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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2002 Drum Corps International
As posted to R.A.M.D. and submitted to Sound Machine
Page Ten of Reviews
Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when
they are available or submitted. The following reviews are solely the opinion
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Friday August 9
Madison, WI (DCI Championships)
DCI Division I Semifinals
The past couple of years, I have posted a review of semifinals from my whole
family. Each of us provides a short review or statement of our impressions of
each corps performance. I have always gotten a lot of positive comments for
doing this, so I thought I would continue the tradition.
To help put the comments in perspective, here is a short bio of our
backgrounds. I marched from 78 to 88, and have been to championships every
year since 78. my wife is deaf, so her comments focus almost exclusively on
the visual aspects of the program. She has been to championships in 91 and
every year since 93. My daughter is 10, and she has been to championships
every year since 96.
Capital Regiment - 77.35
He said - They seemed happy to have made semifinals and knew they would not
move any higher, and just relaxed and performed their show. They did a nice
She said - They had a nicely put together program.
The little lady said - They were pretty good. I liked the drill.
Carolina Crown - 81.8
He said - They had a very dirty performance today. The guard was drop central.
I will enjoy listening to their show on the CD's, but I do not like watching
She said - They had a pretty original idea for a show. It was just was not
executed very well. All of their mistakes really hurt the overall show.
The little lady said - They were interesting. I liked the heart flags.
Colts - 83.9
He said - They had a great show tonight. They really turned it up a notch.
She said - I liked the colors in the guard uniforms and equipment. They
complimented the show nicely. They were much more exciting than Crown.
The little lady said - They have nice costumes and flags. They were pretty
Madison Scouts - 84.85
He said - Awesome job today. They were much better tonight - visual was much
cleaner, and the guard did a much better job. They should have beaten BK.
She said - Very good job. They actually march, and it's clean and readable.
They move at a slower pace than in previous years, but the show is very well
The little lady said - I liked the drill. The guard costumes were so cool.
The drum line was good - they were jammin man!
Blue Knights - 85.5
He said - They were better tonight, but I still had some fear and was trembling
in the opener because there were a few moments when it almost fell apart.
There were some intonation problems during the ballad, and the closer was very
She said - Their show was harder than Madison's, but it was not nearly as
The little lady said - They were weird, but kind of interesting. I liked the
flags, and I loved the music at the end.
Cascades - 85.95
He said - They had a much better show tonight. There was more energy, they
were cleaner, and the soloists did a better job. They could still sell Prelude
Fugue and Riffs a bit better though.
She said - I really liked the whole show. It is areal crowd pleaser. The drill
The little lady said - I liked their costumes and their flags. They had really
great drill, and the end of the show was awesome dude.
Magic - 87.1
He said - They really performed well tonight - tons of confidence and bravado.
The horn line is fantastic, the guard is really good, and what a drill!
She said - They really lived up to their name. A truly magical performance.
The ending of the show was really exciting.
The little lady said - I liked their drill. The flags were also really nice.
Spirit - 86.75
He said - They were a bit dirtier tonight visually, but they still performed
with a great deal of energy. Their show is just not one of my favorites.
She said - They were pretty good. They see,ed to have a lot of energy.
The little lady said - They were ok.
Crossmen - 90.65
He said - They were really hot tonight. They definitely cranked it up. The
guard was on - much cleaner. The drill was very exciting.
She said - I love the colors, and that guard is truly awsesome! I love the
visual. They move so fast. When did they get a drill?
The little lady said - I liked the colors in the flags. They were really loud.
I liked the drill - especially the first part of the show.
Boston Crusaders - 92.45
He said - Their drum line and guard are their strengths. I just hate their
show. They did not deserve to move up tonight. Behold, the power of cheese!
She said - They are attempting to capitalize on the events of 9/11. We have
already had plenty of memorials. This is drum corps, so do drum corps! I
thought the show was stupid.
The little lady said - they do not need those big honkin signs. they don't
need to sing. They didn't have as much guard work as Crossmen. They were just
Glassmen - 92.25
He said - DRUM LINE! Great flow to the drill, though no great moments.
Awesome fluegal soloist.
She said - I really liked how they started slow, then built and built and got
faster and faster.
The little lady said - I liked the colors in the flags, I liked the guard
costumes, I liked the music. It was nice.
Bluecoats - 92.25
He said - They had a hot performance tonight. The closer really cooked. They
should have maintained 6th place.
She said - They didn't do anything for me. They were pretty blase'.
The little lady said - I liked them. The music was jazzy, and I loved it. I
liked everything about them.
Phantom Regiment - 92.8
He said - They have such a powerful horn line. The use of color in the guard
uniforms and flags is very well coordinated, and it makes a realy impact. The
lack of exciting drill during the musical impacts hurts them.
She said - Powerful colors, visual spice and flavor. An awesome visual
The little lady said - Very loud music, and the colors were so bright. The
guard uniforms matched the flags really well.
Santa Clara Vanguard - 95.7
He said - They were much better tonight. The visual was cleaner, the horn line
sounded better, and they had more impact. they should have moved ahead of
She said - An absolutely awesome program. They were very entertaining. They
remain my all time favorite corps.
The little lady said - They were nice and loud. I liked the big purple flags.
I loved the drill, and I especially liked yelling "Vanguard"!
Blue Devils - 97.55
He said - Boy, did they light it up tonight. Absolutely on fire! The crowd
was very into the show too (someone yelled "Bang the drums harder!" at the end
of the Gershwin number when the drum line was wailing, wolf whistles at the
hair action, standing ovations, etc.). Awesome job. They deserved to move
ahead of Cadets.
She said - They have it all. Truly awesome. I thought the hair was funny. I
liked their show much more than I have in the past years. The guard is
amazing. I could feel the drums thundering away in the middle of the show.
The little lady said - They were nice and loud. They were on fire. They made
my ears bleed! I liked the girls hair.
Cadets - 97.0
He said - Thye performed with more energy tonight, but they sacrificed quality
as a result. Mellophone TQ&I in the opener was not good. Their show simply
lacks substance - not much meat on that bone.
She said - The color guard is really amazing. The changing into the military
uniforms in front of everyone is just plain stupid. The drill is not really
much of a drill. There just is not much structure to the whole program.
The little lady said - They didn't need to be dressing in front of everyone,
and they didn't need to say the pledge of allegiance. Other than that, the
dancing and the guard work was really really good.
Cavaliers - 99.05
He said - Nothing else compares! The horn line is simply the best I have ever
She said - one word - Champions!
The little lady said - I thought they were really loud. I loved Fight Club. I
liked the square flags with the different colors. The drum line is really
Don't have a lot of time, leaving in a little bit to watch Revolution
rehearse ... here goes ...
Capital Regiment: nice uniforms, clean and powerful brass sound, nice
choice of music. I think they made the right choice to move up to Div
1 next year; they look ready for it.
Crown: not at all surprised at the big drop in score, as tonight's
performance was really flat. The Greek Gods theme somehow didn't pan
out for them this year. (Or, maybe the judges just got tired of
hearing "Javelin" from so many different corps this week ... =p )
Colts: Don't remember much about them, but they seemed to have a lot
of energy tonight.
Madison: Ironically, no discernable crowd reaction at all when their
score was announced. I had been told to watch out for a God-awful
drumline, but they seemed pretty competent to me - it was the guard
that was just plain bad. And as I heard from someone else earlier in
the day, tongue in cheek - "and let's put them in yellow and black to
draw attention to them in the closer!" I really thought they could
have made finals if their guard were as good as the rest of the corps,
and, to a lesser extent, if the drill was a little more ambitious. I
can't for the life of me understand why they would use a different
drill writer for each section of the show.
Blue Knights: "Fear and Trembling" ... uhhh ... Star of Indiana,
they're not. From the same source earlier in the day: "Not so much
fear and trembling as really pissed off." Like Star '93, I might grow
to like this show a lot more upon further listening, but it didn't wow
me last night. Oh yes. This show could be subtitled "Vast
Overabundance of Unnecessary Body Movement". I seriously think that
in the ballad, there was about four times as much movement as actual
drill. They might have gotten a few extra tenths and moved ahead to
finals if not for an awful tempo tear in the opener.
Seattle Cascades: Only my 2nd viewing of the season - didn't seem to
have as much energy as they did a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it's
because of the bigger stadium. Glad they made finals, looking forward
to seeing them again.
Spirit - see above.
Magic: Tommy, Steve, Ben, everyone else on the staff, and everyone in
the corps ... CONGRATULATIONS! Knockout performance last night.
Brass went over the edge a little bit, you could tell these kids
wanted Finals really bad. Drill has finally cleaned up. 1st Div. 2
corps in finals and they deserve it.
Crossmen: Left the stadium to go find something to eat. Do not read
anything else into this ... I wanted something other than stadium
food, at stadium prices, with the long wait in line. Great, great
corps and program, can't wait to see them tonight.
Crusaders: Excellent show, a teeny bit surprised at them climbing to
6th, but no complaints either. Show has come a long way.
Bluecoats: I think that the Coats have the most breathtaking ballad of
any corps this season. Beautiful stuff. Bjork ... who'd have
thought?? Michael Daughtery + drum corps = lots of fun. :) More on
this corps after a 2nd viewing.
Glassmen: For all of the corps' attempts to brand themselves as
Boring, I find I can actually follow the show. Here's a better
analogy ... (for all of you SAT lovers out there) Glassmen is to drum
corps as "smooth jazz" is to jazz. After the fanfare like opener, the
rest of the show seemed surprisingly light. Well done, of course, but
Slightly Off Topic Pontification: add the Glassmen to the list of
corps that sound like marching bands because they play in B-flat key
areas so much. With the vast majority of top 12 corps playing B-flat
horns nowadays, I realized last night that I wasn't even paying
attention while listening to various brass lines ... unless the charts
were blatantly B-flat-centric. Gladly, it didn't happen often, in
fact, only twice last night (see a little further below).
Phantom: WOW. I was very, very impressed. Brass line was so
powerful, and the guard was phenomenal. I really think their score
should be about 2 points higher. Or, maybe it's just that so many
corps are executing well this summer, that to an extent the scores are
more a reflection of ranking than achievement. But ... WOW. This
corps pinned me to the back of my seat. Awesome show. AND they are
still doing it on G bugles. :)
Vanguard: Hmmm. I thought I knew Copland's "Organ Symphony", but I
guess not - I didn't immediately recognize any of the music. The
funny thing is, every time I thought the corps was wandering off into
the territory of obscure music, they would reel me back in with their
great performance. End of the closer was very energetic.
Cadets: The opener has been so completely reworked since I saw them a
month ago, it's unrecognizable. And, IMO, from a musical standpoint,
it's a change for the worse. (See previous pontification on
B-flat-centric arrangements.) On the flip side, they have taken away
some of the obtrusive military cadence in "Field of Dreams" - which is
a close second on my list of favorite ballads this year. Makes it
much more listenable. I like the guard singing the lyrics to "On The
Town" while performing, but I'm not sure anyone beyond the first few
rows could make out the words. And, you know, after hearing all of
the uproar about kids donning firefighter gear on the field, I didn't
see it at all last night. At least not at the big finish in the
Cavaliers: Two words. Complete domination. Mark McGahey, Dave
Klemmer, Gale Rask and company are to be commended for instructing one
of the best sounding hornlines in DCI history. I'm sure all of the
little effects in their show have been discussed ad infinitum on RAMD,
but the one that made me think "why didn't anyone think of this
before?" was when the whole corps was marching silently, except for
the brass players keeping time ... by tapping their valves on their
bugles. Genius. If they get a 99.8 tonight they would deserve it.
Royal Airs: very impressive! Over 3,000 years of drum corps
experience in this corps, and the average age is something like 53!
Wild audience reactions at the phrase "And now, on the STARTING LINE"
... and at the starting gun soon after. 17 snare/tenor snare drums,
very impressive looking. Marched very well, and played with better
TQ&I than some DCA corps out there. I am very glad I got a chance to
see a little bit of history in their performance.
Most popular souvie item: Cavalier sticker tattoos being given out at
their souvie stand.
Coolest shirt: the Bluecoats shirt that has the swirling bugle logo in
the upper left portion of a sketch of an American flag. A close
second: shirts from various corps about electronics in DCI ("not now,
Coolest shirt unfortunately sold out: Revolution's spoof of the Gold
Bond label. ("Quadruple strength - soprano, mellophone, Buick, and
That's it ... more later, after tonight ...
Ft. Worth, TX
Hi all. Well, I had to cut my DCI Finals trip short due to some unexpected
problems at school regarding the use of our practice field and check in times
that have changed with our dorm situation for band camp.
However, I really enjoyed Quarters and Semis, and can't wait for next year. So
many great stories this year, so many good, solid shows, and the entertainment
value was quite high this year.
WOW, Cavies score was amazing, but deserved (even though I am not sure any
corps really can achieve a 99.05). Under the current system this is what you
will get from time to time. This was all interesting since they had some
problems last night, but all the corps did, so it all averages out. I just love
Cavies show, and from top to bottom they have the most complete design. The
music and drill just compliment each other so well, and there is not one wasted
step in this show. Everything is seemless, integrated, and well coordinated.
Bravo, Cavaliers. You deserve the title that you will likely win tonight.
The Blue Devils and Cadets both put on outstanding shows last night. Cadets had
some major problems musically, but they also nailed some visual things that
were giving them problems earlier, and their percussion was AMAZING! BD is the
right corps for 2nd place. I had been thinking that SCV could pull into 2nd,
but after seeing BD and Cadets again last night, there is a big difference
between SCV and those two. BD has such an entertaining show now and may very
well win high brass, even though the Cavaliers are incredible at brass as well.
It will be close. Only .2 seperated those two after quarters in brass. I
thought the Cadets horn line sounded amazing last night. Very professional
sound from top to bottom which I feel they do better than most, but the
cleanliness was not quite there. Their book is more demanding than one might
think, and at the same time it is no where near what they have done in the past
(same for the drill). While I do love their show this year, and the Pledge gave
me goosebumps, I will agree with many on here who have stated that their 1995
show was superior. It was. This show is not nearly as good as 1995, but for the
drum corps fan you can do a lot worse than to watch this 2002 version of the
Cadets. Very entertaining, and they did receive two standing ovations last
night. Most corps only got one or one and a half. I am sure they will thrill
the crowd tonight. BD should really light up the audience tonight, and the
Cavaliers will wow them and take home number 5. Bravo guys!
Boy did SCV have a nice show last night. In many ways, they have as many wow
moments as Cavies do. Just incredible depth in the horn book and the drill, and
their percussion played very tastefully last night. I love the guard, but they
are a bit sloppy. Phantom Regiment was so much more pumped last night and just
nailed their show musically. They probably had the most power last night, or at
least right there with Madison and Crossmen. If Phantom was marching a bit
cleaner and had a slightly stronger percussion section they would be top 3 this
year. Having said that, they were magnificent in all respects, and I love what
their percussion line plays. Tasty writing.
I thought Bluecoats had 6th last night, but Boston was "ON." I have been
critial of their horn line, and the upper brass is still weak, but they played
a solid, if not excellent, show last night. Personally, I really like the
banners. It's as if they are narrating their show without actually having
someone speak into a mic. The statements are general and patriotic, but they
really mean something and the emotions they describe perfectly fit the music
that they are playing at that moment. Some will think this is cheesy and
therefore decide to attack it, etc. Hey, you don't have to like it, but you
also don't have to make others feel bad for doing just that. I like it and feel
it adds a great deal to the show, but that's just me.
Glassmen should be in 9th in my opinion, although I really enjoy the show. I
love the middle tune and the closer, and I love their visual program and
percussion section. Their performance level is not that great and I really
thought the Crossmen were in front of them last night. What a great,
entertaining, and musical show the Crossmen have (great arrangements, Chuck).
That horn line is playing some wicked stuff, and doing so quite well I might
add. Should be scoring a bit higher in horns.
I was sorry that the Scouts did not make finals. I was pulling for them, and
they had a super final show. WOW, that was worth the price of admission and
more, and the crowd went nuts for them (as you would expect). Do it again next
year Scouts, but just clean a little faster. Loved the show this year. One of
my favorites by far.
I was shocked in amazement with Magic! Holy comeback!!! They were so clean,
that for a while I was starting to worry about the who was going to get knocked
out of 6th or 7th. They look that good folks. I am not kidding. The drill is
fantastic, the horns sound mature, drums are clean and musical, the guard is
excellent and well s taged, and the last two minutes of their show is really
exciting. The Seattle Cascades were also on fire and have such a demanding and
well coordinated show. It was obvious that they were not in Magic's league in
terms of cleanliness, but they have the demand and the design, so good things
are on the way for Seattle. I just loved the Colts. Great horn sound, awesome
Michael Klesh arrangements, and great music. I have always liked Gillingham's
music, and the percussion concerto works very well on field. Bravo guys.
Spirit of JSU was just outstanding in terms of brass. Love their sound and
their dynamic control. The ballad is one of the best on the field. Their feet
were very dirty and percussion seemed to overbalance the horn line too often.
If they are clean and a bit more musical tonight, their score should go up, but
it is hard to clean the feet at the last minute.
I would have scored the captions for last night as follows:
5. Crossmen (yes, not Boston)
1. Cadets (although I, myself, do not like the men changing on the 50 year
line. I know what they are trying to do, but it doesn't work)
1. BD - Unreal last night
2. Cavies - almost as unreal as BD
3. Cadets - much better than in Indianapolis.
1. Cavies - by far and away the most complete and engaging GE show I have seen
in many a year
2. Blue Devils
5. Boston/Bluecoats (Bluecoats do not get the GE scores they deserve)
Good luck tonight to all. Once again it has been a pleasure to see all your
shows, and I wish all the corps the best in the future. Make next year just as
good or better.
Go Bluecoats. Go Cadets.
Thursday August 8
Madison, WI (DCI Championships)
DCI Division I Quarterfinals
Here are my thoughts on Quarterfinals. Weather was perfect all day. The temp
could not have been over 80 degrees, low humidity, and there was a light
breeze. Perfect weather. Vantage point was on the 50, 3/4 of the way up on
the lower deck.
Mandarins - What a sophisticated program for such a small young corps! They
had a really fantastic performance. For the small horn line they have, they
put out a full, balanced sound. There si no one section that is stronger or
weaker than another. A very balanced program. The closing music and drill was
really exciting. I don't know where this corps gets these kids or what they
feed them, but once again, Mandarins have put together and performed an
Capital Regiment - When did they get to be so big? They were much larger than
Mandarins, but they did not produce as much volume. They had quite a nice
sound though. They have a nice program - didn't bring down the house, but it
kept your interest. They did a nice job performing it too. They have a good
drill, but the guard seemed to be an afterthought for most of the show. They
were not integrated very well into the drill. The drill still had plenty of
dirt to go around as well. I was surprised they beat Southwind and Mandarins.
Magic - Absolutely awesome! The design of the show is terrific, and the kids
performed the snot out of it today. They looked like a finalist quality corps
from the start. All sections are impressive. The closing drill sequence is
amazing, long, and clean. They had the crowd on their feet well before the end
of their show, and on through to the conclusion. They earned their spot and
then some. I actually thought they should have beaten Spirit.
Pioneer - Overall, they did a nice job this afternoon. The balance between the
horn line and the drum line was much improved today, as compared to a few weeks
ago when the drums overpowered the horns. They were a bit dirty, but performed
well. They seemed to be enjoying themselves today, and as a result, their show
was fun to watch.
Troopers - They made soem nice changes in the past 2 weeks. They added an
almost sunburst near the end of the show, which got a nice reaction from the
crowd as usual. They did a nice job of performing the show. They seem young
this year. I hope tht talent returns in the coming years, so that we might see
them rise again.
Kiwanis Kavaliers - They really had some power in the horn line. Some very
nice impacts, and a very good job performing today. there is still soem visual
dirt, and occasionally there were soem tone quality and intonation issues, but
nothing huge. Their score and placement seemed correct to me. Nice job KK.
Hope you can build on this next year!
Southwind - They had a great performance today. Their yellow uniforms really
stood out against the turf. The horn line did an especially nice job in the
opener - they really grabbed and captured your attention. The weakest aspect
of their show is probably the drill design. It is just not as complex or
demanding as the corps in the next tier. I do not understand how Capital
Regiment beat them. I thought they deserved the last spot for semifinals.
Madison Scouts - Madison was on today. The horn line really cranked it out,
and the drum line was cooking. The guard still has some issues, but they are
not that significant. The marching was fairly clean - only a few noticable
problems. Yes, their drill is not as difficult as some of the other corps they
are battling with, but there is plenty of demand. Tons of exposure - with
white striped pants to boot. I thought they had beaten BK, and I thought they
should have been right on the heels of Cascades.
Carolina Crown - Crown was a bit flat today. They received only polite
applause at the end of their show. You can tell the kids have got some serious
talent - it just is not being used. The show they have been given is simply
not that good. The horn line never really gets very loud at all, and there are
occasional tone quality issues even at the lower volumes. The guard had a lot
of drops, and their feet are still all over the place. There is still plenty
of drill in the drill, and the design of the drill is not that good. Their
placement was correct, though I thought their score (even with the penalty) was
a bit high.
Colts - They had a very solid show in all captions today. The guard is really
very good. The all rifle line work is clean an makes quite a visual impact.
The drill is fairly clean, but problems with maintaining intervals remain.
Their show has really grown on me this summer, and they have continued to
improve their performance level. I thought Madison had beat them (even without
the penalty). Nice job today!
Blue Knights - I thought they were a little off today. They got much better as
the show progressed, but the opener was a bit shaky. Their show is such a
tough sell, because it is so dark, dissonant, and obscure. When they are not
absolutely nailing every aspect of the show, it just does not come across well.
There is some really terrific one handed action that goes on with the pit near
the end of the closer that is really impressive. The closer was pretty intense
today, and the crowd started to respond. Unfortunately, by the time they
really started to get everything humming and the crowd into it, the show was
over. I did not think they beat Madison.
Spirit - They had a great show today. The horn line was playing very good
throughout the entire show. Drums and guard were also on. There was a bit of
visual dirt, but not all that much. Their opener has grown on me, but all the
dissonance and bursts of sound take some getting used to. I thought that Magic
beat them, though not by much.
Seattle Cascades - They did a solid job today. They were not great, nor bad. I
have seen them perform with a higher degree of energy and excitement earlier in
the year, and if they can do that again, they might be able to move up. They
have watered down the brass book quite a bit in the past 2 weeks, which was
rather disappointing. This included several of the sopranno solos. Even with
the watered parts, the sop solosits still had some issues. Crank it up a
knotch tomorrow night guys, or you might find yourself getting bumped from
finals. Nail it, and you should be in.
Crossmen - They were absolutely on fire today. The guard was really on, and
the horn line simply sizzled the entire show. For the opening drill move, the
horn line started off the field and up in the tunnell. The additionaly
movement from the tunnel only added to the excitement of the opening drill
sequence. I was disappointed with the amount of watering down of the brass
book in the opener. The watered down version does not really help the corps
placement, and it sounds likeit has been watered down at times. I would have
rather they keep the parts that were watered in the show. Great job tonight
Bluecoats - What are they feeding these kids? Energy coming out their ears.
An absolutely fantastic performance from them today. I think they might be the
only corps today that actually beefed up their brass book since Indianapolis.
Some very nice sop solos added in the closer. The guard is fantastic. All
rifle work was eye possing and fit the music very well. Score and placement
were well deserved. If they continue to crank out exciting performances the
rest of the week, they should hold on to 6th place.
Boston Crusaders - I am sorry, but I just don't like this show. Every time I
see them, there seem to be more banners. Staff - you have a terrific guard.
Utilize them please- stop making them carry around silly banners! There was a
major tear between brass and percussion in the closer, and plenty of visual
dirt. I had them closer to Crossmen than Glassmen and Bluecoats.
Glassmen - Another strong performance. The drum line was simply astonishing
tonight. 3rd place in drums was right on the money. The soloists were
awesome, but overall, the horn line is a bit rough in spots. The guard is
great, but the drill is a bit weak. I don't see them passing Bluecoats, but
BAC should not be able to touch them.
Phantom Regiment - Other than the opening chord being a bit rough, their show
tonight was fantastic. The horn line had a much improved sound over my last
viewing 2 weeks ago. The brass book in the opener was watered down a bit, but
in this case it was a good thing. The previous version was a bit too thick to
really be heard well outside. The new version comes across clearer. They have
strength in all captions. They have a lock on 5th place.
Santa Clara Vanguard - Other than the sop soloist that had trouble throughout
the show, they were on. They have cleaned up a ton in the past 2 weeks, and
really sold the show tonight. I cannot believe the improvement in the guard.
The closing drill sequence was phenominal, and got the crowd quickly to their
feet. I thought they beat Cadets, and it was a toss up with BD.
Blue Devils - They came to play - and play they did. Devils smoked tonight.
The soloists were nails and really lit it up. The horn line got 2nd tonight -
not sure I would have put them that high, but they are much improved. The
guard is just incredible, and the drill actually has some excitement. I
absolutely love this show! I thought the beat Cadets handily, and they were
neck in neck with SCV.
Cadets - They did a good job tonight, but not a great job. They have made even
more changes to the music in the opener, and have further stripped On the Town
down to what sounds like sampled sound bited intermixed with percussion breaks.
Add to that a closer that is much the same (snippets of America from WSS,
Appalacian Spring, and possibly Fanfare for the Common Man). There is not
enough marching, guard work, or cohesiveness to make this program work. There
simply is not that much meat on the bone. This show pales in comparison to 95,
and is filled with cheese. I thought BD and SCV kicked their butts.
Cavaliers - simply amazing. They are in a class by themselves. They posted
the second highest score of all time, and I would bet money they will break the
record on Saturday night. The championship is theirs to lose. Even if they
have a mediocre performance for them, they should win. They are that good!
I am very much looking forward to semifinals. I just hope the judges actually
judge the performances and do not slot. There is a lot of opportunity for
movement given the competitiveness this year. It would be a shame to see
everything set in stone based on todays placements.
Hello all, and happy Semifinals day to all drum corps fans out there.
Well, yesterday was a great day. I unfortunately did not get into Madison until
mid way through the show, so here are some observations of what I did see.
My Placements (IMO)
1. Cavaliers 97.4
2. Cadets 96.4
3. BD 95.9
4. SCV 95.8
5. Bluecoats 93.5
6. Glassmen 93.1
7. Phantom 92.4
8. Crossmen 91.5
9. Boston 90.4
These are the only corps I saw last night. I will be able to review more today.
Ok, there is no doubt that the Cavaliers are the Div. I Champions this year,
but they are not close to 2 points over Cadets or BD. No Way. The Cadets were
really on last night. Great crowd response as always. The audience all started
to applaud loudly during the Pledge: "one nation, under God..." I would have
given them high brass and high percussion last night. WOW. Smokin' horn line
and those drums are just amazing. Yeah, they don't move as much as in past
Cadet shows, but there is more drill than people would like to admit. The only
tune in which they do some free form and park and bark is really Boogie Woogie,
the rest of the show is quite solid and well marched. Their marching technique
last night was much improved and their forms really hit.
Cavies were just amazing as always. Great overall integration of all the
elements. Top visual design and execution, and their horns and drums are also
outstanding. Guard was a bit sloppy. Lots of demand in this show and they
upside potential is amazing, but they didn't garner as much crowd response last
night. The first 2/3 of their show is filled with light applause, but nothing
that has the crowd going nuts. But hey, that doesn't mean the show is bad. In
fact, this show is incredible.
Blue Devils were incredible and I just love this show. One of the most
enjoyable on the field now, but beware all, SCV is lurking and may just pull
into second come finals. The Vanguard was hot last night, and I would have had
their brass and percussion in 2nd (under Cadets). Interesting, because I
actually would have had the Cavaliers in 3rd in brass and percussion. But not
by much--we're talking tenths here.
Judges, please give the Bluecoats their due. I love Phantom, but they were not
on last night. Many evident marching and visual tears, and two obvious music
ensemble phasing situations. The Bluecoats should have been in 5th. They were
just incredible, and their horn line sounded like BD. What a sound and great
charts. I also thought the Glassmen were amazing last night. They are so solid
from a visual standpoint and probably should have beaten Phantom as well. Their
horns were good, and their drumline is INCREDIBLE! WOW. Phantom is amazing and
their music is as good as any of the field, but they were not clean last night.
If they nail their show, then they are porbably a solid 5th place this year,
but if not I like Canton to take that spot.
I thought Crossmen were amazing and should have been higher in score. Great
repertoire and their horn line was awesome last night. Drums are tight and
musical now, and their guard did a wonderful job--Bravo. This show looks more
like a 93 to me. Boston was also very good, but their horn weaknesses are
glaring. Upper brass was having major problems establishing pitch and pulse,
and the articulations were inconsistent just as they were in Canton this past
Sunday. I am amazed at the horn scores they get. When I saw the Madison Scouts
this past Sunday, I would have put them way over (a full 1.5 to 2 points)
Boston in brass. I am really at a loss for what the judges are hearing in this
horn line. Great overall show for Boston, but they should be placing much
Most entertaining (judging from fan reaction):
3. Blue Devils
However, all shows were very entertaining and the crowd response was very good
High Visual Ex
1. Blue Devils/Cavies
I just flew home from quarterfinals. Great weather, and a good stadium for
sound....good crowd, too.... Here's my thoughts....
Mandarins....had to watch from tunnel, as I missed the start time change. They
were proficient, especially visually...show had some lull spots from a musical
excitement standpoint, and there were some horn quality issues at times...nice
job, overall, though..
Capital Regiment...this corps is progressing..big sound. Again, some youth
quality issues in brass at times, but they are coming along, and got into semis
due to a penalty on Southwind..
Magic....WOW...they cranked out a job, and they showed strength in every
caption, and fortunately were rewarded. Great horn sound...full, in tune,
sustained without waiver...and the drumline was quite good today...I thought
perc. # was a little low. .One more job like this Friday and they will be in
the big dance!!!
Pioneer....small horn line (I think it was around 28) but they work hard. I
felt they could have done some more fun things with the guard in "Consider
Yoursef;"..at any rate, good to see them hanging in there, and hopefully they
Troopers....nice visual package, and competent percussion...horns had quality
issues today. Hopefully they will continue to mature and grow.
Kiwanis...I thought they did a decent job effect wise today. They still had
performance issues which plagued them, but not nearly as severely as early
season. They put out a very full sound at times. They have much to build on
if they can hold on to their kids. Music effect number too low...
Southwind....surprised me....I wasn't totally sold on their arrangements, but
they played pretty well. I felt they were solidly 17th..a penalty put them
out...I felt they were underscored a bit....
Madison....hornline played a job today, and imo should have broke 18 in both
music effect and brass....the ensemble music number and percussion number
seemed more accurate....color guard number killed them. I felt that number was
a bit low, and if you are going to call a spade a spade there, than do it in
music, too, as they are superior to several in front of them musically, and not
by a few tenths, either. and they didn't march badly today, either.
Crown....the inability of the brass to break mf, and lack of musical emotion
makes this show not work. Capable kids, strong drumline, ok drill, but weak
musical program, and there were still some glaring individual problems...much
waivering of tone on the move. Placed correctly today.
Colts....some decent arrangements..big guard was effective, but they had some
musical ensemble issues which did show up....ok effect-wise, but not in same
boat as Madison as score indicates....
Blue Knights...folks this corps had some serious tone quality and ensemble
issues in brass, and this didn't show up....effect-music did not sell at all,
and was too high...guard number helped them alot...not my thing, but it did
seem like the guard was pretty good......I had them out, and neck and neck with
Spirit....nice job today....not razor clean, but good. They had some emotion
happening, and they have some strong dynamic contrast that they are achieving.
I had them just under Magic...
Seattle...smoked the first 3 minutes, then performance level drops a bit,
although not as much as last Saturday. Drill is fine. Drumline is a bit safe
and not great...due to this, they are not out of the woods yet. Whatever
happens, to go from Div. III to this product in 2 years is quite commendable.
Crossmen....they sold the show well today. Still having some minor performance
problems on some of the tougher stuff and they are not razor clean, but I think
the show has more substance to it than Bluecoats....
Bluecoats....brass plays behind the beat to a point that things don't quite sit
right, but they do it together somehow, and they have a full sound. It's a
good show, and they are performing well, but I don't think they have the
difficulty exposure as some who they are beating, and the score seemed very
high to me....
Boston....I could use more impact out of the hornline, and the show is a bit
too subtle for me. However, they do perform quite well, with no real
weaknesses and an excellent drumline and visual package. I feel they are
stronger than both Bluecoats and Glassmen....those 3 were quite tight in
Glassmen...I know that I was a bit harsh on their product at East....they were
better today....they march a tough drill quite well, and the drumline was quite
tight....it's the music effect that needs work, ...like others, they have
trouble reaching the upper level dynamics, and they don't have a strong soprano
line...there were some brass issues, but they were better than at East....
Phantom...stellar musical book, and they play with much emotion which sells it.
If they had another week or 2, I think they would be right up there with the 4
in front of them, and clearly looked and sounded much stronger than any of the
corps who finished behind them...
Santa Clara....surprised me....last year I thought they were "just
drill"...this year, they have a very interesting, avante-garde musical book,
which they play with great dynamic contrast along with a great drill. It's a
hard show for them to nail, but they are getting there rapidly....visually
they sometimes remind me of Cavies, but they play
SO much more......
Devils.....best horn job of the night, period. "They came to play", and they
did. Solid horn sound that did not waiver, and they make it sound easy, strong
sopranos were stellar. Drumline continues to improve....they don't quit...not
my favorite Devils show, but they perform very, very well......
Cadets....quite entertaining, and they played well...best drumline by
far...show is well-written and fan friendly, yet the demand, especially brass,
is deceptive, because it is there....I had them winning a nailbighter over BD
Cavaliers...visually they are wonderful, and people love their drill, antics,
and guard. Perhaps they play enough to please the average fan, but not me.
Also, they do not play many difficult things while moving, but they park on the
difficult sections, and the percussion interludes are so extensive that their
brass doesn't play nearly as much time as others...ie much tacet time...there
were some significant performance brass issues tonight...cracking, etc., to the
point I have to question the perception abilty of the judge...this line is
nowhere close to Devils in performance excellence, and their music numbers,
except percussion, seemed quite inflated. I had them winning visual and 2nd
in drums, and I felt those # were right on, buti had them in 6th in brass
performance and musical effect, and thus 4th overall.
| My score
| Actual score
and to all a good night!!!!
Sunday August 4
Canton, OH (DCI)
Some honest thoughts about tonight's Canton show:
Kiwanis- Horns much better than last time, guard worse. Go figure.
Seattle- Pretty darned good, though the horn line went about 4 minutes without
playing and marching at the same time during the middle of their show. They
had some very nice visual moments with drill, color, music, etc.!
Crown- Horns awesome, rest of show lame. They need Michael Cesario or someone
to come in and fit the pieces together. It seemed like five different people
did their own sections and then just jammed 'em together.
Madison- Much better than last time I saw them, with great horns tonight and
some decent drill. The guard is very distracting, mostly due to crappy uniform
stuff. I actually thought they were better than Crown tonight by a couple
Boston- Liked 'em better last time, mostly due to them adding way too many
words and pictures in the past couple weeks. I felt like they were saying
"you're not smart enough to figure this patriotic stuff out by yourselves, so
we'll give you a picture book to follow along".
Glassmen- Okay at best. Is any marching judge actually watching their feet,
which were horrible tonight? How about all the leaning and out-of-step people?
Does that count for anything? How about all the horn "fracks" during the
show? Since they got a 91.7, I guess not.
Blue Devils- I like it. It was lively, colorful, fun, and loud! They
deserved this score tonight!
Bluecoats- Probably the best hornline tonight, but I doubt recaps will show
it. The sound is just amazing from top to bottom in purity, clarity, balance,
blend, and intonation! I'm not sure how they're scoring below Glassmen
overall, since the complete package is much more enjoyable. I guess that's
what these discussion groups are for, right? (-:
A big crowd, but way too much announcing going on. I enjoy shows without
constant running commentary. Had lots of fun anyways, and I'm totally warmed
up for Madison!!!!!
Good Afternoon to all,
Below are the scores from last night's show in Canton. Actually, the show is
held in Massillon, Ohio at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Massillon is a suburb of
the Canton Metro area. For those who are not from this region of the country,
the legendary Paul Brown (founder of the Cleveland Browns and then the
Cincinnati Bengals) coached HS football in Massillon and helped them win many
of those 22 Ohio State Dvision I Football Championships. The stadium complex
is incredibly impressive, holding some 22,000 people when filled. Last night,
the entire performance side was packed. I would guess that there were 8,000,
maybe more, people at the show. I just love this venue for drum corps.
1. Blue Devils 95.6
2. Glassmen 91.70
3. Boston Crusaders 91.0
4. Bluecoats 90.0
5. Seattle Cascades 84.85
6. Carolina Crown 83.65
7. Madison Scouts 82.90
8. Kiwanis Kavaliers 73.8
My awards for the evening:
1. Madison Scouts - WOOOOOOW! These guys were on fire tonight. I just can't
believe the score. I had them at a solid 86 or 87. Should have been in 5th
place. Their brass line was one of the best of the evening, and their sopranos
were the best. I am baffled by the judges opinion of the Scouts. I know the
guard is somewhat weaker, but they did a magnificent job last night. And
overall, the Scouts marching was excellent. Their drill is outstanding, and
they have the best drum feature on the field! What a great show. Ladies and
gentlemen, if you can, make it to Madison and be sure to see this show in
quarterfinals and semifinals. It is easily one the most entertaining shows on
the field, and the crowd is going to go nuts.
2. Bluecoats - Excellent performance last night. The brass was in tune,
musical, balanced, and very powerful--2nd loudest of the night under Madison.
This show is so entertaining. The grooves that they develop make you tap your
toes, and the way they compliment the music with drill is just fantastic. I
don't think they got the credit they deserved last night. I had them above
Boston and Glassmen. What a great guard the Bluecoats have, and their drum line
is musical and shows much improvement over what I heard at Indianapolis. I see
them as high as 5th (if Phanton is not on), but most likely in 6th or 7th.
3. Blue Devils - Very impressive in all captions. I just love this show. The
opener made more sense to me last night and manages to keep that Ragtime feel
from beginning to end. Their second number is even more fun, featuring some
amazing horn rifs, bebop licks, and a groovin' shout chorus that just drives to
the end. WOW, what fun this show is. The brass was superb. They have power,
but they also have grace and beauty, they are in tune and balanced, and they
create such amazing colors at times--especially in the baritones during the
ballad section of the show. The drill is not all that demanding with lots of
park and play, but it is just perfect for this show (which is more important
than demand). Their marching excellence is always first rate, and last night
was no different. This is a very good show, and the Blue Crew will definately
put some pressure on both Cadets and Cavies (and SCV) come finals. I am not
sure it is chapionship caliber, but it kind of had that look to it last night.
Very impressive, BD. Bravo!
4. Boston - Excellent patriotic show and one that had this crowd in Canton on
their feet. I actually love the signs at the beginnig of the show and also the
sign at the end "Let Freedom Ring." I get goose bumps at the end of their show,
and when they all lay on the field in the American flag formation to close the
show you can hear a pin drop. Then the standing ovation begins, and it was loud
last night. Their brass is good but not great, although they get one of the
best contra sounds on the field this year. Their high brass, along with
Carolina and Glassmen, had many problems with people sticking out, fracking,
and poor intonation in many spots. This is why I had Bluecoats over them and
Glassmen. I see this show as high as 6th (if they nail it), but more likely
8th. Great show!
5. Seattle - What an impressive opening statement. After some backfield
building, they hit you over the head and the sound is magnificent, in tune,
together, and the music is fun. I love all the Bernstein stuff, especially
Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs. Brass is excellent, but solos are having
difficulties. The guard does a beautiful job of portraying all that is going on
musically, the percussion is musical, and the visual program is quite demanding
and makes sense. I love this show, and it's not just a Cadet knock off, they
have really given each of these tunes a unique feel and sense of artistry. I
see them as high as 10th and as low as 13th.
6. Glassmen - Holy Drumline, Batman! Yeah, now that's a drumline! Whew! The
Glassmen waste no time in letting you know what drives their show musically and
they showcase the talents of this line as well as any. This is one of the top 4
lines out there. Their brass section is not as impressive, and I would have put
them below Coats and Madison, but they are quite clean and very musical. I
actually love their closer, a tune called Javelin by Michael Torke. Very
spirited tune with fanfares and beautiful, lyrical melodic lines. If you want
to hear this tune, just buy the Summon The Heroes album with John Williams
conducting the Boston Pops. Javelin is track 5. It really works well on the
field and the Glassmen do an amazing job of selling it musically and visually.
Yes, some of the opener is a little boring and not really engaging the
audience, but this show hit me in a more positive way than at Indianapolis. I
find it far from boring now, and from the middle to the end is quite effective
in all respects. Good guard, and their visual program is really what keeps them
competitive with Bluecoats and Boston (and Phantom). I see them as high as 5th
and as low as 8th.
7. Kiwanis - I love the superheroe themes and Kiwanis does a great job with
this show. What a way to begin a show. Having them as the first corps of the
night was super. They are quite large this year, very powerful brass, excellent
drumline, and a nice overall visual package. They lose some momentum in the
middle of the show after their stunning opening statment, but the velocity and
excitement of the music at the end of the show is very satisfying. My only real
complaint is their uniforms. I just hate all black. I really think it hurts
them in terms of visual GE, but that's just me.
8. Carolina - Wonderfully rich, dark brass sound. They never really hit you
with a lot of volume, and I kind of like that. They have established a unique
sound for themselves this year, and they do it quite tastefully. The music is
nice, but not super spirited. Maybe it's just how they present it, but they
don't get a lot of response out of the crowd. The ballad is gorgeous. Drumline
is outstanding, especially the pit--WOW! Nice work. Drill is good but very
dirty, and the guard is very good, but also dirty. They probably have more to
clean than all the corps here last night, but they are running out of time. I
see them as high as 12th, and as low as 15th. A good, solid show, and if they
nail it they could be dangerous.
1. Blue Devils - Very musical and best articulations and phrasing of the night.
2. Madison Scouts - Amazing sound, control, demand, and musical shaping. I am
at a loss for their scores.
3. Bluecoats - Incredible sound, solid intonation, good dynamic contrast, some
phasing/timing issues and still a few people sticking out during the
mezzo-forte and piano sections.
4. Seattle - Great control, solid intonation, excellent demand, weak solos
5. Glassmen - Best soloist, good overall balance and blend, weak upper brass
6. Boston - very weak sops, best contra sound of the night, excellent mellos,
7. Carolina - beautiful sound, nice intonation and control, weaker players
really stand out though
8. Kiwanis - awesome power and control at top of show, poor soloists, weaker
players sticking out in lower volume sections
1. Glassmen - They are a machine!
2. Blue Devils - Very solid line from what I saw last night. I know Boston has
beat them some, but I would not have had the Crusaders over BD last night.
3. Boston - very musical line, they support the ideas of the show without
distracting or taking away from what is a beautiful patriotic show.
4. Bluecoats - solid line with excellent musicianship and great writing. If
they are clean and if the tempos lock in at finals, this line will help push
the Coats into the top 6.
5. Madison - Best drum feature on the field this year. What great staging,
incredible demand, I mean they just come at you and do not try to hide
6. Carolina - another incredibly musical line, and the pit was one of the best
of the evening
7. Seattle - safe, but very musical writing, and the line plays with taste and
good knowledge of the music.
8. Kiwanis - excellent snares and tenors, solid writing, the staff could have
exposed this line more and allowed them to help showcase their overall
superhero theme a bit more.
1. Blue Devils - excellent staging, body work is the best, love the unis and
2. Bluecoats - what great use of solid colors and staging. technique is quite
3. Carolina - very large guard and very exposed so the weaknesses are too
4. Glassmen - effect use of colors in the show and they are really worked into
the drill better than most
5. Boston - they portray the patriotic feelings quite well, but more could have
been done at the beginning to help the audience better understand the patriotic
feelings intended in the show. This would have made the scrolling open of signs
6. Seattle - Flag work is close, but still quite dirty
7. Madison - very solid performance last night. Beautiful flags, but the unis
are not helping in terms of visual GE and even music GE. What incredible
improvement they have made.
8. Kiwanis - Nothing really stands out here, except some of the work in the
opener which is quite good.
3. Blue Devils
1. Glassmen - Flugel Soloist
2. Blue Devils - all trumpet solos were excellent
3. Madison Scouts - soprano and mello soloists were excellent
4. Bluecoats - soprano soloists were very good, some cacked notes and some
5. Seattle - nice solos all around, but they are difficult and the kids are
still having difficulties
6. Boston - simply do not make enough use of solos, but have some excellent
small ensemble sections
7. Carolina - also do not feature soloists as much as others
8. Kiwanis - kids had lots of articulation and control problems last night
Most Demaning Drill
5. Blue Devils/Seattle
1. Blue Devils - Far and away the best technique and execution
2. Glassmen - although not clean, their style is quite good
3. Bluecoats - style is excellent, but not all members are consistent with it
throughout the show. If the Bluecoats clean the M&M they will beat Glassmen.
4. Seattle - Excellent style and technique is solid
5. Madison/Boston - Madison is really sharp as far as technique, and if they
clean the drill a bit more this will showcase just how good their marching is.
I hope the judges start to notice what I saw last night. Boston, in many ways,
has more dirt in their visual design than the Scouts, but their individual
style is very good.
7. Carolina - very dirty show
8. Kiwanis - also quite dirty with both technique and drill
Well, I hope you enjoyed this. It was a great night for drum corps in Northeast
Ohio, and I look forward to seeing everyone in Madison. I will try to post
reviews of quarters and semis while up in Mad town.
Saturday August 3
Philadelphia, PA (DCI)
Greetings. I just returned home from East, and here are my reflections....
Good crowd, another hot night temp. wise, though it didn't seem quite as bad as
Kiwanis....I apologize but I had to wait around 4 years to get a soda prior
to the show, and missed part of them...I did get to watch about 2/3 of their
show from a tunnel entranceway down low. I thought they improved markedly
since I saw them early in the season...most of their brass performance/quality
issues come at lower volume levels, but these problems were not nearly as
glaring as earlier this season. The hornline had good impact tonight and was
connecting with the crowd at those points. Drumline job was adequate. I felt
their score was a bit low...material-wise is not finalist level, but they are
performing what they have fairly well now...at any rate, much to build on.
Crown....same problems as last night....hornline dynamic range only exceeded mf
once briefly....several individuals stuck out of the brass ensemble, and this
was evident where I was on the 50 yd. line UPPER DECK. Whereas the drill is
demanding and not badly performed, there are problems with continuity and
effectiveness of musical arrangements. Wavering tone quality on the fast
tempos was also quite evident. Intonation and blend are fairly good at times,
but they lack power. The show garnered little crowd response, and the fact
that this show topped the Scouts' is ludicrous. They managed to get a 16.7 in
Music Effect to Madison's 16.9....I gave Madison an 18.0 and Crown a 15.0.
Folks, there is no comparison between these two hornlines....
Scouts...after all of the negatives regarding their visual program, I was
expecting visual trash, and I didn't see it. Is it a top 5 drill? No. Did
they march decently and did the drill present the music well? Yes. Actually,
all of their visual numbers were respectable tonight, except for guard. Did
Crown have a better guard...yes....2.1 POINTS better, NO...I saw lots of
uniformity problems in Crown's guard tonight, but it didn't show up in their
number. Also, I noticed a .9 penalty against the Scouts....I have no idea what
for....The only corps that rivaled them in dynamic range and playing range of
the horn was BD, and they get no credit for this. Drums were decent but do
have some room to clean. There is almost zero doubt that even if the CG does a
respectable job in Madison, this will be the HAMMER that puts them out, and
they should be trouncing some of the corps in front of them in both brass and
Spirit....nice job tonight. Although I am still not a fan of their
dissonant opener, they do make good use of dynamics to make it work, and they
can hit a ff when called for. The rest of the show contrasts nicely, and they
have a full horn sound which they manage to maintain to the end. They are
getting things together nicely and have no glaring weaknesses, and this could
be good for them this week.
Seattle....I was surprised...they played their opener quite well. Brass
seemed out of gas stamina-wise the 2nd half of the show, and this caused tone
quality and impact problems, although this was not reflected in their Music
Effect score. The drum book is "safe" compared to others....probably smart
though, with the line still developing, and they are not going for something
they can't play...I thought perc. could have been more musical also..too many
heavy bass drum unisons...Drill was strong...Whatever happens, what they did in
2 years is amazing...I don't think they are "out of the woods yet" though...
Boston...strong performance level in all sections....strong visual
package...as I said last night, 87 Cadets Appalachian was SO much better, that
I expect too much, and in this one, I get too many "lulls"...I felt they were a
Crossmen....they were better tonight than last, with strong impacts that
sold to the crowd...visually, the show is coming along and they still have some
room...visual effect # seemed low....they have some pit/brass ensemble problems
in the ballad which need fixed now...Percussion did a fine job tonight I felt
this show was strong tonight and slightly ahead of all three corps ahead of
them...some noticeable booing of their placement, so I'm not the only one...
Glassmen....opener was nice and well-performed. Then, their show was
over...a highly dissonant 2nd tune did not develop or sell well, and there were
noticeable individuals sticking out of the ensemble...strong drumline, and
decent visual program, but the brass lacked impact, and the music just doesn't
have a strong emotional curve from an arrangement standpoint..brass # and
music effect # too high....overscored....
Buecoats...They played well....the show is ok, but it just didn't grab me,
and I wasn't excited about the musical or visual programs...good soloists..they
are competent all around, but I didn't get too excited about their
Blue Devils....they are truly not giving up, and visually tonight quite
excellent...brass had the richest sound of the evening which they sustained...I
am still not buying the Channel One arrangement, but they play quite well.
Percussion is improving rapidly....Performance - wise, they came off as being
pretty "on" tonight, and I had them winning tonight in a nailbighter...
Cadets....they were strong tonight...best percussion hands down....I'm
still not getting the raw impact in certain places as I did earlier in the
year, and there were some timing issues and some minor visual issues as well.
They need to dot every i and cross every t in order to have a shot...I had them
in 2nd .5 down, and they won by .05.
Well it was one hot and sultry evening in Philly! Got there around 5:30pm and
to my surprise they were not letting any one in to the souvie area till 6:00.
The lady running the Kiwanis souvie stand was dying to have a Star Bucks Mocha
so I went for a long hot walk to get her one, and like I said it was hot!
Picked up some of the DCI DVD's and A Glassmen shirt just because I liked it.
Well any way here is my pathetic attempt at a review.
Kiwanis Kavaliers..........Wow has this corps showed alot of growth this
season, most notably the horn line. They did a nice job projecting, and they
are just starting to get that full rich sound you expect from the div. 1 corps.
Visually this corps has also improved however they are really under developed
and lack the training and intrigue of drill desing to really maximize their
show. All in all, big improvement over last year and I wish them continued
success and growth for next season.
Madison Scouts........I am sorry to say this just is not a strong show for the
Scouts. I do recognize they seem to have a talented brass section but I found
the arrangements to be a little dry and not what I would expect from them.
Visually this corps lacks continuity of drill design and complete thoughts.
Although it seems people want to blame the color guard, it is not the only part
of the visual program that is suffering. I can see the guard has what seems to
be many young men new to spinning. Everytime this corps sets up a visual moment
I find problems with the development of that moment and then they seem to tear
it down with no thought to making it a logical progression to the next visual
phrase. Just a "set it up and move to the next drill set" kind of approach
with out embelishing or nuancing the down moments of the drill. I do want to
emphasize that the young men of this corps march very well and display good
technique, it seems not to be a problem with how they are doing it but what
they are doing. Well I do hope that they can acquire a stong visual staff for
next season because I can't help but feel that this talented corps is being
Carolina Crown.....Ok I did like this production a little more this time. I
personally feel it is one of the stronger brass lines Crown has ever had and
the perc seems very talented. Ok so what's the problem? Well let's just say I
never got to take a breath thru this show. The guard is very good but fraught
with individual breaks given the constant challenge of equipment and movement
responsibilities, it just gets to be TOO MUCH for the eyes. Their seems to be
a constant conflict between the corps and the color guard for attention and
very few moments they work in harmony together. I really appreciate the book
from a writing aspect but sometimes less is more and this program could afford
to explore a little less at times to maximize the finer moments and let the
performers gain much needed control over the program. I'm just not sure they
will be able to pull it all together for next week to put a bid in for finals.
They are going to need a flawless run and given the book at times I'm not sure
they will achieve it. We all know that somtimes in finals competition
performers give just a little more and they are going to need that for sure!
Next up Sprit of JSU......WOW!!! I know alot of people don't like the opener
but I think it's perfect given the show is From Darkness into Light. They
sound very dark and disturbing in the opening and maybe it's me but I think
that is exactly what they are going for. Boy has this corps improved visually,
they have a few minor issues based on performance breaks but the whole package
is well presented and has a good level of continuity to the visual phrases.
Truely the first corps of the evening to put a program on the field that all
sections of the corps were able to handle, perform and convey to the audience.
The ballad is nothing short of beauty in motion, very fine moment for the corps
and I think at this point they would all need to fall on their faces to not get
in finals. Good luck to you Spirit I will be rooting for you all the way!
Seattle Cascades......Truely another surprise of the evening, it was my first
viewing of their program this year. I must admit I enjoyed the Bernstein a lot
even though some people are sick of it. I think this corps also seems to have
it all together in all the sections as well. I did not think they performed as
well as Spirit before them but they certainly were in the ball park. Nice
overall sound generated from the corps and an overall feeling that the members
were enjoying what they were doing! They all seemed to be having a good
time.....and that is what it's about is it not? Well no glaring visual
problems that I remember just a need at this point to clean some drill up and
present an overall cleaner package, just a little messy in places. Ooops
forgot to mention that this corps had some outstanding soloists even despite
the fact their mellos had a few cracks. I would say a lot of the members
seemed to me to be a little younger than some of the other div. 1 corps and
thus a slightly different level of maturity of performer was apparent, but
maybe that was just me. Well anyway I do believe this corps will also be
difficult at this point to knock out of finals and Its kinda nice to see a new
addition to the top 12. Best of luck Cascades!
OK.....the next 3 corps in my opinion are so comparable to one another it's
quite scary, could go anyway at finals IMHO. I should say four corps Glassmen
included but I will get into that later.
Bluecoats.....Go BLUUUUUUUE! What can I say but I LOVE this corps again this
year!!!! They have a toe tapping musical book, a driving percussion and a
visual feast of a color guard. I have no problems with this show at all, it is
just a joy from beginning to end and looks like the members are all having a
blast. I think this is the strongest visual program the Coats have ever put on
the field. The program takes off with a beautiful city sunrise and progresses
into a urban day extravaganza! My first chills of the evening came in their
ballad which I might add was gorgeous. They will without a doubt set the
Madison stadium on fire! They took the field with confidence and their
soloists were incredible. Like I said I can't even begin to try to place them
at this point, any where from 5th to 9th is conceivable - it will just depend
on the performance of the day I suppose. The Madison crowd will love this show
Crossmen.......This corps had a spark last night that I just have not seen from
them yet this year! The hornline was on, the percusion was on and the color
guard performed with conviction. I must admit I do lose the corps at times and
find myself watching the color guard. So in that sense I could not tell you a
lot about the drill other than what I did notice was clean and well executed.
I have always loved Strawberry Soup, have performed to it before myself, I do
think that they might be tiring out just a little bit by the time they get to
it. Would just like to see them with a little more stamina and energy to pull
of the last few minutes of their show. All in all great performance and
another corps that will fit in anywhere from 6th to 9th given their performance
Boston Crusaders.........I'm not sure they had their best performance but still
put in a wonderful showing! They certainly have a visual edge over Coats and
Crossmen but I think their hornline is just a little bit weaker. May just have
been the performance of the evening. Well anyway what a beautiful color guard
that is incorporated so well into the overall staging and design of the
program. I have heard people say the show was a Cadets remake and I beg to
differ. I think maybe they took an idea or two from the show and put their own
Boston twist on it. I really didn't have any qualms with the picture screens
they used and it was tastfully done and classy. I must admit they did stir up
a few emotions in me, I felt myself choking back a tear during the ballad. I
do feel they may have a little more room for growth given their performance and
their visual edge. Another corps that could end up anywhere from 5th to 8th I
Cadets......Where is the drill? Ok they revamped Bernstein's On the Town and
I'm not sure I like it as much as I did before, took me a little longer to get
into the show than prior showings. Is the show packed with GE?.....yes. Is
the hornline and perc outstanding.....yes! I will be punished for this I'm
sure but here goes....I fould a lot of the show to be cheesey and borderline
untasteful at times. I think the guard is very talented but now that a lot of
the other corps' guards are handling their equipment better, Cadet's equipment
book looks slightly underwritten. A lot of up-down-up-down with the flags and
not much exploration of planes that other guards are offering. The dance is
full of energy but doesn't explore the range that some of the other guards are
attempting. Ok here's the next problem.....no one does a park and bark like
Cadets but by the 4th one it just gets a little old. I found the visual
program to be more of a stage production than a drill program! Boogie Woogie
is certainly a highlight of their program that I can get into - I just wished
they offered a little more drill. I guess maybe my expectations were too high
but I must admit I was overall disappointed at the program's growth from prior
viewings. I think that this program had a lot to offer early in the season but
maybe a few wrong turns were taken in it's overall design that will leave them
vulnerable in Madison. Who knows?
Blue Devils.....Wow......I must admit I am shocked they did not pull out a win
last night - could not have been any closer as far as score goes! The hornline
sounded and played like a million bucks. Let me tell you folks this corps is
marching this year, I have never seen a Blue Devil program packed with so much
drill and the color guard who is normally it's own separate entity was staged
and incorporated very well into the design of the program. Boy can those kids
dance with their equipment while they are also doing some pretty demanding
drill too. I did not care for the music book when I saw them early, however
they rewrote alot of it and it is working very well right now. I really
thought they out-performed Cadets and when I looked at the recap it seems
Devil's percussion may be the factor that determines their overall placement
next week in regards to Cadets. I can't wait to see what happens in Madison
but from where I was sitting I think Cadets really need to look who's tapping
them on the shoulder! At this point I think Blue Devils have the better
program and just need a couple more days to tweek and refine. Good luck
Glassmen.....OK. This was a very difficult program to evaluate after
following Devils. They were the last corps on the field and yet I remember the
least about their show. I do remember that all sections of the corps were
strong. They had a well developed visual program and I did like the music.
The flugal horn soloist did not disappoint and has a beautiful tone quality.
The corps uses a lot of body movement within the program to boost the visuals
and they do it very well! I would like to have seen them perform back to back
with Boston, Crossmen and Coats to really see how they fit into the grand
scheme of things. At this point I would have to say they are also vulnerable
to corps behind them right now. I have liked a lot of Glassmen's shows in the
past but they always seem to take a while to grow on me. Who knows maybe seing
them in Madison 3 nights in a row will help me to get into their show a little
bit better. Well anyway good luck Glassmen and I really liked your shirts!
Well off to Madison,
I know some of you read my 15-part review that was posted on RAMD as the show
was taking place (with the help of NanciD). However, many of my comments were choppy
because I was typing with my thumbs (on my Blackberry) as fast as I could, while
simultaneously trying to watch the corps perform!!! My review was good for initial
thoughts and first impressions, but now I'd like to comment on some things after
having a day to digest what I saw.
I really liked them. Going into the show, I had heard many people say they were
boring. However, being a former sop player, and a huge guard fan, I couldn't
disagree more! I just loved their show. I think they have come a long way since the
beginning of the season. I'm not a big fan of the DCI scoring system, but it looks
as if they are going to pass Cadets the week of finals. It's funny to think how
close Crossmen were to them at the beginning of the year!
I didn't mind the American theme that these two corps had. However, I did not
appreciate the use of props. The pictures and the written signs were so over-the-top!
It really jaded my entire opinion of their field shows. I just couldn't enjoy them
after seeing those things. It was especially hard to stomach seeing that they
performed back-to-back last night. I really hope the Cadets don't do anything
additional with the WTC/Firemen theme at Finals.
That being said, the Cadets enore was pheomenal!!! Originally when they
announced that BD had lost by .05, I was so disappointed. After seeing the encore,
I didn't mind that the Cadets won whatsoever!!!! They were totally jammin'. Their
trumpets were on fire. And, I LOVED the guard in the encore. I have never seen that
before, but it was really a sight to see. At the end of the encore, the Cadets did
a second encore. I was so excited, but I did not appreciate some of the hand
gestures the members were doing. They were acting like college football players
after scoring a touchdown. I thought they could have used better judgement, and
acted more professionally. Don't get me wrong, though, the Cadets victory concert
was my favorite part of the night. I liked it more than all of the field shows
One thing that I noticed that really separates the top tier corps from the bottom
tier corps is the visual program. The corps with more challenging visual and color
guard programs tended to score much higher. I LOVE the color guard aspect of drum
corps. However, I am sad that it, along with the visual program, has become the main
driver of scores. I think that music should be the main driver. I have yet to see
the Cavies this year, but I cannot WAIT to. In the past, though, I have always
enjoyed the visual portion of their programs MUCH more than their musical portion,
and the judges never seem to fault them for lacking musical exectution or, more
accurately, musical entertainment.
Many things about this corps, and the way the activity treats this corps, make me
sad. I'm sad that their color guard program has deteriorated so much since 1999.
They had some killer guards in the late 90's. I thought their '97 guard rivaled any
in DCI. I'm not sure why exactly it has deteriorated, but I know there are many
factors. Part of it may be the lack of talented guys willing to march drum corps.
Much of it may be the difficulty they've had retaining strong staff members. Some
of those factors include low pay, importance placed upon hiring staff from alumni,
and the lack of emphasis the guard typically has in Madison's shows. One noteable
exception was '97, which the guard was featured in a lot, and was a phenomenal year
for them. Regardless, the CG members have worked their ##### off this summer, and
it shows. Their work is not overly difficult, but it is fairly clean. It just took
them until August to make it so.
Starting in '00 the top 3 or 4 corps in DCI really took their drill to another
level. Unfortunately, Madison did not do so. If you watch the Cavies the last 2 or
3 years, and then you watch the Scouts, you can see a marked difference in the
degree of difficulty and execution. That being said, I think Madison's visual
progam is still in the top 6 or 7 in DCI. As you can see, the judges and I clearly
I have no comments on percussion because I'm not qualified to make them. I
thought their drum-line was phenomenal, but I have no basis for arguing that they
should score higher. What makes me most sad about Madison is that the brass line
continues to be strong (IMO top 3 in DCI year-in and year-out) and the judging
community does not give them credit for that. I can tell you that last night they
rivaled BD's brass. Their were loud, powerful, precise, and exciting. Their brass
alone should be placing them in the top 10, making finals with ease.
I agree that Madison's shows in '00, '01 and '02 have been sub-par for Madison.
I vehemently disagree that their placings have been fair and accurate in those years,
Loved the show, and loved the entire CG on rifles!
I thought their show was very entertaining! I liked it much better than some of
the shows that went on significantly later in the evening...
Seattle and Spirit:
Congrats to both of them for their Cinderella stories. It would be huge, for obvious
reasons, for either/both corps to make finals.
For those of you that missed my top 5's from last night, here they are!
Most entertaining (and most important IMO):
1) blue devils
2) madison (they may have been #1 if they would have performed later in the program.
it's so disappointing to see them when it's partially light out and when people are
still finding their seats)
5) glassmen (this really pleasantly surprised me)
Best color guard:
1) blue devils
5) crossmen (be nice, staff!)
1) blue devils
i'm not really qualified to say, but I really liked BD and Glassmen!
on the stadium:
thank GOD we're going back to Allentown next year. They ran out of WATER???
Hello? UM... what? They blocked off the traffic pattern of the souvie area so
you could only get in and out one way... Can you say horrible??? IT WAS A
Anyway.. on to the shows.
I just want to say that I found EVERY ONE of the corps to be awsome.. I so
enjoyed the entire show... but my thoughts are as follows:
Kiwanis.. I didnt care for them when I saw them early in the year... but man
have they come a long way baby. I feel if they can maintain their young
members over the next few years? They will really move up... They are truly
getting their bang for their buck with this young corps.. wonderful job.
Madison... one of the most gut wrenching shows to watch.. To see a show that
COULD and SHOULD make finals.. and due to overall breakdowns.. might not... Its
disturbing, and due to the lack of prolonged boos at score announcemnt, but not
totally misunderstood by those watching. GUYS.. CLEAN IT UP.. GEEZ!!! I am
not a guard guy.. I dont compare guard technique, silks, etc..so when someone
like me finds that the phazing in the guard is DISTRACTING .. what does that
say? They really could have something.. but why isnt it clean??? Also.. the
high leg lift in the drill? Looked as if half the members have Epstien Barr
virus... I SO feel this corps has 'the horses' to be in the top 12.. but they
are the masters of their own destiny... and they really come across as dirty.
My opinion on Madison.. they are being 'squeezed out' of the top 12 by corps
like Bluecoats, Crown, etc.. who are maturing in SO many ways... Madison is
standing still.. and these other corps have 'raised the bar' on themselves.. I
LOVED Madisons show.. but from what I can see? THEY are their own worst enemy
(also.. one of the nicest drill moments with the angular box movments up and
back? Great... awsome.. loved it..)
Crown.. simply put: great corps.. full sound.. great guard work... really like
them.. Should be interesting to see who places where...
Spirit.. I am so impressed with them.. One of the best sounds they've had in
YEARS... can I even say DECADES? Visually interesting moment with the blue
flags and irredecent flag poles.. beatiful... Nice sound... good drill... I am
looking forward to hopefully seeing them in Madison on Sat.. night.. One cute
side note: a young girl came up to the upper deck where we were sitting and as
we talked she said she was a conductor for Spirit.. and she said "Id hate to be
the ones who knock Madison out of the finals in their home town".. and I said..
"well.. you might have to get ready for that"
Seattle.. wow.. big big big.. they had like 20 members last year right? LOL
(just kidding).. All my friends were kidding with me about Seattle.. because I
am a Cadet fanatic.. they said I should enjoy the show more than anyone.. And
after it was over they all said the same thing.. It was a great show..
Wonderfully executed.. nice moments.. sure the soloist had a problem.. but I
really think as i said with Kiwanis.. they will keep a lot of members and
continue a climb... Should be interesting to see where the placements come out
on quaterfinals... its going to be crowded .. I just feel that its going to be
who steps up to the plate that night and hits the 'home run'...
Boston... love the show.. I did get choked up a few times. I have to say
though.. and NOT TO DRAG DOWN BOSTON.. NOT TO ATTACK THEM, ETC... but I still
feel .. if there are those out there who admonish the Cadets for 'intentional
emotional heart string pulling".. well.. Boston does it too with the
"subtitles".. They got rounds of applause for showing banners with "home of the
brave' etc... Great show.. very enjoyable.. But again.. notice all the reviews
that are comparing it to Cadets 87.. I had said that a while back and was
attacked for my thoughts..... I dont say its a COPY of the show.. I am just
saying that certain aspects are very similar...Loved the final set in the flag
formation. Overall.. I like their show IMMENSELY.. but I feel somethings
Crossmen.. wow.. loved the opening drill... love this show. The use of the
irredecent flag poles in the ballad is a WONDERFUL visual... great idea..
Horns did an amazing job.. percussion was hot... I think they should be
scoring higher.. marching technique seems to be sound.. One of my friends who
is an alum ventured a guess that maybe just maybe that due to the 'issues'
brought up on here regarding the staff that its possible they have been worked
hard, not worked smart all summer.... They may just be on cruise control.. but
man.. they still have it .. Put them out there.. Bones on the back sideline..
you could TELL they were jazzed last night.. and it showed.
Bluecoats.. oh my GOD.. The best corps they have EVER had in my opinion.. What
a sound.. amazing ... that Ballad???? I cant wait to hear it again and
again.... guard work is awsome... just really loved them.... I even 'bowed'
repeatedly to a mom and dad of a member sitting behind me after the show.. LOL
Glassmen (ok..out of order.. sue me) what can I say.. they are technically and
mechnically amazing.. clean.. sound is beautiful.. but.. how can I put it best:
Its like making out with your second cousin.. techincally it is a lot of fun,
but somethings wrong that you just cant put your finger on.. Its missing
emotion.. I think they need to figure a way to tap into emotion more.. and once
they get over 'that hump'.. more and more people will appreciate what they do.
I am looking forward to seeing them in Madison.. I want to hear and see it
again.. Hoping it will 'hit me' better...
Blue Devils.. amazing amazing amazing.. What a great job they have done re
working this show... Horn line is stupendous.. drums seem to have their
problems.. but nothing to really get on them for.. My one complaint is: does
the guard EVER get a drill sheet? No drill EVER for them.. they just make jazz
runs and form 'loose' box shapes.. Its annoying because they are AMAZING.. But
they are not integrated into the show.. They do amazing work.. but they cannot
march in a form I guess.. They did one 'pinwheel' on the 50 to a straight
line.. well it was SUPPOSED to be a straight line.. Obviously the staff knows
they cant dress and cover and throw them out on the field "wherever they (the
battery and horns) arent'... truly dissapointing... But I will say this is the
first BD show I have really really liked in a LONG time...
Cadets... of course my favorite.. but I have to agree with some that have said
'where is the drill'.. No big 'gotta see' moves... The overall show is
amazing.. and one they will talk about for decades to come.. I just feel that
in these four days leading up to Madison they are putting in something.. they
always do... But man.. wow.. amazing.
marching percussion should march.... enough with the standing still... Sure
there are quiet moments.. but figure out something to do other than just
Bbs as loud as G? Um.. definately. Madison lays back and wails.. BD and
Cadets match that volume .. sorry to the old timers who need to argue this
point.. but youre wrong. Plain and simple.
Madison: maybe the point in your show where the guard plays bongos hurts your
drum score? I dont konw.. I still am bothered about them.. they are killing
From a novice point of view..mind you by profession i spend countless hours
breaking down football films..so i hope not to insult anyone with my layman point
Let me start off by sayng, Good bye Franklin field! A nice field but restaurants
are few and far between. There was no space in the surrounding area... I very
uncomfortable situation. I must say that the show was very good. I saw about half
of the corps in june and i was amazed at the changes and the improvements.
Kiwanis - A solid performance. The hornline was much stronger than they were earlier
in June. I liked the sound and power. The music was more enjoyable because of that.
The marching is improved...not an impressive drumline. However they are like night
and day. In june i couldn't stand the show because the music wasn't up to par but
they are REALLY working hard. Those kids are doing a great job. I've finally bought
into the show.
Madison- they had me from the start. They have always had a place in my heart. It
pains me to see the low scores but honestly...the other corps are visibly better.
The music is fine..a solid drumline. The hornline lacked some punch in comparison
to the other higher placed corps. They are ions ahead of Kiwanis and the higher
placed corps are ahead of madison. If i could see that the guard was lacking then
the more educated fans will pick them apart. They just don't look comfortable out
there, plus the aren't good performers..the lack of experience parlays into a group
that shows no confidece. They are out there looking like , please just let me get
through this show! That is sad because it is a very..very fan friendly show. I would
just like to see the performers look like they are confident.
Crown- The guard is much better from when i saw them 5 weeks ago. I like the show...
I find myself watching the guard than actually paying mind to other units.but an
overall strong performance.
Spirit- the hornline was incredible...they just kicked butt last night. the drumline
is muched improved from june. I saw them as a sloppy unit in every phrase weeks ago.
I hope to see them in the finals...
BAC- I was really amused by the visual changes in their show. Regardles of your
opinion of them... it does add something to the show, especially the pictures of
Jackie Robinson, Einstein, the fireman, the other I can't remember. As for as the
many qoutes being displayed, enough already... I found myself pondering the thoughts
and losing track of the show... it was like one of those desk calendars you get for
xmas after awhile. I liked the music, the horns were good, you can really
appreciate them as well as others when you see the show more than once. I really
enjoyed the music... eventhough they beat the BD's in drums earlier still can't
believe it. They were okay but not overwhelmed with what they were playing. I
thought they were scored fairly.
Gmen- came in with the notion that this was not a fan friendly show. I liked it...
I was really impressed with the drumline. it sounds like they overwhelm the horn
line at times..the music is good. However the horns aren't on the same level as the
drumline. They won me over and i had preconceived notions. Guard uniforms..are
ugly... they look like basset hounds.
Cadets- GREAT show..i love the devils but i have to give them much credit. It was
like I was at a rip roarin party. The drum line was strong..the horns were live and
had some punch. The theme was excellant a celebration about good times in america.
But as Tom Brokaw points out..how good were those times? Think about all those groups
that were persecuted in america. But i'll stop being a cynic. it is really nice to
see a corp portray american life, music as an art form. that may be the one bad thing
about corps.(we don't see enough of it, yes exposure is great but america has some
great orks as well) Thankfully we have the xmen,devils and bac to remind us that we
have some great composers, musicians that have meaning in America. sorry for getting
off track. The cadets are great entertainers and they do capitalize on events and
emotions but so what the crowd was in approval. The guard members are great dancers...
from that point i wonder what are the thoughts of the old school guard members...
wearing those skirts, boots,etc. As good as the show is i had thoughts of the 95
show and i wonder if that is good or bad as far as creativity goes. it is great for
the performers because they were 7or 8 at the time but we all have memories. Do corps
get molded into particular styles?
Devils- impeccable..clean to a point where the i's are dotted and t 's are crossed.
The guard and hornline just steal the show. Who would've thought that the guard and
horns can dominate a show (over the drumline).i drove the 200 miles to see them!!!
(the guard) I just had a feeling that they wouldn't beat the Cadets in Philly this
year. It was like they had to battle the Spirit of 76 in Philly, with Ben Franklin
et al. I guess it will be close in the next few days.
Crossmen- would the pit benfit from amplification? I love the opener but the
percussion is to soft to to get a true groove... especially when you hear it on the
CD (southwest championship CD). It is a real sweet passage as well. I saw them weeks
ago and the horn line left me disappointed but this time they were on. I always like
the percussion... it is nice that the guard imho and overall visual is much improved
from last year. Will they catch BAC... hmmn... that is the million dollar question.
Denver, CO (DCI)
Well. . . my predictions came through. . . I paid for tickets, didn't listen
to any judging tapes, had a beer, enjoyed myself, and didn't care about the
scores. . .
So. . . here's my review. . . though it may not be what you're all looking
for since I am such an "insider" in the activity.
My wife and I drove down to Denver from Fort Collins beneath threatening
skies. The rain held off, but the humidity level was up. Showtime temps were
just about perfect -- between 70 - 73 degrees F.
Got to the stadium (Invesco Field at Mile High!) at about 6:20 pm. Show was
supposed to start at 7:00 pm, so we thought no problem. We didn't buy
tickets in advance so we waiting in line at the ticket office for about 40
minutes. While it seemed a little slow, we met many nice folks from all over
the place including many former members of the Troopers. Time passed
quickly! Got our tickets up on the Club Level -- in the 300's sections.
On our way up to our seats I ran into some folks I used to teach at the
Colts (still marching -- good for you!!), many Loveland HS band kids who I
teach during the fall, and more friends from so many years of doing this
drum corps thing. . . I was afraid I might miss the show!
"Hi" to Art (Cavaliers driver), and Tom & Bev Ford (Now working DCI
souvies), Jimbo (buddy who works with Pioneer), and everyone else I ran
into. Felt like old home week!
Took the elevator up to the Club Level. OH MY GAWD!!! This is the first time
I've been to Invesco Field. This place is unreal!! My words wouldn't do it
justice. Imagine the nicest convention hall you've ever been in, soundproof
it, decorate everything with the Broncos logo, have more TV screens,
refreshment stands, clean bathrooms, and fill it will thousands of Drum
Corps Fans. This is the nicest place I've ever viewed a drum corps show.
We walked off the concourse, went through the glass doors out to our seats
and saw the most beautiful field, incredible views from every seat (I don't
think there is a bad seat in the house!), and saw two state-of-the-art big
plasma video screens (which would later show almost constant high camera
angles of the drill, and some nice interviews given by various directors,
judges, VIPS, etc. -- run by Casey Smith). It was almost mind-boggling.
The sound? This place was built to be loud -- home field advantage being a
big deal here in Bronco country. As a result, I don't think they could have
come any closer to designing the perfect place to host a DCI Finals if they
Here's hoping. . . Now. . . on to the show. . .
Pioneer kicked the show off very nicely. This was my first viewing and I
enjoyed to energy and fun projected by the corps. "Oliver" works for them.
Small hornline delivers some nice sound, and while they are sometimes
overbalanced by the big drum line (relatively speaking), they are usually
staged well. Field is condensed by posting the pit in the back (about the
back hash I think) in an arc. Good role playing by pit members, and a
reasonably good colorguard. Highlight for me was a very nice arrangement and
performance of "As Long As He Needs Me". Very enjoyable performance and nice
Southwind was next up. They looked positively huge, and its nice to see
yellow and black on the field for this old Bridgemen fan! Other than the
Toccata and Fugue that opened the show, I can't really recall any titles of
the other pieces off the top of my head. Show explores traveling from Dark
to Light. Opener was indeed dark. Probably the most dense brass scoring in
their musical book, and they had a little trouble projecting that power up
as a result. Pretty good drum line, featured throughout, and the flag colors
were a nice color enhancement to the corps proper. Show definitely got
better as they went along. Some tough drill staging made some ensemble
timing quite challenging, but they usually were quite good. Nice power at
the end. All in all, a well-received program even if they were initially
announced as being from Montgomery, Alabama!
Troopers. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Troopers. They are the
first drum corps I ever saw other than the corps I marched with. Obviously
the audience in Denver feels the same way. I do not remember what the music
was, but I heard some nice sounds, especially from the low brass. Colorguard
has some nice rifle moments, and the ladies were pretty good this night.
Drum line has some dirt, but it's nice to see them taking some chances with
exposure. Some fairly challenging drill at times, which tends to take its
toll on the musical performance -- but I like where the Troopers are
heading. Crowd was quite appreciative.
Next up were the home-town Blue Knights. As expected, they got a loud
ovation just coming out of the tunnel an onto the field. Very cool backfield
warm-up (don't know what it was) which set a nice expectant mood for the
show. My wife leaned over to me and said "I didn't know the Blue Devils were
here!" She hadn't seen them since the new uni's came out a couple of seasons
ago. Drum line was good, though a bit dirty in some exposed spots. Horn line
dances. A lot. Sometimes this is nice, sometimes it is a distraction. Split
focus and all that. Brass line plays fairly well. Colorguard is good, but
sometimes hard to see in the dark gray uniform. Obvious visual demand and a
good drum line are strengths. Some nice pit sounds as well. Lots of BK Alum
in the stands made this a nice "Home Show" for BK.
About now I was expecting an intermission. There wasn't one. . . which was
nice! Fresh beer, a plate of chili fries, and we were ready for some more
Colts came out onto the field and immediately grabbed everyone's attention
visually. They were the first corps of the night not to be wearing black
pants. Quite striking uniforms. After the "Amen" chord progression for a
backfield warm-up, the Champagne brothers set about getting this show
moving. And move they do. In contrast to the Blue Knights, the Colts drill
is quite wide open, and the placement of the colorguard is absolutely
pleasant to watch. The color choices for the guard (unis and flags) are my
favorite of the year from any corps. Backfield sound is well utilized and
creates a nice musical effect at the beginning of the show. Brass line
overall is well-balanced, though could use a little more punch in a couple
of spots. Performance problems in percussion and marching are holding the
corps back just a bit at this point. Guard is wonderful -- best I've ever
seen from Colts since 1995. Many around me thought BK was going to be in
trouble after this very good performance.
Santa Clara Vanguard. Drill and percussion are the highlights for me. This
effort is so much better than when I saw them two weeks ago in San Antonio.
Percussion executing at a high level, and the drill is seamless. It is a joy
to watch their marching execution and their visual ensemble control.
Colorguard seemed a little off tonight with the weapons. Drumline had a
great moment at the end of their opener -- in-your-face unison snare "goks"
that were just so aggressive that you knew they came to play! From this
high, it was much more obvious what the visual intent was, using the
triangles, circles, and diamonds for the various shapes highlighted through
the drill. Guard was a little awkward in the "Diamond" portion. Great power
out of the solid forms at the end. Was this a new ending? Look for great
performances from them in Madison.
Cavaliers. Well. . . what is left to be said? These guys do everything very
well. Best brass sound they've ever had in my opinion. Controlled, centered,
GREAT intonation, balance. . . they are wonderful. Might be the best brass
quality I've heard on a football field since Star of Indiana in the early
90's. Drums are musical, and they MOVE! Colorguard was "ON". The "Tron"
uniforms are unique, and they outline effect they have on the performers
really gives a unique look to what could be a risky dark gray uniform. Let's
talk about the drill. . . George Zingali and Steve Brubaker would be proud.
There's a new force to be reckoned with and it's been coming for some time.
I don't think I've ever seen such a completely coordinated visual package.
There are no wasted moves. . . heck, no wasted steps. Everything is done for
a reason, and the reason is "effect". The audience was spellbound. My wife
leaned over and said "they are so smooth -- they make it look effortless --
like they're floating". True enough. Do they have things to do yet? Most
certainly. Some fuzz in the visual ensemble, and some minor disagreement in
ensemble musical interpretation between the percussion and brass, couple of
minor tone quality issues in the trumpets. . . but I can't wait to see this
show again. Cavaliers earned a SCREAMING standing ovation from a crowd that
still had its eyes spinning!
Phantom Regiment had the unenviable task of following this stunning
performance. Good visual performance, and the opening statement may be the
loudest thing on the field this summer. The brass line is right up front in
a company front and lets loose immediately. Following the Cavaliers was
tough -- because this effect mostly relies on volume, and the quality and
projection of the hornline was noticeably off in comparison. I will not harp
on the brass line, because they do many things well -- but they play VERY
loud and VERY sharp much of the time, and sometimes for so long (end of the
opener, end of the show) that there is little in the way of musical contrast
that demands your attention. Contrabasses have that classic PR sound, and
the baritones have some wonderful exposed lines that simply sound great!
Middle voices are a bit muddy, especially on articulated passages. Sopranos
fare better with their exposed sections, especially in the opener.
Percussion was well integrated into the musical program, though not
particularly memorable at the end of the night. Colorguard performed well,
especially on flags. Nice color choices, and very classy uniforms. I noticed
the scores in Colorguard from the night before, and kept my eyes open in
anticipation of anything unusual in their performance. Apparently they were
"ON", and definitely earned their colorguard placement this night. Some
things standing in their way right now appear to be the second-to-last
production that seems to wander, and general musical balance issues that are
quite within their grasp as we close the season. If they do their homework I
think they'll be quite exciting in Madison, and definitely in that 5-6-7
mix. I'm sure they were frustrated at not being able to crack that 90
barrier, but a good performance nonetheless.
Final scores you already know.
This was the first time I have heard the new Grand Finale tunes. "America"
is nice, but I like "God Bless America" even better. I was quite amazed at
how good this sounded, and it's obvious that every brass section out there
was playing the "music" and not just blowing their brains out. That was
especially nice to hear.
It started to rain during the announcements of the scores. Not a downpour,
but good motivation for the corps to leave the field quickly.
Cavaliers stayed and played their encore, much to the delight of the
audience! Percussion warm-up, then the brass line played "Jupiter" from "The
Planets". Next up was a standstill of their opener. Then, "Stars and Stripes
Forever" which I must assume is their parade tune? Finally, they closed with
"Somewhere Over The Rainbow". I love this tune and they played it
Denver needs to host DCI Finals. Great crowd, great stadium, great sound,
great weather, great evening of drum corps!!!!!!
Hope you like my first review of the season.
Drum Corps "Insider"
PS -- I ran into Steve Vickers after the show on the main concourse. It was
nice to catch up with Steve, and we talked about his great efforts in
putting out the History of Drum Corps book -- fun times!
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