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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
1999 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews - As Posted on RAMD!

Reviews On This Page Were Last Updated on Wednesday, June 23, 1999

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:
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Saturday June 19
Concord, CA (DCI-Pacific)

In 24 years of following drum corps, tonight was the most strange and wonderful night of them all.

The Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard met in competition for the first time in 1999, and it is a contest that will live in the memories of all who were there. It will also probably live forever as one of those "who woulda won" debates that seem to rage here on RAMD.

You see, there was no score. The Vanguard took the field first in A corps competition, and they have a show that has championship written all over it. The Vanguard's command of the field and stage presence on it have the look that all championship corps have -- determination and pride and fierce concentration, mixed with top-notch programming and staging.

They open with the a huge corps wedge in the forward right corner of the field, with a circle of snares surrounding a center snare just backfield of the that, and a circle of guard surrounding a triple drum midfield. The poses of the corps as they glide into action serve notice that a visual delight is about to unfold. "Inventions For A New Millenium" opens with Philip Glass' The Canyon, followed by Symphony #2 and Symphony #1 by Samuel Barber and then Blue Shades by Frank Ticheli. The corps moves as one cohesive individual, with some blow-you-away drill moves. All segments of the corps exhibited knowledge of the music and drill that is more mid-July in form than early June. The first thing that came to my mind, before seeing the show, was that Vanguard was going to pick up where Star of Indiana left off when they left drum corps 7 years ago. Seeing the performance confirmed the idea. The corps has a grasp of the Barber and Glass music which already borders on championship level. Tonight the show was as-yet unfinished. We didn't even get to see the whole thing, and it astounded myself and everyone around me tonight. As Vanguard marched off, it was apparent that Blue Devils had their work cut out for them tonight.

Blue Devils set up on the field (and by the way, it is 12 "tenor" drums, 8 large ones and 4 slightly smaller ones that the triple drummers start off on, placed around the field.) They start Estancia to rocking from the first second. I still think that BD has not gotten comfortable with this number, although they did a much better job with it this week than they did last week at Family Night. "Rhythms -- at the edge of time" is a good design for the corps, and they seem to transition between styles very well. Still, the Devils did not seem to be moving the crowd like SCV just had, when all of a sudden every light in the stadium went out. The Devils, right in the middle of their 2nd (or 3rd) number, kept right on going, literally without missing a beat. And they continued through the entire show, in total darkness, right to the end of the show. About 10 seconds after the lights went out, the crowd realized that the Devils intended to keep on going, and absolutely roared. There was just enough light available to see the bells on their horns as they pointed towards the stands, and to get a vague impression of shapes moving in the darkness. Vendors moved up auxiliary lamps and judges in the pressbox shone flashlights onto the field trying to provide some minimal light for the corps to move in. And they kept going and going and going.... There is one moment at the end of the ballad which has the entire corps BACKING into the left backside corner of the field...they reached that point, and you could tell by the horn's bells that they were all perfectly in place. Can you even remotely imagine (1) playing a complex piece of music (2) marching backwards to a point somewhere behind you (3) being in near-total darkness and (4) being able to do it RIGHT???? Every move ignited the crowd once again. Good thing the conductor wore white gloves, because the entire corps could see his hands. I could, and I was 3 rows from the top of the stadium.

The corps finished and the crowd roared its approval as the corps marched off the field. As soon as the announcer got the crowd quiet, we were asked to remain in the stadium seats to avoid the possibility of anyone being injured in the dark. After another couple of moments, it was announced that as soon as the lights cooled, they would be slowly coming back on. The announcer also said that a decision would be made regarding whether or not the Devils would be judged or allowed to perform again. After about 15 minutes, it was announced that both Devils and SCV had performed in exhibition only, because of a noise ordinance that said no noise after 10pm. Further, that BD would do a standstill performance of Legend of a One-eyed Sailor. Well, that was both satisfactory and unsatisfactory. Who could resist hearing BD do Legend again? On the other hand, BD and SCV will not meet again until July 10th, so we will have to wait for the last show of the California season to see who will win in a head-to-head contest. Regardless of the outcome of that eventual meeting, both corps have top-3 shows this year.

Of the B corps, my own favorite was Mandarins, who even though plagued by many equipment drops tonight, still showed a mature horn line playing an all-Bernstein show reminiscent of the old Cadets of Bergen County and also SCV. I have a feeling that the stiff wind was as much as factor in all those drops as anything else.

Pacific Crest continues to build a reliably entertaining program for the California circuit, this year choosing Dracula as their vehicle. Well, I can't wait to see what Christina Mavroudis writes about this one... I'm turning in for the night.

Randy Gardner

Just got back from the Concord show. The following thoughts are brutally honest, sometimes rude and not PC. Some of you may want to leave now. I'll wait..... (hum hum la la)

It started out as a beautiful afternoon for a show and then, one hour later got really cold. I was stupid and left my jacket in the car.

Regarding show announcers: Where do they get these people and do all of them feel the need for inane chatter? Our two decided to read the program aloud to us.

(getting on soapbox) WHY DO PEOPLE BRING INFANTS TO THESE SHOWS????!!!!! We had a screamer five rows up and one who was allowed to repeatedly kick my back (despite my comments to his parents) behind me. Please leave the little ones at home. They don't understand it. Besides, they should be in bed. (getting off soapbox)

Now for the review proper --

"The Night the Lights Went Out On Concord" The show started 15 minutes late due to what the announcer explained as a folding by a scheduled corps. Anyone know who this is?

None of the DIV II corps really grabbed me. They all have potential but at this point they were...well....boring.

Pacific Crest - Started out well then fell apart about halfway through. It looks like they have new uniforms this year.

SCV Cadets - Middle section is the strongest right now.

Mandarins - no comments

Blue Devil "B" - Best of the night. Well done.

SCV - Very well done. This show has visuals all over the place. Something to catch your attention everywhere you look. Complex music. It did look like the ending was missing.

Blue Devils - About 4 minutes into the show the lights went out and stayed out for the remainder of it. Up to this point the show didn't seem to grab the crowd but they went nuts when BD finshed the show int he dark.

We left before scores were announced so we could avoid the traffic jam.


My thoughts on last night's show in Concord.

Division II: I have to disagree with a pervious poster's opinion that these shows were boring. Granted, they were unfinished and a lot of performance problems were evident (i.e., spacings, forms not in focus, phasing, intonation, synchronization of movement, a few horn players getting whacked in the head with equipment, and lots and lots and lots of equipment drops), but there was a lot of quality evident in all of the programs and they will only get better with practice. Judging by the applause, cheering, and even a few scattered ovations that I saw during the performances, I think that a lot of people enjoyed the corps just as much as I did. Then again, many of the people sitting around me felt that it was entirely appropriate to chat away during the performances and bide their time until the "bigger corps" took the field. Their loss.

It's a shame that some of these corps will only have a month's worth of competitions before their season ends at DCI Pacifics. I noticed that the II/III corps that go to the DCI Championships (Mandarins, and occasionally BDB and SCV Cadets) usually don't head out on the second tour until late July, so there seems to be two or three weekends in July during which a west coast Division II/III tour could be scheduled (maybe one show in So. Cal. and one show in No. Cal.?). This would extend the season for the local corps, provide extra performances for those corps going to the championships, and give drum corps fans out here a few more shows.

But I digress, the performances:

Pacific Crest: What can I say? They keep getting better and better. While their show, Philip Feeny's "Dracula," was composed of music unfamiliar to me (and I suspect most of the crowd), the corps did a great job selling the show. They received a lot of applause during parts of the show and even got a section of the folks near the 50 yard line on their feet after the opener (myself included). There were over 30 brass (who could generate an impressive amount of sound at times), a fairly large percussion section, and over 30 guard. They had some great drill moments, including a rapid collapse into a block formation followed by a loud brass/percussion moment - SCV did a similar move in their show. Of course, it wouldn't be a Pacific Crest show if the guard didn't die at the end, and they don't disappoint this year with the guard members scratching and clawing themselves in a bloodletting frenzy as the music comes to a close. You had to be there.

SCV Cadets: They were a markedly improved corps versus last year at this time. With their show including "Pictures at the Louvre", they didn't emphasize volume (they also had around 30 brass, but they easily were the least loud of the four Division II corps) so much as musicality. They had many really beautiful music passages throughout the show. There were many unfinished parts to the performance, and they seemed to have difficulty with many of the drill moves, but this show will be interesting to see in a few weeks. The corps was wearing classic SCV red jackets, but the guard was wearing funky looking burnt orange dresses over teal leotards. Hmmm. I really wonder who decided that that would look good?

Mandarins: They had quite a difficult show: "Candide" and "On the Waterfront." The music, drill, and guard work were all challenging, and it really showed that this was their first competition (equipment drops galore, which is really unusual for the Mandarin guard). The highlight for me was the brass performance during "Make our Gardens Grow," which exposed the talented hornline. It will be interesting to see how the corps progresses with this show. I bet that they will be tough to beat in Madison.

BDB: They must have been missing half of their brass players, because I think that their opening set was a spread block and about one third to one half of the spots were open. They started well with their selection of songs recently recorded by Audra MacDonald, but you could tell as the show progressed that they were less and less experienced with the music / drill. The show has a lot of potential, though, and once again, it will be interesting to see how the corps progresses with this show over the next few weeks.

SCV: They had a presence and command of the field that I hadn't seen from them since 1989 at DCI East. This show is EXCITING! They are continuing with their recent explorations of modern music, and even through none of their music was familiar to me, the show is so well designed that it works completely. A couple of improvements over last year: (1) A lot of the scatter drill and "individual antics" that characterized last year's show are nearly gone. (2) The guard is much improved over last year, which is probably the reason for (1). They really sell the mood and intent of the music to the crowd and have incorporated a lot of modern dance movement into their routine. It works -- especially their body movements during the ballad (which was the closer since their actual closer wasn't ready to be performed) that were nicely accented by the basic black uniforms. (3) They have some eye-popping drill moves including a rapid rotating collapse into a tight box that must have cost a few bruised bodies or so to learn. Unbelievable.

BD: From what I saw of the show before the lights went out: this year's show is so much more exciting and fast-paced than last year's. The music (with or without lights) is outstanding, and the brass performance is absolutely top notch. I can't wait to actually SEE this show!

T Patten

This was the Blue Devils' 25th Precision West Show and with the warm evening's refreshing breeze came the promise of an evening to remember. The near capacity crowd expected nothing less as they sat back to enjoy the first meeting engagement of two of the Nation's top corps: tonight's host, the Blue Devils and the Santa Clara Vanguard. Though the weather would eventually turn on the crowd - causing lightly dressed fans to make a run on sweatshirts from the souvie stands - the show, however, would hold true as a night to remember.

The first corps to take the field was Pacific Crest, traveling up from Diamond Bar, California. The corps fielded 37 brass, 30 percussion (20 in the battery and 10 in the pit), and a color guard of 29. Their show, "Dracula - A Ballet in Three Acts" was a wonderful performance that passed too quickly. The ambitious drill called for quite a bit of field coverage that would challenge larger corps. However, the Crest maintained a rich balance and strong sound throughout the most complex of maneuvers. Most noteworthy is the color guard. They are a group of very energetic performers who definitely enjoy what they do. An unexpected delight came from the setting sun that helped to provide a flaming effect to the gold-red-purple silk flags in the closing number.

The Vanguard Cadets fielded 34 brass, 20 percussion (15 in the battery and five in the pit), and 14 in the color guard. Their performance consisted of "Scenes from the Louvre" by Norman Dela Joie, "The Gathering of the Ranks at Hebron" by David Holsinger, and "Merry Mount Suite" by Howard Hanson. The brass line was clean for an early season performance and shows promise for the future. Unfortunately, during tonight's performance of "Hebron" the lower brass had a shaky start that could have been attributed to what appeared to be difficulty with the drill. Though the rifle performance was clumsy and awkward, the majority of the color guard work was clean and well executed. The cymbal line was the most enjoyable aspect of the show to watch. This section was very tight at everything they did - everything done to perfection. They carried themselves with an air of self-assured professionalism normally associated with contra and quad/quint lines.

The 1998 DCI Division III World Champion Mandarins took the field next. They came on the field with 19 brass, 20 percussion (12 in the battery and a pit of 8), and 12 in the color guard. The corps show, "Transformations - The Music of Leonard Bernstein" features the "Overture" from Candide, "Make Our Garden Grow," and "Symphonic Suite" from 'On the Waterfront.' Unfortunately, the dramatic impact designed for the show opener was lost when a number of rifles missed their mark. The inconsistent rifle work would plague them throughout the night. The music and show design is complex, and may even be too formidable for a corps of their size. Fortunately, there is a lot of talent within the ranks and staff of the corps. This talent mixed with their traditional Mandarin tenacity could see them through another DCI Championship.

The Blue Devils B Corps closed out the first half of the night. They took the field with 19 brass, 28 percussion (19 in the battery and 9 in the pit). Their show, "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue . . ." includes the music of Paulhino Garcia, Audra McDonald, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. One noticeable setback the brass experienced throughout the night was the lack of bottom end; however, the contra player must be commended for a valiant effort to single-handedly try to cover the musical shortfall. Overall, though, the ensemble work of the horns was very clean. The percussion had one of the better books - both in arrangements and its execution - for their division. Unfortunately, when in the backfield, the battery had a tendency to overpower the brass.

Lined up after the intermission was my favorite corps of the evening: the Blue Devils C Corps. These fine musicians and color guard range in ages 6 to 12. Though their performance was only an exhibition, their game face on the line up showed they were ready to rumble. With a snappy "We Bad" salute from the drum major, the 10 brass, 17 percussion (12 battery, five pit), and nine color guard stepped off to the theme from the "Flintstones." They closed the opening number with a company front that would make some of last year's DCI finalists green with envy. They were all great kids and showed immense pride, both on and off the field, in the uniform they wear and the organization they belong to. I look forward to seeing them some more this summer.

Now it was time for the Clash of the Titans. First on the line was the Santa Clara Vanguard. They took the field with approximately 54 brass, 28 percussion (21 in the battery and 7 in the pit), and a color guard of 33. Their show, "Inventions for a New Millennium" features music by Philip Glass, Samuel Barber, and Frank Ticheli. It is the corps' intent this year to "push the boundaries of the modern, abstract and often passionate nature" that is created within these compositions. And this they did. The surreal nature of the show is as if watching "The Star of Indiana Meets Clockwork Orange." But, that is not a bad thing. There is so much going on across the field throughout the show, it is going to take a couple of performances to make sure I caught everything. The horn line played with the precision of a fine edged sword; however, there were a couple of times the brass overpowered the battery. Overall, it was a fine performance as a season opener. Though I am not a big fan of SCV, I feel this show will be extremely hard to beat at Madison in August.

The Blue Devils now gathered on the field in hopes of an unforgettable performance for the hometown crowd. Tonight the corps fielded approximately 57 brass, 26 percussion (17 in the battery and 9 in the pit), and due to the power failure I was not able to get an accurate number of their color guard. The title of this year's show is "Rhythms . . . at the edge of time," and features compositions of Alberto Ginastera, Graeme Koehne, Astor Piazolla, and Brian Setzer. The show's concept is "rhythm is the great organizer" and opens with focus on the percussion section and the brass playing into the backfield. It's an unusual effect, but does a wonderful job of setting the lifeblood of the show into motion. This year's show flows much smoother than last year's, and is enhanced with the in-your-face power we saw in BD in the latter 70s and early 80s. The most dramatic moment of the show came when the power went out with approximately five minutes left in the show. Without missing a beat or a note, the Blue Devils continued to perform. With the complexity of some of the drill we had thus far seen, it's a wonder there were no injuries or clumps of members lying about in tangled heaps. Fortunately, some lighting was provided by the concession stands and a couple of flashlights, as well as flashbulbs. The stadium lights were finally reactivated only after the corps left the field.

The judges were tempted to bring the Blue Devils back on for a second performance, to allow for fair evaluation of their full show. Unfortunately, the City of Concord has a noise curfew that takes effect at 10pm, and it was now ten minutes to 10. As a result, the judges ruled that the performances of both the Santa Clara Vanguard and the Blue Devils were exhibitions. I won't even attempt to speculate who would have won this one. You'll just have to wait until these two meet again down in Stockton on July 9th. In the Division II/III category, First Place went to Pacific Crest (65.1)(who also swept all high captions), Second to the Mandarins (59.3), Third to the Vanguard Cadets (58.8), and Fourth went to the Blue Devil B (57.8).


Orlando, FL (DCI-Atlantic)

Got home to West Palm at 2 a.m. sunday and sat down to write comments on the show. After writing lots; it wouldn't "send" because it was all html format text! Maybe it's just as well i screwed-up because the post would have infuriated a few on RAMD no doubt, and that would not have been my intention. So, starting from that comment, i can say the Show was fun and the crowd loved it.

Last year at this same show in june, i told a friend who marches Cadets that, at that point in time, CBC was unbeatable. They were. Watching them last night it was hard to believe it is only June. Once again, (though i will modify my comment of last season) they may be the Corps to beat once again. The Big Apple is another difficult chart to execute and the Cadets do it!

I didn't like Stonehenge from last season, but the judges did and it was a a tough one too. I don't think you can "hum" this one either but it is more melodic and the differences in mezzo piano and forte passages very well executed. There is a long, sustained chord(where no one is supposed to breath) and i bet that will change before the Finals.. Overall, the music is exciting and i think the crowds will like it.

Battery is impressive and the Cadets Color Guard is as good as it gets. I wondered about the solid color they dressed-out in (grey/blue) but it is still Cadets lyrical movements well done and fits with the overall show as only CBC can do it.

I think it is tough on the other 3 Corps to put them on the field with CBC and expect any real comparison even though we all know that as the season goes on, all of 'em will get better. With no judges on the field and (i believe) 3 in the stands only, i am not sure the scores mean much. Until last night, i wasn't aware this was a usual procedure at any DCI show; YEA or not. Wondr what the Corps think; i mean the kids in the Corps, of course..

I had a great time because, IT WAS Drum Corps! Nothing raises the hair on the back of my neck like Drum Corps and everybody understands that feeling, right?


Well, here are few comments about this YEA/DCI show.

First off, it didn't rain! Although I did have my doubts and after the Cadets afternoon clinic everyone had to go indoors because of lightning. I kind of liked the little presentations by the different corps. For instance, the Crossmen's hornline performed, Crown's drumline, and Cadets guard. After a while though, I got tired of watching hornlines demonstrate breathing exercises and such.

The actual performances were full of early season mistakes, i.e. bad intonation, bad posture, and dirty horn riffs, drum licks and such. To point out a few: Magic was out of tune a lot, Cadets (I know their marching style causes this I guess) bounce, bounce, bounce! Also, a snare and a horn player fell down and almost got trampled. Crowns guard had several dropped tosses, and as for Crossmen....I just don't like the new look. They look like a high school that I saw from Tennessee once. I just liked the old uniforms better. I think in August all of these shows will be much different and a whole lot cleaner so I am not really that worried about any of the mistakes I saw.

As far as entertainment value goes I would have to put Magic's show in first followed up by Crossmen, then Cadets, and Crown coming in last. Chuck Mangione music cooked for Magic! Crossmen were very musically fun to hear, and Cadets are as usual, fast and furious and intricate. Crown is playing music that I have never heard before (I didn't know there was a Jekyll and Hyde musical) although I did like the guard's moves. I guess that is about it! If you see Magic at a show, be sure to yell for my friend, Justin McKinney in the baritone line!!!

Shane Ainsworth
Southwind Soprano 1996 Pioneer Soprano 1998

Weather: Clinic was stopped because of iminent rain which never materialized.

Clinic: The Cadets seem to be new at running clinics, as it was rather haphazard. The hornline went through some abbreviated breathing exercises and lip slurs and then played the opener to get some actual music in before the "rain".

Show Organization: Excellent. The show ran *very* quickly, with only one even slight delay. Four corps, retreat, and 9 various other performances went by in 2 to 2 and a half hours without feeling rushed at all. Great logistics.

Well...I'm not sure where to begin. Magic fields new uniforms this year consisting of black pants, cream colored jackets and a purple and gold patterned middle section. I personally didn't love them, but they did lighten up the very dark purple/black combo of years past. I'm certain the kids love them, though, they can't possibly smell as bad as the old ones! I couldn't guess at the numbers, but it appears to be very close to a full corps with approximately 57-64 horns, 21(2) battery, 20-something colorguard and approximately 8 pit.

The hornline was hot in the Magic tradition, but brought a more mature sound to bear. They had the best bari and contra sections at the show tonight...powerful, centered, and very pure. I'm not sure how they do it, but Magic always seems to have a horn sound all their own and it's one that I love. Contrary to last year, the hornline doesn't start out with major balance problems...they obviously work very hard on creating the "pyramid" of sound, sometimes to the extent of the upper and middle voices being lost. That doesn't, however, mean that when those sops let the reigns loose in Land of Make Believe they won't wow you with some serious sound.

The drum line fields two fewer snares this year(7), but once again fails to impress with either writing or execution. Two months from now, there's a good possibility they'll wow me, but for now there's too much dirt to really stand up and cheer for any of the good writing that might be there. They tacet through the whole ballad, even during some crescendo passages that scream for tasteful yet present battery (especially tenor and bass) parts. I also didn't hear much at all from the cymbal line...seems a waste of the I&E champion cymbal line to me. Quite possible that I just missed them, though.

The colorguard(along with the entire visual program)appears likely to be Magic's achilles heel once again this season. The work and choreography were *much* better and more effective than last year, but execution just wasn't up to snuff to even my inexpert(as far as colorguard goes) eyes. On the other hand, guard work seems to me to be the element of a show that improves the fastest, so maybe late in the season they will be performing well enough to take advantadge of the better design.

Interesting musical design to this show. Out of curiosity, did anybody time this show? I'd swear it was about 8:30, but that may be that I am simply not used to a three tune program in drum corps. The opener, Enchano, is not stand up and scream exciting but is exhilirating and got the blood pumping in that odd way that Magic has done so well the past few years. If you were looking for the same screaming sopranos and virtuoso playing by all sections from this year's corps, you won't find it. What you *will* find, is a hornline with a more musically mature sound and style....dark doesn't begin to describe the sound of low brass...pitch black is closer. You will also find a corps that is very true to their material. I have always been of the opinion that Robert Smith is a good composer, but one of the truly great arrangers, and the more faithful he is to his source material, the better the musical book. Even if I had never heard these pieces(and Enchano is new to me) and didn't know the show concept, I could identify this as patently Magione. The harmonies and tone color is an incredible reproduction of the Mangione sound. The ballad, Ballad for Nancy Carol, is not very loud, does not have a lot of notes or weird harmonies, no abundance of strange time signatures, but rather maintains interest (and it *is* interesting) by depending on something all too absent from modern drum corps: a simple melody with elegant flow and beautifully crafted accompaniaments. Kudos to Robert on this one. The closer, Land of Make Believe was more than I had hoped for. It starts off with a good mellophone solo of the tremendously recognizable melody of this piece, and from there does an excellent job of doing alot of what jazz is about. Though much of the music if similar, no phrase sounds the same. Some different section or figure is time the melody, the next the bass line, the next the isolated (and played in the quintessential "hot" style) sop eighth figures. The end of the piece is at a great place to start off the season. Does it make one scream like a Madison closer? No, but the potential is there. Magic will look to tweak the end of their show this season, rather than completely rearranging and replacing it.

The visual program had some good points, and some bad points...which in some sense is an improvement as in years past it's been *all* bad. I don't *like* the technique they're using this year,but they're executing better than any other year I've seen. The drill was not finished for the closer, and perhaps this evaluation will change later, but for now the drill doesn't add anything to the show, nor does it detract anything. I'll wait until the drill and guard work are both finished to pass judgement, but for now, they're going to take a hit in GE Visual.

Overall, decent performance, but more importantly *huge* potential for improvement in all sections. The show *can* get them back in finals (as shown by their defeat of Crown), it is up to the corps management to provide a good environment for the kids, and the kids themselves to work their butts off at improving. The members and staff has something they haven't had in a long time(assuming the logistical management is maintained) control of their own destiny.

Didn't get a count on any sections for Crown, but they seem to be around the 113-120 mark. I only noticed low members in the snare section, though, of which they had 6. I'm no expert, but seems a rather small line for a big name like Rennick. The hornline...well, they suffer from what just about everything about this corps suffers from, the failure to make an impression. They get some nice volume and an *adequate* (barely) sound, but there's nothing obviously demanding about it, nothing that makes me go "Hot damn! That was cool." The drumline was pretty clean, but didn't inspire this non-percussionist's admiration for neat licks. The colorguard was the best section of the corps in terms of execution combined with effectiveness. Excellent job ladies.

As I said, just about everything about this corps suffers from a failure to stand out. The musical arrangement is good quality, but uninspired. There is nothing terribly interesting in the visual program. The whole show feels bland and generic. They better bust their asses and march that show piss-clean or they'll find themselves out of finals.

45 brass?? Come on guys, there's got to be more talent in New England than that. My initial impression was "4 contras and 13 baris, versus 11 mellos and 20-something sops?? That just not going to cut it." They made me forget that almost *immediately*. I love Blue Shades. I love hearing it on the CD, I love looking through the score, I loved playing it, and I love the Crossmen's version of it. They were very true to the original in the transitions of sound..a soprano may not sound like a clarinet, but the counterpoint and opposition of tone color is all there. Klesch also does a very clever job of hiding their apparent lack of low brass...only one spot in the opener that could do with more low brass soundm and that was barely noticable. In fact, the only thing I really wanted more of was the horn/mello rips in the loud section...they provide life and originality to an otherwise typical loud passage. The ballad was a different story...most of it was at lower dynamics, but in the big build I noticed the lack of low brass...not the fault of the players at all, but the sound was just too bright. The closer was very cool, and I love the drum feature! *Very* clean for the beginning of the year and something that any idiot in the stands can listen to and say "Hey, that's some cool shit they're playing." I was very wary of this show when I first heard about it...I like the Crossmen playing jazz, and Blue Shades seemed to be a step away from pure jazz, but if every show from now on is as exciting and cool as this one, I'll be hard pressed to miss the Birdland days, great as they were. Only one dissapointment...where'd the colorguard go? They kinda dissapeared, and I've always loved the technical excellence and interpretations of the Crossmen colorguard. I'm sure this will remedy itself by mid-season.

For a second year, I will stand up and thank the Cadets for doing precisely what I asked. In my review of 97 finals, I lambasted the Cadets for an extremely difficult show that was very dirty and uninspired musically. For a second year, the Cadets have backed off on the difficulty of both music and drill, and tackled a both more intrinsically entertaining and musically deeper book(i.e. the music is more entertaining of it's own merit rather than tremendously loud volume, hyperbolic tempoes or drill cliches). The hornline also displays some very good sounds, much better than in the past, to which I don't know whether to give credit to an overall easier show, or the returned influence of Donny VanDoren. The drumline isn't *really* clean, but they have what appears to me to be a pretty meaty book, with another jawdropping tenor passage.

Now having stated that the show was easier, don't think that it's lacking in the cool effects that the Cadets are famous for. The show opens with the hornline coiling/snaking into a tight ball which somehow or other transforms into a parallelogram, there is some more unbelievable tempo transforming gate turns a la end of closer 97, and there's another very strange rotating/morphing move at the end, which was the only one that looked like 26 goats having sex, unlike past early season shows, in which all the tough moves looked like that. The colorguard was *excellent*, they were truly in another league from any other guard there tonight. There was one section of 3 tosses (fives, I think) and a six that they all caught...truly awe inspiring.

BUT...some of my other Cadet pet peeves were still there. The hornline, while unparalleled in virtuosity (there was a tremelo mello passage that blew my mind with how precise it was), still doesn't have a sound that can be ranked with the other great corps of past and present. The show was rather abstract, I couldn't sing you more than two separate measures of the book. All in all, an excellent show, that IF they clean will get my full support. (Similar to last year, though, that doesn't mean I will necessarily think they should win.)

A great show format, and this was the first time they'd done it. The Cadet's pit playing Iron Maiden was one of the strangest and coolest thing I've *ever* seen at a drum corps show. NOW FIND A DAMN FOOTBALL STADIUM!

PS: Go Wade!

Toledo, OH (DCM)

It is late so this will just be some quick comments.

* I had Colts over Phantom. Of course that is a difficult leap for a judge to make and it will be interesting to see the recaps. Colts have a great show and appeared much cleaner than Phantom. Phantom's show, while musically more enjoyable to me than the first viewing last year, was very sloppy.

* I had Glassmen over Cavies. From the reaction, so did much of the crowd. Of course, they have a home town advantage. I, however, hold no bias in their favor and was really hoping to be blown away by Cavies. They do have a wonderful show, but there isn't as much of the driving rhythm that characterized last year's closer. Glassmen seemed the cleanest corps out there. The show has some great musical moments. Even with some familarity with the music, this will take a few viewings to appreciate.

* I had Madison solidly in 3rd. Their show was very well received by the crowd - duh. My son's favorite, per usual. I thought King Herod's song really worked well. The show was well staged. Especially like how the solos bounced around the field from member to member. Some nice visual moments, but nothing as memorable as last year.

* Pioneer seemed much smaller than last year, especially brass. A friend counted just 28. The sound wasn't very balanced - percussion too loud much of the time. I love Irish music of all flavors and generally love Pioneer. This is a good show but they need some more people to make it work.

* Capital Regiment went on first. This was their first show ever and the crowd was behind them all the way.

* Glory was tiny, played unfamiliar music and didn't have the first year mystique that CR had. I was not surprised by their placement or score.

* Empire Statesmen were scheduled to be there but couldn't make it. Marion Cadets were on the program but were not there.

Better get to bed. 5 hour drive to Louisville tomorrow for a second dose of Glassmen, Colts, Phantom and Glory.

Christopher P. Maher

"Today's weather is way cool, cause Glassmen are HOT, HOT, HOT!"

Seriously, Glassmen are on fire and will be a driving force this summer. Visual program is phenomenal, guard is good, hornline is LOUD, and the drumline is smoking. (Note: more biased review here) In my opinion, Glassmen should have beaten Cavaliers tonight, in fact I was so confident Glassmen would win that I bet my roommate (Caviequadz 97-98) $5 per point on the spread between the two corps, well I guess I'm out $25 but I still think Glassmen were better last night, at least Glassmen won drums so I have a little edge there.

All right for the rest of the Division 1 corps...

Madison's show is really nice, in fact I would have had them in second place, they do a lot of exciting things and the music is pretty cool. Madison took high brass tonight and it showed, their hornline will definitely carry them far this summer. Drumline is much improved from last year, however still very dirty and not a lot of demand.

Cavaliers are a very good corps, but personally I don't care for this years show very much, I really like last years show a lot better. Right now they have 6 snare drums, and will eventually have 7 as the season goes on, their center snare bailed on them not too long ago.

Colts are cool once again. People didn't believe me when I told them Colts were headed in the right direction, more sweet beats from the drumline and another solid musical book, I think they are cleaner than Phantom at this point in the season.

Phantom has the makings for a top 6 program once again, I dig this show and it should only get better as the season goes on, their hornline is very good (2nd in brass tonight on the recap I think), very sloppy at this point all across the board but they will get there eventually.

Pioneer was very small, 14 sops 5 mellos 5 bari 4 contra I believe I counted, I really kept wanting more from their hornline, their show is very cool, but they really need more bodies, drumline overpowering and dirty for most of the show.

There you have it.
Luis M. Sanchez

I have some thoughts on last night's All Star Review in Toledo. I am not going to do a full review, just what I thought of each of the corps in performance. There were two fewer corps performing than scheduled. Neither Empire Statesmen nor Marion Cadets were able to attend.

In order of appearance:

Capital Regiment: This was this corps first performance of their first year to field a corp. I can just imagine the nerves of both the staff and members last night. They did a nice job playing music from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory along with some others such as My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music. The horn line had a full sound, however there were quite a few missed notes. Too many not to notice often. They played well as an ensemble though and deserved their placing and score.
35.5 --- 7th place

Cincinnati Glory: These guys seem to be fielding a smaller corps this year. Their show was titled An American StoryBook Hero. The music was very intense, but they had ensemble problems all over the place. Guard was better than Capital, but the corps over all didn't measure up.
29.6 -- 8th place

Intermission was moved to right after Glory because of the corps that couldnt' be there. Therefore, the 6 division I corps all played after intermission.

Phantom Regiment: What I had read on here was right. The show started with a bang and the Phantom that I love, but fizzzled from there. They did not impress me at all. There were some very noticable spacing problems in the corps, like a company front at the end of the opener in which four sops were not able to get in because their opening was closed due to spacing errors. They may be able to pull it together to have a great year, but they will have to work hard.
61.7 -- 4th place

Colts: WOW! This is the best Colts I've ever heard. The horn line is dark and powerful. They did "Phantom" better than Phantom did tonight. Their show was intense the whole way through, and I was glad to see that the guard was reflecting that in their work. No more of that cutesy stuff. I can't wait to see these guys again. I didn't agree with their placement, and neither did anyone around me. They should have beat Phantom.
61.0 -- 5th place

Madison Scouts: I wasn't sure I was going to like this show. It just didn't seem that it was a Madison show, but it was. They entered the field in their usual way, and once again marched drill during their warm up. They looked and sounded great. I DID like the ragtime piece and thought it fit into the show well. I wish this show had ended at the first ending though (you'll know what I mean when you see the show). The second ending just didnt' have me jumping to my feet.
64.0 -- 3rd place

Pioneer: What a bad draw for Pioneer, right after Madison. It was typical Pioneer, Irish and intense. Their closer reminds me a lot of one of last year's songs but I don't think it was the same one. Nice show, but not real exciting.
58.4 -- 6th place

Cavies: I was excited to see what Cavies had in store after last year. Not the show I was hoping to see. The music doesn't really grab you, and they were a mess tonight. Dirtiest horn line on the field, and they got worse as the show went on. Their drill was cleaner than anyone elses, but the music just took away from that. The guard is looking superb once again. Once this show is cleaned up, it will be a decent show, but not one of the more memorable. I thought both Madison and Glassmen should have beat these guys. The crowd agreed booing their score and placement.
70.1 -- 1st place

Glassmen: I do have to admit I am biased, but I loved the show. The score was a little unusal, but the show has power, and is more complex than last year's show. I didn't recognize any of the music, but it kind of drew me in anyways. The ballad is powerful and will be much more powerful when it is cleaned up. The lines didn't really flow that much. The drill was nuts near the end of the show, and I was glad to see that the corps didn't let that affect their sound. Guard was sloppy tongight, but should be terrific later in the season. Good Luck gmen. YOu may have an even higher placement at finals this year.
65.8 -- 2nd place

The Yamaha Sounds of Summer Clinic Campers played the corps on for finale. I can't wait to get to my next show. I look forward to seeing Colts and Glassmen again.

Glassmen 96 - 98
Sop / Mello

Stroudsburg, PA (DCA)

First on - Skyliners -
I must admit - a slight tear in my eye when they came onto the field. Welcome back Sky -

Skyliners - 24 horns, 14 drums, 12 CG
Did what I would call somewhat of a Skyliner Music theme. Horn line was not as clean as it probably will be later on, however, some nice moments. Horn line needs more blending - drill was not written to separate individual players, but too many times (because of the lack of blending) a baritone or mellophone would overpower the rest of the section. They'll be ok. Drum line - I was really impressed - some fuzziness in snares - but for you drum corps fans - these guys were playing...I actually thought I saw flamacues, drags, and others in the repertoire. Although there was some phasing happening a lot. At times, it seemed the drum line was a whole 1-2 beats off from the horn line.

Hurricanes - 30 horns, 16 drums, 24-30 in guard...
Nice show although not completed. Though horn line was still feeling their power out. The show was anoth retrospective of the past music - The Old West - with Mag 7 and Hang Em High done quite differently than in the past. Carol O'Brien's score was nice. Drum Line still fuzzy but you can see they will be a force to reckon with as season goes on. The guard is what I thought brought them into second. Very well choreographed.....

Bushwackers - 34 horns, 12 drums, guard (150 I think)
Did a revisit to Sondheim. I thought was a nice show - probably near the cleanest horn line of the night. Drum line held them back - snare line - come on ! Only 3 of you....should be cleaner than that even in June. Guard - usual decent job.

Caballeros- 54 horns, 24 drums, 35-40 guard
A huge corps. The show was better than I thought it would be - The Mask of Zorro - I couldn't find any real fault with the horn line except perhaps some blending... Power was the best of the night however, a ways to go - once the horn line gets those outdoor lips in shape. Overall a good show - guard lacked a bit of precision especially in the silks. That'll have to be there later on....

Cheiftains - 17 horns, 16 drums, 6 guard
I felt bad for this corps having to follow the Cabs. Cheiftains have a nice show - Fiddler on the Roof - however I don't know if it was because of the time of night, or long rehearsals to get ready for this - their first show....the horn line simply ran out of gas. There were nice moments - Sabbath Prayer, To Life, If I were a Rich Man, and the Bottle Dance.....It looks as if there were a lot of holes in the horn line. I counted only 2 baritone players. Hard to support this show without low brass. Drum line - very dirty - did not enhance Fiddler at all. I don't know if it was because it was dirty or it was the book. This is by far the biggest drum line they've put out - time to work on some serious clean up.

Larry Carbonell

Friday June 18
LaPorte, IN (DCM)

WOW! Not quite sure where PR was 'missing it' w/judges. What a lower brass section - and a beautiful visual program...Tony Hall (ala 93 regiment is back!!!..and its apparent). The guard was NOT in uniform. The last 30 seconds/minute of their show will be re-written I'm sure - cause its currently a (buzz kill) but nice to see them back...VERY back. Save this post and see at the end of the year. PR is WAY top 5 this year.

Madison's show is fun, they move a bit more than before...which is nice and have many traditional knee bending, in you face moments. Crowd pleaser as usual however, not enough of a package to win DCI...but I don't think that will stop um....or the fans from loving it.

Blue Knights - Loved the music - Loved the visual...and isn't that what we are supposed to do - wow, can't imagine them fighting for a top 12 spot this year. Very good package - hard to 'read' visually right now but one hell of a lot going on....some right from STAR 93s visual book.

Cincinnatti Glory...unfortunately, due to traffic got to the show late and walked in at their closing chord. "Hope to see you guys, next time."

...get your buts our a cheer for them all....its going to be a GREAT year!


Sunday June 13
Sun Prairie, WI (DCM)

I just got home from Mansfield stadium, where we had only a few drops of rain - it turned out to be a lovely evening. The field was wet, though, and that caused more than a few problems. (did anyone else see those nifty little metal figurines??? The santa clara guard bottle dance ones were great! and the madison horn players! and the bd drummers marching sideways... cool!)

I'm no expert, just a fan.... but I had to share my thoughts...

Madison - the music is stunning. How can they go wrong with music like that??? The first part of the show seemed a little lacking in color, but that may just be 'cause it's early yet..... The "two endings" were a little odd. I liked the first "ending" lots better than the second - it was a lot more powerful and got me on my feet. We were surprised when it went on for another 30 seconds or so..... It will be fun watching this show develop. They are already so much better than they were in the gym in April! :) the guard - as usual - looks strong.

Phantom - For at least the first 15 seconds, I was delighted that phantom was "BACK!" those first few moments pack a hell of a punch.... but then that was over. The music didn't really wow me... I hope I like it more after I hear it a few more times. They move so very well; I look forward to seeing it cleaner. There were some really nice visual moments - the sudden flag colors were really nice...I love unison guard work! I was a little worried about all the dance that I suspect will be added.... I really WANT to love phantom and I look forward to them getting better. I hope its not a repeat of last year....Maybe I'm harder on them because I like them so much. Where's the fun? Their sound seemed much brighter this year - I noticed the sopranos a lot - especially in the beginning....

Colts - I reserve judgement on this show. I didn't dislike the music...I just think I have to hear it a few times. They didn't march the last piece - they abruptly stopped, and then moved into a semicircle... it was abrupt and took too long - why didn't they just stop where they were and play? Anyway, I think the closer was pretty nice...nice music. I expect to like their show ( I usually do), but again, it's early.

Capital Sound. I like the "new" uniforms a lot. I hope they keep them! My mother pointed out that while they were playing "Love for Sale," the guard members (all girls, to my recollection) were carrying flags that had dollar signs on them... are we the only ones who see the obvious connotation there???

The Sound of Sun Prairie HS marching band - They were really kinda fun! They were tasteful and did some interesting things. Being a dc fan, I sort of feel funny watching/listening to flutes and woodwinds on the field, but there you are.

A note on guard uniforms and movement: Again, this is just my opinion, but something I saw more than once tonight was the little strip of white flesh between the dark colored tops and black bottoms.... which isn't always a good thing when the girls are running away from the stands. It's eye catching and not really very flattering to almost anyone.

I can't wait to see the Cavies.... We just bought our tickets for Drums along the Rockies..... And we've had dci tickets since last august.....

Eek! I've become long winded. I'd love to hear what others think.... I love dc season!!!


I'll jump in and add my comments here... BTW, Hi to everyone on RAMD! It's been a while since I've read/posted. Caveat: I am biased. (Like anybody isn't). Duh. I marched Madison for 6 years, and I do volunteer stuff for them now (webmaster, and now bus driver! :-)

There were no scores announced at this show. I did see judges on the field, I'm guessing that DCM (as usual) used this show for training new judges or something.

I missed everything up to the break (got there just as Kilties were coming off the field) because I was playing in a concert in Sun Prairie tonight.

Capital Sound: Whoa, a blast from the past! They wore uniforms from the Freelancers! They had a fire on their truck that damaged their uniforms, and so most of the corps was wearing the Freelancers jackets. The contra line and front line wore corps jackets. I also saw a drawing of what next year's uniforms are going to look like... They're going to be great!

Anyway... Cap Sound was entertaining... I don't have a whole lot more to say than that because during their show I was just enjoying being at a drum corps show again rather than critiquing!

Phantom Regiment's opener was pretty impressive, but the rest of the show wasn't as good. We'll see how that changes as the season progresses. One thing you can't help but notice is that the contra line seems bigger than the drumline! Also, it seemed that the visual program hurt their playing - At some points there were members taking step sizes that they obviously couldn't (yet) handle.

Having seen Madison go through their show twice this year in rehearsal (Memorial Day and last Saturday), I couldn't wait to see them in uniform and cleaner... They sure didn't disappoint me! When I first heard that they were doing Jesus Christ Superstar, I was disappointed - I didn't think that was a very "Madison" type of show... But this thing is all Madison! It's also the first show that I liked before I saw it on the field.

Anyway... Horns, and RIFLES!!! (Which reminds me... I don't recall seeing rifles in any of the other corps... Or did they just not wow me like these guys did?!?) I think the horn line is ahead of where they usually are at this point in the year. The rifle line kicks some serious ass too... At one point they have an impossibly high toss just as the horns are forming a company front - I didn't see a single drop on that toss, and then the horns ripped my face off. YEAH!!!

There's also some astoundingly cool drill moves... King Herod's song has some cool footwork, and later on (sorry, don't know the names of all the tunes yet!) there's a really neat rotating "cluster" that expands layer by layer... You've just gotta see it. I can't wait to see this from up higher too... I was only in the second row. I hear there's a neat cross move too. (uh oh, here come the Star '91 comments... ;-)

Obviously, at this point in the year, there's a lot of work left to be done. But, this was still definitely the most enjoyable part of the night. (Surprise, eh? ;-)

Last on were the Colts - I haven't really been paying attention to what everyone's programs are this year, and I was very surprised to hear a very Phantom Regiment-like musical show. In fact, it was almost as good as Phantom... Until the guard started standing on the front sideline, and then the whole corps played the closer in an arc at the front of the field... What's up with that?!? Say what you will about the rain in the Midwest, but *all* of these corps were from the midwest, and the Colts were the only one that did this. Guard uniforms were also obviously not ready - They wore white t-shirts and shorts. All that said, the Colts look like they will be good, once the show is finished...

I'm looking forward to this summer more than I have before, because I get to go on tour again! I got my CDL, and I will be driving a bus for the Madison Scouts from July 1-11 and finals week... See you on tour!!!

Kent Shook
Madison Scouts
Baritone '91-'96
Webmaster '97-'99
Bus Driver '99!

I would like to make a few comments about the Madison Show, As I was in the show, I didn't see but a few corps, so i will try to make comments on these corps. I was however able to hear all the corps albiet from behind the fence. The Racine Scouts were small but well rehearsed. The surprise is the drummers with horns. I heard you have to be able to play 7 instruments fluently to join this corps. Good job Scouts. the Blue Stars were ,as were all the corps, needing some cleaning in both drill and music, but did have some moments reminiscent(sp) to the BS of Old. The Colts , I applaud. these kids came all the way from Iowa knowing that they were not ready nor had all the uniforms been completed, yet they marched all the drill that was finished and then played the closer in concert formation. The horn line is quite good, with a couple of Lead Sops that play very well. PR opened with a blast and with some excitement then faded, I'm not sure if it was just because the show needs alot of cleaning as well as the music, I suspect they will have it right by the end of the month. 14 contras, would love to have them in my corps. The Kilties also were the other corps that "TOOK THE FIELD" The first note had folks their feet and applauding. This is not the same Kilties of Old. The show is fast moving, no park and blow for more than 20 seconds in the closer, The show both drill and music need some polishing, but this corps will be ready. Teresa Pawlowski(sp), by the way was the first female drum major in the history of the Kilts and she did very well. The gaurd did very well and it was nice to see. I didn't get to see Cap Sound,but I heard them and found them to be very entertaining and sound vey powerful. Other than that I can't comment. MS wow what a show. drill was excellent, and of course, I think the horn line is the best in 30 years. I'm still convinced that there will be new jewelry in badger land at the end of the year. The drill was quite fast in places. this one manuever which is referred to by MS as the "Cats Ass" is reminiscent of a move CBC had a few years ago. The move into the cross which magically turns to a Star is very impressive. Still need a little work on the company front with the work needed in the horn flip. It was a great show and fun was had by all. It is looking like a great season will follow or every one.

Terry Doran

Just a few random comments about the show......

I was sitting in front of some guy who "knew everything about drum corps" and he mentioned that he knew Phantom would play the "greatest hits" of the symphonies.......well, he was right......but after seeing Regiment's show for the first time, I think there is some serious potential there. Right now, though, there isn't much in the way of transitions in the show...and guard uniforms, well, the white t-shirts and black pants don't really do it for me....hopefully the unis will be done soon!...The drill should be spectacular. A typical Tony Hall drill, like our 93 show, which will probably be drastically different (maybe it is already!). Like 93, the kids will need time to adjust to running and playing at the same time, but watch out for this show in weeks to come! As opposed to an earlier post, I thought the sops actually disappeared at times. The contras sound more mature than the last couple of years and it should make for a beautiful, rich sound. I commented to my fiance, though, that (minus 96 when they started the year strong) the black unis make them appear weaker at this point in the season. Maybe that sounds unusual, but I believe it.......Anyway, looking forward to Show of Shows to see and hear the changes!

Madison was unbelievably energetic tonight...moreso than last night. The first show out of the way helped, I think. I still don't know about the "ragtime" piece, though......probably would've bested PR by about 3.5 points tonight.....

Awesome show by the Kilties....they always get a roar out of the crowd with the good old-fashioned, favorites........

God bless those Racine Scouts......the kids worked their butts off.....nice idea for the entire corps to play bass drums......and the snare player to play a sop solo! The drill has to be rewritten to accomodate the lack of horns though......

Well, there's my story......See ya soon

Buy the Drum Corps Minis, they are awesome!

Matt "Schlitz" Diroff

Saturday June 12
Menasha, WI (DCM)

Just a few quick comments about the Scouts and the show:

I think the show may have some very good potential......It's always tough to comment on the first show, but some things are apparent right away. The hornline seems very young. Their sound right now is very immature, though I think that it will obviously improve greatly over the course of the summer. I heard some marked improvement in the baritone line over previous years....perhaps they were more audible yesterday from a balance standpoint. (but the sops still dominate the pyramid....) The contras did not seem to put out enough sound last night.......especially in John 19:41.....a beautiful piece but needing more depth from the low fellas! The one part of the show I did not understand is a the short ragtime section......I have not seen JCS but have heard much of the music from it and have never heard this just doesn't seem to fit....transitions are obviously still disjunct, to be worked out eventually I'm sure.

Much of the show reminded me of the JCS show Plymouth Canton H.S. did for BOA. Wonderful music and should be a treat come finals time..........!!

Matt Diroff
AKA "Schlitz" to most of my PR friends

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