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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2002 Drum Corps International
As posted to R.A.M.D. and submitted to Sound Machine
Page Seven of Reviews
Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when
they are available or submitted. The following reviews are solely the opinion
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Saturday July 20
San Antonio, TX (DCI)
First off let me tell you guys how wonderful a show
this really was. I was more than impressed with the
talent that is going on in the activity. I actually
wrote a review early this morning, but my damn
computer cut out on me after I had finished it around
5:00AM. So here we go take two. I am going to review
all the corps that competed.
Revolution- This corps is very young and I think it
has a definant future as far as I am concerned. Please
San Antonio and Texas support this corps so we can
have a corps for years to come. Thanks for performing.
Troopers- Much improved. This is the best Troopers
corps that I have seen in quite sometime. I enjoyed
their music and the horn line was pretty god. It was a
small horn line of only about 40. Gaurd and Drums were
ok, but there is only so much you can do with those
Pioneeer- This is another improved corps, although I
had the Troop beating them. i was not all that
impressed with their horns and they were much smaller
than even the Troopers. The show was Oliver the Twist
and I did not really like it. Drill was pretty fun.
They brought out benches or large rectangular boxes to
stand on and do features. In the closer they took them
back field and turned them upright and hid behind
them. This was a great idea, ala a Wintergaurd except
for one thing. If you are going to do something like
that paint the backdrops please. They were brown but
were tarnished and scratched up. This made a good idea
into a lousy effect.
Kiwanis.- Where did you's guys get all of those horn
players ehh? J/K. This corps gets my most improved
award. A big corps with a giant horn line. The music
and the show I had issues with. I think a hero show is
a great idea for a high school show, but not for a
Div. 1 corps. The work was easy and the drill was very
dry. They play very well, but they do not move so
well. There were quite a few missed visuals and body's
were all over the place. Never-the-less, the best
Kiwanis corps I have ever seen!!
Southwind- This is a fine corps. I have always enjoyed
listening to them. I think that there is not enough
demand on these kids. They are maxing out their show now.
If they had better writing this corps could potentially
be a top12 contender in the future. As it stands, Toccata
and Fugue does not work well on the field and does not
even come off as being dark. I disagree with a post that
said they lack umpph. They have it, but there is no
difficulty to their show.
Colts- I was very impressed with last years corps.
Based on scoring from this season I was expecting to
see the same type of thing, but I did not. I am sorry
to say that I was very dissapointed in them. The horn
line was very very raw. There ballad had many moments
where sections were fracking in exposed parts. They do
not seem to support in the lower dynamic range very
well. I heard numerous dropped phrases and they did
not finish their impacts. Also, unlike last years
drill, nothing reaches out and grabs me. They were
dirty as were a lot of the corps in the early show,
but the design did not jump at me. Sorry. I do not see
them as a legit threat to the top 12.
Crown- Someone recently said that they thought that
crown was very dirty and that you could not read their
forms. I have to agree. They are fielding probably
their best horn line I have ever heard. It is taught
by my man Jason Buckingham so the kids are playing
with a great dark sound. That being said. I don't feel
that this show is set up well. Again going back to
last year I felt that their production was fresh and
innovative. This year they seem hokey. The guard uni's
don't bother me on the males, but the pink and yellow
togas just made me loose concentration. I think the drill
is too packed in and they spend a lot of time between the
40's. In the long run i think these guys too will be left
out for Saturday. Great drumline, awesome gaurd, although
other than the lightning bolts, I don't like the
equipment, and a much improved hornline.
Scouts- Sigh! They won both horns and drums in the
morning show. That being said the gaurd is awful. I
love the Scouts, and they have a strong corps except
for the gaurd. People are saying that if they clean
they could make it, I don't think it is cleanable.
There are some just basic technique problems that
should have already been developed if you are going to
be in the gaurd of a great drum corps. Not only was
the work not together, some members seemed down right
lost. One guy dropped his pole as they were just doing
drop spins. A mom next to me remarked that she had
only been to marching shows for a couple of years and
that she knew that they had a serious problem in the
gaurd. a 13.9 compared to some 17's by the corps in
front of them will kill them. I also think their is
something missing in the corps itself. I cannot put my
finger on it. I enjoyed their show, but it does not
make me jump out of my seat like Madison normally
does. In'97 my wife and I used to take our uni's off
fast to run to the edge of the stadium and watch the
Scouts. There was an aura that is missing now. I can
see the pain in the members face, I hope things get
better, but i do not see them in finals unless there
are some serious changes.
BK- 11th-afternoon 12th finals- I have watched many
posts about my former corps so I wanted to see this
show first hand. If you are a fan of light hearted
shows, this is not for you. One word can describe the
show, Dark. I love it!! I would like to rename my
corps the Evil Knights!!! The show draws you in with a
very stately opening and follows into an even darker
ballad. The the closer, the Barber Piano Concerto is
just down right mean. The guy next to me said it best.
The show builds tension and they get louder then
softer then louder then soft until the closer and then
wham, they send you running through Hades!!! There is
much dirt, in both the drill and the book, but they're
are marching by far the most demanding drill of the
corps around them. The drill is awesome, it is packed
full of visuals and stellar jazz running moves. When
these guys clean up, Watch Out!!! I talked with the
staff afterwords and they said the judges really dig
it, they just want it to be cleaner!! Keep it up Evil
Spirit- 12th place going into finals 11th-finals- Well
done Spirit- you guys will be a force for years to
come. The college sponsorship will only make things
better and better. On to the show. I like it overall.
The hornline and the music is good. The drums and
gaurd are pretty strong, and this is a good drill. The
feet are a mess right now. I see quite a few different
marching techniques as I look form individual to
individual. And body posture and horn facings are a
problem right now. If these things can be fixed I
think these guys are in like flynn!!!
Seattle- Wow, again let me say Wow!! and this is your
first year in Div. 1 are you kidding me? Great job
guys. This is a wonderful program that includes a
great drill and an awesome hornline. The battery is
decent as is the gaurd. I really enjoyed this show!!!
That being said I think they have left the door open
to Spirit and BK to pass them. They are extremely
clean for late July and BK and Spirit are not. When
these guys clean up it will be very interesting.
Seattle's only small flaw is their small ensemble work
which is not sounding to good right now.
X-men- Man these guys got hosed and the crowd booed a
little. I love this show although there is something
missing in strawberry soup, it seems a little slow
maybe? The trio at the end fracked some but my
goodness, I'd say that this is the best corps I've
seen the Crossmen have. The hornline plays some
serious notes and has a rich sound. The drill is the
best I've ever seen from them. I really think this is
top 5 material. Drumline is good as it always is as is
the guard. Maybe a little tweaking needs to be done on
Soup, but definantly a high caliber show.
Bluecoats- Attention ladies and Gentlemen the
Bluecoats have another man eater hornline this year. I
am thoroughly impressed. These guys have a fun show,
but it has a much more difficult visual book than in
years past. They are performing at a high level in all
areas!! I even like when the drum line dances.(see
what you've started BK, tsk, tsk) This definantly can
only go up.
BAC- Ok, I admit it, when I first heard their show
title before the summer I picked them to fall out of
the top 12. I am eating my foot as we speak with a
little salt and lime. What a magnificent program. I
love the American flag set at the end and I really dig
the show as a whole. The visual aides are nice, I
thought they would be corny, but they really added to
the production. The singing was good this year. I
liked it much better than in years past. The crowd
liked it as well. Great job, well deserved.
Phantom- Folks this could well be the best pure
sounding hornline in DCI. The guard is also
phenomenal. I really enjoy the music and the hornline
does a great job of playing it. Now, what will keep
these guys out of the top 6 is drill. There is nothing
to their drill. This show would be so much greater
with some visual impact. The maneuvers and the style
of drill do not fit the music. The guard work is well
done and is as it should be. If these guys had a drill
this year that provided some ummphf, they would be
able to walk home with a DCI title. They have not had
a challenging drill in my opinion since about '95. Fix
this and you've got a winner. Best hornline of the
night in my opinion.
G-men- I must say that I normally like the G-men, but
I could not seem to get into them this year. They have
a serious drumline this year, but the brass is no
where near as talented. The were some very ugly
moments when the trpts. would stop supporting and
allow their sound to crash. I do not see this
remaining in the top5. In fact I honestly believe we
could see BAC, the Coats and X-men in 5, 6 and 7 come
SCV- What an awesome corps. I do not like the uni's at
all. Against the light green field the new green
looked like mold or something. This show cooks. It is
intense and angry form the first down beat. They have a
much better hornline and this is the best guard that I
remember seeing from them in a while. I would agree
that the drill is definantly top 3 but, the music is
not. I think that they will dog it out with BD for 3rd
BD- People had been saying that they move more than
they have. Really, I didn't notice. Maybe it is
because they are not flashy when they move or that
there is not much break neck speed to them. That said,
I like this show, I enjoy it from a musical and guard
prospective, I think though that down the road the drill
designs as they stand now will eat their lunch. The crowd
really dug the soloist as I did as well. Awesome job,
will battle SCV for 3rd the rest of the way.
Cadets- I am not a Cadet fan, but WOW!!! This is a
shear emotion show. Boogie Woogie is absolutely the
best thing I have seen in a while. The drill is much
improved this year from the past couple. The drums are
unbelievable as is the gaurd!! Hands down the best guard
in DCI. Not even close!! The hornline is good, there are
a few feety sounds in the opener, but that was about it.
An absolutly amazing show. I think they have a shot to
catch the Cavies if they keep working on cleaning the
drill. There is certainly enough impact.
Cavies- Just when you think you have seen the best
visual package the Cavies come and one up it!! I love
this show. What a beautiful hornline, the ballad chord
release thing sent shivers up my spine. Wonderful dark
sounds. The drill is unreal and the visuals are as
well. I like the chant, but I really like the visuals
that are done when the crops is in side the frame.
Great job, far and away the best battery in DCI again.
They are well on their way to a 3-peat.
Final thoughts- What a super day for Drum Corps. The
quality of drum corps is definantly on the rise. There
are so many story lines this year and a variety of
shows. For those of you that want entertainment there
is some. If you like abstract there is some. If you
like mean and dark there is some of this too. I got up
at 7:00 AM yesterday and went to sleep at 5:00 AM this
morning. It felt like being on tour all over again
with those hours!!! Great job by all, what a great
BK '97 '98
Sorry I'm late but I just got in from what was a great show... thank to all the corps I
got to see... all you guys are the greatest... but there was an occuring theme to the show
I noticed from almost everyone... "DIRTY" everyone had a lot of dirt in their shows.... so
here we go in no particular order...
Southwind: didnt see
Pioneer: didnt see
Revolution: didnt see
Colts: didnt see
Blue Knights: I didnt see I heard them..... well at least I thought I did... most of
everything I heard was back field... I thought I was on the wrong side of the Alamodome at
one point actually, no kidding... but what I heard was ok there was nothing that got me going
really I didnt think what I heard was good enough for the night show, but I guess I had to
see it to get the full effect of it....
Cascades: their show was really dirty... there were time where you couldnt even tell what
the form was supposed to be...but on the other hand their sounds and their visual package was
very good...I really liked the music and how it was arranged, and hats off to the soloist in
Simple Song that was truly beautiful on a song that is one of my fav. Bernstein pieces... but
their score was a little bit inflated for the day show.... I thought what they got that night
was about where they should've been...even though the night show a little cleaner it was still
dirty once they get it down, there gona be a force to reckon with.
Crown: excuse me on this one because I dont remember the middle of the show because I feel
asleep... honestly this show did nothing for me, and I usually like what Crown does... but this
was one of the most boring shows I've ever seen... nothing they did visually really struck me and
made me go "hey that was cool"... and about the guard uniforms, yeah how about NO....
Madison: who I thought was the biggest surprise of the whole day.... after reading all the
post about dirtiness in the feet and all this stuff, it WAS NOT THERE AT ALL.... but the
colorguard was simply embarrasing... BTW so all of you know... all of you think Madison doesn't
give a care about the judges and scorees... youre absolutely wrong... I hung out with a lot of
the guys the night before and theyre totally not happy about what going on with them, and its
sad because they know what it is, and even the colorguard themselves know, thats exactly why
they had an hour sectional right after their performance.... anyway back to what I was saying.....
Madison was really clean yesterday in their feet, and form wise... they just lack a few visual
knock here and there they could do something with..... but they did the coolest visual when the
entire corp broke down into the Caoperia Martial Arts...... that hornline is the best hornline I've
heard in years... I would put this one against 95, and this one would win because the sound was more
compact and darker, by far the most sound produced at the entire show..... drumline was on that day,
I felt they should've won that caption too, but for some unobvious reason the Crusaders beat
them.... you know its not the entire colorguard that hurting them....... just those guys from the
X-Men, how do I know because I pointed every single one of them out during the show... at one point
they twirled flags the opposite direction as everyone... so do I agree with Madison's overall
score??? No.... why?? Because no one during the afternoon performed as good as they as a complete
package but you cant do it with such a bad guard... Madison wouldve been better off this year
without the X-Men.....
Sorry about how long that was, but I had a lot to say about that......
Boston: "dirty, dirty, dirty"...they're opening set where they're standing to get started never
even made it.... the middle was in nowhere's land and I don't understand that....so I guess in order
to be placing this high in the DCI ranking now you don't have to play in tune, or play without phasing
problems because Boston had both of these, and bad....... I was really looking foward to hearing that
show, instead I should've went and gotten me a soda because it really disappointed me..... it was a
cool concept, and they picked out good music, but the arranging, and the playing of it did nothing
for me both times I heard it... their score was inflated also... they were in no way better than the
Bluecoats: BLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!! I absolutely loved this show it was entertaining
from top to bottom, and I've never been really big on them, but now theyve gotten a new fan...... nice
sound especially in the opening chords and melodies... their drill is lacking a bit that's partly why
they haven't started pushing the Glassmen and Phantom, but if they worked and tried to add a litle bit
more pizzaz to the drill, they could do it.... GO BLUECOATS... keep doing what you're doing and you'll
start being a headliner soon... even though you guys were one Saturday night.
Crossmen: nice show, nice design, but I thought they lacked the energy in their show tonight... I
don't know, maybe it was being on that bus from Houston the night before or what, but they didn't seem
like they were totally into it last night... the ballad was absolutely beautiful... especially the
last note which I though was as good as you can make that note sound... it was full, controlled, and
in tune...... the Crossmen had a bold sound, at time a little to bold in the Baritone section... but
they've come a long way in one year, and I thought they were right where they should've been........
B.D: again...... dirty.... the opening move was pretty bad... the entire show they had bad interval
problems all over the place, but overall its a great show... after "It Dont Mean a Thing" the music
gets kind of flat to me.... Channel One just didn't have that Blue Devils pizzaz last night... I think
they were maybe tired or worn out too because when I saw them warming up a lot of the guys looked dead
to the world.... the guard is the highlight of the show though to me... it was soooooooooooooo great,
I'm not sold on the uniforms yet, but the things they did were great......
Glassmen: I think thoce new shirts they were selling were telling the truth a little bit to
much......... the highlight of the show for them was the soloist in the ballade... amazing tone and
technique... I dont think ive evern head a tone like that in DCI ever on any recordings.... he is
simply amazing and he kept me from totally blowing off this show.... there was one point where they
were Mojoin' in the show... I don't know why because there was no need to... they didn't get a very
good crowd response either... that entire show was just flat to me and I honestly don't know how they
SCV: I like this show..... drill is great, they way they sell the show's title and the design of the
show is great...there's one thing that is keeping them from retopping B.D., and that's people sticking
out.... you could literally point out people in the show because they were playing so loud at time when
they shouldn't have....and there was a "trumpet" player that played extremely loud and flat the entire
show... at the end of thw show, the thing that hurt them the most, the form never hit..... the diamond
didn't form at all... the middle of it looked like over 1/2 the corp didn't know their spots exactly the
way they should... and that's not the last thing you want a judge to see... you want them to see you
stick your last move with ease.......
Cadets: WHY ARE THEY SCORING THAT FAR BEHIND THE CAVIES??? They were definitly crowd favorite
tonight... and boy did they please....... this show got me out of my seat the entire time..... I'm not
totally sold on how they changed the ballade though, I liked they way it started the begingin of the
summer better than the pledge of allegience but it was still beautiful and moving..... whoever their
colorguard and visual instructors are need to be really comended for what they did in this show.....
it was just soooooooooo energetic... and the part in the closer with the "release" toss...........
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!! I've never seen a rifle line stick a toss like that before....... all in all,
I honestly thought the Cadets had what it took to finally break the Cavies streak of not loosing...
but when you break the shows down it boils down to this..... the Cadets just didn't move as much as
the Cavies this year... which isnt normal for the Cadets, but I see and upset happening come finals
week....... and I'm on the Cadets ship for all its worth........
Cavies: this is just like last year... I'm not entirely sold on this show, dont get me wrong...
it is great, but its not nearly up there with the likes of 2000 and 2001... this show has its moments
but it doesnt make you gasp everytime they hit a set.....they didnt really crank up the tempolike you
expected them to except for that one time......it may be the fact that they move more than the Cadets,
but during a lot of their hardest moves and sets. It was just the drumline playing and that happened a
lot of the time....and I think something like that should have an affect on their score.... I thought
their score was inflated partly because it wasnt the Cavies I expected, they had a little bit more dirt
than the Cadets, but I mean they still do great things.......GO GUARD!!!!!
Phantom: "THEY'RRRRREEEE BAAAAAAAACK" putting them on last was a great idea because they cranked
out some sound...... next to Madison and the Cadets Phantom had the boldest sound.... when they hit the
slow part in the closer it absolutely brought me to my feet for the rest of the show....."BUICKS"
(phantoms baritones) just amazing, unmatched all show... they were very intense,and dark... whatever
Pete Bond did to them this summer was great... I haven't heard a sound like that from Phantom
ever........ what's keeping them from top 4??? The closer....... the drill is just way to easy, they
don't do anything to make you go "ooohhhh" they slow the marching tempo down and instead of bringing
it back up and making a smoking closing statement, they left you dry.... but my one of my friends who
marched told me that they've already revised the drill for the closer and they're gonna start learning
it next week.... so hats off to Phantom... you guys really impressed me...
Before I go I have to say one thing..... I don't think that retreat is taken nearly serious
enough.... you're playing songs to honor your country and you goof off and make it sound bad.....
people from the Crossmen, Cascades, Spirit, and someone else I couldn't point them out seemed like
they didnt even care they were holding and blasting their guts off in soft spots...i mean come on
guys... have a little bit more respect for what you're playing, and what you're playing it for..........
and one last thing..... I don't think you guys should count Madison out at all... they came out and the
did what they needed to, and they said that's what they plan to do the rest of the summer, because
they're tired of being counted out...you see how close they are.... 13th place.... it's all left up to
the guard now... any progress in score has to begin with them and also end with them.... if not, then
there will be a Madison-less finals, but lets not hope for it....they've got the hornline and the
drumline to make a push...."COME ON GUARD, IT'S CRUNCH TIME" hope you guys enjoyed the review.
Blue Knights - 12th - 78.50
I may be a little biased toward this corps as my cousin marches in their
snareline, but I thought they were pretty good. If nothing else, they're at
least a lot better thanthey were last year when they did that stupid Blue
Toons show. This corps is definitely very talented and I was pretty
impressed with their brass. Unfortunately, the show isn't really that
enjoyable. It consists of some Shostakovich Piano Concertos, which, when I
heard about, I thought, "hey cool, BK is playing Shostakovich", but it ends
up just being too dark and too esoteric for the audience to enjoy upon first
listen. Hopefully, their staff will learn to design a decent show sometime
soon. I though their on-field warmup was pretty cool, though. I'm a big fan
of their '99 Trittico show, and it sounded like they played part of that as
the warmup. I think they deserved their placement in 12th, no matter how bad
I feel for my cousin.
Spirit- 10th - 79.95
This is definitely the best Spirit I have ever seen. The last time I heard
them was at the Dallas show in '99, and this is like a completely different
corps. I love the way the baby blue looks on the corps. They just have this
presence on the field now that was non-existent with those crappy
cream-colored things they used to wear. The opener might remind some people
of the Glassmen's 2001 show, what with the random punch chords tied in with
some body movement. I was a little worried that the whole show might be like
that, but they pleasantly surprised me. Their ballad is absolutely gorgeous
and definitely something that everyone should get to listen to this summer.
After seeing a few of the Spirit kids in uniform in the stands, it appears
as if this Spirit corps is fairly young, which I guess is a good thing
considering how well they are doing. I think this corps has a very bright
future and will most likely finish in the top 12 this year.
Seattle Cascades - 10th - 79.95
It is so incredibly hard for me to believe these guys were in Div 3 just 2
seasons ago. They play a whole lot of Bernstein stuff, and I think they do
it quite well. Profanation was done very well, as was Preludes, Fugues, and
Riffs, and I never object to hearing Make Our Garden Grow done on the field.
The only complaint I have is that they took the green sash out of their
uniform. Maybe I just wasn't sitting close enough, but it was really hard to
see anything other than black and white on their uniforms. Hopefully they'll
change this sometime in the next few years. Overall, I thought their show
was very good, and look forward to seeing their progress in the future. It's
so great to have another corps break into the top 12.
Crossmen - 9th - 83.80
I was really psyched about hearing these guys after only getting to see them
from the side at the Dallas show. Unfortunately, I think they had an off
night. The music was really cool, and they have an awesome hornline, but
they just seemed to lack emotion. One thing I do think is really cool is the
fact that they are marching a 6-man flugelhorn section. I always hear a lot
of people complaining that the middle voices sound thin with just the
mellos, but it appears now that at least 2 of the corps (scv and xmen) are
experimenting with different alto voicing. The flugel line definitely adds
another dimension to their sound, bridging the gap between the mellos and
trumpets. I love what the Crossmen have been doing since their 2000 show,
and I hope they continue doing it in the future. This show has the potential
to be higher than 9th, but I guess only time will tell.
Bluecoats - 8th - 84.20
I may be a bit biased toward the 'Coats also because I plan on auditioning
there this Fall. But anyway, I missed these guys in Dallas because of one of
my friends had somewhat of an emergency, so I was definitely psyched to see
their show. This show is definitely very cool and very entertaining. The
corps looks like their having a whole of fun performing this show, and
that's what all about, isn't it? The brass is very solid and they handle the
high visual demand pretty well. Honestly, I didn't go in expecting a whole
lot, but they were really impressive. They should do very well in Madison.
Boston Crusaders - 7th - 84.55
I definitely dig the Boston Crusaders this year. The show is somewhat
similar to the Cadets' show, in that it has a patriotic theme. Throughout
the whole show, the guard has these things that I can only guess are
overhead projector screens like the ones you see in schools all of the time.
Two guard members whole each side and then walk away from each other,
revealing a message printed on the screen. They said stuff like "Liberty is
Unifinished Business" and "Land of the Free", and other various patriotic
stuff. I think the effect of the screens was pretty cool, and it was always
fun to try and figure where the guard members hid after they closed one of
the screens. In the middle of the show, the whole corps
starts dancing around and playing jazz, something I didn't ever think I'd
see out of Boston, but it's done very well. The crowd got really into this
part of the show. I love the way this how ends, and apparently, so did the
crowd. The whole corps makes uses of their uniforms and the guard use their
flags to great effect by getting the shape of an American flag and laying
down on the field. The hornline was the red stripes in the flag, some of the
guard the white stripes and the rest of the guard was hold holding flags
with stars on them. All in all a very neat effect that the crowd dug. They
sing again this year, and I think it's done very tastefully, and definitely
adds something to the show. Good ol' BAC, always singing. =) I'm looking
forward to seeing these guys butt heads with the 'Coats and Xmen in the
Phantom Regiment - 6th - 85.80
I've been a big Phantom Phan since 2000 and it's nice to see they've got
another very good show this year. I believe this is the first time they've
played Shostakovich since their '96 show, though I could be mistaken. Either
way, it's very nice to have the two (PR and Dmitri) back together again. As
Forrest would say, they're like peas and carrots. The show is definitely
very dark, but in a good way, unlike BK's show. The hornline is very good
and something I'm very happy about is the fact they're doing a real ballad
this year. I can't say that I liked last year's "ballad" very much, as those
of who you saw last year's show can probably relate to. With such dark
music, though, you would expect them to be in black uniforms, instead of the
khaki/white unis. Maybe they'll go back to black sometime in the future.
Near the end of the show, be sure to look for the PR logo drill form. But
anyway, it's good to see PR continue on their journey to the top. On another
note, PR gets my vote for best souvie shirt. Look for the dark grey shirt
with the PR logo in the center.
Glassmen - 5th - 86.15
A lot of people seem to think that the Glassmen are boring, but I'd have to
say I'm a pretty big fan of this year's show. They're no Cadets, but the
show definitely has its moments. The music is very pretty and executed very
well. The amazing flugel soloist is back again, though it isn't nearly as
technical a solo was it was last year. Either way, it was done beautifully.
Though I wish PR was beating them, I can see why the Gmen are scoring so
high. They have a great hornline, and as always, they march very gracefully.
I laughed when I saw their souvie booth, as they've seemed notice people
think that they are boring, and have created shirts to poke fun at
themselves. There are three shirts...one says BoringT, another says
"BorinBb, We took the G out of Boring", or something to the effect, and the
third one, "Glassmen, Boring our way into your Hearts". I think it's cool
that they can poke fun at themselves. If the kids enjoy what they're doing
and don't mind the fact that most people think they're boring, then hey,
more power to them.
Santa Clara Vanguard - 4th - 89.30
First thing I noticed was the new uniform design. They've taken the dark
green on the pants and jacket and lightened them up a lot. It took a while
to get used to it, but I think it was a good decision to make. I usually get
to listen to SCV's show a few times in mp3 before I actually see them live,
but unfortunately this year it doesn't look like anyone has any bootleg
recordings of them. As such, it took a bit for me to get into this show. I'm
sure it will be great after I listen to it a few times, but I can't say that
I could sing any part of the how right now. I think they'll do well again
this year, but most likely will be stuck in 4th, like always.
Blue Devils - 3rd - 90.35
It's amazing the difference a couple of days can make. These guys were so
much better tonight than they were on Thursday at the Dallas show. I think
they've changed the show around a bit since then, and it definitely made a
difference. After Thursday, I pretty much figured that BD would be stuck in
3rd this year, but who knows...I can see them making a climb to at least
2nd. Who knows...anything can happen. The show was very entertaining
tonight, and I didn't get the feeling that the arrangements were choppy, as
some people have said. The guard is amazing, and the hair as a prop thing is
really cool. The soloists were on tonight and overall it was just a great
show. Props to BD for doing an entertaining show this year. None of that
Awayday Blue crap we got stuck with last year.
The Cadets - 2nd - 90.50
These guys were also a notch up from Thursday night. I think the opening
drill move has been changed a bit, and they also added some pictures of
advertisements and such from the 40's on the sides of those big black
blocks that the guard and soloists stand on. Boogie Woogie was awesome, as
usual, and the hornline just seemed really on tonight. I think the best part
of this show is when the all-male rifle line starts spinning their rifles
and yelling stuff out. I can't really explain it too well, but it's
definitely awesome. There were so many parts of this where I got the chills.
The part where the guys change from regular clothes in military uniforms
gets me everytime. I don't know what to say other then that. This is
definitely one of the best Cadet's show ever, and even if they don't win, it
won't matter, people will remember this show for years to come.
The Cavaliers - 1st - 92.45
I don't know if anyone is going to be able to touch these guys this year.
The hornline is amazing, the drumline is phenomenal, and the guard smokes. I
dig the music and the drill is awesome, as usual. Also, it seems as if the
Cavies have maybe found a new trademark dance move. They did this thing a
few times in the show where they turned back and forth, and moved their arms
like they were running or something. Kind of hard to describe, but I think
if you see it you'll know what I mean. I don't really know what else to say
other than that I think this is the best hornline drum corps has ever seen.
I don't see anyone catching them this year.
So that's it. This was definitely the best DCI show I've ever been to. There
was not a single show I didn't enjoy. This is such a spectacular year for
drum corps, I can't even begin to explain how great this show was. One of
the coolest parts of the night was the guy I was sitting by. He said he was
on the Cadets' bass line in the 60's the first year they allowed rudimental
bass drumming was also drum major sometime in between '60 and '65. It was so
awesome just talking to him about all the corps and hearing all of his
stories and stuff. It was so cool to talk to an old timer and not get the
feeling that drum corps now is somehow inferior than what it used to be. His
name was Ken Samara, I believe, but someone feel free to correct me.
But anyway, that's about it for now. Feel free to leave comments about the
review as I spent a good deal of time on it. Maybe next year I'll be on the
other side, performing for you guys.
I may be a bit longwinded so bare with me. I wanted to jot down some notes
after each performance but decided it would be a pain so I am doing this by memory,
this being the first and only time I will see all these groups this year. So I
won't cover everyone equally, just the ones that I can remember. I am a snare
drummer by trade but think I have a pretty good ear. I hardly watch the color
guard unless they are being featured.
I had perfect seats for viewing drill. I was as close to the 50 as possible on
the first row of the 2nd deck. 3rd straight year I have had these seats and I plan
on being there next year. GREAT SEATS!!
disclaimer: I marched in high school band and have followed drum corps religously
since 1990. I have been to at least one show every year since 90 and have been to
San Antonio 4 years straight now (this was the first time I didn't have to drive
back to Houston the same night...THANK GOD!!).
Caroline Crown: The drum line is great. Unfortunately at times that is all you
can hear. I felt like they should have been playing with a more powerful Div 1 corps.
At times the brass was barely there. If this was the corps where the guard guys wore
the togas...not flattering. I really wasn't that impressed with the show overall.
Blue Knights: I have never been a big fan but came in with an open mind (I will
repeat this for Glassmen) It is very dark show as so many have stated before. The
brass is very powerful when they lay into it. I still do not like the dancing brass.
It seemed like there were as much body movement as playing notes. In the afternoon
show, I saw one poor girl who either just learned the show or had a REALLY bad day.
She was a couple beats slow on every movement, like she was watching the person in
front of her and then copying it. It carried over into the drill after they stopped
doing body movements. I enjoyed them much better during the evening show even though
they dropped a place. It is probably a show I will like on cd, just not something I
could watch over and over.
Madison Scouts: UGH!! The guard!!!! I hate to see the score so low! I thought the
show was great. I tried to watch the show from a judge's perspective and see where they
are scoring so low. Half way through the show I realized I hadn't even looked at the
guard once. I watched for a while and knew exactly why they have been scoring where
they have been. One review said something about how it looked like some had just learned
the show. I could not agree more. The rifles were so tentative, like you could feel them
thinking what move is coming up next instead of it just flowing out. Does that make any
sense?? The drumline was fair to good, very typical Madison drumline. I did enjoy the
timpani/tenor feature...it seems so obvious, but I don't remember seeing that ever before,
very cool. The brass was great. They blow me away, thought they had top brass by a mile
for the afternoon show. The drill, for some reason, reminded me of 92 City of Angels. It
had a lot of rotating and expanding lines. It was all done fairly cleanly and at a high
level of difficulty. They were really running at some points. The problem is obviously
the guard...visual and GE visual will always be scored low when this is such an issue. I
wish them the best and hope they can resolve that part of their show. I do believe they
will be in finals at Madison. FYI: my dog is named Madison, gotta love it.
Seattle Cascades: I am mainly impressed with how fast they have come-on in Div 1. I
think it is great and hope they build off their tremendous success from this year. With
that said, it is a very entertaining show and will be a crowd favorite at finals in Madison
(you know how the crowd always loves the underdog). BUT I don't remember much about the
show. I remember whispering over at my wife during finals, "watch this, this is cool" and
then she ooed and awed at the appropriate parts. I just don't remember what they did to
inspire the oo's.
Spirit: I missed them in prelims and wasn't too impressed with their show in finals.
After seeing finals, I thought that there is no way Madison should have been left out even
with the guard issues. I see them being edged out of finals come Madison.
Boston Crusaders: As with most of the shows I got to see twice that day, I enjoyed the
second viewing much more. My wife was unimpressed even though they do a great job of
tugging at your emotions. The singing was much better during the evening. I heard more
individuals during the afternoon show which really takes away from the effect. In the
evening, it sounded much more like a choir: balanced sound, nice tone. I am usually not a
big fan of singing during a show (I am one of a few who didn't like 2000 show) but this
was pretty good. I didn't like the phrases written on the scrolls only because they had
problems with them in both shows. Fix the problem so it isn't a distraction and I might
appreciate it more. At the end of the evening show, a banner reads "Let Freedom Ring" but
it didn't open up all the way so they ended the show with a banner front and center that
read "et Freedom Ring". The pictures are great during the show except for Marilyn Monroe.
I don't know why I haven't seen anybody else mention this but she looks NUDE!!! You can
hear giggling from the high school kids when the picture is unraveled and I found myself
staring at it for a while trying to see if she really was topless or not. I asked my wife
if it was because I am nearly blind but she agreed it seemed like a strange picture to put
up there with JFK Jr and a sorrowful fireman from 9/11. At any rate, the show will continue
to be a success. I see them behind Glassmen by quite a few points in Madison.
Bluecoats: Sad story of the evening. We were staying at a friends in San Antonio so we
wouldn't have to drive back to Houston that night. We planned on leaving early but were held
up for whatever reason. We would have been fine until we got to the dome and parking was a
nightmare. We waited and waited to get into what seemed like the last parking lot on the
planet. It wasn't pretty, there are some serious idiots out there. All that to say we didn't
make it in time to see Bluecoats. We caught the last 2 minutes of the show waiting to get to
our seats and it sounded great. I am really happy to see them place where they are. I can't
wait to see them on the dvds.
Crossmen: A lot of visual dirt but overall a very fan-friendly show. I enjoyed last year's
show more but still a very entertaining show. My first thought was they seemed to be moving a
lot quicker than past bones show. Percussion feature is top notch and really enjoyed
Strawberry Soup. *sidenote* my wife gets so excited when she recognizes past tunes in shows
and I wish everyone could see her face light up when she heard the first few phrases. * I
remember being impressed by the guard although no specific segments stick out right now. Great
show, I am sure they will make a move on Bluecoats and BAC.
-I will list the remaining corps in order of entertainment value starting with the least
and going to my favorite of the evening
6. Glassmen: I have never been a big fan but came in with an open mind (told you). For me,
Glassmen are difficult to take in the first few times. The more I watch/listen to the show
the more I like it so I am sure, eventually, I will like this show...BUT...the other night I
didn't care for it very much. They are very good, very clean, very powerful but just don't
reach out and pull you in. It is done well but I couldn't help but think to myself during the
show, so who is on next. I really hoped I wasn't going to be another one of those people that
seem like they have such a closed mind but what I can I say. I am sure it will grow on me but
for this first viewing, it didn't "do it for me".
5. Close call but it has to go to SCV. Unlike Glassmen, I KNOW I will like this show after
watching and listening to it a few more times. It is done so well. The guard is absolutely
awesome and drumline as always blew my mind. I was most impressed by the drill. I would put
them second behind Cavies visually, absolutely flying at break-neck speeds. The four rotating
blocks at the end really gets the crowd going for that last musical push. It is a very exciting
ending to a great overall show. They deserve the high scores they are getting. I actually see
them closer to BD, Cadets, and Cavies. Oh, the low brass sound surpasses any that I can recall.
"It is like a bath in chocolate!!!"
4. Phantom: This could be long....I was lucky enough to watch Phantom practice a lot on
Thursday about 5 minutes from where I work. They worked hard on the opener and keeping the
tempo up during that segment. That evening I watched the drumline work on the same segment
both standing still and marching a block around the parking lot (basically a circle around my
truck..AWESOME!!!) Then from 9-11 they did a full corps rehearsal. The guard seemed like they
had just added some backfield prop stuff during the ballad which might have been why their
score was a little low Sat evening (6th).
As has been stated a dozen times here, the brass sound is superb!! When they line up at
their opening position in a company front and hit you with that full sound, GOOSE BUMP
CENTRAL!!! It was honestly the first time my wife and I had goose bumps all over that night
I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the show in San Antonio. I think only because I
watched them practice certain parts and noticed other parts that seemed to be dirty. So during
their show, I listened and watched for those rough spots and most of them were still a bit dirty.
I think the final run through Thursday evening after a day of rehearsing in the hot Texas sun
was better than what they put on the field in San Antonio. I think if I had not seen them
rehearse in Houston, I would have been more excited about the show in SA. Overall I think it is
a great show and hope they will close in on SCV, after passing Glassmen but 4th or 5th being the
highest they could score. I agree with someone who said the closer drill is lacking. I was
disappointed when I first saw the final moments Thursday evening as well as Saturday in SA. BUT
both times, as soon as I saw that leg kick out, I knew it was the end of the show and immediately
stood up to applaud. Maybe it was because I was on the first row but it didn't seem like anybody
else realized it was the end of the show. It wasn't until they put there horns down that everyone
starting applauding and slowly getting out of their seats...not the reaction I expected.
I also think the drumline had an off night. I hate to admit I didn't like how the snares
sounded within the hornline. Their features sounded muttled, but of course what didn't given
the horrible echo we all had to deal with upstairs. The tempo seemed great during the opener
(which is what I think is the highlight of the show). It was pushing the entire opener and
definately added to the overall GE.
Last thing, although I like the color of the rifles and how the guard is elogantly dressed, I
don't like that you can't see the rifle work. They match the uniforms in the background too much.
Even during big tosses, you can barely tell if they are together.
3. BD: The last 3 are probably the most 3 entertaining shows from one year EVER...or at least
that I can remember. BD rocked from top to bottom. Their jam fest is just as much fun (ok, almost)
as Cadets. The drumline is incredible and guard left my wife screaming her head off. You can really
see the talent in the bass drumline during the feature. They play the high-hats with their left
hand while playing runs on the bass with their right hands. Absolutely freaking awesome. I
thoroughly enjoyed this show which left me thinking, there is no way Cadets or Cavies could be
more entertaining. The only corps to leave my ears ringing at the end of the show. They can sustain
an incredible volume!!
2. Cadets: Again, everything you have heard about Bugle Boy is correct. If you could only watch
3 minutes of any show this year and you don't care about visual, watch this segment. Just when you
think it is over, they go up a notch and part your hair. It is the only moment that night where I
wanted to scream obscenities just because noone would ever hear me. IT WAS AMAZING!!! I can not say
enough about that part of the show. NOW for the rest. The guard and brass is also mind-boggling.
The visual portion is what will keep them from winning DCI this year and even possibly getting 3rd.
(yes BD is that good). My one BIG complaint is when the 4 or 5 guard guys get dressed at center
stage. I completely understand the significance of the moment but hated watching it. It would have
been just as effective if they walked behind a screen carrying the uniforms and come out the other
side a minute later completely dressed. I love the idea but really was distracted by how it was
done. What can be gained by watching 5 guys zip up their pants? big time DISTRACTION!!! Otherwise
great show and I can't wait to blare Bugle Boy on my new speakers.
1. Cavies: WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW Do I need to write anything else? After Cadets, I thought
there was no way Cavies could be better, again, I was wrong. They were amazing and hands down the
best of the evening. I was not expecting such a great brass sound...beautiful ballad!! The visual
package is like nothing you have ever seen. It easily surpasses the last 2 years and is as
innovative as you thought the last two years were when you saw those shows for the first time...
make sense? Drumline was clean clean clean and believe they would be on top...I just checked and
saw they got 2nd to Cadets. The guard was not as impressive to me as BD and Cadets but still I
didn't see one drop or any obvious dirt. My complaint was they seemed to get fairly dirty visually
at the very end. There is SO much running during the last segment, it got to the point where it
seemed like people weren't making their spots and music was fading quickly until the parked and
blew the last power cord. One guy tripped and just caught himself before he fell before the final
But check this out...it is designed that way. Not the guy almost falling but the fading music.
During the encore, I payed attention to the volume during the finale to see how much of a difference
there was. Guess what, the show designers know what they are doing. I am not saying I necessarily
like it but it seems logical to not have the hornline overdue it while there are running to their
spot and then park and blow once they can catch their breath. I would love to see the same experiment
done (ala 93 Star) on a cavie to see what kinda heartrate, bp, volume of air, etc, these guys are
putting out there.
Overall, what a great show. I left absolutely amazed by how difficult the top 12 shows are getting.
And I am so happy that I got to see everyone and not have to travel to the Mecca of drum corps (where
ever it might be each year). Best of luck to everyone involved and keep up the incredible work!!!
Sorry if I missed your favorite corps, I did my best for 4am.
Clifton, NJ (DCA)
Just a very quick review, this is only my own personal opinion no disrespect to any
of the corps.
First DCA show this year.... Overall, great night for drum corps, everyone was superb.
Brigadiers 85.05 First Place - no question, the best of corps of the night;
however, they need to work on some of the facing problems and tone quality at times. I
heard some individuals sticking out.
Soloist - especially during the first tone, you guys need to blend a bid more.
Soprano came on, stop dragging, keep up with the tempo.
Mellophone - [I love all your parts] you need to be a bit more confident when you
play. You have some wonderful parts, so please play like you mean it. J
Baritone - I'm sure you will take care all the tapering on heard tonight.
Contra - great parts, however you also had some timing issue tonight.
Pit and Percussion - great job tonight, you guys were hot.
Marching - ummm not quite there, I saw a couple of individuals out of steps and
having problem with the drill. You guys can definitely march better then that.
Overall, great work guys. It's still early in the season, I'm sure your staff is
aware of all theses issues. I can't wait to see you guys Labor Day Weekend. If you work
on some the above issues, tapering, timing, individuals sticking out and some of the
rhythmic things you are going to be HOT HOT HOT! The word is Ensemble. You guys are
definitely making it harder for the rest of the corps. Great sound, loud loud loud and
even more loud [I love it]. Excellent repertoire good work!
******* My pick would have been still 1st Place *******
Buccaneers 79.50 Second Place - overall good show and great tribute, I like your
drum line. Lots of problems in the horn line, timing issues and people all over the
field, it seems as if they where new. Your guard it's very talented, I most say I had
you guard in second. I don't know much about guard, but you did some cool stuff. Horn
line wasn't as good as last year; however, the drill is very much demanding. I'm sure
guys will be fine by Labor Day weekend.
*** My pick would have been 3rd ****
Caballeros 78.45 Third Place - Guys what happen the first minute of the show.
I know I know, traditionally this is never your best show. What a sound though! Were you
guys loud or what! Guard was outstanding tonight, by far the best guard tonight! Not sure
why you didn't win. Again, I truly don't know much about guard, but you guys were on
fire. Very impress with the work.
Mellophone - You guys were on tonight! I heard lots of great things.
Baritone - Some individuals sticking out especially during the GE moments
Soprano - You guys sounds extremely well at time.
Pit and Drum line - WOW! I wish I knew how to play drum, what a great book. Lots of
tones at time way to many, one 4 of you but you guys are smoking. Nice drum feature,
keep up the good work.
The problem with this corps is the blanks and the drum line. Overall, very entertain,
sound quality was also good. Work on the opener and the end of the show. Drill and
ensemble, the sound and the talent is there, now you just have to combine the two. I
truly did enjoy your show at lot. I know you're going to kick some as** come Labor Day
weekend. Soloist were EN FUEGO tonight [on fire]
***** My pick would have been 2**********
Bushwackers 75.95 Four Place - great sound and love your drill. Overall good
show, work on some of the transition problems that you guys had tonight and some of the
timing issues and you'll be fine.
***** My pick would have been 4**********
Hurricanes 75.20 Fifth Place - a lot better then last year I can't comment too
much on you guys since I only saw half of your performances.
Skyliners 63.1 Six Place - Two words for you guys surprisingly loud for your size
and very entertain.
***** My pick would have been 5**********
*** My pick would have been 6 ****
Okay, this was supposed to be a quick review. I'm getting tired of writing... oh well,
thank you all for such an enjoyable night, my 12 dollars were worth paid. Once again,
these are my personal opinion, so let's not take anything personal here. Best of luck to
Hamilton, ONT (DCA)
To start with, if you're looking for scores, I didn't stay to get them. I
really don't care who wins, I go for the music.
The International Pageant returned to Hamilton, Ontario tonight to a very
appreciative audience. All tickets were general admission and over a
thousand corps fans turned out to see the first senior show in this area in
years. A quick glance around the crowd seemed to indicate that many of the
audience were 45 years or more and were looking forward to re-living the
golden years of this show in the early 1960's when it was sponsored by the
Both national anthems of the United States and Canada were played by the
G.A.S. Alumni corps consisting of Hamilton Firefighter, Toronto Signals
Regt., Simcoe United Alumni and other alumni members. This was a nice touch,
having drum corps do the anthems instead of a scratchy recording. The best
part was the soprano player wearing a genuine 1960 Jolly Jester uniform! The
red and white clown suit of the Tastee Freeze boys looked great out there.
That was worth the price of admission for me.
A number of exhibition corps preceded the actual 4 corps DCA competion.
First up were the Hamilton Firefighters. Perhaps the first alumni corps in
existance, they were formed in 1962 by the City of Hamilton Fire Department.
They wore new uniforms tonight; a Caballero type blouse with red cummerbund
instead of the traditional Firefighters uniform of the past. As an ex-member
of this corps I was partial to the old uniforms but they really looked all
right from the stands. Featuring 25 horns and 5 snares, 4 bass and timbales
(Go Turk!) they were a big hit with their old time corps sounds under drum
major Rick Dixon. Loved the old fashioned rudimental wide open drum line.
Snares on slings! And pitched so that humans can hear them, not dogs. Even
Earl was well behaved tonight. Great job to my long time friends in this
Next were the United Alumni of Simcoe, Ont. These folks are ex-members of
the old Simcoe Royal Blues and Golden Lions along with Flying Dutchmen and
others in area. Drum line pushes a cart that has their drums mounted on it.
No slings, no harnesses...just push that thing along and enjoy the drumming!
Their book of Havah Nagilah, Never Walk Alone had the crowd tapping their
feet and humming along to music they actually knew.
Toronto Signals (Second Sigs) took the field with a nice sized corps
complete in their military red tunics, haf-busbies and, if you look closely,
spurs on their boots! This corps was probably the one that started the corps
movement in Canada in the mid 1950's. They would be a military trumpet band
on one day and then be the Marching Amabassadors at a corps competition in
the States the next day. These guys put on a simple, clean, fun show
complete with glockenspiels. They do a very military style show, reminiscent
of the corps shows of 1960, complete with a colour presentation! Their
salute to Britain was entertaining. Missed them playing "John Peel"
tonight... Always enjoyed them and you will too at the Alumni show in
Scranton for DCA's.
I saw my first drum corps show at this very stadium in 1959. The first corps
I ever saw was Preston Scout House...and there ON THE STARTING LINE with the
sun setting behind them they were again! A large hornline of 36 plus, a
large drum line consisting of snares, tenors and "swinging" tenors. Drum
major and guard members wore the short-shorts we all remembered. Rest of the
corps in Scout House aussie hats, red shirts and black pants. They hit the
crowd with the traditional "Scout House Fanfare" and roared off the line in
a company front to "Men of Harlech". Concert was a medley of beloved Scout
House tunes and they exited to "Waltzing Matilda". As they trooped the
stands with the old arm swing going the crowd stood and cheered for these
folks. They will be in Scranton too...man, Scout House AND Royal
Airs...That's just too much!
Okay, so the Alumni corps were nowhere near DCI or DCI quality. But to
anyone with a sense of drum corps history, especially at this stadium, this
was a great way to start off the show by giving us a perspective on where
drum and bugle corps came from....especially in this area. The older people
(probably 2/3 of the audience) loved these shows and many fond memories of
International Pageants past were rekindled.
The first DCA competing corps was Alleghany Night Storm. They had 10 horns
tonight. Man, there is no where to hide in this corps!! One soprano player
handled all of the soprano parts. They do an ambitious show with a very
small corps and are totally exposed. Great guard work accented their
classical musical program. It's a challenge to go out and duke it out with
the big boys every Saturday night but these folks performed this program
fairly well. If they can get larger in the coming years they will have a
very solid core of hard corps vets to build on.
Next out were the Rochester Crusaders. Cru is no stranger to Ivor Wynn
Stadium, having participated in every International Pageant ever held there.
I remember seeing the Grey Knights there before the merger in 1965. Donny
Allen led the corps tonight as drum major and even jumped in with some nice
solo work and duet work. Latin music of Arturo Sandovar was part of the
show. I wish they had about 15 more horns to flesh out the line, but their
first big horn "hit" pinned the crowd to their seats and earned appreciative
applause and comments like, "That's what I came to hear". It seems like a
more difficult book than the last couple of years. Drum line was hot and
intense. Crusaders looked and sounded great tonight.
Hometown Canadian favourites Kingston Grenadiers had the crowd in their
pockets because of the venue at first, but once they began playing their
Gershwin book they PUT the crowd in their pockets. What a treat to hear well
played, exciting and recognizable music! From start to finish the crowd ate
this show up. The guy next to me was even singing some of the words, just
like my mom used to do when we went to shows. Tight percussion and a good
guard complimented their 36 horns. Enjoyed the guard member who rested on a
park bench for parts of the show, only to get up and dazzle us with rifle
work. This corps looked really good tonight and I was proud of them.
Remember when they wore the Hamilton Viscount's old uniforms?? You guys
represent Canada well. Again, I wish you had about 15 more horns, but your
balance and execution were there tonight.
Empire Statesmen under Dave Bruni took the field as the last competing
corps. Featuring a read aloud poem with the corps playing "God Bless
America" in the background and spinning into a huge horn hit, this corps
announced themselves by pinning the audience to their chairs once again. New
uniforms are outstanding. Several St. Joe's Alumni vets are stretching their
competitive legs with Empire this year. Good for you!! Your chair is always
open in LeRoy when you decide to "retire" once again! Again, recognizable,
crowd pleasing music that everyone knew pulled the crowd right into their
show. Excerpts from West Side Story and Summertime had the crowd on their
feet for 3 standing "O"s. Joey Pero worked the crowd tonight as he made that
horn talk! Two guys on bicycles playing horns weaved their way thru the
corps just missing some judges. I think they were representing one of the
more unusual musical groups in Holland...entire bands that do a field show
while riding bicycles. Crowd enjoyed that touch. They get better every
Burlington Teen Tour Band was doing the final exhibition when I was on my
way out of the stadium. These kids have been to the Rose Bowl 3 times, once
even leading the parade. They seem to be in transition...moving from a
rather strict, military style marching band and now exploring the more drum
corps-like style of field shows. Their guard was attired in a much more
corps-like performance uniform and they were doing the music of Andrew Lloyd
Webber. They are perennial favourites where ever they appear and the "red
coats" are well on their way to becoming a more diverse type of marching
band. Bands of America watch out!!
As I said, I did not stay for the scores. I would mention that this was a
very well run show. Started on time and no gaps. Hamilton Firefighters and
Empire Statesmen are to be congratulated on their co-sponsorship of the
show. Lawrie Branch, ex drum major of the Woodstock Imperials and Kitchener
Flying Dutchmen (sr) did a great job on the microphone tonight. I just wish
that Mighty St. Joe's could have been at this show. I would have loved to
perform in front of my friends in Hamilton just once. Maybe next year...
July 20, 2002 -- Hamilton, ONT...Perfect weather greeted the return
of drum corps competition to Hamilton's Ivor Wynne Stadium after being
absent for a decade. Four competitive senior corps and four alumni
corps delighted an audience that filled the stands from field level to the
pressbox and out 30 yards to either side of the 550-yard line of this
revered CFL stadium. The corps were thrilled with the fan response
and the organizers were encouraged by the fan and corps turnout. All
involved look forward to next year's edition of the show.
The Empire Statesmen held the audience in the palms of their hands
from the very first notes of their moving (pun fully intended :-)
warmup of "America the Beautiful" behind their announcer's reading of a Jack
Buck poem to the last notes of their medley of songs from "Porgy and Bess",
earning three wildly enthusiastic standing ovations from the fans.
The corps also elicited applause for their soloists, oohs and ahhs for
their guard's dancing and equipment work, and even giggles for the
soprano-playing bicycle messengers during "Officer Krupke", a touch
reminiscent of "Blast!" Empire Statesmen also impressed the judges,
not only earning first place, but sweeping all captions.
(My candid comment: I was looking for a quote from Gadget here, but
by the time I had finished with the other corps, Empire Statesmen had
disappeared. Sorry, Gadget! :-( )
All aspects of the Rochester Crusaders' visual program have
improved since last year. The drill challenged the members, who marched it
surprisingly well, and intrigued the spectators with its flowing
composition and details of motion and color. The guard spun and
danced with sparkle, sneaking past the Empire Statesmen's guard in the Design
Effect subcaption of the Color Guard sheet. The brass players joined
the guard during the percussion feature as 59 people were spinning
flags, sabers, and rifles--great color and wonderful effect! The brass
played their horns well, too, getting the audience to clap along during "Oye
Como Va" and give the corps a standing ovation at the end of the show.
The music pleased the members, too. Baritone player Steve Burstall stated
"I really enjoy playing the music. (Arranger) Donnie Allen did a very
good job this year--it's just challenging enough!"
(RAMDer one interviewed! :-)
The Kingston Grenadiers looked very sharp in their new red-plumed
Aussie hats. The best competitive corps in Canada marched and played
as sharp as the looked, staying within range of the Rochester Crusaders in
Brass and Visual and handily defeating them in Percussion. The brass played
with much better tone quality and intonation than they had even at the ends
of the past two seasons. While the drill was not as complex as it had
been the previous two years, the corps marched it with much greater
confidence and precision than the 2000 and 2001 programs. The
percussion showed the greatest improvement from previous editions of
the corps. Quad player Adam Correia related that "our drumline is
smaller, but it's a lot tighter. There's a lot of talent and energy in
the line. I'm very happy with this year's line."
(RAMDer two interviewed! :-)
Allegheny Night Storm played their most accessible show in the past
three years with Dvorak's "New World Symphony". Staff member and
percussionist Adam Street agreed with this assessment. "The staff is
more cohesive this year and is giving the members a drum-corps
friendly show--enjoyable to perform and easier for the fans to enjoy." The
highlight of the show was the guard, which looked good even standing
in a pose. They also danced well, spun well, and recovered quickly and
gracefully from mistakes. Even though six of the 35 members failed to
make it north of the border, the corps gave a very brave performance
and managed to earn a sincere and enthusiastic response from the crowd.
(Didn't know any RAMDers here, or I'd have interviewed them, too!)
Four alumni corps representing Ontario's storied drum corps past
performed before the contest. Members of all four alumni corps
present (as well as a few not performing as units, such as the Jolly Jesters)
massed together to play "Oh Canada" at the start of the show.
(They also played "The Star-Spangled Banner", but I missed it).
The Hamilton Firefighters, one of the show's co-sponsors, played
their parade and standstill repertoire, including "What a Difference a
Day Makes" and "Brazil", in a concert formation. They paraded off during their last
song to a standing ovation.
(Literally paraded off!)
The Central United Alumni of Simcoe marched into their concert
formation, where they played rousing arrangements of "Hava Nagilah",
"Never Walk Alone", "Scotland the Brave/Auld Lang Syne", and
"Malaguena". The audience clapped along to the songs and applauded
their soloists, but gave them a standing ovation as they marched off
to their drum line playing their steet beat on their trademark rolling
(Not a bad idea for a non-competitive corps full of "Old Farts" ;-)
The Toronto Signals Band performed a full field show, with "The
French National Defile" off the line, "What do you do with a Drunken
Sailor" as their drum and bell solo, "The Maple Leaf Forever" for color
presentation, "Saint Louis Blues March" in concert, "British Grenadiers/Scotland the
Brave" out of concert, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" for a
second drum and bell solo, and "Rule Brittania" as the finale. The
audience clapped and sang along to the music and then gave the corps a
standing ovation at the end.
(Forgot the honor guard changing to all Union Jacks at the end--nice
old-school GE touch!)
While the other alumni units merely evoked the past, the Preston
Scout House Alumni Bugle Band sent the entire audience through a time
machine back to the late 1950s during their performance. Not only did they
sound just like they did back in their competitive glory days, but
they marched as if they were still competing, executing as if judges from
the Royal Canadian Legion were standing by with tick sheets on their clipboards.
The result was two standing ovations for the corps' field show.
Despite the successful illusion of time travel, two changes were apparent to
close observation. First, the corps was no longer playing on their original
brass lacquer finish Bb piston/slide bugles from the 1950s. They have
been replaced by a full set of new silver plated three-piston Bb
marching brass, including trumpets, fluegels, french horns, baritones, and
euphoniums. The Scout House purchased the set with a CDN$56,000 grant from the
provincial government. Second, there are now women in the ranks as the corps
accepted alumni from other corps. Despite these changes, the spirit of the
corps remained the same.
(You can tell I liked the Scout House!)
The Burlington Teen Tour Band performed its field show while the
competitive units formed up for retreat and then played the DCA corps
on while standing in parade formation.
(Glad I covered this show!)
Friday July 19
Houston, TX (DCI)
Well, just a little after midnight CST and here writing down a few
observations from my upteenth exSightment of Sound show here in
Held on the wonderful campus of Rice University, this is astroturf,
hot muggy Gulf of Mexico weather.
Overall, crowd seemed subdued but a big crowd nonetheless. For
somereason, all the hornlines did not seem as loud as before. Maybe it
was because of the new key Bb instruments?
Preshow -- Percussion One. High school independent drum line.
Crossmen -- good everything.
Phantom Regiment -- guard reminded me of the Troopers. Old style
uniforms, dark blue and black leggings, then they shed them later for
like these red and black silk slips. Wonderful horn sound.
Cadets -- Oh boy. Boogie Woogie is *the* song this season. Wonderful
dancing by the guard and wonderful playing by the entire horn and
percussion. Definite crowd favorite. The guard, I love those
different-style uniforms for each member. That is my favorite thing
about them, that someone/people designed it that way. Smokin' battery,
I think best of the evening. Snares especially good and with 6 quads.
Intermission -- The very good announcer interviewed Neil Laravee from
Cadets over the stadium system and it was a good exchange of a LITTLE
bit of what the Cadets music philosophy was. You don't see this too
often at all and it was a great idea. Wish more shows would do this
type of thing.
Cavaliers -- Oh my Gawd. Sheer recollections of the movie, "Tron"
with the guard uniform. And all that kewl "dancing" moves the entire
guard and horn makes! It was so kewl and fun even these old people in
their 80s were saying, "Man that's really cool" cause it was!!! Sort
of reminded me of last years, "New Era" rap dance by Santa Clara. Best
horn line of the night, wonderful tones. The show really really works.
It's different to say the least. The shiny red poles and frames the
guard uses are put to very good use. And the drill is absolutely
amazing.... Cavaliers are really destined to take the championship
Glassmen -- Ok.. sorry I went and got a soft drink.
Blue Devils -- The Rag Time was really good and it was different from
years past of BD. Not really in your face but delicate in a way. Guard
is OUTSTANDING. The color of the everything is just really really
attention grabbing and with the bowler hats of the guard and
Fosse-style dancing, it all works. House of Rising Sun was good.
OVerall horn line seemed to having phasing problems and seemed not up
to par as past years. The marching was good, but the design in the
closer is really subpar. It just isn't as good as Cavies or Cadets.
Sorry to say this but this is not a top two show. The ending 5
minitues just doesn't clinch it. Channel One Suite is very differently
arranged and it's good.
Okay, this is a day late since I spent another day in Houston. . .so I have had
some time to think about the show last night. Rice is a nice venue, but because of
some rain earlier in the day the show started late and it seemed every corps
(especially the guards) suffered a bit from this.
I had my fiancee with me at the show. She is a non musician somewhat corps newbie,
so I will interject some of her thoughts throughout also.
Anyway, on to the show. . .
They were not nearly as on as they were the previous night in Dallas. You could tell
the wet turf was gonna mess with the guard's right from the beginning almost. The
groove was just not quite there tonight, but with that said I still love this show a
great deal! I think if they continue cleaning they have a great shot at top 5. I don't
see them staying behind both PR and GMen.
Fiancee says they were not as "fabulous" as the pervious night.
This was my first viewing of this show. The positives are that this is one of the most
improved guards of the season. The opener is totally sold with some great guard design,
and I love the uniforms also. The hornline is great, also. . .but there were a few points
in the show where I heard some heroes sticking out. What I did not care for is that the
visual design seems a bit safe to me. It is moderately effective, but the demand is not
nearly as high as Glassmen and some of the other top corps, IMO. This is definitely a
step in the right direction for Phantom, but I don't see them higher than 6th unless some
changes are made.
Fiancee said the guard should have done more layering. A good portion of the show the
guard is all on the same equipment at the same time.
They were also not quite as on as in Dallas. The guard had about 5 drops from what I
noticed. Even though this was probably not their best show to date, I still think the
point spread is much too big between them and Cavies. . .more on that later. This is an
amazing show that has the crowd from the first downbeat to the last cutoff. Awesome!
Fiancee says "I think it rocks!"
Well, it is not quite what I expected in certain areas. I had listened to a recording of
the show many times, and I especially wanted to pay attention to how the crowd reacted
to the show, both to the visual and musical elements. For probably the first 2/3 of the
show, the crowd around me hardly reacted at all. The pointing chord stereophonic thing
got some oos and ahhs, though (very cool!). Then the crowd finally seemed to get into
the show when the box/groove section began. Now, granted this is a big stadium, so I
can't say what the entire crowd's reaction was, but the hundreds of people within
earshot of me just did not seem to get into a lot of the show, aside from the Cavies'
girlfriends about 10 rows up. Now, I will say this. . .they have an awesome hornline,
they march much better than last year, are relatively clean for this time of year, and
the guard compliments the show well. . .BUT why does the hornline never get above mf?. . .
very reserved hornline. So, I got home today and checked the recaps and I wanna know what
the GE Music judges are smokin? You can easily see why Cavies are dominating certain
captions. . .it's clear cut. . .BUT if GE has anything to do with the crowd's reaction to
the show, then the Cavies should be scoring in the middle of the pack in the GE Music
subcaption behind corps like Crossmen, Blue Devils, and The Cadets. This is where I think
there is some inflation involved and where the point spread is just too large. Unless
some changes are made, I hope this show is passed up.
Fiancee says she did not like the Tron guard unis (she mentioned N'Sync video), but she
liked the flag matching to the unis in one part of the show. She said she just was not
excited until the box.
This show may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it is far from boring.
The soloist was very on tonight. What I like best about the Glassmen is that they are
not afraid to take risks. From the music they pick to their drill design they take a lot
of risks. There are about 4 or 5 points in the show where the entire corps is spread
throughout the field almost to end zone, and often times with soft music going on. Its a
good show by a good corps, but I did enjoy last year's show more. I think the only
weakness they have right now, and it is not that bad, is their guard. The guard just
seems to nt be on the same level as the rest of the corps.
The improvement in one night in this corps is amazing. Those who are wondering why their
visual scores are rising while all the changes are being made. . .well, they deserve the
scores. Not only that, this show has gone from a show everyone said had no flow to it,
to a fun, exciting, total musical/visual package. Along with The Cadets, I feel the
Devils have a championship show with a total package that once is cleaned should be
amazingly tough to beat. I am hoping these 2 corps end up duking it out for the title.
Fiancee said their guard interprets the music better than anyone, and she enjoyed the
Sidenotes. . .
TX is hot!
We sat right in the middle of a pack of band members from Sharpstown in Houston. I
always get worried when I sit down in the middle of a pack of band kids for obvious
reasons, but they were well behaved and provided some interesting commentary between the
Dan Potter did interviews in between some of the corps performances on the field with
different staff members. Jeff Fiedler was asked how many years they have been doing
original stuff and he made a comment saying a lot of the Niagara show was original. Now
I have heard that piece several times, and I thought most of it was taken right from the
piece. Anyway else have a thought on that?
So, it was a great show and well run. Blast was a sponsor and did a lot of advertizing
for its TX tour.
Ass't. Band Director, Teague ISD (TX)
Southbridge, MA (DCI Atlantic II / III)
I have attended every local Div2/3 show in the area and I was really
interested in seeing how well the corps have improved at the midseason point.
After a two hour rain delay the show started and the weather held off.
Silver Nights (exb.): These kids do an admirable job for their size (6
horns, 7 drums, 3 guard). They have one of the hardest working baritone players
out there. They play a nice arrangement of the Planets which is no easy task
given their size. The local crowd really cheered them on and can I only hope
they get recruitment going to be back in competition next year.
Targets (57.10): Being an old North Star guy, I really enjoyed their
arrangements of old Mangione tunes. Their soprano soloist is very talented
and has great range. He does a nice mellophone solo (ala Bonnie Ott) during
"Chase the Clouds Away". In speaking with a staff member, this kid is only 13
year old!! Look out for him in the coming years. While the soloist is very good,
the corps as a whole hasn't improved much from the start of the year. They are
very entertaining but they need to work on the playing/marching concept a lot
harder. Keep up the effort kids.
Taipei Yuehfu (73.30): WOW!!! This group blew me away compared to last year.
They are smaller but that doesn't take away from their performance at all. Very
powerful brass line playing unfamiliar, yet accessible music. Their drill,
although still somewhat dirty, is one of the most interesting in the division.
They do a great job of playing off the oriental feel during their drum solo with
authentic drums and the horn line doing karate moves (similar to last years'
guard). The crowd ate them up and was very disappointed when the scores where read.
I and the fans around me had them in 2nd tonight. I'm not sure what the GE judges
where at but they definitely out performed the Patriots and ECJ. Look out for them
in Madison for sure.
Spirit of Newark (53.5): I felt really bad for these kids following a performance
like Taipei. This seems like an extremely young corps. They do some interesting
things with African drums during the drum solo and the crowd really enjoyed their
tribute to the black high school marching bands. They end the show yelling "The
Spirit never dies" I hope this group continues on with their efforts and I'm sure
will improve with age.
Cadets of NYC (65.7): I have posted on this site on how I really like this corps.
I have to say I was rather disappointed with their performance tonight. Yeah the drum
line can still crank it up but the corps as a whole doesn't seem that improved from
the start of the year. Marching is definitely a weakness that distracts from an
otherwise pleasant show. They seem to get their act together during the closer of
"Knights in White Satin". If they could apply the same to the first half of the show
they could do well in Madison.
Patriots (79.15): This corps is known for playing "new age" music, and I really
enjoyed their book last year. After several viewings. I'm still having a hard time
getting into it. It all sounds the same throughout with numerous section exposures
without a lot of melody. That being said I concentrated on the drill and guard.
Their guard was on top form tonight! The crowd really responded to every toss they
did and the huge red flags at the end of the show work very well. They seem to have
some holes in the drill that I didn't notice before... maybe some sick members? They
also need to work on some technique issues. If they could do something to spice up
the music and clean drill, they should be able to pass ECJ. I had them in 3rd
East Coast Jazz (79.20): This corps does a nice job with some classic BD hits.
The lower brass comes across nicely but the soprano line still seems to struggle
with the book. The guard added some new equipment but didn't have that finished
look that the Patriots and Spartan guard portray. They had obvious holes out
there.... I've see all year..... come on guys time to close them up. This corps
has always come on strong by finals. I hope they do soon because they don't seem
to have improved as much as the others. I had them in 4th.
Spartans (83.10): Definitely the most polished unit out there. The guard was non
stop from the dance moves during the opening baritone solo to the flurry of flags
in the closer. They scored a 17.0 and are well on their way to taking top guard
again this year. The horn line really came through tonight.... although they never
seem to catch a break from the field judge. The moron had them with a 13.9.... 4 tenths
above Cadets? Funny how they took high GE with all the supposed field errors. They
should have been around a 16 or so easy. Drum line is greatly improved from the start
of the year and they have one of the hardest working pits out there (check out their
drum solo if you can). There is still some phasing issues during the Samson & Delilah
portion of the show that need to be addressed. I noticed several new drill changes
and some nice horn visuals that where added. A very strong performance by this group.
They seem to be hungry to take on Magic, CR, and the West coast favorites. Should be
interesting indeed come Erie and Madison.
Thursday July 18
Dallas, TX (DCI)
It's real late, but I wanted to submit these really quickly.
Cadets - 89.1 Good show, no Great Show! Lots of emotions and great crowd appeal, but
I still wonder: where was the drill designer for Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy?
Blue Devils - 88.55 Good, clean, mechanical, typical Blue Devils.
Crossmen - 83.1 Wow, talk about hard! Man! I cannot see how Crusaders tied them! I
placed them about 2-3 points above BAC.
Crusaders - 83.1 Good clean show. But to me not especially outstanding. Maybe an
Bluecoats - 82.6 Nice crowd appeal and really good horn sound! Way to go Blue! Keep it
up and you'll have the top 6.
Carolina Crown - 78.05 Heard them from the tunnel, but what I heard didn't really move
me at all. Get the guys out of the togas! It's got to be embarassing!
Spirit - 77.6 Nice progress from last year, although the show music was a bit
'out-there'. Just a bit too much esoterica for my expectations from this group, but a
decent job nonetheless.
Madison - 77.35 I really can't see the great amount of foot dirt that is so discussed.
Yes there is some, but in my view, I saw more dirty sets and transitions in Crusaders show.
Awesome horns and GE!! Maybe I'm biased, but I just don't see the problems that the judges
see. But then that's probably why I'm not a judge.
Southwind - 70.05 Pretty good show. Nice progress from recent years. Seems like
Kentucky bluegrass is good for Southwind.
Pioneer - 63.65 Nice show, but I was expecting a bit more sound from these guys with the
number of horns that they have. Maybe their instructors will let them 'cut loose' in
another week or so.
Why no full retreats? Is this a DCI thing or a local show thing? I really miss seeing
the corps back out to get their scores. Oh well.. Overall, nice show as always put on
It's about 3AM, so forgive anything that sounds too weird. The show went very well. .
.a great night of drum corps. This was the 26th annual show put on by this high school
band booster group, so it was run well.
May I suggest in the future. . .don't let corps warm up so close to the stadium once
the show begins. Colorguards were warming up right across the street from the stadium,
so not only could we watch them while other corps performed, we could also hear the Dr.
Also, some sop/tpt from an early corps got directly behind the visiting stands and
attempted high notes the rest of the freakin show. I would love to know what corps this
guy/gal was from. They had to know that everyone could hear their attempts, so it seems
like something deliberate to me.
Anyway, on to the show. . .
I actually enjoyed this show a good bit. I like the staging with the pit and the
platforms on the field. With as small a corps as they have, it worked to their advantage,
and I heard the pit just fine. I think the design of the show was smart, but there is
still a ton of dirt there.
I love this show! The design is right on the money. Everything works together to sell
the darkness to light theme. It is amazing to me what 2 years of great sponsorship can
do for a corps. They are light years ahead of where they were last year. I think they
may have recently added a couple of new guard members. There was one girl who was off
the entire show. I would have put them ahead of Crown (more on that later). I think this
is a definite finalist corps. Its all about the cleaning now. . .I would change nothing
about the show. They got a huge Standing O at the end of the show.
This corps needs a good dose of oomph. The show lacks a lot of energy, and to be honest,
the design of the show is just kinda blah to me. It has a lot of file/rank/block moves
in the show, and seems very safe. Looks like they marched some holes tonight, also.
Another thing. . .the almost all black guard unis need to go. With all the black in the
corps unis, the guard almost gets lost unless they are using some of the larger equipment,
which was not that often.
Some of the things I was expecting to be bad were not that bad, and some were worse. The
individual marching technique is not bad at all. . .fairly uniform. What this corps lacks
in a HUGE way is attention to detail. Several forms just don't hit and a lot of the body
movements are not there either. Then, there is the whole guard issue. They are definitely
getting the guard scores they deserve. Almost the entire show, the guard was off. . .as
in early June off. This is hurting them big time. Also, the yellow velvet they use in the
end and the conquistador unis they use during warm up need to go. Now, the positives. .
.the hornline is smokin'. Much like last year I was left wishing they had a visual on par
with their music/brass/perc performances. The entry with Conquest was great. They are
definitely still a crowd favorite, but the boos were quite faint when their score was
announced. I think they do have a shot at Finals. It will be close because there are just
so many corps who have raised the game, but Madison has a good show to perform, they just
need to clean the poopie out of it and workworkwork on the guard!
Well, first let me say I thought Crown was on the right track after last year's show. .
.being very creative, improved hornline, better design, etc. With that said, I think this
year is a step back instead of forward unfortunately. The good things are that this is
the best hornline they have ever had. . .very much improved! Percussion is still strong,
but nothing amazing that I noticed. On that note, please do something visually during the
ballad with your percussion. I don't care for that stick them in the back of the field
routine. Anyway, what does not work is just the flow of the show. There is no cohesiveness
to the design, and what makes it even worse is some of what the guard is doing. I had come
to expect big things from Crown's guard, but was very let down tonight. They definitely
deserve the guard scores they have been getting also. However, I did not mind the guard
unis at all. I definitely expect Spirit to pass them, and I think making Finals for them
is gonna take a lot of work.
I liked this show a lot more than I thought I would. They do a lot of nice things with
Appalachian, and the Artie Shaw stuff is a lot of fun. The guard does a lot of nice things
to enhance the show. There really are no big weaknesses in this corps. Good hornline, much
stronger percussion, and a very improved guard. What I think will hold them back and keep
them in the middle pack of corps is their visual demand. It's just not there. Also, the
signs they use. . .at first are neat, but the more they use them in the show, the more I
felt like I was at a BOA competition. They do use the disappearing/reappearing company
front, but do a much different treatment of it than Cadets did in 87. Its not as copycat
as I anticipated, which I am glad about. Good show from a good corps.
This is just a fun show! This is one of those shows you are watching and saying "I wish
I was out there." (or at least that was what I was saying) The music is fun and catchy,
the guard is probably their strongest in a long time, and the percussion book is very
tastey. What could end up holding them back is their visual demand. They have plenty of
it, and it is showing a bit. I liked the fact that the battery does visuals/body movement
the entire ballad. The opening of the show is fantastic. . .very good use of the guard. I
expect them to be right in the middle of the 12.
One word. . .WOW! This is the best show the Crossmen have ever put on the field. The
opener definitely had its groove tonight, and the visual demand, especially at the end of
the opener is amazing. The ballad works big time, as the guard uses a combination of some
huge golden rods and some beautiful silks to make it come to life. Out of all the versions
of Strawberry Soup that I have heard, this is my favorite. Those who complain about the
Crossmen park and bark. . .they were listening. They rarely stop moving during the show.
I expect this corps to challenge the top 4 and if not that, I will be shocked if it gets
lower than 5th. I was amazed!
Rumors of this corps' demise could not be more false. The changes they have made both
visually and musically are working very well. The show flows, the music cooks (although
the Gershwin is too choppy for my taste), and the design is now there. They move a lot,
and believe it or not, there are not many box/diamond moves in this show. The guard is
amazing. They were in the middle of the field before warm-up doing some stretching, and
one of my kids commented that that was what an athlete does. Once the show began it was
clear that this is a very athletic guard. They are all over the place and spin like crazy.
With that said, the problems right now are just about being cleaning. This is not at all
typical BD late July clean. A handful of forms did not hit tonight, and some pretty
obvious lines were out of place. I know they are making changes with more to come, so I
am not sure whether or not they will have time to clean enough. They now have a show that
could challenge for the title. . .we shall see if they can clean it enough.
This show gets another WOW from me. I expected a bigger point spread between them and
the Devils just based on cleanliness. As for the show theme which has been a hot topic of
debate. . .you can speculate all you want about their motives for doing this show but the
truth is, it works in a HUGE way. From the downbeat they had the crowd in the palm of
their hands. I like the changes in the opener a great deal. It is more fast-paced with a
bigger ending, which sets up the ballad nicely. The pledge works well also. . .very
tastefully done. Nothing more can be said about Boogie that has not already been said. It
cooks! The closer will probably undergo more changes, but you can already see some great
things in the works. Sylvester is definitely a welcome change, IMO. Now, let me say a few
words about the guard. OMG! Other than one rifle drop, the guard was flawless from my
vantage point. The flags are together every step of the way, and the rifle work (all male)
in the closer is amazing. The whole changing into the uniforms/boxers thing is pretty neat.
There were a few giggles when they first walked out and then it was apparent that this was
meant to be something solemn and important to the story. So, with all that said, I really
could care less where this show ends up in August. I hope it wins because it is just one
of those shows. . .but regardless of 1st or 15th, this is a show I will remember for a
very, very long time.
A few side notes. . .I polled the 30 band kids I took as to who they enjoyed the most.
Everyone said The Cadets without hesitation.
Did anyone else know Bluecoats are now also stationed in TX? They have 51 kids marching
Yelling "Go Bones!" would have been better had you chosen to do it before or after the
show, sir. . .instead of in the middle of their ballad.
I am off to the Houston showdown tomorrow night, but I will not get back in until
sometime on Sunday, so I am not sure if a review will be coming for that one.
Ass't. Band Director, Teague ISD (TX)
As usual, was a great night for Drum Corps in Dallas. Stadium was absolutely packed and
a strong 10 corps line up. To make it even better, the weather was mild, so no July furnace
to cope with!
Pioneer -- I appreciate the effort the kids are giving. The show however, did nothing
for me. The horns produce a nice sound. But, what has happened to Pioneer? They keep
getting smaller and smaller. The certainly should not be in Div. I. The Pioneer "attitude"
also seemed to be missing. I don't see how they are even scoring in the mid 60s to be honest.
The props and stands do nothing for me either and restricts their show to almost entirely in
front of the front hash and between the 30s.
Southwind -- I had such great hopes for this corps after their strong finish in 2000.
They seem to be slipping a bit each year since then, though. They seem to be missing some
of the deep rich brass sound they were developing previously. The drill also does not
inspire. I don't see them coming in above 16th or 17th at DCI. Maybe a second viewing will
be more favorable?
Madison -- Wow. They have really improved since the NorCal shows 2 weeks ago. The
marching is still very dirty, however. They are in a dog fight with Spirit, Crown, Colts
and Blue Knights for those last 2 spots in Finals. They are not out of it, however. Their
show seems to lack the complexity that Spirit and Crown bring to the field, however, so they
are going to have to clean the heck out of their show. The volume seems to be lacking in
the opener, but the really open up and sound great in the 2nd half of the show.
Spirit of JSU -- Well, I had them above Crown tonight, but I can understand placement.
This corps sounds absolutely great. They have major visual problems at the moment however,
as they are not marching well. If they can clean up the marching and really work on M&M,
they should make Finals for the first time in 12 years. The brass sound is rich and deep,
and the guard is improved over past years' efforts.
Carolina Crown -- This show has certainly improved since the Orlando show, as you would
expect. To me, however, it just doesn't have enought "umph" and the ending is extremely flat.
I still hate the guard outfits, but at least the guys are wearing pastel togas (now off -white)
any more. Still, the colors on the rest of the guard just don't work well. It detracts from
what is another strong guard. The drum line is smoking while the horn line is improving. Can
this show make finals? Yes. However, I would give the long run nod to Spirit & Scouts over
Bluecoats -- Man, do these guys sound great. The sound they are putting out is powerful,
rich and dark. I like last year's show design better than this years, but this is a solid
effort from Canton/Cedar Park. I think they are headed for the 9-10 spot at DCI though. We
will have to see. The color scheme of flags for the guard is outstanding and the opening move,
while simple, is beatiful and effective.
Boston Crusaders -- I don't see how they tied Crossmen at all tonight. I was kind of
disappointed with this show. The music seems to be very disjointed. I understand the idea of
quoting a lot of well known musical statements, but they seem to not develop any one statement
long enough. The drill also seems to lack the definition needed to make it really effective.
I don't see the comparisons to 2000 at all in terms of performance and show enjoyment. However,
it was only my first view of this show, so that could change with more viewings. Crossmen out
execute them, though -- with a more difficult show.
Crossmen -- Wow, are these guys groovin and smokin hot. I was very impressed with Crossmen.
Vintage style & incredibly loud and powerful hornline. The new silver stripe on the corps
uniform really gives them some pizzaz previously missing, too. For those who say Crossmen or
Boston making top 3-5 though, I just don't see it for either one. Crossmen seem to have a good
shot, though at the 5-7 range. Thanks for a very enjoyable show!
Blue Devils -- I owe 100 apologies for my early season review from Orlando. These guys have
worked miracles with this show. It seems that musically it has almost been entirely re-written,
and it works much, much better. They have also pumped up the volume. The guard is absolutely
sultry and electric. I would now not count them out from getting at least to second. I
actually enjoyed them more than Cadets tonight -- a total flip from Orlando.
Cadets -- Maybe they had an off night? I just wasn't nearly as impressed with this show as
I was in Orlando. It is still fun, though, don't get me wrong. I just wasn't brought
spontaneously to my feet as much this time around. It seems they have changed a lot of drill,
and I'm not sure I like all the changes. They don't seem to have enough drill to seriously
challenge for a title. Kind of like the 95 show in that respect. They don't march at all in
the seriosly long "Bugle Boy" section of the show. Perhaps the whole problem tonight was they
didn't seem to perform as well. The energy and fun seemed kind of forced. Perhaps they are
just focused on S.A. Tonight marked the 2nd show in row their score has dropped slightly.
They better look out, as BD is breathing down their neck.
I do know one thing -- the competition is fierce this year. I can't wait for San Antonio
A great night for drumcorps filled with exciting, crowd accessible shows.
Not a hot night, but a very humid night which tended to subdue the crowd and
the corps' somewhat(and the scores, obviously) Wasn't a sell out, but was
filled to the goal lines. It's funny to spend a year on RAMD and beginning to
think that Drum Corps must be on its last legs and then going to my first show
and seeing thousand of fans and having to stand in monstrously long lines for
everything. (just a hint for those who regularly go to this show - at
intermission, dont stand in the hideous lines for the bathroom on the seating
side, you can get over to bathrooms on the other side of the stadium from the
north end of the field in about 1 minute and there is no one there - you'll
thank me next year.)
Took two new friends who knew nothing about Drum Corps - one loved Cadets and
the other BAC.
Pioneer (63.65 10th - my pick 10th)
I was more impressed than I thought I would be with this Corps. It's a small
corps but they do an effective job of staging to being the corps closer in and
alleviating (sp?) some of the negatives that come from their size. Music from
Oliver is arranged well with some recognizeable tunes in the mix. Whoever said
that the size of their drumline is overwhelming the brass is absolutely right -
give 6 of those guys horns. Decent but why aren't they DIV II ?
Southwind (70.05 9th - my pick 9th)
A decent corps with a decent horn book. Nice brass sound and decent drums. Lack
of interesting drill and GE is holding them back. The music is there, there's
just not a lot of excitement.
Madison Scouts (77.35 8th - my pick 8th)
The boos are starting to die. People are starting to realize how much the
Scouts have fallen back. For years I've listen to Captain From Castille from
the 1987 show on my CD and wanted to hear it live and it was a disappointment -
it just kind of sat there. There were about 3 moments of greatness in this show
(and they were great) but it was just surrounded by 10 minutes of okayness.The
Scouts should be tearing your face off and they seem to be slipping into the
'polite applause/thank you for what you've done in the past... next' area.
Spirit (77.60 7th - my pick 5th)
I wasn't lucky enough to be around during the glory days of Spirit, so I don't
know enough to say that they are back - but all I can say is that this is the
best Spirit show I have ever seen. Edgy and obscure - but loaded with power and
GE - there's this horn movement in a block from side to side at the beginning
that was the first 'drum corps' moment of the night. Outstanding in all areas.
I can't tell you how impressed I was with this show.
Carolina Crown (78.05 6th - my pick 7th)
Much better than I had heard on here. The togas on the men in the guard are
okay - it's the prancing around in them thats a bit odd and created some
titters in the crowd. Music doesn't do very much for me, but is done with heaps
of power. It's dark and reminds me a lot of the 95-96 shows. It's probably my
favorite Crown since 96.
Bluecoats (82.60 5th - my pick 4th)
I love this show. Bluecoats brass is up close to Devils level I believe. Didn't
know the music but it worked well for them. The 'rush hour' segment is classic.
Last year I thought this was the best Bluecoats show and this may be better.
Good crowd response and just an overall success.
Boston Crusaders (83.10 - 3rd (tie) - my pick 6th)
A decent show with accessible music. The singing was incredible and goose bump
inducing. Very powerful drum and brass. Great drill. Over all high level of
achievement. Except.... this is another patriotic show along the lines of
Cadets and BAC has moments where they have these banners that they unfurl with
patiortic sayings like 'land of the free' 'jazz-America's music' and 'Liberty -
unfinished business' and these don't work - at all. They completely removed me
from the show (unlike any of Cadets patriotic moments). You know the old saying
- if you want to send a message call Western Union. Please BAC - you are doing
a great job without these. Put them in the back of the closet back in Boston.
Crossmen (83.10 - tie for 3rd - my pick 3rd)
Great show, the Crossmen just get more powerful every year. The best drill
they've ever had. Great moments during the ballad with colors and reflective
poles (ala Phantom in 96). Strawberry Soup needs to be sped up a bit - it
doesn't move me as much as the great Madison version in 1993. A great show and
definitely a chance to make the DVD.
Blue Devils (88.55 - 2nd - my pick 2nd)
Who are the people out there who don't like this show ? I am never a big BD fan
but I love this show - almost right up there with 99 for me. The music is
entertaining, the guard is, of course, perfection and the brass and percussion
rock. I saw loads of GE out there. (loved the percussion feature on the right
hand sideline). This show works - at least for me.
Cadets (89.10 - 1st - my pick 1st)
What can you say - we've reached the point in Drum Corps history where the
Cadets are more entertaining than the Scouts. The Cadets had them eating out of
their hands. The show is perfectly staged and the crowd was into every minute.
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy was one of the most frenetic crowd-charged moments Ive
experienced in my 20 years of Drum Corps. Great Great Great. My only complaint
is a somewhat lack of the breakneck drill I usually love in Cadets - but it's
just a small quibble with a program that works this well. Unlike the BAC
patriotic moments that were a bit obvious - everything, even the controversial
pledge element were handled tastefully and artistically and intelligently. Who
knows - maybe YEA is good. Thank you Cadets, I cried for the first time in
years at a show.
Drum Major only final. Then it looked like it was over, much to the dismay of
the hard liners who wanted a victory concert. The Cadets decided to offer up a
victory concert and those of us that were left ate it up. (and after last night
- I'm not ever worrying about the whole G/Bb thing - this was LOUD)
What a great night - thank to all the kids and staffs and all those out there
who are working to make Drum Corps fun again.
Monday July 15
Murray, KY (DCI)
Murray is a nice town with a great stadium that wants more drum corps. First, they
have ample parking (both in the lot and in the stands). At 6'4" 260 lbs I appreciate
the space. The stadium gave great views of the movement, but you weren't close enough
to have your eardrums pierced (darn). They also made an interesting announcement that
Eklipse is organizing a drum corps to perform next year. Anyone in the Murray, KY area
was invited to apply.
The crowd applause-o-meter would have had The Cadets way, way out front, Phantom
second, Spirit third and Southwind 4th.
I decided to spend the night watching the dreaded feet. It was July 15th, so the
sloppiness should be going away. Here's the way I had them.
Glassmen - 1st
The Glassmen followed The Cadets, so their boring factor was really accentuated. I
think they deserved 3rd overall, but I was trying to concentrate on the feet. The
Glassmen were the best marchers last night. They have a complicated drill and they
perform it very well. I'm not a fan of the Glassmen, so this is hard for me to admit.
Phantom - 2nd
There's not much separating these guys from the Glassmen. I don't think their drill is
as difficult as the Glassmen's or performed as well. I love their new ending and they
had the crowd eating out of their hand.
The Cadets - 3rd
All 12 of their sets were perfect . Honestly, I don't think you can base them on 20
possible Visual Performance points when their either standing still, shifting slightly
for the drums to move through, or just wandering about the field a huge chunk of time.
I'm glad they won, great show, but why DCI insists the caption placements must follow
the final score ordinals I'll never understand. The Cadets have an awesome show that
may win the championship, but their drill shouldn't finish in the top 5.
Spirit - 4th
The next three were close. I was disappointed by everyone below The Cadets. Come on
guys, its mid July. Clean up the intervals and the lines please. I like spirits show
and fan applause level would have had them 3rd, but they have room for lots of scrubbing
Colts - 5th
I'm sooooooo disappointed. The Colts have not made enough progress since I saw them last
in Crown Point. I felt they might make top ten then, now I don't know. My first reaction
when they finished was, "If these guys are cleaner than Madison, Madison shouldn't be in
finals". These guys were probably still coming down from their DCM championship high, so
I'll wait and see in Indy.
Southwind - 6th
These guys were ugly early in the season, so my expectation level on the visual side was
very low, but they've really improved. Their obviously closing the gap on corps like the
The Colts in the visual department. I really don't understand their score.
Crown - 7th
I'd love to watch a tape of this show with the Visual Performance judge. I can't see how
he can argue that Crown beat Southwind last night (and that's no praise of Southwind).
Except for a few rare mistakes, everyone is stepping about right, but Crown's intervals
and lines were the worst of the night. They definitely get the, "Is that a box or some
kind of circle?" award. Someone please compare Crown/Southwind at their next show and
Overall, it was a great night.
Sunday July 14
Santa Ana, CA (DCI Pacific)
By the way I found Madison's missing Visual staff,,,,,,,
3 Scouts teaching Cascades color guard and show writer is also ex Scout.
BD just picked up Madison's best drill deisigner (he wrote City of Angles part
two) Jeff Schoultz....
BD has changed the first 46 pages of drill,,,, they will learn the next 46
pages ... and also changed their music ....... this is per their staff who I sat
with for their performance.
SCV's new uni's Kick Ass,,, they are HOT!! look great on the field and make the
Corp look tall and thin with a BIG V shape. SCV's guard is good but the horn line
for this corp takes center stage (unlike BD). SCV guard wears all black like the past
few years but added the exact white stripe across their chest that matches the horns,
Very cool. The crowd ate them up, Do your home work because there is a 4 count silence
break where the crowd yells in unison VANGUARD! or SCV,,, you will know it when you
SCV weapons have a good (fast) guard book but, are still dirty. Black and White
flags in the closer are a GE treat for the eyes.... closer is the strongest part of
Cascades: going for 9th, 8th place..... why not. if you want a visual idea of what
they are like,,, Take Glassmen horn line marching style 2000 ish and add Crossmen color
guard ie: first year of birdland...... you got Cascades. Very solid drum corp.... but,,,,
Cascade needs to find it's own nitch. Because they are playing all cadets music/greatest
hits, it's easy to like this show...but nothing new from this new top 10 Corp.... This
Corp is 45 years old but is breaking through on Cadets coat tails. I really liked
Cascades and I think everyone will be surprised when they view this group at the end of
the season,,, Congrats to Scouts Alumni now teaching Cascades...
BD: THE BLUE DEVILS HAVE A DRILL!!!!!!
BD Sabers RULE,,, 12 in opener and those kids can spin.... BD marches 20 Rifles for
closer and they are SOLID! Ragtime is a great piece for BD and the the spectators.....
The "Hair Line" is fun and works well,,,, you'll see.... Good news, the BD's show ending
will be re writen, for those who have seen the show, we all know why..... I am glad to
see BD back with a good GE show...
Easton, PA (DCI Atlantic II / III)
First of all, the show was run very well!! Kudos to
the event staff.
Now for the corps: (I'll review them in performance
SPARTANS (1st - 79.90) "Guardians" (music from Ben
Hur, Gladiator, Mummy, and Samson and Delilah) I was
rather surprised to see this corps taking the field
first tonight since their scores have them at the top
end of Division 2. The hornline is alot smaller than
I've seen it before but I didnt miss the larger line.
The 26 I counted played very well and filled that
stadium. Drumline is huge (8 snares) and seems to be
playing very well. Guard rocks. They start the show
spread across the field with a solo baritone in the
middle. Wearing a really striking red outfit. The
show is complete and is strong from beginning to end.
TAIPEI YUEHFU (5th - 63.90) "New Additions to the
Archives II" Wasnt too sure what to expect, never saw
this corps live before. Impressive! The had what
looked like the largest hornline of the night (28).
Drill seems to be quite difficult, lots of movement.
All sections are really performing well. Guard work
seemed incomplete in one section. I had them scoring
alot higher than what they received. Regardless of
how they finish this season, it was a treat to see
SPIRIT OF NEWARK (6th - 47.45) "Music of Our
Homelands" This group fielded 13 brass, 10
percussion, and 7 guard (if I counted correctly).
This great little organization reaches out to inner
city youth and "hats off" to them for putting together
a neat little package! The members looked young but
didnt see just how young until the event was over and
I was standing along the fence as they marched off
from retreat. I would have to say the hilight of the
show was the percussion feature towards the end, every
member strapped on percussion and took to the field..
FUN! The show was incomplete, missing the closer.
Good Luck to the whole organization!!!
CADETS OF NEW YORK CITY (4th - 64.70) "A Season of
Faith's Perfection" What a neat show! Somewhat dark
in its overall feel, aggressive, and it keeps moving!
Cadillac of the Skies was impressive! Nice to see
Nights in White Satin used again. Lots of sound
produced for only having 18 brass players. Drumline
seemed solid and held their own. Guard - same story!
Show appears to have not totally evolved yet, and
still some cleaning to do, but it could fair VERY well
at Division 3 in finals week.
JERSEY SURF (2nd - 74.40) "Our Side of the Story"
(based on West Side Story) WOW!!!!! Saw them on the
28th in Lansdale. Since then - new uniforms, rolling
platforms, changing guard uniforms, a finished show...
THEY'VE BEEN BUSY!!! I need a 2nd viewing of this one!
The show is FUN FUN FUN!!! Im not always a fan of
seeing West Side Story done AGAIN but they make it
appealing as I've ever seen it. All sections are playing
beyond what they were a few weeks ago. The pit is
scattered between roughly the 50 and 35 yard lines (I
think) and work is done by all other sections within
these areas at times. The uniforms are very fitting now.
During the America section of the closer they tagged in
the National Anthem - LOVED IT! This group is headin for
Division 2 finals - it needs to be there!
LEHIGH VALLEY KNIGHTS (3rd - 67.90) "Reflections of
Earth" As one who marched in this corps back in 93
and 94 when it was the Chieftains, I couldn't get
enough of seeing how far this group has come. Rod
Yetter - NICE WORK!!! Great job to this entire staff!
Every section is there in great detail. Not many 2nd
year corps are this good. The show is similar to the
Cadets' Championship show of 2000 - and they do it
justice. Another corps that I firmly believe will
make it to finals... and the audience let them know
Once again, the show was run very well! Wilson HS had
great seating and the field looked to be well kept.
The weather held off and the temperature was excellent
for the performing units.
RECAP of scores:
1 - Spartans - 79.90
2 - Jersey Surf - 74.40
3 - LV Knights - 67.90
4 - Cadets of NYC - 64.70
5 - Taipei Yuehfu - 63.90
6 - Spirit of Newark - 47.45
Good Luck to these corps and the rest of their seasons!
What a great venue for a Drum Corps show. Field is close to the
stands which makes for some awesome impact moments. It was a very
nice Sunday afternoon in the Lehigh Valley. Very large crowd on hand,
noticed several High School Bands in attendance at today's show which
is always nice to see.
The show was well run, my hats go off to everyone who put on today's
event. The highlight of the day was retreat when all the corps played
America/O Canada, this was especially nice because there were only
Division 2/3 corps here today. Unfortunately, it appears only
Spartans, Surf and Lehigh Valley knew the tune and were able to play
My seat was on the 50 near the top, had the opportunity to sit next to
some old Chieftain people, it was nice to see them there watching the
very fine product the came out of the reorganization of their corps.
They were certainly come very proud alumni today.
Onto the corps - My 2 cents!
1) Spartans 79.9 - WOW, what a class act this organization is.
Another fine production put on the field this year. Color Guard is
simply amazing. There remains some balance issues with the brass and
percussion, however I'm sure they are well on their way of addressing
this. This corps should be a finals contender come Madison. Corps
appears larger than in years past. However, what I found most
appealing was the corps fine behavior off the field. All their
members I ran into at the food stand were very polite. They were very
interested in watching other corps and did a nice job supporting them.
Hat's off to the Spartans organization.
2) Jersey Surf 74.4 - Although I appreciate their "Side of the
Story" I don't believe they have sold it to the audience as of yet.
It appears the show is not yet done. They cart out several large
carts on the field and only use them a few times during the show.
It's very distracting to see the members kneel behind those backdrops.
As far as the pink "tu tu's", I think they are a riot and the crowd
loved them! Although, I don't think they stand a chance being a
finals contender this year, I do believe Surf once again will put out
another great product come Madison.
3) Lehigh Valley Knights 67.9 - Corps was on fire today in front of a
home-crowd today and the crowd let them know it. You gotta love it
when a corps gets a standing "O" before even playing a note. Greatly
improved since Lansdale. Some people have compared this show to the
Cadets 2000 show, I disagree as I feel the staff of LVK have done a
much better job creating a more "musical" show. It looks like they are
gaining a great deal of confidence and are performing much better as a
result. Color Guard is amazing. Clearly can be in the Division 3 title
hunt should they keep improving at this rate.
4) Cadets of NYC 64.7 - OK, what turns me off more than anything in
the world? A bunch of members screaming they are "number one prior to
performing". After all the preseason Hype about this corps I was
expecting a lot, and left rather disappointed by the Garden State
Circuits lone entry into todays contest. Closer is the same as last
year which I find unfortunate (they could have changed the arrangement
at least). Pit only had bib pants on and no uniform tops and it looked
like guard uniforms were not yet finished? However, the percussion
line is amazing and really carry's this corps. This line will be able
to compete with most Division 2 lines. Certainly will not be a threat
to make finals this year but it's really nice to see a corps from NYC
this year, keep up the hard work guys.
5) Taipei Yuefu 63.9 - Not sure how these guys ended up behind the
Cadets of NYC however it was great to see a corps travel like these
guys have. Chose music from composers from their homeland.
Personally found the show to be a bit boring at times, however some
great moments. Brass line has some nice moments. Marching will hold
them back this summer.
6) Spirit of Newark 47.45 - Umm, not sure what to say here, however
It appears that their show is not yet complete. They have some very
cute adorable little kids marching. Keep up the hard work Spirit and
good luck to you.
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