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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2002 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews
As posted to R.A.M.D. and submitted to Sound Machine

Page One 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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Go to Page 2 of Reviews!

Thursday June 20

Jacksonville, AL (DCI Atlantic)

First off, let me say that it is ridiculous to require Magic to start in div 2. Nuff said.

Teal Sound. Small. Rough. Attempting a sophisticated show. Doesn't work for me. The average age of the corps is above what a small corps usually have, so, hey, ya never know what can happen in a couple months.

Orlando. They are back. Since they are div 2, they got like a 73 score. I would have put them somewhere around kiwanis, maybe a few points higher. More difficult show. (a lot less fun though) but a bit rougher too. Show didn't exactly grab me. But they are back. Could be a top 12 show. Depends on what the kids can do with it. (oh wait, this is a div 2 corps, *duh*)

Kiwanis Kaviliers. Fun show. I loved Johny Quest. Been waiting for years to see it played. They were rough, but this will be a crowd pleaser in a few weeks. Show has possibilities, but hard to say how much. The fact that it's a *fun* show instead of an *artsy fartsy* show will hold them back. I woulda give them a couple three more points for this show.

Spirit. Third place. They earned it. In much better shape than last year at this time. Not a particularly crowd pleasing show, but not too bad. Fairly accessible. Fairly easy to see a lowere finals spot in this show. They *could* still screw it up, but probably won't. I'd love to see this corps go back to some real music. (I mean spirit music)

Cavies. Man I love this show. Man I can't get into the music. Man this is the best show I've ever seen with music that I totally don't care for. I can't believe how they get the fans into it almost purely on the drill and moves. They do though. It rocks.

Devils. I like this show. They don't march thier butts off like Cavies, but they can march don't get me wrong. The circular running thingie in the opener is pretty badass. They can play too. I liked the music better than I expected. My fav show for the night.

Overall: WHERE IS THE WALL OF SOUND THAT USED TO BE DRUM CORPS. No kidding it's getting worse. I understand that overblowing can sound nasty, but these guys are really really really holding back too much. A little edge can be a very good thing. I've heard 50 man horn lines that could demolish anything I heard tonight (except for the Corpsvets.) and do it in tune.

Ps. Devils have some great soloist this year.

Kev Nunya

Just got in from the J'ville, AL how. How about a recap?

Teal Sound:
OK show. Guard was used very little and seemed not to have all their work on the field? Not too much else to say.

Kiwanis Kavaliers:
Great sound. Some impressive moments. Falls apart in the last 4 minutes of the show. SOme great sounds in the beggining though. Ineffective guard though.

Glad to see they are back at it. Great sound, good show. Guard looked great. Did not deserve the score they got. Should be at least closer to Spirit if not behind. In no aspect did this show rise above BD. Inflatted scores. Show is unemotional and goes nowhere. Sounds great, but missing something? Not sure what?

Haven't seen PR, GMen, Cadets, or SCV (who I would consider at first thought, other possible contenders for top positions), but I see this definitely in the top 3 easily. Best horn line i've EVER heard! Such a tight sound. No your typical Cavies show. Ballad need some work in arrangement. 3rd movement...hang on! when you see the box form don't blink!!! It is so intense! My heart was racing for an hour after it. I can't wait till the Columbia show to see them again. Colors work great and used awesome to protray the brassy sounds. Low Brass has such a presence!!!

Awesome sound, but show is way too choppy and anti-climatic. Aside from a few impacts, show goes nowhere. Extrememly dissappointed. Guard was awesome as usual. Just as Magic, I feel this score was inflatted greatly as well. Most ppl I talk to agreeed. Boring show over all. Hope something changes.

Opening intense, but become monotonous. Lack of melody and continuity. Just begins to sound like random notes. No impact points. Ballad...nice change...totally musical. Sounds like something Regiment might play. Resolves right into closer which unfortunately sounds all too much like the opener for the most part. Show is more enjoyable and entertaining than Magic's in my opinion. Watch the guard. Notice flag and uni chg's. Darkness becomes light [hint, hint]

I predict DCA champ's already. One of the best sr shows I have seen. Much larger than past years. Louder than any other corps there - just not as pretty ;-) Very fun show. Guard was awesome.

Here's how I think scores should have been:
Cavies - 77
BD - 73
MO - 64
Spirit - 62
KK - 52
TS - 42

Best Brass - Cavies
Best Percussion - Cavies
Best Guard - Cavies
Best Marching - Cavies


First of all, let me compliment the organizers. This event was well run. Our seats were right on the 50, with a seat BACK - a luxury! Also, there were no late enterers, or so few that I was not distracted. My only complaint would be that the road behind the stadium was NOT blocked off to traffic. Why on earth would people try to DRIVE through a crowd?

Teal Sound = 47.70
It's way too early to judge this group. Young and enthusiastic - and the guard has a very nice flag design in the opener. I look forward to seeing them later in the summer, and wish them luck.

Magic of Orlando - 73.50
THEY'RE BAAAAACK!! I was so happy to see them on the field, with a FULL corps that I didn't do anything but enjoy. Some very nice horn impacts and I'm sure as the summer progresses, so will they. I think they will be the first Division II (bad, DCI, bad) to move into top twelve. We'll see. Finals are going to be VERY tight this year - I can already tell. One other note, please put gray socks on the guard guys - the black ones are distracting.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - 50.60
One question? Why go to all the trouble of making the guard wear those floor-length capes for eight counts of visual impact, much less visual impact on the edge? I'm sure the program will develop, but, if I remember correctly KK did something similar some years back, with capes and, in the same way, too much work for too little visual. Maybe this will improve with time. Loved hearing the TV Spiderman theme, and I also very much liked the lightening-bolts. One other minor point, the corps is almost TOO black - I'd like to see some more offset colors.

Risk your life standing behind the stadium - okay not THAT bad, but not good either.

Cavaliers - 76.85
WOW!! I can't believe this was a June show! Great horns (the best I can remember the Green Machine having in a long time), great drums (stayed for encore - INCREDIBLE), great visuals (DUH) and great marching and guard. I heard that they are going to change the last minute or so of their show before DCM, and I can't wait to see it. I WANTED to see it again last night. The box/chant section is amazing!! It received the only spontaneous mid-show standing O of the evening, deservedly. I love the guard uniforms and when they did the pairing thing, I said "Oh, I get it now... DUH!" The show has balance, impact, subtlety and all it takes to win. Again, I can't wait to see it in July and August. Congratulations, Cavaliers and THANK YOU!!

Blue Devils - 75.15
I was AMAZED with the Blue Devils for two reasons. First of all there is their HORNLINE, one of the most technically proficient I've heard, and the squealer (sop - trumpet, whatever) was again AMAZING. The second reason I was surprised was because I've seen BD a lot in June, early June, and have NEVER seen them "unprepared." By that I mean, they always, ALWAYS arrive in the East with a COMPLETE show. The guard spent a large portion of time with no work. Why? I'm sure they will finish, but it was so un-Blue-Devilish. It also seems that they are not as widespread as in previous years - the horns, I mean. I'm sure they will be in the thick of things come August, but while the crowd loves them (who does Jazz better than BD? - sorry Madison fans) their applause at the end of the show was polite but somewhat subdued. We'll see...

Spirit - 61.05
Spirit really has a shot this year - to make finals, I mean. I hope they do. They display a 100% improvement over last year. I felt bad for them following the Cavaliers and BD, but they held their own. I'm sort of sorry they didn't wail GEORGIA or something, but I understood what they were doing and look forward to seeing it in July and August. One negative, the masks on the guard NEED TO GO - too distracting. I did like the lightening of their uniforms as the show progressed.

Again, from what I saw last night, it's going to be tough to get into top 12 this year and it means a GREAT year for all us fans.


The stadium is like a shrunk version of a real college stadium. It is very up close and personal for the audience, so close to the field. Reminds me of Whitewater the way it is half built into a hillside. Also has a Manning Bowl quality, but without the decay. Luckily, the concession area has a decent view of the field, because that's where I watched Magic as I stuffed myself. "No, sir, I really don't know what a Chick-Fil-A is. Is it a sandwich?" He looked at me like I was from Mars. I guess I just don't eat in food courts enough.

The shows: yes it's early, no I don't want to seem like a bitchy fan of the arts (it's a joke IM!), blah blah, all the usual disclaimers.

Missed Teal Sound.

Magic- I got more of an impression than a full viewing. The impression is that this corps is back with a vengeance. It great to see that a corps that has had a death experience is able to come back and NOT just be a shadow of the original (like the Guardmen redux or the resurrection of Braniff Airlines).

Remember Braniff? Some doctors bought 8 planes and the name and ran it as a discount airline for a few months. I flew to Newark on the last weekend they operated. Only about six others on the plane, strangely enough, including JFK, Jr. As we landed, a huge light fixture crashed to the floor in the center aisle. Don't think that will happen to Magic. But I digress…

Big sound, readable marching, lots of confidence. From my end-zone view, I think this "Division II" corps could even barge its way into Div. I finals (they allow that, don't they?).

Now in my seat. The announcer sounds like Bill Clinton. It is hot, humid, and windless.

Krispy Kiwanis. Playing comic book movie music works. It has drama, familiarity, and is fun. Looked like about 52ish horns. Small guard (<20). Need to add some color to the corps unis; the gold braid isn't doing it. I really enjoyed them but, oh my God, are they young! I have that reaction more and more, but they didn't wear hats, and it was apparent that they are mainly younger high school kids. That explains why many things like basic horn carriage were inconsistent. Lots of bells pointed at ground, and you can hear the marching through the bells. Even so, a surprisingly mature sound would escape now and then. The contras (tubas?) were quite loud and, with the battery, sometimes overpowered the others. Never heard the pit, but the battery is large. Better than last year.

First up after intermission, the Cavaliers! Thank goodness I didn't stop to eat on the way.

Let me parallel this by what I think has happened to SCV the last few years. 1999 SCV is among the best shows of all time, IMO. 2000 SCV was great, but not quite as good as '99 (but the guard was better). '01 SCV was great, but not quite as good as '00.

I liked the Cavies music best in '00, last year a little less, and this year a little less than that. I need to hear it again, but if I had to pick their number one problem, it is that the first third of the show needs a moment where MUSCIALLY they reach out and grab you by the lapels. They do it in the second half, but there needs to be a gotcha moment earlier, and it will require some writing, not just cleaning. The good news is, their staff is pretty self-aware, and such a change will undoubtedly come.

That said, the Cavies horn line, which was superb last year, is again excellent. They handled some horrifically difficult runs and hand-offs in the latter part of the show. Everything seemed about a volume level less than where it should be, but when you consider what they're doing while they're playing, it's easy to see that this will be taken care of as the show is cleaned. Certainly the post show stand-still proved that.

Usually at this time of the season, it's hard to read many of the forms of their drill. Not this year. Are they clean? No. But each set IS clean enough to read the form. Then there is more dirt in the transitions. But they ARE cleaner on really difficult moves than I have ever seen them this early. Visually, they are going to crank it up another notch this year, and that is very exciting. Filler drill at ending, as usual for now.

Guard uniforms are not offensive, and even somewhat interesting. Head to toe gray/black body suits trimmed in different colors of flourescent tape. Very TRON. But the body hugging nature of the pants is a mistake. Instead of accentuating their movement, or their skinny youthfulness, it simply makes the heavier ones look fat, and the skinny ones look like awkward adolescents. Change the pants, we don't need to see everyone's crack outlined in shadow.

Jury is out on the guard. Last night I could not tell what the flags were doing during the ballad… unison? sequence? During the drum feature the corps starts a "New Era" type chant on the beats… "one!" "and!" "four!" I thought, oh yuk. Especially since the guard is doing chorus line type stuff that frankly is just not masculine, especially in those pants. But then they're joined by the hornline where they do a lot of body movement in concentric boxes. As it turns out, it is extraordinarily effective, and it got the only mid-show standing-O of the night.

Cavaliers' pit has the same magical sound they always have. But I saved the best for last. The snare line is unbelievable. And the center snare (actually two, both small) is this tiny boy who looks like he is 12, but very obviously in control. I am not a drummer, but how do you clean perfection?

Are they infallible? No. But they may very well be unbeatable. Unless there is an SCV surprise, or if Garfield has learned to write drill again, this could be an undefeated season.

Blue Devils… Let me start by saying that, as a horn player, they are consistently my all-time favorite horn line. They STILL have the most raw talent of any corps out there. But this was a band show played by studio musicians.

The selections are ok, although I was surprised when the announcer said, they'll play "this, that, this, that, this AND Channel One Suite!" Huh? How do you play six things and Channel One? It reminds me of when Phantom played the Ring - 19 hours compressed into 11 minutes for your listening pleasure!

Cutie in the BD pit! But needs to use less hair product.

I've been taught by Wayne Downey, and he is the single most gifted music teacher I've known in corps. But I think he phoned in the arrangements this year. I get the feeling that the staff is bored. The part of Channel One they played was pretty good, but still lacked a spark. It's like a reduction made from the uninteresting parts of the pieces played - sort of, concentrated mediocrity. The horn line is phenomenal - these are design criticisms.

It's great they're playing familiar music, it's just not done in an overly-entertaining way. Even "House of the Rising Sun" is a little flat (still better than Cadets' "Moondance"). I don't really remember the guard work. Some opening rag time dancing, then "hair drill" during "House of Rising Sun."

And now, I must push in the dagger a little more. NO DRILL. Even less than usual. They are much cleaner in their transitions than Cavaliers, but no demand, no design, no interest. Unfortunately, past years have proven that they are NOT self-aware when it comes to drill, so I believe that another corps may barge into top four this year (haven't seen G'men yet). I hope that was filler near the end; they're marching very fast, but small steps so the forms evolve very s-l-o-w-l-y, like watching Phantom.

Was the spread correct last night? Probably. BD's horns sounded better while marching, and they were marching cleaner. But that is a bad sign. I think they are going to stay in Cavies' rear-view mirror. Granted, they did fly in last night, and sitting on an airplane can be much more draining than practicing in 95-degree Alabama heat. Design team: shake the etch-a-sketch, and at least rewrite the drill.

Spirit….In the last few years they (and Southwind too) seem to almost knock on the door of top 12, then slide back a little. This is a forward-moving year. Overall a more mature sound than last year, and a big one, too. (But the music is less catchy.) Horn line is about the same size as KK, but with a bigger guard. They obviously have more college students, and the maturity shows.

The drill is typical Spirit, not bad, not great. Actually, they have some nice forms, but the transitions (design-wise) are clumsy at times. At one point a big arc of horns just detaches and moves across the field with no real fit to what is going on. It's just a multi-count set-up for something else. This can be easily fixed. This corps wants top 12 very badly, and it's obvious. The talent level seems to be higher than the last couple of years, and they may very well push themselves into finals. I would be VERY interested to know how they stack up against Magic on the same score sheets, however.

Don't wear cargo shorts on long trips. The pocket flaps and buttons mash your ass and really start to irritate after a while.

Corps Vets…The pleasant surprise of the night. I had never seen them before. Great sound from fewer than 40 horns! Bigger sound than the 50-60 horns of some of the other corps. Easy guard work, but still entertaining because you can tell how much fun the members are having. How interesting, members having a good time = entertaining to crowd! DCI, take note…

I love senior corps (this is not sarcasm) because I think the love-handles, receding hair lines, and the old gray-haired man spinning the flag are a hoot! Great soloist for the opening to "Blues in the Night." And then my only silly emotional response of the night. After CV finished their show, they stood on the sidelines and played "Georgia on My Mind." It was unexpected, it was spooky, it was a reminder of what DCI has lost, and I had to hide my tears.


Marion, OH (DCM)

Here is a review of the Marion, OH show from yesterday. Now I have seen four shows in the last 6 days, so some of my comments may not just come from last night, but may encapsulate everything I have seen since Toledo. Also, if you are easily offended by someone not saying that every corps is amazing, you may not want to read this. Here goes...;-)

Marion Glory Cadets (34.75) - Wow! What to say.... Unfortunately, this has been the one corps that has been at EVERY show I have went to. Why couldn't I get the good luck of following.... Anyway, I do not know what this staff was thinking. Who decided that Hindemith was the dream of every drum corps fan, or even all that great to put on the field. I have seen this piece done by several little guys over the past few years, and can never figure it out. That being said - these guys have come SO FAR in the last 6 days!! I actually could not believe it. The guard has really started to add a lot, although I don't think it often goes with the music (what would?) They finally put in the show flags last night, and it was a nice added touch of color. You are finally detecting some melody out of the horns, and the marching is coming together. They chose to add these two big wooded frames last night onto the field that were nothing but a distraction. They were rarely used, and unfortunately were tripped over by the corps members. At least paint them folks! Anyway - they have made huge strides, and hopefully come Madison, I can say - gosh what geniuses those corp directors were, but - I am not sure it would be worth all the negative reaction this corps has gone through from everyone I have sat around over the course of the week. Oh yeah - what gives with the last note of the show? It just kind of ends on this unison pitch. At first I thought they weren't done with the show (although it sure did seem long enough), but it was still there yesterday. This needs to be changed.

Scenic City (39.4) - At first viewing these guys really struck me. There was recognizable melody, and you could tell they were trying to do something, which is often a lot from a D3 corps early on, but by viewing #3, they just seem to not be going very far. BTW - is Caravan a Chicago song that I didn't know about? I didn't think it had any words that Chicago (there theme) could sing to?

Capital Regiment (50.35) - Wow!!! If you have not seen these guys this year, everything you keep reading is correct! This is a group that is going somewhere. Nice and large, with a GREAT guard. Entertaining show that just keeps getting better everytime I see them. I did not think that tonights show was up to what they have been doing, but still great, great job. Thanks to the color guards who may not have all of their show done, but at least are pieceing it together a little here a little there, as opposed to having the entire beginning done, and then we watch for the last 3 minutes while nothing is happening. Makes the show so much more enjoyable. I sure do hope that Rick Bays, their director, reconsiders their goal of 2004 for open class and goes next year, although he sure has them going in the right direction, so I trust his final decision. They already passed Pioneer, long, long ago - and now are on the heals of Southwind!!!! .05!!

Southwind (50.4) - With that being said, I thought that their score was a few point low tonight. This is a good show with good, fun, classical music. My biggest complaint - the drill is just way too easy! maybe the easiest drill of any corps here tonight, including D2-3. The kids have a decent grasp on it. Maybe the goal is to start easy, have success, and then add more. But it really just is so easy it lacks any visual excitement.

Colts (62.8) - The first thing I think of is ugly guard uniforms - sorry. I know some have said they really like them - they look cheap and tacky to me. That being said, this is a good group. I say watch out Madison, I think they have a much firmer lock on Finals than you do. Now that the race for those last few finals spots are getting much thicker (esp. if you are in the camp that thinks this could be the year for Spirit or Magic to contend), I think they have a leg up on the competition. Good music, good horns, nice drill. They are much improved from last year!

Blue Knights (63.5) - I must admitt, that I was one that got on Soundmachine after Columbus, and expressed my displeeasure for this show, and asked what the heck was up. I was REALLY impressed with how much better they got tonight! Although the score is up a bit from there, I think their placing is so much better! This show, although quite a bit out there, was much more entising on second view (and with much improvement). You can finally begin to decipher what it is they are trying to do visually. The opener I actually enjoyed this time, the rest I merely appreciated. Some of their big problems still are: the guard unis. This is not WGI - and it really looks like many of them are simply wearing underwear or boxer briefd, and is very distracting. I know this is sexist, but you kind of get used to the look on the girls, but the boys.... I just give them props for having more guts then I would to get out there in that (they also have the tallest guard member in DCI;-) The hornline does not play enough. There is too much pit percussion where they are just standing around. And unfortunatly the sops do so many body things, that it just gets distracting. I know that they always do a lot of this, but they do eve more this year. Some of the dancing around and stuff just looks silly. There seemed to be less of it tonight, maybe I am just getting used to it. The pit placement didn't bother me near as much this time. I think it is getting cleaner, that is why. Also - their ballad, way to much standing in one place! Almost the entire piece is in one spot. The good thing there is that they, at least for now, focus on all of the numerous other problems, and then tackle this issue when other things have been addresses. For those of you that are worried about BK - give them two more weeks. I think you will be more satisfied with their product by then. Just Monday to Thursday - such a big improvement!

Bluecoats (65.5) - I loved this show in Toledo, like it in Orville, and tonight it just kind of landed flat. I feel like it really hasn't gone very far. They are still consistently having problems with tempo, and with pulling from side to side. The guard is a major hightlight, but not as on tonight. They have struck me before because of the immense energy they have given off, especially the group that is consistently on rifles, great faces!!! But not tonight. The drill is good, but slows down near the end, and they still don't seem to have the last 20 seconds or so down yet (still standing still). Best thing about B-Coats - their music! Very cool stuff, probably my favorite since the WWII show. Unfortunately, Glassmen have always been beyond them, and Phantom has definitely long since passed them. they better start to make a move.

Glassmen (69.8) - What a great show tonight!!! I love this show!!!!! For those of you that think that Phantom is going to leave these guys in the dust soon - I say you are crazy. Their Monday show was not good (especially the first half), and this show has what it takes to make top 4! Watched them rehearse on Monday, and this is by far the coolest Glassmen show since their Joyful Celebration show back in the mid 90's!! Great music - especially love their third piece with all of the marimba stuff and the flugal solo (although too much like last year - I mean the same soloists and all). The kids love this show - you can totally tell. The victory concert was great. The drill is interesting and well executed - they have such great marching technique!!! The problem - the biggest one I see are the trumpets! It is often frack city when they are moving - especially song #2. When they stand still (victory concert) - the sound is great, but too many feet are coming through when they start moving. It is getting a lot better though. This show was such an improvement tonight. I really enjoyed what they have done visually, and with the percussion on song #3. The guard is adding so much, and the percussion has finally figured out what they are going to do with the extra players (more instruments). Well done! I can't wait to see you guys in Madison.

I thought I would also give my views on a few other Midwest corps that I had seen this week:

The Cavaliers (Toledo) - This show just did not do it for me. Now their is no doubt that they are in a class by themselves. No one in the Midwest will come close to touching them. They are guaranteed top three. Good to see they took out Devils, but watch out for Saturday!! Go Cadets!!!! Anyway - I thought the music was very boring. The first half of the show just didn't do it for me. Thought it sounded like one big excercise (although I did like the trio of trumpets at the beginning) The second half of the show did begin to get more exciting musically, especially liked the tribute to SCV near the end! Also, although I thought their tone quality is lovely, probably better then last years, I didn't think that the music is all that challenging, although I am sure they will add stuff as the year progresses. Visual was good, but I must have missed what a few others saw, because it just didn't wow me. I think this is a very beatable show, and I look for Cadets to do just that!

Phantom Regiment (Toledo, Orville, Comlumbus) - This is a great show. It also just keeps getting better every time I see it. I saw it three nights in a row, and it just kept getting better each night. Great guard! Love the opening section where they are all on these cool wood colored rifles that are already so clean - and in these cool unis. But I was not so hot on the costume chage, which seemed to me like a cross between old Russia and Moulin Rouge. Anyway - they were cool colors though. I think thier greatest strength is also what bothers me a lot as well. Thay have a great hornline, but it is also very harsh and always playing as loud as it can. Not sure how much to attribute to the bugles, which I never really noticed in year's past. When it was just the top 3-4 that used the Bb's, I couldn't tell a difference (they always sounded way better - it was no different), but now that so many of the lower corps use them, I really feel like the Bb's are so much warmer. I wonder how much that will effect Phantom this year. They have made great sounds in years past - probably will again. I think this will be one of the more enjoyable shows at Madison. I probably like this Phantom show right out of the gate, better than any show they have had for as long as I can remember (back to the good old Phantom days of the early 90's). I do not see them catching the G-Men. We'll see......

Madison Scouts - Toledo, Columbus - I don't know what is going on in this organization, but it ain't good. For those of you who read on here, like me, that their was a lot of improvement in the drill, the guard was 42+, etc., it just ain't so. Their guard is only slightly bigger then the pitiful numbers of last year - I think up to 27-28. At Columbus they came out wearing these Silver hats and chest plates, that I know were supposed to make them look like conquistadores, but instead made them look ridiculous. They looked like those dutch wooden shoes, painted silver and then put on top of their heads. Really disliked them. Thankfully they came off after warm-up. Not sure of the point - but I move on. The music is decent, but lacks strong points that can really move the audience IMO. But is is pretty well played. Not a percussion guy, but they sound like the strongest aspect of the corps. The drill did not seem that much more intense. Maybe the beginning was cool, but it soon digressed to typical Madison, not much going on. The guard unfortunately still is just not in good shape. As of Monday, they knew the least amount of work of any DCM Div1 corps. And what they knew was not good. Where did the charisma that used to simply draw you into their performance go? Thay have no confidence, and it really shows. They were NOT the audience highlight in Columbus, probably got 3rd or 4th best ovation. They may tweek out a low finalist spot. I liked them much less the second time I saw them, and their point spread from the higher scores seemed to be growing. Will be intersting to see how they fair against SCV.

Pioneer - Toledo, Orville, Columbus - Contrary to what I have heard some others say, I kind of like this cute little show. It isn't going to contend for anything, but I like the arrangements, and I think they are well played. Most of all - IT ISN'T IRISH!!!! WOO-HOO!!! Maybe they thought most would think Oliver sounds Irish instead of English - don't know, don't care, it is just a breath of fresh air. It says in their bio they they are going to get a mid-season uni change, they already have new black pants, and I can't tell if the tops are new or not. I like the black pants much better then the tan. It really works for them. The tables/benches, whatever - are effective, but there are way to many of them. I hope they drop about half of them. Overall though, a fun show.

Most improved shows since Saturday: (only saw Cavies Sat.)
1). Blue Knights
2). Phantom Regiment
3). Glassmen
4). Marion Glory Cadets

Least improved shows since Saturday:
1). Bluecoats
2). Madison Scouts
3). Scenic City

Well, there it is - Unfortunately I will not see another show until I see Cadets on July 13th. Please keep the reviews coming, for those of us who will be missing out. Hopefully you found something useful here, and if you disagree - good luck to your favorite corps!


Go Cadets!!!!

Tuesday June 18

Shelbyville, KY (DCM)

I went to the Shelbyville, Ky show today. Cavaliers seem pretty good this year, but I was so distracted by the fact that they had NO EUPHONIUMs that I really couldn't enjoy it. How can you possibly call it drum corps without Euphoniums. I feel like I've been robbed. My first drum corps show in almost nine years and NO EUPHONIUMs. What is this world coming too? Automatic 10 point TICK in my book. NO EUPHs what a crock. I got robbed.

Actually it was Southwinds home show and an exhibition. It was good to see a show since I haven't seen one in a while. While it's not the drum corps I remember it is drum corps even with the Bb's(ick). Although I must admit the Bb Euphs I did see seemed pretty tiny. And kind of hard to pick out if those baritones weren't equally tiny. It's almost like they're all trumpets and kind of sounds like it too.

The show started with Madison doing an exhibition standstill and ended with Southwind doing the same.

A small corps. NO EUPHs here either. They did well although they are kind of weak on the low end. Two contras by my count. Although it seemed like only one since they were never really near each other during the show.

Capitol Regiment
Finally a corps with EUPHs. Woo Hoo! Actually they were surprising for I wasn't expecting them to be that big or good.

Nice drill. Nice book. NO EUPHs. Last place(just kidding). Standing O from the audience, myself excluded. NO EUPHs what a crock.

Madison Scouts
Nice sound so much louder than the Cavaliers with EUPHs in the mix. Also a standing O myself included. Especially since my better half was starting to get numb.

Home show so a Standing O when taking the field. Started off strong and ended strong. Not quite sure what happened in the middle. It was fun to watch the Euphs through the show. The one guy who I thought was a multi year veteran turned out to be a rookie when I talked to him after the show. I bought six Southwind hats for the Euphonium section and gave them to one of the Euphs before I left.

Hats off to Southwind for putting on the show. And Kudos for doing their show and then going almost immediately into an exhibition. Go EUPHs!!!

As far as attendance it is definitely down. At least at this show, not that I have previous years to compare against. The entire Section A and F were virtually vacant. There were 21 rows from bottom to top. I was on row 10 looking dead down the 40 on the right side facing the field. Bought my ticket at the show 30 minutes before it started.

The corps seem top heavy these days. Whatever happened to 12 Contras, 8 Euphs, 12 Baris, 14 Mellos, 20 Sops. It seems like most Div. I corps only had 8 to 10 Contras. Are they still trying to plug holes?

Whoever had Madison in 13th is wrong. And those who had Cavies in top 4 were also wrong. Myself included. Those Bb's just aren't going to crack it when in a big stadium like "FINALS" especially without EUPHs. I would imagine that by finals Cavies will sound more like a H.S. Band(ick) and Madison will Shatter the press box glass(again!). Go "G"(s)!


This was the first ever DCM show for Shelbyville, KY and they did a great job. The crowd wasn’t massive (nor was it small), but central Kentucky is not Madison, WI. I did sit near several high school kids that loved the opportunity to see the corps and seemed interested in trying out for one. They were eagerly debating whether a trumpet player they knew could play the Americanos soprano solo (very cute). Kentucky loves their marching bands, so I think it has great drum corps potential.

The first performance was a girl (didn’t get her name) that sang the national anthem. She did an incredible job. I can’t sing, so I have the greatest admiration (and jealousy) of anyone that can sing a song of that difficulty A Cappella.

The Scouts then did a concert. It really got you ready for some drum corps shows. It was a great warm-up, but I think it set a difficult stage for the Americanos to follow.

When the Americanos came on after the Scouts, I was worried. They had twenty something horns and they weren’t standing right in front of us. One thing you can definitely say about the Americanos though, they’re not (and shouldn’t be intimidated by anyone). It’s early in the year, so there were mistakes, but they’ve selected some challenging and exciting music. The music is really going to push them this year, but I’m sure they’ll be smooth in August. Their drill spread the corps so well that you forgot how much smaller these guys are then the Div I corps. They were light on the low brass (like some else stated), but one of their two contras wasn’t fully integrated yet. Overall, I liked these guys.

I was expecting a lot out of Capital Regiment and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m not ignorant to their faults, but I’m also not ignorant of how early we are in the season. I think these kids are ready for more difficult music (like Div I) and a more aggressive drill. For example, the Mello runs will need to get faster and more difficult. Their doing an awesome job with the show this year, I just think they’re ready for the next step (in 2004 I think). The other thing I noticed was 9 contras out of 42 horns. When the contra line when by, I distinctly heard only 2 or 3 playing loudly enough for me to hear them. This was well into the show and extremely early in the season, so I expect that to change. Surprisingly, the only corps that sounded deep and powerful this early in the year was the Scouts, so getting the contras into shape seems to be a general challenge for many corps.

Of all the shows last night, I like Southwinds music selections the best. I was shocked by how advanced Southwind is musically. I know they have tons of rookies (and you see it when they march), but their music quality is definitely finalist level. Their soprano line is especially benefiting from their association with the Scouts, but the other horns are doing surprisingly well too. Their only musical weakness seems to be their contra line. By the end of summer, I’m sure that problem will be fixed. If they can teach these young guns to march more cleanly, they’ll make a run at finals this year. Is this year going to be great or what?

The Cavaliers are simply amazing. Their field programs are, by far, the best drums corps has to offer. I fully expect them to be even cleaner this year and I think there show is even more entertaining. I’m not a great fan of their music selections (I still think Madison is king when picking music), and their closer could use some excitement. But for mid-June, these guys are way ahead of the game and will be better this year than last. I do expect a completely rewritten closer by August. If you’re only going to one show this year, make sure the Cavies are there.

The Scouts are cool. I love the way they’re playing onto the field. It’s an added freebie for the drum corps junkie. The Scouts are changing though. They’re taking all the areas people keep harping on them about and they’re trying to improve them. Of the corps I’ve seen, they have the most powerful low brass sound. When they kick in (at the end of the show) with Save El Dorado, it is extremely powerful and exciting. In fact, it’s the song I was humming on the way back to my car (very addictive). At finals in Madison, I expect the Scouts closer to THE goose bump moment of DCI this year. Also, you can see the effort in guard improvement and drill quality. Unfortunately, the Scouts have allowed those parts of the corps to atrophy, so it may take more than a summer to recover them. I still think they can improve their placement this year, but they won’t be challenging the top 4. Their effort to appease the drum corps gods does have a cost. Most people love the screaming sops (and they still have some), but trying to balance the corps will reduce excitement their soprano line normally brings. I understand why they have change to survive, but I think DCI is missing out.

My favorite moment of the night was when each corps would pass by the stands on their way off the field. Each corps was given a well-deserved standing ovation. The pride on the face of each kid (from Americanos to Cavaliers) made the night special. They worked hard and kicked some brass. Thanks guys.

David Wright

Monday June 17

Columbus, OH (DCM)

Despite a little rain during Glassmen's performance, the weather was not to bad for drum corps.

Scenic City....38.85
The "Chicago" show was interesting. The guard uniforms didn't make sense at first until I realized that the title of the show was " A Walk In The Park" or "Day". They were pretty good. However I only caught the last few minutes.

Marion Cadets...33.40
The second time seeing this show has helped a little with the show. The drumline was bigger, adding a quad and snare. Still having them drop out a little in drill, probably haven't had enough time with it yet. The drumline is still holding the corps back a little. The guard was greatly improved over Saturday and have a lot of potential, very talented members. I watched them warm-up a little before the show and they seem very dedicated despite the rest of the corps. They are dedicated, but I wonder if the difficulty is to much. However it is the 2nd show of the season so we will see at the end.

Capital Regiment...52.40
The guard was more on tonight, I feel than Saturday. However I had to console my girlfriend for missing a toss, afterwards. It still surprises me how good this corps is for only being around 4? years.

I can't really say to much about them other than I thought they weren't to bad. Nothing really stuck out though.

Not sure they deserved to beat BK, but I can't honestly say because I didn't see them but heard them.

I watched them form ground level so I can only comment on music. I am not sure how I feel on this show, possibly more viewings will give a better opinion. It was different than their "normal" style. The guard uniforms was a little revealing. Copies of the Northern Aurora WGI uniforms I belive. The timpani player was also pretty good.

Didn't not see them either, but they sounded better than Saturday.

Their drumline is carrying this corps!!! I recommend everyone watch and listen. There is some good things coming from that pit and drumline. The soloist is great also. I hope they move up this year.

probably tough following all those corps, but they improved over Saturday also. I like the benches, partially. not the best show i have ever seen but who knows comes finals.

All in all it was good night for drum corps and I enjoyed it immensely.


Hello all. I have been to two significant shows now and, with at least one repeated viewing, will offer this commentary on various corps. This will be blazingly honest, so don't read ahead if all you want is sugarcoating.

God bless these kids, trying so hard but hopelessly saddled with a show designed by morons who cannot seem to recognize what they have to work with. I remember some years ago when Marion would come out; they were always small, never really played or marched well (except for an occassional soloist or two) ... because the membership was/is novice level. But, they would put on FUN shows that the kids obviously enjoyed, and the crowds enjoyed them too. The talent level of the 2002 corps is not higher than any previous year, most likely, but this corps endears themselves to NOONE when they try to put on sophisticated music that is over the heads of even many studied college musicians. This show, even if cleaned to perfection, will still be awful because of the poor arranging and failure on the part of designers to recognize that this music requires SONORITY in numbers that cannot possibly be achieved with ~15 horns.

When will corps designers recognize that, NO, you cannot ALL be Cavaliers or SCV or Star? Sophisticated shows require a SOPHISTICATED CORPS to pull off. When you try this kind of thing with this level of talent, you are only embarrassing yourselves. People, inappropriatelty so, LAUGH out loud during your show. They snicker for a while, then they just stop paying attention. These are your potential fans. Is this really what you want for your corps?

Please learn to walk before you run. Keeping this trend up will kill Marion.

This is more like it. I still wasn't totally enamored with the show (that's a persoanl taste issue), but at least this corps is doing something within their abilities and realm of possibility, has entertaining elements, and still challenges the members. That's what it is about.

A corps with a strong ability to go places this year. But, they have fallen prey to that dreadful disease that has infected several corps for the past several years: flowery pre-performance lectures about how WOWed we're all gonna be after witnessing this spectacle of 'high art'. After listening to Cap's bloated, self-aggrandizing program notes, one might be convinced that God himself wrote the show and is gonna come down and perform it. Oooo, ahhhh, I'm gonna be 'magically' transported to a Tibetan mountaintop. Eh, no, I'm sitting in a soccer stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

Many corps are guilty of these awful pre-performance write-ups. And after all of their endless, flowery, 'ain't-we-special' gibberish that the designers force down the crowds' throats about how unique and ground-breaking their show is going to be, all we usually get is another vanilla-flavored drum corps show that sounds pretty much like everyone else.

Memo to all corps promotional text-writers: WE DON'T CARE. Tell us the pieces you are playing, tell us your accomplishments, tell us you are happy to have your corps perform for us, then SHUT UP and let your corps perform. If the show is interesting enough and well-done on it's own merits, then those in the crowd that do care will do the further legwork to research what you are playing. At a symphony concert, does the condcutor turn around and commence with the recitation of a musicological study of the work about to be performed? Not usually...and if a symphony crowd doesn't need it, then neither does a bunch of sweaty people eating cotton candy and wearing 10-year old drum corps t-shirts.

Cap is OK, so don't get me wrong....they are a fine corps. I just wished they had a text-writer who wasn't so full of him/herself or their corps. Pride in your corps is fine, but this IMHO is overboard.

These observations, BTW, are from a huge fan of Star '93, one of the most obtuse shows ever fielded. Some might remember that Star didn't wax analytical about the hidden meanings behind this and the eclectic symbolism of that....they just came out and performed the p*ss out of their show. They let the show stand on it's own merits, not feeling the need to have to verbally explain or defend what they were about to do to the crowd. That was a sign of confidence in what they were doing, whether you liked the show or not. So please, schpiel-writers, in the future, SPARE US. It's just drum corps, for God's sake.

What exactly is the point of this show? My wife, a doctoral candidate in music at Indiana University, thought it was nothing more than a rhythym exercsie. She thought it was pointless. Is BK is trying to cater to musically elevated tastes? Not according to my wife. And they obviously aren't trying to win the hearts of the crowd. So, someone please explain the point of this show.

Yeah, yeah, I know it's early, but there's enough of the show there to know 'it ain't gonna happen'. Ugly musically, and one of the most cluttered visual programs in memory. Black clumps everywhere.

Once again, too bad for the members. Don't look for BK at finals. Again.

Here is a fine, fine corps for 2002. I think, at Toledo, this corps had the finest, richest sounding brass next to perhaps Cavies. Cavies played in impeccable tune most of the time, but there was a richness to Bluecoats sound that reminded me of Phantom of old (and OLD means early 1980s to me). The drumline is fine and they have a well-designed show. Kudos to Canton; I hope they get the recognition.

I've been a drum corps fan since 1980, and to be honest, back in what I'd call the 'day' of drum corps (1980s ... not picking a fight with "older"-timers) Madison was actually not among my favorite corps. But honestly, this is a corps that has not forsaken their roots and what made them popular. They have adapted to more modern styles of drum corps, but just not to the extent that they 'redefined' themselves. For that I truly respect this corps. Now, Scouts, you have the luxury of a well-designed show not requiring a thesis to understand, talented members, and the crowd behind you. All that's left are the judges, who half the time don't know what they're looking at anyway. So, just clean, clean, clean what you have, work on intonation and balance, fix that spread tone in the hornline, and CLEAN THE FEET. Thanks for keeping tradition alive.

A strong corps, great drumline that will make noise this year (noticably cleaner that Cavies in Toledo), but a show that just doesn't "grab" you. This is not a knock on Glassmen, in particular; most every corps is guilty of it in these days of homogenized, 'let's emulate the frontrunners' attitude of staffs. But still a fine corps.

The thing I find most intruiging and satisfying this year in drum corps is not a particular corps or show, but the fact that snare lines are apparently, FINALLY, after 12-14 years or so of ugly, syntheitic Kevlar, BRAVE enough to finally come out with mylar batter heads again and permit snare drums to again sound like snare permit the snare voice to actaully blend in with the entire percussion ensemble sound instead of sounding like bullwhips cranked to high hell by drum instructors who wouldn't know a musical snare sound if it bit them on the butt (even though Kevlar and the -Max heads can sound musical; it's just that not many drumlines seem to know how to acheive it). Glassmen and Phantom are using some sort of non-Formica batter surface, and at least from this one long-time marching percussionist and arranger, thank you! AT LAST!

This will be a strong corps when cleaned. Many will say that the drumline is weak this year, when actually they are playing the appropriate role for the repertoire they've chosen. This drumline balances the great hornline well. I think we are so used to drumlines banging the snot out of cranked-up equipment and overpowering hornlines that we've lost sight of the fact that this is a musical ensemble. Thanks to Phantom for striving to that goal.

As for the hornline sound, though, even though it is very polished, I can't help thinking that it just doesn't sound like Regiment of the 1980s. That was DARK sound. People still talk about this Regiment hornline using those terms, but I just don't hear it as much. The baritones are very strong this year; but the contras don't seem to have the weight they one did with this corps.

This corps is very very good and will vie for the title in August; that said, as a musician, I am not a fan of letting the music be subservient to the visual package. They are better this year at putting out music that is well thought-out, but still ... it's just a principal thing. Music is the most important element.

Sorry if I offended anyone, but I think my comments and years of involvement and as a fan give merit to my observations.

Best, Mike

Saturday June 15

Toledo, OH (DCM)

Ok You have seen the scores now here's a brief review.....

Marion Glory Cadets...31.5
To be honest I wished I would have stayed and watched the parking lot warm-ups a little longer. I am sure the kids hearts are in the right place and for that they deserve credit, but apart from that I think the music and drill are way to hard for them. A lot of missing guard work. Guard disappointing for the quality of talent that is there. I know the writer and a few of the members from winter guard and I was saddened by the lack of professionalism in the guard. There may be a reason behind it, I hope. The drumline in warm-ups was not very good. Which probably led to a bad taste in my mouth. I am sure they will improve as the season goes on but I think the 31 was a generous offering.

I think there is potential for this show to be better than it is. However the pit will be a hinderance, as somewhat has stated before. You can't put the pit behind the backhash, that's execution suicide. The guys I was sitting with joked about the fact that you could only hear the pit when the corps wasn't playing. That's a shame. Oliver is kindof a weird show for Pioneer but I think if they fix the stagin problems they could have decent season.

Capital Regiment...48.55
This corps is close to me because I am dating a guard member and I have a student marching. The show is definately a step in the right direction for them. Once the guard gets the right flags on the field and get all their members on the field I think they will be stronger. There is an odd meter piece called Avalanche which I heard in rehearsal and I felt that this piece could put them over the edge or completely bury them, which it almost did last night. All in all I was impressed by the intensity, it also helped that they followed Marion.

Music very fitting of Phantom, which I am sure they have done at one point or another. Done in a more bright manner though not quite the dark interpretations that we are used to. The pit was not quite in the pit leaving room for the corps and guard to take advantage of the extra space. The snare line switched to sling snares for their solo which was really good. Very impressive.

The second corps to play New Century Dawn by David Gillingham. There was some phasing in the opener, typical of early season. Guard was interesting in that a good portion of the time they were all on rifle. The ballad was a little weak and they still have to add flagwork and drill to the closer. All typical early season problems. This show may keep them in the top 12 but they really will have to work.

Madison Scouts...60.75
Nice on-field moving warm-up. I personally believe nothing has changed for Madison. I have heard talk of them moving up in the ranks and being a better contender, but I feel that it's the same old Madison. More complicate drill sure, but it's still sloppy, but very entertaining. Some poor mistakes in the guard, grabbing the wrong flags, drops, etc. I think there were many questions about the girl in the guard...oh I am sorry is that a man? My mistake. He/she was good though.

Definately deserved to be where they were at. Their guard was better than I have ever seen them. Very talented and beautiful. How that soprano made it through his solo with that girl dancing next to him I will never know. Nice rifle work, closer a little weak (early season). drum solo was nice. All in all a very impressive and fun show by the Coats.

Phantom regiment...63.65
Was there show better than the Coats, only .65 points better? Well I would have to disagree. I think they put on a great show and deserved a point or two higher than the Coats. However I got stuck with my girfriend waiting to get to our seats, so I watched the show from the entryway so it is hard to be completely fair. I find it hard to take them serious with the uniforms they have. I realize that it shouldn't affect the music but it really does. The dark unis from the past would have gone nicely with the guard uniforms and the musical selections.

Hmmm...Top 5? Yes, Top 3? Possibly, Champions? Not this year. This show is the most accessible show I have seen them do in a while. the flugel solo is very nice, but the supporting music is very weak, as is the very end of the opener. The drumline switched to plastic heads and I am not sure what I think of the sound, kindof muddy, but clean all at the same time. The drumline was very clean, surprisingly, better than Cavs, not sure. The guard once again will be holding back this incredible corps. I really don't believ it's the members either but the writing. G-men did the finale performance since they were the host and it gave me a better chance to see some of the drum work, very impressive, moving or standing still.

Nice gap between them and G-men. The guard looked like something from Tron and very sloppy for such a good guard. To many drops. IMO. The sops in the opener was very nice. I also like how the guard unis, which were dark gray with horizontal and vertical stripes of colors matched the flags perfectly. The chant a' la New Era was really grooving and will be even more impressive come mid to late season. Drumline not as impressive as I normally have seen them.

All in all for a first show it was good. The hardest part in trying to give an opinion is trying to understand that ths is the first show and many things haven't been finished yet. I tried to show that in the review. And since this is my first review, give me a break I hope it helped and I will try to better this one on Monday when I see the show in Columbus, Ohio

goodnight guys!!

Beautiful evening for a drum corps show and an excellent facility, the University of Toledo Glass Bowl. Unforntunately under construction again, handicap parking and accessibility a major issue for me as my parent s attended.

Marion Glory Cadets - 31.5
Missed the show. Corps gathered outside of the stadium near my car. They are small again this year, but I look for them to improve. Never Give Up!

Capital Regiment - 48.55
Missed the show. Normally I do not miss the early corps but had other responsibilities to attend to. My apologizes to these two corps.

Colts - 58.35
Viewed from entrance ramp. Was looking forward to the Colts after seeing that they finished only ten points behind Cavies the night before. They dropped to 14 points behind Cavies. Not much to say other than horn line lacks power. Need to see them again. Second best uniform to Cavies.

Southwind - 49.75
Score is very reflective of performance. Disappointing drill, almost in slow motion. Not very creative. More college band-like than corps. I hope they improve dramatically as the season goes.

Bluecoats - 63.05
Must say Boo. Will you give me some money back for my tickets. Marked time in place for the last selection. First part of show was very nice and a step up in difficulty from last year. Drill presentation with music has real potential. Horn line is solid, maybe top 5 this year. Nice visuals with guard. Time for a uniform change.


Phantim Regiment - 63.65
Nice guard uniform that changes as they shed layers. Sorry but the white helmets must go. Bring back the capes. Very strong sound from the old G horn line and a noticeable difference in tone from the other corps with the new B flat lines. Almost a harsher brassier sound but definately drum corps to me. Solid corps throughout but nine points behind Cavies? No. Musically a delightful show. Not to challenging as far as drill. Drums were a little thin.

Pioneer - 43.45
30 man horn line strugles with the music and is their weak point. Having almost a full drum line, balance between horn line and drums was an issue in several spots. The tables are an interesting idea but are too large, requiring several members of an aready small corps to move them. They restrict the drill to the middle and front of the field. The pit work is lost because they are located toward the rear of the field. Do not be afraid to change your show, it has good elements.

Madison Scouts - 60.75
I am not a Madison fan, but I think their score was about 2 points low. Improved drill design over last year. Old style show in my opinion, with lots of company fronts. They build the design (drill and music) and elicite an audiance response....oh about 6-8 times. Uniforms need to find a dumpster. They look tired and worn out. More guard but cannot remember what they did. Drums look solid. Stick with what you do Madison, just do it better.

Cavaliers - 72.7
Innovative, imaginative, creative. No question the best of the midwest. Sorry to say it but they have no competion here. Glassmen, PR, Bluecoats hire the Cavies designers because they are this corps strength. Solid horns, strong drum line. Guard was less than expected. Best corps uniform with respect to field and body visuals. Best drill design. The arrainger has turned the horn line into a sort of synthesizer. He seems to be saying....Let see now what sounds can I get from a brass horn line? 6 points better then Glassmen and the rest, no doubt. Do not miss them this year. Oh yes, watch for the moving box of guard that contains the rest of the corps. Nice idea but one on many.

Glassmen - 66.00?
Musical arraingements will become this corps strength. Drum score is out standing. Watch the pit because they will not quit. Snare line is tight. Again I see this corps as a drum line supported by a horn backup. Drums can carry the melody, support it and be it. Drill design is better then last year but is not creative or innovative. Originality is lacking. Horn line was tenative last night and had some balance/tempo problems. Horn line is improved, has some tough music and maybe strength down the road. Need more sound from contras. Soloists are a strength. Guard uniforms are nice, but work is not together yet. Glassmen are better then PR now (PR fans have some class and quit booing). 6 points behind Cavies, yes. The black and creme uniform lacks charisma and needs more color.


Marion Glory Cadets - small. I will give the kids all the credit in the world for putting on this show that the staff overwrote for them. They staff should have thought long and hard about the talent level and size before putting on this. I feel real bad for the kids, they deserve better.

Didn't see a booth. :(

Capital Regiment - Very big for Div 2. This is a show that could wow them at DCI. The mental laps are still there and the early season jitters are showing. I liked what I saw and heard. People will need to keep thier eyes on this corps.

Didn't see a booth. :(

Southwind - Excellent show. Well written and executed by the kids. This show will make semi's easily. I thought the music was audience friendly. One small problem, they need to get rid of the converted tubas, I could barely hear them and they sounded anemic. I also thought there was a sound balance problem between the snares and the rest of the corps. Seems the snares were just FFF verses everyone else trying to play music.

Pioneer - They look bigger this season (or maybe they were able to fill the holes earlier). "Oliver" was okay. I only recognized one piece. Two problems with the show. 1) the pit in the back. You can't hear them AT ALL, except during the quiet sections. Seems to be a waste back there and 2) Those picnic tables, they take away from the effect of show. Either eliminate half of them or all of them.

Didn't see one. :(

Bluecoats - THE FAN FAVORITE of the night. The show wasn't complete yet. Not a problem for early in the season. 2002 Blue is starting to sound like late '80's Blue. Poeple were eating it up. I expect this corps to move up. Aside - seems some older audience members didn't like up "BBBLLLUUUUUUU"ing the the corps. They thought we were booing them. One lady looked at us and told us to "grow up". Guess some people can't buy a clue.

Loved the selection. Bought a dark blue golf shirt with the 1972 logo on it.

Madison - Also the love of everyone. I hate to say this about Madison, but BAC has nothing to worry about with MS doing "Conquest". It's a nice warmup and that's it. Opener sounded choppy in past performances. The sound was more balanced between the section. Not tinny. The show will grow on you during the season (I hope). I'm still thinking that the coup of the alumni last year might have done more damage. This show might be hard pressed to make finals since I don't know about BK, BAC, Crown Spirit, Crossmen and Magic.

Still doing the t-shirts and jewelery. Keep at it, but need more work-type shirts.

Cavies - most excellent corps in the field. Lot of "oohs and ahhs". "Framework" doesn't seem to have the same intensity and fun to it as last years "Four Corners". I know it's early, but the current ending leaves you, well, wondering what they are trying to play. Here's a piece that growing and growing, brighter and brighter, and they just let all the air out at the end with mf chords that go nowhere.

Cavies need to work on thier souvies, I don't wear a lof of t-shirts and that's all they carry. How about some golf shirts?

Glassmen - Probably the best Glassmen I've seen in years. The music is very good, worth getting the originals. Some interesting full corps moves (esp. the end). If they clean this up and make changes (duh!), they could break into the Top 4.

Lot of new shirts, including more collared shirts. Worth buying from.

PR - Saw the bobblehead doll. I'll order it online. Oh, you want the show review. I liked. This show was well written. No standstill 16th notes, no arch in the back with 4 count moves. Just great playing, great drill. Noone will be disappointed. Get the originals.

Hey PR, expect a check from me real soon. I loved the show and I loved the souvies. Phantom had the biggest and most diverse of shirts. I bought a soccer and long sleeved shirt from them. They, like Glassmen, had more collared shirts.

- Steve B
FAQ coordinator
Roch. Crus. '01-'02

Alright, here goes. I've only done a review once before. I'll try to be as nice to the Madison fans as I can.

I was right off the 50-yard line and Row V so I wasn't too high up, but I got a pretty good vantage point for music and most of the visuals. It is very early season obviously, but there was some very good drum corps and otherwise, and will undoubtedly be another very exciting season.

Marion Glory Cadets - I missed them unfortunately because of some force of nature (potty).

Capital Regiment - Two thumbs up, it was wonderful to see how many marching members they have on the field and the level of execution they have this early on. It seems to me they are sporting at least 120, probably more. I've not seen much of them in the past that I remember, and to be honest I don't even know which division they are in this year, but they did an excellent performance and are definately going someplace.

Pioneer - Their show is Oliver. Very small this year but brassline sounded nice for this time of year. Definately in the Pioneer tradition.

Southwind - Extremely loud corps. About the only thing they have in common with their brother corps the Madison Scouts. They started off with Bach's Toccatta. Pretty exciting start and then there are some lull's in the ballad and also in the closer. But for this time of year they did excellent. I thought their score was a lot lower than I would have guessed.

Colts - I like their show better than last years. Their colorguard sports red and yellow and compliments the corps unis pretty well. It seems to me that all captions are bumped up a notch this year except general effect which hopefull won't be as much as a problem when they get to August. I had them placed where the judges did.

Madison Scouts - I'm very opinionated and will keep most of my comments to myself about the Madison Scouts. I do remember saying that all of these people booing because their score was so low didn't have any respect for good musicianship. My friend reminded me of the possibility that they were probably just fans. He was more right than me, I'm sure. The music during the opener was so garbled IMO, that I couldn't really make out very well what they were playing. Lots of phasing and more dirt than I would have thought they would have. Its early season but they seem to be in a rush to get somewhere and its slop slop slop. They have some cool drill at the beginning and GE this year, the guard plays drums onto the field and during the show. A nice way to get them off flags for awhile. But the theme is definately Madison (Conquistador) and their fans seemed very satisfied with their corps once again.

Bluecoats - Probably my favorite of the night. And also probably the most beautiful moment of the night. Their ballad ala Bjork works very well and they weave in and out of a couple different types of music and just play and march very well for this time of year. Very impressive and I hope they can crack into Top 6 this year if they keep it up.

Phantom Regiment - Awesome show. Glad they are playing Shostakovich again. Not as cutesy as last year but I liked that they had a couple of different tones throughout the show. I was waiting for it to get darker like 96 and it doesn't quite deliver at this point, but was a very promising start. The guard starts off dressed up in these heavy looking purple Russian outfits that I didn't like at first but grew on me. Nice brassline but a little thin on the top and guard is fun to watch.

Glassmen - Its the same thing as last year but not as dark. The Glassmen are as serious as ever but the music is a little lighter. I had them second but not for long. I think Phantom and Bluecoats have the show this year, and Glassmen haven't reinvented themselves or anything that they do. They execute very well visually and brassline made a very strong effort.

Cavaliers - The most anticipated for me personally. When I saw Niagra Falls in Toledo, I knew they were going for it and when I saw Four Corners early on last year I knew I loved it. This show didn't do anything of the like for me I'm very sorry to say. The opener I believe is called Melody and I didn't hear a very strong one, and the one I did hear I didn't like. Pretty boring. The ballad things started to get a lot better and they have a beautiful chord progression at the end of it. The closer was fun, and I saw the drum solo dance part where they "rap" and I instantly was reminded of Carmel 2001. I know Richard Saucedo is the director there, yes yes, but when I was watching it , it didn't seem like a Cavaliers show really. I have full trust in Jeff Fielder and his team that it will become something spectacular, but as a concept I would have been the first to buy into it, and I didn't. Visually, they have some wonderful moments most of which cannot be explained in words and give them their due credit. The brassline, guard, perc. were all where you would expect them to be, and they seem like a very mature corps. I hope the concept and design either grows on me, or maybe I just need another viewing. Congrats and good luck Cavies. I don't know if its been noted yet... but at the end of Frameworks the guard's work is almost identical to the end of Niagra Falls, and I believe the corps was in the same form they finished in Niagra Falls as well. Just something to look for, it will probably change.

I don't know if this gave any insight, but there have been complaints of the lack of reviews, and I thought I would write something. See you in Michigan City.


The Midwest corps gave us a wonderful All-Star preview of what to expect this summer. Thank you, thank you, thank you! My first show of the year and WOW...dirty is good in June! Being a color-guard man, I can assure you, this evening the best colorguard trophy was safe [grin]. After all it is June. The scores in parenthesis are my guess for the evening.

CAVALIERS 72.1 (73.5)

Very innovative guard uniforms. I was not as impressed as my friend was with the Cavaliers. You'll hear nothing familiar from them using orginal compositions, but they again bring a drill to the field that will leave you in awe. Musically the Cavs are ready with the horn-line putting out a nice sound and a tight drum-line. Once the cologuard work is finished the Cavaliers will certainly be in the running for another title. Tonight they were in a class by themselves.

GLASSMEN 66.0 (68.8)

Ok, the Glassmen are relatively clean for early June and I like that. Confident playing horn-line, even with the missing horns, a well balanced sound. I'm afraid the Glassmen will have to come up with something if they are to hold off Phantom Regiment and Blue Coats.


I told you I was a guard man and I like the guard uniforms! Rifles, rifles and more rifles. Their opening piece (Shostakakovich) was done this past winter by Sacred Heart and it works well on the drum corps field. A nice sound out of the horn-line and I hope it gets heavier too. Some nice drill moments throughout the show. I believe PR will catch Glassmen in about a week. It's all about the show.

BLUE COATS 63.05 (64.6)

Bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuueeeee!!! They got the first standing ovation out of me. I like them alot. Strong start. I know its a bit early to predict August placement but if they work hard, which I'm sure they will, I see them placing as high as 6th when the dust is cleared in Madison.

MADISON SCOUTS 60.75 (60.5)

Let's face it, Madison will always be a favorite of the audience even when they are dirty as h*ll. I like the lone conquistador mid-field as the corps enters the field playing Conquest (aka Boston). This show is very much Madison, loud horns and a drill that will hold its own. I do like the show, but come on fans, give the judges a break. It's too early to start this booing mess. Now Madison, if you can clean this show you'll find yourself in the middle of the pack come August.

COLTS 58.35 (55.6)

I like the guard uniforms here too, compliments the corps very nicely. Did you notice the mid-field colors of Toledo University? The Colts have been in this position before. Now they must find a way to improve on this show so they are not fighting for the last final spot. With Magic back this year and I'm hoping Spirit comes out strong....the 12th spot will be a dog fight in August.

SOUTHWIND 49.75 (52.0)

I've been disappointed with Southwind ever since they were knocking hard on the door to become a finalist at College Park Maryland. I thought they would come back with some momentum but instead the last couple of years they seem to be going the wrong direction. Horn line can play and visually they are fun to watch. They will have do major cleaning if they are to have a shot a finalist spot.


If CP is a division II corps this year, they will be a contender for the championships. They were prepared to perform for an audience who was hungry to show approval. I've not seen much of this corps but they were fun to watch. Good job!

PIONEER 43.45 (50.0)

I don't think I would have wanted to perform between the likes of Madison and Phantom but the Pioneers did. I'm still pulling for this corps to make it in Division I. Numbers seem to be down this year but a spirited peformance nonetheless.


Sorry, I didn't make it to my seat.

Well I'm sure the reviews will get a bit more descriptive once the colorguards complete their shows. It certainly was worth traveling from Northern Virginia to see this show. I would have gone to see The Cadets and Crossmen in Gettysburg but I'll see both next week.

Fan of the Arts

Ok, before I begin, I need to let you know that I'm writing this the day after the show, after getting very little sleep, and spending a full day on the road to get home. Yes, I'm tired! I will give brief thoughts about the show, and a few key words about each corps (I apologize if I skip any corps..... I'm doing this from the top of my head). These are only my opinions..... not a thorough review. I also don't have the scores, as my program is back in my car, and well.... I'm tired, and you already know the scores!

First, thoughts about Toledo. I have to say, if anyone has not had the chance to see a show in Toledo, it's a must! Especially since they bring in all the DCM corps. A great venue for a show, and VERY WELL RUN. Kudos to those who put on this show. I had great seats (off the 45 yd line), and I appreciated the fact that they made sure NO ONE walked around to their seats during the shows. Thank you! Also, looked like Glassmen had a little reunion for alumni, and they opened the bbq to fans too.... so for a few dollars, I had a nice pre-show meal! Thanks! Weather was great too (I was nervous....rain was in the forcast!). I learned at the show there will be another show there in Toledo June 29 (?). If you get the chance, I recommend it!

Ok, on to the show:

Marion Cadets Glory: Yes, they struggled just to get through the show. But I have to say, I respect each and every one of those members, who despite their small numbers, they put their all into the show. Thank you!

Capital regiment: I enjoyed the show! Looks like a show that once it's cleaned up a bit, it will be very entertaining. They will be a corps to watch at DCM.

Southwind: Impressive moves, nice sound....liked the drumline.

Colts: I was very happy to see that Colts have a very well put together program. The hornline was solid, a nice visual program. I think they will be just fine come August.

Bluecoats: My surprise for the evening! I'll admit that I've never been a big Bluecoats fan. But, they had a nice program, very entertaining.... accessible! They will be fun to watch in August..... they will really be in the thick of the middle 12. And they will also be a fan favorite. Still need to finish the show though.......

PR: I usually like PR. Have to say that this show really didn't do it for me. Nothing stood out until the end. I have to say, though, that I do think there is enough material there that once cleaned, they may find themselves in the top 6.

Madison: Hmm. As much as I wish I could say that this was going to be Madison's return year (I really was expecting to be saying that), this will not be the year. Loud? Absolutely. But I don't see this as a show that goes anywhere. In fact, it seemed to me that the spectators around me were basically waiting for them to play a loud chord, they would cheer, then sit on their hands. Sadly, this is not the kind of Madison show we were all hoping for. Even other fans around me (wearing Madison gear, no less) admitted they were disappointed.

Pioneer: They seemed to have had the "bad pick" of the night, as they were in the thick of the big boys. But, again, I thank each member for putting their best out there! There's a program there, but seemed to be missing a lot. Many, many holes in the hornline which made for difficulty reading the drill. Drumline was the most solid for this corps.

Cavies: wow. I was wondering if this was going to be the year for the Glassmen to "up-end" cavies. Sorry glassmen.... not this year! The 6 pt spread was legit. Cavies once again have a very strong visual program. Innovative, and keeps you watching! This was the only corps that made me jump up to an ovation at the end. Drill was on tonight, had the crowd on their feet. Drumline has a fun break in there too.... but don't stare at them too long, because there's a lot of stuff going on backfield too! A great package. Definitely will be up there in the battle for the top in August.

Glassmen: Home show for them. Had a nice crowd to cheer them on. Heard someone sitting behind me say that they have 2 tenors out with injuries, 2 cymbal players too, and still a few holes in the hornline. They appeared small on the field. They also changed their uniforms. the shield in the middle is no longer. Actually, it looks as if it's "no longer". Again, a glassmen fan informed me that the shield is black this summer. You cannot see it at all, unless you are standing in front of them. Looked plain. Anyway..... I've heard the "original" music that glassmen is playing this year, as a friend had the CD. I wasn't fully impressed with the program. Having said that......I think it's a program with A LOT of potential. LOTS of cleaning to do.... which could be a good thing for them! the drumline was HOT...... they will be in the top hunt for DCI. The good news with that is that the corps features the drumline several times. the hornline has a challenging book as well.... but is no where near pulling it off yet. Again, this may be a good thing with some practice...but bad if they can't pull it off. The show had some decent hits in it, but again left me just feeling that it's an "ok" show. Not the members fault...... programing issues, IMO. Who's to say what will happen in the weeks to come, with changes and all, and cleaning. the good news..... Glassmen will still be at #5 at the very least with this program. Also, it's probably one of their most accessible shows in recent years.

Side note: Glassmen wins the "funiest t-shirt" award. On the front, it says "Boring", with the small "tm" along the upper corner (for "trademark"). On the back, it says "Glassmen: Boring our way into your hearts." Definitely their response to all the criticism over the past couple of years! Good for them!


I was sitting 6th row between the 40 and 50, so I got a very good sense of the sound, but I could not really see the formations- but a great venue to hear the sound of early June.

10th- Marion Glory Cadets (31.50)
I know these kids have worked very hard and applaud them for it. It was often painful to watch, although there is definitely some spots to have great contrast between various sections of the corps. The pit is their strongest point, although many syncopation rhythms and balance issues were a major flaw- looking forward to seeing where this show progresses.

9th- Pioneer (43.45)
They are better than I thought they would be, after all the speculation and rumors that have gone on about them. Not a very strong brass line, the Drumline is good, although very dirty tonight. The pit behind the rest of the corps was a distraction, only got the metallics out of the mallet instruments. Hopefully this show will become something special to watch come August.

8th- Capital Regiment (48.55)
I was very impressed with this corps size and performance from last year. A very good drumline for Div. 2, although some hard flam patterns did not come through crisply, the "element" is there- with a very large line (8 snares). They have a great sound for early June in a Div.2 corps, and the guard was also doing very well. Look for them to give SCV Cadets a good run at the Div. 2 Championships- Great Job Capital Regiment!

7th- Southwind (49.75)
I was also impressed for the quality of sound Southwind is putting out this early. Also a very strong Drumline, with Splashes on the sides of snares and Basses. I only saw the snares use them once, but the Basses use them quite often- nice effect. Guard was ok, Brass putting out a good sound. I thought they should've been closer to Colts, maybe they can give them a little run once this summer goes on.

6th- Colts (58.35)
Colts have a very great pit this year to accent a more emotional ballad-eske show in contrast to recent years. Some nice moments by the Colts, drumline isn't doing a whole lot to catch my eye. They do not have their whole show done, and the drumline has some backstickings written for the last part of the show, but the formation they did for the last part to mark-time in, could not see very clearly because they were so far backfield. I am looking forward to seeing the drumline improve and how the show will end up.

5th- Madison Scouts (60.75)
WOW- the best sound of the night (with the exception of Cavaliers). I think once their drill is clean these guys will be a very tough competitor. Drumline is very very clean for this early in June- they are in the ranks of Cavaliers in my opinion. Wasn't paying much attention to the guard, sloppy, but all guards were sloppy at some part tonight. BUt, In my opinion, these guys needed to be about 4 or 5 points higher- there's no way they are only 1 point in front of Colts and 12 behind Cavaliers. I am very much looking forward to seeing these guys much more this summer... and I hope they move up and the judges begin to see that- Great Show Madison!!!!

4th- Bluecoats (63.05)
Great sense of feel and groove from the Bluecoats- I was very impressed with them tonight- Drumline has a harder book then last year, and you can tell- although some of the easier parts were executed very well for June. They also do not have their whole show done- which brings me to my next point- how can Bluecoats beat Madison by 3 points even when their show is not done? They even beat them in GE and beat them? How is that if their show isn't done? Makes you think- Great show Bluecoats- BLLLLLLUUUUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEE

3rd- Phantom Regiment (63.75)
Phantom did not impress me too much- became disinterested in their show, although they have a lot of running in their early production with Jazz running. Drumline is using 13'' drums I believe....and I totally disagree with their 2nd place finish in Drums- Very very dirty open rolls and fast 16th note passages are not together- I know they won't be too great in June, but I don't think they should be 2nd- i think 4th or 5th in drums would be more appropriate. Very strong guard as always.... nice fabric materials in flags- I also loved the natural wood rifles- puts a nice modern spin on the show. The guard uniforms reminded me of Madison 2000's, with out the bold colors and furry hats.

2nd- Glassmen (66.00)
I wasn't impressed with Glassmen either....although their pit is very good as well. Snareline is very very dirty for this part of the year- the plastic heads also put a interesting idea to the table...but also hides A LOT of dirt that is already there- I know they will get better...but a lot of long rolls and flam accent patterns were very crushed- also some pop accents were flammed and very distracting. Brass has a great sound- is definitely the forte of this corps. Guard is a little weak.. I don't think they are very confident is some of their work, but that will come along when more rehearsal time rolls in.

1st- Cavaliers (72.10)
Great luscious sound from the Cavaliers tonight- I was hoping the first 5:00-6:00 of the show wasn't such a ballad type, maybe that will change. I loved the chant/hip-hop part of the show, although I did not like the Snare Line trying to do what they did in 2000 and 2001 with the leaning back and forth in the tempo- please don't try to re-create what already happened. In 2000 it was awesome, in 2001 is was old, and in 2002 its just distracting- not to take away from the corps though, a very strong performance by The Cavaliers tonight.

Just a quick note- I don't like the new version of "America/O Canada." I much rather prefer the older version, with blaring brass and sopranos- that's what its all about.

Looking forward to my next drum corp show in Crown Point, Indiana on the 22nd!


Friday June 14

Oswego, IL (DCM)

Well, I'm back from my first show of the season and it was a pretty good contest. A little rain didn't dampen the crowd's spirit at all. Here are my impressions in placement order:

Glassmen (66.60) - I like this show better than last year's. The drill is quite energetic with lots of body movement by the horns built in. I knew the judges would like it. I thought the percussion was pretty solid tonight, while the guard needs work. The music is not my favorite of the evening. I didn't really like it on the field, where the sound seemed to be too spread out perhaps to be its most effective, but the post-contest concert was excellent in a much tighter group (and standing still, of course). A great start to their season.

Phantom Regiment (64.55) - I LOVE this show!! I was frankly shocked that they did not win tonight. The whole drill design works so well with the music (Shostakovich, baby!!) - excellent use of the entire field with a few really neat maneuvers. The color guard really adds a lot to the overall visual. And what a sound! The low brass is awesome. Nice, rich mellos in the middle. The sopranos need to clean some of the faster rifts, but they were very well balanced with the entire hornline. I'm afraid I didn't pay much attention to the percussion. They've set the stage for an exciting summer.

Madison Scouts (59.80) - Playing themselves on the field this year with the Captain from Castille was nice. The horns were pretty good, not great tonight (not as good as at the April open house in my opinion) - maybe it was a bit of an off night. Still, the music is very exciting and the crowd loved it. Percussion and pit are very solid - the feature bringing in the "X-men" has potential to be really hot by Finals. Big guard this year, but I wasn't that impressed, except for the featured saber tosser with the pony tail. And the whole corps needs to clean the drill a lot. I thought they were scored a point or two low, but hey what else is new.

Blue Knights (59.05) - Fear and Trembling is a nice show concept. They really used the whole field well. Visually I thought there was too much black between the solid-black guard unis and the black backsides whenever the rest of the corps faced backfield (which was fairly often). Horns didn't have near the power of sound as Phantom for their Shostakovich pieces. This will get better, I'm sure, as they seemed to be concentrating on a very complicated drill more than the music. Again, I wasn't paying much attention to percussion, although the snares seemed reasonably tight. Lots of room to improve, but a pretty good start overall.

Capital Sound (45.20) - After hearing them at the Madison open house in April, I wasn't sure if the classic rock music would play well on the field. But they have put together a good drill design that compliments the Elton John, Pink Floyd and Kansas arrangements. I still think they need to punch up the chorus section of Wayward Son. Highlight of the show was the green stretch stocking body suits that some of the guard stepped into - they raised their arms over their heads, making them look a bit like Gumbies dancing to the Pink Floyd tune.

Kingsmen (24.45) - They had the misfortune of going on just as the skies opened up and poured the rain on us all. The good news for us was, it quit just after their show ended. The bad news for the Kingsmen was, it meant people were pre-occupied and not really appreciative of this small corps efforts. Nevertheless, the circumstances didn't spoil the kids enthusiasm for their show.

Last, but certainly not least, the field debut of the Chicago Royal Airs Reunion Corps was a spectacle to behold. Nearly 180 members strong, they lined up in the endzone and faced the gathering junior corps for warm-ups. Spontaneous cheering went up from within all the ranks when they blasted some power chords. The audience showed their appreciation by thumping their feet on the aluminum stands. All this before they even took the field (to the sound of the starting gun!!). We were all treated to some "old-time" drum corps, complete with vintage guard uniforms, a REAL color guard, etc... Musically, they nailed all the numbers with some nice solo and screech work throughout. Come see them if you can this year!! You won't want to miss the opportunity to see one of the greatest drum corps organizations of all time putting it out on the field once again!!

By the way, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Tom Day's wonderful pre-show historical flag presentation on this Flag Day!!

What a great start to the season!!


Thursday June 13

Sun Prairie, WI (DCM)

Went to the Sun Prairie show last night sponsored by Cap Sound. I have no scores to report, because no judges were present. This is a pretty nice high school field. The stands are built into the side of a hill. Good sound. Here's my impressions.

Blue Stars - I really liked the opener of Jewish Trilogy. It's good that they acknowledge their corps' history by pulling this one of the vault from 1977-1978. Nice mellophone work in the counter melody near the end of this piece. Very judgeable drill; lots of forms made up of files moving laterally. Lots of cleaning needed at this point. My only big concern is with playing Candide on the march. Seems to me thee staff is biting off more than their young corps can chew.

Americanos - repetiore includes La Fiesta Mexicana by H. Owen Reed and Symphonic Dance #3 by Clifton Williams. For those fans who think corps play too much esoteric 20th century wind ensemble stuff on the field, this corps is proof positive that you can play 20th century literature that is melodic and appealing to the casual viewer. They're pretty dirty right now, but this will be a nice show within their division once it is cleaned up.

Sun Prairie's H. S. band did an exhibition of 2/3 of their show. I don't remember much about it - sorry - except that I was impressed with the individual marching technique.

Cap Sound - if you like oldies rock music, you'll like Cap Sound. Music is from Elton John, Pink Floyd and Kansas. Lots of stuff that will be cool when it is cleaned, such as the flag work in the section where the rest of the corps is silent. I liked the soprano/mellophone call-and-response in the Carry On, My Wayward Son. The fact that they played so accurately and assertively while really spread out on the field was very impressive to me.

Madison Scouts - I agree with the other posters; lots of dirt to clean up. Particular rough spots were the two points where they morphed into company fronts from other forms in 4-8 counts. Musical selections work well to me. The drum feature with all the African/Caribean percussion will be very impressive in August. Talked with a member of their staff. Interesting fact - this year's Scouts features the largest guard since 1981-1982.

Cavaliers - my first impression was that the original music program works. Lots to digest here, like Madison. Both of these corps need multiple viewings to appreciate. Very nice musical moment early on where the corps is in a block on the left side of the field facing the back. Their big horns really sing at this point. Most beautiful musical moment of the night by any corps. Cavies also do a chant thing a la New Era that's pretty impressive. It feautures syncopated chanting by the full corps while the horns move into a form on the right side that is set by the guard. Then they break into a wild section of chant and dance while remaining stationary within the form. Sort of reminded me of very stylized hip/hop. They struck me as being well along in their marching prorgam. Should be very impressive as they continue to clean.

That's it - time to get ready for work.

Jim Anello

Sunday June 9

Menomonie, WI (DCM)

Blue Stars.
Very difficult show for a small group! Played with lots of heart. They work their butts off!

Chops Inc.
The class clowns of senior corps! Alot of fun! The crowd loved them and they obviously love performing.

Capitol Sound
Considering that this is a part time corps, they are impressive! Quite a big sound. (The concrete stadium aided that a little, I think) Great perc. feature with the snares playing toms / cymbals ala Blast!

Minnesota Brass Inc.
Oh my. Are they ever LOUD!!!! I think they were even a little louder than Madison. They have a full corps, new uniforms, (great look) and apparently a take no prisoners attitude! Some will probably miss the old unis, but I love the new ones. Very professional look. I think they are serious about contending for the DCA crown! You MUST see them!!!

Madison Scouts.
That thing about Mn Brass being louder is not a cut on Madison! They are terrific! There are a few flat spots in the show emotionally, but I think that is mostly due to color guard work which has yet to be added and so on. For this early in the season, they are pretty clean. I don't know what that will mean in Aug., but for now it's a good sign. The end of the show is amazing with a spiral that unwinds and folds into a company front as they peel the skin off your face with their push to the end.

Also an entertaining show. The crowd had trouble responding though after the 2 corps that preceded them. I kept my eyes on the drumline most of the time because they are really good! Watching the center snare alone is worth the price of admission. He's great! Lots of holes still in the hornline. They will improve.

Other impressions.
As I said before, this is a REALLY loud stadium! It doesn't echo, the acoustics are actually wonderful, but there is a large press box that seems to hold the sound in. It's excellent! As one of the show organizers, I admit to a little bias, but I think we have a new classic show on our hands! If you were there, please post with your impressions of the show, stadium, etc., and thanks for coming!

See you next year!!

FMM Star of Indiana

Well this was my second show I've been to this year. Last night I traveled to the Appleton show and put on over 550 miles total this weekend going to shows. If you want to know my review on that one, its available under Appleton Show on RAMD.

Tonight was a perfect night for drum corps. It was in the low 80's at the start of the show and by the end it was still in the middle 70's with clear skies. The new stadium at UW STOUT is wonderful with Astroturf and a high vantage point and actual seats with backs on them for where I was sitting. I was sitting on the 50 yard line, second row from the top. Couldn't ask for better, considering I paid $20 for my seat, a bit much I think, but it goes to a good cause so I will not complain.

Anywho, here are my thoughts...

Blue Stars show was very close to the night before. The brass seemed to play a bit better tonight. Guard still was wearing white t's a dark shorts. I did notice that there were times they were doing no work and just marching spots. Drumline was a bit weaker tonight but still a strong point in the corps so far. I was in error the night before, it was the blue stars, not capital sound, that needed the crotales and better voicing in the pit section. I still think Inferno will be the crowds favorite piece.

Chops, Inc. was a nice change of pace for things for me. The drum major did some announcing and talking to the audience and got them involved. Horn line was a bit weak but it's early yet for them, lots of room to grow yet. Drumline was stronger but a bit sloppy yet, again, it's early. Some nice moments in the percussion section, I enjoyed watching the drumset player in the pit. Guard was a riot tonight. The only male in the guard, I believe, did some amazing type of moves that I haven't seen in corps in a long time. It was also fun to see the rest of the ladies in the guard give him heck during parts of the show.

Capital Sound's show tonight was very close to last nights. Brass seemed a bit stronger tonight. I really heard drumline much better tonight thanks to the turf and the not so perfect parts stuck out more than normal because of it. I really think the people playing the wind machine in the pit need to play it with more volume. The thunder of the concert bass drums seem to cover up the effect that the wind machine is creating. So someone tell them to spin it faster! If you like fluorescent colors, gotta take a peak at the guard. I must say it fits their show. I love the green type of fabric they put over the guard and make these goblin like creatures roaming the field. Reminds me of a nightmare I had as a child. And I don't know what those things are that the guard is carrying on a pole and looks like a red light bulb on it, even though they did no work with it, just carried it. Sorry, I'm not a guard person by any means, so that's why I'm not up on this stuff. Overall, another strong early show by them. Keep it up! Please forgive me for last nights review of the pit. I did notice crotales tonight and realized that it was Blue Stars pit I confused them with, my apologies.

Minnesota Brass came out strong with I believe is their first show of the year. Hornline is huge and it shows with their volume. Drumline was also strong so early in the season. I must say that the corps uniforms look top notch!!! I really like them a lot. It kinda looks like a Blue Devils uniform color wise, but the silver separates the blue from the black in the shape of a modern looking M. I noticed the guard doing some rifle tosses that were very solid which was really appreciated by me. Their music was very entertaining and enjoyed sitting back and listening.

Madison Scouts were second to last up tonight. I had one of the best vantage points in the stadium to watch the drill. I tell ya, they really have gone up a notch with their drill design concept. The staging was very appropriate for voicing as well. Unfortunately, I could see a lot of forms that were not straight or correct tonight. If they really push hard and get that cleaned up, there will be a lot of talk about them come DCI Finals and their improvement from years past. Hornline did not have as strong of a show tonight compared to yesterday but was still very strong overall in the early season. The turf really brought out the times the drumline was a bit sloppy tonight. I'm sure it will sound a ton better in the weeks to come, they have a very tough book. Guard needs work yet, I noticed times work that could have been in there when there was nothing going on. Even though they may be stronger this year by the end, it's still one of the corps weaknesses so far. And I still can't say enough how the ethnic drums really give some well deserved flavor to their show. It was very apparent tonight just how well it works.

Pioneer was last which I feel was very tough for the kids to come out and play after 2 very good shows were just done. With my vantage point I could for sure make out where their picnic table were staged. It starts from the front hash and goes about half way into the field, unlike last night were my vantage point seemed to put it on the back hash. I can't stress enough how the pit should be closer and not so far back in the field! I can not hear the mallets at all when the whole corps plays loud, only the cymbals and concert bass drums seem to cut through. I really feel they should address this VERY soon, the corps is only going to get louder as the season progresses and the pit is putting out as much sound as the instrument can produce. I did see only once the use of the tables in the back and that was when the field cymbals when on top of them to play a part using bahdrans which only lasted about 8 seconds. Their show was not as strong last night but it seemed that the kids did work harder last night than the night before. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but this corps is going to need a ton of work done with it, not so much as to how the kids perform, but show design and concept. The staff really needs to sit down and discuss what they are trying to do and what works and what doesn't. I'm really looking forward to seeing them in about a month to see just what they change. My eyes are on Pioneer and look forward to what the later season will bring.

Finale: I want to say I saw something that touched me tonight and that was the DCM All-Star Drumline. It was a drumline with select members from all of the corps that had participated tonight and they all played together the corps on the field. It really brought home the unity of what we call drum corps. Thanks to the people responsible for doing this, it was memorable for me. Thanks.

And again these are just my opinions and not meant to upset anyone. I'm looking forward to seeing all the corps again soon and the improvements they make. My next show I'll see is on July 2nd in Wausau, Wisconsin. I am doing an email drop for that show, so go to for the info on the email drop.

Dave Peters

I wasn't originally planning on going to see this early show but just happened to have a business trip that brought me in the area.

This was a brand new astroturf field. It was perfect marching conditions except for the fact that all but the last 2 corps had to play facing the afternoon sun.

The first corps on were the Blue stars. They appear smaller this year and had many holes. This performance was not particularly stellar to say the least. I thought a few times they would completely fall apart. Granted, it is an early contest but unless they fill the holes with ringers this will be a season to forget. They also fall victim to a staff that has allowed music that is much too hard for them to be attempted. I scored them lower than they received.

Chops Inc. This is a fun corps to watch. The DM has much personality and the show offers much to watch. Musical selections were from Moulin Rouge. My only gripe is that it's as dirty as fun. I think the performance aspect is a last priority. I'd suggest add the fun later. Clean first. I thought they would score higher than the Blue Stars.

Capital Sound. They were a well balanced corps. I especially liked to green stretchy material they guard wore during Curious carnival. It reminded me of dancing boogers. Cary on my wayword son by Kansas was my musical highlight. The guard had perhaps the ugliest uniforms of the night though. The red and the lime green clashed terribly.

Minnesota Brass. This corps has new uniforms which I liked very much. They are also bigger than in past years which may be problem for them. I think this corps was used to their size and knew how to write for it. Because of their lack of field coverage they now try to cram more people into their forms making them look cluttered and non-descript. I kept thinking they were just moving black blobs around the field. Their drumline is solid and hornline is loud. The soloists are good but they just seem to play long squeaky high notes that don't seem to fit the music. They are definitely off to a great start and If they can clean the blobs and add some difficulty to the horn book they will do well at dca.

Madison Scouts. I had a hard time deciding if I liked them this year or not. I appreciate the attempt to have a more contemporary drill design. But boy oh boy are they dirty. The hornline is smoking already. The drumline is solid and the guard appears much better than in past years. The guard uniforms are not working in my opinion. The yellow is too much of a distraction.

Pioneer. They had the misfortune of performing after the Scouts. They start their performance with guard acting like they are playing on the field while the percussion and hornline warm up. That was extremely annoying and seemed to last forever. Their show on the other hand was not. I like them this year. They are much smaller in size but unlike the Blue stars they perform with much more excellence and control. I scored them slightly higher.

Finale. I like the new arrangement of America/o Canada. The Scouts gave their victory concert to the delighted crowd.

John Stephens

Saturday June 8

Appleton (Menasha), WI (DCM)

DCM used a 4 judge "high-view" panel as an experiment for this show. No field judges used. Field itself was in tough shape. The high school show site only approved use of the field 2 hours before the show. Rain in the past week was taking it's toll on this one year old field. Lining the field was completed only 10 minutes before the show.

DCM allowed an organization to film and sell videos of the corps perfomances. On-site editing (3 camera) and videotape available.

Random views - I am not qualified to break down music and drill, but this is what I saw and liked or disliked.

Americanos - Started well, but faded quickly in the second part of thier drill. Marched no contras, but listed 2 in their roster. This will certainly add some needed low brass to their sound. Guard looks solid. All members use sabers, and flags. they don't use rifles, but instead use the "commas", ala Cadets.

Kilties - They sounded better than I expected, particularly after marching a 3 mile parade in 75-80 degree heat. They seem smaller this year, but still are able to put out a good sound and a crowd-pleasing performance.

Blue Stars - Show was not quite done. Guard in t-shirts ands shorts. Lot of room for the show to grow. Will probably slug it out with the Canos this year in the midwest (what else is new).

Pioneer - Yes, they got beat by a DII corps (and almost by a DIII). In fact, Pioneer looks smaller than Cap Sound. I enjoyed the music ffom Oliver, but had several problems overall with their show. The guard is using their uniforms form last year's Civil War show. They will be getting new uniforms that will help. Platforms (or tables??) were brought on the field, but never used. What's up with that?? I'll assume drill was not finished. At one point 12 horns were standing on the sideline. The pit ensemble was set up in near the back line, rather than in down front. I liked that as it did not draw the focus from the audience. You soculd still hear them. The DM scaffold was placed right along the sideline. This obscured the view of the coprs. During the ballad, soloists were right down front, but the view was obstructed. Also, the DM running from the front to the back sideline was quite distracting. There is room for lots of growth for this show, but I don't where it's going to come from.

Cap Sound - I've always enjoyed this corps. They have a lot of fun and entertain the crowd. Their drill was complete and they appeared to have a full corps. The guard does some mummemshantz (sp?) stuff that is quite entertaining.

Madison - I have been a Scouts fan for 30 years and hope to be for 30-40 more. I've read the pre-season hype for Madison: music is back to latin, re-focus themselve, introduction of the X-man position, etc. I was all set to be absolutely WOWED!! by them. Instead, it was more of just a wow. It is early in the season, so I'll have to see them again to get a better impression. The music and style is solid Madison, but I don't know what needs to be done to move them back into the upper DCI echelon. I see what people were talking about inthe past years with sloppy marching. Even to the untrained eye, it's easy to see lines not straight. That doesn't even account for the one sop falling early in the show (trouble getting back up) and another just before the end of the show. Luckily, the one at the end of the show "only" took 2 or 3 more with him. You can see the focus this early, and feel the emotion in the show, so maybe the dedication will help Madison later in the year.

Hope everyone has a great year - see you all in Wausau or Madison.

Mike VR
'Canos (long time ago)

Just got back from the Appleton show. Here are my thoughts, short cuz I'm tired from driving.

Blue Stars show I like. Inferno was my favorite from them, I really like it. It's real early and it showed with them. Drumline was strong but you easily notice that the drill was learned the last few days. (bass drums smacking into other bass drums). Colorguard had no uniforms yet and wore white t's with dark shorts.

Kilties Sr. has great music and so much potential. Unfortunately their numbers are lacking. Brass is strong for early in the season. Drumline was clearly their weak point with 2 snares, 0 tenors, and 2 basses. Pit was very small as well. They had 4 in the guard.

Cap Sound really impressed me in the early season. Horn line was a bit weak with the numbers that they have. Drumline was good tonight. Pit was nice but didn't give very much support to the music that was going on. I could hear 5 parts I would have put crotales in to make it a ton better, but none were in the pit. If I were the pit tech, I'd really take a close look at pit voicing with the entire ensemble. Guard really had flashy uniforms. I think their guard was their strongest part of their concept. The work still needs a lot of attention, but hey, it's early yet.

Americanos really opened my eyes after the intermission. Their musical arrangement is fantastic. Dark earthy sounds and then very musical. I would compare it to a salad with a lot of different toppings, you taste something different with each bite. Hornline was strong in sections, but failed to produce the dynamic range that they could. On the dynamic range from 1 to 10, they played from 4.5 to 6. Drumline was VERY strong for the early season. Something that caught my ear was their bass drum tuning, it was perfect for the music selection. 4 snares, 3 tenor, 5 bass, 5 cymbals, and 6 in the pit I do believe if memory serves me right. Guard had the rifles that are curved in shape just like the cadets that one year. They did a good job, lots of room for improvement yet. My opinion, watch out for these kids later in the season!

Pioneer was interesting to say the least. They used these picnic tables to size in the corps on the field. They placed them all by the back hashes even though they just sat there and were never used. The pit was the shocker, they are placed on the field by the back hash on the 50!!! I could still hear them in soft passages, but when it came to loud with brass playing, their sound was practically non existent. I really think they should reconsider the pit placement. I'm all for pit on the field, but they have over step their limit by the distance from the front side of the field. Brass is their weakness so far in the early season. They didn't have a lot in numbers in brass and it showed. I wish I could say something about the guard, but nothing caught my eye. This may be a bad thing.

Madison Scouts. It amazes me how they pull off such a strong show in the beginning of the season. The music is wonderful with lots of emotion. This year they have members march in the guard with some switching over to pit. They use a lot of ethnic drums like djembes and surdos to compliment the music. Drumline was strong as usual for the beginning of the season. Look for the bass drum feature with split 32nd notes between 2 basses and then the stick drop and catch, impressive. Then there is a tenor feature that is staged directly behind the tympani player in the pit. What was cool is the tympani player was doing the exact part as the tenors, really made the stick movements just amazing! Brass was so so so strong. Wow, I can't say enough how impressive it was in the early season. Guard was wearing a totally yellow type uniform. Nothing really caught my eye, but I was distracted a lot by the intensity of the corps itself. Here is where I hand it to the scouts for taking a step up this year. Their drill is very modernized this year. Fast movement and follow the leader marching backwards (which a horn member did fall and slip tonight causing the domino effect for about 7 members to fall). I would compare it to the drill of the Cadets. The Scouts are on their way to a big come back this year. It's possible they could be a top 6 corps this year. We'll all just have to wait and see how everyone else is doing this year.

FINALE: I just wanted to add that the America/O' Canada has changed this year. It's basically the same song but a different arrangement in a different key with more flourishes. I like this arrangement as much as the old one. Very fitting for after sept 11.

Off to bed I go. Please don't flame me, I'm just giving my honest non biased opinions. It's early and I'm sure in a week and a half things will look quite differently then.

Dave Peters

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