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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2005 Drum Corps International
As posted to R.A.M.D. and submitted to Sound Machine
Page One 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
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Go to Page 2 of Reviews!
Wednesday July 13
Dublin, OH (DCI Central)
It was an overcast night in Dublin, OH on Wednesday night, but luckily the rain only
hit during intermission. This was only my second show of the season, but my first viewing
of all the corps except Bluecoats and Capital Regiment. It was a nice venue with turf, so
there weren't any problems due to the rainy weather prior to the show, though the crowd
wasn't as big as I would've expected.
In performance order:
Memphis Sound, 69.050, D-2
They got the show off to a good start, with a nice horn sound, and some nice impact points.
The guard didn't seem as good as I had remembered from them the last couple years, but all
in all, a decent show.
Lake Erie Regiment, 59.150, D-3
Even though they only had 10 horns, 6 guard, and a small drum line, they had an entertaining
show, with probable more memorable moments than Memphis. With a very active guard using some
creative equipment and some nice tunes, they took full advantage of the members' talents!
Wow! I had heard/read lots of good stuff about SW, and they lived up to their billing! This
was one very-well designed show, with some great musical moments and lots of great visuals,
including one large, very colorful guard with awesome flags! The crowd definitely enjoyed
this show from start to finish. The horns (56) could use more bass sound, but the guard (30?)
sold the show with lots of great colors and flags.
Spirit kept the show momentum going with an enjoyable Broadway themed show, and they also
featured lots of colorful moments. The horn line played very well, but my only complaint was
that most of the musical arrangements were pretty similar. They also got outstanding crowd
response, especially during the Andrew Lloyd Webber segment, complete with huge Playbill
backdrops and some lovely Pie Jesu music. I also enjoyed the "Wicked" closing segment, though
I was surprised that most of the people around me had no clue what music it was!
Capital Regiment, 73.400
After seeing them at their first show, I was glad to understand the use of the sundial,
though I'm not sure it or the featured dancer adds much. After the bright and colorful
flags used by Spirit and SW, Cap had a very dark look, which seemed to hold back crowd
response, even in front of a 'home' crowd. There was good playing going on in horns
(still a few holes?) and drums, but no truly memorable moments in my book.
Definitely one of the highlights of the evening! With a huge horn sound, their usual
big guard moments, and lots of great music, they have one very nice show! It was nice
to finally have a Boston show without words, either in printed form or by way of amps!
My highlight was definitely the "Promise of Living" segment, which built beautifully to
a huge ending! It's a very fan-friendly show and got one of the biggest ovations of
Carolina Crown, 82.00
CC has a nice show, but nothing like the crowd-appealing packages of the past two years.
While the horn line had a nice, clean sound (probably one of their best in a few years),
the drill was almost non-existent. How they won Visual GE last night I'll never know,
since there only seemed to be drill for about half of the show. The guard is certainly
not as overwhelming as in the past years, and that seemed to hold back on their effect
as well. The music's nice but not incredible. My feeling is that Boston should've been
a couple points ahead easily.
With easily the most active show of the evening, thanks to probably their hardest
and most visual drill in years, Blue was an apparent victor. Their horn line continues
to be AMAZING, with an incredible sound! Drums have many nice moments as well, especially
in the second half of the show. The guard has improved much since first viewing in June,
but the two plain flags hopefully will be replaced soon, since they don't carry much visual
impact. (Maybe they can steal a couple of Southwind's??? Kidding...) I'm still a little
disappointed about the amped vocals, especially after their staunch opposition to amps
during DCI voting last year. But all in all, this is one great show, with lots of great
music in various styles, and a very nice visual package. Maybe they can move up to 5th
this year? Go Blooooooooo!
If you haven't seen Bluecoats, Boston, Spirit, or Southwind yet, you'll be in for a
treat when you do! I enjoyed them very, very much and can't wait to see them again in
Indy and Boston!
Sunday July 10
Fairfield, OH (DCI Central)
As a drum corps fan it is absolutely great to see all of these "second tier" doing so
well. So here goes my review of the show from personal viewing.
LAKE ERIE REGIMENT Their score I think was actually a bit high. I am a positive person,
and the drumline for this corps is really fun, but, the horn section is just too small to
render the rather challenging arrangements.
SOUTHWIND WOW!!! What a great younger corps to watch. Their overall show concept is
really nice, the combination of melodies actually works better than most cut and paste
shows. What made the show work for me was that the performers really SOLD THIS SHOW. It
really is an exciting show, non stop movement. If they continue this growth, this could
be a real up and coming corps.
SPIRIT Not wow. OK I am not going to bash this corps. They have a nice show concept,
and I enjoyed some of the nostalgia of the broadway tunes. There just didn't seem to be
any big hit moments that make you sit up on your seat. It was also quite visually dirty.
IMHO they scored much higher than I expected. Not nearly as closs to G-men as the judges
BONES It's not that the show concept is bad, which it isn't my favorite. The show was
just flat. What the Southwind kids lack in performance level they made up for in enthusiasm.
If I were the judge, Bones would have lost by a small margin to S-Wind. It was that low.
There are some classic Bones moments in this show, but it is just being played. No heart.
BAC WOW this is an absolutely clean looking show. This score was way too low, or the
competition was too close. Yes there is visual and musical dirt, but compared to what I
was expecting I was just caught off guard at the polished presentation. That being said,
it is possible that they might be peaking early. I don't know if another month can improve
upon this show that much. But if they continue on this pace they have a fight for 6th with
CROWN Holy Brass line Batman!!!!! People have been commenting on the weakness of their
guard, and I can only summize it's because their hornline was nearly fifteen or twenty
players bigger than the other two closer corps. And they can play. Can they catch BAC?
Only if they clean, clean, clean and BAC hits a ceiling it can't break through. This show
was a lot dirtier visually and musically, hence it's score should have been further from
the winner, but even when it's clean, I don't think it has enough difficulty to earn them
sixth. The drill is mostly easy. The horn writing is easier. A stong show, but not a top
six show this year.
G-Men I really liked this show and I think they should have scored closer to Crown.
With their show, I also believe when clean it just doesn't have enough difficulty to raise
it to the next level. This could be in part to G-men's dissapointing scoring the past
couple of years. I think they will keep Coats, Boston, and Carolina (and possibly SCV)
honest, but I see them finishing in tenth when finals come around.
Saturday July 9
Seattle, WA (DCI Pacific)
The long-time Seattle contest has always featured a good cross section of
corps, and the '05 installment was no exception.
--Spokane Thunder: complete but needs much cleaning. In comparison to their
stunning '04 debut [after a scant few months existence] their '05 version
was surprisingly tepid.
--Oregon Crusaders: their biggest corps ever. Polishing needed, certainly,
but may once again top their division.
--Fever: my first ever viewing. Their uniform, other than some small
highlights, was curiously drab [about 75% grey, including the shoes] in
relation to their name. Incongruous.
--Blue Devils B: evident influence from BD. Neat drum solo.
--Vanguard Cadets: ditto their older corp's influence. The first corps this
evening with noticeably more use of and brighter uniform colors.
--Seattle Cascades: well done "Airborne" theme which [in spite of the sparse
but still unneeded narration], given that Boeing's a prominent employer
here, likely resonated all that more with the audience. Watch for the big
airplane and the aerial dogfight. Neat.
--Phantom Regiment: first time in Seattle. Even though my wife and I are PR
alumni, nevertheless I truly ache for anyone who doesn't get to see their
approach to "American In Paris" and "Rhapsody In Blue". 100% superb!
--A surprisingly smaller crowd than I'd expected, even with the show's
welcome return to UW Husky Stadium and free parking [unlike '04 at Seahawk
--$40 for 'gold' seating, yet $3 for programs [unlike the equally well done
free programs in '04].
WHY [at this show year after year]
--do the drum majors take off their hats? I never understood the rationale.
--do the vast majority of the corps' guards wear colors so completely
different from their horns and drums? It doesn't make design sense in the
least. Do the staff's imagine their people will be lost on the field with
matching colors? What are they thinking of?
--don't more drumlines play when their corps troops the stands after
performing? At Seattle this year, SCV B, Cascades and PR were the only corps
with the stones to give that final icing on their performance cake. The
other corps just passed by to the deathly uninteresting "Doop, doop, doop...
[rest, rest, rest]". Zzzzzzzz.
--do so many corps wear predominantly dark, dark, dark uniforms? They're
dull, dull, dull. By comparison, PR was head-to-toe almost blindingly white.
--do so many drumlines obsessively stay with the toneless, colorless "click,
clickety, click" high tuning? Gack!
--do so many corps still play obscure music or obscure form music? After
forking over $120.00 for this once a year event, would someone tell me
again, please, exactly WHO these shows are written for?
--Seven corps tonight with about 10 minutes between each one. So for whose
benefit was that 25 minute break halfway through the show?
Sorry for the super late review, things have been a bit hectic, and while I did
take notes, I havenít had time to write the review till now. Anyway this line-up
has been reviewed quite a few times on the net by now so Iíll try to keep it short.
BDB -- missed them! They went on first while I was in the parking lot, fishing
stuff out of my car for my sister, but I heard they were great.
Oregon Crusaders -- (from the tunnel) After the first big hit me and the guy
next to me turned to each other with similar ĎWOWí faces. VERY impressive hornline!
Thereís a trumpet solo in there somewhere that you canít miss, some really terrific
players out there. The guard is holding the corps back to a certain extent right
now, pretty dirty, and very small, too bad they canít work something out with the
Northern Lights to help out their guard. A lot of the drill is hard to read at this
point too, some nice moments for everyone though. Iíll be rooting for you in Boston!
Fever -- I thought Oregon had them beat tonight, first thing you notice though is
their TERRIFIC guard, some amazing staging and just really clean stuff for this early
in the season they are big and professional.
Spokane Thunder -- I had high hopes for these guys after hearing all the great
reviews last year, but they seemed pretty weak in all captions last night, stinks to
have to go on after Fever and OC, good to see a competitive corps on the east side
again though, best of luck!
SCVC -- They are so fun to watch! All of the intensity of SCV but Div II, they
have some awesome visuals and a great Ďperformance qualityí that really set them
apart from the rest of the division tonight.
Seattle Cascades -- The first hornline of the night to get a bigger wow factor
than OC. Of course they were playing for a home crowd, but DANG was it a fun
experience. They were met with waves of applause and cheering at every impact (and
there are some very nice ones in this show). The first thing I noticed about the '05
Cascades is their development of a corps style and persona, the smooth slow horns up
and horns down, and elegant visuals spread throughout the show really give it a
northwest feel in my opinion. After the show I told my sister "You guys looked exactly
how a corps from Seattle should look, just smooth and liquid-y". As far as show design
goes, I think Iíve pretty much bought into it. Iím one of those that doesnít understand
the neon coloring of props, but I do like the props, it would be cool if they could
incorporate them somehow at the end of the show as well as the opener. The narration
is key I think, though IMHO it would be more enjoyable if the narration was more mono
tone (think Winston Churchill addressing the British people under attack by the German
air force), sometimes the emotion in the narration tends to undermine the emotion in
the music, where maybe a more low key narration would contrast the music as well as
allowing it to express itself to the audiance on a deeper level. Overall TERRIFIC
performance! This is the best corps the Cascades have EVER fielded, and they are
scoring at least a little lower than they should be. I brought a first timer to the
show, and Seattle was her favorite show of the night.
Phantom Regiment -- My friend and I went to their rehearsal before the show, which
was a LOT of fun. I donít know what exactly to say about the show. I was skeptical
about Phantom and Gershwin, but Iím completely won over. The umbrellas in the opener
have a TOTAL goosebump effect, as does Phantoms EVER powerful hornline, I had chills
during the whole show, and will be surprised to see them out of the top 5 this year.
As far as the drill goes, I didnít notice a big difference from this drill and years
past, but Iíve never been a big critic of Phantomís drill, I thought it was very
Reading, PA (DCA)
Before I begin, I need to apologize profusely to the Sunrisers and the
Skyliners. I was in Chris Garrett's wedding in Rockville MD. You may
remember Chris, former DM for Westshore and Bucs. Well, due to massive
traffic issues on 95 and the DC Beltway, it got way behind and forced
me to take a longer way to Reading then planned. As such, I didn't get
there in time to see both corps.
if anyone did see these corps, and you have notes, I'll gladly accept
and give you full credit in the DCW review I am preparing. I appreciate
any help in advance.
now onto the show.
New home at Exeter HS. nice looked like fake grass field, nice
lighting, no light pole on the 50. I hope when Albright is redone, the
field looks like this or i reccomend a move to Exeter permanently.
Hurcs: 23 brass, 15 guard, 5 pit, 5 snares, 3 tenors, 4 bass.
The Hurcs have a very strong percussion section, at times overpowering
the brass. As the holes fill in, I imagine that issue will go away. the
initial horn entrance was well done. I didnt know the names of any of
the pieces, but i really liked the intro, and i think i'll like it more
when the brass holes are filled.
2nd tune had a nice jazzy feel, with minor trasnition issues. the perc
was staged well leading into their feature...coming out of the feature
some more balance issues. i did appreciate the ton of flams in the
keys do a nice job setting up the ballad, and the mello solo framed by
the contras was a nice idea. guard was active on sabe and some nice
carolina blue flags in the back. looked like some holes in the guard
work yet, but what they had was readable and performed well.
loved the Mag 7 hits at the beginning of the closer, but the brass
strated to sound tired.....the perc had another break setting up the
big Mag 7 push which led to a company front.
in all a nice show. bass tuning really low, and the brass to percussion
balance issues will be gone w/horn holes filled i am sure. I look
forward to a 2nd read.
Bushwackers: 41 brass, 23 guard, 6 snares, 3 tenors, 5 bass and 8 pit.
by far THE BEST Bush has looked this time of year since 1995. Solid
intro of Ludmilla in a block form that pushes center...very active pit
16th runs underneath. Lots of motion visually and guard is on guns
sabres and flags. Really strong sop push to the end, and oh such tasty
percussion writing that was well performed.alo loved the silent guard
feature into the dance of the buffoons section and the company front
the beginning of 1812 was sung...unamped( thank you), and well done,
and they slowly layered brass in underneath it. added the pit in then
and it was very well done. excellent staging and design. this led to
the Romeo and Juliet section with the guard on big yellow swing
flags...again, staged very well. total intergration of guard to corps
at the hit, and volume was where it needed to be.
this led to some March Slav which then led into 1812...the bass drum
wiriting backfield was so melodic...it made me forget the brass was
playing backfield. a minor transition issue when the corps turned
around. guard featured well on side 1 as we went back to the 1812
theme. well done 1812 to the end with lots of cannon bass effects.
this corps is for real. My only issue was the drill at the end seemed
clumped up front and it didnt come across as readable. an easy fix I am
sure. all brass sections held their own, and the percussion is
definitely a player. the pit is so tasty....yet because of the corps
being so busy visually the first read you may overlook them. don't.
Bush, welcome back to the big time.
Cabs.....35 brass, 19 guard, 10 pit, 8 snares, 4 tenors, 5 bass.
rumors 2 months ago had this corps dead. Well dead they ain't. In fact
there are some nice things going on out there.
corps starts out w/the percussion going to town as the brass does a
snake drill building to a block. some interesting staging ideas here,
and when the holes are filled, it will look really cool. nice sbare
staging for their feature. from here, the brass is mostly back on side
2 and the perc is upfront. right now this is causing balance issues.
it's a few things...staging, holes and a very aggressive perc book.
maybe too aggressive for right now. some dynamics could help give the
horns a chance. they have some nice stuff, but it can be lost.
btw, this pit is the best in recent memory...really nice touches w/the
Egyptian motifs coming from them. Axe even played marimba!
the corps moves a lot and i liked the perc double time in the ballad
hit vs the hornlines regular time.
i really liked the brass in the ballad when they had a chance to shine.
the sabre around the sop solist was a nice touch.
i also liked the perc staging in the drum break with all of the smaller
groups that built into one. perc had some performance issues, but the
intent is there. i also liked the horn unison hits chraging the
sideline in the closer...nice idea.
the corps stood still for the last minute or so, but progress has been
made. the things they need now are the horn holes filled, some dyanmics
in the perc book til the horns get their chops and some solificiation
of tempo. at times it felt uneasy. in time, i have no doubt all of this
Bucs: 57 brass 31 guard 9 snare, 5 tenors, 5 bass, 6 cymbals, 12 pit.
if you read early season revfiews and had your doubts, erase them. this
corps is solid in all areas.
show opens w/a strong brass and pit statement of Farandole. battery on
the sideline for their entrance and the balance is great when they do
now here's a 1st...at the tempo change, the cymbals are the ones who
set the pulse. how often do you see that in DCA? Folks, when you see
the Bucs, watch this cymbal section. THE BEST cymbal section i have
ever seen in DCA. they throw about 125 techniques at you in the 1st
minute of the show.
perc feature here shows all voices who played really well, and the
brass rentry was well done. the build to the hit was staged and played
well. guard staging for guns and sabres also well done, and the flags
had some cool silver/red flags. loved the brass block passing thru the
box move, leading to a high mark time and halt.
Adagio. oh so tough to follow the versionSCV did. pit starts off with 4
mallet work...laterals well done. the first brass line comes in and
voices keep adding in, and the guard is in small groups and solos doing
a lot of body and work. the sops staging on side 2 is well done. pit
adds in underneath w/bass and cymbals leading to the famous hit, and
the keys have some serious 16th note patterns going on.
the hit just builds and builds and builds until a release i can not
wait to hear echo in Scranton. this was volume folks. pure goosebumps
coming out of Adagio, the perc enters from upper side 2 for Bartok.
lots of notes, lots of movement. tons of bidy work here as well. very
agrressive drill and music, and wow....you think they're tired but they
aren't, cause here comes YPG. very true to the melody that we all know
and love, and all voices get their chance to shine. the famous 3/2
section was well performed, tho here i noticed some fatigue setting in
from the brass. this builds to a company front with the guard on yellow
flags that work well against the blue unis. as the corps builds to the
end, the pit restates the YPG theme underneath.
so well written and performed. I know i missed stuff. They have so much
to offer the eye, I am glad i will see them again. hands down the
Jersey Surf: 56 brass, 22 guard, 9 pit, 6 snares, 4 tenors, 4 bass.
new unis add to the classical look Surf is going for. the guard unis
also work well...corps has blue up top, blakc bootoms, guard has black
tops w/blue bottoms.
opening hit of prelude in fugue in D minor shows the brass lines power.
guard also had some nice peach flags that swung from the top of the
the corps had its well known comedy in place. at one point as the dm
hams it up with the crowd, the corps keeps repeating the drill and
music until a guard member gets his attention. Barber of Seville was
well done...in my mind i heard the Bugs bunny cartoon. Loved thetrade
offs side to side in the corps ina we can do better/funnier than you
can kind of fashion. also loved the snare/contra feature...not
something you see every day.
i really loved how as the corps charges to the end, the guard "gives
up" and walks off to their next piece of equipment.
Send in the Clowns has the guard in a skirt, and was well
done..soloists trade to the pit, who trades to the hornline. the pit
had some very nice 4 mallet work here. a very high sbare toss led into
the hit which had the rest of the guard on purple two tone flags.
then off we go into 1812. brass opens w/nice use of chimes underneath.
a full ensemble perc break followed that was handled well. bras
re-entered strong and this led to a section w/old school squads in the
drill and old style rifle work. this built to a hit of Stars and
Stripes which melded back into the end of 1812. expect fireowkrs to be
nice show from Surf. Not as comedy driven as the past, but I am told
more is yet to come. my only real concern was percussion staging, but
there is a lot of time left.
there ya have it. disagree if you wish. agree if you like. if you have
Sky and Sun comments, please send along.
Friday July 8
San Diego, CA (DCI Pacific)
First off, some general commentary...
Westview HS is in a wealthy suburban area of San Diego and is a brand new school.
The stadium is top-notch, with a nice astroturf field and good lighting. That said,
I question its ability to host a DCI show. There was a lot of echo off the back
stands. The sun was setting just to the left of the back stands, behind the corps,
so people sitting to the right of the 50 had the sun directly in their eyes for half
the show. And the parking situation was ATROCIOUS. Seriously, Esperanza, you need to
look at the parking situation before holding another show there. The only parking lot
offered to spectators was the school's staff parking lot. It is small and has narrow
aisles (it also has no red zones, so people were parking on every curb, which
constricted some aisles to "one-way" status... but you didn't know that until you
were already trapped in it with a person coming from the opposite direction in front
Anyway, by the time I had fought traffic from downtown San Diego to get to Westview,
searched the parking lot in vain, driven nearly a mile down the road to park amongst
opulent houses (not a one of 'em was less than seven figures, I guarantee it), then
walked all the way back to the stadium, I had missed both senior corps and Hawthorne
Gold. I caught Jester, in part, as I was walking to my seat. They struggled, and we'll
leave it at that. On to the review!
THE ACADEMY, Tempe, AZ
62 brass, 33 perc (8s/5q/5b/5c/10p), 21 guard, 2 DMs = 119 marching
Wow. I mean, WOW. I back up what I said earlier: this corps would THROTTLE the Spartans
or ECJ if they met today. With 120 kids this corps has a big, big sound, a D-1 sound,
not a D-2 sound, and both musical sections were VERY clean and crisp. Their 10 contras
provided a big, strong, wonderful sound base. They marched with excellent posture
control and technique, and stuck their drills. On the downside, the drill wasn't
extraordinarily difficult (it picks up as the show goes along), but why over-reach when
your season ends in mid-July? Their brass staff? See if you recognize these names: Sam
Pilafian, Dean Westman, and Patrick Sheridan. Two of the best tuba players in the world
(Pilafian is their arranger, too) and a former Vanguard instructor. This corps has all
the pieces in place, and a huge marching band base to draw from in Arizona. Look for
this corps to do well in Denver, and DON'T MISS them if they come to your neighborhood
this year or next. Possibly the best D2 corps I've ever seen at this point in the year.
DOWNLOAD THEIR SAN DIEGO APD as soon as it's available. I will be.
IMPULSE, Buena Park, CA
40 brass, 36 perc (8s/5q/5b/5c/13p), 16 guard, 3 DMs = 95 marching
Following The Academy is a pretty tough task if you're not a Top 17 Division 1 corps.
They had a good sound, but lacked the cleanliness of the corps before them. Strong low
brass here, too... in fact, almost TOO strong. You want that big bass base, but at
points the contras were overpowering and out of balance with the sops. The music ("The
Incredibles") translated well to the field and Brad Pearson and Ike Jackson made good
arrangements. This corps just needs to clean it up and really work on their ensemble
sound. The visuals got a little messy late in the show, something to work on.
MYSTIKAL, Newbury Park, CA
16 brass, 23 perc (5s/3q/5b/3c/7p), 17 guard, 2 DMs = 58 marching
Not reviewed by yours truly.
MANDARINS, Sacramento, CA
44 brass, 26 perc (8s/4q/5b/9p), 22 guard, 2 DMs = 94 marching
Not quite as big this year as I've been led to believe, but no matter. Each year I look
forward to the Mandarins' show, each year I am not disappointed. The Mandarins put out
some of the most enjoyable shows on such a regular basis; kudos to their veteran staff.
The corps has a nice big sound and gets a lot of power from their 70 musicians. The
drumline powers the corps with a wicked battery. The show is written with some significant
difficulty, both musically and visually, and the corps really sells the show. They even
have a jazz jam session in the middle of the show! The Mandarins! The closer was their
Achilles heel, performance wise. A lot of brass muck and visual dirt. The books written
for this corps have Finals-caliber difficulty. Can the Mandarins clean and clean to reach
Finals-caliber performance? We shall see. Even if they miss Finals, look for the Mandarins
to have their highest finish ever. I'd say they are a lock for semifinals and probably Top
PACIFIC CREST, Diamond Bar, CA
58 brass, 33 perc (7s/5q/5b/6c/10p), 30 guard, 2 DMs = 123 marching
Pacific Crest's opener was the first "goosebump" moment for me. A quiet melody quickly
swelling into some awesome, powerful chords presenting Ralph Vaughan Williams' stark and
severe "Sinfonia Antarctica." Fantastic, big low brass sound and an overall strong hornline
powers the corps. But as the show progressed, I couldn't help but sit there and think "meh."
The show just didn't grab me as well as the Mandarins. PC sounds great and looks pretty good,
but I don't think this is a Finals-caliber show design or demand. I was surprised to see
them as close to the Mandarins as they were.
SANTA CLARA VANGUARD, Santa Clara, CA
64 brass, 31 perc (8s/4q/5b/5c/9p), 35 guard, 2 DMs = 132 marching
Hm. I think SCV will have to really fight to stay in the Top 5 this year. That's not to
say I didn't like the show, just that there are too many holes in the design, too many
question marks in July, for me to feel supremely confident about their chances. I liked
the show more than the judges did, though. Okay, first things first: it always amazes me
at how much of a step-up there is in power and difficulty when you get to "The Big Four"
after anyone else. SCV blew away everyone else on the field when it came to volume. They
start off with a small musical motif and swivel to the stands for a "hair-parting"
full-force chord about 20-30 seconds in. Loved the chord, didn't like the build-up to it:
there was none. There was no lead-in to the chord, just notes notes notes BAM! Overall,
though, I was musically impressed. Strong hornline that plays a lot of notes. Strong,
equal-opportunity drumline (lets hear it for girls in the battery! I noticed two snares
and the lead bass drummer were girls). If you get high seats, look for SCV's "spelling
contest" during the drum break (the horns spell out 1913, then CCCP, then USSR). Now...
my main concerns. I liked a lot of the guard work that I saw, but there are still a few
dead spots in the show. It's almost mid-July and it doesn't look like SCV has their guard
routine fully complete. I love the new uniforms, but those white pants make you awfully
exposed, and I caught a fair amount of visual dirt. And finally, and to me, most
importantly: Russian Christmas Music is not a good closer. I'm not talking drill, I'm
talking music. It just does not carry much impact (unlike 1987) and I think that will be
a big weakspot as the season progresses: the musical chart does not end at it's strongest
ESPERANZA, San Diego, CA
44 brass, 27 perc (8s/4q/5b/10p), 18 guard, 2 DMs = 91 marching
Note to kids: you are outstanding performers and you do a heck of a job with the show!
Note to staff: BORING! Keith Emerson's "Piano Concerto"? What the hell is this crap? This
is the most flaccid, uninteresting music I've heard in DCI in quite a few seasons. You've
got some talented kids: throw them a bone, give them something to work with! *ahem* Anyway,
where was I? Ah yes, not my favorite show. The opening statement has zero impact value
because it's poorly constructed. The drumline sounded strong, cleaner than the brass, and
along with the nice guard powered the show. Visually they were the messiest of the D-1
corps. Looks like they have an unlearned guard part in the closer, too. Oh, and lastly:
olice whistles? The most dubious addition to drum corps since amped vocals. *shudder*
I'll have you know I was DEAD ON the Division II scores. With my -17 adjustment, I
think The Academy would be in the high-60s in Division I. I thought they were about even
with Esperanza, and they should be right on Seattle's heels in Denver.
82.30 Santa Clara Vanguard
71.70 Pacific Crest
82.50 The Academy
72.25 Pacific Crest
82.55 The Academy
Sunday July 3
Cedarburg, WI (DCI Central)
Drove up the road to Cedarburg to catch the show. Didn't take any notes, so these
are VERY random impressions.
Racine Scouts - Very solid playing by their mellophone player. Solid throughout
and he seemed to anchor this very small line. Bravo!
Cap Sound - The dominant image I have is that their guard was really working at
selling their show. Nice job!
Colts Cadets - Some of these kids are just so teeny and cute - how could you not
like this corps? Very fun and entertaining show idea to base everything on pinball
games. Really liked the touch where a coin was "inserted" to continue the show.
Blue Stars - Get ready world, here they come! My goodness, they're huge. Kudos to
the staff for a stellar recruiting job. On the field they remind me of 1980 Suncoast
Sound - big, rough around the edges, and a ton of potential. Hold on to those kids!
Troopers - Much better than in Madison. The horn line's articulation was much cleaner
to night. A week ago I heard a muddy wash of sound. Much more musical tonight.
Pioneer - The all Irish theme works for me. Very entertaining.
Southwind - the more I see this corps, the more I like them. Very good percussion
feature. They seemed much improved over what I saw in Madison. Seems like a nice horse
race is developing between them and Colts.
Colts - Beautiful horn line! Terrific unison flag work throughout. Don't cross them
off your list of finalists just yet.
Madison - The Real Deal. Easily, the best Madison corps since 1999 - maybe the best
corps since 1995. Absolutely whiplash drill. Solid guard, although they seem to depend
more on dancing than equipment. Those who complain that this is more West Side Story
than Carmen are full of it. Out side of the middle section, it's all Carmen, but not in
a traditional way at all. Seems to be strong across all captions.
Saturday July 2
San Jose, CA (DCI Pacific)
I arrived a little bit early at this show, just to go by the Seattle Cascades souvie
wagon to see who might be working it tonight! I was pleased to see my drum major who aged
out with me working it this evening. When I arrived, the weather was actually treating us
very well, not to hot, not to cold, perfect weather to have a show in if you ask me. I
chatted with Amy Scopa (my ageout drum major) for a few minutes, and then we headed to our
seats, before we went and got our snacks for the evening.
Kudos to DCI and all involved in making tonights event happen, because it was on time!
Infact, things were running early tonight, and I was impressed with the organization of
the event. However, I would recommend moving this event to another venue in the future.
Having an entrance for the corps, and an exit for the corps might work better. This will
allow corps entering the field a chance to enter with out interfering or getting in the
way of the corp exiting (just my opinion). We had a small mishap with a man in the crowd
who was SMOKING in the stadium! All of us in our area politely asked him to stop, and he
said "Where do you see any rules that say No Smoking!" and I looked to my friend sitting
by me and said "Hello common sense"--But some people just don't get it I guess.
This was one of the first times I wanted the National Anthem to hurry up, because I
was anxious for the meat of the event to start. The trumpet soloist who provided the
National Anthem was great! And I liked how he added his own little twist to every cadence!
Good job, and I applauded after that! However, I was still eager to get the event started!
Review of Corps:
River City Regiment: I had not heard much about this senior corp, but saw them and knew
I would at least have to give them a go. There were some great moments in this show, and I
could tell all of the members were putting their hearts into their production. However, I
am not sure that this performance was taken as serious as the corp that would follow them.
With a corp as small as this one, I was expecting to see much better intervals from performer
to performer in the corps proper, as well as a tighter colorguard performance. I definitely
could see the intent from the members of the colorguard (especially the soloist) but I don't
feel they had a good ensemble colorguard. Individually, some great things were happen, but
too many of the performers seemed to not be sure of their roles and responsibilities
throughout the performance. Great job hornline for the sound that you produced with the
limited brass you had. Watch the marching technique though, I saw a variety of technique
being used, and that detracted from the visual package as a whole. In terms of General Effect,
numbers definitely affect that here, however, you did use what you had on the field very well.
Given the amount of time you have been active, with more recruiting and membership, I
definitely see some potential here. This show obviously has a lot of room for growth, and I
look forward to seeing you throughout the season. Best of luck.
Renegades: Outstanding work coming from all three sections of the ensemble. Very impressed
with the vocabulary displayed by the colorguard, and how the drill complimented them in the
early stages of the show. You guys definitely have one heck of a brassline, and had me in
"awe" the entire show. Drill design was great, and had a lot of great moments throughout the
production. This show actually made me think about possibly joining a Sr. Corp in the future.
You had been drawn into the show from point A to point Z. I am still trying to recover from
the brassline and the sounds they were putting out (good things there). Colorguard, oh my
goodness! Work displayed here rivals some of the Jr. Corps that I saw this evening. Tighten
up the ensemble (all three sections) and I see great things happening here. There were
obviously some issues in the visual department with members missing visuals, and or step offs,
but the overall performance was right there, and you got me to stand and clap hard at the end.
Blue Devils C: I've never seen this group until tonight, and when I saw them on the field,
I kept saying to my friend "How cute!"--I know, they are just little kids, but hey, credit
needs to be given here. Some of what they were doing out there is pretty darn good, considering
how old they are. I was very impressed with the level of the colorguard of this ensemble,
especially in the way they carried themselves throughout the show across the field. They were
pretty synchronized throughout the performance, which can be a hard task at any level, but these
kids demonstrate a great poise throughout their show! Kudos to all who have helped make this
ensemble. Even they had me on the edge of my seat, with a big grin on my face, as they did
something to make me smile every move!
Fever: Musically, I thought this was the best corp for Division II. Their program has a lot
of room for growth, but it is a program that has a lot of built in General Effect as well. I'm
still not seeing how "Anxiety" is being tied into the show, however, with time, the drill will
clean, and the colorguard will get stronger in the performance execution of the show. What a
sound this brass line puts out for having a small hornline. The marching technique definitely
needs some attention, but I feel the corp in general is moving together very well from an
ensemble standpoint. Individuals are showing some fatigue, but that is expected with what
types of movement I am seeing. Colorguard, ladies, I am affraid you were holding back just a
bit tonight; you didn't quite hit me as hard as I was expecting but I saw your intent. This
show has a lot of entertaining moments, that will definitely be maxed out once the drill cleans,
and the hornline has a better understanding of phrasing and impact points and resolutions.
Hornline, understand your roles and responsibilities when you are facing back field vs. the
stands. There were some tempo tears toward the end of your performance, that had me a little
concerned, but you managed to pull through. The ending was good, but you left me hanging, I
wanted more! Lots of room for growth, and it already looks like you are making the right
strides. Enjoy your trip to Seattle! I look forward to seeing you again in California.
Blue Devils B: This was the cleanest of the Division II shows from a general standpoint.
Members of the hornline displayed outstanding marching technique, and I thought the drill
design allowed them to show that off! I was impressed with the ending of this show, as the
drill seemed to get a little more intricate as far as design and creativity itself. Colorguard,
displayed a great level of poise and demand over their performance, and in many areas, I
thought they were the most outstanding part to the ensemble as a whole. The young man who
looks like he is 4 years old, definitely caught my eyes, and I think he takes their performance
to another level. While the entire colorguard does some great things, he takes it one step
further, and he knows his show! The confidence displayed by the colorguard had me sold. I felt
some tension between the hornline and the percussion section throughout the show, but that is
to be expected when you have backfield ensemble music and the like. Overall, some great things
happening in the areas of General Effect. I felt the performance was a safe performance, and
cleaner than those in their division. I'm looking forward to see what risks you take with this
show. Best of luck!
Vanguard Cadets: Once I saw this group take the field, I knew they meant business. They've
always been a corp in the Division II/III arena that displays a professional look as they take
the field, and leave the field. I am always impressed just how a corp enters the field! The
first note of the show brings me in right away! and your front percussion ensemble keeps me
into the musical theme at that point. I enjoyed seeing the colorguard in their opening
statement, and found it entertaining to see those SCV 04 - Scheherazade flags, being used in
a show that complimented them much better (in my opinion). This nature, tribal, tropical color
scheme set the mood for me, and the musical ensemble compliments that very well, however, I am
not sure that we need to see the same color schemes (well not really) being represented. I
would have loved to see more from the color pallet involved in this show. For the size of
hornline you have, I feel you do the optimal to make sure you get the fullest sound! Do not
give up Vanguard Cadets, because you have something very special here, and it has much
potential. Hornline members have a definite understanding of the marching technique, but it
seems the fatique setting in, helps them forget that and the playing suffers. Overall, I
enjoyed listening to your musical ensemble, and I look forward to seeing how you incorporate
the other sections of your corp into that!
Seattle Cascades: This is the corp I had been waiting for all night! MY SEATTLE CASCADES!
and you can be sure I was one of the loudest people in the stadium when they came on! I was
shocked to see as many Seattle fans there tonight, but this could be because Seattle has a
lot of California members now! Colorguard uniforms definitely caught my eye as they entered
the field and setup! Purple, with linear stripes of orange (its similar to that of the
Cavaliers 2002 uniform), a little bright, but it goes with the concept of the show, and they
use the colors very well. What is that I see back field??? Oh nevermind, circular, triangular,
and square shapes that form an airplane, in which the corp merges itself into, and outside
and fills them in! The colorguard then rotates these shapes. It's a darn cool effect, because
it looks like an airplane moving on the center stage! However, colorguard, if you are going
to make this happen, you too! are going to have to watch the drum major for timing, to make
sure the thought lines up with what the musical ensemble is doing there! The tail of the
airplane was a little bit to late setting up that effect for my taste. Ladies, you also need
to be considerate of your phrasing, because you seem to be a little bit busy, and louder than
the rest of the ensemble in some areas. You definitely are the best colorguard this corp has
seen, and I think once you get some of this choreography cleaned, you will definitely be seen
as a major icon of this show. The bright flags, airplane kites, and cool choreography really
brought it home for me, and was a great treat! Hornline, wow! You put chills down my spine!
Low brass, I could have ate you for dinner, that was divine, and the sound the entire ensemble
puts out is simply amazing at this point. However, do watch your intonation high brass, this
was not your most banner moment in terms of musicality and performance this evening. This
voice over you used is okay, however I think this show can stand on its own without it! (some
of you members even agreed with me about that!) This performance again, was a safe performance,
and not as energetic as the night before, which in my opinion was the cause for your placement
this evening. No biggie, its only your first two shows, and you still have a few days of
rehearsal days to clean things up! Percussion especially, you have a lot of work to do in
terms of keeping it clean, I like this percussion section so far, but I am finding it hard to
take in. This music is too demanding and features a little bit more percussion than in the past,
so you need to make it happen, rise to the occassion. In my opinion, this show has the potential
for top 12. I approve of what I saw, and I can only see this show being the talk of the town.
You have all of the ingredients to bake the cake Cascades, but you aren't baking it quite yet!
Dig deeper, and give me what I know you have! I look forward to seeing this show VERY SOON!
Mandarins: I've always enjoyed what this corp can do, simply because of the size. This was
tied as my second favorite show this evening, and I thought they had a great package from all
three sections. Colorguard definitely outperforms the corp proper from a performance standpoint.
Mandarins, I am extremely impressed with the level of intensity you display, and I couldn't get
enough of the interaction within the colorguard. This hornline you have produced was another
treat this evening! WOW! Both sections (colorguard and hornline) do a great job of SHOWING what
this show is about, but I think some members checked out this evening. Demanding drill for this
corp, but members need to understand some interval techniques and I think this show will
definitely be right up there. A classy corp, and this was displayed on the field. I'm a huge
fan of "Adagio from Spartacus" and I thought you did this piece at a decent level this evening.
There are some musical concerns I have with your dynamics and how they change significantly,
yet some members of both the hornline, percussion and colorguard seem to be on their own path!
This piece should be treated very delicate in some of its love stages. Solid colorguard
performance (and I think I saw some familiar faces from Winterguards) but thats what I expect
from Mandarins! I'm glad to see risks were taken. This is a pretty clean show (clean meaning,
the concept), and this is one I definitely want to see again! I can't wait to see the
improvements the ensemble makes.
Esperanza: I hope what the colorguard was wearing is not the official uniform for the season.
The concept of Crossroads was idenitifiable right from the starting line. However, I did not get
a good read on the tape strip things being pulled at the beginning. I enjoyed the enthusiasm
from both the hornline members with their precise body movements, and the colorguard showing
facial expressions. The drumline definitely is a strong point for this ensemble, and I really
grooved to parts of the drum solo. I'm very familiar with the musical selection performed in the
corp, and I thought it was performed at a decent level tonight. Hornline, please observe releases,
and attacks of certain notes, especially when ending phrases, and starting a new one. Transitions
to resolutions were okay, but a little choppy from all sections of the corp. I like where this
corp is going with the concept, but in order for it be read right, all sections have to contribute
to make it rise to the next occassion. I know you'll step it up, so I can't wait to see what
crossroad you will show me next time!
Pacific Crest: The opening set is wide open! I love it, because its different, and I like
seeing white pants in a big space like that. The beginning of this show really brings me in, and
I like how the colorguard is being used here. The uniforms while I like the color scheme, they
seem to be a little bit busy on the arms for me. You do make great use of that color scheme
throughout the show though! I'm not sure if I understood what the colorguard was trying to give
me in various points of the show, because some of the timing in the musical ensemble was impared.
Great musical ensemble overall, but hornline, please make sure you keep the feet out of the sound!
I made a quick observation on the haults and coming out of them... Are you infact using the Blue
Knights knee/toe prep on 4? I saw a lot of that throughout the show, and I am wondering if that
was really helping the visual ensemble at all. The hornline had me until about midway throught
the show, and then my focus kind of went on autopilot--until you started hitting me hard at the
end, and I was diggin that! WONDERFUL JOB from the percussion section! Drill design is okay, but
nothing really standing out just yet! though I saw the intent in many places toward the end. The
brass line is definitely strong, but my favorite sections of this corp were definitely the
colorguard (clean it up ladies and gentlemen and you will definitely rival some great groups) and
the percussion. I loved the work the percussion has done, and I see them progressing upward and
possibly being the strongest section this corp has. I look forward to seeing the improvements and
adjustments with this show. I hope to be more involved next time, I felt bad for not being able
to keep my attention into this show, but the music really doesn't do a good job with keeping me
(the reader) involved at this point.
Phantom Regiment: I'm so glad they had the chance to tour out west this year! It's obvious
they were a favorite this evening, because they had the crowd standing before the corp even took
the field in competition. Let me first start off by saying the male in the colorguard is starting
to become a little more effective, but he definitely needs to play his role a little bit better,
milk it for all its worth. I've seen butch women play that role and pull it off. This corp
definitely had me ooohing and awwwing all throughout the performance. Thank goodness for the
overhauling of the visual department, but I still think they could do a little more in terms of
difficulty, though they have definitely surpassed last year and the year before... This show had
all the right things in the right places. I'm glad to see the colorguard performing at a much
higher level, and getting more involved in the effectiveness of the musical package. This show is
Phantom Regiment, and they perform it very well. Definitely top 4 material, and the hornline is
sounding splendid! Though I think the intensity could have been up one more volume tonight! Visuals
from the hornline were not what I am used to seeing from the corp, but they definitely worked for
the show. I'm always impressed when I see different tempos moving on the field, at different places,
and they did just that! I think you guys are going further than you think this year, and I know all
sections of the ensemble are going to step it up! This is too good of a show.
Santa Clara Vanguard: I know there are some corps with incomplete guard work in various sections,
but standing still for that long in a portion of the show is just unacceptable for me, at this point.
You have had 3 weeks to put something in place in given areas, yet you stood still. The hornline was
giving these big musical hits and they were not to be supported by the colorguard. Now do understand,
I did notice the show and the majority of the work was there, but I still feel you could have had
something to fill in that gap for the time being. I know you have something in store though, you
just have to! Those colorguard flags look too familiar (and I think I know where from) but they go
well with the show. I'm a little concerned with the General Effectiveness of the show from the drill
design standpoint. Not much is happening, and there isnt one move I can recall or call up a friend
on the phone and say "OMG did you see that..."--Musically you guys are RIGHT THERE! However, the big
hit in Russian Christmas Music didn't quite cut it for me this evening, I thought the impact should
have been louder (maybe its because people were yelling VANGUARD then) but even then, it should have
been big! There could have also been more colorguard support there as well. The hornline definitely
rivals Phantom Regiments hornline this year, and I would have given either hornline the gold tonight.
I love the sounds I am hearing from this hornline right now, but the design/drill is not doing
anything for me. I understand there are changes, so I will just wait and see what you have in store
for me. Musically the ending of the show rocks, but again, the colorguard is not doing anything to
impress me or leave me with a good taste. The uniforms for the colorguard will grow on me, but I need
to see more work from the guard, to see how the role of the uniform and what it stands for, I had a
hard time grasping certain elements of this show. Yes, I know, its Russian music, but, other than that,
give me something more, show me that its Russian music. You are definitely on the right path. Re-think
some of the drill (you have the tools) and this could be one show to remember! I still like the 87
version of RCM though!
End of the event:
I left the stadium after awards, because I wanted to hurry up and see as many Seattle Cascades
people as I could. They had to board buses by 10:30pm to head back up to the Northwest. I was mauled
by several of the members, and it made me feel really good. The words "We miss you"--"I want you to
quit your job and come and chaperone or staff with us"--"You were the corps favorite black man"--"You
always make me smile and laugh"--and etc... just made me think of all the good times I had while I
was with the corp! I saw some friends I go to college with, and they wanted to hang out, but I had
to put them on ignore, because its not everyday that I get to see my family (Cascades)...They felt a
little upset about it (college friends) but it's something I can't really explain (seeing as how most
of them have never marched). Friends are one thing, but it felt good to actually be able to go to the
corp (family) I marched with and feel right at home, talking it up with members, and staff, and just
remembering what it was like! The rookies (most of them) met me, and I got nothing but great vibes!
I don't care how this season turns out, this is one fine corp and I am proud to have helped make it
what it is today, and I can't wait to help create what it will become in the future!
Friday July 1
Stockton, CA (DCI Pacific)
I'll attempt to give my two cents on SCV and some of the western shows...
I'm not sure SCV has much room to grow. The hornline has a large sound, but there
doesn't seem to be much room for expression the way the music is arranged and scored.
While I was initially excited about thier playing RCM, to be completely honest, it
seemed a little flat and dated. Compared to some of the charts being played by the
other elite corps, RCM seems a little simplistic (I know, I know... blasphemy). The
show seemed like it was just loud, followed by more loud. I have a hard time connecting
with it and I'd be suprised to see Vanguard in the top 4 this year... which is sad
because I absolutely LOVED last years show. The Shostakovich was good, but there are
a few parts that left me scratching my head (like the quasi-tribal drum feature that
is completely out of character of the music). Oh, and I don't care for the uni change
this year. I like the uni when one person is standing by themselves, but when they're
all out there moving around it creates an image that doesn't seem to sit well with me...
I can't put my finger on it... I just plain don't like it.
Phantom on the other hand was a breath of fresh air. Solid show that has lots of
room to grow. Its still dirty but the overall design of the show is encouraging. The
guy in the guard is fantastic (watch for the huge toss and the one-armed grab behind
the back) and does a great job in selling the concept. And OMG I always forget how happy
I am when I hear 14 contras playing well... great soli section during Rhapsody. Battery
could've used a little more exposure though, seemed as though they were hiding in that
huge hornline sound. Oh and the strangest thing happened... their pit comes out and I
don't see and wires coming out of the keyboards... and I don't see any speakers, so I
think to myself,'WTF? I can HEAR the pit and they aren't mic'ed'. Truely bizarre.
Cascades... I gave them a shot. I felt like I was sitting at BOA Grand Nationals
watching a high school show. I did like the airplane move in the middle but the rest of
the show is disappointing, for me. I'll give their show another chance sometime during
the summer, but I have a feeling it'll be the "restroom break show" this year.
Mandarins. I love thier show this year. Biggest hornline ever for them and I think
this may be the show that vaults them into the top 12 for the first time... if they can
PC. They do a lot of park and blows this year, and I kept waiting for them to blow
me away but they never seemed to find that top gear. This isn't a top 12 show. I had a
hard time connecting with the music (contemporary wind literature)... I'd expect to
hear Glassmen playing this music.
Esperanza. Once again I'm not connecting with the show. It seems disjointed, as
though they couldn't figure out the right order for the parts. Younger hornline this
year (they had a lot of age-outs) and they struggle to pump out the sound a bit.
Drumline is the best they've had to date though (their first show they were 2nd in
drums behind SCV).
Renegades. Fun show! I had been disappointed in their rehashing of charts from year
to year, but this show rocks. Soloists doing thier thing like every year, but the full
hornline sound has really matured. There were moments during the show where I was
thinking,"Wow, nice sound". The guard has really come along in the last few seasons as
Friday July 1
East Rutherford, NJ (DCI Atlantic)
I just got back from the Meadowlands so here goes:
Show Thoughts: Unfortunately the crowd was on the light side, seeing as their
is a show later in Belleville, next year that may be the only metropolitan NY
venue. The demographics of this area simply does not cultivate a fan base, this
is not Hopkin's or DCI's fault, people around here are into other things. Women
were complaining all the ladies rooms were locked, no maintenance men could be
found ( they were at other venues ), and they were not allowed in the mens rooms.
The show operators did a nice job in pushing back 15 minutes, to allow the last
rain cell to leave the area. A beautiful sunset ensued, with wonderful temperatures
for an evening. The corps all come on and off in a timely manner, but there was
just no feeling to the show, although many in the crowd were appreciative of the
General Thoughts: Visually there was an enormous amount of dirty feet this
evening, especially interval and quick hit forms not happening. Guard work was
really sloppy, could have been the moisture. Musically, maybe it's better late in
the year, but I just don't get the choppy arrangements, which often end with little
or no dramatic effect. Crown to me gets the most musical hits, and Cadets came the
closest to getting me cranked with their " Twilight Zone" reference. Bac's Candide
left you wondering if it had stopped, although it has some great moments. Some
year's colorguard uniform and flag choices leave you wondering, but to me not this
group of corps, all were superb.
Now the corps:
Jersey Surf- Nice size corps, good drums and decent horns. Best guard uniforms
of the night. Good corps with a lot of upside, could use a litlle " Velvet Knight"
type stuff which they usually incorporate.
Wayne Raiders- Good drums, small horn line performs well, guard needs practice-
their hippy costumes work well.
Spirit of JSU- great horns, good drums, nice guard work. Broadway signs work
well in show, but they need to be better mapped to the music being played. Definately
top 12 material, but the dirtiest marching of the evening amoung the big boys.
Boston Crusaders - as good as all the hype has been, nice visual package and
sometimes great and othertimes bewildering musical book. Great balance, with many
impressive hits. I thought they were strong in drums, and hurt themselves with their
drum contraptions in Sing Sang Sung. If this show gets cleaned and refined it will
be up there.
Crossmen- scored way too low, nice show, although it suffers from the lack of a
big hit and finish (IMHO). Great snare line, drill needs some more demand, one of
those Crossmen screamers, but definately underscored. I did have a sense of Park and
Bark Cadet style of the past, definately should have been tighter with Boston and
Spirit even though ( maybe more coming?)
Crown - Love the balance and sound of their horns, especially the low end sound
they are famous for. And a good high end, and mellophone line to boot. I believe they
changed Drum Caption Head this year, and I loved the book. Great snare moments and
well integrated musically, if they are still scoring low I would lump them in with
the Crossmen conspirationists. I didn't care for the over the top body work, and
disagree with those who place them low because of poor drill design- I don't buy it
( I don't buy it with Phantom either )
Cadets - show could do it, but IMHO needs refinement. My wife and in-laws asked
why is there an outhouse on the field!; and I agree with those who feel it interferes
with drill form- please move this thing and add some paint to it. The amplification
statement at the opening was an unmitigated disaster- it sounded like a rant of the
drunken Taxi driver on TAXI! Couldn't understand a single word, the volume and gain
were totally out of adjustment. Otherwise- great talent, good musical book, wonderful
drums, great guard, cleanest marching of the evening and this corps is definately in
Finally, I will admit that amping the pit works well, but I really pity the pit
player who gets to pull the cart containing the mixer and amp, it resembles a truck
trying to drive in mud ( bet you pit players prefer synthetic turf to grass)!
KUDOS to the YEA org for a well run show, and best wishes to all corps this season-
everyone put on really entertainng shows!
Ok, it's day late, but I was out at Live 8 all day today. This review
comes from a horn players perspective, and someone who's been marching
One thing that was interesting about this show was the fact for the
first 5 corps, I was familiar with every song they played- I don't
think that's happened to me since about 1978- a real plus....
Surf- have the potential to be their best corps yet. Music is
accessible, and they seem to be way ahead of where they've been in the
past at this time of year. They're starting to incorprate some humor
into their "Pops" show that's not quite catching on yet, but when they
sell the show better it'll be cool.
Raiders- The largest corps I've ever seen them with. Percussion was
smokin'. They've got some talented brass players, that just need to
develop some more confidence. Superstar music with a little different
twist which works well. First time in a while that I think I've hear
Division 3 second and third sops that you can here. Need to refine the
closer as right now it doesn't flow quite right.
Spirit- Loved this show, Drum Line was cookin' Use of the Broadway
playbill flags, and banners were neat effects. Like a lot of corps
tonight sops seemed to have some intonation difficulties (propably due
to the weather. This show has finalist potential. Especiallly liked
"Luck Be a Lady".
Boston- seemed a little laid back early on, then gained confidence. Sop
(yeah, I know their trumpets- hard habit to break) soloists need to
play more aggresively. When they loosen up a bit more in Sing Sang
Sung, it should really grab the crowd.
Crown- In my esitmation the most in-tune hornline of the night. Brass
line had a "marching brass chior " type of sound (could also be the
musical selctions). Percussion was on fire, and guard very aggresive
Crossmen- A fun show. Like they way they work pieces of "Classical gas
throughout the show. Best Trumpet soloist of the night. Ballad will be
great when refined. Loved the contra in the "Radar Love " intro. Sops
appeared a little tired tonight. Could just be me, be snares sounded a
tad on the muddy side early on. Think they need to feature the battery
a little more though. I don't usually notice these things, but I have
to say the Crossmen guards use of color, both with their uniforms and
silks was really eye-catching, in a very positive way- the most
colorful corps on the field tonight. The Meatloaf closer needs some
work and the ending is a little too abrupt ( goes back to Classical
Gas). There's a lot of people saying they'll struggle to make finals- I
don't share that opnion. With hard work and re-writes they'll be there
Cadets- Didn't know what to expect here, but I thoroughly enjoyed the
show. It's the Cadets back on the cutting edge. I actually enjoyed the
Amped stuff, particularly the "Drum Talk". The double-sided uniform I
think is really effective. Really neat to watch. It's probably the
loudest Cadets Hornline in quite a while, but a bit sloppy at times.
Knowing the Cadets though, I'm sure they'll fix it. I can see this show
challenging for the top spot. One thing though, the"OUTHOUSE" i.e.
door, needs a makeover.
All in a a very enjoyable contest. First time in several years that I
can come away from a show and say, nobody was boring.
Hoping the rain rain rain would go away and come again some ohher day,
I trekked up to Secaucus.... and lucked out. the show, while delayed a bit,
went off just fine.
I was on the 40 yard line, near the back of the lower deck... hence...
I had the upper deck over my head blocking some of the sound. So..take this
for what it is worth...
Surf.... yet ANOTHER great show... only three plates this year... are they
new? They did not seem as featured as those of the past few years. Stars
and Stripes/1812 combo was excellent... the one spot I thought they may have
'missed' an opportunity, design-wise, is during reh company front diagonal.
They move about 16 steps on one diagonal to S&S and then 16 counts the otehr
way, also to S&S...it might have been neat to do the first 16 count move as
is and then on the next 16 direction change switch to the 1812... because the
next section is a neat combination of the two. Outside of that... a more
'traditional' show than the past few years, with regular unis, but an
outstanding effort by the kids.... best of luck, as always.
Raiders... JCSS... need more trumpets, obviously. Some very nice charts...
the battery part of the percussion is especially good, as always. One spot the
entire horn line is bunched up at the sideline doing a park and blow... I'd
make sure the trumpets get down front on that... they were in back and were lost.
If it's possible I'd also keep the trumpets closer together... they have some
huge splits in the drill, which makes for some sound problems. I think this show
is a great one for them... in their reach yet not simplistic. Great job by admin
Spirit... Broadway... I love the guard uni and the first flag. For me
personally, "They're Playing Our Song has always been a show/tune I don't like...
seems kind of lame to me. The arrangement and members get the most out of what is
there... but I would not have picked that tune to open my Broadway show. The Webber
balled... the Playbills are a nice idea that needs a bit of tweaking.... much of
the balled is a tune from "Sunset Blvd", yet the highlighted Playbill is "Phantom
of the Opera" (only a fragment is played from that show). I'd just switch them two
around on the field. If they want to bring out that Phantom fragment, lower the
Sunset Blvd prop and pick up the Phantom, if need be. It just bugged me... though
it's not a big deal. "Luck be a Lady Tonight" from Guys and Dolls has great
potential... right now it doesn't sound "New York" enough... it needs more accenting
and more pizzazz to sell, but the chart is there, so IMO they'll get it there.
BAC... initial comment... gorgeous guard... and excellent as well. Love the
salmon colored costumes... the opening Bach needs some more nuance and drama, but
that will come... It's a wonderful arrangement. Candide is not the 'tradtional
chart...but it works. One spot in the show the brass/battery are close to the
sideline and the guard just fills the field... a VERY nice moment. I think this
show will work for them.
Crossmen... I really like the show this year, better even than last. "So Far
Away" is their ballad this year, and I personally like the tune better than last
year.... it needs a LOT more shaping to really sell... the high point I thought might
be scored a bit low for the trumpets, not permitting them to really "laser out" a
cutting edge sound, but it is certainly lush..and a great tune. Always wanted to do
the Meatloaf piece with a band, so I'm happy to see and hear it... very nice chart
whoch is going to work well for them once the performance level is raised up.
Classical Gas... everything old is new again... first heard it by 27th back around 69.
Very nice chart by the Crossmen. I've always liked the tune, and their version is a
good one. One thing about black unis... just about any guard costuming will stand out,
and the Crossmen picked some VERY nice guard costumes.
Crown... A gorgeous hornline... even more "Regiment-ish" this year than last....
that line may keep them up where they were last year... or even higher. The battery
did a very nice job, with some demanding music. Guard... wow... one of my favorites
of the night. While not controversial this year, I think this show can carry them a
Cadets... I bet the staff had an "oops" moment when listening to the opening
narration.... balance with the rest of the corps was waaay out... could hardly hear
the narration at all. Also, the guy's voice is in the tenor range... can he drop it
down top at least the baritone range? My one overall tiny negative is that I might
like just a bit more 'down'... the show is so fast paced and frenetic... percussion
feature..shades of 2000 with the tenors! I did not mind the vocalising... but it
does have to be crisper. This show certainly is different, but I think it has
potential to stack up agsinst anybody... something I haven't thought the past few
All in all, a great show, IMO. More "straight-ahead" drum corps, with Surf wearing
regular unis and Crown not singing, and BAC not narrating. But... just a good as last
year for all three, and hopefully even higher placements to come.
Thursday June 23
Powder Springs, GA (DCI Atlantic)
McEachern High School is an excellent venue for a drum corps show. Here are
my opinions on the performances:
CV Sr. (52.50): Don Ellis music is difficult to groove - especially while
moving. CV seems smaller than prior years, and the sound just isn't very full.
Marching and guard performance have a long way to go, but there are some good
musical moments that can be improved over the season.
Glassmen (70.35/4th): I've always had difficulty with enjoying this corps -
they usually play and march pretty well, but their shows are not the type that
you hum on the way to the parking lot. With that said, this was one of the better
G-Men shows that I have seen in years. Very contemporary take on "New World
Symphony" - this will do OK in August, but some people will find it a little
Boston (67.75/5th): The new King horns that they are playing are an
improvement. However, this show did not have the level of passion that
Boston has been delivering for the past few years. The season is young though...
Crown (71.30/3rd): The lower brass for Crown kicked serious tail. Musically,
this show delivered very well in places. The Sarah McLachlan ballad in the middle
is too long - it just doesn't seem to fit the show. Marching was OK, but the drill
was very predictable - Cadets circa 1988-89. Peach accented guard uniforms were a
little washed-out against Crown's cream colored unis.
Cavies (79.95/1st): Beautiful as always - drill is always visually appealing,
field and pit percussion drive the show forward effectively, and the horns play
with precision. My only concern is that the ladders that they use in the show
leave the design a little cluttered.
Cadets (78.65/2nd): Wow. This show is very different - dissonant music, fast
drill, really good guard work, especially in the flags. Horns were powerful, but
dirty. I liked this show a lot. If it can get cleaned up, especially musically,
this show could take it all in August.
Spirit (66.95/6th): Very "hummable" show. I liked the way that the Broadway
tunes were packaged - especially the "Luck Be A Lady Tonight" section. The guard
unis add good contrast to the show. I thought that they too Boston.
All in all, it was a pretty good early season show. Keep an eye on the Cadets!
LaSalle Smith, Jr.
Wednesday June 22
Fort Mill, SC (DCI Atlantic)
I just got back from the show. I had a great time. I only have one negative remark,
but it's not about any of the corps. I'll save that for last. I only have positive
things to say about the kids.
SPIRIT-Nice solid old school kind of show. Pie Jesu is lovely.
CRUSADERS-I liked the show. The Promise of Living is a gem. It should be quite
beautiful by finals.
GLASSMEN-Boy, was I wrong about this corps. They'll be in the top 12. New World
jazzed up. Way cool.
CROWN-The strong brass is back. They have a very rich sound with a lot of lower
BLUECOATS-Well, Caravan is one hot number. No doubt this will be a fan favorite
show. It will be interesting to watch the fight in the 5-8 rankings this year. It
should be very competitive.
CADETS-The crazy uniforms work! Great snare line and guard. Tons of speed. Lots
of notes. HUGE sound. This show is something special. Once it starts cleaning up,
it will do some damage.
CAVALIERS-What can one say? Nice controlled brass and a beautiful visual package.
It's what we've come to expect from the Cavies. Can it be competitive against BD?
I'll have to wait until Murphreesboro to find out.
My only complaint is the arrangement of America/O Canada is not too good, and I
miss full retreat. Otherwise, it was a pleasant evening.
It's late and I'm tired so this will be very pathetic coverage... sorry
1) Spirit: I'd like to say more here but I don't really have alot of input.
I'm either older with a failing memory, too tired, or it just wasn't overly
memorable on this evening but I do remember enjoying the show. They still
have a lot of work to do but so does everyone at this point.
2) Boston Crusaders: It started nice and strong and quickly got very
dirty... exactly as you might expect with a show this early in the season.
The sound was nice and the show concept was enjoyable enough but I'm not
certain how much overall potential the show has at this moment. Bah,
shouldn't have said anything I suppose.
3) Glassmen: Well... color me surprised. The Glassmen aren't likely to
return to the top 6~8 with this show... not to step on feelings or anything
or to degrade the kids marching the show/staff/etc. It's not so much about
the precision with this show, it's about difficulty... or lack of it. On the
other hand, this is first Glassmen show I have truly enjoyed in a long time.
I've never been a big fan of the Glassmen but the show, while not overly
difficult, was very enjoyable... and I simply love that crazy dude with the
flag. I've seen him at so many shows over the years...
4) Crown: I'm from Charlotte, NC, and have MANY friends march Crown over the
years... and know quite a few of the people involved in the organization
because of this. So, I can spend a little more time here. Crown's show
concept this year is very nice. I think it builds a little much on last
year's "mush" (which I still loved) with it's "Angelus" concept but it's
still original enough... and minus the microphone for which I am very
grateful. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for exploring the limits of expression
show creators are allowed... but I'm just not a fan of the amps. Anyway, I
attended 3 eveing practices for an hour or 2 last week and saw the final run
through this past Friday night and to be perfectly honest I think that final
run through was better in most repects than tonight's performance. Crown
still scored pretty well tonight, but I'm at a bit of a loss how they
managed to keep to close in score with the Bluecoats. I DO think Crown's
show is a level above what the Bluecoat's showed tonight... but the
Bluecoats show was one of the cleanest and most energetic of the evening.
More on them in a moment. There were plenty of things to like... I love the
music, all the way through. I think it's a step up in difficulty (at least 1
step) from last year. I love the Opener and Closer Drill. Now, things that
didn't happen tonight... The percussion REALLY struggled tonight. I counted
at least 3 MAJOR tears that could be directly attributed to them (the
battery). The brass seemed... tired, tentative, scared... entrances and
cutoffs were horrible all the way through. Just watching rehearsals last
night I think they reached a point in the show where they were really just
trying to finish it. Many of the things I heard them working on seemed to be
forgotten in the flurry of stage fright that often marks the first
performance out of the gate for a new season. The brass caption head needs
to be kicking some heads around this evening. These kids can play MUCH
better than they did tonight... I've heard them. Even the retreat was
better... and they didn't play any of the show music in retreat. There were
glaring interval marching issues. I'm not certain whether they are trying to
compensate for holes... but you baritones need to clean it up guys. The
mello's didn't carry, particularly in the ballad... never heard that problem
in rehearsal. Also, really, the entire center part of the show needs major
changing in the visuals department. I think the Opener and Closer fit very
nicely with the music but the center of the show... it just doesn't have
much energy in the drill. I love the music but something innovating needs to
happen in the center... get rid of all the posing and "hugging" stuff.
5) Bluecoats: WOW!!!!!!!!!!! This is the best Bluecoats show I can
remember... I really mean that. The show doesn't really innovate... not like
the top 2 of the evening... not even as much as Crown. However, if you want
to see a good ol straight drum corps show this is it. It was CLEAN... REALLY
clean for this point in the season. They marched with better
spacing/intervals/technique IMO than even the Cavaliers... though of course
the Cavies show was on another freakin plane of difficulty. Still, they
looked great and sounded fantastic. Bravo! I was secretly pulling against
you Bluecoats... sorry, but being a big Crown fan I wasn't overly satisfied
with the results of Finals last year. Still, there was NO QUESTION you took
it tonight and I reiterate that I think you should have won by quite a bit
more than 0.8. I saw something I've never seen at a DCI show before... and
I've been to a LOT of DCI shows... an audible gasp, spontaneous applause,
not for a marching move (well, not exactly) and not for intricate or LOUD
music... but for a toss... yep, a single toss made by the entire colorgaurd
at the same instant with some big, red flags. What was so amazing about it
was a combination of timing, precision, and execution. The music was racing
and powerful... then it went silent like someone unplugged the radio right
as those flags were going up... then POP... you guard people will probably
understand this better. It was like all of a sudden the wind catching the
sails of a ship... it was in perfect unison, very audible as the corps was
otherwise silent, and was immediately followed by a big intro by the brass.
It was amazing and really brought the crowd to their feet immediately. Very,
very nice. Lots of stuff will change in the show as always before the season
is over. DON'T change that.
6) Cadets: This is one weird show. The Cadets and Cavaliers both have
apparently decided that "mouth drumming" is the new fun thing with those
microphones. Bah, I don't like it. Still, the Cadets show, except for that,
is really fantastic. They start off with the music from Kill Bill Volume
1... you know, the whistling thing and then proceed through a show that
seems more like the Twilight Zone than anything else. The music is raw and
fast and the drill is very exciting. I really love this show. Way to bring
it Cadets! I admit they lost me a little bit on the whole 4 corner girls
dressed in skirts... I'll have to see that show a couple more times.
7) Cavaliers: AWESOME show. It really is. It ALMOST goes too far with the
props. Some people will probably think it HAS gone over the line. All those
metal ladders... it really harkens back to 1995's show (at least as far as
prop usage goes... remember the park benches, trees, etc?). Still, the music
is fantastic and energetic and the drill is amazing. The creative team
behind the Cavaliers is simply unstoppable. This is a show you will want to
see. If you're thinking about which shows you will attend this season and
weighing your options (for those not afraid to drive a few hours) I'd really
recommend targetting a show tha features the Cavaliers.
All in all, I had an incredible time. What a LINEUP to start my DCI
(watching) season! That's got to be one of the best show lineups that's not
a DCI "sponsored event" or whatever it's called. Sure it's early, but it was
still really, really great. I wish ALL the corps this year the best of luck.
I'll be seeing you all at one point or another this season.
On a side note, I don't like the changes that DCI is making in regards to
getting the corps out earlier. I understand the need to have the buses on
the road earlier... but most DCI fans (except those of us nuts) probably see
1 show a season... maybe 2. Cutting "retreat" to a combination of 2 corps
and then essentially destroying the majesty of the "parking lot" later
really hurts the overall experience. For those that don't get what I'm on
about, retreat featured Carolina Crown and the Cavaliers creating a arc on
the field. The drum majors of the other corps were lined up across the front
but all the other corps were already showering/changing/loading up the buses
long before the scores were even read. The scores were announced,
Crown/Cavaliers played "America O Canada" at about a Mezzo Forte (BLAH) and
then Crown played a few selections and that was it. I DO understand wanting
to get on the road quicker... but I think this just punishes the fans.
I have to say that the Fort Mill show was a very good start for the Drum
Corps season in our area. The weather was good all day and every corps got a
chance to play and march their shows unlike last year. The crowd was large and
responded very well to the participants working so hard on the field. I think
this is again going to be a very strong year, with much variety in show content,
presenting a little something different for everyone. Here are a few observations
that I made on the show:
Spirit - Very pleasing presentation of the broadway music. It's nice to hear
a corps play music again that you recognize and can continue to hum as you think
about it the next day. The playbill panels used were very well constructed and
the music from Wicked will really be hot as the season moves on.
Boston - Yeah their score was a little low for first time but the show has
promise. Their were some parts of the Ode to Joy that were very well executed and
the entire program will continue to rise as the weeks move on.
Glassmen - Very different take on the New World Symphony. I'm still out as to
what to think about it. Musically the last segment was by far the most energetic
of the total package. I didn't care much for the Guard uniforms and choice of
Crown - I was pleased with the first show. It was obvious that there were some
fatigue issues in several places. The Angels theme seem to work well. The Brass is
very strong this year and so is the percussion. The guard was dirty tonight, with
several drops from a usually dropless group. When this cleans up there will be more
exciting moments for them. The Ballad was pretty but I though it just lasted too
long. The visual work here was interesting to watch as the movement proceeded to
the end. I hope that they will work out the kinks and keep pushing to sell this
program. It has lots of potential and I see it again in the 6-9 slot. Good luck
guys as you travel.
Bluecoats - My biggest surprise of the night. I really enjoyed the Production
of Caravan. And what a Brass sound. Definitely one of the strongest of the night.
The guard had some nice moments and when the rifle work is finished it will be
Cadets - Okay, still not convinced on the uniform. I wanted to see them do more
with it. There was only one point in the show were I thought they did some spinning
around and it was effective. The corps worked around the door in the center of the
field and and they used it for entrances and exits of two then four young ladies
dressed like catholic school girls. I need to read up on this one! The music was
different but appeared mostly loud and in your face alot. The percussion and guard
did a very nice job tonight. Interesting start with the whistling!
Cavies - As usual a very strong and well put together program It steadily amazes
me as to how these guys get so good so fast and continue to come up with unique
visual packages. The entire Chicago production entertains you throughout the program.
The Jazz opening and ending, the ladder segment, and the use of hats with the guard
to protray the different elements of the show. I especially liked the baseball
presentation! It was very fun and a creative use of the guard with the rifles.
This show will continue to remain at the top throughout the summer and probably
with again contend for the title.
Overall the entire show was an enjoyable way to start the season. My only complaint
was the lack of retreat. Some of us old fans still appreciate the pageantry of all of
the groups on the field. Someone said they decided not to do this so that the groups
could packup and leave sooner. But I noticed that most of the groups stayed around in
the parking lot as usual after the show. Maybe more will take advantage of this as the
summer progresses but I still would like to see the groups on the field. Oh well. I
can't wait to see the Cavies show again next week in Illinois and get to hear and see
so of the rest for the first time this year. Good luck to all!
Sunday June 19
Lisle, IL (DCI Central)
12:30 AM - back home from Lisle. this is a very BRIEF review of the show. I
didn't take notes or write anything down, so just a "take" on the show.
Royalaires - enjoyable oldstyle exhibition - especially enjoyed "God Bless
the Child" and the re-entry after the timing gun. The Royalaire soprano duet
in re-entry was a treat for the memories.
Memphis Sound- nice show can't at this time of the AM name tunes. I believe
they will make some waves in div II
Pioneer - back to the Irish theme. Nice to see them with a bigger hornline
and guard to compliment a usually full percussion section. This show is light
years from the "Oliver" show of several years back. I enjoyed the show but didn't
rip me out of my seat.
Southwind - definately a step above last year in complexity and design. Had
read a comment somwhere about the guard framing to much and too much backfield
playing. Weelll - guard was integrated in 2/3 of show and framed other times.
Not really anymore than anyone else IMHO. Music was very interesting and entertaining,
drill was sloppy, but there are only a few who are not right now. This show and
drill are better written than last years model. Should be in a dogfight with Cap
Regiment all summer.
Capital Regiment - definatley cleaner than Southwind...but... show is not done.
(as you all have read) The "sundial thingy" did nothing for me. Once I mentally
blocked it out I enjoyed the show more. Gonna take a while to enjoy this horn book.
Seemed a little monosyllabic to me. Drums are a strength for this group, but a
drum solo to end performance left me feeling flat as well as the audience.
Bluecoats - after a break (too long) the Bluecoats came on. Really enjoyed the
music drill and all aspects of this show. Great horn sound! Drill is well written.
This corps definately a step above the previous groups. I see potentail top 6 here,
maybe challenge even further.
Phantom Regiment - Really enjoyed Gershwin Rhapsody, There is a gentleman in
the guard ...."gasp".... (maybe he could hang out with "carmen" during free time
Regiment did a nice job with this music. At times I found them a little to
classically orientated for my preference but this is their thing. They put in a
trumpet feature section that was very legit but dropped it in the middle of a
groovin kind of part of Rhapsody..I enjoyed it...but caught myself laughing outloud
because it seemed to come from nowhere musically. Definate top 5 contender here.
Cadets - absolutely dug the horn book and percussion. Drill was typical Cadets.
The dream concept in four parts worked for me. The Door was an EYESORE. There were
sections staged directly behind it many times throughout the show. Bass drums doing
wheels and spins behind the "outhouse door" perhaps they are planning on opening it?
Stage it further upfield. I felt it was a visual hindrance. BTW - finish your show.
Cavaliers - They have another potential winner here. Very entertaining, strong
conceptually throughout. They will challenge for the title. Especially enjoyed the
"Fire" sequence. The closer of Cavalier "jazz" style was cool but did not always
groove. At times they were a little square in articulations and feel. I am sure
this will be addressed throughout the season.
My take on placements:
1 The Cavaliers
2 Phantom Regiment
4 The Cadets
6 Capital Regiment
1 Memphis Sound
1 Cavaliers 75.800
2 Cadets 71.750
3 Phantom Regiment 70.350
4 Bluecoats 70.250
5 Capital Regiment 58.450
6 Southwind 57.600
7 Pioneer 52.350
1 Memphis Sound 52.200
goin to bed
Saw Scouts at preview one week ago. Sooooooo one week later havnt seen them but
I believe they will contend with Blue, Phantom etc.
Saturday June 18
Toledo, OH (DCI Central)
Just got back from the Toledo "All-Star Review" sponsored by the
Haven't done one of these in a few years, but here's my review of the
show and the corps:
Since Marion Glory went inactive, we had to wait an additional 18 or
so minutes... so the anticipation was killing us in the crowd - most of
whom I would guess were seeing their first show of the season. In any
event, Things got kicked of with Southwind:
I couldn't help thinking Southwind reminded me a little bit of Broken
Arrow HS from Oklahoma... and then I heard Steve Vento's name on their
staff, who I believe is teaching at Broken Arrow. Anyway - Southwind's
show has SEVERAL musical selections woven throughout the production.
The two that I recall were from "The Wind and The Lion" and "Pure
imagination" from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." It seemed
like they had a LOT of holes in the hornline, so in addition to being
very early in the season, it made the drill pretty tough to read.
Hornline had a big sound for as many as were out there; I think I
counted 52.. but could be wrong. They seemed to play loudly for most
of the show, without much relief. I'm sure this will develop in time,
but they certainly can put out the volume. Guard was in Bright
oranges and reds.. Maybe some purples thrown in there? Very vibrant
and interesting, but nothing that left an incredible impression.
This will be an interesting show when the final product is out there.
Next up, Capital Regiment. Score: 56.5. I loved watching them come
on the field as a full corps, certainly threatening to breakinto the
top 12 this year... I remember their first performance in the glass
bowl in.. I think- 1998. MY how they have made steady growth.. KUDOS
to Rick Bays and the gang!!
Corps looked pretty full, possibly a couple holes in the hornlne. The
show is based on the concept of "Chiaroscurro" - literally, Light and
Dark.. a concept known in the art world. This corps also had a bigger
sound than I remember them having, but seemed to have some trouble in
the foot control and technique department. Better visual design than
in years past... at least for this early in the season. They have a
Giant Sun dial that they use throughout the show, and even have some
chime music (a la Cadets 2000) -- Big Ben type... so, apparently
they're trying to portray an element of the passing of time with the
dark and light concepts.. Maybe A little "heady" for entertainment
sake, but a well-put together show regardless. They will be
challenging for the top 12.
After a 45-minute intermission, The Cavaliers were up. Score: 74.75.
Honestly, I loved this performance. It didn't seem like they were
done at the end.. Like it was lacking the "WOW" factor of the Cavies
lately, but I'll get to that in a minute. EASILY the most MUSICAL
group of the night. Hornline plays with good balance for June
(relatively good, period). They were probably the softest hornline of
the night which was interesting considering they played the most in
tune and with the best overall sound. IMHO, FAR beyond anyone else in
terms of QUALITY. The guard is dressed in dark body suits with
colored piping similar to the frameworks show. Not quite sure, but
the design looked almost like the chicago skyline.. Anyway - The
guard really did a great job portraying the themes of the show. Cab
drivers, Baseball players, firefighters, and dancers. The Music is
enjoyable, hummable, and INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING (something many corps
seem to have gotten away from in recent years). Drumline was good, but
snares sounded a bit muddy at times.. maybe it was where I was
sitting.. THESE GUYS have the electronic thing figured out right:
BALANCE FROM PIT TO BRASS!!!!!! (more on this later). Several moments
in the show where the brass sound blended into the keyboards both in
musical moments as well as in the context of transitions.. .WHICH -
they did better than anyone.. which really made the show pretty
seemless (a strength of theirs in recent years). One of the really
cool moments early on in the show-- the guard is portraying the
identity of baseball players (baseball caps, Rifles that look like
baseball bats). They are acting out scenes from a ball game and the
corps stops, you see a "pitch... a swing.." and hear the sound of a bat
popping the ball... Amplified sounde effect.. but small, simple and
REALLY effecticve. (echoes of Avon HS's "football" show from last
year... ) From a design standpoint, they do a good job of using some
ladders in the ballad (the firefighter section) to set up a frame for
the hornline to park and blow as the show ends.
Best thing about this corps-- They didn't HAVE to blow the stands
over... but they could have. They were musical, tasteful, and
entertaining. Well done.
Next up: The Cadets-- Score, 71.95
Some things in this show I LOVED.. some I really didn't love. The
backside of the uniforms is kind of like a film negative of an actual
photo, so when they turn around, you still see the "front of the uni",
but "not the front" - cool concept. The "warm-up time" is taken up
with the hornline whistling "Twisted Nerve" from "Kill Bill"... Lots
of box drill while this is going on, and really draws the audience in.
Guard faces backfield with masks on the back of their head, so like the
hornline - you get the impression that you're being performed to while
the guard is facing backfield. Cool Concept. Now, there's a Door in
the center of the field that they have a girl come out of before each
movement... After the Twisted Nerve intro, The girl comes out in a
raincoat and umbrella... She starts snapping "to" the audience to try
to get them to join in (if you know Robert W. Smith's "In a gentle
rain"- it's the same thing)... she only did it a couple of times and
the audience didn't really get it... When they DO - it will be a cool
moment. The "Ballad" is Very cool musically...Again, they have a
girl come out through the door, this time it looks like she is very
curious about the world around her. The music is very simple from a
melodic and harmonic standpoint, but it builds and builds and will be
one of the great "payoff moments" of the summer... I don't remember
much about this part visually.. so I don't know what that means..
probably just that I don't have a good memory.
Okay .. By this point in the show, I was completely sold...
Interesting concepts, intriguing and entertaining... And then they
started the percussive "chant." To me, this really got in the way of
enjoying the WHOLE show.. They have amplified vocals sounding
percussive in nature, and I THINK they started saying something like..
"Co.. Co.. Cool.. Fun Music.." or something like that.. I guess it
just felt out of place.. like it really didn't need to be there.
Construtively, it was a musical color that we didn't have prior to that
point, and never heard after... So, I guess the question is - Why is
it there, and is the show Better because of it? To me, it wasn't...
it just seemed disruptive to the flow of the show, and for the cadets,
flow seems to be something they capitalize on. Now, on the positive
side - it was cool, fun, different music.. kind of a jam session of
sorts. Going into the closing production (echoes of "Medea?!?!?)--
this was more vintage cadets.. fast movement and drill.. Lots and
lots of energy.. The hornline was loud.. really loud.. but out of
tune and strained.. When they play in tune, they will SOAR in volume..
A lot of "old school" corps fans were really into this show... I
think it's a "love it or hate it" type of show. Personally, aside from
the chanting - I loved it.
Next up- Bluecoats: 69.25. Holy cow!! I was shocked... Without doubt
the best Bluecoats I have seen this early in the season. Two things
stuck out to me... Drill with velocity... lots of it! And a WELL
BALANCED and POWERFUL hornline. The music is "caravan" and stuff from
"Circue du Soleil"... This was probably the closest thing to a plain
old in your face drum corps show... but still done modernly and quite
well. Guard goes to all rifles at one point for a triple or quad..
but it kinda comes out of no-where and really smacks you in the face.
The Chanting thing that the cadets did... bluecoats did it too!! UGH!
They started it in the pit, and then they developed it more with the
hornline continuing it.. kind of disappointing and a little
surprising when it happened... Regardless, this could be the surprise
corps of the year.. I would say a good shot at top 6 again.. and they
might do what Glassmen and Boston have done and sneak into the 5 spot.
GREAT Job BLLUUUUUUUUUUUUUE!!!
Finally - Glassmen. Score - 66.3. I got there just before their
afternoon runthrough, which I did see. Their evening performance
wasn't as good as the runthrough. Home-show jitters... anxiousnes..
I don't know.. The show is "New World Symphony".. so I kept thinking -
Okay... what did Phantom sound like in 1989?? This is NOT that show..
It's actually a lot different.. They do a lot with some world-drumming
that works pretty well, and really try to get the crowd into it.
Hornline was really edgy tonight.. which they weren't in their
runthrough. Overall, a pretty interesting show.. Definitely a
different approach to New World.
Overall, Cavaliers were visually the cleanest, but the thing that they
did better than anyone was their musical control. 'Coats and Cadets
used the amplification for vocals.... which I didn't think helped the
show. Cavies used it for balance-- this DID help the show.. If
amplification is going to be used, this is the way to do it. Pretty
much everyone seemed to play really loud most of the time, and I know
it's june and that finesse will be put in. A lot of the wierd spots
with everyone else will be helped with that, but The placements were
right on and it was GREAT first show!
To all the kids marching-- Keep up your great work, your summer may
have only just begun, but it will be over before you know it. LOVE
EVERY minute of your drum corps experience!!
Here I am folks, back from a trip to grand Ohio. I've decided to take a new
approach to my review writing and guide myself with the old adage "If you can't
say anything nice, then don't say anything at all." Without further adieu, here
OK, seriously.... My drum corps addiction runs hard and it runs deep.... I'll
take a hit anyway I can get it, even if it means going to a show on opening weekend!
I'm almost always less than impressed.... some may remember last year I went on a
tirade after the Toledo show, but I ended up enjoying almost everyone's show by the
end of the year! Go figure.
Now Toledo Participants, bear in mind some of these comments may be harsh, but
don't worry I'll grow to love you by the end of the season. And now for my real
take on the show from the 46 yard line in the 46th row:
Southwind: I don't remember last years show very well, but I think I like this
edition better than that. It's good music for the most part, occasionally the
arrangements seem to get lost, but overall it's pretty good. Drill is a mess, but
hey it's the middle of June. I don't know if it was bad design or bad execution
(I'm hoping it's the latter) but the forms were mostly unreadable. Linear forms
revealed a lot of holes so that didn't help either. They had a pretty fun drum break
where the bass drummers put down their drums stepped inbetween the tenors and "helped
out" (meaning the tenor guys played right hand and the bass guys played left hand).
All in all it was a pretty solid show for them, but I don't see them making
semifinals unless they spit clean that show.
Capital Regiment: The Cap Reg hype machine was off the mark this year. This show
reminded me of a late 90's show. Nothing spectacular visually, cookie cutter abstract
music. Last year it took me all season to get into their show, this year may be no
different. One big issue I had was with the giant sundial they move around the field.
(I don't know if that's what it's supposed to be but that's what it looks like.)
They are moving it constantly but they never really do anything with it. Maybe I
missed all the cool stuff they were doing because I was too busy watching that
contraption getting carted around. The closer is not yet on the field.... the show
ended at the drum break rather abruptly. On a positive note, they were definitely a
level above SW in terms of musical ability. They were louder, more in tune, and more
"together". Their drill was also cleaner, but still needs a lot of work. I think this
show can be top 17 but I don't see them contending for Finals.
The Cavaliers: Once again a noticeable improvement in achievement in both music
and visual. They sounded great and looked great, very clean for June (maybe a little
cleaner than years past). Maybe I've gotten too spoiled by them... they're a machine.
They are starting to pump out these "concept shows" like they're a factory. Combine
great hornline, drumline, guard with tremendous drill and well "designed" music and
stir. Bake at 90F for 3 weeks then serve. Oops, forgot to add the emotion! That's
always the first thing to be forgotten.... Maybe they'll fix it as the season goes on,
but right now this show is FLAT. They got some cute stuff going on but it's also
borderline cheesy. IMO, they won tonight because they are clean. Unless they add some
spice I find this show to be very beatable. Oh yeah, the ladders are kind of cool
during "Fire" but they are a distraction during the rest of the show. Not worth keeping
them up in order to get the very minimal payback of having some of the hornline rock
out on top of them at the end of the Blues section. Which reminds me... that's where
the show ends. I'm sure a tag or reprise will be added in July, that seems to be their
MO the last few years. To recap, they are a contender but I'd be surprised if they won
at this point.
The Cadets: Finally some volume! They were by far the loudest hornline of the night
and played probably the most interesting music. First off, the uniforms look fine! They
use them to create a lot of visual effects throughout the show. They stood still for the
last 30 seconds - 1 minute of their show but if it looks anything like it sounds it's
going to be amazing. That's a big if because the rest of the show doesn't look as good
as it sounds. They were fairly clean for this time of year, but the drill didn't really
wow me. In their defense, there was a lot going on so it's hard to judge that accurately
off of one read. The door in the middle of the field is rather distracting (it looks
shoddy for one thing and it's not used enough right now to provide a payoff, IMO) and
causes a roadblock for the drill - that's probably one of the reasons I didn't think it
flowed too well. The biggest downer of the show by far, however, was the vocalizations.
They were way too loud to begin with, the girl vocalizing something to the Bjork song
made no sense, and the drum scat stuff was annoying. The drummers all pile down front
like a good old fashioned, in-your-face, Cadet drum-off but instead of throwing down
notes they're throwing down some drum scat rap. You got drums on.... use them!
Fortunately they didn't have any feedback/static problems tonight. I understand that
there is a lot to be added to this show, so I think it is a distinct possibility that
they could catch the Cavaliers. At this point I'll mark them as a contender.
Bluecoats: Another hype machine gone awry. The opener is fun but it kind of runs off
course after that. It's most likely a case of me needing a few more reads on it.... 2002
is my favorite year by them and I didn't really care for it when I saw it opening weekend.
On the bright side, this is the cleanest I recall seeing them this early in the season
and their show appears to be complete! Brassline sounds really good too and they were
almost as loud as The Cadets. Drill looked pretty decent too but not on the level of The
Cadets and The Cavaliers. On the down side, vocalizations sucked. Same deal as The
Cadets.... don't drum speak when you've got a perfectly good drum strapped on your belly!
It just sounds silly. At least they weren't as loud as The Cadets, so the rappers weren't
overpowering the corps. All in all a good judges show as of now (maybe a good show for
me after I see it a few times). I think they are definitely a player in that middle pack
(6-9) but I definitely don't see them catching the big dogs.
Glassmen: Finally the Glassmen. I love Dvorak's 9th and was much anticipating this
show. I'll definitely agree that they were playing a lot of the notes from that symphony
but they definitely weren't playing the same rhythms. That's understandable since they
are trying to portray what Dvorak might have written if he'd come to the USA in present
day.... but it's still weird. What's weirder is having a jazz jam session in the middle
of the 4th movement! So yeah, it was different but I suspect I'll love it by the end of
the year.... I just have to forget what the original sounds like whenever I see this
show. As for sound/visual, they sounded good but not as refined as Cavs, Cadets, and
Blooo. Visually, I don't remember much. Nothing too exciting I guess. Although they sit
in striking range of Blooo I don't think they can catch them this year. However, I do
think they are better than expected and are a definite contender for the 10-12 slot at
Well, that's my longwinded review of my opening weekend experience. I just gotta
remember that there is a lot of growing left in these shows and there's a reason they're
scoring in the 50-70 range. For me, chronic goosebumps and all around giddyness don't
come until around the 85 mark unless a show is really, really special. Unfortunately
none of these fall in that category, but honestly, not many shows do!
Coon Rapids, MN (DCI Central)
This will be a short take. If you'd like full stories on the shows this summer
pick up Drum Corps World, or better yet, subscribe to DCW.
BLUE STARS -- The biggest surprise of the night. 110 members, including 55 horns.
Did some daring brass runs and licks several times. Usually at this time of the year
the guard is ahead of the rest of the corps, but it's the other way at this point.
BLUE STARS should find DII success with this edition.
COLTS -- Nice concept for a show.... Finding postcards which relate to different
events in someone's life. Till There Was You from The Music Man is going to be one
of the favorite musical pieces this year. They use 2 sets of BEAUTIFUL flags in
this show that are stunning.
BLUE KNIGHTS -- Another nice concept.... A day in the life of a drum corps. The big
surprise here..... Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific. The piece fits perfectly.
Had a few members slip and fall.
MADISON -- WOW!! 71 horns!!! This show is almost more West Side Story than it is
Carmen. You'll also hear snippets of Malaguena and Bolero. The young lady portraying
Carmen, and the outfit she wears are ABSOLUTELY SIZZLING! The trumpet trio had some
performance problems, but this should be one of the favorite fan shows of the summer.
LOUD and ear-piercingly high at points, including the use of samba whistles.
CHOPS INC. -- All need be said is the title of their show..."Yes, We're Serious....
And Don't Call Us Shirley!" They will venture out to DCA for the first time ever in
September, to compete in Class A.
GOVENAIRES -- Defending 2nd place DCA Class A. This is always one of the most
entertaining smaller seniors out there. There drum major John Mayer is the best
there is at relating to the crowd!
MINNESOTA BRASS -- Pat Metheny music. The 2-time defending DCA percussion champions
are as good as advertised. The hornline is at 46 members, down from nearly 60 the
last few years. Some great ensemble horn work, but the percussion will lead the way.
Go to Page 2 of Reviews!