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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2003 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews
As posted to R.A.M.D. and submitted to Sound Machine

Page Four of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Friday July 11

DeKalb, IL (DCI Midwest Championships #1)

Got back at around 4 o'clock this morning from DeKalb #2. However, we were not able to stay for the entire show (young, tired, gripey child). But, on Friday I was able to enjoy 5 straight hours of nonstop drumcorps. Fortunately, my bladder and my will were strong, so I did not miss ANY corps, so this will be a review of ALL corps, especially all the 2/3 corps that never get reviewed. I was always saying that this was a great show with 14 great corps and some open class ones too =)

Note, I am a former brass player, so thats usually where my main attention is. My wife usually critiques the guards, so I usually don't.

On to the review.

Eklipse- 3rd Place 53.50
I missed this corps when I attended Louisville, so I was really excited to see them. Let me tell you, this first year corp's score is justified. They really go out there and perform like a corps that has been around for years. Their brass performed extremely well, with a nice sound and good control. Percussion seems to be up to par as well, no noticable mistakes. Colorguard was excellent and big. I would say that they were the strongest section, with the brass a close second. The marching was good, with a little phasing here and there. Drill was very readable. I read in the program that this was their last show of the year. To bad, they would be a lock for finals.

Scenic City-9th place 40.55
This corps seemed to struggle that night. Of course, they went on right after Eklipse, so this was a reason. At times, their brass line seemed inaudible. On the other side of that, they had a few moments in their show when they had a beautiful sound. Unfortunately, that was almost always when they were standing still. This is not uncommon from a smaller corps, I speak from experience, and can be fixed with more reps of the show. Like everyone else has reviewed, they just had 2 guard, and it looks like they learned how to spin this year. They did struggle through the show, but their intensity and effort never stopped, bravo to that.

Colt Cadets-11th place 38.40
Its so hard to critique the Colt Cadets because they are just so damn cute. Their show Ozfest is such a perfect fit for these kids. Love the Colt-like uniforms. Their brass line really amazed me with the sound the put out. Their colorguard was very good as well, both with role playing and with flags. They had the crowd giggling a few times throughout the show. It was very fun and those kids should be very proud.

Decorah Kilties-12th place 31.25
Unfortunately, one of drum corps most historical corps turned out one of there smallest groups this year. I believe they only had about 20 kids out on the field, so the sound they put out was obviously less than the previous groups. However, they had a very very mature brass sound. The percussion line struggled at times, but kept it together throughout the show. The amazing thing to me, was that these kids put out a 10 minute complete field show with small numbers and NO DRUM MAJOR. With no drum major, you would think they would have fallen apart. The exact opposite, they stayed together better than Cadets did that night. =)

Joliet Kingsmen-10th place 38.9
Another 'small' groups (both in corps size and height). These kids are always fun to watch and make no exception this year. First thing that we noticed was that they had 10 horns and no contras. They made up for it though with how well they played. I was simply amazed at the sound that these kids put out. Aside from that, they had a very fun show. Their colorguard girls did very nice flag and dancework. I would have had them above Scenic City.

Dimensions-4th place 51.60
I read a previous post about how good their drumline was, and it was correct. It was by far the best section of the corps. Like Scenic City, their hornline seemed in audible at times and struggled on the move. There were parts of the show, even when they were moving, that they put out a nice warm sound. I think that they can play louder without losing control. I don't think that they're using their potential to the fullest. If they improve there, I believe that GE and brass scores will improve and will give them a shot at finals. Another strong point of the corps was their visual program. Its hard to hide with a huge shiny silver chest piece, and they handled it well with good technique and pretty good attention to form.

Americanos-5th place 51.10
I saw the last half of Canos show in Louisville, and was extremely disappointed. However, I know Canos and if they come out weak they are not going to stay that way. That holds true this year. SO much improved over Louisville. Their hornline has improved their sound a lot, and march and play well. Their drumline seemed a lot stronger this time around, you could just tell by the confidence they played with. Here's my beef, though: why Zorro again? There are too many parts of the show that sound the exact same as the last time they did it. I did not have them getting beat by Dimensions and thought they would be right behind Eklipse. A little surprised at their score.

Lake Erie Regiment- 6th place 49.20
I like the 'new' uniforms, they look good on them (they are the 'old' spirit uniforms from 97-ish?). LER was another percussion heavy corps. They, like Dimension, have the potential to put out a good, projecting sound with their brass, but are just not achieving it yet. They have a good sound, but it does not reach the audience yet. This might result in a decent brass score, bad low GE. For this reason, the percussion overpowered them almost the whole show. I had to use the phrase that they 'bit off a little more than they could chew.' New World is tough, and it showed. Not a well designed show IMO. The kids pushed all the way through it and never gave up on it, bravo.

Racine Scouts- 8th place 42.85
Chrome, James Chrome. Interesting. This is a good show for this group to do. However, I felt that the design of it left something to be desired. It seemed that half way through the show, the kids were bored with it. They are playing and marching well, though! I think a little more challenge would help them a lot in GE. Brass had a good sound throughout the show until the end, where individuals seemed to stick out a little more. Sorry I don't remember too much of this show. I thought their score and placement were dead on.

Marion Glory Cadets- 2nd place 56.20
I saw Marion in Louisville a little less than a month ago and was excited to see them again tonight. They didn't let me down. This corps has some great intensity, and the perfect vehicle (Ivan the Terrible) to demonstrate it. I LOVE this music, having marched it myself. They won brass tonight, just edging out Blue Stars. Their brass is the strong section of this corps, who seem to be always moving and playing and doing it well. The drumline had its moments during the drum solo. This corps, I believe, will be 2nd or 3rd in Orlando.

Bandettes- 7th place 44.60
This was one of the funnest shows on the field tonight. These girls can flat out play. They, I felt, had the best sound in Div 3 that night. Yup, better than Marion and Blue Stars. It was very mature and very warm. I cannot believe I haven't read anything about their soprano soloist yet either....she was magnificent. She had several solos and played them all flawlessly. Only if they had a little more of a visual program, they would be right up there with LER. However, this is the BEST I have EVER seen Bandettes. I hope this becomes a yearly thing with this corps. I thought the gap between them and LER should have been smaller.

Blue Stars- 1st Place 60.65
It has been three years since I marched there, so take my bias for what it is: WOW. I was simply amazed. This is something special. I will say that 2003 is better than any year I marched (95-00) and any year after that. I would go on a line and say this is the best Blue Stars since the early 80's. Although they didn't have the best brass sound, especially sopranos, they had the best projection and were by far the loudest in D 3. The horn book is extremely demanding. They have a 16th note passage in the opener (like Cadets) that is played cleanly! Follies is fun, with some goofy acting and the hornline singing the theme in a nasaly stuffy 'gna gna' voice. Hilarious! They are doing things they don't usually do, including a 'park and bark' and a horn player tossing a quad on sabre. Symphony for Brass and Percussion is driving, but needs a lot of work. The drumline was smoking. Ben Chamberlain really has these guys playing well. Marching, they are second to none. They are so crisp and clean. Overall, they are a MUST SEE. Unless Yamato comes out tearing it up, this corps should win in Orlando and should win big.

Memphis Sound- 1st place 60.65
They played the Metropolis Symphony. Unbelievable first year. The crowd was amazed when the announcer said after they were done that this was their inaugural year. That being said, they played with a very mature sound. Horns projected well. Drumline was a little dirty tonight, and the colorguard was very nice. Good job to the members on such a high level of performance. That being said, the show did absolutely nothing for me. They recieved little applause because there were no halts in the show to give it! Too much visual dancing stuff. All these corps need to stop trying to be Star. I didn't like their uniforms, too dark IMO and was hard to see technique and forms. Design team, please put some more IMPACTS into the show. The members deserve to be rewarded with audience applause more, they are doing such a fantastic job.

Capitol Sound- 2nd place 60.55
Don't get me wrong, I was glad to see Blue Stars beat Capitol Sound. Yet one word comes to mind when I heard their score and placement: SHAFTED. I never liked them when I marched, instate rivalry, but they are flat out good this year. This corps has matured so much since the merger in 95. Their hornline was delightful, with a big huge warm sound. Their colorguard was great as well, with beautiful silk work and they connected really well to the audience. This is the best CS drumline I have heard. They just played so tightly with so much confidence. Here's where Capitol Sound should be light years ahead of Memphis: show design and GE. They were just a joy to watch and hear. I had Capitol Sound scoring what they were scoring, around a 63 or 64. I thought Blue Stars would be a point or two behind them and Memphis to be around a 59 or 60.

Kiwanis Kaviliers- 5th place 69.80
Best corps since 96. Their hornline, although small for D 1, puts out a great sound. It was very balanced and loud! The drill was great! Simple and very readable, wish more open class corps would give us that. Like others, I am confused about the girl dancing throughout the show. Odd. Maybe she's the Nowhere (wo)Man. I thought they should have broken 70.

Carolina Crown- 4th place 75.9
Best corps since 95, easily. The thing that sticks out in my mind about this show was the guard. I know I said I usually don't pay much attention to the guards, but they were amazing. Whoever came up with putting bells in the rifles was genious. What an effect, if you haven't seen it, you must! The hornline had a big, mature, gourgeous sound. Great show, Crown! Thought they should have been closer to Boston.

Crossmen- 2nd place 78.4
These guys were ON tonight. I knew that they had been getting beat by Boston coming in, but they deserved to beat them tonight. Their brassline blew me away. I didn't see it coming. The show is an old-fashioned GE machine. Its just in your face, no gimmick drumcorps. Me likey. Very fun show.

Cadets- 1st place 84.7
Based on what I saw in Louisville, they were really OFF tonight. The horn sound was really edgy tonight, with many fraks and missed releases. Forms were all over tonight, and the straight lines just didn't happen. Malaguena was fun, but not as fun as Louisville. RPH almost fell apart. Big time phasing. I was worried about a train wreck, but thankfully that didn't happen. Don't get me wrong, this corps is very good, but were very off tonight. I thought they should have scored lower, around 82.

Boston Crusaders- 3rd place 77.6
I was skeptical of Boston coming on after Cadets, thought it might be tough for them. Boy was I wrong. If it wasn't for Xmen's high octane performance, this would have been the most exciting show of the night. They are loud, and with a great sound. Their sop line is just wonderful. I don't like Bolero on the field, but they didn't play very much of it, so I was content. Malaguena #2 was grooooovin'. Very fun. I have one gripe. At the end of the show, the traditional sling snare drummer comes back out on the field to play the Bolero lick again with the corps. Is he supposed to be out of step with the corps? No big deal, just caught my eye. I had them maybe a tenth behind Xmen. Both should have scored higher and been closer to Cadets.

What a GREAT YEAR for drumcorps! Its back. This is the first show I've been to in a while were I stood up in the middle of a show. Chilly night, thankfully no rain though. Congrats to all the kids in every single corps out there. We appreciate all the hard work you do to entertain us. Bet this is the first review where the D 2/3 corps got more type than the open class corps did, huh? Finally, go out and support D 2/3! It is a crime that these kids perform before 60 people at their competitions. If you're not a fan of every single drumcorps out there, than you are not a drumcorps fan.

John Fischer

Thursday July 10

Alton, IL (DCI Midwest)

The set up

I went to the Alton show last night with 3 people - 2 first timers (one with high school band marching experience, the other with zero musical experience), and a third guy with some drum corps knowledge (he's a sax player in his college marching band). For ease of typing purposes, HSB will be "High School Band guy", Newbie will be the guy with no musical experience, and College will be the sax guy.

The setting

Alton, Illinois public school stadium. Alton is about 25 minutes north of St. Louis. It's an old river town set right on the Mississippi river. The town is built on the bluffs above the river, and the stadium has some pretty good topography, setting up as a nice "bowl". The weather was PERFECT - 75 degrees and no humidity (which is SO RARE in St. Louis this time of year). My seat was right on the 50 four rows from the top - again, PERFECT.

The Kingsmen

Not much to say here - they were a very small corp (9 brass, 8 percussion, 5 guard) from Joliet Illinois. Some cool dance moves from the drum major, a nice little groove from the tenor player, and a decent solo in "I believe I can fly" were just about all I remember. HSB didn't know what to think, Newbie wasn't sure if all of the corps were going to be this small, and College applauded politely.


I really enjoyed Pioneer's show. They were playing Holsinger, which is always great, and they had a better sound than I remembered. The battery impressed me this time around - they were much more solid than I remembered from Pioneer in the past. My favorite part was probably the "stare-down" from the drum major after the salute - pursed lips, one eyebrow raised, scanning back and forth through the crowd bobbing his head up and down. Great attitude. Newbie really liked the stare-down, HSB still didn't know why College had been talking about this drum corps show all week, and College again applauded politely.


Bloooooooooo!!! I really liked the show. Very fresh, good horn book, solid in every caption. First great "hit" of the night had everyone I was with sit up and take notice. I probably enjoyed the opener (Time to Take Back the Knights) the best. Their show is entitled "Capture and Escape", and the theme came through really well. At the first big rifle toss, Newbie sat up in his seat and started to smile - a smile wouldn't really leave for the rest of the night. College was confused by the Mello player that started to run off the field (only to turn back and "fall in"), but you have to excuse him - he's a college marching band guy. But the best reaction was HSB.

(This needs it's own paragraph) HSB had that look about him after the Bluecoats show. You know that look - the "I didn't know something like this existed in the world" look. The "how can I see that show again?" look. The "I don't know it yet, but I'm about to spend the next 35 years traveling around to shows, buying CDs and DVDs, and using phrases like "once they clean..." and "counter-melodic content" look. After moments of silence, he looked at College and said (and this is an exact quote) "I..I...never knew something like this existed. That....was....amazing".


WOW!! Let me say that again - WOW!! Way to go Bones - this was far and away my favorite show of the night. Difficult yet will executed drill? Check. Excellent hornline? Check. Fun show? Check. Had me on my feet for the first time? Check. I loved the fact that they brought back the drill move from the opener last year (from the other side of the field this time), and I absolutely loved Blue Rondo. I would LOVE to see them clean this show all the way to 6th. There was so much energy! This show garnered 4 or 5 "yelps" from College, a standing, cheering, "I can't believe I'm acting this way" from HSB, and a "Darnit - after years of making fun of you for your drum corps obsession, now I'M going to be a drum corps nut" look from Newbie. X-men had people stading at the end of St. James Club, Blue Rondo, AND Count Bubba - that NEVER happens at the Alton show. Again, way to go, Bones. I've admittedly never been a huge fan. Until now.


(Letdown alert!) OK, here's my disclaimer - after getting that excited for the Crossmen, I'm bound to have a letdown. And Boston provided that. I'm not saying that it wasn't a good show - it was. I loved the drum feature (with the tenors putting on snares), and Malaguena was cool. But it felt a little too Blast-like, especially the ending (Malaguena into a Bolero reprise with a single drum in the middle - where have I seen that before?) Maybe they were trying to do that - I don't know. I will say this - they were alot cleaner than Crossmen or Bluecoats, which surprised me given the illness-set-back-the-season-opener thing. All in all, had they gone on first, I would have liked the show alot better. But when the crowd goes from leaping to their feet in applause to politely clapping, you can't help but be swayed by the letdown factor. College, HSB, and Newbie were all enjoying themselves by now, so they didn't seem to be as swayed by the "letdown factor" as I was. So I'll say this - I didn't particularly like Boston at Alton last year, and then I loved them in Indy, so I'll place my hopes on that.


I'm one of those drum corps fans that has grumbled about the "Big 4" over the past few years, hoping that someone would break up the stranglehold. And then I see one of the "Big 4", and I remember - they're simply noticably better in every aspect. Cleaner sound, cleaner drill, cleaner "feel" to the show - you know what I'm talking about. The "Favorite Things" opener didn't bother me as much as I thought it would - I guess the fact that they added the salute helps - and the crowd seemed to enjoy the bonus material. Malaguena rocked, RPH rolled, and the crowd had a great time. College liked them a ton, Newbie still had a silly grin on his face, and HSB couldn't believe the marching skill "They're, like, all on the same foot ALL the time!" Good job Cadets - I'm not sure if this show has the GE to take it all, but I certainly enjoyed your favorite things.


Cadets 84.XX
Boston 79.XX
Bluecoats 78.XX
Crossmen 77.XX
Pioneer 63.XX

The crowd seemed a little upset at the Crossmen placing 4th - there were even shouts of "recount!", which is very rare for the typically conservative Alton crowd. Newbie thought that Crossmen had the best show, College like the Cadets best, and HSB was still mumbling something about "I didn't know that something like this existed", so I didn't get his vote.

All of us were standing and cheering during the encore, that's for sure. Some guy in the front yelled "hurt me!" as they were setting up. Hurt us they did. The sheer volume and intensity of Malaguena was something I've never experienced, let alone Newbie or HSB.

College summed it up best - "I know you have a full car, but can I stow away in your trunk so I can go to the Indy show??"


Tuesday July 8

Fairfield, OH (DCI Midwest)

Just a quick recap of last night's show in Fairfield, where the rain ended just before showtime, letting all the corps hit the field! After driving three-plus hours to get there, I was relieved! This was my first viewing of everyone except Glassmen and Marion. The stadium is pretty low and I was only halfway up, so I won't comment on drill, since I couldn't see much of it!

First up, first-year corps Eklipse. I was VERY impressed! With a very solid hornline of about 18, a great guard of 15 or so, and a good drumline, this corps is excellent! They certainly hide the fact that they are in their first year, with an enjoyable show. The only time their inexpeience shows is during their closer, which still seemed rough in marching and playing, and lacked the nice impact that the rest of their show had. Aside from that, I look forward to seeing them again soon!

Second up, another first year corps, Memphis Sound. They had a much larger hornline than Eklipse, with mabye 36 or so, but a seeminly smaller guard. The uniforms of the corps are very nice, and again they will suprise you with their decent quality for their first venture. Their show was more abstract than Eklipse, which didn't seem to help crowd reaction. I did appreciate the portion of "Red Cape Tango". All the sections are pretty solid so they definitely are off to a good start as well!

Marion Glory Cadets were next, and their show just doesn't seem to have much impact at this point. They certainly move lots and have some pretty high velocity drill, but musically there weren't many highlights. The drums are much better than last viewing, but the guard of only four hinders the times when a big visual presence is needed.

Carolina Crown was next, and WOW are they lots better than in the last couple years! I like the new uniforms, and if one doesn't look too closely at the individual guard people, I like those uniforms as well (just remember, they could always return to those nasty Roman ones of last year....yikes). This is one awesome show, with cool music, great visuals and colors, and great bell effects! The horn line didn't quite let loose like I hoped they would, though they had some decent impact moments. Big kudos to their guard, which through great facial interaction with the crowd, really drew us into the show. I thought they should've scored much higher just based on crowd enjoyment, since they were the favorite of most people sitting around me! Oh, their drum major was awesome as well.

I had just seen Bluecoats the day before during practice at the Hall of Fame in Canton and was really looking forward to seeing the show in performance. There is some great music and cool drill, but last night the horn line seemed to be really, really holding back. They definitely have one of their best contra (oops...tuba) lines, but they were missing any impact with volume last evening. The tango section is pretty fun, but hopefully they're working on a more dynamic ending, since things came to a pretty quick halt.

After intermission (ugh, I hate those....), Glassmen were next, and they were much improved since last viewing. They had many more musical highlights, with October being a favorite. October, while a musical highlight, is still missing the great visual package to go with it. Along with lots of dancing, the guard uses big twigs (literally) with very little impact. I shudder to think of what a great moment in the show this could be with huge flags, cool colors, or something that we notice, instead of twigs. Oh well, just a gripe since I really love the music of October. The other problem from my vantage point was lots of strident soprano (oops...trumpet) parts on the right side. All in all, a pretty pleasant show that's getting better!

Crossmen were next and presented a pretty typical X-men show with music, visual, and drums. The Rainbow opening was okay, though the short solo could be staged better at the beginning. It's a fun show overall, and very similar to their shows of the past few years.

Boston also has a show very similar to past years, both in style, tempo changes, and drill (what I could see). The horn line seemed to be having lots of problems with releases and the guard had a good number of drops, but the drum feature of 15 snares was well done. And the good news is, there are no word signs this year!!!!! (-:

Cadets was the final corps of the evening, and while people around me seemed confused with the marching/playing warm up, I like it. It definitely gets everyone's attention right away, though it does make for some rough moments when the announcer tries to figure out what to do. My favorite part of the show is the "Rocky Point" stuff, which brings back lots of great memories of '83. I was hoping they'd pull the Z-pull all the way open like the past instead of cramming things back to the center, but oh well. Malaguena is very fun, with lots of great mood swings and different drill looks. I was disappointed that Fanfare and Allegro didn't actually start with the Fanfare, but everything else was excellent. The guard is strong as usual, the drum line has some great features, and the horns were really the first loud impact of the night.

My only wish is that corps would develop better endings to their shows. Last night made me yearn for things like the endings that Cavies of the late 70's or Spirit of the early 80's used to do, when you couldn't wait to jump to your feet. There were many a confused ending last night, when the crowd (myself included) didn't seem to know whether it was the end or not. When you have to wait to see what the drum major does before realizing the show's over, something's wrong. Give us something to cheer about at the end! I'm just wondering what the deal is....

Thanks to the rain for holding off for a good night!!!

Canton, OH

Sunday July 6

Phoenix, AZ (DCI Pacific)

As usual The Phoenix stadium was packed, not sold out like the last years, but pretty close from the looks of it. Before the show I sat in for the last 15 minutes of Phantom's clinic, they had it in a highschool auditorium, which was NOT big enough to hold that big dark sound. My ears are still ringing it was great. I sat just outside the 25 at pressbox level for most of the night, but snagged a seat on the 35 at pressbox level for SCV and the Reg.

This is a little long winded sorry!

Jester Corps
This is Arizona's only jr. drum corps as far as I know. They performed in exhibition tonight, their uniforms looked really sharp for a corps that doesn't compete, they didn't march any drill tonight. only the pit and battery were there for some reason, it didn't sound like the music was arranged for only pit and battery they were pretty small; 3 snares, 1 tenor, 4 bases, the pit had about 5 kids in it. the battery was intense, and didn't sound too dirty to my untrained ear.

The Arizona Youth Academy Brass and Percussion Ensemble
WOW!!! These guys totaly rocked! They also were exhibition but WOW they were big! Probably the 4rth biggest group tonight, about the size of Pacific Crest not counting guard as this group didn't field any. They played old Cadets music, and played it Very Well! there were some really exposed tricky solos and small ensembles that these kids totaly nailed (there was a tenor solo that was just unbelievable I'll talk about it on the discussion board) I think most of the music was from Cadets 2001 show some might have been from 95 and other years. The drill was very basic, and there was a lot of standing but they will compete next year as "The Academy drum and bugel corps" so watch out Div II!! some people down here in Arizona know what their doing, and they have a lot very talented kids to fill their ranks. They got a standing 'O' from the crowd that was VERY much deserved.

The Arizona Youth Academy Summer Guard
also in exhibition, the older members of this guard will merge with the Brass and Percussion Ensemble to form "The Academy" next year most of the kids were VERY young (8-12) with a couple more corps aged girls mixed in. I liked their music selection (poppy techno), and I could tell what they were doing most of the time which is saying a lot I think, this is an organization that's only meant to introduce kids to the corps experience, and I think they did it very well.

San Diego Alliance (The Purple Machine) 56.15
I saw that on their Souvey stand. The first competing corps of the night, I couldn't believe how small they are! they've actualy shrunk since their first year competeing I wonder who could be taking up the kids in the San Diego area? (Esperanza) only 6 horns in the whole corps! Unbelievable, I give that horn line a huge amount of credit for what their doing, I havn't read a lot of good reviews for these kids, and I don't think people understand that the 6 kids in that hornline have more performance pressure on them than ANY member of ANY top 12 corps in div I if they take a breath in the wrong place you NOTICE in fact you notice anything they do, it would only take 2 members of that hornline to forget what's going on for 3 seconds to totaly ruin this show. Nobody ruined the Phoenix show. The hornline was obviously quiet, but the music arrangment was such that it sounded good quiet, it had a dark brooding feel to it. The pit was tight, and the battery was really intense, I loved the guard uni's and the giant poles they used (they had an amazon theme), but they weren't very clean at all tonight. I hope they can get some more kids next year. I think their doing the best they can with the numbers they have.

Esperansa 75.10
I've heard a lot of hype for this show, and usualy when I'm hyped to see a show I'm dissapointed, but I wasn't dissapointed. The corps is Very Large, and are rightly favorites for Div II champs this summer. The music wasn't very memorable, but they played it very well, I think they had a sorta lame show slot, by this time people have sat through quite a few shows, and are pining for the big boys. they didn't get a standing ovation but I imagine that if they headlined a show they would. cool uni's, tight pit, the corps didn't look comfortable with their show visualy there seemed to be a lot of hesitation in the feet, and an un-sureness in body carraige. Good Show though! best of luck in finals!

Pacific Crest 72.15
This is a show I've heard a LOT of negative comments about, maybe they cleaned it cause I honestly thought they were great. I LOVE Their color scheme, it was the first thing that grabbed me, the flags, guard uni's and corps uni's go together PERFECTLY and when they started spinning those cubes they turned the field into a work of art. I heard the whole crowd Gasp, it really is amazing. Technicaly I realize it's not much, but sometimes something as simple as color and flashing twirling cubes can take your breath away. I was not impressed with the song selection, I don't like the switch from dark concert pieces to light jazzy tunes in a couple of measures but the horns make the switch from one style to the next very well, it just didn't seem coherent from a show design perspective. They had some solist with nice range, but very weak volume, it could have been because of where I was sitting but the sound was pretty thin. clean drill. I don't see this show in the top 12 that hornline probaby deserves it though. I don't know much about percussion... sorry!

Santa Clara Vanguard 80.75
Here's another show I've heard a lot of bad about, and I agree with some of it the entrance starts out terrific, two seperate corps facing backfield trading musical and drill phrases, in a very ::something's about to happen:: feel that Vanguard loves to open up with, and I love to watch. but when they finaly arrived at the full corps moment it seemed pretty cheesy nothing like the 98 momment when the center snare fits into the line just as the whole corps does an about face and gives you a heart attack, NOTHING like 2001's sudden impact that made crowds from Santa Clara to Newark LOSE IT. It might have been because they make the impact a major chord it might be because thier was too much build up, it might be because the visual impact was kinda weak, I don't know, as far as Vanguard goes, the opener didn't have the emotional impact I'm used to but this is still Vanguard, you can tell kids are connecting with the show, and you connect too whether you want to or not, the music and drill fit together like a living organism as Vanguard has managed to do EVERY YEAR since 97 it just so happens that this year the music and drill aren't really as exciting or well done as in years past. some at an individual level, some at a show design level, I saw one baritone completely miss the form while he was probably 10 steps from the front yard line with no one in front of him it took 3 seconds for him to recover =P! I noticed a lot of other individual errors I'm not used to seeing from Vanguard throughout the show. From what I saw tonight I think Phantom will continue to edge them out all season.

Phantom Regiment 82.75
This show was almost as good as some of the reviews I've read about it (which is saying a LOT). As usual their horns are amazing, the sound that they project from the field is nothing short of beautiful, there were a couple bad moments in the high brass, but also some very tricky parts for them, there's a high brass trill in the first movement that really gets your heart pumping. The drill did not look as challenging as Vanguards over all, but there were some really excellent drill moves, and very fast rotations but mixed in with some much slower movement, it's the contrast that made the visual package so effective for me. overall the show is just great to watch, they end with some silent movement that is goosebump city. I couldn't believe the show was already over when the DM turned around to face the crowd, VERY entertaining!

Thanks for the great show everybody! keep up the good work, can't WAIT to see what The Academy will do next year!

Brassmachine (Adam McFarlin)

Hershey, PA (DCI / DCA)

some things are just so right in the world. Walking into Hershey stadium to see drum corps is one of them.

Before i get into the corps, a few things:

tshirt of the year at the Bluecoats table...Amplification and electronics, not now, not ever. $7. best 14 i ever spent!

Hershey traffic....i love the new arena, but getting into the stadium now is eh...less than great as there is only one entrance for all Hershey related events.

a huge thanks you to the Cabs for allowing Christine and i to sepnd so much time with them, even inviting us to a gathering after rehearsal. and Brett, next year buy more beer so dad doesnt have to show up at midnight w/more :)

Show day. hot. hot hot hot. thunderstorms predicted. and they showed retreat thank God. the stadium crew ran the event well, tho please Hershey, and this happens every year...tell staff members where to go to watch, even make signs. I have had the same seats for, well, most of my life, and every year, i miss parts of shows because security is telling staff where to go watch.

pre show fun time in the parking lot, even had a critic of my reviews point me out to his snare line. got to see a cool Crown ensemble music run(i love you guys). saw nanci who gave me scoop from the NY senior show, as well as Geoffrey, who sat with us., Doc Z, a bunch of Shore alumni, some Cabs and a bunch of Bucs.

new turf looks great. Fran on the mic is always a good thing. seats are as always, backs against the press box, 45 yard line

Cabs are up after show gets delayed due to traffic. Having spent a lot of time with them, i am very familiar with the show now. Corps starts out backfield w/a soprano solo, that when on is beautiful. corps picks up speed, turns around and hello G bugles! This isnt your mom's Cabs, but at the same time it is. This corps is moving a lot and fast, and unfortunately, not all can keep up at this time. It affects the music too. Loved the rumps in the opener, and especially loved the bass line under the thats a bass run. horns sound very tired, and at times, the drumline seemed to over power them, even without scoops on the snares( if i can hear it in the top row, the judges should too eh Gary?). Ballad is very pretty, but again, horns seem tired, and it loses some effect.

drum solo. this is the line Cabs needed. starts off w/snares on jam blocks, and basses up front behind basses on stands....on the first attack, water flies everywhere off the basses, and they are jamming, including a very clean, long run.(best use of stingray drums since, oh what 1987?) snares and tenors are running up from back fild, and when they come in, there are more notes in this feature than some Cabs drum solos past had total. tough to clean w/that many notes in there, but played pretty well. nice little drill move, and boom full ensemble drum solo going, tenors wailing, big run in the keys, but something didnt feel right. horns come back in, and i can hear that a) they are tired) and b) ensembly they are not quite locking in, and it stays this way til the end of the show. guard work almost done, and what they have is nice, tho the flags seemed a little bland to me. good weapons work, but there were some struggles with it.

all in all, this show, when on, which i saw saturday is great. last night, there were issues, and, if this offends cabs sorry, but you got away with have maybe too much demand, and at a senior corps schedule, it may make it rough to max it out.

Bucs: still in those cool blue unis, and the guard outfitted very piratey, which fit the show very well. 33 horns, looked like 36 spots....risky for this show, which i'll go into.

intro statement strong, and another great drill by Eric. drumline performs very well, and imo, should have won drums (no nasty emails now Fiest?) percussion book not as crazy as cabs, but performed better...he who has the most notes doesnt always win, and Bucs do a lot of cool drum stuff at the low end. Hornline seemed to tire at the end, and this is the danger of a small hornline w/this show...if the stamina doesnt arrive, you could end flat brass seemed very bottom heavy, but it worked with the show.. guard work seemed ok, but some of the play acting in the 3rd tune seemed to need more fleshing out.

all in all, another strong effort by Bucs, light years ahead of where they were last year at this time. if i were them, i'd be mad about the numbers last night...IMO, should have been higher.

Bush. loved the new unis. top could be a touch brighter but it looked cool to see the keyboard back. Show is 12 seconds to the moon and Perilous Skies....and needs some oomph. brass seemed tired(and after the heat this weekend it makes sense) and the show has some GE needed to pull it off. drumline performed ok....some errors felt like maybe design flaws, but also could have just been a case of everything not locking up yet. still better than this time last year.

guard had some cool flags, but seemed uncomfortable with the work in some spots.

this could be a fun show. it seemed really flat, lacking major oomph. in time, i am sure Bush will add it. top 5 material? possibly, but with much work ahead.

junior division...using most of the same judges.

Crown. I adore this show, and what a difference a week makes...visual so much cleaner, yet a bit to go. the problem with white is if you have no form definition and rough transitions, you look like a white blob at times. the percussion scoring in the intro and Stained glass is so cool....such a cd moment, and so creative, esp the pit use of bells and crotales to tie into the theme. guard unis looked great in the sunlight, and they have some great flags that add color to thee show. brass has picked up some stamina, and it's nice to hear Crown let it out. Carol of the bells came across much better last night, and i think this show could and should be in. if it's not, it's a crime.

Bluecoats...first view in uni(saw them at PA camps) and wow.still needs a little bit of oomph but by far their best show. drum line performed very well, especially the bassses who seemed to be a worry early. guard fit in very well, and loved the tango dancing. hornline played with a maturity and confidence that was so nice to see. the storyline of pursuit and capture is still being fleshed out, and i loved the flashback momentsof Red cape tango and traffic. drill was very smooth, and no major performance issues.ending still needs a little beef, as it comes out of nowhere and leaves on wanting just a touch more.

love the moment where the corps breaks into sections, and the melody carries down the field, until a lone soloist is playing the melody. very cool idea and well done.

Crossmen. saw this from downstairs, as i ran for food and i got stuck behind people who were lost and couldnt remember where their seats were...thanks ushers.

another huge imnprovement in a week. last week i couldnt stand them...seemed way too much rehash. this week,, wow. possibly the loudest hornline of the night, even over Cabs. Rainbow is still gorgeous, and the colored fabric the guard uses is so cool and creative. the next tune was much better than last week, as the corps seems to have found the groove. Blue Rondo was lightyears better, and had no major ensemble issues. percussion performance was also much better. weapons line wow...downstairs i got a great view of you guys and gals, and you dont stop..ever!! closer was very in your face. drums on the racks is better, but when they start moving there are still some uglies. the ending, where everyone rushes the sideline and wails was cool.(heard the Birdland tag)

Becky you look great in the uni now that it's in. hope ya liked the home show crowd, we liked you. also noticed cymbals seemed to be cut and just stand at the drum racks the show show. that sucks.

all in all, a fun show, and much cleaner.

Boston. wasn't sure what to think...i was afraid it would be 2000 rehash. well, it is and it isn't. and i loved it! Bolero intro, much shorter than 00, and also had snippets of Malaguena in it. drill, simple yet effective, very GE "crowd goes ooooo" feel to it. 10 snares played very well, as did the 5 tenors and basses.nice Conquest hits too! Ballad has the potential to be very tear jerking moment, and no singing! Once again, Bocelli delivers a ballad for the ages. beginning of Malaguena...15 snares?? yes and very clean at that! guard is well done, and had some cool flags. heard snippets of Spanish Fantasy( i thought Geoffrey would have a coronary sitting next to me, and i think he liked it)...more Conquest hits!! and a nice tie in to Bolero to wrap it up, including the drill move from 00 that every band in the world has ripped off.

wow. fun show. still dirty, as with weather and illness they got behind, but think about it...which corps, in the last 4 years, has the best track record of August surges? watch out BAC is BACK.

Cadets. cleaner than my last view. DM didnt salute tonight. guard was a show unto themselves, and the red unis stand out. emotionally flat. I want to like this show. moving wamrup was fine, and Fanfare and Allegro into was ok, but once the tempo picked up, it took me nowhere. even Malaguena seemed flat. hey everyone has off days, they're allowed.

what stunned me most was the fact the when the Zpull hit in Rocky Point, maybe 10 people clapped. WHAT? the most famous drill move in modern DCI history and 10 people clapped?? it's true. the crowd wasnt into them.. i am not sure if it was the heat, fearing the coming storms, or what, but the crowd actually didnt go gaga over the Cadets, and Hershey has always been a friendly show site for them.

the spreads on the junior side were too large. Blue, Boston and Xmen should all be closer to 80, if not over it, and Crown should be not far behind them.

Marines up next, and again, i loved the. the Chicago stuff was great. that drumline rocks....if you get to see them drummers please do.....this is some of the best marching percussion going today.

dm only retreat, and good thing, as the heavens opened. parking lot party confined to the Hummelston Gman, and man, what a cool guy Jimmy Russo is. definately a guy i want to party with again...what cool stories he had. always THE man.

I saw so many people. if i didnt mention you i apologize. again thanks to cabs for the hospitality.

Reading next week...i may even review Al's too :)~

Jeff Ream

Saturday July 5

Glendora, CA (DCI Pacific)

Unfortunately this is my last show of the season. I will not attend DCI finals until finals comes to me or my kids march. Finals should be on the West coast a few times per decade. I live on the West coast and this is a personal protest.

I must also say I played Soprano, so I pay attention to the horns unless something pulls me attention from them.

The show site is fantastic. The stadium is a horse shoe shape with stands goal line to goal line. Stands are high, cement and steep. Great venue.

I also like supporting Pacific Crest. I dig the organization. One more thing I learned about them is they only accept high scholars if they stay in their high school band. I think this is great for two reason: 1. They're not taking HS players away from the HS activity. 2. In order to be in HS band, you have to have passing grades in your other courses. I think it's a positive requirement.

So to the review:

SoCal Dream: They're small, old, and wear black in 90+ degree temps-crazy. I enjoyed their show tonight. Their opener seemed OK, but Malaga seems slow. I wish they would speed it up and change a few of the parts. All and all a descent show.

San Diego Alliance: they have 6 horns! Believe it or not they don't stink and aren't difficult to watch. Everyone has a certain level of ability, which is easy to say because you can see everyone with one eye closed. The drum line is much bigger than the hornline, but they do not over power them. Pretty balanced sound for such a small group. Look at it this way-they received the most points per person.

Impulse: Show wasn't very entertaining or full of zip tonight. I saw a bunch of individual errors, as if they're sleep walking or don't know their part. There were many moments of individuals sticking out musically-you can hear some players are much better then many others. Clearly the few talented are carrying this corps. Most entertaining part of their show was when they were leaving the field. It's not because they're leaving, but they were waiving to the crowd, smiling and getting people into them. Maybe they should try that at the beginning of the show because I just couldn't get into them tonight.

Esperanza: First good corps tonight. They sound very good and full on positive energy. They have many horn manuals that remind me of SCV (Allen Cox marched SCV, so that's not surprising). Their sound is balanced, but a little on the forced side. They seemed pretty young. Give credit where credit is due-they're very good given their size and show difficulty.

Mandarins: Not their best show tonight. The have a full sound, but they're undersized for Div I. Unfortunately I heard several stick-outs tonight along with some tone quality problems. I also saw some crooked lines I didn't see from them a couple nights ago. They were passed tonight by PC, but I thought the gap would have been bigger.

Pacific Crest: WOW. First impressive corps tonight. It seemed like they have been working on their musical show over the past few days because they sounded fuller with more impact than their last three shows. Maybe the brass staff has let the dogs loose. The guard has these silver cubes to open the show. Stadium lights reflect off them while the guard spins them on the ground (like a top) and they look like the corps is floating. This happens when the corps hits their first loud note of the show. Great effect!. At the past three shows, the cube spin was the highlight of the show and it was all downhill from there. Not tonight. Maybe they were fired up about this being their home show, but they played and marched the entire show with energy this evening. Their guard seemed to have their stuff together as well. I usually don't watch the guard often, but tonight I watched a bunch of their show. There was more than a few times when the equipment was at the same angle and even at the same time. This is the way it's suppose to be.

Phantom Regiment: I think this is a very entertaining show. Their drill isn't exactly difficult or ground breaking. They open the show with the Trumpet section playing a passage from Canon in D-awesome! That was my favorite musical moment of the night. Another highlight tales place about 3/4 of the way through, when they do a 2 count 360 degree turn around, a very Phantom effect. They have a bunch of runs throughout the line, especially the middle horns. Very nice to hear those licks, and they're not that bad. Generally playing that fast leads to phasing/pulling issues, but Phantom should be able to address those before finals. Thanks for coming out West!

Vanguard: I'm biased in favor of Vanguard and love everything they do, but tonight's SCV performance in two words or less is-that stunk. I believe a few marchers donated their eyes to the Eye Center at UCLA because I have no idea what many of the horns were looking at when they were suppose to be dressing or covering down. They have a sequence where they build a box from a few squiggly lines. One trumpet, the guy in front, missed his spot by more than a yard-not an inch, not a foot, but a yard! Their low brass is fat and dark. The upper brass is sometimes muddy when playing runs and you can't always hear them. They open the show with two "half corps" on opposing goal lines. As they converge on the 50 they exchange licks and increase the volume. Unfortunately the players seem to be coming in late sometimes, which sounds like a bad mistake. Also the trumpets seem a little thin. I think they need the horns BD is playing on because they're playing the thin sounding Bbs trumpets. The drum won their caption tonight, and deservedly so. They are strong. Unfortunately I couldn't get over the lack of a single straight line in the drill. In fact, some people (not just one or two people) were out of the form by 2 or 3 feet. Spacing and guiding errors were all over the place. I think this performance was down several notches from a couple nights ago. I wouldn't be surprised if a couple if the people marched their first show this weekend. The guard also look pretty poor when spinning flags-they're just not together. Some of the rifle work look dirty because it seemed rushed, like they're trying to fit 3 minutes of equipment work into 30 seconds. I also heard the guard counting at one point and joked to myself "What's the point?" This could very well be one of the sloppiest shows I have seen by SCV. It could become a great show, but it just seems like too much to learn and rehearse. This Summer is going to be like an exam with 100 difficult questions and 15 minutes to complete all of then.

No Victory Concert! BOO HOO HOO. Sometimes the VC is the best part of the show and worth the price of admission unto itself. Sad to say the VC by Phantom was missed. There should ALWAYS be a VC.

Being my last show, I must interject the added benefit to going to shows. I get to see a bunch of friends I march with and chat with others I have met over the years. Tonight I had 3 of my invited guests blow me off for tickets and another had a short hospital stay this Wednesday, so I accept his excuse. I spotted someone wearing a Freelancer jacket in line and offered the 4 tickets to them. Low and behold, I marched with the guy in 1984! It's also great seeing people like Al, Scott, Tom and of course Mrs. Kono (she made most of the SCV uniforms you remember). Anyway, nice seeing all of you, thanks for a great start to the Summer and I'll check back on DCI when I'm done moving. Good luck to all the corps members, parents, staff, and volunteers.


Just got home from the show there and let me say that everyone needs to get on the horn with DCI and get Finals out on the West Coast. There are more easterners/midwesterners like me who are missing out on some damn fine drum corps!

In a post last week I lamented that the corps shows that I have seen so far this year have not entertained me as much as the shows from the same corps last summer. (Did I word that right? ) Well, I finally got that same excited feeling I had all of last summer..... I just had to go to LA to get it! Cali has got some real nice corps. Throw Phantom into that mix and it just makes it that much better.

Just a not-so-quick recap on all the corps:

SoCal Dream: I don't think I've ever seen a senior corps show, so I really have nothing to base it off of. There was not pit, lots of solos, and a very laid back drum major. It was definitely a fun show and got off to jovial start when the drum major pulled a batton out of his collar (ala PR) and then proceeded to flick it off the side of the podium. As if he was better than that. Too funny!

San Diego Alliance: Wow. That's all I can say. I didn't expect too much seeing how they have 6 horns and what seems like 600 drums. But. They have an amazing show design. Perfectly taylored for a corps of their limitations. They made great use of wooden boxes to produce new sounds from the pit and battery, plus the show never stopped. I don't think I've ever seen that before. There was not a moment during the whole show that not one person was playing an instrument of some sort. I think the effect was that the audience didn't really have a chance to really respond until the end of the show. In other words (Seinfeld words), the corps had hand. They controlled audience response rather than hoping they would get some.

Esperanza: Holy Cow! These guys/gals are smokin'. Excellent show design, powerful brass line, good color guard. And the opening hit was absolutely amazing! They are definitely going to be a contender for the Div II crown. Did I hear that they are considering going Div I soon? I think they would have the capability to mix it up with the big boys.

Impulse: As everyone knows, VK incarnate. It was tough to go on after Esperanza, but they held their own and provided plenty of entertainment with Willie Wonka. Percussion line was solid and won high drums. To be honest, I was so wowed by Esperanza I don't really remember a lot of the details of Impulses show. Just that it was fun and it reminded me of VK. Alot!

Intermission: Way, way, way, way too long! 1/2 hour at least.

Mandarins: Everything you've read about these guys is true. Color guard is awesome! I love their drill as well as the music. Overall a very exciting and solid show. Once again, I'm drawing a blank on the details, but I'm also dead tired. I do remember leaping out of my seat at the end of the show That last push was great!

Pacific Crest: The corps I've heard so much about but have never gotten to see. They did not disappoint. It's amazing they are part timers. The show was amazingly clean considering (unless they've gone full time this year and I didn't know about it - in which case, they are just as clean as everyone else ). The cubes are used for EXCELLENT effect in the early part of the show. They brought them back out and I started wondering what the complaints were all about. Afterall, it was continuing the theme of the show. However, I too grew tired of them by the end of the show. Other than that, it was a great show, but felt a little more disjointed to me than the Mandarins show. I was a little surprised to see that they beat the Mandarins to be honest. No biggie. They were both excellent shows.

Phantom Regiment: What can I say that I haven't said already Their hornline will make you weep! If you aren't crying or wetting your pants during their show you probably need to book a spot at the local cemetary. Absolutely the most amazing sound I have ever heard. EVER. If they are within 3000 miles of you go take a listen, you will not regret it. The push at the end of Wild Nights 2 was absolutely unfreakenbelievable. My hair was standing on end. Vomitbunny - you want loud? They'll part your hare. Pun intended! Add on top of that a very musical and clean drum book. Very nice! But, enough about their sound (only because I need to get to bed, not because I'm out of stuff to say about it), they have made a few changes to the visual from my last viewing. They've added some hornline choreography, including some featured work by 4 or 6 players along with the color guard during the Lord's Prayer. I felt like they needed to do a little more visually during that piece... not sure if I felt it needed horn players dancing, but it works. And hey, if the judges like then it must be good Also, either they had a bad night or they are not clean clean clean like a lot of people have been reporting. Lots and lots of crooked lines in the block forms, etc. If they are scoring in the low 80's with lines like that, that can only be a good thing for them. One last thing, even though they got a giant SUTA from the crowd during the drum major salute, the corps as a whole seemed to be lacking energy and intensity. It showed up a couple of times in the show, but seemed to fade just as quickly as it came. Oh yeah, one more last thing. It sucked that they didn't play a victory concert (had to get on the road to Phoenix), but it also sucks that the crowd booed like they did when that announcement was made. Although, I'm sure the corps took it as a compliment.

Santa Clara Vanguard: What Phantom Regiment lacked in intensity, SCV made up for it and then some. I was very impressed by the show as a whole. The opener and ballad seem to drag for a bit, but once they get past that they really kick it into top gear. And their drumline was a monster! Talk about bad ass. I don't know a whole lot about percussion but I know enough to know that they know their stuff. Very exciting drum feature along with a very powerfully written book throughout much of the closer. I definitely don't see this show being SCV's ticket out of the top 4. I don't see Phantom Regiment not making top 4 either. I haven't seen BD or The Cadets yet, so it's hard to say what will happen with them. What I do know is that it's going to be the battle of the century for a top 4 spot this year.

Patrick Gotschall

Seattle, WA (DCI Pacific)

1. Although quite technical and well executed, I found most music programs to be uninspired. They lacked any sense of excitement and did nothing for me.

2. Other than BD's rendition of Take 5, I didn't hear one recognizable piece of music all night. :-(

They do this eerie chromatic scale thing that sweeps back and forth across the field that is freaky... I swear it was a flashback!

The drum section was 'workin'! Watch them closely.

The overall best corps and a well deserved win.

3. The Cascades used these aqua blue colored silks that shimmered under the lights creating these (visual) heat waves that rose above the corps... cool... can I have another hit?

4. The American colors were nowhere in sight for the entire show... not even for the opening Star SPANGled Banner. This should be a crime.

Heh... it's only my opinion and the impressions I went home with. Take it for what it's worth... consider the source.

Steve Spang

Bits & pieces...

-Oregon Crusaders: 55.25. Distinctly improved over their first four years. Much more confident sound & performance all around. Largest drumline & pit yet for them, but they can't seem to get past fielding more than 17 or so horns. Still, a pleasant surprise.

-Blue Devils B: 71.90. Mostly Pat Metheny music. Clean show but nothing jumped out at me. About twice as big as Crusaders.

-SCV B: 71.20. A bit larger yet than Devils B. Again, a clean show but nothing jumped out at me.

-20 minute break for the VERY overworked judges, right?

-Troopers: 63.10. First time out here in 40 years. In spite of their score, they got the first standing ovation of the evening. Big corps all around. Very neat, very audience-followable Americana music... which of course is what did them in. God-forbid that, in 2003, a jr corps should play music whose form the audience can actually follow. How blasphemous! Shows today aren't written for the audience... and don't you dare forget it! We'ns just pays outs our moneys and just sees us our shows. But still don't know nuthin bout that music... yup, yup, yup.

Nevertheless, Troopers had a thoroughly enjoyable show.

-Blue Devils: 84.05. Very hip. Very cool. Neat, directed sonic wave back & forth across the hornline at one point. First place, hands down.

-Seattle Cascades: 70.15. Happy, bright opener. Some seasoned confidence definitely coming through in their show, even this relatively early in the summer.


-National Anthem: otherwise competent pre-show salsa group "Coffee band" squeaked through it while everyone stood at proper attention... even though an American Flag was nowhere in sight. This at UW Husky stadium, no less. How very tacky.

-generally, show designers have done away with uniform pants stripes as well as gone to darker uniforms in a logical effort to hide/mask marching errors. However, drum line instructors STILL haven't figured out that the higher the head pitch, and thus the shorter the sound of the field drums, the more exposed they are to execution errors. Super-tight heads are not only completely unforgiving of non-uniform execution, but they have absolutely no lower register sound at all. They're all "click, click, click"... and all really sloppy! That was quite evident across the board last night.

I don't get it: the marching people know out how to *under* expose their part of the show [and thus improve the all-important scores], so why have the drum people purposely gone in the opposite direction to *over* expose THEIR part of the show? The drums are tuned so high only bats can appreciate the sound! Drum staffs: WAKE UP!

-the Seattle show has always been a good cross-section of corps, but the last five years or more of it have been very stratified. There's always one corps here which is head & shoulders above the rest, so no real contest for 1st place, thus no real suspense. Does DCI think we're a backwater out here, to not schedule differently?

Rant, rant, rave, rave:

-"Name That Tune". I ran into a friend from this area who'd gone back and marched with Cadets in the early 90s, but hadn't seen a contest in several years, and who asked "What's all that music the corps are playing?" Oops! Can't ask that question today! Dudes, pay your admission fee and take what you get. You're not SUPPOSED to know the music... you're just audience, after all.


-Lost in the shuffle: the announcer tried to introduce the quite elderly Bill Martin, who founded the Martinettes drum, bell and baton corps which eventually became the Blue Devils. But the audience seemed to miss most of his background because the announcer didn't wait for a lull, or say "We have a special guest with us tonight". So when Bill came out to present the trophies, the majority of people didn't have the slightest idea who he was or what he'd done. *Very* poorly done that he didn't get the public recognition so justly deserved.

Ranting aside [sorry, hard not to] Seattle once again got its drum corps 'fix' for the year.


Michigan City, IN (DCI Midwest)

Overall Impressions
I love this show and the stadium. Very steep for such a small stadium. It was a great evening and overall, a nice show top to bottom. The satium is easy to get to and we were able to walk up and get pretty good seats about an hour before the show. The stadium filled quickly however. With a few corps kids joining us after their shows were over, the show side looked to be completely full.

My lone gripe was with the percussion judge who felt it was his duty to be in front of the battery at the risk of marching members' health and safety. Get out of the way! Unless you know where the drill is going, keep your distance. Can't these guys study video tapes or something before they go clodding around on the field? The other judges managed just fine. I felt bad for the Colts. This judge caused a huge midfield collision that took out three members. Bad judge.

45.15 Lake Erie Regiment
They make the old Spirit uniforms look good, for a small corps, they have some nice sounds at time. The book is vintage Regiment (Phantom Regiment). The New World Symphony (minus ride cymbal). This book needs water for the horn players who are having difficulty with many of the more moving parts. Either Lake Erie has some late season recruiting ideas, or they need to close down the guard and horn holes. Very small battery... one snare and one tenor. Horn line tired as show continued. Very small guard... lot's of timing and interval problems.

41.50 Bandettes
I'm a sucker for the last remaining all girl corps. I didn't know how Bela Fleck was going to play on the field. Opening is ok... after that, the show falls short. My first question was... no banjo? But anyway... the horn work is very involved as it has been in the past couple of years. They have some nice ensemble spots, but it was an uneven performance this evening. Nice hip action ladies... way to show off your schtuff! Play and move with this kind of confidence throughout and the show will get there.

50.40 Marion Glory Cadets
Prokofiev and the Red show. I'm a fan of the music. I wanted more. Yes, you got the first real standing "O" at the end of your show. I didn't exactly know why. They have good numbers except the guard looks very small. It's too bad, because this show demands lots of color and guard impacts that were just not there. They've moved up nicely in the past couple of weeks.

59.75 Capital Sound
Late at the gate... shame... didn't see a recap, but I am sure the corps was penalized for it. I saw their buses pull in... it appeared they had plenty of time. Most likely a communication screw-up. Pit was on time but rest of sections were way late. Another good show from these guys. New DM uniforms. The guard is awesome... very mature and confident. They have a shot to be the top guard in Div. II. I don't like how they are always placed on the field, but I like the changes that have been made so far. Everything clicks except phasing and body positions during change of directions. This is typical dirt that will get fixed as the season continues. I wanted more volume from the horns at impacts. They play with good tone overall. Without timing penalty, I had them ahead of Pioneer by .5 points.

60.65 Pioneer
New headgear. Very reminiscent of Academe Musicale. I'd add the front white plume, but that's just an opinion. Also, let's recheck sizes. I saw three of them on the field at one point or another. No Irish music... sans warm-up and parade tune. They are battling Division II corps right now as they have for the past few years. Moving to Div. I hasn't been good for their numbers. I think they were larger as a Div. II corps. There numbers are better than last year, but they seem very young in the horns and guard. The battery is huge, but for the most part plays a controlled show. The guard is very small and needs more confidence with their work. I saw lot's of dirt with feet and body position. Get the baritones up ladies and gentlemen. You can't point them at the ground and expect to be heard.

68.90 Kiwanis Kavaliers
Inflato-score of the evening. This was NOT a 68.9 show in my opinion. I've seen this show twice and my thoughts have not changed. This show has little demand. Nice guard uniforms... but what is she doing exactly at the beginning of the show? It looks stupid. Here's my rules for the Canadian corps this evening... you shouldn't do Bela Fleck without the banjo and you shouldn't do the Beatles without the guitars. I also didn't like the front of the corps uniform... it appears very cluttered. Sorry to be so negative about this show, but I found little that I liked.

70.80 Colts
Again, late to the gate... I'm sure they were penalized for it. I had them closer to JSU then Kiwanis. I sat near some Colts fans and parents. As I watched the show... even they failed to see much to cheer about. A mom looked back to her teenage son and asked, "Well, what did you think?" He replied, "It's a good show." She said, "You don't seem too enthused." "It's ok." That's about my opinion. It's ok. It's a good show. I don't see this as being the show that breaks them back into Top 12. Again, the Colts use music from concert wind band and bring it to the field. I don't mind the book as much as I mind the visual treatment. Visually, this show is flat.

79.20 Madison Scouts
You had me at "Hello!" Very good work, gentlemen. You've heard reports of their return. Yes, it's true. Thank you for having a guard! I thought at the beginning of the year, based on changes in staff and recruitment policies, they'd be 11th. Now, I got them in the 5th-8th range depending how things shake out. This show has great visual placement on the field. Impacts are set up well to draw your eye and then pop. Good unison guard work overall. This is something that plagued Madison in the past two years. Horns sounded a bit tired. This show should be right there in the middle of things in August. I knew I saw a Fleur d' lis or two in there somewhere!

75.80 Spirit from JSU
Ok... time... cool hourglass effects. Nice clock drill. Some good eye candy here. Horns are loud! I didn't like the guard unis until I saw the hourglass trick, then I got it. The repertoire is, in a word, disjointed. All tunes dealing with time, I guess. Then how does Nutville fit... exactly? I didn't like this rendition of Nutville... it lacked power. These guys play loose. The guard had some nice moments, but could have been featured better. Sometimes too far away, other times it seemed like they were in the way. Could be a good contender for 12th place and another trip to finals.

84.55 The Cavaliers
Saw this for the second time and all but the ending felt better to me. Skip the reprise of the fight scene from last year. I felt it was too contrived. I would have liked to see something new there. I have to believe that the ending will change soon. They have a week before DeKalb with time to make changes. The DM points to the bass drum to start the cadence at the end of the show and the feeling I had was... "Ok, that was it?" It was a letdown. The guard uniforms are a lousy color. That's about all the negative stuff. Everything else was very cool. I love how this corps works in all 3 dimensions. They work vertically with different heights, movements, etc. I don't believe the book is as difficult as last year's was, but I enjoyed it as much. They are a lock for Top 3. Will the much announced winning streak come to an end this year? Perhaps Enid, OK? San Antonio? We'll see.

Tom Brace

Nashua/Boston, MA (DCI Atlantic)

Someone - anyone - I hope will post a review having sat on the FRONT sideline - I and two members of AG's Board sat on the back sideline, along with about 500 other folks, because, my friends, this show was a sellout - a complete wall to wall sellout.

I can credit several reasons for this - having the show at the renovated high school field, excellent, excellent marketing connected with the town's anniversary parade and festivities and having 10 corps, 2 short of Nationals in length, the 4 best Div. II corps in the Northeast, 6 of the best Div.I corps on the East Coast...for 5 bucks, it doesn't get better than this.

That's right - the backside seats sold for 5 bucks - and we were there 8 minutes after the boxoffice opened and still they were packed and people were parked on the edges of the field itself.

So, this is from the back - but you can observe some interesting things from there, so I'm going to post anyway, until my margarita is done and then so am I.

2nd - Patriots 71.90 - Rochester and ECJ are going to be trading fours for the next few weeks until either they're slotted forever or one just flat out dusts the other - I thought their show was much cleaner and more expressive than in Beverly, certainly the feet were better ( you can see a lot from backfield) - they were consistantly a point or so behind Nashua (who won most of the Div.II captions) - personally I think it should have been a 4 point spread. Good show.

4th - Jersey Surf 62.35 - Crowd favorites right off the bat - a lot of folks were commenting on how they liked them after the performance - and this was from the back, remember - they won Div.II horns - from the lifeguard chair for a podium to the swimwear on the guard - and the jams on the corps proper, it was like a flashback to VK - their show was clearly less demanding visually than the other Div.II corps, but they had a commanding sound and a lot of fun - frankly, I placed them with ECJ ahead of Patriots - this is a fun show that will clean up nicely, but something tells me it won't have a prayer at Orlando.

3rd East Coast Jazz 71.20 - I thought they didn't have a strong horn show - they were third behind Surf and Spartans - they've made some tempo changes and the show seems to flow more smoothly - I want to see more (of course, I want to SEE IT FROM THE FRONT) but that will have to wait.

1st Spartans 74.50 - I see the most improvement in their visual program from last weekend's shows - new flags (I believe) in the opener, cleaner feet - they have very good feet, body control is excellent and they hit most of their forms very cleanly - design-wise they are quite strong, but I get the feeling they want the crowd on its feet in the last 30 seconds of the show, but it's not quite getting me there - this is a very strong program and I'm very hopeful it has a fighting chance in Orlando to win the Div.II ring - we'll see.

6th Carolina Crown 73.20 - Personally, I like the new uniforms - they emphasize the ensemble, rather than the individual player - the guard uniforms are lovely - great flags - I wish the rest of the show was as strong as the closer - not because it's a well-known Christmas carol, but because the treatment of it is more dramatic, with greater harmonic flair and contrast than the rest of the show - they remind me of Cavies, in both a good and not-so-good way - the music leaves less of an impression than the total show.

Folks, we definitely have a horse race - GMen thru Crusaders are bunched within 3.6 points - Crown will be up there too, I suspect.

5th Glassmen 76.35 - second time i've seen the show - it definitely grows on you - I thought they marched better than the judges had them.

2nd Bluecoats 78.70 - Man, this is a nice show - their horns had a rich, balanced, blended sound, very full, commanding - drums were good (that I could tell) - someone lost a shoe around the backfield 50 and we were all worried someone was going to crash - didn't happen - there is apparently some long explanation about their show having something to do with being chased and escaping - the strong New Hampshire accent of the announcer made something of a hash of it - and I didn't miss it - this is a great sounding show and I think they should have scored higher than the pack - after it ended the backfield crowd notified the corps about the footwear by yelling "SHOOOOOE" - the DM picked it up to applause - we weren't "booing", we were "shooing".

Cesario, eat your heart out.

4th Crossmen 76.90 - This a good show that is starting to execute well - you can hear clearer definition on the multi-meter rythms in the Dave Brubeck number - it's just that there's 4 other corps that are hitting their stride as well.

3 Boston Crusaders 77.80 - I like this show better than my first viewing in Beverly - I still think that execution, more than design, will raise their placing in Orlando - like Crossmen, their show was more energized than in Beverly - musically they have to catch Bluecoats, their guard was next to last tonight (CBC won, of course) - but this is a good show.

1 The Cadets 83.20 - **personal bias** - I still dislike their warmup intensely **end personal bias (OVERT personal bias, anyway) - they clearly executed at a higher level than the other Div.I corps - now I think their show concept will keep them "out of the hunt" (Rondinaro, eat your heart out) - it's almost like you're watching three 3.5 minute shows rather than one long one - that said, they are clearly executing and understanding how to phrase and project the show -

I think the sellout caught the Spartans by surprise - there was an impossible line for chow, so I can't rate the hamburgers.

I also have to say that it was really fun to sit in the back - it's not something I'd do on a regular basis, but you do see and hear things you just don't get a chance to on a normal basis - rather like looking at a picture in negative - you see stuff you ordinarliy wouldn't.

Finally, it was the cheapest I ever got out of a show - 5 bucks to have a "nouvelle experience", too far from the souvie shops, too long a line for the food - didn't win the 50/50 (over $2000 - that's right - 2K) but I think Peter LaFlamme and his Spartan crew did a great job - keep it up.

regards - Jim Alberty

Thursday July 3

Riverside, CA (DCI Pacific)

I'm really tired and cranky-see note at end. I had one of those days you see coming and don't want to have. no matter what you do, you get sucked into other people's problems that cause you problems.

So on with the drum corps review:

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I arrived at intermission. I brought my nephew, his first show.

Pacific Crest-These guys are trying their best. I saw them in the parking lot when we pulled up. I really want to like them because I give the corps a little money and sponsored a member this year. It's just not very clean and doesn't have areas of significant impact. They pull off quite a few good moves and sounds. They have a variation on the Cavies triangle move from last year and it looks pretty good. They have the big cubes made of silver tubing that create a nice effect. unfortunately I don't think everyone is playing their part. They sound smaller than they look. Because some people aren't playing or can't completely play their part, the impact points sound more like speed bumps. I like the show. but there is room for improvement and I don't think everything available is coming out of the corps. Remember this is basically a local corps that really isn't into the long rehearsal days of Summer tour.

I have said Mandarins shouldn't be Division I. I still think they should be Division II. They would be the best Div II, but they look and sound (volume wise) like what should be a Div II corps. They have very good marching technique or their unis hide everything. I enjoy their sound and show. Your foot starts tapping when the go into their exit. They have 9 foot tall sticks with snow sleigh bells on the end and bang them in tempo at the end of the show. Nice sound effect. I also love their closer. The music is well written and played. It's also a nice melody, the kind you sing in the car on the way home.

Vanguard-to weeks ago this show looked horrible. They sounded extremely rehearsed (very tired) and the marching was filthy. Well this show has changed significantly. It's a super difficult show to march and an extremely difficult book. The problem with this show is that it may take another 8 or 9 weeks to clean, but there's only 5 left for this Summer. This is by far the most difficult of the shows I have send this year. I actually heard the music tonight. They sound rested compared to a couple weeks ago. There's clarity in some of the musical passages. You can hear many of the musical runs throughout the show, but there are still areas where it sounds like mush. they have their work cut out for them if they want to make a run for the title. I don't think it's likely they'll win, but they have a chance. I also some lines that resembled lines this show, not millipedes or squiggles. Spacing also seemed to be under much more control. The opening strains are actually played by two small groups exchanges musical passages while 100 yards apart. I watched the DM more during the opener tonight. I wanted to see what is up with sounds like the phasing. There is some phasing (like coming in late after a bar or two of resting and being 70 to 100 yards apart doesn't help), but it's not very bad. Although there may be some very minor tearing and tempo control problems at the beginning, it's hard to peg down when a measure starts because the meter changes just about every measure of the opener. It goes from 3, 4 to 3,8 then 5,4 then 3,4 etc-its all over the place. The horns had some very nice impact moments tonight. Part of their score reflects the inherent difficulty of the show, both movement and musically, and I think they're receiving a little credit for trying to do things that are obviously more difficulty than other corps I have seen. Unfortunately the guard didn't look very good tonight. I like when all the flags/equipment spins at the same time. Ideally you could take a picture of them and each piece would be perfectly aligned with the other pieces. This isn't happening. I don't think they know exactly where the equipment is supposed to be when it's suppose to be there. It's not very clean and doesn't look good. I didn't see much improvement from their last performance a couple weeks ago. The drum line SMOKES-they can play together. I like the show, but it needs to be cleaner real soon. They'll probably be playing catch-up for some time.

Phantom-they deserved to win tonight. They open their show with a beautiful chorale played by the sops/trumpets. Low brass smokes-nice fat strong powerful sound, 12 tubas! Tonight the corps was really in tune because overtones were popping out all over the place, that's nice to hear The middle horns are strong-I think they have 14 mellos. They have some nice running licks that usually complement the melody. They also play the dissonant notes in the chords, especially the last chord of the show-it doesn't resolve. I was just enjoying their show tonight and will look for more stuff on Saturday. Their look is powerful, sharp, and very Phantom-I love the new White unis. Overall I thought the show lacked difficulty. There are some moderately challenging moments, but nothing compared to Vanguard's show. SCV has a chance to pass them on Saturday, but they're going to Disneyland tomorrow-bad day to schedule a day or half day off. One thing that bugged me was all the "dancing" while playing. They squat, lean, waive their horns and arms, bow, lift and move their legs in circles, etc... I think they need to cut some of that stuff. It lowers the amount of time moving, which I think lowers the difficulty in the show. This show has an undercurrent philosophy that "if you don't do it, it can't be dirty". Less body movement and more moving feet is my recommendation, but what do I know. They're in forth right now, but SCV is probably going to pass them It would be nice if it's done on Saturday. I sure would like to hear an SCV victory concert.

Victory Concert-they sound much better. They sound and can play the more challenging licks when standing. Through all my years playing and being a fan, this is my first Phantom VC. Nice job.

It was great having Phantom in CA for the past week or so. Thanks for coming out.

Why I was late: There's only reason one is ever late-because you didn't leave early enough. Here's my sob story: I have been in escrow on a new house for almost 60 days. I have been on everyone about staying ahead of the game and trying to avoid last minute problems. We received approval on the loan almost three weeks ago. All title and appraisals were completed more than two weeks ago. I specifically called all parties (loan, escrow, title, agent, home insurance, etc...) last week to avoid any last minute "fires". So yesterday escrow calls and demands we be in their office tomorrow to sign papers so we can close on time-in a city about 20 minutes away (and in the opposite direction of the show), but today is the day before a three day weekend, so it's an hour+ with traffic and bad drivers. I say how about 11, they say how about 5- you know how that went. So 3 was the earliest possible time we could show up because they should be able to put things together in the hour between docs arriving and 3. Being upset because I must now delay my departure time and sit in more traffic (rag), thus potentially making me late for the show tonight. We arrive at 3-the papers had just arrived. They weren't ready and there wasn't a notary available. We started the promised 30 minute signing ceremony at 3:45 and finished at 5-an hour and a half behind schedule. On the way home, there's an accident. Of course it was an hour or so old and the back-up was significant. Getting home in bad traffic compounded by an accident took an hour, normally 20 minutes. I finally leave to pick up my nephew about 6. It took another two and a half hours to drive about 50 miles. It took three and a half hours to drive around 70 miles. We arrived at 8:30 very thankful for the late 7:30 start time. Unbelievable. No matte what you do, those damn escrow people put you into panic mode at the end of process. Why? Why? Why? If you go into escrow-be very demanding and a total pain in the ass right off the bat. That way they'll try to get rid of you as fast as possible.

I don't like escrow.


Vancouver, WA (DCI Pacific)

2nd night of DCI action. This time, took my mom, stepdad, youngest sister and her boyfriend from England (his first corps show). Ah, the Kiggins Bowl. Last time I was here was during the 1991 season as a member of the Marauders. I can remember that show being so windy that my pirate hat flew off during the performance and seeing a few others lying around on the field. That sort of thing happened quite a bit that year, hats flying that is. I remember that we got a few photos in the weekly DCI newspaper with our naked bandanna'ed heads. But anyways...

Traffic going north on I-5 SUCKED. We left Portland around 5:40 and didn't get to the stadium until 6:45. For those of you not familiar with the area, Vancouver is right across the Columbia river from Portland - ie, not far! Maybe 25 minutes max normal drive time. The stadium and location in itself is almost the perfect opposite to the Woodburn show from yesterday. It's at a Junior High (not a high school), has major shade coverage from huge evergreen trees (unlike the blinding sun from the west), the stadium is one big concrete slab of steps without bleachers giving plenty of room to stretch out (unlike the cramped confines of Woodburn), and the field is Astroturf and very far from the crowd (unlike the uneven grass field and up close personal feel).

Last night was $60 for 4 people. Tonight was $108 for 6 people. For a minute I thought we were at a YEA sponsored event. :=) Luckily the food wasn't that expensive, but it wasn't that great either. $1 bottled water was sold out before tip-off. $2 nachos ran out of cheese. Ended up getting a couple $3 cheeseburgers and $2 polish sausages. Took our seats about halfway up the huge concrete Lego block on the left 40 facing the field. Still not the best seats in the house, but what can you do when you deal with traffic from hell and tickets that came from YEA. Ran into a few people who read my Woodburn review. One guy said, "This time be nice." Nice? Never! Mwuhahaha.

On the field, the Oregon Crusaders.
Nice job. You performed much better on turf. Horn quality, visual marching excellence improved in 24 hours. One step at a time kids, you're doing great work. Now please respect your uniform (they are old Marauders unis, I used to wear one, you know!) and be proper gentlemen and ladies when you roam the stands, you never know who might be sitting right in front of you listening to you rant during another corps performance, even if they are "stupid judges." :-)

SCV Cadets up next.
My digital camera fails after taking one photo. Batteries dead. Great. Oh well, more time to watch and enjoy. Seemed like an off night for this group. Hornline wasn't as strong. Impacts weren't as impactful. Could have been due to the large distance between the field and the crowd, or perhaps the sound was going over our heads to the pressbox. Regardless, drumline was still strong, and I LOVE the pit-only song. So beautiful. Best individual and ensemble marching excellence other than Seattle & BD, a good sign for the future of SCV's A corps. Wish you the best of luck the rest of the year kids.

BD B on the field.
Stronger showing tonight than last night. Drumline was smoking. Nothing else to report, keep up the good work.

Intermission. Ash big stretch time. How did they build this huge concrete Lego stadium anyway? Someone brought their dog to the show. It had it's own polish sausage in mouth, running around with it like it's a stick to play fetch with. Dumb dog. I was hoping it would run onto the field and try to relieve itself on the leg of a judge. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Troopers take the field.
Another solid performance. Some musical issues that I couldn't quite grasp, but it's still only the 2nd viewing I've had. Thanks for coming to the PacNW for the first time since 1974. Hope you keep up the good work.

Seattle takes the field.
Like SCV Cadets, the corps wasn't as impactful as the night before. I think it could have been a case of nerves, or maybe they were tired. Horns still strong, not as full volumed, and wow... mellos keep amazing me. They have about 10 or so dudes that just blow a ton of notes in a good way, ala early 90's Star or Cadets. Impressed! Love the color choices for flags. A few drops in the guard but that'll be fixed I'm sure. If the staff reads this, please fix the hornline drill during the drum solo. It's too easy and should be more of a 'wow' impact there when they're not playing. Go Seattle, I will be rooting for you to continue your rise to the top!

Finally, BD arrives.
The music is growing on me as it becomes memorizable. Not sure about the WSS bits integrated into the last two pieces. Those who think it's not choppy, who are you kidding? Have a listen to what Wayne arranged for the corps in the 80's up to 94 and you'll see how it's not as fluid as it could be. I still dislike the use of the 'skat' - it's too long. First the guard does it, then the hornline with a "weeeee!" (what is that?) then more combined corps and then the snare line before they play their nifty feature. It's too much. If the drumline did it, that'd be ok, but I doubt it'll be heard on the finals cd much less from the upperdeck of the Citrus Bowl or the press box. Guard still dances too much, however they're great on rifle as one big unit. Can't recall any color brought to the field from any flags. IE, use more equipment! This isn't WGI, and most corps fans I know don't have an eye for dance. We have an eye for unity in flags, rifles and sabers. Surround the corps or integrate yourself, of that I'm not too picky. Anyway, that's my biggest beef. Hornline ran out of gas during finale. The encore performance was much better. Still don't believe the full corps has the visual strength to win the title, but they might get horns & guard. Time will tell. As much negative as I can say, it's because I'm being very nitpicky with BD and have high expectations for them, knowing their amount of talent in membership and staff. I will say that this show is my favorite musical program for BD since 99, which could be good for them.

That's it for me in terms of DCI this year. It's just too expensive to go to Orlando after doing the Buffalo and Madison trips the past two years - plus I'm getting married the week after finals. Priorities, you know. Next year though, we'll be in Denver, regardless what the Mrs. says!

See all of you next year. And stop surfing the web looking for free downloads! Go support the local shows near you and cheer on all the corps competing, they are the future of the activity. Without your support financially, physically or emotionally they won't be as successful as they could be WITH it.


Evan FMM
1990-93 Marauders / 1994-95 Cavaliers Soprano

Wow what a show. My first in like 2 years so there is nothing but good to say.

Oregan Crusader - You guys are pretty damn good for your size. Some smart usage of the field for the groups size. I enjoyed it a lot and so did everyone else.

SCV Cadets - Great show. Looked pretty beat though on the field. You guys rock though. Awesome!

BDB - Commin through with the win over SCVC!! Drumline was pretty damn smokin. Strong sops to! I loved the show!!

Troopers - The Troopers! THE TROOPERS!!!! Holly Poop! These guys are on steroids this year! I haven't seen them with as many marching members as they have this year in a while. The most pleasant surprise of the show! Those guys have hell of a show. I don't know about the 61 they got I was thinking more like 64. Thats why I'm in the Navy and not judging though. They have Friday on there mind come finals week (Possibly Saturday?) If they have the same direction in the quality of their show next year they have this year watch out!

Seattle - First taste of loud. Nice soloist and sweet Ideas in that show. I enjoyed them lots! Eat um up!

BD - What a clinic! I had a few BAC allumni friends marching (Ben, Leo, Yuri representing!). OMG They have everything from Skat to the Robot(Check out the drum line). Good stuff! DCI champs this year? Can't say because I haven't seen anything other than this but wow. I wanted to cry.

Great show and thanks to the lady that gave us a military discount and God bless your son over seas! Devil Dogs allways come home!!!

Thanks for reading and I will be at the Seattle show(The guy in the Navy uniform).

Ben Sharpe
USS Abe Lincoln

Frankfort, IL (DCI Midwest)


I don't really do reviews, but nobody has posted one for Frankfort, so I'll give you kind of an overview, rather than a review.

This was the second year for this show, and a much more successful event than the premier. Last year, I arrived a little more than an hour before show time, parked near the exit, and walked pretty much straight across the parking lot; the bulk of the crowd did not arrive until showtime. This year, I arrived about the same time, parked in the same place and wended my way through the many cars on the lot. Seating is GA, and I was lucky to find one seat just inside the 35 (Row 16 of 18).

For some reason, they started a bit before the scheduled time, following a rendition of the national anthem by a high school diva. I realize that the show is called "Sounds of Freedom" and is part of the local Independence Day celebration, but I had to wonder why there was no Canadian anthem, since Kavaliers were on the program.

Joliet Kingmen were first up, and had been on the field for some time before the anthem. This is a wonderful little corps this year. I only wish that all members were as into doing what they are doing as most are. A few almost seem clueless at times, but it does not detract from the show for most fans. The crowd ate it up; loved their show. The horns are getting it together rather well and have moments that really click. Until Cavies, Kingsmen were the only corps to nail their horn solos. Most of the guard is trying very hard and succeeding at what they are doing--- very well coordinated flag and body work--- unfortunately a couple of girls are seldom on the same page as the rest. The drum line has the usual youthful muddiness, but is enthusiastic and engaging--- had much of the crowd clapping along with the percussion feature. The crowd gave them a standing ovation at the close of the show. Really! Honest! Like I said, the crowd ate them up--- I think it was the best response for any of the five Division III corps and not just because the are a "local" corps--- the east side of Joliet and Frankfort might as well be on different planets. The score of 31.95 and their placement (9th) behind the Colt Cadets was shocking to many folks sitting near me. (I thought the beat the Cadets, too.)

Colt Cadets, I believe, are marching the biggest corps that I have ever seen them field (21b/16p/17g/1dm=55). They also are wearing new uniforms, similar to, but very different from (yes, that's what I meant to say) the A corps. (Black & White switched, different hats, etc.) One interesting thing they did was have the drummers change instruments after every tune. (Snares to basses, basses into the pit, pit onto tenors, tenors to snares, etc.) However, this stopped the show from flowing as the kids took time to take off hat, take off and/or put on harness, find dropped hat, replace hat. The drill looks like it was written for the usual 30-40 member corps and becomes quite crowded at times, especially when some of the kids are wandering around, trying to figure out where they are supposed to be. (Please do not take this as a putdown. I love the Colt Cadets and what they do/are doing. But, let's face it, they and the Joliet Kingsmen are cadet corps... kids as young as ten who are just learning what corps is all about.) Their horns and guard had the same problems as Kingsmen; with nearly twice the numbers the errors did not necessarily stand out as much, but there were also more opportunities to err and more opportunities taken. 8th Place, 35.35.

(A note here... After the Kingsmen were given an appreciative standing ovation, it was almost required that all corps be given a standing O. Except for the Kingsmen, the Division III corps received obligatory O's. Magic and Colts fell somewhere in between. The only corps to receive really enthusiastic O's were the Cavaliers and the Kavaliers, but more about that later.)

I had never had the chance to see Lake Erie Regiment before. When their 33 members took the field, I had the unkind thought that with their size, they were more like the Lake Erie Platoon. Three contras in an eleven member horn line makes for a dark sound, but it kind of works for Dvorak's New World... there are holes that I hope they fill. The guard did some nice work with flags in four different shades of purple, and during the ending brought out big flags quartered by the four shades. The snare and tenor lines were really tight, but that is to be expected when you have only one in the line. (Hah!) An ambitious program that begs for more bodies. 7th place, 46.10.

Marion Glory Cadets call their program "Oppressions in Red." The music of Prokofiev and Poledouris is dark, and the corps' sound is as dark as the music, with 3 contras in the fifteen horns. All sections seem to be developing well and building their score, but it takes a really special program to pull the audience into a show as dark as this one is... that ain't happening yet. 6th place, 48.85.

(Another note...If it seems like I'm talking about contras a lot, that's because the contras in three of the Division III corps stood out. Colt Cadets are also marching 3 contras, but they are mostly lost in the mix; I think I remember the Kingmen marching a (1) contra one year, but I may be misremembering.)

The Americanos biggest problem (to my so-called mind) is that their two contras are so good. (Wasn't corps director Butch Kolosso the contra playing DM in the years that 'Canos used no DM? Or am I misremembering again?) These two are so together that they overpower the rest of the horns even when they are holding back. The drum line is still bigger than the horn line (by only 1, 17 to 16), and they also tend to put out more sound. Once the entire horn line gets it together, this show should do very well. The guard also needs some major work, since "Zorro" all but mandates saber work, and they still are having almost as many bounces as catches. (If those were real) sabres, there'd be blood all over the field.) I love the 'Canos, and I like this show, but it still has a long way to go. 5th place, 49.85.

From everything I had heard, I expected Kiwanis Kavaliers to be bigger (39b/23p/14g/2dm=78). Oh, do I wish they were bigger!!! What a show!!! This is, far and away, the best Beatles show I have ever seen on the field!!! All sections are solid. The arrangements are beautiful, with many of the tunes done in totally unexpected tempi and rhythms. The drill is wonderful. They even get away with using a solo dancer (one of my pet peeves) through most of the show, but it works, because [i]she can dance. The crowd adored this show. So did I, in case you didn't notice. (This is one of my three favorite shows of the year, so far.) Oh, if they only had twenty more horns and another dozen in the guard... 4th place, 66.55.

Colts came out and hit us in the face. Yes!!! They sound good, and the show is a good one, overall. BUT... it is filthy dirty. (Half a dozen holes tonight did not help at all.) The upside is that the staff knows it is dirty, but is trying hard to take things slow and easy with their really young membership, hoping to really pull it together in the next month. At least I noticed no major disasters occurring on the field. 3rd place, 69.80.

Now that 128 is no longer a full corps, Magic finally is fielding 128 members. Big sound. The music is unfamiliar to the crowd and does not connect. It may not be connecting with the judges, either, although their scores are starting to rise. There were some disasters in this show; a few times, the guard was less together than the guards of the two cadet corps who started the show. Other than that, my biggest complaint is that the music just kind of sits there. It does not engage the audience, so there is no feedback to help build the show. For me, the only thing really memorable was those sections of really bad guard work. 2nd place, 74.05.

Cavaliers. WOW!!! Changes, changes, changes. They already have more charts that for last year's show, and they still don't have an ending. I loved it, the crowd loved it, and I think the corps loves doing it. I had felt that the guard was really loose in the early part of the show at earlier viewings, but they have really tightened up their work and are working as a unit, rather than a bunch of guys doing the same thing. Elements of humor have been added that had the crowd laughing. I really do not think this show is going to flatline, because I have seen it three times, and each time was different and better than before. I do still wish they'd crank it up a bit more... no, a lot more in spots. 1st place, 83.30.

So there it is. Please don't flame me, as happened the last time I did a review. (But then, that corps wasn't in this show.) After all, this is just one fan's opinions of what he saw.

'Til later...

Michael Welge

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