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

Page Two of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Sunday June 23

San Diego, CA (DCI Pacific)

San Diego Alliance - Div III - (Sorry, I missed the score and the announcer was only saying the scores once) They were the show sponsors. Small corps but surprisingly good. 9 horns - which are much better than the last few years horn lines. Drums fell apart in a few places. Seems like they could teach Impulse (this year) a thing or two about what it means to be "Drum Corps".

Word to show sponsors (all) - make sure that you have lots of small bills on hand to make change at the ticket booths. There was a hold up 'cause they ran out of change. word.

And while I'm at it, If I hear one more corps march themselves off the field by THUMP,... THUMP,.... THUMP,... I'm afraid that I might start yelling something. Request/require that the corps play a street beat - something. Anything. PLEEEASE.

Impulse - Div II - 57.55 - Oh my, a slightly smaller corps as compared to last year. The opener was frack city. There are sooo many rough/weak spots and the show is definitely unfinished. Right now they're missing the mark(?) on the positive, fun impressions that they made last year. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a fan, and the show has a lot of potential, And I know that this is just June - I just expected a little more from them. Since last year. My advice, have Fun, but execute what you do well.

Esperanza - Div II - 65.85 - Show started off exciting and then got boring. I couldn't tell you what music they were playing 'cause like so many other corps - it was nearly unrecognizable. Smaller but better horn line than Impulse. They have some people who can really play and someone next to me commented that if they had G bugles, they'd just about pin your ears back. Overall the show had some good spots, the Guard was Great and the drum were so-so (IMO) with not such a demanding book - but clean when necessary. I liked the new uniforms.

Pacific Crest - Div I - 65.2 - 55 horns. Holly-Smolly, I LIKE THIS SHOW!! A complete package and the best show that I've ever heard from them. Top 12 material. Corps is built for the long run, period. PC Rocks. Wow. Wowow.

Victory Concert was done by PC. I moved down right by the drum majors and then they just let it rip. Pow! Right in the ears! Very classy and they performed like pro's. Jeeze, if I only had $100k I'd send them to finals.

Dan Saeger

The San Diego Alliance hosted their home show at Helix HS in San Diego. The stands are rather low and their is the obligatory track, so my observations do not include much as far as clarity of sets. In order of appearance:


Silver - 57.55, Impulse
46 brass, 4/3/5/4 battery, 7 pit, 16 CG
"I Love Lucy" is the theme for this show. It is full of the usual Impulse antics, including the dizzy redhead herself. The show opens (and closes) with the theme music from the timeless TV series. I hope they can get the tempos up as it looks and sounds a little lathargic. The corps doesn't seem as strong as they were at the same point last year, specifically in the battery. That was one of their strong suits in 2001, but there seems to have been a drop off in the individual talent level and definitely in overall numbers. They are not bad though, just not as good as 2001...yet. The brass sound can be somewhat harsh and will need to be focused. They seem to be playing more for the GE aspect and will need to shore up the execution aspect as time goes on. With this type of show, that approach can be understandable.

The snare line does some nifty work on MYLAR heads during the first half of the drum break. I had almost forgotten that warm and completely readable sound that they were able to produce. There was a noticable drop off in projection and clarity once they switched back to the Kevlar. They really play up the use of the mylar heads before the show as the cymbals work the audience holding up one of the snares along with a sign stating "IT'S MYLAR!!!".

The "Lucy" character has some effective moments although there are times where it is a bit too much. Ok, here it is...I half to report that IMPULSE MARCHES WOODWINDS in this show!!!!!!!!! Ok, ok, so Lucy simply uses a saxamaphone as a prop as she is ever trying to get into Ricky's show. She finally succeeds and is given a "solo" in Pagliacci, albeit on the smallest pair of crash cymbals you have ever seen. Still, she is vindicated and all is well in Lucy-ville.

As a side not, Impulse members receive college credit through Cerritos College ala "Spirit of Somewhere Down South, Kind of Over There Near, in a Broad Geographical Sense, Atlanta, Although In An Entirely Different State, Which is Known as Florida".

Gold - 65.85, Esperanza
26 brass, 4/3/5 battery, 11 pit, 29 CG
This is a corps to watch in Div. II. They are going to Madison this year and I expect them to be very competitive. The first thing to notice is their new uniforms. After competing in retired HS band unis the last couple of years, the corps now has specially designed burgandy, silver, and black unis, not completely unlike SCV's in tunic design. There are subtle differences including a somewhat curved silver stripe and the burgandy shoulder panel that continues onto the back of the tunic. They also wear black cadet shakos so the total package is only vaguely SCV in nature.

I will start with the historic strength of this corps which is unashamedly the guard. This guard has been Div. I quality for the last couple of years (WGI Open Class Bronze medalist in 2002). In fact, the corps was the natural extension of the Esperanza de Luz winter guard (actually 2 guards were on the floor in 2002), so the support base was somewhat in place for this new facet. The corps began by playing on band instruments, using the aforementioned band unis. This allowed for measured growth which included hosting one of the most successful drum corps shows in San Diego's history. This group is 100% drum corps now and seems to be on an upward tear.

Their 2002 program begins and ends with two works by Joel McNeely. Although I was not familiar with these works, I found them approachable and powerful. The package as a whole is very mature. The drumline is well-taught and the hornline has a mature sound, even while they are moving, which they do quite a bit. Individual marching is good, but will get better. There is a good amount of body work and some interesting drill within the horns. I wish I could have seen the sets from up high. You could see things were clicking from the ground level as forms looked sharp, especially for June. While I didn't exactly go home humming these tunes, I wasn't alienated in hearing them for the first time either. There were several moments during the show that you find yourself thinking, wow, THAT was good. Keep an eye on these guys as the season progresses.

Bronze - 52.6, Alliance
9 brass, 5/2/3 battery, 9 pit, 4 CG
Ok, almost every show that I have ever been to, there is at least one corps that gets "courtesy applause" for their effort. Sometimes is is because they are young and inexperienced or maybe very small in numbers. When I heard that Alliance would only field 9 horns, I thought that this might be "courtesy applause" time. I had checked out their drumline before the show and was impressed at the improvement over last year (remarkable actually) and I was thinking that I was going to see an 8 minute drum solo with horn accompanyment. Let me be the first to say I WAS WRONG!!!! If there has ever been a corps to get more out of 9 horns then I would like to see it. It wasn't as if they were overplaying to compensate. They just made it a point to hit the impact points cleanly which translated into better sound projection.

Their program includes selections from the film "The Usual Suspects". The balance between brass and percussion is not a problem (their pit is as large as their hornline!). Although fewer in numbers (brass and CG only) I would say that this corps has improved greatly over 2001. Hopefully, thay can pick up another couple of players to fill out the line. The cg could use some numbers as well. Their show was entertaining from start to finish. Drill is a challenge due to the small numbers, but they seem to move well. The drumline is solid and will improve. They had reportedly lost their #1 bass earlier in the week. The remaining 3 covered nicely and there were no audible holes in the book.

Notice their score was a mere 4.95 behind the much larger Impulse!

Div. I

Gold - 65.2, Pacific Crest
55 Brass, 9/4/5/4 battery, 9 pit, full guard
PC plays excerpts from various Cirque du Soliel productions. The musical presentation has several "in your face" moments. The opening drill has some interesting motion in the horns. The ballad is exceptional with interesting textures from the battery. The tenors play an ostinado pattern on a LP Latin block with their left hands while the right hands play around the drums using a puffy mallet. Very tasty! They also have a different pitched Latin block on their right hand side. The snares play on a rack of cymbals (ala BLAST). They seemed to have had some clarity problems after that segment as they were crab-stepping across the front sideline. Undoubtedly this gray matter was drill related and they should have no problem getting that clean.

The horn line plays with a balanced sound and can get LOUD when it is called for. Some nice soloists, particularly the baritone. The pit and battery are playing some notes (nice to see from someone who can pull it off!) and are well-trained. They have the look and sound of an elite corps and they seem to have a program to match. It appears to be challenging enough, yet well within the grasp of this talented group. I can't wait to see them again in 3 weeks! In my opinion (and I know it is early) the 12th place corps in Madison this summer should be glad that PC won't be there. I'm not saying they would be a shoe-in as the competition is fierce at that level, but they would have a great shot. Their score tonight is not much of a barometer and won't be until they are up against other Div. I corps. We shall see.

California Dream Senior
Standstill Exhibition
OLD GUYS ROCK! Ok so they don't all have the chops they once did. They were loud and entertaining. They began with a color pre which I appreciated. They play a couple of classics including the SOA off the line from 1978 (I beleive) and Chuck Mangione's El Gato Triste (although played by many corps, I was personally most familiar with the North Star version). The drumline quite honestly needs to woodshed some basics to get those old muscles to do what they once were capable of. All in all it was a fun program and they were a great audience for Pacific Crest's victory concert.

I apologise for any typos or other mistakes as I am not about to proofread this at midnight. Monday morning looms ahead....


Woodstock, IL (DCM)

Woodstock, IL. Dick Tracy Days. A parade and a festival, with lots of hot food, cold beer old friends and drum corps. Got to love it, lots of fun. Sorry no scores, but I do remember the placements.

Phamton Regiment 1st
I believe they will clean this show and when they do, they will find themselves in the thick of things in Madison. A good solid display of balance between brass and percussion the entire show. Very nice guard uniforms and I loved the segment with the rifles. The percusion section has awesome technique and the bass line is one of the best I have seen in a long time. The brass section gave me goosebumps at times. I wish they would bring back the dark uniforms. Please! Great performance.

Madison Scouts 2nd
Someone needs to slow down, take some time and clean this mess. The guard is improving and was not as distracting. Both brass and percussion were alot less aggressive and the quality of sound was more musical because of it. Still not as smooth and as fluid with the marching, but they did look more confident with the program.

Blue Knights 3rd
Their drill is very complex and confusing. Way too much back field playing. I almost thought I was on the wrong side to view this show. Visually they need to add some color, any color will work. I really tried to enjoy this performance, but you guy's lost me. Brass is not as tight as the percussion section. Overall they sounded alot stronger than when I seen them in Oswego. Maybe they will grow on me as the season progresses.

Southwind 4th
Their progranm was a bit congested at times visually. Their show started well and by the end I had lost interest. Both brass and percussion had some very nice, strong moments, but again it prescinded. With the size of this corps I would expect more volumne, but it never came. The guard showed some good use of equipment and I thought they held up their end very well throughout.

Capital Sound 5th
I enjoyed this show and it appears the kids do as well. There is some good old music to like, a wide open and spread drill to enjoy and some nice effects from the guard. Some very nice entertaining moments from time to time. Perhaps alittle more volume from both the brass and percussion is needed to create some impact.

Blue Stars 6th
Holding nothing back with this years program. Tough music and lots of exciting movement. Still lots of cleaning to be done, but this corps is solid. Don't change a thing. They are only a few weeks away from really pulling this show together and I look forward to seeing this show again.

Kilties 7th
The brass sound was full, rich and beautiful. Nice blend and balance with outstanding solo work. This show would be better appreciated without the use of field percussion. They are very disturbing. Added concert percussion, orchestra percussion and trap set instrumentation, would allow for the musical program to be more accessible. What impressed me tonight was, they marched very well, maybe because of their size. With only four guard, a far less traditional and a far more contemporary creative approach is disperately needed if there is to be any significant visual score. A few radical changes and this show's potential may blossom by DCA.

Glory Cadets 8th
Was alittle late and missed their show.

Racine Scouts 9th
I thought this corps just might top their hometown seniors. What grabbed me about this show was how hard these kids are trying, maybe too hard. I would like to see this corps relax and just perform. The percussion section seems to be alittle stronger than the brass at times, but that could be because of the lack of brass members. As with most of the other corps, they are still a little rough.

Jim "Insanity" Schehr

Unfortunately the web site that I had used listed the show starting at 7:30, but it actually started at 6:00. Got there in time for intermission... Oh well, was still able to enjoy Scouts, BK, Southwind, & PR. 2nd viewing of all but Southwind.

Enjoyed the Scouts, but something is missing. Was sitting low on the bleachers and expected to have the skin peeled off my face - never happened. Maybe it was just me, but the show didn't seem to have much sizzle. The brass caption scores are good, so maybe it was just me. Guard - loose the warm-up costumes. Concentrate on cleaning your show instead.

BK - This show is growing on me. I like the music and with some adjustments the drill will be OK. BTW - they did get that skin peeled off my face. Have read a lot of comments about the guard uniforms (or lack thereof). No big deal, some people must not get out much. On the other hand, I'm not sure what the design contributes to the show either. I thought BK had a good shot at topping the Scouts last night.

Southwind - 1st viewing this year and I like this show much better than last year's. The music is much better. Drill got very sloppy on the closer. Look forward to seeing you again.

PR - I realize that my opinions are biased, but this show is great. The ballad brings tears to my eyes and sends shivers up my spine. The combination of the music and the guard's flag work is outstanding. Still some cleaning to do and I agree with some others - the ending could use a little more sparkle.

Sorry I missed everyone else. Was my first opportunity to see the Kilties and Blue Star, but I'll catch them before the DCM season ends.

On a side note - They have a very healthy swarm of mosquitoes in Woodstock.... WOW.


Saturday June 22

Cerritos, CA (DCI Pacific)

Hi everyone...Just got back from my announcing duties at the first ever Impulse sponsored Southern California Classic, held at the same site as the world-famous Odyssey Classic of the 80's!!! This is a QUICK review, and should NOT be used by the kind folks at Sound Machine!! I will do a better one later...

1) Esperanza - 64.15
The BEST Esperanza ever. New look. Better sound. Exciting and quite loud at times. Guard is fantastic and huge. If there's ever a corps that could start thinking Division 1, it would be Esperanza. They many good things going for them.

2) Impulse - 58.85
Great show put together by all-volunteer organization from the very top on down. Ripe with talent. Nerves seemed to show at times. Many times when the "skit" idea worked great with the audience. BROAD APPEAL TO EVERYONE!! Drum line covered up by relatively strong hornline. Marching not that far behind Esperanza. Best Impulse guard that has a lot of work ahead ot them to put into show--once that occurs, watch out!

3) Alliance - 48.65 (Div. III)
What can you do with just 8 horns?? ASK ALLIANCE!! Much better than last years 14 horns...bigger drum line and smaller guard (only 4???). This group looks great!!! Will represent southern Cal VERY well in DCI!! More aggressive...HARD music book at times. Well coordinated. Just small. This group NEEDS TO RECRUIT!! Way too much talent in the southern Riverside/San Diego county area that is NOT marching with this group...why?? Alliance is set up well...NICE UNIS!!!

DIVISION I 1) Pacific Crest - 63.75
They've done it again. They'll shine forth on the west coast and make the rest of the country wait until they're dang good and ready to on tour. And all the more power to them. They will give the bottom of the top 12 a run for the money--if I could only get the $100K together to send them back! :-) Great show. Fantastic guard. BIG drum line. Some tempo issues, probably nerves. LOUD horns at times. Great book written by Dale Leaman. PC will roll again and wow the audiences.

SoCal Dream - new senior corps
If there is ever a group that I see the greatest of futures for, it's SoCal Dream!!! Folks, it's Renegades minus 45 horns. These were the loudest 21 horns I've ever heard. I saw folks in that hornline I haven't seen in years. And if they all could just recruit one horn player each, it would be scary. These guys are good. The numbers will grow...but it was quite exciting to see. If you are in southern California and have been waiting for the next hobby/activity/sport to try out, TRY SO CAL DREAM!!!

Better synopsis later...gotta go back to the Fire Department! CHOW!! I mean, CIAO'!!!

Ryan H. Turner

Orlando, FL (DCI Atlantic)

Crowd was big, which was good considering it had rained hard on and off all day. I was in one of the few seats that were covered by the upper deck, but even that was not always dry, as the people next to me found out, the upper deck leaks bad.

2.Teal Sound: I liked last year's Symphonic Metallica better.

1.Magic of Orlando: Glad to see them back, as was the crowd, probably already better this year than in 1999. The have a great foundation on which to work, good drill in the closer, and some great hits. The corps looked pretty young, but could end up top 12 easily.

6.Kavaliers: Better than I remember them in previous years, but not as good as Magic. Still had a pretty good show.

5.Spirit: Much better than in recent years, show will be good if they clean it up.

4.Carolina Crown: I like the show better than last year, I think tonight was the first show of the year for the corp, so you could see the jitters.

1.Cavaliers: Boy did I love this show, as did the crowd. Great music, and wonderful drill. Scored over 81!!!

2.Cadets: Topped Blue Devils for the corps first show of the year, could be good, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy was awesome!!!

3.Blue Devils: How come they always dress the guard like clowns? Liked the show, but seemed to lack a large dynamic range.


This is being typed up at 1:37 AM so deal with grammar or anything else the does harm to the English written word OK..

TEAL SOUND/ 49.80 (div2 SHEETS)
SMALLER THEN LAST YR.. Dave Matthews music. bit of a hard sell..some good moments.. drum line is the jewel of the corps.. teal needs more horns!!!!! BUT snares lose the projectors.. to to TO loud.. over all good show.

MAGIC/73.4(div2 SHEETS)
OH MY LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what a difference 2 year off does... new unis ( I hated the bell hop suits) you can tell gino is in Orlando.. almost the loudest horn line tonight.. drum line was tasty and the whole group showed a lot of emotions, they look like and sound like they are out to prove something .. good to see you back in action... I see a world title in the future( even if it is div2) its still world champs.. MUSIC.. didn't really know what they where playing .. but I liked it.


SUPERHERO SHOW??? very good crowd show. every one knew the music for this show... heard it from the walk way..

CROWN / 62.5
I have to say I watched the show and I cant remember a thing about it other then a smoking drum line.. lotsa meat in this show ... just the over all package didn't make me retain the experience.. don't know if the show will keep them in the top 12?? we shall see

SPIRIT / 63.50
the corps on the move .. cool show .. drum line was nice.. package had its hiccups and pot holes but who doesn't this time of yr.. I see them moving up this yr..

BLUE DEVILS / 77.15 JAZZ is back and it is good!! wow drum line rocked. hornline loudest in show..color guard clean a the unis are bright BRIGHT, did I mention BRIGHT.. I see the top four easily. hard work and time they have a run for the title..

CADETS / 78.40
FIRST SHOW .. and WOW they where good. you could tell they where having first show gitters in some spots.. nice score for the first viewing. top 2 I would guess.. the swing ending isn't done( source from the in side "old marching buddy teching")yet. they should catch cavies soon.. good luck ..

(souvie note ) CADETS souvie staff ORDER MORE OF THE FLEXFIT MAROON HATS ... these are the coolest hats I have ever seen. it looks like fitted hats but they are 83% acrylic/15%wool/2%spandex so they FLEX to fit your head. WOW neat idea. I have always hated it when my hair pops out of the hole in the back of a one-size-fits all hat.. GET ONE YOU WILL LOVE IT >AND THAT I PROMISE<

AND THE SHOW IS THE SHOW TO BEAT THIS YR..totally new marching program from what you have seen with cavies.. they are using the raw power in this show... running their butts off ,, drumline: they are cloned from some weird drum universe, ( MACHINES I TELL YOU MACHINES ) they are as clean as the hood of a show room corvette.. hope the peek to early bug doesn't hit them like it did devils last yr..

THE TWO LINE RUNNING INTO THE FRAMES DURING THE DRUMS SOLO .. OH MY GOD!!!!! someone is going to die.. ( one move where the solo colorguard is on the 50 yardline before the big move he got tagged by a sop in the head (OUCH)) GOOD LUCK..

RETREAT.. THE AMERICA AND O CANADA... not the same, no volume, miss the old one, I like my skin peeled off after a show... sorry rewind and replay the old one..

Thank god the rain stopped I was going to go crazy if I didn't get to see my one show of the yr.. buuuuttttt next yr I get a whole week. of corps in fl.. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! life will be good.. !!!!!!!!!!!!!! maybe I will get another flexyfit hat from cadets??? who knows.. I swear it is a cool souvie!!!!

Clay Johnson
Caption head Warner Christian Academy

The Citrus Bowl was packed down to the 5 yard lines--quite a feat considering the day's rain. BD's scheduled clinic was reduced to a noisy standstill under the stands. 75 degrees and clear at show time, dropping into the 60's for a wonderfully entertaining evening of drum corps.

Teal Sound - Music from Dave Matthews Band. Beautiful blue flags in ballad. Man in pit, flailing his long, curly hair was distracting and way "over the top." This show is not yet complete.

Magic - New staff, new marchers, basically a new corps -- UNBELIEVABLE. Corps proper has beautiful purple jackets with small red sash which look stunningly vibrant and give a wonderful presence. Tight gray pants on guard guys looks tragic. The crowd was quite enthusiastic. Impact points are well conceived but need more volume to maximize their effectiveness. There were many very clean rifle and saber tosses and some very effective and large drill moves such as block forms that are twisting and floating. Some cool, well-written arrangements -- particularly beautiful during the ballad, with horns sounding so rich and nicely balanced. The horn's drill during drum solo was very effective -- with drifting vertical line to box, to line, to new box -- the crowd loved it! They have excellent field coverage. Then to cap off a great show, they have a stunning final 30 seconds of kaleidoscopic visual moves -- reminiscent of Star's "Pines" ending (stars to boxes to crosses). Magic ended in a block M to a standing ovation. Though they could have been louder, they were very impressive and exceeded my expectations. Welcome back!

Kiwanis Kavaliers - Beginning of Superheros show starts haunting and beautiful with many evolving geometric and block forms. They display beautiful gold capes for about 3 1/2 seconds. There must be a better way to utilize them -- such a waste. The music is quite recognizable and a real hit with the audience. Impact points were louder than Magic. The slow song needs something -- more visual intrigue. The musical book is fun and well-written. It is challenging but not over their heads -- bravo. The sextet in Johnny Quest with horn line doing a "monkey dance" had the crowd howling. Horn sound was quite ragged toward the end. When the guard work is complete and the show cleans up, this is going to be such a treat for the "newcomer" fan.

Carolina Crown - Mythology. I think the guard was aiming for a Toga look -- but the pastel, one-shoulder, "pretty little sun dresses" on the guys are a hoot (take your camera for this memorable Kodak moment)! You know what they say about the ancient Greeks? I'm sure there were many in the audience who loved it. Anyway....Crown has a cool show with well-written drill -- though intervals are still a mess. The guard displayed some excellent tosses and utilized lightning bolts and bows and arrows (sabers). Though incomplete, they are going to have an excellent saber line -- and fun to watch. They have a gloriously emotional and regal ballad. Unfortunately, the last 5 seconds of the show have no real feeling of finality and left the crowd saying, "Is it over?". With cleaning, more guard work, better horn endurance, and a "beefed-up" ending, this will be a very pleasant show.

Spirit - The Baby Blue looked great under the lights, with the guard in pretty burgundy velvet. They wailed to "Georgia" -- Just kidding (wishing)! "Darkness to Light" opens with such mean, violently aggressive sounds building to a powerful climax in a cross formation (no -- not a religious show). Excellently in-tune high soprano "stabs" were so accurate and strong. Spirit's hornline has many impact points with fine balance and blend -- very mature for this time of year. There is a lot of difficult backwards marching, but not enough field coverage. Also, there are several short spots that are too slow with small step sizes. However, they have some amazing extended visual moves. There is a wonderful inverted chevron that rotates, collapses, then reverses direction and unwinds (similar to some classic SCV moves). The audience ate it up! Extremely clean for June - with nice intervals throughout. The closing drill evolutions were super. Great job Spirit!

Blue Devils - Guard has multicolored, paneled costumes in purple, red, orange, and black, with red derbies (attractive, but different for Devs). The show starts with excellent solos and very sassy, but cute ragtime with adorably fitting Bob Fosse choreography (did I really use "cute" and "adorable" to describe BD?). The crowd was instantly into this show. The running spiral in the horns got quite a cheer. Even my Mom would love this! -- (not your typical Devils opener). 2nd number had some very sultry parts, skilled soloists, fun walking bass in "I got Rhythm." This tune "cooks" and shows off great trumpet technique -- another happy tune, occasionally with an "edge" -- certainly not straight ahead. Trumpet soloist squealed higher than a dog whistle -- to the crowds delight. In the 3rd (production) number, the hats came off the guard revealing 8 featured dancer babes with the most long, beautiful hair in Drum Corps. This entire guard can really dance! "House of the Rising Sun" has an ensemble trumpet feature that actually shows off pedal tones -- and effectively, I might add! Tight "stabs" provide a very exciting and cool transition into Channel 1 suite, which instantly provided chills to the old-timers. The challenging and fast horn licks are so clean and exciting and the drum line "rocks." The guard work (so fun to watch) is not yet complete. The crowd remained thrilled and electrified until the final minute in which the music seemed to lose its fun, jazzy, hip feel and was too overwritten. It sounded as if they slammed in every Channel One lick in every possible key with such "sophistication" that it lost the crowd. I hope they'll rewrite the end - If so....they may actually win over my Mom as a BD fan - MIRACLE!

Cadets - Their 1st show of the year -- and what a crowd pleaser! This is a fun, patriotic, "pull the heart strings" production that had the audience eating out of their hand from the "get go!" The guard, each in individually designed 40's swing dance attire, is so skilled with character acting, dance and equipment work. They are a blast to watch, yet do not overpower this beautifully designed show, which starts with them in the role of busy, bustling New Yorkers, but quickly breaking into a happy swing feel. Notice the inverted American flag form with guard in its bottom right corner (many subtle but effective variations to follow). First real impact point has great power. They have such a mature, well-ballanced sound. The 2nd number is filled with many fine soloists producing sexy, sultry feels followed by a visual and musical accellerando that got the crowd buzzing. Then as the horns play a gorgeous ballad, the drums produce an extremely effective military rumble way backfield. The ladies in the guard are checking the newspaper in angst. This is a cool effect. However, the guard guys are on the front sidelines changing into soldier costumes (while stripping down to their white boxers and T-shirts). The audience let out an appropriately funny wolf whistle and lots of laughter. This really didn't distract from such a fun-loving show. The ballad builds to a glorious crescendo. Wow! 6 drum sets on risers and 10 boxes for dancers fill the stage for the best production number seen in a while during Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy! Done in Cadets fashion with swing dancing, partnering, fun flag and rifle exchanges on boxes (from guys, caught by girls), waillin' trumpet feature, waillin' mellophone feature and "jam out" ensemble feature! Unbelievable energy and so much to watch. There is a wonderful extended snare line feature -- so cool. Builds to expected huge crashes on 2 and 4 with extremely high-velocity guard work. The crowd went wild! - Standing O! The final number has an amazing fast-moving, blurring block formation that morphs and drifts and changes direction with pass-thru's and rotations while getting louder and louder -- so well done. There is another huge Am. flag form with guard in upper left corner spinning solid blue flags. Company front freezes except for front line rifles who excellently execute silent spins and toss while barking out "One, Two,.....Ready, Fire, Release!". So effective. The show ended powerfully and emotionally with rifles flying, an Iwo Jima pose, patriotic musical quotes, and a thrilled, screaming audience!

Cavies - Frameworks was spellbinding, brilliant, smooth yet powerful, artistically mind-boggling -- yet accessible! Guard was in fluorescent trimmed gray body suits that looked like TRON but provided clearly defined lines and made them look so tall. The show's opening impact was not loud enough, but very controlled and beautiful. The marimba sounds are so lush and rich. There is almost a new age or hypnotic feel in the music. There is a huge rifle toss into a hushed company front that is so effective and brought big "OOOH's" from the audience. A large block form unwinds, then rewinds into a triangle which stretches and includes some spooky body work in the horns -- again, the crowd cries out, "WOO!" There was such control, balance, and blend in this gorgeous musical section which brought the crowd to its feet. Notice the many ingenious frames filling this extremely creative show. Everything is so tasteful and artsy, mysteriously awe-inspiring, yet shockingly stunning. I found myself holding my breath through much of the show. Watch for the crab-walking block pass-thru's that morph and rotate at varying velocities. The crowd went WILD during the chant section as the guard forms a very tight block form that is double-framed by the horns who are moving in opposing directions while pounding fists, stomping feet, chanting ever faster, changing speed and direction while the guard performs fast and frantic convulsions of choreographed cacophony! You gotta see it to believe it. Brilliance. Did I mention the drums are going wild?! Did I have to?! And what an amazingly clean percussion section. The snare and tenor features are electric. This show has so many frames and boxes wrapping wildly around and fighting against each other. This show has ripples, company fronts, high speed - I was blown away. Artistry at its finest! Visually enthralling.


Here is a review from the 5th row on the 40...couldn't see forms, but saw feet and heard da sounds...

Teal Sound: Cool show. I was a little apprehensive about trying to pull off Dave Matthews, but they did a good job. Only negative is the hornline needs to use more air. They are small, but they can still put out more sound. "The Space Between" is played by a good sop soloist or two, but there is zero support from the line. Drum section was rockin, and the curly haired dude in the pit had our entire section getting into the show. Visually, they looked good to the point that we could single out the marchers who need work. This corps has a talented staff with a corps director that takes good care of them, GOOK LUCK TEAL!!!!!

Magic: Can I get an Amen? They took the field with such poise, and the crowd gave it up to them. I felt so proud to be an alumnus. Thier show is designed well, and they play with good phrasing, although they have work to do. The soprano feature was hot, keep that up dudes. Visually they have upper body control issues, but that will be fixed I am sure. The battery was cool, but I found points where I needed to be punched in the face, and got a love tap. I thought the timbre in the front ensemble worked nicely, and it created a good color of sound to compliment the horns in the mellow moments. My only big knock is they ran out of gas in the last minute or so. I think Magic is going to make a good run this year. They have the elements. They have the staff. They have the talent. We used to sing "God save those who dream to fly"... Magic is back. I will agree that they are better now than any other Magic at this time. They have a new look, new sound, and they are going to make a new path toward success!!!!

Kawanis Kavaliers: Cool show!!!! The drumline was cool, and the horns had a fat sound at times, but not at all times needed. They have a fun show with a lot of themes folks will recognize, but they also capture the darkness of certain winged crusader themes. Good stuff guys. My big gripe here is they were not too tight visually. Feet were amuck and feet coming through the horns was more than abundant. I am sure they will buckle down on those points and more to make this one fantastic show.

Spirit: Not too much to say. First viewing of the unis, and they look sharp. They got the score they deserved and the placement to boot.

Crown: It was different. The package is there, but they need to work on it. I enjoyed the horn book, and the drumline was solid. My dissapointment was with the color guard. The one male soloist was the only performer projecting to the 'box'. He was the highlight there.

Blue Devils: Jazz, Jazz, but no pizzazz............ c'mon guys. They had a lot of awesome moments, but i wasn't taken anywhere. The phrases didn't evolve musically or visually. I want Channel One to make me scream, and I yawned. The soloists were great though. The sops where hot, and the low brass sounded like a big ole pipe organ. I think I will love the show when they finish it. Some buddies indicated to me that the show isnt complete...probably why one particular dance feature was less than stellar for any corps. C'mon boys, reach down there and get it!

Cadets: Y'know....a lot like '95 (in fact nearly identical) BUT WHO CARES!!!! This show is awesome! It was so much fun to see them perform. I was sitting in my seat tickled that these young people can make an audience feel what they were generating. Laughs, foot stompin, singin, and hootin and a hollerin!!! Good Show!!!! This show is gonna rock every house it goes into this season! I simply adore the way thier color guard performs. They all project, and they all bring the audience right on the field with them! Way to go Cadets!!!!

Cavaliers: 3 peat is it? I noticed at one visual moment, the hornline was all showing the three fingers thrust out to signify what they plan on having this season. I don't think anyone will contend. Devs will be great, but the show doesn't have 'it'. The Cadets will also be phenominal, but they don't have what the Cavis have.... a production that is demanding visually, musically, and most importantly, on the indivudual performer. If one person doesn't perform thier keester off, the production is blown. So many nice moments. The soprano trio was in tune, balanced, and they were about 15 yard from one another. The theme of the show is firmly adhered to by all aspects, and the three elements of the ensemble (brass, drums, cg) make this production absolutely phenominal.

Overall, I was proud to see a lot of guys and gals who were the little kids I aged out with in some fantastic corps doing fantastic things. It was a great evening of drum corps.... although there was no beer.... but it was worth the $18. Good luck to all in '02!!!!

Chad Kirk

A wet Citrus Bowl venue didn't stop the stands from filling. My first show this year so wasn't expecting much but fate had other ideas. A general note to the Majors, put a little "UMPH" into it, otherwise I was watching a breathing metronome.

Div II

Teal Sound - Has potential if they'd play something intelligible, while I know Dave Matthews, this didn't play well. Also, corps watch your Major. There were synching problems (especially guard) and it showed that the arranger, drill and guard were all in different states when this was put together. Your Major is the one who helps bring you all together on the field. This was certainly in evidence during retreat when half went to parade rest and the other half didn't even pay attention to her.

Orlando Magic - Great performance. Shouldn't be back in Div I until finances are in order for a year but by 2003 should be back as a tenacious contender. Great teamwork and visual, keep it up and they'll be back Div I in no time. Word of advice for the guard, if you're going to keep the sprauyed on velvet look, dance belts for the men, please.

Div I

Kavaliers - Great music selection, everyone knows the words, lol. Trick is to visually keep the audience interested and paying attention to the music. Show needs tightening.

Crown - One word - mess. Change the guard uni's NOW. Great golf tans on some folks but the guys need to not look like Disney's Hercules cartoon. Also think of COLOR. All those pastelly muted colors did nothing for the show. Way too distracted by the guard to pay too much attention to the corps.

Spirit - Did not remember much about their show except that it was a college band, yes band, not corps. Needs to get back to Atlanta. Did Ray Charles write "Alabama"?

Devils - Great jazz performance by the corps. The guard could have been a bit more subdued (color) and less "Fosse" but they melded into the show well. With some tightening up could be a contender.

Cavaliers - Excellent blend of music and visual. Wonderful musical selection and integration of guard with corps. Frames is the drill to match or beat this year. Crowd pleaser and motivator.

Cadets - Excellent emotional show and Cadets have the talent to give it to you. For the 1st show of the season, they rocked. Cadets need to tighten up the ending and get keep the crowd on their feet after Boogie Woogie. Their visuals are engaging and the music stirring but it needs a punch "up" at the end to keep the crowd on its feet.


Sorry I'm just a bit late getting this in, but was doing the "Disney" thing on Sunday, then flying back home to Texas.

First, let me say that this was a great show! Nice big crowd in a great stadium. As usual, the weather in Orlando was less than good, but once the show was ready to start it more or less stopped raining for the night. It was obvious that wet guard equipment was not easy for the guard members to use, but no falls in the horn line that I remember at all.

TEAL SOUND -- small corps always seem to be the most painful to watch in the early season. This corps really turned it on towards the end of last season & I'm sure they will again. It was nice to see someone doing "popular" music, that's for sure. And kudos to the pit member who really "rocked out" -- long hair & all. If the corps can find that kind of enthusiasm, they will be more than ok.

MAGIC of ORLANDO -- WOW! Are they ever back, and with a vengeance. I loved just about everything about this show. They have assembled a "superstar" design team, and it really shows. Musically, very, very enjoyable. Exciting, melodic & difficult. The drill is demanding & interesting. Great volume from the horn line too. Are they dirty? Of course -- it's June. I know they are going to destroy Division II (STUPID MOVE, DCI -- just like your Quarterfinals decision regarding Div. II, III). Where will they place overall in Madison? Really hard to say at this point. Could be anywhere from 16th to 12th, I would say. Will say, it's one of the most enjoyable shows I've ever seen Magic do, one of my favs for the night. WELCOME BACK!!!

KIWANIS KAVALIERS -- I guess I was expecting a little more from the merger & size of Kiwanis. I think the problem for me was the musical arrangements. They don't go enough places & only tease you with some really familiar stuff without ever playing full melodic statements that were recognizable from Batman & Superman. That being said, this corps is definitely moving in the right direction. It would be great to see a corps from Canada in Finals again. This year? Probably somewhere from 16th to 18th.

SPIRIT -- My, are they primed for a run a finals. As someone else in the stands said, "they are going for finals -- picking music that says to hell with the fans, let's play for the judges." Musically, they are ok, but not overly rousing or exciting (again, could in part be an early season phenomenon). Drill wise, much improved. While guard is improved, it is still a weak point in comparison. They bested Crown tonight, and should have -- but remember, it was Crown's 1st show or the season. Will be an interesting battle to watch. I think Spirit is definitely in the 13th-11th range.

CROWN -- Hmm, I wanted to really enjoy this show. Only enjoyed it though, not loved it. (Again, it's early). Show does have some interesting potential. I was disappointed with Drill (I miss the old, mid-to-later 90s drill with Crown). The worst complaint? THE GOD-AWFUL uniform the guard is in. Actually so bad, it distracted me from watching the show at times, with the soft yellow and "peach" colored attempts at togas. YUCK -- and especially on the guys. As usual, the guard is going to be strong, and I was really impressed by their drum line. Could see them anywhere from 13th to 10th by DCI.

CAVALIERS -- My oh my, what a visual show!!! Just awesome to watch. Musically? My oh my, what a visual show!!! Uh...... Ok, I agree with what some other poster had said. LOVED them in 2000, both musically and visually. Loved the visual show in 2001, liked the music ok. In 2002, love the visual show and can't even find a musical show to evaluate. Come on, Cavaliers! You are wasting a great visual show (Very exciting, all on it's own) with sub-par music. Difficult, to be sure, but un-inspiring -- especially in the first half of the show. And where oh where is the volume? THE CADETS (THAT'S RIGHT, THE CADETS) LITERALLY BLEW THE CAVALIERS OFF THE FIELD WITH VOLUME). I noticed that Cavies are already selling their new horns after this season -- maybe they are part of the problem. (Bb -- yuck!). All being said, the visual is so strong, I still really enjoyed this program. The chant/box thing is all it's cracked up to be and more -- pulls you out of your seat & makes you yell like Drum Corps used to do! (God, I sound like an old-time when I say that, and I marched in the 90s!).

CADETS -- Wo-hoo! Is this going to be fun! After kind of making me waver in the late 90s, they are definitely back in my "favorites camp" along with a few others. This show is good, old-fashioned drum corps and George Hopkins -- THANK YOU!!! This show is wall to wall fun, and they have one hell of a horn line (Remember, I think this was their first show of the year!) The volume was just tremendous! When, before the last 2 seasons, could I have said that they are the loudest corps at a show? Probably Never! But, they are "blow the house down" loud this year, without losing musicality. The drill is great, and the show is moving and patriotic. I don't think they know what to do with the end yet, as they have an unbelievable ending from the 95 show to live up to, but it's June. The guard is solid (I read where April is back?), look out in Madison in August! The rifle spinning is chilling (why don't more corps do this? So simple, yet so GE-filled) The corps is dirty, and I agreed with placing them below Cavies right now, but not by the spread. Drill wise, I would like to see more "meat," meaning there are parts of the show where they don't move enough, but I'd say they have a great show at winning in Madison. And if not, who honestly cares, because they will win the heart of the crowd. THAT's what I used to love about Cadets -- their "heart" in the 80s & early to mid 90s. AND it's back, big time.

Blue Devils. uhhhhhhhhh....hmmmmm..... well.... Ok, I have to say this. What the hell has happened to this design team? Maybe the are bored, as others have suggested. This show has the most poorly written music book I've seen in a top 6 corps in a long, long time (I can say that because Glassmen didn't make top 6 with that yawner in 2000). It seems like the idea is "let's see what great music we can take & make as uninteresting as possible. Careful there! that was almost impactful & recognizable -- scratch it!". I was SO disappointed. I was starting to love BD after what I thought were great shows in 97, 98, 99, '00, but after last season and ESPECIALLY this one, all I can say is YUCK! Hopefully, it's just "June" and they can turn it around. Otherwise, they may be looking at their lowest placement in years. I don't know if PR or Glassmen have what it takes to push them or not, but this show goes nowhere until possibly the last 2 minutes or so. Downey put together a much, much better show for Magic than he did for BD.

For the night I'd have to say that the most enjoyable shows came from Cadets, Magic & Cavies. Congratulations to their staffs for giving great vehicles to their kids to perform. From a placements perspective, I really agreed with everything, except the spread from Cavies and Cadets. They announced that Finals will be in Orlando next year. This show was great, but come on! Orlando? I'd rather go back to Buffalo, Madison or the U. of Maryland, or try Denver or Lansing before coming back here. The south is just not a pleasant place to be in August. Get your ponchos Ready!

Harvey "Bud" Phelps

Sorry this review is so late, but I was visiting family in Orlando and also went to Epcot on Sunday.

It rained most of the day but stopped for the most part by show time.

Up first, Teal Sound...very young kids, very early in the season. They had a few nice moments, but their intonation was a little off most of the time. They has some movement and posture problems, but like I just said, very young kids and very early in the season. However, big kudos to the kids for the effort that they put in to the show. The last minute or so isn't finished drill-wise. I know that they will only continue to improve over the course of the season.

Next, Magic of Orlando...I saw them at the Night of Magic in Haines City and they are even more confident and clean now. I thought they did an outstanding job with the show. The drill fits the music, the hornline has wonderful intonation and blend, and they march really well for this time of year. The pit and battery have great parts and the weapons in the great are very nice. Flags are also good but have a few weak spots. However, this corps has nowhere to go but up. Thanks for an awesome show, Magic!

Kiwanis Kavaliers...I like the idea behind the show, Halls of Justice, and the music is certainly recognizable, but right now the corps is way, way dirty. Feet were all over the place, off step several times, and body posture was horrible. The guard has cool uniforms and they use capes for the first few minutes of the show and that was pretty cool. They have a very large drumline, SIX tenors! One girl on the end in the snare line too. Rock on! I have read some reviews where people have said that the hornline sounded good, but tonight I really didn't think so. They had a lot of feet in the horns, muddy runs, fraked notes and a few people overblowing. I can kind of overlook all of this because it is still early in the season, but the thing I cannot overlook is the sound of the hornline. They sound very bright and crass through almost the whole show. I hope that the staff will jump on this and start fixing it right away. When the horns stood still for impacts, they were loud and almost had a warm sound, but there was always some bright soprano sticking through. I hope that they have a successful season, they just need to clean, clean, clean, and add some more interest during the show when the drill kind of lags. Good job to the kids for coming out on a wet field and playing some cool music!

Spirit of JSU...Wow! They got my attention from the very first with some very jabbing and fierce horn hits to open the show. Spirit is playing music that I did not recognize, but I think I would have to hear it a few times, and then I would fall in love with it. I enjoyed their show and think they will be in the hunt for a finalist spot come August. The horns sounded really nice and I really like the guard uniforms and flags used throughout the show. Like Magic they have nowhere to go but up. Good job Spirit and good luck!

Carolina Crown...Hearing that the were playing a show about Greek gods and goddesses, I thought this show would be pretty cool, and I was right! I enjoyed the show concept and most of the design, except for the guard uniforms. The tunic idea is fine, but not pastel colors. Maybe khaki, white, gold, or purple colors, but not pastel. This was their first show and there were the usual problems, dirty feet and some intonation and horn players sticking out of the ensemble, but I see a lot of potential in this show. Give them a few more shows to get a little more confident and for the show to get cleaner and they will be in the hunt for a finalist spot. Nice job, Crown, I enjoyed the show.

Cavaliers...Man, everybody is talking about this show, and now I know why. The show is very well designed, it is innovative, and has some really nice visual moments. However, after the chant section in the box, it just kind of lost steam all the way to the end. But it is June and I cannot even imagine how good the finished/changed/better show will be in August. Thanks for some visual treats, Cavies!

Cadets...HAHAHAHA!!!! Wow, what a show! I know poeple are going to compare it to the 1995 Cadets production, but man, who cares if it is similar?! This show brought tears to my eyes a couple of times because of the American patriotic parts. I have the Andrews Sisters on CD singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and it is the same arrangement that Cadets are doing. It is such a fun, fun tune! And the costumes on the guard were quite good overall (we sell vintage clothing - the actual stuff from the 1940s @ While they were playing the show, I couldn't help but think how fun it must be to be playing in this show. I loved it! Seeing this show was worth the price of admission. I can't believe they are so loud and great this early in the season. I can't wait till August! Thank you Cadets for a great show.

Blue Devils...I was looking forward to seeing BD this year. Sounded like there would be some cool tunes. Well, it is clean and sounds nice. It is not very fun to watch. I was really disappointed in BD's show. It seemed...sterile, generic, like you get it out of a box and it kind of sits there. However, it is early and I know, as the old song goes, "There'll be some changes made". Good job BD, I look forward to seeing you guys later this year.

While I was at Epcot (in the rain all day again) I watched Shockwave twice. The saxes took a few minutes to get used to, but they really added some nice sounds. Shockwave is a nice follow-up to Blast! and the audiences really enjoyed it. Bohemian Rhapsody is great! Nice bald trombonist plays a big fat, opera lady kind of like VK and, "she's" after all the guys on stage. They did Channel One Suite and that was really nice! They opened with God Bless the Child, also very nice...and did an encore of the music that BD played in 1988??? as they exited the field. Sopranos playing some licks while the corps is marching off, you guys know what I am talking about right? Well, my only complaint is the sax soloist improv in the middle of the show. He is really, really good but I thought he went on a bit too long for both performances. A little old lady sitting next to me in a wheelchair was eating the show up! She was clapping and tapping her feet, and she mustered the strength to stand up and clap at the end. It was cool. Go watch Shockwave, I think you'll like it.

Sorry that the review was so long! And late too...
Hopefully, I will be able to get to the San Antonio show later this summer.
Thanks to all of the corps for a nice show in Orlando!

Shane Ainsworth

Probably my only show of the season. We may go up to the mid-season thing.

My perspective - former magic brass instructor, director if Magic when we had to make the decision with the board to keep magic home a few years ago. Assistant Director of Bands at UCF, direct the student musicians at Disney, write for a few high school bands.

I actually took a notebook and made notes and asked opinions of the people around me (group of about 11 UCF band kids - some did corps, others are total bando, a group of moldy oldies behind us, and some newbies in front of us, and some pro musicians I greatly respect both with corps and without corps experience.) Some interesting takes, and thoughts. So for what it's worth, here goes.

Rain had me worried all day. Got to the stadium to catch the BD clinic which had been moved under stands to save the field. Very impressive number of people watching (seemed over 1000). They were watching all around the corps and up in the stairs and ramps. Looked like rock stars in a mall in japan - pretty funny. The content of the clinic was all fluf, not much you can take with you to make your band better, but the kids really enjoyed it. BD played, hard to tell anything because of the venue, drum kids go crazy over mollar (sp?), leads play thinnest double 'c' I've ever heard, but body english and red faces inspire amazing applause. Overall, a great clinic for the kids. I'm sure all of thier bands will be "just like that" this fall ;)

Drumcorps shows are great because of all the old friends you get to see and catach up with. Great to see so many former Magic kids and UCF kids that are doing it - We've got kids in Magic(of course!!), BD, Cadets, Cavies, Crown (drum major woo hoo), Southwind, and Teal. I'm really proud of all of them and wish them well this summer - travel safe guys! Band camp starts monday after finals.

On to the show. As luck would have it, the rain tapered off right after the anthem. The anthem was outstanding - vocal quartet from disney. I was most impressed by how well they handled to stadium PA delay. Anyway, they were great. My seats top of lower tier, right 40 yardline (as you look at the field).

Teal Sound - the music of Dave Mathews is cool stuff. Don't know how well it works outside on the field though in the competitive arena. When you start adding all the drumcorps drumming, the tunes kinda lose thier grooves (one of the attractions of the music in the first place imo). The arrangements are excellent, but too hard for these kids. The percussion line seems really strong but overpowers the brass for most of the show(30ish brass, 20ish perc). Thats hard for me to say, as the instructors are UCF kids and some of our best students. The brass is weak, esp the baritones. I think the ranges in the charts are about a 3rd too high for the trumpets and they struggle often. This is not endurance issues, more technical shortcomings. The trumpet soloist had major intonation problems in the ballad and pulled the whole pitch center of the hornline down. The mellos have extremely high parts on the colortones and exposed runs and just really fall out of the pitches a lot. Visually, the drill seems to be staged well and the colorguard performs extremely well in terms of projection, but the work is more than 70% unwritten and what they have is pretty dirty. The last 2 min or so was performed in a standstill company front as the show is unfinished. I can't argue or defend the score as there is just waay too much stuff not out there yet.

High points - Percussion, nice tunes, guard is good eye-candy
Low points - brass, unfinished show, weak performances visually
If I could change one thing - revoice the trumpets

Blue Magic of Orange County(grin) - Really happy to see them back. This area needs a corps as there are probably over 140 local orlando kids marching somewhere this summer and only 1/2 of them with Magic. This corps will keep them home and that is a good thing. The show left me a little flat. I may have jaded myself in thinking they were going to just wax everybody, but it didn't happen for me. Wayne Downey is my hero, and the hornbook is really excellent, but mostly a rehash of Lassiter HS Boa championship show, so I've heard the arrangements (kinda) before. He has made some different choices, all good. Sometimes the 'drumcorps' musical inserts are a little 'too' clever for this piece, kind of keeps keeps you off balance. You can tell the design team has put a lot of thought into 'moments,' maybe too much thought. They just didn't quite make it tonight. It could have been our vantage point, because it seemed that the people in the middle deck were going crazy. Around us it was more cordial. The pleasant surprise was the percussion and colorguard. The guard book is well thought out and has some excellent phrase endings that get a nice amount of applause. The percussion are equally well thought out and seem very prepared - dirt? yes. Offensive? hardly. The drill is well staged and this is probably the biggest difference from past magic's. The hornline is well trained, but not passionate at this point, very robotic. The bari section is notably strong and has some excellent soli work in the opener. It is a young looking group so they will grow as the season goes on. The last 30 sec of the show is very very very good. This is not a jab at Div 2, but Magic is obviously a cut above. It is ridiculous that they are in this division. A lot of you will say that I haven't seen cascades or Mandarin, but the truth of the matter is, I don't have to. They have never looked or sounded like this, ever. There is a different look and feel to a Div 1 corps and Magic is just on another planet from div 2. To think of Americanos and Blue Stars having to follow Magic later on is actually kinda funny. Sad, but funny. Will they make finals? I don't know. It has that 'look' to it. The staff is certainly capable of getting the kids to that level, and are very experienced in critique (where this battle will be won). At any rate, they are back, they are very good, and they will have a memorable summer.

High Points - training, sound, design, percussion, guard
Low points - seemed a little flat, I don't like the red on the jackets(jmo)
If I could change one thing - Lose the soft opening, put the brass on the front sideline and blow the lid off starting at the first ff and shoot a metaphoric bird at those who thought they would never come back to the field - but that's just me :)

Kiwanis Bay - Love the music. Our group thought they had the first 'moment' of the evening. This show is also very incomplete and has a lot of holes in the drill. Lot's of movement, some cool ideas(we thought we saw the batman signal in the drill opening, but werent sure) but they are filthy so it is hard to tell what is really going on. Guard seems to perform well but again, an incomplete book. The horns have a nice blend, but really break apart in the upper dynamics, lots of individuals. The first 2 minutes of this show had us all looking at each other with our eyebrows raised in a "hmmmm, they may be better than Magic" look. About the 3rd minute, reality sets in - not tonight. The show is just a really long blow for the hornline right now. And the staging is not helping from a demand standpoint. The spreads are HUGE and this really creates issues in the fuller musical sections. Tonight it got progressively worse to where at the end of the show, there is a really nice build into a company front from the 15 to the 15 but we all looked at each other because we knew what it was going to sound like - scary. The kids are out of gas, the spread is immense, the corps is kinda young, and it just leads to anarchy. Whether it's changed or not is not my thing, the design is really nice, it becomes a staff decision if the kids can do it or not. This will clean up into a nice package that the crowd will like. But I don't know if they'll get the numbers.

High points - Music choice, nice beginning, drumline
Low points - the show just died about the 4 min mark
If I could change one thing - close some of the spreads in

Spirit - the first thing I wrote on my pad was "what in the 'f' is this music??" The beginning is very disjuct, very disonant, and nobody around us got it. I admit I don't know the piece and probably should as Holsinger is kinda the flavor of the month in college band music right now. I enjoy his music, but this version of his stuff? Hard to tell. The drill is nice and the staging works well. The opener ended to an ok amount of applause. Another very good drumline that gives a great punch to the ending. The show gets much better from here. The ballad is very very well played and I finally felt I could compare them to last year. They have a much more mature and warm sound and it is well blended. Trumpets are a little thin sometimes, but low bras make up for it. Colorguard is very expressive and have some beautifully designed equipment. The ending production has a heroic and happy feel to it and ends the show off well. My biggest beef with SOJS is that I think they should be much much better this early with the amount of college kids in the hornline. That has nothing to do with anything I'm sure, but I just kept having that thought. The show ends nicely in the same position as it started. They have articulation issues that may haunt them all summer. It is improved performance wise from last year, but when you think back to that haunting backfield train sound from last season (amazing!), this years music choice seems like a step towards obscurity and fan-puzzlement.

High points - nice sounds, good drill, beautiful guard
Low points - design team took themselves waaay too seriously.
If I could change one thing - play "Georgia."

Crown - First judged show of the year. Everyone around us was giggling at the guard uniforms the whole show. Togas in pastel colors. Tasty. I'm a huge fan of M. Shapiro, but the costumes just don't sit right. It actually becomes a distraction. Too woodland nymphy for me. The hornline had the most mature sound up to this point. Very warm and full. They were nervous, they were messy, but the show is very very cool. Drumline, again, strong. Very nice pit writing, nice impacts, much better drill this year, Everybody kept giggling at the guard. The equipment book is excellent. Some great phrasing and nice impacts that got applause. But, at the end of the ballad, when all the boys in the guard did this group jazz-run from the front left 20 to the back left hash 40 through 2 rows of horns, in pastel colored togas, it was a little much, I'm sure you can imagine. I'm also sure there is more intended for this space in terms of props or equipment, but right now - giggles. It's not something you want to make an issue of, but it's all anybody I talked to remembered about the show. I wrote down - really nice hornline, great drumline, great drill. They are just dirty right now. I predict that this show will place higher than Spirit pretty quick. There is just a lot more there and it seems to be planned out a little better than Spirit.

High points - Great horns and drums, really nice total package
Low points - you know
If I could change one thing - you know

The big 3. Before I go on, I want to give Cavies, Cadets, and BD high praise for being so prepared this early. The shows are nearly complete and very entertaining. This is soooo important for DCI as the early season has always been terrible in terms of performances and achievement. Everybody tonight was better than last year this time, but these three showed a commitment to putting out a complete and well performed product from day one. THANK YOU!!

Cavaliers - Best visual program of the night. How does it compare in the cosmic scheme of drill designs? don't know yet. We'll see as the summer progresses. Hornline is warm, in tune, clean, and..... safe. Percussion is outstanding. The pit has a warmth in the metals that is just beautiful. Colorguard looks like extras from Tron. The program is well thought out, fun to watch, and enjoyable for the crowd. The valve tapping thing, and the follow the leader into the 'frame" and choreography is a '10.' Cavies has found a great way to be highly entertaining while keeping to within thier chosen style. The crowd went absolutely berzerk. Cavies also seem to be slipping into formula writing because it gets them results. Kudos to them for keeping it fresh. During the whole show, I couldn't help but feel that something was missing though. I loved it, but couldn't get totally behind it. It is soooo abvious that they are playing the hold it back game at the end of the show. The last big front is mf to a fault and it goes nowhere to the end. I'm sure there are a few changes or additions coming, as well as gently pushing the volume through the season. Great ending design, great standing O - well deserved.

High points - Unbelievable visual package, strong in all sections
Low points - obviously holding back at end(or they are all equally tired??)
If I could change one thing - make the 'dance' feature longer with a bigger ending

Cadets - Cadets have gone through a huge upheaval this offseason. Losing both the brass caption head and drill designer to Magic and having thier music arranger for a very long time retire. They were my biggest question mark going to this season. Combine this with thier notoriety for being very dirty and incomplete early and you can see the recipe for disaster. How do they handle this? By being the best sounding, cleanest looking, most entertaining corps at this show. Congrats George and crew! Well done! Exciting from count 1. Don Hill is my new favorite arranger. the book is fantastic. Reminds me of Jim Prime back in the day (Cadets, Star). You will miss the traditional mello runs, but texture and voicing more than make up for it. They were, by far, the fullest and most aggresive hornline of the evening. If Cavies and BD played like this, I could live with the Bb's. Just amazing. I was sooo happy for those kids. Feetwise, they look much better than usual. The drill, I'm sure, is a work in progress and Marc Sylvester is probably the only guy that can come into cadets and actually be as good or better for them than saktig. They still look great. Colorguard - great, emotional, fun, exciting, pretty clean, excellent phrasing and impacts. Drumline is just great. Energy, fun to watch. But the story for me was the hornline. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy is going to be THE moment of the summer when they get a few little theatrical issues worked out. The key change is a '10' and it just rocks. The crowd didn't give them what I'm sure they design team wanted, but they will figure out how to make that pop. People in the stands were funny about the drumset thing - "oh, WE'VE seen THIS before!" and then saying "Why can't BD go back to what they USED to do??" Just makes me laugh. Everybody just wants to find the fault in everything rather than whats good in it. Back to Cadets - It's hard to comment on the visual because you know it's going to change. But I feel comfortable saying that this is the strongest 'first draft' they have had in a few years. Before they performed, we were all thinking 3rd, during and after, we thought they would be close to cavies and maybe finish 1st. I consider myself a convert for this year.

High points - Best Hornline of the night, most fun program, most energetic colorguard, most fun drumline, best music choice by far.
Low points - drill is a work in progress, a few programming issues in the theatrics of the presentation leave it a little short in the crowd department from what it will be.
If I could change one thing - Get the drum major involved with the crowd before the tpt feature and that will solve most of the problems. More whooping it up from the field!!

BD - Again, Wayne Downey is my hero, but whoa. This is his most disjointed musical program I remember from him. I actually like the ragtime opener, kinda different in a refeshing way for BD. But that music with the BD style just doesn't seem to fit. The title of the show "Jazz, made in america" or something conjures up totally different images than what they put on the field. Not enough swing, then again, they haven't really been swinging for years. The drumline seemed unusually dirty with lots of fuzzed rolls and some missed attacks. There also seemed to be a 10 sec tear in the closer which I've never heard from BD. The hornline, is playing the crap out of the book. It is one of the stronger lines I remember from them in terms of confidence and sound. But the book is wasting the talent. Top 5? for sure. Top 3? maybe. Winner? Not without big changes (which I hear are on the way). Colorguard is typical BD and the Fosse comparisons are acurate. They move extremely well and the long-hair-as-a-prop is pretty cool and very sexy. Extremely strong in equipment and writing. The horns and drums still have the strongest movement style, but they have more individual issues this year than last I think. Lot's of follow the leader drill. The soloists are strong, but they aren't 'real' lead players so the high notes are thin and strained. But the kids love it. The show sadly, is not very memorable. All I remember is that I thought it was performed well, but I didn't dig it. They are good at the game, they will be fine.

High points - Horn sound, colorguard
Low points - not very exciting, some timing issues, perc dirty(???? bd???)
If I could change one thing - Loosen up the demeanor, take the hats off (when a man.....) more interaction between the horns and guard.

We had it cavies/cadets/BD, so we lucked out. I haven't seen the recaps, but I would bet the brass spread was a little excessive as well as music GE. We had Magic in 5th overall (cav/cad/BD/Crown/Magic/Spirit/Kavies/Teal). Magics numbers are low for the div 2 sheets, they should be in the 80's like cavies.

Announcement of finals in 2003 here was received well (of course).

What struck me weird about cavies was made clear during the victory concert. The music doesn't work without the drill. The original compositions don't have much melody, and not much musical impact. I thought it was just me, but many people around me said the same thing. They played some of the ballads from past years (all things bright and beautiful etc.) which were pretty, but safe. Very little applause. More polite. The show excerpt was the closer I believe and it really was kinda boring. Again polite appause. Over the rainbow was beautiful as always, but safe. It was the most subdued I've ever felt a crowd walking out of a show - pretty weird.

Talked to Dan Acheson after show, he said attendance was about 6500, pretty amazing for an early season show. He said numbers are up across the board in the early season so far.

When you order your seats for next year. Section 132/232/and 332 are the center sections. 30ish seats per section numbered from right to left (as you look at the field). Seat numbers 12-18 are in the center of each section. x31 and lower - you want high seat numbers, x33 and higher you want low seat numbers.

Parking lot quick takes:

"Crown has more BD moments than BD."
"Cavies Visual or Cadets Entertainment will decide it."
"Magic is BD-Lite"
"Spirit's guard is hooooooot!"
"Hopkins looks heavier" ;)

Hope everyone has a great summer, travel safe, give it up for the kids.

Ron Ellis
Assistant Director of Bands
University of Central Florida

Crown Point, IN (DCM)

Well, I ended up not going to Jenison on Friday to see PR like I had planned because the chance of thunderstorms was too high for me to drive 3 hours each way (especially after getting up at 5:30 that morning for work....). So I went and saw them in Crown Point which is a little more managable 2 hour 15 minute drive. I sat in the 3rd row on the 35 yard line so I can't speak too well of the visual design even though it was a rather tall stadium.

Before I get into the review I just want to mention that there are some mindless spectators in Crown Point and the show organizer didn't do a great job in deterring them. People constantly, and I mean constantly! entered and exited the stadium during performances. Seeing how they were always walking in front of me it was getting very annoying. Also, do people need to stay so connected that they can't turn off their cell phones at the show? I'm as connected as anybody and I left mine in the car. I don't know how many peoples phones rang during the show and I was surprised at the number of people that actually answered and talked for a minute or two! To top it off the lady behind me pulled her phone out and made a call just as they were starting America/Oh Canada during the finale. Unbelievable!!!

OK.... enough of the venting. Despite all the distractions I love live drum corps. One more side note.... This was my first time seeing Capital Regiment and the Colts this year despite going to Toledo. My friend who was going with me had a family emergency so we missed the first 3 corps to perform in Toledo. Now without further adieu...

Americanos: A nice little corps, this was my first time ever seeing them. I liked the show concept and music (it was something I had played in high school). I'm not sure I understood what the tri-pod at center field was for. The color guard seemed to be pretty good. The biggest issue for this corps was intonation. But, they've got all summer to learn. The third piece seemed to be a little loosy goosy for them. But once they pull it together and play a little better they will have a very good show.

Capital Regiment: Wow! This corps is taking giant steps forward. It's hard to believe they've only competed on the field since '99. I got into town and happened to pass the field they were practicing on and got to see most of their final run through. Based on the director's comments afterward it sounds like they kicked the tempo in Avalanche. He said, "At least now we have exciting dirt as opposed to boring dirt." I thought that was kind of funny. Overall, I really liked their show. I suspect they'll be a contender for the Div II crown.

Southwind: I really like the music they are playing this year and the drill seems to match it pretty well. Not too easy, not too hard. The precussion line seems to be the strenght of this corps (although I'm no expert at judging percussion technique). I kind of expected them to score higher. Actually I thought both Capital Regiment and Southwind would have been higher.

Phantom Regiment: These guys were loud! And awesome! They were clearly head and shoulders better than anyone who had gone on so far. The opener is shear power and seems to go on forever! The ballad was nice as were the two closing pieces. It seems like they may have upped the tempo of their closer because it didn't seem to plod along like it did last weekend. The color guard was also very good. I think this show has some legs and could make a run at the top 4 by the end of the year. This show received the first (and only....) "leaping out of your seats and screaming standing O" of the evening. Everyone else got a regular, "polite" standing ovation.

Colts: It seems this year there are at least 15 legitimate contenders to make Finals. Don't count on the Colts to be one of the corps dropping out of Finals to make room. This show was outstanding! Definitely the best Colts show I've seen in a long long time. I really liked the music and they seemed visually very clean for this time of year. Based on the score they must be lacking difficulty in their visual program but it was hard to tell from where I was sitting.

Bluecoats: I liked this show a lot better than last week. They've done some cleaning so their forms have better clarity. Still needs a lot of work though. Man, these guys are moving! Definitely the most difficult drill I've seen them try. I wonder if they'll be able to clean it enough to keep up with the pack. The horn line was outstanding. I'd say neck and neck with Phantom for best of the evening although the Glassmen are no slouches either. Again, they marked time for the last 30 seconds or so. It sure would be nice to see them get the last set of drill on the field.....

Glassmen: The show still doesn't grab me. I like it but can't get excited over it. It was well executed and definitely was worthy of winning. I knew it would be close between them and Phantom. The drumline is without a doubt the strength of this group! Very very powerful. There's a lot of body movement in the ballad section of the show (probably to make up for lack of difficult drill) that needs to be cleaned up yet. Inconsistencies in form I guess would be the best way to put it. I'm sure they'll have this program spic and span by August..... but can it pick up enough GE to hold off the Regiment? We'll wait and see.


Waukesha, WI (DCM)

Thank goodness it's only June. Can't say that I was terribly impressed, but maybe it's me. After 20-some years involved in this activity as MM, instructor and fan, maybe I'm jaded beyond help. With that said, on with review!

Bandettes-Sorry ladies, got lost in Waukesha and didn't make it to our seats.

Racine Scouts-Small and look very young. Lots of effort put out by all the kids. Accessible music with good soloists. I'm sure with time and practice this small group will grow into their show. Looks like they are spending a good chunk of time learning drill and maybe short changing the music. Only bad spot for me was the company front at the end. With a corps this small spreading them out doesn't work. Keep working kids, it's woth your time and effort and you'll be surprised how fast you progress.

Blue Stars-Small but obvioulsy experienced, especially the guard. Staff, please get the guard kids the foot gear you want them to wear for this show. Tennis shoes are a big distraction from the bright pants. Brass seemed to have intonation and pitch problems tonight. Field percussion seem strong(not my area!) and really laying it down. Sorry pit, don't know enough to say......but weren't a distraction. I think this show will keep them in the hunt for another Div. III title.

Capitol Sound-Nice size group and very serious about this show. Always thought of them as loose and easy, but this year's edition is all business. The show will take them far, but unfortunately Div II has some juggernoughts this year. Guard opener needs something to hold the arms on the sleeves of the robes down. Bright green gauntlets peeking through are major distraction during the opening moments of a very classy show. Also watch for the bright surprise guard unis. Pay attetnion to the rotating snare line playing a tom rack during the percussion feature. Very tasty!

Kilties-Much small this year than in years past. All staff of smaller corps, take a listen to this unit. Pitch, intonation and ensemble playing, all are excellent. Especially this early and for this size of groups. I counted 27 brass, give or take. The sound is terrific, not quite through the entire show. Yet! Guard needs something to make them fit in with the rest of the corps, uniform wise. I hope they are working something.

Blue Knights-On field keyboard staging makes for a very interesting drill. I will have to see them up high before deciding. Oh yeah, and they move during the show too. Made me slightly nostalgic for all marching percussion. What is with the black body suits on the guard? Boys and girls! I know your playing fairly dark music and there is a nice warm bottom sound to support the darkness, but black body suits? Sis said, "I wouldn't let my daughter wear that." Friend said,"I wouldn't let my son wear that." Guard puts lots of effort in to scowling for the entire show. Please put more effort in to your hands and equipment work. I know it's June, kids, but sloppy needs to go before your allowed to strain your face muscles so hard. My overall impression of this show is of one big dance troop, with occasional musical interludes. I know the judging is 50/50 visual, IMO this show is way over the top. Thank you DCI, Board of Directors and judges.

Madison Scouts-Oh my, what a mess! Before you get all huffy and indignant, see the show. I know it's June, but all the previous reviews have been correct. The guard unis are tragic. Please get rid of the helmets and chest plates that you only wear for the moving warm-up. They are plastic and look it. I know that there will be vast improvement in this show(please, oh please, oh please!!!). Musically, they sound good for June. I was very impressed in the closing moments when the sopranos are hauling ass backwards across the front side line and blowing out my ear drums. Couldn't hear any feet in those horns then. I could go on and on about this show and how disappointing the guard and visual parts are, but I won't. Please work hard and come back from the northwest and once again make me proud, my brothers.

Pionees-Exh. In my not sure why they marched exhibition. *Shrug* Pit staging, as said before, is in back, on platforms. I don't think that's a good choice. Trouble hearing them when other parts of the ensemble are playing. Lots of platfroms that effectively cut down the performance space and make this smallish group appear bigger. Hard to follow along with a familiar music choice. Only able to pick out bits and pices that sounded like Oliver!. I'm not sure if they will be able to hold on to a Div I spot.

I would like to say thank you to all the corps, especially the kids. Thank you. Your hard work is very much appreciated by this old phart(zoink! I'm only 38!) Good luck to all this summer. Looking forward to seeing you all again soon.


1st of all .... enjoyed all of the corps number 1 to number 8. Great stadium for listening to music, not so great for seeing big visuals. We were seated low & on the 50. There is no track so we were maybe 5 yards from the pit percussion and slightly above them....In other words....ear pinning back danger zone.

Well written show, especially the brass and percussion arranging for a younger and smaller group. Played well within their abilities and performed for us! Percussion is grounded and maybe at times a little too loud...but overall... congrats to the young ladies on a pleasing and enjoyable performance.

Don't know why they were in exh....Show is entitled polished chrome. Have seen this corps many times over several years. Feel that they are becoming a little better each year. Some good soloists in this corps whom were utilized alot. Only real letdown was the patriotic closer, not performed well, brass was struggling tonight. Possibly overwritten for the group.

These guys have improved tremendously from their first show even if for some reason their score doesn't reflect it. Even though they are my alma mater, over the past many years I have found their shows somewhat esoteric and not to accessible. (I try to be very opened minded about this) Found myself enjoying this show more than the last several years, especially the "Inferno" piece. "Candide" is in need of major work. The soprano section insists on playing the entire chart at from 3 to 4 fortes throughout. Thus they are blatty, unfocused and miss many notes as well as run out of chop before they finish the show. Either the horns need to be re-educated an a quality sound or the brass staff needs to evaluate how they are teaching the approach to this number. (or thay haven't gotten to this song yet...but quality of playing and sound was a major disrtraction) Liked the guard unis and performance of the guard.

Good show tonight for the Sound. Starting to clean up the show as well as have rewritten the entire ballad drill already! (side daughter is the baritone solist in the ballad and after her solo tonight went back and started to march her old drill --- sounds like push up time to me. Horns are starting to attain impacts, I think the perc is also improving greatly as well as the guard...New guard coverups to start the show.... veeery interesting.

Also major improvement here, corps seems to have some more members as well as a bigger sound. The 4 guard members did a nice job with their work tonite. Once the corps cleans their flying "V" it will be fun to watch. Thanx Kilts! May you ne'er be daunted!

Heard and read much about this show, just wanted to keep an open mind about it. Overall I really liked it, especially the ballad number round the pit perc. Final number didn't do it for me, (enjoyed it...just didn't lift me outta my seat). Thought the horns and percussion played well. I feel the marching is not clean at all. A lot of this is masked by the way the drill is written as well as the black pants and black shoes. Have read this product won't get them into finals...based on what I've seen the past several years... this is exactly the kind of product that could carry them into finals. This is neither good nor bad... I enjoyed the show, just wouldn't want to see the same type of show done by two or three corps straight. ( a little fearful some of that is already happening in DCI) Guard... thought they did a decent job.... love the flags... Unis.... hmmmmmmm... a little too dark and Macabre for me as well as showing too much skin, even though it is covered by black netting. Sorry girls and guys... but cheeks showing are not all that pleasing...... (not the variety on your face).

Scouts have improved tremendously, buut yet have tremendous amounts of work to do yet as anyone does. Guard is improving, but needs much more. Helmuts are OK, here tell all of this is due for painting detailing..Still glad they take them off before the show begans. From what I am told, thay have good attitudes and are working their collective tails off. ( as a band director, I would rather work with a group with some talent and desire than a group with great talent and a lousy attitude) Horns had a good show with impacts, ending was still sloppy (my son included - said he shot a great big airball on high notes at end...tsk, tsk). Visually they are improving, but flaws are still way obvious to our eyes. I think the drill is written better than the last two years, but the design leaves them way exsposed to even the tiniest flaws (and major ones). I honestly fell the Scouts do not mask & hide their M&M as much as many others. The final number that began with the Brazilian percussion really locked! It was groovin before the horns came in. Felt good. AKA the Boston version last year of the Marimba tune.

Thought Pioneer was also improved much. have more horns, the guard has more work and thay all are starting to perform. Still don't like the pit backfield even though they were closer tonite. Thay also are up on wooden platforms that help reflect the sound up and foward. Still couldn't hear there contribution many times in the show. I am nort excited about "Oliver", but I think they are doin a respectable job with it. The corps is incorporating the picnic tables into the show... thay make more sense now, but at times are akward for the horns to carry around!

Overall - good show from all, great improvement from all. As far as scores go, not sure I saw a 6 point spread between BK and Scouts, I am sure it will all change again.


Waterbury, CT (DCA)

Just one man's opinion on the 6/22 Waterbury DCA show. Please note that my vantage point was not the greatest, and that I am on staff with the Jersey Surf. Just wanted to give full disclosure...

Juniors --

Relatively small corps here, horn line about 20, give or take. But I did think the corps was well balanced, and for opening day, the kids did a great job. 2nd place, 57.35

Jersey Surf:
I thought the corps did as well as I expected them to, given that we only played six minutes of our show, and the props and gagetry are not in yet. Kids marched real well, guard was together, and the crowd responded favorably. 1st place, 65.80

Seniors --

Corps is significantly larger than year, and their music, especially Firebird Suite, was easily accessible by the fans. The corps seemed a little tentative tonight, though. 3rd place, 66.20

MASSIVE improvement over last year. Horn line is much larger (42 tonight I think), and the drum line has grown. They should easily improve over last year's finals finish.

I just have to make this comment about their show. As one who saw the 1975 Muchachos many times that year, the Cabs show is just well, its just so weird actually hearing that show live again. The crowd LOVED it. They have done a very good job resurrecting that show. 1st place, 69.95

Sky performed a standstill exhibition at the end of the contest, and the crowd was very much into their New York-themed musical book.

It did NOT RAIN on Waterbury this year; which was truly amazing. I intentionally didn't make any in-depth commentary about design, and performance of what section vs. another etc, because this is show #1 for DCA, and it was a given that NO corps would be very clean, some shows incomplete and every corps doesn't have all their design elements programmed in and on the field yet. So, I look at it as just a peek of things to come. And it was a larger than usual crowd for Waterbury, so it was real nice opening day for DCA.


Ok, so this was my first DCA show ever as a spectator, and I'd like to offer my unbiased review for all to take a gander at. First off, getting used to sitting in the stands, and watching other DCA corps, has not been something I've done since I was in the Sunrisers in 1995. Since then, I've been in the position to be performing later in the night where I didn't really get a chance to see other performances.

Well as we all know (that have attended this show in the past), the town of Waterbury usually has a dark cloud hovering over it during the show, usually spitting down rain on the performing corps as the night goes by. Although the threat was there this year, and I did feel a couple of drops around 7:00PM, the rain held back, and the night began.

8:00PM - oh my God, the show starts on time with a lovely and chilling rendition of the Star Spangled Banner on trumpet, echoing throughout the land and silencing even the most unpatriotic of souls. Did I paint a lovely picture? The night was night was night was Yes, the night was moist.

I'm not going to comment on Phoenix or Jersey Surf for two reasons. One, I wasn't really paying attention (no offense, but I came to watch the senior shows), and two, I was too busy waving hi to friends, and chatting with my wife Terri and my friend Patty whom I was sitting with that didn't come to watch the juniors either. And what's the deal with the yardlines? Most of the corps were complaining that they either couldn't see them, or they weren't there, and half of the yard markers were kocked over, AND the pitching mound wasn't leveled out - come on Waterbury - how long have you been hosting this show? These should be no brainers by now!

Okay Hurricanes, here we go. First off, you had me in tears during Fanfare for the Common Man and 3rd Symphony. Those 2 numbers hold a special place in my heart, and as you may know, it would have also been the Sunrisers' first two numbers in 2000 if they had gone out. The arrangements were chillingly similar to the ones we had learned that winter. Brass line sounded pretty good except for a few alumni-corps-sounding sopranos and mellophones which really stuck out of the blend along with a lead baritone that was playing WAY too loud for most of the show. (the alumni sound i refer to is playing everything with vibrato - what's that about anyway??) The drumline surprised me though - very well written book, and a very demanding bass book, which is being executed rather well for this early in the season. (Keep in mind that I am a horn player, but I know good when I hear it) Expect great things from this drumline. I counted 42 horns out there and 7 snares, 4 tenors, 5 bass, and a nice sized pit - who was amazing by the way, and flying over the keyboards - NICE book for them! Very impressed, I must say. Excuse me if I don't comment on the guard, because I never watch the guard. Sorry about that, but like I said, i'm a horn player and usually just am watching the musical ensemble. One of my faults, please don't sue me. The one problem I did have, is Ballet Sacra. IMHO, this piece is being butchered by the hornline, and although it is early in the season, articulations need to be worked on BADLY, and sustains and attacks/releases should be a bit better at this point. The backfield section was nice, however. The end of the Hurcs show is not done as of yet drillwise, but it sounds fast, loud, and exciting. I coulda swore I heard Mag 7 when you were playing the isolated attacks in the closer. Maybe, maybe not. In my opinion overall though, a nice show with alot of potential. Lots of cleaning to do, as with everyone else, but I think Hurcs may be looking at a top 6 spot this season. Thank you, Hurricanes!

Bush, Bush, Bush..ahhhh. Okay here we go. Low brass, low brass, low frickin brass. I've always loved their bari/contra sound, and this year is no exception. I saw this corps about a month ago at Harrison Tri-Chem, and between that viewing and the show, I must say I was disappointed, guys. Maybe it was the field, or the long, hot practice day, but I was much more impressed watching you in the parking lot than on the field. Honestly, at that point, I had you beating the Caballeros. Maybe your show is too hard again - is that a possibility? Here's what I figure: One of the, if not THE hardest horn book in DCA this year, so it'll take longer to clean...and it WILL get cleaned, and you'll get the numbers for it once you sell it. The drill is a b#### too, it seems, and that will take longer to clean too. If I know Jim Duggan at all (show coordinator), I know that he doesn't ever want to play the 'DCA game' and do hokey s### out there just because doing less and cleaning it gets the numbers faster. The opener is hot however, and sounds alot tighter than the rest of the program. I also know that the drill just got finished recently, so maybe the confidence is not 100% yet, as to be expected. Transitions into Firebird are shaky at best - not a good transition at ALL into the closer - it sort of just 'starts' without any fanfare or pit intros...something missing there. Also, I DID watch the guard here shortly, and in my opinion, you guys LOOKED pretty ghetto with the temporary uniforms that you wore. Also really don't agree with those tiny orange traffic waving flags. What's the deal there? Don't have the equipment yet? If so, understandable. I was picturing dark red big ### nasty lookin' flags and mean ### faces on the guard in the opener (ala Bush '1994, hehehe), but again, I'm not on your guard staff, and you can count your lucky stars for that! I have to comment on the marching for Bush also - folks, this is what marching style is. Watch Bush. Great feet, everyone's attempting to do the technique, and it looks pretty tight. What a refreshing thing to see in a DCA corps. It's few and far between these days, really. Okay Bush, overall, I had you beating Hurricanes, and so did most of the people around me, but as you know, this is Hurricane town, and a Hurricane crowd. Let's move on.

Rump rump wheel? What's going on here folks? This is not your father's Caballero corps ladies and gentlemen, but lemme tell ya - it sure reminds me of the 75 Muchachos! There's a good reason for that, fans...the corps is playing a tribute to the 1975 Muchachos program this year. All your favorite tunes out for another shot - and I bet THIS version makes finals! Ooooh....Okay, to be honest, most of you know that I marched with Cabs in 2000-2001, but I'll try to be as objective as possible here. The last time I saw Cabs was also about a month ago, because in that time, I've been a bit busy with my newborn son, and just haven't had the time to get down to the post to watch rehearsal. Having a kid is hard work!! Whew! Enough about me. Spine chilling opening sequence with the corps playing backfield, side to side - echoing against that back outfield wall in Waterbury always sounds great for every corps - kinda makes you wish you could take it with you to every show! Just don't phase! The opener was pretty hot though - alot better than when I saw them last. Pictures of Spain is a drum corps classic, along with most of the other tunes in their show, and it's all pretty hummable for the ride home. The Cabs have been working their ##### off this past month, with the addition of Mike Longdo full-time to the horn staff, and finally solidifying a drumline out of nowhere. Hornline is working hard, and the drumline sounds as if they've been together as a whole for a lot longer than 2 weeks!! The drumline came in 2nd to Hurcs by only .25 - not bad at all. The corps is still in need of a couple of drummers - mostly a tympanist and possibly another tenor player (for those on the fence). On with the review: Pines of the Appian Way NEVER fit this show, imho, in 1975, or today, but it's there, and needs to be worked on. La Fiesta was in need of some groovin - it's still a bit L7 (boxy, or unjazzy at this moment). The drum solo is SICK - there's more notes in that SOLO than there is in some of the other corps total books - you gotta see this one folks!! Marianne (Carnival) is a fun tune and features an amazing sop solo that had me peeled back in my seat. Maybe he was a little too close to us? Hehe, nice job Russ! The closer is different than 75 though, and it's fast, and hard, and loud, and ooh ooh!!! WOW! I almost blew my wad watching that ending - really very exciting stuff. Overall, with alot of cleaning, this show could very well be a viable contender once again for the DCA crown come Labor Day. Lots of potential here, but watch out for these other corps from tonight - they're right on your ###, and you'll have to keep working hard, because you know they'll be working hard to catch you!

Skyliners: Sorry guys, I didn't see you. I know they performed a stand still, and that's all. Please excuse me.

All in all, Cabs ended up taking every caption except percussion...Cabs won color guard by .4 as well, and in total, ended up with a 69.95. Hurricanes took percussion and best drum major (WOW, Russo didn't win it!), and Bushwackers took 3rd. A great start to a great season for all the corps. It's going to be very exciting at DCA this year if this show is any indication, and it looks like it is. Anyway, thanks for reading my review. Have a great day!

Chris Mignemi
Sunrisers 1994 - 1999
Caballeros 2000 - 2001
Fan 2002
Cabs 2003 - forever

Friday June 21

Dothan, AL (DCI Atlantic)

Teal Sound- the drum line was pretty damn impressive! The horn line and color guard need alot of major work. Dont count these guys out just because they are a little corps they work hard like everyone else.

Magic of Orlando- Come on DCI? Get past the politics and let this guys in Divi I at the end of the season. I'm very good friends with some of the brass staff there, and let me tell you, they are doing very good things all the way around. What a way to start and end the show. It starts raining when they start and stopped raining when they finished. Its a sign from someone saying these guys are back and kicking rear end. These guys/girls are good and I would never ever count them out.

Kiwanis Kavaliers- this has been the first time I've seen or heard this corps, of course cause I've been used to going on last. I was impressed that they can produce such a great sound ( i think they are still on sopranos, contras, etc) Drum line was great! My only problem with these guys is the drill and the demands on the performs do not mix. They need alot of work in this area, upper body carriage etc! Again these guys can do better and it wasnt bad, they played very well, which didnt show up in the score!

Spirit of Atlanta- I could never find a dull moment in this show, the ballad was really touching. This corps has fought through alot of people in the past. The horns, drums, color guard were great! I wish Mr. Bodiford and the whole crew good luck and I hope they make finals!

Cavaliers- very unusual show. the show doesnt carry a humable tune. From a visual stand point I was some what dissappointed. There was alot of visual finesse that you come to see of these guys. Drill does seem very clean, the horn line is just damn impressive. Dick Seucedo is doing a damn good job of writing for these guys and it certainly plays a big role in this years package. Drum lines is still tops and I would never put them in 2nd this year. The color guard was outstanding and they blended well with this years show. I'm sorry to the rest of you guys reading this and Malabooboo, but I do smell a 3 peat in the making.

BD- as usual they kicked ass. they play with such precision and power that even though I liked the cavaliers winning the show, I would have liked to see them play after the show. Overall these guys are still at the top of their game. color guard had a few drops but who doesnt, horn line just kicks ass all the time and the drum line is still tops never count these guys out either.

Finale- On a side note, I'm very disappointed with the playing of the America/OCanada. That had to be the worst performance I have ever heard in my life. This new arrangement sucks, noone that was a true fan liked it. For me to have played it 2 years and be on the field to play the real version and then wait another year come back, travel 52 something miles and hear the crappiest version of America was just a dissappointment not only for me, but for an overwelming number of people. DCI change the song back cause right now it stinks. Thanks again for ruining tradition! Like I said before whats next? woodwinds? Other than that thanks to the corps for outstanding performances except for the Finale.


Jenison, MI (DCM)

The Jenison Show was a really outstanding show for this early in the season. I don't remember scores, but quite frankly, the scores are not reflective of the show my humble opinion. By far the corps of the night was Phantom Regiment. Their show was outstanding with a near flawlessly executed guard show. The only thing lacking in the show is a percussion feature, because they don't have one...

Glassmen won the show based on scores, however, just didn't have it all together tonight. Granted the show was well performed, they just didn't seem to gel like PR.

Blue Knights placed third. This show is a step up for them. The performers seem to enjoy the show alot and that comes through in their performance. The guard is highly entertaining, however, you begin to wonder if their uniforms could leave any less to the imagination...

Bluecoats placed fourth. I thought their show is highly enteraining. The soloists throughout the show make the show come together. Still in need of some cleaning, but that's to be expected at this time of year. Nice performance overall...

Madison placed fifth. In typical crowd fashion, several people were shocked and displeased with the placement of the Scouts. As a long time fan and former Scout myself, I'm all about them. Their show is extremely well written for them. It's entertaining and provides them an opportunity to show off their talent. However, they are still dirty in marching. The colorguard, which to my understanding is a very young guard, did a nice job tonight, although they do have their work cut out for them. I do hope that this show improves throughout the year, and I along with several thousand other people will be in Madison, WI on Saturday waiting for them to take the field.

Americanos placed sixth. They did a nice job. They've come a long way already and I look forward to seeing them in another month.

Scenic City from Chattanooga, TN placed seventh. I don't care what anybody says about this group, they are making a move. As a small ensemble they face several challenges in the activity, but I think they did a phenomenal job tonight. Some of the moments in their show just make you think you're watching a Div. I Finalist Corps. Watch out for this group in August.

Marion Glory Cadets placed eighth. This is a very young group of kids that are doing their best each time they perform to improve. The show has some moments that they need to create some more focal points, but whenever you lack for something to watch, there is always their guard. As the DCI Div. III guard champs last year, they haven't lost anything coming into this year. I'm eager to see how this show and this group grows together and gels come August.

That's just my opinion, interested in hearing others....


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