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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 Four of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Sunday June 30

Kelso, WA (DCI Pacific)

Ok time for the review before I fall asleep.

Went to the show with my Dad and my friend Dave (FMM 90-92 Marauders, 94 BD), & recently got back from the Kelso - my thoughts...

Stadium - freaking huge concrete with big overhang cover stadium. I wish my high school had one. Great show site. Performed here many times and also sat in the stands as a fan quite a bit. Good field & lights.

Show was delayed for a while after we were let in the gates. Provided with some local high school 4some singing, but come on, this is a drum corps show. Lose the mics and kids singing oldies tunes trying to play damage control and get these shows working in proper order. Who's in charge anyway? Nice anthem though, I guess. I would have preferred the Cascades horns to give us a repeat anthem from Seattle's show or maybe another corps. No such luck, we get 4 dweebs in football jerseys trying to win over the girls in the crowd...

Finally the show...

Northwest Venture Sr. Corps - Same as Seattle show, but brass soloists & guard members weren't as sharp tonight. Wish they would do some drill, but then again, they aren't very large and weren't very good doing it last year. They are recruiting 24/7, so if you want to join a corps, here's your chance.

Oregon Crusaders - just as good as last night in Seattle. These kids really try hard for such a small group, but again, I think the staff chose a show that is just too hard to do. Btw, the show music is what Carolina Crown did in 95. Stormworks I believe. Not very easy for a div III corps to pull off.

Intermission - ALREADY? WHY? Crowd starts to fall asleep... Zzzzzzzzzz

Seattle Cascades - looking to draw more blood... Crowd wakes up from their nap! Drill much cleaner tonight, and starting to pump up the GE with the crowd. Still the fav tonight. Hey, look what they did! Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but they are the first corps from the NW to beat a previous DCI Champ! (barring Anaheim Kingsmen, maybe). That's a nice record for the books...

Pacific Crest - Show's great, they need to tour! Drill very dirty though, maybe they aren't really focusing on making the lines straight since they don't have many shows left. Very entertaining but compared to last night, not as electric.

SCV - Saw more drill tonight than last night - stadium is closer to the field here than at UW Husky Stadium. Maybe a little cleaner music & timing wise but sheesh, if you're not going to march using dots, at least cover down! Lines are not clean. Show still unaccessible to me, and counting the encores, this is the 4th time I've heard it. At least they don't sound as snooze-ville as people are saying about Glassmen. I will say that their cymbal section is pretty intense, more than usual. I think those guys eat and drink things we wouldn't touch. They're monsters, in a good way.

Madison - They come onto the field playing a warmup and again blast the crowd. Noticed many improvements GE wise, and had a hotter show than last night, but drill is not clean - same problem that all these corps have - lines aren't straight - and many members aren't even making it to their spots at the end of each drill move. This is blatantly obvious to anyone who's marched before and I'm guessing the judges notice too. Another problem with their drill is that they tend to only go between the 30's and front half of the field. The top corps are using more of the field and are probably being rewarded for it. Guard work is lacking still. Madison's music is great, don't get me wrong, the crowd goes nuts for what they are hearing, not what they're seeing. With this corps on the verge of not making finals, and especially on their HOME TURF, I don't understand why the staff designers are allowing this corps to continue the free fall. I was hoping for such big things this year and am disappointed. I said it last night and now I'm saying it louder - bring your riot gear if you plan to be in Madison semi-finals night.

Retreat - YAY! Full corps retreat, olympic style? Corps came on one at a time though... SCV's drumline played them on and went through the long cadence 8 times at least... shouldn't they come on together if it's olympic retreat? It's not like the track was too skinny to allow at least 2 at a time. Anyway... scores were announced, and thankfully no "America" - everything I read says it sounds horrible, so corps play themselves off. This is how it should be done folks. Why? Madison came off the field and onto the track w/out hats to sing us their corps song "You'll Never Walk Alone", which is very beautiful. We used to hear this at finals every year. Not anymore, thanks to the chaos we call retreat. Sigh... it wasn't that long ago that it used to be like this...

Biggest Beef - Almost every single drumline warmed up too close to the stadium, which ruined alot of corps performances, especially during soft ballad sections. You staffers out there really need to consider this, and so do the show coordinators. Shame on you both tonight for not taking care of it immediately after the first show was partially ruined.

Looking forward to the 3rd and last show tomorrow night in Woodburn OR. Wonder if the show hosts are going to supply the corps members with the usual strawberry shortcake. I'm not into it but the corps members love it.

Evan Sowerwine
1994-95 Cavaliers
1990-93 Marauders

Lodi, CA (DCI Pacific II / III)

The first show I see of the season, so here we go:

Venue: Grape Bowl, Lodi, CA
Certainly not a place for big Div.1 shows, but perfect for shows of smaller character. Bleachers are high enough that you get the full corps sound, while the are at such an angle that everyone can see the field flawlessly. Too bad it was about 100 degrees when it started. Still a much better stadium than Concord.

Roseville Independent Percussion Ensemble (RIPE): Exh.
Very nice "WGI" type of program. Played "Firebird" with just a drumline and pit. Cool but lengthy bass drum groove intro.

Blue Devils "C": 34.15
Fantastic! I often wonder what it would be like if, say, BD "A" corps played the music from their tiny brethren. These kids are way more talented that me at that age. The marching was surprisingly good and the musicality was better than past years. Color guard was very nice. The spark on the wick visual during Mission Impossible was the best prop usage I've ever seen. By the way, the only corps to leave to a cadence, major points for that. Great Job!!!

Impulse: 64.15
Better every year in every way. This years "I Love Lucy" show brings back fond memories of VK. The opening attack and other entries by the brass were a little fuzzy, but recovered well. Their low brass are very good. Lucy is absolutely hilarious. My fiancé laughed as if she were watching a real tv episode where Lucy tries out for a corps, at all positions! Major props to the drumline as it takes guts to march with both powder blue and purple snares. Great grooves as well. The ending was fantastic. Every year this corps looks more and more like the heir apparent they desire to be. I can't wait for for the judges to get a clue and realize Impulse is here to stay. Should have placed higher.

Blue Devils "B": 68.40
I'm amazed at how small this "feeder" corps has become. Seriously, they marched a few more than their baby brother. Lacking in size does effect their sound, as there is almost no low brass to be heard. The brass did try there hardest, hitting most of their notes while projecting well for their size. The drumline seemed a little over-confident as they rushed a few phrases and were dirty at times. And what's with the guard uniforms? They seriously looked like they were bought at a garage sale. Did not flow. I felt Impulse was far better.

SCV Cadets: 71.75
Almost the opposite of BDB. They seem to get bigger every year. The drumline and guard were solid as a rock. I liked the tom-tom intro. As for the brass, I blame the drill. Maybe someone should see if the drill designer for this show was on crack. The hardest drill of the night by far. This seemed to hurt the brass as they weren't quite up to SCV par, playing tentatively. The finish, however, was stellar as everyone hit their marks with horns blowin'. Pretty good overall. If they could get that drill down, they would be a definite contender. Might have to change their name to SCV 2.

Mandarins: 74.65
Alright, I'll try to hold back my bias towards my home town corps. If anything I watched them a little more carefully. First of all, I don't like the beginning. I know it's extremely difficult and impressive, but it sounds garbled and doesn't really flow. The drill was a little scattered with some spacing problems in the beginning, but really was the best marched show of the night. It felt like the brass was a little unsure about the notes or the drill or something, just didn't project as well as I know you can. The drumline looked and sounded clean. Why no bass drum solo? And as for the brass solos and duets, more volume please. I could barely hear the sop duet by the twins both on the field and during the victory stand-still. The guard, as always, was perfect. Overall, I'd say the show is okay. I think Magic will give them one hell of a run. I still think they'll be Div.1 champs in 2006. Nice job for the kind-of-home town crowd.

River City Regiment Sr.: 53.65
The second senior corps to come out of NoCal, and the second best in the West as far as I'm concerned. Great show for an upandcoming group. They marched about 25 I think, and started their show off by reciting the pledge of allegiance. Fantastic. The corps is shockingly well balanced for a group their size, and with minimal drill sounded pretty good. The solos were right on. Just remember, five years ago, the Renegades were an upstart intermission corps with half these numbers in their first season. I see a bright future as far as senior corps are concerned. Way to go RCR!!!

Renegades Sr.: 66.20
Holy Crap!!! A tell tale sign a corps is too large: when you need 3 drum majors and 7 basses. Seriously, I think they have maxed out on members. There is almost too much sound coming off the field. They started with America the Beautiful while an Army Color Guard marched the stars and stripes through the middle of the corps. Standing ovation ensued. Everyone was on fire. Why they have a pit I do not know. Bohemian Rhapsody was superb. Two words: goose pimples. Hey, maybe DCI could lift the age and member limit so these guys could rule like Gods.

Hope you all find this review worth your click. My next and final review comes a week from today after Pacific Procession. Can't wait.

~Nick "the Slick"

Beverly, MA (DCI Atlantic)

OK so it is late and this will have to be brief but the show was so great and I am still so worked up that I must write some of this down.

6th Kiwanis 63.30
So much improved over the last three years. Very young corps. They must die in those black uniforms and masks. Fun show but lots of dirt and book may be to difficult for the members. Spiderman was great fun. Great colors in the silks. Just might squeak into semi's if they can clean this up.

5th Spirit 72.10
Wonderful, energetic emotional show. Again much improved from last year at this time. I thought they would be closer to Boston. The 'dark' a la Star of Indy at the begining really works. Great body movement by HL. Nice balanced strong sound and fairly clean as well. Visual and guart book much more aggressive than 2001. The last two numbers were joyous and really woke up the crowd. This show must make finals!

4th Boston, 76.85
My second viewing in as many nights. BAC must be pleased with score (first show!) and placement. I enjoyed show much better tonight. Opening soft chords of 'Appalchian..' really brought back memories of 1987 Garfield. 'American President' opening statement sounded gorgeus. Hornline projected much better than Sat. 'Appalachian Spring' still has much dirt in it but is a extremely difficult peice both musically and visually. Ending set looked much better than last night. More hints of Appalachian''' into ballad. Singing was OK. White silks on guard boring. Closer of 'Simple Gifts' effective but needs to be punched up or end with soft chords.

3rd Crossmen, 78.55
Much more aggressive show this year! Pat Methaney piece as the opener was great but HL still struggling and tempo problems all over the place. Ballad was gorgeous love the poles. Arrangment of 'Strawberry Soup'mostly kicked ass. Some of it sounded like the crazy meter it is written in was dumbed down. The crowd loved this show.

2nd BD 81.85
Cartoony colors on the guard are wild! Do not believe what people are saying. This is a top three show. Loved the Gershwin. Field coverage was at times huge. Major phasing problem with 'Channel One'' very unlike BD. Arrangement does feel rushed and a truncated but it was great hearing it anyway.

1st Cadets, 83.50
Again, very emotional show. My eyes welled up several times, and not just becauese of the patriotic theme but because of the shear beauty of the music and performance. Mime work and dance by guard in opening was brilliant. 'On the Town' was fun, ballad very moving but as everyone has said. 'Bugle Boy' is simply the most entertaining exhilirating number ever staged on a football field. Ending needs some re-writes to push up the emotion (I hear they are coming) but watch out Cavies when they do!


Hey gang.. JUST got in the door from my lil' trip to the land of forgotten "r's", Boston... just some thoughts on the show overall and the corps that were there...

first of all: Pahking (parking for the rest of the country) was horrible.. quite possibly the worst location I have ever attended based solely on this non judged caption.. LOL Other than that? One of THE best run shows I have attended.. they should teach the volunteers who handle the Barnum Festival tickets how to do it right... I did on 'phone lobby' with these people for 40 yard line tix..and thats what I got... Last year (and why I will NEVER AGAIN go to another show in Bridgeport..) the volunteer who ON THE PHONE LOOKED AT A CHART... sold me 'PREMIUM' seats for the highest price and then sat me and my extremely pissed friends on the 21 yard line!... regardless.. one of the most proficient show crews I have seen.. kudos to them all!

Well.. due to the parking, I missed East Coast Jazz and the Boston Alumni corps... sorry gang.

Kiwanas Kavaliers... well... they come across as VERY young and inexperienced.. they are the BIGGEST I have seen them in years... Its very early in the season... and for that I give them a lot of leeway.. but those visors? Please... come on...someone said it on here: they are a distraction at best.. Show concept is ok.... but again.. young corps.. if they can keep the numbers 'coming back'.. they should be better and better in the coming years.

Spirit... matter of taste on this one kids.. I, as most know, love this kind of show.. music you have to listen to a few times to understand and follow.. and they sell it VERY well... one of the most mature sounds out of them in years..GREAT drill... wonderful sound.. guard looks sharp... percussion .. well I aint a drummer.. but they sounded together to me! LOL

Boston... could be a great thing that stuck out to me: apparently someone LOVES Zingali and the 87 Cadets show... 1) the seperation of the battery sections only to bring them back together again.... quinisential (spelling?) Zingalli in the 80's.... and then the variation of the disapearing/reapearing company front... and all to the same music too... just seems like Boston ran out of ideas to me.... not a slam.. I like the show.. just that it seems very blatantly 'borrowed' at points.. no? Probably will be top 12.... but I think the visual team needs to set the bar higher.... maybe I am wrong.. but thats what I saw..... I will say this: BEST guard unis I have seen in years...

Crossmen... what can I say but HOLY Fin WOW. What a drill.. what a HORN SOUND... for this early in the season? OH man... For those BD fans out there, and Ill get into this more in a little bit: Crossmen have so much growth there... and they are so good now... BD? They're 'clean'.. but theres something missing... like I had said before mechanically proficient... emotionally devoid... But this is about Xmen.. sorry... They are going to pass BD within the next few weeks.. It might take them to finals to do it.. but I think they have the show to jump over them... every cylander is clicking with them... watch out boys and girls.. Crossmen are climbing up...

Cadets.... to those who have lambasted Geroge and his design team... to those who say Bb's arent comperable to G's... to those who have done NOTHING but complain on here and bitch and moan: see the Cadets. Quite possibly THE show of the summer. No, I havent seen many other shows yet.. but folks, this show at this early point has it ALL. Its BLOW YOUR EARS OFF loud...its amazingly musical... its powerful.. WELCOME BACK MARK SYLVESTER AND A DRILL!!! YEAH!!!! The percussion section.. the guard work.. you name it...The music is accessable... (dont you old phartes even BEGIN to bitch about Boogie Woogie not being hummable!) From start to finish... top to bottom... George heard your gripes and whinings.. and the Cadets staff have laid the gauntlet....this show is what EVERYONE has complained they wanted to see...and The Cadets do it.. .and do it like NO other.

BD... as you know I am not the biggest BD fan. And from what I read on here, I wasnt really expecting much... I will say this: I lambast them for lack of drill... well they FINALLY have a very interesting drill... unfortunately the rest? Mundane at best... Like I said.. mechanically? They do it better than anyone... its just that at 'those' points in the show? NO crowd response.. or should I say... not as big as Cadets or Crossmen.. not even CLOSE...... If they dont do something MAJOR soon... the Crossmen WILL catch them....Crossmen are hungry... Crossmen want it... BD seems to have this attitude of "we're BD... what are you going to do. LOL"... Just watch out guys... Crossmen are coming...

anyway.. that was it...nice place.. Id go back again next year... cant wait to see more shows!


Kiwanis Kavaliers - Moreenergy than last show. New flags added to Elfman-Batman section work well.

Spirit of JSU - Brass is gasping through soft/mid-volume segments in order to make big impact points. Guard dropped a lot, but is getting together better.

Boston Crusaders - Really good first show! 2000-ish, but should play the second sung section. Good guard, strong brass.

Crossmen - Biggest problem is feet/drill. Messy drill lowers GE, messy feet hurt brass' power/sound as well as drill.

The Cadets - Guard not so good tonight, but still right with BD. Drill looks good. A few musical tears (snares, brass, full ensemble) towards the end.

Blue Devils - It's so good, but... Music GE getting better, GE Visual will improve with attention to drill form intervals.

East Coast Jazz (exh) - Lots of indivual talent, but almost no blend, balance, etc. Show starts with dissonance and darkness like Spirit's, but they're lacking the power to execute it. Show ends jazzy and crowd friendly. Should be pretty good come August.

Boston Crsaders Senior (exh) - for those who may wonder, the point of this group is not "execution" or "cleanliness" or "technique". The point is having fun keeping history alive, and giving the audience a chance to remember and reminisce. THANK YOU Crusaders!

Dave Ballard
Submitted by snail mail from "On Tour"

Saturday June 29

Seattle, WA (DCI Pacific)

Just got back from the Seattle, WA show at Husky Stadium. Montlake Bridge was closed for painting which caused a HUGE pain for most people trying to get to the stadium. Was surprised to discover that Don Acheson was on hand in person at the show. Scouting potential new venues for Championship week? He must have been impressed by the crowd--the biggest yet for a NW drum corps show.

I don't have the scores at hand, but I'll review in order of winning...just some thoughts...

Vanguard - Neither my wife nor I could get into this show. Found myself just daydreaming through it. The square boxes were weird. Color guard was top-notch, though. Vanguard was a real come-down after seeing Scouts.

Madison Scouts - They are continuing to be scored low, this time getting a 71. Biggest hit of the night, crowd favorite. Their entrance onto the field is even a show. Big gap in the middle of the show with no horn work, just percussion. There's a lot of cleaning to do. Saw Scott Stewart, yelled to him, "Thanks for bringing the Scouts to Seattle."

Seattle Cascades - Extremely impressive and making the big leap into Div I. Scored a 70. Loved the huge rotating wedge during the opener. Really, really nice show.

Pacific Crest - Where did these guys come from? Big corps, big sound---one of the best drills of the evening, pulling everything together. Don't run to the concession stands during this corps' show. Watch it. You'll be impressed. 68+

Oregon Crusaders - Fine job by a Div II corps. Rare sight to see a corp from Rose City. Hope they continue to grow. 48+

Northwest Venture (Senior) - They have a good sized group and complete uniforms, but no drill. Just did a standstill while the color guard performed around them, half-lost in their own drill. Is the best we can do for a senior corps?

U.S. Marines - Wow. Super Wow. No trap sets, no color guard, no junk on the sideline. 40+ horns which sounded like 70, perfectly in tune, not a glitch, zero. A taste of what elite drum corps was like years ago. Too much perfection is a bad thing.

Jim in Seattle

I was at the show tonight, so please humor me while I attempt to rant and review at the same time. Before I start don't look for initmate details because that's just not me. I forget enough about a movie that I can enjoy it again 2 weeks later. Also I missed the NW Venture and Oregon Crusaders. Don't hammer me for disrespecting the Div III and Senior corps I was stuck in our wonderful traffic.


Div I

Pacific Crest: This is a top 12 hornline. No exaggeration, no question. Their score does not reflect the quality of sound they produce. Roughly 56 horns, great percussion and really high quality show concept - music of Cirque Del Soleil. These guys have much more talent than the Cascades, but their visual program really hurts. The drill is adequate, but very, very easy. It's reasonably clean but should be cleaner with the lack of demand. My theory is that a demanding visual program takes a greater time commitment than a demanding musical book. If this part-time corps ever goes full-time - watch out! They will be performing on Saturday...

Seattle Cascades: This will be the best drum corps Washington has ever produced. I saw their Memorial Day camp and they were not very good. I can not believe how much they have accomplished. They are for real. The hornline is pretty good, but definately not as good as Pacific Crest. However, the overall visual concept is light years ahead of P.C. Very fast paced, demanding drill. They have technique issues and the drill is very dirty. They have a ton of room to improve on a great start. The judges seem to love the show concept while I just don't. It is a 'Garfield's Greatest Hits' theme (83 and 85 primarily). One of the brass guys is a Garfield alumn. It's like he got ahold of a hornline and has them playing his dream book from the corps he loves. It would be like me taking a hornline and presenting Russian Christmas Music, Festive Overture and The Tender Land - not a lot of originality. Don't get me wrong, I want the Cascades to do well. I want them to make finals. My guess is they will fall just short.

Madison Scouts: My first WOW!!! of the night. In your face drum corps at it's best. Wonderful latin conquistador theme. They grabbed me by the throat just entering the field to Conquest. Teriffic hornline, very good marching technique, drill is decent but dirty and the guard is very mediocre. The guard has a ton of work missing. They stand around a lot. I don't get it. There is no excuse for that in late June. FINISH THE WORK!!! The guard took dead last! The talent is obviously there. Clean up the drill and improve the guard and they will begin to distance themselves from the Cascades. The crowd boooooed loudly when the score was announced. The spread relative to the Cascades was way too small.

Santa Clara Vanguard: These guys represent everything I love and hate about modern drum corps rolled up into a single package. They were clearly the best corps tonight in every caption. The show included an original piece by Gordon Henderson (UCLA band guru and former SCV instructor), a Hanson piece and a Copland piece. I'll use two words to describe it - flat and abstract. This corps is very talented, the show is extremely demanding, they march exceedingly well, all sections are very good BUT you still are left wondering what you just saw, what was missing. The original opener was pretty exciting but the rest was just blah... I will say that the visual program is everything you need to win DCI, but I don't think this show is going to get them there.

xmenbari98 said: "Cascades have a more sophisticated and energized program than SCV." That is absolutely nuts. Energized maybe, but sophisticated??? Absolutely NOT!!!

My results would have been as follows:
Cascades 68
Pacific Crest 70
Madison 75
SCV 79

I think Pacific Crest is getting unreasonably held back because of the visual program. The hornline does get enough credit. I think the Cascades are getting too much credit for a good, but very dirty show. Clean it first and then the credit should come. I don't know why the spread between Madison and the Cascades isn't larger - it clearly should be. The spread between Madison and SCV is about right, but overall I think the scores were a tad low. I'm guessing SCV and BD will be pretty competitive when they get together next week.

Jon Wagoner

Setting the stage: UW Husky Stadium is a great U-shape, with the open end letting the breezes waft in from Lake Washington just across the street. The track around the field is good for setting up and moving Pit and aux, but puts the corps that much further away from the crowd.

Seattle's contest --my always eagerly awaited one live show per year-- has historically represented a good cross section of drum corps, and 2002's edition was no exception. But this year was for me a mixed bag of sighing and frustration, interspersed with some genuinely uplifting excitement.

-NW Venture: standstill only and unexpectedly small after last year: 19 horns, 12 drums [2, 3, 4 & 3 pit] and 5 aux. Horns and drums were reasonably balanced but gave the sense of music learned not too long ago. Setting up on the track instead of the field would have helped project their sound and drawn the audience in significantly. Final piece "American Salute" was easily their most dynamic and brought the best response. Just out of high school, DM Stephanie Jacobson ["fsj6310" her bass drumming daddy] showed very good control. One more contest Sunday night closes their three-show season.

-Oregon Crusaders: the third year I've seen them, and my consistent impression for this still small and young group [13 horns, 15 drums & 7 aux] is that a less technically demanding show would help their performances and consequent progress immeasurably. Obscure music & theme mustn't be seen as a prerequisite for all corps at all levels. More on this later.

-Pacific Crest: a suite of twelve, smoothly controlled excerpts from Cirque du Soleil: refreshing. A wonderful rotating block form near the beginning, neat rack multi-cymbal enhanced drum feature, smoooooooth 7/4 samba, and exotic "Near Eastern" sound towards the end. Sure would like to see how they'd fare at DCI.

-Cascades: finally jumping into the merciless fray of Division 1 this year, Seattle demonstrably improves in technique and presentation with each season... and is also beginning to sound "like everybody else" within the Division.

-Madison Scouts: how absolutely and utterly neat! Hands down the crowd favorite. The [brief] use of conquistador hats on the aux, audience-understandable/followable melodic themes, TWO knock out Latin-esque percussion features... thank you, thank you Madison! And if it doesn't "win", SO WHAT? Scores be damned! Madison has the format and sound I pay my money for. God... what a gutsy, exciting show.

-SCV: lonnggg sigh... which I never, ever, Ever, EVER thought I'd think of the great SCV.

I thoroughly appreciate their technically razor-sharp presentation. But, but, but... as I [obliquely] said of the Cascades efforts, and even of the embryonic Oregon Crusaders, the steady, unending diet of choppy, fractured, frantic, hyper-varied sound-bites that we're being lead to believe apparently represents the zenith of championship drum corps music, comes across even in its slamming, screaming, whispering, whooping spadefulls as **still** nothing more than exercises in musical "intellectualism" [there's likely a better word, but it'll do for here]. The overall music format has impact, yes. But impact from, or of, WHAT? I expect Precise and Clean in drum corps, yes. But I don't expect JUST precise and clean.

I don't understand this aspect of drum corps, in general. I don't understand its rationale. I do not want obscure college wind ensemble/concert band music on the field. It's becoming less and less and less interesting with each passing season. I just... don't... get it.

-USMC: where Madison was absolutely neat, so the Marines were absolutely classy. They all but oozed it. Brass and drums only, but calmly, commandingly, professionally sharp to a fault. I was particularly fascinated at how their drumline reinforced the music without benefit of the ubiquitous Pit [other than two bell players] particularly in the eye-opening "American Salsa" drum solo. Their DM expertly wields a great large mace... yet otherwise conducts their very well thought out and marched repertoire with one hand! The Marine D&B Corps is a class act of the highest order.

Foot note: on UW Husky drumline cymbal player shirts... "Play like you've got a pair".


After a long drive home from Seattle and some much needed sleep, I'm ready to input my review.

Stadium was great, though trying to get to the parking area was a bit vague. Huge line for tickets but we lucked out with going in the credit card line... everyone else wanted to use cash I guess! Excellent venue for a corps show, olympic style track and ride opening on the right with a bay area view. Very nice. I'm not an expert with numbers but I would guess maybe 5000 people or more in the stands. Lots of corps jackets in the stands - saw VK, Star, Troopers, SCV, Crossmen, Madison, and others... DCI - please continue to bring shows here!

Seattle Cascades hornline started off the show with a nice rendition of the national anthem. Very good sound coming from the brass, I was impressed.

NW Venture - Ok senior corps but played in a concert arc while 5-6 guard members danced and used equipment around them. Some nice soloist work in the brass line.

S.O. Crusaders - 2nd year I've seen these guys. The drumline to hornline ratio is too big as far as volume is concerned, but the hornline has a pretty tough book to play. In order to do well in Div III you really have to come to perform every single night, and I'm not sure the staff gave them the type of show that will let them excel.

Pacific Crest - These guys need to stop fooling around and go on the national tour to Madison! Why they aren't planning to do so is beyond me. They have a strong semi finals show and it would be great to see another Cali corps besides the red & blue teams perform at championship week. HUGE guard. Great music from Cirque Del Soleil. Yeah it might be stuff you've never heard of but it's pretty darn exciting to watch. Standing O.

Intermission - Talked to another Cavalier alumni who lives in the nw area - Carmine (1981, Baritone). Tried to reach SCV alum Jon Wagoner on his cell but got his voice mail. Jon, we gotta hook up at tonight's Kelso or tomorrow's Woodburn show! :-)

Seattle Cascades - Wow. I don't care if this is music that Garfield played in 1985 & 91. These guys will be the best NW corps ever, and they pull the show off quite well musically. Visually, the drill is still rough, but if I know one thing about the guys who are on staff, they will make it clean. This show has much more going for it than Spirit, Crown, Colts, Magic, etc... I will almost guarentee you that they will make finals. Most enjoyable show of the night. HUGE standing O.

Madison Scouts - It was pretty cool to finally have another championship corps other than BD or SCV come to the nw since 1990. Corps didn't march onto the field and form the fluer de lis, they had to give us a nice warm up right smack in your face first! Loved it. Then they went to their positions ready to begin. Alot of people don't really like the silver helmets and armor that the guard wears to warmup, but I didn't mind. They remove both before the show begins anyway. Brassline and drums were ok, but I was expecting a little more oomph. Marching technique is getting there but saw alot of individuals brainfarting on direction changes. Guardwork didn't look finished. They use orange flags in the opener that didn't really work for me, almost too much red/orange on the field. Scott Stewart sat right in front of me for their performance and was checking out the crowd for reactions during other corps performances. Maybe he's desperately trying to find that missing piece for his corps to stop free falling from the top 12. After the show the drumline gave everyone a nice cadence beat. Standing O.

SCV - Well, the new uni's don't look like christmas trees really. Take the shape of glassmen's uni, remove the color, put a bold white stripe from left to right and then put bright orange/red on the right side and a lighter shade of green on everything else, including the pants, and that's the uni. Modern, but I preferred the 97-01 one myself. For the show... hmm well I'm not really sure what to say. The performance is there, the excellence is getting there, but who chose this music? AWFUL. The crowd sat on their hands. I feel bad for the kids, they really do work their butts off. Probably the biggest complaint amongst DCI show goers is that they don't know or enjoy the music. Me, I've enjoyed familiar shows and even some obscure shows, like Pacific Crest's tonight, and even SCV's shows the last couple of years. But this one just didn't do much for me, and I've been a SCV lover for a long, long time. Guard has alot of new & strange equipment - folding yellow/silver boxes, flags on triangle shaped pieces...

US Marine Corps - Great show guys. My cousin plays for the US Marine Band in DC and said the corps has been rough lately, but they sure turned it on for tonight's performance. Excellent blend of music with stuff we've heard from DCI in the past as well as the traditional patriotic pieces.

Scores - Not really surprised actually. If PC went on tour and Cascades continue to clean, both of these corps could catch Madison. They just have more of a complete package than the Scouts. Be prepared for the hometown riots when semifinals conclude in Madison. Unless SCV makes some major tweaks, this show won't do anything for finals, and Xmen & PR will pass them up.

Encore - SCV played in concert arc first. I actually found myself enjoying the music more this way. Not sure why. Maybe, and that's a BIG maybe, this show will grow on me, but not yet. Afterwards a nice rendition of Send in the Clowns.

Cascades also played in concert arc. HOLY @%@#!!!!!!!!!!!! I swear these guys are loud, especially the bari line. Louder than SCV. Great sop & mello soloists. Heard their corps song Imagine (John Lennon). Very nice. Talked to a father of one of the snares and told him to let his son know that I loved the show and to wish him the best of luck.

Again, the Cascades are for real people. Not a show to miss.

Evan Sowerwine
1994-95 Cavaliers
1990-93 Marauders

Disclaimer: I know squat about drums, and slightly more than squat about guard. Sorry.

Venue: Husky stadium. I'm sure this is a great place to see a football game, but I'm not sure its the best place in Seattle to hold a drum corps show. The stands seem pretty far away from the field (by virtue of the track and their recessed nature), and my-oh-my are those bleachers uncomfortable. Score: 58.2 (high marks for GE, low for performance)

Weather: Typical Seattle. Cloudy, sunny, cloudy, sunny, cloudy, sunny etc. Some noticable wind at times, but not too bad. All in all, I give the weather a 72.3 (with a .9 deduction for a wind penatly).

0) National Anthem, performed by the Cascades Hornline: I was a bit dissappointed here. Tone quality wasn't as good as I was expecting (considering their scores from the night before), attacks were tentative, and they had some ensemble problems (baris sticking out, etc.). I feared the worst for their performance after this. Don't get me wrong: it sounded fine. But I was expecting more.

1) Northwest Venture -- Not much too say here, unfortnately. I was both surprised and relieved to see they weren't marching. Surprised because they marched last year, relieved because they marched last year. Uniforms looked sharp. I appreciated the accessble tunes. The quality of the musical perfromance varied. Although the hornline didn't exactly embody musical exellence, they were pretty entertaining, considering their size (around 20). A nice way to start a drum corps show!

2) Oregon Crusaders -- Its great to see a drum corps from Oregon again. Full marks to the staff for forging ahead and doing their best to start something new and great! The corps looked good in the old Marauder uniforms. Guard uniforms were class, too. Their show -- Stormsomething? -- was pretty demanding, esoteric, and, for me, non-accessible. The kids did a better job with it than I expected. The hornline -- I counted 13 of 'em -- produced some nice sounds. The drum parts seemed over-written, though. Drums overpowered the horns for much of the show, as well. There were some quality performers in the guard (and some not-so-good ones, as well).

Mini-rant alert: I really wish corps like the Oregon Crusaders would play music more in-line with the experience level of the corps. In my opinion, this would benefit both the fans and performers. Let's face it: smaller, less experienced corps like this simply aren't going to overwhelm the audience with execution and precision. Its just a fact. Playing simpler, more accessible music will win them more fans and applause than their current MO. I can't imagine the kids like struggling with the difficult music either. I had this same observation last year. Obviously, drum corps is not so much about what happens on the field as off it, but give the kids a show they can play. No offense to the Crusaders intended. Just my two cents.

3) Pacific Crest -- Great show concept, great hornline, great drumline, great guard, great corps. The show -- Cirque du Soliel -- was very well conceived. Music was accessible enough for the audience, yet allowed the players to show their technical abilities. Their hornline (they looked bigger than the Cascades, for whom I counted 56 horns) had a very mature sound -- big, full, and rich. Guard uniforms were these very cool tie-died unitard type things. Their show wasn't all that difficult, but they performed it well. I thought they had better marching technique than the Cascades, but neither their drill nor music were as difficult. For some reason, this corps reminds me of the Freelancers.

4) Cascades -- (56 horns, 10(?) snares, 5 tenors, 5 basses, bazillions in the guard). wow. Any fears still lingering from the Star Spangled Banner were put to rest as soon the corps turned front field for the first time and blasted my face off with a great, perfectly balanced, in tune chord. Their show is excellently concieved. I never saw Garfield play this music, so I guess I don't bring the same biases to the plate as others (and about those biases: didn't Garfield play this stuff, like, 20 years ago? Can no corps ever play it again?). I thought the Cascades were too esoteric last year, but this year that is not the case. I went with two guests who have never seen Drum Corps before, and they both commented that the Cascades had, in their opinion, the most intriguing show as a whole. It is definately "fan friendly." Their marching technique seemed very, very rigid. Of the "corn cob up the butt" variety. Is this by design? I hope not. The opener and closer were the cleanest drill wise, with some serious, serious dirt in the middle. The Contra feature in Prelude, Fugue and Riffs sounded like mud, while the baritone feature was awesome. Nice solo work in the Mass. The closing drill is pretty sweet, but they seemed a bit fatigued by the end (not a surprise, considering its early and their drill moves). Some problems with overblowing and horns sticking out here and there emerged toward the end, too (again, not surprising). This show has plenty of upside. If they can get it clean, they should have a good chance at finals.

5) Scouts -- I was a bit dissappointed here. I usually love Madison, but this show didn't seem up their standards (I had no Scouts songs stuck in my head on the drive home -- a very telling fact, no?). Maybe they just weren't "on" tonight. I liked the guard outfits and the helmets. Horn line only seemed to have two volumes: backfield and loud. Marching technique was -- of course -- awesome, while their drill was surprisingly clean (for this early). Some neat-o pass-through type moves. Who knows -- maybe if I saw it again, I'd love it. The show just didn't seem that difficult, and I fear if they don't retool they'll max it out before finals.

6) SCV -- (65 horns, 7 snares (I think), 5 tenors, 5 bases, plenty o' cymbals). I loved SCV last year, but was just dissappointed tonight. Are the pink feathers in the hats new, or have I just never noticed them before (I like them)? The announcer told us to watch for the triangles in the opener. yeah, there were some triangles, and...? I think they might be getting more credit for the potential of the show than the execution. Plenty of dirt on the field. Music was pretty inaccessible. No memorable riffs, melodies, or motifs. Worse than that, it wasn't freaky-obscure enough to be memorable, either. It was just sort of "there." Hornline played it well, though. I don't need a corps to play music with which I'm familiar, but I would like them to play music with which I'd like to get familiar. Madison, PC, and Seattle all did this. SCV didn't.

7) Marines -- very cool stuff. The music, in a word, was great. It was pretty weird to see them moving so slowly, though. After watching the open class corps, all of which move around the field at a blistering pace, their stately, reserved marching was very strange. Firedance was excellent, and I even liked their rendition of Sousa (never thought I'd say that, being a former french horn player). I loved the two man xylaphone pit -- which, I might add, marched onto the field carrying their instruments in step. I was hoping the Marine Silent Drill team would perform like they did last year, but got no love.

Closing: I thought the point spread between SCV and Madison was too large, while the spread between Madison and Seattle was just (a bit) too small. The spread between Seattle and PC seemed more or less right. All in all, a great show, and the one chance I get a year to wear my Marauders sweatshirt!


Clifton, NJ (DCI Atlantic)

Well, after getting some sleep.... I was off to Clifton, dead tired still, but if BD is here then I am there. Hot out, but not nearly as humid as it could or should be.

Tonights line-up was generally the same as last night but without the Lehigh Valley Knights. This review will be of Clifton with a little Lansdale thrown in.

As I was entering the stadium to catch Cadets practice... a few things were going through my head. Crossmen are getttng a great start, probably the most ready they have been since 1992, they have a show that can take them far, but how will this fare for my Devils?? Cadets are also more prepared than usual, and they have some schmalz that is really doing what it is supposed to do, it is fun to watch, and those kids are performing the heII out of it! BD is at a defecit right now, but this might be a good thing, it will make them hungry, can they pull it off? My how I can not wait to hear Spirit again. They have by far the most intriguing, beautiful musical book of the slate, and I can't wait to get another show under my belt so I can become familiar with it. Crown, that guard is hideous, what a waste of a concept.

I walked around a little, had a chat with Jimmy Steele of Spirit, what a pleasure that was. A classy man representing a classy corps... this corps is going places, mark my words!!!!

Then bumped into Jeff Mitchell and had a nice chat with him as well, all of us "Jeff's " have got to get together soon!! LOL

Folks: The G vs Bb debate is just about dead and buried in my book. The brass lines of yesterday and today are loud, melodic, deep, and rich......!!

Jersey Surf opened the show tonight with the music for Earth, or something like that. A good performance that will only get better in time. Music is accessible, and the drill highlights it well. One major bad point, Guard is hideous.... the men put on pink Tutu's in "I feel pretty" ...umm, why?? I thought there was Maria character, and a Tony character?? do you boys want to be women?? Did the desing team think it was funny?? Well, I'm here to tell you that nothing but groans and pathetic laughter came out of the stands tonight... It's not funny, it's stupid... sorry but it was just as harsh to watch it, as it might be to hear what I have to say.

Kiwanis Kavakiers were next, and a better performance than yesterday. Corps is big, 10 snares. Masks don't help, it makes them all look short and frumpy. Brass needs to project more to the box, but I think that will happen as they grasp their show a little more. Good , mature sound, and a good drill...full of highlights, and once cleaned will have many "wow" moments!

Carolina Crown then took the field. You know, it's funny, last year they had about one hundred useless props on the field to try and sell their show. This year, they have a concept which could be outstaning, yet it seems no research was done to try and capitolize in it. Their "Greek Gods" show sadly goes nowhere right now, and the guard, instead of enhancing the package, sre just plain silly. Brass plays well as does percussion, the drill is typical Carolina "cookie cutter" drill, good, but nothing great, as of yet. The colorguard?? Who is responsible for these outfits ?? They should be bannished to hte galopigos islands for eternity. They do not in anyway look like Togas or anything the Greek civilization might have worn. Those colors were NOT used to make clothing for the Greeks, or the Gods....They look like finnished products used to complete the "fashions by Singer sewing" catalogue...hideous, emasculating, and too thin.... no draping fabric at all.... WHITE is where it's at, why no headpices?? why no Sandals?? Run as fast as you can to Wal-mart and buy something, ANYTHING to get rid of these...and why is lightning now artsy and curvy?? and Medusa had snakes in her HEAD not in her hands !!...... harsh, yes but not nearly as harsh as the scores of people tskk'ing and shaking their heads in the stands...... The show has potential, but I dont see them back on top of Spirit anymore.

Sprit took the field next, and took they did with confidence, and a presence not seen in this corps in a long time. What ever I write next will not do this corps justice, you have got to see it and hear ot for yourself. So, not a fan of wind ensemle ?? I don't blame you...Not a fan of "modern" drum corps and wish for hummable meldies chock full of emotion ? who isn't and who doesn't, well...... Spirit delivers all that and a bag of shells. First off, Kudos to the staff in a major way for designing what might possibly be their best gaurd outfit ever, burgundy with highlights of I think Gold, but..... but.... they unravel throughout the show to reveal colors, gradually getting lighter to enhance the theme (beautifully) of Darkness into light. Opening silks have colors from the corps uniform and the guard uniform blended perfectly... what a well written show, I can't get enough. Flags throughout the show keep getting lighter too, and these girls, these beautiful girls can spin their butts off.... WOW!! And you should see what they can do with a rifle ! Brass is playing with such confidence and emotion right now Bb sound is so sweet and rich... loud, yet dynamic. Melodies are presented well, and enhanced by an outstanding drum line. The second number is as beautiful as any ballad out there..... a little more fast paced than a true ballad, but you WILL want to hear it again, and again. This show is by far the most difficult they have had in a long time, and the key difference here this year over last is they are grasping it, selling it and having a ball playing it!! ....See ya' Saturday night Spirit!!

After a break, Crossmen came out. They set up with the brass in the top right corner, the guard lined up on the left end zone, one guard member in the middle of the field, and the percussion up front and in the back. As the pit begins it's stuff, the brass slithers in towards the center, the guard also moves towards the center..... then, bang !! rich, full brass sound, and my GOD.... who is this corps ???? This is the Crossmen, and mark my word, they will be near the top this year. The main thing that stands out at first viewing is the intricacy in the visual program, the second is how well the kids have taken the challenge to master this program... it's 6/29, but they are in mid July form. This program reminds me alot of 1999 SCV, it's fast moving, fast paced, in your face, and it is awesome !!!! They took the best elements of Blue Devils, SCV, and Cavaliers combined and melded them into something even better, and identinty all their own that they started last year. Brass is using brand new set of Bb horns and you can tell the difference, in a majorly good way !! Close your eyes, you would think it was BD !!! this is a good thing... Second number is pretty, Guard uses thick silver poles to full efect during this number.... crowd uses ooohs and ahhhs, to full effect also. Strawberry Soup is both Loud and subtle, keeping tru to the arrangement, yet becming a piece defined by this corps. As good if not better than the 93 BD/Madison offerings. Guys, they can haul out there...this drill just doesnt stop.

Crossmen: Listen up, if you can clean thos show like nobodys business,and then sell that cleaned product to full effect, you truly can be the next DCI champion!!! No, I haven't seen Cavies yet, but this show has it all, there is enough depth in this show to take it all!!

Blue Devils were next.... and before they entered the field they gave a huge yell at the back !! Yup, Devils are hungry, not winning a show is NOT characteristic of BD, and they know it. The Guard is huge,and they dare you not to watch them as they set up, and prepare. Guard outfits have grown on me so quickly, they are becoming one of my favorites... This BD guard is already the best they have ever had by far. They dance, they toss, they spin, they use hair for full effect. and they take command of the field and never let go !! Tonights performance was miles ahead of Lansdale in both an execution, and emotional standpoint. Arrangements are fast paced, full of energy, and brassline really stepped up tonight, Vintage BD styling here. Percussion can lay down some notes.... Music is very hummable not "chopped up" or "butchered" as some have said. This corps was ON tongiht... they wanted victory... it's coming,and it will happen, there is just too much in this show and as soon as they can master it, make a few changes and sell it.... watch out !! The introduction to Channel one suite is actually quite good, very suspensful, inovative, and melodical, you know it's coming, but you just don't know when. I can tell, and I heard there are changes in the works, and a new ending is on the way, but what they have now is very good, this is a really solid show full of demand, and full of GE....once they master it and sell it....w-a-t-c-h o-u-t!!!! I was sure they were going to take the lead tonight, until..........

On came Cadets..... Excellent opening drill sequence, Guard is on FIRE, and the movment fits so well, it is excellent. Brass is quality, sound is layered with rich, deep,(yes those two words again) tones, and they are executing rather well for this time of year. Cadets are on top of things this year, Drill is being performed well, as is the playing by both percussion and brass...... Sylvester & co have done a good job integrating the total package this year. The 95 boxes are back, so is the war theme..... as much as I want to say "no way" or "too schmalzy" or "again" ?? I can't...... I absolutely love this part of the show, Boogie Woogie bugle boy is a show stopper, I saw some babies flying towards the field, and the kids are having such a good time performing this show, you just HAVE TO BE CONVERTED !!!!!!!! It's excellent and I got goosebumps tonight !! I could live with out the "Iwo Jima" re-enactement,, what a total show !!! Blue Devils can, and I think will overtake this show, but I hear changes are coming from both camps.

Well, thats all there is to say now, agree, disagree, it's ok..... all corps seem to have taken a note and are playing more accessible music this year, all corps are of a higher quality than last far, Brass lines are LOUD this year, and I don't mean overblowing, shows are being designed to be loud, and hte Bb are just as good as the G.

I think whoever wins this year will be deserving of the prize..... I see Spirit in the top12,at least...Crossmen makin a major step up, and BD and Cadets fighting for the big prize......


Well, it was my first show of the season, so I can only tell you how I thought everyone did on his particular evening. Also, I had a first-timer with me who has absolutely no background in band, so it was interesting to get her reaction since the issue of reaching new fans is one of DCI's problems.

OK, after difficulty finding parking we finally got to the stadium while Kiwanis Kavaliers were starting, so my review will not include Jersey Surf (but I will say the pink tutus their guard wore looked really goofy).

Kiwanis Kavaliers: Much improved from last year! A nice full horn sound and a pretty interesting look with the visors and hoods. We watched from down front, so I have no idea what the drill looked like. The biggest flaws I noticed from where I was included individual marching technique and incomplete guard book. It's almost July, I really don't think guard should simply be marching without work at this stage of the season. And the individual techniques! Ouch! There is too big of a difference between their sound while moving and while standing. The staff need to absolutely get this problem taken care of immediately. My friend actually really liked them and thought they should have placed above both Spirit and Crown (but we'll get to that in a moment). Overally, this show has great potential and it's great to see KK back in the mix.

Spirit of JSU: The ballad was gorgeous. I really thought the hornline was very strong. But it is not just a strong hornline, the drumline has some really nice exposed features that worked well. But by far and away, the biggest improvement for this corps from last year is the guard. I really liked the look of the guard and thought that they provided a nice visual element to the darkness into light theme. While at times the drill is a little pedestrian, overall I thin kthis program works for them. If they can get the opener and the closer anywhere near the level of the ballad, watch out! They were easily 3-4 points better than Crown tonight.

Carolina Crown: Where to begin . . .. You know, maybe it was just a bad night, but this program really does nothing at all for me. I think the least of their troubles is the guard outfit! The Zeus section goes nowhere musically and the guard simply could not hold on to the lightning bolts. The ballad never really "flew" and the guard running through the two lines just offered nothing visually. And what is with the bit of "When a Man Loves a Woman?" I'm sitting in my seat being lulled into a mf coma and out of nowhere they bust out WAMLAW?!?! And 4 bars later, it's over and I go back into the mf coma. I thought the Medus section could really bring a big finale to the program, but it just got worse. They had nothing left at the end. They were completely out of gas. It may have been a bad night, but between the poor arrangements they have this year and the fact that they too seemed to have extended periods with no guard work I just don't know if they are going to do it this year. It's really early, but with the race for the top 12 so tight, my prediction is that this show will not keep Crown in.

Crossmen: I love this show! The total package is absolutley fantastic. The Heat of the Day is an absolte treat. It is sooo intricate and difficult to do that cleanly because the brass and percussion need to be in perfect synchronization. Tonight they had some small gliches, but boy the way they move during this piece made the gliches excusable. The ballad was the moment of the night. My friend loved the poles and it is amazing how simply playing a great tune and using a good, simply visual technique can be so effective. I really liked the fact that they just played the song -- didn't over arrange it as is so often the case in drum corps, it was really good. I see great things on the horizon for the Crossmen. They have truly offered us something new and exciting this year, and I think they are going to be well rewarded for it.

Blue Devils: I was expecting to not like this show, since I typicaly don't like the Blue Devils and it seems that everyone has bed things to say about it on here. But what is the problem? I really liked this show too. The Ragtime opener is the best Blue Devil opener I've heard in years. It took all the way to the second song before they played the typical Blue Devil stuff, but they purge themselves off it pretty quickly. Yes they have overarranged the pieces and yes they don't move as much as the Crossmen or Cadets, but I really liked this drill and the total visual package. And Channel One will be fantastic by Finals. So all of you who have deluded yourselves int othinking that the BD will not be in the Top 4 at Finals, get over it. They are fine and I think this is my favorite BD show in a long time on a first viewing.

Cadets: A lot of fun, but the NEw York, New York material doesn't do too much. Also, you can barely hear the guard singing the song becasue the corps is playing. Why bother? The ballad is outstanding and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy is hot, but the tranition from one to the other needs some work. The ballad ends and the mood is serious and somber and then all of the sudden they all scream and the party begins?!?! We need a denouement from the ballad before the sudden jolt to the party scene. But it's early and the Cadets are well on their way to a great year.

OK my friend really liked the Crossmen, Cadets, Devils and KK, but really didn't like the Crown and Spirit programs. She actually said that she didn'tt like these programs because they were a little too far away from what she thought a traditional band should be. She likened it to a ballet program instead of a "band" show. So I think what we are seeing this year from some of the top corps (at least those present) is a return to a musically driven program. Yes the visuals are there, but the key is the music. That's why someone who has never attended something like this can enjoy these programs, becasue they are driven by the music! It will be interesting to see how things shake out at Finals, but I really have to say that this is the first time in a while that I actually enjoyed the corps from the upper echelon on a first viewing. It's nice to not have to work hard to understand the program.

James L.

Went to the Clifton NJ show last night for my first dose of Div. 1 performances. Weather was warm through the day and pretty comfy at show time....maybe 74 and very little humidity. I am not the best reviewer (By any means) but feel that it is my duty as a fan and RAMD subscriber....I'll try to be brief.

National Athem:
Played by a few members of the Cadets ...nice job. fellow fans....please look at the American Flag when the national athem is being played and not the group playing it (Unless the group is sporting an american flag...which they weren't).

Jersey Surf:
I saw this corps about a week ago in a GSC div. 2/3 show and I thought they did a pretty good job. Last night they were a bit more tenative for some reason. The drumline is the strongest performing part of the corps right now and they did a great job. I think that once the members are a little more comfertable with the drill this show will be pretty nice. I do have some concerns about some of the higher notes for the upper brass....sounds like it maybe a little to tough for them. The tu tu's on the guard has to another poster metioned. I think the tu tu's were intended to be comical but they are not.

After reading some reviews on RAMD I was looking forward to seeing this show. Somthing that wasn't metioned out here before the Clifton show is the fact that the Kavaliers are sporting 10 snares 6 quints 5 bass and 4 cymbal. What A HUGE drumline. The show moves along quite nicely and the music is instantly recognizable. The corps seeemed to perform better as every minute passed. They are well balanced across all areas (Horns,Drums,Marching Guard Pit.) This will definatley be a show to check out come August. Great effort. I enjoyed them.

Another corps that I was eager to see. I reealllly enjoyed there show (Musically) last season. Last years show grew on me over the coarse of the season. This year......I think it is a pretty good show and look forward to a second viewing (AKA Bridgeport). Strong brassline, the drumline lets you know they are there with a couple of nice drum features and guard uniforms are nice. The corps seems to be marching really well for the end of June and the show moves right along. The hornline does a pretty cool triangle form in were the members do a 360 at different intervals at which they hit you with some sound....nice effect. Spirit has a real good chance of making it into the Saturday night show at seasons end.

Carolina Crown:
STAFF, PLEASE GET RID OF THE CORRENT COLOR GUARD UNIFORMS. This uniform choice for the guard is HORRIBLE.....especially for the guys. Now onto the rest of the corps. The hornline seems to be strong and the drumline and drill seem to be right about were it usually is. The problem I had was the musical did not make any sense (Nor entertain). It is supposed to be about Greek Gods and in the middle of this show the hornline leans back and plays some jazzy jam licks...?????? IMHO This is a good example of a waste of talent...members great job.....staff......go back to the drawing board. May drop out of the top 12 with this effort and all of the competition that is out there.

What a corps and what a show. Somthing that has not been mentioned in any reviews yet is the Crossmens Awesome drumline. The drumline has that groove about them (Sounds like 90,91,92). The horniline is real strong and the guard ain't to shaby either. I think this show is going places and will suprise many as the seasons progresses. The hornline seem to be a little weak in the last 30 or so seconds of the show but this will be cleaned up in no time. Its just that the drill demand is so hard at that point of the show. A must see. Could suprise a couple corps (And Fans) in August.

Blue Devils:
Show boring....NOT (IMHO). The guard alone is enough to make you druel. The guard is so good that its scarey. The hornline is smoking and the soloists are incredible. People have said that the drill demand isn't so high but I'll tell ya that this corps is movin out there. There was a little hornline to drumline phasing but I am sure that will clean this up soon. Don't know if the show is good enough (Concept) to win it all but BD will be in the hunt. Liked the show.

Well the Cadets have definatley put together a nice show in a areas. A rehash of the 1995 show.....I wouldn't say so. The drill is totally different and not one musical not is the same. This show is very well intigrated (Visual,Musical) and you can tell that April G. is working the guard. I heard earlier in the day that the last 30 seconds of the show is going to be rewritten and some other isolated spots are being changed as well. Bugle Boy is a HIT and the crowd and corps enjoy every minute of it (Duh...isn't that what all the shows are suppose to be about). Can't wait to see this show again....really nice.

Even though this show is the Cadets home show and a lot of Cadets alum and fans were in attendance I think that the crowd wouldn't have been suprised if the Blue Devils won. Both corps performed great and will probably beat each other a couple of times before the season is out.

On my way out of the stadium I noticed Spirit's hornline arced up and were playing. I thought cool.....gotta check this out. The hornline played I guess one of there corps songs....then played there on the field warmup and last but definatly not least........GEORGIA. That was the best was to end any show.


Well, this isn't' a real review, just some comments on Clifton.

To start with, it was just gong to be my daughter and I going to the show, as my wife hasn't gone to a live corps show in over 20 years. My daughter, bass drum section leader last season and now drum major of our HS band, has gone with me to Clifton in 2000 and 2001. Her goal was to watch drum majors to start to learn the ropes. We couldn't go watch any rehearsals this year, as she is now a lifeguard and had to work until 4:00 PM. So, as she and I were about to leave, my wife shocked the both of us and decided to come along. So, it was the three of us, and we had a great time. We ended up with sets on the 50, and about 16 rows up. Great seats! Prior to the show my daughter searched for shirts... but sadly on all the shorts she liked, NONE of the booths had medium or large, just small or XL/XXL. She decided to wait until the West Chester show, as she will be attending with the rest of the Vivace Marching band camp.

On to the show....

First corps up...Surf....
Did their own take on WSS. Very interesting show, and I think they wil eventually nail it. A lot of performance "stuff" to clean, esp in visual perf and brass. Perc really cook for early-on. Guard: all black, but for some odd reason they put everyone, including the guys, in pink tutus part way through. Very disconcerting. Their guard work is obviously not yet done. For one number, they carried around sports equipment, like baseball bats, tennis rackets, and lacrosse sticks, painted taxi-cab yellow....though I hate to use the word "taxi-cab" anywhere near a post that will mention The Cadets... They didn't do any work with the stuff, so I assume it's not done yet. Their closer ("Somewhere") needs more to it as well, as it ends pretty abruptly. All in all, some REAL nice playing showing lots of potential and a dynamite show, so I think they'll do just fine.

My daughter's fave in 2000, as she had just seen "Miss Saigon" in NYC with mom and loved what they did with it. This year the corps is HUGE, with the merger. Battery perc esp. 10 snares??? Very neat show, with superhero music. All black unis with visors in the brass/perc and all black on the guard. One spot I had some trouble is when the corps proper is in some sort of 'S' shape with the guard layered inside the curves. The black-on-black almost turns the guard invisible, as they are not doing any equipment in that spot. I'd highlight the uni somehow to bring them out, or give them some equipment. Actually, I liked what they were dong, but I had to look real hard to find them. All in all a very nice show. Lots of performance opportunities to work on, as all the corps showed; it WAS still June, after all.

One of my three faves last year. I've watched them the past three years and have marvelled at the intelligence of their admin, as they give the corps enough show to help them grow, yet not over their heads so it becomes a frustrating exercise. This year, they hit the big time, IMO. The Holsinger music is wonderful. The play the heck out fo the opener. I love the horn effect as they twist left and right in the wedge. VERY neat. The "ballad": Once they add some more expressiveness and emotion, watch out! It came across a bit "by the numbers", but if they can get it up to the performance level of the opener, they'll REALLY have something. Finale: Seemed to run out of gas. The trumpets esp started to fade in and out. Overall a very well put together show, for sure. The visual design is wonderful, and the guard does an outstanding job.

Greek Gods show. Last year's show was one of my VERY favorites, and I thought they played the heck out of it. One of my top three favorites of the year. This year... not really. The brass actually seem to play with better intonation than the past, but they still have to project more feeling and expression It comes across a bit dry. One long spot the pit isn't playing at all, but standing near sus cymbals watching the DM for the end of the tune, where they contribte a short sus cymbal roll. The players seemed unsure of themselves, as they were looking at each other, and then up at the DM. I wonder if it was a new part. Some visual problems, and a few folks had to REALLY run at times to hit their spots, horns swinging to and fro. They did the "park the battery in back for a while" bit, but the way they integrated them back in to the show was so neat I forgave them for that. All in all, I liked them better last year. They really need to cut loose more, IMO, esp the brass.

My other fave from last year. This year, I loved the opener. There are some problem spots performance wise, esp the first 30 seconds or so. More iterations will work this out, I'm sure. The Linda Eder ballad will be VERY nice once they get more emotion in the performance. I thought the flugels came across thin and breathy a bit, not dark and warm. Once they learn what they are SUPPOSED to sound like, I'm sure they'll be fine. Some to the background to the flugels sounded unmusical in the lower bras, sort of just notes plopped down, not really performed in a musical manner. Again, something I'm sure they'll work on. Strawberry Soup was a gas. They REALLY laid it out on that tune. The members must really like that tune a lot. Battery perc, esp the snare rides on cymbals, get lost at times. Was a cymbal missing? There didn't seem to be enough cymbals for all of the snares. The guard was great, but there was one move near the start of the show (I think it was Crossmen, but I might be wrong; it might have been Crown). where they do a two-person flip over move. It really looks clunky, almost as if I was on the field dong it ( a sight NO ONE would want to see, believe me).

Blue Devils
There seems to be complaints about their show in these newsgroups, but IMO this was the most fun I've EVER had watching a BD show, gong back to the 70's. I love the opener, but then "Ragtime" is my favorite Broadway show of the last 5 or 6 years. The spin around collapsing hornline is a VERY neat visual. I wish I could figure out what the furor is about "Channel One". I loved the chart. I'd rather not hear the version from 19XX; I want to hear a new take on it. Guard: as last year, one of my all time faves. I love the theatricality of their show... mixed in with great equipment work. Just wonderful. Percussion do a nice job, though I'm not sure it's one of their best percussion sections. One neat moment is the switch to the percussion in the opener from the brass. My quibble with Ragtime....maybe TOO fast, as it looses a little of the rag feel whe t gets going. Then again, as I said I love the show, so it's probably just me. I wish they had done their entire show on Ragtime, actually!

My goodness, what a great entertaining program, performed very well. The Bernstein opener took MAYBE a fraction too long to unwind, but once it hit it's stride it was incredible. The Field of Dreams ballad is beautiful, and they already have a good bit of emotion and expression in it. It still needs more, but the structure is there, so I'm sure it will be great by August. Boogie Woogie.. is so good it leads to a problem..the closer. After such a hig energy number, just about anything will be a let down, and for me the closer was, to an extent. It needs more visual enhancement, and maybe even some rescoring to get it back up to the heights of the rest of the show. It never quite gets back to the heights of BWBB and the rest so I was left just a little "off" at the end. I'm sure that will be fixed. I love the high leg lift spot, and the REAL neat 'old style' drum feature. It shows that today's kids can play ANYTHING thrown at them, IMO. As I said back in 2000, I still think they may have too many mellos to the number of trumpets, as the trumpets get thinned out a bit and lose their presence in a few spots.

A general comment
Seems to be the year of placing the tubas on the sideline and letting them do a walking bass feature. I think at least three did it, and maybe four.

I don't know them off the top, but the placements were accurate, IMO, as were the spreads. I thought the BD did a great job and should be close to the Cwdets, as did Spirit in their 3-point relation to the Crossmen.

My faves:
Spirit Cadets Blue Devils (which has NEVER happened for me)

My wife:
Blue Devils Crossmen Spirit

Cadets Crossmen Blue Devils


The show site is awful. No Parking, traffic is horrid, and corps have no place to warm up except where their noise will interfere with performing units.

Jersey Surf - Even dirtier than KK, but also had an enjoyable show. Effort was obvious, even if execution was not.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - Nice show. Loved the lightning bolt rifles in "Flash Gordon." Lots of dirt, lots of youth.

Spirit of JSU - Their brass must carry this this show, but when they get stronger/cleaner they will NOT be budged from the Top 12.

Carolina Crown - Not as good a show as Spirit and previous Crown shows, but I thought cleaner than Spirit. Brass is solid, Percussion and Guard also good, if not consistant.

Crossmen - Lots of dirt, but lots of drill still readable and effective anyway. Guard looked "on", Brass needs to finish their phrases. Best show ever, bar none. This will take them as far as they can clean it.

The Cadets - Who are THESE guys?? What adifference a week makes.... More dirt than BD, but FAR more GE and interest. First two tunes still end weakly, but beginning and end of show cook.

Blue Devils - Obviously good, but are only beating Crossmen because of executuon. More light-hearted than in past years. BD is cleaner than Crossmen (Guard is phenomenal), but not as good a show. their show has little pop, not very much interest. Lots of NICE things, but almost nothing MEMORABLE. Will lose to Crossmen if they ca't pull some GE from somewhere, because there's not much left to clean.

Dave Ballard
Submitted by snail mail from "On Tour"

Malden, MA (DCI Atlantic II / III)

OK - never done a drum corps review before, so here goes.

Music on Parade, Macdonald Stadium, Malden, MA 29 June, 2002

"Drums Along the Train Track" - 2002

The stadium is alongside the Orange line of the Boston Metro "T" - convenient if you have to get back in town to get a train - a distraction if you're out for a night of drum corps - oddly, it seemed that one of the train drivers got into the show - every 4th train would honk its horn as it drove by - still a distraction, but a neat one. The stands are set back behind a running track, about 15 or 20 rows high, facing east.

SPARTAN CADETS - Nashua, NH - (10 hn., 7 SD, 3 BD, DM, no guard) Exhibition:
This was the kids' first time out this season - they march parades and occasionally double-practice with the big corps. Solid black unis. with the trademark Spartan plume? boa? A patriotic show - Gould's "American Salute" ("Johnny Comes Marching Home"), some Sousa marches - including "Stars and Stripes", God bless ‘em. A surprisingly clear sound, a good ensemble instrumentation, contra to soprano, balanced - very out-front group of young people - bodes well for the consistancy of the Spartan Organization. Solid arc on the track, almost under the stands - wish they had stood a l ittle back.

CITATIONS - Burlington, MA - (5 pit, 5 Battery, 4 Guard, 5 Horns) - Exhibition:
This group had taken two years off to fund raise - watching their website evolve with fundraisers has been a testament to manager Donna Monte's drive to keep this group going. A standstill with the corps proper centered on the 50, the 4 very young guard members to stage left (or "Side Two" back in the day) - from what I could tell, every count of music was covered by some kind of guard action - a record that some of the later competing units couldn't claim. They played selections from Copland's "Red Pony" and "Appalachian Spring" as well as a surprisingly full-sounding version of "Take Her to Sea, Mr. Murdoch" from "Titanic". I got the impression that the drum section, articulary the pit, was well-trained - they have an active winter percussion ensemble and it shows. Fun to see them back in such comprehensive form.

SILVER KNIGHTS - Ludlow, MA - (3 pit, 2 SD, 3 BD, 6 Horns, 3 Guard) - Exhibition:
Scheduled later in performance order, SK suddenly appeared on the field - the music taken mostly from Holst's "Planets" Suite - Jupiter, Venus, Mars and then, surprisingly, "You'll Never Walk Alone" - centered on the 50, from a standstill set, they generated a surprisingly clear sound - the baritone player was worth her weight in gold in terms of projection. The guard was very active, both in equipment and dance work - from what I could tell there was work throughout the show. In general I thought they had a wonderful energy - this was the first group to catch the crowd's interest. My assumption is that their drill simply wasn't ready at this point.

QUEST - Brooklyn, NY - 7th place - 49.10 - (10 horns, 5 pit, 6 Guard, 8 Battery):
My first impression is that these kids were standing tall - either very well trained or new unis or both. I believe this show is not finished yet, but complete enough to march with what they have. The stepoffs and body carriage spoke of tentative command of the show. I would like to have heard more sound from each of the horn players. Percussion carried to the stands really well, the first of the night to do so, especially on the "Danse Macabre" feature. The color guard carried a lot of impact in the show design, and did it well. "Begin the Beguine" struck me as an especially snappy, much better thought out arrangement that either "The Lost Children" or "La Suerte de los Tontas" - I'm guessing on the end of the show, but I don't think they got to "The Heat is On"

TARGETS - Springfield, MA - 6th - 52.60 (4 pit, 3 Battery, 8 Guard, 14 Horns):
The show was a "Mangione Encore" - they won this Blue Devil's heart with "Legend" - hard not to look favorably - they hit all the songs that Chuck M. has ever made an impression with - "Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor", "Bellavia", "Children of Sanchez", "Land of Make Believe", "Chase the Clouds Away" - like listening to a 70's/80's drum corps retrospective. The guard made a great impression with very nice ensemble movement and equipment work. Their horn line had the most developed sound to that point and was the first to get a really solid crowd reaction just from horn impact alone. This show was complete, forms were mostly inside the 30's, from the low stands, bad body carriage made it hard to read some of them. There was a young pit cymbal player who was having a great time jamming the ride part in "Chase" - it was fun to watch him and he nailed the part.

CADETS OF NYC - da Bronx, NY - 5th - 59.55 (10 Pit, 15 CG, 19 Horns, 9 Battery):
"Incantation and Dance", "Cadillac of the Skies", "Platt Opus" and "Nights in White Satin". I think NYC has new uniforms as well - didn't see them last year, not sure - deep blue tops, white pants (white pants seem to be surviving in the Div. 2/3 part of the activity) with a pink and silver baldric. Classy and clear on the field. It was clear we were moving into a new level of show here. The guard can seriously dance - their equipment work - particularly the bright pink flags in the opener - really made the crowd notice. "Nights" was played from a standstill, which shows how strong the rest of their performance was - if a consistant level of energy and power can be maintained to this point of the show, it's gonna be a hot little closer - sometimes there were horn ensemble balance problems, sometimes problems from drums to horns. Very good connection with the crowd.

RAIDERS - Lodi, NJ - 4th - 62.20 - (6 pit, 8 CG, 21 Horns, 9 Battery):
Striking in dark blue tops, black pants with a black shako topped by a white plume, Raiders looked a little too much like Blue Knights - the black baldric is a welcome addition. The "Festive" opener was strongly projected, commanding immediate audience involvement - in other words, people finally shut up and started listening. The arrangement led you to believe that the runs played by the pit would be done by the horns - it struck me as an obvious cop-out on a difficult part - when the horns did take them up near the end it was woefully undersupported. I studied and conducted "Masque" by W. Francis McBeth, he got me started as a composer - the arrangement seemed to deconstruct the music too much, too confused, too involved - when the piece did come together the impact was quite strong - I'm sure Dr. McBeth will be interested to hear how they do. By the time they hit the "Shostakovich 5th" they were tired - but when they all hit together, the hornline has quite an impact. It all seemed a little frantic - BUT - when they came together into an honest-to-God company front - the audience went - well - wild, yeah, wild. I wish the show was a little less clever and more direct, but it will develop well.

PATRIOTS - Rochester, NY - 2nd - 69.15 (6 pit, 15 Battery, 22 CG, 28 Horns?):
Another show featuring music of W. Francis McBeth - about time - based on "Through Countless Halls of Air" - somehow this show didn't seem to gel for me - maybe they're still tentative and working out how to sell it - the horns were generally well balanced - the guard very well thought out - black/tan unis, with purple skirts added halfway through - impressive field coverage in the guard. The finale drill wasn't done yet - I love esoteric shows when thought through and well-presented - I think this one will need to be developed, but the technical training of the kids will carry them through.

SPARTANS - Nashua, NH - 1st - 73.30 - (10 pit, 29 Horns, 20 CG?, 17 Battery, 9 Snares!):
Wow - 9 snares - taking a big chance, hanging it out there, laying it on the line - kinda raggedy at times, but yeah, I think they pulled it off (I was a baritone player, what do I know?). Music runs true to their style - "Gladiator", "Ben Hur", "The Mummy Returns" (!?!), and "Samson and Delilah". Their opening from the endzones looks almost 60-ish, results in instant field coverage, movement straight left to right, which you don't see a lot of these days. The guard rifle work, tosses especially, was very arresting - gosh, those girls toss a LOT. Generally, and this was agreed to by folks sitting around me, this was a SHOW - beginning to end, active every minute, something missed if you looked down to see where your popcorn was. I have no clue how it stacks up to other Div. 2 shows, but it had better do well or I want to see the corps that beats it.

EAST COAST JAZZ - Malden, MA - 3rd - 68.60 - (6 pit, 23 horns, 12 battery, 11 CG?):
The host corps for the show - extremes of confidence in the show - so much of their repetoire - "Aspect", "Pegasus" and "Music From an Unwritten Play"- all demanding Stan Kenton stuff - seemed to depend on their leaning back and floating the music - especially the swing feel of "Pegasus" - up to the crowd - I think they weren't swinging, they were sweating - ECJ has the rep of steadily building through the season, almost being a different corps by August - a shaky contra attack on the first note of "Pegasus" unstablized the whole first part of the tune - but you can also see what they're demanding of the kids - since I know they can bring the kids up to the level the show demands, this is a good thing. Maybe they're trying to be "esoteric" - the time between musical impacts is longer than Nashua or even Patriots - - I can't wait to hear what this will sound like in a month.

In general, you could tell it was the first show of the season - not everyone was ready, not everyone was tight, but by Dunn and Bradstreet, they were THERE. That says a lot. I wish everyone in the crowd would shut up and listen, then stand up and stomp and cheer and carry on like crazed baboons - these kids deserve it. The shows were varied and well thought-out.

After a while, you didn't even hear that damned train go by.

Man, THAT's entertrainment.

Oh yeah, the Boston Crusaders were there too.


Toledo, OH (DCM)

(Please note that most parts of this so called review are of a tongue-in-cheek style)

It was a warm evening with a slight breeze on a Saturday night in Toledo, Ohio. People frantic to escape listening to John Denver tunes broadcast from every street corner in town, rushed the gates of the Glass Bowl at the University of Toledo, trying to escape the embarrassment of having nothing to do. Like vultures the 50/50 ticket hawkers and program salesmen descended on the madingly small but persistent crowd. It was as it always is a "drum corps" crowd, people with no real home during the summer traveling from place to place (vagabonds on the Ohio Turnpike) with not much else to do. Their mood was, in a word, bitter, bitter at being forced to attend the only drum corps show in town. Routinely law enforcement officers driving by dropped off car loads of the dreaded "out-of-towners", lost and bewildered people trying to find "their own kind" and they each made their way meekly to the gate trying not to attract much attention. You could see it in their eyes, by the way they looked with a sort of far off distant look. Asking was it okay to go in now? They were hoping, even begging for good old fashioned entertainment, it had been sooo long. But it was not to be tonite.... no it was not to be. For the Glassmen were here... and although they were last on, we all knew that our hopes would be shattered and our fears would come true. All throughout the grandstands, you could see mothers covering their infant children's ears and saying very quietly... don't listen, don't listen for you will turn to stone for the Glassmen are here sucking all the excitement, all the enjoyment yes even all the warm pop out of the bottom of the cups... The audience was in a restless mood. Afterall, they had come for a show and they were going to get it. So much for ambiance.... it was time for the show to start.

Bandettes (they don't much look like a band...not that that's a bad thing)

The last All-Girl Corps in existence was the first on and played to a rather small but eager crowd in Toledo. With 9 horns, 5 guard, 9 pit , no marching drum line and 4 standing on the sidelines, this corps gained the audiences attention right away. It takes a great deal of guts to not only start off the show but to draw the audience in. The mellophone solists did a fine job. A few rough spots were over looked and the audience clapped every chance they could. We all cheered them on, hoping for them to succeed, and they did. Have a fun and safe journey Bandettes, we enjoyed what you had to offer...we love you. Please come back again and remember "never give up".

Lake Erie Regiment

I did not see this group but heard that they did get a standing ovation having also only 9 horns.

Capital Regiment

As a volunteer for the home town corps (whisper it very oh so very softly.... the Glassmen) I was hawking programs and 50/50 tickets and trying to convince small children that these were "collector items". No one escaped my charming advances, the young and the old. Even the t-shirt venders looked at me in disgust. That's why I missed the show, I was so ashamed of myself, while I was looking down at my feet I walked right into a wall and knocked myself out.

Sorry, I missed Capital Regiment but many in the crowd tonight sincerely enjoyed their show and thought they have great potential.

WE are truly lucky here in Ohio (round on the ends and high in the middle O-Hi-O, sing it O-Hi-O) sorry... I need to take my medicine. As I was saying truly lucky to have such a fine organization as Capital Regiment here in Ohio where drum corps was born. Home of the tallest drum corps kid ever to march and also the fattest. Home of the first double tenor bass snare drum. WE also invented the 50 yard line. Heck, we've had more drum corps here then you can shake a stick at....... O-Hi-O... gawd ... I, I love that song.

Pioneer (they don't really dress like pioneers do they?)

What can I say that has not already been said. Much better tonight then 2 weeks ago, balance between the horns and drums was way better. I do not think the tables are an effective prop but the members seemed to enjoy it that's all that matters to me. I enjoyed the music selections and their performance.

Bluecoats (those white pants and white shoes and white hats and feathers... its almost like they are the good guys)

Watched this corps with sheer delight. A very entertaining vehicle, the show has music you can tap your toes to. A strong performance of the horn line, a little heavy by sopranos. They are enjoying their performance and drew me in to a new level. Predictions.... Top 6..... No, not unless something more spectacular can be done somewhere. A good show but not a great one yet. Hard to believe they had a better horn score then Glassmen but heck, I'm bias. Another great Ohio corps.

Ever been to Canton... I have.... not that far from Akron... can't really miss it yes Hall of Fame, Football I could go on and on.... Go Bluuuuuuuu. My Dad was asking me after the show why everyone was booing them. With a straight face, I told him that this is the only corps that memorizes their music. He bought it..... it's probably not right to mess with senior citizens. He should have bought a 50/50 ticket from me.


Anybody have that Trooper album from the 1960's where Walter Brennen narrates.... it is gold. I can't forget it. He says "The Troopers, name and appearance ( in the background the Magnifcent Seven is playing ) are what the west was like." Or something to that effect.

"Troop Whoop" said the t-shirt. I love the Troopers and I enjoyed the show. A nice show design but only 36 horns and a little thin. They play a little tentative, so cut lose guys and gals and let er rip. Not being a drum guy, I don't often find problems but F-Troop has some butterflies here. Can you say MUDDDEEE YEOW.. Well enough said it was only their second or third show. No sunburst, please, we all want to see it even if we know its coming. We're very simple people. "Troopers make DCI TOP TEN". I have to see that one day again before I retire. Same guy as last year selling t-shirts and he always looks like he is half asleep. Now that's a trooper.


A greatly improved performance from 2 weeks ago. All the music is familiar but played without much feeling. The drill relies too often on the "block formation", not very drum corps to me. I look forward to seeing a much more emotional performance come finals week.


Booooring, Boooooring, Boooooring. The crowd began to chant. Boooring, Booooring, Booooring, bus engines started simultaneously all over the parking lot. The audience was in almost a hypnotic trance. Young children stopped crying and couples in love stopped...... well they kept doing what they were doing but everyone else stopped doing stuff. An then a hush fell over the crowd. "Glassmen, are you ready for competition?" cried the announcer, as he muttered under his breath "hurry hurry before they all leave."

Now this is the part I hate ( I'm being serious now) Why does the guard have to fiddle around with their flags on the sideline and make everyone wait...

Back to the show. I looked over the crowd, many had begun to yawn. Some glanced nervously at their watches other glanced at the exit ramps looking for a way out. But trapped they were... all gates had been padlocked shut after intermission and us ushers were instructed to silence those who went out between corps. I tried to stifled my over-whelming urge to yawn but it was too late. It all started when the drum major saluted, removed his shako placing it on the podium he stood up and then it happened. Putting a gloved hand to his mouth as if to stifle a small yawn the whole audience almost subconsciously if by some magical stroke began to yawn simultaneously. So much oxygen was removed from the air in those few seconds that 3 or 4 judges instantly passed out..... BTW that's how we get such high scores.

So much has improved in this show in two weeks that it almost elevated me out of my seat. Wow they have a guard now and they are doing lots of neat things. When they get their moves to reflect the music they will change this show into the next level. Listen to the music several times. It is so much more interesting with layers of depth to it. Soloists are almost drowned out by the monster pit. Lovely opening, by the pit and a full field drill set with drum and guard integrated. Of course a moving block, a picture frame and the reverse. This show needs something else, some element to lift it into the top three. Course I am biased but I think they will square off with PR, SCV and Crossmen for 4th through 7th. It's gonna be great battle.


Binghamton, NY (DCA)

Wow! Had a great time in Binghamton!! First thing we did was go check out the new stadium.... Very nice btw. It's a shame that there is such a great facility, with no real parking.

Then we were off to Hurcs. practice. Had lunch and hung around for a while watching. Everyone was working hard even the Honor Guard! It's June....but, they were looking good. They should shape up just fine! Nice show! Man, they sure have a couple of great soloists!! Looked for you Liz.... oh well, maybe next time.

Next, we headed over to see what the Brigs were up to. For the little amount of time we were there, the corps was working on a few trouble spots.... and I must admit with each try they did get it better and better. We didn't stay very long, we were being attacked by bees (thankfully, none of us got stung!). 12 contras Oooof!!

For reasons I choose not to go into.... I had to miss out on Bush and Cabs rehearsals. My apologies.

So we went back to the stadium to claim Mom's parking spot. She wanted that spot and she got it. It was a perfect spot up on the hill, in the shade, with a great view of the field. So, we set up camp and watched the rest of Magic's rehearsal. Wow! Hard working corps! Great hornline!

The corps started to show up and we walked around the stadium and facilities to see the souvies and visit with folks and take in some warmups! Got to have a nice lil chat with Susan Zellea(sp) from Cabs. she's always a pleasure to talk to!

Tom, the only time that I saw you.... they were pushing us out the gate to clear out the stadium for the show to start. I yelled your name three times..... but, you didn't hear me. You were standing in front of the souvies stands, in your khaki shorts and white shirt! I told ya I saw ya! Have to catch you another time!

We (my daughter and I) then ventured to the front of the school where the Cabs and Hurcs were warming up. Hurcs we really like those new unis. Very sharp looking! Yet still very recognizeable. On to the Cabs. ran into several people I know! Finally met Glen in the flesh! (Nice *do* Glen)lol. Took his kids over from that point so Daddy could do his thing with the drum line. Mindy and I had a ball with Justin and Kevin. They are a riot. Nonstop typical lil boys. Kevin told us that when his plant starts to grow... he wants me and Mindy to come to the house and see and smell his beautiful and delicious flower. Kevin a seeded dandelion and insisted that I make a wish and blow it out. He promised my wish would come true! Justin wanted to go watch the guard so we did (nice guard Cabs), Justin soon went on a treasure hunt for his special rock collection. Meanwhile, Kevin and Mindy had a contest who could dig up the buried treasure using only the magic sticks (no fingers were allowed to touch the dirt or the treasure would turn to mush that wouldn't make them rich) Lame, but it helped keep them kinda clean.... cause Dad didn't want them dirty. Kevin informed me that Daddy doesn't like the Cabs., his favorite is the Bushwackers! hehehe Glen, just to let ya know.... Justin is quite *handy* with chicks in EVIL tanktops. Did you teach him that???? No wonder he wanted me to carry him a lot. Eventually took them up to the car so Daddy could go on the field with the corps. When asked is they wanted a drink, Kevin said, "no, thank you" and Justin said, "yes please". Wow! How polite!!! Then we watched the green guys(Hurcs.) Nice show Hurcs.!!! Then came Daddy's corps we all yelled and clapped. Then we were off to find Daddy.

Mindy asks... who is that? I look over..... and I tell her I have no idea.... its either Brigs or Bush??? Then I recognize some of the staff and I say..... Bush??? What's up with the uni change? Bush used to have such a recognizable and diff. uni., You could always pick them out in a heartbeat. Sorry Bush, although I liked your show, I must admit.... I do not care for those unis. Oh, and Jerome.... I believe you still owe me!!! The beads were nice....yet that didn't take care of our debt! (hehehe) It was great to see you again tho!! No wonder I couldn't find you anywhere... I was searching for you in one of those (blah) unis. (sorry, but I miss those classy unis. they were not only nice looking but they showed very well on the field!!) JMO.

It was great to see everyone Rose, Brad, Jack, Tony (very cool that your daughter is marching with you this year!!!), Kay, Nicole, etc., etc.

Under the raining bugs (UGH), I took over again with the boys so Daddy could go to the meeting. Glen, don't feed them Kitkats just before I take charge please?! Whew! Thanx for allowing me the pleasure of watching the boys (just hope next time, I get more than an hour and a half of sleep the night before). I'll need it! Give them both a hug and kiss from me and Mindy!

Brigs Nice unis. And I love the fact that the Honor Guard has the old unis. nice touch! Rick sorry I didn't catch up with... you were always busy when I saw ya! Nice show! Only one tune that I had any real problems with..... But, that is probably more on a personal level.

All n' all, it was a great show! Can't wait till the next show and the rest of the season to see how things shape up! Ok, I've babbled enough.... Everyone have a great season!! See ya soon!!


Almost a perfect night for drumcorps (about 5 degrees cooler, and it would have been absolutely perfect). Nice new stadium, but have been in more intimate ones. The stands were set back pretty far from the field because of the large track and a large walkway at the bottom. I haven't been around sr. corps for long, so I might get some of the traditions or histories wrong.

First, what happened to sky? I enjoyed this corps last year and I hope to see them again this year.

First on, Hurc's. Got to see them in warmup. Drumline played quite well in warmup. So did the hornline. After listening to warmups, I was really let down by there show. I know, it's early so they haven't had much field time, but they play way, way better standing still. I thought this show was by far the dirtiest of the night. Huge pit/battery phasing in the beginning. Drill spacing was not the best at more than a few times. Hornline had some intonation problems, along with quite a few minor breakdown (dropping phrases, blowing releases). The guard was quite good, and large (over 30). The drumline also played pretty well. I think this show will be quite good by the end of the year, probably top 7 by finals. I would put technical demand in the middle of DCA corps. I have no idea how they are scoring this well now. I thought this show was very dirty, but when they clean it up, they should gain quite a few points. Have a lot of easy fixes, definitely want to see this show at finals.

Second on, Cab's. This show was typical Cab's. The will definitely remain in the top five this year. Liked last year's show better, but this was still very enjoyable. The hornline played very well, had a very well balanced sound throughout the show. I remember the sop line being better last year (but it is still very early in the season, and I'm can only remember the end of last year). Can definitely tell this show is from old school dci, it had some transitions I didn't like. Guess I actually got used to having all these themed dci show that flow so well throughout the show. They seemed to march well, and drill cleanliness was typical for this time of year. Guard and drumline seemed to be around the same as last year (I'm a horn player, so always pay to much attention towards hornline). Good show. Thought the got the right score.

Third on, Bush. A great show. Liked the red uniforms (instead on blue and white) to reflect the inferno theme. Hornline sounded great. Probably the hardest hornbook for the night. Sop had some great double tongueing licks in the front half of the show. Pretty well balanced. Had a lot of good runs in the upper bari's and mello's. Drill looked great, although it was somewhat dirty (because of technical level). They really dropped the ball in the last tune, but it's June. I'm sure they will have that cleaned by finals. I don't remember the guard at all. I don't think they had either the flags done or their work done for most of the show (I think they didn't have the flags done, only had a yellow a white flag). Guard had some good dance moments through the show. I don't think this show has the punch of last years show, but I do think it is more difficult. Only bad thing I remember (except for the closer dirtiness), is the transition into firebird. That was about the only thing that left a bad taste in my mouth. I thought they did a great job, but are the 3 points behind cab's right now. Don't understand how they are losing to hurc's right now. This hornline sounds way better than hurc's, the horn book is way better than hurc's, the drill is way better than hurc's. But, hurc's do have a better guard and drumline. I really felt this show will score better than last year. The difficulty is there. Great drill and love the hornline sound.

Fourth, Brigs. Remembered the first half of the show, BD 94. Did a good job with it. Hornline book is definitely harder than last year. Played all the runs BD had in there opener that year. I thought it was A LOT dirtier than last year's first show (which doesn't bode well for the rest of DCA). Hornline, guard, and drumline all as good as last year. Hornline book is definitely a bit harder. I still have problems with there drill. Just like last year, it just doesn't do anything for me. Don't remember much velocity, except for a few moves. Didn't like the pit being on the front half of the field, it took away some of the field for this bigger corps. The drill always seems too tight, too many people in power alley. But the show is still great. Very enjoyable. Hornline (mostly uppers) was dirty, but they still are way better than almost everyone. This book should sound GREAT by finals. No one should catch them musically, but they should be beaten visually (just like last year).

Last, magic. Too much hype. This corps is very good. Hornline had a great sound, nice and dark. Drumline had some fuzz at times. The drill looked good, spacing was very good. This show is definitely a div II show. It is not that difficult horn, drum, or drill wise (as compared to the div I corps). I remember magic's hornlnies being dirty, but playing one of the most difficult shows out there. Not this year. But, this is the best div II corps I've ever seen (in June). Don't understand the 75 score on div II sheets. This corps is as good as many div II corps I've seen at div ii/iii finals (corps that come to mind would be Tarheel 98). The should win div ii. They probably will not make div I finals. Just not enough technical stuff there to get them there. This corps could end up finishing as high as 14th though. Don't think they will beat colts, madison, bk, seattle, crown, or spirit. Good show, very enjoyable, and pretty clean.

All in all, a great show. Every corps was good and entertaining. Can't wait till Hershey next week.

Elise Cramer

Andover, NY (DCA)

Perfect weather. Great stadium. Show started with a great opening ceremoy. Very patriotic with all 50 state flags.

Two exhibition corps:

White Sabres fron Dannsville, New York. Looked very neat and played very recognizable music including "New York, New York". 21 Horns, 8 Guard and 6 percussion

Thunderbirds Alumni from Erie, Pa.
WOW. Really lit up this "novice" audience. The announcer asked just before the show started -- How many were attending their first drum corps show -- seemed like half of the stands responded. Anyhow, Thunderbirds are very talented-both horns and drums. Very comfortable in what they are doing. Great entertainment.
19 Horns, 10 Perc. and 5 in the Honor Guard

Four competing corps:

Nightstorm--Butler, Pa.
Small, very small again this year. A senior Division III corps. I think they're better than the last two years.
9 horns, 7 perc. 2 pit, and 7 guard. 4th-56.6

Kingston Grenadiers--Kingston Ont., Canada.
Had to wait for yard markers for about 10 minutes and may have lost an "edge". But not much! You will like this corps! New hats seem just right. Music is really enjoyable. "I've Got Rhythm", "Embraceable You" and "Rhapsody in Blue" all were well done.
33 horns, 11 perc., 9 pit, 6 guard and 3 Honor Guard. 3rd-65.35

Crusaders--Rochester, New York.
Their "Key of S" show works well for them. I had heard most of the music this winter and spring and wondered if they could "sell it". Let me tell you--they do! Some great solo work. Horn line seemed to be dying out towards the end of the show but they were saving it up(so it seems) for the finale. A very junior(BD) like ending. The horn line starts out center right in a tight ball and unravles right across the front side line. Loud and well done. I usually like their guard alot. Not this show. To begin with--I didn't like the uniform. They also seemed a distraction sometimes. Too much "in your face". Just my opion and just trying to be honest. All in all--a better show than last year. You will like this corps, also.
38 horns, 8 pit, 14 perc., 21 guard

Empire Statesmen--Rochester, New York.
Watch the (young) pit! It is great! Drum line is young and very good. Horn line is as talented as ever. Guard is good but the opposite effect of the Crusadres--needs to be integrated with the rest of the corps more. Maybe the best all around Empire ever. "Begin The Beguine" rocked! "Summertime" was pleasing but the very end of the show seemed incomplete and was quite muddled.
48 horns, 20 perc., 11 pit, 21 guard, 5 Honor Guard. 1st place--72.95

Exhibition by Mighty St. Joes.
Were will it end? Still getting better every year. You can tell these guys and gals really are working hard. Their patriotic medley is as good as I've ever heard and played well.
54 horns, 15 guard, 17 perc., and 9 A Guard

Every drum corps fan I talked to was impressed at how good the corps were for this first show and tis early in the season.

See a DCA show--you'll be glad you did.


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