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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2004 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews
As posted to R.A.M.D. and submitted to Sound Machine

Page Three 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: scores@soundmachine.org
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Saturday July 17

Orlando, FL (DCI)

This review is mine opinion and mine alone of the corps the show and anything else I feel like commenting on. grammar and the use of , - ! ? will be at my discretion.

STADIUM; I love the citrus bowl, lose to the field not a bad seat above row 5 in the house. the one big complaint I have and I told some friends who work with dci! tape down the flag pole ropes at the top of the stadium. All you hear is clang CLANG CLANG. the whole night as the corps play. IF any one got the apds let me know if you can hear them. if they want to make money off an early season recording they should at least go out there and see if anything sound that might ruin the apd.

Ok I said I was going to do it by order of score but..
I am starting with teal and heat wave.. (they both are a small corps and I think they should go first)

HEAT WAVE: EXPO SHOW
looks about the same as last yr in size. again with a water and beach theme ( duh ) I really liked the girl from ipanema! the drum line was very good ( some breaks near the end of the show ) horn like was good few missed attacks and releases but still a good job. ! AND GOD BLESS THE OLDER GUY IN THE HORNLINE. the guy is about my dad age and he is marching his butt off. all I can say is BIG BRASS B@LLS rock on!. over all very good senior corps performance.

63.200 Teal Sound
NEW UNIS nice ! loved the drum majors uni!!! I was at first a little iffy with dream theatre music, but great div3 show. this drumline can play. little fuzz here and there but hey it like there 3rd or 4th so still got time.. hornline pretty good just the normal hits and misses. over all they are in the hunt for div3 finals and the top few spots I think. good job.

OPEN CLASS (in the order of score not by night so deal with it ..)

90.225 The Cavaliers
OO7, HOLY CRAPOLA I was shaken and stirred!!! . VERY crowd accessible show and that might but the kicker that keeps them at the tip top of the food chain. EVERYONE in the world knows this music and theme. unless you where in a cave until just now, you know it. drumline, CLEAN CLEAN, it not the hardest book they have ever done. don't get me wrong when they get in front of the corps for a solo they throw down ! BUT when they go behind corps to play its clean but it isn't very hard a book in the back field. sorry but it isn't. BUT IT IS VERY VERY CLEAN if you look at the scores the they are cleaner then any one out right now. but the level of some of the writing is keeping them from being the big mean dog holding the drum trophy. the pit wow these guys are the over all expression of the music they are having a ball ! if there was a keg of beer near the timpani it would look like a frat party great great job. the hornline holy snikeys! this a rockin hornline the sops(sorry old school here) are smokin tight 16th note parts wwooww. one bari did take a fall in the show but was up in 2 counts. over all GREAT SHOW!!! I don't see any one passing them if they keep pushing.

89.900 Blue Devils
drumline clean,clean,cool spot on, near perfect it a little rehashed from last yr but it works. ( but lets face it you cant really get to original anymore ) wonderful pit. AMPS IN THE PIT. devils have the set up of the night the keyboard had there own power supply EACH there own on e.q. EACH and a P.A. Speaker on the front this the most hidden set up of the season I almost didn't realize they had amps. the hornline again like cavies spot on perfect, the front row must of had wind burn after the show.. over all this is a cool freakin show.. until the end.. I don't like the train leaving effect SOUNDS COOL LOOKS COOL but I had this HUH feel as did most of the People in the stands ( one guy went "are they done" ?? ) this part of there show is what's going to kill them at finals. everyone since the first apds have turned up the ending to there show cavies and cadets have, and I think they might get passed but cadets and maybe scv because if it there is a slim chance but a chance none the less..

89.300 The Cadets
I was not in to the show music at all from a apds from June. I was thinkin this was going to be a low yr for them .. but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO it not. the rewrites have 180ed this corps new drum solos added horn parts and new drill from what I have heard. drum line is playing tons tons of notes, SOME attack and interpretation problems (VERY FEW) but they are playing more notes in half there show then anyone else. horn line they have some power, balance and they are pretty loud. I see them 2nd or 3rd at finals....

88.950 Santa Clara Vanguard
WOW this show has some big BIG b@lls it a cool show I loved it scv know how to make music with a style all there own. this show is a show right out of Gayle royers secret files it seems .. I felt like it was the early 80s-90s again this show is all power and grace. the drum line clean, fast, powerful nuff said. the hornline DITTO. the one problem with the show it is freakin hard hard drill some forms are not hitting bend lines curves are not forming up. IF THEY CLEAN this they could be 2nd or 3rd MAYBE even 1st ( big maybe ). wonderful show.

87.125 Phantom Regiment
NEVER EVER CHANGE THE UNIS THIS IS THE PHANTOM PEOPLE LOVE.
this show style wise if kind of a 90 degree turn for them. don't get me wrong I loved it just the opener didn't feel like phantom show .. the ballad is when the hornline shined and it built to the end of the show.. the drumline was clean great parts.. some meat and tater in there but I think some people (judges) are not getting then show. the over all package just seemed cut and pasted and the ruff edges are showing. the members are playing there butts off and playing it well.. I think this show will come down to the over all package not the performance.

86.350 Bluecoats
Wow they came to play!!! drum line is super clean hornline is one big party when they stop and blow. they will be 6th or 7th they just need to keep cleaning. not the most memorable show but I was enjoying it..

85.450 Madison Scouts
oh my god. the unis have changed but it still the mad mad corps from wis. this was a unreal show god they can throw down, I had goose pimples threw most of the show .. the company front move was and is the best ever when it comes to just cool moments in drumcorps.. drumline was rocking hornline was the loudest of BOTH SHOWS. and the ending was a almost carbon copy of 88 I was up with the rest of the crowd 20 second before the where done yelling like a tard wanting more, and they gave it.. keep cleaning boys I want to see you in the pbs broadcast (hint for dci put the company front to the end of the show on the broadcast!!! DUH )

85.200 Carolina Crown
wow those chicken tender at the food stands where great. honey mustard was not to spicy and the coke was cold and refreshing.

(rant mode on)

LISTEN I LIKE CROWN 2000 IS one of my favorite shows BUT I am smart enough to know what your d@m show is about. I am not a retard this isn't atom splitting 101 its drumcorps I knew they would not cut out the talking and singing because it to big a part of the show.. I am afraid what the response will be a finals will there be booing on the finals tape ? if there is this will be a bad bad thing for the corps ONE: the kids will be crushed TWO: if you did it again the next yr its just doing to get worse. THREE kids will leave to go where people are not booing.

I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH AMPS IF THEY ARE FOR PIT US ONLY FOR more texture in the PIT PLAYING!!!!!!!!!! not talking or singing GEEZ

DCI BOARD MEMBERS YOU NEED TO LIMIT THE USE TO ONLY PIT EQUIPMENT PERIOD.

(rant mode off)

84.700 Boston Crusaders
very very cool show I was waiting for the talking to start but it never came. over all a good show kind of a safe show not to risky not to boring just ok....

82.050 Blue Knights
wow nice to see them come out to play they had a neat show lots of energy and they are wonderful performer show I a little dirty in all areas but they can fix it.. good energy but the music really didn't stay fresh in my mind. but I know I enjoyed the show..

81.800 Spirit from JSU
standard spirit show lost of great moments little ruff in a few sections. they will have to clean if they want to move up and/or stay in the top 12...

80.700 Crossmen
I SEE THE FIRING OF THE CORPS DIRECTOR IN THE OFF SEASON REALLY MADE A DIFFERENCE. now I love the crossmen this show rocks but I don't think it is selling to the judges at all. I don't know why.. it is a little dirty they are playing there buts off I hope when they go head to head in Denver they move up because if they don't it going to be a chopping block for some staff in the off season and they kids can not grow if they keep seeing new people on staff every yr. for god sakes name a corps who is in the top 5 who have a corps staff has not been there more then one yr.. cavies cadets devils scv they have al had pretty much almost the same design staffs ( one or two change in some (cadets/ginno)) but over all they don't change.. this isn't NASCAR where they change pit crew chiefs and drivers like underwear. keep working crossmen !!!

80.075 Glassmen
they are on the end of returning to the top 12 after a "what the f$#K happened season last yr the show is clean but the show is also a safe show. it was a cool performance but I wanting some thing to pull me out of my seat. they may have to add some new moments to push into the top 12 again it may just need to be head to head to get a good read from the judges as to level of playing and show book so we will see..

77.825 Seattle Cascades
sorry but I had to go pee and I didn't beat the usher back to the top of the stairs. sounds good the crowd like it.

75.000 Capital Regiment
I don't know what the judges are looking at but this show could be on the edge of the 80's its is clean every cool, the drumline and horns are balanced and very little ensemble problems. they had a great great show.. again it the head to head thingy .. but if they push the tempos and add more energy we could have a surprise dog fight for 12th... ( personally I want them in because I use to march out of Columbus in the early 90's before the (limited edition )corps folded and later cap reg was born. so good luck )

74.150 Colts
the kids are playing there butts off but again it was a cut and past show and it isn't selling to the judges or most of the crowd it didn't stand out in my mind at all and I always like the colts

73.450 Southwind
AGAIN a show the judges are not giving credit to .. lots of power, energy. but the judges must be sipping cherry and waiting for the bigger corps to look at. the drums rocked the horn line was great .. the drill was so so no real risk moves in the show.. but I like it a lot....

73.000 Kiwanis Kavaliers
crowd accessible show to a tee it was a great time watching them.. my only problem was the drill again was not that risky. if you going to push the kids do it with the drill. drumline was on fire horn where clean.. but I think the kavie screw fest as always will happen they never get a break from the judge even tho they are playing a good show . but again drill book was not hard..

71.850 Mandarins
small small open class corps.. but they are clean . as long as you don't pay attention to the fact that the drum line over plays the whole show .. I am a drummer and I was beside my self with the show they where to dang loud .. about they only time you could really enjoy the hornline was in the slow parts of the show.. drill was very clean and that is always there strong suit so they just need to get the drumline to relax..

70.125 Magic of Orlando
what the h3ll happened they come out last yr on fire. this show isn't well thought out the book in the drum line is 60/40. 60 % is to easy 40 % is challenging. the kids are having a ball playing but this book isn't going to fly its not the kids fault something exploded in the design staff.. they need to push the tempos and do some fast fixes to at least make a good showing in the end .. but the kids are working there butts off.. sorry .. and I am a big fan....... and I like the sound track to the movie to ..

69.450 Troopers
(rant mode back on)
YOU KNOW WHAT THE JUDGES NEED TO STOP BEATING THE LIVING SH!T OUT OF THIS CORPS AND GIVE THEM THE CREDIT THEY ARE DUE. this show is cool YES NOT KIDDING THEY DO WESTERN MUSIC EVERY YEAR NOOO REALLY but they do it with style and skill and they should be much higher then what they got they are not the biggest corps but they are not the smallest. drumline rocked and the horns where very very good .. they show had the crowd into it and I think they just cant get a break.. they deserve better because they are better then what you think judges.. MAYBE THE DRUMMAJOR SHOULD PULL OUT A REVOLVER AND START POPPING GREEN SHIRTS......V

OVER ALL a good show. parking was better. food was better then finals last yr..

SOVIES : where was the cool sovie stand from the vendors this was a regional in the vacation state for goodness sakes you couldn't have talked a rep into going to Orlando for a weekend geez come one.. and the weather stayed fairly well for Florida in the summer because it rains some where some thing during the day and it missed the show completely !!

flame me or not that is how I see/saw it and that my story and I am sticking to it..
(god did I just do a country song reference?)

Cj


IMHO........

Please understand that I really appreciate all the work that the young men and women put into their shows. This is not meant to be critical of their efforts.

Here goes.........in order of appearance

FRIDAY NIGHT

Teal Sound
Nice job. Need some work with high brass.

Colts
Actually this is one of my favorite total prgram shows. I loved the "Songs from the Heartland". It is the type of show that almost everyone in the crowd can get into. Very entertaining and would love to see it again. Colts have no problem putting out a good sound. I hope the show can be cleaned up so that they can make SemiFinals.

Capital Regiment
Nice job, but the typical Capital Regiment show - Judges like it, crowd has trouble buying into it. They were much cleaner than I expected. This could be the year they make some moves.

Mandarins
Oh my........very sloppy. I am use to seeing a very polished Mandarins Corps. This show had many problems, from marching to playing. The concept is a bit of a stretch. I'm sure Ray will get the job done but they have much work ahead of them.

Blue Knights
I like this show much better than their shows of the past few years. But it's not rocket science to figure out that the judges are going to do whatever it takes to get them back in Top12 in their home town. It reminds me of the SkyRydes in Dallas. That being said, they are really much improved. Good job.

Magic of Orlando
OUCH!!!!!!!! What a train wreck! I can't believe this is Magic. What in the world is going on? The show design is ok but it is either too difficult for the members or they need some quality rehearsal time. I'm not sure this show can be saved. I kept sitting there and thinking about the Madison Scouts Show, "The Pirates of Lake Mendota". I was very disappointed.

SPIRIT
Oh yessssssssssss. What a hornline. Great percussion also. The show is well designed. Some major cleaning up needs to occur but this show has potential. I know I am prejudice, but I scored them higher than Blue Knights.

Crossmen
Typical Crossmen show in design, but off the mark in performance. It was reported that they made some design changes right before this show. Time will tell if it worked. And what happened to the "kick-ass" guard? Far to many guard errors for the Crossmen. Right now I don't see them making SemiFinals.

Madison Scouts
OMG!!!!!!!!! The Scouts are back! What a croud pleaser. This show is exciting from the very beginning. Great horn line, good drill, great guard......a well executed show. I really need some help understanding why their percussion seem to always score low. But this is a "don't miss" show.

Santa Clara Vanguard
Ok.....here is my first risky prediction of the season. SCV will be the corps that challenges The Cavaliers for #1 come Finals night. This show is simply awesome. Visually it is a masterpiece. Musically it is a masterpiece. All they have to do is perform it. I LOVED THIS SHOW!

Blue Devils
Wonderful show.....WHAT A HORNLINE. However, I hated the ending and expect it to change before Denver. It was a big let down. They are in the hunt for another title. But there were times I felt like I was watching "just another BD show". After watching them for 28 years I guess I should be use to it. (My son will repectfully disagreee with me.)

Boston Crusaders
Nice idea but it doesn't hit the mark. The black and white boxes were a distraction from a really good Drum and Bugle Corps. The show had it's moments but this is not a top 6 show.

SATURDAY NIGHT

Troopers
Damn I liked this show. Am I the only one puzzled by their low score? I would have easily put them ahead of KKavaliers and Southwind Saturday night. I guess that is why I am not a judge. It's good to see the Troopers getting closer to a full size corps. The show is well designed but needs some work on the finale. I expected a little more of a push.

Kiwanis Kavaliers
My son and I disagree on this one. I thought they did a good job with WestSideStory - AGAIN! I was pleased to hear a fuller sound but what was the unmusical solo all about. Come on guys, don't overblow and distort your sound. They need to work on balance.

Southwind
I am trying to be kind and nice but..................what middle school band director designed the drill for this show. How many times can you form a triangle? Obviously for Southwind.....many many times. Besides the fact that the show is not that well designed it is marched with little enthusiasm. The musical design misses the mark also. I wish the members well and hope they have a better show to perform next year.

Glassmen
OK - another Glassmen show that must mean something to someone, but not me. I use to really look forward to seeing them but the last few years have been a disappointment. This show is ok. It is performed well but it just has no place to go. There are some great drill moves in it and a few good musical moments, but for the most part it is "just there". I give a lot of credit to the members who make this show work. Also, I liked the "red" of the guard at the beginning. But after the opening moments it loses it's affect. Drop it already!

Seattle Cascades
Great job members. You made something out of a mediocre show. Maybe the designers were trying to please the judges. While they may succeed in that, they will fail in winning new fans. I liked last years show much better. I wish the members well and keep working this show. Maybe I will like it better in Denver.

Carolina Crown
WHAT A FABULOUS SHOW! This show has the potential of moving into the top 6, maybe as high as 4th or 5th. The only thing holding it back is the vocals. They add nothing to the show. I was in ther middle section of the Citrus Bowl right off the 50 yeard line. We could not understand any words of the singing and very few words of the speaker. Get rid of it. Crown, this is your year to make some real noise at DCI Finals, but not with the singing. The opener is GREAT! I found it difficult to get back into the show after the vocals, which is a shame since the closer is great also. The members really marched this show well. GREAT JOB, CROWN!

The Cavaliers
What can I say........Here is the DCI 2004 Champion unless SCV gets hot. I don't think the Cadets or BD can touch them. What an amazing show. The drill is unbelievable. And musical score is awesome. This show is a wonder.

The Cadets
A typical Cadet performance - well done. The musical score was better than I expected. However, two alarming aspects of their performance (of which the judges and I didn't agree!)
1. The drill design had many problems. Several times we saw guard and corps members trying to be in the same place at the same time. Actually, we also saw corps members running into each other. It wasn't that the drill was so fast paced that it caused problems. It just looked like the drill had not been thought out. This is not The Cadets I expect. I don't want the old "tick" system to reappear, however, I can't believe there were that many obvious marching errors and they still scored so high. Are will now giving points for "attempting" a difficult drill instead of executing a drill?
2. The guard had many errors with equipment and marching. This was also not your typical Cadets show.
These, I am sure, will be fixed. But I was not impressed.

Phantom Regiment
I have to be honest and state the Phantom Regiment is one of my favorites year in year out. That being said, I was not "wowed" by this show. The best thing it has going for it is the members. They really sold the show. Great marching, good guard work, and of course that wonderful lush Phantom symphonic sound. It's hard to go wrong with those elements. I was hoping that this would be the year that Phantom challenged for the top 3, but not with this show.

These are my opinions and not intended to offend anyone. I love Drum Corps and respect all the hard work put in by everyone invovled with this activity.

BigMo
a.k.a. SpiritDad


Blue Devils -- Strong in all captions. I like the show believe it or not but Iím not sure about the guard uniform. I thought for sure that they were going to take that apron looking piece off... oh well. I love all the train sounds produced. Oh, best soloist of the weekend and no close second, goes to that young man from Blue Devils (talk about range). I will have to see the show a couple more times to really understand the ending. Right now I donít see that ending winning the championships.

SCV -- This is my FAVORITE show! And probably the best complete show SCV has done in many years. Whether this show wins in Denver or not it is one that will be enjoyed by all. It is just wonderful to watch from start to finish. The color guard really compliments whatís going on with a typical complex fast Vanguard drill. Itís amazing how recognizable all of SCVís music is. Donít count this show out. If they clean this beast it is unbeatable.

The Cavaliers -- The James Bond show is coming right along and they are adding all those little nuances that make the show click. Finally saw the ending they put on it.... damn they are running around like mad men. Cavies guard is fun to watch too as they jump and somersault around. We all know this show is visually packed and we can hum their music once the show is over. Now here is where many of you will disagree with me (especially you Cavies fan); come Denver I see this show finishing 3rd. Thatís right 3rd.

Cadets -- To really appreciate this Cadet show you have to watch it from upstairs. People keep talking about baton boy, but I say; "spin baby spin" (but what happened to that one toss that got away from you). Cadets have been in the thick of it all since the first show they met Cavies (remember 77.70 -- 77.00) and I still think that this show (as well as the judges) has what it takes to win it all. I love repeating myself and history shows that Cadets have a way of finishing strong. I donít know what George tells those kids but they become demon children and the month of August has had their name all over it. Never count the Cadets out even if youíre a Cadet hater! Weíll see come Saturday night in Denver.

Boston -- I hadnít seen Boston since Louisville. The staff must have been reading what was being posted on the R.A.M.D. because they took out all of the amped narrative. Personally I think it was the right decision because what Boston does comes across strong enough. I like this show. Boston has a very talented confident guard, but then again I may be a little bias because Iím a huge fan of the EMASS guard circuit. Boston could find itself as high as 6th or as low as 9th.

Phantom Regiment -- This was my first viewing of PR. They had a difficult task at hand writing a show that would make me forget about that amazing show from last year. I didnít feel that PR should have been that close to Cadets; more like a three point separation. I have always loved PRís color-guard in how they interpret the show (I wasnít too sure of the uniform though). The horn line, as we all know, can play their butts off. As you can see I don't have much to say about this show. PR could place as high 5th or as low as 8th.

Madison Scouts -- If Madison can start their show with the energy they finish it; they will end up 5th in Denver. Madison had their wake up call not making finals a couple years back; (we were all disappointed) they have since done all the right things to continue to make them one of the most liked drum corps. Always a crowd favorite and in Orlando it was no different.

Blue Coats -- Bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuue!!! Is having another consistent year. Good guard, nice sounding horn line, drum line rocking and a visually enjoyable show. Blue is right in the mix to either place high or somewhere around 8th. This is going to be one hell of a finish in Denver.

Crown -- Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again; "I LOVE THIS SHOW". Crown has such an attractive uniform. Come on Crown staff; figure out what it is you need to do to push these kids over Blue Coats and Boston. Most of the guards I felt were affected by the humid weather conditions in Orlando which caused several drops. But this is another talented guard I enjoy watching. This show is packed with strong moments, the opener, the Rent piece (still love the vocals), the beautiful ballad, Rhapsody and the heart shaped ending. This will be a favorite in Denver.

Glassmen -- This was also my first viewing of Glassmen. I really liked the opener but the rest of the show I just watched. Itís really going to be hard to explain why this corps should not make finals (boring will not be good enough). Iíll leave that up to our judges to decide.

Blue Knights -- Thank God for Blue Knights the championships are in Denver (and I'm not saying that's there ticket in). It shouldnít be too hard for them to get psyched up for their home crowd. With that said, this is another corps which would be hard to explain why they didnít make finals. Playing some recognizable pieces from past years; a very strong opening fanfare. BKís marching style has been for many years one of my favorites. They do so many cute and pretty things with their feet and bodies. I pick BK to be performing on Saturday night in Denver.

Spirit -- Everyone keeps talking about Glassmen and Crossmen sitting on the bubble. Spirit has an experience sounding horn-line and a visual package many have enjoyed this summer. No one has really staked claim to the 12th and final position and it could be Spirit. Someone will not be marching under the lights on Saturday. Who will it be; Crossmen, Glassmen, Spirit or Blue Knights? Maybe we can suggest a tie for the 12th position.

Crossmen -- I canít imagine Crossmen not making finals; oh donít worry this will not be the year. Once they get comfortable with the rewrites and do what Iím now calling "the mad clean" they should be ok. Crossmen never fail to have me grooving in my seat. The drum line produces such a nice pulse to the final piece that it creates such a.... you know that feeling; hairs stand up on the back of your neck, youíre head's rocking with the beat and youíre completely feeling whatís going on the field (horn-line, drum-line, color guard). Hang in there Crossmen.

Troopers -- Like so many others I wish the Troopers would field a full corps and compete for one of the finalist position come championships. I still love the Troopers and continue to support them. An enjoyable show. Strong drum line and the ever popular star burst still present.

Mandarins -- I was excited to see Mandarins because I had heard so many good things about them. These guys are good with only thirty something horns. They are a sure finalist once they figure out how to field a larger horn line; somewhere around 58. Best color guard uniform goes to this unit; complimented the corps great, plus they handled their equipment well.

Kiwanis Kavliers -- I keep waiting for this corps to make its bid for a top twelve position. They certainly have the numbers.

Colts -- I really donít know what to say about the Colts this year. I will say this is a tough year because there are so many other good drum corps this year.

Magic -- If this were the start of the season Magic would be a sure in. Reality has it that they just donít have enough time to clean what they have. When I saw they in Louisville I was so surprised how unprepared they were (I based that on watching the colorguard). I love the theme of their show. It has Magicís name written all over. Lots of fun stuff going on. Crowd favorite has to be the druken sailor part with all the water being thrown all over the field --great moment! Kudos to the color guard youíve really cleaned up your act since I last saw you. Much more confident telling the story "Pirates of the Caribbean".

All of the comments made are my opinion and mine alone. I am a fan of the activity who appreciates what is being done on the field. My thank you goes out to all the performers of each drum corps (Divisions 1 -2 -3). You have made this one exciting year!

Irving
Fan of the Arts


Saturday Show Only

Troopers- Really cool show. This was obviously a crowds show that the judges aparently didnt like. I thought that the drum major was excellent and had a great presence. The hornline had a little kick to it but there were balance issues. Visualy the Troopers were ok as far as execution but the design was there. Im really wondering why the Troopers were not ahead of at LEAST Kiwanis Kavaliers and possibly South Wind.

Kiwanis Kavaliers- Sorry but to me this show had been overdone. However asside from some buzz saw solo work the hornline had a decent balance and power. The drill was messy but overall the show was what I would call, OK for this time of year.

South Wind- The score was a bit high IMHO. The brass played decently but nothing too impressive. Some moments where individuals in 2nd trumpets were blaring obove and beyond their more balanced comrads. The drill was fairly clean but very boring. Folks I know that im sounding like an ass but im just describing what i saw and felt.

Glassmen- This was a typical Glassment show in that it was full of loud major chords and block triangles. I really loved the deep red explosion from the gaurd at the beginning. The brass sounded somewhat bright in the middle voices. Visual execution was notably better than the first three corps. Glassmen will need to either make this show squeeky clean or change the design.

Carolina Crown- Woa Mama! What a freaking brassline! The Balance is there, the talent is now there. The show design is of top 5 caliber. The ONLY thing holding back Crown at this juncture is IMO not necessarily the amped voice as many have said, but one or two very difficult drill moves that are not quite clean as of yet. While I do like the amped voice, I do think that there has to be a way of balancing out the sounds so that everyone can hear the voice harmony section. The drill overall is very clean accept for a few mentioned difficult moves. Bohemian Rapsody is wonderfully done. I thought that I might not like the down ending to the show but it is only fitting as the song goes with a gong at the end with the hornline backfield. There is a presence this year with Crown as though they KNow that they are good and of top quality.

Blue Coats- BLUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! Wow Just as good as Crowns hornline but with just a different sound approach. I noticed that they only had 7 tubas with one obvioulsy missing as there was a consistent gaping hole in the drill. Visually the blue coats were ON. I think ive finaly figured out why they look soo good visualy other than just being good. Their long plumes create continuity in thier vertical posture. It sort of hides any faults in upper posture. The execute a very cool rolling ripple of a block form near the openign of thier show. The crowd loved it. The only glaring mistake was two separate occasions late in the show where some trumpets stood out in a major way. The Blue Coats are well on thier way to a 4th or 5th place finish unless crown can take that spot over them. I think Phantom while very good, could possible finish below both blue coats and crown because of show design.

Cavaliers- DCI Champs without ANY doubt in my mind. Noone is going to catch them. Once again they blow everyone off the field visually and they execute it. Thier brass is very clean but not much better than the 4 corps behind them. THe success with this corps comes with its stellar design and visual execution. DCI Champs folks.

Cadets- Very loud but sometimes distastefully in my opinion. Visually i saw many times where base drums were colliding with the hornline and looking very confused. The drum line was musically great. The Cadets show design seemed off and this is going to prevent them from any run at the top spot.

Phantom Regiment- Another wonderfull hornline but visually dirty. Again, show design here is holding phantom back from a GE point of view. Very clean hornline but unless changes are made to the show, I think phantom will be fighting for 5th with crown and blue coats.

GMoore


Thursday July 15

Powder Springs, GA (DCI)

Overall comments:
It was perfect night for Drum Corps! The weather was wonderful. The college, I mean high school, it was held at was great. The stadium was perfect for watching drum corps. Carla Morris did a fantastic job putting this thing together, and the McEachern High people did an awesome job as well.

Court of Honor 66.30
I love this corps and the possibilities they have. It is amazing to see what they have done in their short life. The thing I noticed right off the bat with these guys is that the brass section has a very controlled sound. The percussion section did very well, as did the guard. The guard was just having a plain old good time out there and just doing their thing. (isn't that what it is all about?) This was a very fun show and I know the kids had a good time performing, you could tell. If they continue to clean both musically and visually they really could be right up there in placement in Denver.

Marion Glory Cadets 64.70
I am not too fond of their uniforms. The thing I noticed right off the bat was it seemed that there were two sets of the same type of uniforms on the field. Some were much longer than others. I really was not impressed with the first part of their show, I guess really until the closer Mars . The marching and music was kind of "muddy" at times. I don't remember much about their guard. The do have a good drumline that had a couple of nice moments.

Troopers 71.30
Wow! The Troopers are back. I was very impressed with their show tonight. It had been about 3 years since I had seen the Troopers live, and with everything I heard about their show, I was very anxious to see what was going on with them. It was worth the wait. I loved this show! It seems that all sections are much strong than years past. The brass had a wonderful sound, full sound to it. For some reason not much is jumping out at me about the drumline. The guard was good. I did not care too much for the blankets being used in the ballad. They just kind of seemed out of place there. This year is a great step in the right direction for The Troop!

Seattle Cascades 75.35
I just did not get this show. I have liked their shows in the past but this one seemed to lack something. The first half of the show, to me, seemed kind of "blah". The brass had a nice sound. The only thing that stands out to me about the percussion section was the moving timpani during one of the last movements. It was kind of distracting more than adding to the overall effect. (For those who do not know. They have two sets of timpani that start out at the two back corners of the field, then the progress forward, stopping and playing along the way till they finally come to rest on the forty's near the front.) I found myself watching to see if they hit any other marching members during the progress. There was one close call. Plus, I found it hard to hear the parts they were playing. They kind of got lost in everything else. This was not my favorite Seattle show of the past few years.

Carolina Crown 83.30
I love this show! It is an all around wonderful show. I will go ahead and get this out of the way... I did not like the singing and the beat poetry. I could have done with out that. Actually, I had some friends with me who have begun getting into drum corps over the past few years, and when the singing, and then the poetry started they just kind of looked over at me with this perplexed look on their faces. That aside, this show rocks from beginning to end. The Brass, OMG the brass, is amazing. A nice, full, and I do mean FULL, sound. I am so glad that this part of the corps has stepped it up a notch, because to me it seemed like this was a spot that was lacking in years past. And these guys seem light years a head of where they were. They have a wonderful guard. I did not like the uniform they were wearing. (I guess you can call it a uniform.) But, they added a lot to the show in the guard work. And of course, Bohemian Rhapsody was a crowd hit. I like the arrangement they have done with it. It keeps a lot of the original song intact, which I was concerned would be lost in the transition of the song from radio to field.

BLUUUUcoats 84.60
Wow! I know the Bluecoats have been moving up over the past few years, but I just really could not get into their shows. But, that was before this year! This show and corps is freakin' awesome! This could very well be the my favorite Bluecoats show ever. All areas are strong, but their drumline and guard was kicking butt last night! The block of guard work going on in the middle of the corps as they are moving across the field together was awesome, last night. They were really moving as one. At that point, my friend leaned over to me and said, "Now, that is what a guard is supposed to look like." The arrangements fit the Bluecoats perfectly and everything in the show fits together perfectly. The Brass had a nice rich sound. The drumline was tight last night. They have several features through out the show that they absolutely nailed. Heck, if I was arranging for this line, I would feature them as much as possible as well. Amazing...

Cavaliers 89.55
Should have just went a head and given them the other points and let have been a 90.00. The Cavies were definitely having a top show last night. They never cease to amaze me. The music, the drill, the guard...everything fits together so well, and it absolutely captures your attention and holds you there. You get to the point that you are afraid to blink because you don't want to miss something. The very beginning of the show is something to see! It is hard to describe, but WOW, the drill and effect is amazing. It was strange going into this season thinking about the Cavies doing James Bond music, but what they have done with it really works for them. They have made it their own and still kept the musical selections true to their nature. Another awesome part of the show is where they are whistling part of the song. It is one of those moments that can give you chills. They have the total package with this show. This was definitely the show you will leave humming to or whistling to.

Spirit 79.70
[Warning Spirit Fan Review Following...]
I had been waiting a long time to see Spirit on the field. I had seen clips all the way through All Days, but was just waiting to see the whole package together. This show really works well for Spirit. Yes, it is different from what you might be used to from Spirit, but it is truly a great vehicle for them. I thought the concept worked well on the field. Spirit has seemed to grow and mature in a lot of areas over the past few years, but this year it seems like all areas have stepped it up. The guard is absolutely amazing. (Not sure what was up with the score last night...) They are incorporated into the show very nicely. I was concerned going into this show because many people had commented on Spirit's brass seemed to be lacking something or holding back. Well, the boys and girls in the brassline must have eatin' their Wheaties or something because they were ON last night. A very nice, rich and full sound. Loud, but controlled. The drumline was awesome, as well. They had several nice features through out the show. The snare line was tight last night. And the plates were... well, they were what we have come to expect from them...Freakin' Awesome! These guys rock! Man, they are all business on the field. The drill and visual aspect was wonderful, which is a big change from Spirit in the past. It is nice to see the visual side of things a step up for them, and them keep the nice musically sound they have. I figured they would have broken 80 tonight.

Overall comments on scoring...
It was great to see Troopers score jump up.
I would have thought Spirit, Crown Bluecoats and Cavies' scores should have been a bit higher.
It was nice to see Court of Honor place a nice high score.

JT Gazaway


Wednesday July 14

Columbia, SC (DCI)

The setting for this show is a medium to small size high school stadium and the weather hot, humid and sweaty. I have traveled to the Columbia show three of the past four years which is a four hour drive from Raleigh, NC. The crowd was excited and full of anticipation and appreciation.

Marion Glory Cadets. Division III. Strong percussion and tentative brass in sections. Color guard numbered about five and gave great effort.

Kiwanis Kavaliers: My impression was that this show was stronger for them than years past. Percussion performed well and brass seemed shy in sections.

Colts. How many ways can you be polite while saying dirty, dirty, dirty. Guard was off in synchronization and sequencing significantly distracting. Sound not as full as years past.

Crown. Strongest brass, percussion, ensemble, guard, drill and music book I have ever heard or witnessed from them... ever. Very impressive until AMPS. I came in with an open mind about the amps stuff. Here is this wonderful book and drill strolling along and then abruptly a quartet of singers each with a microphone and cable that connects them to the ensemble area sing some god-awful song. It gets worse. A guard member strolls adjacent to this quartet as they finish, armed with a wireless microphone/headset and voices something about love. I get the sequence out of order or missed something that accompanied this because I just about died. This adds ZERO to general effect or anything else. AWFUL!!! If this segment brings someone joy or pleasure rather than embarrassment my opinion would be that they have a low standard for entertainment. This book spans classical to Queen and is well done, except... see middle section. Most people around were attempting to justify this newly added phenomenon and positive change. I am not polite about it. It truly is AWFUL!! This is like High School Band.

Madison Scouts. No amps. I believe this corps is headed in the right direction, but I miss the attitude and altitude. Upper octave almost non- existent. Better drill than years past, solid percussion and guard. Not as sophisticated a drill or music book as Phantom. Got a great reaction from the crowd.

Crossmen. I like the new uni's and sound of the brass book. Solid show but missing something. I think the pit was amped but was not at all distracting.

Phantom. Opened with a contra tango. The brass had some brief harsh tones in sections but was best of the night. Pit was phenomenal...no amps. Percussion was a bit dirty but appeared be best of the night. Guard was very good in sequencing and synchronization. Euphoniums have similar runs as last year but did not seem as strong... yet. They have a very sophisticated show that seemed several points ahead of Madison despite final scores. I am not clear why, though they were clearly the best corps of the night.

I have followed or been involved in drum corps in one way or another since the early 70's and have been open to change. I enjoy the pits being powered because it adds to the musicality of the show. However, if lyrics and voice over's are considered to add some positive value to a show, then maybe my days are over as a drum corps supporter. Because as Crown showed me, I no longer share the same taste buds and if this is considered to have an entertainment value I will keep my money in my pocket. It is not creative and I am not dumb. I would pay to experience six great corps than to experience 20 in mediocrity.

poyntafter


Took the wife and kids out to see the corps for the first time this year, and managed to get our money's worth! The weather was hot, but bearable, the fans were generally respectful and attentive, and the corps put on an entertaining contest that showed off how far they've already come, as well as how far they have to go before they reach Denver.

Marion Glory Cadets - Somone on their staff must have said (while listening to a symphonic recording of Gustav Holst's magnum opus), "You never hear THESE 'Planets' out on the football field...." Well, you can't say that anymore. Mars works way too well to leave out, so they superimpose it on EVERYTHING else, but aside from that, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are quite good. The brass tends to have TQ&I issues due to volume (there aren't too many members and they're TRYING to be loud) and attack/release issues due to drill demands, but the talent is there. Drums are also muddy, and those guard members sitting on the sidelines need to get into the show SOON. For all of this, I enjoyed the performance for it's concept, energy, and frequent effective musical moments. Good show, Cadets!

Kiwanis Kavaliers - <sigh> Someday, these guys are going to get REALLY good. Their guard gave me lots of attitude, the horns and drums believe in what they're doing out there.... Someday their staff will realize that some things work and other things DON'T. Show concept? West Side Story generally works. Rehearsal/cleaning routine? Let's just say they were more effective and somewhat cleaner than Marion, but not by all that much, so whatever they're doing, IT AIN'T WORKING. Enjoyed the show, but felt bad for the kids whose staff can't seem to get them to the next level.

Colts - Ladies and gentlemen, the Colts are once again the undisputed champions of the state of Iowa. Enjoyed the music, the hornline played as a line, the drums were all on the same page, and the guard was a functioning unit. Drill design was evident, if not too clean, and they delivered a solid performance. Similar to Kiwanis, though, they have another level to go. There's no reason a corps with this talent shouldn't be competing with the likes of Crossmen and Crown in a show like this. Lots of visual dirt in (relatively) easy areas like body positions, horn moves, and drill sets. Lots of musical dirt in things like attacks, ensemble, and rythmic accuracy, also in not-to-difficult areas. CLEAN! CLEAN! CLEAN! And a tad more GE in the design wouldn't hurt either.

Carolina Crown - First wall of sound of the night, and another entertaining show concept. The voice amping grated on me mentally (I haven't ever heard the like before in drum corps and I don't know if I'm ready for it), but it was good in its execution, and provided some good GE moments. It is NOT their best show ever (Jekyll and Hyde was far better, for instance), but it was fun and fairly clean. They need to get perfect at their act to stay ahead of the corps (plural) close behind them, though, because the difficulty factor just isn't there. Nice to have the hornline back, and I hope they can tweak the ending to make it a bit more final.

Madison Scouts - Well, HI there, colorguard! Best one of the night, without question, and the performance quality of the corps as a whole has definitely gone up the last couple of years. The new unis are pretty good, and make for an effective visual program even when imperfectly executed. (~_^) Nice moments in the percussion, and the brass will challenge other corps IF they can reign it in in a couple of spots and play with accuracy, tone quality, and balance ALL the time, as well as rythmically and powerfully. Slow-spinning company front is nice, but doesn't really go anywhere - do something interesting with it and it will be POWERFUL! Right now it's just nice. A few ensemble glitches musically and visually, but they've got a ways to go before they top this show out. They look well on the way to 90.000.

Crossmen - These guys.... Once again, they ride the fine edge between the glorious and the disastrous. The opener has a TON of stuff in it, and the corps is finally getting it together and cutting down on the mud. Ensemble still needs work in the ballad, but it's getting pretty. Puma has some energy now, and the part where all the sections trade off with their little licks and cool stuffs which are currently an ensemble nightmare... it's never going to be heard or seen again. It's out as of Orlando, and all of the musical and visual ticks that go with it. The judges have started giving up the numbers for the show design, now the corps needs to finish getting the mud out (the easy errors, too, folks! It doesn't work just learning the hard stuff...). Oh yeah, and get the low brass to play with the conviction of their lead trumpets. If the progress keeps up, Madison and Phantom need to keep an eye over one shoulder. Of course, if they lose steam now, they may never break 85.000...

Phantom Regiment (sorry, white doesn't work on this background, black is boring, and there are already three corps in red!) - These guys won brass and drums, did well in their musical ensemble, and executed their visual program like they owned the place. They were the only corps of the night to make you think "Huh: these guys may just be for REAL." Watching them I wondered just how Madison had managed to stay close to them, though on second glance, PR's show is a harder sell, both musically and visually. Boy those guard... outfits... are just something else. Errors in performance also count more heavily against this show than they do against Madison's. Still plenty of dirt here, as well (no one at this show is on pace to take the title in Denver), but clean it up and it will sparkle almost as well as last year's show, I bet.

Altogether, it was a creditable mid-season effort on the part of the performers, and I'm very grateful that the powers that be consented to my attendance.

That's how it happened. I was there. ^_^

PFC Dave Ballard


Saturday July 10

San Antonio, TX (DCI)

It was a great night of drum corps in San Antonio. My wife and I had great seats at the top of the plaza level (floor level) right around the 45 yard line. We attended the clinic prior to the show put on by The Cadets, mainly because I had not done a lot of research on their show and wanted see and hear it at least once prior to the show. I will share more on them later. We ended up sitting by a family of newbies. . .which was great because they had a lot of questions. On to the show. . . . (as I go through I will be sharing my wife's thoughts on each corps).

Esperanza entered the field first. I have never seen or heard Esperanza and did not know at all what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with their product. I really enjoyed the design of most of their show; however I really did not like their treatment of "Octobre". Anyway, right off the bat, I knew from being at the Dallas show that Esperanza would not be in last tonight. Also, this may sound odd, but the thought came to me that they might be like what freelancers would be if they were still on the field.

Ty's thoughts: I thought they were really good. I liked their visual better than the music.

Next was Southwind. This is one of the corps I had seen in Dallas. They have improved since then, but still a lot of visual dirt. I do enjoy their enthusiasm and aggression.

Ty's thoughts: I did not like the neon things that are supposed to be snakes. The color scheme was not good, but I enjoyed the music.

Troopers came on third, and they also had improved since Dallas. Sadly, they simply do not have the horses to pull of the show designed for them. Also, you can tell they are still on G. . .to me it is a shrill sound and much less in tune. I hope they continue to build in the coming years.

Ty's thoughts: I liked some of the music, but it is obvious they need a lot of work.

Capital Regiment once again impressed me. I really enjoy their selections and the balance and blend of their hornline. Their weakness is definitely their guard.

Ty's thoughts: I thought it flowed well, but the flags were not together.

Seattle Cascades are just as good as they were 2 years ago when they made Finals, IMO. It just seems there are more corps who are doing better now. I really enjoyed what they did; it reminded me of what Glassmen tried to do last year, only a better design.

Ty's thoughts: I enjoyed the color scheme; it matched the theme and the music well. Their marching was not the best, but overall I liked the show.

Magic of Orlando is really trying to pull things together. I saw a different attitude tonight in the corps than I saw two nights ago. Also, they did not march with the silver sashes tonight. . .not sure why. They are still very dirty. . .and there are some very simple things like foot position that could be fixed easily. They do have crowd appeal though.

Ty's thoughts: She likes the purple, and she enjoyed the design (pirate outfits and props), even though they do not pull it off very well. The performing by the guard entertains the audience but distracts from seeing the sloppiness of the marching and sound.

Blue Knights do have a shot at breaking back into Finals after a 3-year absence. I am so glad they have returned to their style. I loved the Trittico references, and the dots on the guard unis were awesome. I also really enjoyed the percussion feature with the fighting scenes with the rest of the corps. Very cool visual program. I hope they crack back into the top 12.

Ty's thoughts: It was a really good show. . .rockin'. The color scheme fit the mood, and they were cleaner than anyone before them.

Bluecoats again amazed me. This is their best design ever and possibly their best corps. I have not seen Phantom or Madison, but I would like to think the Bluecoats could hold their own with them. They have a great and complete visual program, and they sound awesome. I love their Moulin Rouge ballad. . .very effective. I also really enjoy the tease ending, followed by the features and the silent drill. . .awesome!

Ty's thoughts: I liked their show very much. They really portray the theme well with their guard, along with the music and the entire design. They integrate their guard very well into the visual program, better than most of the corps I have seen.

After seeing The Cavaliers in Dallas, I knew they were strong, but did not know how they would stack up against the other top corps. . .more on that soon. They were again very solid tonight, although they had amps trouble . . . right on the downbeat big static, and then more static when the whistle portion began. I will give them one thing big time. . .their trumpets/sops are smoking! I really enjoyed their sound. The ending still leaves me dry, but I doubt it will stay the same. One note about the fans. . .it seems Cavies have a ton of what I call groupie fans. This is not a knock on the corps, but more people in the audience. The reason I am calling them groupie fans is because they are obviously not there for the show, but only to cheer for the Cavies and namely some one person they know in the corps. The rest of the show, these groupie fans near us were rude and obviously not interested in anything any of the other corps had to offer. Then during the Cavies, they cheered as loud as they could with every single thing they executed, no matter how easy or difficult it was. Annoying! Anyway, back on topic. . .Cavies are solid, but I still do not think this show will win. My opinion. . .they are winning based on cleanliness, and when some other corps get cleaner, Cavies will not be winning.

Ty's thoughts: I think the 007 idea was a great one. Most of the music was great, but the ballad should have been something like "For Your Eyes Only". I enjoyed the ending more tonight than I did in Dallas, but it still needs something else. I thought they performed really well.

Santa Clara Vanguard portrays the Scheherazade theme so well. . .in every aspect of the show. The hornline and percussion are very solid. The guard had some major troubles tonight. I will give them credit for performing a very difficult guard book, but I counted at least 15-20 drops, and a lot of them at high impact points in the show. This show, if cleaned, should contend for the title. It has everything and more.

Ty's thoughts: Aside from the guard the show was very clean tonight, and I loved it. The design of the show is very good.

The Cadets had publicized so many changes during this week, that I was not sure what to think. I knew they had come close to Cavies last night, which meant things were still going well after so many new things added/changed. All I have to say is thank God for Sacktig and Bocook! This is the kind of show that brought me and many others I am sure to love this corps. Even though this is unfamiliar music to most, this show is vintage Cadets. It has velocity, great arrangements, a great visual design, and an awesome guard. Those who have said this show has what it takes to win are right, IMO. I think had they been on the same level of cleanliness tonight, they would have won. Say what you want about baton boy, but he is awesome. . .all we heard were ooohs and ahhhs every time he threw it up in the air. April has written a great guard book, the drumline is smokin, and the hornline sounded great. This is definitely their best show in many years, and I see no reason why it won't be up there contending in a few weeks. Lots of minor things to fix and clean. . .right in the thick of things.

Ty's thoughts: I thought their show was extraordinary in that they had many challenging maneuvers for all the performers, and they nailed almost all of them. I thought the baton boy was amazing, at one point he was twirling four batons at once and caught the high behind his neck, not mention the several back flips and things he would complete before having to catch the high baton. The guard had trouble with one of the shirts coming off when the guys lose their shirts. However, the show had me engaged from start to finish, and this was one of the few shows that forced me to jump up and scream.

All in all, a great night. I have not seen BD, but judging by their scores I see BD or Cadets 1-2, SCV or Cavies 3-4, with an outside chance for SCV if their guard can pull off that book, and they generate the GE their show should receive.

Michael Bodine


Reading, PA (DCA)

ah Reading. Always fun to hang out down there. Seats were about the 40, about 4 rows from the top. sitting w/the Mignemi's was fun. represented was low brass, high brass, percussion and guard. we covered it all.

I'll be honest i didnt notice a lot of guard stuff. as i wasnt doing an official write up i didnt take notes.

LVK...nice strong start after the lil drum licks. Horns stronger since i saw em in Lewisburg and definitely sound more than what they have, especially at the big hits. Drumline definitely on fire in the opener....playing w/a level not seen by this corps til now. The arrangement seems more fleshed out now, and held my attention better...the hornline 16th note section was very clean. Ending was quite strong and feet seemed to be much better here. Lento w/out the mutes projected better and blended better w/the vibes. keyboiards do a great job here. nice use of chimes in the scoring also. Build into the hit seemed to die a bit but the brass recovered well. drum solo to start bacchanale was strong, tho horns seemed tired. battery section features started good, but got dirty. I appreciate what they're aiming for as a drummer, but the achivement wasn't there until they ramed as an ensemble. backfield section was very cool, built up to a nice hit. corps covers a lot of ground for it's size and doesn't lose much sound. Overall their best showing to date, and they could be a player when Denver or whatever suburb D2/3 finals are in rolls around.

Bush: Side note: Dena Berry, West perry alum, girl you conduct so very well. Also Jerome, thanks for turning and waving when we yelled MAKE OUT.

Intro statement w/metallic laborlike sounds and body visuals by brass very cool. Nice mysertioso build to New World Hit. 25 brass sounds bigger here and surprised many. very strong low brass. Drum book best i have heard from Bush since 94 and performed well here. drum break in new World was creative and performed well for July, and brass re-enrty was strong. In fact whole corps was strong thru the end of the piece.Amber Waves was not a Star rip off as most are, but arranged well.Pit score seemed like it could have used more, but it's early. low brass clearly a strength here. interesting perc scoring leading into William Tell Overture. here brass, especially upper voices seemed a bit tired. bass line very active here. maybe it was staging or where i sat, but leading into the down section, the perc seemed to overpower them a bit. down section seemed a little lifeless but picked up as drum solo kicked in. very aggressive book with some mid season performance issues. I swear that one roll section was from 93. bass line strong in the traditional Bush way. Bras re-entry helped them gather some steam charging into the ending which featured some recap moments musically and the corps ended strong. Clean up the drums and add some horns, and this show will definltely make some noise come finals.

Hurcs: Make His Praise glorious starts strong, but brass seemed to tire after intro statement. Corps does march better than last year at this time, but the brass seems to struggle at the current tempo as a whole. Percussion seemed better than last year. Maybe it's me, but tthe arrangement kinda drug. I'll see again, so i may change my mind. Song ends strong, but with what follows, it just seemed out of place. Gershwin section started off nice and bluesy w/a few themes going on at once into a big hit. Off into Porgy and bess we go w/some nice solo work. build into big bump n grind section alittle rough but the hit itself was good, especially the sop work on top of it. sond ended strong...corps has some power at slower tempos. Stand alone drum solo next, and IMO, pit contribution wasn't very audible. aggressive battery writing w/performance issues, but the intent is clear, until the ending which comes abruptly. Ballad of Mariah...ahhh. well done but hit came kinda quick. battery seemed to over power brass...may have been my seat tho. I still liked it...old school Hurcs updated. Then...bottom bass kicks in. then you know it's Mag 7 time. arrangement very similar to great years gone by, and battery writing enhanced the build nicely. i expected the sop solo leading into the big hit to go quicker...lil drum brek there kinda lost me. But then, viola, nice Mag 7 push to the end, which seemed a lil flat...maybe a lil more oomph is needed. All in all a nice lil show, but needs work both on n off the field. some design issues getting cured could help a lot.

Sky: biggest corps in years. that's good. No tenors...not good. I do understand they are on the way, which is good cause many times the battery book when exposed seemed empty w/out em. cymbals in berets..well...didnt look like Sky. Sorry Cecily, but that uni works w/either not headgear or a shako only. Onto the show...nice build to hit in Rhapsody in Blue, but build to end of hit seemed a bit weak til brass finally kicked in hard. fascinating Rhythm up next....Screech did well here. Reminded me a lot of 90 Westshore's version. Corps seemed at their best playing a swing feel here. Tune ends strong tho. More Porgy, and it seemed to flat line a lil til it picked up into the Concerto In F section. lack of tenors most noticeable in perc solo. Keyboard section w/one extended run similar to the one in Guys and Dolls. When cleaned up this will be incredible. I was hoping for the 93 backsticking underneath it. Tune ended strong tho, and has potential to be really cool by finals when tenors are in there. btw did notice guard here, and i liked em. I got Rhythm section...wow, i swear Screech lifted the 90 Shore charts and blew dust off from here til almost the ending. Not thatit's bad but i was like "OMG, i am playing theparts from 90 and they fit". A Shore alumni near me looked over and we both laughed. ( if you want the drum score call lol). Brass seemed to tire after drum break, which when they get t there will be a nice powerful ending.A nice recap ending helped the corps finish strong. best version of Sky, IMO since 94.

Cabs: I'm always critical of friends, and i have many here. When i saw them at the Harrisburg indoor show i was afraid they bit more off more than they could chew. i thought it was too fast and too many notes, and i envisioned them running like madpeople and performance errors galore.

I envisioned wrong.

The corps is better than this time last year in all segments. IMO the drill is written smarter and looks tougher than it may really be. Sure they move, but it doesnt seem like running for the sake of running. Show starts off strong w/pit playing an extended triplet run that morphs into duple meter. corps entrance was incredibly strong and battery book powered under the uni hits. right off the get go, the bass line shows they'll be a notefest. No real ensemble issues despite spreads and tempos. corps explores dynamics well in opener and shows off all voices. hornline 1th note run thru the voices well performed for July, and the corps powers the song home. Battery seemed to be having an exceptionally strong night. Ballad started off very nicely with a nice blend, tho i noticed a drop in power due to Bb. Mr Hawkins again shines, covering alot of ranger w/outstanding quality. Build to hit seemed to be a lil rough powerwise, buti think you guys were gassed. After that opener i would be. Pit added nicely here, especially for impact. next sont( i dunno the names sorry) the corps exploded uptempo and loud. battery was wailing away. Nice exposed "guard solo" before the ending of the hit. Nice chance to shine for low brass leading into drum break. Tenor line is sick, and so are basses. Oh hell, so is the snares. bass break w/low brass was scary. Tenor and mid voice next and again sick. i missed the snares i was recovering from the tenors. Nice build to a halt and stop only to power to the call to bulls slow section featuring may i say the CLEANEST open roll at a slow tempo i have heard since Bucs 2000 in Jupiter, Snare visual added to the crescendo. Then the Rumps, kinda like last year but embellished. bassline again a tour de force underneat....drum break to full corps hit and screaming sop, then building back to the final statement, w/Freeball himself screaming. this ending is a full charging, run and blast ending and is cool.

My only complaint...it is here they choose to unveil the water drums. IMO, they look like an afterthought, and many people missed them. The corps is going nuts behind them......what made them work last year was they were featured, now w/the chaos behind them, they seem like an idea that looked good on paper. When and f the guard gets done and they have their unis, this corps will be on pace w/Empire. Can't say about Brigs, won't see em til hershey. If the guard gets it done, game on.

Bucs: Again strong intro to Festive Overture, esp low brass. perc scoring here supports brass well. Nice job by mellos after the big hit, as well as pit. corps marching a lot better than lewisburg. guard equipment holders/props held equipment beter tonight, and usage as props seemed more defined. Perc seemed either on or off, no in betweens here. The good was good, so when the not good gets there, look out. noticed a snare w/a cast on not able to play but marching. festive ended strong, but the upper brass holes become evident as you can hear sops get tired. Ballad was very pretty, esp low brass. again you could hear sops struggle due to the fact the few there have to work harder. Pit ending very well done. Loved the into metallic intro to the 10th. felt like a possible ensemble tear about to happen but it got back in at big hit. nice bass break. nice tenor break. nice snare break. then as the corps goes into the extended build section it seemed on the edge of a tear again. next perc break had a few issues. brass re-entry seemed a lil weak, maybe they were tired. Rifle/sabre toss down the 50 needs to be all rifle. you cant see the sabres thru the props.Then the 5th. down beginning a nice feel, and the backfield playing leading into when the corps turns around was good. sops again sound tired, but give em credit they never gave up. Drum break here was performed well for the most part. Nice build to the big hit and the retardando was well done. corps strong at the big push and they finished the show strong. IMo, perc a lil off. I liked em at Lewisburg, andi think the drums can be in the mix. horn holes need to be filled asap to maximize that caption.

Surf: Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis will enter the building. The beginning was very veags feel music wise, but i expected more story telling visually. Gotta love the open collars sticking over the jackets. DM's pimp daddy suit was a nice touch. Opening statement strong, but can be stronger. Corps plays the Vegas lounge feel well, and bass line does a nice job giving the walking 8th note feel. Battery performs really well in their features here. Next tune seemed a lil rough.In fact, IMO arrangement couldhave built more. the feel was there, but oomph could have been bigger. The build up to Elvis and the curtains was IMO too long, and kind of distracting. Pit however did a nice job of playing to fill it in.However once the curtain is up and the Dm gets back up on the box, you know fun is coming. From behind the curtain you hear the infamous 2001 theme, Elvis long time intro.. As the curtain opens, you have 100 Elvis's looking at you playing away. Into Jailhouse Rock we go, and the horns doing Elvis fance moves was great. Those kids had Elvis down pat.Elvis the Pelvis move at the end was classic. When they kicked into CCRyder iwas dying....we used that as a bus hype in Shore in 89/90. Horns did seem tired here, but no one noticed...we were laughing too hard. Sond ended strong, and loved the Elvis coming forward to uh sing err play Cant help Falling In Love. Nice seque into My Way. Strong recap of CC Ryder/jam session ends the show. I was waiting for someone to announce Elvis has left the building.

good show top to bottom. Rumors of Bush's demise exxagrerated. Sky definitely imrpoved and hurcs can definitely hold their heads up once a few issues are fixed.

Bucs...fill the holes.

cabs...get the guard done. You're ahead of last year at this time.

Jeff Ream


DeKalb, IL (DCM)

a few quick points on a few corps... I only got to see the senior division, but here goes.

It was a perfect night for a show, not too cold, and certainly not too hot. Clear skies, and a great crowd.

Chops : Really cool show, we dug the heck out of it. Those guys look like they were having a lot of fun. The DM had to be the most comfortable during retreat.

Govenaires: Really thought these guys just wanted to have a good time and play in front of a great crowd. The DM interaction with the crowd was a good break from all the hoity toity stuff going on in corps these days. Great job!! Nice sops!

~ Side note. I did feel both these corps (smaller class A sized corps) were much too spread out for thier size, which creates an almost automatic timing tear. Try condensing the forms and it should help things out a bunch. My .02

Kilities: Loud, Loud, and more Loud. The older gentleman soprano soloist stole the show. He was SMOKING HOT! Hearing Scotland the Brave touched our hearts, as it is part of our ceremonial slow march medley. YEAH!

Renegades: I thought the run through during the day was better brass wise, but intensity wise, I felt Saturday night was on FIRE! I am a huge fan of the Evil crew, and though MBI was much cleaner, the Renegades were hyped, and it came right through to the crowd who fed off it like a mouse on a crack rock. No, I do not know what that means. I could have used a little more cowbell (Will Farrell). The Renegades may not be the cleanest, but they will have that Scranton crowd ready to mosh right in the stands! Love the 'rave' block.

MBI: What can be said except these guys are clean. The tenor line is damned on fire, right from the first downbeat. This drumline could smoke alot of DCI top 12 lines IMO. I saw the show for only a few moments, then went out to greet a friend in the 'gades. MBI is a contender, no doubt.

Afterparty: It was such a pleasure hanging out with all generations of corps people. People sang songs, the beer was plentiful, the pizza was cold, and the stories were fun. I have to say that my experience on a personal level with the SF crew over the past few years had been great. Nice people, very hospitable. Not to mention the red headed cutie in the pit. The Kilities were there as well as MBI, and we all had huge laughs at how the cops herded us from one parking lot to the next, knowing damned well we were just good people having an innocently good time. Scranton cops should take notes.

Best of luck to all, and thank you DCM!!!!

Chad


Thursday July 8

Erie, PA (DCI Atlantic)

I am a Senior Music Education major at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Trumpet is my main instrument but I will try to comment on all of the sections of each corps. I marched with Kiwanis Kavaliers in 2001.

Lake Erie Regiment- Voices at the Crossroads

This was the best show for this corps in the last couple of years. Nice performance in all categories. Percussion and Guard being the strongest. This corps really frustrates me. Erie could support a much better corps than this but they don't have the financial support. To get the financial support they have to get better numbers and that is not going to happen until they get more user friendly shows. The best high school programs in the area are known more for their Jazz and popular music shows. I think for a little while they should bite the bullet and program a show that will attract more participants and get some better numbers. I don't know if Erie could support Div I but the easily could support a solid Div II. Again though this show was a good improvement over years past.

Kiwanis Kavaliers- Tonight

This show was slightly better for them than years past but it was safe. It was safe visually and musically. They only had five or six mellophones which I strongly question with the size horn line they had. There wasn't any middle voice to the horn section at all. The show was pretty clean the design has some flaws though. At the end of the show part of the drum line starts to play on garbage cans which could be cool. But they don't really do anything with it. Once they get there they play for 15 seconds or so then they rest for a while. It could be so much more effective. Some of the Brass arrangements where questionable and could have been written more effectively. This show was just was easier than the rest of the corps. They need to start to push the difficulty and see what happens.

Glassmen- The Voice of One

No, this show does not work at all. It is boring the visual is very aggressive and they move and play a ton but BORING. This show does not catch the audience at all other than the 35 seconds of Appalachian Spring. The corps has good musicians and they march well but there is very little for the audience to take out of the show. This show just didn't work. Especially the guard costume thing at the beginning. I thought those costumes where dumb and need to go. (Hopefully that wasn't something Martha Graham did) Sorry.

Spirit-The Architecture of Life

I really liked this show. Not loved just liked. I think this is a good show for Sprit. Horn line plays well as wells as the drumline. Visually they march with some of the same technique as the Cavaliers. I am not sure if I liked such a profound knee movement though throughout the ballad. They did it very well and it was quite uniform I just found it distracting. They have a couple of nice park n'barks near the end. The one write after the Great Lover quotes from on the town seemed a little odd and was lacking a profound melody. Other than that I loved the brass book. I had them in front of glassmen by a couple of points. Mostly for GE.

Carolina Crown- Bohemia!

This show was great. I see what people are saying about the singing and the poetry section. The poetry bothered me more than the singing. I think the could do more with some of the brass writing during seasons of love (A trumpet solo- like the gospel soloist on the recording) to make it more interesting. This horn line plays very well. When I heard what they where doing with mixing the popular music with the serious music I was a little skeptical and they pull it of well. They had possibly the best feet of the night with the least timing problems. Not sure if I like the soft ending but I guess it worked well with the theme of the show. This overall is a good show though I am not sure how much room they have to go with it. They could get caught by JSU and Crossmen.

Crossmen- Unity

Great music, great arrangements, great drill. But SLOPPY, DIRTY, MUDDY. They could have had the best designed show of the night. But they had by far the worst feet of the night which caused many problems. Their ballad could be great but there were some major phasing problems tonight. Hornline can put out a ton of sound though it is a little top heavy. They could use some more baritone and Contra sound. This drum line can really lay down a groove to. They just can't keep their feet moving. The guard adds to the show well and the closer is just killer and the Plunger feature in the opener was cool. A couple of the brass solo sections in the closer seemed to be a little to busy to me but could be cool if they get it clean. This show has no where to go but up. It won't happen though unless they start to march better. There are bands around here that have better feet (They aren't doing anything near that difficult but still have better feet) They still should have been in front of the Glassmen though.

Boston Crusaders- The Composition of Color

This is a great show. I watched them run a visual rehearsal in the afternoon for about a half an hour and was a little nervous about their performance because they had some problem with their feet while marching to the Dr. Beat. At the performance that was not an issue. I liked all of the show except for the ballad. It worked well if you don't know the song it came from.Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium is gorgeous when sung but I didn't think that Boston's Arrangement did it justice at all. Just my opinion though. This show is well designed has lots of GE in it and the brass and percussion played well. I tried to tune out all of the narration. This could fight for top five but I doubt it more like 7th place or so.

My rankings:

1. Boston
2. Carolina Crown
3. Spirit of JSU
4. Crossmen
5. Glassmen
6. Kiwanis
7. LER

I am going to try to make a couple other shows later this month. Should be an interesting finish to the season. If you where in Erie and agree or disagree with my thoughts let me know at brentjohnson@adelphia.net.

Brent Johnson


Dallas, TX (DCI)

The weather was quite nice tonight, and we were very lucky to have great seats. Most of the audience are Texas band kids and their directors. Groups get tickets by sending the in the money and then having tickets mailed back. . .so you get no choice in the matter. Somehow, we ended up right in front of the press box, smack dab on the 50. Not sure how it happened, but I did not complain.

On to the show. . .

First off were the Troopers. It had been a long time since I had seen them live (2000 I think), and after hearing so much about a resurgence here on the net, I was excited to see their product. I enjoyed the design of the show; Chuck has done a great job on the arrangements. There were some real nice GE moments, good integration, and it was classic Troopers style throughout. Unfortunately, they do not have the horses to pull it off. I was glad to see the staff gave the kids a challenging product, and hopefully in the next couple of years they can look back and see how they have grown.

Southwind came on the field next. They looked huge performing after Troopers. I do not like the new unis. . .way too much black. One thing I appreciated from this corps was their aggressiveness. Maybe that has something to do with their association with MDBCA??? Anyway, they had a show that seemed like it would be a lot of fun to perform. A lot of visual mud though. . .lots of forms not hitting, and some almost collisions. Guard was nice, but the color scheme was somewhat offensive. Too much lime green. . .and not basic enough for me (if that makes sense). I enjoyed them and thought they were better than at this time last year.

Next came Capital Regiment. I remember their New World show from last season and thought it was nice, but beyond that really did not come into tonight with any preconceived ideas or expectations. I was very impressed with them. This is a corps we should be seeing contend for a finals spot in the coming years. They had a very rich sound to their horn line, and the visual design was nice. I hope they keep the staff in place and keep the kids coming in. This corps seems to be headed in the right direction.

My wife and the other director I was with had asked me to predict placements prior to the contest and I told them more than likely it would be in the performance order (last to first) and the only possible switch would be with CR and Magic. I was right on. I am not sure what is happening with Magic, but after what I saw and heard tonight, it makes me think a lot of the off-season rumors might have been true. I hope not, but I was kind of in shock. The show design itself is not that bad. . .the crowd seemed to enjoy it and relate to it well for obvious reasons. The performance of the product however is an entirely different story. It honestly looked like they had started learning the show a few weeks ago. There were a lot of simple things that were very dirty. . .like foot position in holds, horn angles, tons of off step and muddled forms. This is not at all the same Magic that came back with such force the last 2 seasons.

On to the field marched the Bluecoats. They were received well since Texas seems to be a second home for them, and it was announced they march 15 Texas kids. I have always thought of the Bluecoats as a jazz oriented corps with a lackluster visual program. I was never really able to enjoy them visually until about 4 or so years ago, and it seems they improve in that department each season. I had heard an early season recording of them and was not too impressed. With that said, let me just state that the Bluecoats were AWESOME! This is by far the best Bluecoats show ever, IMO. Not only were they very clean, but they sounded great, and the show is designed very well. I honestly thought they might have been a bit closer in score to the Cavies. There has been discussion about who will be the next first time top 4 corps. If Bluecoats continues with shows like this, then they will be the one. I was floored and so was, it seemed, the crowd. They received a rousing standing ovation at the end for a great performance.

Last tonight were the Cavies. They have once again a very solid corps, strong in all sections. I was not sure how it was going to work out with them doing Bond, but I enjoyed it. There are some downfalls with them this season, IMO. The integration and cohesion that they have been able to achieve the last few years is not at the same level. Even with the new ending, it was not certain when the show ended. It took a few seconds for the crowd to realize they were done. I guess after reading so much about this late ending added weeks into the season, I expected more. The other director and my wife both said it best when they were done. . .the gist of it was that even though it was clear Cavies were cleaner, emotionally Bluecoats had a decisive edge and the show they performed brought the crowd to their feet.

I will see Cadets and SCV on Saturday and hopefully get a better read on things at the top. If what I have been reading about those two corps is true, along with BD's big scores, I don't think Cavies will contend. They are of course a top 3 or 4 corps this season, but I don't feel like I saw a world championship show tonight. I did feel that way when I saw BD last season here in Dallas.

It was a great night of drum corps and I am very much looking forward to Saturday.

Michael Bodine


Wednesday July 7

Broken Arrow, OK (DCI Central)

It's 1:30AM and I'm a little tired but I thought I would let everyone know how I saw the Broken Arrow, OK show before I hit the sack. First let me say, very helpful and courteous staff at this show. Very nice stadium, wish it had more concession stands though.

TROOPERS 63.85 - This corps should make semifinals this year. Bigger corps than years past, but still a little small, great arranging and brass sound, good percussion and an improved color guard. I really love hearing Magnificent 7 and Taps at the end of the show. Very well planned and arranged show.

SOUTHWIND 67.25 - Love the new corps uniforms, didn't like the guard uniforms, but overall a great looking corps. Nice brass book and solid percussion performance drove this corps tonight. They have a very nice sound and the arrangement of Music from the Mummy sounded great. Great job brass and percussion arrangers. SW had a nice looking color guard that knows how to spin. Clean up some lines in drill and stop the drops and bad catches in the guard and this corps can move up. Great job members.

MAGIC OF ORLANDO 68.70 - I've heard good and bad about this corps and after seeing them for myself I believe they can move up with some hard-core cleaning. This corps has a great show, good brass book, solid percussion book a guard that could knock your socks off if they can get their act together, but poorly written visual book. The brass seem to be rushing through some parts and it made it sound not so good in places. The feet need to be clean along with some reworking of drill. The color guard needs some work on catching equipment and timing, but they can be a great guard with some hard work. This corps has a good foundation, now they need to get down and dirty and build the rest of the house and once finished and cleaned it will be awesome. With some cleaning and reworking they can move up. Oh by the way, loved the walk the plank part of the show along with the drunken pirates scene.

CAPITAL REGIMENT 72.05 - Great sounding corps and I really like the uniform. This is my first viewing of this corps since they began back in 1999. They have a really nice arranged musical book and a good looking visual book that should take them into semifinals this year. I really liked the opening trumpet choir and drill work, and the music of David Holsinger is fitting this corps perfect. The color guard uniforms were a little too bright for my taste with the bright lime green in the opening section. Overall a great corps and a great performance tonight.

BLUECOATS 80.80 - Love the large, talented and awesome color guard. This guard can spin and move. Nice drill integration with the guard and corps. Nice loud, solid sound coming from this corps. Their Mood Swings show had a lot of people in my section grooving and bouncing during the swing/jazz/groove section and everyone standing by the end. Great performance tonight by the Blooooooocoats. I think they will end up in 8th or 7th place in Denver. Defiantly would see again.

CAVALIERS 85.55 - WOW, This corps is the king of visuals and movement. The Cavies have an awesome show that has everything in it. The brass book is well written and performed well. The Cavaliers can get loud, but can play musically. The percussion book is written and performed like a champion. Solid, fast, and aggressive in parts is all I can say about this great drumline. They are now starting to add little visual enhancements to the show and it's some jaw dropping, fast moving, take a double take visual book. Love the color guard costumes and this guard knows how to spin and move. This corps is really starting to make the James Bond 007 look come to life both musically and visually. My friend said looks like the guard is performing magic out on the field because they way they handle flags and rifles. I really liked the flag designs. Wonderful show and performance. They crowd loved every moment. Standing O at the end. This corps is #1 or #2 in Denver.

Well, I didn't stay for retreat so that's all I have to say. Until next time when I check out the D2 and D3 corps in Oklahoma City on July 29th and 30th.

Alonzo
Oklahoma City, OK.


What a great day for drumcorps it turned out to be yesterday! Sunny, not too hot, a little windy, and no hint of rain.... My wife and I arrived in Broken Arrow at about 3:30 and tailgated by ourselves in the parking lot to eat our turkey sandwiches that we brought from home... mmmmm.... turkey.....

We then headed up to the stadium to watch the Cavaliers' "clinic" (practice). During this practice, there was a camera crew that showed up from one of the local TV stations. They waited till the Cavies did a full run-through to film anything (or so, that's how it looked to me...). The entire time the news crew was there, I was thinking, "Man, I just KNOW they're gonna call this a "band".... grrr..." but then, I thought what difference does it make? What's in a name, right? (Please let's not flame Jeff for this...). I will go into detail about the Cavies show in their part of the review, and since I saw them the most, I will have more details about their show than others.

The mayor's "rousing" proclamation- The mayor of Broken Arrow got in front of the crowd before the show started with his proclamation in hand. After about 30 "Wherefores", and "Whereas" (how would you write that in the plural form?) he declared July 7th, 2004 as Drum Corps International Day.... in Broken Arrow.............. whoopee. I did think, "So, are they gonna have a parade today in honor of Dan Acheson, and put him up on a float?....."

Before I go into the actual show, I want to warn the casual reader. I "give away" parts of the shows and things that happen in them, so if you don't want to know, please stop reading now....Also, I tried to get a count on each of the corps, but my count may not be accurate, so keep this in mind..(I know, kind of defeats the purpose...)

TROOPERS 11 pit/19 perc/17 guard/40 horns/2 DM- 6th place:63.85

I was looking forward to seeing the Troopers, as it had been a couple of years since I had seen them. In the opening set, the corps in on side A in a "swirly" form. As the opener begins, they bring this form forward, towards the 50. As this is happening, the snares are double-sticking. They eventually come forward to provide a big impact. In their ballad, their are horns, in groups of four, forming squares, and they rotate clockwise while playing. In "Rodeo/Houston", there were many visuals going on that were interesting, and added GE. During a park n' blow section, the whole corps put one leg out as a visual, but a few of the members forgot to do this...maybe this was just added? Later in their program, (I think it was during, "Riders in the sky") the snares where "monkey-sticking", which was neat... After the "fake" ending, they marched towards side B's endzone, playing "Taps". The horns made a circle around around a lone guard member. As the guard member raised his flag dramatically, the horns crouched down, and "struck a pose", as the percussion, which was in a half-circle to the left, took their hats off, and bowed their heads as they leaned. Surprisingly, there was no "SHOOP!" to be heard...(I'm joking, because this final form reminded me of Cavaliers' 97' show ending.) The troop looked like they were marching 3 holes, but I could be wrong. They were pretty loud for their size, especially when they park. I attribute this to the G bugles...An enjoyable show...

SOUTHWIND 11 pit/25 perc/31 guard/53 horns/2 DM-5th place:67.25

The first thing that struck me about Southwind was how large they were this year. It looks like to me that they have added a few members since last year... The second thing that struck me was their uniforms... big improvement. Here are some highlights... In the opener, the percussion is "pushing" a snake of horns, giving the snake movement... at the end of the closer, the corps forms a large block and they "make like the Cadets" with a "meat-grinder" type move... lots of movement, but not real clear right now (give them time...) In the percussion feature, the pit? brings out some tambourines and starts playing them on the field, near the sideline... later during this same feature, the quads and bass drums are on side B, and the basses put down their drums, grab a stick, and walk up to the side of the quads and start playing one of their hands for them.... very cool... It reminded me of Cadets 2000 with the horn players....the crowd ate it up. I could tell the crowd reaction excited the corps, because there was a baritone that was overblowing during the park and blow section shortly after (again, give them time...) In one section, the corps trades-off a large run of notes. This was a little dirty, but not terrible. Later, the corps is playing backfield...as they turn to face front, I expected them to let us have it (with a ritard...), but they didn't... I thought they could add some GE by doing this, but I'm not a show designer... At one point in the show, the corps makes an "anch" in the the drill....Looked like they were marching 2 holes, but who knows?... Crowd enjoyed them... If they can add some more GE, they will be great!! Oh yeah, the guard is MUCH better than last years... good job, guys (girls..)!!

CAPITAL REGIMENT 11 pit/16 perc/23 guard/58 horns/2 DM-3rd place:72.05

The first thing I did with Capital Regiment was yell for Brandon!! Those of you who are regulars on the sound machine know what I'm talking about... A note to color guard instructors/designers... Please stop with the ugly colors!! They hurt my eyes!! Capital Regiment's guard starts and ends in lime/neon green (part of the uniform, not the whole thing like Cavies last year...) Highlights: After their ballad, the lower brass, whom we had not really heard that much till then, just crank it up, and take over for a little while... that was nice... Their best GE moment of the night came during the park n' blow section ("Scootin on hardrock"?) As the show started, and they started to play the doxology, I didn't really care for the arrangement. Later, they reprise the doxology, and it seemed like a better arrangement than before, but similar...My personal opinion is that Capital Regiment had southwind beat individual-wise, but Southwind had Capital Regiment beat in ensemble music, but I didn't see the recaps... Not much crowd reaction for this show...

MAGIC OF ORLANDO 11 pit/17 perc/28 guard/62 or 66 horns?/2 DM-4th place:68.70

Next was the Magic of Orlando, with their show entitled, "The Warriors, classic cult movies gone bad..." Just kidding... (If you see their guard uniforms, you'll see what I mean, as I thought they looked like the warriors..) I digress... Highlights: In one part of their show, the guard holds up this large "plank". On top of it are a guard girl and guard guy. They don't do much up there, but try to keep from falling off. I thought they were playing "king of the mountain" at first.... At the climax of the music, the female guard member falls backwards off the end of the plank and splats on the field (no, they caught her...) This reminded me a lot of Magic's 94' show where at the end of their ballad, the guy gets wrapped in cloth and is pulled/falls backwards off the box.... Now, when I first heard of the show, and later when I saw the guard, I thought, "Hey, like Madison Scouts' 97' show..." well, during one part of their show, the whole guard grabs these large, clear jugs of water, and starts to walk onto the field with them... I thought, "great, a direct rip-off..." BUT, they make it work for them. A horn member is seen marching "drunk" during this piece, and at the climax, the guard throws the water EVERYWHERE ALL OVER THE FIELD... it's like a water explosion!! In short, it worked... crowd ate it up, including me... The thing that pissed me off about this show the most was nothing to do with the corps itself, but during the ballad, it seemed like everyone in the audience had to talk!! VERY ANNOYING!! The guy to the left of me started talking, then the guy to the right of me started talking, then the guy BEHIND me started talking..... People, SHUT UP!!!!! I would have said something to the gentleman to the left of me, but he was a newbie, and he was an elderly gentleman, and I believe you should always respect your elders... even if they drive you nuts.... so, my solution to his talking?.... I switched places with my wife, who was sitting to the right of me.... not solved, but better.... I digress again... All in all, Magic seemed a little "off" tonight, although it's my only viewing of them this year, so who knows? But, the crowd really enjoyed them... If they can clean up the drill and some playing issues, they will have a "real" crowd pleaser!!

BLUECOATS 10 pit/22 perc/36 guard/59 horns/2 DM-2nd place:80.08

I'm surprised to look at my notes and see hardly anything written about the Bluecoats... I think this is because I was so busy enjoying their show, I didn't write down as much..some of the things I remember: GUARD-Thank you!!! What a great guard (besides the uniforms)!!! They were the first corps to not have any "ghastly" colors in their flags... The hornline looked kind of small on the field... reminded me of Crossmen 97.... One part of the show took the crowd's breath away...you could literally hear the crowd "GASP!!!" when the guard hit a unison part in a large diamond in the middle of the horns...awesome. I also remember their GREAT soloist. This guy is cookin!! He's out front of the hornline, with lots of attitude.... go get em!! Some really great park n' blow sections, which the crowd really enjoyed... you could tell the crowd was in to this corps... The only disappointing part of their show was the ending, which kind of fell flat.... If they put a better ending on this show and clean it up, they will be a real crowd favorite!!

CAVALIERS 11 pit/19 perc/34 guard/64 horns/2 DM-1st place:85.55

The Cavaliers have another great show this year. I was worried when I heard they were playing music from James Bond films...and the last three (the WORST three..)? Anyway, fears have subsided, as I have seen for myself that they have it all under control... The opener has the hornline and guard kneeling to backfield, as the contras start playing, they rise and do the "sliding lines" move from 90, 91, 98, etc... to form a box around a single guard member... this happens in the lower-left of the form first, then in the upper-right of the form, all while the pit is snapping their fingers to the beat...they continue to the impact point, and as they hit the impact, the corps is in a diamond form with the guard in a diamond form above and to the right... as they play, the guard meshes with their diamond... at the end of the opener, the corps is in a block near the sidelines. After the "bing, bing, bing...." by the xylophones (listen to the APDs to hear what I mean...), they do a visual where they crease their hats and throw that arm down.... very cool and funny..crowd loved it... they then put horns up immediately after and snap to the backfield as they start pulling parts of the block out to form other smaller blocks, eventually forming a linear form, like a "V" on it's side.... sidenote: It seemed like in this "V" that there were two holes... it was like this for the clinic each time they did it, and for the night show, so it's designed that way.... just wondered why they didn't just make it completely solid.... Next, during the percussion feature, they have a "gunfight" between two horn members on side B, on both sides of a horizontal line... the horn players act like their horns are guns as they run to the opposite end of the line (from the right side to the left)... also in another part of the percussion feature, the hornline forms three solid circle forms, arranged like a pyramid..... the guard is in a linear circle around each solid circle, with flags around one circle, rifles around another, and sabres? around the other.... as the corps plays a lot of notes, passing it between the circles... (again, listen to the APDs...) During the third piece, Jeff Fiedler came out on the field, mic in hand, and proceeded to sing "Goldfinger"!!!! Okay, that's not true at all. Just a joke, people!! Really, though, during the third piece, the percussion is in a circle near the backside of the field, side A, and the hornline is spread out in a large solid form.... as the pit whistles the James Bond theme, the hornline does the "wavy" drill from 98 or 2000's shows... the percussion circle continues to rotate and move towards the audience, picking up hornline members along the way.... very strange..I'll have to see this move at the end of the season to truly appreciate it... later in the piece, after they transition to a samba-esque feeling, the hornline is in a circular block near the sideline... the members of the hornline start to "fall off" of the circular block in "rings" starting from the outside, and moving in... as a trio of sopranos wails..... as they finish, they stirke a pose...During the fourth piece, the guard is in a large circle on side B while the hornline is in a horizontal, rectangular block form on side A.... as the hornline moves the block, they do the "compression" move from 99.... at the end of this ballad, the corps "hums" (no amps) to close... In the fifth piece, the hornline forms a large solid block form on side A, as the different sections come in to play parts of the melody, they are rotating and moving lines in all sorts of directions... they finally wind up in a solid block form near the sidelines... they then quickly turn to the backfield and run into a giant triangle shape.... then, they invert the triangle ala 89', as they do some visuals with their hands and arms, making a "gun" and shooting it... In the closer, they form a large company front, slightly bent as they hold a note, then they snap to backfield and run into a large "H" pattern on side A, near the endzone, but the "H" does not have a "crossbar" on it, so, essentally, two parallel lines are formed... as they hit this form, they hold another note as the front part of the "H" is facing forward, and the back part of the "H" is facing backfield.... they then proceed to RUN...I'll explain... groups of two or three horns break off from the very front and very back of the "H" at the same time... this happens as the "H" is floated to the right... these broken-off horns RUN up, inbetween the paralell lines, and as they meet in the center, they form a block rectangle as they move slowly out of the left side of the form.... this continues until they exhaust the lines.... they wind up center field, near the sidelines, and there looked to be a lot of running drill, similar to 89 and 90 during the percussion feature for those shows... they wind up with the majority of the hornline in a large, spread out block form near the sidelines, with some horns in a linear square form just above them with a lone guard member in the center of this square... clearly they are trying to tie the ending to the beginning, which I understand, but the ending kind of just fell flat. What do I think? I think the ending is not done yet. I think we will either see something added after this current ending, or this ending replaced by something more exciting. I asked someone on the Cavaliers staff who was sitting near me if the ending was done or not, and he answered, "I don't know.... I don't know anything about that, I'm just a truck driver...." D'OH!!!!

RETREAT!!!!!! (run away, run away!!)

For retreat, they had 98 High School percussionists come out and play the corps on the field. They played ONE piece, and the stupid thing got stuck in my head (think "Go Take State", but not quite... anyways, they announced the scores, which I posted above in my review.... I was a bit surprised to see such a spread between Capital Regiment and Magic of Orlando... I thought it should have been a little closer than that, but one of the judges was one of the Czapinskis, so..... JUST KIDDING FOLKS!! (not about Czapinski being a judge here, as he was..) Again, those of you who frequent the Soundmachine's website will know what I'm talking about..... maybe. Anyway, thanks for reading my review!! I hope I didn't offend anyone, although these days, I'm sure I said SOMETHING to offend SOMEONE... let's hope not...

Jeff Gray

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