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

Page Four 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: scores@soundmachine.org
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Friday July 6

Stockton, CA (DCI Pacific)

Due to traffic getting to and into the stadium (hey, Stockton's a bustling city of over 250,000 now), I missed the Southern Oregon Crusaders and Esperanza. I came in halfway through the performance by...

IMPULSE (64.90 - 4th place, Division II)
36 brass, 33 percussion (10s, 6q, 4c, 5b, 8p), 9 guard.
I liked what I heard and saw. The fun and antics I feel do have a place in Drum Corps, and they've been sorely missed since VK folded. Impulse performed a South Seas show, featuring music from "Bali Hai", "Hawaiian Wedding Song", and "Hawaiian War Chant". The brass line was clean, but the book was fairly easy. The large percussion line was good, and the drum line feature was the highlight of the show.

VANGUARD CADETS (72.75 - 2nd place, Division II)
36 brass, 34 percussion (10s, 4q, 5c, 5b, 10p), 22 guard.
Another lower division corps with a mammoth percussion line which was their strongest feature. The brass line was terribly weak and top heavy (only 4 contras). The drum line was excellent, as clean as Impulse's with a much harder book. There were a lot of drops in the guard, especially in the opener, "Tempered Steel". They also played "Partita" by Phillip Sparke, and "The Gift of Love" and "Time to Take Back the Knights" by Stephen Melillo. Nowhere near as good as the 2000 corps. They had a decent enough visual program, but their brass line will keep them from repeating as Division II champions if they are indeed going back to Buffalo.

BLUE DEVILS "B" (65.00 - 3rd place, Division II)
19 brass, 30 percussion (6s, 4q, 5b, 3c, 12p), 20 guard.
A tiny, tiny hornline. Only 1 contra. The hornline was weak, and had bad attack and intonation problems, even with an easy program. The percussion was clean, but didn't have as challenging parts as the previous two corps. The guard was good. Playing "Dance Movements" by Phillip Sparke, I was amazed they beat out Impulse, who I thought was much better.

MANDARINS (78.15 - 1st place, Division II)
27 brass, 24 percussion (6s, 3q, 5b, 10p), 16 guard.
Completing the inaugural Division II "Phillip Sparke Festival", the Mandarins played "Music for a Festival", "Variations on an Enigma", "Mountain Song", and "Partita", all by Phillip Sparke. They were far and away the best corps in Division II, and I will be stunned if anyone can compete with them this year. They have a Division I difficulty level in their show, and they perform it very well. Their Visual program is sensational this year, highlighted by a guard company front rifle toss, with the corps forming a company front behind them while the rifles are in the air. From there, the corps speeds into a swirling, criss-crossing drills that would make the Cadets proud. Give this corps 60 more kids and they'd make finals, I guarantee it. Simply amazing.

BLUE KNIGHTS (75.40 - 4th place, Division I)
62 brass, 28 percussion (7s, 5q, 4b, 12p), 36 guard.
Performing: "Cartoon" by Paul Hart, "Black Market Juggler" by Joseph Zawinul, and Hanna/Barbera's "Johnny Quest" theme song. I liked this show a lot more than I thought I would. Speaking of "goofing off", BK appears to have channeled the spirit of VK this season! This show reminds me of VK's 92 and 93 shows. There are several terrific antics in the show, including a horn player chasing a guard girl through the swirling drill of the rest of the corps. The percussion, guard, and visual program are all impressive. The Blue Knights will live and die this year through their brass. As of Friday night, the brass line was terribly weak. They're fairly clean, but utterly lacking in power. Best case scenario: the hornline shapes up, and BK finishes in the top 6 again. Worst case scenario: the hornline doesn't shape up, other corps clean up more and pass them, dropping BK into a 7-10 spot. I scored them: 74.25

BLUE DEVILS (85.60 - 1st place, Division I)
63 brass, 27 percussion (9s, 5q, 5b, 8p), 39 guard.
Performing: "Awayday" by Adam Gorb, and "Fantasy Variations" by Donald Grantham. Adam Gorb's piece is a tribute to old-time American musicals, and it shows in the Devils' production. BD is the total package this year. They have the usual: smokin' brass, world class guard, and a great visual program. They also have everything else: a great drumline (best they've been since 1996) and a terrific effect package. They remind me of their 1994 corps, and indeed, I see flashes of the 94 show in this program. They left me with the question: can anyone beat the Blue Devils this year? Best case scenario: they stay right on track a blow everyone else away en route to an 11th championship. Worst case scenario: they peak too early, and other corps catch or pass them (refer to: 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000). I scored them: 85.50

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD (83.35 - 2nd place, Division I)
64 brass, 32 percussion (9s, 4q, 5c, 5b, 9p), 37 guard.
Performing: "Alarm", "Short Ride in a Fast Machine" by John Adams, "Jug Blues and Fat Pickin'" by Donald Freund, "Variants on a Medieval Tune" by Norman Dello Joio, and "New Era Dance" by Alan Jay Kernis. I did not have to wait long for an answer to my question. SCV was phenomenal, and got seriously jobbed. BD may have been better, but they sure weren't 2.25 points better. The show starts out with one of the 5 bass drummers at each corner and one dead center on the 50, with the corps a big zig-zag from bottom center to mid-upper right on the field. The show starts with 15-20 seconds of near silent drill, with only the slight tinkling of bells in the pit. Suddenly, the whole ensemble comes to an immediate halt in a big block and unleashes a full bore blast into the stands. The guard cuts loose with white/silver flags with flourescent orange edges. Quite an opening! SCV has a killer drumline and (in my opinion) a far better visual book and more effective show than either the Devils or the Cadets. I was immensely impressed with this show and can't wait to see how well they do this August in Buffalo. They're a little dirtier than BD right now, which is the only thing I can think of that caused the scoring gap. They ate it tonight in the Brass and Ensemble Performance captions. Best case scenario: their hornline and guard clean up enough to hold their own against the Devils, the drums and visual program should do the rest; definite Championship contender. Worst case scenario: things never quite gel, and they don't pass up either the Cavvies or the Devils; I don't see SCV finishing lower than 3rd at finals. I scored them: 85.25

THE CADETS (83.20 - 3rd place, Division I) 60 brass, 28 percussion (8s, 5q, 5b, 10p), 38 guard. Performing: "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" by Benjamin Britten, "Moondance" by Van Morrison, "Vide Cor Meum" by Patrick Cassidy, and "Farandole" by Georges Bizet. Okay, trivia time: what does "Moondance" have in common with the Cadets' other selections? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. And that, my friends, is the Cadets' problem. Much like you would think with a pop tune amidst classical selections, this show just doesn't mesh. All of the individual pieces are excellently arranged and performed, but there's no "flow" between them at all. Is like the Cadets' staff got FOUR shows ideas, and just couldn't pick one, so they did a spot of each. It's this disjointedness that will keep them from being a Championship contender; the show just lacks the fire and the effectual "punch" that BD and SCV have. As far as the lying down during "Vide Cor Meum" goes, I don't see why everyone's in such a furor. I timed it: they aren't even stationary for 45 seconds. The Blue Knights stood in one spot for longer in their ballad, so why's everyone ragging on the Cadets for being motionless for half a minute? The highlight of the show is, by far, Farandole, the new (?) closer. It contains a terrific, lightning fast horn run, and the best drill out of any of the four movements. Best case scenario: um, this program design was a mistake from the beginning... best the Cadets can do is keep it together and keep any the "upstarts" from knocking them out of 4th place at finals. Worst case scenario: the show stays awkwards, and the Cadets are passed by one or more of the following: Glassmen, Phantom Regiment, Boston Crusaders, or Crossmen. I scored them: 82.25

So, if I had been the only judge, the results would have been:
85.50 Blue Devils (Music GE, Visual Ens., Guard, Brass Perf., Ens. Perf., High Music)
85.20 Santa Clara Vanguard (Visual GE, High GE, Visual Perf., High Visual, Percussion Perf.)
82.25 The Cadets
74.25 Blue Knights

Elito Burrito


Stockton was great again this year, especially with having the Cadets there. The crowd seemed asleep until Blue Devils C came on the field. All of a sudden they woke up and became very vocal for all of the Div 1 Corps, which really sucked for the Div 2 and 3 Corps. UOP is always a great place for a Drum Corps show, and they weather was perfect.

I missed the first few Corps:Esperanza and Impulse because I was busy with my Corps, the Southern Oregon Crusaders, so my review starts with SCVC.

Vanguard Cadets: The hornline didn't seem as "on" as they did in the Northwest, but the visual aspect of the Corps was on fire. The battery had yet another great show, and overall it was a great performance. My favorite part of the show as always was the opener. I only wished they were going to Buffalo this year, because they would be shooting for the top again. The Percussion section would easily win again in Buffalo. Thank you Vanguard Cadets.

BDB: Much improvement over last year. Drumline was playing alot of notes with little clarity and musicality. Hornline was small as always but produced a pretty good sound. The guard work was very easy but pretty clean. The Corps marched pretty well as an ensemble and was pretty impressed with their technique. As an overall performance, the Corps was pretty flat and dull. Wish the Corps the best of luck in the future and hope that they will return to a full tour.

Mandarins: WOW!!!! This Corps is going to be great in Buffalo. They just need to clean the drumline and some of the drill and they will easily win. This Corps is really going for it, the difficulty is up there with all the Div 1 Corps. Cannot wait to see them kill the other Div 2 Corps in the late season. Thank you Mandarins. Prediction:Div 2 Champs and Semi-Finals.

Blue Knights: I've been seeing them since the Boise show and man am I already tired of this show. I'm wondering what the design staff was thinking after last year. This Corps had been making the move up to the top 6, and I believe that this will be lucky to be in the top 10. The drumline is a big rip off of old school Bridgemen, and they stand still way too much during there drumsolo. Not clean at all. The color guard is alright, but I really don't know too much about guard really. The hornline seems okay, but not as good as the last few years. The drill looks like a bunch of blobs moving around on the field and no real forms. The show just does nothing for me at all. It is obvious that they were going for the crowd response which is good, however I wish they wouldn't do that. I think it is a step in the wrong direction for the Blue Knights.
Prediction:10th

Blue Devils: This Corps is pretty damn clean already for it being the beginning of July. The drill is more difficult than in years past, and their guard is pretty damn good. The hornline doesn't have much of a balance comparitive to the other Corps in the night, and the drumline I was not impressed with. I like how they brought back "ditty" for the 6-0!!! The 14 bassdrums I DID NOT LIKE AT ALL!!!! It was a visually week moment and it wasn't even very difficult stuff. The only cool part about it was the last run they do from top to bottom and then back up top, nice! The drumline plays with very little musicality, everything is played at like 15 inches, yuck! The show is very clean as an ensemble, however I think the show doesn't have enough room to grow to keep them in the number 1 spot. The show is kinda flat and made me go blah!
Prediction:3rd or 4th. High guard.

Santa Clara Vanguard: DAMN!!!!! This Corps is going for it this year. The design of this show is incredible. From the beginning of the show, the drill is extremly difficult. The Bb horns sound great. This is probably the best hornline I've heard from them. The guard is awesome, they just need to clean it up a little bit. The theme of the watches throughout the show is simply amazing. The watch in the uniform, the arrows on their uniform and the use of time is stunning. The guard has some of the hardest colorguard work I have seen and their ensemble flag phrases, both at the beginning and at the end are beautiful. The drumline plays with EXTREME musicality and class with nice clarity. All this Corps needs is some time to clean up the drill and guard, and they should be right up there in the top! My favorite moment was the opener when the end snaredrum breaks away from the drumline and marches inbetween the hornline. I love the "New Era" chant and the bottle dance that the guard does. The crowd ate that up. Thank you Vanguard for giving me yet another favorite drum corps show.
Prediction:1st place. High GE, Percussion.

The Cadets: NICE!!!! The first phrase told me that the Gino has been doing his job with that hornline! Extememly difficult horn book that is already played pretty damn well. The guard is the week point of the Corps, but is still pretty good. The drill during Moondance is yet to be desired, but there is plenty of visual stuff going on with the hornline to make it more interesting that '95's swing swing swing. Durning the ballad, I loved how the hornline was lying down and playing with such a beautiful sound! The closer drill is great again! The drumline is pretty damn good. Snares and basses are good as usual, but the tenors are yet to be desired. I didn't like how long they played the sets, but oh well. The drum book is very well written, just needs to clean up a little. This show is great, and after it cleans up, it will be right up in the top.
Prediction:2nd. High Brass, and Visual.

That's all I have for now. I hope I didn't forget anything.

Nate Moddison
SOC Staff 2001


Wednesday July 4

Beverly, MA (DCI Atlantic)

Well, after a drive from NYC I was finally at my first show of the season (the latest first show in years for me). The weather was perfect and the venue typical for a small contest. I was seated on the seventh row on the 45 yardline. So I can't comment too much on drill. And despite all of the negative things I say below, I really did enjoy the contest and all of the corps and I commend all of the performers for a job well-done.

East Coast Jazz: Well, they were a nice start for the show. They are smaller than the last time I saw them, but in the small venue managed to produce plenty of sound (21 horns I believe). Their show was good for their level, Latin music such as the Chick Corea pieces they played are perfect for a D3 corps. And I was glad to see that the part of the show they ran several times during rehearsal was pulled off at the performance. However, they need to spend HOURS doing fundamentals! The feet were everywhere and the technique was inconsistent and it really affected their sound. With work they should do well at D3 Finals though.

Spirit: Thank you Spirit for the only true goosebump moment of the night for me (the reference to "Let it Be Me" at the end, just right!).I have to admit that I was a little concerned about the uniform change, but these uniforms look really nice on the field -- really pop! They are infinitely better sounding than the past few years and they actually manage to play the really articulated passages without their tongues hanging out of their bells (which I considered a Spirit trademark to this point). Drumline is definitely solid and a really nice pit. Guard-- well I am just glad to see that the guard is actually doing something (which until now they were pretty much called upon to simply be on the field). The main reason why they are losing to Crown at this point is the visual performance. They march better than last year, but they seriously need to address technical issues, but more importantly, INTERVALS!!! At times there were gaping holes in the formations. Maybe they sound so good becasue that is what they have worked on. Well, it's time to look as good as you sound. If they can do that, watch out.

Crown: I am glad to see the unique vision that Crown has brought to the field this year. I really enjoyed their program. They actually sounded pretty solid (which I rarely say about the Crown hornline). Two things really stood out though. 1) drumline -- outstanding again this year. Exposed a lot and really rising to the occasion. 2) colorguard -- easily the hardest working guard of the night. So much to do, so little time. If they can clean up what they are doing, they could very easily pass XMen and BAC's guard. Marching was much stronger than usual from Crown, but still nowhere near clean. One final note, rework the end of the ballad, it really didn't work tonight, and also, are they using practice silks or are those the actual silks?

Crossmen: I liked the show, but it felt a little flat to me tonight (at least I hope that explains it). the opener was hot, but the show just seemed to drag a bit after that. Oh yeah, the corps did march a contest the day before in Bristol and marched in two parades, so that could explain some fatigue. The guard is solid, but someone really should teach them to dance. Also, is there a rule that guard must do EVERYTHING with that insipid smile on their faces? the dance sequence when the guys and girls are dancing in a "seductive" fashion really looses its impact when they all have a Donny and Marie Show smile on their faces! Beyond that, the hornline is FANTASTIC!!! And the drum line is better than recent years. The demand is not that high visually, it will be interesting to see if they can hold their spot. But, if you have a pulse, you will be tapping your foot to the music and enjoy their show this year.

Boston: They have increased the demand on the hornline, but right now, they just aren't doing so well. They sounded awful last night. Yes, they were loud, but at what cost? The ensemble sound really suffered as individuals decided to blow their guts out. Furthermore, they lack the control required to really sell the Adams music. His music creates such tension, but BAC just is nor doing it right now. The drum line is more of presence than last year, but not a top 6 calibre line. And the guard . . . well, I believe that they only use silks 2 times during the show as an ensemble. The rest of the time they use weapons. I know a lot of people were turned off by that, but I submit that anyone who has seen their silks this year would agree that they should hang o t the weapons as LONG AS POSSIBLE! Yuck!!!! Their uniforms are hideous and when we get the big impact when they all unveil the big Orange flags -- well, words can describe just how awful it looks (imagine, a field covered with red jackets, mustard pants, and big flags that incorporate various shades of orange) Well, it's like the worst Glassmen colors all together at one time, yuck! Well, the colors just get worse, so come prepared! I think they can be passed by Crown if they are not careful. Even at the show in Boston, the Crowd did not react the way they had the past couple of years. Without the crowd, there really was no spark to their performance. I was very disappointed.

Cadets: I must preface my review by saying that I am a huge Cadets fan. that being said, this is the worst cadets show I have ever seen. the show is very confused and even more confusing to watch. I understand the whole intellectual aspect of the juxtaposition of different genres of music and how each can generate ge in their own right. But right now, the whole does not equal the sum of its parts. the hornline was SLOPPY last night -- especially Farandole (I believe Glassmen did it better in their Bizet show). And why ar ethey playing the extended play version of Moondance? And why does the corps spend so much time NOT marching? And why do they have so very few big ensemble drill moves? And even more importantly, why do they end so many of their moves not by hitting their mark and standing there for all to see, but instead, hit a mark and then disolve into free flow meandering or body positioning? They have several cool moments, but the total package is one jumbled mess! either they couldn't decide what to do, so they tried to do everything or they wanted to show everyone that they are the Cadets and they can do anything that any other corps can do, so they try to do a little of everyone's style. One note, don't lie on the field just for the sake of lying on the field. visually it does nothing and all it does is add to the time that the corps spends NOT marching. Finally, the guard was nowhere near as solid and confident as I have come to expect from the Cadets -- Anyone know why that is? If they are not careful, they might get caught by one of the pack of solid corps that seem to be having good years from the second tier (PR, GMen). Even so, there are enough problems with this show's desing that the best I can see for it is to be in the same position SCV was last year -- comfortably ahead of #5, but not really close to #3.

Bluedevils: OK, those who know me are going to be very confused by reading this review because i normally love the Cadets, but dislike the Bluedevils. Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I actually enjoyed the devils last night. they were easily the best last night and quite frankly, I am amazed that the Cadets were as close as they were. Although parts of the show do sound like every other Bluedevils show from the last 6 or 7 years (the opening "blat" 2,3,4, "blat""blat" 3,4 and the constant use of dissonant chords) other parts really had a fresh new quality to them. The hornline was hands down the strongest of the night, but it was disappointing to see the soprano soloist completely miss on his squeel when he was the ONLY person playing -- I've never seen a soloist build to a note and then attempt to play it and only have the sound of air blowing through his horn result. ok, drumline cool, but don't really like the bass drum thing. guard, easily the best of the night. So strong, confident and capable of selling the show. And boy can they dance! I usually hate that, but it really worked well for them in this show. the only problem for them right now is that they are sooo much cleaner than the Cadets and yet the spread really doesn't seem to reflect it. in my opinion, the Cadets, with what I saw last night, do not deserve to be anywhere near as close to the Bluedevils as they are. Cavies and SCV are the only threats for BD right now. But we'll see how things go.

James L.


Sunday July 1

Haledon, NJ (GSC)

I apologize for the incomplete review, but thunderstorms caused a show delay or cancellation about 3 minutes into Phoenix's show. I left at that time due to the weather outlook.....I'm not sure if the show went on, but here is my review of what I saw.

Long Island Sound, Quest Explorers, & Phoenix Kidets were all scheduled to perform, but I did not get to see any of them (if they were all even there) b/c I was getting changed from my own exhibition performance. I did see Phoenix Kidets warm up a little though and it was nice to hear the staff pointing out things to the young kids....for example, I heard an instructor point out the marching technique of the Lehigh Valley Knights drumline as they marched to warm-ups, GSC Division IV is a great place for young kids to get started.

Lehigh Valley Knights---22 brass, 6 cg, 7 pit, 4 snares, 4 basses, 2 tenors, 1 cymbal, 1 drum major. I thought the guard uniforms were really nice, black pants with gray dresses over them. They matched the corps' uniforms well and looked great. There was some great body work in the brass line during the drum feature in the second tune. Marching/body movements were dirty at times, but they are attempting some difficult stuff out there and it's going to be great soon. The corps finished the show in an arc with the guard standing at attention, I'm guessing the drill/work isn't finished or at least isn't solid enough as far as the staff is concerned. I was very impressed with the corps' inaugural show though. Good job LVK!

Raiders---17 brass, 8 cg, 5 pit, 3 snares, 4 basses, 1 tenor, 1 dm. The corps is taking some chances with a difficult book (especially brass) for a small corps. Some individual problems throughout, mostly due to the exposure. The show finish was strong and powerful, the crowd liked it a lot. Unfortunately, the guard didn't have work for the last 1/3 of the show. They marched drill but just held on to the flags. 1 guard member didn't know the work during most of the show, but did the drill...it became distracting at times b/c it broke up the continuity of the flags. The brass sound overall was very good when balanced.

Spirit of Newark---14 brass, 6 cg, 8 pit, 2 dm, no battery. The first thing I thought as the corps took the field was, "No marching battery, I hate when this happens," but I must say the corps did a good job designing a show that worked well without a battery. They used all members of the corps well, one dm played a soprano solo in the opener. In the pit, they had drum racks, cymbals, tympanis, bongos, bass drums, a gong, and a couple snares. This pit drowned at the hornline in the opener, but was put to excellent use after that. The third tune was an all-out party, felt like a nightclub. The pit pounded out some grooves while the guard danced and the hornline set up two vertical lines about 5 yards apart and individual horn players went to the middle of the lines to dance and party. There wasn't much technical marching, but it was fun. One of the DM's even had his own dance feature. A little disappointed at the lack of marching, traditional guard work, etc, but it was fun to watch. Check out the pit, especially during the 3rd tune....it'll be hard to miss!

Phoenix---13 brass (+ dm's at times), 11 cg, 3 pit, 4 snares, 3 basses, 2 tenors, 2 dm. When the corps lined up to start, it looked as if they are missing bass 2. I'm not sure if that's b/c they are only marching 3 basses and they had an interval problem or if someone couldn't be in the show for some reason. They opened up the show big and strong. There was a great output for the size of the hornline. The corps had a great opening of the show, but was the DM was instructed to lead the corps off the field after the first tune do to lightning in the area.

It was disappointing for the corps' members as you could see on their faces as they tried to figure out how to get off the field from the end of the opener, but the judges/show coordinators made a good call by not taking the chance. Thunderstorms lasted in the area for a few hours. I didn't stick around for the rain delay for various reasons, so I'm not sure if the show continued or if any scores were announced. All in all though, I liked what I saw quite a bit. Small crowd probably due to the weather, but a crowd that appreciated the corps' efforts.

Matt


Saturday June 30

Seattle, WA (DCI Pacific)

My friend and I had premo seats, right on the 50, fairly high up. A good time was had by all. I don't have the scores, but I'll go in score order.

Renegades Sr.-These guys are thoroughly entertaining, and they really get into their show. some sweet, screaming solos add to it a lot, but they don't quite over do it, which is nice. they beat NW venture by about 13 points.

Northwest Venture Sr.-These guys are gettin a lot better, I know it's their first year on the field. They were fun to watch, but they didn't sell their show like Renegades did. but for the first year marching, it was awesome.

Alliance-These guys are coming right along. I think their score jumped four points or so from last night. They're very small, though, and often time the drumline would overpower the hornline. hopefully that'll get fixed.

So. Oregon Crusaders-Another corps that is coming right along. They've improved a lot from last year. I don't really remember anything from their show, though, sorry.

Vanguard Cadets-I don't really feel either way about their show. They played it pretty well, they sold it well, but it just didn't do it for me. There were some nice loud spots, of course, but other than that, pretty average.

Seattle Cascades-I of course am biased because I know about ten people who march with them, but I loved their show. It kept me wanting more and anticipating. and of course, Adam McFarlin's solo while encircled by the color guard was awesome (no personal bias there, I swear). These guys have gone up 5 points in the last two days, and they're beating SCVC every time. if they keep this up, there's no stopping them.

Pacific Crest-I was not that impressed with their show. None of the music was that great and one of the cymbal players ran into another cymbal player. I don't think they played it as well as they could have which is too bad.

SCV-Man, these guys are awesome. Their opener is killer. I'm not gonna give away what happens except to say that what the opener is called makes sense. I loved their show, I don't know what else to say. It's not quite as technical as last year's, and the drill isn't quite as challenging, but it is much more fun to watch. They scored 81.something. They're on their way up.

BK-They had a really cool drum solo, but other than that, nothing memorable. I don't really see these guys goin anywhere, I'm sorry. The show just didn't do it for me.

Hope that was helpful. Of course, half these corps people west of colorado won't see, but oh well.

--Greg


Hello All - I wanted to through my $0.02 for the Seattle, Washington, DCI show, Saturday, June 30. I was accompanied by my father-in-law (Darrell) and nephew (Derek) who were both first timers. It was indeed almost as fun watching their reactions to the corps as it was watching the corps. I must say the presence of the USMC (back at the concessions booths) was quite impressive and seemed to validate to my guests that drum corps was a "really cool thing." I also regretted not pressing my brother-in-law (a leatherneck veteran, with a bulldog tattoo to boot) to come with us! We were seated between the 30 and 35 yard line at a good height so we saw most of the action...

Renegades Sr.-This corps is indeed "fun" to watch. My hat goes off to the sop soloist who actually started as a Color Guard member and picked up his horn about halfway through to perform a wailing solo as well as a part in an ensemble group. I especially liked their rendition of "One More Time, Chick Corea" which conjured up some old BD memories (1981, 1982). Hey folks, next time play "Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor" and I'll fax a pizza to your corps hall, I promise!

Northwest Venture Sr.-This corps was quite a bit smaller than the Renegades with lots of horn problems, mainly due to exposure of individuals. They had some very nice moments in their show and harkened memories from Madison (Malaguena), SCV (Evita) and the Muchachos (uniforms, sans flair leg pants, and style). Venture was appropriately placed about 13 points behind the Renegades.

Alliance-OK, at this point, my nephew was pretty much ready for a hot dog (he's 12 and eats most everything that isn't hammered to the floor). Regrettably, I missed the entire Alliance show while standing the "chow line." My father-in-law said that they were the best unit so far; My hats off to these folks and their corps director, Patrick Marks, who is a quality guy as well as an established author, an actor with 2 Emmies under his belt and a father of three. Where does he find the time?!

So. Oregon Crusaders-This corps is coming along and had a lot of talent considering their small size. With only 12H/5G/??D, they were easily the smallest corps of the night. You can tell that the male colorguard member in the orange shirt probably wrote most of the CG book. His execution level was pretty amazing and both guys (weapons) were catching 5's and 6's as if they were in the Cavies - great job, men! Like Venture, these folks had exposure problems galore (I know, duh?!)... Firebird was probably way too ambitious for 20 horns, let alone 12.

Vanguard Cadets-Wow, these folks have matured, skipping puberty and moving in to compete with the big boys. I had not seen them since 1997 and they have gone through an amazing transition. Are you sure this is a feeder corps!? I know folks have posted earlier that they were below the standard of the 2000 SCVC, but I was certainly impressed. The only distractions were the small hornline relative to drums and CG (probably around 36 horns which is approximately 16 too few) and the lack of ensemble moments in the horn section. I know this corps can probably blend well together. However, the demanding drill precluded a really full, ensemble sound! But, heck - It's June and this is a "feeder corps" (I guess...). So again, I was extremely impressed.

Both my father-in-law and nephew were now on the edge of their seats for the rest of the night!

Seattle Cascades-Let it be said, drum corps is now "back in full swing" in the Northwest. These folks ROCKED the hometown crowd, much to our delight! The pit percussion of this group was really the highlight - I especially enjoyed them in the victory concert afterwards. It is also great to see a full-sized corps from the NW as us old timers remember back when the Seattle Imperials used to march two contras. I'd heard reports that the Cascades were running at about 108 total members. I'd dare say that they have increased in size since that report (I was too busy enjoying the show to count members!). Their score had risen an amazing 5 points in three nights, indicating that they are hot on the heels of MANDARIN for the Division II title. Apparently, the Div. III crown last year served to whet their appetites for "loftier titles." Congratulations guys - I'll continue to pressure my nephew to swell your ranks in future years!

Pacific Crest-Holy Cow! Sell some so. cal. real estate and use the money for a national tour! These guys were hot! Full sized and cookin'! At one point, the entire CG tossed rifles (triple or quad, simultaneously, no cheating ripple-effects here) and I did not see a drop! Also had one of the best mellophone sections of the night - I got chills! If these folks toured and practiced full-time, they would be a shoo-in for the top 12! I understand the concept and the draw for membership (I went to summer school 2 of 3 summers when I was in college and marched only one year, SkyRyders, 1981, back when dinosaurs [and George Tuthill] roamed the earth)! But it would be fun to load 'em all in an airplane and head to Buffalo in August! 67 was an accurate score for these folks!

SCV-Like everyone else, the opener caught me quite off-guard. My father-in-law and nephew (and one lady behind us) got more of a kick watching me startle than watching the show (sorry SCV, I'm but a mere distraction in the bleachers). The one guard member is a shoo-in for the Academy Award for "best performance as a clock pendulum." From that point on, this show was pure entertainment! The antics during "Fast Pickin'" were hilarious - Also, the hornline gave us the first full corps, ensemble sound of the night! No splats or clams - just lush, powerful sound! As mentioned in an earlier review, the New Era chant is effective for 10 seconds (24 counts) and then fast becomes old. You can tell this is one of those "gimmicks" that is more fun to perform than to observe! The only reason I make this comment is so that someone from the staff can see this and change it, because I sincerely want SCV to take it all this year! It was great to see the 1999 sliding block drill move back in the book - CG and marching in general looked like... well, like it was still June! However, let there be no doubt, this IS a championship-calibre show!

BK-This show has amazing potential and is one of the most difficult I've seen BK attempt! Unfortunately, it was apparent that the corps performed a "tired show" and must have been "too pooped to poop" from the travel, practice, etc. The problem with this is that the show (as written) won't sell unless the kids "sell it" (o.k., sue me... or at least send me flame emails...). The CARTOON backdrop make sense with the white CG unis with all sorts of whimsical splashes and also the beautiful but cartoon-like Brenda Vang silks. The horn line is also great at their "shtick," hopping and dancing, with some of the best "dancers among horn players" of DCI featured during the "Rhapsody in Blue" segment. However, the CG book is written and executed more appropriately for a more serious show like Trittico or Ben Hur! Too much artistry (did I say that?) and not enough "pie-in-the-face." My assignment for your guard staff is to watch old tapes of the 1978 27th Lancers (Gaite Parissiene), 1981 SCV (Slava), and 1998 Crown (oh, about the entire show) to learn a lesson in writing and selling humor! The rest of this show (concept, drill, horn and drum books) says DCI top-5 all over it!

The show finished up with an exhibition from the USMC Silent Drill Team which was as awesome as ever! Careful with those fixed bayonets, men!

God Bless!

Brian Hooker


Clifton, NJ (DCI Atlantic)

Got there nice and early and caught the blue devils and cadets clinic..not bad...not what i expected either. Every other clinic i've been to was full of questions and answers between the corps and the crowd..but today it was basically full ensamble rehearsal the whole time..it really wasn't a clinic at all. The two corps just took the time to clean more. After hte clinic i went out into the lot where i found BD snares rehearsing some stuff...and lemme tell you..WOW these guys are smokin!!!and thats an understatement. Extremely clean for this time of the year..but they were also standing still so that comes into play..but yeah..they were on fire.

Raiders-53.55
Well theres really not too much i have to say about this corp. They're a D3 corp and Im just gonna give em credit for coming out and playing before 7 other top notch D1 corps. Overall the show was decent..obvious cleaning to be done..but i gotta say good job..i give the smaller corps all the credit in the world.

Spirit-67.40
BINGO!!!!They beat Crown tonight. Very good show..this was the second time I saw it..and I liked it the first time..but liked it even more this time. Ghost Train is great..the opening train effect is tremendous. The drumline was cleaner tonight than they were in philly, but i dont think the hornline was as loud..but effect wise..they were great. Obvious cleaning still needs to be done with the feet and intervals..but that will be worked on..cant wait to see this corp in august.

Crown-67.15
The show is there, but it just doesn't make any sense. The industry effect they're giving off is good...but where in the music does that theme come into play? It just seems to me that these are two totally different themes. The drumline is great, and from what i saw in the lot they are pretty young, so they still have room to grow. Hornline is pretty powerful, better then Spirits anyway. Guard was good..dont like the unis that much though..blending is a problem.

Crossmen-73.00
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!The take over has started. Crossmen beat Boston tonight, and it was well deserved. I think they beat boston last night too, but what i think and whats put on paper are two different things. These guys are smokin baby. Constant crowd pleaser. The Crossmen have the crowd under their belt. Great hornline, soloists are phenomenal. Drumline is great. Best line i've seen from the crossmen in a few years. Tenors play crazy notes man! and the snares have some pretty juiced stuff themselves. Overall drill is pretty easy, but they perform it well, and its only going to get better. I can definately see this corp competing in the 5-7 spot come august. LETS GO CROSSMEN!!!

Cavaliers-80.45
Tonight these guys were also smokin. The begining of the show was once again incomplete as the flag routine was messed up. Once thats completed it will be a beautiful thing. Drumline was very clean tonight. A lot cleaner than last night anyway. I dig the flashbacks to last year with the head bobbing rock part. Crowd really gets into that part. Guard is great like usual, and im sure a lot of stuff is going to be added. If anyone is going to beat BD i think it will be Cavies. A lot of cleaning is still yet to be done.

BD-81.65
This was definately the best corp out there tonight. Very well polished for this early in the season. Drumline was smokin!!!!!Tenors play more notes than i've ever seen. Great job out there. Guard was really good tonight, better than last night again. Visually I enjoyed the package more tonight than i did last night. Soloists were great..but they were second behind the Crossmen soloist. I cant see this show getting too much better than it already is. Too clean for this early in the season. I think they're going to peak too early. But we cant say that for sure until august.

BAC-72.95
Very good show. Visually entertaining. I can see them staying in the 5-8 slot...but not any better then that, and the 5 spot may be stretching it. Drumline is very solid, it can finally back the program up, but horns are holding the corp back a little bit. Ballad was beautiful tonight. Like every other corp out there, cleaning needs to be done..and it will be interesting where this corp places come august.

CADETS-79.70
Cant find it in me to like this show yet. I cant see this show going anywhere past 3rd this year, music isn't there at all. And the hornline isn't as ballsy as it has been in the past. Moondance is good..but i dont like how the tenors just sit on the drumset for a while not playing anything. But like usual i think good ol' George will make some moves come mid july, and we'll see an end of the season charge from the Cadets like usual, so im not counting them out at all.

OVERALL-
Very good show. Cant believe tomorrow is only the 1st of july, cant wait to hear these guys come august. Should be very intersting all the way through..1-12.. Cant see BD winning it because i think they'll plateu eventually. Cavies are giving them a run for their money now, and Cavies still have a lot of cleaning to do. I think we'll see Cavs at the top this year...by themselves!!!no TIE!!!!

Steelaman


Here is my review of Clifton; opposing views welcome; this is a democracy.

Full crowd, muggy and humid..a brief shower before showtime, then weather held.

Raiders: good effort by a small division III corps. Drill may have been a bit ambitious for the experience level of this group, but some good instruction was evident.

Spirit: they have some strong moments, and decent talent....musical book could use more continuity, and guard could do more to enhance visual package, which seems stronger overall than recent years. Percussion was in decent shape, especially snares. How the music develops over the season and whether they can become a highly proficient unit will determine their August fate.

Crown: Horn performance was not very strong tonight, and they really need to work on supporting their sound. Music quite dissonant at times, and seems very disjunct. Guard uses tires, which may be unusual but just doesn't create effect for me. I'm not a visual guy, but also the guard uniforms come off somewhat bland. Percussion has a cymbal feature which is interesting but continues far too long. Drumline is decent, but a high and dry snare sound did not help them tonight. My gut feeling on this product is that they will have to get it quite clean to make the last show in Buffalo, as this is not looking like a real crowd pleasing program at this point.

Crossmen: huge surprise. FINE hornline. Powerful, fine soloists, and an interesting and entertaining book. The quality of brass sound is the best they've had in several years. Drumline performs well and the book compliments the brass. Snares tuned too high making them hard to hear at times. Color guard really enhances visual book and makes it work. They are going to have a fun year that should end on an upswing....I thought they were scored too low, as they performed at a strong level for June.

Cavaliers: great visual show, CG, and percussion. However, major concerns with brass. Definite quality of sound issues in many places, and the book is very disjunct with too much use of dissonance and fragmented phrases. Major battery tacet in middle of show. Wonderful pit/keyboard section. Many articulation difficulties throughout the hornline, especially in the first third of the show. Sopranos had major support difficulties tonight, and the hornline also did not have enough dynamic contrast, especially having trouble generating impact. Visual sells their show, but I just don't see where the music numbers are coming from, as both the brass book and performance level are IMO not up to snuff for a contender. No way this was an 80 tonight with the brass problems evident. Show comes off as "drill with musical accompaniment" as opposed to vice versa.

Blue Devils: very fine. They are obviously very well-prepared, and frankly I thought they 5 pointed this field tonight. Nobody was close to them in brass performance and book, as they maintained excellent blend, balance, intonation, support, and control that was exceptional for June, and are already developing some fine phrasing/expression. Fine leads/soloists. Last year, a weak (for them) snare line may have cost them big time in percussion; don't look for that this year, because they and the whole line are playing very well. Color guard is fine and well-integrated and does much to sell the visual show/coordination. The whole corps marched great for June. If they can max out dynamic range and emotion while getting razor clean (which they will be), they might run the table this year.

Boston: Good drill and guard integration. Music has exciting moments, but the book doesn't seem quite as accessible; emotion and continuity are not as strong as last year's show. Stronger percussion line this year, especially battery. Horn book has some very difficult parts; discernable but not quite there yet. I will be curious to see where they take this show. Some alterations and a strong performance level could keep them in the top 5....the middle of the pack could be quite a battle this year.

Cadets: The feet are still in June, but the hornline showed some promise tonight; they just are not consistent yet, but the book has much demand. They need some more phrasing and feel, especially the first part of Moondance...the power will be there, as evidenced at the end of the piece. They also handled some difficult articulation pretty well tonight. Percussion executed well and complimented the brass book. Show doesn't pack the GE punch that last year's did, but if the talented corps can make and handle some changes, they can't be counted out. I felt they were second tonight, especially in lieu of Cavies difficulties in brass performance and book........

Here were my scores, with actual in parentheses

BD 83.5 (81.8)
Cadets: 78.0 (79.7)
Cavaliers: 77.3 (80.45)
Crossmen: 75.0 (73.0)
Boston: 73.8 (72.95)
Spirit: 65.3 (67.45)
Crown: 63.8 (67.15)
Raiders: 46.8 (53.55)

Regarding the judging: I had no big problem with order of finish (with perhaps the exception of Cavaliers over Cadets), but I did feel that BD was significantly stronger than anyone tonight and should have won by a much larger spread. Right now, their overall performance level is in a different league.

AB


Hi out there: I was at Clifton too, so may as well toss in my thoughts as well. By the way, I have never marched in a corps, nor ever known anyone who marched in a corps....so this is strictly a view from your average fan, so take that into consideration if you want to disagree. I have been watching the activity since 1985, so hopefully that qualifies me enough to give a decent review.

RAIDERS: very small corps & it is difficult for a unit so tiny to really "turn it on." It requires that every single player be in top form & that was not the case last night. A lot of strange, off tune sounding notes coming off that field. I guess if even one horn player chokes, then the whole show sounds off. The drill was somewhat muddy at the beginning, but towards the end I thought the forms started coming together better. Not sure why at the end the guard just carried their poles w/the flags folded up, could have used a routine here. Also, I question the use of music that had been used in the past in a "classic" show; that is, at times all I could think about was SCV 1987 and what THAT corps was doing during that musical moment...not sure a small corps (or any corps really) should put themselves in that position, as they may NEVER measure up to such greatness. I give Raiders props for their dedication, however, and I am sure they will improve as time goes on.

SPIRIT: this is like a brand new corps out there. The new uniforms, well I thought that shade of blue looked great and actually worked well on a green backdrop (the field of course) and added to their visual appeal simply by color alone. Their opening formation was spead all over the field and quickly evolved into a company front-like formation for a great opening impact. However, they used that same exact impact at least two other times throughout the show I think, so maybe a little variety might be good. I guess the train theme could have been explored all sorts of ways (conductor uniforms on guard, making railroad tracks, etc) but I liked the more subtle approach they took. Sometimes less is better. I thought their brass program was pretty strong, so perhaps this is what put them in front of Crown. But still not convinced they belong ahead of them. I did not think their guard show was all that strong & the guard uniforms did not help. But they very well may be back on track to glory, if not this year, then VERY soon.

CROWN: While I liked Spirit's more subtle approach to their theme, perhaps Crown is overboard a bit with Industry. I understood the wood with the planks and all...they even built a structure on the field to start the show!...I get the rubber part with the tires. But I did not get the steel part...I saw the big steel things on the sideline but I missed it if somehow that was integrated in the show (I sat on the other side of the field away from that). All those props would go over very well at a BOA show. Drillwise, not terribly spectacular, but I saw more pictures in the drill than from Spirit, so I think they were ahead in that dept. Guard show was aggressive, moreso than Spirit's I thought (did not care for the changing of costumes in full view, they tried hiding behind the tires to do this but I saw the whole thing and focused on it while they did it). Interesting rolling dance on the tires themselves, but then they just left them there. Maybe as things come together over the next few weeks, I might like this show better. It's still Top 12 caliber, I'd say. *Interesting to see a "cymbal" solo! Don't think I ever saw such an extended cymbal moment, but it was not all that exciting, so maybe that's why others don't do this.

CROSSMEN: another very good show in terms of crowd appeal...musical selection is accessible to anyone watching, I think. Guard was great! Their hornline sounded light years better than the previous corps, Carolina Crown. I don't know that this show is the showstopper I had read about in other reviews. While I felt 1997 was certainly one to steal the show, 2001 Crossmen is not quite there yet in terms of the package. It has potential, though, so that's important. One moment I did like was the hornline had a move, similar to what drumlines do with sticks, like a domino effect, where the bells of the horns moved side to side....they weren't really together last night, but it will look nice if done perfectly.

CAVALIERS: this was another strong show for this corps and they were visually/drillwise extremely good compared to everyone that went on before them. They start out similar to the way SCV ended last year, in a diagonal line with everyone "linked" in some weird pose, then off the top there's a flag toss over the hornline. It was not perfect but can be a wow move once it is mistake-free. Guard at one point does an interesting maneuver with the snares...I think they crawled between the drummer's legs or something while the snares were playing, then went about tossing their rifles...I'll have to check that one out again next time. Overall, a championship package is not in place I don't think. Many, many places call for some visual enhancements to elicit more overt crowd reaction. I expect they know this & will deliver, as the bluprint is solidly there & I expect this show will do well. Of all the shows in Clifton, this one struck me as having the most potential to go the distance *Did not find their music terribly appealing, however...

BLUE DEVILS: they won the show and it was a deserved win. They were very clean with what they had, and the guard was REALLY good. The whole routine with the hats, well, the show starts out with a couple of members doing this, then later more do a hat dance, then even later I think the hats appear again. Eh..could do without all of that. Drillwise, well I was encouraged by the opening formation, but did not get any sense of interesting drill pictures or wow-type moves from them as the show progressed. They have proven that they do not need these to win shows, but I surely wish they would...if BD's excellent horns and performance had a Cavaliers like approach to drill, they would truly dominate and Cadets' threepeat honors would be left in the dust. But as it is, this BD show might be capable of going the distance, but again, I did not get a sense the whole package was worthy. I was not compelled to be ripped from my seat for what they were giving me. I guess I am tough to please!

BOSTON: this corps seems to have picked up where they left off as the no.5 corps last year and is attempting to move into the league of the Top 4. Most apparent is the drumline, which is much stronger than last year and their solo number was much more aggressive than anything they did last year. Next, the guard show appears designed to be in league w/BD, CBC, Cavaliers. I thought it was, actually, with lots of tosses going on and a very aggressive approach compared to 2000. The opening impact was great, but much of this drill/visual is from last year's opener, now played with different music. They could've tried something different, no? Besides that, while the MUSIC was not as mainstream appealing as last year, it was a choice that someone like Vanguard might sell well. Boston's hornline, though, might be why Crossmen passed them by tonight. They seemed somewhat tentative to me & at one point they stop and play a run of notes that was SO not together at all & was as muddy as can be. But I do see much potential in this show & they could be a force later on. It is a package that if done cleanly and perfomed cleanly will be favored by judges and will beat Crossmen's show in the end by a couple of points. If not this year, then I will say I at least see that the seeds are planted for what COULD be a breakout attack at the top slots next season. I am very impressed with how far this corps that I paid very little attention to has come.

CBC: I suppose the juxtaperformance theme means there is no theme, but then that's the theme. Therfore, several disjointed musical selections makes sense. Well, I am not exactly sure it works just yet, but what they do play, they are playing very well. But Moondance seems a better fit for Crossmen's show and Farandole, well that sounded like Phantom to me! Cadets will have a hard time winning a title because it's so off the wall that I don't think there can be an across-the-board agreement that they are a winner. It's really a love it or hate it type of show. Guard was quite good I thought and SOME drill pictures were good, but they are REALLY lacking in that department this year I thought...some of the Cadets' drill impacts I'd expect to see Crown do. For instance, YPG just kind of ends with hornline a box form, but with Cadets, I expect them to WIND into that box to elicit a standing ovation. Same with the ending move...we get what looks like the ending to Stonhenge with the circle and the horns slowly filling it in...but it does not go anywhere and then we just kind of conclude. I'd say they need to get some more impact into their visual drill show & then maybe we can talk about a title. The segue from YPG into Moondance was QUITE abrupt...almost seems like they need to intro this vastly different piece a little differently (the other segues in the show were fine to me). Again on their CD this year, they throw in the Rocky Point tagline...but I say just do it in the fieldshow! I'm ready to see that big old zpull again.

* I guess with BD, Cav, and CBC we are looking at three likely candidates for championship shows. But overall I just did not get a clear cut package yet. I know, it's JUNE 30th so maybe they aren't completely done with what we will see in Aug (VERY LIKELY!!) so I do look forward to what their final products will look like. But if these corps ARE pretty much done, then I really hope SCV comes out of Calif with something because then the title is still very much up for grabs based on what I saw last night.

Bye!

Jay


My daughter and I attended the Clifton show on Saturday night.

Watched the Cadets percussion work on a section of their show, then went to the clinic. Daughter's complaint: no gals in the field percussion.

The clinic was first given by the Blue Devils, and then by the Cadets. It gave us a nice chance to see rehearsal techniques in action, and it also showed my HS soph daughter (bass drum section leader) that even the corps at that level make mistakes and have to rehearse too. Daughter's complaint: no gals in the field percussion. This became a running complaint all night long for her!

With both corps, it showed the value of the good Doctor, named "Beat" as they rehearsed short sections of their shows with and without the good Doctor "in da house!" :-)

Went to dinner after the shows (and sat with some staff from the Lehigh Valley Knights who I have known from the band world for years - thanks again, Juan); had a nice plate of cavatelli and broccoli alio e' olio (garlic and oil) - call it gahvadeel please, not cavatelly - badda bing!

:-)

Due to the length of dinner, we missed most of the Raiders show, but saw the rest. You'll have to get the scores and more detail elsewhere, as I didn't take notes during the show, and my daughter was trolling for souvies during retreat, so I barely heard the scores, and had no way to record them even if I wanted to. Now for the show:

Bayonne Raiders: Garden State Div III corps doing "Pictures at an Exhibition". Saw the last 1/3 of their show from the track. They appear much younger than last year, esp the percussion. However, their show is very well written for them, and once they get the nuts and bolts down a lot more securely, they should be a corps to watch in the GSC. As last year, their percussion is very impressive. One nice touch was a spot where the 3 snares hooked up single-headed tenors and played with a tenor stick in the left hand and a brush in the right. Very effective part, well done by the players.

Spirit: GREAT show, and a huge step forward from last year. The train theme really works well for them, including the guy who yelled "All aboard to Clifton" at the start. The horn line esp has improved immensely over last year, and the show is extremely enjoyable. Still some problem areas, of course, but all in all a great step up for them. Work on the uniformity of feet, uniformity of tempo, intervals, gakking in the brass, those sorts of technical things. Also need more support form the trumpets; I hope the staging isn't going to hurt the balance and blend. Trumpets seemed to be behind the mid-range brass a lot, a common event, actually, with many corps. They looked as if they were having the most 'fun' on the field of any corps perfoming.

Crown: Very creative show. Very nice sound, and what seemed to me to be just about the best pit on the field. Those folks can PLAY!!! Some problems in balance and blend, but like Spirit it might be partially due to staging of the trumpets behind the rest of the brass at key spots. Very demanding show all 'round; the guard did a great job with their 'props' I liked the use of the tires. The rolling around gave a sort fo free-flow, carefree feel to that spot in their show. Very nice, IMO. Sill many technical spots to work, as B&B, gakking, and some percussion flaws (battery) were evident. Also some sets didn't quite jell at times, and intervals need work, but it WAS stil June after all.

Crossmen: WOW what a hornline! The music is wonderfully written and performed jsut as well by the horns. Sops especially did a great job, esp when they were up front and center. I like the huge jazz band set, with a nice park and blow opportunity. There may actualy be too much P&B in the show, but with a horn line like that, it didn't bother me. Guard is, as it was last year, a highlight. The percussion section is light-years better than last year overall. The snares did tend to get lost at times, as they have them cranked waaaay up there very tight. Some sloppy feet and sets that didn't. All in all, a very enjoyable show.

Boston: Classy show, very well played. Another group where the upper brass, in this case sops, needs better support of their sound, due to staging considerations, at times. The music is VERY well writen and played for this time of year. The overal timbre' of the hornline is very nice. Percussion do a great job, esp the pit. This show can go very far, though it might not be as difficult as some at the very top.

Cavies: what a well written show. They had the best overal brass 'sound' of the night to me, though there were a few weak spots here and there, balance-wise. Visually very well thought out show, and the performers communicated quite well. Percussion were very clean; their battery was one of the better ones, IMO. Basses esp have a great show.

Blue Devils: VERY clean. Funny, going WAAAY back to the 70's, one of the things I've always noticed is how well they perform, be it music or visual. They always do it up right. At one spot, the brass are in files, with the guard interspersed between doing a dance bit. During the clinic I wondered how they'd draw attention to the guard doing their dance move. Well, the bright yellow vests solved THAT problem. Some minor flaws, of course, but all-in-all a great show. Good use of hats during the dance; I especially liked the Fosse-esque ensemble dance move. The all-drummers-on-flat-bass-drums thing is a nice crowd-pleasing moment.

Cadets: VERY nice show with lots of rough performance spots. If they can clean it up, and juice up a few low spots, boy do they have a shot at the top spot yet again. Moondance is great; I think they put in the changes Hoppy mentioned on the YEA! website, as the tenor feature is out. It's rough, but the basic shape is there. Trumpets in the articulated spot coming across the field in "Young Peoples.... " swallow a lot of the phrase; they need to push air through and maybe use a bit less tongue for that to sing. Some mnor fighting between pit and battery in 'Farandole'. Trumpets in general need to support more and project their sound to the stands. Some of it is staging; like the above corps, they too seem to stage the trumpets in backfield spots at times, to the detriment of the ensemble brass sound. snares have a nice sound, deeper than many, that comes through very nicely. Some very nice bass drum moments, as well as the usual Cadet tenor spots. I don't think the tenors-on-drum-sets thing is clicking yet; they need to do more drumming on the sets, IMO, to make that change work for them. The parts in that spot seemed kind of sparse to warrent the changeover. The guard is VERY hardworking; I like the Blast!-ish "rifles" they spin. Elegant costumes as well.

Well, that's it from me as to my opinion of the show. Kind of surprised the Xmen outscored BAC; I checked the recaps to see how that happened. Nothing to disagree with there, so I'm glad to see the Xmen place where they did, at least at that one show. MrBud and I were chatting at the fence during retreat and kind of looked at each other when they announced BAC before the Xmen, but not inm disbelief, more along the lines of "gee that's great". We both liked the Xmen a lot at Clifton, so we were glad to see that we weren't alone! :-)

Souvies: My daughter bought (with dads $ of course) a pair of flannel jockies that says 'BASS' on the butt from the Crown truck, and a t-shirt from the Spirit booth; the shirt says 'Spirit' in different shades of Blue.

Very nice crowd, and a well run show by the Cadets.

Sat in front of a guy who marched in the Cadets from 64-68, and a woman who has been a fan since the Holy Name days gong back to WWII. Neither of them seemed to notice/mind the Bb instruments; they still loved their Cadets. Not a negative word from either of them about ANY of the performances.

Mike, Garfield 70-72


Sorry all. I didn't get home from Clifton until late Sunday night, and didn't get my review done until Monday after work. I tried sending it to both Scorpsboard and the reviews here, but it wasn't posted. I'm trying it this way now.

Blue Devils Flex Muscles Yet Again in Clifton Win
by Mike Ferlazzo

CLIFTON, N.J. - Believe the hype, the Blue Devils are awesome with a capital "A" this season - unleashing their best corps since possibly the 1994 championship unit as they dominated a field that included four of last year's top five to win the Cadets Music in Motion here Saturday night. The Blue Crew already looked to be in August form as they scored a decisive 81.80 to 80.45 decision over defending DCI co-champion Cavaliers, with fellow co-champ and the show host Cadets third at 79.70.

In the other subplots, the fan friendly Crossmen nipped last year's crowd favorite Boston Crusaders by just .05 (73.00 to 72.95) - reversing placements from the night before in Philadelphia - while upstart Spirit also turned the Philadelphia tide on Carolina Crown by .25 (67.40 to 67.15). These corps could be swapping places throughout the season as the Crossmen and Crusaders appear headed to battle for a top six placement at DCI finals, with Spirit and Crown trying to give finals night a distinctly southern flavor with one or both joining the party.

The home state Raiders (1DM-10CG-17B-13P) seemed out of place as they kicked off the show while being the only Division III competitor of the night - scoring 53.55 in their own scoring category. The "Pictures at an Exhibition" program appears to be a bit of a reach for this younger and less polished corps right now - particularly in the brass. But it's hard to get a good read on the smaller corps' at this early date. The corps experienced considerable individual error in the first two numbers - "Promenade" and "Gnomus" - with the ensemble appearing tentative from the initial attack on. That hesitance may have been produced - at least in part - by the surprise shower that greeted them as they marched to the Clifton Stadium field. Still, the visual program appears to be nicely written for this smallish corps, with many of the forms being staged between the 35s on the front half of the field to aid in projection. After a slow start, the percussion (3S-1T-4B-5PP) also settled into the comfort zone for the rest of the program.

The entire unit actually seemed to perform better in the final half of the show, possibly because it had been working on that half in its most recent practices. The solo work between a soprano, baritone and mellophone was particularly well-received in "Baba Yaga," while the crowd appreciated the big unison drum attacks at the start of "Great Gate of Kiev." Still, the brass intonation is abrasive right now, making these familiar melodies a little hard to enjoy. Horn line intonation has to be one of the priorities for the creative staff as it attempts to get this corps in position to make a run at the Division III finals. While appropriately staged, individual marching errors and unfinished guard work also makes the visual program lacking at present. But it is still early and this show has the potential to be much better come August in Buffalo.

It appears as if the working arrangement with Jacksonville State University has been very good to Spirit (2DM-28CG-62B-25P), which has put its best product on the field since its last finals appearance. If memory serves, that came in 1990 - ironically in Buffalo. Maybe the return to Buffalo, and the eye-catching Spirit blue uniforms will allow the "South to rise again" - at least to a top 12 spot. The uniforms aren't quite the old Spirit baby blue - they're actually better with an eye-catching hint of teal in that look. The guard's gray engineer/mechanics outfits fit the "Ghost Train" theme, but could use a splash more of color.

The theme itself is very well done - particularly from the numerous "train-like" sounds of the percussion section (8S-3T-5B-9PP). The crowd particularly enjoyed "The Ride" - being encouraged by the conductor's call "All aboard for Clifton" - getting on board as the corps forms a train that glides from side one to side two. The ensemble sound of the unit is much better than recent years at this stage of the season, even though there is still plenty of individual error visually - particularly in the feet and the equipment work of the guard. The closing unison licks brings an emphatic and appropriate conclusion to the opener and drew great response from the crowd - no doubt happy to see this once proud DCI giant to be back and so healthy again, right now to a more prominent silver delta on their chest.

The ballad, "At the Station" features good body control by the corps in the visual shaping, but needs cleaning musically with some obvious phasing difficulty. The guard certainly could stand to provide better support to sell what could be some nice musical moments. "The Motive Revolution" picks up the pace again with a number that goes from getting down and dirty with the melody of "Mack the Knife," to "picking up steam" like the train the rest of the way. Listen for the "distant" backfield train echoes, followed by a multi-meter brass/battery segment, followed by a clever percussion break, to strains of "Let It Be Me" in the push forward before a rousing futuristic finish. The familiar "Let It Be Me" tease was similar to Boston's references to "Conquest" in its recent shows, and drew great response from the crowd.

Spirit is on the right path back to the finals and is deservedly ahead of rival Carolina Crown in ensemble scores right now (by .50 in visual and .70 in music) with an easier show. There is no question that there is room to grow in all areas, particularly in selling this cleverly designed show better. The color guard is also relatively hidden at present and needs to add more to this show if it hopes to beat Crown (down by .50 tonight) in the race for finals.

One of Crown's (2DM-32CG-58B-27P) staff members summed up the current state of his corps' "Industry" production best when he told a friend in the audience "we started the season pretty dirty, but we'll be fine in the end." Much like the structures they attempt to build with wood, rubber and metal, this show is a "work in progress" - with the architects apparently working overtime to include all but the proverbial "kitchen sink" in the design. Unfortunately, it's not there - yet.

Still, it connects initially with the more serious look, featuring the corps in new black pants and shoes, and black plumes for the shakos, in addition to the old purple jackets. All the "industry" props create the proper backdrop - from the wooden planks for the brass, to the tires for the guard, to the large pieces of sheet metal displayed in the front.

The brass performers distance themselves from their instruments as they use their planks to build a "structure" as the show begins to the wooden construction sounds from the center-staged percussion (8S-4T-5B-10PP) in "Concertino for Four Percussion." Paul Rennick's percussion is always tight, and this line is no exception. Unfortunately, the demands placed on the brass take their toll on that unit as they race from their structure to grab their horns and then quickly expand a block form as they make their first statement. It sounds tentative and winded right now, but should improve with better stamina. The percussion and guard are clearly top 12 caliber, but the brass was the weakest of tonight's D-I competitors and appropriately finished dead last - .70 from Boston.

Brass will be the key to selling the main title from "The Cider House Rules," which has the potential to be another classic Crown ballad if it can get some more clarity and projection from the new B-flat horns. Much has been made of the guard's use of tires while changing to baby blue costumes at the start of the number, but they didn't really distract and actually appeared to add a unique flavor to the opening of the chart while working in the "rubber" aspect of industry. Now what exactly rubber has to do with "The Cider House Rules" is the question. They don't use them long though before changing to gorgeous pastel silks. Watch for the guard to display its skill near the end of the chart with the performers catching the final flag toss in the joints of their left legs.

There is no mystery to the sounds of "Motown Metal" as the percussion sets the mood with a very metallic cymbal feature. Meanwhile, the guard changes costumes again - this time to a metallic-looking costume of orange, silver and black. It all fits, even if the melody is unrecognizable and doesn't project real well now. Drill-wise, the corps puts a spectator on "visual overload" throughout with non-stop movement - although forms are hard to read at present because of all the dirt.

While this show is not selling at present - with either the crowd, or the judges - it has the potential to really blossom over the season and not only land the corps back in finals, but move up a spot. Right now, however, the corps is in need of a good, long cleaning camp. If the program doesn't clean up, Crown could be on the outside looking in on finals' night - particularly with Spirit and the Colts appearing much improved from a year ago and in serious finals' contention.

The Crossmen (2DM-32CG-63B-31P) do indeed have their best corps since at least 1997 - and probably possess their best ensemble sound since the first "Songs for the Planet Earth" trilogy in 1992 - with their "Late Night Jazz" show. The corps appears strong in all areas this season - with a big and mature brass sound, the percussion section which has finally found the Mark Thurston-like groove of yesteryear, and a talented guard that simply spins throughout. The only thing that might hold the corps back in its bid at a top six finish might be an overall visual program that serves the show well, but doesn't really compare with the main contenders - even Eastern rival Boston. Still, this is a fan favorite this year and may be a leading candidate for The Spirit of Disney Award. It is very approachable and the unit projects the theme well.

The show opens with the toe-tapping sounds of "Wee Small Hours" into "Harlem Nocturne," which includes a big opening fanfare. The corps proper helps the crowd find the groove as members extend their legs and tap to the beat. The first of many fine soloists also belts out his part. The guard creates the perfect flavor to the show with its appropriate attire of tight blood red tops and black slacks and jazz shoes, with appropriate body work. Once the corps picks up the beat, the fun really begins with screech soloists, tasty tom writing, and silks that spin, and spin, and spin some more. The drill features a lot of nice, tight block formations - not real creative, but something that worked for the Devils in some of their past jazz classics. For anyone who has missed the old Thurston battery groove in recent X-men lines, it's back this year. Pay close attention to the end of Nocturne where the unit flashes the cross visual and then rips off the trademark Thurston lick. The corps strikes the proper pose to end the number.

The Crossmen stop at a big band jazz club next for "Flying Home" - replete with the brass stacked in the "big band" brass formation. The number eventually swings into a long drum break that not only features engaging writing and playing, but some dangerous stick visuals fans have to check out.

"Guaguanco" takes the show into the Latin Quarter with a nice ballad that features a stellar soprano soloist and pretty shear silks. But that just sets the stage for the familiar strains of "Fire Dance," - igniting the corps, particularly with the guard's "fire" flags. The tune cooks with red hot sounds, fast drill, and an appropriate mounted high hat parts on the snares. The rousing closer keeps the fans on the edge of their seats, and then to their feet. This show will do that all season long!

After an abbreviated intermission, The Cavaliers (2DM-32CG-63B-28P) entered the field amidst thunder and lightening in the distance. Actually, greater electricity may have been generated from the crowd as the much-anticipated defending DCI co-champs came to play a little "Four Corners." While the show may not be what one expects from the title - with anticipation that it would explore the four corners of the field with musical stylistic interpretations - it is electric nonetheless. The "Four Corners" reference visually may actually be for the various formations that can be made with four corners - with numerous fast paced boxes and diamonds appearing, and then disappearing just as quickly. Only once did it appear that all four corners of the field were explored, and that was with soloists at each corner.

The show gets off to a fast start with the color guard - clad in royal blue and black jump suits - performing a flag toss before the corps proper explodes into the Phantom Regiment "flying wedge" and crab steps from far left to the middle of the field. The feet just never stop as the corps quickly goes from one four corner form, to another - playing unrecognizable music that still possesses a certain Cavalier feel, despite a less edgy sound because of the switch to B-flat horns. Every section is strong, although brass projection with the new horns needs to be addressed in order to reach the similar proficiency of the guard, which took high honors on this night (16.30 to the Devils' 16.10). While the percussion was also third, it was just one-tenth behind second-place Cadets and .50 off the Devs. By contrast, the brass was a more distant third - five-tenths behind the surprising second-place Devils and .80 behind first-place Cadets.

The second movement continues the fast pace, with a beautifully rich low brass sound accompanied by fantastic guard work that didn't find any saber drops - in spite of the high-wind conditions. Some interval problems in certain forms - probably caused by some ragged feet at times - were the only glaring errors, other than the brass projection issues.

The third movement features the much-discussed cymbal ride on the snares - a sound that is then passed down throughout the battery. The guard accents the exchange with high flag and rifle tosses. The brass re-enters and the corps eventually settles into a down and dirty "park and play" segment, which has to be one of the only times in the show it stops moving for an extended period of time.

The fourth movement features the only recognizable movement of the program, with excerpts of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" emerging while the brass is staged in the middle of the field in a split "S" form. The guard provides the appropriate Cavalier color with rich multi green and black silks. Once again, the corps kicks it in until a rather abrupt ending to the show. Truthfully, the end was the only noticeable deficiency in the program. It seems to lack a big finish of past Cavalier classics. As it is, the corps seems to just reach the end of the music and the crowd needs to be cued by the public address announcer that the show is over before it stands and applauds. One would think something's in the works to improve that by season's end. The big finish may just be the ticket to another championship in August.

But that's not going to be easy, since the Blue Devils (2DM-40CG-66B-27P) certainly have the look of a champion right now with their "Awayday Blue" show. The Devils appear to have no weaknesses, other than a slightly easier show than the Cavaliers that might just peak too soon - allowing the Cavies, or possibly Santa Clara Vanguard, to pass them late. But the Blue Crew staff is not new to this game and it knows just how to tweak this show to get the corps to the winner's circle again. Tonight's scores found the Devils winning by 1.35 points, but it appeared like it might be more since this perennial western power seems to be in a league of its own it least in terms of precision, power and projection.

"Awayday Blue" opens like some of the past Devil classics, with the show starting in the pit before the battery kicks in with a wide open attack and an explosion of pink color from the guard silks accentuating the opening statement. The Devs have had great ensemble sounds before, but this might be one of their best - possibly a case where the B-flat horns take them to the next level because they add perfect tuning to the big volume. The result is a sound that is big, bold, brassy and beautiful - one of the tightest ensembles in memory at the end of June. The visual program flows effortlessly from side to side at a quick tempo in the opener, while the guard supports perfectly - particularly during its hat and dance routine up front. The visual program, while not as demanding at the Cavaliers, is certainly not as easy as many make it out to be. And boy, does this corps march - making their forms perfectly. Unlike every other corps in the field, there were few interval problems in the Devil marching program tonight.

"Fantasy Variations" just continues the perfection. The chart is full of more full brass beauty, staged down front so the crowd can actually feel the music. The big highlight comes in the standstill segment when the nine snare drummers switch to front- racked basses - giving the field percussion a thunderous 14 bass drum sound.

The percussion (9S-5T-5B-8PP) is one of the strongest units the Devils have produced in years and should also vie for high honors in Buffalo with a vintage book that contains plenty of demand and trademark high drumming. The only significant change besides improved exposure and accuracy - appears to be the tenors using snare sticks this year as they join California rival Vanguard in that trend.

Other highlights include a moving box drill where marchers replace one another while the boxes move from side one to two, and the male guard members using female members to support them as they power their bodies vertically with their legs in the air. It's all good!

Performing in just their third competition of the season, The Boston Crusaders (2DM-38CG-64B-29P) had the unenviable position of trying to follow the Devils. Despite the daunting task, they did it well - not lacking on the applause meter in their own rite during their "Harmonium" program. While Concord was big and blue, Boston was rousing and red. Last year's DCI darlings also appear to be much more mature from both a design and performance standpoint.

"Harmonium" opens with the corps proper all on the 50 before exploding out into a big block - interspersed with the big guard all spinning rifles - as the musicians make their initial impact. While the trademark move is still impressive no matter how many times one sees it, the brass appeared to be lacking a bit in volume - possibly because the unit was following the powerful Blue Crew. Despite volume issues, all sections appear improved from a year ago, even though the show isn't as fan friendly.

"Marimba Spiritual" truly explores the four corners of the field - with the different sections of the brass forming blocks that move separately from one another while exchanging the melody. As expected, it all comes together into a solid block for a big sound up front. That impact is accompanied by a featured guard member, who struggled tonight with a pair of equipment drops.

"The Mission" once again separates the brass, this time in a ballad with one unit playing beautifully up front, while the other moves around behind and uses the backfield to echo the main melody. It's a tough number to pull off now from a timing standpoint, and the Crusaders are experiencing some phasing problems - but nothing they can't clean up in the coming weeks. The corps is also having some control issues right now - both from the musical projection and visual foot and body shaping elements. The chart ends with a big midrange sound as the marchers compress back to the 50 and explode into their box a second time.

That sets the excitement in motion for the "First Circle"/ "Shakata" finale, which features wild tribal rhythmic moments from the percussion (8S-4T-5B-12PP). While the break drums mounted on the side of the snares is a nice effect and captures the essence musically, the section once again lags compared to its rivals - as evidenced by its last place score in the caption among fellow Division I competitors. Still, it is improved from a year ago and it leads the corps through a rousing final number. Visually, the guard's use of wild florescent silks throughout the program - including brilliant lemon yellow in the closer - prompted one observer to conclude that they didn't reach much "harmony" with the corps proper's red and black military uniforms.

While Boston possesses great growing potential with a well-integrated show - particularly since the corps got off to a much later start than its top rivals - it appears as if the host Cadets (2DM-40CG-61B-28P) are struggling to find a direction to take their "Juxtaperformance" show - and for good reason. The creative team purposely chose four very different and unconnected selections and thought the corps could sell the program with its musical versatility. But it's not - in spite of some excellent playing - particularly because the visual program may be the Cadets' weakest since the corps rose to DCI prominence. Like the musical selection themselves, nothing fits together visually - producing a very un-Cadetlike show that is neither entertaining or approachable.

The "Young Person's Guide to Orchestra" is well-performed by the musical ensemble, and the guard provides proficient equipment support - particularly from its comma-shaped weapon tosses. The corps moves from side to side and plays is technically proficient at performing some pretty music - climaxing in a big block for the final impact. But while the opener is performed well, the design team has given it nothing memorable - except for the unique weapons.

Then, it gets stranger with "Moondance," as the tenors move to the front sideline to take their seats behind five trap sets while the corps basically strolls into its place around the field to set up for the jazzy piece. Once again, the corps performs it well - the brass reaching the box, the percussion (8S-5T-5B-10PP) playing a proficient break featuring a nice exchanges between the trap sets and snares, and the guard providing some groovy dance as the corps cuts loose - but it doesn't connect with the opener, or the crowd. The piece moves very slowly and the crowd sits in startled amazement that these are the Cadets -once "known for their kaleidoscopic, whiplash moves."

"Vide Cor Muem" takes body-shaping to a new level, as the brass players take all kinds of positions - on one knee, on their sides, on their backs - to play the pretty ballad, that is once again lacking in movement. The sounds are beautiful, and the guard supports it nicely with beautiful hot pink silks, but the song just seems to be out on an island, with no cohesion to anything performed previously.

Fortunately, the show concludes with a rousing rendition of "Farandole," which at least picks up the pace and gives the crowd some of the Cadet sound and visual look that has made the corps famous. But even that has some awkward moments, like one tenor staying at his trap set and turning around just to watch while the other four march the closer. It just doesn't make sense. Still, the show climaxes with a nice rotating box.

While you can never count The Cadets out of the championship hunt, it's hard to see how this show can contend. Even with major rewrites, it still lacks the cohesion to be a serious threat. This may be a hunch, but one of the middle tier corps - Boston, Glassmen or Phantom - might threaten the Cadets in the middle of the pack. The best bet, however, is that the Cadets skill will allow them to replace Santa Clara as this year's defending co-champ relegated to fourth a year later.

While the corps were deservedly well-received on this night, the show disappointedly ended with a simple drum major's retreat and no victory concert - or even a unison selection. What has happened to retreat? The price of tickets keeps rising, but fans keep getting less for their money. Retreat used to be like the grand finale of a Fourth of July fireworks display - with color everywhere and a taste of everything you had seen earlier in the night - climaxed by some of your favorite selection. But now, it's like the rocket that was lit, but didn't fire - a big dud!

For those who would say that they got their money's worth without the need for anything at retreat, I would argue that Saturday's $25 tickets were as expensive as concerts by some well-known recording artists, and both the opening act and the headliner always play an encore. For the relatives who were visiting us from Nebraska and attending their first drum corps show, it was an abrupt and disappointing way to end an otherwise fine night. It was too bad they didn't get the chance to leave the stadium with one final shot of adrenaline from a great corps performing a standstill concert.

Mike Ferlazzo


Waukesha, WI (DCM)

Didn't catch exact scores due to pelting rain and thunder, but Phantom got a 74 something and I believe Madison had a 70 or 71 something.

Started out a hot, but breezy sunny evening. The show start time had to be moved up to 6:00 due to noise restrictions. They ran the show like clockwork. The mayor of Waukesha led us in pronouncing the pledge of allegiance, the program said Pioneer brass was going to play ???

Bandettes are steadily improving, it's heartbreaking that they can't get more girls to march in this proud unit.

Capitol Sound has improved from last week in Rockford. It's a show I need to see a few times to get familiar with the music, but I like the show concept.

Blue Stars have a decent drumline, but I don't get why the heads on the snares make the drums so quiet. We want to HEAR the drumline! It's a pretty deep show that they have, I wonder how the kids get into it.

Intermission -- after only three corps!

Phantom is getting better and better. It should be noted that it was very breezy tonight which wreaked havoc on all the guards. I love the new flags Phantom is using in the closing section of Festive. Gorgeous flags throughout. The stadium is quite small and I got to see Tommy Feagin up close, he is one intense drum major, one of the best!

Southwind is also improving to my delight. I was a little concerned when I saw them in Rockford last week, but the general consensus was that they had an off night and are on the move. I need to see their show a few more times to recognize the music more, but they do have great potential.

As soon as Madison started to enter the field, it started to rain, just a few drops but then whoa, DOWNPOUR!! This was vertical rain! Of course this prompted the Scouts to put on an exceptional show and it brought the crowd to its feet at the end of each number. Great drum break! Credit goes to the guard who made it through, even when it started to hail in the middle of the show! No lightening, thank goodness.

Host corps Pioneer were on last. Only light rain now. They're are really pushing hard with a smaller hornline this year. The drumline has some really nice moments and is coming together nicely. I'm not that crazy about the guard uniforms, but the guard does some nice work.

Luckily the lightening/thunder waited until the Pioneer was completely off the field. Then came the real fun weather!

Brenda Manske Frazier
Colts 1985
Troopers 1986 and 2001 Inaugural Parade
Garfield Cadets 1987


Bandettes - 35.5. Wow! These are some young kids, I'd be surprised if any of them were over 16. Their show idea - "Drive" - is kind of cute. It consists of an entrance ramp, driving lanes, passing lanes, exit ramp - you get the picture. This group needs to continue learning to march and play confidently with sound fundamentals. Because the horn line doesn't play with a lot of power, balance with the percussion, especially the pit, is very important. At one point a young lady banging on a break drum in the pit drowned out the 12 person horn line. All in all, a good vehicle for these young ladies. Congratulations on being the oldest all-girl corps still in existence.

Capital Sound - 54.4. After the small horn sound of the Bandettes, my first reaction was, "Who turned on the power?" when these kids opened up. Nice use of African drums in the percission feature after the opener. Since I saw them a couple of weeks ago, some nice visual touches have been added, such as horn flashes, and each member of the horn line crossing one leg in front of the other. It's simple stuff, but it is impressive when everyone does it together. I also liked what's been designed for their guard. As the show progressed, the horn line seemed to tire noticeably, with some pretty ragged tongueing. I was told some drill changes are in store for this corps. It will be interesting to see how the kids handle it. They could make quite a statement in Division II/III.

Blue Stars - 51.45. Doesn't look like they picked up any horn players since Sun Prairie a couple of weeks ago. It's not part of their show, but I liked that they're using the opening fanfare from their '77 show for warmup. My feeling is that this show would speak to me more if the horn line played with more dynamic contrast. Everything seemed "mezzo regular." Also, they seemed to be rythmically muddy. I'm not sure I understand how they got so close to Cap Sound.

Phantom Regiment - 74.10. I love this hornline! Their very wicked soprano section lick in the opening part of the Bartok was really clean. I didn't notice any fighting with the pit which was doubling them. Speaking of the pit, they play very tastefully. I was particulary impressed with their dynamics in the section after the opener. The brass chorale after the drum solo could be a great musical moment this season, because it embodies that wonderful, thick, dark sound that I associate with the great Regiment horn lines. I'm glad their doing the Festive Overture; I've wanted them to return to this piece ever since 1974! Lots to build on here, starting with the opening fanfare. I hope they can work on really building the tension as they crescendo to the release right before that fine mellophone solo. I have to agree with those who think the drill is a little weak. The section where the horns stand for a long time in a huge arc while the color guard goes crazy in the middle of the filed is straight out of SCV's '71 opener. It is too static for my taste. But it's early, and I've heard changes are on the horizon. Maybe this section is on the list.

Southwind - 61.8. Had a chance to watch a half hour of M&M cleaning and a run through during the afternoon, and spoke briefly with some members of their staff. Real nice folks, and very patient teachers. They open in a diamond made up of files that moves their right in their opener. It's hard to hold the form and the files, and it's important because it is so exposed, so judgeable, and, after all, because it is the opening visual statement of the show. They made some progress, but there's lots of work to so here. Nice horn charts - Jack Stamp's Fanfare for a New Era and an arrangement of the Brahms Academic Overture really connected with me. It got a little muddy after that. I want to see this show again.

Madison Scouts - 70.35. Here's where it got interesting. A squall line had moved into the area, and some rain started to fall. Just as Madison hit the opening chord, the heavens opened up and it poured! And I'm not talking about a shower - this was Great Deluge stuff! A stiff wind blew the rain right into the faces of the kids. I wondered if they would stop, but they kept right on coming with even more intensity. The crowd loved it, and they let the corps know it. The kids seemed to feed off the crowd(what a surprise!). I really can't comment on their visual performance except to say they seemed to hold their own on the slick field. The forms remained intact, and I didn't notice anybody slip. I thought it was a heckuva job to maintain poise and intensity under very trying circumstances.

Pioneer went on last in exhibition. The rain had stopped by then. I thought the kids did a pretty good job with the show. They are REALLY young; they may have some of the smallest performers in Division I. If these young kids can develop the chops to sustain their show from the opening chord to the end, they should make a good accounting of themselves.

Thankfully, retreat was Drum Majors only. Just as third place was being announced, the rains came again. Those poor DMs got drenched!

Jim Anello


Rain, rain, go away..Will the Blue Devils Reign ever go away! Suprises abound tonight as the Eastern tour Stopped in New Jersey tonight. Music in Motion part II as it was dubbed by YEA..brought out a good crowd and a great line up for this early season tradition...No fireworks after the show tonight, probably because they were all on the field

What a difference a day makes,as most of the corps had a better performance tonight then yesterday in Philly......here goes,

Raiders, Ya know..I would love to give them a fair review but I can't why?? Because I could barely hear them..too much of that awfull beeping/counting machine in the background..it ruined their show for me.. They are small, it is early, but they have heart..Pictures at an Exhibition will do them well in due time..Small guard(8) used flags well..Snares(3) switched equipment for a nice effect..potential is there...I love division II/III !!

Spirit!! Allaboard...Clifton Tonight as this corps is puttng the coal in their engine and rolling straight towards finals!! Alot more confidence in the Brass tonight!! and as this is my second viewing,I can apreciate the music more.. Percussion is nice and capable and the feature was hot tonight, Crowd loved it.. at least on the 50 yard line where I was....Guard using the "Tools" takes away from the level of maturity the Rest of the corps has,and what they are trying to sell...They are not fun, they are distracting....Great Guard feature in the opener..Drill was sharper, and Tighter..hence the Sound was brighter....Moved ahead of Crown..as I expected Clean, Clean, Clean...you guys are going places!!!

Carolina Crown...sadly, and Im not alone..I feel this show is boring, uneventful, and just not there...The first official "Hot dog corps" of the 2001 season...Why would you have a guard full of talent and not utilize them?? What is the correct way to catch a 2X4 anyway?? Another poster said the rifles were lost in the uniform color, and they were right..Had to squint to see them, and its sad the throws,and the work were good...They have some good memorable moments, but once again...the guard distracts....The tires have got to go....too out there, "Firestone suite" as a fan in the satnds next to me said. another one behind me said The tires are deflating, and so is the show!!

Enter the Crossmen...This corps was on Fire tonight!!! This show gets more appealing everytime I see it..First off,the Brass is loud, full of color and clarity for June...The arrangements kick ass..and those soloists..better than the night before!! Percussion is just smoking right now, they have a confidence that has been missing the past few years.. all the great impacts are staged well, and the drill is clean...IF they are to stay ahed of boston, they have to create a little more demand in the drill, and add a few wow moves!!! THe guard doesnt dance as much as the other corps, and they highlight the show perfect...Crossmen, you have the power!! Keep it up, you guys are bordering on awesome...Congratulations

Cavaliers...how do I say this. this corps has it all...I would like to know who wrote this score, and this concept, because it works so well..four corners, four movements, four sets of silks, 10 awesome minutes...The colorguard enhances this music so well..it is a joy to just sit back...they music builds tension, and then the Drill releases it..every section is integrated into the big picture, each playing off and complimenting the other...Awesome Drill,still a little dirty, Great Brass (key is irrelevant) Hot percussion..at one point the rifle line uses the snares to "Enhance" their routine..Awesome!! Staging through out the show Excellent..I'm sorry but I cant say enough..and again, second viewing, and I can remember the music it is GREAT!!!!! The Cavaliers are not going to give up the title without a fight!! And if they win it all..it will be well deserved!!!! Thank you for coming East!!

Blue Devils..To tell you the truth..After seeing The Cavies performance, I got a little knot in the pit of my stomach..but after the first minute..It was gone..The Guard, as compared to yesterdays performance was like night and day (Remember 89 Dutch boy...Stop! Geoff, stay on topic..sorry!) whatever was missing in the performance was there tenfold tonight...All catches were perfect..sharp,razor sharp...The ensemble Clarity was back!! big time!! The dancing had emotion missing last night..The hats are still distracting and uneffective..but overall, guard was just like they oughta be!! The opening moment with the purple silks is truly breathtaking. The staging of the Brass in respect to the impact points is nothing less than perfect...When they play they never let you know what a strain it is to move the way they do...Brass was hot tonight too, they have mastered their book, and are now in the clean/add mode..Unstoppable,Percussion?? well its gotta be one of their best lines ever...its all there folks, they are pretty much the corps to beat..This show has it all..it's sad it has to end..and they have lots of room for improvement, they will not peak early.

Boston Crusaders....its hard to believe being on the east coast, but Blue Devils actually got the crowd more excited than Boston tonight!! People around me randomly thew out the phrase "didn't they do that last year" I guess I'm not alone.. The show is not as emotional as last year, they are lacking depth at this point, Ballad is a cheesy rip off of Last years, and the show seeems to be running out of gas....Guard is capable, nothing memorable, but the potential is there...This show will need a healthy dose of excitement if they are to make the top 8 this year..Still Can't believe the opening minut or so is the same as last years.....Too much!

Cadets..again I say what a difference a day makes...Brass performance, sound, and quality was light years ahead of yesterday (I'm beginning to wonder if it was just the awful Franklin Field acoustics) Percussion was pretty good..and the Drill is coming along..they do have some really nice vintage "cadet" stuff in the closer..that will wow us come August, heck, it already does now.. The guard needs to do something during the second half of Moondance..The brass and percussion sell this piece so well, that its a shame the guard is not utilized to enhance it..Nusically it is a highlight of the night..visually..it hurts!! While cadets have danced in the past, it has never been for this long, and you kinda forgive them because when they do pick up equipment, they spin and execute like nobodys business!!...Please pick something up!!!! it will not hurt you! Farandole sounded much better tonight, and again the drill in the last minute is good, bordering on great..It sure would be nice if the Guard helped out with Rifles instead if squiggles, but they were cleaner tonight!!..It is June, and I/we Should no better than to count them out...

Overall, another reat show...I am tired of the bleacher beasts, the original occupants of Pangya,and the "folks" that make their pilgramage to this show...only to be oblivious to whats going on....you know the 90+year olds, with their k-mart clothes,to much CVS cologne on way too much aqua-net in their hair! but..I digress...
Cavaliers and Blue Devils have and Deliver the Goods...These are two shows that will be reckoned with!! What each one is missing,the other has...If Cavies want to win, they need to clean,and add a little more emotion..If BD wants to win..they need some more "wow" moments in the drill,utilizing the guard, and get rid of those hats!!..

Great job to all. Bridgeport tomorrow

Geoffrey


Ansonia, CT (DCA)

The show started with lots...and lots...and lots of rain. There were a few moments we thought the show would be cancelled, but the rain (and lightning) would not stop this great evening of drum corps!! Good crowd tonight, and great corps.

HeatWave: Where did these guys cme from? Best start I can remember from these boys from down south. This isn't the same ole Cheesburger happy happy joy joy corps we are used to. They mean buisness, and it shows. The entire show is rough at times, and needs to be cleaned. It looked as though they have some holes and are still learning drill. Hornline: From the first note, these guys put out some SOUND! At times, you could hear individuals and gaps in the ensemble, but when it was time to play, they blew thier hearts out! Great sop solist and a nice baritone/sop duet in the closer. Drumline: Maybe the pit was left somewhere in South Carolina, but there wasn't much too speak of. The battery....good stuff folks! These guys can groove. They use jam blocks in the show a lot, but it fits well. When the book is clean, they have a good shot at being a top line. Color Guard: need to be cleaned, but they are doing a nice job at portraying the look of Miami's nightlife. Great job folks!

Sky: Didn't get a chance to see em.

Cabs: WOAH!!!!!!!!!!! As always, the Cabs were rockin and rollin. The soloists were unreal, and the drumline looked great! They really put out a helluva show! I was missing the smoke at the trademark company front in the end though ;) . The show is vintage Cabbies, and they bring the pain fast and furious. I lookf for them to push top ranks again this year!

Bush: Good job guys! The drill needed a lil cleaning, but Bush is on track to improve upon last year! I was making my way back to the stands during thier show, but from what I saw....they really cranked one out!

Buccs: Candide was amazing. The baritone section sounded lush and dark. The hornline was very balanced and focused at all dynamic levels. While I wasnt too impressed with the percussive aspects of the show, they were solid. The Color guard was very good, and they used the whole field to create a good visual package. The feet looked very good. I had a good view from the fence during thier show. The show is a very nice package, and will be a crowd fave by the end of the summer. I was highly impressed with these guys! I can't wait to see it during championships!

Hurricanes: The show is there, but it needs to be cleaned. They can go the distance, but they have got to clean up the books. This is another corps I didn't have a good viewing of, so I can't make a fair review. They did put a lot of energy in the show, and that is the key element to pulling off a great performance!!

Tampa Bay!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! a second year junior corps looking this good!? Congrats to that organization. Legend was great, and we enjoyed seeing you this far north!!

Overall: The scores for the most part were pretty fair. I was dissapointed (as were several in the crowd) that HW didn't break 60, but I am sure they will be working hard to get into Sundays show in August. I thought the outcome was fair. The Cabs and Buccs were equally good in my book, although I would lean toward the Buccs. It was a good time had by all, and we look forward to the rest of the season!!

DCAFAN

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