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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 Friday, August 13, 1999

Page Eleven 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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Thursday August 5
E. Rutherford, NJ (DCI)

OK, here goes...

First of all, the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Corps put on a history lesson, doing a show straight out of the '60's/early 70's--it was fun and the corps showed just what old time drum corps was all about. I'd never seen a show like this in person (only on video), so I found it interesting to see live. It was kind of like getting in a time machine...

I didn't write down the scores (note to self--don't leave the office to go to the show without grabbing a pen out of your desk), but I see they've already been posted. One question--I thought they announced Cadets as 93.6 and SCV as 93.7. Do I need my hearing checked?

My seat--47 yard line, 40 rows up. Horns pointed right in my direction. :)

Southwind--great job for being their first year back in competition, and their first year in Division 1. Marching was surprisingly clean (more about this later). I thought the American Salute arrangement was interesting with it's use of dissonance and the funky mello parts. Nice to hear a different take on this classic for a change. Only complaint--tempo was too slow--they need to crank it up a notch or two. Color guard book MUCH improved over 2 years ago, when it was a mess (as I noted in my review then, the kids did the best they could, but the writing was bad, IMHO). Brass was pretty solid, though they lacked the volume and punch of finalist corps. Really nice job keeping Summon the Heroes together. No let down at the end--conditioning must have kicked in by now. They need more oomph, however (put that in your spellchecker). This could be a corps to watch for on Saturday night in a few years.

Colts--Solid show--but not the lock for finals that they looked like just one week ago. Did they have an off night? OK, here are the positives: nice sound from the hornline--fairly balanced and playing with muscle (but controlled), great drill and visual effects--very well thought out with lots of GE, great arrangements--kudos Chuck. And the negatives: marching was DIRTY tonight! Remember what I said about Southwind's marching? They were cleaner than Colts. Interval and alignment problems all over the field. And the new closer just didn't do it for me... show ended a little flat. Chuck, I like the arrangement, but it sounded like a song for the middle of the show, not the end, IMHO. Overall, the show design and arrangements are strong, lots of GE, nice horn line. This show should be in finals. But, IMHO, if they don't clean the feet, they be watching Saturday from the stands.

Crossmen--the new unis are bland. The promotional literature from earlier in the year shows them with white pants, which looks much better. I'm wondering if they're going to put on the whites Friday or Saturday night next week to get some extra GE... On with the show: I liked Blue Shades. After listening to the original wind band composition, I wasn't sure what to expect, but they have shortened and rearranged it to capture the essence of the piece. Horn line was solid. When October Goes was a nice change of pace after Blue Shades. From a programming perspective, I didn't think Appalachian Morning worked as an effective closer to the show. Drum line was good, but they are missing the old Crossmen groove. The guard really stood out tonight. They were tight! Couple of drops on weapons, but other than that they did a really good job and added to the show. Flag work was second only to Cadets in execution. Crossmen were cleaner than Colts, hence the score. But, IMHO, Colts have a much better program. I don't see Crossmen making a dramatic leap in score this year at finals. Someone mentioned that they came out of nowhere in '97 to finish 6th, which I don't really agree with. They were within striking range of that position for a good part of the season, and there was even much discussion on RAMD about it. After seeing them during the season, it seemed to me that they were a bit underscored at that time, and that they had to repeatedly prove they deserved it to the judges before they got the score they had earned at finals. Crossmen this year are not underscored.

Blue Knights--WOW! I can't say enough about this corps. IMHO, they should have beaten the Cavaliers. I told the person I went with that I thought they deserved to score better than the Cavaliers, but that they probably wouldn't. Unfortunately, I was right. Last year they were solid, but this year they have shown they belong with the elite. Wonderful hornline, with incredible balance, and a nice pyramid of voices. Played with lots of muscle. Lots of volume. And lots of good intonation. Great drill, and they had the 3rd cleanest feet of the night (behind SCV and Cadets). This is the first drumline that really caught my attention. Very effective book (I believe Hardimon wrote it). I took a coworker with me (he's a percussionist) and he said the same thing. Only drawback was that the guard didn't really catch my attention during the show. I did notice a few times some of the unique flag designs, but that's about it. It may have been the way they were staged... or maybe it was the way the brass and percussion were upstaging them! :) These guys are making a move--I see them probably getting 6th, and maybe even 5th. I'm hoping the judges will give them the score they deserve (see my rant of Crossmen '97 above).

Cavaliers--those who have posted before saying that the show doesn't grab you musically: I agree. The show is just flat musically. Drill wise, it's been there, done that. I only saw 2 sequences that made me smile. I think they've gone to the well too many times with some of these moves. Usually I don't mind seeing a corps do a few trademark moves every year... maybe it's because I found the program so boring. It wasn't the drill moves, it was the context. Hmmmmmm... It could also have been the execution (see below). Horn line was good, not great. Pit really stood out (as usual), but not the battery. Guard was good, but not as good as past editions, IMHO. Again, nothing in the guard book really grabbed me either. And what's with the Flintstone-esque outfits in brown? The other problem I had was that the marching was dirty. Alignments weren't too bad, but lots of interval problems and MAJOR phasing problems with the feet. No phasing musically, but some of the guys feet were so far off they were almost out of step. It was very distracting. Usually I like the Cavaliers. A lot. Not this year.

Cadets--Watch out SCV and BD! This show has championship written on it. Should be one hell of a week coming up. Horn line is fantastic; much cleaner than I had been led to believe on RAMD. Do they have the best hornline this year? No. probably the 2nd or 3rd best. But it's good enough to win if they can put the rest together. Percussion was solid. Very solid. Drum breaks/solos really got my attention. Tenor soli pretty clean, and long! They seemed to almost run out of chops at the end. Best guard, hands down. Absolutely phenomenal. I even like those damn taxi props that I had made fun of earlier, based on the pictures posted on the net. Lots of GE--IMHO this show is more fan friendly than those of the last 2 years (which were basically "Look how many notes I can play. Be amazed." and I was... ). The bouncing and shaking plumes situation, while not ideal, were much better than I have seen in recent years. Ballad is probably the weakest section--poor musical selection, IMHO. But the rest of the show makes up for it. I like this show. Very much. Very, very much.

Santa Clara Vanguard--Cleanest marching of the night, hands down. Barely anything left to clean. "T" that collapses into a box is very cool, and I didn't mind too much that it was repeated. Though, I think it would have been more effective to do a variation on it the second time... like do it in reverse, or partially collapse, then reopen. Great hornline. Great balance and intonation. Lots of muscle where needed, lots of control in the soft parts. Only caveat--sopranos got "raspy" in the second half of the show, and had very dirty articulations in the last Barber piece before Blue Shades. Guard was good, but not as good as Cadets (or, Crossmen when talking about flag work). The modern dance stuff worked for me... it was fairly well done, and this was probably the guards' best part of the show. The goosestepping was not what I was expecting, and I actually liked it. I seem to be in the minority on that one... Loved the percussion last year--Jim Casella wrote a hell of a book--but this year I barely noticed them. The few times I did notice them, I remember thinking that they were kind of quiet and not contributing much (though, watch those cymbal players!). The one time the snares had a big break, they were ticking all over the place. I love the opener by Philip Glass, and the two Barber symphonices were great as well. They took a page from the Cadets playbook and "grounded" small groups to play the difficult passages, while the rest of the corps moved around them for effect. I liked the Crossmen version of Blue Shades better, but Vanguard's version is also well done, and makes for an interesting closer to the show. Overall, a great show, and a great performance. They deserved to win tonight--better execution.

General comments about the race for the title... if I were SCV or BD, I would be concerned about another Cadets late season surge. Now, I haven't seen BD, so I will use SCV more as a reference. All 3 corps are very close at this point. SCV was very clean tonight, particularly in marching. From most accounts, so is BD. Cadets are very good, but they still have a lot of marching to clean up (not major problems, but some alignments and intervals were not perfect). After seeing SCV and Cadets together, it's obvious that SCV is closer to maxing out their show. If Cadets can clean their marching to the same degree that SCV currently has, they should jump ahead in points. IMHO, the Cadets show has much more GE than SCV (and don't get me wrong, I really like the SCV show a lot), strong horns and percussion, and with clean feet they can repeat as champions. Again, I haven't seen BD, so... but if they are as clean right now as has been indicated on RAMD, IMHO Cadets could pass them up as well. The fun part is, no one knows! All 3 corps could just as easily end up in 3rd as in 1st.

Mark Sperry

Well, this is my first JR corps show this year, and after 2 or 3 senior corps shows - IT WAS A PLEASURE!

Southwind - nice to have you back - - not too shabby - just needs some beefing up in spots - LIKE THE COLORGUARD - the big hats and the horse flags NEED TO GO! The corps marches very well - better than the Colts! They need o play a little better - but a nice package to return to the field! The MAdison people did a nice job putting this possible future big time corps back on the map!

Colts - MESSY MESSY MESSY - I have loved this corps in years past - but MAN do they need to march better! Nice show - but the drill is a mess! If they wanna be top12 - they better clean it up! I think they are more comfy in the semi-classical arena - when they ventured into some of the Jazz rock stuff it seemed very "band-ish"? So - just clean that drill and play a little better!

Blue Knights - WOW - great job! When I heard they beat the Glassmen, I was suprised - but not anymore - what a great musical package! One of the best of the night! Horns have a wonderful balance & blend and the perc is just dynamite - one of the few battery sections of the night where you could hear all the voices clearly! I really liked them when they did this TRITTICO package back in ?94? - the drill was much crazier then - but now it seems a little more simplified - although the last drill segment was kinda nuts-with direction changes every four - eight counts! NICE JOB - at least 6th - maybe top 5! By the way - BRAVO to the one armed mellophone player - WHAT AN INSPIRATION to see this young person doing what they were doing! Marching , playing nailing everyhorn move just as well - if not better - than the other horn players! CONGRATS - you are an inspiration to us all!

Crossmen - umm---kinda left me ????? - - I love the opener - alot - the guard is great - although the unis are suspect! The ballad is ok - kinda blah - and Appalachian Morning -- - dont ya think you could have blown the dust off of a better choice than this!? The 94 version is MUCH MORE SOLID and this one does not fit in the show - especially the cut & paste drum solo and closing chords that were thrown on!! I am dissapointed by this choice - I think this was poor last minute planning! BUT - this corps does know how to get solid in the last week of the season - so ya never know - BY THE WAY - I HATE THE NEW UNIS - well - hate it a strong word - kinda dark and(and I love dark - Blue devils -Blue Knights - but i think they make them look small - sorry to tear ya a new one x-men - but i tried to like you! Really I did!

Cavies - WOW - what a great _ FUN SHOW - thats right - i used cavies and fun and great in the same sentence! I LOVED IT! They made me like them more & more as the show went on! I love the use of the recurring Classical themes and the guard was FUN - although a little tacky with all the tricks at times! The perc is great - the horns were not as "cavie-crass": as usual - actually kinda nice ! I think they could do damage if they fix some of the ensemble probs - no lower than 4th though! Thanks for an entertaining and complex package - you guys hit a good show once every few years - THANKS!

Cadets - CLASSIC - although dirty at times - they are the masters of mad drill - but I must say that when you do is so much for so long in a show and year after year - it kinda loses it WOW - ya know what I mean?!? I think its amazing what they do - but it seems to be getting a little SAME OLD?! But I did think they were great! I DONT BUY THE TAXI CABS AT ALL! But I think they were integrated quites well - kinda got myself in a catch 22 there....anyway - must have been missing a tenor player tonight - they still laid down a classic cadet tenor feature to knock my socks off! The horns did a nice job tonight - AND THE GUARD IS THE BEST ON THE FIELD - PERIOD! They need to clean it up and then maybe they can do top 2 - but SCV and BD seem to have a lock on those spots now!

Speaking of SCV - HOLY !@*#&!@^&* - they are GREAT - not as visually WOW as the cadets - but the package is wonderful! I heard that they were kinda ho-hum in the clinic in the afternoon - well---NO HO HUM HERE! THEY ARE SERIOUS ABOUT TAKING THE TITLE - in a major way! The show is so smartly put together and the drill is just right - the way they unfold the opening set it wild and the 2 sets of folding V's into T's into boxes are AWESOME! Might be the move of the year - a fresh taste after the stale cadet winding boxes! I think the guard is just kinda there with SCV - but pretty solid - lots of dance and body - but seems appropriate with the very contemporary music! The horns are powerful and the drums are too - although the battery tuning left me wanting more tenor and bass voice - coulda been the stadium though! ANYWAY - I cannot believe that BD is beating them by a point! I think its gonna be a very interesting DCI's - CANNOT WAIT TO GET THERE!

Flame away!


Hi all. Attended Giants Stadium show last night & though I'd offer my humble perspective. (Just a fan here--for about a decade--never a participant). I throw these reviews of mine out here because on the one hand I feel sorry for those out West who, after June, it's "See ya!" On the other hand, it's great for me to get to see a show like this (w/six likely finalists) at season's end (not to mention the mega shows @ Allentown). It's like this every year for those fortunate enough to live in NJ & I for one am grateful.

My vantage point for the festivities: upper tier, exactly on the 50. Cannot beat that (sat lower tier last year--never again, the shouting and roar from the concession stands was DEAFENING).

SOUTHWIND: I'd never seen this group before (never heard of them, actually). However, they definitely made quite an impression. First of all, for some relatively unknown corps to come into Bergen County and decide to end their first song with CBC 98's closing block move (it looked pretty identical, complete with the little switcherooo in direction) is quite a statement--and they pulled it off to a great reaction from the crowd. From that point on, I think a lot of folks opened their programs to see just who the heck this corps was that just shocked them! Overall, a real solid performance--drillwise at times I personally perceived a Cavaliers influence--and I think next week they should have a great semi's finish. If they build on this momentum of theirs, I suspect they could be challenging top 12 in a couple of years. *FYI Southwind Fans: despite all the "big guns" at this show, Southwind generated a lot of buzz--as I went thru the crowd during intermission, I could overhear many, many "wow, who was that" type remarks. They should be very proud of their achievement this year!

COLTS: one running theme I noticed w/all of the corps was just about EVERYONE had the hornline engaging in strange body movements (horn players running w/arms outstretched like they are flying, horn players squatting, etc etc etc). For those Star 93 bashers among us, I guess it's time to concede that that particular show was indeed innovative--heck, a lot of last night's shows had weird body poses integrated in (I credit Star because I don't recall anyone else with such bizarre body movements before them). That said, Colts had the most numerous weird posing of all--again, very Star 93-like at times, with horn players squatting and wobbling to and fro. I am not usually fond of Colts shows, but this one was interesting to watch because of all of the looney moves and running drill parts. Unfortunately their guard had problems--it seemed with every big impact toss, there was always that ONE person who dropped (damn her!!) Other than that, they certainly have a unique show on their hands (for them). If all goes well, they should not have too much trouble making top 12.

BLUE KNIGHTS: I thought this corps absolutely KILLED last year at Giants Stadium, maybe even better than their Finals performance. Well, 1999 is no different. They do extremely quick drill maneuvers and it seemed as if no one was struggling to hit their marks--it just flowed well. Great visuals. Great flags in the ballad--they are truly unique with the designs they have been showing off last few years. It comes as a surprise to me they are above 90 and really closing in (don't remember them ever being this close to the top before). Hope they keep it up--maybe, just maybe the world will get to see this magnificent show Saturday live on TV! (Hmmmmm....who will it be????)

CROSSMEN: They also have a really nice show on their hands (not quite the thriller of 1997, though). Unfortuanately, one of the horn players took a tumble in plain view on the 50, but he recovered in a heartbeat. Also, this late in the season, they still have problems keeping those black plumes on their hats--saw one on the field last night. (back at Allentown in June, about seven or eight littered the field by the end of the first number). NAIL THEM IN!!! Their guard again is very strong--but maybe its just they aren't costumed right, but I thought they didn't have the impact they should be having given how good they were. Enjoyed the big drum roll toward the end, but it could be turned up a bit for more effect. Still like their new look.

CAVALIERS: this show was visually magnificent. Again, a lot of drill moves we have come to expect--but it's all so pretty and perfect that I don't mind the repetition.The guard had lots of fun little things tossed in there that I hope gets captured on the broadcast. I particularly liked the move where the hornline forms a wedge, then something like four members at a time starts rotating & this ripples up the entire wedge--really a WOW moment! Their second number, starting off w/purposely loud "Duts," was fun from start to finish. I don't know if many people consider them challeners for no.1 this year, but I'd say they possibly have the show for it--and on a really good night, they could pose a legitimate threat. We shall see--best of luck to them!

SCV: I always enjoyed the theatrical version of this corps (1980s), but since 1997 they have taken on a new identity I think. Really intense! Intensity like no one else. And those whipping turns they do! They shock the system, they are so precise & intense. I'd say they probably topped everyone in brass--they were really loud and meant business. Once agin, musically esoteric (not quite as strange as last year) and again excellent drillwise. I must say the "T" move everyone on here raves about, it was good and got a great reaction both times--but maybe not the most jaw dropping move ever done IMO--but always great to see a new power move & now SCV has one to call their own. They scored just .3 above CBC, but I thought maybe it would've been a bigger win (maybe 1 pt) Turned up a few notches, it could win a title

CADETS OF BERGEN COUNTY: many on this newsgroup seem so critical of props (hey, what about SCV's magic tricks and pants-changing booth??!), but the taxi cabs in this show are a DEFINITE plus. I'd even say this show, with the theme being as it is, could benefit with even more. The cabs and briefcases absoluely fit in with the idea of this show & bring a little fun back to a Cadets show (after last year's esoteric staccato-note fest). I'd question the changing of pants by SCV more than anything if one wants to carry on about peppering a show with "meaningless" props/gimmicks. This is all to say that this years (few) Cadets props certainly have their place & actually most folks applauded when the doors made their appearance. Anyway, following SCV's loud intensity, the Cadets' softer perfoming hornline actually came across at first as being kinda weak to me (not necessarily true, though). The opening spiral lacked the tremendous effect it had last year (again, everything seemed on the soft side right now). Great CG, who must be the favorite to win that caption this year. Hope the broadcast captures the bear-hugging rifle toss (let's hope it's caught, too:)) I really like this show, but when I saw it in June I had the same complaint I have now: the first half has 8th Championship all over it, but to some extent the ballad and MOSTLY the closer doesn't wrap it up like it should. The closing music is there, set up for something great, but I don't think the visual and drill delivers all that it could (or perhaps this corps has spoiled me with their plethora of nice maneuuuuuuvers that I'm being overly critical). But I heard a lot of comments in the crowd around me like "well, they have a week and are known to make lots of changes..." so maybe I'm not alone in my assessment. I am still holding hope that CBC's staff is continuing to play games with the audience and all along they have the REAL DEAL closer all ready for a surprising unveiling in Madison. Gosh I hope so. But, i will say this: CBC still seemed like they had more room to grow (more volume, better attacks on impacts), more so than SCV, so perhaps they don't even need to add a thing to challenge. We'll know soon enough. FYI: for those who say the "gunfight 96" segment isn't from the Big Apple, it really is there on the CD of the original symphony (movement 3 about 7 minutes in).

HONORABLE MENTION: Cabelleros alumni corps gave a lengthy pre-show performance that had people literally stomping their feet! It was interesting to see the way a corps show looked like 20+ years ago (since I discovered DC in 1985, most corps by this time were running and zpulling by then). Glad they came!!

Hope my perspective helped anyone out there get a flavor of these corps' shows. THANK GOD ITS ON LIVE TV AGAIN!!

Jason Petteway

Lynn, MA (DCI)

With lightning flashing in the distance and the grass still damp from late afternoon showers the Boston Crusaders held their home show in the historic Manning Bowl in Lynn Mass. Below are my thoughts regarding the corps performances from last night. Unfortunately, because of a mix up with tickets (hint:don't order tickets on-line) I am unable to comment much on visual as my seats were very low as opposed to the high seats that were ordered.

6th Spartans, 65.0 - Sorry guys missed your performance! From under the stands you sounded fine.

5th Spirit of Atlanta 76.9 - In just a week since last viewing the in Nashville performance has increased noticeably. The new guard uniforms and large new silks unfurled during the finale were effective. Unfortunately for Spirit, they still lag behind the pack in most judging categories. The horn/visual book seems to difficult for the corps to master and there were a number of horn 'uglies' and Spirit is just not getting the volume out of their brass line that they should. Percussion sounded tight. The auxiliary really should not dance. The arrangement of 'Jump,Jive and Wail' was infectious. Hopefully members will not be so disappointed in Madison that they will not return. With another years experience this young corps could be a power house next year.

4th Magic 80.2 - Unlike Spirit, Magic has not had the good sense to change their guard uniforms. They really are distracting, especially on the male members. Their arrangements of Chuck Mangione favorites were well done although the hornline especially the middle voices seemed to be still struggling with performance. 'Land of Make Believe' was a total delight. Percussion is a weak spot. The crowd really enjoyed their show.

3rd Boston Crusaders, 85.0 - Scoring what I believe is their highest score ever attained in DCI the big question seems to be: will Boston make the finals cutoff and end their 27 year absence in finals competition? Judging by what I heard last night in my humble opinion you will be seeing them Saturday night. Bluecoats seem to be Boston's last hurdle and they have convincingly beat them by 1.7 to 2.5 points the last several nights. Musically there is much to love about this show. Percussion is tight but it is the hornline that really makes this show. The middle voices really shine in the English Dance segment. Ten contras provide a deep bass backbone. During the ballads last chords the corps spread over 100 yards filling the back of the Manning bowl with a sound that provided the evenings first goosebumps. Visual performance is still a bit of a sore point. Finally all 23 members of the auxiliary are marching and executing equipment work. Opening large silks were effective as were the guards striking violet uniforms. However much cleaning still needs to be done regarding flag work. If visual can be cleaned Boston could blow past Colts into 11th place!

2nd, Madison Scouts, 89.00 - For once I agreed with the angry crowd when scores were announced. Madison should not of been in second place. From looking at the recap Phantom seems to be ahead a bit in every caption. Percussion has always been a sore point with Madison but the corps is uniformly strong across all other sections. Visually Madison has a more difficult book than does Phantom. The look of the guard as well as the music seems to give Madison a slightly retro 80's look this year. The arrangements of JCS are some of the best in DCI allowing the corps to express a wide range of emotions. The hornline showcased Madison's brilliant soprano line. It is hard to believe but Madison could be anywhere from 5th to 9th in Madison. Things are still very fluid in this block of corps so don't write Madison off yet!

1st Phantom Regiment, 90 - Phantom broke 90 for the first time all season and had to be pleased with themselves by beating Madison for the 2nd time in two nights. From my low seat Phantom's hornline sounded wonderful tonight. The soprano runs during the opening statement were truly impressive as was the deep dark 'Phantom' sound provided by Phantom's 14 man contraline. Tchaikovsky's 4th 5th and 6th symphonies allowed Phantom to show many emotions. Visually Phantom's program was slow in developing. When you compare the velocity that most of the top 8 corps march with, Phantom just does not compete. They are definitely stronger than they were last year and seemed actively in the hunt to improve their 8th place finish from 1998.

Finally, for what it is worth below are my picks for Madison.
1 Santa Clara
2 Blue Devils
3 Cadets
4 Cavaliers
5 Blue Knights
6 Glassmen
7 Phantom
8 Madison
9 Crossmen
10 Carolina
11 Boston
12 Colts

Mark Montgomery

Wednesday August 4
Pittsburgh, PA (DCI)

Wow, what a great show. I've been reading all these posts about SCV, and how this is their year, but I don't know about that, the Cadets were really on tonight, and I would hate to be SCV right now, well, here's the review.

Cadets- Great show! I loved the taxi. I was into their show from the beginning. The drill was really on tonight, I didn't notice any major mistakes. I did notice one hole in the brass, I can't remember if it was a contra, or mellophone. I loved the tenor solo, my mouth hit the ground after I heard that! Excellent show, they are in good shape for the finals!!

Glassmen- Good show, but not nearly as exciting as the Cadets. They have really come along way these past few years, and they are only going to get better. I just think their show lacked a little energy, in comparison to the Cadets. They drumline sounded real tight, and they also had a strong brass sound. I just don't think they have what it takes to be in the top 3 just yet.

Carolina Crown- Great show!!!! Just raw power from beginning to end. I love how they just come right at you from the start. I did notice some phasing throughout the middle selection however, other than that, it was a great show. I loved the guard, their costumes were great!

Kiwanis Kavaliers- First time I've ever seen this corps, and I was very impressed. I felt bad for them cause they were ready, in their on field set up, but they had to leave the field for about 15 minutes so they could redo the yard lines. The delay didn't seem to bother them. Thier drumline had some great licks, cool visuals, and were very tight. They had a very big, and bold brass sound as well. I really like the uni's as well. Great job!

Pioneer- I'm sorry guys, I missed you this time, I was out trying to find the Glassmen warming up. I'll catch you in Allentown, if your there.

Tarheel Sun- I really enjoyed their show this year. I was really into the popular selections, and I loved the drumline visuals, especially the broken watch one. I thought the gaurd did a really good job, with some tough moves. They also had a great brass sound. They had some problems with the drill eearly on, but recovered nicely, great job!

Troopers- I can't tell you how many times I yawned during this show. I've never seen a cheesier show, with the yee-haws, and the drumline prancing around. I could never get into this show, too boring for me, sorry guys. I did enjoy listening to your drumline warming up before the show if it's any consolation. Better luck next year.

General Butler Vagabonds- I was impressed by this small corps. They had a lot of young talent in their group, and they did a very nice job. I just wish they would get better uniforms, can someone please tell me the reasoning behind these uni's? Thanks. Other than that, great job, I love Les Mis.

Well, it was a great night for drumcorps, and hopefully the Cadets will come out on top in a week. Please let me know what you thought of my review, so I can make it better the next time. Thanks!

Mike Antonucci
Mt. Lebanon Drumline
Class of 2000

Tuesday August 3
Erie, PA (DCI)

Well, tonight it was a beautiful night for DCI!! It was clear and moonlight with a slight breeze from the Northwest. All I have to say that it was perfect weather for DCI. Just a note: I am a DCI fan and I am in the marching band, so I know most of the things going on.

Starting off tonight's show is the hometown corps, the Lake Erie Regiment. For being a D3 corps they started things off very well. They had phasing in the entire show IMO. Nevertheless, it was a great show. It seemed like the young adults were a bit tired from the day of drill. There were holes here and there, but it just might be intervals that need to be fixed. I have to say that LER pit section is very very strong for a D3 corp! The overall package will defiantly deserve them a spot in the top 7 in D3 finals.

General Butler Vagabonds - GBV played Les Miserables, a favorite of mine. The colorguard portrayed peasants very well with the make-up and costumes. This seemed to be a very big D3 brassline. You could definitely hear the difference in LER and GBV's horn quality. GBV was louder, but it lacked the luster, the quality, and tone of LER. This will earn them a spot in D3 finals. I would like to see a D1 corps play this show! It might be interesting!

Boston Crusaders - Last year I did not like their show at all. This year I liked it very much so. The whole corps used color in a very effective way. There are still some nasty moments in drill (2 contra's almost collided), but it should be fairly simple to fix. The beginning of the show sounded like there was a touch of phasing, but it went all good after that. BC has a very nice rich sound to them this year. It was nice to see them where they belong. A finalist for sure in my humble opinion!

Spirit of Atlanta - They were scheduled here but they had a mishap of a flat bus tire! I'll put them here in their spot. This show had a lot of Park n' Barks with movement of not that much. You could tell they just put some new drill visually in lately. Nuttville was very disappointing. It is supposed to be fast and nasty with the full Latin sound. It sounded like my high school band played it better then they did. The whole upper brasses should play the melody just not some soloist. I think they had a good show here but not what it takes to be a finalist.

Magic of Orlando - The Music of Chuck Mangione. What a great jazz show for them to play. This has the potential to be a top 12 show. They just need to clean it up a bit. Something that I thought was disturbing was the colorguard costumes, but they did fit Magic's motive. The one thing I really didn't like about their show was the ending. It was like it was finished all of a sudden.

Bluecoats - I really liked this show. Sparkly new sashes and new gauntlets. But why did they have black gauntlets? Does that mean they might be getting new uniforms? Maybe we'll see. This was a very strong show for them. In my opinion, they deserved higher than 4th, probably 3rd. This show is what the BC need. Waiting them to win one day very soon!

Phantom Regiment - Ahhh! This is my favorite corps. The one thing I really like about this corps is that the drum majors (I am one also) have a nice flowing style with a touch of the click in it. It was very easy to be watched. The contra line for PR is always outstanding. Contra's ARE what make PR. At least that is what I think. I went to their rehearsal quickly, and it seemed like they just put new visuals in and were touching up things. They all worked very well in their show (winner High Visuals and best DM). I liked the part where the were in the Northwest corner facing us in the field and that they marched almost diagonally towards the 50, that was very PR. I do always love the attitude foot thing they do, I think it was at the end of the 2nd song they did this. I'm thinking they will place in the Top 7 at the lowest.

Madison Scouts - When I attended their clinic today, when they did their run through, it didn't seem all that impressive. WOW! Was I wrong to say the least. In unison it seemed like they took it up an entire notch! I loved their style of Jesus Christ Superstar, it is so Madison like. I liked the part when the pit sung a tone that fitted in with the music. It fit in the piece really good. Madison was the winners of High Horns and High Drums tonight. I think if Madison just fine tunes the drill and works on the battery phasing in the later parts of the show, they will be a Top 5 corps.

In my final thoughts I would like to say that all the colorguard sections in every corps, WOW you were on tonight. I only saw one drop the entire night. That is really good. The Erie Thunderbirds Sr Corps, a great show like usual. Good Luck to all the corps and have a successful season and many too follow. Chow!

Mike Brandt

Monday August 2
Huntington, WV (DCI)

I'm not really sure I'd call it a review, but here are my thoughts from last night's show. Discalimer: I'm a brass guy and know little about percussion. My comments will be pretty general, anyway. The weather was very pleasant, by the way. Thank goodness the heat abated a little bit. The high was just above 80, rather than the 95 degree temps we've been seeing here all summer. Marshall's stadium is a great site for a show, and the large crowd was very appreciative of all the corps.

In order of performance:

Yamato, 52.5 -- Cute show. These kids can really play! They could be on track for a Div III finals spot again this season. The music is a lot of fun and much of it will be familiar to anyone who's seen the films "Antz" and "A Bug's Life." I didn't care for the big props (I rarely do) but I understand the rationale of wanting to take up field space when you're marching a smaller unit. The ramps were used to some good effect, though.

East Coast Jazz, 60.3 -- ECJ's soloists really kick some ass, but I'm not sure if it's good to build your whole brass book around a couple soloists. No big deal, of course, just something that occured to me while I was watching them. On the whole, I liked this show a lot. Good, old fashioned drum corps. The show is quite demanding, but the corps does a great job of "selling" it. The guard is really talented, as well, but those costumes? Hmmmmm . . .

Troopers, 68.4 -- Somehow I liked this show more when I saw it a couple Saturdays ago in Toledo. Can't really put my finger on a reason, but it didn't strike me in the same way this time. I'm still amazed at how much better they are than at this point last season. I sure hope that they can continue the trend. The horn line seems to be handling their book pretty well, though they are still having trouble with some of the more difficult sections. Marching really needs work. Their weakest section is definately the color guard. Not a slight against the kids, but against whomever wrote their stuff. A lot of the dance is really goofy and adds little to the show. Equipment work is okay.

Boston Crusaders, 81.4 -- Second time viewing BAC this summer and I can't get enough of this show. The visual program is really nice, and the music is great. The hornline is clean and crisp. No major problems that I can detect with this corps. They're the most pleasant surprise of this season, as far as I'm concerned. I notice that the Bluecoats are gaining on them, though, so they're really gonna have their work cut out for them if they want to stay ahead. There is one thing that bugs me, however: Enough with the solo sabre work already! Okay, we know the guy is good, but do you really need to show him off five or six times (or more?) during the show? It's nice that you have one member who can throw a seven or whatever, and do a pirouette before he catches it, but I'd much rather see a whole line doing work in unison. Might as well put him in a spangled unitard and call him a twirler.

Magic of Orlando, 77.7 -- I've always been a big fan of Magic in the past, and I usually am one of their staunchest defenders when others label them as being "bandos." This season, though? Well, let's say that the show failed to grab me. Sure, the music is familiar, but there's nothing special about the arrangements or the performance. A Mangione show should be a lot of fun, but this one fell kind of flat IMO. It's hard for me to say if it's a problem of performance or show design, though. Side note: I was majorly annoyed by the teenyboppers screaming at the bare-chested guard guys. Not Magic's fault, of course, but geez -- shut up and watch!

Bluecoats, 80.9 -- Another show that didn't excite me the way I'd hoped. There nothing that's obviously wrong to me . . . it's just a feeling you get sometimes. The show does have some really nice moments, and the hornline is on top of things. My percussionist friends seemed pretty underwhelmed, however. Is this the problem? (I heard that there's not a single vet in the battery. Can anyone confirm?) To me, their show appears more complex than BAC's, so they might be able to catch up if they can clean. Slightly humorous note: People from around here were commenting on how, with the silver sash and black gauntlets this season, the 'Coats look exactly like Capitol High School -- one of the biggest "wannabe" bands in the area. No big deal, but I thought I'd mention it in case anyone knows whom I'm talking about.

Phantom Regiment, 87.0 -- PR isn't at the same level as Cadets, SCV, or BD this year, but it's still a heck of a show. The music is familiar and accessible. The brass are handling their parts fairly well, but not spectacularly. They're good, but they never really blew me away. I guess the drill could be part of the problem. I did notice some slightly bent lines, misshapen curves, and uneven spacing. Nothing major, of course, but you don't expect any of that from Phantom at this point in the season. Great look for the guard, BTW. These are definately my favorite PR guard unis since about 1991.

Blue Devils, 93.1 -- Wow! What other word applies but "Wow!"? Many of you may remember me saying that I haven't really been thrilled with the Devils shows for the past few seasons (and it's true) but not so this year. I have to say that this is my favorite BD show since 1994, perhaps even 1988. The hornline is truly amazing. The cleanest I've heard since Star '93. After seeing their brass score from Murfreesboro (9.7) I knew they'd be awesome, but they surpassed any expectations I may have had. As for their drill being easy? Hell, no! Perhaps there aren't the freaky-hard moves that we get from CBC, but there's nothing easy about it. And unlike what I saw from Cadets in Toledo, BD's feet look impeccably clean . . . no bouncing, either. It's almost needless to say that the guard is totally fabulous. The costumes are kind of ugly, but not the worst I've ever seen. Not that it really matters when they're this good, though. One thing I really like about their guard is that usually, when one group is dancing, another group is doing equipment work. I like dance when it's done well, but it often doesn't project, and it never provides the same level of visual effect that a flag or rifle can. So IMO it's nice to have something else visual to focus on at the same time. Love the sabre work, too. I hate to sound like "Rondo," but I really think that "it's theirs to win or lose" this year. SCV will not have an easy time regaining the lead. Blue Devils' victory concert is lots of fun. I wish I had the chance to see the on-stage show sometime. "Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor" is killer.

Daniel O'Neal

Sunday August 1
Charlotte, NC (DCI)

My Creditials... none worth mentioning... I'm just a fan for 9 years... Crown's Home Show... It was really hot.

Southwind: I didn't know what to expect but was very impressed. The opener was solid with a big SW in the drill and they finished the song before the music got stale(Johnny kept marching home again..and again..and again). The middle of the show depicts the horse racing theme of Kentucky... and then the pulled of Summon the Hero's very well.

Tarheel Sun: OK, some people got real confussed real quick becuase SW and Sun look so much alike. Tar Heel did a relativly fun show I guess, but some of the antics, I didn't buy- in Bohemian R. Like when the pit turned around and all started to conduct the corps or when the tenors did the martian visuals with sticks... kinda hokey but it was overall a good effort... the pit is huge and so I'm hoping they graduate some of those players to the drumline... they need numbers on the field.

Magic: I don't like the uniforms. I think this corps needs to return to their Cirque roots. This show ... I don't remember anything about it except that the brass was loud compared to the 2 before and they had 2 tenor players that rarely played. I think the sound from the batery lends greater evidence to the arguments that Premier..well... sucks. I don't think they'll be marching Saturday Night.

Boston: Nice show... well received since it was mostly former Crown Music. I hadn't heard Ludwigs in a long time. Their brass is solid but the guard is clean and effective... don't like it when corps try to sing on the field... Crusaders not Chorale. (Also: There is no reason why there should be a sing sail on those intro flags... take the time to set them up... it was a big distraction... especially on the 50)

Intermission: Thunder and Lightning...One hour later we return

Crown: {DISCLAIMER... I am in no way affilitaed with this corps and have not supported the group as much since the YEA! takeover..I also havn't like a show since Chess}

This Show Kicked my little ASS all the way home... by far the most entertaining of the evening... it sounds like a musical but the GUARD IS UNBELIEVABLE!!!! I can't say enough good things about them... they were practically flawless. They sported these new uniforms at the begining... grey/dark grey flowing.cover-up to the white and black. The Show is completely designed around the guard... it is a 11 minute guard feature.

Now, That said... the marching sucks. The brass can play this year but the drill was riddled with holes...I hope they were holes. Great Show..Don't miss it for a hot dog or restroom break... save that for the Glassmen.

Side Note to Self-"Self, write a letter to DCI demanding that the guard's performance be added in the overall score. Take 10 points out of Total Ensemble and create the guard caption..these kids work too hard not to be considered a part of the corps"

Madison: Nice show with great entertainment appeal..yadda..yadda..yadda. They have some really cool drill this year and people were singing SuperStar under their breathes at the end. Nice job guys.

Glassmen: If you go to Madison, take a nice comfortable pillow to sit on, and then when the Glassmen come on the filed you make take a nap. I've listened to Hungarian variation for the past 2 months to get ready for this show and was very disappointed. The Audience lost complete interest after 2 minutes. This 3 year "Gold" trilogy has gone from good, to bad, to ugly. The guard was distracting because their unifroms "jingle" and although I'm sure the guard is good, you never see them because a) the Drill doesn't feature them at all and b) their uniforms are too dark. I will stop now before I offend too many of them but I feel this show was a real waste of the Kids' talent. I did like the cymbals line, nice musical writing with effective phrasing... I had to find something to like.

Blue Devils: See Glassmen, plus...big ensemble rip at the beginning of Unchained Melody and nobody clapped during the wedge push to the back. My friend, who is a die-hard devil fan, even the past 4 years, leaned over and asked me, "Well, at least Vanguard is here" He thought they were coming on next and was pissed to find out that they weren't there (They have been the NightBeat's highlight the past 2 years) Not a stellar performance or show design... featured guard members dropped and the soloists were weak. The Devils didn't practice all day... took the day off to rest.... I think they may have just been still asleep and going through the motions since they had no competition.... Let's hope that was the case.

Everthing was pretty much down hill after crown so tonight all of North Carolina will migrate to Wiston to see crown again and see their favorite Vanguard. Sorry if I offended anyone... If you have a problem with this review you can take a number and our operators will assist you as soon as possible.


Ok, I promised when I got home from work I would put up a short review.

This was the second year I went all out for the $50 VIP tickets and I must say I will do it again next year. I didn't see Crown at all this year but just read all the comments in this newsgroup to give me an idea. The preview just warmed us up for things to come.

Also, let me note that I marched in jr high, hs, and college bands for 8 years way back when but never made it to the corps level. I was a horn player so I normally pay attention to music but for this show I tried to broaden myself and often found myself watching the guard more.

Also I must make note that I brought a corps "newbie" to the show, someone who has never been to a show before. He was thoroughly impressed. We have already planned on watching finals.

Well on with the review:

Southwind -- Like many other people, I was confused when I saw the yellow uniforms. I thought something had happened to Southwind and Tarheel Sun was going to perform first. But I was pleasantly surprised by the new uniforms. This corps made an impression on me. This was a very solid show for a corps that has been away for a year. I can see them in the top 12 very soon. I picked them to be 7th.

Tarheel Sun -- Love the music. I was a bit skeptical about Bohemian Rhapsody but they pulled it off very well. And "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" has always been a favorite of mine since playing/marching it in 9th grade (Yes, I can remember that far back). I picked them as 8th.

Magic -- I guess I'm a sucker for Chuck Mangione so this show won me over with the music. I didn't watch the guard too much for this show. I think Magic did better this year with using more of the field. I picked them as 6th.

Crusaders -- WOW!!!!!! This corps gets my vote for the "Best use of Color". The oranges and the greens really grabbed my attention. Marching was pretty sharp too. Picked them as 5th, a step up from Magic.

Crown --- A bigger WOWWWWW!!!!! Since moving to Charlotte, I have adopted Crown as one of my favorite corps (of course I love all corps) and every year they impress me more. This year I think they jumped to a new level. I actually felt like I was at the musical "Jekyll and Hyde". Their interpretation in music, guard, guard uniforms was incredible. This is the fullest sound I have ever heard from Crown. Like others have mentioned I think the marching needs some work but I know Crown can put it all together. I was on my feet for most of this show. I picked them as 4th.

Scouts -- The Scouts have always been my favorite corps of all time and they just proved why tonight. The guard was awesome, the music was intense and overall very entertaining. I was on my feet for most of this show as well. I picked them as 2nd.

Glassmen -- The Glassmen were very clean, marching and musically. But the show didn't do much to grab my attention. I was a little disappointed. I picked them to be 3rd.

Blue Devils -- The Blue Devils always come up with interesting shows. Loved the Rhythms concept. Marching, music, and guard were very sharp. I picked them as 1st.

For something different, I also rate the corps on an entertainment factor....looking at just how they appeal to me in general and not taking into effect all the technical judging and such. Here's how i Ranked the corps for entertainment factor:

1. Scouts --- All time favorite corps
2. Crown --- WOW!!!!
3. Blue Devils --- Blue Devils always get me but Scouts and Crown got me more.
4. Crusaders --- Very impressive for the first time i've seen them.
5. Magic -- Chuck Mangione !!!
6. Glassmen --
7. Southwind -- Love the southern theme....that's one reason i moved to Charlotte :-)
8. Tarheel Sun -- Last but still entertaining. Someone has to be last, sorry.

Anyway, Thanks again to the Crown organization for putting together this show. I'll definitly be there next year in the VIP section.

Jeff Schmehl

Jacksonville, AL (DCI)

Well my 3rd and last show of the season was tonight. Actually 3 in 3 nights isn't bad ; )Well.. everyone should know the scores by now so I won't post them but here is a review of what I thought of tonights show.

First off this was at JSU (the school i attend) and I love the stadium there, it isn't all that big but the sound is amazing inside the stadium.

Kiwanis Kavaliers- I didn't like this show yesterday, but something hit me today that said, "hey this isn't as bad as I first thought" and i really enjoyed this show tonight. Not sure what it was but I really liked it. Wasn't the cleanest corps on the field but it was very good.

Colts- One of my favorite from this weekend. You don't exactly go around humming the tunes as you walk out of the stadium, but what you do is think "man that was one great show" and it was. The beginning is powerful and fast. Very exciting opening statment. Love this first tune. Then the stage gets really odd with some very strange chords and some really great soloistic parts. The ending of the show is great with some wild drill and incredible music. Love the vibes at the end of the show holding over just a sec. Nice.

Blue Knights- Well I couldn't remember much about them from TN friday (to much sun?) but this really is a good show. Nothing really strikes me as being so good but man it is clean and they play it so well. You don't go around singing this stuff either but the show as a whole is really nice. Colors are very well used this year with this corps. I love the use of colors in the guard during the ballad. Really nice stuff going on with this group.. Top 12? of course Top 6? Maybe : )

Crossmen-I liked this show better in TN, not sure why but i did. I don't really remember that much from this evenings show on Xmen, other than it was pretty good. I just didn't care for tonights performance... Although it was played well, don't get me wrong, i didnt feel like there was enough emotion to have a great show...

The Cavaliers- Well this show was better here than in TN. I liked it both places but this show tonight was on FIRE. Man.. This group can play some notes. This was my mother's personal favorite, who usually doesn't go for the more symphonic sound, I think it was the incredible drill that got her. But my opinion was that it was a good show with some dirt here and there which kept them from the top.

SCV- MAN!!! I don't know what to say about SCV. Words can honestly not describe what i feel for this show. I won't even say them.. That was enough.

The Cadets- Very nice, LOVE THIS GUARD!!!!! I don't normally say that (I am a percussionist) but this guard takes my attention from the get go and never lets go!! I don't really remember much tonight other than I was intranced by this guard, the ladies are beautiful and elegant and the guys ... Man they can toss!! This was closer than the score indicated between SCV and Cadets but SCV did deserve the win, most people in the crowd thought otherwise however.

Spirit of Atlanta- Well.. I like the show.. I do ... I don't like the dirt... It is played well, the marching isn't very good and the hornline likes to play out of tune.. But it is LOUD!! Crowd Favorite for the evening (what do you expect home show!!) But still a good show.... Came back out after the show and played the HELL out of Georgia!! Extremely cool stuff.

Overall a great weekend for corps. I enjoyed it and can't wait till 2000 DC which I will be at. My first finals trip since 96 and i can't wait. Well.. This is the last of my reviews because i have no more shows to attend, please if you see a show WRITE A REVIEW! It takes like 20 minutes to do!! Good luck to everyone especially my buddies at SOA!! GO BRIAN!!! If you see SOA and don't have someone to yell for yell for Brian, vibraphonist on the front row in front of the timpani!! He is great and a great friend of mine!! Good luck again and thanks for listening.

Michael Bell

First off I would like to congratulate all the participating corps. It was a good night for drum corps, especially when the sun went down and everything cooled off. The JSU Stadium was packed on the home side and the crowd was very receptive to every corps that performed.

Kiwanas Kavaliers
I have to say that they had a very good show. the corps have seemed to clean up the ensemble tears that they were experiencing earlier in the season. Still some ensemble issues and transition things that just stand out, but overall a great show. Good Colorguard, but some excellence issues and staging issues as well. 68.0

Spirit of Atlanta
I have to say that the corps is getting better. The problem is that they are not consistent from one show to another. The staff has managed to fix some high brass issues that were hindering them on the earlier shows, but visually, there are still some elements that are not contributing to the overall package. From where I was standing (Stage left 40 ydlne) I could still hear the feet in the altos. The percussion section (snares and basses) is beginning to elongate some very well executed phrases. Tenors have always been their strong point (it seems like). Colorguard very nice ideas and the new uniform is working better for them. they just need to link their ideas together better and make the phrases flow from one process to the next Excellence is also a big issue as well. I can say that there was much energy in their performance and they should be commended for that.73.2

WOW!!! This corps has really done a turn around from years past. the drill design seems fresh and new, the colorguard seems to be on a higher level from years past and they seem to be more musical (a true overall package). Talking with some of the staff I discovered that they have a new colorguard designer. It is obviously working to their advantage. You can really see that Soddy Daisy influence at work. The drumline articulates extremely well and really compliments the corps. As usual, the hornline is great!!!! KEep a close watch on these guys!!! 82.5

You know just when you thought that colorguard couldn't get any better, in comes the Crossmen!!!!!!! What a great program. At first people said that their guard was a Cadet clone, but after seeing them a few times I would have to say that the Crossmen colorgaurd have taken own their own identity. It is Fresh and different. Sre, their staff might have marched Cadets at one point in time, but you can see their own personalities coming out in the work that they design. The new corps uniforms are great as well. I wonder what made them go with that Charcoal grey color? At any rate it is very effective. Hats off to Don Taylor Sue Samuels and the entire Xmen staff. 83.5

Blue Knights
except for one year, I have always been an avid BK fan. When they performed Trittico for the first time in 1994, I fell in love with the corps. This year Trittico revisited is even better!!!!!! The dril design, colorguard costumes, brass arrangements are all excellent. And I have to say that they have one of the best ALTO lines in DCI!!!!!!!!! Hats off to the staff!!!! 86.7

They corps is very good this year. I really don't think that there is anything that Mike Gaines produces that is bad. It is a very well put together program. the colros of the flags and the corps uniform is excellent. And of course you have that level of excellence that you come to expect from the Cavaliers. Great Job!!! 90.5

It's a little different for them and I think the crowd had a little trouble understanding the car parts on the field. However, one thing was clear: Incredible drill design and brass arrangements. I few Alto problems, but overall a very good show. 91.1

You know, When Santa Clara was on the field performing, I just sat there thinking, you know, this corps has a very good shot at winning DCI!!!! This is probably the most well put together show that SCV has ever produced. Great feet, and as far as their musicality is concerned, well, I think they probably won High Brass tonight. Excellent colorguard definately top 4 in DCI. Can't wait to see what happens in Allentown!!!!! 92.2


I'm not going to rehash the corps' programs here. These are just my impressions, from the perspective of a six year marcher and two year instructor. This is the only show I will get to see this summer due to my ate-up schedule.

In order of appearance...

Corps-Vets Senior Corps, Atlanta (exhibition)
The Corps Vets came on to open the show. The seemed extremely nervous. Was this thier first show? It took a while for them to loosen up, but they played very well. Thier program of jazz "classics" was a lot of fun and the audience really enjoyed it. I loved the "uniform", as the kahki pants and green polo shirt looked a lot like what the DCI judges used to wear at regionals. I was quite surprised to see them march some drill, about 15 pages or so. This is a corps that can really go places. I just hope they loosen up a bit more.

Kiwanis Kavaliers (8th, 68.0)
Announced as the Kavaliers' "return to jazz", this show seemed very flat until the closer. The horn book seems to challenge, but the way they corps plays it, it seems more of a chore than something they enjoy. Once they start the closer, they really opened up and had some fun. This is a slightly smaller edition of the KK that we're used to seein, announced at 111 members. The percussion section is quite solid and color guard one of the more entertaining of the night. I think they need to consider a uniform change if jazz is the direction they wish to go in the future. The all-black with silver chains is a bit to formal and dark for what they are trying to perform. I hope they are able to lay back and have some fun with the first two-thirds of the show before finals week.

Colts (6th, 82.5)
This is the most refined Colts brass section I've ever heard. They still have the loudness they've had the last few years, but it's not nearly as raucous or harsh. This is a great example of a corps performing "obscure" music and not only playing it well, but makeing it accessible to the audience. The crowd really got into what they were doing, especially the closer (after the show, I talked with Emily Nieuendorf, Colts' drum major, and she said most of the closer is new as of the last week or so. She also said they love performing this show). The visual program is a step up for Colts too. It intigrates well with the musical book. This percussion section is also one of Colts' best yet.

Blue Knights (4th, 86.7)
This corps is the REAL DEAL. I'd heard a lot about BK on the net, and watched thier scores, but still I was skeptical. Not anymore. Not only is this by far the best brass line BK's ever had, the entire corps is playing with a confidence they've never had. This brass line plays with a phenomenal fundamental sound, and for us low brass guys, they really know what the pyramid of sound is all about. There is so much bottom to this corps. The percussion was one of the most musical of the night, even if they didn't ram as many notes as other corps. I don't know what they put in the water these kids drink, but I hope they keep it up. This is really something for BK to build on in the future. Also, each member of the brass and percussion is wearing a small, round patch with the initials "CHS" on it. Very classy.

Crossmen (5th, 83.5)
I don't know why some people are giving the X-men a bad rap. They certainly play with more finesse that in recent years, and the fundamental sound of the brass is as good as they have ever had. They don't seem to be trying to hide as many glaring problems as they have the last three or four years (musically). The percussion section was the big "ram" line, and the featurette in the closer was old-time drum corps, something the audience loved. The color guard is very good as always, and provide the only "color" the corps has. A rant: I hate the new black and grey uniforms. When you are close to a member, they look fine, but on the field they look washed out. I kept wanting to adjust the color or contrast. Too bad it wasn't tv.

Cavaliers (3rd, 90.5)
I don't like the Cavaliers...never have. having said that, I really liked this show as I love ode to Joy. The brass line finally seems to be making strides towards playing with a good sound. This has always been thier weak point, and the 99 brass is in my opinion thier best ever. They sometimes revert to the crass sound of old, but never for very long. At time they sound absolutley brilliant. I was a bit dissappointed by the percussion section. I don't know if it was the writing or just seemd a bit flat, as if the battery was just trying to keep up with the horns. They march very well, with great feet. Unfortunatly, unless they put a white stripe on thier pants, no one in the box will ever know. Thier drill was standard-issue Cavaliers.

Santa Clara Vanguard (1st, 92.2)
With the exception of the modern color guard, when SCV played this show I could swear someone had transported me back in time to watch the vanguard of old, say 83-85. These guys rock. They have the some look and style SCV had when they were the perennial brides-maids in the 80's. They play so well. This hornline might be thier best ever, eclipsing even the 87 line. The percussion is a solid as I've ever seen them. Unfortunatly, the color guard uniforms were so subdued I didn't even notice them until they did a featured dance in front. I coulnd't tell you if thier equipment work was any good or not...I never really noticed. I hope it was just me. if not, this could be a problem come Finals. The drill is fantastic. They move a lot, and it's really quite clean. They play on the move better than any corps here tonight. I haven't seen the Blue Devils, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if SCV takes it all in Madison.

The Cadets (2nd, 91.1)
They play a lot of fast notes. They play them clean. They run around...a lot. Maybe I'm getting numbed, or maybe I expected more, but this seemed like standard-issue Cadets. I've seen it and heard it all before. The brass is really tight, especially on isolated articulations (of which there are many), but they just don't have the warm sound SCV has (or maybe even BK). The drill is great, but the "blender" is getting old. The color guard was outstanding as always. They are definitly the strongest section. I love the use of the car body parts. It really helped convey the "frantic" sense of New York. The crowd liked Cadets tonight, but not as much as SCV.

Spirit of Atlanta (7th, 73.2)
No, they aren't going to make finals. No, they aren't clean. But you know what? They are a lot of fun. Granted, this was thier home show, and crowd let them know it. The brass is young, but has a handle on the jazzy style. The percussion compliments the brass very well. The drill is fairly easy, and should probably be cleaner than it is, but tonight no one cared. The had more fun than any corps on the field tonight. My biggest beef: the arrangement of Jum Jive & Wail just plain sucks. It sounds like Hal Leonard does drum corps. They play it well though. After thier show, it was announced that the finale would be a drum major only. The crowd was visibly dissappointed, but SoA cheered everyone up by having the brass line return to the field to play Georgia. Thanks, Spirit.

There was no victory encore tonight, and that ticked me off.

General observations:

What is it with all the color guard uniforms this year? Is the rest of DCI on a subdue the colors kick? I understand trying to have the flags as the color focus, but you barely notice some of the guards at all. Also, a note to CG staffs: When you wear very thin material and the weather is hot and humid, a certain reaction takes place. I may be a red-blooded American male, but I didn't need to see what was very common tonight, I'll leave it at that.

As a whole, the soloists were a huge dissappointment. There were a lot of fracks, and most of them didn't play nearly as aggressive as they should. Granted, not every corps can have screamer sops like BD or even Scouts, but this just shows a lack of maturity in the players, and I know talent isn't a problem. It wasn't the hot weather either, because the people around me who have been to other shows noticed the same thing.

Our yearly "stop the duht-duht" post.'s gotton way out of hand. When I can sit 50 years away from you and still hear you "duhting" over the brass, it's too damn loud. It makes me wish we still had the not vocalization rule of days gone by. it's about the lamest and unmusical thing you can do. Exception that proves the rule: Cavaliers snare line duht's REALLY loud, but it's immediatly parroted bu the rifle line. Very funny...the crowd dug it. A challenge to percussion staffs for '00: Don't let your lines do this on the field. I've never heard a big band drummer duht, and I can't recall hearing the Chicago Symphony do it either. Challenge your kids to subdivide in thier heads. it will be much more impressive, and a lot less distracting.

Someone needs to chain Hoopy to the fence. He spen all of Crossmen's show running up and down the front sideline like a damn football coach. Take it easy, George, you gonna give yourself an ulcer. It's a needless distraction.

An interesting note. All corps staffs were asked to stand outside the 40 yard lines (away from center on the field) while thier corps performed. All staff except the two YEA corps. Hmmm...

I though BK nad Cavaliers scores would be a lot closer than they were. I figured if BK was an 86.7, Cavies were about at 88.8 or 89.0. But Cavies at 90.5, and six thenths behind Cadets? No way in hell. I thought the spread between Cadets and SCV wasabout right.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Cadets' souvie van selling BD's cd. I thought I was gonna have to order it online. Thanks, Cadets, and I hope BD is selling yours.

John Adcock
Go BD!

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