depressing. I thought this show was supposed to be about the compossers of musical comedies?

1. Cavaliers: All I can say about this show is "WOW!!!" The music, the visuals, all of it was right on target. Every 5 seconds during the show I kept saying the same thing: "WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!" There was something at every turn and the members made the most simpliest of moves look miraculous. This show shines from beginning to end. I especially liked their use of the hi-hats in the second movement. It moved, it grooved, it took you on a ride that you will never forget. If they keep this up, they will be champions this year. If you can only see one show this year, see this show!


I arrived in Indianapolis at about 4:30pm, and was able to catch the last 45 minutes of Santa Clara's BOA clinic. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. The only thing is that I heard the host of the clinic talking over the stadiums' speakers and it sounded AWFUL. They did a run-through of their show and it seemed like they were saving the best for that evening's finals, as well they should have. The reverb was set to nuke, and with me being on the upper deck for finals, I had a bad feeling about acoustics that evening. The kids really seemed to enjoy themselves at the clinic, though. There was a break in the action and they threw everyone out of the dome to prepare for finals.

I ventured out to get some food, expecting to have to go to some hi-priced place just to get a bite, but thank God there was a White Castle down the street. I had never eaten there before (go ahead and laugh, jerks) and was surprised by the miniscule nature of their burgers. They make up for that by selling them 6, 10 and 20 at a time. Pretty good, but I'd prefer a Wendy's triple any day.

On my way back to the stadium....I noticed a brass line heading towards an open lot, not completely in uniform. I didn't know who they were at first, but I did know they looked ready to beat the Hell out of something. As they halted, they immediately called to attention...and let out a strong "bloooo". I quickly got the answer. That really got me going.

The gates opened at 6:30 pm. After getting my program and hopping on my metallic bleacher seat, I took time out to notice the promotional advertisements (DCI and others) flashing on the stadium screens. DCI is making an aggressive effort to attract first-time viewers to the activity. Is that because attendance estimates in past years have been off?? Makes you wonder.

In noticing the filling seats around me, there were, of course, plenty of kids as expected, but I do say that seniors were there as well. There was a gentleman in front of me, about 80-something I guess, who reacted to people sitting down on some steps nearby during the Crusader's show. He sounded like Abe Simpson when he spoke up about it, "Do you have seats.....? Where are your tickets?" Mind you, he was yelling DURING the Boston's show...which I had been eager to see. The couple turned and said " Are you an usher?? HUH???" Funny stuff, but NOT while the kids are on the field!!!

The opening ceremony was spectacular. Simple, easy...and quite affecting. A flautist from Ball State U. played the national anthem. Two words...TONE I had no idea one of the highlights of a corps show would come out of a flute. Ironic.

The seedings of the corps really sucked, as many people in San Antonio had said last week. It did show in the final scores, I think.

The actual review starts here in order of final placement...thanks for hanging with me so far..... Carolina Crown - 11th place (my score - 81.6/ actual score -82.8) The kids are great. Let's get this straight. They take what they do very seriously and leave it all out there on the field. We know this. What we don't know is why there are things from cousin Jimmy's backyard strung out everywhere before they even get started??? What a bother!!! Who came up with this idea??? If you're going to sell the theme of "industry," why choose the most archaic-looking props this side of "Grapes of Wrath" to do so?? Despite this set back, Crown showed tight execution and great guard work to earn their finalist placing. What they do with beat-up Michelins is pretty amazing. I loved the roll-over thingy.

Colts - 11th place (my score - 84.5/ actual score - 82.8) I had these guys solidly in 11th. They will definitely make finals with this wonderful question. A recurring characteristic in a Colts show is that they try so hard to sell their program, and this year is no exception. The interaction between the guard and corps (especially during the percussion feature) was just great. The brass was stronger and cleaner than last years' show. They seemed to have more focus this time around. Drums really showed their kahones during their feature...good stuff.

Boston Crusaders - 10th place (my score 87.3/ actual score 84.05) A surprise seeing them placed this low, and the crowd shared this sentiment. Their show had more difficulty than the Scouts' (although not quite as entertaining) and the Bluecoats had a dirty show, I had these guys placing 8th. Their drill (and execution) was just awesome. Harmonium, musically, will grow on me after spinning it on the CD player later this fall. Drums were solid throughout, and their slow section was as good as it was last year, although there was no singing this time. See this show from a high vantage point if you can, you'll be in for a treat.

Madison Scouts - 9th place (my score 86.5/ actual score 84.3) Going on first really hurt their score and placement. So judges, let me get this want me to believe that Madison outscored Crown by just .25?? What are you people smoking? Although I'm not as bothered with their placement because of the high level of everyone else's performance (for the most part), the scoring was way off. The visual caption is hurting bad. Cool formations are there, but the visual sophistication was not. I only saw 12 guard members on the field, what's up with that? OK...those were the are the positives: BRASS!!! OH MY GOD!! Blow my face off!! Even from the upper deck, in a dome no less, the Scouts just ripped ass through their book, which was well-written. Their brass deserved at least 6th tonight, I think. Great percussion bells and whistles, the cymbal toss was great and the drum feature was entertaining. I got a kick out of it. When those hard-working guys hit their knees at the end of their show, to belt out the final ear-shattering chord, it just makes you wonder.....doesn't their visual staff feel a bit guilty? Next year...give these guys the choreography and drill they deserve, OK? You'll be back in the top 5 before you know it.

Bluecoats - 8th place (my score 85.2/ actual score 85.35) I really enjoyed the latin jazz theme this year and the kids sold the program real well. The brass line is exceptional this year, and kudos to Doug Thrower (former instructor of mine...ok so I'm biased) for really capturing the mood and flavor in his arranging. The guard surprised me this year.....great equipment work and dancing really solidified this caption. We all have heard about the bari player who busted his butt towards the end...but hey, that happens. Kudos to the judges for overlooking that and especially to the guard member who finally got the bucket off the field. The show could have been cleaner, and that really was the only thing holding them back.

Phantom Regiment - 7th place (my score 89.6/ actual score 87.45) Thank you Phantom for going old-school on us!!! Festive Overture was such a throwback to their 80s days, and I just wiggled in my seat hearing it. As good as Madison was tonight, Phantom completely outclassed and outmarched them. I'm a huge fan of wedges. (LOL)The brass was vintage Regiment, with such a dark presence and pure, pure tone quality. The guard was soooo graceful, everything they did just flowed. They were one of the first corps of the evening that seemed to cut through the acoustics of the dome. It was good to see classic drum corps return to the field...thank you's been so long. I had PR easily in 5th. Their stupid, bogus show placement made the difference, and slotting with the there you have it.

Crossmen - 6th place (my score 89.0/ actual score 87.75) The Crossmen really scored some points tonight for lowering the pitch on their snares and backing off on the could really hear them well in comparison to groups on before them. I loved the interaction between the guard and the corps in this show...that stuck with me for some reason. They really loaded this show with GE. The soloists....awesome, of course. The horn line is brutal and their percussion really helped to tie this show together. Good stuff going on in the pit, too.

I cheered throughout the show....the elderly gentleman in front of me walked out and never came back. Like I said earlier, he was about 80 I think and wore a hearing aid. Sorry for driving you out, grandpa, but this is a drum corps show. People are bound to show their appreciation sooner or later. During the intermission, I noticed that none of the urinals were flushed after use....what are we, apes? Come on, dammit, FLUSH!!! Back to the review.....

Glassmen - 5th place (my score 88.1/ actual score 88.8) IMAGO is sophisticated. I see the Glassmen trying to fill the shoes of Star of Indiana. Ever since they went "Blasting", there has been a creative hole in the top 12. What the Glassmen need to close the void here is to innovate. They succeeded to do this in their flugel horn feature. Wow...what an amazingly GORGEOUS solo. The crowd ate it up. If they could have that kind of refreshing distinction throughout their show as they did in that one movement, this would be a top 3 show. The rest of IMAGO contained some good phrasing, nice Cadet-ish runs and decent impacts, but it seemed short on substance to me. This corps has their best show ahead of them....they could even pull off a title in 5 years or so, but they need to go in the direction of innovation. Load that show with moments like the second movement, and you've got it, Glassmen.

Santa Clara Vanguard - 4th place (my score 92.0/ actual 91.1) new new na new ERA..NEW NEW NEW ...ERA!!! Come on, people, how could you not love this!!!!?? Hip-hop has finally invaded the Drum Corps world. Now next year Vanguard, put "Back That Azz Up" on the field and you'll have it in the BAG!!!Seriously, some wicked, weird, wild stuff going on in this show. One of my favorite visual moments..aside from the collapsing "T" at the end, came in "Short Ride" where a single snare broke away from the line and just marched like nuts through the rest of the corps. That just looked so cool. I love this show. There was a bad spill towards the end that took out 2 or three people, and this may have hurt their visual perf score.

Cadets - 3rd place (my score 93.2/ actual score 91.75) How can the Cadets win brass and drums and score this far behind the 2 leaders? I just don't get it. What I do get is the cool brass run that started the show (this was just added). Nice addition. They really made it happen in Brass performance...with their book being the hardest, definitely. Moondance was a toe-tapping joy (God, I sound like a DCI writer, yuck) what they needed here though, was more movement. When you have to compete at this level, you need to keep moving!!! This is what is keeping them out of the top spot right now. They won Brass, won drums...and suffered in visual. They have got the potential to run away with the title, but need to push their drill over the top in Moondance I think. Great ballad (from Hannibal) and awesome closer. The next 2 weeks could be huge for the Cadets.

Blue Devils - 2nd place (my score 93.0/ actual score 93.4) The Devils have an awesome color guard, what they do with (straw?) hats is just mind-blowing. Their dance demand was just overwhelming and gave this show a much-needed GE boost. I can't help but to long for the Devils to do a reprise of their 1988 show. Go retro..I beg you!!!! It seems BD shows of late have been obscure and stylistically flat. Don't get me wrong...they perform the crap out of what they're given, but I wouldn't mind more fan-friendly material. Imagine what it would be like if they performed Moondance....they would tear it apart. The Devils are so clean...and their performance level is what has earned them a mostly undefeated season so far. With the proficiency of other corps catching up to the Devils' dominance, it is now time to compare show concepts. This is the one small weakness BD has this year...especially when compared to......

Cavaliers - 1st place (my score 94.2/ actual score 93.55) People have been wondering about the current state of drum corps....whether people think it's losing steam...or becoming bland, or whatever. The Cavies take this perspective and wipe their butts with it. This show was made for the upper deck, and has to be some of the best drill I've seen in years. The slow section was jaw-droppingly gorgeous....especially the block shift in the backfield at the end of the number. And, then there's the drum feature. My God. I can't believe what these guys do with toy cymbals. The percussion section was so tight and bad ass robots programmed to just drum. I loved the spinning block with the four corners rotating in the opposite direction. That was a "wow" moment. The ending was the most original I've seen in years...I thought they were going to march right out of the stadium. I love their short park-n-blow they had in their jazzy feature. That's how it's done, people.It made my night watching these guys and they are a lock for the gold medal in Buffalo.

Dan Potter did an awesome job of filling in the breaks with some good interviews and fan perspectives. He's a straight-up professional. The retreat was great and the Cadets' drumline did an awesome job of bringing them in. The scores were announced and caption awards were given out...I still think Cavies should have taken percussion, but that's just me.

The dome acoustics bothered me to no end. Please Mr. Acheson...DO NOT plan Worlds in this venue anytime this century.

On my way out of town, I snapped a couple of pictures, having promised my 4-year-old I'd show him a skyscraper. Since there was only one in Indy, I wasn't able to get much. Everything was closed by the time I left...I was lucky to even get a midnight snack. I thought this was a big city or something! If you slept in a hotel, as Regis puts it, "Hey...good for you. Alright, fine." I slept in my car at a truck stop and saved 36 bucks.

Next year: Going to Camp Randall with the wife, who's not a drum corps fan. I'll bring plenty of aspirin.

Patrick Laxson
Dutch Boy '90

Show was well run, went smoothly, parking flowed nicely.

Corps: Madison Scouts
My Ranking: 9th
Actual Ranking: 9th
Awesome show from Madison! Soloists are great as always, and the hornline has a fuller sound than last year, IMO. They did some pretty cool drill moves in the show... cool visuals with the cymbal tosses, etc. They had some small ensembles on the sideline playing which were spectacular. Fun, fun show... I hope they can keep the 9th placement at finals and begin the trek into becoming a top 6 powerhouse again.

Corps: Phantom Regiment
My Ranking: 6th
Actual Ranking: 7th
This is a cool show. Big, nice sound from the horns. The style is still different than the Phantom lines of years ago, but it's getting darker every time I see them. The show has some cool writing, but I don't feel that much of a flow between numbers. There's some cool "toy soldiers" type drill in the show during the percussion feature, I think, that I really liked. This show, if played right, could get Phantom the 5th spot at finals if they get everything down, but I'm not sure that will happen. Anyway, I wish them good luck, they're one of my favorites.

Corps: Bluecoats
My Ranking: 7th
Actual Ranking: 8th
GREAT program from the Bluecoats. Huge departure from the general jazz/swing type music, but some of that is still kept in more of a subtle type of way. I really have to hand it to Doug Thrower with the horn book and the musical designing here, it's superb, really. The show flows really well, and it all makes sense together. I get a really dark feel from the hornline, they have a very balanced, full sound. They're awesome to listen to. Bluecoats are another one of the corps I'd like to see vying for that 5th spot, but once again, I'm not sure just because of the level that everyone is at. It's an amazing program, the colorguard really does some cool stuff, the pit does some cool stuff, and I really like the drumline's musicality. A lot of drumlines have a tendency to not fit into the ensemble at all, but this battery blended really well, and I figure a lot of this has to do with the writing. Anyway, you can tell I like them really well and their show, and I'll move on now... ;)

Corps: Carolina Crown
My Ranking: 12th
Actual Ranking: Tied for 11th
This show is decent, but I think it would have a lot more potential if the midrange part, especially in the opener, would get heard. The show has great writing, and Crown has a nice low brass section, I think. Lots of impact points, but a lot less effect than impacts. I'm not sure exactly what to with the rest of the things about the show to spice it up, because it seems that it's written well, I just think the performance needs to be stepped up. I did get some chills at the end of the opener with the power chords, that was great.

Corps: Crossmen
My Ranking: 5th
Actual Ranking: 6th
I've not liked that many Crossmen shows up until last year's when they started settling into their niche. They really play the HECK out of this year's show, it's fun to listen to. Pretty clean, really cool. Outstanding soprano soloists, hot guard (this is literal. I don't know much about guards, but I'm a teenage male, and I know what looks good, so... yeah.)

Corps: Colts
My Ranking: 11th
Actual Ranking: Tied for 11th
I really thought these guys had a neat show. It's played really well, and it was thought out well from a design perspective. I really loved the "fight" with the brass sections, and the choreography with the shields. Really neat idea. I also enjoyed the tenor "freeze frame" shot. Colts, I believe, have fought their way into finals for sure this year with this show. I enjoyed it a lot.

Corps: Santa Clara Vanguard
My Ranking: 2nd
Actual Ranking: 4th
WOW. Opening impact is soooo good, and sooooo LOUD. The show picks up right where last year's left off, almost like you can merge the two together and they'll make perfect sense. This show has a great effect on any crowd, and it's got some nice visual moments. This show, right now, is my pick to win on finals night. Sure, they're 4th now, but this show has the potential to win... and I'm not really sure what's holding them back so far right now. Those 22 Bb Euphs really make their sound orchestral and dark... and angry. The entire hornline blends well. If you get a chance, check out how much the pit will get into this show. They're fun to watch. The rap section is NOT corny, cheesy, whatever. Actually... it has REALLY BIG BALLS. The corps sells the rap section ungodly well, it's a cool addition to the show. Anyway, you know my thoughts. Short Ride in a Fast Machine, the opener, was sooo nice. My pick to win on finals night.

Corps: Cavaliers
My Ranking: 1st
Actual Ranking: 1st
Hornline is not your standard Cavies line... they sound fundamentally different... they have a really interesting sound with a lot of depth and power. I'd like a little more power out of the alto voices, but the others are right where they should be, I think. The show has some really insane visuals, like every other cavies show, and the show is basically a lot like last year's. I get the same feel as the 2000 program, I even hear some of the same rhythms and such in about the same places. I'm not complaining, though, I mean... whatever works for them, and it certainly isn't tiring or boring. The crowd went nuts for Cavies tonight, I was afraid I wasn't going to hear the show because of all the cheering. Anyway, cool show, I think they and BD will duke it out for the 2nd spot.

Corps: Blue Devils
My Ranking: 3rd
Actual Ranking: 2nd
I never thought I'd rank Blue Devils 3rd, since they're my favorite corps, but Vanguard and Cavies were the ones that really sold it to me on Saturday. Devils were just as exhilarating as usual, very loud, very full. They had my favorite drumline of the night (even though I'm a horn person, yes, I do like listening to some drum solos.) This show has a cool, jazzy feel to it that feels similar to a lot of their mid-80s programs. Wayne Downey wrote an impeccable program this year. When I heard these songs in the spring, I was thinking, "Uh, how the heck do these go together?" but they surprised me, the entire show is just like telling a story. It all fits together. I love the entire thing, there were some lead sop problems, though, but based on the sound, they were probably just tired... I make some of the same noises when trying to scream and being tired, probably just a one time thing, my guess. Devils have a great show, but I don't have it on the same level as Santa Clara this year. I think they and Cavies will have a hard fight for the 2nd spot.

Corps: Cadets
My Ranking: 4th
Actual Ranking: 3rd
Stupid show. I got tired of it after the first 30 seconds and went to go get some ice cream.

Corps: Glassmen
My Ranking: 8th
Actual Ranking: 5th
Didn't like the show that much. It was really percussive, I mean, not centered around the drums, but everything for about the first half seemed like it was bopped, if you're familiar with the term. They had a great soprano/flugelhorn soloist, however. Amazing solos. The show, I think, is designed to give a Star of Indiana 1993 type effect, it made me confused and angry at the same time just listening to it. If this is what they're going for, then they've got it. The show doesn't get much crowd response... the show is nothing but impacts for about 5 minutes. Just kinda weird. I didn't get how they're up so high, maybe it's something to do with the stuff I don't know about (drums and colorguard). Anyway, I thought Crossmen were clearly above them, Bluecoats had them, and Phantom definitely had them. Strange.

America/O Canada was cool... I was standing directly in front of Bluecoats, with Madison near them and Phantom near them. So I've got that Bluecoats rich hornline sound, and it's real loud... and their sops, coupled with Madison's, could shove down a brick wall... that, coupled with Phantom's low brass... could I really ask for more? It's like... Super-Corps. I dug how Phantom's contras decided to make people take notice and threw some dissonance into the end of the song. :)

Cavies' encore was great. They played Jupiter (which was SO beautiful!), then their show, and then Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which was also beautiful. Way to go, Cavies!


This is the 4th show I have been to with the other three being DCM so it was my first chance to hear the eastern and western corps.

Dome - EEEECCCHHH! Very boomy in there - when the percussion were all playing it at times sounded like a freight train going thru or maybe it was a train seeing the tracks outside the Dome were about 20 yards away! Any way the only good thing was it kept us dry! Concessions were expensive, poor and slow! A kielbasa cost you 5 bucks and 2 corps (it took that long to get one). Way too crowded in the hallways with concessions and corps sales directly across from each other. Made it very difficult to get to your seats which were also hard to find! Missed Madison at the night show because of a combination of the above - was not happy! At least the Colts (the football colts not the drum corps colts) didn't try to comandeer the field!

Having said all of that and risking the definate possibility of being flamed for being too sugary - I loved all of the corps! I am continually amazed at the constant improvement not only from show to show but from year to year. I can honestly say there was not a single show that didn't get me in one way or another and I enjoyed them all if not for their technicality then for their high level of performance or entertainment value.

In no particular order:

Cadets- loved the show, great warm-up (and I was begining to believe what I was reading!) Moondance was very cool!
SCV - WONDERFUL! Loved the show! New Era - very cool! Very classy even at the awards when the DM's wore traditonal 70's Vanguard Unis
BD - Flashy, CLEAN, jazzy
Cavies - WOW - DRILL!
Crossmen - great show, great soloist, really fun
Boston - well, they were Boston - I liked the show and am looking forward to seeing them at finals
Glassmen - great soloist, neat show - like them much more than in the past
Phantom - Dark, orchestral sound, great show - one of my fav's but I love Festive!
Coats - Smooth, sophisticated, really in a neat latin groove! Love the tango!
Madison - LOUD! Vintage Madison jazzy show, flashy soloists and a great closer!
Blue Knights - Fun show, quite a departure for them, was hoping for a tie so I would get to see them again in the night show along with the...
Colts - I really like this corps - have seen them 4 times and the show just gets better and better
Crown - With some of the bad press this corps has been getting I was more than pleasantly surprised. Neat show concept and they are marching it quite well. Not to worry Crown fans - they will be in finals!
Spirit - WOW - they have really improved - too bad there isn't 15 spots in finals because make it or not they deserve to be there
The others I have reviewed previously and are improving, and putting on great shows.

CLINIC: What a great job by SCV! Every thing they do exudes CLASS! You could see the pride on their faces. They always have been my favorite and I am always impressed with the way this organization carries itself! Cesario was a little over the top but it was a great experience to get right down there with the corps and get a feel for how they do what they do. For all of you G vs. Bb people Cesario always refered to the brass as brasswinds not as bugles, trpts., etc. I spent several minutes in a discussion with SCV's Brass Caption Head and I asked him how he felt about the change from G to Bb. He was very willing to spend time with me and talk which I thought was very cool. He really likes the change because they (SCV's staff) feel the Bb's are more suitable to the type of literature SCV plays. They have sopranos (Bb trumpets), Mellophones, french horns, 22 Euphoniums, and Marching Tubas. They are using Dynasty brass. They march no baritones and feel the Mellophones do well in the upper alto range and the french horns bridge the gap between the Mello's and the Euphoniums which gives the corps an overall dark, sonorous qaulity. After sitting 20 feet away from the hornline and listening to them play Variants I would have to agree - it was breathtaking.

Sorry this was so long. The great shows performed last saturday more than made up for the dome's shortcomings and I can't wait until Buffalo! I will cheer for all but GO SCV!!! CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN!


All Day

Carolina Crown
Great concept, good drumline, hard guard work (maybe most difficult of the night). The only negative is an average hornline. They do not seem to be able to make the impact points. Maybe in a couple of weeks.

Good show, great hornline sound. The members seemed very detached from the show, almost like they had not "bought" into it. A corps on the threshold of becoming great.

Interesting show. These members have the most heart of anyone. It would not be impossible to change their style. They seem to be locked into something they can't seem to make work as well as they want. If you could put these guys in Southwind's show, well....

Spirit from JSU
Were havin' fun now! Great idea for this guys! Wonderful hornline! Great drumline. Just clean, clean, clean. They could make finals, but they will probably just run out of season.

Kiwanis Kavaliers
Sorry, did not see them.

Change the concept. These guys are trying so hard to make this work. It must be hard to have that Troopers shadow hanging over your head. Let the staff be creative and let the members stretch. Think of the possibilities. This could be a great corps. Let the past go. Both Cadets and cavies have come to terms with their past. No is your time.

Blue Knights
Loved the show, Great guard uniforms. Do not know why they didn't make finals. I got no answers for that one.

Lots of fun, great hornline and drumline. Three contras went down in the afternoon and a baritone in the evening show. The drill does not look THAT hard. Glad to see them getting some credit and scoring well.

Nice clean show, good ideas. Drum break seems to be the hilite of the show. I though BK beat them.

Madison Scouts
What can I say. I am not a big madison fan, but you can't help but respect these guys. Just blow your face off fun. Nevermind the weak guard, drumline. Easily the crowd favorite, sorta like Bridgmen and VK of past. Hopefully, they won't end up like them. Keep going Madison, you made a believer out of me.

Phantom Regiment
Great music. Some visual idea were not complete. There was a major rip n Festive. Keep working, it will get there.

Boston Crusaders
Loved the djembe drum and the polyrhthyms. Seemed to be a lot of repitition in the drill book.

Another bright spot during the evening. Keep on screamin', we are with you.Please don't change your style. We need you on this end of the fun spectrum.

The Cavaliers
My alma mater. They just beat you over the head with brute force. Drill, drums, guard work. Their motto should be "harder, faster, louder. Not much of a question that they would win. It's gonna be scary what they look like in two weeks. I don't think anyone can catch them.

Santa Clara Vanguard
Cool ideas. Strong visual book. Drumline seems to be weak. I liked these guys alot.

Blue Devils
Very, very clean. Almost too clean. Where do you go from here? Great drumline, hornline. Someone mentioned a few weeks ago, doesn't it seem ironic that the visual team from Star went to BD. They do not seem to take advantage it.

The Cadets
Unlike like others, I liked the show. Opener was great, Monndance was rockin'. Outstanding drumline and hornline. Probably the best brass sound all night. I really don't know what their weakness is, why they are not scoring higher. Their may seem to be an idea that their show is somewhat musically immature. I don't buy it. It's a great show, keep cleanin'.

Good show, but they seemed to be somewhat detached. Not really invested in the show. Great drumline. They need more memorable moments. They should be able to stay ahead of Crossmen, but I wouldn't bet the house.

Great place to have a show. Although they should hand out aspirin with the tickets. It's sorta like lighting a firecracker inside a trash can. After a few corps, it didn't seem to matter until you got in your car to drive home. My ears are still ringing. Oh well, it's for a good cause.

Don Avery

I know it's late, but it's a long drive from Indianapolis to Atlanta, especially with rain and road construction. Here are some thoughts on how the Indy show went down. First of all, the stadium was a blessing in that it was pouring and lightning during the evening and maybe even during the afternoon show. We had the "large" seats on about the 40-yard line, 24 rows up, so we could hear really well despite the echo, which was better with more people in the evening. It was hard to give standing ovations with such tight seats, but I managed every now and then.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - nice improvement over last year. They're still rather small for a Division I corps. The music, "On the Town," was recognizable and easily accessible. A lady a few seats down from me was "rockin' out throughout the opener. They could make a run for Semis if they clean up.

Troopers - only saw them from the TV screens in the long concession line, but they looked pretty good. What I heard through the portals left a bit to be desired.

Pioneer - what happened to their drum line? That's usually their strong point, but they were small and unenergetic this year. The opener was good, but I don't remember much else.

Southwind - seemed to be tired. There were quite a few blown attacks and a family in front of me who had a kid in the corps winced noticeably when that happened a few times. I liked the show otherwise. I still can't get used to the yellow uniforms without thinking of my high school, Sprayberry.

Spirit - OK, I'm a little biased since I marched with them in 1995, but I was very pleased with their performance. I saw them at the standstill in Kennesaw on Wednesday and it seemed a bit flat, but they were on top of their game musically on Saturday. There were lots of great impacts and the whole show fit together very well. The brass line is much, much improved and the drum line got the best crowd response for their solo. All they need to do is clean (especially the visual program) and they could catch back up to Crown.

Blue Knights - not as entertaining as I was expecting, but a nice change of mood for the show. They're no Velvet Knights, but who is? The drum line was once again the strong point.

Carolina Crown - very nice visual show. I wasn't sure what to expect with tires, wood, metal, but it was pretty cool. I've found myself actually liking Crown's shows the past couple of years. The drum line was great, especially in the evening. The slow piece dragged a little, but the guard made up for that with neat work.

Colts - how the heck did they win drums in the afternoon? I guess I missed something, but I didn't think buzz rolls were that demanding. The battle sequence during their solo was very cool and must have taken a while to choreograph. I've never been a big fan of them, but this show is a step in the right direction as far as I'm concerned.

Boston Crusaders - Being a Spirit alum, I guess I'm not supposed to like these guys, but I'm starting to come around. The drums and brass performance is still lacking, but the GE and visual program makes up for it.

Madison Scouts - the boos when their score is announced is really getting old. Face it people, they're getting what they deserve. They won GE and Brass in the afternoon, which they deserved. The drum solo was a bag in the afternoon but sounded better at night. There were lots of blown attacks and releases and people sticking out of the ensemble. The guard was disappointing - too much dancing which was distracting more often than beneficial to the show. Don't get me wrong, I loved the show, but I do wish they would take some judges' advice and give a better product to both the fans and judges.

Bluecoats - how 'bout that contra pile up? Yikes, I hope they're all OK. Despite that, they had a great show, especially musically. The brass and drum lines are improved and the visual design works well. All that's needed is to clean some of the drill and they're set to place as high as 7th.

Phantom Regiment - Even though I know the music, I found it hard to get into. The soloists were fantastic though and the guard is 10 times better than they have been in the past few years. The big brass sound is back. I still like SCV's version of "Festive Overture" best.

Crossmen - started off kind of slow but got things rolling very quickly and kept up the energy throughout the show. The drum line is way better than the past two years, attributable to dumping the UGA staff (can you tell I go to Tech?). The guard was great as usual.

Glassmen - snooze alert. Why can't they ever play anything anyone knows? Sure, they play it very well, but it's hard to follow a show when the music is that boring.

Santa Clara Vanguard - great show design. Their "Short Ride..." is much better than Cadets 1991, IMHO. The second piece is very entertaining with lots of subtle SCV-like things going on everywhere. The New Era chant is really cool and is much more effective than it was during the standstill in Kennesaw with the guard doing their thing. I think they should get back ahead of the Cadets and possibly BD by Finals.

The Cadets - wonderful brass and percussion. They clearly deserved to win those captions tonight. All the fast runs were very clean with two weeks to spare. The drill wasn't as exciting as in year's past, which may hold them back. I still can't believe there's no tenor solo!

Blue Devils - great showmanship as usual. They were a little dirtier musically than Wednesday and didn't seem to have as much power. The soprano soloist did a good job throughout the show. The drum line was a little dirty tonight, but when you're playing as many notes as they are, the judges probably take that into account. The tenor line was exceptionally smokin'. Glad they brought back "Ditty."

Cavaliers - awesome. Is there any more I need to say? If they don't win this year, something is screwed up with DCI. This show has everything. Great music, drill, guard (multiple person to person flag tosses). They were obviously the crowd favorite and have been mine since I was introduced to DCI ten years ago.

Sean Taylor

Bridgeport, CT (DCA)

Well, let me start by thanking my gracious host and friend Frank Ponzo for coming to Queens NY to pick me up. He and Bob and Debbie from HC alumni were very nice to do that. Once we fought off the traffic from the Mets game, we arrived at Bridgeport around 6pm. Frank broke open the back of his truck and pulled out 2 BBQ grills. Bob started cooking Filet Mignons and Chicken wings on the grill while we knocked back a few Diet beers. What a way to see a show (tailgate party). I was able to have a few laughs witk K. Eltman too. A few hugs to the Cab girls and into the stadium we went. What a great stadium with high seats great lights and astro Turf. It was a cool night which was perfect for all the corps there.

Ok now for the review. Keep in mind this is my own opinion. I'm not a judge, I know little about CG or Drummers. Please keep that in mind. I also wont put up scores as they are elsewhere. The Top 2 or 3 scores changed 3 times between retreat anmd the drive home with placement changes resulting between the top 3.

Skyliners. Wow what a change from the last time I saw them at DCA 2 years ago. I still like the old Uniforms though ( showing my age). I thought overall they were very good, The Horn line put out a nice sound overall as well. I was going to add that I thought they didn't have much volume on the hits, but after watching all the corps and seeing the same problem, I think it may have been the design of the stadium that allowed the sound to escape quickly. The soloists are Excellent. There were some ensemble problems mainly in the baritone section. One or 2 stuck out now and then. The CG and Drum line were good as well, but as I said I can't be too sure. It seems like they had many marching styles in the line as well. Good Job Sky.

Grenadiers. They were head and shoulders above the KG Corps of 99. That was the last time I saw them. Horn line was strong CG was excellent. Drum line seemmed OK as well. Some Form and Interval problems that I'm sure they will have repaired come Syracuse.

Rochester Crusaders. Horn line was very good however, the staging of the drill kept this listener from hearring much of the low brass. The soloist ensembles were excellent. Huge CG and they were very good. Drill was good but they had some interval problems as well. Great Job RC.

Conn. Hurricanes. This corps was smaller then the last time I saw them. Horn line was small. They had some problems with ensemble balance and intonation at the beginning but quickly cured that. The gaurd was good, but there was a part of the show I felt they were distracting from the show or detracting from it, but that could have been by design. In the 2nd to last tune, the staging of the Contras and the volume they put out were to loud for their position on the field. They had a great Flag presentation ala 1960s style at the end which was wonderful. Great GE here.

Empire Statesmen. Great Hornline and drum line. I loved the Frank Sinatra routine with Mr B sitting at the bar sipping Scotch on the rocks (it was really water) during the entire show and at the end he disappears into a mist of CO2. GE GE GE oozed from this corps at times and at other times they grabbed you by the throat and said "What about it" I saw our old Kiltie soloist Bill Semyn playing in the horn line. Hey Bill you clean up real nice in that white Tux. You still march funny though.. Just Kidding.. The drill covered the Field from 20 to 20 and it was done well. These guys march well. Great Book WOW.

Hawthorne Cabs. I love this corps. what class by opening with a warmup tune of Don't Cry for Me Argentina as a tribute to Mr. Costello. Tear Jerker right off the bat. Very Moving. What a fantastic hornline. So what's new with tha, I've been saying that since the first time I saw them in 1965 at the Civic Opera house in Chicago. Drum line puts some moves out on the field that I won't try to describe but they are awesome. Best sounding Mellophones I've heard in a long time.Staging and drill wqs excellent with some interval problems or they could have had a few holes in the line .The field ensemble was very good except for a few places the Contras stood out a little too much. The CG is huge and if not PERFECT, the are more Perfect than the rest. They did walk away with the High CG score. No offense meant to the Guys in the CG, But the Girls are definitely " BABES". Great JOB HC. you are still the Gold Standard of Drum Corps.

Well that's it. There were some irregularities in the judging that came to the Attention of Mr. Petrone, and I heard he dealt with them like a surgeon with a scapel. Way to Go Mick. You guys put on a nice show at B.Conn. Thanks Terry Doran. I bet I spelled something wrong. So for all you English Majors out there, DEAL WITH IT.

Jet Pi9949

I have included links to images which are just a little better than nothing.

I blew it. I slept through my pager alarm going off right in my ear. I called the Rochester Crusaders members I had told I would drive down with and apologized and went back to bed. It was fifteen minutes past when I was supposed to be there (4:30AM!), not too bad. Plus, hey, I'm not marching.
Made my way down leisurely from New Hampshire, no real traffic issues other than getting on the Pike, cruise control most of the way. I like that about New England.

Stopped in at the Hurricanes rehearsal in West Haven after lunch. They were doing some brass cleaning and getting ready to ensemble the corps. It was very nice to see so many folks I do miss. The field looks great and should be a fantastic site for their home show. The Hurcs always work hard and they were cleaning the middle of the show when I left to go down to Bridgeport.

The Cabs, Grenadiers and Skyliners I think were all down at Seaside Park. What a perfect day for drum corps. There were family picnics, softball games and soccer matches all around with the ambient sound of three drum corps doing it up. P.T. would've loved it.

Cabs practice was focused and calm, they know what they have to do and are getting on with it. Their drum line, especially the battery, have improved much over last year and, as they get their drill clarified, their execution score should respond also. The horns had limited ensemble time through the afternoon as visual concerns ruled. Once this stuff is hammered out and the brass people get to do their work, the horn line will sparkle. There are lots of exposed and challenging parts of their show, walking a tight wire for sure. I believe the players can handle it, but the demand is considerable.

"Excuse me, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?"
"Practice, practice."
To all the different corps members; practice is what you do at home.
That is what you bring to rehearsal.
I think this is so important, especially at the senior level. The players that woodshed will perform and have more fun.

Kennedy Stadium has been redone with the concert side opposite from where it was. No more sun burned eyes! The weather was perfect. The turf looked great and I didn't see anyone go down but I heard it was a little tricky. It was neat seeing the King and Queen, a couple of outstanding local students, do a vocal duet of the Nat'l Anthem. The opening proceedings were not too long and the city seems proud to host this show.

Skyliners: ( ) I can tell you, it is clear that there are drum corps people running this corps. They have that feeling. Featured soloists Dave Negri and John Arientano are having a great time. The arrangements of Blood, Sweat and Tears sound like fun to play. The crowd enjoyed the show and there were very few down spots. Not allot of challenging drill or visual stuff. Good old crowd pleasing drum corps, giving the crowd what they want. The drum line and guard were doing it well. They seem like they are getting stronger and will be around for a while. Looks like a fun group. Nice to have them back!

Grenadiers: ( )They come on to the field in a company front from the left side, I think a nice touch but I love even the slightest nods to tradition. The corps is improving from what I saw last year, though the low brass was noticeably weak. Lots of intonation issues with individual players. Some of the guard stuff really caught my eye, beautiful silks and guard work. A fun drum feature with fan friendly visuals going on made for a nice crowd reaction. The Grenadiers come a long way to compete and they do a nice job of entertaining the crowd. A nice show but lots of work to do with the horn line on an individual basis. The contra line doing their little swing step trooping the stands I found ironic in that it seemed they should've left that energy on the field in their playing. Nothing more breathing exercises and crunches can't help. Good job, Grenadiers.

Crusaders: ( ) They start their show spread across the entire field. Even though I knew the contras start it off, I couldn't really hear them. They are way over on the left side, facing backfield. The show seemed much more marchable and cleanable than last year. The wind picked up and seemed to affect their sound early on. The low brass here was warm and round, well supported though sometimes the staging seemed tough. They nailed the exposed attack after the silent guard feature, heard lots of "Oooo's" in the crowd. The backfield section with the double flag guard work was very effective and solid. The duet feature at the end of that was nice also.

Hurricanes: ( ) The Hurcs seem to be having a rough year and there were some noticeable missing folks. But the corps continues and the people who took the field deserve the credit. Not my favorite show from a programming standpoint but the corps is doing their level best to execute it all. The middle section I found really confusing, lots of weird space chords and "what's that?" drill. The theme being a day in the life of an Atlantic hurricane, I kept waiting to see a spinning spiral but, hey, that's just me. A lot of volume on the big hits from a smallish horn line. The Hurcs are survivors and will work hard 'til the end. When they reenter with the horse walk and Mag 7, the partisan crowd was on its feet. Bridgeport loves the Hurricanes!

Empire: ( ) Empire, since I first saw them in '98, exemplify what a crowd-oriented corps show could be. They keep the brass line up close to the crowd at impact points, utilizing the pit area. They march and play with a high level of confidence that really telegraphs to the crowd. The small showmanship features, the little things that the hotdog chompers notice, this corps excels at that stuff. Their drill is comprised of very teachable, cleanable moves that seem evocative of years past, different context, same skill sets. I think this is smart drum corps. They don't do allot of overly technically demanding stuff but they execute what they do. And they are loud. A wonderful low brass sound with what looked like a few euphs in there. And they sure look like they are having fun. I find some of the stuff they do trooping the stands, the little chant thing and the skip steps and waving to be personally annoying but the crowd like it. It seems they tune the snare line to a dark timbre making it harder to discern what they're doing. The brass soloists seemed a little rough. Didn't notice allot of guard stuff as I was watching how the corps marched. This is an organization that knows how to win, critics be damned. I liked the swing arrangement of My Way even though I didn't want to (still partial to the Stockton Commodores version). Biggest crowd reaction of the night and a standing O in the late middle of the show.

Caballeros: ( ) Having watched the corps rehearse I was watching for the things they had worked on and was distracted from taking in some of the whole show elements. This program is meant to be a tribute to Cos and sometimes tributes can get a little bloated. It seems like there is so much going on all the time it's hard to find the focal points and hit points. The added demand of the full volume moving warm-up is noted. The drum line has really improved and they play well even though they are jamming around most of the time. There are some difficult staging issues where not watching the major can be not good. Individual brass performance was very good but the challenging nature of the book makes any weaknesses more apparent. Like I said in the pre-ramble, they didn't get to work ensemble horns much while I was there so, when they do, I think they will be well pleased. An entertaining show if a little busy at times. The guard uni changes and stuff may have been lost on me, sorry. I noticed them changing but didn't really get the impact. Great solo work all around with the best soprano pyrotechnics of the night. This show could win it all but cleaning it is going to be challenging.

A full Olympic retreat was nice to see. I don't think anyone played the corps on, though, thought that was kinda weird. ( )

Souvie tables, etc.: I caught up with Frank Ponzo at Moe Knox's table. He was picking up a great shot of Cos with the corps in the background. I got choked up, no lie. Cabs table was cheery and packed with goodies as usual. No, I didn't say hi or buy anything but by then the rumors were flying and I was trying to get the lowdown. I did pick up a long sleeve Hurcs shirt. I was wearing my "Drum Corps Is Evil" shirt all night and put my SCV jacket on when it got colder. I had a burger and a dog to hold me for the ride home, not too expensive and tasty. The crowd in general was buoyant and happy to be there. I caught the Statesmen's victory concert and they sure gave it up. I especially liked the rendition of Grand Old Flag, very drum corps, the crowd just loved it. I think everyone got their money's worth and the drum corps community at large can be proud of the 2001 Barnum Fest Champions on Parade presentation.

As far as the unpleasantness is concerned, I was in the Cabs camp when it came down. I didn't hear any gloating or whining or unprofessionalism. My heart goes out to the judge in question, I'm sure she is sick about it all. I have always felt, though there certainly are politics in drum corps, the people doing the judging are not meanspirited or "out to get" anyone. They love this activity, too. I would never want to judge a show. But if our activity was not judged, it would certainly not be what it is today, if in existence at all. Like a black spot on a clean whiteboard, sometimes d&bc fans only focus on the errors/problems/politics of our activity. There may be tons of positives but they talk about the negatives. That is the nature of a judged activity where even the slightest error can be seen by the hotdog chomping one-time fan. I appreciate Tom Peashey's damage control efforts and I think DCA has opened up more than they really have to on this issue. I always tell folks who express disappointments during a season, "Make sure you know why you're here. If it's to win and score well, you will not have as much fun or success as you will focused on playing your instrument, being with friends and sharing a summer with a united group."

Long live drum corps!

John Bermudez

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