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

Page Nine of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Friday August 2

West Chester, PA (DCI)

Greetings. I just got in from the WC show. It was a very hot day here (99 degrees and humid), and was still hot during the show.

There was an exhibition by the Hip Pickles....the trio displayed some strong chops in a fun and entertaining manner that the crowd enjoyed.

First on, in Division II, was Jersey Surf. Surf did a nice job with some interesting twists on West Side Story. Some of the styles may have been stretching things a bit, but they pull it off ok. Brass at it's strongest during "hits", although they do have some quality issues at other times. Percussion was competent and had some fine moments. It's a tough div. II group this year, especially with Magic in there, but this is a decent young corps.

Crown was next. My last viewing was in Lansdale. I wish that I could say that they addressed the multitude of musical problems that they displayed earlier in the season. However, those problems are still there. I can't help right away thinking of how much better and more effective Devils played Crown's opening not too many years back. There was a noticeable lack of impact with Crown, with big "hits" really only reaching mf at best. The show lacks continuity and emotion, and there are many lulls. . There were also some individual brass issues tonight, and I was up fairly high on the 42 yard line. Percussion executed well, and they have a very musical pit. Most of the crowd was seated at the end of the show with only polite applause, there was a respectful stand as they passed in review. Folks, it's not a talent problem here, but the kids were not given a strong musical show to perform, and I actually was floored at their score, as effect music-wise, this show is in the 15's at best, and this is not a finalist level musical show.

Boston. They surprised me tonight. I do not necessarily love the show. However, they did perform quite well. The 87 Cadets did a drum corps masterpiece on Applachian Spring, and it is hard for me to try to forget how well they did it; this was good, but nowhere close to Cadets 87 I am not sure how I feel about the signs. . Percussion was very tight, and all segments of the corps performed well. I could use a bit more sound out of the hornline, but they had a nice blend.

Crossmen...the good news: big sound, good emotion, decent arrangements...the bad news...plagued still with some timing/ensemble issues. The book is exciting, and they are not holding back both in dynamic range and soprano range. There are some timing and individual issues to work out. They could pass some people if they work hard from here through next week.

Devils....the good news..percussion, although still not razor, has improved, brass has a huge sound, and strong soloists...visual performance very strong tonight....the bad news...Channel One COULD HAVE been wonderful if they would have played it straight up, but the arrangement is too choppy and doesn't totally succeed. I felt their musical effect number was too high. BD does perform well, but it's the product itself that will do them in next week.

Cadets....the show is wonderful musically, and they did a fine job. Brass seemed a bit tired and didn't hit impacts quite as well as when I heard them earlier this year...especially evident in Bugle Boy and the end of the show. Guard had a tough night in some key visual moments, and I can see whee BD had the edge in visual excellence tonight. The Cadets percussion is stellar. I disagree with some in their discussion of the Cadets visual, as it presents the music well, which is what it should do. If the power and emotion are unleased next week, and they nail their performance levels, they could win.

Reading (exh.) some good moment and a fine percussion section...well written arrangements and decent visual design. The corps had some brass/stamina issues, especially in the 2nd half. This is an excellent senior corps, and unlike the juniors, they have until labor day weekend to hone this show in.

Crowd was full, and a bit of threatening weather held away. Scores were TOO were mine in comparison...

Actual Score
My Score

Well, time for sleep, and onto East tommorrow. Goodnight!!


Since I had traffic and direction problems I missed hearing the Hip Pickles, Jersey Surf and Carolina Crown. I was pretty upset to say the least to have missed the beginning of the show, so sorry I can't comment on those corps above.

BOSTON CRUSADERS: I made it into the stadium just as they were on the starting line so I couldn't get to my "premium midlevel"seat until after their show, so I watched from the entrance of the stadium on the ground. The advantage of being on the ground was I got to really hear the front percussion ensemble clearly throughout. Very nice sound! The opener of Appalachian Spring is very warm and the brass intonation was very good. Again, it is hard to compare Boston's arrangement after one hears Cadet's '87 masterpiece of Appalachian Spring. But I enjoyed the fresh musical and visual ideas they brought to the field and even the clear respect they gave to the Cadet's classic version through some of their musical arrangements and drill and body movements. Percussion was pretty tight tonight and very musical. The choral section in the ballad is a nice touch. It's so hard to project vocally on the field but I think the effect was there. The professionally done signs throughout the show were very different and I can see how it communicates the big ideas of the music and show. Not sure if it makes the show ideas too obvious for the crowd if you know what I mean. But still a creative idea. The jazz segments were exciting and fun from all sections. It was heard to notice the guard's impact from ground level but they seemed to compliment the show well. The closer of Simple Gifts was again good. I wish they would milk the lead in going into the big push at the end maybe 8 bars more just so the crowd can get a greater sense of "here comes a big hit" but it was good. Ballet type body movements reminescent of Cadet's closer in '87. Overall great blend in sound from brass to percussion. Definitely a very musical show and with some cleaning can move up next week.

CROSSMEN: I made it up to my seat just off the 45 yard line. Good seats to see the rest of the show. Great opening. The staccato brass figure throughout that leads into the big hit at the beginning very nice. Brass sound alot tighter than when I saw them at the Clifton show in June. The percussion was aggressive as usual and strong throughout the show. The guard did a good job tonight and my attention was drawn to the guard probably a little more than usual since I was sitting next to a family who had a daughter in the guard. The baritone mini-solo at the beginning of the ballad was short and I wondered why the soloist even stepped out of form to be noticed. You wished he could have played more. The same thing happens later with a soprano soloist. I'm not sure that having a soloist to play a 2 measure solo should stand out of the ensemble since it kind of distracts. Anyways, pretty nice ballad. Strawberry Soup arrangement was good but again it is hard to compare to the Blue Devils version in '93. Good small ensemble sounds. The soprano feature was pretty cool too. Overall a good show enjoyed by the crowd.

BLUE DEVILS: I knew after seeing them in June that it would be a close race between them and the Cadets again. I really like the ragtime opening. Very creative and musically very tight. These guys march so well. I really like the precision and just how the brassline's upper body movement is so controlled as they march. Very impressive compared to some corps marching styles. Anyways, great soloists and a big brass sound. Although there were a few dirty spots still in the brass there were plenty of vintage Blue Devils brass riffs and shimmering intonation. You could just hear the ring from their horns. The percussion was very strong, maybe not quite as clean as the Cadets but still very good. They battery percussion played some mean figures throughout and especially using the percusion stands off to the left side of the pit was exciting to see. I loved how one of the snares while passing through and by the percussion stands pointed I think either at the percussion judge or someone on the sidelines with the attitude like, "Check this out!" The brass runs in "I Got Rhythym/Fascinating Rythym" were amazing. I loved the soprano feature ending eith the low pedal tone at the end. Just great! Crazy soloist again.BD soloist just have such great focus and power when they play. The "long hair" ballad with the 6 or 7 guard members with long hair literally letting their down was sultry to say the least. Very effective and I think they crowd liked it alot. But I really didn't like the version of "Channel One Suite" that much. As has been posted, it is way too choppy and it doesn't do justice at all the the previous championship versions played by BD in years past. The crowd gave the transition into "Channel One" a respectable round of applause but not a big one. I really wanted to hear a grander version of this piece especially at the shout section near the end when the corps is marching at an diagonal. I did like, however, the percussion rack reprise at the end and how the battery marched around at played it again. Even though the brass, percussion and guard were very good even just from a performance standpoint, the flow of the show still lacked. It seems to still not ebb and flow as a total ensemble show yet. But still a very good show that is definitely going to give the Cadets and the Cavaliers a run for their money.

THE CADETS: I saw them at the Clifton show in June and was looking forward to the many changes I had read about it previous reviews posted. Now before I go on I want to preface by stating that I have been an avid Cadet's fan since '87 and have always enjoyed their style and innovation in drum corps. This year's show is definitely a very good show which is much more crowd friendly than other years' which is definitely a plus for the crowd. The beginning drill is clean and very challenging and the brass has a warm and blended ensemble sound. Great intonation. I still wish there was a bigger opening hit though. I felt that throughout the very frist segment that the Cadets were warming up the crowd before making any big hits. Maybe that's intentional since the climax is really at the middle of the show. The new "windows" segment of traffic horns and small brass ensemble and percussion riffs were very well executed and very musical. Six tom players is simply crazy and the snares are really tight and the toms and snares sound like one big drum in their solo features. But then what I really liked was the ending of the opener. Very frenetic marching with outrageous mellophone and soprano runs climaxing to a huge ending hit. Great addition to the show! The transition to the ballad from "Field of Dreams" was very nice. Good soprano solo, but I think the soloist could open up his tone a little more for even greater effect. The small brass ensemble statement was very nice; great sound. The ballad really build into a beautiful, lush sound and then breaks for the plede of allegiance by the guard. I liked how the brass turned their horns sideways towards their right as background music for the pledge. And a solid American flag drill. And then of the show stopper--"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". I really like the sopranos at the top of this piece. Good sound and flavor. Again this is just a fun, fun piece with great brass riffs and exciting percussion features. The climax at the end of the piece with the key modulation up is very effective. Good high brass figures on top of the ensemble could be heard and even a couple of screaming sopranos. But then it kind of goes down hill with the closer. The arrangement with snippets from the opener "On the Town" and even quotes from "West Side Story" are cool but I think the crowd really needs more building to the end. The rifle feature with the vocal counts is great, but too bad one rifle dropped on the catch. Still very effective though. A good drill ending culminating with the Iwo Jima pose by the guard at the front reminescent of '95. I agree with some reviews even though the ending is strong and of course very patriotic that it still lacks the edge needed to possibly beat the Cavaliers this year. Overall great brass and percussion sound and wonderful guard work, although I saw some drops tonight so maybe on off night for the guard. The drill was overall very good but again not the consistent fast and furious marching drill that Cadets' fans have learned to love except for specific show spots. I still really like the show but I hope they can really clean up even more and show alot of patriotic emotion comes finals next week since I think it is the story line and emotion of this show that could bring them a championship next week.

READING BUCCANEERS: In exhibition. It is always hard to watch a corps like this after seeing corps like the Cadets and Blue Devils. I mean no disrespect to the corps director, staff and the corps members. But they did attempt a very difficult patriotic show with music mostly from Star of Indiana's '92 show. Very difficult figures and the members did a good job of performing the part. Lots of dirt and timing issues evident but alot of great spirit in the performance. Good drum major too who really tried to conduct the corps throughout the show.

Anyways a good show overall, but I wish the Cadets could have done and encore but hey you can't have everything. Best wishes to all these corps as they climax their tour with finals week next week.

Mr. Love Saquing
Bloomfield, NJ

Two trips to WC in two days! Thursday to drop off my drum major daughter at the Vivace/George Parks MB camp. Goodness was the dorm room HOT!!!! As always, John Vilella has set up a first rate operation. The workers were VERY helpful and friendly. Of course, my daughter forgot: Floor fan, pillows, hair scrunchie. Friday, three of us from the band staff drove down to WC for the show. We actually have six kids at the camp between our DM's, Guard Capts, and some of the section leaders. In the trunk of the directors car: Floor fan, pillows, hair scrunchie... for later delivery to my daughter.

We exited Rt 202 onto High St in WC at 6:30, about 5 minutes from the field.....well supposedly 5 minutes. At 7:00 PM we just pulled into a parking spot on a grass field across from the stadium as the National Anthem started.

Gosh was it HOT....and STICKY. Entered the stadium just in time for the Hip Pickles.

Hip Pickles:
Three very energetic guys. To start: one on snare (Chet), one tenro, and one three small vertically mounted basses. Day-glo lime green drums and very loud Hawaiian shirts.

They did a lot of comedy and drumming schtick. What really made it work was that it was obvious these guys could really PLAY. They had the crowd, a lot of them attending the Vivace MB camp, eating out of the palm of their hands. Excellent job. Their finale had some fun audience participation with Miami Sound Machine's "Music is Gonna Get Ya".

Jersey Surf:
Saw them at Clifton early season still in White unis. LOVE the new look. At Clifton, the guard carried the sports gear around. Now they spin and toss the tennis rackets, lacrosse sticks, baseball bats, and hockey sticks. I think they are now a different color.

The corps has a VERY well designed show, and the members have goen a long way to selling it. Still some individual errors sticking out, timing issues, and visual problems in performance, but overall the corps has made TREMENDOUS strides since Clifton. Especially of note to me is that the humor is now apparent in the performance, probably one of the hardest things to pull off. They seemed to generate a nice reaction from the crowd just where they wanted it.

IMO, if they have enough time after "Somewhere" I might end the show, there. A VERY beautiful moment for them and then they tag on another ending that seemed to be an after thought.

Finally, the 4 young ladies on cymbals turned in the show of the night, IMO. Excellent job!

A beautiful horn line that has widened their performance range in a few spots since Clifton but still seems to play with a very cushioned sound, never quite hitting the peaks dynamically. But the intonation and overall sonority of the brass is gorgeous, IMO. Percussion, esp the pit, have also come quite a ways since early season.

The theme of the show is fairly apparent. The Icarus-flying-too-close-to-the-sun was rather elongated. It took the guy with the wings a looong time to traverse the entire horn line to the 'sun' of the spinning flags, where he dropped the feathers and "fell" to Earth behind a prop. The mood around me was spoiled a bit as one wag, a student at the camp, said "Oh, look, he's moulting".

That was the most labored spot in the show for me. I'd not try and have Icarus "fly" that far, as the performer has trouble sustaining the mood and his leaps and twirls just don't cut it after a while. Maybe a bit shorter in duration would help.

BTW, I still love how they integrate the battery back into the show after the stand-in-back spot. They got a nice reaction from the crowd, as they DO play very well.

WOW! I hadn't seen them yet. What a wonderful show, and a VERY nice horn line. Their percussion section as well plays VERY well. I don't mind the banners and the pictures; they do them very well. Their music is well thought out, IMO, and they were the band director and my favorite show of the evening, from a musical performance standpoint. Americana music, tastefully thought out and put together. Just loved every minute of their show. Their percussion is neck and neck with the BD, it seems, and from my viewing rightfully so.

GREAT strides since Clifton. The show is VERY difficult and there are still problem spots in brass performance. Individual errors, and some phasing between perc and brass in the opener. The flugel players have a better grip on the characteristic sound of the instrument, and how they just need to 'sell' the ballad more to really make them sing.

Percussion payed well, but there were some spots of dirt noted in sections, bothe snares and tenors.

Blue Devils:
I can't believe the improvement in their performance since Clifton, ESP the percussion. They seemed early season to be WAAY out of it percussion-wise, and now they are right in the hunt. Wonderful effort by the members and staff.

I like the changes to the show, though since I really like "Ragtime" I wish they used mroe of that show's music. My least favorite spot is "House of the Rising Sun", though that is just as compared to the rest. It's still very good. Love the tease intro to "Channel One"; I don't need to hear them do 1976 al over again. What they've done is excellent.

I think they have a chance to overtake the Cadets, as the scores have shown (not that I hope they do, just that they are certainly capable of doing so) . I'd never have thought that at Clifton.

A lot of changes, mostly postiive, since Clifton. Don't know what the fuss is all about re the Pledge. Very tastefully done, and the brass chorale behind it is wonderful.

They had the crowd on their feet a couple of times with their show. I thought they seemed a bit tired, though, which may have been due to the heat and humidity after an all-day rehearsal. Not quite the zing and pop they had at Clifton. The band director loved their show, but thought the same thing about the brass seeming to be a bit tired sounding.

BWBB was a gas as always, and the closer very moving, but I'd rather a few less melodies and a bit more of "NY, NY" and "America, the Beautiful", for my taste.

Reading Bucs exhibition:
Performing immediately after the Cadets and BD is a thankless task. However, the Bucs held their own out there with a very nice Amerciana show of their own, making three for the evening.

The guard esp did a nice job, and the brass had some nice 'moments' with some other spots that were problematic. Percussion were overall quite good, with some "oops" moments sprinkled around the show.

Their energy level was quite high, and the overall quality of what they are doing should stand them in good stead at DCA-time.

All in all, it was a VERY nice evening of drum corps, as hot and humid as it was.

At intermission I had the opportunity to speak with an old friend, the brass performance judge Joan Penny. Her former DCI brass judge brother Bernie Baggs and I go way back to college days, and it was nice to see her again top renew old times. From 1980 thorugh 1991 I wrote/taught his percussion at the three schools where he was band director during that time.

Mike Davis

Thursday August 1

Lynn, MA (DCI)

Every year it is a great show and this year was no exception. Especially since Boston really seems to be coming on strong as the season ends. They convincingly beat both Glassmen and Crossmen while taking high percussion from BD and coming very close to high brass as well. Momentum seems to be on their side. It is begining to feel like 2000 all over again. Below are my thoughts on the performances.

Div II

East Coast Jazz 81.85
What a huge improvement over last years Div III show. The corps is larger and more mature and their book of Stan Kenton selections fit them well. Unfortunately, competion in Div II is brutal this year and them may not make the final cut in Madison.

Div I

Crossmen 4th 88.0
It is begining to look as though Crossmen are heading to a 9th place finish in Madison. If this is the case they will be the best corp ever to finish 9th. I am not sure why they are not mixing it up score wise with the Boston, Phantom, Glassmen and Bluecoat pack. The show design and exposure are there but the show just may be to tough for them to execute (see Boston 2001). The opening set has huge field coverage and I love the way the visual designer brings the hornline front and center. Articulation from the hornline was impressive. The ballad seems the weakest part of the show and has undergone extensive rewrites. It seems a bit to pop'ish for a in your face jazz show. 'Strawberry Soup' is one of the years best closers and the both the visual demand and music demands on the hornline are incredible. The closing drill was most impressive.

3rd Glassmen 89.6
Per usual the crowd really did not know what to make of the Glassmen. The first three quarters of the show is dissonance and more dissonance. Percussion sounded excellent and I was suprised Boston beat them. Love the toms attached to the snares. Drumline marched their butts off. Closer of 'Javellin' had a very John Williams movie theme feel to it and with it they finally had a peice with a discernable melody. Big drill finish in the finale was impressive now if only the rest of the show would catch up. If Crossmen can clean they can pass this.

2nd Boston, 91.15
Boston must be exceeding pleased with their progress, scores and placment over the last several days. They seem to have momentum on their side going into next week and the sky is the limit. If I could use one word to describe them this year that would be 'finesse'. While the show design is rarely 'in your face' it none the less impresses with it's intracacies, detail and emotion. This show barely resembles what I saw late june. The 'flag' ending is new and really dramatic, the hornline marches much more during the Artie Shaw peice, and melodies from 'Rhapsody in Blue' and 'America (West Side Story) have been effectively woven in to the 'Appalachian Spring' segment. Hornline is much better than 2001 and the whole corps exudes confidence and to boot they were only 3.3 behind BD!

Blue Devils 1rst 94.5
Oddly enough Blue Devils were the crowds favourite tonight getting the only mid show standing 'O' of the night. Their show is accessible and really fun but just does not have that machine like execution that we have come to expect of BD. During their opening set just as the horline collapsed into a huge circle back field a horn player dead center lost his mouth peice. First time I have seen that happen. 'Ragtime' is one of most entertaining openers of the season. The Gershwin medley really got the crowd going. I think the hair dance during 'House..' is a lot of fun. 'Channel One Suite' still feels tacked on and really does not jell with the rest of the show. Visual demand seemed lacking as the show progressed. Come Madison they may be fighting with SCV for 3rd place.

Overall a great show, but one bitch. Please put the Crusaders Senior on before the show and not after! Also someone needs to tell them that shows are no longer 13 minutes but now closer to 10.

GO BAC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


After minor practice field problems between the Crusaders and BD (mainly BD not wanting to practice on a field that is home to 125 geese)...the day cooled off enough for basically a perfect night for a drum corps show...there was one division II corps there tonight, and an exhibition corps.

Jubal (exh.): My first time seeing these guys and i hafta say... you gotta hand it to these guys...they came all the way from Holland, playing some good jazzy pieces that every crowd member could recognize. Not used to seeing brass colored instruments, but the silver would just clash with their uniforms. They lacked a lot of guard skills like what we have in the states, mainly throwing only 3's and 4's, but for their size, its all they needed. Very strong sound from a mid-sized hornline, and the soloists seemed to be on tonight...

East Coast Jazz (division II - 81.85) - I must say that the show is completely different from what it was written to be in the early season. They're showing a lot of work being put in with visuals and cleaning. Stan Kenton's "Aspect" fits them perfectly, and sets them up for the rest of the show. Although it does lack energy at the end...I'm guessing they were tired tonight. The way Div. 2 is going though...unless they can knock off patriots and the spartans, finals look outta reach...

Division I

Crossmen (88.00 - 4th Place) - One of the most physically demanding shows in DCI this year. The hornline, guard, and battery start in their own respective corners of the field and work their butts off for 3 1/2 straight minutes, stopping once or twice for impact points. I don't understand the need to change the ballad all the time, but i prefered the first version of "Candle in the Window"..I suppose the ending chord in "heat of the day" makes the ballad sound better...who knows. Xmen need to clean inorder to get out of the 80 pt. brackett. They have the show, the energy and the musical skill, but they need to find a way to get ahead of Glassmen, PR and BlueCoats by finals...

Glassmen (89.60 - 3rd Place) - Alright...I've never seen someone who is not drunk, act in a manner that someone in their staff did. They have a man of oriental background, screaming with a British flag for a good 2 minutes...then start to I have nothing against them, but i found myself reading my program, and looking at photos on my digital camera after the soloist was done...he was on tonight, as was the battery...sorry that I didn't pay much attention...but they really are "boring" as they say, but they seem to be proud of it...

Crusaders (91.15 - 2nd place) Where on earth did these guys come from? when i first saw them in Beverly, BAC's show was still in the makings...staff on the field with strings setting the opening set diagonal...but now they play like the mature players they really are. Guard was on tonight, but there was one, maybe two drops in the rifle section...up on the sideline...but they covered for it with the signs and pictures. The fine mix of Gershwin and Copland made the crowd really get into their music...i saw tastes of 99 and 2000 in the drill, but they take it to a new level. the ending set really amazes the crowd, and as soon as it locks in, every whispers "oh my god, its a flag..." and jump to their feet. I honestly think that they will make the finals broadcast on PBS come next week...

Blue Devils (94.50 - 1st place) - Well, I've never really been a fan of BD...but compared to beverly, and recordings that i've heard online from San Antonio and other shows...they've completely changed most of their show. The guard was almost flawless, and they really capture the eyes of the crowd when the break out the cymbal rack and have the whole battery just run around in alternating hits...unfortunately, a horn player, which i think is their lead trumpet soloist, or someone in the 1st section of trumpets was the point of their circle in the opening few sets, lost a mouth piece at the first horn entrance...wouldn't expect that from BD...or any Div 1 corps, but i told myself I wouldn't see backflips on the field, and i was proven wrong there also...bronze medal fight for BD with Santa Clara come finals....even Boston might be able to knock them off...

Ater the performances, the Crusaders Senior corps came on for some fun, and got the crowd going, which was jam packed with Crusaders alumni and fans... Only downfall to this show, is how the announcer kept saying that East Coast Jazz would recieve the benefits from the 50/50 raffle and kept commenting that they needed help with a new food truck (it got into an accent and rolled down a hill in Erie, PA). Yeah, they're division II, yeah they are small, but don't make them seem like a bunch of beggers.

Mikey D

Wednesday July 31

Rome, NY (DCI)

Was a great show and a better night for drum corp show. Corps where on fire. Glassmen where very very good but Boston was the better corp tonight. You could tell by the crow that it was Bostons night. They where on fire. I see they changed there show some and only sing ones during the show. Great inprovement. And the lieing down on the field at the end was the best. Glassmen where good very good. And will be neck and neck with Boston here on in. Crossmen sounded great. Big improvement from last years. They had some great solo parts really got the crowd going. They sounder so good. Just like the old days. The needed to bring there drums out more. They where behind everyone many times .They could improve there GE i belive. But they sounded and look GREAT. SEATTLE CASCADES.WOWWWWW. My god they where just so so good. Crowed went nuts with them. i have not seen them in a log time and they where so great to watch. There sound and choice of song was very good. I really could not belive how good they where. WOW they are my new favorit corp. No lie they where that good. Kiwanis was also very good tonight. They have come along was from last the last show in first of july and a longer way from last year. I wish they would get ride of the hoods. I hate them but I get it just don't like them at all. Patriots looked good but not sure why they can't get more members. I think they have what it takes but with only 25 horns and in a big drum corp town just not sure why year after year it is like that. They sounded good. MAGIC great to see them back. They will be in DIV 1 next year for sure. They have what they need. Sounded great. Loved them. East Coast jazz also have a size problem. But also sounded very good for there size. JUBAL sounded very nice.

Its Late Ron W

Spent the afternoon at Crossmen's rehearsal. Mindy wanted to go check out the guard first... So we walked over there for a while. They were working on some obvious (either trouble spots or new additions to the show).... they did them over and over... it helped... soon they started looking like they were getting it down pat! Young staff. We observed nothing mean, or out of the ordinary. There was only one thing that we heard that could even come close to things that have been printed and spread.... At one point one staffer said, "member's name, what was that shit?" But, it was said in a kidding manner and said member knew they had screwed it up and laughed right along with the staffer and the few members around them that had also seen it! Like I said, nothing bad...

Then we decided to go check out the drum line.... So we headed over to the main field. WOW!! It was like a small old home week! Mindy says to me where do you want to go? I said, up into the stands. The lil wiseguy that she can be says, why do they call them *stands*, if its where you sit!?! (Don't know where she gets it from) Anyway, we head up in the stands and who's sitting there? Mark and Marcy Thurston and their kids, Mark's sister Crissy and her kids, Mark's parents Dave and Joyce! (Yes, Ron we talked about you). We talked about PLAV...etc. Many laughs! Then Rich Light and his son showed up (2 more drummers)Heh.. Then a few more old timers showed up. Royaleers and Mag. Yankees were definitely represented in those stands! Mark's lil son wanted to go down and get one of the top hats to bring home for his drum set!! (for you UNdrummers... that's a cymbal stand). We watched the drumline for quite a while and then the rest of the corps headed over.

We watched them work and work.... after almost every set they were instructed to get a quick drink. (I was pleased to hear that) All and all it was a pleasant rehearsal I am happy to report!!

Mom and Mindy had a church committee dinner to attend before the show. Which made us a lil late getting to the show. :( I got there just as Patriots started their show. Bummer! I missed Jubal...who I was told started the show at about 6 :40... the show was scheduled to start at 7:00 so I bet many people missed their show. What a shame. I also missed Magic and East Coast Jazz.... ARGH!

Kiwanis was next, what a cool corps! Mindy loved their unis. Capes are a real nice effect! Talk about emphasized toe curls! Whew! Nice guard! What exactly were they chanting? We couldn't get the words. Mindy especially went nuts when they did that, that... Heh.. I don't know for sure what to call that cool marching/ step thing that they did like twice during their show! She loved it!!

Cascades were next. WOW! Thanx for making the long journey! You guys were great! Mindy and I kept oooohing and ahhhhing as tho watching fireworks! Those flags are gorgeous and show up so bright on the field! I think they had a diff flag for every color in the rainbow and then some. Nice rifle work as well. This corps was obviously having a ball performing... it really showed. Mom is a horn type person and Mindy never mentions the hornlines.... but they both commented at the same time how nice and rich the hornline sounded. I looked at Mindy as tho she was an alien. Heh... She shocked me!

Maybe a silly question but, both Kiwanis and Cascades drum lines seemed to have a darker/richer sound than most corps these days. Anyone know why? Are they tuned diff.? Are they diff. heads? What?

Crossmen were next. Colorguard is coming together nicely. They have nice flags, rifles, sabrs, and I especially like the effect that those poles give off!! In my opinion, it seems like the drum line needs the most work. Horn line sounded pretty darn good tho. Horn line often seems to drownd out the drum line. Battery IMO, doesn't play near enough. Their timing also doesn't seem to jive with the rest of the corps at times. Battery also doesn't seem to project up to the stands enough. The pit even seems to drownd them out at times. Shrug... what do I know? Nice overall show. We love the little antics that the horn line does throughout the show... cool effect. Hope they can clean the lil things quickly. Go Bones!

Boston was next. WOW! What a great show! Talk about having a party on the field?!! First and only corps to give me goosebumps all night! They were on FIRE tonight!! Man did they win the crowd in a heartbeat! You guys definitely deserved that win!! What a drumline. This show is well balanced and very pleasing to the old and new fans! Thanx Bac! Do any of you get to breath during the show? Heh.. All sections shine and jive well with eachother. Toe tapping, recognizeable tunes! The crowd just kept screaming and bopping around in their seats.... smiles all over the place. Be proud and keep up the good work! Go BAC! PS: Who is the shortest kid in the snare line, on the far right end of the line? He looks wicked familiar.

Glassmen were next. They did a great job witha nice show. Mom liked their hornline. Mindy liked the guard unis. We all liked their guard work. I think this was the corps that I felt the guard should do more field coverage than clumping together so much. At times they seemed to practically hide the horn line. Just my opinion. They really did a good job. But, I guess their type of show... shrug... just didn't do it for me. I wonder if I would have enjoyed them more if I had seem them before Boston? Don't get me wrong... they were very good. I just kind of felt they were flat and/ or forcing their attempt. Shrug... what do I know? Anyway, best of luck and enjoy the rest of the season!

Boston's drum line played for the olympic retreat. Nice job guys! Retreat was the only time that any Honor guards were to be seen. Sigh Nice unis. Jubal !! Sorry that I missed your performance, you look like a real sharp unit! Welcome to the States! Scores were given out... and the crowd went nuts when 2nd place was announced to the Glassmen! What can I say? Boston just owned that show!!

Hey! Almost every corps fielded at least a rifle line (Rifles have straps again!! Complete with loud snappy noises!!!) many also had sabers!

Also, should mention that every soloist that I heard tonight was *ON* ! Nice Job soloists!!

Mom said, What's with all the black pants and shoes? What are they all hiding? Mom's an Older Pharte! Heh..

For the victory concert... we sat level with the podium right behind the DM's. WOW!!! Thanx BAC, that was awesome!!!

Overall, it was a fabulous show! Great weather, great crowd, great corps!!! Well, take care all and enjoy the rest of the DC season!!

Its Late NanciD

Sioux Falls, SD (DCI)

This was the first drum corp show ever in Sioux Falls. I thought it went very well, and far more people attended than I would have thought. Sufudu (a drumline from around here) did an exhibition before the show. Very energetic, might want to check them out ( Anyway, on to the show...

6) Troopers - These guys have a lot of work to do, but they're still ok to watch. How can you not dig the troopers? I wonder how these guys hang on to a Div 1 status. I can see them slipping off the radar screen in the near future. Anyway, not much stuck out to me. Seemed like a very basic show.

5) Pioneer - I didn't like this show at all. The pit staging backfield is a joke. They only can be heard when it is some sort of pit/drum break. Also, the tri-tom units were kinda wierd. The picnic tables were more of a distraction than anything. Overall, I would have placed them below the troopers.

4) Southwind - I was very impressed with them tonight. When I saw 9 snares, I thought it would be very dirty. However, I thought they did a wonderful job. Very impressive drum and horn lines. Drill was not too demanding, but they sold the show well. Great job!

3) Blue Knights - This was the first big step up in show quality on the night. BK is also staging their pit on the front part of the field. I really hope this is a trend that dies out quickly. At least they had some drill that penetrated the oddly staged pit. Hornline was good, but the drumline was slightly weaker. Lots of GE stuff thrown in. Pretty good drill.

2) Phantom - PR downfall will be their drumline. The horns pack so much power, but are almost completly unsupported by the battery. The snares kind of sounded like tight field drums, and the tenors were practically inaudible. What a great hornline, by far the loudest of the night. Drill wise, nothing too difficult. Maybe they can throw in some new drill before madison, we'll see...

1) Cavies - Wow, these guys are incredible. I watched them reherse all day before the show. They are still fine tuning and changing so much stuff, I'm sure they won't be maxing out the show til finals. What can I say, they have it all this year. The visual package is especially stunning. Drumline is playing way more notes than last year, and sounds better IMO. The hornline never really lets loose, but they have such a beautiful symphonic sound. The ballad is pretty intense, and will sound great at Camp Randal. Fight Club is everything it's cracked up to be, and the fight club reprise at the end is even more intense. These guys will take it all next week.

* on a side note, the visual performance judge was not present. So every corp recieved 17.00 in that caption. For some groups this boosted their score quite a lot, but for others (cavies) it lowered their score.

Its Late Dave Mitchell

Tuesday July 30

Charlotte, NC (DCI)

This is a very informal review. It was my second time going to NightBeat, I went two years ago when the Cavies were there with their Niagara Falls show, so it was nice to be back in Memorial Stadium. My vantage point was from the right 20 yard line. The weather was beautiful, despite temperatures in the 90s and upper 80s and dew points a muggy 70 degrees.

Jesse McGuire opened up the show with his incredible trumpet skills. He did a great bluesy rendition of the National Anthem, but I just wish someone would play/sing that song a little faster, it can be depressing at such slow tempos! This is supposed to be a song that gets you going, not brings you to tears. He also played a nice song I think he said was of his own writing, and then did his version of God Bless America after a little speech about his experience visiting ground zero. Great performer.

Spirit - 84.15
These guys really have a great hornline. I was highly impressed with the sound they were putting out and enjoyed listening to them very much. Gorgeous ballad. However, I didn't really like their drill. I found its design to be a bit immature, and they were having a lot of problems with straight lines. Color guard was decent, I don't remember too much about them which means I wasn't overly impressed with them nor disappointed. A good performance from them, they just need to clean that drill.

Madison - 82.45
They entered typical Scouts style. Gotta love the fleur-de-lis. I enjoyed their first number, and throughout, I didn't find their marching to be all that bad. I don't remember much about it, but I didn't notice anything really wrong with it. There were several drops in the color guard, and gosh what is that honeybee outfit they change into? Interesting. I didn't find the guard to be entirely effective, but I understand what they were trying to communicate with the takeover of Central America by the Spanish. Idon't think this show was entirely well thought out, but it's entertaining enough. This isn't an entirely unbiased opinion because I think I, as well as most people, sit down to watch the Scouts expecting 1995, or 97 or 99, which is unfair to them. But I do think they need to reinvent themselves because I think there is only so many Latin shows you can put together that really bring the place down. But you look at shows like 97 and 99 and they weren't their usual shows, but incredibly effective! They can keep the typical blow-your-face-off theme but apply it to slightly different "genres," if you will. Just my opinion.

Bloooooocoats - 89.35
I honestly don't remember too much about this show. I remember the drill being very good, I enjoy the way they start off their opener. The guard is very effective and communicative. In all, I found the hornline a bit reserved in terms of the sound they put out. Maybe it was my vantage point, but I didn't find the previous two corps reserved. But this is an enjoyable show.

Cadets - 95.0
Now I'm as big a Cadets fan as they come, and I was really looking forward to this show considering all the hype behind it. You know there's a "but" coming....BUT, I wasn't all that impressed with this show. I'm going to compare it a bit to their 95 show, which I think is a pretty fair comparison because it's admittedly based on that show, though I'm not going to be entirely unbiased because I really love that show and I really love John Williams music. Obviously I'm going to critique them more than anybody else. Here goes.

That said, I don't really know what to think about the On the Town opener. I think it's a weak opener and the hornline doesn't really put out. I enjoy "The Reivers" opener of 95 much better. It like the intro into On the Town, but just not On the Town. The drumline rocks during it, I'm just not feeling it. I need more sound, guys. The ending of the opening is nice.

This ballad, however, is absolutely delicious. I like it better than "The Early Days, Massapequa" from Born on the Fourth of July, the ballad from 1995. I ate the this ballad up, and I find nothing wrong with the Pledge of Allegiance, it doesn't interrupt the flow, though I think the placement of the flag, over on perhaps the left 25 yard line, in front of what I think were just big gray walls. *shrugs* I think I got the sound I wanted from them after the Pledge, but it was hard to tell over the clapping.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy really is all it's hyped up to be. A great performance, thoroughly entertaining. Too bad one of the flag guys on one of the little podiums dropped his flag. However, the "throw it in your face" part at the end wasn't as "in my face" as I was expecting. Maybe because I was over on the 20 and they were projecting mor or less to the press box. But the thing is, during their encore after retreat, when I moved right smack in front of them, it was darn loud but still not as loud as I was expecting. I hypothesize that it's because of all the notes the melody line is having to play, making it difficult for them to put out a sustained double or triple forte or whatever.

The closer leaves a lot to be desired. It's not typical Cadets "run like hell and blow em away" ending. The American flag the corps forms was great, but this ending is just too weak. I hope they revamp it before next weekend.

In general, their drill is indeed very compact. I'm disappointed in that. The guard was phenomenal, with great silk colors. I do not doubt that they should have won tonight, nor that they should have gotten a big honkin 95. They execute incredibly well, I'm just left wanting more. I hope that next year they get back to their style a la 1993, 1997, 1998, 99, etc., just really incredible drill, no real park-and-blow jazz things, just a good solid show front-to-back that leaves you in awe. I wasn't left in awe by this show.

Crown - 83.15
This a very good and mature show and they execute it very well. The color guard is fantastic, the drill is nice and they play very well. I liked this show, though the ending is a little abrupt. I think the folks at finals will really be missing a great show if Crown isn't there. Great drumline as usual. I wish them well and hope this isn't their first year out of finals.

Retreat - I feel the placements were fair. I was expecting Crown to beat Spirit because I felt their drill and guard was better. I was surprised they beat Spirit in Music. Despite my critiques of The Cadets, I was hoping they'd break 96 just to shut people up about the Cavies, haha. I just would rather the Cavies not win their record-tying 3rd straight and score higher than Vanguard 98.8 record -- I feel those two landmark records should belong singularly to Garfield and Vanguard. Not that I've seen Cavies this year, but I'm just making blind and very biased comments. Because I can :), just don't go and flame me. If I'm knocked away by Cavies in Madison, I'll certainly say so and retract this statement. Anywho, this was a great night. I liked the America-O Canada Medley as well as the God Bless America performance. As usual, Cadets did Cadillac of the Skies and a tidbit of Rocky Point Holiday for their encore, along with an amusing rendition of the theme from The Jetsons, and of course Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

I wish all these corps good luck, and thanks for an entertaining evening!

Chris Holder (chris ncsu)

The 15th annual installment of NightBeat.... Carolina Crown's homeshow was quite a success. The weather was perfect, albeit HOT, but quite a nice evening for drumcorps. For those of you who have never been to Charlotte's memorial stadium, it's a nice horseshoe shaped stadium that could accomodate a reasonably larger crowd. The field is natural Bermuda grass and it is quite soft and wonderful to march on. There isn't alot of parking however as the stadium is very close to downtown...or "Uptown" as the local Charlotteans call it. They pipe in drumcorps music over the PA before everything begins, so I sat there playing "Name that Tune" for a while. I got all of them correct, even 78 Madison. I must be a total junkie.

My seats.... were on the 35 yard line on Side 1, 2nd row from the top. GREAT Seats! I attended this show with my mom, who really isn't a "newbie" to the activity as she has attended Finals on occasion and came to many shows when i marched, but she more or less is a novice. She likes what she likes and that's the way it is.

So onto the show.

Jesse McGuire opened the evening with an awesome rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Perhaps you remember him from Game 7 of the World Series last year... This man has CHOPS! He got a standing O from the crowd...(well obviously we were already standing, but they started cheering well before the anthem was over) He then played an original piece along with piped in music over the PA. This man is incredible! I can't get over how he managed to concentrate on what he was playing with the delayed sound from the PA system in the background. (NOTE TO DCI... AMPLIFICATION WILL CAUSE SERIOUS PHASING AS MR. McGUIRE DEMONSTRATED!) He then told a story about being in NYC in October and visiting the WTC site and how he asked a National Guardsmen if he could take out his trumpet and play. The guardsman allowed him and he played God Bless America (the same one from the Series). So he decided to close his performance with that piece. Halfway through, the entire crowd stood up in reverence and it was probably tthe most emotional moment I've ever experienced at a drumcorps show. WOW! That man can make his horn sing and it gave everyone goosebumps! I wish you could have all seen and heard it!

Spirit This was my 3rd viewing of this show. They have definitely eaten their Wheaties since June. This show was great! They have a very powerful hornline and the drill is coming along quite well. This was one of my favorite shows of the evening. That ballad is gorgeous. The only weak part is the closing drill. It was somewhat weak towards the end. I honestly think this show should be placing higher. My mom loved it too! Now when I say my mom loved it, you must understand that she doesn't like obscure music as much as entertaining shows. So understand that Spirit completely sold their Holsinger show to my Mom...that's saying alot! Oh she also discovered the cymbal line. My mom loved Spirits cymbals so much, she emailed the corps director last night just to tell him. I thought all corps did that... well great job guys, whatever it is you did!

Scouts This was the show i was most anxiously awaiting. I had to see for myself if they were getting screwed or if they deserved their placements. I tried to be as unbiased as i possibly could and just watch the show as if i was watching corps for the first time. They absolutely did NOTHING for me. This was a good show, but they are DEFINITELY in the same league as their competition. I guess going on after Spirit hurt them, cause it was hard to beat that performance. Madison used the back of the stadium well as the concrete provided some gorgeous sound from the horns. The hornline does sound very good and the drill is NOT BAD! This show just reminded me of something from about 10 years ago however. I tried to watch the guard to see what it was about them but I can never watch them for long. They did nothing that impressed me. The only time my attention was even drawn to them was when the female BANDOS started screaming as the all male guard shed their layers on the front sideline! I thought it was funny. After the drumbreak, the REAL MEN OF MADISON showed up. They really sound good during the last 3rd of the show and it's really entertaining, but the first 2/3rds are just ...ehh.

BLUECOATS ...or as Rondo said...the BLOOOOOOOOOOCoats. He had to explain to the bandos that they aren't BOOOING...they're BLOOOOING! Kinda funny. The Coat's are definitely more clean than the other corps in attendance sans Cadets, but the show really didn't grab me like I had anticipated it would. There were a few guard girls who were wearing really sexy uniforms unlike the rest of the guard. The hornline has improved enormously over the past 2 years. They have some difficult licks. Mom didn't like the "ballet" dancing by the drummers and hornline members. I appreciated the ballad. It was quite beautiful. The closer is the highlight of this show. There is a cool groove with the tubas that i really dug. I liked this show, I just wish I hadn't read all the hype, cause it kinda let me down, but good nontheless.

INTERMISSION Not much happened, except a firetruck came racing up to the showsite, then a few Ambulances..(or is it Ambuli?) Turns out, my mom was exiting the restroom and an elderly lady in her 70's or so, had passed out and started convulsing. The entire stadium is concrete so she cracked her head pretty good. So my mom yelled out "MEDICAL EMERGENCY" and the event staff arrived very quickly. The heat was pretty bad and under the stadium, very little air circulates and that is probably what did this lady in. Hope she was ok.

Cadets (of Bergen County) or so said Reliable Rondo as he announced the corps as they entered the field. I suppose he didnt' get the memo that they dropped that last part ...oohhh about TWO YEARS AGO! The Cadets never fail to amaze me. This show is so different from when I last saw them over a month ago. The new "Windows" section is some very clever drill writing. I enjoyed it alot more than what was previously there. The boxes on the field now have large pictures of WW2 posters which i think is really neat. I didn't find the pledge to be that hokey and the crowd seemed to like it. The hornline is just absolutely phenominal. Boogie Woogie didnt' seem as exciting tonight, I guess cause I've listened to it so much, it just doesn't surprise me as much as it used to. They've added so much to this show it was like watching a new drumcorps. They do it so well. GO CADETS!

Crown I'm not sure when Crown started going on last during NightBeat, but it certainly wasn't when I marched. I don't think I would have wanted to go on after Cadets. As much as I want my old boys to make Finals, I really think this vehicle will break down on the highway before it reaches that destination. The concept is good, but I don't think they are selling it. I like that they changed the men's togas to white. They also deleted the "jazzy" When a Man Loves a Woman part and inserted what sounded like..."I Will Always Love You" It's alot better. The opener is good and the ballad is gorgeous. The hornline is really sounding mature now. Mom thinks that Icarus's wings should have started smoking or caught on fire to make that part of the show more meaningful, but I just looked at her with a puzzled look and thought..."you crazy woman, do you know how much that would cost?" I liked the yellow flags depicting the sun as Icarus flew towards it before his wings fell off. The ending...Or lack thereof is going to keep them out of Finals. It just ends, and people just kinda look around and say... uhh... is that it? Mom didn't like Crown's drill.... she called it "meaningless motion".

I picked each corps finish correctly, although I thought Madison deserved the nod over Crown, but since it was Crown's homeshow, I knew better!

Mom had the placements like this. 1st Cadets 2nd Spirit 3rd Coats 4th Scouts 5th Crown.

Laura Young of Crown got to conduct America/O Canada since it was the homeshow and although I like the arrangment, I agree with just about everyone that it just isn't exciting. Mom was disappointed. All corps then played God Bless America. After Jesse McGuire's version earlier... this one just wasn't as nice, but a good arrangement anyhow.

Cadets encore included the usual, Cadillac of the Skies, which I love dearly for personal reasons. Rocky Point Holiday, The Jetsons which was played by a small brass ensemble, and of course a reprise of Bugle Boy with dancing 4th bass drummer doing splits and driving the crowd wild. Mom asked why there was a man standing on the 35 behind the corps as they performed .... she thought the judging was over. I had to explain to her that it was Hopkins and he just liked to be seen. Kinda funny! Great show though, hope you guys enjoyed my detailed review!


Great day for drum corps. I got off work at 11:30pm Monday night, turned in my weapons and was on the road by Midnight. Got to the 'Coats housing site at 2:45 and they got there at 3:30. They were tired and let the corps sleep until 9:30. I served breakfast on the chuck truck and then went shopping for the corps and staff. Came back and watched ensemble rehearsal. They put in a new ending Monday. Oh, my. 80's drumcorps flashback. Loud notes. Screaming sop. More loud notes. Sop screams even higher. Final note. (the final note needs to be about 8 counts longer, but hey I really like it.) Anyway...... I helped serve dinner and then met up with some other alumni and went to the show. Oh by the way, if you are an alumni and your corps is in the area, go help out. You gave 1, 2 or like me 5 years to your orginization and they took care of you on the road. 12 or so hours out of your life is a small price to repay that debt. Take some of you old tour shirts with you and give them away, the kids love it. I gave away 5 old shirts, the smiles on the faces of those kids are still with me. It shows that the alumni care and it helps bridge the gap between generations of marchers. Oh, you wanted a review? My bad. (getting off soapbox)

Ahemmm, and without further interuption, the review:

We missed the trumpet guy, sounded nice from the parking lot.

Spirit ( ofatlantaidon'tcarewhattheysay) Of JSU
I saw them in Columbia in late June. Tonight I saw them from the 5 yard line, up high, far right. Nice sound, horn line much improved. Still like the guard and the ever brighter costume changes. Opening statement is good with nice crowd response. Unfortunately where we sat for this show was not flattering visually. What a mess!!!! I hope it looked better from the front than at my angle. Individual technique was there, forms were fuzzy and diagonals were a bit scary. Once or twice I wasn't sure who was in which line!!! Nice overall show. Most likely in finals. Would love to see them again from the front. 11 or 10 on Finals night. Welcome back to the dance Spirit, it's been too long.

First viewing. 5 yard line, up high, this time far left. Nice intro. Why waste money on fake armor props you don't use in the show? Nice hornline with a heavy (too much?) upper balance. Low brass was lost occasionally in the ensemble. Drums seemed OK. (I'm a brass guy, so unless it's way obvious, I don't notice mistakes or dirt.) Visually seemed much better that Spirit. Great individual technique overall, with only one or two that seemed not up to par. Forms seemed to hit. Not a whole lot in this show seemed to grab me. The drum solo seemed to be strong but, didn't finish with anything. Was waiting for the big impact and am at home still waiting. Nice overall show. Oh, the guard. After reading some of the reviews I was expecting guys running around hitting each other with rifles and having flags wrapped around their heads. They aren't that bad. Clean? Well, not really but, not horrible. 2 or 3 drops and one guy twice I saw fall behind in the work and took 5-8 counts to get back even with everyone else. They didn't get the guard number they deserved tonight. I had them ahead of Crown's guard but behind Spirit's. 1.5 behind Crown? Something is weird here. Maybe home-show advantage for Crown. I had them over Crown. Should have been mid-high 15's in Guard, Low 17's in Brass. Vis Perf # could have been a bit higher. Probably 13th although I feel they have the potential to squeeze in for finals.

1st viewing. High up on right 45yrd line. (borrowed staff passes get you everywhere) Ahhh, my corps. I'll try to be unbiased. They had a pretty ugly run through at rehearsal with all kinds of blown phrasing. Most of that was cleared up by tonight's performance. Sloppy around the edges, but a good show throughout. The opener was nice I love the flags, and then the transition to the entire line on rifles is cool. Ballad is nice. The backfield playing was improved with the solid rock visitors stands, nice echoes and reverb. I'm largely against drumlines dancing, they usually look wooden and like they are dancing to the numbers. Not these guys (and gal, props out to snErin, the only female center snare in Bluecoats history and possibly the top 12) they look great doing what they do. Fun middle number, look for one of the guard members to go into the pit and pick a fight with a mallet player right after the ballad, funny. The rest of this piece is just fun. Everyone loves the guard member who dances around the sop player and gives him a good spank, she sells her part great. The closer. What a great ending. They put this in right after Indy. The crowd ate it up. I think the last note needs to be milked a bit more. If it was, the crowd would have been out of their seats before the show was done. The hornline has a rich sound. Most of the brass staff has been with this corps for 10 years now. The balanced even sound they achieve at the louder levels is great. I wish they would let the line open it up a bit more but I, grudgingly mind you, understand that they won't sacrifice tone quality for volume. Best production since 95, 90 and 88. Maybe even better. Oh, and the body movements. Black pants hide dirt, but they also hide visuals. The 'Coats white pants showcase their body visuals really well. New ending will serve them well more changes later this week. 7 is a lock but I honestly feel 5th or 6th by finals night.

The Cadets
2nd Viewing. Same spot as previous show. GE, GE, GE. So much to watch for. Maybe too much. Powerful hornline, 1 or 2 individuals cut through the ensemble at higher volumes but, nothing too serious. What a guard. The dancing is incredible. The drumline sounds great, but hey I'm just a horn guy, what do I really know? I hated the closer when I saw it in June. What a difference a month makes. Incredible. I like the signs on the boxes, helps tie into the theme of the show. I wasn't sure how I was going to respond to the pledge thing because I normally hate hokey staged GE stuff. I liked it. (Although when they were setting up for the show the idiots half dragged the the flag across the field when setting up the flag pole. Grrrrrrrrrrr. I was wishing I had kept my rifle or pistol at that point.) A great overall show. Really enjoyable. One quick rant that hopefully won't happen. If you see the grey structures behind the flag and take a good look at the flag pole, you can see the 9-11 reference waiting to happen. As soon as I saw them set up I was swore they were going to do it that night. If they try to stage this scene for GE I will never forgive them. It's not part of the show theme and won't fit properly into their show at any point. Don't do it. This show is great. 2 or 3 at finals. Just don't see anyone beating Cavies.

2nd viewing, same spot as before. This show never clicks for me. The opener is solid. The horns were good tonight as well as the drums. The guard seemed off. Oh, by the way, thank you for changing the guys outfits, thank you. I didn't mind the cupid wings and liked the Bow and sabre bit. The Icarrus thing just takes too long to happen. The horn book (not the line) lacks punch and excitement. The show is nice but, it just sits there. The end of the show needs reworked bad. No build, no excitement. Eventhough this was my second time seeing it, I didn't realize it was over until the DM was turned around taking a bow. Rondinaro (the show MC) had to cue everyone to give an ovation. The guard was sloppy tonight with more drops than everyone else. A couple of nice solos. These kids give 110% but don't have a book to reward them with applause. I'd be going nut if I was marching there. Probably on the outside looking in for finals.

Overall great venue, a county stadium. Which ment, Beer!!!!!! DC and beer what a great way to relax on a Tuesday night. With finals in Orlando next year this should be a bigger show than the 5 fine corps we had tonight.


Well , Tuesday was probably the hottest I can remember it being in this area all summer. The humidity wasn't exactly helping things either. Things did cool down later in the evening though. My general impression of the Drum Corps activity IMHO is that it's going South. It seems like there is more competition this year than in past years , but as a whole performances are off. My Reviews will mainly touch on the overall programs strengths , and weaknesses.

Spirit of JSU Score 85.2
The first thing that jumped out at me about Spirit was the control in the hornline. Don't get me wrong , they pack a serious punch , but they have better control of their sound than I have ever heard from them. Visually compared to last year things are very much improved. I don't necessarily like the approach they have taken this year they seem to have taken a page from both the Glassmen and Star of Indiana in alot of their Visual techniques. This Corps will be a lock for 10th.

Madison Scouts score 83.00
Wow , their Hornline is very clean this year. That being said , the music did nothing for me. This Corps plays two dynamic levels , mp and fff . Drumline didn't impress me as much as I have read that they should. Madison needs to totally revamp their Visual staff. Their forms are clean but they look like mush in between forms. They shouldn't finish higher than 14th.

BlueCoats score 88.4
Their overall visual package is defenitely a step up from last year , but they just don't move enough. This is probably my only gripe with Coats. The hornline is playing extremely well , and the music is more challenging than last year. Honestly what jumped out at me the most about the Coats was the Colorguard. Some really fine hunnies out there. I liked the whole Guard using rifles , it was very effective.

The Cadets 95.0 ..... my score....95.1
I will start with my one gripe. This isn't your typical Cadets show . You know what else? SO WHAT?! Awesome show from Cadets , they made it worth my trip to Charlotte. Visually they didn't exactly use the field as well as they usually do , but you can't argue just how damn clean they are. Pledge of Allegiance was awesome , and used tastefully. HORNLINE WOW. If the Cadets don't win High Brass at finals this year , then whatever the judges are smokin that night I want a lifetime supply. If the Cadets can spice up the ending a little more Visually they just might have a shot.

Carolina Crown 83.15 my score....83.50
Never been a fan of Crown. In the past I used to wonder how in the World they could make finals with some of the awful hornlines they put out. (Usually because of the terrible drill they march). I'm half and half this year on Crown. Visually the Show started out nice , and the Hornline sounds VERY nice this year. Attacks and releases are actually a strong point for this Corps. The drill is absolutely terrible and there is obviously no one that can teach the kids how to march it. Give the Guard more tasteful outfits , rewrite the second half of the drill book and clean clean clean , and this could actually be a top 8 Drum Corps. As things stand you're best shot is 12th. Sorry.

Encore performance from Cadets was Awesome. Loved the Jetson's ensemble. Boogie Woogie was IN YOUR FACE style. I like how the Cadets are trying to be more fan accesible.Good Luck to ALL Corps in Madison.

David Rugiero

Hey everyone out there! I was at the Charlotte show last night, and here are my two cents!

First off I have to say...I got blast zone tickets...and I hated it so, I moved (stole) a seat that was higher!

It's hard to critique a corp while sitting in the blast zone, but this is the only band that I saw in the Blast Zone. From the Blast zone, I thought they looked great. They project really well, but lack in marching techniques. I saw a lack of upper body strength, and looked as if the corp had trouble holding up their horns! Other than that, the guards uniforms were wonderful; although they clashed with the uniforms of the corp. Other than that, great show...especially the first movement.

Madison Scouts:
At this point in the show I moved my seat about 30 rows higher! First of all, I have to say that I like they guards uniforms when they change in the the "yellow uniforms" that look like bee's. They made a good transaction of changing them without me noticing...and that says a lot about the color yellow! The band also made a great entrance on the feild! It fits very well with their spanish war theme. What lacked with this corp was evident. They need to slow the tempo down and take a look at the techniques that they are getting wrong. No line hit straight on. There were many messy moments that made me want to look away. Also, the show lacked playing from the corp. I felt like I went through a five minute drum got annoying! The end of the show was great though. Although it was messy, it was quite entertaining! The show would be so much better if the slowed the tempo to get the techniques down. The drill is great...just not the marching!

This corp was great! This has been the third time that I have seen them this year. They move quickly and very close, so it's kind of hard for the eyes! The one thing that bothered me the most about this corp was that there were a lot of interval problems that I noticed. Other than that they had great saprano solos, and great Melephones. Keep it up!

The Cadets:
First off I have to say, I've seen their show about five times this ear, and everytime that I see it, it changes! This time though, the change was for the better! The cadets have flawless technique in marching. The guards uniforms fit well with the show, and the show flows well. There were though one or two musical tears. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, as at every show that I've been to, was the highlight. It's extreamly exciting and had the crowd screaming louder than i've heard all year! I'm excited to see this corp more than anything at finals and excited to see what they've changed for the better. Keep it up cadets!

Carolina Crown:
Wow...what can I say...I hate the show. The drill doesn't flow well in anyway. The guards uniforms are very rediculous! They play somewhat well, but it seems like the drill is way to hard for their techniques. I find myself very bored everytime I see this show. It's very hard to keep your attention when nothing exciting ever happens on the feild. The only exciting thing...and it wasn't that exciting, was the Final movement. Ryan can definalty write better drill than this; i've also see you write better drill! Good luck final week Crown. Maybe next year.

Well there it two cents...all corps are in order in which they were seen.


Ok, its really early in the morning now and I finally made it back from Charlotte, a two hour drive, yet had difficulties getting to the show site and leaving the city... but the show was worth it nevertheless despite my misfortunes. Famous trumpet player Jesse McGuire opened with the national anthem and told some stories for the crowd and played 2 more songs, one being God Bless America. It was quite touching. Alrighty, on to my first review (I hope this is ok for you since I am SOO tired!)

3rd Spirit - After hearing early season recordings of this show I came in sceptical, but I couldn't get enough of this show! They had some issues in the guard at times that I noticed, and i dont care for the blue rifles that much. Marching wise, I can see bouncy steps and backwards marching was a little bit sloppy. The ballad gave me many chills, and the hornline and guard provided a lot of emotion from there on. I only think that they need to fix the many holes iI saw in the drill, and that they keep one set of flags for two long. Otherwise, great job Spirit!

5th Scouts - I had been preparing for the show with the usual guard comments, so I tried not to judge them to much. To be honest folks, I really didn't like this show, it was sooo hard for anyone to get into it, and it was suprising, but I think Spirit gave the audience much more emotion. I was not particularly fond of the music, I found it to just have loud parts in the horn book and too many impact points. Guard provided nothing, BUT, for a little while I liked the "xmens" little groove, even if it wasnt very hard to play. Despite a few drum licks, the show went nowhere and I wanted it to end fast. At intermission I was kinda mad cuz I wanted the Bluecoats to wake me up after the unexpected lackluster performance by Madison.

2nd Blooooocoats - Crocker explained to the people before the show who were newbies that it wasnt "booing" but "blooing", and encouraged it. I don't think they could apprehend (sp?), but I was sooo anticipating a Bjork song put on the field. I liked the opener, but it's more of a "flowing" piece than a driving one. I think it's very smooth myself, but the guy next to me was getting in my way at that time and I was thinking to myself "why are you sitting so close to me"...anyhow. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE "new world"!! It didn't let me down, although a little over-the-top with the body work for my taste. I rarely noticed the battery, but I could definatly tell they were using Evans heads. Very crisp sound IMO. Guard was good but had many drops tonight, and many are very nice to look at in other terms as well. The closer kept my interest along with the Bjork tune, and before I knew it the show was over!

1st Cadets - I knew before the show that no one would be truly challinging them tonight, but I had a bad feeling about the boxes being brought onto the field. This show is not what a typical Cadets show is as far as drill concerns the last few years, but it'll be alright...for now. I don't care for some of the changes they made in some arranging with the opener into the drum solo, it sounds to varied. Guard was exceptionally well of course, but somehow I think they need to use silks rather than sabers for the beginning of the ballad, but the staff knows more than me of course. I have a feeling that they come into block more - so than they should, and there was not one point in the show where I said "wow" with a drill move. Drumline was so clean as everyone knows, so yeah, not much I can say that pretty much hasn't already been said.

4th Crown - I don't think that just because this is their home show, that they should be scheduled on after one of the best corps of today. I actually thought that they used more of the field than from reviews before. I liked the opening, but everything after my interest started to go away. I thought I would really like the ballad, but something about it didnt satisfy me fully. The guard was doing very well tonight, and I saw the fewest drops next to the Cadets. I don't think that they should be staged in the back right of the field during "One Day I'll Fly Away" because you have to actually look for them behind some annoying pillars they added. Battery was doing great, but wouldnt get much response because you had to search for them as well, so the audience didn't get the full effect. Yes, the hornline has improved. Yes, the guard, even though with bad uniforms, could be strongest since '99. Yes, the percussion is just too good for the rest of the corps. Good job Eric! Some things i noticed: every corps out there, either had a guard uniform change, or a various uni style. Madison has been the latest to add this, but simply looked blinding. I didnt find much amazing this year at NightBeat about any corps drill... Very few "booed" when Madison was announced last. I was kinda thinking that Crown might, but mainly b/c they went on after Cadets and possibly impaired of how I thought. It seemed like more of a "ahem! This is where you boo.." type of thing and finally, I could do SOOOO SO much better with this review but alas, I must go, for it's so long anyway and I'm probably not thinking straight dont be mad, just MO (if i remember!)

Chris Limbaugh

Stillwater, MN (DCI)

The weather for tonight's show was quite nice indeed. It had been pretty hot and sticky today, but it cooled off nicely for the show. Some nasty looking clouds moved in just a bit before the show, but they all kept on moving without dropping any rain.

The facilities in Cottage Grove are so much better than the old Stillwater junior high school. I can't for the life of me see why they didn't hold the contest there before.

Impulse did not perform tonight. There was no explanation as to why, other than they were not able to make it. I hope they are not having vehicle difficulties, and whatever it was that caused them to miss the competition will not prevent them from making future shows.

Troopers 71.05 - They did a very good job this evening. They continue to clean, and are performing with more confidence than this past weekend. I have to admit that I like their arrangement of their opener better than Glassmen's closer (same piece). They really have a couple of very young and very short kids in the corps. Two of them were smaller than my 10 year old daughter, and she is short for her age. One of them was a soprano soloist, and quite good. I hope they can hold on to that talent and bring it back for years to come.

Pioneer 71.85 - Their performance was a SIGNIFICANTt step up in all captions tonight compared to Indianapolis. Their marching was much cleaner and better controlled. The brass played with a bit more balance, though tone quality remains a bit of an issue for them. They did a nice job performing their show, and they received a very good crowd response. I don't know what the staff has been feeding these kids for breakfast, but keep it up. I am not sure that I agree with them moving ahead of Troopers tonight, but the two corps were very close performance wise.

Minnesota Brass Exhibition - They have come a long way in the past few weeks. The visual program has cleaned up nicely, the guard is much cleaner, and hte drum line is performing much better. The horn line still has some tone quality issues to contend with, and the opener is still a bit "straight" for a jazz piece. The overall show design is much better than the past few years, and their new uniforms really look great. They received a very enthusiastic response from the crowd - as always in Minnesota. They did perform quite well. If they can improve the brass performance a bit, tehy should do very well come DCA.

Southwind 77.0 - They too had a very strong performance this evening. Improvement in every caption. I have no idea what happened to tehir score in Indianapolis, but it seemed very low to me. Tonights score was definitely in line with their performance. They are cleaning up quite well, and are beginning to looked quite polished at times. If they can keep that up, they should be able to narrow the spread with the 15th place corps at Championships (e.g., Crown, BK, Madison, Colts); however I doubt they will be able to place higher than 16th. Great job tonight!

Colts 84.6 - Excellent job tonight. They received a lot of response from many features in their show - especially from teh entire guard on rifle. That was much cleaner tonight. Brass and percussion performance continue to improve; however, visual performance - especially intervals - still plague them. They have a good shot at the 12th place spot, but if they don't clean the visual, they may find themselves out once again.

Santa Clara Vanguard 92.9 - Very nice job tonight. The guard is much improved over what I saw last weekend in Murfreesboro and Indianapolis. There is still plenty left to clean with the drill, but they are improving. They performed their show with a lot of power and confidence, and were able to really get the crowd into their show. That in my opinion is a very positive sign, since their musical selections are a bit obscure. I was a bit surprised by their score and spread with Cavaliers - I would have had their score a bit higher (more like a 94).

Cavaliers 96.05 - They simply continue to amaze me. Constant improvement, additional visual nuances to enhance the overall product, and that brass line. They produce the most amazing sound I think I have ever heard from a horn line. They were clearly the crowd favorite. I will state once again, I think they will win and will remain undefeated.

Tonight's show was really fantastic. All corps had strong performances, and were entertaining. I was sad to not have been able to have seen Impulse, as this would have been the first time I would have ever seen them. I hope to see them in the near future.

Tim Kviz

Monday July 29

Ankeny, IA (DCI)

Sorry this review is so late, I just got back from vacation in Tennessee the other night at 3:00am.....was dead tired, so couldn't even think straight. Now on about the show....

Parking was great! got in and out quickly, and my family and I didn't have to walk 10 miles just to get to the stadium.

Packed House! Tons of people were there. Alot of high school bands were there. Sat in front of a group of band parents who talked through all of Crown's performance. That's my only gripe. Perfect seats. My Family and I consisting of me, my dad, and my grandparents (mom wasn't there..had a kidney infection and was at the hotel the entire time of vacation), sat on the left side at the 40 yard line and half-way up the stands. Perfect seating :)

Spirit-3rd Great Show! Loved the theme and music. Guard didn't seem to be on cause there were about 5 drops and I felt sorry for them cause their guard is very good. I think it was cause the wind started to pick up a little during their performance. I loved the beginning of the show....very Glassmen (yes, I'm somewhat of a Glassmen fan). Overall, just a great designed show. I had them in 3rd with an 83.40....received and 83.35. Dad rated them as a 6 out of 10. My Grandma was just floored by them and I looked over and said, "The best are still yet to come."

Crown-5th This show drove me nuts! I couldn't stand the guard whatsoever and normally I love their guard. I normally watch their guard instead of the brass and percussion cause they are so good. The lightening bolts were okay, a decent visual aid, but the bit with the cupid and the snakes with Medusa hair was just utterly lame. The music didn't even really make sense either. And what is with the pillars? I understand the 3 pillars on the right side of the field (from my Point of view), but the 2 all the way on the other side?? I don't understand....maybe its too simple or too complex of a concept for me to understand. Can't things be in the middle? I had them in 4th with an 82.90 only cause they have been scoring higher than Madison, they received an 80.75. My dad gave them a 3 out of 10....he said it was a horrible choice of music and not entertaining at all. Sorry Crown! my dad just speaks what's on his mind.

Madison-4th WOW!! I', surprised they got 4th. They haven't been doing too well cause of the guard, but I think the guard instructor kicked them in the butt few times, or they just happened to have a good night cause they were on! The show was very entertaining! I liked the beginning even before Joel did his salute. I just wish Joel (their drum major) would not go so crazy when he conducts. And also, the conductors baton doesn't work for them, go back to using both hands cause Phantom is the true corps. for the conductors baton. Way to steal that idea from them! Other than that... great show overall! I had them in 5th with an 82.30 because of technicality... that's high school music they are playing, but they ended up scoring an 81.85. Dad gave them an 8 out of 10. He really enjoyed them. Crowd booed of course cause they placed so low.

Bluecoats-2nd Purely Ingenious! Love the show! This is the first time I have ever seen them in person and I was amazed. So much better than last year with the Latin Sketches show. Don't get my wrong, last years show was great, but this year's is even better. Love the soprano echoes at the beginning and end of the ballad. Wonderful guard! GO BLUUUUUUEEEE!! I had them in 2nd with and 87.00 but scored an 88.90. Dad gave them a 7 out of 10. Grandma loved them just cause they are out of Canton, Ohio and my grandparents live near Marietta, OH.

Cadets-1st HOLY SMOKES!!! I have never seen anything like it! I loved the show from beginning to end. Of Course I'm a huge Cadets fan. loved them ever since I saw them in '98 in Lynchburg, Va. Opening of the show is just awesome! love the first move with the back starting back and forth and then the next few rows and then on and on. Crowd went wild during the Pledge. Standing O for that. Ballad was just gorgeous. Almost brought tears to my eyes. Boogie Woogie...of the hook. It's everything everyone has been talking about. And Boy during Boogie can that guard do its stuff. They were smokin'! Another standing O after Boogie. The last song was just wonderful too. I love the little lics of "America" from West Side Story thrown in there every once in awhile. Truly shows that America is made up of many different cultures. The show was just completely the TOTAL Package. Everyone was on their feet at the company front during the "And the Home of the Brave" section and just kept getting louder and louder! Everyone loved the show and you could tell by the ovation the Cadets received at the end of their program. I them in first with a 94.00, received a 94.05. Dad had them in a tie with Madison with an 8 out of 10. Grandma I think was just floored by them and couldn't believe that kids my age are able to perform like that. Congrats to the designers of the show....excellent choice in everything from music to drill, its just all wonderful! They've received 8 World Championships and this one should be number 9! GREAT JOB CADETS!!!

Victory concert- Due to lightening, the Cadets did an abbreviated victory concert with only Cadillac in the Skies and the reprise of Boogie Woogie. A little disappointed on my part cause they didn't play Rocky Point Holiday, which I love that song....but hey, I can get over it.

Well that's all from me. Time to get ready for work!

Liberty University Marching Band, The Spirit of the Mountain Drum Major 01, 02

Ankeny, IA (DCI)

Before I begin with the reviews of the show I must say. They might be a bit biast because I watched the colts practice all day before going to the show. That and there were a couple of annoying kids sitting next to us constantly talking through the entire show.

Impulse was on first. An Interesting show I thought. This was the first time I've ever seen these guys perform. The theme was different but I liked it. There were some obvious flaws with the flags in the opener several of them were late. Pretty good show it kind of made me wish I was going to finals to see them. They were the only corps in div. 3, My score was pretty close to the actual I thought they'd get about a 75, they got a 74.55. They didn't stay for the finale because they had to get to michigan I guess but the drum majors did.

Next on were the Troopers very small corps for marching Division 1. I can't say I really liked the show. It was cheesy. Not much to say about it. I didn't put them as high as they got. They got a 71.05

Next up was Pioneer, I liked the whole props thing (picnic tables or something????), constantly moving them. Pretty good show all in all. getting better. I think they could make it a bit more interesting though maybe it's the lack of people in the corps. They received 71.00

Southwind was right before intermission. I'd have to say they did a really good job. I liked the show weren't many flaws. I think they're going to be up there soon they have it going for them. they got a 76.10

The first show after Intermission was the Blue Knights. What I thought was really interesting about these guys was that they were marching 12 contras. Good drill I liked it. The choreography thoughout the entire corps was pretty good. I liked how they moved around the pit it made it a bit more interesting getting them all close together. Good sound out of these guys. They got an 83.85

Then came the Colts. This was my favorite show out of all of them. I had a chance to meet the mellophone soloist that afternoon, very cool person. Even after seeing the show broke down over and over again especially the closer it was still awesome. It didn't feel anywhere near 11 1/2 min. long. Kind of left you wanting more. I like the drill, I noticed one or two people though in the sop line that were dirty in several different spots. the Guard work was awesome. I like during the snare break how they broke it down and had one then he marched up and the next one turned facing the crowd and they marched forward and did this for the entire snare line. But I would have to say my favorite part of the entire show would be between where the baritones and sops split it and the sops were away from the audience in a box and then turned around it was amazing it blows me away to see that part. But the I expected a bit more from the ending it may be that I saw it like 40 times that day when they were cleaning but I expected a bit more out of them. Great job though, Colts got an 85.25

The last part of the competition was the Santa Clara Vanguard. After seeing the Colts this kind of let me down. I expected more from them. I don't think they should have scored as highly as they did. The show wasn't the best in the world. the whole box things that the guard were playing with really didn't add anything to the show. the battery did a great job though. They won the competition with a 93.35, I placed them lower though I thought it would be closer between them and the Colts.

The Colt Cadets did exhibition after Santa Clara. Great job from the kids I was kind of hoping there would be more of them though. I would have to say I especially liked the drum break when they kids in the percussion actually marched and the kid from the hornline did like a rifle duet with a colorguard member, very interesting.

The Finale was pretty good. I'd have to say I enjoyed it. We also stayed after for the encore performance from Santa Clara Vanguard. It was a great show. good planning the only problem I found with it really was the kids sitting next to us talking the whole time.

Joe Smith

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