Check these
Links for More
DCI Scores!

Play a really cool midi file in the background as you browse!
Viewed Best at 800X600




Doug's Drum
Corps Center

Dave Sherry's
Drum Corps Links

Yahoo Links
to Drum Corps

Marching Arts



Alt Drum Corps


Go To:

Show Schedule

Go to Page 9
of Reviews!

1999 DCI
Photo Gallery!

DCI Scores

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
1999 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews - As Posted on RAMD!

Reviews On This Page Were Last Updated on Wednesday, August 3, 1999

Page Ten 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 11 of Reviews!
Go to Page 9 of Reviews!

Saturday July 31
Murfreesboro, TN #2 (DCI)

Well.. This was my first major viewing of drumcorps since I went to finals week in 96, and man it was worth it!! This was a great weekend of DCI with still one more show left for me this weekend at JSU tonight, which is a little closer than TN! I will throw out opinions that are my own, if you don't like them... well get over it : ) Everyone has opinions and these are mine. Thanks.

Friday was extremely HOT!!! It all started around 4pm with the Scouts doing their clinic with assistance from BOA. Interesting format. The speaker was pretty good, i guess it was more liked by the high schoolers but it was still pretty good. Then the Scouts took the field with a full run of their show. It was INCREDIBLE, but more on that later... Now to the show..

It was still HOT as 7:30 came. So by this time everyone around us were already complaining of sticking to seats and such, because it was warm..
Southwind was the first corps out. They were on FIRE, I haven't seen a Southwind this clean ever I think.. They were really on friday. The opening statement was enough for me to get me to yell for the first (of many) times of the evening. I love the new unis and the guard looked really nice too. Lots of good stuff going on drill wise, although a little sloppy at times. The music was great almost all the time. I was very impressed. Drumline was also really good.
Tarheel Sun, well I remember them from 96 and man they just get better and better!! This corps is going places in the next few years. The drumline is the shining spot of this corps. I read that Matt Savage (bluecoats) was the Caption Head now and that is great!! I wish them the best of luck in the next few years. The music was recognizeable and played fairly well.
Spirit of Atlanta took the field with great ovations from the crowd, one of my favorites because the majority of my friends marching this summer are at SOA. But this show doesn't do it for me. They are very loud and dirty, the theme of the show i think. The drill is almost considered nasty looking at points. I realize that it is hard but they should water it down so that maybe the sound will get better. They play GREAT standing still, but moving that hard and fast kills the sound. The drumline is much improved this year. The guard is good also. The ending even faked DCI's own announcer!! Funny. A guy down below yelled "Let 'em have it Spirit" right when everyone stood up to leave thinking it was over.. :)
Pioneer... Well they are small, but man they can play, not much stands out to me now other than the drumline... I can't really remember much about it, since it was 2 days ago and I am tired still.
Magic of Orlando, again nothing sticks out here except the Guard Unis and the hornline. The drumline was good but nothing spectacular. The music was very hummable (sp?) but at times not that clean. The hornline played some notes for sure but didn't move much while playing them..
Carolina Crown... Man this corps amazes me everytime I see them. The ballad is what stands out in my memory. This song was almost enough to drive you to tears. I was in awe the whole song. The drumline was outstanding and very together. Loved it. Great show guys!!!
Blue Knights.. I can't remember much except it was good.. Maybe after I see them again tonight i will say more.. Sorry guys.
SCV... WOW, WOW, and WOW.. LOVED THIS SHOW!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe it is the artsy fartsyness in me that loves this show. .It is so great. Loved the dance part in it by the guard. LOVED the drumline, although now the machine we saw last year. Blue Shades was great. This song had so much energy. Also the drill move that they do 2 times (the T that rotates) got the crowd going the first time and then again the second. Outstanding show, I honestly thought they were going to score higher, but i don't mean to take anything away from BD.
Blue Devils were GREAT!!! This is my favorite show of anyone this summer. I love the opening statement with all the afrodrums. Then it just gets better and better as the show continues. The Ballad is my favorite ballad of the summer and maybe my favorite of all time. Some stuff that really sticks out is the drumline, very clean but really don't play that many notes and the guard was really on.
Phantom Regiment played some great music but I don't really remember much from it. I was impressed with the brass but not really with the whole picture. Good show though. Cavies were really good tonight too. They had some great moments but nothing really sticks out like the drumline (of course) what a drumline it is!!
The encore was done by BD, and man those of us that stayed was in for a TREAT. Standing O's after each song, including the F Tuning : ) I love that in my face on the 50!!!! They played through the whole show again and then did Legend of the One Eyed Sailor for us, which was really good to see. One of my favorite songs from back in that day. Thanks BD For a memorable evening!!

Saturday was different, it rained during the show and their was a wind blowing the majority of the time so it wasn't so hot. But on to the corps.

Kiwanis Kaviliers.. I don't much care for this show, but then again I haven't liked their shows since 96. The unis don't make sense to me, why play Jazz in all black unis? OH well.. I guess we aren't supposed to understand everything. Pretty well played. Maybe I will get more out of it too tonight.
Colts, man.. this corps has some stuff going on for them. I love the show this year, interesting music with a great guard. Looking forward to more from them this evening also.
Troopers, not my favorite, but had good moments, loved the Sunburst at the end. Les Etoiles loved them in 96 but this is different, strange music and not played very well. Very weak all around. but they do try very hard. Wish them best of luck on the rest of tour.
Boston... Man this corps is different this year, what a great sound! What a great everything!!! Loved the toss of the sabre at the end of the show, really got a rise out of the crowd. This show is great musically as well as visually. Really enjoyed it.
Bluecoats, i found myself really disapointed, I don't remember that much because I wasn't really into this show. Sorry again. What i can remember was dirty and not to exciting although I do like Chick Corea.
Crossmen- Blue Shades was nice and so was the closer (ap. morning?) But something was missing, not sure what. Great guard, and great drumline, think the tempo of Blue Shades could be bumped up a bit, all and all a great show.
Madison- Great show, never heard this music before but really liked it. Crowd dug this show, thought they should have won, i didn't but it was a good show, i for one thought that parts were very dirty and would never win this evening. Great concept though!!
Cadets- This show was outstanding. I have never found myself in awe for a guard befor this show. INCREDIBLE.. Some of the best tosses I have ever seen. I was impressed from the get go. Drill was simply amazing, maybe i will find more to talk about after JSU tonight.
Glassmen, a great drumline a great hornline and a good guard makes a great CORPS. This was a total package deal tonight. Incredible stuff going on here. Very impressive music and even more impressive drill. Drumline was simply put, the best on the field. They were something else.
The Cadets did tonights encore and I wasn't impressed with it. Nothing like the devils the night before. I don't know why but it seemed something was missing, oh yeah it was the PIT, for people that don't like the pit try listening to this show without one. Kinda boring. . Not to say the show is boring because it isn't just the encore was without the pit.

Well that is about it for now, will have a review tonight for JSU's show.. See you all then.

Michael Bell
JSU Drumline

Murphreesboro, Part 2: Saturday, July 31, 1999

Whew! Almost made it to the stadium too late--two crazy days of traffic, this time due to a brownout in M-boro and no stoplights--missed the national anthem, but running, we made it to our seats just in time for Troopers. I was dying to see them.

My companions really enjoyed Troopers and I did too. They had a nice sound for the most part. I had heard how their horn playing was stretched, and I could see the signs but overall, they had a nice sound tonight. They marched very well, and the drill held my interest throughout. The guard is not as bad as I had heard. There was indeed some cheesiness in the portrayal of the guard in the middle. Some of it just came across as inexperience and lack of dance maturity to pull off what they wanted to do...some of it seemed to be written a little cheesily. All in all, it was much better than I expected or had seen from Troopers in the past two years, and I was pleased. My first-time visitor enjoyed them greatly for his first exposure to a non-top12 corps; my other friend had not seen them. Both were suitably impressed with the crowd's reaction to the sunburst at the end. I think that Troopers are improving steadily from the last couple of years and it is great to see!

Les Etoiles
Ok, they were a bit late and I understand that they were assessed a penalty for their lateness...seemed to stem from some problems with assembling the pit on the scaffolding. The show itself: nice, but seemingly written for a larger group to perform. The color guard had some nice moments. Overall, I don't remember much except two thoughts: (1) the hornline drill moved nicely through the scaffolding and (2) the idea of scaffolding doesn't bother me, but they didn't use it! It never had any apparent role or part in their show concept. I had heard about colorguard on top of it, but never saw that. Seemed to me a corps that has been known for cool gimmicks (rototoms!) was stretching to see if they could find another gimmick. Nice job and nice performance by the kids of the show they were given.

Kiwanis Kavaliers
Enjoyed it. Thoroughly. Sat back and just relaxed. Don't remember a lot about the music, the drill, the percussion, or the guard. Well, the guard was pretty slick (aka, Broadway showy, as they have been before) but overall, it was a "chill-out" show for me. Was unsure if they would beat Troopers or not, thought they would, but agree with the placement that Troopers were ahead.

Boston Crusaders
Whoa! What an impact from the first moment!!! The sound combined with the gigantic orange flags grabbed you from the get-go! I loved the show, I liked their visual accents, the music grabbed you and they played it well, the guard is greatly improved from previous years, and the drill is most complex (but not horribly demanding) that I have seen from them. The choice of silks for the guard places a lot of attention on them. They cannot be complementation in the background with the high impact colors and design of their flags. That said, they have cleaning room to go and also in the weapons work. One of the nicest total packages of a show design that I have seen from a corps at this level (10-17) in a while. The solo sabre tosses were high points for me in the show along with the beginning of the "fiesta" pieces. The sabre toss at the end is phenomenal! I was indeed impressed! They may have my award for most improved corps of the year! Top 12...hmm....

Ok, Really curious to see BC from all of the posts I have read about a down year and all that. I didn't love the show last year, and was curious! Guess what? I loved it!!! I remember very little of the music (horn or percussion), but the drill was great and fairly complex for them. Not too bad in the clean department either! Musically, they played well with a nice tone. What really stuck out was how overpowering their guard was! (A Theme for the evening, actually!) Cleanest guard I have seen from BC in ...maybe ever! They, like Boston Crusdaers, also chose high impact silks that drew your attention to the guardwork. However, they were much cleaner than BAC's guard. I thought that they might be neck and neck with BAC in score tonight, but agree that the point spread is at most a point in whichever direction. Overall, BC seemed to be much cleaner than BAC and had more complex drill involved.

No intermission as we started late due to the Brownout in M-boro.

When I saw them in June, I was mightily impressed for a first show. When I saw them at DCM, I was even more impressed with the total package and how it was coming together. Their drill is quite complex and it is being marched very well. The music is full. I was worried earlier that the closer didn't have enough oomph, and had heard that they had rewritten it as I suspected they would. It is great...still room to be cleaned, but nevertheless it is definitely a top 10 package, and may be closing the gap on Phantom Regiment.

Hmmm...heard lots and lots about Xmen in both directions prior to the show, and was really curious! New black and gray uniforms? Didn't like them...they were ok, but for some reason when the guard switched to a gold uniform drape and gold-based colored flags, the effect was not good at all. Music? Enjoyed it tremendously...enjoyed SCV's musical performance of Blue Shades better, but the guard silks and flagwork in shades of blue by Xmen was better. Overall, I enjoyed Xmen's 97 show and 98 show music better, but I liked the total package here more. The drill is the most complex and demanding drill I have seen from them in some time, and just when I pined that there weren't any of those field stretching open curvilinear arc forms, they gave them to me. They had more tight complex "maneuver"-type drill than I remember them having before, and the kaleidoscope of X's was exciting. The percussion rocked and was one of the first percussion sections Saturday to really get the crowd going! Guardwork...whoa! Overpowering...clean and visually captivating. In this show, all sections have equally highlighted sections. I love Colts' show, but don't see them passing Xmen in the long run. Too much polish in Xmen already and I don't think that they are maxed out yet.

Madison Scouts
I seem to be writing less about the midwest corps that I have seen already a few times...sorry about that. Madison was, as usual, the crowd favorite, and the boo's were there when announced in 3rd place. They and SCV were the only corps to elicit major standing ovations during the show over the two nights. It is sounding nice, and they are marching fairly cleanly, however it was not the cleanest show that they have had. The guard is shaping up nicely, but similar to my thoughts about Cavies' guard, it is not the most mature guard that they have had. My friends were in love with this show, and most disappointed in the placement. They learn the role of DCI fans quickly. I actually think that they weren't as "on" as Glassmen tonight and so wasn't upset with the placement that I knew was coming. The spread should be closer, however.

The Cadets' show of the Big Apple with a few slices from the City of Angels is the most enjoyable package I have seen from them in a while. I didn't like the last two years nearly as much as I like this show. That said, it is true that the hornline isn't playing as difficult SOUNDING music as the last two years. Yet, they are quite solid and very effective. In their encore, I almost enjoyed it (with eyes closed) as BD's the night before, and usually, I prefer BD's music and style! In the show itself, the runs were not as clean as I have come to expect. Also, it is interesting to note that this show is really more about the guard than the horns or percussion. Other than the first part of the show and the very end of the show, the drill is designed to showcase their guard. The windup box in the opening statement is trademark and exciting, and the closing drill that goes hyperactive and ends up back in the starting formation is exhilirating. They march the drill better than I have complained about Cadets in the past, yet I still saw some of the headbobbing mentioned in RAMD. Now, the guard...the real story of the Big Apple. They are the main forcus of this show. So very clean, so very good at interpretive movement, and equipment work that is next to none this season. The percussion is ok, but it seems as if only the tenors stood out with that phenomenal lick in the percussion feature. All 3 sections solid, if it weren't for the guard, they wouldn't be in the hunt at all. I loved the show, and the crowd did too. Not such an esoteric show as some of Cadets' in past years, very much crowdpleasing, and fun to watch and listen to.

After Madison and Cadets, the Gmen's true colors shown through. There is no major GE in the drill nor in the guard. It is a nicely integrated show with fine playing and fantastic percussion, but nothing that wows or sticks out. Many people zoned out. It didn't really have the GE or crowd appeal of Crossmen or Colts. All that said, this show continues to improve, and it grows on me as the season goes on. But, no it won't and should not be in the top 4. The drill is getting much cleaner and the effect is starting to come through, but there isn't as much potential in their drill. It seems that the high point effect-wise of their drill is the winding of the horns at two points through the pit. Not nearly the effect of Cadets, SCV, BD, Cavies, or even Madison! I don't see how visual GE scores are coming. Musicwise, the hornline and the percussion are producing at a high level. Some of the richest sounds on the field this year are in this show, but mostly when they are in concert form. The colorguard is as good as I remember from Glassmen, but their work is a background type of guard not an overwhelming part of the show that sticks out. They have added some new equipment and painted the rifles different colors to amplify the visual. All in all, a very nicely integrated package like Crossmen's and the end of a great night of drumcorps.

Everyone was pleased to see Troopers rise in score and placement over recent shows, the energy of BAC beating Bluecoats was palpable as their fans anticipate the first top 12, but was not pleased to see Glassmen over Madison, especially by such a large spread. They scored the same as Cavies from Friday night, but we know now that the scores are not really comparable, for the Glassmen were not at the same level as Cavies. Cadets rightfully took Saturday night, but not with a score that was higher than SCV's the night before. So, the comparisons in scores from the nights are difficult, even if we still want to do it.

Hope this gives a picture of Saturday night. There was a tenuous moment for everyone when lightning and rain held up the show before Crossmen, but luckily, the powers above ordained that the show go on! Thank You! Some synthesis comments in Review 3.

Tim Hendrix

Murphreesboro Review Part 3: July 30-31, 1999

Ok, two nights in's one opinionated person's views putting them both together.

First disclaimer: I often get flamed because I get nitpicky on performance flaws (usually on horn performance, marching, drill design, and guardwork). Please don't misinterpret. I didn't see a show in two nights that I actively disliked and I will be the first to applaud the efforts of all drum corps participants. They work their butts off, and we should support them unabashedly. Our critiques of performance or show design should never offend the efforts of these young persons and we should be standing, cheering, and complimenting the cool things that each corps does!!!

Shows, designs, and prognostications: package; hard to beat.
Cadets...a show written to showcase the guard with some tenors, hornline, and drill spotlighted briefly; good total package, but not #1. Blue show, great horns and topnotch percussion, and guard complements great general effect, crowd appeal, nor razorsharp cleanliness that a winning show needs.
Cavies... now starting to play at a level and marching at a level to overtake #3, but still currently in #4.
Glassmen...playing wonderfully, marching nicely. Overall show design doesn't deserve more than 5th. I could see Madison taking them. Madison...ok, they aren't as polished as they need to be to beat Glassmen, but we all still annoint them the crowd favorite. Would love to see them at 5th.
Crossmen, Blue Knights...seems that Blue Knights are scoring slightly higher, but enjoyed Crossmen's show a lot more.
Blue Knights have too much esoteric body movement. It's funny, stylistically, they seem to be modeling after Santa Clara, but it doesn't happen for me.
Phantom...started weak in marching; improved show greatly; was on a roll; now seems to be reaching their limit.
Colts...still rocking and rolling; improving and lot left to clean...could pass Phantom, but not Crossmen again.
Crown...didn't see them; disappointed that I didn't. From what people around me told me on Friday, they are definitely in and mixing it up with Crossmen & Colts. show I've seen from them; top 12 material; guard needs to polish it up a bit for it to remain top 12.
Bluecoats...keep doing it; clean; guard better than BAC. Horns and percussion compared to BAC? Who knows?

Since I missed Magic, Spirit, Southwind, and Tarheel Sun on Friday, can't say much but would guess the following order for 14-21: Magic, Southwind, Spirit, Pioneer, Troopers, Tarheel Sun, Kiwanis Kavaliers, and Les Etoiles. Who knows where Mandarins or Div II champs will fit in!?!

And here's why I predict the above:


BD and Cavies handsdown! Glassmen and Madison right behind. SCV and Crossmen darn good. Others didn't impress me that much, but I am the first to admit that I am an idiot when it comes to the fine details of percussion.


BD not as clean as I would have hoped or thought, but dang! Still the stuff! SCV has a hard edge, but my goodness, how powerful! Cadets not as hot as previous years, but still phenomenal. Cavies have as mature sounding hornline as I have heard from them since the end of the Planets season. Phantom seems to be wearing down as the season goes on...I actually liked their sound more 3 weeks ago. Glassmen...full and sonorous, but not exciting. Blue SCV and Glassmen, i.e., full, rich, hard edge sounding, but not really exciting. Madison...exciting, but not as full. Crossmen...better than I had heard from others; solid and energetic. Noticed that Don Taylor is on their staff...go, Don! Colts...still cranking, but not Crossmen level yet. Bluecoats...clean and balanced more than usual; sound I've heard from them in years.


Best dancers...SCV handsdown; serious dance students. Best equipment work...Cadets, followed by Crossmen, didn't see see a YEA theme appearing here? What about BD? Fantastic jazz dancers, better than Cadets or Crossmen (who aren't really dancers), great equipment work but not as good as Cadets or Crossmen. Madison and Cavies...great guards, but not as high up as previous editions. Cavies are better than Madison by a jump. Bluecoats...excellent guard, has to be to sell those high impact colored silks. Boston Crusaders...good guard; but they have chosen the type of silks that grab and focus your attention on them. Must be cleaner to sell this show into top 12. Colts...fine guard but lurks in the background at times. The focus is definitely not on them. Same with Phantom...don't remember a lot of their work. Glassmen...I call them butterflies; you know that they are there. They are the most integrated inside the rest of the corps of all the groups I have seen, but they are never the prominent focus. They are like butterflies.

Show venue: Maybe it was the strange coincidence of events over the weekend...huge traffic delays due to unfortunate wreck on Friday, brown out in M-boro on Saturday, and unavoidable weather delay on Saturday. MORE LIKELY, it was the lack of event management by DCI or MTSU that made us quite sour on this a s a venue for this MAJOR event. DCI had not prepped MTSU stadium staff nearly enough for concession management. To MTSU's credit, they really improved on Saturday night with multiple concession stands. Event staff who would normally monitor the gates into the stands were nonexistent. While most people familiar with drumcorps would not enter the stands during a show, not everyone there was familiar. The stands are nice with the bucket seats and all, but there were fewer seats that were good for both watching the show drill and hearing the sound cleanly. The upside to M-boro is that Nashville has a lot to do, even if I'm not a country music fan! If DCI plans to return to MTSU, they need to do a better job prepping the parking and stadium staff to make this a better show venue. What we had was not up to snuff with Ypsilanti or Champaign or other Mid-America previous sites.

Crowd: Great crowd, really appreciative of drum corps. First time friend with me marveled at the numbers in attendance on a Fri/Sat night and the fact that all generations from teens to seniors were there enjoying it together. I did miss "trooping" the stands after the performance and not a lot of people felt the need to give standing ovations to every show. I missed that respect. Also, may I say that the huge volume of people rushing out of the stadium DURING the finale of "America, the Beautiful/O Canada" was quite rude and others around me agreed. The cars are not going to get out any sooner. These are national songs and deserve more respect and so do the kids performing them!

Finale: Speaking of finale, much better on Saturday night. The Cadets set a smooth moving tempo and the corps played with much more ensemble. On Friday, Blue Devils were shaky and it carried into the other corps. Too much bass rumbling and losing pitch somewhere. Ya know, I chided BD for a bad finale performance at the beginning of the season in Normal, and it was still unbecoming of a show champion.

Encores: Who gives a better encore than BD? Noone!!!! Fun, exciting, right in your face the whole way! Captivating percussion! Hornline was tight as can be, and having fun! Friend noticed that of the BD hornline, the only horns that did that kneebending pelvic thrust wail when they were playing were males. Wonder why? ;-) Saturday, I really enjoyed Cadets hornline and percussion in encore; it made me appreciate the music much, much more! Missed the pit. Also, the Cadets were tight, but in a different way. Much more concerned about discipline and formalism. The drum major was very much in control, and he wanted them thinking and moving as in the show. Seemed a little rigid in that regard. Know it's a different style of music than BD, but yeegads were they rigid!

Tim Hendrix

Friday July 30
Murfreesboro, TN #1 (DCI)

Just some random thoughts on Murfreesboro Part I from an amateur hack. Take them for what they are worth. I post them for those who are interested in how their favorite corps are doing.

First, the traffic situation around Murfreesboro was AWFUL. Normally it takes 35-45 minutes to drive from Nashville to Murfreesboro. It took me 2 hours and 15 minutes because of total gridlock on I-24 and Highway 41. I never heard what the problem was, but because of it I missed Southwind and Tarheel Sun.

Pioneer - This was my first viewing. I enjoyed their show last year but this one just doesn't have the same pop. Nothing really stood out for me in this show.

SOA - This was my 2nd time seeing Spirit. I'm disappointed with this corps given the expectations coming into the season. The show starts with some nice in your face wailing on the front sideline and goes downhill from there. The hornline really is not up to snuff this year. I never thought I'd say this about Spirit, but I think the drumline may be better than the hornline. The sound quality just is not that good. They play with a rather puny sound for a corps this big. Visually there are obvious spacing, phasing and just basic cover problems. The corps looks like it is trying to march a drill it can't handle. No surprise they were beaten by Southwind.

Magic - Hornline sounds good. The one weakness I perceived in this show was a relatively uninteresting visual program. One annoying part was yet another segment where the corps members yell, scream and run around like goofballs before the closer. I'm not knocking the kids since they only do what they are told. The comment is aimed at the drill writers who continue to put this stuff into the shows. You can hear a collective groan from the audience when they do this. Just march okay? I would also add these arrangements of Mangione probably could have been done better.

Crown - Very nice show. I liked the total package here, especially the music. Still some execution problems and some minor balance and intonation problems in the hornline, but I think Crown won't have any problem staying in the top 12.

Blue Knights - Although I came to root for Phantom, BK deserved to beat them. This is a challenging (although not at the Cadets level) drill which BK performs very well. Impressed with the cleanliness of the program and the overall sound quality of the hornline. The show might benefit from some minor changes to boost the GE, but it is still solid and I couldn't find much to complain about.

Phantom - They did much better in Chattanooga the night before. There were some glaring visual problems including an absolutely horrid box rotation. The colorguard continues to be distracting because of their substandard performance. Rumor has it a member of the guard staff was recently "sent home." Maybe someone else out there can substantiate this. Hornline is good and getting better, but there are too many dead moments in the middle of this show. Also of note, PR marched only 12 contras in Chattanooga. It looked like they had all 14 back tonight, but it looks like they still have one hole in the hornline. If they keep scratching they can get back ahead of BK and maybe finish 6 or 7. I of course don't know what effect the late arrival had on PR. That may offer some explanation for the drop-off.

SCV - I love the show and thought they were a winner again tonight. This show has the most GE of any I have seen this summer (and I have now seen the top 4 corps). Brass and percussion are outstanding and you'll get worn out just watching these guys move on the field. I haven't seen the recaps so I don't know how BD edged them, but I'll bet it was in the performance and ensemble areas.

BD - The guard is top notch and the judges agreed with the high auxiliary award. Hornline is at its usual level of excellence and the drumline seems to be right there as well. Ahh yes, and those screeching sops are there again as well. I could actually hear them walking away from the stadium while BD did its victory concert. Visually the show is solid, but the difficulty level is not near what SCV and Cadets (and probably Cavies) are doing.

Cavies - Another year of strong visual, but I am beginning to tire of some of the same old moves (e.g., big box that subdivides into 4 boxes). There was one neat move I clearly remember where the corps is moving left to right toward the back of the field while the form undulates. The music in this show is more "hummable" than BD and the Cavies actually have a pretty good hornline this year, although it is not the most challenging book in the world. A well deserved 3rd place. I'll be interested to see how Madison and Glassman compare tonight.


I know that these reviews are a little slow coming. I apologize. My road trip turned out to be more eventful and less online than I anticipated. Was planning to do MidAmerica, then Charlotte Nightbeat, then Winston-Salem, but didn't make either of the NC shows due to road delays getting to my home state. Wanted to do a different type of review for this show, so I'm posting it in three parts:

Part 1-Friday: I-24 trials and comments about each performance.
Part 2-Saturday: Comments about the Saturday night performances of each corps.
Part 3-Synthesis comments about the show venue and notes about all the corps in relation to some of the questions that have come up on RAMD.

Murphreesboro, Part One: Friday, July 30, 1999

Made the trip from Champaign, IL to Nashville with two friends-a DCI fan who had only seen the Normal show with me in June and a First-timer. Interesting reactions all the way around!

The event started with the 10-mile backup on I-24 headed to Murphreesboro. If you haven't picked it up from other sources, there was a huge wreck on I-24 involving (I believe) a tractor-trailer and a camper RV-type RIGHT at the Murphreesboro exit we were all headed for! We left the hotel (right at the intersection of I-40 and I-24) at approx. 6:15 and made it to the stadium around 9:15-Yup, 3 hours! Completely stopped in traffic, engines turned off, everyone walking up and down the highway and shoulders of the road, people playing volleyball, working on their golf swing! Amazed at how many people I met on that stretch who were all headed for the DCI show...had lots of good conversations!

Weirdest thing on that wreck-traffic really was backed up for 10 miles...we started the 5 mph stop n go with about 13 miles to go to the exit, came to our complete dead standstill at 7 miles from the wreck, and were out of the car with the engine turned off for more than one hour-AND NEVER SAW ONE IOTA OF INFO ABOUT THE WRECK IN THE NASHVILLE PAPER THE NEXT DAY NOR ANYTHING ON THE NEWS! Don't know how the persons in the wreck were or anything...rabid drum corps fans can sometimes be brutal (get outta my way, there's a show!) but everyone with whom I spoke was good natured, patient, and respectfully concerned for those involved in the wreck.

Ok, a lot of time spent on the wreck...that fills up the space where I would have reviewed Southwind, Tarheel Sun, Pioneer, Spirit of Atlanta, Magic of Orlando, and Carolina Crown. Heard from fans present that Southwind kicked butt and improved greatly from DCM, that Spirit was entertaining but sloppy, others were all nice, and Crown indeed has a phenomenal colorguard. Wished I could have seen them all!

What I did see:

Blue Knights
They have improved considerably since I saw them in their first show in Normal. Playing even more securely and powerfully. Guard has changed uniforms to all white (no longer all different shades of blue dresses) and they have added some more new hand-painted flags for which they are becoming known. Great guard, great sound, great percussion, fantastic marchers! Someone posted last week about their great feet-they were right!!! Very solid marching, with uniform style throughout the corps. Some good drill, but to be honest, I don't remember much of it. As a matter of fact, the whole show didn't really do a lot for me even tho the kids performed it beautifully! I don't like the horn players' interpretive movements in this show. I am not a stick in the mud-I like that type of embellishment when done well, but it overpowered the visual element of the show. The hornline's body movements, in this instance, seemed esoteric, and not a complementary touch. Sorry-JMHO! My first time guest was suitably impressed with his first viewing of a corps of any type-both by BK's great sound, the intricacy of their show, and the dance work of the guard.

Santa Clara
Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, ya get my drift? I am usually dubious of everyone's ardent love of their favorite corps-we all get a bit gungho about the ones we love, but this stuff is great! It is a total package-the horns are strong, full, rich with an awesome amount of power at the needed places. The soloists didn't have their best night, but were still great! There is excellent drill in this show-the opening sequence is a marvel of design! The t-push that we kept hearing about is very dramatic. From Row 1 of the upper section (which wasn't a good drill place in general) it was phenomenal! Their t-PUSH PULLED the crowd to its feet both times! My only criticism of the drill itself is that after the first sequence it is entirely a 30 to 30 yard line show. That is not a great weakness. Percussion? Kicks butt all over the place! Guard? Fantastic...a clean guard that perfectly complements the other elements of the show (see Review 3 for further guard comments!) The best thing about the guard is the dance abilities of the members-hands down, the best dance I saw on the two nights. Total package for Madison-look out! All of us felt that they were robbed on Friday!

Blue Devils
I don't get it! I loved this show in Normal (their first show of the season) and I still loved it tonight! The rhythms theme is a fantastic show concept, and the music is HOT! But, IMO, in no way was it better than SCV tonight! The drill was fairly clean, and there is nice demand in the drill-but it does not wow me (nor anyone in the stands it seemed) as much as SCV's. The general effect of the drill and music is more of a rolling effect, and not a jump to your feet effect that SCV generated. Was it clean? Yes, for the most part. Is it complex? Relatively. Did it wow? NO. The percussion rocked tonight, and the guard was great (but I personally thought the Vanguard guard was better although a different style. The horns supposedly won performance tonight, and I thought that they had an offnight. Lots of fracks and early articulations by individual members that I could hear halfway up the stadium. Overall, it is a great show, but I think one that will be passed in the next two weeks-by three others.

Great improvement in the last three weeks. I have always been a big Cavie fan, mostly for their drill and total concept package, but this show has taken a long time to grow on me. Their horns were very impressive tonight, and they sound quite mature. The sop soloist at the beginning of the second number was quite nice and the mellos had a rich sound. Near the end of the show, they showed the strains of being tired. Their percussion feature rocked the stadium, and the drill (as usual) drew many ooh's and aah's. The colorguard has improved tremendously, but I still feel is not the best Cavie colorguard to hit the field. On Friday, their guard had the best silk work that I saw (didn't get to see Crown!), but BD had better weapon work, and SCV were better dancers and had the best total package guard! I think that there is enough to clean musically, drill and guard wise in this show and if they do, the Cavies could pass one of the other 3.

Phantom Regiment
First, let me say that I think that the penalty is a crock...I understand the need for consistency in applying rules (I'm anal about it, actually!) and I agree with the principle of late penalty, but this road hold-up was an extenuating circumstance! Not only were they stuck in the highway, but I-24 was not conducive to turning around and re-navigating to another route into Murphreesboro. There was enough of a penalty assessed simply in the effect the ordeal had on their show. The show is improving; I have been a tough critic of spacing flaws in their show thus far, and I applaud them for improving this and their marching greatly!!! They still sound powerful, but I feel the ordeal stressed them-their contras didn't rule the house nearly as much as when I saw them last and their sops ran out of chops earlier than normal. It's a great show, the percussion turned it up a notch, and the guard is now a great complement to the other elements. Performance-wise, they still were placed correctly behind Blue Knights.

All of my gang thought that according to Friday's performances, the order should have been: SCV, Cavies, BD! How's that for food for thought? I seriously think that Cavies had a better performance than BD on the field! Yet, BD did give an amazing encore standstill. Had they played like that during the show, and marched a tad cleaner, then yes...but in no way should they have beaten SCV, much less by 1.3 point spread! I loved all three corps, but don't understand that scoring at all.

Hope that this is of use for some of you that weren't there...See Part 2 for Saturday's show. I will make comments about (1) the stadium and venue (2) the general crowd atmosphere and (3) synthesis analysis in Part 3 of this review.

Tim Hendrix

Thursday July 29
Tupelo, MS (DCI)

Placings for the Tupelo show....

1: Blue Devils - not my favorite show...these kids are WAAAY too talented to be marching a turd of a show like this. Lots of dirt and a couple of major ensemble tears should have put them into third or even forth. General census among the group I was with was that it was a 12 minute drum solo with a few brass licks thrown in. Devils scored a 91 something. No way any corp should have been that high tonight.

2: Cavvies - Liked "Ode to Joy" very much . Very hard drill . They scored in the 88ish range which was about right.

3: Madison - Best programming they've had in years IMHO! A little cleaning and they will be right up there with the rest when the smoke clears. Scored an 85. Could've been a point or two higher but it doesn't help when a soprano wipes out on the 45 yard line right in front of the judges. I loved Jesus Christ Superstar though.

4: Blue Knights - I get a strange nervous tick every time I've said this..... This was my favorite group of the night. This was the best sounding horn line of all of the groups here tonight. Should 've also been in the 86-87 range. No one in the stands could believe that it was the Blue Knights! Helluva sound guys, helluva sound. They could potentially crack the top 5 this year if they do every thing right.

5: Blue Coats - Ok, they'll hit top 12 again, I like Chick Corea, but it was still 99 degrees at this point in the contest and I just couldn't enjoy much.

6: Tarheel Sun- not bad, not bad at all for a newer corps. "Bohemian Rhapsodie" took cajones to try to pull off...enjoyed the show...better than a 68

7: Pioneer - performed after tarheel sun. Went to take a leak and didn't make it back into the stands before they started so I missed the show. they scored a 67.8 I think.

Overall, not bad, but the night was WAY to hot to really enjoy. On that subject, a message to corp directors. LEARN TO HYDRATE YOUR KIDS!!!!!! There were corp members dropping like flys! Keep fluid in them guys! It's not that hard!

Andy Austin CSCS

Wednesday July 28
Evansville, IN (DCI)

Ok, this is my first review, so please don't cut off my head :-)

The weather was hot and sunny, with the occasional threat of rain, but that never amounted to anything. I attended the show with two of my friends who have never seen a drum corps or marching band show in their lives (they went to a deprived catholic high school). One of my friends was impressed enough to be interested in marching next year. My seats for the first half were on the 10, but i had better seats for the last 3 corps (thank you Heather and Terri!.) Sorry for rambling, here's the reviews.

MANDARINS- First time I've seen them this year. Now I see why they're the Div. 3 champions :-) Overall they were very clean, had really good visual and music, and did really good at keeping my attention from the crap seats that i had.

SOUTHWIND- I thought they were good in Alexandria last month... WOW!!! Really cleaned up visually from last time. I can see Southwind in 15th at Semifinals.

LES ETOILES- My first viewing this year. Noticed some dirtiness in the drill work, and the pit on the risers really didn't help the show any.

KIWANIS KAVALIERS- Also first viewing. Liked the music, but didn't seem to have the "oomph" it should have. Visual looked clean, although when the guard "slapped" the guys, it hit too close to home for me, er, uh, i'll just leave it at that...

CAROLINA CROWN- Sloppy, but when they get it clean, it's gonna be great! I actually had them closer to Glassmen.

GLASSMEN- Cleaner than in Columbus, but the show didn't do that much for me GE-wise. Score was about right.

CADETS- My prediction for next year: The Cadets will use their "blender" (where the horns get into a box and move forwards and backwards through each other) to warm up. If my memory serves me right, the move keeps on getting earlier and earlier in the show each year. The opening was nice until the second blender, which i thought was overkill. From there it seemed to be downhill ge-wise. The circle move in the closer would have had more impact if it was clean. I agree with the score, and would have been surprised if they broke 90 tonight.

Other than a few people walking down aisles in the middle of shows (of course there was a lot more band kids there than the other two shows i've seen this year), i liked the show. It's gonna be interesting how things are gonna shape up for Madison.

J.T. Alwin

Aside from it being hot, the weather was great. We drove down from Greenwood, and there was a big storm earlier, so we watched the weather closely. The clouds ended up leaving and the sky was perfectly clear. From the ticket problems we had from calling the show coordinator earlier in the week, we ended up with *great* seats showing up at 4:30 or so, I was on the 50, 11 rows back. I brought two friends of mine and one of their moms, who were all first-timers, and my mom, who saw the II-III show in Rockford. They loved it and my friends are heading to Madison with me. I love it :) Okay, on to the corps...

Mandarins: (6th place, 65.0)
We counted 53, program said 58. Maybe a couple percussion and guard holes. I started writing notes on Mandarins, but stopped to watch. It was a really nice show. I love the uniforms; I really wouldn't want to mess with the DM. The guard was excellent and the flag choices fit in well. I was particularly impressed with the balance of the brass. I was afraid that the sops would overbalance with the rest of the line, but overall their ears were open. I liked the carts that were moved around during the show to enhance the guardwork; they were used really effectively. The drill was good and tied in well with the carts, but I noticed a couple baris struggling with the horn. My mom said she really like Mandarins, so you did well pleasing the average fan who knows absolutely nothing about drum corps :)

Southwind: (4th place, 72.9)
I just added up my counting, and I got 131. I can't count. :) Southwind is pretty full, and they have a great full sound to go along with it. I was up in Ft Wayne for the rainout and was impressed there with the sound, but on the field...WOW. A few times in the show, the sops were *really* tight in the sound, but otherwise it was great. My friend and I commented many times on how gorgeous the guard uniforms are. *Very* flattering, and the tastefully glittered pants are nice in the lights. Also cute props for the Kentucky Suite (mantle made of roses, big Derby hats); really nice in correlation with the music. Summon the Heroes was really nice. I like the arrangement a lot; I was iffy after Ft Wayne, but seeing the whole show helped me out. Nice drum feature, although I could have done without some of the weird arm-leg-body movements. I was distracted a couple times from the line away to look at the body movements. Side note: Thank you soloists. They flubbed quite a bit at Fort Wayne, but were nails at Evansville. I'll attribute the brain farts at FW due to lack of concentration, which plagued every corps. Last night, Southwind was on, and they have a fan.

Les Etoiles: (7th place, 63.4)
Counted 53, program says 85. Looks like Etoiles is *really* hurting, especially in brass holes. But they get past the holes and really put on a nice show. The huge scaffolding got more than a few remarks from my friends, but then I explained the gyroscope drum harness of last year, and they understood :) I really dig the guard uniforms. The design looks cold, and with the show being Ice Storm, they fit in really nicely. I was humming parts of the show to myself a while after, partly because it's a nice composition and partly because it's a wee bit repetitive. The composition is nice for a corps show, just because you can do so much fool stuff visually. I noticed some *great* flag design and great guard work and dance. The hornline is great, being so small, and they have a badass bari player. Oh my gosh. *Great* tone, comfy range, and has a great control over the horn marching-wise. Major props to you. Anyway, I digress. The show was a little flat in a couple places, and my attention wandered to my water bottle, but it was nice. And aside from the fact that I had issues with the DM's conducting style, I was glad to see Etoiles finally. Nice job.

Kiwanis Kavaliers: (5th place, 66.2)
Counted 70, programs says 111. As stated earlier, I have trouble counting (and I've passed sophomore sue me), so I could be way off. Heard Kavaliers at Fort Wayne too, and really enjoyed the show. I'm glad I got to this show, because it's totally different on the field. The guard did a lot of role-playing, but it was really cool. Elicited a lot of whistles and catcalls from the band crowd, and they loved every second of it. Kavies look like they have a ton of fun with the show, and it was one of the parents favorites. The brassline has a really nice sound, overbearing contras for like 2 seconds, but other than that really nice. Marching was quite solid, and the drill was sweet. I really dig Kavaliers, the jazz is fun, and the guard work and dance does nothing but improve it. The parents thought the DM was "a cutie", so now you know what I was dealing with the whole night :)

Caroilina Crown: (3rd place, 81.6)
Counted 115, program says 128. They still have a ton of holes written in the show, particularly in the opener. I didn't notice holes so much in any other show but this one, but I think they're fixing that problem. Crown was also at Fort Wayne, and they impressed me the most in the standstill; very concentrated and focused. Evansville was not an exception. I really love the show, and can't wait to see it again in Madison. The uniforms are growing on me, because I come from a white top-black bottom camp. The color top-white bottom really showcases their feet, which are great 90% of the time. The guard uniforms were a little distracting at first, just because of all the white on the field, but that made an even bigger effect when the red emerged. Very nice. Crown's sound is really really nice. They get some great releases that just echo (not to mention the Reitz Bowl is *awesome*). The drill of the first 3/4 of the show was really nice, a little cleaning left to go. However, the very ending of the closer was extremely dirty. It looks as if it was new, because some fairly easy cover-downs were way off, and the last front had people standing on top of each other. I would bet it's new, and once it gets clean, it'll be *really* effective. But, there's still work to do. Overall, great show.

Glassmen (2nd place, 85.7)
Never got a count on the guard, so I'm not sure how close to 128 they are. The opening drill move really shows a lot of holes, but I think I remember hearing from a friend of mine in the bari line that it was going to be redone soon. First thing: The gold beads on the guard uniforms are the most distracting thing I've ever seen. During the opener, you hear them clinking during the semi-quiet parts. The beads aren't on all of the unis, but the ones that they are on are quite distracting. Okay, back to the show :) Opening bari entrance was right on. Wow. Intonation was excellent and zero fracks. However, the tempo is *really* slow. I'm not sure if they're planning on cranking it up or not, but the music and the drill could benefit from about 15-20 clicks. The opening impact was a tad anti-GE, coming out of nowhere. I knew it was coming, but I doubt most of the audience did, and on the field it's more than a little choppy. The nice balanced sound, however, took my attention away from the choppiness. The music is really clean right now, but it's still a tad under tempo. I hope that they crank it soon, because that will *really* boost their effect and turn up the show a notch. The guard is really beautiful, with a lot of individual focus. The sabre soloist during the *so* in-tune unison impact gets props for her composure. Very very nice. I had Glassmen a *lot* closer to Cadets, but I think that GE really nailed them. Visually, quite clean, musically, clean. A really tight drill move at the end (half-time marching box being threaded through by a tempo-marching sop/mello line) got a few screams from the crowd, but other than that, I think they were holding back for the Cadets. Once Gmen hit up on the GE, I think the show will really come together. But, it was very very nice. Thanks Glassmen!

Cadets: (1st place, 89.8)
Counted 127, I think there's a guard hole. The opening set had a space in the diags of three, so that's where my prediction is based. :) Cadets have a sweet sound and tons of control. I was impressed with the maturity, even on a night where it was getting close to 90, probably 95 on the field, at showtime. Cadets had a great poise, and that made a new impression on me after the jeans-white shirt standstill at Ft Wayne. Classic drill moves right at the beginning, getting immediate reaction from the crowd who would barely clap for a nail rifle toss in Crown. Now, don't get me wrong, it was nice, but I don't think the oooh-looks-hard-and-scary drill moves need to get a standing ovation. Anyways, the show concept is really nice, with lots of New York props (cab pieces, briefcases, Statue of Liberty flags) in the guard. The guard had a couple drops, but overall was on. The section in the middle of the show where half the guard tosses rifle 5s and the other half does sabre 5s, alternating about 5 times...Wow. They nailed them all. Guard certainly lived up to my expectations. I like the plain blue uniforms too, really showcased the talent of the guard on the equipment rather than having flashy uniforms. There were a couple nice moments in the hornline, with one release that made me say yess...but other than that, nothing too extraordinary. If my counting is right, the 24 sops really bothered me. Too much high sound for my taste, but on the other hand, they get that pyramid balanced in chords. I wonder how long they have to work on that exquisite balance. Marching was pretty solid for most of the show, but once the closer pushed up to the 215 range, there was zero control. Personally, I think they should leave it around 190 until the marching can hack it, particularly the backwards marching. It was just messy. Wait to whip out the 215-220 Finals week, please. The GE of the show was a lot higher than Glassmen's, which is probably a lot of the 4.1 spread. I think the best moment of the show is when the male guard member throws a 6, possibly a 7, I caught the toss out of the corner of my eye, grabs a girl up around his waist and catches the toss. WOW. That was tight. Quads get some major props too. Nice feature. It's a nice show, but could use a little down-tempo control work in the next two weeks. I was greatly impressed with my first viewing of Cadets on the field. Thanks!

Final thoughts: I had Glassmen closer to Cadets, but the GE issue probably killed them. It was extremely extremely hot, so flat shows were probably due to that. Overall, I thought it was a great show; perfect for the three first-timers I brought. A big thank you goes out to the boosters at Reitz; they really have the show figured out, even from last year. It was really nicely organized and ran very very smoothly. It was over at 9:30, which gave us driving home to Indy a lot of time with our friends. Also, a *huge* thank you to the show coordinator who went out of his way to get us tickets when we showed up at 4 pm. We got great seats for a great show. Hopefully I can convince the boosters at my former HS to look at this show and try to get one scheduled in the next year or two. Thanks for bearing with on my first review :)


Tuesday July 27
Cincinnati, OH (DCI)

It's late, but I'll try my best.

The Cincinnati Tradition exhibitioned first. We (yes we) played for what seemed like too long. I know we didn't sound too good, but all I could hear from my positioning was the french horn next to me. Oh well. Any comments about our show would be greatly appreciated.

I unfortunately missed Glory while I was changing. 'Twas a pity too, I really wanted to hear them. It looks like they dropped a couple horn players since Dayton. I hope they still played well.

The Mandarins played next. Gosh, did they sound good! I was impressed. They had a very interesting show and performed it well. The music seemed a lot stronger than the visual though. Something to work on, I guess.

Troopers took the field next. I like the theme of their show quite a bit (Billy the Kid) but it didn't improve as much as I wished it would have since the Dayton show. The guard and acting was much improved but the music seemed lacking some.

Les Etoiles had a very abstract show. I'm not into the interpretive dance thing they liked to have. They did it well, but it wasn't my thing. I personally thought that the Mandarins would have beat them. But I think they clinched their spot with their visual performance.

Intermission - somebody strangle that goofy announcer!

Colts. YES!! I love their show. And boy did they play it. The musical performance was practically flawless, and marching got much better since the last I saw them. I hope they keep up the work because this show is top 6 material. The drill is almost there. They have some really tough maneuvers and they come sooooo close to pulling every one of them off. Maybe next week.

Crown show, honestly, bored me. They play magnificent. Really, I love the sound, but visually... what..? Nothing seems to happen. In the very beginning, the guard does some cool thing with their outfits. (black on the left side of their bodies, white on the other) but the rest of the ensemble seems to just sit around and play. After a while the novelty of the guard's unis wears off and then- blah. The ending was nice. Like the last five moves were what the rest of the show should have been. Musically and visually. But, I guess they wanted to save the best for last.

The winners of tonight's show, Santa Clara came next. It seems that absolutely everything this corps does on the field is cool. From placing the people in the first set, to setting their instruments on the ground for retreat, wow. Their show absolutely killed me. It actually wore me out watching it. I have not seen a finer performance in a very long time. The music is cool and well arranged. And they way that the Vanguard played it was amazing. I can pick out every part because the members playing that part are so perfectly in tune, that they match and sound like a drum corps should. Drum line solo also wowed me, and that doesn't happen often (I'm a brass player). I even liked the way that their coolest move ( the sideways T that pushes thoughitself and melts into a box, yeah, that one) was used again at the very end because it was so darn cool. When I say it the first time, I said to myself, "Self, you need a rewind button so you can see that again." This corps is going somewhere this year. (I know because they are already there)

The Cadets of Bergen County did their usual type of show. Extremely fast past marching, big props (taxi cab pieces), and perfect perfoming. The marching seemed flawless, but I may have blinked once or twice. I like the music. They played it well, it just didn't have as much following the Vanguard. I like their guard though. They featured them quite a bit in the first half. Guys spinning rifles in silence to the sound of the catches was cool. And that guy who caught the saber (I think is was a saber) when the girl ran up and hugged him (he caught it behind HER back). The statue of Liberty flags are a bit cheesy, but then again, they did get the point across.

Overall, the announcer started out nifty, and then started to suck because he keep ad libbing too much. I was dissapointed with my own performance (I need to work on memorization!) and I was really glad I got to head Santa Clara play 'Send in the Clowns'. That songs rocks, especially when played by a great drum corps!

Over and out,

Scott Hand

The following is a review of last night's Cincinnati show. One thing to consider while reading this review is that this was my first and last show of the summer due to my work schedule, therefore I probably did not get a good read on many of the shows. However, these are my first impressions.

Cincinnati Tradition - Exhibition
They only utilize a brass line (about 25) and an honor guard. They will be adding a percussion line next season. This group performed well and have much to be proud of. Their show was titled "A Tribute to Tom Slade Sr." Tom was an honor guard captain who passed away after the 1998 season. Show selections included Taps, Hymn in F, Spain, You'll Never Walk Alone, and Amazing Grace. I was impressed with their playing. The average age in this corps can't be over 15, but I thought they did a great job and I look forward to seeing them grow as a drum corps in the next century.

8th place - 51.6 - Cincy Glory
For some reason I thought the Cincinnati Glory was a bit larger than they were. The program says 20 brass, but I only counted 10 (maybe 12). I was a bit disappointed with this show which was titled "An American Storybook Hero." The music was all composed by James Horner, but from what I heard, I could barely recognize any of it. Lots of effects writing but very little lyrical line. My hats off to the kids for doing their best to sell this show, but I feel the staff has given them a product not practical for a corps that size. I do not understand how a corps from Cincinnati, a very large metropolitan area, could not field at least 80 total members or more. I was more impressed with Cincinnati Tradition.

7th place - 62.7 - Troopers
I feel the Troopers got robbed in terms of score. I thought they had both the Mandarins and Les Etoiles beat. Don't ask me how Les Etoiles pulled that score but I had them below both Troopers and Mandarins. The Troopers are fielding a bigger corps this year compared to the past few years. They had about 48 brass, 20 percussion and 20 in the guard. The show is very entertaining, and I loved the drill--simple, readable, and effective. The brass sounded nice (good balance), and the soloists were some of the best at this show. The Soprano soloist for the Troopers was much stronger than the soprano soloist for the Vanguard in terms of control, tonal beauty, and technique. The show features music from Copland's "Billy The Kid" Anytime a corps plays music of Aaron Copland, I know I will lke the show (9 times out of 10). Copland's music just works so well on the field, and the Troopers do it justice this year. Yes, they have some serious marching problems and musical details to clean, but this is the best I've seen Casper in about 4 or 5 years. Bravo guys and gals!!! Keep it up.

6th place - 63.5 - Mandarins
The Mandarins have another great show this year, one very reminiscent of the mid-1980s Garfield Cadets. Their show is titled "Transformations," and features the music of Leonard Berstein (another one of my favorites). Selections include: Overture to Candide, Make Our Garden Grow, and the symphonic suite from On The Waterfront. The treatment of all three works reminds me of Garfield 1985 and 1986, but they add their own unique interpretation to the arrangements, visuals, and staging. The show is very well performed, the horn line is excellent and can pump out some sound for a smaller corps, and the guard does a wonderful job of establishing mood. I wasn't so upset when they beat Troopers, although I would have placed the Troopers a tad above the Mandarins, but more so when Les Etoiles beat both of these corps. What a joke that was, but that is my opinion. Great show Mandarins!!!

5th place - 65.2 - Les Etoiles
What happened here? When Les Etoiles entered the field, I thought somebody was going to build a house or try to fix the stadium lights due to all the scaffolding they were bringing out. What the heck are they thinking? I hear scaffoling adds an element of aesthetic beauty to a drum corps show?!@ NOT!!! As for the corps, I didn't hear any type of linear music happening, just lots of sound effects (horn pops, dissonant chords, lots of long tones going nowhere, and the occasional loud chord to wake the audience up--to bad that didn't work). Their program is titled "Ice Storm" which is an original composition by Gilbert Lamothe. I don't know what kind of ensemble the original work was written for, and I don't know how it's supposed to sound, but something tells me that I still don't know based on last night's performance. This is my own opinion, and feel free to offer yours, but I think the staff of this corps needs to wake up, stop giving these hard working kids a bunch of trash to perform, and find some decent music to play. Les Etoiles membership is way down from about 3 years ago. I wonder why? HELLO!!!

4th place - 79.1 - Carolina Crown
Crown's show for this year is the music from the Broadway show "Jekyll & Hyde." I have never heard this music before, but based on what I heard last night, I like it. The music is beautiful, very lyrical. There are a number of dissonant sections in the music as well, but these sections are used to depict the contrast in characters, which also happens to create some wonderful tension and release moments. The best moment in the show, and one of the best of the night, is in the ballad which features some great guard work and some beautiful music. I love the guard unis. My only complaint with this show is the marching. The show is designed very well, the drill is great, the music is effective, and the brass, percussion and guard all perform well, but the marching is sloppy. The drill is not easy, no doubt, but to be this sloppy this late in the season is one of the reasons the Colts are beating Crown by as much as they did. It would be a shame if Crown didn't make the top 12 because they couldn't clean their drill. I do like the show, and the corps is very talented, but you have to be able to march it. If this show cleans, the fans in Madison will have a lot of fun watching Crown.

3rd place - 80.5 - Colts
Believe it or not, the Colts were my favorite corps of the night. Great music, readable drill, and good performance levels. They are doing a show titles "Voices," which includes music from Verdi's Requiem, Nicholas Len's "Flamma Flamma--The Fire Requiem," Eric Levi's "I Believe," and Francis Poulene's "Stabat Mater." The Colts are sporting an excellent drum line this year, an excellent brass line, and very good guard, and a drill that works with the show. The only thing I found to be unfortunate were the 4 wholes in the horn line, especially considering all the block rotations the Colts do, the wholes stick out like a sore thumb. Other than that, I loved the show. The ballad was incredible and powerful, and the closer is one of the few that I saw last night in which the music really developed and built as the corps pushed to the close of the show. With many of the shows last night it seemed as if the closer just appeared out of nowhere, making me wonder whether they were done or not. I hope the judges realize that this corps has excellent show design, and I hope their general effect scores are indicative of this. Bravo Colts!!!

2nd place - 89.3 - Cadets of Bergen County
I'm sure by now that most of you know that I am a huge Cadets fan, but I am going to be a bit critical of them this year. Overall, I like the show, but probably less than most other Cadet shows of the past. When you watch and listen to this year's version of the Cadets, there is no doubt that they can play and march. From that standpoint they are incredible, as always. I believe they won the brass caption last night, I'm sure they won guard, and they were probably close in drums, Visual and GE to the Vanguard. The problem I have is that the shows seems somewhat disjunct to me. There are moments that the audio and visual are incredible, and then there are moments when I am not sure what to think. The only time they play music from the "Big Apple" by Johan De Meij is in the opener and the closer. "Hells Kitchen" is music by another composer (not sure who, but this is the section that was the gun fight in their 1996 show), and the ballad is also from another work. Of the music from the "Big Apple," I wish they would have done more with the Aaron Copland motifs which De Meij purposely included since this was not just a work about depicting a typical day in New York City, but it was also a tribute to Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and John Adams (as stated by the composer in his liner notes from the CD). This is obviously just my opinion, but the original work has some wonderful themes and driving rhythms that I feel the Cadets were unable to capture. I usually like how Jay Bocook arranges, and in all fairness, he arranged Crown's musical book as well and I loved it, but I was unable to follow his thought process with the Big Apple arrangements. Well, we're all human, and I could not have done any better. One other negative was the way the show ended. It seemed to me like the show came to a sudden close--not enough development to help build to the final impact. On a positive side, the Cadets guard is fantastic. SCV's guard is not even in the same league with the Cadets--not even close in my opinion. There are also some wonderful jazzy moments in the Cadets show that simply rock the house. Musically, the brass was incredible last night and will only get better now that Donnie Van Doren is back on board for the remainder of the tour (according to the 3 Youngstown State University students that I spoke to who are marching with the Cadets this year). In my opinion, only BD can beat them in brass come finals, but then again, one never knows. The drum line is awesome and seems to be mastering the difficult drill they have, and the guard is simply TOO GOOD!! I guess the Cadets put in a number of changes before the show last night, so many of the members I spoke to feel the corps can now work on cleaning for finals. My only worry for the Cadets is the musical arrangements. I think the drill is excellent, with the exception of the repeat rotating block from last year, and I love the performance levels. Still 2 plus weeks left, and a little fine tuning can go a long way. The performance levels are there for a championship, but we'll see about the rest.

1st place - 90.0 - Santa Clara Vanguard
Santa Clara's show, "Inventions for a New Millenium," is a medley of sorts of some fine contemporary music arranged in a way so that it not only works on the field, but that the average fan can follow without scratching their head. This show is a great show from top to bottom. The horns are solid and powerful, the percussion is FANTASTIC, the guard is good (a few problems last night but nothing major), and the audio/visual connections is just stunning at times. Much like the Cadets, I don't care for all of SCV's music (especially the swing section in Blue Shades which sounded awkward to me), but SCV's total show is easier to follow and understand, and they perform it incredibly well. My only concern for the Vanguard is that they seem so clean to me that I think they may be maxed out, although I'm sure there is still more room for improvement. They don't have the demand in their show that the Cadets do, but they are much cleaner at this point. This is where I see Vanguard having trouble. I think they will have a tough time beating BD the next time those two meet, and the Cadets may catch them as well. To be honest, I would have put SCV about a full point in front of the Cadets last night. I think the Cadets are still a little dirty, due to all the changes, and SCV had one heck of a show last night--very clean. I just hope they haven't peaked. Well, who cares about all that stuff anyway. That's for the judges to decide. All I know is I love SCV's total show, and whether they have peaked or not is not important, what is important is that they are entertaining and awesome. Great show SCV!!!

Just one quick note before I close:

Bringing more fans to the shows to help support this activity starts first and foremost with the individual corps, not DCI, YEA, DCM, or DCW. Certainly organizations like DCI, DCM and YEA need to take part, but if each drum corps would take it upon themselves to entertain first and foremost, I think we would see more fans and better attendance. This means playing music that can be translated to the field so that the audience isn't left scratching their heads. This means designing shows with the audience in mind, not the judges, and this means understanding the performance capabilities of your corps' performers. Case in point: Les Etoiles performing that 11 and 1/2 minute clinic on how to chase the audience away while forcing your members to perform a show that is over their heads. It's one thing for a corps like SCV to attempt something this complex and contemporary because they have the talent to pull it off, but not Les Etoiles. Why force young kids into such a situation before they're ready? In addition, at least the Vanguard arranged the complex music in their show in a way that it spoke to the audience, although I prefer a bit more lyrical show. The Cadets have been good at this over the years as well, but I feel their music is sort of half and half this year--part of the time it speaks to the audience, and part of the time it doesn't. Cincinnati Glory did the thing as Les Etolies, only with music that should be more linear in thematic design and very lyrical. Good music arranged well equals ENTERTAINMENT!!! In my opinion, this is part of the problem with attendance. When SCV played "Send in the Clowns" last night during their victory concert, I thought about how beautiful that was, and how I wished I could have heard more music that beautiful during the show.

Jonathan Willis

Go to Page 11 of Reviews!
Go to Page 9 of Reviews!

LE FastCounter     Hits since June 24, 1998!

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