Check these Links      
for More      
DCI Scores!      

Play a really cool midi file in the background as you browse!

Viewed Best at 800X600

Drum Corps
Discussion Group






Drum Corps Planet


Drum Corps
World Wide Web

From the Pressbox

Marching Arts


Dave Sherry's
Drum Corps Links

Yahoo Links

Bugles Across



Alt Drum Corps


Go To:

Go to Page 2
of Reviews!

Back to Main
Page of Scores!

2006 I & E Scores!

2006 DCI
Photo Gallery!

Scores from
DCA Seniors

Scores from

Back to Main
DCI Scores Page

Back to Main
Scores Page

Sound Machine's
Home Page

Sign Our

The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2006 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews
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 this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
If you visit often, hit "Reload" to refresh the reviews on this page!

Go to Page 2 of Reviews!

Saturday July 22

San Antonio, TX (DCI)

We had pretty decent seats... kinda out on the 20, but way up... so it was no problem watching forms and feet. Sound issues... well, it is a dome, but from what I have heard, not as bad as Indy.

I did not see everyone in the morning show. But, I will review everyone I saw.

Esperanza-This show just fails to really connect with me. I do not think simply guard costuming alone will get the point of your show across. The hornline is really struggling against a fairly strong percussion line.

Magic-I really like the show, but I feel portions of it are over the performers' heads. When they kicked into "Chaos" (Cadets 2000), it was a mess. Overall though, nice design. They are marching a ton of holes though. I think I counted about 7 or 8 in the hornline alone. It may be time to fill in the drill.

Southwind-This corps is really coming on strong. They are cleaning a well-designed show rapidly. I am not sure if they are in the hunt for semis or not, but it sure would be nice to see this show there.

Spirit of JSU-This was a nice "throwback" show with Gaines visual ideas written all over it. I liked this show better than last year's, but at the same time, I really like what The Colts are doing. I would not be upset with Colts nipping them for the 12th Finals spot... or maybe a tie.

Madison-Nothing new to say here that was not in my Dallas review. The musical design of the show if really nice, the drill is there, but the overall visual is severely lacking. The guard costumes are horrible, and the guard itself adds little to the show, and I am not a fan of the change in the corps' unis either.

Glassmen-Another exciting show from them. Its amazing that this is the corps that everyone used to call boring, and now they do a Beethoven show (which could have been very boring) and it is one of the most exciting of the summer. I see this show passing Madison.

Blue Knights-I still am in love with this show, but from high up without seeing the emotion on the faces of the performers, it is a little more difficult to get into the dark feel of the show. This show, IMO, has the complete design there. I am glad people are "getting" BK this summer.

Boston Crusaders-I will start with the positives. The show is beautifully designed from the colors the guard uses, the drill design, the props, etc. They march very well. The negative side is that I can not remember one note they played. Also, the props really cause the drill to be compact, which is not a bad thing in terms of overall forms, but if you watch individual performers, the demand is very low because they rarely if ever have any large step sizes. The demand is much higher in corps like Crown and SCV. For these reasons alone, I don't see BAC any higher than 8th.

Carolina Crown-This is the corps who says you can't have too much purple. Actually, I loved the show. Even though it is not familiar music, it still is very hummable stuff. The hornline and guard are very strong. The drumline marched 5 basses, so I am hoping they can keep that unit intact the rest of the summer. I see this show in 6th or 7th come Finals.

SCV-This show has come a long way from seeing it on video earlier this summer. They really keep the perpetual motion theme going visually the entire show, and I really enjoyed the ending. The corps ends the show while exiting the field, a down ending but very effective.

The Cadets-From what I have seen in numerous streams and videos, a lot of the issues have been worked out. The characters now have better costuming, and it is very easy to know who is who. The door/mirror is used very minimally, but effectively. They have made some music/narration cuts which helps the flow of the show as well. There is still a lot going on, but I did not have any trouble knowing what to pay attention to. The guard staging, especially in the ballad, is exceptional. They also tie in last year's show in so many ways. The ending sequence they use the mirror very effectively in relating the 2 main characters from 05/06 with Catholic girl on one side of the mirror, and yellow go-go girl on the other. Also, the ending has been juiced up musically with new material instead of rehashing last years drill/music. 5th place is where they should be now. Everyone ahead of them is cleaner at this point, and the captions reflect that. The possibility of them moving up depends solely on their ability to clean. IMO, if the top 5 corps execute their shows at the same level, Cadets should be 3rd or 4th.

Phantom Regiment-This show is really growing on me musically. They do create some of the best musical moments of the summer, but fail in the visual department. There is such a lack of color and general wow moments visually in this show. Also, it would have been much more effective had they used one male guard member to tell the story, or used a half male/half female guard. The way it is with the 6 males against a ton of females does not work for me at all. I can only assume they are getting their numbers now based on execution. Also. Phantom;s hornline is doing very well, but twice now I have heard the trumpet double tonguing deature done fairly sloppily. Is this just me? If Coats and Cadets can execute as well or better, Phantom should end up 4th or 5th.

Bluecoats-This is just a vintage drum corps show, IMO. No tricks or frills, just solid music and marching. I was not completely wowed by them visually, but they do move quite a bit, and have an excellent guard. It is hard to say right now where they will land. IMO, they should already be ahead of Phantom.

Blue Devils-I said after the Dallas show that it would take something special to beat this show, and it did (more on that in a minute). Devils were not quite as on their game as in Dallas, IMO. The guard had some uncharacteristic drops, and I dare say their hornline is suspect in a couple of spots, especially the trumpets. This show is still fantastic, but it is a 2nd place show all the way, this summer at least.

Cavaliers-After hearing so many good things about them, I had some high expectations and they did not disappoint at all. In fact, I really think this may be one of their best shows ever. I always felt (even though I know not true) that a lot of their winning or almost winning shows were designed around the visual aspect, but this year the design is complete. The music book is really nice, and the visual is something to behold. They are not necessarily running around the field the whole show, but instead just complimenting what is going on musically. The guard is outstanding and really sell the Machine theme so well! I would not be surprised if they went undefeated the rest of the summer. This is your winner, folks! The rule of 6's dies right here. I even bought a Cavies tee-shirt, and as some of you know, that was a monumental occasion.


Lewisburg, PA (DCA)

day looked like it was gonna suck, and except for a small rainshower about 4:30, all went well.

my rock star moment of the day: stopped out at Mifflinburg, and went over to Cabs Alumni. hornline is working on stuff, and we're standing there talking to Ponzo. corps gets into Cherry Pink, and viola, he's using me as an armrest while he plays his solos. if you thought they sound good from the field, have it right in your ear.

future food idea for future into Lewisburg, and take Rt 45 into town and cross the river. as soon as you cross the river, turn right onto Rt 45 and go down about 1 1/2 miles. The place is called the Fence, and it's a drive in seafood place right along the river. i highly reccomend it.

pre show...lotta fun out in the Lot. mostly dry.

Announcer still horrible. Oh the easily announced names mangled. Fran, your fashion sense is horrible, and I know you can't be at every DCA show, but you were missed sorely.

seats: 50, top row. press box made a nice backrest.

to the corps, especially 1st read....always tough to catch everything and write. I tried, especially on 2nd reads to catch new stuff.

nice pre-show exhibition by the First Class Percussion All Star High School drumline from the Harrisburg area. they gel really well for kids not used to playing together.

show opened with the combined Mifflinburg and Lewisburg HS bands playing the Armed Forces Salute, National Anthem and America. all well done. Kudos to Matt Wagner, band director at Mifflinburg for looking so good after a recent heart attack.

then, an unexplained 21 minute delay. not sure why. Sabers at the gate just waiting..............and ok, we're off.

first up White Sabers. didn't count bodies, but looked bigger than last year. Show is called 'Portraits Of Emotion" Not sure how the songs included tied in, but it's a fun show.

Corps starts off "feeling good" with a nice swing feel...liked the bassline here. visually it goes from a scatter into a down and dirty standstill hit that shows the corps has some power for it's size. nice sop work here. after a tempo change, mellos have the lead and builds to another standstill down and dirty hit. moves some more and brings upper brass into pit behind screamers. after the hit, the song fades out with the corps facing backfield and the guard doing a ripple across the field.

Save The Last Dance For ME opens with the perc spread way out, as well as the brass spread across the field by voicing. Sabers up front doing some nice work. one nice visual moment here was as the soloist played, the brass behind him/her was mirroring the sabres body work. also notice able wasthe marimba sound carrying up to. battery did tend to be a little overpowering at times here.

Drum solo....brass was behind the line using large colored...brightly colored banners. battery featured well visually and every section got a chance to shine.....lots of tradeoffs. some performance issues, and IMO, a few written ticks that may need to be looked at by finals. A lot of it is achievable, but at times, the members do overhype a bit and cause some of the performance issues. tom split roll was cool tho. lots of hand motion changes by the battery, but the one leading into the brass re-entry to Conga had dirt. brass here sounded recharged after the solo, and ensembally this was a nice moment, tho some dirt.

"Don't Cry For ME" opened with a nice brass chorale. nice touch bass work by the basses behind the solo. in fact, the perc scoring here really did a nice job catching that Latin feel. the build to the hit saw brass sound tired, but visually here the guard caught your eye with a blue pastel swing flag section. After the hit, some minor timing between the keys and soloist made it feel a touch uneasy, but the recovered for the corps backfield ending, highlighted by a mello and sop duet where both went high.

San Pedro had a really strong mello quartet....brass sounded gassed, and it led to some percussion overbalance issues. bass did a nice job on the groove, but slowed down at times. at the 1st standstill hit there was some form readability issues. Also in this tune I noticed a LOT of feet issues in the battery...step offs, direction changes you name it. the build to the big hit was slow developing but was nice when it got there. the tempo picked up here and the corps sounded really tired, as well as looked tired as not everyone could keep up visually.

upside: IMO, better than prelims last year.

downside: performance issues noted are visible when breaking down the recap. address achievability of some sections, get stamina and clean the feet, and the score will rise, and a lot. the vehicle is there, but the performance isn't.

Cru: first thing i noticed...are backdrops of the songs to be in show order? if not, making them that way would help.

Bari solo starts Firebird...pit had some really nice rolls underneath, tho the attacks were a little dicey..also the chromatic work was a touch choppy. The mello solo into the sop feature worked nicely. really creative use of battery scoring and shading to build to the hit you knew was coming. at the hit corps proper is on side 1, guad on side 2 on flags too cool to be explained. for the push you had the up tempo build to the big slow tempo push...felt could be more of a difference volume wise between the two..nice double time by battery there. brass strong but filling holes will add a lot.

Pit starts off Light My Fire w/some nice design that needs to be cleaned....battery here does a nice job setting a cool groove Dinsmore couldnt have done...tambourines in pit had timing issues. lots of brass voice tradeoffs building to hit...seemed to drag a little getting there. hit was well staged with the guard in the middle of the corps proper on fire flags. nice bass run at end.

Stairway begins in the pit...contra entrance designed well, just needs perforemd. guard here has nice purple swing flags. sop soloist a little off, but the build to the hit works well as a ballad. guard very well staged on side 1 for double swing flag work. i felt the ballad section here will be really cool when cleaned up. tempo change starts in pit...again nice design, just some dirt. brass sounded tired leading into big hit "on down the road" section, and battery was overpowering, plus pit hits not lining up 100%. as the hit ends, a solo sop takes us out to a nice down ending with pit and brass playing backfield.

(note...i was afraid stairway wouldn't does. needs cleaned tho)

Drum solo is a return of Firebird. pit does a good job handling melodic content, tho after bass feature there seemed to be some ensemble unease. nice flag toss over rifles and brass. transition into Schools Out a little abrupt...nice rifle work upfront. snares had some issues on rolls that changed meter midway thru. nice build to hit before perc break. perc is on side 1 with brass backfield that leads into the brass re-entry which pushes front. here i thought some of the perc writing was kinda touchy...made for ensemble unease as pulse wasnt easily detected. visually this leads into a scatter than back into the Schools Out chorus, tho brass aftigue issues were noticeable. uptempo ending looks to be new as corps showed some uncretainty here, tho ended strong.

upside: best show since 2002. i had my doubts about Firebird into classic rock, but it works.

downside. needs cleaned. when fatigue issues in brass resolved, will carry better upstairs. perc book may be too thick at times. members overhype a little in perc breaks. guard when they caught my eye had great design, but some performance issues.

my take...clean the #### out of this, and you could scare some people in late August. if you have to hose here and there to make things acheivable, sacrifice ego for score.

Cabs: I know my last review wasn't universally liked. that's ok, you WILL like tonight's.


corps opens spread in what looks to be a sombrero form with a kick ### snare feature that morphs into a full battery lick. brass entrance was very strong and power was felt at the top. visually the build to the block hit was well done. coming out of the hit, the sop solo into the duet carried well, with some nice rifle work. corps was spread out here and the ensemble held really well. loved that snare roll that decrescendos. here, with the perc upfront was notice improvement as an ensemble. Sop trio came across well and the build to end got a little dicey for a second, but recovered really well. i think this issue here is staging and just needs time as brass is on side 1 and perc on brass enters side 2 it falls together nicely.. loved the bass run at the end.

pit into in Malaga was really tasteful with great mello work under the sop lead, and this led built nicely into the standstill hit. the resolution was very well done. this was followed by a bari solo that was still a touch overshadowed by sops...when they do their swells, at the top end, they get a tad too loud....maybe start softer.. the pit scoring building to the hit came thru really well tonight, and the sabre work looked much cleaner.

the tempo change was set by the pit. tenors very active here. this led into a tradeoff between voices...snares w/sops, tenors w/mellos into a hit. a little timing due to perc spread into hit...swing section gone i noticed. this led into the perc break with some very active percussion drill and voicing trades. some dirt but held a lot better with pit doing melodic content. keys 16th run lined up well.every battery section had their moment and it built well into the re-entry which held a lot better.

after the re-entry a nice sop duet led into a big standstill hit. guard on very eye catching red flags here. nice perc work leading into brass push to the end. HUGE difference in this song.

excellent pit work under brass backfield to start closer. sop soloist again very well done, and nice use of chimes here underneath the soloist. really nice tymp pedal tuning here with contras. visually the corps builds into a rotating form on side 1 for standstill hit. needs a touch more power but guard well done here on blue and purple flags. brass seemed a bit gassed for resolution of hit, but sop soloist and contra end the tune nicely with a great high end sop solo backfield.

perc break with battery way backfield starts off tempo change build into pinwheel and rumps. well done build musically and visually into pinwheel, and loved the brief pause before the wheel rotated along with sop trio and then the bull call. corps in box form as battery charges front and guard framing corps on big red flags for strong ending.

upside: not dead yet. rewrites, additions, deletions all worked well. drill seemed more open and flowing.

downside...concert bass player has timing issues multiple times. brass fatigue hurt at spots. fixing that could really help GE. still a few guard and feet issues.

IMO, and this may not be popular...i thought they had Bush and had the Cabs within less than a point in perc. if they keep cleaning, someone in the top 3 is gonna drop a spot

Brigs up next w/Moulin Rouge. yeah, they're smaller this year, but not dead. Show starts with corps in pods by section withthe snares buidling up under a sop solo. brass is playing backfield as they enter for a nice effect, and the pit really shined here. this built into a hit of the main melody with the corps pushing forward, and shows off some nice power.

tempo change follows with nice mello/bari duet..keys a little timing issue here, and some nice rifle work evident upfront. slow push forward here with tenors under the duet showing some nice stuff. this builds nicely to impact with weapons upfront doing a lot of body work in addition to weapons work..handled well. the corps is seen here in a rotating form that halts for the conclusion of the song. nice version of Show Goes On.

Battery starts off Sparkling Diamonds with a nice swing/big band feel...corps spread out here and had minor timing issues....mellos lead on Diamonds Are Girls best friend". strong sops noticed here tho at times they overpowered the mellos. nice sabre rifle work leading into the perc break. lots of tradeoffs between sections building to a cool backsticking lick that adds in players as it goes.. really nice roll leading into end of solo and ties in well with rifle toss. brass got tired after ren-entry and building to end of song.

Pit starts off Come What May into a mello solo followed by a nice bari/sop duet with the brass playing backfield...guard staged in between brass and soloist doing nice dance work. Sops had some issues stamina wise when they turned around, tho when clean will be a nice moment. visually at the hit, the brass frames the guard, which is doing well written work on light blue flags that work well against the corps proper uniforms. corps pushes forward in a box that goes into rotating files. ending seemed downdue to fatigue.

Sop Solo begins El Tango with the corps proper doing some nice body visuals behind the soloist. perc does a nice job setting up the tango groove, tho due to brass stamina they were a little overpowering. nice rifle toss to end the tango section. Pit tehn transitions the corps into a fast ending. some ensemble issues due to corps being spread out. soloist lost under corps at times here, especially with the corps pushing forward. perc especially overpowering at the end.

upside: well written show.

downside: fill holes, get stamina up, clean, clean clean.

IMO...when brass filled up and stamina issues resolved, 2nd half of show will shine. til then, it will leave viewers flat. GE is noticeable in design but cant be felt because corps is tired.

Bush: 8/9 horn holes? it hurt! maybe not in brass caption, but they were noticable visually and seemed to help lose some oomph out of low end.

Fanfare For The New opens with corps spread...nice trade offs in the brass of the famous 16th note patterns...pit work here also ties into brass and adds a lot. this builds to a nice sow big hit with guard framing corps with flags that resemble the corps proper uniforms. hit seemed not as big as Harrisburg.

tempo change has nice perc groove that sets up jazz feel, tho walking 8ths in bass seem a touch stiff. nice mello lick out of perc break followed by some strong sop work, into tenors and low brass for a tough syncopated rhythm that adds in the full corps as it builds...minor timing there. corps begins push to hit that holds well but seems flat when it gets to hit. also, the hit seemed a little stiff for jazz. technically sound, but had no "life". tempo change after hit worked beter tonight and perc performance here was noticably better building t end of tune, tho not sure why the quick halts here and there building to end.

pit work to begind "Perfect Year" handled well. nice work with rifle and sabre tosses tied into releases with low brass and full brass section. pit work again sets up for sop solo with nice dance by the sabres.. pit scoring lines up well with sop soloist and then into sop line feature. nice flag integration with eye catching pink flags. build to hit seems to go slow tonight, tho the pause will be more effective if tease of resolution is bigger. hit starts with corps at a halt in company front, then builds with corps pushing the front slowly forward. nice high toss by weapons here to tie into release. after release, corps goes backfield with nice pit work and nice backfield sop solo.

(nice exit off the field Chris)

Rocky Point starts off strong. IMO, seems corps likes this song best. nice rifle work here building into main melody which is followed by a nice pit/cymbal moment. the build to the hit works well with the puase for guard moment without music. brass goes backfield as perc moves forward with some tasty low end writing, brass turns back building to next hit...some fatige evident here as it causes minir timing. releases well into perc feature which highlights all sections....nice stunt sticking here, tho some clarity issues performance wise, tho improved.guard toss at end of feature helps make resolution more impactful.

groove section of RPH seemed tonight a tad shaky upstairs at first, as it seemed all sections were fighting to be lead voice, but recovered well. the build into company front push worked well, and the push is cool as the closer to the sideline it gets, the more the volume grows, tho, IMO i felt it could grow more sooner. visually the corps is flying with rotating lines into a box that charges front for the end.

upside: perc better, brass plays well.

downside: holes hurt, louds need to be louder, battery still has a few issues.

show has potential. seemed flat to me tonight...brass holes may have hurt. not a bad show...i'd deem it safe. it seems that the corps needs to make the bigs bigger. my last reivew i said the big difference to last year was fewer horns. i was wrong (thanks CF). it';s the guard. wow. noticed them more tonight and wow.

Opening in the big Blue X tonight, with the guard in tan and red unis dissecting the X with a +....tonight i also noticed two circles of flags on the field centered on the 50. looks really cool within the forms of the corps and guard. solo snare starts Bolero with battery adding in to the big brass entrance. guard ends up at mid field with the brass framing them...great look as Blue surrounding the red flags and tan guard unis for the intro hit. pit carried well with triplet run under hit.

pit scored well into mello solo. the famous Bolero rhtym is traded by battery pods across the field as battery comes together then with full brass entering under it...sounded a touch tired here, but recovered for tempo change and push to end. box pass thrus at end work well and great front to back lining up of 16th run between pit and battery.

Caprricio starts off with pit then battery entering..nice use of cowbells. brass enters with trades into a unison hit with very good rifle work upfront. great low brass running line into the block hold with rifles fully integrated. corps backfield turns into a tempo change...some ensemble unease before turn but resolved nicely with a cool guard ripple. great battery work on push to end in between unison brass hit...bassrun at end made me laugh out loud.

Claire starts w/nice 4 mallet lateral work in the keys....great use of metallic and wood voicing here. brass entrance nice, and works well into mello feature. nice sabre work staged on side 2...eye catching. flags doing body w/swings flags as corps builds to the hit the swing flags of blue and purple play nicely under the lights....corps builds to hit...needs a touch more oomph at release. pit transtitions out of hit to end the song. very tasty.

Scheherzade starts off blasting with brass very active and great mid voice runs lining up with keys. weapons work here ties well into the brass sections melodic trade offs into resolution of phrase. this is followed by pit to sops to baris to mellos trade offs. a nice tenor feature and bass drum work builds to perc feature. perc slows down for the marketplace section with a nice groove that gets its licks in...pit does a nice job here with melodic content. tempo changes with battery charging across the field, brass begins to build under the perc still getting there licks in...ends in unison hits with great battery to pit work under. more perc features up front as again brass builds to push to hit with brass charging front as perc goes backfield....push to end features guard on side 1 with huge red flags....battery roll under hits charging to end was very clean.

upside: ensemble demand galore, no real weakness, perc better than last year.

downside: brass still a tad tired at end...stamina needs addressed. also big hits could be bigger.

IMO:..and i'm not saying this cause I have friends here ( ####, i know someone in every DCA corps), this show doesnt seem capable of peaking. yes they have work to do, and after watching 30 minutes of rehearsal, this staff is fully aware of what needs to happen. if they can keep building and no one else jumps up to catch them, game over. but, it's July, and the fat lady hasn't sung yet cause....

Empire. The corps opens in pods with the pit out on the field between the 30 and 40 on side 1. Contras and Pit start and the tempo picks up for Ritchee on piano prop about the 25 on side 1. Corps is moving a lot here to build for the hit you feel coming, and they don't fail....brass very strong and guard catches your eyes with great integrated work with bright yellow flags. snares and tenors have some great stick work at the end you cant help but catch. corps displays a nice swing feel throughout this opening statement.

next tune begins with contra and sop tradeoffs with nice perc work underneath...sops featured next coming across the field..builds to snare feature that's well done. perc lead voice here with brass underneath, then mellos take over followed by a nice sop solo. rifles staged well on keyboard tarp....solos ends way up there for hit with screamers till going with corps wailing, tho at times i was unsure to listen to corps or screamers for lead line, but resolves nicely into a big ending. flags well staged up front at the end. piano prop moves center for ballad with Joey soloing, nice backfield playing by brass...pit cut thru well here...nice mello feature from backfield sollows and the guard is featured visualy with some nice dance work. as the corps builds to hit, the guard is on side 2 with nice white flags. brass sounds a tad tired at hit. snares really dominating here, tho not by design.nice Joey solo with pit vamping to end the tune.

bass transition leads into snare feature that grows as players are added...goes from 3 to 5 to all into full perc break. snares again really strong, to the point i couldnt notice tenors and bass. strong ending thats in your face. Joey solo starts off America that you can imagine Ray doing if he was a soprano, then Ritchee takes over and goes way up there as corps builds to big release behind the two screamers...could be bigger. This got the crowd really going.

A full corps vocal announcing Ray is in Lewisburg follows with corps picking up the tempo...nice sop feature here. tempo again picks up with a nice swing feel. rifles very active here around the sop and mello tradeoffs. here the corps does some audienace interaction and comes back in for down and dirty jam with screamers wailing. at the end the pit is soloing a run with brass coming in at end...some dirt, but held well side to side.

here the crowd thinks ES is over......but...................... they come back in pushing front with Joey and Ritchee screaming, and this builds to a Georgia reprise and the corps upfront wailing to the finish. in fact, i could hear Ritchee over the corps.

upside: great brass sound, great snareline. corps has presence to spare.

downside: often lose pit, tenors and bass. i know staging is part of the cause for the pit. look into mallet selection and add plexiglass. when featured, they do well. has to hurt upstairs. didnt notice tenors and bass unless featured. also pause after fake ending drags...shorten it a touch.

here's the thing w/Empire...i like the show, and 95% of the time, it's programmed well. however, they make it look too easy, and it seems that they could be peaking soon and end up performer over the book. with all the showmanship and GE, it's easy to think that. however, there is work to be done.

I wont name names, but someone from ES told me they see the writing on the wall. I disagree. clean it. make lead lines easily distinguished, get pit audible a little sweat...and this race aint over yet. Plus, if you give up now, there's 2 corps right behind you that dont seem to be slowing down.

Enter the show stoppers. After Ponzo's Bull Call, out they come, the Cabs alumni to that beat we all know and love. (nice nd from the field Frank). starting on a company front on the 10, the corps Rumped their way across the field led by DM Jimmy Russo. crowd lit up for the old time entry. Ponzo solos while the corps sets up into a block backfield for push forward. Rumpes restatement was wow powerful as the corps condenses the block. this was followed by a nice perc break. with some cool backsticking.

brass strong out of perc break into next tune with a great sop trio by Frank, Steve and Duke. Jimmy went into the stands for McArthur Park...really nice brass sound to start, followed by a nice solo by Steve. Ponzo wails his solo into the hit and then the groove section, well done by the percussion. a slight tempo change is evident as the corps starts the push to the ending with Ponzo screaming away. at the hold at the end of the song, Jimmy cuts all but the mellos, then the brass comes back in to end the song.

Pagliaci starts w/Ponzo on flugel which blends well with brass behind him. corps begins to move backfield with honor guard coming out, and as corps turnsd around, we have a good ole fashioned color pres which gets the crowd on their feet as the corps pushes forward in a company front. Ponzo goes wayyyyyyyyyy up there leading into the "clown laugh" and a strong ending.

drum solo with more backsticking and drum to drum work ends up with serious old time singles powering to the end, which leads us into the closer. perc sets up with a groove behind brass quintet as corps starts togo backfield and pushing to the end corps gets out there, they turn and halt for the Rumps ending with a Ponzo solo into the trio with again, a strong mello line leading to the end. the corps then lined up to play Cherry Pink and more to play the competing corps on for retreat.

i know not everyone digs alumni corps, which is a shame. but i think if you check these guys and gals out, you'll see age and experience can rock the house everytime. I'll be honest, i got too into watching the corps to take really good detailed notes. if Ponzo were in a competing corps today, he'd be in the running for soloist. Duke and Steve are no slouches either.


great show. weather held out, and everyone came to play. a lot of people said this show would set the race up, but, IMO, it only left things more unsettled. Lots of time yet for the top 4 to make a run.


Thursday July 20

Dallas, TX (DCI)

The heat was not too bad tonight. In fact there ended up being a nice breeze. I am not sure some of the guards appreciated the breeze as much as we did though.

Our seats were on the 30, about 15 rows up. This provided a decent view on drill and feet, and was great for hearing the hornlines.

Esparanza-I enjoyed this show more than their production from last summer. They had a ton of phasing problems. The drumline is strong for their size, and hopefully the hornline can step it up and match them. They had some severe tuning issues as well.

Seattle Cascades-The opening of this show is so cool! I really enjoyed this production as well. Their mellos are a real weak spot for the hornline, but their upper voices were tight. The middle of the show lost my attention a bit, but the opening and ending portions were sold to the crowd real well.

Southwind-This is a very well designed show. I find it so neat that they not only use the dual uniforms visually, but also musically throughout the show. Brilliant! One of the coolest moments of the night for me was the black-unied portion of the corps doing something up-tempo backfield, while the white-unied portion of the corps perform Pie Jesu toward the audience. If this show were executed at a high level, it would be Finals quality, IMO.

Colts-This is one of the strongest Colts corps in a long time. The hornline plays with some major balls, and are so much cleaner than usual. The visual design has really taken a big step up. I have yet to see Spirit, but I would not be surprised at all to see Colts in Finals.

Crossmen-This show is so much fun! If GE were about selling a show and truly "engaging the audience", then Crosmen's GE scores would be through the roof. I really like the step up in visual for them. They may not make Finals this year, but they have definitely taken a step in the right direction. Great show!

Glassmen-When did this corps get such an attitude? I mean this in a positive way. They took the field in a way I have never seen them take it. I really enjoyed Beethoven from them much more than I thought I would. They had a ton of guard drops, but overall, a very well-designed show. Also, a great choice for their Europe tour.

Blue Knights-Holy BK, Batman! I have really loved BK for a while, but this is by far my favorite BK show ever. I really almost had a religious experience tonight hehe. BK has tried to do dark before, and it usually does not go over well. Well, this show is not trying to be dark, it just is dark. Funny thing is, usually when this kind of show is attempted, everyone sits on their hands and does not get into it, but tonight the crowd really ate it up. Every facet of the corps sells the show 110%. The hornline is fantastic. . .very ballsy. The guard design is perfect and execution is high. There are so many cool moments in this show. . .I hope everyone gets to see it.

Madison Scouts-I will start with the positive. I like that this hornline/music book has peaks and valleys, instead of constant balls to the wall. It still has some tastes of the old Madison, but is also very musical at the same time. I really liked the arrangements, and the visual design, while new for them, works very well. What I could not get over was the guard design, both in their work and in those uniforms. I think someone took the theme (Tribal Forces) a little too literally when deciding how to outfit the guard. It really was hard for me not to focus on how bad the costumes were, but I enjoyed the show nonetheless. I do see them ending up behind BK. I am surprised that did not happen tonight.

Phantom Regiment-I did enjoy this show more than I anticipated, but the issues I thought were there were only more pronounced in seeing it live. The hornline and drumline are fantastic. The ballad is a definite highpoint of the show. What I can't get into is the overall visual design. There are no wow drill moments, there is almost no color in the guard (and corps for that matter). Execution-wise, I think they should get high marks, but I am not sure how they are pulling high visual marks. It will be interesting how things stack up Saturday.

Blue Devils-This was just a treat! Along with 1996, 1999, and a few others, this is gnna end up one of my favorite BD shows of all time. From start to finish they sell this show with so many things tying into the movie. It made me feel old that none of the kids I brought got all the nuances. The guard is simply amazing. . .one of the best guards in DCI history I would think. There are large chunks in the show where they are all on rifles, all tossing, and no drops. Amazing! If this show gets beat, it is going to take something special.

I cannot wait for Saturday. I will be back from TX Bandmasters on Monday and will write a full SA review then.


Esperanza - My score: 68.5, Actual: 65.90
'Chakra' - the show was ok, but it really lacked any punch, both visually and musically. They are still very much in need of lots of cleaning, but it wasn't that bad for this far into the season. The guard's uniforms reminded me of Cadets' Les Miz show a bit. Overall, the show was 'just there.'

Seattle Cascades - My score: 70.8 Actual: 68.00
'Redemption' - this show also lacked some punch, but was well-performed. Drill was interesting as they started out in the 'bottom left' corner of the field similar to Cavies' "Four Corners" show, and then ended up in the top right corner exactly opposite of the way they started the show. Cool. Didn't they finish Top-12 2 or 3 years ago? They will have to do some really dedicated cleaning to get back there this year. I did think that they weren't that far behind Southwind, but I'm not a judge, either.

Southwind - My score: 71.0, Actual: 71.00 ("He shoots, he scores!")
'Duality' - Very odd shakos--I'm not sure what they meant them to represent, but the unis remined me of Sky Ryders in 1986: high brass in white unis with a half-black coat/top and low brass and drums in black unis with a half white coat/top. It did set up some very effective color things in their show similar to what the Regiment pulls off. Played fairly well overall.

Crossmen - My score: 74.5, Actual: 77.30
'Changing Lanes'. Since they started allowing the use of vocals and amplification, this is the first semi-decent and effective use of it that I've heard. I still don't care for it, but it worked well in this show. Very energetic show as Crossmen tend to be, but they don't seem to be trying to overdo it--which has struck me in the past; also very entertaining--some recognizable tunes in the middle of their show when they're scanning the radio (you'd have to see it to know what I'm talking about). Nice crisp horns that didn't try to push the volume too hard. Still they have a ways to go to get past Colts or G-men and make the Saturday night show.

Colts - My score: 73.9, Actual: 76.85
'Continuum' - a time-themed show with several pieces from different genres. This show fairly entertained me, which, in my opinion hasn't happened from the Colts for a while. Nice sounds from their horns and drums and generally decent footwork.

-- break --

Glassmen - My score: 77.2, Actual: 81.60
'Beethoven - Mystery and Madness'. This was the first show that I've really liked from Glassmen in a long time as well. They always seem to tend to the abstract, but this time they actually chose music and then didn't try to abstract it so that you couldn't figure it out or recognize it. Josh even recognized 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' as the last major piece of their show. Good horns, but I could have used some more volume towards the end.

Blue Knights - My score: 81.1, Actual: 83.20
'Dark Knights' - this is the first time that I a corps has entertained me and darn near come off with a memorable melody or two from a Samuel Barber-themed show. Nice horns and decent feet.

Blue Devils - My score: 91.0, Actual: 90.55
'Godfather' - finally I got to see what the judges have been raving over this year and they're right. This show has all the right stuff--but even I saw some areas of their show where cleaning was dreadfully needed (meaning they're not perfect, yet). Very crisp horns and drums, and footwork was, as usual, very smooth. It was very interesting that they used the cross theme throughout a 'Godfather'-themed show--I'm not sure that I remember the last time that religion played that huge a part in a 'Godfather'/Mob-themed movie, but as you would expect, it was well done. This is a definite must-see a second time to fully get everything they have going on.

Madison Scouts - My score: 84.0, Actual: 83.85
'Primal Forces' - a friend that was in the group said that she had some American Indian blood in her veins and she was a bit offended by Scouts' guard outfits. Madison always seems to go for overkill, but I think these outfits are a bit over the top even for Madison. Very entertaining horns but there are many places in the closer, in particular that they either need to spend a LOT of time on or get out the watering can. You could tell that they wanted to impress us with their technical ability, but it seemed to be a bit much for a Madison show--especially the closer. Overall very good, but they have a ways to go.

Phantom Regiment - My score: 90.0, Actual: 88.00
'Faust' - something of a combination of a little new music in the middle of their show and a greatest hits parade. Scythian Suite is very well done, and though I may not get the opportunity this year, I want to see it again to fully appreciate all they're doing in this piece again. They develop it much more than in 1984, which is better. The ballad in the middle wants to be another "Fire of Eternal Glory" but lacks that extra something. And, in my mind, Mahler's "Resurrection Symphony" gets something of a redemption here as I always thought that it had 'legs' to be a great Regiment piece even though the 1986 version lacked the overall corps to really make it something special. This 2006 version will be a classic. Overall, the show is 'almost there', but needs a few more impact points and as long as they can stay under 3 points back of BD and Cavies, they may actually have the show and the performers to make a title run. Very deep, dark, rich symphonic sounds from the horns, generally clean drums and feet working pretty well.

Bryan Dickerson

Friday July 7

Elizabeth, PA (DCI)

I just got back from the DCI show at Elizabeth-Forward H.S. in Elizabeth, Pa., a suburb of "Picksburg". First let me state that the 2 groups that used "vocal amplification" have been disqualified from this review. As a matter of fact, when the vocalist with the Cadets began, I left the stadium. I paid $18 to see a Drum Corps show and since Hopkins has stated that the Cadets show is "definitely not drum corps", they weren't in the price of admission and therefore not something I wanted to see. I will be going to the Masillon, Ohio show and will definitely go for a hot dog when the group that refer to themselves as the "Cadets" take the field because they are no longer a Drum Corps, and haven't been for awhile now. Contrary to the "wishful thinking" of a couple of people in the audience who yelled "Holy Name", "Holy Name" is no more and, technically speaking, hasn't been since the parish kicked them out in the 50's.

As for the rest of the Drum Corps in competition, it's fairly early in the season which was very noticeable by the "phasing" going on in drill. Some instances of "happy" feet here and there. While the curve-linear portions of all of the drills presented this evening suffered from problems with "breathing" ( that's fluctuating intervals), there were also problems with echelons and files not being correctly covered in the drill segments of most of the Corps as well. When this happens the drill sets don't "pop" like they should and it is a distraction to show performance.

Sounded fairly loud for playing on Bb's (as did all of the Corps with the exception of the first "disqualified" Corps to participate this evening). They also have an imbalance in there hornline. That being the lower voice heavily overplays to the point where they completely negate the higher voice throughout most of the show. When this problem is addressed I'm sure their show will be much more enjoyable. Again, "breathing", coverage on echelon and files and hitting drill sets were noticeable but definitely fixable. Overall a nice show that: 1) will get better as the drill is worked on and 2) when they develop a better balance between the low and high voices in the hornline. I do not agree with the spread between them and my first "disqualified" Corps. It was much closer then the score indicates.

Spirit of J:
Very nice balance. And recognizable music. Nice to listen to. I think a crowd pleasing show. Very reminiscent of their heritage, Spirit of Atlanta with their opener. AGAIN, "breathing", "happy" feet and "coverage" were the major culprits.

Again, good balance in the hornline. However, I'd be a bit more impressed if these Corps would play those higher voice runs while on the move rather then parking and barking. While I didn't necessarily appreciate their musical selections, they were well preformed which makes up for it. And again, "breathing" and "coverage" with just a touch of "happy" feet.

For my money they presented the best prepared drill show of the evening by all of the Drum Corps there this evening. They hit the vast majority of their drill sets because of their excellent coverage in both files and echelons. Their horn book touched on both the new and old as they teased us with hints of "Conquest" throughout their show, something that was greatly appreciated by this "Olde Pharte".

Carolina Crown:
Well performed show. Very nice blend in the horn line. But the old bugaboo of the early season drill performance was noticeable with them as well. "Breathing" and "coverage".

Is Phantom, what more can you say. Very good performance tonight. They appeared to be the best overall prepared Corps here tonight. And if Phanton and Bluecaots are trading places with each succeeding show, I'm looking forward to seeing Bluecoats in Masillon, Ohio on July 31st.

The second "disqualified" Corps (as far as this review is concerned). I cringed with the first "amplified vocal", listened to "White Rabbit" and had enough when the second "amplified vocal" and left.

If you want the scores go to I left without getting them.

I made no comment about drumming as the only thing I know about drumming whether they are "clean" or not. That being said, I only noticed a little fuzz in Magic. The rest (when they weren't in "tacit" mode) sounded rather clean to me.

Ga Night


Wednesday July 5

Salem, OR (DCI)

Random thoughts...

Very happy that they moved this show away from Woodburn. That old high school stadium just wasn't cutting it. Too small, not high enough for drill, you get the picture. So where do they put it in Salem? Willamette University's stadium, which is not really attached to WU's campus. It's next to the main hospital downtown. The field was astroturf - nice - and it's got a track around it. Think Hayward field in Eugene, if you've seen that. Or a mini version of UW's stadium in Seattle.

The press box, unfortunately, is attached to the underside on the overhang. So if each corps' hornstaff told their players to play to the box, they were literally playing at a 60 degree angle and over the heads of all the paying customers. That really sucked. Even for where we sat 35 yard line, top row, the sound was not aimed at us.

Sat next to a nice guy and his girlfriend(?) who went to high school in Portland but never marched and is too old now. DOH! Oh well...

Spokane Thunder - nice, but very apparent that they just need experience. Horn angles everywhere - not just over the heads of the audience. Second half of their show is 93 Cadets - from the ballad on, if you are familiar with that show - only they play it at half the speed. Brutal. I hope they can kick that into a higher gear as the season progresses.

Oregon Crusaders - they just keep improving every year. Last year they suffered due to lack of colorguard. They have doubled that section at least. Hornline smokes for their size, and I thought that the drumline is as good as Seattle and Blue Knights line. Sop, er, trumpet soloists are screamers! My favorite show of the night - it just connected with the audience the most.

Seattle Cascades - Eh. Still performing very well, but I just didn't get what this show was about. Probably won't make finals. The opening and closing drill forms are mirror images of each other - opening starts in bottom left corner, and show ends in top right.

Intermission - WTF?!? There are two corps left...

Blue Knights - BEEFY. Hornline has balls. Thank you low brass! It might have been the angle I was sitting at, but for the first time their unis looked like pre-94 Blue Devils. They have upped the difficulty drill wise and horn book wise. Could be top 6 material if they clean it. Samuel Barber music book.

Santa Clara Vanguard - Most improved corps since last year. They don't look like an 8th place corps at all. Very active drill. Couldn't tell you what they played - could be original comps.

Finale - Oregon Crusaders and Blue Knights hornline intermingled in a huge arc and played a tweaked "fanfare for the common man". Very nice. Then scores came and OC played a few non-show pieces. If you see them at a show, stay for the finale if they do plan to play.

Scores - bah. You can find them on you lazy bastards. :-)

Prices - $20 General Admission. $35 premium. That is rediculous. We sat in Gen Adm. Tickets should be $15 and $20, respectively. Hardly anyone paid to sit in the $35 seats. It just doesn't make sense to rip us off and then put an intermission in after we've seen 3 corps with 2 to go so we can go buy souvies and food. Family of 4 pays for premium seats = $140?? Are you out of your f'ing mind?

Annoucer - this guy (Larry) has done at least every woodburn / hillsboro show since I marched, at least, and every year he butchers the 'script' he has to read. Dude - how about going through it once or twice before each show so you don't stumble your way through it? And it's WASHington. Not WARSHington. And turn off your mic when you're not talking. We don't want to hear strange sounds... and we did tonight. I can't imagine what the visiting corps must think. Please lord. Replace this guy for next year with someone professional.

That's all. Can't make it to the Hillsboro show. Til next year...

90-93 Marauders
94-95 Cavaliers

Monday July 3

Bristol, RI (DCI)

I had crappy seats (lawn), so I didn't get the full impact of any show tonight, but here are some of my impressions.

Phantom Regiment ... About that hornline ... WOW! The sopranos (trumpets) sounded really good, and then they picked up baritones and sounded really good on those, too. IMO they had the best overall hornline sound of the night - but I was not in front, and so didn't hear what the judges heard. There were some technical issues with articulation and timing in the middle and low horns, but nothing that can't be cleaned up with some good rehearsal time. Drumline is good - in the PR tradition of strong rudimental drumlines.

Cadets ... Awesome performance as usual. Clean, well presented to the point of looking easy. Drumline was really smoking and very controlled, hornline had that "Gino" sound, but from where I sat sounded a bit tired at times. Perhaps they had parades or just over-played at rehearsal. They are going to sound GREAT in Madison, I am sure.

I do not like the Cadets' show. The vocalist (a fine vocalist, actually), the pacing, the whole concept - all distracting from what I wanted to see: something resembling a drum corps show that I would want to see again and again.

I don't like the show, but they sure do perform the hell out of it.

A grudging "nice job." I can't wait to see them get back to doing a "regular" show. I'm over the "Looking Glass" thing already.

Crossmen - maybe it was where I was sitting, but they seemed to be having some performance/consistency issues tonight. Lots of visual and musical dirt. Some obvious rips in the drumline, and the hornline sounded thin and very, very tired. I suppose they had a busy day of parades, as well. It looks like it will be a fine show once they start performing it well.

I didn't see the other corps' performances because I arrived late, and at intermission went out to catch Phantom's hornline warm-up.

Shawn Hines

Sunday July 2

Beverly, MA (DCI)

I didn't get to my seats until intermission, so this review will only cover the last four corps.

CROSSMEN- I liked them. Some clever costuming/sound effects happening throughout. The directional signal was a blast!! My seats were towards the 20, side 2, so I was in a great position to read diagonals and arcs. Forms were good, but there are still some visual clarity issues. I really like the show--the theme is strong and the vocals are used well, imo. I was glad to see them break into the 70s. They ARE a corps that I look forward to seeing again in Allentown.

CADETS- First of all, either they got incredibly better overnight, or some folks on DCP just have a case of the hates for this corps. As last year, this show Is NOT the direction I would go in, but they were in first place legitimately. On the negative side, the girl on the mike could not be heard, the tables aren't worth the effort, and I wish there was a clearer focus throughout the show. Also, I get it that they are trying to use the uniform backs to tie in with the theme, but they shouldn't do it. The Cadets unforms are one of the most time-honored in the activity----let them speak for themselves. On the positive, great talent (AND, LAST NIGHT) achievement in all sections. I walked away convinced that if they remove some of the visual clutter (overuse of props and costumes), they will WIN in August. The vocals, btw, were not a negative for me, but not needed to communicate the theme.

PHANTOM- After really liking this corps last year, I was excited to see them. They are good, but I found myself losing interest in the show. The music comes from great literature, and it was performed well, but I just didn't find any !!!!!! moments. Great drum line, but the rifles are in absolutely dreadful S&M style black hooded leather looking harness things----not what you'd expect at a youth activity event. I liked this corps better if I closed my eyes and just listened. I think no higher than 6th at Nats.

BOSTON CRUSADERS- I am not unbiased here, but I'll try. First off, the silver trim pieces added to the unforms this year work really well under the lights, and the red guard uniforms are elegant and classy. The corps has great stage presence, and for some reason, looks huge on the field. There were a few clarity issues on some of the diagonals (remember my great seats on the 20...), but the corps marches much better this year than last. Also, a few sabre drops where I haven't seen them before. Having said that, this IS the best coordinated BAC show since 2000. While the music is not recognizable to us popcorn eaters, it makes complete sense when presented with the visual package. Very well programmed and the homage to Conquest is tasteful and just right. You don't have to be a "Boston Fan" to enjoy this show. Fifth or sixth is not out of the question.

Walking around the bus area after the show, I was reminded how hard ALL these kids work, and how much they love what they do. Good times are as good now as they were 20 years ago.


Madison, WI (DCI)

I didn't take along a paper or pencil to take notes, so these are just rough impressions from last night's show.

Cap Sound - Considering how big they once were, it's hard to see them down to 13-14 horns, but that's the situation. The music was OK, but it is a little hard to make it out because they're young, immature players.

Colt Cadets - These kids have the corner on cute. For such young kids, their guard is really working hard at performing and selling their show. Somebody over at DCP (Scribe Too ?!?) commented that the development happening in this corps' guard might have something to do with the big corps' guard being so good. Seems like a good theory to me. Music has a detective theme - I remember some Bond music and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego. Very good choices by their staff for these yound kids to have some fun and develop over the summer.

Pioneer - Horn line is getting severely overpowered by the percussion as it is; why is their pit being amped?? I think these kids need a more accessible vehicle. I heard smidges of familiar melodies, but those smidges were struggling to cut through the percussion and muddy countermelodies.

Blooo - Great opening picture with the corps in and end zone to end zone diagonal. Strong across all areas, but the drums made the most lasting impression on me. The only piece I recognized was their opener; Madison played it in 2003. Even though I didn't know most of the tunes, I found them very aggressive and accessible. From what I read, I was under the impression I would be seeing a clean show that was in danger of maxing out too early. No, their visual program isn't the Cavaliers, but it is good and it needs further cleaning. I remember one box morphing into a parallelogram that was pretty dirty.

Colts - Very impressive horn line(especially the lower voices) and guard. Loved their ballad. This could very easily be the first corps on come finals night in Madison.

Cavaliers - What a visual program! The most frustrating thing to me was that there is SO much to watch that I couldn't focus on a section of the corps for any length of time for missing what another section might be doing. As for the music, my general impression is that it was more tonal than past years, but I don't think I'll be whistling any of their tunes. However, their line played it very well. Great sound!

Cap Regiment - I liked their ballad. The general theme of their show was how time is spent. As I watched the guard member with breifcase in hand rushing toward the 50 yard line looking at her watch, I couldn't help but be reminded of the 1999 Cadets. All we needed were taxis. The only voiced amplification of the night, but the mike wasn't picking them up well at all.

Madison - I like the new unis. I don't recall that pictures of them originally showed any sash, but they are sporting a red sash that really shows up well under the lights. Based on what people had been writing, I was expecting a visual train wreck at any moment in their show. Didn't happen. I don't remember seeing a lot of unison work out of their guard, which also makes me wonder if they are skilled enough to effectively execute in unison. The last two thirds of their show really worked well with me. The opener kind of left me cold. Maybe I need to see them again to appreciate it more.

Stopped at the Scouts' food truck, also known as Deb's Diner, after the show and ended up helping serve food to the kids. Strawberry shortcake was on the menu. Then, the surplus from the show's concession stand arrived - Rocky Rococco Pizza slices and Lord-Knows-How-Many hot dogs, along with assorted chips and dorritos. It was an embarrassment of riches, and the kids looked like they had died and gone to heaven. If you get the chance to do something like this, do it! The kids were just wonderful - ALWAYS polite and grateful for the volunteer presence. And the adult volunteers are "salt of the earth."

Jim Anello

Saturday July 1

Dover, NJ (DCA)

Pulled into Dover around 5:30, hunted for parking, talked to the Doty family briefly, then headed in. Ran into some old Cabs friends, got some skinny about their show, wandered around, saw lots of friends, had some nice conversations.

Stands were short. Maxwell field short. So, it was nearly impossible to read any forms. I wonder how the judges were able to, as the press box was lower than mid tier at say Bridgeport.

My position is Side A, 45 yard line, as high up as I can find. Thanks to Tom Schiffer for allowing me to sit by him!

DISCLAIMERS: These are my opinions, and mine only. I don't sugar coat, but call it as I see it. I will refrain from Percussion comments or Guard unless it's something major, because I have no real knowledge other than basic stuff. Also, please forgive me if I don't know your shows all that many tunes and movements it's hard to keep up.

To Sunrisers and CorpsVets, sorry, I missed your performances. I wanted to hear Cabs warm up. WOW. Nice wall of sound at the end of warmups guys.

First corps up:

Hawthorne Caballeros (58B, 22G, 8Sn, 6Ba, 4Q, 12Pit, 3DM, 110 Total): After watching the warmup, I expected some nice sound. Instead, slightly flat. Doesn't mean that they weren't on, but it seemed a little tentative. However, this doesn't take away from the show. Opening hit was a nice blend and balance, and woke up the crowd. Drums seem to be in mid-season form. Feet are, well, in July 1 form. However, this is true of all the corps. Hornline did have a nice, rich sound, and kept the intensity going through out.

Malaga and Spain are nicely done. However, I'm not sure I like the dance sequences the hornline is doing during Malaga. Either do it, or not. Seems some people in the line aren't buying it, but, in order for it to work for effect, need to. However, this doesn't take away from the sound, or the hornlines control when needed. Props to Adam Berger for the double high C that seems to last for 45 minutes at the end.

Closer is where the corps seemed to run out of gas. However, low brass makes its presence known, in a big way. Easily the best low brass section of the night. And what's this? A pinwheel! I love the return of the old moves. It was performed well, but, hard to read because of my seat. Throw in a bull call, charge the end, hit me with the closing chord. This show has great potential, and, IMO, best of the evening.

One last thing I noticed. While the new uniforms are nice, it would appear to me that the shirts just aren't as crisp white as the old ones. They didn't seem to stand out in the lights like the old ones. Just something I noticed.

Carolina Gold (35B, 21G, 7Sn, 5Ba, 4Q, 2Cym, 5Pit, 3DM, 77 total): I feel for any corps that has to follow Hawthorne. Gold, tho, considering the parade, the 5am arrival, and long hot rehearsal, did well to follow the Cabs. Tower of Power is their theme for 2006 and those of you who are fans will love it. I'm not a big TOP fan, but was still very entertained by the show. The horn line sold the show and entertained well. I did notice some attack and release issues throughout, but that will come, and was certainly passable for their first performance. Drill isn't done, and the corps ran out of gas in a big way about 1/2 way through the show. I do understand people have been sick and the "3 block" parade (Lou Marshello must have told them the distance) drained you, so its understandable. I can't wait to hear this show when the whole hornline has its oats and the endurance is at September levels. Pit soloists were definately on fire, and played well. Handled all the stuff thrown their way with ease. But go march guys. (ducks)

Connecticut Hurricanes (29B, 25G, 5Sn, 5B, 2Q, 6Pit, 1DM, 11HG, 72 Total): Jesus Christ Superstar is their theme. Opening hit well done, and, white flags during this had very pleasant look and effect. Side note...this corps has the luxury of having 3 (I think) world class WGI Scholastic World guards to pull members from, and it shows. This guard, IMO, was best of the evening. 29 member definately did have some good moments, however, they do need to work on intonation thorugh out the show. There were some mellos that stuck out that I was able to pick up. Drill has some nice moves and moments, however, its obvious people are missing spots or not knowing where starts and stops are. Yes, I know, it's July 1. This will come. Entry after drum feature seemed tentative, and I thought I heard some tempo issues. Corps also ran out of gas in the closer. Honor guard was biggest of the evening. I feel for this drumline. In 2002 this line was one that to be feared. I know now they're rebuilding, and its coming, but I feel for that line, knowing what it was a few years ago.

Bushwackers (43B, 32G, 6Sn, 5Ba, 3Q, 3Cym, 7Pit, 2DM, 2HG, 96 Total): Pretty typical show for Bush. Their hornline is no slouch, they play technically very well. They have a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect them to. Opener was technically nice, but the opening hit left me underwhelmed. Disappointed that whenever a section was doing anything technical, they stopped to do it. Please, show me some movement while playing. Its easy to move and play quarters and eighths, but do some of that stuff moving. It was done well, no doubt. Ballad had very nice blend and balance. However, this is your corps song, I thought it would be stronger than it was. Very nice drill dissolve move at the end of the ballad. Rocky Point Holiday next. Having a hard time hearing the melody through everything else. Corps got tired through here. Drill also seemed a bit messy thorugh here, from my vantage point. Maybe it's a better read from higher up. One thing that stuck out to me: After the percussion feature, contra entrance was mud, and not together. Hornline also lost some of the balance that they had earlier in the show. Probably tired, and I know that will be gone by the end of July.

Skyliners (21B, 14G, 6Sn, 5B, 2Q, 2Cym, 5Pit, 2DM, 55 Total): Sky's small this year. However, Dave Negri has done a nice job getting what he can out of this hornline. Show is not typically "Sky." Not sure how I feel about that. That said, they do a good job with it. Drill designer keeps it simple for them, and they do peform their show nicely. However, it seems visually they take a hit for it, as well as in effect, and that's a shame. Holly and Ralph Marino have a very nice duet in their ballad that helps tie everything together. Bohemian Rhapsody is so not a Sky tune, but they play it well. Drill needs some work and needs to be finished, but all and all a solid performance from the hosts. One thing: Put shako's on the drumline, please. It looks sloppy to see the corps in shakos and the drumline without, and, to me, was a distraction.

After Sky Alumni played for what seemed like 45 minutes (It wasn't, and they were quite entertaining) we get the scores.

76.35 Bush
75.388 Cabs
67.725 CorpsVets
66.813 Hurcs
66.013 Gold
60.763 Sky
58.075 Sun

Best DM: Bush
Best Percussion: Cabs
Best Brass: Bush
Best Color Guard: Bush
Best Honor Guard: Hurcs
Most Entertaining: CorpsVets

I didn't agree with the placement of the top 2 or the spread. I had Cabs ahead of Bush by about .2. I read the recaps, and, I'll just leave it at the Judges obviously saw things differently than I did. Also, scores seemed to be about 2 points lower than Wildwood across the board. That's unusual.

Gonna be a great season tho. I fully expect Bucs, Empire, Cabs, Bush, and MBI to fight for the top spot.

Good luck to all!

*flame suit on*

One more thing: I'm not taking away from the great show that Sky and Dover put on, but this show should have been in Bridgeport, CT. This is the 2nd year that it's been "Alumni only" up in B'port. I don't know what happened, but the Barnum Committee and DCA need to end whatever pissing contest is going on and get this DCA show back up to the Barnum Festival where it belongs.

Michael Meyer

Wednesday June 28

Huntington, WV (DCI)

The Magic have a good music book, but they're not up to it yet. Drill was quite sloppy in several places. Lots of room for score improvement.

Southwind's black and white Duality is a nice concept. They got a warm reception from the crowd (Lexington is not far from Huntington). I enjoyed the show.

Spirit's show is a lot of fun - excellent use of the "old, new, borrowed, blue" theme - it works perfect for them. The hornline sounded good and overall drill looked pretty good for only a few shows into the season. I thought Spirit was closer to Carolina Crown tonight than the 2.65 gap in scoring. Probably fell victim to the intermission score suppression effect.

Crown's hornline sounds every bit as good as last year (which I thought rivaled Phantom for rich bass). The InTRANCEit music grew on me as the show progressed. I was thinking that the opener and half of the second piece were both a waste of a great hornline. But then things picked up. Their drill is very good at this stage.

I liked this year's Cadet Zone experience more than last year, but it's still all a bit wierd to me. The drum break is a blast! Cadets execute the heck out of the music and drill, and it must be what the judges like because they score well. I disagree with the judges that they are 2.05 better than Phantom though.

Phantom Regiment's horns are amazing this year!! What an awesome sound. And their percussion kicks butt too this year. Overall drill and guard execution need to be stronger. But the music is truly fantastic. Since this was their sponsored show, we were treated to an encore of Elsa's Procession, Pachabel's Canon in D, Night on Bald Mountain. Can't wait to see how they build towards Finals.


Saturday June 24

Walnut, CA (DCI)

quick recap....

1. Blue Devils - SOLID show in my opinion. Percussion work is absolutely amazing. This show reminds me of their '97 show with the way they run with the theme. Excellent use of vocals from the corps (no microphones). Definitely showed how vocals can make a great impact on GE effect without resorting to using electronics. Only problem I had with this show is that it peaks about minute before the show ends. They try to build up to the end but miss it by about 45 seconds. The crowd just kind of looked around as if to say..."Oh! Was that the end? Alright, I'll clap now!"

2. Santa Clara Vanguard - WOW! WOW! WOW! I freaking love this show. It reminds me of their '98 show with the way it flows. Designers have done a supurb job in creating a show that flows from beginning to end. Constantly building up and definitely rocks you at the end. Crowd immediately jumped and gave them a standing ovation. Ticks me off that they have been eliminated from winning already but I'd be willing to bet that this is going to be a crowd favorite.

3. Blue Knights - Got the second "WOW" of the night from the crowd. Again a very well written show that constantly builds and can get the crowd jumping up at the end. I was worried how they would interpret Barber on the field but was pleasantly surprised. Definitely NOT a 'hot dog' corps this year. I will be surprised if they aren't pushing top 8 by the time Madison rolls around.

4. Mandarins - very well executed show. But to be honestly not really that memorable. Solid 14-17 finisher but again...nothing to get excited about.

5. Pacific Crest - very entertaining show. I was worried that they would try to pull off some "Madison" type feel of the show but went their own way. Biggest hurdle for them right now is cleaning up the show. Once they clean it up a bit (and they have a ways to go) I would expect them to pass Mandarins but not really challenge for finals.

6. Esperanza - Eh....interesting show but like Mandarins, nothing really memorable. Would not be surprised to see them make semi's but that depends on some cleaning they need to do.

7. The Academy - Got the first WOW from the crowd. Partially due to their size compared to the corps that went on before and around them. This is either a full corps or almost full. I had to call my Dad just to make sure they weren't DI. This is a very entertaining show and will be a DII crowd favorite for sure. Even though I haven't seen any of the corps from the east, I expect to see The Academy challenging for the top spot in DII. For those going to Madison this year, try to make it a point to check out the Academy. If they do end up winning DII and get to perform at Quarterfinals, I would not be surprised in the least to see them make top 17 and play Saturday night as well.

8. Impulse - I came in during their show so maby I missed an important part, but to me this is a mediocre show that doesn't go anywhere. I wanted to like it but I didn't.

missed the rest of the corps....sorry for the short recap.


Friday June 23

San Diego, CA (DCI)

A beautiful night in San Diego for my singular bolus of drum corps for the year. Much weighs on the emotional return for tonight, needing to last me until Pasadena, 2007.

The event was packed, likely close to 3000. Beyond the comfortable capacity for this venue, but long concessions were out weighed by strong acoustics. Dan Atchison in attendance.

No reviews yet this year, so let's get to it. Arrived a little late from the office, and I apologize to the hard working younger corps who are chronically under recognized, but I too did not see them. Scores are not with me, and I will go by recall. As you well know, the meat of the story does not lie in the score necessarily.

The Academy-64 brass, Division I caliber by every measure. Outstanding, engaging show. Melodic with dynamic variance, with a pseudo latin, reggae type rhythm. The show had numerous spots where you would turn to someone beside and say, "this corps is really good". Excellent theme continuity. Good power, and played at volumes not beyond their ability to play well. Last number was like an elite corp brass fueds/runs, with fewer notes than the cadets would do. The upside to this was it was clean with solid attacks and balance. Crowd loved them with the shortest standing "O" interval of the night. If you don't know, thats the time between the end of the show and the time to everyone standing. The shorter this time interval, the more spontaneous the standing ovation. Well done, not a no name any longer.

Pacific Crest-City of Angels. Better horsepower than the last two years for this corps. More mature ensemble brass sound. Show is fun and easy to connect with even on the first listen, Notable marching issues, which is a given this time of year. Tunes and sound is solid, but short on innovation in terms of arrangements of the later numbers in the show. Colorguard uniforms perfect.

Esperanza-(57). Corps is simply short on size. Marching 35 or so brass. Tough, if not impossible in this day and age to crack the top 17 without a full DI size. When a corps is lining up against brass sections with 50-65, volume/impact and power issues become more obvious. I like their show. They have developed a signature which is not unlike SCV. Not a surprise, given the leaders of the organization have heavy ties to the Vanguard. Outstanding mellaphone solo at the beginning. Several trumpets providing excellent lead voices in unison sections. Contras loud, need to watch balance. Better to commit than omit, though. Show seemed short, which is a good thing...unless the show was just short.

Mandarins (61). Again, smaller than upper tier DI corps. Enjoyed show very much, and I haven't loved every mandarins show in the past. I will apologize again, but i remember few specifics about the show, but I remember turning to a fellow fan at the end who concurred that they gave us value and worth in their efforts.

Blue Devils (78). New uniforms, including a pin strip on the sleeve. BD uniforms for me have been about simplicity and elegance with distinct identity. No offense to BK, but they look like a move toward BK uniforms, lighter blue with white. Maybe in time... Opening sequence is brilliant. Backfield work, slowly coming to the forefront with some of the best pit work I have ever heard, at any time. Takes a while for brass to engage. You don't get hit in the face until 90+ seconds into the show. Per usual, brass line is rock solid, bright and loud. God Father is full of recognizable lines. Little solo work in this show, and not tons of brass licks where you would stop somebody listening to a c.d. of this and say..."you gotta hear this part..." The first half of the show is solid, the last half needs emotional draw. Few points stirred me. I know additional elements will be added. Some vocalization, but did little to enhance the show. SCV as one of the initial "chants" 5 or 6 years ago was the last time a felt filled by the use of voice in the show. It can be done, but audience connection is inherently tougher , I think. BD was the cleanest, but not the loudest, nor the most entertaining. This show is not done, and will not capture number 12 without notable additions. Personally, I love in your face horn riffs that counter and feud, and finish with several gunshot like pops, then silence......followed by an all out cord finish. None of that hear.

SCV (74). Staying true to their lineage, despite a change in leadership. Corps is loud, and illicited a greater crowd response than BD. Show will need a listen or two, as do most SCV shows, but the principle elements are there. In your face opening. Marching was a mess, but had several 1999esque ensemble moves. Not sure if they are top 5 again, but they are solid and entertaining this year, and notably stronger than last year. Show design is better and the brass line is better at this stage of the game. My favorite corps of the night. The green is looking great, again.

BK (67). Very true to their roots, with less body movement compared to years past. Brass is loud and show is filled with rhythmic pops that are purposeful and flirting with melodic. Some may think show borders on the "Planet of the Apes" soundtrack kind of music (I think you know what Im talkin about) , but I love a devotion to a musical identity that BK never waivers from. Top 12? On the cusp, I bet.

Overall, shows demonstrated a recess back to music, with less apparent gimmicks. Stronger so cal showing compared to recent years past, with lower tier DI and Academy raising the most eyebrows. No unbelievable, Samuel Barber SCV moments yet, but solid performances all around and fresh new talent making some noise.

Stephen Beeson

Thursday June 22

Birmingham, AL (DCI)

I had the chance to head up to Birmingham to catch this show, and was also able to catch a Cadets rehearsal the day before, and Phantom rehearsal on show day! Lots of interesting stuff happening!!

I didn't get to all of the shows tonight because I was late actually getting to the show (long story)!

Teal Sound - I didn't get to see, but they were housing at a school right next to where Phantom Rehearsed (show site). As we watched Phantom rehearse, we could hear another corps rehearsing off in the distance.. trying to figure out who was making that sound! And what a good sound it was. Teal Sound can really play. I wish I'd seen there show because it sounded really good.

Magic - I caught a minute of them in warmup as I finally got here. They have some work to do. Everyone in the corps is very young. It didn't seem like they were focused on what they were doing overall. Lots of distractions. I don't know anything about their show.

Southwind - Again, didn't see the show. They sounded pretty good in warmup. I wasn't sure about the half the corps in white uniforms, and half in black.. but maybe their "dueling" show will help appreciate their intent.

Spirit - Warmup sounded pretty good. They can blow. After I left the parking lot to watch the rest of the shows, I saw the last tune of their show. I immediately recognized it as SCV's 1999 closer, Blue Shades I think?! It was pretty good. The crowd seemed to really dig it. Once they clean up, it'll be a show not to miss. I see them moving up in the top 12 a couple spots.

Phantom - Well alright! I saw their rehearsal during the day and I was quite impressed. However, seeing the show in full effect with costumes and crowd response just makes it so much better. And the crowd loved them! Best crowd response all night! The show is Faust! A story of a boy who sells his soul to the devil for the love of a girl. Phantom interprets this story very well. It is a dark show. And who better to perform it than the Dark Brass of Phantom Regiment. GET THIS: during the ballad, the trumpet section puts down their trumpets...... and picks up baritones to play! BARITONES! And it sounds incredible. ALL low brass on the field, with the exception of their 14 mellos. It is rich! Very rich! Their show is hard, very hard. And once it gets cleaned it, I think it will be a show to contend with. Having said that, I haven't seen The Cavies or BD. But they should really watch out.....

The Cadets - Wow Wow Wow. Let me start of with this.. If you bring someone to watch The Cadets, and they haven't seen last years show.. make them watch it first! It picks up right where last year left off... literally! And rightfully so with their title "Part II: Through the looking glass." If you remember last years closer, toward the end they form a block around the door and rotate it into a "star" with a long long chord that bursts into the finale, which featured the "Twilight Zone" right at the end. Well THIS years opener, starts right there but with a twist... The battery and brass march through the entire ending of last years show without playing a note. They are marching 200+ beats per minute just like last year.. The drums are hammering away like they are playing on their drums, without ever making a noise. The guard is flying through their work just like it was last year at finals. Meanwhile, the pit is playing "History Repeating" with a girl singing the lyrics to it.. very very very effective. At the end of last years show, remember the girl who popped out of the door at the end (dressed as a DCI judge) - well while they "mimic" last years show, Alice pops out of the door. This is where the show actually beings, taking Alice on a wild ride. It is a very very fun show to watch. The battery break is unreal.. watch the snare feature closely!!! They are using alot of props this year, but not overdoing it. The END of this years show, is very similar to last years. In fact, the drill is idential with the exception of the last set. And you will notice a few changes musically, like the twilight zone feature for example is 10 times better. And the long long long chord I referenced earlier from last years show, has been extended to about twice that long this year. INCREDIBLE!!! Alot of people will say "not as good as last years", but at this stage in the game, its early. Things will be added and changed. I honestly think they are headed for #1 again very quickly... just give the numbers time to show it!

Next stop, Baton Rouge, LA - July 24! I'll be back.


Saturday June 17

Toledo, OH (DCI)

I always love going to the Glass Bowl for this show... Lots of great seasons have started here, and though there were only 5 corps, this was a great start to the 2006 season.

PERFECT night for Drum corps... a little warm, but the breeze kept things cool I had great seats (for general admission) - top of the stadium, thirty yardline side 1.

First up - Southwind.

I think the show was called "Duality"... Half the corps is mainly in black, and half was mainly in white. They played off a couple contrasting motives - one was a Holsinger idea that is used in several pieces, the other... I can't remember... (it's 1:45 in the morning) - but they did a good job of using these contrasting melodies combined with the black and white in the uniform. Kudos to the drill writer for keeping the black vs. white uniforms together throughout and not allowing them to get mixed up. The ensemble put out some good amount of sound, and from what I recall - had a pretty good sound for early in the season. Like all corps tonight, there was a lot of visual and musical dirt (hey - it's June 17!!) Interesting concept throughout... using the constaning contrast of black vs. white and contrasting melodies.

Next up - Phantom Regiment... My favorite performance of the night. The show is apparently about Faust.. Opening minute or so is VERY ell orchestrated visually and musically - Keeps interest and intrigue building throughout. The pacing of the show is great.... never lets the mind, eyes, or ears wandering or wondering what to look for.

GREAT SOUND from the hornline for this early - and I think I counted 15 Contrabasses... Or Tubas I guess they are now. VERY symphonic and mature in the concept of playing... A few spots in the upper brass that were a little ragged, but I'll chalk that up to a combination of early season, plus the double-tounging sixteenths at around 160 beats per minute. Guard was strong throughout (for June)... Visual package - EXCELLENT!! I remember thinking at one point that this is part of their show that has REALLY come great distances in recent years...

Entire Percussion Ensemble - VERY Strong... Concert bass drums were tuned to give a very large boomy sound that really works for the IN YOUR FACE show that this is...

I felt about halfway through like I was watching something that in future seasons will be referred to as a "Classic"... REALLY GREAT SHOW!!!!!!!!!

Third up - Bluecoats. I went down to see some friends for this show, so I don't have a lot o visual comments... Drill seemed pretty good from a construction standpoint, and executed pretty well; Fairly good approach to movement and uniformity from the guard- but of course, lots of dirt since it is so early. Musically, it's REALLY COOL Music... Lots of variety, and a few catchy ideas that really grooved. Hornline was pretty loud, but had a pretty bright sound overall... Maybe it's where I was for the performance, but The upper brass seemed a little bright, and although I could HEAR the low brass, they never seemed like much of a presence.. This will come in time, but to me - this was the biggest drawback.

A Very cool show - and continuing with the kind of mature program that they had last year.

After the break - the Cavaliers.

Okay -I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard the show was called "MAchine"...I was thinking about William Bolcom, but it's DEFINITELY not. To me, this quite a departure from the Chicago show... But conceptually, it's similar in that they have taken a simple - singular concept - a "machine", and visually and musically interpreted it.

Guard Uniforms... Very very cool and different - kind of like the Borg Meets Robocop... Really helps with the identity of the show... And so did the FIELD ENTRANCE... The corps enters in a rectangular block, and about half way out, does this robotic walk... Imagine the big machines the Zionians used to defend the city of Zion in Matrix: Revolutions... That's kind of how they moved. Very Robotic, and very unique.

Drum Major salutes and does a little robotic stuff in the salute... nice touch.

The musical package didn't really sell me... but the concept isn't a toe-tapping idea, so that is somewhat to be expected. It's very modern and disjunct in its construction. As far as visual design, these guys are in a class and league all their own. The opening set is a scatter that morphs into what I gathered to be large turning gears.. (machine concept). Solid playing, but not all that warm of a sound - not as much as I expected anyway (from the hornline).

2nd Movement -- Beginning - the highlight of the show in terms of "coooool" factor. The entire Corps is in a big block, and guard members "outside" the block push against the block, and the block reacts... great use of metallic percussion sounds to help sell the mechanical ideal... Just really really well designed... very effective.

At one point in the ballad, the hornline has a classic drum corps ballad moment... Full volume, great realease and the whole stadium just rang... THIS was the "Cavalier" sound we have come to love over the last few years... Warm... Balanced, in tune.. etc.. I just didn't feel like this was carried out the entire rest of the show.

Regardless - this is a VERY COOL, interesting show. I don't think it has the raw entertainment value as last yerar's show, but once again, the Cavaliers are blazing new trails with concept and visual design. Guard was pretty good tonight... Solid performances throughout... I am guessing there will be several changes to this show as it evolves over the next month or two.

Finally - Glassmen.

Opening statement - the "Fate" Motive from Beethovan's 5th. Pretty strong introduction, but not as full as I thought it would be. Honestly, I don't remember a whole lot about the show in terms of what it was bout... It started and ended with Beethoven (I think?!?) ... There's a waltz in the middle.. I think it was a 5/4 type of waltz (or 5/8) - if you know Robert Jager's third suite - the 2nd mvt-- kind of like this.. Girls in the guard come out with cinderella - type ballroom gowns... Cute... but almost corny.

Hornline sounded a little bit edgy - several individuals sticking out... I think I remember this from last year too --- Home shows tend to do that... VIsually, they had a couple holes, so that plays havoc on reading the drill... Moments were solid, moments were ragged... This too seems like a show that will have lots added to it in the end. Decent first show... Lots of room to improve.

Placement -

Southwind - 5th... 58 something Glassmen 4th - 67 something Bluecoats - 3rd - 70 something Regiment - 2nd - 71 something Cavaliers - 1st - 74 something.

Gap between SW and G seemed about right... >From G to Blue - maybe a little big... (didn't see it from up top, though) Blue to regiment - WAY too small... Regiment to Cavies.. WAY WAY WAY too big.

Cavies are cleaner at this point - so someone can justify it there, but IMHO - Regiment has more potential... and I thought THEY outPERFORMED everyone else tonight.

The battle for the top will be VERY VERY interesting when Cadets and Devs get thrown in...

Anyway - my 2 cents.

Indiana Doug

For those of you who've been around awhile, you may know about my "issues" regarding opening weekend shows. My last taste of live drum corps was Championships where the winner goes away with a 98+ score.... seeing those same corps struggling to make it into the 70's is a little anti-climatactic, but there's nothing else I'd rather be doing on a mid-June evening!

I arrived at the UT campus with the sounds of drumlines and hornlines warming up. God, it was fantastic!! Got my ticket from will call and settled into my seat on the 40 yard line about 2/3rds of the way up.

SOUTHWIND: I liked the use of the black and white uniforms. The drill writer was very conscientious of the placement of the performers in order to maximize the two-tone effect. I won't mention dirty drill because everyone was dirty.... it's mid-June, duh! Overall, I enjoyed the show, but thought they relied too heavily on the two themes presented in the opener. Rather than hearing references to the themes, as if guiding the course of the show, it seemed more like the the themes were the entire show. It became very repetitious in my opinion. I think they have a solid shot at Semi-Finals, but I don't feel that this is the year that they challenge for that 12 spot.

PHANTOM REGIMENT: If forced to make a decision I'd probably rank them as my 2nd favorite corps of all time. I've heard a lot of hype coming out of their fan base this year and was expecting A LOT after finishing 3rd last year. They didn't deliver. It seems they move a lot, the ballad is gorgeous, and the hornline is agressively good, but the show just does not flow together. They used 6 gentleman in the guard (dressed very gimp-like in the opener ) in order to help tell the story of Faust, but I never really saw any story being told. As well as they told the story of the American in Paris last year, this year's story-telling is the complete opposite. I'm going to hope that it's an early season thing.... I wasn't blown away by Regiment last year in the early going but they knocked my socks off by they time they got to Indy. Time will tell if they have the same sort of tricks up their sleave this year.

BLUECOATS: Absolutely deserved to beat Regiment, although they came up about 1 point shy. The show is very well put together... lots of great GE moments that aren't close to being maxed out yet. The ballad was absolutely breathtaking.... possibly beating Regiment for best ballad of the night! The hype out of Canton has been enormous this year and with good reason. They could be knocking on the door of their first top 4 finish. Time will tell.

CAVALIERS: "Machine". What a great title for a show. They exude a machine-like presence at least for the first half of the show. Lots of references to machinery - robot poses, industrial sound effects, even a conveyor belt reference (which actually looks more like a mosh pit than a conveyor belt....). The "stretching of the machine" will be the highlight of this show going forward.... awesome use of sound effects and visual effects in this section where they use a couple of guard members to reshape the horn block with somewhat unexpected consequences. Although I feel they performed on a higher level than the rest of the field, their were aspects of the show that left me flat (and I anticipate they will be addressed before too long). The first half of the show is laden with machine references, but the second half is completely void of them (minus the very last move in the show). What, did they suddenly turn mortal?? Also, the music is not very memorable. I was a big defender of their musical style during their title run to start the '00s, but last year and so far this year are definitely leaving me cold. I'll know come August if it's only a case of me "getting used" to the music.

GLASSMEN: A very good show filled with familiar tunes. I thought they may have been a little closer to Blooo and Regiment than they were. If I had one beef with this show, it would be that the guard is too noticeable. I'm of the opinion that guardwork accompanies the music, occasionally taking the spotlight but not dominating the show. It seemed to me that the Glassmen crosses that imaginary line. That's not all bad.... I did enjoy watching their guard act out some Renaissance debauchery, but still, it seemed like the rest of the corps did not exist at that time. Maybe, that's just me being picky, but hey it's my opinion! I definitely think they'll be a strong competitor for a sub-10 spot.

Given all the corps I haven't seen yet... How will the west coast corps fit into this picture? East coast corps? Southern corps? I think it's going to be another very competitive season! Can't wait to see how it plays out!!

PS - Please forgive any typos.... my birthday officially starts in about an hour and I've had my fair share to drink tonight in preparation for it.


Go to Page 2 of Reviews!

 [ Top of Page ]

[ Back to the DCI Menu | Back to the Scores Menu | Back a Page ]

What's New?? | About Us?? | Membership?? | Schedule & Maps | Staff & Student Leaders
Sights & Sounds | Members OnLine | Latest Scores | Awesome Links | Guestbook
Summer Bands International | Site Awards | Membership E-Mail Form