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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 Eight 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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Go to Page 7 of Reviews!

Saturday August 30

Scranton, PA (DCA Championships Prelims)

A little background info first.... been marching since '60, played with DCI, DCA, parade, and Mini Corps... as sop and mello.

Shenandoah Sound - 12 members total 7 brass 1 perc 2 guard, 1 dm...nice to see a new corps out there... everybody exposed (obviously)... best player was lead mello, did the smart thing with show- had members play within their limits... welcome to DCA...

Sunrisers-much better than I expected, big sound from 15-16 horns... nice to have you back.

Heat Wave-... show projected lots of energy...particularly in perc... largest guard they've had...were scored correctly.

Kilties... any other year they make the top 12... much better than Syracuse 2001 .... definitely performing at a higher level.

Carolina Gold.... if they continue to progress at their current pace ...look out!!!...excellent sop soloists... big brass sound.

SKY...marching best in a lonnng time...sops had "sky of old" sounds at times ( a good thing).. nice to see marching battery... hold on to this crew and build, and good things will come...

Corpvets... extremely talented... scord low in my opinion... knocking on top 5 door soon... powerful brass, solid perc...much improved guard...

Hurcs..saw them at Reading...was bored...Wow! most improved corps since beginning of season... sop soloist -excellent!!

Grenadiers- when I heard they were playing Pat Metheny, I thought ..."oh no not another one"...Well I was pleasantly surprised.. fresh treatment of music.. and a dyamite perc line....

Bush- much improved since reading, except I still think somthing's missing, one of the corps that i thought was scored too high...

Renegdes...Holy Bleep!!!!! liked'em last year...loved them this year... in forty plus years of marching have never heard a lead sop line wail like this...sounded like 10 MAYNARD'S IN HIS PRIME...what a sound! drill's been upgrraded...perc hot... seems like they were on for 3 favorite corps of the day...

Reading....Outstanding perc... marching very good..brass holding its own... scored correctly...

Minnesota Brass... Usually one of my favorites.. I was slightly disapointed today... normally outstanding lead sop line sounded a little thin.... marched well.. I predict with day of rest they sell the show and move up Sunday...

Empire.... Alway fun to watch... this year though I thought they were down a bit talent,and excitemet-wise.In brass,..the sop soloist is simply outstanding....thanks for an entertaining program.

Cabs....On Fire!!! Held my interst from start to finish... have no weaknesses.. unless they really fall flat Sunday night...the title moves back to NJ!!

Syracuse...Love the musical selctions (I played Tommy in '73, and always wanted to Play Chase)... that said as good as they are (and that's excellent), they;re coimng up a little short excitement-wise... could prevent them from repeating...

All in all, the best prelims show I've seen in years...

Good luck to all Sunday....RCC

(note... havent looked at recaps yet... all thoughts and opinions are mine. i refuse to be abused for feeling as i do)

ahh, prelims morning. Got to the stadium alittle later than i wanted to, and as a result, sat on the 45ish, about 15 rows up. weather looked threatening, but at least at the outset started off in the fans and corps favor.

First up Shenandoah Sound... 9 total members, playing a list of great drum corps charts. hornline, for their size, projected well... lead mello player wailed at times. percussion, what they had of it was well used. Unsure about the two props which sat off to the sides, but they did help shrink the field for the corps. guard work seemed a little unsure at times, but all in all, a great showing, and gutsy...many corps wouldnt go out there atthat size. my hats off to them.

Sunrisers... what a great moment to see this corps back on the field. i saw the orange and got misty. and, nice show to boot! hornline had some power, and the snares played very well. Basses seemed overpowering at times, but played well. Pit, not in uniform, didnt play a lot but played well when they did. guard performed well, and made me think back to Sun guards of old. and hey Glen, you looked great out there! great way to return, loved the music, and i cant wait to see you back next year.

Heatwave...... fun show and congrats! drumline again played very well, and the brass sounded better than past years! latin section... or pit as it were... added great fun to the show. drill also looked bestter than pervious years. Vic, how true you were... welcome to Pennsylrainya! thank you again for coming north and congrats on another class a title!

after the break(after 3 corps????) we're back for open class...and mother nature doesnt look so friendly.

Kilties...... first off. congrats for performing in that hurricane and not suffering any major issues. loved the show... upgraded in many ways since i last saw you. i had a hard time seeing you by the end of the glasses needed wipers, and i am sure you had issues out there. drill more modern than in past years, tho needed more velocity. percussion book... loved the scottish feel in the snares. performed relatively well, tho you could have used one more bass to balance out the sound. pit performed ok, except for a timing issue or 2 towards the end front to back on the hits. all in all, a great showing. the only thing that could have helped you more was a trip east earlier so prelims wasnt a first read.

Carolina Gold..... some years you wish 13 could get in. Such a huge improvement over last year. beefed up size wise and the book was a blast... one cant go wrong playing stuff from City of Angels. brass had some power and two great screamers, and they didnt distract from the rest of the corps. percussion line had some really nice moments, and played some serious meat. forgot to notice the guard sorry.... the drumline held much of my attention.

CorpsVets. rain part two...maybe worse than during Kilties.

ok time for a joke at Duane's expense. the unis look like Madison this year. they came off the end line like Scouts do. and Duane is Madison alum... conspiracy? lol

seriously, great show. big step up from last year. corps moved better and i loved watching the guard perform... they had so much fun out there. the purple unis offset the corps nicely. hornline had a great sound, and power when needed. drumline better and hey Andy.... our talks last year paid off eh? Worm helping out could not have hurt. IMO, i had you closer to 90, but you made the big show with your best show yet.I look forward to seeing it in dry conditions.

Skyliners..... many wrote this corps off for dead. I know at Reading i was concerned. glad to see no need to worry. The NY sound is alive and well. a very young drumline came a long way and what a pit! Sean, Mark great job! Hornline had some great moments, esp in the ballad. drill, while not as demanding as some, was performed well. Loved the old Skyline flags in NYNY, as well as the old Skyliners flags up front. NYNY was goosebumps.... from your "oh yeah" to the crowds reaction. the wedge... Konga..... pure Skyliners. gret job!

Renegades...... ok, i may come off biased here. but really, two words sum it all up.... 'F#@$ ME" Ladies and gentlemen, California has a kick ass senior corps to go with the juniors. Huge step up from last year in design and execuion... yes, they were still loud, but they were quality loud. just seeing the mass of black come on the field was impressive. the dm unis... one in white leather, one in black leather, and one just in black fit the concept. opening brass hit woke everyone up in the NEPA region. guard unis worked well against the mass of black, and some quality work.... nice field coverage too. Opening move of crabbing by the horns worked well under the Halloween groove, and the build to Russian was so tasteful. drum line can groove and shift gears to major wail at the drop of a dime. Russian Xmas.... what can be said. it's been done well so many times, and you just added to it. Matrix.... way too cool, and design wise one of the most creative things on the field. the mello effect w/the negaphones was way too cool. what a full corps groove going on here. Loved the body visuals from the movie in the drum solo under the bass run.... reminded me of 93 but cooler. seriously cool and fit the concept. Pit... wow! holy toys Ed! legos, the renebike(yes!) and quality parts. battery played very well, esp tenors(jan hyped!). big step up from last year. Niner Two.... first off the dm on the box conducted two meters at once. the dm on side 1 went with the right hand, dm on side two went with the left. OMG i noticed a DM. corps handled the odd meters fine musically and visually. some very tasty stuff in this tune, and it allowed for wailing too. tasty drum licks, esp tenors. the repirse back into Matrix ending was well set up, the corps hopped like moshers and blew the house down. loved the extended pause for screamers too. this show ladies and gentlemen, was by far the funnest thing i have seen in a long time.

Hurcs.... i missed you guys. due to the earlier rains, as well as the lady behind me continuously dumping her umbrella on me, i was drenched. i did see you from a bad spot, so while you looked to be very on, i'll comment on finals.

Quick run to buy dry clothes, i finally met Lee Rudnicki (thanks for the gift lee) and Christine and i got dry t-shirts from the renesouvie table. what a great guy. love him, hate him, the man is pure genkus.

Grenadiers.... Huge step up from last year. huge, young drumline. Note to drum staff.... this line needs to be kept together. they remind me of Shore in 89... young and hungry, and with talent that in time will cultivate into a monster. Metheney show was well sone... again tough to live up to great version past, but you did it. Mr Abates drill for the most part was smooth and flowing and challenged the members. Hornline has nice sound, and the guard unis worked well with the yellow corps unis. perc line played well, tho there were some issues.... i expect better at finals. Only issue i had with the show was in First Circle..... when the tempo jumped i felt there should have been movement to add to the tension, then the hold while you wailed out the end. but in all, your best show, IMO since you came out in what 95?

Crusaders...... new direction worked well for the corps. great well known classical tunes, and well played and marched. brass line, as expected from DA's touch had the perfect blend of control and power. when the drumline was on, they were on, tho at times they knew it and to me, seemed to overhype and lose the moment. temporary issue i am sure. i could tell it was a Stodd line... matched grip, but a controlled matched grip. loved the purple flags. oh... jingle trees needed more jingle. but in all, great new look and sound... way to go Cru!

Bush..... huge improvement... loved the warmup with the cd played over the long ranger. nice use of a&e lol. hornline was on a mission, no pun intended, and they delivered... such a well rounded sound. percussion, last years issue IMo took a huge step up... kudos gang. guard was a show in and of themselves, esp in the big block pass thru. also loved the rocket launching portrayed. in other years, this show was top 4. this year, too may dogs in the house. regardless be extremely proud of your effort...... it was well received here.

Bucs.... except for what seemed to be a tear in the opener, well performed. brass line had some raw power, but the 8 sops held you back a little bit. drumline played very well, and also had a great visual moment when they "buried the sailor" at sea. guard carried the nautical theme off very well, and the costuming was genius. another show that in other years, could have done very well. add 10 horns this year and it would have.

Minnesota..... damn, you guys look like Westshore, and i mean that in the most flattering terms possible. May i also say your drumline plays like them too. show seemed a bit flat in the daylight, but well designed. the whole corps handled the latin feel well, and featured all sections to the max. visual design was definitely up from last year. percussion line... forget it. few could play that book as well. i dont know where you placed at prelims but it had to be close to the top. that snare split roll was so tight if you didn't watch hands you wouldnt have realized it. Ballad was very well done, and loved the mallet effect used by the snares and toms. Hornline had the right blend of power. one more corps lost in the dearth of quality corps.

Empire.... How you guys found the will to perform today is beyond me, but as someone who taught there alittle bit in 2001, i am proud of your toughness. David, it was heartbreaking to watch you fight to keep it together. to the whole Empire family past and present, my hearts went out to you.

Then the show! Someone near me called it Joey pero and his friends, but it was a lot more than that. well thought out show, excellent use of the broadway motif. loved the singing/drum lick trade offs... seeing DeFazio do drum speak was worth it. the tap dance was also well done and fit the show. color guard had some awesome moments and nice use of the props to show them off. Joey was on fire on sop, and he had a mello issue but recovered well. drumline did very well.... nice musical book. tenor line was especially on. i am sure finals will be an even better show, and more emotion to boot. thank you guys for keeping it together on a day that had to be painful beyond words.

Cabs...... one week after the big showdown i didnt know what to expect. nervous? wad blown the week before? overhype? What we got was controlled, tho a touch flat.... but well performed. Toughest drill in DCA hands down... at times maybe too much velocity but well performed. guard work was much cleaner today and i loved the brigther flags. Curt was on as always. drumline.... a ton of notes. Maybe 4 or 5 too many in a few spots, but running like you were and playing that notefest gets you props just because. bassline is a total scream, and IMO the best in DCA this year and many others. ballad is a true tear jerker. For those who say its a gift to Jimmy, sorry this corps deserved every tenth. looking forward to seeing it under the lights.

Brigs............. tough act to follow after Cabs. yet you did it well.hornline full of pwer and gobs of technique. drumline, when exposed played well, tho on the move the book seemed a bit calmer... not a bad thing, but may have hurt on the sheets. guard performed very well. Tommy was exactly what i expected.... loud, clean and fun... maybe a bd knockoff, but so what? the tune rocked. ballad was a truly touching thing to see and hear... best of the year i think. Get it on... what a screamer fest. loved the Tommy references in the drum feature. only thing i can see hurting you is the lack of velocity in the show visually. again, i havent looked at recaps, but i can think upstairs that had to hurt. dont fret tho... one more day to go. and if you dont pull it off, be proud of what you have done. 2nd is not a bad thing, i've been there.

Off to the hotel and a quick nap, then I&E. great location. only complaint is not enough people working the food and beer lines. oh and not enough beer.

Stu... what a job in I&E... made up as you went and 5th place... if you hadnt had the drop who knows! Alisha, sorry i missed you hun! and that little blond from brigs rocked. Bush loved the brass ensemble. saw some cool pit ensembles and a few cool bass lines.

Crunchy Frog...... well. i cant explain it all. i do know Glens son stole the show. Lee's Star Trek uni was funny. the chicken was riot. the cavies guard person had me crying. Alisha had THE END on um... her end. Glen gave us an ECW moment by doing flying elbow onto his trash can. DQ'd for illegal instrumentation? lol. who cares. it was a riot to watch and Woobie, i want video.

mini corps... wow. gets better every year. Erie was on fire and gave an encore. Renegades also wailed and Murray on set...good god! loved where he paused to bring his bass back towards him. Poots were funny and Ghost Riders also did a great job. Socal was well done... I tried to call you VKG... argh. I didn't know who won til the next day, but i didnt care.

Line of the night from one of my band kids who came up to i&e..."Crunch Frog was odd. Can we do that for indoor?"

Enough about Saturday. Sunday's review to come.

Jeff Ream

Saturday August 23

West Haven, CT (DCA)

This is my first review this year, and I won't be attempting to comment on every corps -- just some highlights -- and strictly IMO!!!

The weather for tonight's show was perfect. The high temperature for the tonight could not have been higher than the mid 70's. It simply could not have been better! The guards were having a little of hard time because of the wind and yet still managed to have a good show. The crowd was huge and responsive to all of the corps performances - including the exhibitions.

89.638 Bushwackers
79.813 Hurricanes
78.150 Skyliners
66.163 Sunrisers

Comments on selected corps (sorry, just a few-- I arrived late):

94.388 Caballeros - ""From Hawthorne New Jersey please welcome the Hawthorne Caballeros""--wow! Wow! Crowd goes bananas! MY, OH MY, OH MY! Cabs threw down the gauntlet tonight! They laid it on the line and just went for it. This was the absolute best Cabs performance I seen this year. They did an incredible job tonight - rock solid in every caption. Just simply awesome! The control, dynamics and execution were simply beyond belief. The Soprano soloists were all just incredible - gorgeous and controlled sound! El Toro Furioso! Was beyond furious! What a #@$^%$#$%$# mellophone line! If you want to hear some crazy parts just listen carefully for the MELLO FURIOSOS! Horns! Sopranos! Baritone! Contras! Dynamics, balance, control, and execution! Yes it was all on my face! Yes you guys got it all....well done job. The guard was without a doubt the best on the field. I have not yet seen the caption awards, but if they did not win best guard, some judge deserves to be shot. The drum line has more general effect and music written in than ANY corps in a while. Theses guys are running all over the field. The arrangements of this incredibly show is awesome!

verall this show definite contrast within itself, the guard is good, the horns are incredible, and the drum line is En FUEGO. Theses guys are hungry! And they let you know from the minute they hit the field. I can I simply said, "CHAMPIONS!!!!"
p.s. their performance of PRAYER, made some lady next to me cry.

92.863 Brigadiers - had a solid performance tonight. The horn line really sounded terrific, as did the drum line. However, they need more demanding visual program and the excitement level just was not as high as it could have been. The performance was not flat or bad- just not cranked up as high as the competition. They might have been psyched out by the huge response Cabs got, or perhaps it's just my read after being energized by Cabs. I most say I was quite disappointed, I was excepting a more musically and visually demanding show.

90.350 Buccaneers - what a performance! Good job tonight. The more I see and hear this show, the more I like it- it's simply beautiful.

Overall a great night for drum corps! Brigs and Bucs as usual were a class act! Both corps played a selection of their program for Cabs after a well deserved victory! Can't wait to see theses corps again at Scranton next weekend! To of you all best of luck next weekend!

Ruddy Brito

Erie, PA (DCA)

With the excitement of DCA championships weekend in full swing, I thought I'd post my review of last week's Erie, PA, show for everybody's enjoyment...

My only senior corps show of the year. The first time ever I will watch the Empire Statesmen live. A senior corps show within a two hour drive of Cleveland. On top of all that, the Erie Thunderbirds as the host corps!

I arrived at the stadium around 6:40 PM and immediately ran into Jeff Gibbens, his family, and some members of the T-birds. After a round of hellos, I made my way to the stadium ticket booth. Before I could even get in line, "Poopsie", another T-bird and commander of American Legion Post 11 in Erie, hooked me up with a ticket almost right on the 50 yard line. Thanks for the excellent vantage point!

After entering the stadium, I ran into Annie and Woody Woodhams, who were selling souviniers for the Statesmen. Annie and Woody are my drum corps Mom and Dad. I've stayed at their home many weekends for Statesmen rehearsals and shows and they are two of the kindest and most incredible people I have ever known. That is why it was my honor and privilage to ask Annie and Woody to represent me as my mother and father when Rachel and I marry in December. They accepted, so my evening was already complete.

My seat was indeed a choice location. I was on the 47 yard line on side 2, three rows up in the upper section of seating, perfect blow zone location. The weather was beautiful, with sunny skies and temperatures in the lower 70s, perfect weather to perform in and watch the performance, as well.

The show started with the presentation of the colors by a combined honor guard and a saxaphone duet of the American and Canadian national anthems. With only four corps performing in competition, there was a group of exhibitions before and after the competitive portion of the show, starting with the Erie All-City High School Marching Band. This band is made up of members from the four Erie high schools and performed selections from City of Angels (a la Madison Scouts 1991-1992). The band only had drill for the opener and did not perform their closer, but it's very early in the marching band season, so I'm sure they'll improve greatly.

The first drum corps performance of the night was by the Danville White Sabers. The White Sabers are a parade and exhibition corps from Western New York. Sporting new uniforms (very nice looking, by the way), the White Sabers performed drum corps favorites like Malaguena, Georgia on My Mind, and When Johnny Comes Marching Home. A very entertaining group and well appreciated by the crowd.

The competitive portion of the show began with Shenandoah Sound from Sterling, VA. This is Sound's first competitive season after a decade of parades and standstills, as well as many appearances at DCA I&E and Mini-corps competitions. This corps reminded me of the Marion Cadets of the mid-to-late '90s as they only had seven horns, two percussionists, and two colorguard. The horns more than made up for their size with their sound, as every member of that hornline plays his/her heart out. Sound performed selections from Gettysburg, Jesus Christ Superstar, Danny Boy, We Beseech Thee, and Oh Happy Day.

The Kingston Grenadiers came next, with a very entertaining performance of music from Pat Metheny. The corps began with an opening fanfare from Minuano, followed by Third Wind. the drumline comes in front of the pit for their feature, with the snares playing on suspended cymbals and tom drums to either side of their snares. The ballad Dream of the Return softens the mood before leading into the Metheny classic, First Circle. The crowd was definitely into this show, feeding off the high level of performance energy from the Grenadiers. While there was dirt musically and visually, this show is a definite must see in Scranton next weekend.

The Empire Statesmen come into this weekend before championships as a definite contender for the title, having spent the season within 1-2 points of the front running corps. Their show of 42nd Street is more Broadway production than drum corps show, with a street scene beginning the show, a large backdrop of lighted Broadway show signs, scat vocals, dancing, flash and panache. The corps begins with a New York fanfare, played backfield until the final chord, which rips the face off all the audience members. The title number from 42nd Street comes next, with sections of the hornline tapping and moving their feet as they play the melodic line of the piece. The drum line is very strong, especially the tenors, who get a strong reaction from the crowd after their portion of the drum feature. I Only Have Eyes for You is the ballad, with the backdrop changing to backstage as the guard members change into sparkling blue and silver outfits for the closer, Lullaby of Broadway. The hornline, while only 44 members strong, are very tight and have a strong, powerful sound. This is championship caliber show performed by a championship caliber corps.

As Bob Scott, the announcer for tonight, loves to point out, Rochester, NY, is home to TWO finalist senior corps, Empire Statesmen and the Rochester Crusaders. The Crusaders have made a major change in programming this year, going with an all classical show of Sheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov, The Swan by Camille Saint-Saens, and Danse of the Bacchanale, also by Saint-Saens. Personally, I doubted that this switch was a good idea for the Crusaders, but they have proved me wrong. The music is very well arranged and very entertaining to listen to. The drum line performs with high energy and is improved over the past few years. The drill bothers me, however (why are sopranos out around the 10 yard line during the final push of Bacchanale???). Overall, I see the Crusaders moving up from their 9th place finish of 2002.

With the competitive portion of the show completed, two more exhibition groups came on, giving the tabulators plenty of time to figure out the scores. First of those groups werethe Pipes and Drums of the Erepa Grotto. This pipe and drum band performs regularly in Erie and the surrounding area and has earned many awards in competition. The band has also performed multiple times with the Erie Thunderbirds, leading to their invitation to tonight's show. I have a soft spot in my heart for the sound of bagpipes, as my grandmother loved groups like the Black Watch from Scotland, so I really enjoyed the Erepa Grotto tonight.

Closing out the performances tonight was the host corps, the Erie Thunderbirds. As always, Jeff Gibbens, Tommy Davenport, and the rest of the T-birds blew the stands down with the brand of old school drum corps and showmanship. The Thunderbirds will be returning to DCA Mini-corps competition next weekend with a show of music from Maynard Ferguson and look to defend their 2002 title, as well as their 7th Mini-corps title.

The results from tonight's competition:

Participation awards to the Erie All-City High School Marching Band, the Danville White Sabers, and the Pipes and Drums of the Erepa Grotto

High colorguard: Empire Statesmen
High brass: Empire Statesmen
High percussion: Empire Statesmen
High visual: Empire Statesmen

1st place: Empire Statesmen 92.163
2nd place: Rochester Crusaders 87.038
3rd place: Kingston Grenadiers 81.725
4th place: Shenandoah Sound 57.650

The contest concluded with a combined performance by the Erepa Grotto Pipes and Drums and the Erie Thunderbirds of Amazing Grace.

Kevin "Gadget" Gamin

Saturday August 9

Orlando, FL (DCI) Division I Finals

Every year, my family and I have given a review of the corps at Championships. We usually do this at semi-finals, but opted for finals this year. Each of us tries to limit our comments on each corps to just a few remarks, commenting on what we liked or didn't like, or overall impressions. In order to provide a frame of reference for the comments made, here are our backgrounds in drum corps. I marched from 1978 to 1988, and have been to Championships every year since 1978. My wife is deaf, and she has attended Championships ever year since 1993, and she attended in 1991 as well. My daughter is 11, and she has attended Championships every year since 1996.

SPIRIT - 84.4
He Said - A very solid and entertaining performance tonight. I thought the show was a bit cheesy in spots and the design was bad in the closer, but the overall show was very enjoyable.
She Said - They have a nice nostalgic show. The cymbal line was really neat. And the Little One Said - They were great! I liked the flags and the drill where they make the clock and the hourglass.

Magic of Orlando - 85.6
He Said - They did an outstanding job tonight. I love that horn line! The show design is excellent, and the performance in all captions was great.
She Said - Their show is very pretty and very entertaining. I am happy to see them in the top 12. They are always one of my favorite corps.
And the Little One Said - They looked like they were having fun. They did a great job. I liked the flags and the music sounded so clear.

Crossmen - 86.9
He Said - They had a much better show this evening. They were really energized and did a great job of performing; however, the horn line tone quality got a bit rough at the end of the show. I didn't think they moved up over Crown.
She Said - They did a nice job. They did a nice job of using different colors throughout the show. Their guard was a little disappointing - not as good as in the past.
And the Little One Said - I liked how the guard puts on different colors, and I like how the drums jam on the rack thingies.

Carolina Crown - 86.65
He Said - They had an absolutely fantastic performance tonight! The guard was incredible, and the drum line was truly awesome. This has to be one of the best designed shows on the field tonight, and the corps did a great job of performing it.
She Said - I really liked them. They really performed their hearts out, and it looked like they really wanted to please the crowd. What a color guard!
And the Little One Said - I really liked the songs, the new uniforms, and the costumes. Oh, yeah, and the guard was great!

Madison Scouts - 89.1
He Said - There were moments in the show when the Madison of old was in your face. Unfortunately, the moments were few and far between. The show design was a disappointment. The performance was great. That horn line can play - I just wish they played louder. Several of the soloists cracked tonight, but the overall show was still performed very well. The drill and guard were major improvements over last year.
She Said - I was very surprised. It was not a typical Madison show, but they were much better this year. Their show was really fast paced - they were really flying at times. I think the new uniforms are ugly.
And the Little one Said - I liked the beginning where they run in line and throw a man in the air. I liked the flags and the guard dancing, and they were MUCH better than last year.

Bluecoats - 90.75
He Said - Another excellent show from them this year. Once again, they have a terrific horn line and guard that really did an outstanding job tonight. I could have done without the theatrics trying to sell the Capture and Escape concept. The rest of the show stood on it's own - the theatrics added nothing in my opinion.
She Said - WOW! I really liked their show. The guard uniform colors really contrasted nicely with the corps uniforms. The show was really fast paced. I loved how it builds at the end.
And the Little One Said - I liked the flags and the drum line and the music. The music was a real toe tapper.

Boston Crusaders - 90.95
He Said - What a fantastic performance tonight. They were really on. This was one of the more entertaining shows on the field in all respects. The guard had a few problems tonight, but they were not major detractors from an awesome job.
She Said - I really liked the opening to the show. It was very interesting, and really caught your attention immediately. I hated the pink flags in the middle of the show. They do not fit at all. I liked the end of the show when the guard tosses their flags over the horn line in succession until the last flag in the center remains.
And the Little One Said - Their show was excellent and the music was really exciting. I liked the guard because they were awesome, and I liked the drill. It was cool.

Phantom Regiment - 94.75
He Said - I love this show. The musical selections are my favorite of the year, and the arrangements are fantastic! The horn line is powerful - loudest of the night. The guard did not have a very good show tonight, but the rest of the show was fantastic.
She Said - They did a fantastic job. The crowd clearly loves them this year - some of the best responses of the evening. I do not like the all white uniforms. I wish they had all black again.
And the Little One Said - They were really, really, really good. I can't stop singing the music. The flags are really boring because they are all the same - just with different colors - and it's not even a cool flag. The guard dropped a lot tonight.

Santa Clara Vanguard - 94.7
He Said - They were on fire tonight. What a performance! They should not have dropped a place tonight, but should have widened the spread over Phantom and closed the gap on Cadets. I absolutely LOVE this show!
She Said - The color guard did not do a good job tonight. There were several drops. The drill was really fascinating - very fast and clean. The cymbal line was really cool.
And the Little One Said - They were excellent. The music was really loud and weird. I liked the beginning how the music switches from side to side. The colors were really pretty.

Cadets - 97.1
He Said - They performed a lot better tonight, but visual execution was probably the worst of the three nights. Forms were not clean, bodies were bouncing, intervals were scary. But they performed the snot out of the show. The guard was amazing and the drum line was tight. The show design is good, but doesn't knock your socks off. The horn line sounds like it runs out of gas at the end, because they are spread out from end zone to end zone - and don't have the power to compensate.
She Said - Their color guard is simply awesome! They have some really neat drill moves, but all of them were re-hashes from prior years. Otherwise, the rest of the show didn't really do anything for me.
And the Little One Said - They were really good tonight. I liked everything. But Blast does that one song a lot better.

Cavaliers - 97.25
He Said - They did a fantastic job tonight! There was no comparison to quarterfinals, where they almost fell apart in the opener with the massive phasing side to side (score and placement in Quarters was a huge gift in my opinion). The entire corps was performing their hearts out, and really got into the show. The crowd was very responsive, which cranked up the energy level even more. Awesome job! They deserved second place based on execution, but their show had the best overall design on the field, and was the most fun to watch in my opinion.
She Said - CHAMPIONS! WOW! This show is visual eye candy. They have everything. The show is very entertaining, and I simply cannot believe how fast they move. We can stay for the encore if they win.
And the Little One Said - They were so good - they were all fired up. I liked the guard costumes and the white man's groove part, but I didn't like the flags. The arrows were kind of ugly and they were all the same for the whole show - boring!

Blue Devils - 98.8
He Said - The performance and execution in all captions was fantastic - the design leaves much to be desired. The music gets old after the second listening, and there is once again not all that much musical development - just a lot of snippets and repetitive phrases with the occasional melodic line thrown in. It's practically minimalism. It's not a bad show - just not a very good one in my opinion. Honestly, I think they have the worst designed show on the field tonight, but clearly the best performed show - thus, earning the first place finish.
She Said - The color guard was incredibly good. They dance really well. The drum machine part was kind of cool, but the drill was really boring. If it wasn't for the guard, I would have fallen asleep.
And the Little One Said - I don't like the flags or the costumes. The drums and the horns were really good. I just really didn't like their show. And I REALLY didn't like that gross part in the opener where they play the really gross sound thingy. They should be in last place.


Here is my review of DCI finals.......

Spirit.... another fine show.... really sold musical book, which worked well, and they were competent in all segments.... I felt score was a bit low...general judging statement; it is not necessary for judges to "hammer" the first corps or two on in finals, and it is ok for there to be less of a spread from 12th to first if the performances warrant it, even less than 10 points from 12th to first.

Magic... another fine performance... brass played well, percussion competent... good drill.... show has some strong impacts...

Crossmen..... drill seems a bit tame compared to other finalists, and they didn't execute well in places...some ensemble playing seemed a bit insecure... good horn impacts, though, and some fine jazz phrasing later on.... crowd loves ending....some tasty percussion..brush work cool... I actually felt both Spirit and Magic had stronger programs tonight......

Crown.... hornline plays with fine quality, and the coordination in this show was excellent.... arrangements much better than last year, with some fine impacts... some fine guard work and competent percussion... I felt they should have held semis placement.....

Madison.... visual programming is no longer an issue, and they performed well... not my favorite Madison music book, but they still showed some strong impacts and serious range demand...... drumline had some demanding stuff.... I felt they should have been 7th above Bluecoats due to superior demand and effect....

Bluecoats.... had some strong impacts, and their forte was strong execution in many places.... drumline played well, but book a bit safe compared to other finalists.... arrangements left me wanting more in places....

Boston..... fine show, arrangements, and coordination, which sold to the audiece.... drumline really getting there...... some minor execution/quality issues in brass, but a full sound.....

SCV... very difficult show with great coordination...... brass struggles with quality in opener, then improves...big impacts and they play with emotion and sell the program.... drumline can hang with anyone.... a better brass performance level throughout would make them a serious threat.....

Phantom.... they saved their best for finals.... tremendous brass sound and impact..drumline not shabby, either.... perhaps could have a bit more visually which would put them right there in the hunt.... I had them a strong 3rd.....

Cadets..... stellar performance level tonight..... drumline smoked (and won)..... brass played their tightest job of the year..... still could have used more impact at the end of Malaguena and Rocky Point, but it was still effective. I had them in 2nd tonight.

Cavaliers.... opener worked well..... had some minor timing issues at places in the show, both individual and ensemble..... evident in some slight phasing in the feet.... baris lost control when they attempted bigger impacts... musically, the show goes downhill after the opener, and effect was almost exclusively visual. The visual book is top shelf, but musically after the opener is an afterthought.... I am puzzled that they beat Cadets (or Phantom/SCV) in music effect, and they can thank that judge for keeping them in second, as without his number they were 3rd..... I had them in 4th tonight........

Blue Devils...... tremendous performance... hornline is stellar, drumline not totally razor, but a tough book well played... visual very tight and staged everything well..... sold the show.... incredible range and dynamic demand handled... champions...

General.... God again intervened and cleared the weather in time, and boy it wasn't good that day...... good crowd...... Marines gave good prelude show, and played some traditional stuff well for the corps to march in to for finale....



Well, after getting back from Orlando & re-couping, thought it was time to share my thoughts on Finals week & the season. I'm going to combine all 3 nights of Division I competition into this one review, so hang on - it will be long.

For reference, I marched with Black Gold in 1990 and also taught & toured with them after that. I also started college as a brass music major, though later changed that. I've also written some drill in the past, and in terms of what I'm most knowledgeable about it goes like this: Brass, Visual, Guard & Percussion, in that order. Percussion is the one area I know very little about.

This is my 15th Finals to have attended in a row, and I'd have to rank it in the top third of that grouping, weather aside.

Pioneer -- First, Kudos to Pioneer for a remarkable improvement in performance quality over 2003. Drill was not stellar, but was a huge step up from last year. Brass & Percussion were also solid & clean. The show itself was not overly memorable EXCEPT for the color guard. The guard uni was hideous. They looked like construction barrels & were just about as visually interesting & impactful in the show. Pioneer used to have fairly large & respectable color guards. I wonder what has happened? There are many Div II & III guards out there now with bigger numbers & better programs. I wonder what has happened. Pioneer, IMO, needs to seriously think about stepping down to Div II next year.

Troopers -- In a testament to the strength of the Div I competition in 2003, Troop was about 100% better in 2003 than in 2002. They actually came across as a competitive corps this summer. They were far, far better than just 2 points ahead of Pioneer, but the gap in front of them was about right. I really liked this show. It was a nice update on Casper traditions, with a solid drill (best I've seen from them in a long time) and some accessible music with western flavor, but not throwback tunes. The horn line was young, but put out a nice full sound. The guard, while much improved from 2002, is still the weakest link in the corps. This group is definitely headed in the right direction -- and just might be a sleeper for Semifinals in Denver next year. I love the new unis & hope they pull it off. On another note, is it really fair for Pacific Crest to have bumped Troopers out of DCI membership status (top 21) when PC is not a full time touring corps? I don't think so. Go Troop!

Southwind -- Another quality show that was better than last year's product but bumped to a low placement due to the bar continuing to be raised. Musically, I really liked the book. The brass line was powerful, but did not always have a nice sound. Drill was a step up from last year, but still way behind the SemiFinals corps of this year in terms of demand and effect. Color Guard was very hit or miss in this show. They had some beautiful, impactful moments such as the gold double flags in the ballad. They also had several points where they did not add to the show (the curved gold poles were a big dud & way over used). I'm still waiting for this group to deliver on the promise they showed in 2000, and I'm beginning to wonder if they will. Perhaps the turmoil in the MSDBCA hurt S/W more than it did Madison? Or perhaps it's the presence of 2 more new mid-south corps (Memphis Sound & Eklipse) that is hurting them.

Kiwanis Kavaliers -- While considerably smaller this year, Kiwanis took a huge step forward in 2003 from an execution perspective -- at least in brass, percussion & marching. In all 3 areas they were clearly better than Southwind. A nice, clean show that reminded me in several ways of the old Dutch Boy style. The beattles music did not do much for me, though, and the guard did next to nothing that added to the show in my opinion. This show, to me, was like the lite-pop Adult Contemporary station you find on the radio. The show could have benefitted from a bit more up-tempo, on edge parts to the brass book. Too much mellow music for my tastes.

Capitol Regiment -- This show is an enigma to me. There were parts I really liked, and parts I really didn't. I thought the drill was picturesque and innovative in places, and muddled and uninteresting in others. The same goes for the music. The strength of the corps was definitely the color guard, and congratulations to Cap Reg for taking their guard program to such heights in such a short time. It was only a few years ago that their guard was tiny & an after-thought! Musically, not my favorite arrangements, but the show did grow on me as the year progressed. The grouping of Pacific Crest, Capitol Regiment & Mandarins was indeed very, very tight. I think the judges got it right, though. Mandarins had more demand & PC had more GE.

Mandarins -- You've got to admire this gritty little corps. Every year, they bite off a huge chunk of demand, and by finals week they pull it off. The show was rough around the edges as a result, but had a lot of nice moments. The show was very much a Glassmen/Phantom Regiment greatest hits show, and the Steppes & Bachanalle parts of the show were very effective. The color scheme in the guard was wonderful. Just a very well thought out & designed show -- reflected by strong GE scores. With just a little bit better execution, they would have made Friday night's show. Definitely the best Mandarins show ever, in my opinion -- as well as the largest. I would love to see them keep growing & moving up!

Pacific Crest -- Well, it can be debated as to whether or not the corps should have made Friday's show, but they were definitely right there with Mandarins & Capitol Regiment and I had just as much difficulty seperating the 3 as did the judges. I think the guard made the difference for PC - both individually and in terms of overall impact to the show. The cubes were nice & used very effectively. The corps was not as clean as either of the other 2 in their grouping, but was more impactful, IMO -- agian thanks to the color guard.

Colts -- A nice year for Colts, especially musically. Unfortunately for them, the rest of the "finalist" caliber Div I corps have passed them by from a show design & impact perspective. Without such a solid hornline, the Colts would have been in jeopardy of even making Friday's show. Color Guard in particular has taken a big step backwards, from both a design & performance perspective. You can't compete for Finals when your color guard is in 20th place! The drill design, IMO, was also a weak point for Colts. I miss the big, wide-open drills Colts used to do. Musically, the show has some nice impacts, with the ballad being a nice highlight.

Seattle Cascades -- In many a year, this would have been a top 12 show. The competition was just too tough this year & Seattle did not have the spark & execution to push them over the edge -- with the exception of their wonderful horn line. That was a very meaty book played by Seattle -- and they played it very well. The show was a nice, sophisticated latin style. I thought the drill was a step back from last year, and not executed as well either. In the end, I did not think their color guard measured up to last year's edition -- or that of those above them in placement this year. Still, great to see a very solid show from this corps & I hope they come back with another great crew next year!

Glassmen -- Ok, this group still sells a T-Shirt that says "Sill Bored?" I want them to add a giant YES underneath it. Glassmen had a solid set of performances in Orlando - and in the past probably could have placed as high as 10th. But they deserved to be no higher than 14th in Orlando. The hornline has definitely regressed this year, and did not match the improvement rates of other lines during the year. I absolutely hated the color guard program, all the way down to the uniforms. Visually, the corps marched pretty well (much better than Blue Knights or Spirit), but it wasn't enough. The final missing piece for Glassmen was the disappearance of what has been a top 6 caliber drum line over the past 6 years. Not up to that standard this year & with a grouping so tight between 10th & 15th, that could have made a huge difference. I really, really hope this will push Glassmen to go in a different direction creatively.

Blue Knights -- I was very surprised that Spirit edged them out of finals, as I felt BK had a much better performance on Friday than they did on Thursday. I liked this BK show the most I have liked a BK show since 1998 in Orlando (I still love that show). The music was haunting & memorable. A nicely designed & executed color guard show as well. In looking at recaps, it was their brass score that cost them their finals spot, and I'm not sure I agree with that. The had a strong horn line with a well balanced, dark sound. Look out for BK next year in Denver. I'd be shocked if they don't roar back into finals. Definitely 2003 was best BK show of the past 3 years.

Spirit of JSU -- OK, we all knew it was coming. For weeks I'd been saying that that Jim Ott Flag was bound to come out during Semifinals -- and sure enough -- there it was. Kudos to Spirit for saving it for the Let it Be Me tag for the end -- keeping an element of suprise & setting up a wonderful GE moment with great goose bumps. I guess that flag was worth about a point and a half? (SMILE). Whatever the case this was a nice show. It seemed to be the least progressive & innovative of all the top 12 shows, but a very solid hornline carried this corps in my opinion, and never got enough credit from the judging community. Visually, the corps just does not march that well. They LOOK like a college marching band out there. I was a bit surprised -- but not necessarily disappointed -- that they made Saturday's show. I hope they take their visual design & CG up another level next year, or they may not be so lucky next year. After all, a Jim Ott flag will only work once.

Magic of Orlando -- Man, did this show come a long, long ways this summer. I was not sold on it in Louisville, or even in Denver. But by Finals week, they obviously belonged in top 12. I enjoyed the music book, even though it was a bit relaxed & lacking in up tempo & intensity. I actually really enjoyed their version of Mass and found it to be very "Florida-like" if that makes any sense. By far the best color guard Magic has EVER had -- with terrific performance & flag work to compliment some very nice silks. This corps has such a terrific uniform & it gives them a very clean look on the field -- accentuated by their very nice marching style. Highlights of the show for me was the end of the opener (very exciting) & also the neat drill towards the end of the show where 3 cymbal playes keep a line that other groups keep hitting as the corps keeps morphing across the field (very cool once you catch it). I just pray that they work out their finanical issues and are here for the long haul. While it would have been almost impossible for this edition to live up their 2002 show, I did really enjoy it & it's one of those shows I want to keep seeing again.

Carolina Crown -- Hard to argue with their placement, as I thought their performance actually peaked in Quarterfinals. In none of the 3 nights did Crown's spectacular guard live up to their performance in prelims in San Antonio -- with several drops all 3 nights. Still, this is a guard and a show to be cherished for a long time. As I've said before the hangover from YEA is definitely history. This show brought back the old Crown that I know & always loved. A terrific, memorable drill & wonderful music made this a complete package. With better execution musically, this corps could have challenged the 6-8 pack. In the end, it was horn line that cost them 9th, but still -- by far the best horn line from CC in a long time. I hope, hope, hope that those young kids (this was a very young corps, making what they did even more awesome) keep coming back to Carolina. If they do, they could be only a year or 2 away from top 6. And I LOVE the new uniform. Way to go Crown. One of my favorite shows of the year. Just brilliantly designed.

Crossmen -- As visually stunning, exciting and innovative as Crown was, Crossmen were just the opposite with a been-there, done-that, unispiring visual show (which was not marched well either). What saved this corps was a very strong music book & performances from their horn line & drum line -- and I agree with them moving ahead of Crown on that basis. The judging for both corps was pretty much dead-on, in my opinion. Crossmen had their best show of the week on Saturday, and got rewarded for it.

Madison Scouts -- Madison is back -- back to their middle of the bottom of the top 12 status. Not yet back to top 6 caliber. But -- I wouldn't count them out now! It's amazing how much this corps has improved in one year -- and especially in color guard. I did not like all aspects of the guard's program, as their was way too much attempted-macho preening that was not fitting to the show, but this group had many of the same kids that were there for the 2002 meltdown. With a better drum line, this corps might have been 6th. If they can keep escalating their visual design and find a drum line, we could have a legitimate top 6 again sometime soon. We'll have to see. Musically, this was a nice show, with vintage Madison impacts, yet designed very freshly. I still loved the moment at the end of the ballad when the bright 2003 flag comes out to transition to the rest of the show. Very simple, yet very, very effective. And -- I LOVE Madison's new uniform. It's a great step forward for them and I hope they keep it relatively intact.

Bluecoats -- Maybe Blooo's best corps ever, but certainly not my favorite. I would definitely have 1995 and 2001 over this edition from an enjoyment perspective. While the concept was neat, there were parts of the show that seemed to drag on. I'm not sure why, to be honest. What a nice rich horn sound this corps puts out. Can we say Texas talent? Color guard seems to be the weakest link in this corps now and will need to be addressed if they want to move higher than the 6-9 range. Another uniform (though old) that I really love & hope that never gets changed.

Boston Crusaders -- I just love the intensity the kids in this corps put into their shows, year in and year out. I wish that translated into more power by their horn line though -- my only quibble with this year's edition. I did not agree with the huge score the corps got in Semis & thought the Quarters & Finals scores were more on target. Another nicely designed, beautiful ballad from Cru as well. I do wonder where this corps goes from here, though, and I think next year will be very telling to see if they can move on and up in terms of design & innovation. I hope so. I've really enjoyed Boston the past 5 years & 3 top 6 finishes in four years is a terrific accomplishment.

Santa Clara Vanguard -- VANGUARD!!! Wow, did they work the hell out of this show this year. I thought it was "neat" but not overwhelming in Denver, but by Finals week, they really worked hard to sell this show. The amount of intensity & energy in this show was unmatched by anyone -- anyone -- in DCI this year. I didn't even have a problem with them beating Regiment in Quarters & Semis. That said, they peaked in Semis & their Finals night show was not as crisp or clean. Some of the last major drill moves were very sloppy & it took the wind out of the sails of the end of the show. That cost them 4th, in my opinion. Still, this has to rank right up there with 1989 & 1990 in terms of the level of performances out of the entire top 5. The gap in score between SCV, PR & the top 3 was far too large, IMO. Both SCV & PR should have been in the mid 96 range. Where will this corps go musically next year? I hope in a new direction. While I liked this show a lot, I'd like to hear something more "beautiful" from SCV next year. We shall see...

Phantom Regiment -- 3 words -- Oh, My, God! Was this corps special or what? One of the best music books I've ever heard. I will admit my bias towards Regiment, absolutely. But -- my one big gripe with judging throughout finals week was the brass caption. This corps should have been first or 2nd in brass -- and no worse. To be only 2 tenths ahead of SCV & behind Cavaliers & Cadets was crazy. At least they finally got some of the credit they deserved in Ensemble Music on Saturday night, but again, that score was low to me. Musically, from GE to Brass to Ens. Music to Percussion, this corps was absolutely stunning. Maybe their best musical package ever, and that's saying a lot from a corps that's given us shows like 87, 89, 91, 93 & 96. Visually, the corps was much stronger than the past 5 years -- and that allowed them to return to the elite top 5. They were the weakest of the top 5 though in visual -- both in design & execution. They just didn't have as much demand or things going on than their peers. While the guard was beautiful in the opener & closer, they got lost in many other places. The choice of guard uniform was poor. Particularly weak to me was the design fo the guard's show during the Lord's Prayer. Unbelievable musical moment, but less than memorable color guard impact. The piece was screaming for something much bigger & more impactful from the guard. That said, all visual opportunities were trumped by astounding musical design & excellence. Were they 4th overall? Debatable, but ok. BUT -- not by the margin the actual scores gave us. The show will live on in my mind for a long, long time, and the end was just an incredible rush. So many, many memorable other moments, too -- the booming low brass entrances in Wild Nights I, the percussion wedge, the haunting, aching opening notes, I could go on & on. This was a show that was over before it even started, or so it seemed. Up one place each year. Is 3rd next? If they continue the visual improvement to match their music (and please, please, please hold on to Paul Rennick, Regiment!!!), it's quite possible.

Cadets -- Cadets were robbed. Based on Saturday night performances ONLY, they should have beaten Cavaliers (I'll get to that). 3rd on Thursday & Friday? Yes. Saturday? No. While not innovative by any stretch of the imagination, this was a solid, solid drum corps show. VERY VERY clean, and lots of excitement. The corps marched as well as I can remember, with a nice, demanding drill to boot. I thought the closer was the weakest part of the show. While the rest of the top 5 were cutting edge in different ways, I found Cadets to be predictable, vintage drum corps. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, though, and I enjoyed their show.

Cavaliers -- The Green Machine definitely peaked on Friday night. I will say that I enjoyed this show more than any Cavalier show since that wonderful 2000 Niagra Falls show. Musically, this one was just much more interesting than 2001 & 2002. What was missing was quite the same level of execution. I thought a couple of noticeable tears musically near the end should have cost them 2nd. Otherwise, a genious of a show design, with nice highs & lows. The ballad was haunting. Congrats on a very succesful year in my eyes, Cavies! Now, please, please, please bring back a real music book next year.

Blue Devils -- In a league of their own on Finals night. Interestingly, I actually thought that Cavaliers were better on Thursday & Friday. BD just out-executed everyone this year. And that color guard? One of DCI's best ever. Wow. Also, by far the best, most demanding drill ever attempted by BD. In fact, I still stick by my assertion that they may have had the hardest drill of any corps this year. That's not saying it was the most impactful or innovative -- but they really flew this year -- with terrific technique & control. Musically, this show was very strong, but I found it more interesting earlier in the year. Not sure why. Definitley deserving of first place, though.

Here were my thoughts by caption & a few other things:

Guard -- BD
Brass -- Regiment
Music Ensemble -- Regiment
Percussion -- Cadets
Vis. Ensemble -- BD
Visual -- BD
GE Music -- Regiment
GE Visual -- TIE -- BD & Cavaliers

Best Musical Programs this year:
1. Regiment
2. Blue Devils
3. Cadets
4. SCV
5. Cavaliers
6. Crown

Best Visual Programs this year:
1. Blue Devils
2. SCV
3. Cavaliers
4. Crown
5. Cadets
6. Cavaliers

Favorite overall shows:
1. Regiment
2. Crown
3. Blue Devils
4. SCV
5. Cavaliers
6. Cadets

Overall, a terrific year. Congratulations to Crown, Madison & Phantom for terrifc improvments over last year, and a heartfelt thanks to Phantom Regiment for making me fall in love with drum corps all over again. I want to see this show again tomorrow. I'll never forget it, or the joy they have given me this year.

Harvey Phelps

Friday August 8

Orlando, FL (DCI) Division I Semifinals

FIRST OFF To the Orlando sport committee and the Florida citrus bowl! WORST PARKING EVER. who thought of parking cars over the lot where you septic tanks are buried?!? I mean REALLY after the show walking back i almost barfed up my funnel cake for god sake i am glad i had a few garbage bags in my car so i could wrap up my shoes or i would have been smelling citrus bowl funk all the way home.


ANY WAY........WOW what a show!

Drove over from daytona beach got there just as Pacific Crest (79.30) hit the field never got to see them .. but when i heard them it made me walk faster to the gate!!!!

Colts (80.05) kinda slipped a bit this yr but i think a lot of corps stepped it up a bit and they got caught with a entertaining SAFE show.

Seattle Cascades (81.65) Nice show didn't really stick with me. i know they had some nice moments just cant say they totally impressed me but they made semis so ..

GLASSMEN (84.50) whaaa??? the biggest drop out of the top 12 i can remember ( if it isn't "THE" biggest sorry ) this wasn't the kids fault they played there butts off. the show again seemed like it was a bit on the safe side..

BLUE Knight (85.35) clean.. not to exciting few good impact points but just not a crowd pleaser..

SPIRIT (85.50) lots of emotion in this show they came to fight .. and made it. have some moment where i was just floored . for me they should be higher in score..

Magic (86.50) home town show didn't really want to have a repeat of 1998 on there home turf... came out with a lot of emotion and power. very nice and pretty clean..

Crossmen (87.75) BONES was in the house so that was a nice feeling have not seen him since Allentown back in 1994 ( what happened to the crossmen stitched in to the inside of the cape???) Great show had the crowd rockin.

Carolina Crown (88.35) very clean show .. nice moments but.. if they have a bad night i see magic or crossmen passing them.. the unis .. kinda bland and i think the majors uni should have at least been opposite colors of the corps ( all purple with tan lines on the chest).

MADISON SCOUTS (89.75) WWWWWWWWWOW! talk about a come back. great to see them in the top again, talk about power and you can just feel the power off of them from start to finish. i didn't like the unis when i saw a picture back in the winter. but all together i can live with them.. drumline was out for blood, horn line was loud and "soft" very nice and great sound. they might have a chance catching the bluecoats if they take it up one more notch!!!

BLUOOOOOCOATs (90.40) I really like the show great drill nice show over all they just have to be on there game to keep there place.. he capture and escape concept was cool and they performed it well

Boston Crusaders (92.00) holy cow what a show brought the people to there feet during the show.. i was not expecting 15 snares for the beginning of malaguena ..I ABOUT SPIT OUT MY SODA ON THE LADY IN FRONT OF ME...

Phantom Regiment (94.65) what was the brass judge listening to he gave them a 19.00 in brass???? are you freakin crazy my band director i work with about went into coma from there show she was almost in tears .. drum line was rockin

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD (95.15) wow wow wow drill was clean, music was rockin, drum line was outstanding. i must say i spent the whole show watching the cymbal line they are scary scary people and i loved every minute of it..

Cadets (96.55) the show was great, but it felt like they where holding back.. i know it sound funny but they played clean, played clean, preformed and brought the crowd to there feet, but it did make me freak out like ever other time i have watched them.. are they waiting for finals to jump up a spot ( they could do it).. by letting it all hand out .. drums where on fire they might win drums this yr.

Cavaliers (97.25) drill was CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN .. but they show just doesn't to do it for me.. i had the same feeling from watching star in 1993, but i love stars show now after witching it a thousand time! i can see that happening with cavies show .. WORST GUARD UNIS EVER !!! bar none "African tree frog on acid" sorry i don't see a 4 peat .....

BLUE DEVILS (98.50) WOW they came to play and they did! loud tight, clean drill, attacked where dead on. drumline had me out of my seat and screaming they are going to be hard to over come by the top 4 or 5 could be done, but it will be a upset if it happens....

Over all a wonderful show not a bad seat in the house i was on the lower level, right side, on the 25 and could see every thing. i was happy cause most of the drumline staged there solos in the right and right near the 30-35yd line !sweet! the stadium might not be the best. but you can see the whole show from even a semi low seat.. cant wait to have it in Orlando again i am going to the whole week next time..

wish i could go tonight to finals tonight but i have things to do .. will be sitting at my computer to get scores.. wonder what they will be doing in the net for finals..?

these are my comments alone and my opinions if you have a problem with them read the constitution and get back to me.. you have the right to .. any problem with grammar and spelling, try reading the words of a rap cd lyric fold out mines canet beez that's bad.. sizzle buu dizzle.

Cj in daytona beach, fl

Thursday August 7

Orlando, FL (DCI) Division I Quarterfinals

Here is my review of DCI quarterfinals. Please note that I missed Colts (had to get a ticket down to the gate for someone to get in) and I missed Crown after the rain delay... sorry that I missed them.

Pacific Crest...... great to finally see them..... they had a decent show, and were competent in all sections... jazz phrasing in middle was excellent... a bit cleaner and they would have been in a bit closer, but a great job to make semifinals..... this corps has a bright future.

Pioneer..... had some decent moments... arrangements left me a bit flat... the hats didn't work for me personally..... I felt drill was a bit ambitious for younger/smaller group, and would like more emphasis on the musical product... 9 snares....

Southwind.... big impacts.... musical arrangements are not totally effective, and they will need to step up visual book a bit if they wish to move up the ladder in the future... the talent seems to be there...

Kiwanis..... decent execution at times..... musically they need more happening if they choose to be more competitive......

Troopers...... I liked them... growing in size, and I felt their arrangements were on the right track..... some fine impacts.... youth/inexperience and execution main factors holding them back, but if these kids would hang in for 2 or 3 seasons, they could climb the ladder....

Mandarins..... good execution at times, although individual horn errors stuck out of the smaller ensemble at times. They need more effective arrangements to become truly effective... it doesn't help them to do tunes that were "smoked" by Phantom, as they are far short, and yet now competing in open, ie not a good choice.... I felt their number was a bit high.

Capital Regiment.... they have great potential, as they did a fine job for first year in open.... this was another corps who selected to do Dvorak, which again had been "smoked" by Phantom in the past, and fell far short. However, they had some big impacts, decent competency in brass, percussion, and visual. Execution held them back a bit, but this corps could do well in the future if they grow and retain members....

Glassmen.... whereas they had finalist level execution, they did not have finalist level effect, and this showed in the audience. Opener wasn't too bad, but the show went downhill after that. Hopefully these results will help them realize that they must carefully select and arrange music that will connect with the audience.

Seattle...... had some decent moments, and horn line had some big impacts, but I couldn't help but feel that they could have had more effective arrangments. This, and perhaps a bit tighter execution, cost them some spots this year....

Spirit..... they smoked today. Tight execution, and decent arrangements played with intensity that had the crowd cheering on their feet. I felt they were clearly superior to Glassmen, Seattle, and Blue Knights, especially musically and effect-wise, yet the panel obviously didn't think so..... fortunately the semifinals panel would "get it right" as they passed them into finals......

Blue Knights.... some big impacts, especially early in the show, but there were also quality issues, especially later in the show. Visual book seemed decent, but musical book didn't sell, and seemed to have continuity problems.... they need to look at their musical programming as their problems are similar to Glassmen..... I felt their score was nearly 2 points too high.......

Magic.... fine job today..... hornline was on, and they have a good visual program... music well arranged... Sanctus a bit slow for my taste, but they did play it well, and the reprise was handled well at the end of the show.....

Crossmen....... the show is easy to follow and enjoy..... visual programming seems to be a bit down from the other finalists.... performed well, and good impacts, but I felt they could have been tighter in all segments.... crowd loves the ending....

Madison...... they have fixed the visual issues from last year, and marched a good show..... horns still have big impacts in places (but not as much as the past)... I think musical arrangements weren't Boerma's best, but there were still some good moments, and percussion is coming along.... I felt they should have edged Bluecoats due to having a more demanding show and better effect......

Bluecoats..... tight execution in many places was their forte..... improved visual from past years..... horns have big impact, but something seemed missing at times from the arrangements..... decent percussion, but other lines had more demand....

Boston....... fine, entertaining show with fine audio/visual coordination... good impacts and effect.... brass execution not always there..... drumline really getting there..... good show

SCV..... perhaps the toughest show on the field, well arranged and outstanding coordination.... horn quality issues in opener hurt them... horn quality improves for the rest of the show, and they play with emotion and impact, which connects with the crowd... stellar drumline can hang with anyone.... a tighter brass performance would put them stronger in the hunt....

Phantom... I take back earlier review comments about the arrangements.... they have really grown on me, and I think perhaps my first viewing was critical due to a down performance job. They had a great brass sound which they maintained throughout, and played with emotion that thrilled the crowd.... drumline is no slouch, either...... I could have used a bit more visual impact from the guard, and I think visual programming/impact may have cost them a title shot.... they may have a few too many body movements with the hornline.... they have made tremendous recent strides and if they continue, look out......

Cadets..... a very clean job today, and they sold the show pretty well also... I would like to hear them let it rip a bit more (ie louder/faster...) at the end of Malaguena, and the end of Rocky Point..... they are rapidly starting to execute at a very high level.....drumline and guard stellar..... I felt they were 2nd today.....

Cavaliers.... some fine quality in the opener.... good balance, blend, and intonation, and that arrangement works.... show declines musically from that point.... drill is great....some execution problems evident for a title contender..... they did try to open up impacts, but the fact they haven't done that earlier this year caused quality issues (that didn't show up in the score), especially in the baritones. Music comes across as being secondary to visual in this show, and arrangements past the opener lack musical substance.... balllad is too long, especially the ending, and the individual spin move becomes redundant for me. Drumline had some dirt. I had them 4th today, behind Phantom and just above SCV, with execution only keeping them out of 5th.

Blue Devils.... clearly the winner today.... extreme musical demands, both brass and percussion, handled very well. Brass has great control with a wide dynamic range, as well as extreme range demand in the sopranos. Great soloists... drill execution superb and stages things well.... strong, competent drumline.... not 100% razor clean, but are quite good when you consider the demand...not my favorite Devils arrangements, but I love the way they play the daylights out of what has been given to them... brass in ballad is fabulous..... champs....

General... good crowd... divine intervention fixed weather problems in time for the start of the show...... this stadium has great sound (don't get lost in the surrounding neighborhood, though...)..

General judge question.... with the new CG judge, do you guys ignore dance? Not only does much (not all) of it come across to the audience as ineffective (and sometimes disturbing seeing males doing extremely "feminine" moves), in many cases the timing, quality, and attention to detail in this so-called dance is simply not good, yet not showing up score-wise.


Saturday August 2

Allentown, PA (DCI) #2

Well, my prediction is now solidly "Blue Devils" --- although the scores assigned show only a 0.75 margin, they creamed the Cavaliers in my opinion.

Devils (95.45) went on first, audience responded again and again throughout the show. Seamless attacks and releases, crazy percussion exposure and execution. A GE machine with attitude! First time in a long time I've really, really liked the Devils. Smooth, "to the edge but not over" ensemble playing was luscious! Won 7 of the 8 subcaptions. I wonder if the brand of brass instruments purchased and used makes a difference? Devils (tonight) and Phantom (Friday) both had distinctly different, "meatier" sounds versus the other corps. I imagine it also has a lot to do with those that operate the horns!

Cavaliers (94.70) had to follow. What they do marching-wise is nothing short of miraculous, but there's more to drum corps than marching, and that's where it ends. Obviously sloppy brass attacks, intonation and releases (compared to the Devils) were covered by an annoyingly loud pit section, particularly the keyboards (while the brass was trying to sprint from place to place and keep from knocking out their teeth with their mouthpieces). Several guard drops at key moments, and in addition an errant rifle cracked a contrabass squarely about the head and shoulders. They just didn't have a good night. Audience reaction was pleasant and polite but not overwhelming. All this said, if they had been "on", who knows what the margin would have been.

Madison and Bluecoats tied for third (88.70) with the Crossmen behind by only 0.25 ; all 3 corps had very, very good shows and shows that were pleasantly different from one another. Got there late, so these are all the corps I saw.

Overall, Saturday impressed me a lot more than Friday. However, after seeing the Cavaliers I wonder if the Cadets might sneak into 2nd? Their book is not as impressive, but they're way, way cleaner and seem to have changed to the positive more dramatically over the last month or so (momentum?).

Take care.


I just finished the long ride's my review of Saturday....I'll do Friday before Monday....

Troopers... they are on the right track.... impacts were pretty strong, and I liked the book. Sopranos were pretty good.... mellophones had intonation and quality concerns, and unfortunately were exposed alot. At any rate, they have much to build on.

Glassmen... musical show did not sell......there were some interesting ideas, especially first few minutes..... arrangements simply not very effective,... performance level ok, but not stellar.... I don't see them in the night show next Saturday.........

Seattle... although perhaps a tad sloppier, I felt it offered a bit more than G-men... this show has some comporitional concerns, too. Prediction is this product comes up short, too.

Spirit...displayed confidence and solidarity in all captions. Some entertaining moments..... Performance level and appeal gives them a great shot next week...

Blue Knights... big impacts at times, however, show is out there from a musical standpoint..... they had some strong performance and sometimes not so strong..... I thought they were a tad overscored.....

Crown....they are not getting credit for really fine horn technique throughout their show....intonation, articulation technique and uniformity, and blend were among the best of the evening. I wasn't high, but visually they seemed up to snuf, and perc. was strong, too. I felt they were underscored, and should have beaten Crossmen and neck and neck with Bluecoats......

Crossmen.... improved since Thursday... they sold things well tonight, and Bubba was a big hit that they played pretty well.... they had some good stylistic jazz playing tonight. However, they srill have some ensemble and individual issues (not necessarily major, though)... For me, performance level will have a large factor in where they should place........

Madison...made it known early in the show that they are not going to take it on the chin by getting whomped in visual or guard this year. I thought horn line had a bit of a rough start, but gained mementum as the show went on. Design obviously improved... corps doesn't "let it rip" as much, however, they really showed excellent dynamic control, and still had some very big impacts. Soprano demand was very intense. They are not only "back", but if they return most of their members next year, look out. Had some fuzz, but recoveries were quick. If they are on next Saturday, they could take 6th, and I think they will battle Boston for it.......

Bluecoats....they are proficient, and some interesting musical moments, but they had trouble connecting with the audience. They perform ok, but there were lapses tonight..... I had them behind Scouts......

Blue Devils.... they were tops hands down tonight. Hornline has a terrific performance level.... they not only were cleaner tonight, but their dynamic range is nearly double that of Cavs. There is some absolutely incredible music demand in the show both in percussion and brass, and folks, they are getting pretty clean. The brass played with great expression and consistently excellent quality of sound. They have strong marching technique, and they don't lose their sound focus even when having extreme visual demands. They have to be the front runner for the gold next week.....

Cavs.... going on after Devils amplified their musical weaknesses..... limited dynamic range (ie nothing above forte) and continuity problems with arrangements..... crowd response was lukewarm at best for the majority of their show, noticeably not strong at the end, and most of response was to visual..... Drill is strong, and so is percussion....Brass has good quality and clarity most ot the time, although not their best tonight, but the limited dynamic range really flatlines them. They really have not addressed these same problems I pointed out end of this point, not only do I see Devils pulling away from them, I think they will be overtaken by Cadets, and even possibly Phantom and SCV......

Judging... not bad.... again, I had scores just a bit lower, expecially the musical caption scores... I had Devs over Cavs by over 2 full points as I would have had a substantial margin in music effect, as well as a caption sweep.....

Weather held up.... stadium much improved... good crowds.... Devs played great in victory concert...........................


So, after 4 1/2 days of band camp, off to Allentown I go, for what is probably my last junior shows ever. I feel slightly sad on the drive in, but the rain kills some enthusiasm. Great stuff in the allentown paper all week, i hope the articles were snipped onto here and DCP. The park wasn't as full as i expected on Friday, but again, given the weather, what can one expect? Only us true diehards would brave this crap.

Pre show see lots of folks I know, especially w/Cap Regiment, such as their drum staff and pitter Jami Mills, a DCP reg. Lots of familiar faces in the crowd.... always good to see Geoffrey, met Tom Moore, see Jimmy Cosetti, Adam was conveniently within talking distance and i could go on and on.

Food good. Shopping area crowded which is good for DCI and the corps. Didnt see a lot of tshirts i liked but i'll be back tomorrow... I wanna see LVK, Christine needs food and i should get some too to kill the nic fit. Taped version of the national anthem. Um hello... we have bugle players across the street?

Stadium looks great with all the revisions. my only advice is smooth that damn hill by the spectators entrance out. With all the work spent on the place, you could spend a few bucks to do that, as i saw many older people struggling with that hill. Also, Show commitee needs to have people in place BOTH nights to keep spectators from entering their seats during a corps performance. if this had been done, i wouldnt have missed half of Pioneer.

The corps for Friday from the 7th row 45 yard line:

LVK....great addition to the show. much better in almost all areas since i saw them at Reading. snare line however had a rough night. Firebird is much better and Ave Maria is absolutely gorgeous...this staff maxes those 18 horns to the fullest. guard much cleaner, and IMO, they have a shot at D3 finals.

Pioneer. Safe little show, lots of individual errors. I couldnt believe the percussion errors this late in the season on simple things like attacks. the Hurricanes hats looked good. veryt wet snare sound, rude on the buzz. brass had a few issues so my brass neighbors pointed out. all in all, the same as Pioneer shows every year. would have seen more, but i had jackasses in my way all night getting in their seats despite the fact the corps was on.

Capital Regiment: wow. Should have been over an 80 in my book. Murph wrote a killer battery book, and the pits hand flew all over the boards. Brass seemed very strong, and the guard from what i could see was handling the work well. Some feet issues, as i understand that has been the achilles heel all year. percussion section is a strength, and IMO, should have scored higher. Great ensemble brass sound in the ballad. btw watch that pits This is a corps whose future looks brighter every year. I cant wait to see where they end up next week.

Southwind: I like the black sash.Overal, the show seemed kind of blah, at least to me, and i thought the ending should have been better. I liked the hidden references to Lezghinka in the show, as well as other familiar melodies of the pieces SCV did back in the 70's. A little lower than i expected... i saw they dropped 5 points from the night before. Drumline had some moments... and some not so nice moments. brass had some power. very nice brass sound and projection in the ballad. Pit left me bland...i was hoping for more.

Mandarins: I liked em this year. Very cool show design, especially with some of the color guard role playing stuff( poor brass judge got a little wet) snare issues abounded, but hey it could be an off night. great pit sound. great use of bacchnale w/out being blatant Phantom rip offs.

Colts: Wow i wanted to like them. But the music left me flat.Some really dumb percussion errors for a week before finals. please go back to doing more interesting music. your show choices since 99 have been worse and worse.

Kiwanis Kavaliers: Last year they started on a trend of coming back to planet Earth and picking shows that was good for them. This year's Beatles offering fell back off that pathway. When my fiancee, a die hard Beatles fan has to admit she didnt recognize all the Beatles tunes listed, there is a problem. Performance wise They should have been much earlier..... they really made Magic look that much better. only thing that kept my attention really was when the guard did their little strip tease act taking off their white tops.

Magic: As we jokingly called "stuff everyone else made famous"....but, we liked it so much we stopped calling it that. Great strong openingin Sinfonia Vocci, and finally, after seeing 10 million bands do it, a version of Abrams Pursuit i liked.Sanctus was cool...slow long build and boom, Easter Symphony...loved the use of the bongos in Sanctus. so Wayne can write non jazz stuff eh:) drumline strong...good job drum staff, have the pit play out a lil more.

Boston: Love the show, however one thing bugged me, and really bugged Christine.... in visual school they say do not put big black things on the 40's, because they cover up the field...unless you have grand plans for them. Well, these big black things Boston used for maybe 32 counts at the end, and if you sat low, you missed a lot of stuff that was hidden behind them. Otherwise, I had not one issue with the show. should explain visual scores being low tho. Loved all the little 2000 moments stuck in there between Bolero, Time to say goodbye etc. body work and drill gimmick/ge moments fantastic. brass line played very well, with control and power, and the percussion smoked, especially the 15 snares...loved the low tuning, but be careful it makes you sound fuzzy when you may not be. loved the tenor tuning. this show still has a chance to pull away from Coats and Scouts. Thank you for the 2 Conquest hits... I chanted both times, tho not many others did. Attention all... I saw G stand and applaud Boston... hell has frozen over :)~

SCV: wow. i am not sure what to say here to adequately explain this show to someone who hasnt seen it. This opening, with the tradeoffs from side to side, and matching drill is ingenious, and the bottom bass, who goes all over the field, seemlessly ties in when the full corps is together for the first time. strong brass sound, and honestly the Bb's sounded G to a horn person with me. The guard is absolutely awesome, and the color of their unis works well against the corps proper. I will state for the rcord after seeing all of the D1 corps now that NO ONE SHOULD BEAT SCV IN DRUMS. and that Cadets did is a joke. shame on you Mr Prosperie. Ladies and gentlemen, and drummers too, check this line out. forget the "see em in the lot crap" see em on the move it's even better then! The show flowed so smoothly....great recap at the end of the show.....the cymbal name it this show has it. Am i ranting? Possibly. But ladies and gents, this corps was on fire, and in the eyes of many last night, the score was too low...maybe even should have been first.

Cadets, the corps with no hometown up next. Definitely cleaner, but Fanfare and Allegro goes nowhere...actually, coming out of Fave Things, you need something more attention getting. The sound is slow to start...first drum break, and oh look, the same lick they have been using for a few years now....w/some not so clean diddles. congrats on high drums. Malaguena is still enjoyable, but watch the execution on the cowbells snares. Brass lets it rip, but imo, SCV was louder. All in all, bery much like Boogie Woogie, just w/malaguena from a set up into the park and bark, and thanks sops for hanging over the end. Rocky Point, IMO is wasted as the closer. After the high energy rip faces off attempt in Malaguena, RPH just seems to come off lame til 1/2 way thru, esp w/the fave things inserts. Hey people got the Zpull...ok good job, unlike Hershey.

Final thoughts.... better yes. Only pit I couldn't hear all night.... gee thats odd. I noticed that in fans reactions, they either hated all things YEA/CAdets, or believed they were the second coming. there is no in between with these guys. I also noticed several anti A&E yells from the stands while George paced the sideline. 94? not IMO. cleaner yes, but not that far ahead of SCV and Phantom and nipping on Cavies heels. high drums...... please, not on Hoppys best day. and George, you're a distraction when you pace on the sidleine.also ,when you gesture crescendos on the sidleine, isnt that coaching, and isnt that illegal?

Phantom: Given all the online hype, i expected the second coming of 89 or 96. Now dont get me wrong, they are by no means bad, but they werent what i night perhaps? drumline much improved(thank you MR Rennick) strong brass as always, and the return of the crab step...yes horn players marching like men(tee) tho i dont know why they skipped in there. they look so damn cool in white again.......some things should be. loved the intro...such quality brass sounds. such a gorgeous build to it. the ballad is their best...and nice to hear battery in it, tho the release was kind of iffy, and could have used a little more power. very end of the show left me flat...great i hope they have a bar or 4 more coming to make it bigger. Congrats to Bree for her solo flag dance stuff... well done kiddo, you made Mburg proud!

Cadets line played everyone for retreat... nice lil beat. Wish I could have heard electric wheelchair instead.

You know the scores, no need to post em.

Saturday... wake up, go play mini golf at Putt U on rt 309. I won, tho I will admit Christine had me down after the front 9. then I kicked ass on the back 9, while she well... she sucked. Hence, I won by 12 strokes and finished one under par. Then to lunch, and then her dream, to see the Cavies rehearse. Got to see Sluggo finally, and he is as cool offline as he is online. Truly one of the good ones in this crazy game of life.

While talking to some cavies people, I asked what was up w/the drum scores... they said basically no one is cleaning the snare line, and as such it's hurting them. So, I walk to drum arc to check it out. Now i am no expert, but I have cleaned a snare line or 3 in my life, and let me tell you, cutting the line, pointing at a kid and saying fix it 20 times is not the way to clean the line. Example...... during the whole sit down stand up part, they have a cool thing where they are righ hand on the side of the drum, left hand doing a good old fashioned ballad cup type of lick. However, they have like 8/9 different approaches to the drum happening. So instead of taking 5 minutes to get everyones approach on the same page, they just cut and say fix it. No wonder their drum scores are as they are. This is a young line, and that kind of attention to detail should be mandatory, and should happen often, as the younger the player, the more likely they need to do it til it comes to be second nature. I know as part of a senior corps line of experienced players we did it. I know to some my comments are not nice and hurting the kids, but sorry, the sacred green cow is not above some criticism. And what is hurting the kids is not my comments but the staffs in actions. Aside from that bugging me all day, great ensemble rehearsal. nice to see that Cavies are like everyone else in how they rehearse and their is no secret trick to it.

Back to the park... Crossmen alumni out in full force, and i see tons of familiar faces. fire up the hibachi, and away we go. now this is drum corps... J Birney, the park at Cedar Beach, brats, dogs, beers, and friends. Lots of compliments on my anti a&e shirt too. (oh and hey Matt... should have heard the Crossmen alumni....ya know that perception we discuss... its widely held there. In fact, YEA was called a curse word by one alumni)

Souvie buying was fun, except SCV was out of hockey jerseys in normal human sizes(anything above an L) DCI was out of mid season cds, so mine get shipped Monday. Tshirts much beter this year than the last few, and my fave corps got what they deserved from me.

Singer for the national anthem had an issue or two... started too high. Good try tho, tough piece.

and the corps...again, 7th row, 45 yard line.

Troopers: I hate the black pants. bland bland least get a stripe. More up to date show design than in recent past....however many brass issues, and it isnt cause of the horns used, it cause of the players. drumline extremely strong.. great train effect. the show seemed to drag a little in the middle, but they picked up again towards the end, and all in all, the best they have been for a while now. Oh before I forget... pre show... sunburst and old school rifle exchange w/dm in the middle... absolutely awesome.

Glassmen: I want to be polite. Ok, that super fan of theirs was loud as always. Nice opening impacts, then they kinda lost me. drumline performed well, but the new staff seems to have lost that Gmen sound i liked so much. Ballas dragged on, and some brass performance issues. decent quality of sound tho. until fire, its tough to tell which element is where, tho the drumline and the wood toys let you hear the fire pop...tho some of the pops sounded like booboos. the ending to fire left me flat. the closer, just seemed to be a build to a big hit. this is not a finals year for them.

Seattle: the new kids are back....and outside looking in. The show is missing that spark they had last year...hunger and entertainment appeal. guard unis fit the show. nice into moment big hit, but brass tuning wasnt there. perc played well, and brass has power....but the show just doesnt have it. guard does some ok spanish type dance, but overall, the music picked doesnt help get the crowd going like last year.

Spirit: What a show. Love the tributes to other corps in the ballad, with the flags of Royer, Zingali, 27 and Bridgemen... 27th getting the biggest reaction from the fans. loved the Let It Be ending to the ballad. Powerful hornline, and i loved the time references in the show, and the 16th notes in the sops were done well. 1979, boom Nutville updated and rocking...killer groove, true to the original w/some added touches. App Morning rocked, even the lick right off Xmen 92.... nice touch. all these tribute moments to other corps was so cool... kudos is you catch em all, I dont think i did. Oh wow... Let It Be Me company front push.... so sweet... I actually had a tear hornline wasnt as loud as i expected, and some drum dirt...but they are definitely we see a Jim Ott flag for finals? or one for Jason Lowe?

Blue Knights: interesting lead in to the show...turn around big hit...wanted it to be bigger myself. lots of bass drums stuff....nice for impact. liked the hornline singing drum speak in the opener. however the tune failed to keep my fully engaged. ballad left me flat, and coming out of ballad seemed forced. so does the closer. this should probably be the 13th place corps when it is all said and done

Crown: God I love this show more and more. seemed a tad flat tonight tho brass wise. Color guard with the rifles and the timed to the perc score, and not a drop that i saw....such a perfect marraige of music and visual(yeah but Sharon says i dont notice guards) perc beginning is so sweet, and brass entrance is wow...clean and powerful. Stained Glass is a highlight must for all....really. i know i mentioned it above, but i cant get it out of my head. Carol of the Bells seemed a little flat intensity wise, but was still clean. here is my hope for Crown to make a huge surge this coming week in Orlando.

Crossmen: before I do the show, lets set the scene. The back stands are gone. Just a big wall now. Corps is setting up for the on field warmup, and from BEHIND the back well, in a lift cart, comes Bones, w/lights inside his shirt so he can be seen. by far the coolest Bones entrance ever. and a huge hype to the kids and the corps.seriously, when people noticed him(and everyone was looking for him), the place went nuts, and rightfully so. ok Bones, top that in Orlando:)

Ok, then the corps came out, and Rainbow is still, the highlight of the show. great brass impact, and again the guard w/that colored fabric is wonderful. St James was grooving, but didnt seem to have the power of previous viewings. drumline performed well here, and the guard added what looked to be a green top, which helped trmendously. I could hear the Chez influence on the sop soloists. Blue Rondo... perc scoring much clearer w/execution up... til the singles at the end of the break. Also, the very ending lick is kinda disjointed... feels like shots thrown wherever for being shots. brass re entry was smoking, esp the hit for Blues. Closer smoked...thank you for hiding the drum racks in the back. now please, I beg you clean that section... man what dirt at times. I know its difficult, but difficult is only so cool if it isnt clean. Becky held that last note long and loud, and the crowd replied to it. You go Xgirl (and be ready for band camp in 2 weeks). Some Cadets fan here said it's a bando show... horseshit. In fact, they are the new Madison... hear that crowd reaction when their score was announced at retreat? Boos, then cheers. Ever hear that before? this is solid drum corps, and is light years more entertaining than the YEA corps who gets all the perks.

Madison: the new unis aren't that bad... would rather the old ones. visually their feet look so much better under Jamey Thompson... no more herky jerky motions on direction changes. Color guard much improved. Loved the fleur de lis on an angle... twice even! Looking at the recap, the drum score hurts, and it is noticeable... I love ya Madison, but its no conspiracy.

Nice attention getting opening with the basses and the toms, and the 8 to 5 at 160 by the brass....opening impact could be bigger. however from there, the opener seems to drag a bit, then picks up leading to the ending....dug the screamers too. loved the hint of Rhapsody in the beginning of the ballad... followed by some way we were... nice touches, as were the flags of yesteryear. the perc groove immeadiately out of it was nice..... some dirt, but a good feel, and the horn hits were nice. next ballad was to me more effective, leading up to the big push..... closer seemed to drag....way too much up n down sensations. when finally approaching the end, then it felt like a good tune should. All in all, way improved, and no conspiracies need apply. What are those poles for. Please, they make not one damn bit of sense. lose them and see scores go up, betcha 10 bucks.

Bluecoats: Man, Ian looks short even on the podium( Sorry Dude, you knew it 's been coming since Mburg HS 1998) the crowd didnt boo...they blued. a step up for Blue in sophistication and story telling, but it works well. nice opening and great pit sounds (good job Tom) opening impact is nice and builds to a bigger impact...and boom that Coats groove is underway...nice brush work by the snares, and what a tenor line. Balld time, and loved the tango feel, referencing 01...pit scoring here makes it all come together, and what a brass sound played backfield. Loved the whole pursuit and capture thing, told well by the guard, who in all red stuck out in all the right ways. the whole framing sections of the drums was cool, as was the final capture of the soloist. lots of up and down in the middle, but it works and doesnt lose the crowd. My only concern is that the ending is big enough.... feels like it needs 8 more bars of power to nail it home.

BD: Wow. Hands down.... this is the show to beat. I&E like opening w/the drums is way cool, and performed well. I know some people complain that every old BD song in the world is in there in some way, but they make it work. They also have visual demand like BD never had before. I remember the old joke that BD never goes about 140. Now I dont think they go below it. Brass entrance way cool visually and musically. what power the hornline has, and the ensemble sound is wonderful... drum scoring fits in so well. The dissonance thing where the dm cues side to side is way cool, and the chord they resolve on is so sweet. This show is so high energy... it feels to me like SCV did last night. Blue Rondo is a joy to the ears. drum rack is back, and the run all around it to make a cool effect and cool notes. is it the toughest thing played no but its clean and adds to the effect.... and just looks damn cool. Ballad.... concierto de aranjuez, and what a sound... and what high note! Scat singing and a killer tenor lick... into West Side sotry and some serious pedal tones. Snare lick w/split 16ths player to player was sweet... touch watching their hands who was on the 8ths and who had the upbeat stuff they made it look that easy. Diggin the take 5 section. Wow what an ending... running, blasting horns, the drum racks again, and the guard is non stop... some tosses were higher than than I was off the ground in my seats. This show has it all, and I dont think it can be caught? #11 anyone? This show is for real. This show should be the champion.

Cavies. Ok so I saw them rehearse, so I know the show a lot better, music still flat except for the Miles Davis hit... thats the only time I remember them at ff or above. Yes they run/march well, and the visual gimmicks are cool, esp if upstairs. From the 7th row, I saw feet phasing and a bass drummer out of step. also saw a rifle take out a mello player. the new ending leaves me flat... I understand the whole "cycle" thing, and how it ends basically be replaying how it starts, but it just was.... well blah. Esp after BD. Not sure how they won ensemble music. Can't win every year, and this year, unless god intervenes, they won't. musically they still dont have enough loud to go with the soft, and you can still hear feet coming thru the horn in some of the running. Btw nice on field warmup of Korean Folk Song. Perc execution... well, see my comments about their rehearsal. Pit was fabulous. Quick fixes.... clean the snares.... add volume.... and pray.

Final thoughts. well, if A&E isnt repealed, this was my last DCI show. That fact saddened me, and really has my fiancee in a fit, but honestly, I liked 10 shows out 22... less than 50%. And with amps and crap coming, well I am not supporting it, just as I dont pay to see marching band shows. If this is going to be my last show, I know I didn't pay over $100 for my seat, like next year at Denver, and I went out at a stadium with a ton of drum corps history and traditiion tied to it. If you are a DCI director and you read this, I beg you, propose that A&E be revoked. After all your executive director glared at my anti a&e shirtt by the lower level mens room when he saw it. To the kids.... keep plugging.... I know it looks like crappy weather in the hell hole known as Orlando, but end your year as best you can, and thanks for making what is probably my last year of DCI a fun one.

Sorry for any typos a bad thunderstorm rolled in and i am getting offline before i edit.

Jeff Ream

General observations:

After BD, I thought I had seen one of the best drum corps shows ever. Then Cavaliers came out and completely redefined the concept of drum corps.

Right now, the difference between BD and CAVs is execution. BD is nailing their show. Cavaliers have far more visual demand and are still struggling. If they perform this show to its full potential, they will blow everyone out of the water.

The corps that most impressed me progress-wise was Crown. They have matured enormously in the last few years. Musically, a wonderful show. Kudos to the person who designed their guard uniforms - they look great on all body types.

Madison was great, but did not blow me away. Execution is there. Clearly, they are playing to the judges with the drill and music. Good enough for top 6, but if they want to make a title run, they are going to need a lot of whatever Mike Gaines is smoking.

My top picks in various categories:

Music Repertoire
1. Blue Devils
2. Crossmen
3. Spirit
4. Crown
5. Madison
6. Bluecoats
7. Cascades
8. Troopers
9. Cavaliers
10. Gmen
11. BK

BD held my interest all the way through. Ditto for Xmen. Spirit had a nice overall show and great moments, e.g. LIBM frumpany. Crown has really matured. Madison was intense, but melodies didn't grab me until the final number. Can't say anything bad about Coats; loved the tango. Cascades woke the crowd up after Gmen. Troop has a nice, vaguely identifiable selection of americana. Cav, Gmen and BK have a completely different concept of music, just not to my taste.

Music Performance
1. BD
2. Madison
3. Xmen
4. Bluecoats
5. Crown
6. Cavaliers
7. Spirit
8. Cascades
9. BK
10. Gmen
11. Troopers

BD is nearly flawless, comparable to their best lines. Madison has a gorgeous, lush sound, but hits are not as loud as usual. Sound thinned out at the end of the show. Xmen, what can you say, just great full-throttle sound. Biggest crowd reaction. BC is very smooth, but not maxing out the excitement level by a long shot. Top 4 clearly in a class of their own. Crown is starting to come on, but still a lot of rough spots and almost no upper register. Cavaliers have pretty much sacrificed their entire sound production for the sake of fast drill. Lots of individual and ensemble gaffs. Spirit and 'Scades are putting a lot of energy into the performance, but don't have the mature sound yet. BK, Gmen just not executing. Troop put on a well-controlled performance for a smaller, younger line.

Visual Design
1. Cavaliers
2. Everybody else.

Let's face it, Cavaliers have made all prior notions about marching pretty much irrelevant.

Visual performance
1. BD
2. Cav
3. Mad
4. BC
5. Xmen
6. Crown
7. Spirit
8. BK
9. Gmen
10. Cascades
11. Troopers

Again, BD performs a fast-paced drill to a freakin T. Cavaliers have the most difficult show I've ever seen and pull it off pretty well, only there were some pretty flagrant ticks. Madison has a drill comparable to BD, and marches it almost as well. Had a few ensemble breaks, but their recovery is amazingly fast. BC is smooth but doesn't seem to have all that much demand. Xmen and Crown have improved tons since I saw them at the meadowlands. Everyone else needs to spend more time working on intervals, phasing, dress, cover - the basics.

Vincent Ferrera

Allentown PA, August 2, 2003. - J. Birney Crum stadium. After a week of "putting it on hold" the Blue Devils and the world champion Cavaliers finally had the opportunity to "duke it out" on the field and gain supremacy and confidence going into Championships week.

Two contests since Indianapolis have been rained out where both superpowers of drum corps were expected to face off. Blue Devils finally eeked out a victory over the Cavaliers in Indy, but since then...... they have been waiting.... tonight was the night......

A sold out crowd wittnesed both the duel of the favorites and an impressive line up. It was thrilling to look left or right and see a packed house, not so thrilling to be jammed like a sardine in the souvie area.......but that's a good thing.

Again, like Friday..not a bad corps or performance in the house...... pretty much everyone has done their off season homework and shows are full of crowd appeal, sophistication, and good 'ole drum corps..... I also noticed corps are starting to look less and less like a carbon copy of each other, and the top supercorps..... kuddos for those building on their own strengths and identities.

Troopers led off with a fun show, warm up received a great response as they achieved a "suicide" and a sunburst. The corps was a solid little package with an appealing "safe" show..... guard was too small to be really effective but they did have a nice complimentary book. When wil lthe day come that the Troopers are back among the elite ??? Year after year, we wait, we hope...... I love this corps, as does everyone, I just wish they could get the right pieces in place to make Casper a formidable place again.

Glassmen were next and I was excited to see what they had done in a months time. I was disappointed.... Gone are the inovative, breakneck drills, in its place, a generic, unexciting visual program.... guard ??? Who came up with the idea to have the guard use blue gumballs ?? messy, ineffective and sophmoric...... that alone is enough to make one sigh......... I did notice alot stronger execution, and alot more confidence in the brass line but where is the emotion?? The concept of the elements is completely lost, it seems, in the show... I see nothing representing them, nothing telling the story of them...... I have no doubt this is going to place in the 13-14 range come Orlando. I hope they get a wake up call like Crown did last year and it will be interesting to see what next year holds.......

Seattle Cascades were next..again Lots of internet hype, not much in the way of it on the field. Their show was a nice solid production worthy of associate status but missing the polish and pizazz of a finals caliber program. Guard is improved over last year, brass is playing well, but not many memorable moments as of yet. What they do, they do well, but what they do isn't as exciting or as well staged as could be....I think they are locked into 15th place unless Colts make a surge.

Just why has Spirit been placing so low ???? Well...I was about to find out... and after watching this show/hearing this show... I havent a clue..... seems like they are rebounding scorewise anyway and will be in finals.... I can almost guarantee you that. The whole "time" theme is designed very well as the corps takes just the right amount of time to develop it before the hit you full force!! Hourglass effect with guard "pouring" through is also nice and clever...... The drill is quite tasty, pleasing to the eye, and starting to be executed rather well... hats the key to the placement of this show...execution, once they master it, the emotion will ooze out. Love Nutville, made me realize just how good jazz sounds on the field and realize that hardly anyone does it anymore..... The "tribute" section is very classy, just enough "schmalz" to make it extremely touching and tasteful. "let it be me" !! Was I the only nerd who stood for that?? I see this show in finals, I would like to say securely but Im not judging the field..I say they have "it" all over the Glassmen, BK, and Magic.... so expect to see them Saturday night.

Blue Knights disappointed me...sorry to say. What the &$%# are they playing?? I expected so much more based on the internet, I was disappointed and couldnt understand how they were beating Spirit and Magic........ I cant recall one highlight of this show. Guard has white uniforms, better than the ones offered in early season photographs. Brass played well, whatever it was they were playing..... too many "visual " things and body poses...they are sorta silly, as is the "chugga, chugga" whatever the corps was chanting.... I heard chuckles, did nothing to enhance the show or showcase the talent. This is not a show for finals and I see them thirteenth...... if not lower.

Carolina Crown, the "darlings" of the '03 season were next..and they did not disappoint. All the issues I noticed and wrote about early in the season have been addressed and refined..this show is hot !! and you can tell that the memebrs A) know they have a good show, B ) know they are loved by the crowd, C) are confident of the positive review and it shows in their performance. Everything works in this show, solid GE , solid guard, brass and percussion playing well, staged well, ...all good things. The show just whizzes by, timewise and its over before you know it. Drill changes in the mid section are evident and the corps is now more complete and confident heading into Orlando..they could catch Crossmen, which would be no small feat.

Crossmen were next and much improved since early July. Guard has added colored "tops" to their uniforms for each segment of the show. Over the rainbow seems to have been changed a little, the crowd ate it up, I still feel it's holding them back a little...... Next number is really swinging and jazzy. The visual program is refined and clean and they are selling their show now. They bring the house down with the end of their show and it is quite crowd pleasing. This is a fun Crossmen show, like last year and the year before will do well in Orlando.

The Scouts were next, the crowd just ate them up. Welcoming them onto the field... alot of "welcome back" were shouted. Wow, what an opening statement..the colorguard is absolutley dazzling witht their yellow & black silks. These boys can spin, and spin well...... a most improved guard and noticeable and welcomed change. Drill is vintage Scouts with sharp execution and broad field coverage.....Brass sounds as they have always, the music fits this corps image well. Crowd didnt react as loud or as positive as I thought they were going to, I expected more from the crowd, don't know if they were stunned, or expecting more.......this show fits right into "DCI" and today, while still providing excitement and accessibility that the fans want. This is a good, solid show with lots of effect and lots of things to enjoy... it will easliy be either 6th - or 7th.

Bluecoats...... Solid execution, appealing show design, competent guard and a pleasant sounding musical book. Again the tango section was quite appealing, done so well......... The capture/escape theme has been expanded on and the crowd liked it. Wonderful silk design, and good equipment work, for the most part. To take a line from the great Michael Boo... "Great corps, wont offend anyone" that is so true of the Bluecoats this year. Look fo them in the 6 - 8th pack come Orlando.

The nerves set in, the stomach was in knots and the tension buit as the Blue Devils were on next. Were they for real ?? Were they just another victim of "Internet hype" ??Could they really stay ahead of Cavies ?/ Was Indy a fluke ?? Could the drumline deliver ?? Can the guard really be better than ever ?? Well, for the first time this season, the corps has lived up tot he "hype" Not sure what I was going to see but what I did see stunned me. I was silent. I usually scream throughout a BD show, this one had me silent..... in stunned appreciation, almost a dropped jaw effect...... This 2003 Blue Devils corps is on a different level than every other corps out ther...ahead on everyone. This is the most professional, most polished group of individuals I have ever seen come out of Concord in a long, long time.... the old cliche' "they make it look easy" is out of the closet for this show. It is absolutly thrilling, almost perfect. Scott Chandler is an absolute genius, simple as that. The total integrated package, is what the Blue Devils have this year. No weak spots...... For those who like to "whine" about the BD drill..... faghedaboudit!! It moves, its hard, its demanding, its intricate, its exposed, its packed with "wow", and highlights the music even better than they have ever done. It doesnt stop... it flows from one set to the other with the most perfect transitonal skill I have seen...... And the brass is playing throughout each pattern/set. No park & bark, like some other corps........ Its a seamless effort. The guard has the most demanding book of anyone out there this year. Probably the most :notes:, the most diversity in style and the execution is flawless........ they toss high...real high... they toss alot... I mean alot... oh, and they are clean as a whistle ...again they do some dance, but as is the BD style, the dancing is so sophisticated and fits the music so well, its appropriate..almost called for in the parts of the show where it is. With all this, I still see room for the show to grow. The ending is still in need of confidence, as good as it is.... once they can clean it up, they really shouldt have anything to worry about, as long as they dont get too cocky, and keep their minds on the task at hand, victory is within their reach........ Wow, what a show.

Cavaliers were next. There was something wrong tonight. They had major confidence problems. I dont think they expected to be upended in Indy by the "Blue Crew" and then have the whole week to sit and stew with it. Their performace was tentative. As I have been saying all along...If you have no emotion, you arent going to sell the kind of show the Cavaliers have. Sure, wonderful execution, and awesome display of talent..but what are they doing ?? what are they playing ??? The music took us nowehre.... we wanted to embrace the corps, be apart of it... it is too sterile of a show, not enough peaks and valleys...... all of the "wow" maneuvers they were famous for are now commonpalce and predictable...... there was no fire in this performance. Guard uniforls are just plain silly, again, and even more blatant when "knocked down a notch" Theres no reason for the guard to look like that..again, whne you have a hard sell such as the Cavies show, you need all aspect of your corps working full steam to sell it... the guard just detracts and "cheapens" the effect desired. The reverse ending was kewl, I liked it, but not nearly as "wow" needed to not only beat the Devils, but hold off the hungry sharks nipping at their heels. Its upt ot hem..... No emotion, no title, even so, I dont think they control their own destiny anymore......... Spin cylce could either clean house or be washed up.

When scores were announced, and Cavaliers were announced in second, the crowd went nuts, many standing... it was weird, but the crowd was delighted that the Blue Devils beat the Cavaliers....... talkng to many after the show, it was unanimous that the Blue Devils were just simply amazing, better than they had expected and Cavaliers left them a little flat.


East Providence, RI (DCA)

My day started out sucking real bad because I spent the night in the emergency room with my daughter, but she is ok now.

Every year the Matadors schedule one of the quarterly alumni meetings on the afternoon of the show and it always seems someone will show up to this meeting that doesn't go to the other meetings. So I always run into someone I haven't seen in a long time & that's always fun.

The show............ First up, Matador, Sunrisers, & Buccaneer alum. Ritchee Price opens with the National Anthem. He always does a great job! Then an ensemble from St. Kevin's Emerald Knights with 2 outstanding numbers really entertained the crowd. The show sponsors are always kind enough to give the Matadors alumni assoc. time to induct the newly elected members into the Matador Hall of Fame. Then the full St. Kevin's corps did an excellent job reminding us all about that great corps from the past.

First up in competition, The Sunrisers............. I made my mind up earlier this week to buy something from their soave table & what was sitting there right when you walk into the stadium? Their table! I only have a limited amount of $$$$ to spend so I decided my support was going there. I bought one of their cd's (that should make Charlie happy). It was so great to see them on the field! They have some nice concepts, some good ideas, but alas just not enough bodies to pull it off. Still, a lot of heart & determination. Sunrisers, sometimes you just have to put your head down & push you way through the bad times. You've done it before, you can do it again.

Hurricanes...... this corps loves their program & it shows! There are many times during the show when they make the whole audience smile. The guard works it! Sometimes the guard makes the corps look twice as big. So I'm thinking, ok, a show about Las Vegas. How in the world are they going to work Mag. 7 into a show about Vegas? Then, when they actually do it, I say............. of course, it's so obvious, how dumb can I be? It fit's beautifully! I've heard how young the drum line was, and yes they are, & it shows but that's ok. I had nothing but fun watching this corps, & I can't wait when I see them in 2 weeks in West Haven.

Bushwhackers......... I am rapidly becoming a fan of this corps. This corps has guts & quality! They do not shy away from difficulty just because they don't have 50+ horns on the field. I have always appreciated them for being a good corps, but now I really enjoy their show. Seemed to be strong & show good balance through out every section. Size probably hurts this corps. It should not, but probably does.In the last 10 years DCA has done a good job of getting away from the "bigger is better" mentality. But I can't help but think this might be a factor.

Caballero's.............. WOW! The best Cab's corps I have seen in years! Took top guard, well deserved. I thought the Cab's were going to win the show on the strength of visual marks. Yes, I know the Brigs won visual, but I still think in the end the Cab's will be stronger. The one thing I can pick on is the placement of the battery through out much of the first 1/3 of the show. They just seem too far back & disconnected. It just could be that the stands were kind of low, so my vantage point wasn't the best. The Cab's were only 0.3 behind the Brigadiers, and have so much still to clean I think come Scranton they could pull the upset!

Brigadiers................. OH MY WORD! In the past, as with Bush I would think an excellent corps but didn't move me. Especially last year, they were a machine but a bit flat. Well, this year they are a machine with raw emotion that fills the stadium! Technically, flawless! And that's the reason I think Cab's have a great shot at overtaking them. It doesn't look like they have anywhere to go. I'm not saying they have maxed out, it's just that, the Cab's had many spots in their show where they were downright dirty, and only lost be 0.3! Brigs. music & visual were both incredibly clean, but as with the Cab's I have a problem with the Brigs visual show. It looked like the brass spent a good 1/4 of the show marching around in a block. All the lines were straight, the form sharp & clear but it just seemed too much of the same thing. And that's where the Cab's can catch them. Musically, I give Syracuse a slight edge, but visually once it's cleaned, I think the Cab's should be able to edge them out. As far as the overall show, amazing! They have so much quality I thing they could give many DCI corps a run they are that good!

So, even though my day didn't start out great it ended super. The best E.P. show I have ever seen. My complements to the Greater New England Drum Corps Assoc (GNEDCA) for a great show!

I know! I didn't post scores. They are already posted & I can't find them. It's late!

Bill Roderick

Friday August 1

Allentown, PA (DCI) #1

I hadn't been to Allentown for a show since '99, so when my friends encouraged me to go, I was thrilled. The stadium has been revamped and really is nice! Great job!

The corps:

Lehigh Valley Knights: The only division 3 entry tonight. Their show seems to be a bit of Fantasia with an attitude! Visually very much improved over 2002, alot more movement and BETTER movement as well. Musically these kids can play!!! Guard was awesome (way to go Jon!!) Their scores seem to have then right near the top of division 3 and as an alumni of when they were the Lehigh Valley Chieftains Sr. Corps - I have a soft spot for them. NICE JOB ROD YETTER!

Division 1 corps:
PIONEER: Not a bad effort at all, they are smaller than I thought they would be. I do like the show alot. Guard had some rough moments but some good ones too. Nice drumline, not sure how they are scoring though, but sounded nice. Best of luck Pioneer.

CAPITAL REGIMENT: My first viewing of them Live - ever. Ive seen a video from when they were in division 2 or 3 (cant recall). I've been reading about everyone's dislike for their "Brave New World" show based on Dvorak's 9th Sympthony.... But I LOVED IT! It was refreshing and new, abstract, challenging, and still had moments that fans can say "hey I know that tune!" BTW - Guard was EXCELLENT! I was please with their show and my first impressions are good ones - THANK YOU Capital.

SOUTHWIND: Havent seen the live since the later 90's, the season right before they went innactive. It was nice to see the larger corps out there. Nice package but at times lacks something. Drill has been a critical point with many fans and reviews Ive seen, but it does have some really awesome moments. Nice job guys!

MANDARINS: Somebody should tell these guys that they are NOT a full size corps.... but ya know what? They dont care - There is CLASS and DIGNITY leaking out of every area of this corps. I WAS IMPRESSED!!! Very nice show. This corps can march, play, spin, and dance with the best of them. They just need a few more members. 40 in the brass was kinda small but with a few more bodies in the corps in general and we could see the Mandarins making finals for the first time. AWESOME!

COLTS: One of my favorite corps. I was dissapointed with their placement last year. And after reading how young the corps was this year, I was not expecting all that much this year..... I WAS WRONG! Yes they are young, but these kids are still trained well, they march well, and the show is exciting from opening to ending. They start off in this cross formation... and end in the same formation. It got a huge smile from me. All sections seem to be pushing and trying to improve on their placement over last year. They sound they produced was a finalist sound. Nice Colts and congrats on cracking 80 tonight!

INTERMISSION: very boring. I give it a thumbs down.

KIWANIS KAVALIERS: This show is based on some Beatles songs "All You Need is Love". It had some nice moments, but I wasnt sure about alot of the visual package. Some things just didnt see to work for me. And the show was a little choppy, not too well glued together. The ending seemed to come out of nowhere. The members are doing a great job with the show - no doubt! Guard was very good from what I recall. Overall I really have nothing "bad" to say about them. Just keep cleaning it. Best of luck to ya.

MAGIC OF ORLANDO: My first live viewing of them since they did the Chuck Mangione show in 99. This has to be the COOLEST show I've seen from then ever! And the most intense! They open with much of the brass carrying lil bells (right?) and some of the guard with these mirrored panels. The show was called "Silver Voices". Marching was awesome, hornline was controlled but STRONG, drumline - fantastic as always, guard - same thing: great! Their drill was very very cool!!! Im pulling to see them make finals once again.

BOSTON CRUSADERS: NICE! The one friend I had with me, I think it was his favorite corps of the night. They really did some major stuff out there. Definitely they are trying to hold onto a top 6 spot. With a show like that, when they are "ON" they should be able to pull it off. The show is sorta like a sequal to their 2000 "Red" show, it is called "Bravo"! Many memorable moments that reminded me of their "Red" show.... NICE... keep plugging away and that 6ith spot is yours gang!

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD: VERY UNIQUE! "pathways" was the theme. They used that to their advantage and alot of the drill seemed to have areas where different sections would make a path (sometimes and odd one) in order to get to their spots. I loved this show from beginning to end - others don't, but then again I love abstract shows that are different. Every section of this corps was tight and if they keep up this late season momentum, could there be a top 3 spot again? They beat Phantom for the 2nd night in a row, so we'll see how that goes over next week. All They need its to overtake the Cadets, a good challenge but stranger things have happened!

CADETS: Great show, but somehow I just didnt find Malaguena to be the best selection for the show. It was awesome however and they did it very well - nice rendition of it... kinda different! The opening was a moving warmup - something not seen too much in DCI. Rocky Point Holiday was by far their best section tonight - very slick! They moved alot as I expected they would and the Z pull was very much appreciated - and they did it SOOO well!!! We'll see how this show ends up by next week.... FINALS!

and finally..
PHANTOM REGIMENT: I was very excited to see this show and they certainly didnt dissapoint me. Seeing them in ALL WHITE was truely awesome! I remember when they came to Hershey in the Black for the first time. Anyhow, Everything seems to be here for this corps, the visual package is VERY well written, especially the ending where the guard moves from spread across the field to this dance section on the right side - nice idea Phantom! They now have to be careful - They got overtaken by SCV thursday night and tonight. Either SCV is surging or Phantom is slowing down. But regardless of where they place this year I fully enjoyed this show.... AWESOME!!!

DCI never stops getting my blood pumping, every year I go and it just gets more exciting everytime. I might be there again tonight to see slate number 2. We'll see however. But if you decide to go - you will totally enjoy it! Take care and best of luck to ALL corps next week.....


Jeremy J. White (LVC alumni)

Sorry this is kind of late. I wrote a detailed review this morning after the show and when I submitted it somehow I got logged off and lost it all. Let's try this again shall we . . .

This is my 2nd show in two nights. My wife and I went to the West Chester show last night where several of the corps performing tonight also competed. So it should be very interesting to see how they do tonight. We drove from northern NJ and got in the stadium right at 7:30pm. Unfortunately we missed the Lehigh Valley Knights who apparently performed before 7:30pm. So I can't comment on Lehigh Valley. Sorry!

We used to see this corps alot when we lived in the midwest especially when we went to any Wisconsin shows. Performed relatively well as we viewed them from the sidelines. Hornline not very big but put out some decent sound. Percussion seemed okay. Guard had some issues but decent. Overall a good show but lots of dirt.

My wife liked their royal blue uniforms. Nice constrast with the green field. Very good "Brave New World" show with strong brass and solid percussion. Guard seemed to be pretty good too. Really liked Dvorak's "New World Symphony" selections. Performed well tonight as a whole in all sections.

Their "Dance Portraits" show was played very well by the hornline and percussion. Guard did very well too but the one issue was that because the corps yellow uniforms were brighter than the guard outifts the guard did not seem to stand out that well and may have not been as effective visually. Good show though.

This is their first year in Div. 1 and they put out a strong show to contend with the other up and coming Div. 1 corps tonight. First off, their corps uniforms are very Asian looking and really cool. Plus the guard outfits were very unusual and cool too. Their show, "Black Market Bazaar" really had alot of challenging hornline sections, particularly in the trumpet section. Their runs weren't super clean but you had to appreciate the fact their effort to try to play such tough brass figures. Alot of cool visual effects and they really do act like a big corps. Their percussion particularly the snares are very clean and have some great drum breaks. And the three large skin covered Asian looking drums were effective both visually and musically. Great job!

Here is a corps that really has a great sound right off the bat. Their show "Symphonic Visions" starts with a full fanfare opening and alot of energy. The rest of the opener though was a little unclear musically. But throughout the show the brass was very solid. The jazz section was swinging with good soloists. The coolest part of their show was that their last drill set, an angled cross, is the same as their opening set. Good closure. Hope to see them clean some more and perform with more emotion next week at championships.

Now to be honest I have never been a big fan of this corps. And I was reminded why with tonight's show. The "All You Need is Love" theme is okay but the arrangements have alot of cheese and cliches in them. The corps performs well enough but the music takes the listener nowhere emotionally. The guard was good but did some interesting body movements in connection with the whole love theme. I just don't think their instructors program this show well to make a big impact at all. Left me very flat. But the kids did their best with the program.

Their show "Silver Voices" was the first show to really get the crowd going tonight! Cool use of these small bells played and spread all over the field to create a cool effect and the guard carried these rectangular mirror type props the accentuate that "glassy" feel. Great hornline. Alot of power. Saw them Thursday night at West Chester and they played very well. Tonight they did the same. Percussion was very solid too playing a tough book. The guard was on tonight too and had alot of good tosses including one male guard tossing a rifle and catching it behind his back. Very impressive. Exciting show which at the end truly brought the crowd to its feet without hesitation. Great job!

This corps has alot of confidence and it shows. "Bravo" sounds and looks alot like their "Red" show since they started with Bolero again and drill wise were running right away. Great brass sound, especially in the trumpet. Alot of fullness and great range too. Percussion was very clean and articulate. Guard was throwing up alot of great tosses and making clean ensemble catches throughout their show. I really like their very original arrangement of "Malaguena"--alot of great ideas utilized musically. They made the crowd roar at the end too when they hit their last set and final chord and two of the guard climbed atop platforms on either side of the pit percussion and waved these huge red flags. And then after the last chord the entire corps falls down to the ground in a dramatic fashion. Wow! The crowd really loved it! Totally rocked!

We saw SCV at West Chester and really liked their abstract "Pathways" music and visual show. Really thought their brass sounded even better tonight than at West Chester--much more focused with the stereophonic brass opening section with the brass split on either endzone. Great sound from the horns and percussion were just rocking tonight again! Alot of difficult drum figures and they nailed them. And the "get down" drum break in the middle of the show was very cool! Really liked how they used a vertical file drill set at the first big hit of the show and then did the same set at the close of the opener but approached from the other side of the field. And I liked the small brass ensemble that used the mutes in the middle section to back up the soloists. Guard in blueish outfits performed very well too and nailed pretty much all their tosses. We just loved how precise and snappy their horns up and marching style is. Very impressive! Powerful ending musically and visually. Great show!

Well I knew the Cadets had their hands full after a very strong performance from SVC. We saw them at West Chester and really liked their show particularly the guard and percussion. The brass was a little weak and had alot of dirt in their playing. And I hoped that they would really bring a much better brass performance tonight. And I wasn't let down at all! Right from the warmup and the opening contra section solo and soli I knew that their brass was on tonight! They sounded so much richer tonight and not weak as the night before. And most obviously to me the brass was very clean. Didn't hear any brass fracks at all tonight. Love the brass swells when the corps is on the right side of the field and does some brass tilts to emphasize the swells. Lots of fast drill in "Fanfare & Allegro". And the percussion was simply great all night! So aggressive and yet so clean! Soloists in "Malaguena" were all on tonight too and alot of cool drill movements too. Crowd loved the shout sections of course. "Rocky Point Holiday" was great too with all sections performing very well. I like the collage ending which musically brings various show motifs into a huge "Rocky Point" push and into the familiar z-pull stretched from the middle of one endzone to another with great space intervals and no loss of intonation quality in the brass. All sections of the corps tonight were really on fire! Great performance! Alot of GE tonight.

It was tough to follow both SCV and the Cadets high GE productions. But their brass in "Harmonic Journey" are so amazing to listen to. Right off the bat the trumpet entrance in Pachabel's "Canon" is so clean and full and those baritones are so rich its amazing. The tone quality of the brass is so gorgeous and the articulation in the "Wild Night" and "Ostinato" piece was just amazing! Percussion was very solid and it was great to see them again after seeing them the night before at West Chester. I noticed more of their drum breaks. But their drum book isn't as meaty as SCV and the Cadets. Guard was very good but as some have commented to me, the black guard outfits combined with the white corps uniforms (which I really like seeing again) actually make the show visually bland at times. And there is some hard drill in the show but it's not as complex as SCV and the Cadets. And after a while the body movement thing got tiresome to look at. I believe the body movements were good but overdone. Plus even though the corps ended strongly pulling the corps into a tight cluster the crowd really didn't respond in a very emphatic way jumping to their feet until the last chord was done. There is a lack of GE in the show now and I'm not sure why exactly. But the crowd's slight hesitation at the end to give a standing "O" was telling. But no doubt a top 4 performance!

Well a great night of drum corps with no rain even though the forecast was for rain all night. The Cadets won convincingly tonight and SCV came in second beating Phantom for the second night in a row. Hmm . . . Well we will see what will happen next week at finals.

Dr. Love

Allentown, Pa. August 1, 2003. - On a night where cloudy skies delivered much rain and much more chance of rain, The real threat emerged on the field at J. Birney Crum stadium, home of the 25th anniversary of the Allentown DCI East/Eastern Classic.

The competition tonight was absoultey solid as there was no real weak corps, no real deficiencies in performance, and the venue offered a top notch, smooth running show that many other event coordinators should take notes from.

Bad weather hampered the region most of the day, the sun never really showed, but for the most part drizzle and dark skies were the order of the day.

The stadium was pretty full for a friday night show.....I, sat right smack on the fifty yardline, halfway up the stadium....this is what I saw.

Lehigh Valley Knights presented a solid show that was fun to watch and easy to be entertained by......If they were a larger corps, the confidence they showed could easily have propelled them into Open class, if they chose that route....since they didn't look for them to do some damage in their respective division.

Pioneer were next. Smaller than they have been, especially the guard. The guard was in fluorescent orange coats, not very appealing. The show "The Spirit of the Pioneer" was nice but this corps is having trouble selling their show. Nothing memorable stood out from what I can recall. They did do a god job of keeping it all together but I felt the music lacked spirit and emotion and it was a tough sell. I hope this corps can rebuild and rebound and be competitive again.....

Capitol Regiment were next. I liked the colorful guard outfits and the guard was quite capable. The hornline was full and rich with a solid deep sound, needed to sell "New world Symphony" and they did.....It was loud, but controlled. The visual program was mature and improved over last year.I think they could wind up in the 17th spot if they can clean their product.

Southwind came on the field next and I immedieately knew I didnt like their high school band style colorguard outfits.....Gold/Burgundy.....simple. The show had some nice moments but again, nothing really stood out. Patterns were nice, music was arranged nice, guard used curved poles ala 83 Freelancers.....A nice effort, a pleasing show, but I felt Cap. Reg is the corps to take the 17th spot this year.

Mandarin = performance. This corps is polished, sophisticated,and fun. They are a somewhat small package, but boy can they sell a show. Brass and percussion were tight, played well together, and hepled to enhance each other without drowning the other out. Guard was very good, and fun to watch....lots of stuff to enjoy. I noticed alot of maturity in this corps and at this rate, could be top twelve in a year or so. "Bachanalle" was the highlight, lots of stuff going on in the pit. Good show. Could challenge for 17th in Orlando.

Why the Colts went on so early is a mystery to me. Why the Colts are scoring so low is somewhat less of a mystery, but still...they could be closer to the middle of the pack. As usual, the opening statement presented by the Colts is top notch, exciting, and GE packed. I think the problem with the Colts is actually simple...... since 1993, the Colts have offered solid, consistent performances, but they are all similar, similar in design, similar in performance, and similar in emotion. I personally love...adore their style, I cant get enough but it seems like DCI, or what DCI is looking for...has passed them by a little...... I think for them to make a run for finals again, they need to mix it up a bit...other than that... awesome, appealing show, solid execution and wonderful total visual program. I'm pretty sure they are locked into 16th place, could catch Cascades, but 15th would be the highest they go.

Kiwanis Kavaliers, smaller than last year, presented a Beatles show. It was fun and entertaining, but its lacking the sophistication to be competitive. Guard was good, drill was good, arrangements were unique but they haven't got the "oomph" to get any higher than the lower third of the pack.

Magic of Orlando shocked the he** out of me !!! I wan't especting them to be so darn good.....and my God !!! that is excatly what they were......FIrst off, their field coverage is awesome, they utilize the entire field, with ease, and do it agian and agian. Guard is integrated into the show well, and their work and equipment are simply beautiful. This show, to me, is miles ahead of last year in terms of appeal and accesiblity.....Brass is solid and is selling their book with conifidence, as is the percussion section. If I had to pick one show to see again from this entire line-up, it would be this !! Look for them in finals.

How can you be "mad" at the Boston Crusaders......they have a show that works so well, is so appealing, and so full of GE and crowd appeal that you just have to overlook the fact that they are "getting away with murder" in regards to show design and re-hashed moves and maneuvers. First off, the guard is the best they have been in terms of execution and demand since the late seventies. They have a book that highlights their skill effectively, and they rise to the ocasion. The actual silks are beautiful and highlight the show perfect. The music is well known...... full of highs and lows, latin in flavor and solid in its appeal......anyone sitting on their hands during this show is dead. It's a given this show will do well..I say anywhere from 6th through 8th..that's the level it is on design wise and difficulty wise... maxed out, it will be 6th..the interesting thing is..what will Boston come up with next year ??? Theres no way they will be forgiven if they continue with the predictable, overused drill moves and year is a very important year for the Boston Crusaders.

Santa Clara Vanguard was next, fresh off of their first victory over Phantom Regiment. After reading about Phantom Regiment all year, then seeing that SCV topped the "hype" machine.....I was a little disappointed...not to take away from the fact that its a good show, but because of this forum, and forums like it..I expected more..... a whole lot more. This is my favorite SCV show since 2000. The drill is simply insane. Music, while not well known, is easy to read and easy to get used to. Guard uniforms are nowhere near as bad as the pictures would leave you to believe.... actually quite nice. The guard is performing very well. The show is extremely demanding, but it lacks alot of emotion, and thats going to be the key heading into Orlando...if they can sell this how, they will do well, If not ?? fifth will be their home. Tonights performance seemed a little forced...they seemed tired......but all in all,a good showing......there is just too much green in the uniform,and the shade is too light....thats my only complaint.

On came the Cadets.....what a big improvement in design and performance since Juy 6th ! This show was definetly the winner tonight, but I expected it to be closer. Vintage Cadets running throughout the show, solid patterns in the drill, outstanding colorguard, solid transitions. Only beef here is theres just not enough layers of depth, not enough "show" to really challenge for the title. What they have is appealing, and is done well, but I am left wanting more.......Predictable Zzzzzzzz... pull was awesome to me, not as effective as I thought it would be......I do see this show, however, making a leap over Cavaliers, but thats more of the fault of the Cavaliers, than the true measure of this show......

Phantom Regiment...the mighty Regiment, back in white.....playing classical music... with a solid guard, improved percussion section and quite possibly this years best hornline. I gauge the Regiment by how fast the show goes by....If they are done, and I'm wondering "Already, it just started" ?? I know it's a godd solid show......well, it seems like the show just got off the ground and before I knew it I ws wondering where the time went. This is quite possibly the best Regiemnt musical book in over a decade......the maturity in the brass line, the depth and diversity, the layers of sound, the dynamics... any and all cliche's aplly. You will cry, you will cheer, you will be awed......... absolutely fabulous. Visually, they are a pretty package, solid sets, smooth transitions, somewhat predictable but totally effective...... a total GE drill, typical vintage Phantom Regiment drill....... Guard is beautiful, I felt they are integrated very well...loved the work, loved the emotions they tried to sell.... Percussion is improved and for the most part I expected this show abve SCV, many others did also...this show could be as high as third come Orlando...its up to the members, their commitment to the show, and how well they peform...bravo Phantom, you are back in a big way.

I was a little disturbed to see the Cadets that far waw, score wise, from SCV and PR..... I expected maybe a point toal...and SCV seemed flat, yet beat Phantom...... I dont see any three taking the title home, but if anyome has the best shot, as far as solid show to overtake anything, it has to be Phantom Regiemnt, Cadets are pretty much maxing out, and I see them doing well, but not the top spot.


I know this is late, but....... here is my review of DCI East on Friday.....

Lehigh Valley Knights (exh.).... sorry... missed them

Pioneer..... big snarelins (9).... percussion had some good moments.... horn book was ok, but seemed to be lacking in effect, and many quality issues.... I thought drill was a bit ambitious for experienece level of corps..... new hats didn't make it for me.......

Capital Regiment..... great job for 1st year in open..... big full sound... they were best at their impact points.... some of New World arranging stretched a bit too far from the original for me..... competent percussion which was well arranged.....

Southwind.... corps was competent, but not stellar.... I had trouble getting into their arrangements........

Mandarins...... they were proficient, but again, I felt they had trouble reaching the crowd emotionally, especially in the 2nd half of the show..........

Colts....I fell they have a well-written music book, which they played with pretty good expression,emotion, and dynamics. I did notice some marching problems...phasing in feetwas a big problem, and this did show up in their visual numbers....if they were cleaner there, they would be right there with others in the finals hunt...however, it's a tough year, and I see them coming up short, but they could catch Seattle, Glassmen, and Blue Knights.......

Kiwanis..... they performed ok tonight (a bit better than the night before), but the show lacks real emotional impact.............

Magic..... Magic was much better tonight than at West Chester..... baris had a significantly better night..... drill looked good up high.... my big qualm is Mass... it just sits there, tempo is too slow, and thus flatlines emotionally.... the rest of the show is fine......

Boston.... my first view, and I was impressed..... power, emotion, well-arranged book, good coordination, and much effect.......... fine job.

Santa Clara.... they were a tad better than at West Chester.... they still have brass performance (articulation and quality of sound) issues.... great impacts and emotion.... drumline smokes..... terrific coordination.... the show defines "Vanguard", but I am afraid the performance level will keep them out of the hunt, unless magic happens at this weeks' rehearsals.....

Phantom.... also a better performance than at WC..... hirnline has great quality for most of the show....... I am still not totally sold on all of their arrangemsnts ( I like certain parts, though)... competent drumline.......

Cadets.... very high performance level tonight.... they STILL need to hike the tempo at the end of Malaguena, and also must open up the impacts both there and the end of Rocky Point.... they are not going to catch Devils, but they should catch Cavaliers, because the show has more going on musically than Cavs, and they are getting pretty clean.....

weather held.... good crowd........ stadium improvements all good.....


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