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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 Five of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Saturday August 7

Denver, CO (DCI World Championships)
Division I Finals

The weather ended up being perfect (looked a little scary before the show started, but it all blew away), the stadium was packed and ready, and the line up was fantastic.

Here are my short and sweet observations about tonight's line-up.

Marines - Fantastic job with a varied and challenging program. It's always a pleasure to see these men and women perform. Fantastic job on all three national anthems!

Glassmen - I thought they were a bit flat tonight. It seems they were just happy to have made finals and didn't think they could move any higher. Nice show, but not their best performance of the week.

Blue Knights - Outstanding tonight. They really laid it all on the line and took it up a notch. The drum major sported their old uniform this evening (blue top with the white dots and grey pants).

Crossmen - The opener was a bit scary visually. There was an ugly rifle drop, the guard member went to retrieve it, and ended up almost taking out several members of the horn line in the process. The rest of the show was really solid. I didn't think they were as good as they were yesterday, and I thought BK passed them without a doubt.

Madison Scouts - They had their best show of the week tonight. They were much more emotional and powerful in their performance.

Boston Crusaders - They had a solid show tonight. No major change from last night. I thought Madison passed them by and left them in their dust.

Bluecoats - Powerful show. The horn line lit it up, and the guard was on. The horn line sounded fantastic - great tone quality and balance. The show design just doesn't do it for me.

Carolina Crown - They had a strong show tonight, but it was not really any better or worse than yesterday. They are neck and neck with Bluecoats.

Phantom Regiment - Holy Cow, what a show! It seemed to me they channelled some pent up frustration from last nights shafting into on phantastic performance. Absolutely awesome job (to both the performers and the designers).

Cadets - The opener had some minor phasing in the opening statements, but the rest of the musical program was "rock" solid. Visually, there were three noticeable missed direction changes and still plenty of visual dirt. The baton twirler went wild tonight with tons of leaps and such - pure bando cheese. Sorry Cadets, Jethro Dull just didn't do it for this former fan of your shows. Please, keep the cheese in the refrigerator.

Santa Clara Vanguard - The fan favorite. The clapping, the cheering, the thundering foot stomping, the "SCV" chanting - and this was just their field entrance. They were on fire tonight! Standing ovation at the end of the opener, in the closer, and at the end of the show. Percussion smoked everyone. Guard was spectacular. Brass was gorgeous. Drill was incredible. The best? Not on the sheets. They deserved third place. But they were the clear fan favorite regardless of their placement. SCV, you are true champions in my book! Thanks for such an incredible performance!

Blue Devils - They had a much better show tonight. All captions were much better, and they performed incredibly well. They added a new twist to the ending tonight, which was very cool. Rather than march into the end zone and sort of mill about waiting for the pit to conclude, the horn line and battery just kept on chugging away right into the tunnel. MUCH better way to end the show.

Cavaliers - Much better tonight as well, and one simple word can describe their performance - CHAMPIONS!

One complaint - Why didn't the Div II and Div III Champions perform in exhibition before the show began? The show began at 5 PM, but there was nothing but video clips and the Marines wonderful performance before Glassmen took the field at 7PM. I was looking forward to seeing both the Spartans and the Oregon Crusaders.

Why has Div II/III been scheduled on the many of the same days as Div I in a different location? Why was there no DIV II/III results reported in the update? Why was nothing mentioned by the announcer or in the video clips about Div II/III? Why has Div II/III been completely tucked away in their own little corner?

Overall, a great show and a great year.

Tim Kviz

I returned from Denver late last night to the east coast.... went to top of Pike's Peak on Sunday... if you ever get the chance, do it... was awesome..... here is my review..... I was at quarters and finals (not at semis)

General.... great stadium.... weather held... great finals crowd......

Pioneer..... ok job....the riverdance arrangement not very well-written.... if you are going to do that, put boards down for the guard and have them learn to do it.... hell, you can use amps now, mike the tapping and make them do it well......

Troopers.... I liked some of the arrangements..... they had some brass and guard performance problems...... hang in there and keep growing.........

Kiwanis..... they try hard to perform well...... however, why would you play a "class B" arrangement of West Side Story, one of the most done (and some corps legendary) works, and expect to be competitive?? This corps needs an injection of a new creative team.........

Mandarins.... improved nicely last 2 weeks...... had some strong performance moments.... brass errors stick out more in small hornline.... but they also were successful at defying their size.... taiko drumming highlight of show.... properly placed....

Pacific Crest...... big corps.... some good moments.... touring would help them tighten up and become more competitive, but I also understand the money factor......

Esperanza.... did a very good job for first year as division I...... they are young and could be a big player in the near future if they continue to mature and progress.....

Southwind.... big sound and an emotional job today...... I think if they improve on their programming, this corps could move up in the near future....... barely missed semis.....

Magic...... made a nice improvement since Allentown to do a respectable job to earn semifinals....especially after stability/management problems... corps is young and they will be back strong if members hang in there......

Seattle...... good execution....... a better and more accessible music book would have put them closer.... a good corps in a tough year......

Colts..... well written musical book, and they also improved nicely last 2 weeks.... I felt should have been a bit closer to the pack and I had them in 14th......

Capital Regiment....... I felt they were overscored..... had some brass problems and the book isn't the greatest....visual seemed to be their strongpoint..... not weak in any caption, but not strong enough to contend....... however, they are still a moving young corps.....

Spirit.... executed very well..... 2nd half arrangements went downhill, and in my opinion their downfall.... I felt the dogfight between them and G-men was accurate and could go either way.

Glassmen....also executed well..... I don't know when their staff is going to learn that playing obscure music with much dissonance is not going to win fans.... if they gave them a well-written accessible music program, this corps could go places.......... placed correctly, although I wouldn' t have flinched if Spirit had gotten them for 12th....

Crossmen....... did a strong QF job to clinch 10th.... 11th was correct in finals.... guard had a bad night... several drops, one causing a collision within brass block.... I had them in 11th barely beating Glassmen, as horns didn't have their best night, either......

Blue Knights.... did a solid job in all captions, and managed to sell their program.... finals was their best, and I thought they would be a bit closer to Boston.....

Boston..... visual program is strong, but they need a better musical book..... started out good and then 2nd half declines.... perc. and guard were tight and the corps can march.... brass inconsistent in 2nd half.... correctly placed in 9th....

Madison.....strong brass performance was underscored in effect, performance, and ensemble....visual performance was good........drumline is a tad weak and hurt them........I did have them in 7th on their strong musical program.....

Bluecoats..... strong performance-wise and some good moments, but coordination and continuity of arrangements not as good as others...... ending of "Sing, Sing, Sing' was especially choppy..... I had them in a tight 8th and they finished 6th...

Crown.... fine arrangements played very well with excellent musicality and dynamic range.... underscored in music effect, brass, and ensemble.... great coordination made for an effective program..... I had them 6th (so did semis panel).... finals panel gave them 7th.......

Phantom..... what a brass performance they gave!!!!! They must have worked their tushes off since Allentown, as they came to play....... incredible soprano parts were smoked, and brass performance was stellar..... percussion musical but not as exposed as some of the higher placing lines.... underscored in music effect, brass, and ensemble.... visually well executed.... I agree they could integrate the guard more...... underscored......I had them in 3rd overall.......

Cadets..... performed well..... some minor brass performance issues.... scored correctly there.... percussion performed well, but not as musical as those who topped them..... show too choppy musically, but still had some good moments.... guard did a fine jpb...... I had them battling BD for 4th and 5th.....

Santa Clara Vanguard..... the best musical program on the field..... terrific arrangements played superbly, musically, emotionally, and quite effective.... nobody close in terms of musical demand, interpretation, or performance....... I can see others being there or beating them visually (but they were not bad there, either.... just not groundbreaking.... but hey, why can't you use effective moves from your own past??.... and unlike others, they moved alot and fast while playing difficult parts) Percussion was stellar and won.... I had them 1st in music effect, brass performance, ensemble, and percussion, and 2nd in visual overall...... 1st overall..... judges 3rd......

Blue Devils...... perc. and guard did fine jobs..... brass book is stagnant in many places, especially harmonically, and others had more demanding books... this is hidden by their fantastic soprano soloists, but the hornline runs did not get clean since Giants stadium, there were some minor timing issues, and the 20 in brass in QF is a joke. 2nd half of drill seemed quite simplistic compared to other contenders..... good impacts and they do perform overall well, but this book pales in comparison to SCV....... I had them battling Cadets for 4th - 5th..... judges 2nd...

Cavies..... great drill, and they were quite tight in all sections..... they are playing more brass-wise than they did in the past, and had an excellent soprano section.... my biggest complaint is they need to play more.... too much tacet time or fragmented ensemble playing, but when they do, it was performed well..... I had them 2nd...... program still came up short musically when comparing to Vanguard..... judges 1st.........

General..... music judging in DCI (brass, music ensemble, and music effect) all need overhauled..... bring in hall of famers Sandra Opie and Jim Prime for some lectures/discussions, and new judge leadership and overhaul music judge training and some new judges in the music captions and these captions can be repaired.........


Denver, CO (DCI World Championships)
Division II / III Grand Finals

I'm writing this in the Denver International Airport - we spent the day roaming the 16th street Mall and it's still 2 1/2 hours before the red-eye to Boston leaves, so I'll write this now. I don't have the numbers for the scores as Catherine and I had to belt out immediately after the Spartans cleared the field - our suspicions about their winning were confirmed later at Invesco.

So I'm going to write quick appreciations of the corps in the Div. II/III Grand Finals at All-City Stadium...and boy, was there a lot to appreciate. The Stadium is low, artificial turf - a wide running track plus a wide margin separates the corps from the audience. I've seen higher stadiums in Nashua and Southbridge. IMHO it could be higher, but it held quite a crowd - in fact, the ticket people were heard to state that the crowd was much bigger than they expected - and were prepared for.

TEAL SOUND (first viewing) - Their show started with an excellent snare duet - the entire percussion section was their best strength, clean and with great effects. They made great use of the centerfield, with a good variety of clean sets. I liked the contrast of the guard's orange unitards - they had a great silent feature and seemed very versatile - most all of them used all the standard implements - flag, rifle and sabre - a lot of depth in this guard. In general they had a great marching technique.

MEMPHIS SOUND (first viewing) - Their show started with a wonderfully well-balanced brass statement - they did a lot of box rotations that got away from them a little - there was some fuzz in about half of them. I rather liked their upfront approach to brass sound - it could get a little bracky sometimes, especially in the low brass, with occasional individuals sticking out - but backfield, especially, it was velvet - wonderful soulful sound.

YAMATO (first viewing) - I can see why Yamato won the Spirit of Disney award for Div. III - their show had great flair and carried its theme of "time" very effectively. They had a classic "California" horn sound, very clean and balanced. They almost strangled a judge (much to the crowd's delight) with a long scarf-like golden cloth surrounding the center of the field. For such a "small" corps it served to define the playing space very effectively, with focus both in and out of its space. Very well thought out. What is also amazing (as Bari Benzo has pointed out so often) this corps exists half in Riverside CA and half in Japan (Osaka?) and had only been fully together for about three weeks, by my count. This is a masterpiece of co-ordination planning for which they deserve great respect and praise.

OREGON CRUSADERS - (first viewing) - There has been a lot of talk about this "overnight" sensation (that took three years to bring to this point - isn't that how it always is?) and I'm here to tell ya - believe the reports - this is one really together corps. They seem to have put most of their apples in the brass and percussion basket - these guys play at a very advanced level. Their guard seems quite a bit younger in its development - though their moves are comparatively simple, they are very effective. I look forward to the packages this corps will create in the future as that part of the program matures. The musical choices were very effective in showing off the skill and maturity of the performers - I think they might have made equally effective choices that took the same care to connect with the audience on a more basic emotional level. From what I saw, this corps was clearly the Div. III Champions - excellent.

JERSEY SURF - (second viewing) - Holy Moses, where do I start? Bob Jacobs should be locked up for doing more to turn drum corps in the 21st Century upside down than George Hopkins could dream of in a million years. My Malden MA review mentioned the huge curtain that divided the field at the midpoint of this lounge-a-riffic salute to Las Vegas... imagine our shock when it dropped down to reveal the entire horn line (and drum major) in white sequined leisure suits, oversized Elvis wigs and sunglasses. I hadn't heard about this, it apparently went in during the July 4th weekend (and no one told me?!? waahhhhhh.....!!!) Anyway, they blasted their way (somewhat raucously, I have to say) through "Jailhouse Rock" and "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" and crashed into their finale, which sounded vaguely like the theme to "Family Feud" mixed with the "Blues Brother's" fanfare and came to the final hit, lined up on the sideline, pouring themselves into the horns....... at which point, the DM uncovered a mysterious round object attached to his podium (did I say he was in a gold lame' jumpsuit?). This object was a "wheel of chance" with 5/6's labeled "take the penalty" and 1/6 labeled "end the show"... he spun the wheel and it landed on "end the show" - much to the kid's disappointment... at which point the DM twisted the pointer to read "take the penalty" and the whole damn corps piled over the sideline, right up into the stands and proceeded to completely tear the house down. My God, I wish the whole DCI world had been there...I saw both VK and Bayonne in their glory days and experienced first hand the delicious sense that you were watching a corps that could be successful as performers and still not buy into the dominant mindset of drum corps. It was freakin' glorious. Thank you Bob Jacobs from the bottom of my heart - now let's see you top it next year....

BLUE DEVILS B - (first viewing) And BDB had to follow THAT. They did a wonderful job, putting some great Pat Metheny songs on the field. Their sound was clean, but I thought them rather thin in the middle horn department - the drum section in particular was very aggressive. Their guard definitely has a connection to the Scott Chandler school of movement and equipment handling design. They were clean and very expressive, both handling equipment and in dance.

IMPULSE - (first viewing) - I saw this corps from the sideline. I think they did music by Carl Stalling from Warner Brother's cartoons - an "artist" used an oversized pencil to create large versions of what turned out finally to be Betty Boop (I hope the got clearance to use her). Between this and last year's "Willy Wonka" it seems to be a very artistic group.... This show was not quite as crazy as some I've seen in past - it had more of an execution focus - though I must admit their guard had more drops than might be expected at this level. They had great soloists and the drill was wide open.

BLUE STARS - (first viewing) - I remember this corps from "back in the day" and it is a worthy carrier of the Blue Star tradition of excellence both in execution and design. The 'anime" music was very well suited to corps - powerful brass and percussion, very dramatic. The show seemed a little sloppy in the first third, some horns popped out of the texture, drum releases weren't as clean a needed - but the energy level and the focus improved dramatically as it progressed, especially in the last third. It was a big corps and had one of the largest contingents in the stands. Great work from a great corps.

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD CADETS (first viewing) - this corps seemed way more like it's A corps sibling that BDB seemed to be. They had a fast, tasty drill. I loved the horn sound - it was one of the two or three I enjoyed most of the entire afternoon. The guard was very well prepared, with silks too many to mention and excellent in their use of color.

FEVER - (first viewing) - Again, like Oregon Crusaders this corps is an "overnight" success that took several years to bring to fruition. Their level of execution in all captions was totally consistent - all good. I have to admit I didn't appreciate the color of their uniforms at first viewing - maybe it was the daylight but the grey seemed washed out and the bands of red in the jacket didn't read well. But, as they moved, and especially in contrast to their guard unis, this corps really jumped off the field. Colors in flags and guard unis really helped define the music, which I enjoyed (didn't get the names).

EAST COAST JAZZ - (third viewing) - There were moments when I could have been perfectly happy using a coin toss to determine the "better" corps between ECJ and Spartans - they were that good. Chick Corea's music (and Chick marched in a corps in Malden, I think) has to be played aggressively but with an almost off-hand approach to the rhythm - ECJ pulled it off. Their guard in particular was wonderfully well-staged and had total command of equipment work. This corps has a reputation for putting jaw-dropping soprano soloists on the field - this year's edition was floating through "Spanish Heart" when a lightening strike happened just "over there" - and a truly frightening crack of thunder ripped the air... ECJ's manager Fred Ford was heard to say "ah... the heavens weep" - which, when another bolt cracked what felt like a block away, kind of felt like flipping off an active volcano. But the show went on into the finale of "Spanish Fantasy" - the last explosive ninety seconds - with a potential championship on the line - and we suddenly saw Fred go flying down the steps to the field shouting "no, no, no..." - when we looked down we saw the T&P judge standing in front of the DM, holding up a hand - which was pretty useless as the DM was standing on a platform about a dozen feet in the air. And I don't think the DM was in a mood to see him anyway.... As the lightening fell again the announce shouted "stop the corps...stop the corps" and the crowd saw what was up - a roar began from the stands and the T&P judge threw up his hands and the corps went on the finish - I didn't think I'd see a corps that flat won the crowd like Jersey Surf for a year - and here they were an hour later.

SPARTANS - (third viewing) - So, after a 30 minute rain delay, with another 15 to let Spartans complete their warmup, the Div. II champions took the field. Personally, I think a lot of corps fall into the trap (maybe too strong a word) of doing music that shows off the corps skills and fits together logically but fails to connect with the crowd in a meaningful way - that was my worry when I heard Nashua was doing Key Poulan's "Medusa". I needn't have worried - the ebb and flow, the melodic construction of this music completely caught the audience and took them along. It's often not enough to play and march well - you have to connect and this show did it. The drill was impeccable - they have the knack of creating a visual crescendo to compliment one in the music, often leading to a single guard move that caps a full minute of musical development.

FINAL THOUGHTS - okay, this was a bit more than a short appreciation - people have gotten a lot of milage out of saying how DCI ignores Div. II/III - and in certain respects I think it's true - but Bob Jacobs recently wrote a wonderful response ("Soylent Green is people...!") to the effect that Div. II/III will get more respect when the corps are more respectable. The format of a second Grand Finals worried me at first since the time and location might prove too much of a conflict against the sexier Div. I show at Invesco...and my schedule precluded me from going to the shows earlier in the week. But doing a show like this put the very best of Div.lI/III in front of the public - and J.W Koester's plug for the show on Friday must have helped a lot. I think I saw creativity and execution - total excellence - that equalled or exceeded a lot of what I saw later at Invesco - it was really impressive. On top of that, those stands were packed - I don't know how it stacked up with the crowd at the Citrus Bowl last year, but it felt good to know that many people - as I said, many more than expected - were totally into the show.

I hope Blue Knights made a mint - I hope even more corps fight and claw their way into the show next year (and A/G hopes to be there as well).,... It's a truism to say that "Div. II/III is the future of drum corps" - if Div. I makes their source of performers completely dependent on Texas marching bands, that might well be false hope....... but for right now, these corps are good, they're mostly local and they're starting to grow.

What's not to like?

Jim Alberty

Friday August 6

Denver, CO (DCI World Championships)
Division I Semifinals

Every year for the past several years, my family and I have posted our review of one of the shows from Championships. We try to limit our review to just a few overall comments about each corps. I do not edit my wife or daughter's comments, and I ask for their comments before I say anything.

To put a frame of reference behind the comments, the following are our drum corps backgrounds: I marched from 1978 to 1988, and have been to Championships every year since 1978. My wife never marched, and she is completely deaf. She has been to Championships in 1991, and every year since 1993. My daughter is 12, has been to Championships every year since 1996, she plays the trumpet, and is very involved in dance.

There was a short delay in starting the show due to a storm that blew in. The storm dumped a good amount of rain, then blew away leaving sun and comfortable temperatures, with only a light breeze.

The stadium is simply awesome. Acoustics are fantastic, plentiful restrooms, ample food choices, air conditioning, chairs, couches, video monitors, great looking field, etc. And Denver has been such a great city for Championships. I hope they come back again, On with the review.

Magic of Orlando - 77.000
He Said: These kids went out and had fun tonight. Quality of the performance was sacrificed a bit by their enthusiasm, but the energy and excitement more than made up for it. Terrific job!

She Said: A very cool color guard, and a very nice interpretation of the movie. What a fun show. They were a big shock - no where near as good as in the past - but still a lot of fun.

And the Little One Said: It was a very good show. It was just really dirty. The timing of the guard was off and the spacing in the horn line was not very good. I really liked when they threw water everywhere.

Colts - 81.325
He Said: They had a very emotional performance tonight. They really laid it all on the line and had fun. There were major goose bump moments during Old Man River. Wonderful show and wonderful performance.

She Said: They were dirty. I didn't like the drill at all. It just didn't flow well. The guard was very nice.

And the Little One Said: I liked the beginning of the show and the color guard. The flags are really pretty. I liked the horn line - they had lots of kick.

Seattle Cascades - 81.800
He Said: They really stepped it up tonight. They had a really wonderful show.

She Said: They were very good. Overall, they have a nice program, but nothing really stood out.

And the Little One Said: I thought they were really good. I really liked their show, I liked their flags, and their drill was really, really good.

Capital Regiment - 83.250
He Said: I thought they were dirtier tonight. The horn line was a little ragged at times, and the drill was noticeably dirtier. I thought Cascades beat them tonight.

She Said: I really liked them. I loved the use of color, and the guard was very effective. Very cool flag designs.

And the Little One Said: I loved their show. This is one of my favourites. I liked how the guard changes costumes and flag designs. The drill is good, and the music is great. The guard is a bit dirty in parts.

Spirit from JSU - 86.300
He Said: A very strong performance tonight in all captions. They really stepped it up tonight.

She Said: I really liked them. There are a number of builds visually that are very exciting.

And the Little One Said: I loved the music. I thought it was really cool. The flags fit the show really well. The drill was really good, except once in a while the lines were crooked.

Glassmen - 86.375
He Said: They did a very nice job tonight. The drum line was on. The opening strains to Appalachian Spring had a little of side to side phasing that was not there yesterday, but overall they were great. They finished very strong. I thought the spread over Spirit was too small.

She Said: They beat Spirit, no question. They were very good. Their show was absolutely beautiful. They have such a great flow to the design of the program.

And the Little One Said: I loved the dresses at the beginning - when they lift them up and it's red. I liked the music - it was well played. Design of the flags was really good. I liked the guard costumes and the drill.

Blue Knights - 88.000
He Said: They really stepped it up tonight. What a great performance! There were some very nice moments. Unless Bones is "on", they should move up.

She Said: I don't like the white guard uniforms (they should try a light blue or something else). They have a very good program. The drill is very good, and the build at the end of the show is outstanding.

And the Little One Said: I don't really like the show, but they are really good. The flags look good with the guard's costumes.

Crossmen - 88.025
He Said: The opener was a bit ragged tonight. This was not their best show. The soprano soloist was trying a bit too hard, and one of the screamers stuck out several times and did not complete phrases. Blue Knights should have beat them.

She Said: They were boring. I nearly fell asleep.

And the Little One Said: I liked the closer, and I loved the drums. I thought they were really good. I liked the ballad because it was really pretty, and the dancing was good.

Madison Scouts - 90.675
He Said: They were much better tonight. The crowd really lit up for the closer.

She Said: They were better than last night, but they are still not the same old Madison. You can see the fans still want the old Madison back, and have lots of respect for the past. It's clear they want to see the Madison from years gone by once again.

And the Little One Said: I liked the guard work and the drums. I also liked the drill. My favourite part was when they turned the company front and when they did the flur du lis.

Boston Crusaders - 91.250
He Said: Sadly, the vocals were back in their entirety (to groans from the audience). They had a very strong show, and improved on last night. The soprano line was still holding the rest of the horn line back.

She Said: They were much better than last night. The visual program is really cool, and the colors are nice. I noticed they did not get much reaction from the audience - only polite applause.

And the Little One Said: Get rid of the voice over! UNPLUG, UNPLUG, UNPLUG! I love all the different colors, and the drill is way cool. They would have a better show without the voice over. The guard is awesome.

Carolina Crown - 92.175
He Said: Yowza - were they on! That horn line is sweet, and the guard nailed their show. They should move up tonight.

She Said: The visual is awesome. They have such a great show. It seemed like the audience spurned them over the singing and the voice over. It's too bad, because they have a really great show. There is clearly tons of talent that is not being recognized by the fans like it should. The use of electronics is overshadowing it.

And the Little One Said: I don't like the voice over. It goes with the show, but they don't need it. The guard work was cool, and they were totally awesome!

Bluecoats - 91.925
He Said: They had a very strong show tonight, though I do not think it will be enough to beat Crown. The horn line sounds wonderful, and they play very well. The design of the program is the problem for them (weak drill design - difficult, but weak design - and poor integration of the guard).

She Said: I thought they had a good drill and a very good color guard. They are just not as exciting as most of the other corps.

And the Little One Said: I don't like them. They are very good, it's just their show is a snoozefest.

Phantom Regiment - 93.575
He Said: PHANTASTIC! A very powerful show tonight right from the first note. They got right into the tango groove from the get go and nailed the show. This was a big step up tonight.

She Said: I thought they looked a little tired tonight, but they have a terrific show and good execution. I loved the guard and the use of the hearts in the drill.

And the Little One Said: I loved the red metallic flags against the white uniforms. I love the drill, especially when they do the heart shapes. I also thought the horn line was kicking.

Cadets - 96.125
He Said: They performed better emotionally tonight, but the execution took a step down tonight. There was some side to side phasing in the opener, and most of the lines in the box rotation at the end of the show were not straight. Phantom should beat them tonight.

She Said: Very good visual execution. The show is OK. I don't like the solo baton twirler. It would have been much more impressive if it were a rifle or sabre.

And the Little One Said: They were very good, it's just that their show is not very good. I think it's cool when the girls tear off the shirts of the guys when the sabres are in the air. It's cool how high the baton goes, but it's a baton - that's how high they should be.

Santa Clara Vanguard - 97.375
He Said: They raised the bar tonight. Fantastic job from all sections. The guard was incredible tonight. Drums were throwing down. The entire corps had a bravado about them tonight. When Scheherazade emerged from the "tent" at the end of the show tonight, she was dressed all in white - very cool.

She Said: Fantastic show! They are my favourite. The story line is very obvious, and everything about the show was perfect.

And the Little One Said: The flags fir the show perfectly. The drill, the horn line and the guard were really awesome. The dancing is really good, and the music is just awesome.

Blue Devils - 98.200
He Said: They were not as good as last night. The guard was not as clean, and there were more drops. The soprano soloist squeezed off in the final solo. I think SCV took them tonight.

She Said: They are OK. The closing to the show is a real let down. There are some really nice moments scattered throughout the program, it just does not carry through.

And the Little One Said: Their horn line was smoking. They made my ears bleed. I don't like the flags at all, but they match the show really well. I like how they make train sound effects. The end is cool, but I want power at the end.

Cavaliers - 98.525
He Said: They were not as good tonight either. There were 2 slips in the horn line, and Bond (guard gentleman) fell front and center. The soprano screamer had some trouble with the last solo. They have the show to win, but they did not execute tonight. Could SCV have nipped them? Possibly.

She Said: I really like them. Everything about the show is simply awesome. One word - Champions!

And the Little One Said: They were so cool. The drill - WOW! Way cool. I like how they whistle. The music is very suspenseful, an the guard work is really, really good.

Final thoughts after seeing all of the scores - I don't know what the judges were watching or listening to for the final two corps, but it was not the same shows I was watching. BD and Cavies did not have great shows tonight, yet their scores went up. Even though I think Cavies are a better drum corps than SCV, I thought the night belonged to SCV.

Crown deserved to move up, but so did BK (almost did), Phantom (lost ground), and SCV (widened spread to Cadets and shrunk spread to BD and Cavies). Let's hope tomorrow's panel is less concerned with slotting, and more concerned with paying attention to what is happening on the field on Saturday night.

Overall, scores are too high. The corps have done a remarkable job with a week less then normal, but across the board, scores are too high. There are only a few notable exceptions in captions like percussion (SCV), and brass (Cavies and BD), where the very high scores are appropriate.

Overall, it was a great show. I can't wait for tomorrow!

Tim Kviz

Thursday August 5

Denver, CO (DCI World Championships)
Division I Quarterfinals

Quarters are over, and here are my thoughts. My vantage point was the lower part of the middle deck on the 40 yard line on side 1.

Ezperenza - 76.325 - What a wonderful way to open the show! They did a great job today, despite the weather. When the show began, there were some ugly clouds overhead. There was a little bit of spitting from the clouds, which was no big deal - but the wind caused some trouble for the guard and the corps. They have a very nice program, and all section performed very well. I wish I could have seen their show again.

Pacific Crest - 77.850 - Another fantastic show from another California corps. They too experienced some difficulty with the wind, but otherwise did an outstanding job. The horn line has some power, the guard is excellent (except for the trouble with the wind), and the drum line is entertaining. The overall package is written well and at the right talent level for the members. This is another show that I would love to see again.

Pioneer - 71.600 - The strength of this corps is their drum line. The book has some tasty licks, and the line eats them up. I only wish they had the horn line to match. The guard experienced significant difficulty with the wind, which was probably blowing hardest while they were on.

Troopers - 74.925 - They too experienced difficulty with the wind this afternoon, but overall had a very good show. They have a very entertaining show that received a nice response from the crowd. The brass book was excellent, and was played well. I hope they can hold on to these kids and continue to build. There is a good foundation there that could help propel them back into the hunt for a finalist spot.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - 75.350 - They did a nice job with yet another version of West Side Story. They didn't attempt to reinvent familiar tunes with quirky arrangements, but rather did a very nice job just playing them - and very effectively. Nice job.

Southwind - 78.050 - They had a very impressive show, but they just didn't have enough time to clean this show. They were definitely hurt by the short season this year. Have they had another week, they just might have made semi-finals again. The drill in the opener was very much the same as some of the exciting drill moments from their 1999 show, but was not quite as clean. Overall, a nice show and nice job.

Mandarins - 77.750 - They have improved a great deal in the past few weeks. Once again, they have a well designed, challenging show. The music is accessible and very entertaining. They just had a lot left to clean. They were also a victim of the shortened season. Great job.

Magic of Orlando - 78.500 - They gave it their all today, and it paid off in spades. They have made significant strides in improving their show and cleaning. They have a very entertaining program and great musical selections. The lack of a sash on the uniform hurts them visually, as they look incredibly drab. The spread to Colts is real. They will be 17th tomorrow, so they need to just go out there and have fun.

Seattle Cascades - 82.825 - Fantastic performance today! They have really cleaned up, and really nailed their show. If they had another week, the fight for finals would be really interesting. The musical selections flow together very well, and the drill is outstanding. Performance in all captions is strong. I really love this show, and look forward to seeing them perform again tomorrow. If they really crank out a good show tomorrow, they could move up a spot.

Colts - 82.375 - This has to be one of my favourite shows from the Colts. An outstanding product top to bottom. The show is very entertaining, and the crowd responded accordingly. The brass arrangements are excellent, and are performed well. This is another corps that could use another week to clean, and would make the fight for finals very interesting.

Capital Regiment - 83.800 - These kids just keep getting better year after year, and they played their hearts out today. Fantastic show - very impressive. The Cascades, Colts, Cap Reg threesome is really amazing - all three are so close and so good.

Spirit from JSU - 85.875 - I am not a fan of this show - I just do not think it flows well. It seems to be just a bunch of tunes thrown together. The kids are really doing a good job with the product that has been provided to them. They did not deserve to place any higher.

Blue Knights - 87.225 - The home town corps came to play - and play they did. A super charged performance tonight. That drum line is amazing, and what a mellophone line! Their unique marching style is very effective, especially when consistently executed (which it was tonight). If they take it up a notch tomorrow or Saturday, they could move up a place.

Glassmen - 86.550 - Their show is so much better this year, as is their performance in all captions. The musical selections really work, and have been integrated very effectively. They are strong in all captions. They received quite a loud crowd response when the first strains of Medea were heard - imagine that? Seems the activity is ready for that piece now. I think they will make finals.

Crossmen - 88.000 - After a really shaky start, the kids in this corps have done a great job of busting their tails to make this show work (after all the changes). The show flows well, and they really performed well. However, they need to take it to the next level to maintain 10th place (as I stated earlier, BK could pass them with an emotional performance).

Carolina Crown - 90.525 - HOLY COW! What a performance. They were awesome tonight. That horn line is absolutely wonderful, and the guard really had a great show. I'd rather they lose the singing and talking, and just let that horn line give me some more goose bumps. The spread over Bones was correct, as was their placement tonight. If they crank out a good show tomorrow, they could bump off Bluecoats too.

Boston Crusaders - 90.4475 - They cut quite a bit of the voice over - but not all of it. And what's left simple doesn't make any sense any longer. They should cut it all together, as it adds nothing. Once the voice over started, the audience response took a nose dive. The soprano soloist didn't have the best show, and their soprano line seems to be their achiles heel (again). The voice over seems to be strategically placed at times when the sopranos are playing too. Their guard is fantastic, and the show is actually quite good - once you get past the annoying voice over.

Bluecoats - 90.575 - After several viewings, I still don't think this show lives up to the hype. Overall design has taken a step down from the past few years. The performance is still at the level the corps has been reaching the past few years - the design just holds them back. Their horn line is their strength. If they do not really sell their show tomorrow and Saturday, they could drop a few places.

Madison Scouts - 90.475 - Except for the end of Malaga, this show is a major snooze fest. Audience response is tepid at best during the first two numbers. The arrangement of Malaga pales in comparison to 94 and 95. This year's edition seems to be the anti 95 arrangement - like they did everything possible to not be like that arrangement. The result? A choppy mess that in the end delivers some excitement - but leaves you les than satisfied. Scouts on b-flat horns, amplified, and performing this show - very disappointing.

Phantom Regiment - 93.200 - They were on fire tonight. This is the only placement that I disagreed with tonight. I thought they beat Cadets. The horn line is the most powerful on the field, and is playing incredibly well once again. The drum line has taken it up a notch this year, and the guard had a great show tonight. The drill is very clean, and fits the music for most of the show. The icing on the cake was the passion of the performance - pure excitement start to finish. Thank you Phantom!

Santa Clara Vanguard - 95.750 - SCV was on tonight. Their drum line is an absolute machine. While they took drums tonight, their score was simply too low - they are amazing. The horn line is very powerful - especially the low brass. Myron Rosander's drill this year is absolutely fantastic, and was very clean. Very little visual dirt was noticeable from this very demanding drill. They put in a new ending tonight, and what an ending it is. They reintroduce the themes from Scheherazade into a down ending (much like the original), while the guard is covered by a large flag - as it passes over them, they disappear, until all the guard is gone, the flag falls to the turf, and Scheherazade is the only one left standing with a scimitar in hand. A perfect ending to a perfect show. They were clearly third tonight - but the spread was far too wide. If they put on a really emotional performance on Saturday (ala 99), they could move up a spot.

Cadets - 94.600 - I will make no bones about it - I hate this show. I think this is one of the worst designed shows from the Cadets since I can't remember when. The guard work and drill do not coordinate with the music well throughout many points of the show. The guard's white jackets at the beginning of the show are simply hideous. The Baton twirler is pure cheese. It's really a shame that these kids have such a poor product to perform. They perform very well. Visual is the cleanest it's been in quite some time, the guard is excellent yet again; brass and percussion are strong (though not quite as strong as recent years only by a little). The show simply lacks the goods. Hoppy - please leave the cheese in the refrigerator, hire a program coordinator, and give these kids a show worthy of their talents (and give us fans something to get up out of our seats and scream over). Audience response to the show was mediocre.

Cavaliers - 97.750 - They were the clear champion tonight. Simply awesome in every respect. The horn line sound is incredible, and they play so well. How BD beat them in brass is a mystery to my ears. The drum line is fantastic, but I do not think they will beat SCV in drums. The drill is insane, and the closing drill sequence is simply wicked. I think they will take home another trophy on Saturday night.

Blue Devils - 97.225 - They had a terrific performance tonight. They are no cleaner visually than Cavies, and their drill is much easier. Their guard is fantastic, and is integrated so well into the entire show. Their horn line is fantastic as usual, but much of the show is typical BD - staccato notes, followed by power chords. The soloists can wail. The show is nice, but grows tiresome after only a few listenings. Their spread over SCV was far too great. I think they will have to crank out a hot show to hold back SCV and maintain 2nd place.

This was a really great show overall. The quality of the corps was very high, despite the season being a week shorter (and earlier) than prior years. I found most of the corps very entertaining, and would rank this year as one of the better years in recent memory. I can't wait for tomorrow night. With many corps as close as they are, there could easily be a lot of movement in places.

Tim Kviz

Well, just got back from the Regal Cinemas here in Oklahoma City...This will be more of a highlights review than a full-blown review. My head is killing me, so this will be short...

Where to begin? Well, first of all, I was a bit surprised by how much GE Magic of Orlando was able to squeeze out of their performance. The whole bit with the snare drummer and the contra (tuba) was pretty funny, I thought...

I predicted Blue Knights beating Glassmen before the score was announced for them... they were just cleaner, and Glassmen seemed kind of off...

I was hoping that Spirit of JSU would beat Glassmen, because I just enjoyed Spirit's show much more than Glassmen's...

I thought Madison's show was a big disappointment. It just didn't get me excited, and was rather boring. Just MHO...

I no longer hate Boston Crusader's show... They took out all the narration except for a little at the end (vocals were stupid still...) Carolina Crown, on the other hand, has the most awful use of voice in their show. It was just terrible. As soon as they started singing with the microphones, everyone in the theater let out a huge, "Groan...." The beatnik poetry was even worse. How stupid and trite can you get, anyway? I'm sorry, but I am angry about this. I am, in fact, probably being too harsh, but my experience in the theater was plagued by some freaking idiot behind me who had to talk (loudly!) during EVERY SINGLE PERFORMANCE!! I talked to the managers during intermission, but they didn't care.... nice service, guys...

I did not think that Crown deserved to beat Boston. This is not because of the amps, but because I thought that Boston's drill was cleaner, and their ensemble seemed a little tighter to me.

Another disappointment to me was the Cadet's show. This music is just terrible, IMHO... Boring, boring, boring. I kept waiting for it to be over with... I was hoping they would turn me around during finals week, but I still think the show is just flat, and their placement reflects that...

Santa Clara Vanguard is so awesome!! I LOVE this show! It is some of the best music on the field this year, and the visuals are great, including some vintage drill moves (even though they did the 99 folding box move twice in the opener..) Their vibe is strong, and is just marvelous to behold. Wait, did I actually just use the word, "behold"? .... it must be late...

Cavaliers came out and showed the other corps how to peform a great musical program with difficult drill. They executed well enough tonight to top the Blue Devils (Whoo-hoo!! I predicted this one as well...) but it was dang close.... I was a little worried there for a while. I have to agree that the Blue Devil's ending is lacking... this is kind of funny, because before the Cavaliers had tweaked their ending, it was lacking, but now it's pretty sweet, and more complete. If the Cavaliers pull out cleaner performances tomorrow and Saturday, the championship is theirs... I will mention that one of the Blue Devil's soloists had a frack tonight, but the Blue Devils somehow managed to score a perfect brass score of 20.... how's that?? (Oh yeah, it's because they're the Blue Devils...)

Overall, I was glad that the Cavies came out on top, but a little sad that Vanguard was so far behind the Devils. If I were to have it my way, the top three, in order, would be: Cavies, Vanguard, Devils.... we shall see what will transpire....(shall???.... transpire???.... I have GOT to go to bed!!) Sorry if this review seems negative... I love all the corps! Good night!!

Jeff Gray

Got back from the theater in Portland...

You gotta love what that Cavalier drum guy said to Jessica Allen!

She asked him, "How does one become a bond girl?"

His response was something like "I don't know, but I could show you later"


This had our theater dyin of laughter! It was a classic moment.

Anyway, yes, the BD train was shaken, not stirred tonight. Well done fellas!

I enjoyed the broadcast. Our theater here was sold out, which surprised me a little. Only 11% was sold a few weeks ago. Lots of late comers I guess.

Steve & Dennis were great with the corps trivia between corps, and of course Jessica and some other guy - can't recall his name - did the pre/post corps interviews.

Quality of sound for the broadcast - excellent. Could have been louder though.

Quality of video - also excellent, but there were a few strange moments when the image would glitch a little. Not like digital cable... it's like the tint color went off for a split second every once in a while. I don't know how else to describe it.

Other thoughts:

WHY CAN'T DCI GET AN AIRPLANE FREE ZONE DURING THESE SHOWS?!?!?! ARGH! I heard some prop plane during at least two different corps shows.

Phantom Regiment has the hottest colorguard. SCV a close 2nd.

BD perfect 20 in brass? Hmm. I wouldn't have given them that. The show left me flat, but it was my first full viewing. Maybe with the dvd later I will grow to like it.

Magic sure does throw & spit a ton of water on the field. I didn't see anyone fall later because of it. Hope there aren't problems tomorrow in semis. I liked their show.

REALLY dislike the talking/singing in Boston & Crown. Hope this doesn't become a pattern for next year with more corps doing it. I LOVED Crown's show - you could sing to Bohemian Rhapsody right along with the corps playing it without any choppyness to it's arrangement. But the stupid talking and singing. Argh. Boston's has to be worse though. At least Crown's talking guy is saying complete sentences. All Boston's guy does is say things like "honor", "trust", "love"... blah blah blah. If I wanted to see a WGI show I'd buy a ticket to one.

Madison's show was flat until Malaga which is a shame, because Malaga rocked.

Loved Spirit's show. Hope they make finals, but it looks slim.

Thought Phantom's brass section was 2nd best behind Cavaliers in terms of quality and difficulty. Judges didn't think so.

Cadets guard was on fire but the show didn't do much for me... not their best drill.

I liked BD's train sounds from the pit. The rest of the pit amplification was unnoticeable from all corps. Why use it then?

Lots of cool interviews with corps members from many corps, and features on colorguard, percussion and brass. A newbie viewer would learn quite a bit from watching this broadcast tonight.

I still think PR can catch Cadets, and SCV can catch BD. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

Hope DCI does this again next year! I'll definitely go again if I'm not in Boston.

One more thing - great feature on the Cavalier old drumline reunion.


Just got home from watching the DCI Div. 1 Quarterfinals at the Regal Cinemas in Columbia, Maryland..... while I wind down from a long day, some thoughts if I may:

Pretty good-sized crowd at this movieplex...... 2 auditoriums basically sold out, a third one maybe half-full. Not bad!!!!

Random impressions of some the corps:

1) Cavaliers were rockin'!!!!! This was my first (and only) viewing of them this season, and I was highly impressed. Nice to hear the Cavies' brass actually play some extended melody lines, compared to the all-original, "visual package-is-the-star" shows of the past few years.

2) I love the Blue Devils' show this season. (Then again, I've been a BD fan since the early 1970's, so I love 'em most seasons!!!) But who knows if they can put together a performance to pass the Cavies Friday and/or Saturday night.

3) I think the average car alarm has more melody in it than does the Boston Crusaders' show this season. But that being said, I found myself being drawn into the Crusaders' show and pretty much enjoying it, simply by focusing on their visual effects. Boston's overall performance seemed very energized.

4)Carolina Crown lit the place up! What a hornline. Cool show overall!!

5) Colts have a very entertaining show, with lots of built-in audience appeal. I kept thinking to myself, "this show would work VERY well in DCA." Colts, IMO, have one of the best marching styles I've ever seen... very precise from an individual standpoint.

6) SC Vanguard!!!!!! Enough said. GREAT show this season!!!!!! I'm not sure that their quarterfinals job was even close to their best performance, however.

7) I had Spirit of JSU over Glassmen for the 12th spot. No offense to the Glassmen, who have a great organization, but I just don't "get" them at all.

8) I liked the Cadets' show more than I thought I might, not being a big Jethro Tull fan (this show was my first look at Cadets this season). But there were a couple of spots when watching the militaristic Cadets trying to "rock out"..... it just seemed like it didn't fit.

OK... gotta go and get some sleep. I hope DCI does this "Quarterfinals at the Movies" thing again next year.

Fran Haring

Short comments from last night viewing from Regal in Chamblee, GA....

First let me say that the movie thing really worked. Glad I got there early since it was soldout. They could have sold another theater out as well, surprising that for the entire Atlanta area they had ONE theater showing only. The sound was better than I was expecting and the video wasn't bad either. Interesting, when they would show shots of the corps further away there would be a black outline around each member... it was kind of a cool affect. Although not like really being there in Denver I would definitely do this again.

To the shows..just my opinions only...

(1) Magic - Very entertaining show... one of the more entertaining of the night. Definitely had allot of GE. Nice complete theme package. Hopefully they build on this for next year.

(2) Colts - This reminded me of shows long ago. Very accessible musically. Love their uni's on the field. Another corps I hope improves for next season... miss them in Finals.

(3) Cascades & Capital - These were both solid shows. Wow... it's nice to see these newer corps to Div 1 with such quality!! I liked the Doxology theme throughout Capital show.

(4) Spirit & Glassmen & Knights - Oh how I want Spirit to do well. IMHO... I felt they should have scored better than Glassmen. Also felt that there show is definitely more difficult to march than both Glassmen and Knights. Knights have a great sound with solid drumline but wish they would move..there was allot of standing around. Glassmen show just left me flat. There is still a chance for these 3 to move around in the order in Semi's but Knights do have the home crowd.

(5) Crossmen - LOVE the new uni's... one of my favs.... please keep these next year... much better than the gray. These guys are the solid 10th spot. The ballad is absolutely beautiful.... highlight of show.

(6) Crusaders & Scouts - Liked the visual pieces of Crusaders show.... not too much on it musically. Did not like the narration at all... they guy next to me was yelling at the screen for the guy to shut up. Now for the Scouts... probably most people agree Malaga to the end is vintage Scouts... the previous 2/3 of show is lacking in GE. Did love the company front.

(7) Crown & Bluecoats - Crown.... WOW... were did this sound come from???... one of the best balanced sounds of the night. Great arrangement of Bohemian. I guess it's too late to drop the singing and the voice over but the show didn't need it. Great job..thought they placed correctly... they really have a chance even for 6th. Bluecoats perform so well... thought their guard was "awesome" (the word of the night from corps interviews) but all parts solid. Coats just need a little more GE.

(8) Regiment & Cadets - Phantom... I really liked this show. The hornline.... very difficult book... this was probably my fav of the night. Cadets... to be honest I didn't get into their show... performed well but musically Jethro left me flat. Can PR catch them?

(9) Vanguard & Devils & Cavies - Opinions here. Vanguard... YES... this show fits them so well. I could see that they just a smidgen under in performing it so there is room there to the improve next 2 nights. Devils... another show that left me a tad flat... of course executed extremely well like always but it just seemed to lacking in GE. Did not understand the 20 score for brass... in Quarters?? Brass was good but that good? Pit/train stuff was cool. Cavies... basically got it again with great theme... can you say "difficult"... man these guys are amazing movers. On top of that the 007 themes were arranged well. Great to see them wail in the hornline too. The exposed technical runs...nice job.

Overall... there sooo much quality in these 17 performances!!!! Kids putting it all out there... aint that what it's about? Thanks so much!!


Saw the show via Regal Cinema's live broadcast last night in Las Vegas. It's a great way to bring drum corps "live" to a big city that never gets a show. I'm not sure how other reviewers can say that one horn line was better than another. The quality of the sound in the theater is good but it's impossible to say who was hot. Everybody sounded really good.

BOSTON: Corps members are some of the best.
Memo to corps designers: this is the furthest west that the corps has been and I paid $18 to watch the corps stand still way too much. Also, take that amp and microphone and toss it into the Boston Harbor. Your corps has an opportunity to make a legacy, similar to the Madison Scouts and Cavaliers. Stick to your traditions and signature moves, al a "Conquest" and in-your-face brass. Next year finals is in Rhode Island, be sure that you make finals because you will never be any closer to home.

MADISON SCOUTS: This is drum corps tradition and excellence on the rise again. You totally got the shaft on the scores tonight. When I saw that company front set-up and move slowly, I seriously got the chills... seriously. That was awesome. Great solos also.

PHANTOM REGIMENT: Always impressive and clean.
Memo to corps designers: I used to be excited to see this corps. The past several years have been repeats of the same performance, which means you will always get 4th or 5th place. I respect the classical music tradition, however, it is way too classical. I don't know, maybe I need one of those "Classical Music For Dummies" books.

CADETS: Corps members are the fastest moving and hardest working in the world, by far. However, please actually warm-up during the warm-up rather than having a pep talk on the field. We only get 11 minutes and the warm-up is always bonus material for the audience. Finally, the color guard looked like they came off of the same busses as the horn line and drum line. In the past several years, it was like... "Hey there's the Cadets and an aerobics squad from the fitness club". The pit is way too loud, too busy, and too crowded. Perhaps the pit should be on the "back" side line because it is way too much.
Memo to corps designers: For the first time in DCI history, you just won the "Elevator Music" and "Musac" categories. That was horrible and an embarrassment to your corps' legacy. Jethro Tull goes to drum corps via the Cadets. Now that sounds like a joke, which it was. Re-group for next year, as 4th place was a courtesy.

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD: This is one of the finest drum corps' in the history of the world. Drum line was awesome. Always a class act. When my son becomes of age, I want him to be in the Vanguard.

CAVALIERS: Now I am fan. A familiar theme that was very aggressive. I especially like how the color guard compliments the rest of corps, rather than being a clump of people in front of the corps. Nice job. Being a live-long Blue Devils fan, you deserve to be Champions this year.

BLUE DEVILS: A great performance. Very clean and aggressive. However, not the best of the best in terms of design.

Gus Schultz

I didn't think to take anything for writing anything down, so I'll just kinda wing it...amd remember, I'm a drummer!

Magic of Orlando - Fun, fun show. It was nice to hear something that I recognized, and to hear melody lines that resolved into something sensible. Nice wet snare sound. Color guard that sold the visual aspect of the theme. Overall, nice job.

Seattle Cascades - We had a special reason to see this show. One of our local guard people was a rookie in Cascades this year, and a soloist to boot. Jan and I have been sending CARE packages and talking to her on the phone every couple of days. It was almost like being a proud extra Mom and Dad, and we had her brother sitting with us. The show itself was entertaining. The brass was more powerful than Magic, percussion was pretty clean and effective, and color guard...well, I wish I had paid more attention to the whole guard, instead of always looking to see where our friend was!

Colts - My only problem with Colts is the "Variation on a Theme by Michael Cesario in Red" uniform. Other than that, a very entertaining show. Nice to see a little Americana from Colts. Nice departure from some of the artsy-fartsy stuff they've done recently.

Capital Regiment - This was my first-ever viewing of this corps, so it was refreshing to see something new to me. They had a nice stylistic variations, but my favorite part was when they got untracked late in the show and started groovin'!

Sidenote - Ca we do something about getting rid of Jessica, the sideline "reporter"? The only good things about her tonight were when she asked that loaded question to the Cavalier, and got the appropriate response, and when her mike wouldn't work at all. Ahhhh....amps!!! The rest was mindless, styless pap.

Glassmen - IMO, the boring Glassmen took a year off. These guys were wired to score as well as possible to set themselves up for Friday night. Nice field coverage. Feet were OK. Drumline sounded like they wanted to take a good score from the judges. Brass was nice. A slightly different take on "Simple Gifts", and that was OK with me.

Crossmen - Dark...really dark uniforms. I liked them! A real "drum corps" opener, and DeLucia was right about the ballad, "Both Sides Now", being the highlight of the show. Kinda tear-jerky. Brass and percussion solid, and nice guard work. And they did all the right button-pushing for regular and new corps fans. The Maltese Cross drill worked again!

Spirit - Different kind of show for Spirit. Not the "Southern" style that has marked their history. But well played and performed. Somehow I think they had a little angel watching over them...OK, an angel with a dirty face and an orange Chevy Pick-up.

Sidenote - How many times can we talk about how sweaty the members are after a performance?

Blue Knights - Their guard is pretty darn good, but do they always have to wear white? Even with the pastel panels last year (year before?), they still wear predominantly white. Something new would be appreciated. Rock solid percussion, in the drumline and the brass! The arrangements are rather "percussive", which is understandable as a percussionist wrote their brass book this year. Nice touches of "Trittico" throughout the show. This has become their trademark, not unlike "Conquest", "Danny Boy", etc. Have to admit, that knee-kick prep step is annoying.

Carolina Crown - The accolades are deserved...this is their best brassline EVER! Too bad they had to ruin a good brass quintet moment by singing it, and overshadow great work by all sections with some guy babbling about what I could figure out for myself. This ain't Mayberry, and I ain't Barney. Percussion was good, too, and ably supported that great brass line. Did I mention their brass? Good! IMO, the best arrangment/performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody", ever. Better than Scouts, better than Renegades.

Break time - Just as the break started, some guy yelled out asking of there was anyone from Anaheim Kingsmen there. I went over to talk to him, but was interrupted by some guy who marched Sky Ryders. I wanted to share some memories with a former foe, and never got the chance. Though I did overhear something about the Kingsmen having a new set of uniforms and instruments ready to go. Some people just buy Rocco's crap, hook, line and sinker.

Also ran into a couple who hung out with Dream when we first started the corps. They used to drive down from the Lake Arrowhead area, but had since moved to Kingman, AZ. Las Vegas was closer than Scottsdale, so they came up here.

Boston Crusaders - Well, might as well get all the babbling out of the way in a short time. I'm sorry, but the narration added NOTHING to either show. Why cover up a couple of damn good drum corps moments with vocal rubbish? The brass and percussion for Boston (and Carolina) are oustanding and are quite capable of telling the story the way we've been doing it for decades...with drums and brass. Kinda old school entrance and exit, even if it did mean coming out of boxes. Was it Boston that did the silent guard work for about 16 counts? Better than Cadets similar guard moment.

Bluecoats - Wow! Where did they get this guard? They've always been pretty decent, but this group rocks! Add to that a solid brass and percussion section and Bluecoats are the real deal! They had some of the most entertaining moments of the night, the kind of stuff that just makes you laugh our loud. And nice use of "I'll Fly Away" as the ballad. I knew someone would do it well one day, and Bluecoats did it nicely.

Sidenote - There seemed to be some corps-savvy people at this theatre, including quite a few from my era and a little more recent, plus a decent number of band kids checking out the corps. They weren't very demonstrative. In fact, it was usually me, Jan, Ron and Nanci that started the applause for the first half of the show. But that all changed with...

Madison Scouts - Now, here's a corps that everyone knows. The opener was good, and a little different for the Scouts, but Scouts sold it well, But all bets are off when they start the opening strains of "Malaga". As has been reported all season, this is where Madison reassumes it's former image, and lays down in-your-face drum corps. Percussion and guard are much improved from last year, and expecially over '02. Brass...well, brass just wails. Must be nice to be Scott Boerma and have these guys lining up to play your charts!

Sidenote - Is it me, or are cymbal lines that actually march making a comeback?

Phantom Regiment - Well, I was wondering how our soon-to-arive baby would respond to the adrenaline rush from her Mom when Regiment appeared on the screen. But the wee one took it in stride and danced happily as Regiment charged out on the field. I know Jim Wren never watered anything. He usually added more beef as the season went on. But JD Shaw has got it figured out, too. Where did they find that soprano line?!?!? These people are articulation junkies, and JD gave them all they wanted. With middle horn runs and beefy low brass, the tango never sounded so good! I wish Piazzola could hear this! This was Appassionata 854! Percussion still hangs tough and embraces the style. And guard work and costuming were awesome. I don't know if Regiment can repeat their rise of 96, but if they can sell it any better than tonight, they still have room to move up. (Ron commented, "Turn down the amps!" when Regiment started. I had to remind him that they were unplugged! :>) )

Sidenote - Who else yelled out all the trivia answers? And how about the clips for the answers? Cool, eh?

Santa Clara Vanguard - Well, I've been waiting to see this all year, and I wasn't disappointed. Top to bottom, this show has the most musical continuity of anything on the field in any division. Complete musical thoughts and concepts, incredible percussion book from Murray Gusseck, great style and finesse (again, with the soprano articulation!), followed by power from hell, both musically and visually. My favorite show of the night. It's no wonder they passed Cadets. Who'd want to follow this? Regarding the guard worked. It absolutely sold the story, and it wasn't X-rated and all that other hubbub I read here a couple of weeks ago.

Cadets - Hey, if you're going to use a baton twirler, get one of those thunder-thigh Big-12 chicks with the flaming baton. How does this fit in with Jethro Tull? Yeah, me, too. Now, on the drum corps side of things, I liked the Tull tunes. I know the drumline can play better than they did tonight. All the features were a little "fuzzy", but maybe it was the miking. No, that wasn't it. Other lines sounded fine. Tighten it up, guys. You know you can. Brass looked like they were having fun, and I think it helped. Guard was pretty typical Cadets, but since I'm a drummer... (Hey, April? It wasn't SCV's boom box that was the problem.) Could have done the pep-talk in the tunnel. Or was that the warm-up replacement? Yeah, that saved time.

Cavaliers - Cavies have some screamers! Gaines strikes again with great drill writing. We were whispering, "Where does he even get these ideas, let alone put them on paper, and THEN get these guys to march it?" I want some of what he's got. In addition to the Bond Theme, which was performed well, it was nice to hear some different Bond music from that I might have expected. Since it was originally written for an everyday-person as film scores, the music was accessible, and again it looked like a corps having a good time performing. Was it that much better than SCV? Not in my opinion. But it was definitely better than...

Blue Devils - The train effects work. The brass book doesn't. I caught most of the gist of "Summertime", and a little of "A Train." ("A Train" competely missed Jan.) Other than that, this was a conglomeration of Wayne Downey Signature Horn Riffs. Musically, as far as from a melodic standpoint, it did nothing for me. Maybe because I've been hearing these riffs for about 30 years. Percussion rocked. Probably that's because Scott Johnson still has some original ideas. And a perfect score in brass? Well, I guess so, when you play stuff as simple as this. Trade books with any of the other top-8 cops and get a perfect score. I dare you. No, I triple-dog-dare you. Speaking of simple, did you see that drill?

If I had to rate it from my comfy theatre seat, I'd put it like this...

1. Santa Clara Vanguard
2. Cavaliers
3. Phantom Regiment
4. Cadets
5. Blue Devils
6. Carolina Crown (even better without singing and talking)
7. Bluecoats
8. Madison Scouts
9. Boston Crusaders (see note with Crown)
10. Crossmen
11. Blue Knights
12. Spirit
13. Glassmen
14. Seattle Cascades
15. Capital Regiment
16. Magic of Orlando
17. Colts
--------------------------- (From the clips)
18. Mandarins
19. Southwind
20. Troopers
21. Esperanza
22. Kiwanis Kavaliers
23. Pioneer

Division II Pacific Crest, since they don't want to tour.

Just my opinions. Friendly discussion welcome, but if you just want to tell me I'm crazy, get in line. The line now starts in Pacoima. Wear a flak-jacket.


The following comes from somewhere in theatre 7, about the ninth row up, three seats in.

Audience behavior was pretty reserved - except for big reactions whenever Crossmen and Crown showed up on the screen. Crowd was a pretty even mix of corps people and band kids. Sound was cool, although as someone said about another venue, there may have been a limiter on the broadcast from the stadium. One camera seemed to have some focus issues as medium range shots got a little fuzzy from time to time. Enough set up, the following is a first read for me on the corps as presented in the broadcast - unfortunately I didn't get to Hershey or the Virginia shows this year.

Magic: good narrative structure, brass projection seemed to be a problem. There seemed to be some clarity of form/visual issues in the overhead shots they used. Had a real DCA feel to the shows construction.

Colts: nice show. Old Man River arrangement was nice and the American Overture opener was a nice intro to the show. It seems like they are headed back up the ranks if they can retain the membership.

Cascades: from the ballad on, I was impressed by the show. The opening two segments didn't seem to match the conception/execution of the rest of the show.

Cap Regiment: Nice ensemble sound, definately on the way up. Marching issues - individual/enesemble seemed to be the big issue. It will be interesting to see where their evolution takes them next.

Spirit: Ok. The concept was intriguing and I'm sure that on multiple reads/views it will probably grow on me. Someone in the audience said that it reminded them of Crowns show from a few years back with the tires., etc. I can agree with that and see this as a cult show.

Glassmen: honestly, this is the first G-men show not to connect with me in some way. I liked the concept, the musical choices made sense but something was missing.

Crossmen: It was nice to see them let the horses out. The drumline was on and the hornline was solid. As much as I love the last tune, I think it needs a hiatus from the activity for awhile. Very good shot at surging up a little more.

Blue Knights: Drill demand ? I love park and bark sections but there just wasn't anything drillwise. The percussion section and guard were very effective with the brass just a shade behind. The emotion from performing in front of the 'home crowd' should lock up a finals slot.

Crown: Love th show. Love the concept. Musical/Visual choices on the money. Strongest corps from them to date. Then there were the voices. The quintet would have been a little more effective if they could have entered a little more surreptitiously. The beat poetry segment? Ok, a little overboard maybe, but I had no problem with it. One of the stronger crowd reactions in theatre 7 all night.

Boston: new drill writer please. As an avowed Boston fan, this one doesn't /didn't work for me. Original music was ok. The guard did a great job interpreting the music. The narration left in could have been taken out although I'm not convinced it would affect the scores that much. The talent was there and they are working hard but...

Bluecoats: Hunting Wabbits is a smoker as big band chart and the arrangements that Blooo did were effective. The ending was ok if, perhaps a little bit drawn out. If we were still in the era of retaining parts of shows for the next season, I would tell their design team to keep Hunting Wabbits and surround it with other pieces from the Big Phat Band songbook. A legitimate 6th place is in the cards.

Madison:Started to get that old Scouts feeling back. The theatre response was pretty high. The uniforms are really bugging me, but I guess it's called progress. Drill and guard demand seem to be inching up again towards the old-school Scouts standards.

Phantom: Nice. Music was okay, although at the beginning I was having Florida Wave flashbacks. I found the overall effect a little bit beneath some of the other corps. The castanets line was very nicely done.

Vanguard: Ok. I heard all of the hype before the cinecast that this is the show that should be at the top of the rankings. And for once the hype was justified. Drill demand was high and executed very nicely - although the triangle rotate/shrink is starting to lose some of its effectiveness. Brass book was tastefully done. The new ending brought back old SCV memories - I'm just glad they didn't try to do the flying carpet thing that would have been overkill. If the season went another week, definately this would surge towards the top. As things stand now ? Second, if the judges are honest.

Cadets: another Cadets show. The music was a change of pace. The drill was the drill. The guard was the guard. The overall effect was nice. Just didn't do it for me. The Cadets crew in the audience went nuts. It would be nice for them to go in another direction next year. Push the envelope please. [The pep talk from Hoppy about the Cadets having something the other corps don't have, personality, really went over like a lead balloon to those around me]

Cavaliers: Solid show. Some innovative drill moves. Deserved to be on top. Maybe I'm getting jaded, but I was expecting more.

Blue Devils: Can't argue with the power of the brass line. The percussion was solid. The guard was impressive as always. The drill...uhm, yeah. Kind of reminded me of the BD drills from the 88 - 91 timeframe. Clean, written to max out the judges sheets but compared to other corps, they seemed a little wanting. The audience agreed with the Cavies being on top last night.

My opinions. Fire away at your discretion.


This is part one of my review of the Quarterfinals broadcast. Not a corps by corps review but more like a collection of notes.

It was different from watching a show in the stadium, but still very enjoyable. Similar to watching Finals live on PBS without the incessant begging for money. In it's place DCI inserted a variety of live interviews and special features. The crowd's reaction to this portion of the show were some of the more enjoyable parts of the night, other than the competition of course! I will cover that in a Part II follow-up.

First, I thought DCI (and Regal) did a pretty good job overall with this grand experiment. Other than Rondo and Dennis rambling incoherently at times, the show moved along pretty well. A few technical difficulties but nothing really drastic. It's a live show, things happen.

There was a good deal of distortion in the sound, which IMO was overly compressed. The result was the upper brass sounded muffled most of the time. It lacked that crispness we all love. I'm not sure if the distortion I was hearing was in the satellite signal or the theatre's sound system. My first impression was the theatre has some blown speakers. Also, I was sitting about the middle of the theatre but the sound didn't seem balanced properly from side to side. Again, it was hard to tell if it was the signal or the speakers.

Great acoustics in Invesco Field! Wow! There were times the natural reverb of the stadium was coming through loud and clean. Great backfield sound. It also seemed like the acoustics got more lively as the night progressed. Was there much of a temperature drop?

OK...on to some thoughts about the corps. We saw some fantastic performances tonight. Semis and Finals should be a blast. This is not a corps by corps review but I was taking notes throughout the show. Some random thoughts......(trying to decifer the things I wrote in the dark)

Magic of Orlando - pretty good show for them. Much better than a couple weeks ago in Orlando. There has been lots of internet chatter about the water and the possible danger of people slipping on wet grass. IMO it was a major non-issue. The water effect happens just past the mid point of the show. If anybody is going to be affected by wet grass it would be Magic! I saw no slips at all. In fact the only fall I saw all night happened at the end of the Blue Knights show. Reliable Rondo with a little slip of the tongue during Magic's pre-show warm-up, saying the corps was already "preparing for tomorrow night." Did Steve know something we didn't?

Seattle Cascades - What is the name of that ballad? The melody was somewhat familiar but I just could not place it. Anybody know?

Colts - Absolutely loved the 'American Overture'. Memories of the Yankee Rebels way back in the mid-70's. The guard outfits were very popular with the crowd.

Blue Knights - a good show. The first corps I saw tonight with good feet. The odd snare angle was unusual to watch as the snare line crab-walked.

Glassmen - seemed like a rough show for them. Just not quite in sync and generally flat. Hope they have better shows Friday and Saturday. One of the bone-headed comments of the night came from Dennis Delucia as he gave away the guard's visual effect in the opener. We didn't need a full explanation of how they do it.

Capital Regiment - Really enjoyed the strong hornline, especially the really exposed unison soprano parts. Very nicely done. However, the crowd just didn't seem to get much out of their show.

Carolina Crown - Wow! This is probably their strongest show yet. But IMHO the vocals are a total distraction and are not necessary. Funny moment when the crowd in the theatre started singing along with 'Bohemian Rhapsody'! Some pretty good "Wayne's World-style head bobs too!

Boston Crusaders - Love this show! But again, IMHO the vocal is not necessary and actually detracts from an otherwise beautiful show. There is some really nice stuff going on behind the narration, both musically and visually, but the vocal distracts you. The show could stand very well on it's own without the vocal. IMO, the visual effect of the corps disappearing into the boxes at the end of the show would have a greater impact if they simply picked up the boxes and marched off the field instead of coming back out of them.

Bluecoats - lots of Blooooooo calls in the theatre! Here is one corps I thought the pit was way too loud, occasionally overpowering the horns. This show is really growing on me. I thought the drumline and color guard had an outstanding show!

Phantom Regiment - playing latin music!! Can you believe it? And that is one heck of a mellophone line! One of the best I've heard in years. IMO, and it seemed like many others, Phantom should have placed above the Cadets tonight.

Cadets - I like Jethro Tull music but this show does absolutely nothing for me. Also, the Cadets performance seemed lacking. Not like we are used to seeing from them. If Phantom can put out a couple more great shows like tonight, it would not surprise me to see them pass the Cadets at Finals.

Santa Clara Vanguard - one of crowd favorites! An incredible show! Many thought SCV should have been in second place.

Blue Devils - another great show but as is sometimes typical of BD it leaves you wanting or expecting more. Have to say though, I think BD makes the most creative and effective use of amps. Each mallet in the pit is amped separately, allowing for better overall control and mixing. I thought the numerous sound effects added quite a bit to the show's theme. Very well done.

Cavaliers - easily this crowd's favorite tonight! What more can be said about their drill design? It is simply mind boggling! I still don't know how the hornline can play the stuff they do moving at those speeds! And speaking of horns, what's up with the Cavies having screaming sopranos!? You could close your eyes and swear you were listening to the Devils. IMHO, Finals will belong to the Cavies...but only if they can deliver the performance. There isn't much room to falter.

Overall, I thought the amping of the pits was done rather well. A little too loud at times. However it was difficult to determine if that was due to the amps being too loud or the placement of the mics for the broadcast, which appeared to be pointing right into the pit. I still personally do not like the vocals, though. I think amping will continue next year and get more refined. Maybe with the amplification corps will see they don't need such a large pit and put a few more horns on the field. Hmmm...that's a different thread.

A quick word about color guards and flags. This year there are a lot of beautiful flag designs and guard costumes. Far better than the over-abundance of mustard yellow that was common a few years ago! I was really struck by how well the color selections used by most corps really complimented the corps uniforms. Refreshing! And those guard costumes are outstanding. Wow!

Question.....did the stadium crowd see any of the interviews and special features in between corps that were shown in the broadcast? There were a LOT of funny things going on, especially the Jessica Allen interviews. Part II of my review will deal with that side of the show. Coming soon...


Sunday August 1

Ankeny, IA (DCI)

Here's some thoughts on the show in Ankeny, Iowa, last night... I have some notions on amplification and vocals that are not meant to be "Troll" worthy, I'm sure I'll get flamed anyway, but please don't.

Firstly, let me say that the Colts are perhaps the best I've ever seen them. According to Del Corso's rankings, whether you believe them or not, the Colts are running around 16th. If this is in fact the case then Div I is having a particularly strong year.

Last night, Carolina Crown had a particularly strong show. The brass line has a full, mature, articulate sound. The guard was sharp and the drum line shows considerable improvement from last year. And now to the amplification and vocals issue... Without getting into the whether DCI should be allowing this let me make a few comments on what I experienced. For me, the amplification of the vocals was way too loud. The singers and narrator were not that great. When I go to a drum corps show I expect to see excellence; things better than I would see at my local high school. The vocal portions of Crown's show were far inferior to any other layer of their their show. If a top 12 corps is going to do this then please do it right. Another example of "doing it right" from tonight would be Mandarins' vocals; during a portion of their show virtually the whole corps sings. However, last night they were woefully out of tune. The signing was horribly out of tune with the pit instruments and when the two brass soloists joined in with the pit and vocals the dissonance was downright painful. After the show my wife asked "So, does this mean corps will be having voice coaches now?" and "Is swing choir the future of drum corps?" Last night was the first time I have ever considered myself "old school."

Thank you to the Blue Coats for giving me the first DUT-less show in years, it was truly refreshing.

VANGUARD. What can I say? They blew me away. Beautiful, intense, crafted, and CLASSY.

To those going to DCI and DCA, have a safe trip and have fun, I'm jealous.

Alan Andreasen

Saturday July 31

Indianapolis, IN (DCI)

I apologize to those of you looking for the minute to minute review of each corps' performance...won't find it here today, it was a long day a few thoughts is all it is (and I need to "vent" on make the guess where the "venting" occurs!).

General show comments: this was my first time at Indy. Wasn't sure what to expect for an indoor show. Man, it was LOUD!! My ears are still ringing. But, I can see why DCI would host the show there. Concert side was filled (I sat downstairs, so I can only speak for the lower level...but when I peaked up to the sides, it sure looked full upstairs too). It's also a convenient venue... right off the interstate, my hotel room was right across the street for a decent price, and several good restaurants/bars also within walking distance.

I didn't get to the afternoon show until BK due to hotel check-in issue (I imagine there were quite a few of us hoping to get early check-in so we could be at the show all day!). For those corps I saw twice, my comments represent both viewings.

Now on to the show...

First comments are for BK, Spirit, Gmen, and Crossmen. Unfortunately, this is one of those years where there are 13 corps who have top 12 quality shows. Bummer for one corps. Spirit had a nice show, but was just a step behind the others, IMO. That being said... just as the evening show was starting (@6:30pm), Spirit's busses were pulling out of the parking lot to head to the next show... that means they are off to get to the next town to get as much rehearsal time as possible... don't count them out yet!

To me, BK, Gmen, and Crossmen could all potentially shift places depending on how "on" they are each night from here on out. If just one section isn't fully on-board one night, it could be enough to shift them two places down. This was my first viewing of Crossmen and BK. BK's show is a nice show, complimented by talented sections all the way around. I wasn't fully "wowed" by Crossmen's program. To me, the first 2/3 of the program were ok, and then they finally turned it on for Puma. But, they played it safe with their closer because they go with the familiar. But, that's just me. Gmen's show has come a long ways since June. They've made some wise program adjustments, and it shows. I thought the middle part of the show dragged a little, but the crowd really seemed to respond to these guys.

Group 2...Carolina, Boston, and Bluecoats. Ok, where to start? I cannot find the words to explain what I felt inside when the singers came up for Carolina. With all due respect... it was absolutely aweful. After the part of the show with the singers and narrator, the fans in the sections where I was sitting did not respond at all. I actually felt bad for the members, because they work as hard as any other corps... but based on the fan reaction, it wasn't just me who felt this way... very little response. The good news for Carolina is that they do have a very talented corps, and the show is just fine despite the vocals. However... I think this show would be FANTASTIC without the vocals. Crown faithful will say "focus on the other 9 minutes instead of the 2 where there's vocals". Sorry... the vocals stood out that much for me.

I felt the same way when Madison started to sing the final parts of their show. They built up with this whole loud chord, and then dropped their horns to sing the final few minutes. SIKE! Had to lighten it up a bit... I was feeling depressed like I did last night after Crown.... come on, everybody... take a deep breath.............. and release!

Boston: What a strong corps. Again, all sections were solid. Color guard was fantastic! My only complaints... it seemed that Boston just took last year's drill book, changed up the order, and re-hashed it. Hey, it works, so I guess I shouldn't criticize. Oh, and one other complaint... (see above ranting about vocals). Put down the mic, please. It didn't add a single thing. Especially in the dome (very muddled, sounded like he was announcing to the audience that the owner of a gray Honda Accord, license plate #1234 had left their lights on). Actually made it difficult to hear the closing movement.

***side humorous story: In between corps, Dan Potter (one of the DCI TV field guys) was interviewing members or staff of each corps as they left the field which was played on the jumbo-screens in the endzones. During one particular point, he interviewed this little old lady (can't remember her name). Anyway...she has been to all the regionals, and Dan has struck up conversations with her. This time, as he was interviewing her about her thoughts about the activity, he said "let's play a game. I'll start a sentence, and you finish it. One thing I would change in drum corps is____". To which she answered, "AMPS!", and the crowd cheered quite loudly! Well, next interview was after Crown's show, and Dan picked the exec dir of Crown. The first question he asked was about the use of vocals. I can't remember his exact answer, but it was something about how using vocals was "cutting edge", I think. sigh. ***

Bluecoats: back when I saw this show in June, I didn't have a lot to say about it. It's one of those shows that's done very well, but nothing I really remember about it. It's a show that showcases the talent level of the corps, but that's about it.

Group 3: Madison & PR: I didn't know who was going to take it from who here! Another coin flip. It's all in who and what ya like. To me, PR's show was another show like Bluecoats in that they do what they do well, but nothing memorable like past PR shows. Madison's show was disappointing for me. The first 2/3 of the show was ok, but left me wanting more. Then they bring in Malaga. Poor Scott Boerma.... hasn't he run out of arrangements?!? To me, it seemed that they knew they didn't have much of a show, so they bring out one from the basement to make sure it had that added "oomph". I think most people really enjoyed it, but it made me thirst for the Malaga of 95. Nothing can beat that arrangement, IMO.

Group 4: SCV and Cadets. Man, were both of these corps ON tonight. George must have really lit a fire under Cadets' butts before entering the field tonight, because they played! This show has come a long way since June when I first saw them. The colorguard seemed to have a tight show, and the hornline and drumline were on fire. The crowed LOVED this show. (side note: the baton tosses have been reduced to three (I think) from what was more like 5 or 6 in June. Made it much more effective.).

SCV: I loved this show. Loudest hornline of the night. It's an intense show all the way through. Again, this is a show that is sold quite well. I think Cadets and SCV are going to fight this one out.

Last but definitely not least: Cavies and BD. Once again, ladies & gents, take your coin out! I truly don't know who could've/should've/outta win. Cavies seem to have more of a "program", but it just might seem that way because the "007" theme is obvious. BD obviously has a program too, but all I can recount from it is that it's something about a train arriving, then leaving! What I do know is that inbetween the train arriving and leaving there's some great stuff! I actually thought BD's drumline was better, but who am I to judge? Cavies closer (my first viewing of it, since it wasn't completed in June) was unbelieveable... and dangerous! During the show, I think two drummer fell, and one hornline member almost fell during another segment. I'm not sure if this had anything to do with their score or not. But, it's "survival of the fittest" out there!

Ok, one last thing to add... I just don't want people to think I'm bashing Crown. I'm really not. They have a respectable program and corps, and talented members. My issue is with the vocals, pure and simple. (I actually liked the use of the amps in the pit... I could hear little nuances from the pit I haven't heard before).

Next viewing: an air conditioned theater, 50 yd line, popcorn in hand. Hey, after the air conditioning in Indy, I could get used to this!


First of all, let me say I watched everyone, both shows. I enjoyed all of the performances. Certainly some I liked better than others. But not all of them can make the top 12.

I'll keep this short and sweet, without dissecting each corps' performance. Instead, I'll give a summary.

There was a large and enthusiastic audience at both shows. The concourses were so crowded with people. so much so that you could barely move to get to the souvie tables and concessions.

As far as I'm concerned, the top four, consisting of Blue Devils, Cavaliers, Cadets, and SCV, are worthy of any order of finish. One's performance was as astounding and exciting as the other. Not knowing or having seen the recaps, I think SCV probably took drums, BD probably took brass, Cavies probably took visual, but every element of each of these corps was fantastic and deserved recognition for the efforts put forth by the staff but the quality of the performance of each of the members of these corps.

Haven't been a big fan of Phantom Regiment this year. I'm just not as versed in the classical tango as others may be. But they performed their program better than they have all year long. And if they could bring it on like they do in the closer another three or four times before that, they could make it real interesting.

Madison was on fire last night. One thing I'll say about this organization, it's STILL Madison no matter what people say. It was true Madison from the first note to the last. They had us all on our feet and we responded to their show spontaneously time and time again. Deservingly. Solid top six corps.

Bluecoats. Born and raised in Ohio, I was very proud to see "Blue" representing the Buckeye state so well. Percussion section is always laying down some beats and that hornline just never stops. They were very well received and certainly very entertaining.

Boston. I can do without that. As far as I'm concerned, of all, and I mean ALL, day and night shows, this is one corps, IMO, that should have been watching the damn thing instead of performing. It's no fault of the marching members because they just perform what is put in front of them. But what the hell was that they put in front of them? They carry out these monstrous nylon boxes that are as annoying as the really inane narration. "color!" I just didn't get it. Perhaps DCI thought they needed one more corps from the east in finals besides Cadets and Crossmen. I was going to go watch the Naperville show tonight but I don't think I can endure Boston two nights in a row. I'll be making plans for the head or the concessions during quarters, semis and finals when they are due to come on in Denver. Enuf said.

I love Crown's show. For some reason, I have a vision of another "star" on the rise. Innovative, entertaining, and in-your-face. What a unique program. I was not bothered by the singing at all. In fact, it fit the program perfectly. Now the "beat generation" narration during the drum break ruined what I thought was one of the best percussion features of the evening. But as annoying as that was, the rest of the show MORE than made up for that. I certainly didn't have Boston in front of them. I know they're from the same coast but Crown doesn't need to be lookin' up at Boston in the standings too.

Can somebody tell what the Glassmen's show is about? Don't get me wrong, it was clean, powerful, it was just short of stimulating me to go the bathroom. Or to get yet another superbowl ice cream sundae. What a waste of wonderful talent. Suggestion for the Glassmen, prop the doors open and sweep that creative staff outta there. I need a show I can sink my teeth into and this corps just hasn't given it to me in a quite a few years but it's not because they don't have talented members because they do play with a quality that FAR exceeds their product.

Crossmen. Hey I liked these guys. It's a really good show. It lacks that execution edge that separates the bottom tier from the top but I found their show to be FAR more entertaining than Glassmen and that "creation" from Boston. This is a fun corps to listen to and out of all the shows from yesterday, they had to do this practically back-to-back. That's a tough group to pull that one off and I had them a little farther up the rung.

Who you wanna watch in twelth place? Take your pick. Capital Regiment, Spirit, Seattle or Blue Knights? I would have been happy with a four-way tie for twelfth. But I guess if you're gonna float a corps as a top twelve DCI member, the nod should go to the Blue Knights. At least last night. It's one of the better Blue Knights corps I've seen in the last few years. I didn't talk once during their show. But I'm not quite sure that they convinced me they deserved to be part of the evening show. The morning show was far superior to the one I had to endure in the evening. Perhaps it was my second read but usually any good book deserves to be read twice. I don't think I can get through it twice. I say put Spirit in there at Denver. Let's read a new book.

A few notes from the day show:

Mandarins, one of the most original and conceptual shows I've seen this year. Pacific Crest, very enjoyable, wish I could see more of them from time to time.
Magic is such a surprise to me. Through all that this corps has been through, had this organization had a more stable foundation and a lot less turmoil, they would be pushing for a spot in finals. They came to play and the members performed very well.
Colts, having seen them a few times this season, their performance was the best I've seen to date. Much improved. Percussion section need a more challenging musical program that could equal that of the brass. Southwind needs a little more maturity in this organization all the way around, from design to execution to performance. It would bring this corps equal to it's noted past. Kind of anxious to see where they take this next year.
Seattle Cascades. I need to see them again. Maybe I'll remember more. I swear I hadn't even had a beer up to that point. I know they were there, there's just not much I can remember about them.
Kiwanis, Esperanza, Troopers and Pioneer. Having only seen Kiwanis and Pioneer previously, I was pleased to see the improvement in both of these corps. I know some people may not like to hear this, I know that the Troopers have been around for almost 50 years, rich in tradition, lots of nostaglia, etc.... Perhaps someday I will be able to once again witness the Troopers as I remember them from their glory days.

And here are my suggestions:

Amps are ok. I don't expect the mallets to come down because of amplification but I could hear all of the nuances of the percussion instruments being played without pounding. My suggestion to those who don't like amplification, don't forget to sign the petition and send it to each other via chain letter or any other method as you choose to associate but please stay away from further drum corps shows. Myself and the other 10,000+ were not affected by your absence.

Narration must go. Period. I suggest DCI put an end to this after finals.

Pioneer, I suggest you think about becoming an all-age drum corps if DCM is to survive with you. If not, then take your place with the other Div 1 corps.


Jim Schehr

Friday July 30

Murfreesboro, TN (DCI)

OK Folks, Here goes nothing....

My friends and I got to the stadium about 6:30 after spending an extra 5 minutes looking for it. The weather was actually pretty nice seeing how I thought it was going to rain all day. Now mind you my seats weren't perfect, but I have seen enough Corps shows to still enjoy. And BTW.. This is only my simple and humble OPINION.

First to Perform was BLUECOATS:
I felt like Bloo was missing something in their dynamic contrasts and something in their ensemble marching. Individual technique didn't seem so bad, but some of their forms never seemed to click. Their battery still needs a little work, but I really enjoyed a line like Bloo's to start off the night. The guard had a few drops but I didn't notice anything devastating. My pick for the bluecoats was the same as the judges-8th.

Then came The Scouts:
I was expecting the old scouts in this year's show and to be honest it just isn't them. Not to say that is bad, it is just different. Once again, I think Madison needs to just run a few good cleaning rehearsals. I liked the music, but in Malaga I have heard better arrangements. The guard was a little off, but overall an enjoyable show. Thanks Madison for doing what you do. My pick for the Scouts was 7th-the judges had them as 6th.

Next was the Cadets:
I liked the Rocky intro!! Very cool! I have to be honest, I really liked this show. Visually it was more clean than any of the other corps. Individual marching lacked a little though. I feel like there is a little dirt in the lower horns and a few intonation problems which can be fixed real easily. I was very impressed with thwe guard despite what the recaps might have said. Excellent impact moments! Believe it or not, I think I like the Cadets again. My pick for the Cadets was 3rd- the judges had them in 4th.

Last before Intermission was the Crusaders:
I have not been one to get into the amplification debate, but.... Boston... Come on... The voices add NOTHING to the program. In fact, they sort of distract. The theme is great and the guard looks good with the different colors. I feel like music is a stronger point than their marching is. Overall, Pretty neat show. I had them in 6th- the judges had them in 7th.


Next up.. The Cavaliers:
Holy Dirty Batman! I expected the Cavaliersw to be a lot more clean than they were. I saw Marching Ensemble and Individual Marching mistakes everywhere! But... They also have the hardet drill in my opinion. I love the music and James Bond theme. I feel like musically the Cavs should be placed a little higher than where they are. Love the Green machine and it was awesome to see them back in action. Especially those great visuals! I had them in 2nd- as did the judges.

Next to go was Phantom Regiment:
I liked Phantom's music, though my friend disagreed and said he didn't. I felt like the music had pretty good clarity. And I love that great low brass sound. I think Phantom's weaknesses lie in Visual problems. Saw a lot of individual errors and drops in the Colorguard. Percussion seemed to be strong and the Impact moments are almost there. Phantom is a lock for fifth at finals. I had them in 5th- as did the judges.

Then came Vanguard:
Wow! Vanguards program is great! However, I disagree about one thing. It is not championship material. I think the percussion is smoking, despite a little dirt in the snares. The brass seemed full and broad and helping to push it on! The marching was very clean in individual marching and pretty clean in ensemble. Though, it could use a little more work. I just don't think this show has the difficulty that SCV needs to win the trophy this year. I had them as 4th- the judges had them as 3rd.

Last was the Blue Devils:
The Blue Devils had so much energy! Man those sops can wail!! Love the brass, of course. Wayne does so well with them. Thought their percussion wasnt as strong as past years. The ensemble marching is good, with only minor transition problems. I think the individual marching will take care of itself this week before finals. I had them in 1st-the judges did too!

Overall, A great show, except tfor the idiots who talked straight through the entire show in front of me and stood up half the time. Well, Thats about it. Congrats to all the corps! It has been a tough season and all the kids should be commended for their effort!

*Bradio* 8^)

Oklahoma City, OK (DCI II/III)

I got there late, so didn't see all the D3 corps. Here is what I saw though...

Bandettes: Nice show... I thought Bandettes did an excellent job of arranging a show that their kids could handle and execute very well. Too often it seems that staffs program for a corps of 100 when they have 30, but Bandettes had some really nice moments in their show because they didn't do this. The mello soloist was probably the best soloist I heard all night.

Capitol Sound: Don't remember much about this show, except that the bottom bass was thumpin throughout the show.

Dutch Boy: Very good sound from Dutch Boy I thought, and had some nice moments from the pit as well. The show seemed a bit choppy to me, but their performance level made it worth the viewing.

Court of Honor: What a terrific show... this show has everything that you'd want in a drumcorps show. I thought the use of the ramps were a cool way of highlighting sections throughout the show, and also worked to shrink the field, making them look very large. Drumline had a really good book, and a real mature approach to shaping... pit was outstanding. While I haven't watched a large number of D3 shows before, this was the best and most enjoyable D3 show I've seen.

Blue Stars: I really liked the first half of the show, wasn't sold on the second half though. The visual design was quite good, I don't really get their visual effect number (5th in D2). Very good use of block rotation, and were able to isolate areas visually but then move them back to the ensemble without distraction. The drumline had some good moments, especially the snareline. The front ensemble did some nice stuff as well... overall excellent effort from the Blue Stars.

Jersey Surf: I had the opportunity to watch about two hours of their rehearsal Friday afternoon, and met a few of their staff members. One of their primary goals is to have a fun, entertaining show the kids and audience can both enjoy, and they certainly succeeded. The Elvis theme was very good, and came across superbly with the costuming. Hornline plays very well, especially the sops and baritones, but there are spots that still seem pretty muddy. Same with the drumline... nice moments, but a few muddy ones as well. Their visual program is quite dirty compared to their competition, and while the flats up front are a good idea, they might consider a different way of keeping them held up, it's a bit distracting. Even with that, it was an enjoyable show for sure... make sure you watch the drum major, he puts on quite a show.

Blue Devils B: Not a real memorable show program from the Devils... the horn book seemed to lack impact and intruige, especially when compared with other Metheny shows from the past. I thought the hornline struggled at times to execute what was being asked of them, maybe they were playing it safe with them? What the hornline lacked, though, was made up for with the other sections. The drumline was very good... I especially enjoyed their on-field warmup. The bassline was cookin too... that girl on #2 was splitting some pretty hard stuff with ease. The pit had some really cool moments as well. The color guard would be competitive with many D1 guards... man, those kids can toss. Visually, it was what you expect from the Devils organization... crisp movement, very sound upper body, etc. If they had a stronger hornline and horn book, my guess is they'd be competing for the Div 2 crown.

Memphis Sound: Second viewing of these guys... sometimes a show grows on you, but in this case their show did not. I like the opening statement, and the hornline plays very well, but the arrangements don't connect well at all. They use the drumline to connect many portions of the show, and the writing (esp. snareline) didn't do this effectively at all. I wish I had more to say about them, but nothing really sticks in my head.

Impulse: Strange show w/ the Betty Boop idea... with the way they came on the field, running around and trying to interact with the crowd, I was thinking this was the new VK. Well, they tried to be the new VK, but with a show arranged for Glassmen. I thought the musical arrangements were too chopped up, and I believe this choppiness hurt their hornline execution. The highlight of the show was the front ensemble... some very nice hands up front, and they featured them a great deal the second half of the show.

East Coast Jazz: Terrific show... definitely deserved to win. I thought their arrangements of Spanish Fantasy were very good, and the hornline sold the show with a warm, very mature sound. They were the only corps of the evening that didn't have individuals sticking out at the upper dynamic levels. A couple of things about the percussion... I'm not sure what they were thinking with the snare tuning, but it wasn't good. It was too low, and produced a real muddled sound. Also, they front ensemble setup was odd... I've seen the arc before, but never with the keyboards basically interlocked (no space in between), thought that was interesting. The front ensemble did play well, had some very intricate four-mallet stuff going on, and handled quite well. The color guard was really good, and very well staged... whoever staged them did a nice job of featuring them when they needed to be featured, then transitioning out when the music called for it. Overall a very enjoyable show, from both a design and performance standpoint.

Jeremy Ball

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