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

Page Seven of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Wednesday July 18

El Paso, TX (DCI)

Okay, I was planning on writing a very detailed review about all different aspects of the show just like a good drum corps nerd should. I get to the stands and realize that I forgot my freakin' pen. To top things off, no one anywhere close to me had one that I could borrow. So I guess I'll give you a brief review based on some of the things that I remember. Please don't be insulted by anything that I say. I assure you that I have no bias for or against any of the corps that were present.

Great night for a show. Drum corps hasn't been to El Paso for about 10 years, so the show sponsors didn't quite know what to expect. Well, it turned out great. Concert side was packed, I'm guessing 3,500 at least. Weather was nice, but kind of windy. I sat in the third row of the second level, right on the 50. Good seats. Anyway...

Allegiance Elite- (exh) Well, they looked very young. Gotta appreciate the hard work that they are doing, but it still seems to be a struggle. The lone contra player did a very good job.

Revolution- Hey, not bad for the first year in competition. Drumline did some nice things, hornline struggled throughout. Horn book seemed to be WAY too difficult. They marched fairly well, and they are definitely headed in the right direction. Hope they can make it.

Seattle Cascades- WOW! These guys were awesome! I was thoroughly impressed. It is obvious that there is some serious teaching going on here. Not to mention some really hard work by the members. Strong all around...good horns, good guard, good visual. Reminding me a little of Crown when they made that quick rise to DCI Finalist status...maybe even better.

Troopers- Well, I really didn't know what to expect, and I was almost afraid of what I was going to hear. I was pleasantly surprised. In my opinion, they are much better than last year. Yes, they are small, but the blend and balance in the horn line this year is Waaay better. Overall a good show. They didn't really grab the crowd, but I enjoyed it. (No sunburst?!?)

Carolina Crown- Really cool stuff at the beginning, that was my favorite part. Pretty difficult visual book. In need of a lot of cleaning yet. Strong drum line (maybe not quite as good as last year, but still good). I thought they had Boston and Crossmen in this caption, but what do I know? The hornline really struggled tonight. Low brass did a fairly good job, and altos were so so, but the sopranos really bit the bullet tonight. I wonder if they had a really tough rehearsal day, because they sounded tired. Individuals were sticking out very often, and there were too many fracks to count. This show does have a lot of potential, but in order to realize that potential the hornline is going to have to kick it up a notch or three. I was very surprised by the tiny spread between Crown and Boston. IMHO it should have been at least a point and a half. Again...what do I know?

Crossmen- Very fun show. Good sound, sop solos in Harlem Nocturne had some pretty bad fracks, but the rest were pretty damn good. I really don't remember anything about the drill, if that tells you anything. Like I said, fun show, especially "Flyin' Home". Clearly ahead of Boston and Crown tonight, I had them scored a little higher. They are catchable though...

Boston- Okay, I've read many other reviews, and I'm trying to speak MY mind, but I must agree that the drill does look VERY similar to last years. The beginning is cool, and they projected their sound to where I was better than anyone before them. The wind was also a factor in projection tonight. Drum line didn't seem to play anything too difficult. This could hurt them. Nothing really stood out about the show, can't really remember anything else.

SCV- Yes, the beginning is AWESOME! Mellophone player on the very end of the form fell down on the down beat. Not something you want lingering in your brain for an entire show. By the way, the cymbal players, as always, are ANIMALS! The guy in the middle, especially, is a machine. I feel genuinely afraid when I look at that guy. Like he's going to chop my head off with his cymbal or something. Anyway..."Short Ride.." didn't really do it for me. Sopranos kind of hacked through parts of it. Drum line doesn't really play all that much. Doesn't seem too challenging. Did I mention that the cymbal line is unGODly? I really liked the "New Era" chant. If you look at the members faces, you can see the pure intensity of the moment. Really cool. Great show.

Cadets- Hmmm...Maybe I should do four separate reviews. I liked the show, but man, it just doesn't make that much sense to me. I know, this is the same thing that everyone says, but if and when you see it, you will understand. I've heard people complain about Moondance, but I thought it was freakin' awesome. I thought the pseudo jazz improv mello solo was the best of the night. Good playing. A trend that I've been noticing in DCI lately is the sound coming from soprano sections. Anyone else noticed this? I'm talking about LASER tones. I thought the least laser tone like section tonight belonged to the Crossmen. The Cadets weren't the worst, but they've had this goin' on for years. I remember last year, after hearing everyone, thinking that there were only a handfull of sop lines that didn't eat your face off most of the time. Blue Devils, Cavies at times, Phantom, and Bluecoats were the only ones that I didn't find offensive at least half of the time. I know, I played soprano, it is the hardest section to blend in with the ensemble, but come on guys...please?

Oh well, hope I wasn't too negative. If I would have written things down I would have had many more useful things to say. In case you didn't notice, I really didn't pay much attention to the guards. Sorry.

Doug Brown

Wichita, KS (DCI)

I was really excited about this show because even thought I marched Cadets in 92 and 94, this is only the third show that I have attended as a spectator. One great disadvantage of marching with an open class corps is that you rarely get to see the show especially since Cadets were really strict when we were in uniform so sitting in the stands while waiting for retreat was not an option. We took my nine month old daughter and she seemed to really enjoy the show. I wanted to thank the people in front of us who had these nifty squirt bottle/fan combo things that helped keep us cool. We had pretty decent seats on the 45 yard line about 16 rows up that we purchased for $15. I know that ticket prices are rising but I felt like we got a pretty good deal for the money at this show.

The show started with some skydivers landing on the field. I thought that it was a pretty cool way to start.

First up were the Kiwanis Kavaliers (5th place 60.55). They did a show called Manhattan which consisted entirely of music from "On the Town," so I didn't understand why they didn't just call it that. Anyway, I liked the show overall but I thought that the drill was quite dirty for this time of year. I know that they went to Europe in the spring and that may have slowed up their cleaning efforts. They seemed to have a few holes as well which tended to make the drill look dirty. They had a cool little stage/ramp thing that was stage left but I thought that they should expand that or add more for effect. I was kind of difficult for us to see what was going on because we were stage right. The brass got off to a good start but I thought that the low brass seemed to lose a lot of steam shortly after that. I know very little about percussion but the battery seemed large and clean relative to the rest of the corps.

Colts (4th place 78.60) came out next. They are one of the few corps that I have seen before. I have never really been a big fan. I was pleasantly surprised with their show, called Chivalry. It turned out to be my favorite of the night. I thought that the feet were really clean and I liked how they staged the show over all. The brass had some pop when they needed it. The horn line picked up sheilds for part of the show which sucessfully drew the focus to the marching going on back field.

Next up were Bluecoats (2nd place 81.05). They did a latin jazz show but I can't remember much about it except that the guard seemed pretty clean. The hornline did some body (or should I say feet) shaping in the "rhumba" that I thought was interesting.

Madison Scouts were next (3rd place 79.80). They definately had the loudest sound of the night. They did a Les Brown show called Hot Jazz -- Madison Style. I don't mean to be sarcastic but well, there's a real artistic departure for them! To be fair, the corps did seem to have a good show and they had the biggest fan response of the night but I think that it was at least partially due to the fact that the show was basically billed here as "Madison Scouts and some other corps." All of the posters/web site/TV commercials had pictures of the Scouts pretty much by themselves. Now, I will say that the guard uniforms were really cool and the compared to the other corps, this show had quite a few exciting moments. I have always been a big fan of the Scouts so I feel that it is ok for me to say MOVE ON! I really think this corps could stand to have things shaken up a bit...maybe new uniforms, different design team etc. They need to do what BD did in '94. It wasn't such a dramatic change that it corrupted the tradition of the corps but it made people stop and look.

Glassmen (1st place 85.20) were the last to perform. I was getting tired at this point (kids will do that to you) but I was expecting them to be a little cleaner. I think it is because since they have been scoring so much higher than MS and Bluecoats that they were going to be dramatically better. They had a very dynamic show design and they seemed to understand the show concept and what they were trying to accomplish. I really thought that the horn line sounded quite good even though the sops on occasion got a little bright. I really think that this is a high quality show that is well thought out and design is really interesting. Overall, I would say that they had a very mature corps in general.

As a whole, it was a good night for Drum corps. I know that I may have been a bit negative at times but remember that it is just my opinion. Overall, I thought that all the corps were wonderful and I feel very good about the activity. We skipped the retreat because the baby had been very content and we didn't want to push our luck by staying around for another hour or so.

Rich Daley
Visit us on the web:

Tulsa, OK (DCI)

OK, this is my first review ever, so bear with me....
First, I'd like to say that I think DCI should find a new way to schedule the corps for performance. Currently, it seems they are primarily using last year's placements to determine corps positioning. I think it would make for a better experience if they could find a way to go off of the current years scores, instead. Maybe this is a little too impractical, but I think it would help in some shows.

The only reason I mention this is because in this show, they had the Blue Knights going on after Phantom Regiment, and not to insult the Blue Knights who had a very entertaining(!) show, but it did seem pretty anti-climatic (6 point spread between the two).

Anyway, sorry to gripe, but just thought I'd say what I was thinkin'.....I've been watching drum corps for 13 years, but keep in mind that this was my first viewing of all the corps...

Pioneer/5th/68.0....I was actually very surprised with Pioneer's full sound at times. The music was not Irish-themed like it usually is with them, but I enjoyed it for the most part. They have a pretty need drill move where an ensemble of about eight horns are standing in a line, playing for a while, and the corps is kind of spread around them...then the corps starts to move slowly inward, to group behind the horns as they form an ovalesque block, and there's some neat musicality with the footwork here. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by them.

Southwind/4th/73.5....You know, I really liked the show musically last year, and this year it just doesn't grab me the same way....I did like their warm-up to legends of the fall, however....was just kind of expecting more, but they seem fairly solid, anyway. I hope they can pull it together...

Blue Knights/3rd/79.2.....I hope nobody flames me for this, but I have NEVER enjoyed a Blue Knights show on the first viewing (or second, third, etc..)....guess what....I ENJOYED this show on the first viewing!! Thank you, Blue Knights! I mean, the show is not GREAT, and they should have been scheduled to go on BEFORE Phantom, but I'm just glad that they're headed in an "accessible" direction. (I had two drum corps newbies w/me) The theme, as you know by now, is "Cartoon", and it is done lightheartedly enough. Problem is, you would expect with that title to recognize more of the music...(although the looney tunes tag after the fake ending was very cool) Also, maybe I'm stupid, but what in the heck is music from "An American in Paris" doing in here? It made for a recognizable ballad, but it has been done to death IMHO...Kids didn't seem fully into the show, kind of going through the mellophone wasn't even playing near the end....she seemed worried that she was gonna run into somebody with that fast drill....she was right, as there were a few minor collisions tonight near the end. I know this section is pretty new to them, and I expect they will clean it up before Finals. I hope they can....I'm rooting for ya, guys!

Phantom Regiment/2nd/85.4...Wow! What a difference a year can make! I was really looking forward to seeing them this year after reading all the different reviews, and I wasn't disappointed! The show is MUCH improved from last year, especially in terms of drill design. I had read that the drill was pretty basic, but it seemed to be fairly difficult. (unless you compare it to the Cavie's drill, which isn't really fair..). And, there was one point very reminiscent of 1989, where they form two blocks seperately, but they didn't do the mesh/unmesh move, but it was cool nonetheless.. I'm just happy they're doing so well...They seem to be coming along very nicely, and a part of me wishes for the "miracle" (no offense, Phantom..) to come along and put them in top four in Finals. But, fifth place is a very realistic possibility right now, and I hope they keep working at it.....One thing....the dancing "toy soldiers" was funny, and kind of neat, but there did seem to be just a little bit too much of it (it loses its effect). Other than that, I can't wait to see them again in San Antionio the 21st!

Cavaliers/1st/89.8...Oh, my....I have a delemna (spelling?)...I am a pretty big fan of Santa Clara Vanguard, and thought I'd be hoping they'd top Blue Devils (love the Blue Crew, too..) and take the championships (I haven't actually viewed Vanguard or Devils, just going from what I've read..) but now, after seeing (and hearing!) the Cavaliers show, I'm wondering just who I'll be rooting for on Finals night. Of course, I'm a fan of ALL of the corps, but sometimes I pull a little more for SCV....This show is spectacular.....there, I said it....I had listened to the mp3 of the show a couple of times prior to seeing them, and I had thought, "This music is kind of out there..." Well, it's a much different story live! (plus it was an old recording, I'm sure..) The music is interesting, and holds your attention. But, the real story, as everyone will tell you, is their drill.....Oh my goodness, this is some of the best drill I think I've ever seen (design-wise). Last time I remember feeling this way about their drill was 1990.. And, I thought they were VERY clean for mid July. There was a fall towards the end from a Contra player, but it was as the corps just formed a block, and played a pretty long chord. (long enough for him to get up, turn around, pick up his horn, and get ready..) Poor guy...But, that was the only major error that I saw. Now, my newbie friend saw a lot of flag drops on the opening flag toss over the corps, but it was really windy, and I think that hurt ALL of the guards tonight. The DCI judge for colorguard at this contest is a friend of mine, so I'll have to pay her a visit, and see what she thinks (I'm not a guard guy...). When this show is cleaned the rest of the way, look out Blue Devils and Vanguard! I guess I'll be rooting for all three of these corps (four, including Phantom..) come Finals night!

Oh yeah, the encore performance from the Cavies was AWESOME!! Bflat horns or not, these guys have some massive sound!! Was VERY surprised at this...The drum major gave away his medal to some high-school girl who was drooling over him during his conducting of America/O Canada. He should have given it to the girl to his left (also drooling)....she was cuter. If only I could be a drum major...Just kidding, guys! :)

Hope this review wasn't too painful or repetetive of what you've read in other reviews....Remember before you flame on, that I really do love all of the corps, and I don't really lean toward one corps or another. I'd like to end by quoting a very "wise" man who once said, "That sure swashed my buckle!!"

Jeff Gray

Tuesday July 17

Tempe, AZ (DCI)

Didn't get to see all the corps… missed some junior high band and Impulse & Esperanza…. sorry… work.

First pet peeve:
Phoenix is NOT a drum corps town. People were trying the DC etiquette thing and not walking around during shows… then the announcer came over the PA near the end telling people to clear the isles so that people could get back to their seats! (and he was talking about the entrances because the real "isles" were all clear with nobody in them… this should be the responsibility of the hosting group, to have SOME sort of understanding of what is expected.

Second pet peeve:
Some junior high summer guard came on between Cascades and SCV. It just didn't seem right in the context of world class drum corps to have 10 year olds dancing to "Grease" being blared over a sound system. Flame me if you like….. it just wasn't appropriate at all.

To the Corps:

Seattle Cascades - Outstanding drum corps on the rise. Division III champion last year, and will challenge Mandarins for Division II this year. Great ensemble sound, good guard, tight percussion, very good Division II brassline. My only concern - staging of the hornline downright stinks at some points… leaves some exposed sections of the hornline out to dry, BUT these kids are taking the ammo their staff has loaded, and are running with it. Good luck guys!

The Cadets - What happened to whiplash drill? Decent horn book, and played extremely well. The opening statement lacks a little from my viewpoint. Great runs through the opener. Everybody bags on Moon… I think it's a jivin' little tune.. the biggest problem: it's most of their show! (anybody else notice the tenorline is in the pit ˝ the show?? On the trap sets for Moondance & the ballad) Typical Cadets colorguard, outstanding… especially during the ballad. Great musicality by the hornline in the ballad, excellent dynamic shaping… and the transition into the closer was very cool from the soloist. The closer had some typical trademark Cadet pinwheels… and very intense music. I don't think they'll be challenging this year, too tight at the top.

Santa Clara Vanguard - WOW! What an intense show! Different opening… silent breakneck drill while pit plays a slow dissonant/dreamy like phrase. IT WORKS! Very difficult horn book… very rhythmic and percussive. Also - very, very exposed, which if they don't do some watering/cutting/cleaning - it could come back to hurt them. Tough hornbook throughout the show - excellent mello soloist with attitude! The chant makes the show, and what a build to that point. It's tension, tension, tension - and then the chant, which builds up and then the final statement (which is probably the best final statement of the year.)

We'll see if they challenge, like I said, it's tight @ the top… I've talked to lots of people who have seen all 3 (BD, SCV, & Cavies), and they say BD and Cavies are untouchable, good luck SCV, I dig the show & the intensity. I wouldn't be upset with this show winning simply based on fact that it's so f'n hard!

Take it or leave it...That's my two cents.


First off this review is MY opinion, not the opinion of any organization, news station or other living being.

With that said, CONGRATS to the Acadamy for bringing Drum Corps back to the Phoenix area. Talked to a lot of band people who were suprisingly very knowlegable about our activity.

IMPULSE: OUTSTANDING drum line. IMHO - size is overkill. They need to work harder on thier hornline prep, not quite up to the drum line in performance, but a fun show, and GREAT performers.

ESPERANZA: If this is the state of DIV. II corps, this activity is in for some great things. Balanced show, stong horn and drum book. Look out for these guys. They are simply fabulous.

Cascades: If you beefed up this hornline to say 60, this corps would set the activity on fire. GREAT horn sound, drum book is a little weak in spots. They march and sound like a DIV. I contender. They blew me away. Far and away worth the price of admission. If you haven't seen them, it is your loss.

SCV - Very strong Hornline. I like the sort of darker sound. More bottom end than Cadets. Some great musical moments. NOW GET READY FOR FLAME BAIT. Although the drumline is extremly clean, it is easy to see why--THEY DON"T PLAY ANYTHING. I thought I was not hearing things through thier performance, so I waited until the victory concert. They stood in front of me and played a drum book that an average marching band could play. SCV has always been one of my favorite lines(after Cavaliers) but I would like to know how you can not play, and get high scores. This may hold them to the third spot at DCI.

Cadets - After reading much hype about this show, I can honestly say that this is not one of thier better efforts. Tinny very high end sound, with marginal bottom end. Excellent snare line. The new Yamaha drums work for them. Disapearing tenor line was disturbing. Much heard comment was that from Moondance until the closer, they stand around too much. Almost like they didn't know what to do there, so they just kind of play and mill around. IMHO, if Phantom can make a late season surge, Cadets could be in unfamiliar territory at 5th place.

Last point: VERY WELL RUN SHOW. Again, Cudos to the Acadamy(They are already planning for next year). For all of you who say drum corps is dying, go to a show and talk to the performers. These kids, ALL OF THEM, are just wonderful, and deserve all of the support we can give them.

Sorry for the long winded review.

Pat Jones

VK lives on in this fun bunch of kids! I had a lot of first time Corp viewers with me and many did not understand why they did not place higher. Basically it was very entertaining but pretty weak on content.

This could be a corp on the rise. It has been a long time since I have seen a show with Div. II Corps in them. Either Div. II has gotten a lot better or Esperanza will be a group to watch out for. The score was wonderful and the drill was nicely designed and well executed.

Wow, everything that has been posted before is very true. The Cascade can compete with the best in Div. II and might even out score some of the Div. I corps. If they continue to grow I see a Top 12 finish within a year or two.

Someone did a review before that said the show doesn't work and I must say I agree. The first section, Young Person's Guide..., was wonderful to hear but nothing special in drill. Then the show grinds to a halt with Moondance. My partner who has never been to a show before turned to me after they finished and used the word painful to describe that segment. The show did finish well but only the last minute rose above the mediocrity before it. I think the only reason it scores well is because the do it cleanly. Finally everyone I talked to hated the brown mustard colored guard costumes.

I predict SCV will win finals with this show. It is incredibly complex and will only get better leading up to finals. There were several heart stopping moments in the show and as they continue to clean it the scores will climb. I is a complete show that is strong in all areas. I think it's a winner.


Ankeny, IA (DCI)

Holy cow, was it hot. When the wife and I left Omaha this afternoon, it was only 96; when we got to Iowa it jumped to 101. Well, onto the corps.

COLT CADETS - Only thing I can say here is FUN. The Ocean show fits that group perfectly, and these kids are great entertainers. What a way to start the evening.

KIWANIS KAVALIERS - This was their first show since coming back from Europe. You know, I thought the horns and drums were a lot better than the scores indicated; these guys and girls are pretty good musicians. The sops and mellos tend to stick out at times, epsecially during the loud sections, but overall a nicely balanced section. The percussion section, I thought, had a fairly simple book, but they got the job done. If Kiwanis wants to make some serious strides going into Buffalo, then something needs to be done about the visual aspect of the show. It seems that only the middle of the field was used, and it kind of ruined the cool parts of the show to see people missing step-offs, halts, and having feet out of time. I like the overall product; "Manhattan". Some people were wondering why they were so distant from the rest of corps, and I thought that a near 30-point spread between them and Glassmen was way off.

COLTS - I was anxious to see this show with all of the rave reviews. The hornline is quite good technique-wise, but the balance was off....a lot. You couldn't even hear the sopranos a lot of times during the show. While I like being able to hear the bottom of the choir with baris and contras, completely blasting the sops and mellos kind of turned me off from the performance. The percussion section is perhaps the best the corps has ever had. I was impressed with the balance between the snares and tenors, and the drumline marched very aggresively, which means that the playing is that much better. While the guard is excellent, the visual performance was sub-par. The part when the hornline marches across the field with the shields is cool, but it would be awesome if the lines were straight. Timing of the feet was also sub-par, and while the field in Ankeny is a little rough, there were a lot of feet in the horns tonight. I would have thought that a top-12 corps would march a little better than they did tonight, but I can't really tell what the judges are thinking these days.

MADISON SCOUTS - Putting all biases aside, I think Madison has some design problems, however, that shouldn't reflect on the scores, which should be judged on execution. You could tell there were a few changes tonight, but they should be clean by finals. The hornline is very loud again, but is also very balanced. It sounded like all the parts spoke to the crowd, and even though the sopranos have a lot of solo time in the show, the mellophones have a lot of cool parts in the show. The contras have some great walking lines throughout the show, and the baris are strong. The percussion section is pretty good, the third best line of the night easily. They play a lot of notes, but it seemed like not all of them were coming out, and I think the tenors and snares wipe out the basses at times. The drill design is decent. You see some signature Madison moves near the end of the performance which got the crowd going. By far, however, the best marching style of the evening. I believe that if marching style had any impact on the visual sheet, Madison would be near the top on a consistent basis, no matter what year. Intervals were a touch spotty at times, but they were none worse than anyone else. The guard does need some work, but there weren't very many drops tonight. It's a shame that the brass line will finish miles behind BD, who pretty much win that caption by reputation rather than execution. But, such is life. Hands down, the crowd favorite, and the final chord had people standing before the cutoff.

BLUECOATS - Not a lot of "Bloo-ing" tonight. This is the least entertaining I've seen Canton since I started following the activity. The opener has energy, but the balad made me think of a death march, and the closer lacked a lot of punch. It seemed that the hornline lost a lot of energy as the show went on. Still, the sops are good, but at times they blasted over the line and there were quite a few fracks in the upper register tonight too. Feet are clean. Drill is clean. Know why? THEY DON'T MARCH. They spend more time dancing then moving around the field. I don't think they moved past the 35s once during the show, and there were no drill effects during the show. Kind of bland, if you ask me. However, it was nice to see Canton bust out some high toes. Timing of the feet was excellent. The percussion section definitely is pushing the corps. They have a pretty cool feature in the show, and the snares are VERY clean. That may be the difference in the scores between them and Madison, because I think Canton and Scouts are very near each other in all other captions except percussion. Maybe Ankeny was a rough crowd, or maybe I was trying too hard to enjoy it, but I'd sure as hell hate to see Bluecaost leave the good music for the interperative dancing.

GLASSMEN - These kids work their asses off, and they perform the show quite well. That's about the only positive thing I have to say, unfortunately. What the hell are they trying to do? If this was a wind ensemble concert, I'd love it. But this IMAGO thing left people staring at the field with their eyes glazed over. IMAGO needs to be renamed to IMAGO to the concession stand, IMAGO to the bathroom, or maybe even IMAGO home. It's a well-executed show and I won't dispute that. I thought the hornline had some cool moments, but my only beef with the brass section was the feet in the horns, which sounded way worse than the Colts. Maybe this has to do with the Cadet style marching their implementing, or do they bounce around on purpose? A touch of phasing in the show, but nothing any of the other corps didn't have. Once again, the percussion section carries this corps. They have a ton of notes, and they play the hell out of that book. This line is the best Toledo has ever seen, and it wouldn't surpirse me to either see them win percussion, or take top three in that caption. I'm sorry for my negative comments about the actual music, but I find it hard for people to get into the music that Glassmen were playing. Is it well executed? Yes. However, how can people be entertained by it?

Andy Smith

Sunday July 15

Santa Ana, CA (DCI Pacific)

Hey y'all!

Ok, so this is like my one and only review of the season because I decided to only go to one show this year. My overall thoughts? I thought it was a pretty good show. Not as good as previous shows that I've been to, but it was good. Anyway, on with the reviews...

(DISCLAIMER: This is a very opinionated review. I tend to think that I know a lot about drum corps. I'm a drummer and a horn player, so sorry if I don't review guards unless something really stuck out at me...)

Renegades - 65.15
All I can say is WOW! These guys were definately my favourite of the night! Not too much to say about it, but sitting in the 4 row from the front didn't really help my already increasing headache! Oh yeah, if y'all were wondering, I was the guy in the front that jumped up the second the show was over to give y'all a standing O. All my friends told me I was the first person in the entire stadium up. Pretty cool, I guess...LOL! Anyway, great show you guys and come back down here next year, eh? Anyway, it was a great show. Solos were excellent! I liked Chris Nalls' little "Hi Mom" to the guy video taping next to him right before his solo. Very funny! The Sop quintet(?) in Corea was awesome! Larrie's solo in Mambo was like it always is...Outstanding! I don't understand why the judges keep giving scores in the 60s? Are they being judged on like Division 1 sheets, or are there Senior corps sheets? I would have definately given this show an 88 possibly higher.

Alliance - 61.80
Ok, who is the genius who schedules these shows? I totally agree with Lee's little crusade to get senior corps on like last or something. I think it really sucked to put Alliance on after the Renegades. Anyway, this was a pretty good show for what they have to work with. I was a little disappointed with the center snare never being on step, and I'm guessing that was the cause for most of their dirt. Otherwise, it was a very well put together show. Congrats on a perfect season (only undefeated Division 3 corps on the west coast...Could it be because they are the only ones?). Hope you guys do well in Madison next year!

Impulse - 70.35
LOL! This was a great show! The quality of Impulse keeps getting better every year. The drumline was almost perfect. I loved the snare rack stuff towards the end. That was awesome! This is a show that you really need to see if Impulse is coming to a show near you this season. They might actually do quite well in Buffalo this year too.

Esperanza - 76.50
First off, I like the new uniforms WAY better than last years. That blue and gold never really did it for me (I'm a USC fan, not UCLA). My friends (all 30 of, I just realized I have 30 friends! LOL!) thought these guys were pretty good. They kept asking me "This is only their 2nd year, right?" Yup, last year was their first year, but you can't tell from the way they all play. Drumline was excellent, and the hornline was pretty good, but not great. I acutally had them over SCVC, but what do I know?

Vanguard Cadets - 79.35
This, like their A corps, is a great show. I loved the music, and this corps totally pulled off this show. I love the super-sized drumline. For the 10 snares, they were pretty clean. The hornline was a typical SCV hornline...Great! The show was pretty interesting, although I don't really remember a lot of it, but I just remember I did like it a lot.

Seattle Cascades - 83.30
I really don't know what to write for Seattle. I was a little disappointed with this show. I think it has been hyped by reviewers too much. I wasn't really impressed, but I must say they were the 2nd loudest Division 2 corps (Impulse wins 1st in that catagory). I was really surprised to hear about the history of the corps. 1950-something? Wow! I hope these guys get AT LEAST 2nd this year in Buffalo. If they don't, I'm going to be upset. This is a championship show, but it's just one that doesn't appeal to me. Anyway, the hornline was very good, and the drumline was probably the best in Divison 2 besides Impulse's. Some of the girls in the guard looked to be like 12 years old. I couldn't get over that. Anyone know anything about that?

Pacific Crest - 75.80
Ok, so I'm a little biased considering PC is like my favourite corps. This was a great show! I totally loved the hornline on-field warmup. It was beautiful! This corps never ceases to amaze me. Things are going to be getting pretty interesting here on the west coast in a couple of years when PC finally gets comfortable in Division 1. Anyway, considering what I heard from this show WAY back at the audition camp when the music was passed out (sort of), I knew this was going to be a well-executed show (those sop runs in the very begining sound almost exactly the same as the 1st day! Wow!). Anyway, the drums were execellent, and the hornline was superb. I totally had PC getting like a 79 instead of a 75. Prediction: Last show of their season (Lodi, I believe) watch for PC to get at least 86.something, possibly higher!

Cadets - 86.70
Ok, can anyone tell me why the schedule was screwed up after PC? All the drum corps "virgins" (sorry, big Rocky Horror fan) that went with me kept thinking that the Cadets were SCV. Oh well...Anyway, I'm glad to FINALLY see the Cadets in person. This was a great show for the fans. My friend who was sitting in front of me is a Mellophone player, and he totally loved all the mello runs in this show, including the solo in Moondance. I have to say that I totally agree with him. Actually, that was the only thing I liked about this show. That, and Moondance, cause it's my favourite Van Morrison song. Also, do y'all think that they will do that warmup facing the crowd in Buffalo? That is going to be interesting to see...

Santa Clara Vanguard - 87.05
WTF are the judges thinking? I think my friend Randy put it the best: "DCI doesn't want this show to win because they are afraid of what it might do to everyone else." At least for tonight, I had SCV over BD by a manure truckload of horse-sh*t. This is probably one of the best shows that SCV has ever played. It's a complete shame that either BD or Cavies are going to win at Champs this year and not SCV. Also, I had absolutely no problem with the New Era chant. Those guys know how to get down! SCV should stop doing classical shows, and start doing funk shows. Damn! That was some awesome stuff. Anyway, I agree with whoever says that the only thing holding this corps back is the drumline. I wasn't too joyous about them tonight. They definately had some moments, but nothing too special. The hornline was smokin', and I actually noticed the guard (especially on that one part with the ripple in the hornline from the high to low voices to the guard...awesome!). Anyway, SCV over BD anytime now, eh?

Blue Devils - 88.20
Ok, I am a HUGE Blue Devils fan, but this show...Nope. Sorry. To quote my favourite character on Ren and Stimpy, "No sir...I don't like it." First off, the drumline last night was having a bad night. That opening lick. Ouch! I don't think that dirt was supposed to be there. That lick was cleaner at the WGI clinic in March than it was last night. Anyway, this corps had a lot of problems projecting the show. Maybe it was because I was still deaf from the Renegades, but I was very dissappointed in the lack of volume from the supposed "loudest corps". Also, I had a really odd craving for a Hot Dog on a Stick watching this show. Anyone know why? LOL! I"m sorry, but I just don't see why BD is constantly kicking everyone's asses at every show they go to. I guess it goes back to the philosophy "easy and cheesey". For the potential that this corps has, I don't think they are utilizing it to their fullest. Ok, I think I should stop ripping into BD...I know I'm probably going to get a new pair of cement shoes soon...

Ok, so in summary the overall show was pretty decent. It was my first time being at the Santa Ana Bowl and not having to perform. It was quite surreal. Anyway, I think that my corps-by-corps review fairly expresses my opinions on the individual shows without the need for summary here. Anyway, hopefully next year I'll get out to more shows. Road trip!

Questions, comments, flames?
--Zak Winnick

Expertise: Drum Corps fan for 21 years, marched 5 years and yes I have "The Ring." I also have been a teaching guards for 15 years and have several WGI titles as an instructor.

Note: for those of you outside of California, Stand by, Pacific Crest will be in top 12 in a few years. I think they are on the right track.

I stood in front of the top three colorguards and watched their warm ups, basic blocks & show parts in stand still. This allowed me to get a very good idea of the strong and weak points of each guard. I scored them from 1-10.

Cadets: my score (8.8)

Cadet's sabers were outstanding (9.7) on there own but unfortunately they are hindered by the curves (the rifles are spinning curves) I guess guns aren't good enough for them (why change the things that make drum corps special),,,. Those boys on curves were struggling all over the place and did not have one solid moment. Sabers nailed all their tosses and show runs. The staff must know this because I noticed the sabers were always the focus in the show and the curves are off to the side until the sabers pick up curves. When the girls pick up curves the section is much improved by the stronger girls. The all flag sections in the Cadets show are well written and well executed.

Warm up by the corps was Rockypoint,,,,,,,,, THANK YOU! On the field the guards performance made up for the timing problems which stand out in a group this good. The curves were once again the weakest section. The Cadets over all show is entertaining but moon-dance brings the show to a screeching stop. Do they relay need all 60 guard members dancing for 5 minutes???? How about 20 of them pick up a flag or something? The show picks back up in the end but you know you didn't see one of the best written shows for this group. How about 4th for Guard and 4th for corps.

SCV my guard score (9)

SCV' has a cool clock/time thing going, guard has clock hands on their uniforms and all wear matching wrist watches, (they check the time over and over). Opening flag work with a neon orange and white clock flag is very, very fast and powerful. Weapons come in to play and are a bit forced. SCV weapons seem to be a bit hit and miss the last few nights. Because the show is performed at mock-5, the weapons have breaks all to often, but when they are on they are ON. SCV drill is outstanding and will take them longer to clean then BD and Cadets. I think SCV can beat BD as soon as they clean up a bit more. I can't see cadets beating SCV from here on out.

BD my guard score (9.3)

Outstanding group of kids, there are no weak members here and they don't choke. The kids are incredible on equipment and the boys on gun are the strongest part of the unit.

On the field the rifles are front and center most of the time, sabers are very strong but tend to take the back seat to the guns. When the sabers are featured they are up and in your face. BD has a rifle feature of around 25 kids,,, every night this feature was ON and ends with (I think) a solid 6.

OK, the horns are outstanding as well as the drumline, once you get past that the BD have nothing more to offer. This show is flat and hard to swallow. There is a minimal amount of drill from this group, that is not a sliding form or open box set up to allow the guard to take front stage. Yes, its clean. Now what? I'd rather see 10th place Scouts then a first place BD. That means there is something wrong with this show.

I saw BD three time and at the end of each show, there was always a lag time for the first audience members to start the applause due to the lack of excitement. Truth.

D. Martinez

Upper Darby, PA (DCI Atlantic II/III)

Perfect Sunday afternoon weather greeted the 13 corps vying for the DCI Atlantic II/III titles. Crowd was sparse, but enthusiastic supporting all the corps. 30 years ago there probably 30 corps of II/III stature based within a 30 mile radius of this site, now unfortunately the 13 competitors today covered about 800 miles worth of distance, between them, all that's left of the once thriving drum corps scene in the East. Anyhow, enough of the sentimentality, Here's some observations on the show in order of appearance....

East Coast Jazz- Better than I expected. They do a nice job with their Chick Corea program, featuring some interesting arrangements, and the show held your interest throughout. Pleasant sounding hornline, and a nice bass line standout.-Thought they beat the Raiders, but appearing first no doubt affected the placement.

Cadets of NYC-Opening with Knights In White Satin, these guys have learned to play much much musically than when I last saw them two years ago. Drum Line was really layin' it down throught the show.

Kips Bay Crusaders- A nice Latin oriented show, with an attractive energetic auxilary. I recall them having a contra player that really cut through, lots of open class corps wouldn't mind having this kid in there line.

Lehigh Valley Knights- Another Corps that surprised me. After all the hype this winter I was looking to be disappointed, but the staff has chosen a show the first year corps can handle "Ready to Battle" I believe is the theme. Drum line had it's moments, and a nice brass trio stood out. Also worth mentioning are the uniforms which are very complementary and make the corps appear larger in stature than they are ( even though they were probably the largest III corps).

Spirt of Newark- Have an intresting opening where the Horns do a short tribute marching-style-wise to the southern College show bands (Grambling and Southern U come to mind). The percussion section( which is all grounded on the 50 in the center of the field) got a real good latin groove happening during the drum feature.

McCullough Royal Knights- Great to see a corps competing from DC again. I remeber the late sixties when DC had very talented underated corps like the VIPS and VFW Lancers competing. Hopefully this crew can grow to reach the same stature. They've defintely progressed from last year. The Highlight for me was an excellent soprano solo during Impossible Dream. The crowd also enjoyed the perc section's cadence while trouping the stands.

Scenic City- How do you win over fans in a hurry with a small second year corps? How about designing a show with the audience in mind? That's what Scenic City did. Playing a show celebrating the innocence of childhood (including ABC -by the Jackson Five, and Sesame Street theme), combine that with some nice visuals (complete with giant building blocks), and fine solo, duet and section work, and you've got an entertaining production written to the level of talent. Thanks Scenic City.

Quest-Playing music by David Hollsinger, the Quest move in another direction than Scenic City by playing a very demanding show, particularly for 13 brass. The percussion line cooked, and the guard was very expressive, but personally, the overall show is over the kids, and audience's heads. The visual package included the use of strtegically-placed poles, which unfortunately became distraction when many toppled over. The show was certainly ambitious, but as hard as the kids work, it would be nice if they had a vehicle that was more audience-friendly, and therefore could generate more of positive reaction.

Phoenix- With a show consisting of music from Jeckyl and Hyde, the corps has deifintely stepped up in maturity level this year, with much more challenging but appealing show. They look confident, and have some powerful brass hits in the show. Percussion seemed a little off today, but the talent is there. if the brass line gets better at listening to one another they could make real progress before the year is out.

Raiders- The Lodi NJ crew always puts out a quality product. This year they've got a diffucult show featuring music from Picture at an Exhibition. The problem I have with this, is whenever you do a show that an Open Class show has done well in the past, people expect more because they've heard it peformed by 60 brass, so unless you really nail it (which is real challenging) it's tough to impress people. The corps held my interest throughout the show but psychologically I was expectying a little more.


Patriots- Nice brass sound. Huge drumline featuring snares. wonder why they weren't out front more? Guard is also quite effective utilizing some very intricate equipment work. Had them over the Spartans today.

Spartans- Love the tight block formation in the opener complete with shields for their Gladiator/Ben Hur show. Would like to see them utilized more during the program. Horns and drums were solid but can't recall anything that really jumped out at me, as I think the brass can open up the sound a little more.

Jersey Surf- saw them on June 29 whwn they stood in a semi-circle for the closer, and sounded like 2/3 of the low brass were still unsure of their parts,and the percussion ovepowered the Horns. Wow!! What a difference today!!

They were cooking on all cylinders ( it also helps that your home base is probably 30 minute from the show) Percussion had it goin' on, guard looked great, and marching is much improved. I was leary of hearing somebody else play Pat Metheny music when I read what their show was, but they give the stuff a fresh treatment, and really sold the show. Solists were excellent as well. Although I haven't seen the Midwest or West coast II corps, Surf should be in the hunt for the title.

Well enough rambling. Overall the corps IMO seem better prepared and more entertaining this year. Hopefully this is a trend that continues. marching


Hamilton, Ontario (ODCA)

Unprofessional synopsis for the Hamilton Show which was in front of a sparse crowd at Ivor Wynn Stadium. It is a great stadium for Drum Corps, but it is too bad they cannot get the crowd.

In Parade Class in was good to see St. Johns (2nd 72.9) back on the field. This is an extremely young and inexperienced corps, but they made a great effort today. Their guard is showing obvious skill gained from their experience in the winter guard circuit. The drill was surprisingly good.

Also in Parade Class was Blue Saints (1st 73.7). Blue Saints had a few horn players who could really play and they presented an entertaining and fun show. Well done! It was obvious that they had fun on the field and that is what is important!

In Div III, Sentinelles from Quebec (3rd, 52.35) provided an entertaining show. They have a large guard and their drumline was improved over last year.

Dutch Boy (2nd, 59.65) is a much smaller corps this year and are competing in Div III. They are playing music from the movie Pleasantville and have built around their successful winterguard show of the same theme. Their Drum Major E. Christopher McLean, is the best one out there.

Stentors (1st, 60.3) are also smaller and competing Div III this year. Their hornline stands out as being more powerful than the other Div III corps out there today. We used to always go the the Stentor's home show and they are always a great group of kids. I wish the crowd would be as responsive to them here as their crowds were always to us.

Div I

This was my first chance to see Kiwanis Kavaliers (1st 61.85) this year. Kiwanis is smaller in size as well (we need to do something about building up Drum Corps in Cananda!! Their show these is Manhattan and they have a bit of catching up to do as a result of their recent tour to Holland. There are some nice sounds coming from their Brass section (go Jodi!), but their opening drill looked a little rough in spots. They have a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, which is really nice, but it sits to close to the front, keeping the corps doing all of their drill between the 30 & 30 & in the front 1/3rd of the field. I guess it is a Manhattan traffic jam???

They have some obvious room to move and as they leave to go on the road today, I am sure we will see some significant improvements.


Saturday July 14

Glendora, CA (DCI Pacific)

Well guys I will give u a brief top of my pointed head review of the show last night. I hadn't been 2 that field since 77 when as a member of the Kingsmen we did a crappy job of our 77 show at a high school band competition in something like October and got about 4-5 s.o.'s. Seatting sits very high with a track between the field and the stands, I was sitting about 5 rows up on the 50 yard line. For those of u that r not familiar with socal the fans were able 2 experience one of our well known natural disasters first hand before the show started, there was a forest fire in the mountains 2 the east of the stadium visible from the stands so we got 2 watch the forest service put that out while waitng for the show 2 start.

Renegades: Nice drum line, I'm a horn person so I can't give u technical ideas but not bad for the amount of gray hair that was out there, very small guard a couple of the members of the guard looked like they could have been marching in junior still or just aged out but they were out there and tried 2 do some stuff. The show opened with "Mambo" the Kingsmen did it in 74, I played it and know that chart is tough, not a bad job of it either, closed with an old BD tune that 4 the life of me I can't remember the name, just park and blow great mellophone solo at the beginning, and than about 5 or 6 sops come up front and scream it out, hey they missed a few notes and it wasn't 79 or 80 BD but these cats were probably my age in their late 30's to mid 40's and the crowd loved it. These guys made me want 2 grab a Bari and do it, if the rumored senior corps that the Impulse is planning 2 start happens after seeing that I am there.

Alliance: very small horn line, the kids really try hard and I appreciate there effort there problem is just numbers, not a SD person so don't know there history but thanks 4 being out there and performing 4 us.

SCV Cadets: not 2 the caliber of last yr but that was very special and would B tough 2 repeat, tough show that they bring off pretty well sorry I can't remember much about it I will B taking notes at the show in Santa Ana 2nite so I will give a better idea.

Cascades: I had never seen them B4 and I am now a fan, very nice Color Guard and just a nice all around corps. I guess the guard stands out because they werre the first ones that looked like they were together and there 2 help sell the show, these guys are going places and with some hard recruiting and work in the future could be the first pac northwest rep 2 place in the top 12, ( I don't believe the argonauts did though I could be wrong) they definetly have a bright future and I don't believe they are as far behind the Mandarin as the score indicated.

Impulse: VK reincarnated? maybe someday, I can't believe Jack Bevins is still kicking around, fun show 2 watch nice idea with "Wilson", like VK when they first started their Shtick shows alot of emphasis is being placed on audience reaction rather than tight 4 the judges performance and I like it, their like the half time show at a football game something to watch during a break in the competition. I hope they r able 2 keep it 2gether and build something like the old VK but it will B tough 2 attract members in comp 4 bodies with Pacific Crest.

Blue Devils B: Small but nice horn line, it seems like every one is able 2 play most of their parts, drum line is obviously little BD all of the high sticking and staccato emphasis of the bgi bros and the guard has some definite a corps future bodies, perfect 4 what they r supposed 2 be a train ground 4 the a corps.

Mandarins: Great guard! my favorite guard next 2 SCV, they actually use equipment on the field and they accentuate the show with there work. Great job guys. Another good pit and drum line 4 these guys, they r so consistent putting out quality in these 2 areas, the biggest change 4 them is the horn line seems bigger than in the past and they r adding a great deal 2 the overall program, though I don't feel the point spread between them and cascades is as big as thwe score indicates they were bettewr tonite but would not b surprised if cascades pass by nationals.

Pacific Crest: What a great weekend corps, as the father of a high school junior who plays trumpet I would let her do this next year in a heart beat. Classy corps and staff they bring maturity 2 the field and present it 2 the crowd. I ahve seen other posts about were they could B if they went full time and toured nationally but I think that would take away what is special about them, they bring a certain freshness 2 the field and there show. They don't have that over worked over cleaned look and step 2 there show they looked the freshest out there. It may be selfish but I don't want them 2 change. This corps is were it is because of the quality of the high school bands in the area and the mangement and staff should B applauded 4 what they have accomplished.

SCV: now 4 the real dog fight best potential show of the night, I believe they have a better show than BD or Cadets and it will clean up and I would not B surprised 2 see them pass BD in the end, nice oepning with the pit and the silent drill then wake-up the horn line blasts u back into reality sort of. it ids now thime for my opinion on B-flat horns, they are not as loud as the G bugles, That opening last year with the old horns would have moved seats and broken glasses but not last nite. even though I was sitting low the drill seems 2 B vintage SCV. very fast and all over the place that is the biggest difference between them and the others. the horn line seems a little weak at times but hope fully the sound will mature a little more over the next few weeks.Drum line sounds solid and the Guard is wonderful, I am tired of all of the dancing, this is Drum corps not the ballet lets get the Silks, Sabres and Rifles back out there and do some Guard work. I used 2 love watching the great guards in the 70's ( 27, PR, Anaheim, SCV) brign it back, that was one of the things that made us stand out from the bands was our guards. The corps are getting the good looking like always but they are not as tough as the old days. That was the show that I really said wow that was nasty.

Cadets: Thanks 4 comin out west, I liked the opener but the sop-mello sound at the end is lost during the running part with the multiple meters, I think this is more due to the inadequacies of the horns I am sure the guys r able 2 play the notes but these horns just don't project as well. Ireally liked moondance, it gave me a jazz club feel, just a real nice arrangement, the ballad was nice alot of rich tones 2 it and nice guard assist on it. Closer has sound holes in it and I think this is were Scv will surpass Cadets it has nice moments were u want more but it left me wanting more.

Blue Devs: Well they are clean. Awayday is nice and I can understand the straw hat thing but I don't like it, once again I am not a drum person so I don't know but it sure does seem like they r always accenting something, they seem 2 play a lot of notes I don't what it adds 2 the horn program, it is great 4 the high school drummers who r drooling over there technical abilities But it just doesn't help 2 sell the music. Tese guys can really play but the rest of the musical show left me scratching my head it just seems like an attempt 2 play a lot of notes at a forced volume. On the field the sound just doesn't carry, during the victory concert the horn line sounds forced and distorted. It just sounds like they blowing like they have always done but the horn can not perform as well as the players.

Hopefully, I will have a better review tomorrow, but right now I would say bring back the G bugles and the old sound we were known for. And if U have any comments I am open to them.

Kmen 74-77

Glendora Review--Written on Word Pad, copied, and transcribed by Ryan H. Turner, "The Voice of Southern California"

If drum corps could have been under any more "perfect" conditions, I'd be hard-pressed to find where that show would be. The day was cool, nice breeze coming in from the home stands, and hey! What's that in the mountains above the stadium? Yes, as if on perfect cue, I show up in the pressbox an hour early to begin my pre-show warm up, meditation and yoga, and extensive review of the notes for the show ("Please stay seated while a corps is performing"--brainless fodder), and a nice size vegetation fire breaks out. Thinking quickly, being a 911 Dispatcher in my real life, I got on my radio and quickly ascertained where exactly the Renegades were. Good...they were warming up. They didn't start the fire!! Well, at least not THERE in the hills.

This review will be classic, Ryan H. Turner, but I may not be so hunky-dory and Mr. Positive as I'm usually known to be. I agree, drum corps is a competitive sport, objective AND subjective, and while my personal tastes can't be agrued with nor can they be discounted, I don't want to "offend" anyone whilst trying my best to present my opinions of some of the objective aspects of the shows I saw presented to us. OK??? MAN!! That was pretty dang close to being rather literate, Mr. Turner. Why thank you!!

(DISCLAIMER!!! I am on the board of Pacific Crest, and I was the show announcer for the Glendora Show...however, any statements made are NOT considered representative of the PC organization, DCI, DCI-Pacific, my wife, my daughter, or the Los Angeles County Fire Department, whom I do NOT work for and I thank God I don't!! These are MY opinions and observations!) In order of competitive finish:

1st Place--GOLD--San Francisco Renegades 60.90
WOW!!! Since they didn't start the brush fire in the hills, and were more concerned getting their warmup taking care of, I can vouch that the fire they DID start was in the stands. I did my best to get people corralled into the stands so they wouldn't miss the performance, and those that saw them were treated to a fun and loud corps. They are DEFINITELY on the way to become a force to be reckoned with, that is, until we get the southern California group up and running.

A few concerns. The drill sure had the drums "disengaged" from the rest of the corps for A LOT! I didn't get that at all. A very good drum line made up of smart folks, I'm sure, so challenge them with some more integrated drill. The music was fine, and the crowd especially enjoyed Mambo and One More Time. Guard was OK, didn't actually really notice them too much. I have GREAT expectations for Renegades in the future. Lots of enthusiasm and a great opening to this fantastic competition!

1st Place-GOLD--San Diego Alliance 58.05
The purple and white of the uniforms REALLY were quite vibrant in this stadium today! I still say that Alliance is far better than last year, but this performance was marred by ensemble horn problems and lots o' dirty feet, especially drum line. And again, guard staging is a concern, considering how beautiful the costumes and silks are. Up and coming, as long as they don't get discouraged and can work on recruiting.

6th Place--Impulse 68.25
I had ain informant tell me that the judges aren't "taking Impulse seriously", especially the music. Hmmmm, I don't know how accurate that is, but I can tell you this. Impulse is playing some pretty kickin' music, they have a pretty kickin' drum line, and the show is at the level of the corps and is being performed adequetely. Certainly, they have NO PROBLEM in the audience appeal department. They are quite entertaining, and just having a great time on the field. And the audience loves that!

I do have some definite concerns. Impulse is going to "not be taken seriously" unless they look at the guard specifically. They have some nice moments, but my comment about the dolphin prop still stands, and now, taking a closer look at the show, the "tikki masks" (for lack of better word) section during drum solo is FAR too long with no equipment or movement. Suggestion: Paint them bright neon colors like the palm tree sets in the back, bring them out, set them up and them come out from BEHIND them and get back in the show.

Also, hornline, as talented as they are, need some attention to blend and balance. I have feeling they don't rehearse with the volcano. If they did, they would hear the sop and baritone player that are sticking out and bouncing it off that prop and back to the crowd.

I would be remiss to not mention this next part. Impulse's staff, management, board, and support crew is COMPLETELY VOLUNTEER!! They do what they can do with what they got. I have a feeling that there are a lot of "personal expenses" going into this corps. GOD BLESS THEM FOR THAT DEDICATION!!! Now let's get that score up and get the judges to take you seriously.

5th Place--Blue Devils "B" 70.85
Unfortunately, due to logistical concerns and the fact that I was sort of helping run the show, I was unable to give them my undivided attention, but THE GUARD is very good. The music was modern band stuff. Typical. They seem to be smaller, but they did a good job overall.

4th Place--Esperanza 75.05
BIG IMPROVEMENT for these guys. WOW!!! While the group still has some definite ensemble problems and visual smudges here and there, they were FAR MORE aggressive and communicating a higher level of confidence with what they have! THANK YOU!!! And I can't get over the guard! Just well-trained, fully communicating with audience, doing things full out!! Esperanza!! I know you guys and you know me. BUY SOME HORNS, and you all are going places!!

3rd Place--BRONZE--Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets 77.00
Holy cow! 10 snares!! Right off the bat that struck me as risky in these streamlined days. With the exception of minor visual "dirt" and a comment in my notes that the guard (flag part) was way out on side 2 for too long, it was pretty dang good opener. What a WILD transition for the horns to get into the 2nd song!! OLIVER BULLOCK, I'm telling you out!! He's in good company with Myron Rosander as part of the whole SCV family, but wow!! He HAS toned down the drill from last year, but I think in a moment of "I want to do MORRRRRRE" he gave me a little visual gift. He also did this little rotation thing with the midhorns I believe in the 2nd or 3rd tune that was within this box. What struck me as being a fellow designer and aspiring judge was that Oliver "finished his thought" with what he was doing, something again, Myron does with the big kids and HIS drill. WOW!! I kept writing in my notes "great guard--nice silks". YES!! They did have intonation problems, especially mellophones!! FLAT CITY DUDES!! And it wasn't like cold either. Watch that! Minor fix.

2nd Place--SILVER--Seattle Cascades 81.45
I was ready to be kicked in the butt by them because of their stellar performance in San Diego 3 nights ago! And out they came, looking like the sister corps to Pacific Crest (I stole that from someone else's review...hehehehe). Clean, sharp looking uniforms and a nice "presence". But alas...something happened. Ensemble problems in the opener as well as this let down in the sound was what struck me. Almost like they weren't ready for the larger stadium after being lulled into security by the San Diego and Riverside smaller stadiums. The 2nd tune had a nice pod feature with the horns handled well and the drums were rammin' some notes. Audience was behind you guys a lot right there. I think that helped them into the 3rd and 4th tunes, because Seattle really started turn it on. However, again, the midhorn line with Seattle was also flat. Now, maybe I was insulated but it WAS NOT COLD!! But Seattle's mellophones are WAY exposed and have some hard music to handle, especially at the end of the second tune! The guard is just incredible with BY FAR the best look and great silks of the night. RICH RICH RICH!!! Pit did this screech sound in the beginning of the 4th tune that literally scared me, because it was omnipresent and I had no idea where it was coming from. WEIRD STUFF SEATTLE!! But good...nice exciting ending and way to get back into the swing of things.

1st Place--GOLD--Mandarins--84.30
Honestly, I thought Mandarins were pretentious and not very good last year. How's that for honesty. That's just the way I felt. So, I might have been more in the mood of "show me what you got" than normal, I have to admit. And Mandarins, every single last one of you, including the drum major with the name that made me earn my money, you literally kicked my butt!! That's what I get for being a grump about last year! Apparently, Philip Sparke is the new composer for everyone to try out (sorry had your run with "To Tame the Perilous Kings As They Go Off To War Singing a Hymnsong For Some Dude"), and with the exception of a BIG NOTE at the top of my notes saying "rough brass", this show was inflippincredible!! The guard was exceptional, and the mellophones (no...they weren't flat) were ON FIRE!! The horns, by my saying rough, were playing the heck out of some very exciting at times music, but get those tounges inside the bells and clean up that ensemble. WAIT!! You won! What do I have to say about that??? But that's just me...crowd LOVED Mandarins. Thank you ladies and gents...your staff is to be commended, but the kids are the ones on the line!! AND THEY WERE AWESOME!!

DIVISION I 4th Place--Pacific Crest 73.60
The score keeps going up, the guard keeps getting better and better, the drums are full of hands and doing great, and the whole visual package is superb, on the level of the top 12 no doubt!! So??? What's the problem. Well, here's the problem. At the San Diego show, they for whatever reason went through the show but never performed it. I tagged that in my last review. I even talked to their VERY talented and capable Program Coordinator about it. They knew. I'm nothing new!!! SHUDDUP TURNER, we got it. And yeppers peppers, brothers and sisters, PC came out at THEIR show and, well...

Let's just say the hornline took their leaders advice and ate some Wheaties. HOLY COW!! That company front hit was GREAT. The crowd was with you. And that park and bark in the third tune with the wedgie thingee down on side 2--when I get overwhelmed because of how good something is, I become quite hysterical. All I can do is throw my head back and start to cackle like a hyena. It's weird, I'm seeing a doctor about it, but man!! I loved it when the high brass nailed the crap out of that big note in that wedgie thingee, and it was as if the whole crowd leaned forward waiting for the low brass to answer, and then BAMMO!!! And some sop took it up an octave. Cackling insued from the pressbox. I'm surprised Tom Hope and Dan Acheson didn't throw me out!! IT WAS AWESOME!! I just wish PC would work the visual dirt out. I know all about their rehearsal schedule. It's rough. They do tremendous for what they have, and this show is SO incredibly hard. THAT to me is what's keeping them. BUT WAIT!! THEY ARE IN DIVISION 1 FOLKS!! And keeping up with the rest of the country on a REDUCED rehearsal schedule. THINK OF WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THEY SET THEIR SIGHTS ON NATIONALS!! Great performance, and the crowd was ON THEIR FEET!!

3rd Place--BRONZE--Santa Clara Vanguard 86.30
This review isn't going to say anything that the staff themselves won't already know, but this was NOT the same Vanguard that was at San Diego. They had some definite visual dirt concerns tonight, and THAT was the most apparent. I also got the feeling the guard was exhausted, and I don't know why. It was in my notes, and I remember seeing it. But was the show great. YES!!! Even as dirty as it was (missed marching assignment type dirty at times, they got yelled at during rehearsal and they were all psyched out about something), WE ALL LOVED THE SHOW!! And at the "New Era" chant section, holy cow!! 5000 people were rocking with you all. I LOVE THE CLOSER!!!!!!!!! And I've already gushed enough about Myron's drill to kill a camel (I have no idea where that came from), but man! Seeing it from the pressbox only reconfirmed what I said over the PA system--"I'm not worthy to be in the same stadium!!"

2nd Place--SILVER--Cadets 86.50
WOW!! I thought the crowd was going to kill ME during awards! SCV came in 3rd behind these'd thought I said something really offensive. And the crowd surprised me with that response because in essence they were saying "CADETS, you're not as good as SCV!!!" Weirdness to be thinking that with quite possibly one of the greatest corps to march on this planet coming ALL the way out here to perform for us, but's drum corps! Get a thick skin or get out!! :-)

Cadets deserved it folks, and the judges were right. It wasn't THAT big of a deal (2 tenths!!), but Cadets had the edge. However, THEY had some visual dirt to sweep up too! What was with the dance thing! Didn't like it. Was that new? Didn't sell well. I LOVE FARANDOLE, and that ending drill is cool. However, I think the single flag going through that center section is sort of like saying "LOOK HERE FOLKS!! NOW WATCH HOW THE REST WORKS!!" You don't need that. Keep him out of there...and it's STILL awesome drill!! Thank you to the Cadets for being so entertaining. WE REALLY THOUGHT YOU WERE GREAT!!

1st Place--GOLD--Blue Devils 87.75
Some knucklehead emailed me and called me a "Blue Devil hater". Hahahahaha...I laughed. I called him a knucklehead too. Well, he deserved it. I don't HATE the Devils....geezo. Some of my best friends are Devils. Wait, that didn't sound right. Scratch that. But I don't hate BD!! Their show to me this season doesn't work for ME. It's cleaner than snot, it's louder than snot, the guard is so good it scares me, the drums (with the exception of the worthless shoulder harness horizontal bass drum section of the show--sorry!) are just incredible (though not as in your face this season). The drill is clean and attainable, but I don't know. I don't know how to say it (there goes my judging career). They deserved first on technical merits alone. But I didn't buy the show, and I will look and find out why soon! LIKE TONIGHT!!! No doubt about it folks...they are GOOD!!! OK!!??? AM I CLEAR!!!??? Especially for knucklehead out there...



We sold out!! WELL over 5000 people there to have a good time, and a good time we had!!! Thank you to the audience for supporting all the corps, for the great time we had, for the "festive" feel of how the shows used to feel back in the 80's!!! It's very heartening to see so many people shaking hands and hugging each other and realizing that many friendships are being renewed and people being seen for the first time in a long time. It's great. And it was a great show!!!!! THANKS!!!!

Ryan H. Turner
--"The Voice of Southern California!"/Former VK Drum Major in 1986 and 1987
Designer, Instructor, Motivator, Adjudicator for ALL pageantry
And a proud papa to boot!! Just don't boot too hard!!

Denver, CO (DCI)

Well first of all...the weather tonight was great and I personally was surprised that it didn't rain since it has for the last like 20 days. When we drove in we saw a Travelodge parking lot that was literally a lake with at least 5 cars in it with water up to the roofs of the cars, but that is another story. I am still kinda mad that DATR this year was in a much smaller stadium and an hour away from home but the show did turn out all right (If the show was at Mile High tonight it would have been cancelled due to rain so I guess I am happy about that). I just hope that next year some of the big guys come to the show including some Midwesterners too. Anyway...on to the reviews.


SHOW TITLE: The Planets
I did not get to see this show but I could hear it as I walked up and they sounded really good from a distance. I walked up to the stadium right as they were marching out. Sorry!

SHOW TITLE: Broadway's Beauty and the Beast
SCORE: 55.15 (1 Div. II)

My Views:
This group has come a long way from where they were last year. They have a very decent horn line and put out a lot of volume for their size. The drum line and the guard were also very good. This years show has some dull spots but overall is a good show and seems to fit the abilities of the corps very well. I look forward to seeing these guys and gals in the future and seeing how they progress. Good Job.

The views of the girl sitting next to me:
I didn't care to much for the show...maybe it was because they weren't very loud??? I did like the music though cuz Beauty and the Beast is my favorite movie.

SPIRIT OF ATLANTA (errr...I mean JSU SPIRIT...yeah thats it...)
SHOW TITLE: Ghost Train Triptych
SCORE: 71.25 (5)

My Views:
I was amazed. I like the new unis. They have a great sound and a great show that should get them very close to the Top 12 if not into it. The drums were great, the guard was great, and the horns were great (Loud yet controlled most of the time). The drill was also very good. This corps has the whole package this year. The show has a lot to do with trains and the designers did a really good job with it. I thought the score they got tonight was a little low. They had a lot of energy tonight and I felt the score should be up in the 73 range at least. With a little bit of cleaning here and there this show definitely has DCI Top 12 written all over it and you can tell the kids want it. GREAT SHOW GUYS!!!

The views of the girl sitting next to me:
AWESOME...I really liked how the drums made it feel like a train was going through the stadium. They were also really LOUD and I like that.

SHOW TITLE: Tribute to an Uncommon Man, The Music of Aaron Copland
SCORE: 63.95 (6)

My Views:
Troop really is getting a lot better as the years go by and you can tell they are working hard. The show is actually really cool and they can really play. I really hope to see them make semis this year. The guard had some especially pretty moments during the ballad and are very good. The horns are loud to and also have some great moments as well. The drum line is really good and seems really disciplined. The closer was one of my favorites of the night. The drill isn't very exciting in parts but I am sure they will find a way to remedy that when they clean it up. I can't wait to see these guys in the future because they are on their way back to prominence. I personally felt they should have been at around a 65-67 tonight but what do I know...I'm not a DCI judge:-). Anyway KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND GO TROOP!!!

The views of the girl sitting next to me:
Kinda boring at times but had some cool drum and guard stuff. I really liked the simple gifts tune at the end.

SHOW TITLE: Industry
SCORE: 75.80 (4)

My Views:
WOW WHAT A SHOW!!!! This was my favorite show of the night. I can't understand why their scores are so low. It is a really cool show and was performed very well tonight. It reminded me of something SCV might do. I also kinda like the addition of the black pants and felt it kinda worked with this show. The show is really innovative. Everybody starts the show with a 2X4 and they use these scraps of wood to great effect. The horns were on awesome tonight and sounded really good and LOUD. The guard is killer as usual. The drums were awesome as well. The drum break during the machine sounding part of the show was really good. This team will definitely be in the Top 12. No doubt about it. I had them at around a 77. AWESOME!!!!

The views of the girl sitting next to me:
I liked the tires...I hope they aren't Firestone :-). It was a really cool show and very interesting.

Well...It is pretty late and I need to get my sleep so I will finish this tomorrow.


The venue, University of Northern Colorado's Nottingham Field was surprising better than I thought it would be. The prices weren't too bad either. And no paying to park! There was a pretty sizable crowd there too. I think it was full by the time Boston came on. Audio and visual weren't problems due to the size of the stadium. However, I think BK would've fared better if the show would've been at CU or CSU. Oh well. Now on to the performing groups:

My friend's car stalled on the way up so I saw the tail end of this show as we walked up. FRom what I saw and heard, they were much better than most marching bands I've seen. Their last company front looked pretty solid. I give props to them for coming to perform at a drum corps show, where audiences can be pretty critical. Nice job guys and gals!


ALLEGIANCE ELITE - 1st - 55.15
Nice show from these Calgary kids. It's always a treat to see these young performers at DATR. I was especially pleased that they were playing music that was more familiar with the whole crowd. A 5 year old in front of me was singing along with their Beauty and the Beast production. This was quite an aggressive show for these kidfs to perform. I always worry about such exposed shows for corps the size of this because every mistake sticks out like a sore thumb. They really did well with their program. My biggest problem was the difficulty of the CG program. It's just simply too hard for these kids to pull off 100% successfully. Overall, a very entertaining and engaging show. With some cleaning and work here and there, these kids will have a strong showing in Buffalo. Good job Elite!


SPIRIT - 5th - 71.25
This group is much improved over their last couple of years and they are almost fielding a full corps. Spirit is alive and well! Yeah! Their show, featuring selections from Eric Whitacre's "Ghost Train Tryptich" is quite entertaining. Thier opener really has a lot of cool effects and draws the audience into the show. After that, for me, the show just lost steam. They didn't have any more of those really cool effects. Maybe if I were a little more familiar with the piece, I'd appreciate the show a little more. The kids are performing their show well, which showed in the scores, but I think the design of the second half of the show will hurt their chances at making Finals. There is no question that their alliance with JSU is working to their advantage. I don't see them making finals this year, but they've definitely taken a huge step in the right direction to reestablish their DCI finalist status. Great job Spirit!

TROOPERS - 6th - 63.95
Troopers are getting better and better each and every year! Their Tribute to An Uncommon Man program, featuring the music of Aaron Copland, works extremely well for Troopers. I wasn't familiar with the music from the first half of the show, but they kept me watching. The one thing I felt that was missing from this show was their trademark Sunburst. I never saw one? Oh well I suppose they don't have to have it. This show, once it is cleaned and impact points are added, has a legitimate shot at making Semi's, but it's gonna be a fight with those West Coast Corps Division II/III corps. Anyway, it's nice to see Troopers play more sophisticated music. I'm pulling for their semifinal appearance. Go Troop!

CAROLINA CROWN - 4th - 75.8
WOW! This group got the audience's attention. I was thoroughly impressed with Crown's show, Industry. Mark Irey's visual show is amazing and unlike anything Crown's ever done before. This is their hardest show ever, IMO. It will take a while for them to really master it, but these guys won't be sitting out on Saturday night. All sections were really acieving at a high level and are doing very well. Their guard was doing some serious spinning, especially at the beginning of the closer. The percussion also shines in the closer with all of the metallic sounds. I LOVED the cymbal feature. The brass is stronger than past editions as well, with some tight attacks throughout the show. Not the most memorable music show, but the visual program makes this show a definite treat. My favorite show of the night.

CROSSMEN - 1st - 80.8
Another entertaining show from the Crossmen. They never fail to get the audience into their shows. Crown was a tough act to follow with this crowd and I don't think anyone corps could have done it better than the Crossmen. The brass staff have been doing their homework as X-Men had, by far, the best brass line of the night. There were too many park and blows for my taste, but those are bringing up their music and GE Music scores. The only letdown from this show for me was the end. It was definitely high energy, but it seemed to me like they could have added more energy. I sensed more energy from the corps at the end of Flyin' home than I did at the end of Fire Dance. I don't know if the brass was running out of steam, but I imagine the weaker ending didn't help their GE scores. The show also seemed pretty clean to me...I don't know how much longer they'll hold on to their lead over BK and BAC, and possibly Crown. Nevertheless, X-Men were the most entertaining of the night. A well deserved first place finish, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them on PBS on the 11th.

Well, this show isn't the Spirit of Disney winning gem they had last year, but it's still technically good. I personally feel that if their show weren't as accessible last year, we would've been watching BK on TV. This year's shows lost me. It just didn't do anything for me. I don't think more than 10% of this audience recognized any of the music they were playing. I knew Marimba Spiritual, and that was about it. I just don't see how their GE scores are so high. This show is way too abstract musically for my tastes. I don't expect them to make TV this year. Their color guard, on the other hand, is amazing. John Gramazio is full of crap. They were on fire and are even better than last year. The show, visually, is basically last year's show. It's ok to redo drill moves (ala SCV '99, '01 and Cadets '98, '99), but redoing multiple moves from past shows doesn't do it for me. Maybe once the showe is cleaner, I'll appreciate it a little more. Sorry Boston, ou guys just didn't win me over.

BLUE KNIGHTS - 3rd - 77.25
Were the judges seeing the same show I was? I thought this was a great show. I think it's great that BK is trying to do what they haven't in the past...connect with the audience. Their show is really entertaining. There's something for everyone in it. I especially liked the false ending (I don't know if they hadthat before or just added it for the DATR tour). I thought it was very effective. I don't know why their scores went down after a week of rehearsing. They must've changed a lot of their show. My one problem was that on their park and blows, the brass really didn't put out the volume they needed to. They need to get a lesson from X-Men on how to effectively park and blow. They weren't very clean, so there's definitely room for improvement. I liked the idea of the drum solo, but I wanted more. They were the bronze medalists at finals last year, so I guess I expected a little more. Nevertheless, they were extremely good and should have another strong showing this year at Championships. Honestly' of the shows tonight, I'd like the see this show on TV the most just because I think it was the most entertaining. With a lot of cleaning and a lot more of judges' imput, this show should have no problem passing BAC and X-Men, but G-Men and Phantom could be another story. It's all in the hands of their staff and kids marching. Go BK!!! LET'S SEE DENVER ON NATIONAL TV!!!!

So, if I had my pick of placements on Saturday, it would've been:
1. Crossmen 80.4
2. Blue Knights 79.1
3. Boston Crusaders 78.3
4. Carolina Crown 76.8
5. Spirit 71.1
6. Troopers 64.5

1. Allegiance Elite 57.5

Overall, a nice year for DATR. Let's get the Top 4 here next year and Finals here in 2003!!


DeKalb, IL (DCM Championship Finals)

Hi, all...some random thoughts about the show last night at DCM finals...

I am sorry that I didn't make it to the stadium in time to see the Div III finals...scores were Americanos, 56.9 and Blue Stars, 59.2

Kilties--great show! They march and play better this year than in the last two or three. Lots o fun and connected well with the crowd...what's new? Guard did better than I remember as well, but this is still a weakness with this senior corps. But they did much better than previous years' guards. Score: 59.0

Minn Brass--seemed to bit a bit smaller in the hornline than past years to me. Still have a great amount of fun and scream in the horns. Good drill and the James Bond Theme works musically. Guard, guard, guard! have seen Div I Junior corps that don't have as good a guard...saw a couple even tonight! Score: 64.0

Disclaimer--getting old...found myself all night saying, "did that change from last night?" "is that new drill?" "are those new flags?"

Div I--Pioneer Score 63.8
Good show, nothing stuck out last night, playing well, but after opening move where the box contracts, the marching got muddy. Sorry, A. Murray et al, but the arrangement of "America, the Beautiful" still doesn't seem rich enough...still seems cheesy to me.

Southwind--Score 67.7
Good show. Nothing seemed substantially different than prelim. Sorry, I was in a zone after dinner.

Colts--Score 75.3
Realized I was a zombie and took a break. Sorry, guys.

Madison Scouts--76.5
I thought that they had a much better show than prelims. Score didn't move (actually, -.1, I think) Was it substantially cleaner? No, but there was more energy...the scouts do seem to play to a full crowd well. Contra stinger at the end of the tag of the 2nd piece still needs something--it's funny, but sloppy. Seriously, they seemed to take to heart that their show was lacking heart. So, they seemed to pump a little more into their Hot Latin Jazz last night. Guard was cleaner and seemed to be a part of the show more...still think that the guard program needs a new direction. I was sitting with some folks from Madison on one side with a family member who last marched MS the Pirates of Mendota year. While we were all sitting there loving the MS' show last night, we also spent a lot of time saying how much we loved the Pirates of Lake Mendota show...that level of program design, guard integration, and overall intensity are not there and that's what holding this program down. JMHO. Also ran into an old student and friend of mine, who's teaching in Mizzou/Kansas City area and he's been working with the pit. Doing a great job--and they gave a great show last night. I would like to see this show grow out of 10/11th place, but...

Roughly the same score and same performance as prelims. Actually, I thought they seemed a little more on at prelims than last night. The Madison fans next to me thought that the Bloos show was a great one and hard to decide between them and MS. Actually, we both agreed that Madison had more of an "on" night than Bloos. But, gots to love the beginning number in Bloos show for the music. The hornline is sweet. I don't like the mustardy velvet guard uniforms, but they are a great guard, and that may be the difference in score overall. Didn't think to look at the difference between their guard scores last night, but I would put the difference greater than .9!d

Sidenote: Recaps...saw them for Div I finals last night and for the prelims for Div III, and Div I/II. Friday's and Saturday AM's were posted around the stadium and I saw last night's recaps when they were brought around to the souvie booths. In Div I, Cavies took all captions last night. No surprise there. I would have copied down numbers or made a copy or something, but I foolishly assumed that since recaps were posted and available, that they would be at the DCI site early. Still not there. Yeesh!

Glassmen-Score: 81.8
Didn't have as good a show last night IMO. I really don't like the opener even though there are some impressive parts of it. There are places where the drill doesn't look pretty forming, but the result is indeed nice. BUT, I still can't say enough good about the Meditative Journey second number. Wow to that soloist--heard a lot of good solos in all the corps, but this guy is is beautiful!!!! The corps sound and backfield marching and the "s" formation and even the body movement at the end of the piece are all classy. I'll live through your opener to get to your second number! The third piece, I don't remember musically, but I will remention the box to frame the percussion (and guard) features. Way cool idea...I think I remember you guys having done something similar in past years--told you I'm getting old! Like the closer musically, but there are spots that the drill is not just complex, or frenetic, it's again not pretty too look at in places. Overall, though, I'm beginning to enjoy this show...just not the opener. Guard does good work, but doesn't grab me overall.

Phantom Regiment--Score: 82.3
The more I see, the more I like. The great Phantom sound is back. The ballad is luscious, as all Phantom ballads should be. The beginning of Festive Overture is a crowd pleaser and everyone is just damn happy when it begins. The drill still has spacing problems throughout, but those are cleanable. The drill itself is interesting and flows nicely within each piece. Transitions between pieces could use a bit of tweaking. Guard, guard, guard--wow! Phantom's guard is also back. Best guard in a while! Best use of color on the field, the equipment work and the dance work all is beautiful to watch--in design, in integration, and in execution. There is one guard who has dropped rifle and sabre tosses in every performance I've seen, but hopefully, she'll get there. Drum corps fans of every ilk will be salivating after seeing this show! Better show overall last night, but the opening notes of the show were not as clear as on prelims. A little mushy at the beginning , but the rest was solid.

Cavaliers--Score: 86.6
Great show last night for 3/4 of it! the entire crowd sat in spellbinding disbelief for the most part. Even if the ending is a weak link to the show currently, the crowd recognized that the show in total is at a different level than anything we've seen on the field in the last two days. I used to think that BD and Cadets were the only two that were in a different level in the first half of the season on an annual basis, but I am officially adding the Cavies to that list. Maybe 4 points difference is accurate scorewise, but there isn't a chance that anything I saw last night will catch them this season because the program and the execution both are at a different level.

Let's see: guard--great show last night. You sell the show, you are doing complex work, you are pretty darn clean, and you are integrated throughout the add to the show, not just frame it. Same for Phantom and Bluecoats' guards this year. Will someone tell me what the deal is with the 4 or so guard members in the second movement? I understand the one guard backfield conducting for horns, but what the heck is with the others laying out of that portion? Are they still learning? Guard got more crowd response than any other guard--why? They have demand, they have equipment work, and they execute. They can even dance.

Horns: Kicked it up last night. More volume. Cleaner playing. They sound good, folks! It is a new style for them. Original music. Some "wind ensemble" sound for which they are known, but some groove as well! Soloists and ensembles all are solid. Maybe a little top heavy in balance, but hopefully the low brass will kick in. Typical Cavies there. Volume was indeed greater, but the ending movement dropped in volume, because they were obviously not focused on music there. They are still learning the ending drillwise, and it hasn't jelled yet. The ballad (second movement) and the third movement (jazzy, park and blow) are both just gorgeous and they sound it.

Percussion: Ok, let me backtrack. I loved the Bloos pit, the MS pit had some nice moments, MS battery's cymbal tosseswere cute, Phantom's pit, and everything that both Phantom and the Cavies were doing! Whoa. Cavies' percussion was kicking butt around the field in all corners. Good solid support and foundation, and some kickass stickin' and features. The beginning of the third movement when they leave the "3rd corner (top right)", they are hauling butt and playing clean.

Drill: Like I said, most people sat there spellbound. Differently from Friday night, when the crowd was in disbelief, this crowd vocalized and applauded their disbelief in places. Again, maybe because of the four corners theme, there are more tight blocks than I usually see in Cavies drill (which is usually a LOT), but they are so cool in development. As usual, I love the way they end their ballad (2nd movement) with their simultaneous contraction/expansion as they move backfield, and the formation of the 2nd corner is just a wonder to behold. The tall rectangular block in the perc feature that moves vertically across the field with the rotating middle lines is a crowd favorite.

Ending of the show: Weak. Someone said new, and I hope that means that they still have changes to make. After the opening of the 4th movement, where everyone is teased with the corps song, "Over the Rainbow", then the bottom drops. The volume decreases, the music is less memorable, the drill while having some cool moments to the 4th corner is sloppy, and the ending is not really any surprise or a hot moment. This seems to be a Cavie pattern as well...they sometimes have trouble figuring out how to end a show when the entire first 3/4 has been a marvel. If they figure this cog out, I predict a win in DCI. If not, still top 2 or 3 (and that prognostication is without having seen any of the other top 4 (BD, SCV, or Cadets). Everyone I was sitting around (including heavy duty Scouts fans, Phantom fans, Glassmen fans, Colts fans) all realized that Cavies' show is a different level altogether and it elevates drum corps in a positive way.

OK, I love Phantom, Madison, (and even Glassmen at times), and believe it or not, have always been a BD fan and a SCV fan (with a few exceptional down years by either). Even have had a few Cadets shows that I really liked, but my true colors are showing--have been a Cavies fan since mid-80's and still am one!

Dumb predictions about DCI:

1,2,3--Cavies, SCV, BD folks tell me that BD doesn't have the program this year to go with the execution that they always have--we'll see.

4--Cadets enough Cadets fans/followers have told me that this show doesn't have it

5--Phantom Regiment--and this pleases me almost as much as Bos Cru's rise to 5 last year

6,7,8--Glassmen, Crossmen, Boston Cru--would love to see Boston clean enough to soar to the top; have heard that Xmen have a top notch show, and Gmen's is a well done show even if I don't like the opener.

9--Blue Knights (maybe Bluecoats)...Hear that BK's new style (less serious) is a nice change, but they're not as sharp as last year

10/11--Blue Coats, Madison--haven't seen BK or Xmen, but sorry, this is where Madison seems to be legitimately this year.

12--Colts/Crown--have heard if Crown can clean, the show is interesting enough to pass Colts. Colts have a great show, but the demand is low--it's just a nice show. Smile.

Enough rambling for now. Reek havoc with my thoughts and enjoy.

Tim Hendrix

What a great weekend at was wonderful, we had drama, intrigue, some stupid judges and some very fine and talented drum corps!

Let me first say that all the performers on Friday and Saturday evening were better in quality than in many recent years. Good work! I thought top to bottom, this year's finals on Saturday were as well executed as any I can remember. From the Division III's and Seniors, right on through the Division I's and Division II champion, they were all excellent.

I also thought the show was tighter. Usually the finale/scores section drones on for over an hour thanking sponsors, awarding caption awards, crowning 4 champions, etc. This year, I loved the snappy pace! I was on the road well before midnight!

The drama was of course with the Division II champion Capital Regiment. This corps will be a perennial finalist in Division II and I will say right now. I don't care how big you are...stay in DIVISION II for a few years...PLEASE! I don't know for a fact that the corps has any aspirations to eventually move into Open Class, but please, patient...learn...grow...fine tune the fine organization you have begun.

Look how hard the Division I DCI tour is on a lot of corps. I guess I am saying this because I would hate to see another corps fail at this move. We can't keep on losing fine corps and Rick Bays and the people at Capital Regiment have a good thing going. Good luck in the future.

Do you think DCM got use of NIU for the next couple of years for free after Thursday's incident? I would have bargained for it. Strike while the bad press is hot.

Announcer: Welcome to the 25th anniversary edition of the Drum Corps Midwest championships, co-sponsored by the NIU Athletic Department!

Is it too soon for some of you for me to take a comical look at "the incident?" Tough. It was a bad thing for the members who missed their opportunity to march in their championship. Those couple of kids will no doubt get some kind of compensation for their pain and suffering via NIU.

I've been trying to play that whole scenario in my head to ask how I would have managed the situation. It's clear to me that two unfortunate things occurred.

1. Northern Illinois University has a poor communication plan when dealing with rental of the stadium facility. All coaches and everyone in the athletic department should have gotten a memo. There should have been no excuses for not knowing. PERIOD!

2. At all costs, the corps management should have never let their members be in harm's way. EVER. This was not a bus accident, or a tornado, or another act of God. This was a conflict that could have been resolved. Cooler heads might have had the kids take a water break while adminstrators worked to resolve the conflict. I know it's extremely evil and easy of me to second guess, but that's my two cents.

Did Capital Regiment appear a little more than loose on Saturday evening? Put the camera away in the pit folks and entertain the crowd.

Working my way backward....doesn't Cavies sometimes remind you on a herd of velociraptors from Jurassic Park? They all seem to move like a well tuned flock. I thought their hornline was weak in some places...I don't know how their guard could have beat Regiment's. Other than that, they looked like champions.! Best show since 1996. I don't like the big arc with the battery dissecting it for their solo. Other than that, everything is coming along nicely. Flat out, the best guard. They throw and catch with the best out there, they're beautiful looking, and typical for Regiment guard, very buff and graceful at the same time. Camera time at DCI finals? They should finish fourth or fifth.

Glassmen...I don't know...I really like this show. Guard has weak moments...drums are solid. Hornline is ok. Soloist is tremendous...has he got an agent yet? I thought they beat Regiment on Friday....Saturday, there was no contest. I had Regiment farther ahead on Saturday.

Did anyone else know how well the judges slotted the corps on Friday? There were no surprises or upsets. Called the scores right down the row. Symmetry is such a nice thing. the tango steps. I'm not liking the triangles of fabric, but I think props should be left for small corps. The hornline is loud...almost Madisonesque (is that a word?). They march well enough. There was a really bad sop missed frack enterance on Friday night on the field left side. I think you know who you were. Thank you for fixing that on Saturday.

Madison...go exhibition corps next year. Wouldn't that be wonderful. I saw the Scouts on Friday. Had an appointment with a couple of young people to do some corps shopping. You guys play for the fans and they appreciate it. Nice, loud, jazz show. The guard is as small as I've ever seen...everything else seems to be clicking well. Did anyone else notice the lack of "booing" when the Madison score was announced. I think everyone gets the message. folks got big over the summer. Nice large hornline. My wife's biggest surprise of the night on Friday. She has never really been a fan of some of the past shows, but she liked Friday's offering.

I only saw these folks on Friday as my sons desperately needed to purchase souvies during the show. So goes the credit card. it SOUTHwind (emphasis on the first syllable) or southWIND, like the announcer said it all weekend? I prefer the former. These folks are not as strong as last year. Tough year to beat actually. The horns are getting more and more volume. They won't threaten to be the latest yellow corps to break into the top twelve.

Drum corps trivia time....last yellow corps make top twelve? Just asking...answers???

Pioneer...did you all go from khaki to black to hide the feet? Come on...fess know that's what we are all thinking. The new uni is better than the khaki/green thing, but it does make you all look more like the Junior Cavies. OK, so the hat's a bit different. The hornline keeps getting bigger and better. Clean the feet and fix some drill wierdness and things get better sooner. I still don't like the "America the Beautiful." Maybe it's because I keep wanting to hear strains of O' Canada mixed in...sorry, a bad habit is hard to break. I think that's most of the reason why someone else in RAMD called the arrangement cheesy. I just think we've all heard that damned song ad nauseum already and have a natural, "well, the show's over." kind of knee jerk reaction to it.

This has gone on long enough. I'll spend a minute reviewing the Div. III corps and Sr. Corps in another posting later this week. Thanks everyone for listening.

Respectully submitted,

Tom Brace

Blackwood, NJ (DCI Atlantic II/III)

Disclaimer: My name is Chris Reese. I am a 15 (very soon to be 16) year old high school drummer at Highland High School, the site of last night's show. I currently have no drum corps experience as a member, I am simply a "bando" as you so politely titled us (although if you want to do a little research on our drumline you'll find that we are a very succesful group). I have been lurking here on RAMD for about a year and I am an enthusiastic fan of the Jersey Surf (I attend as many practices as I can) and pretty much any other corps out there. My opinions and views are simply and purely those of a fan. If you want to "hear" my views of the shows please read on. If you are just going to attack my views because I am only a bando then please just stop now. On to the review...

I live in Blackwood so I was awakened at exactly 9 AM by the drumming of the Jersey Surf at Highland. This of course did not bother me but rather got me excited for a great day of drum corps. I quickly showered and jumped on my bike and went to catch as many corps in rehearsal as possible. I was able to catch the East Coast Jazz and the Patriots at the local middle school and the Spartans and Surf at the high school. I was impressed by all of their practice intensity and procedures. I want to thank all of the corps' staff for acknowledging me as I watched them practice. Its nice to not be ignored even though I was wearing a high school band shirt. Ok guess I'll get to the show now...

The weather was beautiful...sunny and about 75 degrees with just a little wind. The show was a bit expensive ($12 for adults) but hey drum corps only come to my town once a year so I gladly paid. The food was cheap and tasty and the service was excellent (good job band moms). I arrived at 5 for a 7 o'clock show and got the best seat in the house - on the 50 yard line all the way up in front of the press box. The crowd appeared to be small at first but the bleachers quickly filled and soon many people were left standing along the fence.

The show began with an exhibition by a high school marching band from Newark, New Jersey (sorry did not catch the school's name). I want to salute and congratulate this small, but very entertaining ethnic band for sticking to their roots and having a great time. There drumline was excellent and their drum major was quite entertaining. They were simply out there to put on a excellent way to start the evening.

Scenic City: (Actual Score - 57.25 My Score - 60.5)
I first want to thank this corps for making the long trip from Chattanooga, TN to perform for us. Their show is entitled Thank God for Kids! and it was quite enjoyable. The music was familiar (A-B-C, Theme from Sesame Street, Linus & Lucy, etc.) and the crowd enjoyed it because it was recognizable. The battery of this corps was very strong and should be featured a bit more. The pit percussion parts did not always fit with the rest of the corps and should be looked at. The hornline was on the small side and stretched a little thin but gave a good effort. They were relatively loud for the amount of members they acutally had. The guard was small but fit the theme of kids excellently. Overall, the familiar music and strong effort were appreciated by the crowd.

Silver Knights (Actual Score - 43.45 My Score - 48.5)
The corps had a clever title of By George for their show of selections by George Gershwin. The sparkly silver uniforms look very nice and give the corps a nice strong apperance. The music may have been a bit ambitious for this corps as they struggled throughout the show. Their tiny 8 member hornline (I think it was 8) just could not cover all the parts and were stretched way too thin. The battery was relatively strong but a little large for the size of the hornline (3 snares, 1 tenors, 5 bass drums, 1 cymbal). The drill was also quite ambitious and appeared to have some holes. The corps again gave a great effort but I think an easier, simpler show would have helped them alot. It is great to be ambitious but I think the staff is simply asking for too much from these kids.

McCollough Royal Knights (Actual Score - 44.05 My Score - 50.0)
This group is from an African-American Church in Washington, DC. Their show is entitled An Upside-Down Rainbow--Colorful Smiles. I do not know what the music was as I did not recognize it. This group played fairly well but their visual program is what hurt them. They stood still way too much. I do not know if there show is not finished or if they just chose to stand still alot but it hurt them greatly. But hey if thats the type of show they want to perform I salute them. Anyway, they again put forth a great effort and it is appreciated.

Patriots (Actual Score - 70.2 My Score - 74.5)
After the first three small division three corps, the pure size and power of this corps got the crowd going. I was informed that their show is about imagination through a child's eyes but I do not know the actual title or the music. This corps has a strong, dark, in your face brass sound and the crowd loved it. The percussion section was also very strong and powerful. The guard had many impact moments and the paper doll outfits are excellent. I at first thought they were gingerbreadmen but a friend informed me of the paper doll idea and it fits into the theme well. I thought their score was a little low. Regardless of numbers though, this corps is goin places this year with a very strong show. This corps received the first standing ovation of the evening and it was well deserved.

Next was a short 20 minute intermission but I did not dare leave my excellent seat, not even for a taste of the excellent food. I was smart and ate ahead of time.

Spartans (Actual Score 74.8 My Score 76.0)
I was able to watch this corps practice their opener in the afternoon and I really love this corps and this show! The theme is Gladiator and it features The Battle and Barbarian Hordes from "Gladiator" and Inizio from "Ben Hur". I love the opening to the show with the corps in the back left corner of the field surrounded by guard holding large "shields". The tenor player in the armor also looked cool and fit into the show theme well. The guard does a great job spinning (?) the shields and it is very original. The brass and percussion were just plain powerful and I loved it! This corps is awesome and will be a force for the rest of the season and coming years. By the way, I loved the matching pink and blue hats worn by the battery during practice and the mellophone players' red shorts. Speaking of mellophones, if anyone knows the name of the dark haired, dark skinned mello player I would like to know. Anyway, this corps has become one of my favorites after their performance. Look for them near the top of division 2. They also received a large standing ovation after their performance.

East Coast Jazz (Actual Score 65.3 My Score 65.5)
I was also able to watch this corps percussion section practice and I enjoyed the fact that they had two female snare players. Its about time we got some better diversity. This corps played a latin style show that was very entertaining. It included the music of Chuck Corea, Return to Forever, and Joaquin Rodrigo. The corps definately seemed to understand that latin style and the hornline played within this style excellently. Ther percussion section was also strong. The tenor player is excellent but it is often hard to hear what he is playing. Louder mallets or more features would allow him to show his skill more and believe me he has alot! This division three corps is excellent. Look for them to take division three this year!

Raiders (Actual Score 62.95 My Score 64)
The theme of this corps show was Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Moussorgsky. This Russian show was played beautifully by a small but strong corps. The hornline was quite powerful for its size. I like the blue, black, and white uniforms and the corps must be very proud to wear them. I enjoyed the snare drummers change from snares to tom drums during the middle of the show because it added a new texture to the music. The closer of The Great Gate of Kiev was strong and a great closing to an excellent show. Look for this corps to be near the top of division 3.

Jersey Surf (Actual Score 75.15 My Score 78.0)
The host corps took the field to a standing ovation and you could see the excitement in their eyes. I watched them rehearse for 2 hours and saw a final runthrough and they appeared quite tired and rough. However, a quick shower obviously freshened them up and putting on those gorgeous uniforms brought the pride into them. The theme is Are We There Yet? - The Music of Mays and Metheny. This jazzy music is excellent on the field and full of beauty and excitement. The addition of the song First Circle to the show adds a great deal. The opener is loud and strong and got the crowd cheering immediately. The song In the Heat of the Day has great grooves in it and the pit does a great job with the the visual! The chorale part where the hornline is in the front left corner of the field (dont know the song) is beautifully played. The percussion section is once again awesome. The guard is huge and very good. There are some great sabre tosses. The soloists were all excellent especially the sopranos. They made my ears hurt and I loved it! The entire corps had a very powerful, exciting performance and the crowd loved every second of it. Look for them at the top of division 2!

Overall this was an excellent show and I am thankful to each and every corps for putting on a great performance. I hope this show stays at Highland for years to come. Please reply with your thoughts or email me. I will be at DCI East in August as well. I hope I wasn't too much of a bando and gave a good review. Thanks for reading!


Reading, PA (DCA)

This is a REVIEW!!! I post what I saw on the field and what I thought Notice I said what I thought, which may be different from what YOU thought. If it is, fine...we both have our opinions!! If you don't like hearing reviews, DON'T READ FURTHER!!! Or, better yet, write your OWN **** review so we all can know what the shows we couldn't see were like!!

*WHEW* :-) that THAT is out of the way...

I was at Reading at 3...wanted to see all the groups practicing a bit. I got to everyone EXCEPT Reading (were you guys at Buc field instead of Albright?) Thanks for all the hello's (and beer! (SHHH!)) from everyone!

First, anyone who thought the show was actually going to START at 7 obviously didn't realize what town they were in (*CHUCKLE*) (I think it was a judge that was late, but hey, I can have some fun with my old town!) The crowd was about 1600-1800...FULL front-side...well, as full as you can GET at Albright (WHEN are they going to remove that pole at the 50?!?!?) so there was little interruption from crowd members finding their seats. THANK YOU!!! Weather was from the GODS!!!! Show organization seemed to be off this year...and that's not like Reading, especially at the end of the evening. I understand why there wasn't a full retreat, but I still would have like to see it. I would at least liked to have seen the majors MARCH out to accept their awards (no trophies in Reading?) instead of just meandering in from the track. I know there were many in the audience that felt this way. Just something to think about for next year...

On to the shows themselves!! (disclaimer #2...I attempted to count members and I'm sure I'm CLOSE...if I'm off by 1 or 2, I'm sorry!) (disclaimer #3...yes, I did march DC...for 5 years. I'm currently teaching music in a H.S., however, I'm not a CG person so I can't comment on the technical part of that. Sorry! Maybe some one else that was there can.......) I was sitting top row, 45 B side...great vantage point! (except for that *@&^$)*#@&^ pole!!!!!)

Westshore (exh) (9 hn, 6 pit, 14 guard)
The musicians did a standstill while the guard marched (or mamboed :-) ) their routine on the field...instruments on the field soon maybe? They performed La Suerta and Spain. For 9 horns, not too bad at all! It's easy to hear individuals in such a setting, so I won't comment on that...I'm just glad to see y'all out there! Colorguard...are you a group OUTSIDE Westshore? The 1st 2/3rds was nice...the end was a limbo contest that will probably be changed later in the season if I guess right. All in all, It's personally sad to see Westshore like this but I'm VERY glad to see them at ALL. Here's hoping they come back strong in the VERY near future! As to the people already out there....keep the faith and HAVE FUN!!!!

Corps Vets (39 hns 15 perc 4 pit 8 guard) (5th 67.70)
OK, I saw this corps last year and thought "OK, this is nice". Ladies and gentlemen, this corps should NOT be contending for DCA class A this year....they SHOULD be in the top 10!!! WOW!!!!! I don't know what I was expecting, but this exceeded whatever it was! WONDERFUL brass sound. At times y'all sounded a bit tired (coming from Atlanta will do that, though), but all in all, nicely done! The drill seemed a bit easier than the other books this evening, but itl fit the "old corps" style of music nicely. The individual marching seemed to be the weakest point with a lot of errors (again, could be a sympom of the long trip?). I'd like to see a few more guard members out there, but the ones that were there did wonderful (and I know you can't control numbers!)."One More Time Chuck Corea" was incredible...and go soloist!!! If you haven't seen these guys, make it a point to! VERY nicely done! Got 1 of the 4 standing ovations of the night! As far as your score, I had you higher...up with Sky. Beware top 10!

Skyliners (37 hns, 10 perc 5 pit 17 guard) (4th 70.45)
First of all, it is WONDERFUL to see Sky back in full force! The show is Blood, Sweat and Tears, and they play the HEART out of it! Your soloists were great, though 1 seemed a bit off (rough day). Hornline had some very nice moments, especially in "God Bless the Child", but was a little rough at other points. Color guard had some very nice moments (and not being a CG person, I appreciate that!) and did a nice job with the equipment (could have used a little more body work IMHO, though). Drill-wise the show was clean and cohesive (no MAJOR mistakes!), though there were some individual break-downs out there (It IS still early in the season!!). Overall, though, the show did not seem overly emotional, and coming on after the Vets who were very MUCH into their music, probably magnified this (that's why the crowd response was what it was, I believe). Maybe it was just me...maybe it was a tiring day of practice beforehand Have as much fun as your soloists and show us that SKY FIRE!!! Good job Sky!

Bushwackers (24 hns 11 perc 5 pit 17 guard) (3rd 72.30)
The influence from last year's Cavaliers show is unmistakable, especially in the drill! The uniform colors were altered to match the show theme (The Raging River) and added a nice element to it all. Musically, this corps is proud of their percussion section and the let you know it with features in, I believe, every number, handled nicely (I do know JR and Sean since HS at Phoenixville, so there is a bit of bias there). Hornline also had some nice moments, but there seemed to be some overblowing from a few people distorting the balance. Play like a solid 24 and the volume will increase! No heroes!! (you think I've heard this before myself? ;-) ) Color guard was Bush...need anything else be said? :-) Wonderful job! Personally, I'm not a fan of directly "borrowing" drill moves from DCI (the waves and the rotating diamonds) but it was handled nicely. Chris (again, bias alert, but this time from WCU) gets into the music almost as well as anyone I know on a podium...use it Bush, and get into the show! Solid offering for this time of year!

Hurricanes (33 hns 13 perc 11 pit 16 guard) (6th 66.85)
Disclaimer #4: I am a supporter of EVERY corps on the field, no matter size and ability (despite Hopkins' comments!). Every corps is to be commended for going out there, sweating and bloody, to perform for the crowd. That being said, this seems to be an off-year for the Hurcs. I'm not a fan of the music (though some of the younger members in the audience cheered when they recognized the songs from "Wizard of Oz" and "You are my Sunshine", so what do I know? :-) ). The horn book just doesn't sound like a Hurcs book. The players themselves seem to handle the music OK (when they're not running at 3 to 5's), so it's nothing against the players! The drill...I wouldn't want to march that drill on a rainy day on a wet field! Some of you were MOVING out there (almost like being blown away in the storm!). The performers don't seem to be handling the drill as well as the music, but from what I could tell from the drill I SAW, I can see why. The guard, IMHO, was the best part of the show, though there were stil some design parts I didn't understand. I think I have to see this show a couple of times...maybe my dislike is due to not understanding what I was seeing on a first read? I hope so! Performers, keep cleaning and good luck to you this year!

Caballeros (60 hns 15 perc 11 pit 28 guard) (2nd 78.60)
First of all, I am sorry for your loss. I considered Jim to be a great friend and a great man for ALL drum corps. I'm sure he was smiling down on ALL of us today! That being said, I knew this year's show was going to be packed with emotion, and boy was it ever! Right from their traditional "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", this show has you by the throat! Hornline, what raw power! Sometimes, it seemed a little TOO much power and it thinned the sound (tired from today?), but it was unmistakenly Cabs! Drumline...this is the Cabs drumline?? VERY much improved over the past few years! Very clean and MUCHO variety (I LOVED the 11? snare-roto section...clean it up a little more and I'll be throwing BABIES!). The guard changed costumes how many times? Wonderful job, not jsut with equipment, but the expressive bodywork. The drill, I think, is the weakest part. When I saw y'all earlier in the day, I saw you were learning the last few sets of the show, and it was noticable out there. I'm sure that will come with more reps (and for heaven's sake, don't mess up the "rumps!!!" ("Espani Cani" for those that don't know!)) My jaw almost dropped when your 6 soloists hit the UNISON TRIPLE C near the end. OMG!!!! A very strong and emotional package from the Cabs that should see them in the top 3 in DCA once again!

Buccaneers (47 hns 19 perc 6 pit 18 guard) (1st 80.60)
I read in an earlier review that they seemed less emotional and more mechanical in their presentation. If that was true, they must have heard and fixed it. WOW!!!! This show tonight was truly a contest between the raw power of the Cabs and the sublime finesse of the Bucs. Hornline, great job with a tough book! Obviously the most "in tune" corps of the night. Intonation and volume levels were outstanding! A couple of the soloists seemed to have an off night (in the show...seemed to be fixed in the 1/2 encore). "Make Our Garden Grow" had to be the most beautiful part of the competition this evening. The percussion showed no intention of giving up their crown! I agree with an earlier reviewer that their book seemed a bit easier than in the past, but it was handled VERY well...very musical. The guard...the guard. Greg, incredible job with the guard! I dind't like the brown multi-colored unis at the beginning, but that's the only negative I can think of! The drill was the best of the night IMHO and handled VERY nicely by the performers for this time of year. I can only see better and better things to come from the Bucs this year! Don't try to overpower the volume...use that great, full body of sound to the extreme!

After the competition, (and after about a 20 minute wait.... hmmm....), the Bucs (and alumni) returned to the field and the Cabs lined up on the track on the front sideline. There was a beautiful tribute read about Cos, then the Bucs played "Make Our Garden Grow" to the Cabs with more emotion than I had heard from anyone all night...until 2 minutes later. The Cabs then joined the Bucs on the field and together played "Don't Cry For Me Argentina". Let me tell you, the tears were streaming down my face,a nd the faces of a few others around me (the tears even start to form just THINKING about it!)! Combined, those two corps in 2 minutes embodied the power and the EMOTION of this activity, and what a tribute to Jim! Thank you Bucs and Cabs for allowing me to witness what has to be for me the most moving and emotional moment in Drum Corps history.

The placements this evening, IMHO, were right on the mark...Score-wise I would have put Vets closer to Sky, and I would have increased the spread between Cabs and Bush, and I thought ALL the scores were a bit low, but all in all, it was very close to my own personal evaluation. No captions were announced (and I haven't seen the caption sheet yet) but I would have given Brass to the Cabs by a VERY little bit, and Visual, GE (VERY CLOSE), Percussion (by a VERY little bit), and Guard to the Bucs. Again, this is what I would have done...these are NOT the OFFICIAL results (I don't KNOW the official results!!)

A big THANK YOU to EVERY SINGLE PERSON on that field this evening, giving it their all to entertain us! I know first-hand what it's like out there, in both a good corps and a corps...and know that the effort is the same from all involved! Here's hoping the rest of the summer is great for all of you and I'll see you at Finals, if not before then!!


A great night for Drum Corps, Albright College Stadium was full of enthusiastic fans. My comments are from a horn player's point of view, while seated in the fourth row near the 50 Yard Line.

Westshoremen- The good news is that they're out performing much earlier than last year. The bad news is that they need lots of help. They played two numbers in stanstill formation, with a good sized guard (15-16) performing work and doing it well. Music consisted of Los Suerte De Los tontos and Spain. Macrhing 9 brass; 4 sops, a mello, 2 baris, 2 contra and 5 in the pit (no macrhing perc), they struggled at times (particularly in the sops), but did show that there's some talent in the nucleus. Hopefully they can add some horns and put together an enjoyable show.

CorpsVets-Lookout folks, these guys are gonna make a serious run at an Open Class finalist spot. 37 Brass, 6 snares, playing fun stuff like a great arrangement of Taste of Honey, and a powerful one More Time Chuck Corea, they got the crowd in their corner right away. Right now low brass, and mellos are ahead of the Sops ((excellent sop solo work by the way), and the brass line overall seemed a little tentative at times. Percussion is first rate as well. The guard although small (8 members) is decent, but could use help to enhance the visuals. The crew from Georgia was a pleasant surprise.

Skyliners- 41 brass, 4 snare, 2 quad, 4 bass, 15-16 guard, 5 in pit. Much more assertive than at this time last year. Blood Sweat and Tears stuff works great for them, and the crowd loved it. The arrangements are great, and feature excellent solo work. Marching is also ahead of last year, and the guard holds their own. Percussion rumored to be hurting, is not quite at last year's level, but give them time. The best part of this show is that it has plenty of room to grow. As the Corps trouped the stands, the crowd clapped in time with the street-beat- only other times I've ever seen that was with the Cabs, and DCI Cavliers. Look for Sky to move up this year.

Bushwackers- In much better shape than 2000... 25 brass, 4 snare 3 quads, 4 bass. The 25 brass project very well, and percussion is greatly improved. Marching too. is much better. I could be wrong however, but I think this show doesn't have as much room for growth as some of the others, and also lacks in the GE department. Time will tell.

Hurcs- Smaller this year with 33 brass, 4 snare, 2-3 quads, (6 bass?) the Hurcs are playing a weather-realted show. In my opnion, they've got some serious work to do if they expect to make finals. The show is at this point kind of low-key(must have done a lot of playing in rehearsal as the horns sounded a bit tired), and it was evident that they must have just plugged some horns in line, as there were some happy feet, and near collisions happening. I saw their guard scores from the first show and expected worse, they actually looked competent. Drums are well behind last year, so overall the corps has their work cut out for them.

Cabs- They'll be top three, no question. Drum line is the best they've had since I can remember. Guard is large and in charge. Close to sixty brass can really deliver. Sop soloist nailed the high stuff, particlarly in Spain. Loved the lead sops in the closer- right "In Your Face". I don't know though from my low vantage point drill looked somewhat cluttered. "Perfidia" worked well. Thought their placement was right though.

Bucs- Wow! IMO way better than last year. This season they have a lead sop line that can play. Percussion would give top DCI lines a run for the money. Guard enhances the show. Drill was very precise and challenging. I hear Syracuse is great, but could see Reading making a serious run at them.

Well DCA is alive and well, It's gonna be a great year.


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