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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, July 9, 1999

Page Four 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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Sunday July 4
Costa Mesa, CA (DCI-Pacific)

I had some really good seats.

The show was pretty good and the crowd liked it. It was a show that brought out smiles and chuckles. Solos were tight. Biggest problems were phasing and stick outs.

West Coast Sound-
They were doing the music of Sting. I liked the opener and the crowd responded well to the backfield sop solo at the very beginning. The rest of the show was ok, but their hornline needs a lot of work.

Vanguard Cadets-
These guys have a lot of class and I mean a lot! The show was cool and visuals were vanguard style. I liked it and the crowd liked it too. I love watching the cymbal line. Drill was little dirty at the end though.

One of my favorites. The hornline had a full sound and the guard was good too. Great general effect. I see another div 3 title for them. Their closer was difficult. The meter was like 3/4, 4/4, 3/4, 4/4, ect. which led to feet problems.

Pacific Crest-
I have to say they were my favorite tonight. These guys were AWESOME! Loud, dark, and amazing. The fake ending was so cool. Best GE. The crowd loved it too and immediately gave a standing ovation. I can't wait to see them again.

Blue Devils-
As always, BD really blew me away. Guard was great too. Solos were tight, but I had some trouble hearing the really high wailing sops. The contras had some marching trouble at the very, very end. They had to take large steps and one contra was late and almost collided with another.

I still haven't seen Vanguard yet. I'll be at San Jose to see the Pacific Championships though. Good luck to all the corps and I salute them for their hard work.

David P.

I go to the swap meet there all the time but this is the first time I've been in the stadium. Not bad - there is no room on the sidelines for the drum majors, so they stand in front of the stands overlooking the corps. Special thanks to the Orange Coast College employee earning holiday double- or triple-time joy riding a street-sweeping machine in circles on the parking lot to the audiences right - very loud and annoying. The sound of fireworks from adjacent areas was heard throughout the night. This is Costa Mesa, so perhaps some gunshots were mixed in, as well.

I'm not a percussionists, so my drumline comments are limited to simply whether I liked them or not, how well they worked with the show as a whole. If I knew more about percussion I could write a thesis on BD's drumline, since I heard them warming up on the other side of the stadium until they were ready to move onto the field!!!! No penalties were announced, but I think they clearly should have been penalized - very disruptive.

Impluse - 62.8 - sorry guys but I only saw you from the sidelines. Another fun show featuring Beach Boys and Jackson 5 music. Some nice sounds, great rapport with the audience, and a great 1st year!!!! Nice sop solo in "I'll Be There".

West Coast Sound - 59.6 - Sting's music sounded better that at Walnut but the show stills needs lots of work and cleaning. A fantastic sop solo, screaming while playing backfield, really filled the stadium and got a nice ovation. Way to go, whoever you are!!

SCV Cadets - 76.9 - Pure Vanguard - the look, the book, the drill, the class, the awesome cymbal line, and the feathers-down bassline! Not a particularly clean show, but nice sights and sounds. Clean it up and they will beat the Mandarins. I don't think they will be touring past Denver this year.

Mandarins - 78.7 - I really do want to like this show. I like the music, and the arrangements they are playing. The guard looks great and use the moving stages to a nice effect. Hornline usually has a pretty nice, balanced sound. Drumline sound really nice - but is too powerful for the hornline. However, the show is plagued by individual errors - I can't imagine how they won visual tonight. On the other hand, they had a backfield section where they moved and played nicely with no conductor! Way to many equipment problems with the guard, phasing problems, a CG member running into a snare, poor attacks and releases, and bad notes leave the Mandarins with their work cut out for them. Since Pacific Crest isn't going to Madison, I really hope they can pull this well-written show together and carry the torch for California!

Pacific Crest - 82.7 - Another impressive night for PC. Hornline is loud, dark, and well-balanced, with nice solos. Drumline really cooks. The colorguard really impresses - big and clean with just a couple equipment problems. I think they use color better than any other corps here tonight. Red-white-black, bright flame orange (I don't remember that from Walnut), and my favorites the two-tone wine-colored flags (wine being the literary symbol of blood). Some marching/phasing problems, but IMO much cleaner than Mandarins. "Dracula" is a winner - with both judges and audience. Let's hope to see them on a national tour next year or 2001. It takes a lot of money - I'd like to help out - how 'bout a souvie stand!!!

Blue Devils - 80.2 - I think this is the best BD show in recent years. Fans of BD who haven't much liked the last two years will be happy, I think. Hornline - well, it's a blue devils hornline through-and-through. The goosebumps started with their backfield warmup. Colorguard is topnotch - other than 2 or 3 minor equipment problems they were excellent. Uniforms are nice in black with red accents. Nice rifle work, and dance movements which look good and blend in with the show well. Drumline sounded pretty good when they were warming up outside the stadium (!!!), and on the field they really cooked. The show - ok, they open with "Danza Finale" from Ginasterra's "Estancia"....a selection from one of my all time faves Phantom 93. I don't think this piece is really suited to them, or I'm biased because I liked Phantom so much. The hornline sounded nice, but this opener was clearly the weakest part of the brass show. I was unfamiliar with the rest of the music - the title of the show is "Rhythms" - and there was a tango, a rhumba, a nice ballad (it sounded familiar, but I can't think of the name and I didn't buy a program). The Drill - much improved over the last several years. Still lots of blocks, but I don't think they dominate the show as much. There is a great forward facing wedge moving into the back left corner while playing ffffffff...awesome. The Drill movement - not clean compared to seeing them at this time of the year for the last several years. More interval problems and linear problems than they would normally have. I'm sure this won't last. I did notice that they are very quick to adjust and recover - good training. Will they win DCI? Until August 14, no one knows. I think SCV offers more - a better and more challenging brass book, much better visuals, same ole kickass SCV drumline. If both shows get clean and both corps really max it out on finals nights, SCV's gonna come out ahead.

I'm going to Denver !!!!!!!!!!!

Happy 4th to all ...
Don Davis, Long Beach CA

Wakefield MA (DCI-Atlantic)

The '99 Beanpot was a great success! The corps put on a fantastic show for the 2500 fans, after doing one or two parades during the day (and it was rumoured that one corps did THREE parades!). The crowd settled in at 7:00 pm for the show to begin, under extremely hot and humid temperatures. After an exhibition by the Boston Crusaders Seniors (how many times can you play Conquest???), the competing corps began.

7th - East Coast Jazz: small corps who got a great response from the audience, as they are from a neighboring town; lots of blank spots in the show with no drums, and the drill was uncomplicated; they have an outstanding soloist which they feature (and rightfully so); its tough going on first, and against six open-class corps, but ECJ did well in front of many family and friends.

6th - Les Etoiles: small corps (14 percussion/20 horns); nice drum line who executed a moderately difficult routine; they stop movement during the more difficult parts however; the guard had a tough night, with many drops (fatigue????); be prepared for an elevated pit on scaffolding ON the field; the corps moves around/under/through the scaffolding, and most of the fans in my section were confused and not impressed with the setup; the guard climbs it at one point just to smile; no style points from this unique feature.

5th - Spirit of Atlanta: the first of the big boys, with their big front-line brass opening, woke up the crowd for the evening; they have a nice drum feature, and the brass, while not being "classic Spirit", is full bodied and crisp; they have a "fake" ending, so be prepared; while I thought they had been rated too low the night before in Bristol (I think they thought so also), they didn't do much to improve themselves this night, but on a "parade day", that's understandable.

4th - Boston Crusaders: their home show, and they didn't dissapoint; they had someone donate 10 new contras before the show, and a few were on the field; great sounding pit who really add to the repetoire of Symphonic dances; a great guard was showcased, and were right on with their throws, while using some great looking flags; this is as good as I've seen Boston and I was impressed (which is a lot from me, as they were "the enemy" when I marched....I even let my son buy a BAC t-shirt).

3rd - Crossmen: went on last as defending Beanpot champs; tough following the Cadets however; nice staccato opening, with cool flags work whipping the wind; their snare line was working hard on a difficult routine, and their drum showcase wowed the crowd; their "conductor" Karen Myers was giving it her all to keep them flowing, but at 9:30 at night after a long hot day of parades, you could sense the fatigue; Miss Myers presents a great front for them, in the manner of Phantom's Kristy Spears; they were scored right where they should have been, but I think could have been a few points higher; Glassmen are starting to pull away from them; now that the YEA tour is over, look for the X-men to start working towards seperating themselves from Magic and Crown (side note: the annoucer for the show asked: drum major Karen Myers, is your color guard ready?" major slip up on his part.....).

2nd - Glassmen: this corps is stunning visually and technically; they had no weak spots this evening (or the night before in Bristol); drum line smokes, and has a great percussion feature where they come in front of the pit to wow the fans; the fans broke into applause 9 times during their show, and that seemed to get them pumped; Glassmen are not as well know the the "casual" DCI fan, but they changed a lot of that tonight; as they start to go head to head with the corps ahead of them, I think they will get stronger and prove that '98 was no fluke; congrats to the Glassmen from this fan who was impressed with them two nights in a row.

1st - Cadets of Bergen County: wow! wow!! WOW!!! go mellophones! go quints!! go guard!!! as always, their drill is fast and furious, although I would like to see it from higher up; the staccato notes form the horns at the beginning of the show gives you goosbumps its so good; the FIVE quint players not only performed the most technically demanding feature I've ever seen, they did it flawlessly and (seemingly) without breaking a sweat....crowd went crazy! my wife commented on how "they never take their eys off their drum major", which was a great observation, and a portion of why these folks are just so darn good; the Cadets showed no effects of a long day, and recieved highest score of any corps this year EASILY! its almost as if they sent a message to Santa Clara, indicating that they were the corps to beat......

Please remeber that this is one fan's opinion; as a snare drummer, I tend to focus on the drum lines and the pit, but a bold sound and a great visual doesn't escape me. A great evening. You gotta love DCI!!!

David Sherry
Pawtucket RI
Comprehensive Drum Links Webmaster

Just a few thoughts on the show:

Got there late and didn't see East Coast Jazz and Les Etoiles.

Spirit: Saw them last Sunday in Beverly, and was disappointed to see no discernible improvement. The show, has lots of potential and has been designed with entertainment in mind. However, the execution is sorely lacking at this point. Horn line has a very brash, harsh sound, which really cuts down on the enjoyment level. Another problem is individual marching technique. It is poor. What I do like about Spirit is the fact that the show is a much more mature show than last year. If they can clean up the marching and do something about the sound of the brass, this could be a very, very enjoyable show. I think top 12 for Spirit will be very tough. However, they were a big hit with the fans in Wakefield, demonstrating that the potential is there for something a lot better.

Boston: So far, my favorite show of the year. A miraculous transformation for the Crusaders this year. The symphonic dances musical show is very, very nice, very musical--well written, accessible, yet sophisticated and coherent. The whole show holds together beautifully. Nice drill and very good individual marching technique, as compared to Spirit. Horn line has a lush, mature sound. I notice substantial improvement over last Sunday, particularly in marching. Still need a few more bodies in the guard, however.

Crossmen: I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The reviews of the Xmen have been very positive, and they performed extremely well. They were surprisingly clean for July 4th and the show was very spirited, very up. However, I agree with all the reviewers who gave the new uniforms a thumbs down. They are too dark. The lights at this show were nothing to write home about, and this compounded the dreariness of the uniforms. It has to be affecting their visual GE scores. Also, it seems that YEA does not know what to do with the Crossmen creatively. The show seemed musically disjointed to me. While I liked the Blue Shades opener, why Appalachian Morning at the end. Couldn't they think of anything else? The overall show lacks thematic coherency. It doesn't make sense to me as a creative statement (unlike Boston's show which make a lot of sense as a creative statement). That said, the guard is terrific again, and there is a great drum solo. There is lots to like. I hope they can add a few more bodies to the horn line (51 tonight). Volume, however, it not a problem.

Glassmen: I liked the show, and I'm a big fan of the G'men. However, I don't think moving into the top four is in the cards this year. Why? First it's very, very hard to make that next step. (Remember how long it took Star?). Second, the Kodaly show is quite esoteric and intellectual. It is a "cool" show as opposed to a "hot" show, like Cadets (below). While the music is melodic and listenable, it doesn't have enough highs and contrasts to get the audience screaming or gasping in surprise. It is a much more difficult show than last year, and M &M was quite dirty. Also the drill is pretty dense and stays between the 30 yard lines a lot. I hope this corps surprises me in August, because, I really enjoyed the show. They were not a huge hit with the Boston fans, though, but by no means unpopular. Time will tell.

Cadets: I'll have to give the Cadets a mixed review. To state my bias, I am a big fan of the Cadets. Positives: Biggest + is brass volume. In past years the lack of volume has really bothered me. Not this year. This is the loudest Cadets horn line, maybe ever, without sacrificing quality. Overall the quality of the brass, drum line and guard is better than in 1998, and that's a little scary. As others have said, the guard this year is terrific--much better than last year's guard, which was a little sub par for Cadets. No such problem this year. The guard uniforms and "look" are also excellent. Confidence and performance for the Cadets are also probably better than last year. These kids are good, and they know it, and they it show in their performance. Very impressive. Wonderful drum line. The tom solo is as good as everyone has been saying, the best I've ever heard and clean, clean, clean. Now my complaints: I've heard "The Big Apple", and I think they could have done a better job adapting it. The "Gunfight" part from '96 is terrific--it includes the fabulous drum solo. However, the opening, after the unbelievable beginning brass impacts, is marched too slowly for my tastes. I think it should be been done faster, and it did not get a huge fan response. I also thought the ballad was generic and blah, and the ending, while visually stunning--fast with typical Cadet high risk pass throughs--was music written to accompany drill, not the other way round. Again, musically uninteresting and blah to me. One can be distracted by the unbelievable visual goings on and not pay attention to the music, so they can probably get away with this. This show still needs a lot of tinkering, and I'm sure it will change substantially (we all know CBC shows always do) by 8/14. Top three? As other have said, unquestionably. The $64,000 question: Can SCV and/or BD top the overall product, for, when all is said and done, Cadets are still pretty terrific.

John J. Fitzgerald

Saturday July 3
Riverside, CA (DCI-Pacific)

Well, folks, BD turned in an incredible concert this afternoon, and won the Riverside, CA show with an even 80.0 tonight.

[Jazz] Man in the Moon, Blue Devils on Stage
Saturday July 3, Riverside Community College
Landis Auditorium

What an enjoyable, accessible show this is! It had comedy, jazz dance, percussion ensemble features, and of course, a wide-open screaming jazz that scorched the audience who gave them 3 standing ovations.

The dance was innovative and acrobatic, but not freakish or hackneyed as so much of modern corps dance is nowadays. The guard ensemble had remarkable stage presence, and an honest connection with the music.

BD's show opened with "Hip Pocket", a professional California jazz band. With performing partners like Hip Pocket, and associations with colleges and professional musicians, BD appears to be constantly re-examining the jazz idiom, and widening their artistic network. This is marketing genius, which pays off on the DCI score sheet, no doubt about it. A most impressive strategy.

God damn, there's nothing like hearing the scorching beauty of Legend of a One-eyed Sailor in your face by BD in an indoor auditorium. I felt like I died. Absolutely stultifying!

Western Corps Connection
Riverside Community College
Wheelock Stadium

BD has a stunning field show this year, remarkable in that there are memorable stage pictures, not just looping lines all over the place. Near the end of the show, for example, the entire hornline is backfield left, with a powerful sound from a huge distance. Memorable. The drill and music build to incredible momentum in several spots. On the down side, there was noticeable phasing in two places tonight, and the equipment work was not tight.

After the scores were announced, BD played a great concert, up close, almost in the first row of seats. The most hilarious thing I've ever seen in a corps concert happened. They played Legend again, as they had in their earlier concert, but on the last note, the wailing soprano soloist turned and pointed his horn right at someone in the first row, wailed the final screeching note, and blew the guy's head off. Absolutely hilarious. The crowd went wild.

Mandarin has a tiny hornline, and the show is dynamic. Impulse looks and feels just like VK, and is likable to the nth degree. They have a great future ahead of them. Pacific Crest has a good hornline, and made a great impression.

Bill Lynn

Rockford, IL (DCM)

Got a chance to catch the Rockford show on Saturday - BCB performed in exhibition before the national anthem and we got the rest of the night off to catch the show. Didn't see many of the smaller corps as I was eating dinner (pizza, yum!) and browsing souvie stands for most of them. A couple of thoughts, though - Marion Cadets finally made it out. What I heard is that somebody designed their show for 30 members (which they have never had) and they had to completely redesign and relearn their show for actual numbers which were smaller. General Butler Vagabonds had a show that could be heard out in the souvie area - many great soloists. It was a pleasure to hear Les Mis again. Couldn't hear much brass from Americanos, but sure could hear the percussion from the souvie area.

Phantom Legion - I caught a little bit of their rehearsal (full corps in standstill) before the show, and standing still it sounded GREAT. Out on the field was another story, but the percussion section is outstanding in all areas. In fact, one of their souvie guys (a fellow Baylor grad, small world!) told me that one of Legion's snares turned down a spot in Regiment to stay with Legion this summer. Legion's drumline plays very well together as an ensemble and plays some pretty complex music - in fact, a lot of their show is brass tacet with pit only or pit/battery playing. Their pit is out on the field, like Regiment's was in 93/94. The brass section needs more time to get used to playing on the move. That being said, the soprano section is solid and their three contras put out some SERIOUS sound. I felt like the arrangement of Reed's Symphony for Brass and Percussion was more complete and true to the original than Xmen 95, and I liked it better for those reasons. (Can someone tell me who is writing their brass book these days?) Once the brass line calms down and builds up some endurance the corps will be serious contenders and I wish I could see their finished product.

Kilties - my first viewing of them ever - I was impressed! A very full brass line for a senior corps (I counted around 50). The drill had nearly as many sets as a junior corps drill, even if it was not as complex, and much of the drill was very effective GE wise. For example, during the percussion feature, there was an extended drill centered around a long file on the 50 yard line with gate turns, backwards gate turns, the Cavies "sinewave" move (from the 80s, not that DNA-helix move from the Planets show), and a full corps company front rotation, all of which got a lot of crowd reaction. The corps was still adding contras as of Rockford, but you wouldn't have known it from the sound. I was pleased to discover that the Kilties are very friendly with Bayou City Blues ... at their home show the next night they stalled a little bit when they went on before us at the end of the show, to give us time to make the 2.5-hour-dash from Dixon to Racine in time to perform ... thanks a lot, we really appreciated that! On a side note, it was a huge rush to step off the bus, grab the equipment, head for the gate with no warmup, and 5 minutes later deliver a knockout show to a very appreciative crowd! But I digress ...

Cavaliers - For me this show is a case of "Man, I really love this show without knowing exactly why." I will attempt to explain ... everything flows together extremely well ... the drill and guard choreography and color schemes all contribute to a wonderfully fluid, beautifully designed product. The music is not all that memorable, but is well performed. The second number, which is their first selection from "Variations on a Theme by Haydn", has a definite whimsical attitude to it, much like "Mercury" from their Planets show. For instance, at the end of the number, one of the brass players who was supposed to be in the corner of a form but was several steps away from it, suddenly "realized" his mistake and very theatrically ran and jumped back into his spot at the last note. There was also a scary moment in this number - there was a move where a block did a very fast 180 towards the center of the field, and one of the brass players' legs got tangled up somewhere and it looked like he leaped out of it and landed off balance and on one leg at a very fast tempo, but he recovered instantly. (Many audience murmurs after seeing that happen.) Two things impressed me about the performance: 1) The brass section is as good as I have ever heard them play, both in terms of execution and the way the book was arranged; and 2) Their drumline is ON FIRE. The show opens with 32nd note rolls from the battery and this early in the season it was spit-polish clean. The entire book was performed just about as cleanly. I think this show and this corps is capable of winning the championship this year, but I won't predict anything until I see the Texas shows.

Madison Scouts - without knowing very much of Jesus Christ Superstar except for one or two of the songs and the title song, the Scouts made me enjoy every selection they performed. Sorry to say, their drumline was not up to snuff relative to Cavies and Phantom, and it did not help that they had to perform after such a stellar performance by the Cavies. The Dixieland combos (especially the percussion setup) in King Herod's Song were a hoot, and so was the soprano player and guard member trading instruments for half of the song. The percussion feature, though very dirty, was very intense and along with the brass really conveyed the mood of the song (the name of the song is one of the Bible verses referring to the Crucifixion). The last few sets (block to cross to star) were very effective, and they kind of reminded me of when Star of Indiana did those quickly evolving but recognizable forms at the end of their show, like '90 and '92. I doubt they'll break into the top 5 this year, but we'll all still love 'em and cheer 'em on!

Phantom Regiment - I had heard that they had spend the weekend relearning the drill to their closer, which had resulted in lower scores for a couple of shows, but they were fairly close to Madison tonight (less than a point). This show, which I like a lot, reminded me of Blue Knights last year, a sort of symphony-sampler concept, and a lot of their selections I found familiar. The show begins with a long, incredibly exposed soprano 16th-note passage that started things off with a jolt of adrenaline. There are still marching problems, but I don't think they are as severe as last years', so I don't see them finishing as low as they did last year - but as good as Glassmen are supposed to be this year, I don't know that they'll break the top 5 either. The Texas tour (Gmen, PR, Cavies, Scouts, BD) will really sift things out in that regard and I can't wait to see it! Back to the show - musically things are happening, their low brass is roaring, and I felt the drumline was in between Cavies and Madison and improving. They had the coolest souvie stand that I saw ... they had a series of "Corps Wars" shirts that designed to look like the Star Wars logo that were very cool. Another had "CiB ... Corps in Black" and another had the motto "Fear Us, Cheer Us, Phantom 1999". Lastly they had a hat with the logo, "cWo ... Contra World Order", a takeoff on the wrestling logo ... our contra section promptly got themselves outfitted for the next day's parades! :)

All in all, this is the earliest season show I have ever seen, and I was not disappointed! Now I am really looking forward to seeing them again in Texas. From someone whose tour is already over for the year ... GOOD LUCK to all of these corps as you continue to compete!

Eric Senzig
Sky Ryders 1992
Bayou City Blues 1999 (tour's over already ... *sniff*)

Belleville, NJ (Ind)

Sorry for the late review, but it's a long drive from New Jersey back to Nevada.

Visiting the Belleville Municipal Stadium the afternoon before the 50th National Dream, you couldn't help but notice the center of the field suffered from terra firma mange and neglect from limited care. The intermittent rain that sweeps its way through the area compounds this concern. You can't help but picture some poor contra line stepping into a mud pit on the 45-yard line . . . never to be seen again. But alas, come Saturday morning and the Patriot's rehearsal, and the ground is dry and the stadium field handles well with the performers. The only thing wet is the air. Hats off to volunteers from the Imperial Guardsmen who made sure the field was properly marked and picked clean of trash and other obstructions. Great job kids.

Audubon Bon-Bons Alumni Chorus. The opening performance was the Audubon Bon-Bons Alumni Chorus with an acappella rendition of the National Anthem. Their voices were as sweet and stirring as the chorus of drums and bugles that graced the drum corps world for over thirty years. Hey, we miss you ladies!

Imperial Guardsmen. The opening corps is also today's host for the National Dream, the Imperial Guardsmen. This fine young corps, performing today in exhibition, is "a teaching corps" designed to introduce young people to the fundamentals of drum and bugle corps. In addition, this organization, that is a rebirth of the Imperial Guardsmen from the 60s and 70s, is dues free to all its members. The corps performed a selection of drum corps standards of "On a Wonderful Day," "Beyond the Sea," a medley of "Auld Lange Syne" and "Danny Boy," and closed with "The Impossible Dream."

Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights. The Golden Knights is the winningest junior corps in Dream history, and they were primed to remind the world why that was. The corps' repertoire of drum corps hits included "National Emblem" and their sassy rendition of "Witchcraft." The corps' drum line still remains the technically perfect, clean driving force I remember watching and listening to a lifetime ago. From the first notes of "National Emblem," the brass section reaches out at the unsuspecting audience and pulls them into the corps' world. How quickly you forget the heat index is 105 and you're sitting on concrete seats. Suddenly, you're riding the musical wave of screaming soloists and dynamo excitement. Sorry, I was lost in the moment.

Phoenix. The Phoenix Drum and Bulge Corps is the first competing junior corps to take the field. This year's show features the music of Santana. With selections like "Oye Como Va," "Dance Sister Dance," and "Everybody's Everything," I was expecting one kick butt performance. Unfortunately, these high-powered numbers went lacking this afternoon. Though they are blessed with excellent arrangements, the brass section's execution of these charts was very laid back. On the other hand, the corps has a musically mature balance between the battery and the horns - something that's often a struggle for corps of their size. The corps' high point was "Samba Pa Ti," which maintained a musical "feel good" flow to it - a great capture of the composer's intent. Throughout the show the color guard executed wonderful field coverage with the potential for exceptional performances; however, this afternoon their timing must be listed in the "needs improvement" category.

Kip's Bay Knight Club. Kip's Bay is a very intense corps. This becomes obvious when watching them run through rehearsal. They are an example where peer pressure works harder on an individual than anything the staff can say or do. These kids really care about what they are doing. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed their version of "White Rabbit." The number has the complexity and dynamics of a symphony, and yet flows with the smoothness of uptown jazz. The only noticeable problem was that the drill is written too fast for the bass drum line. Their stumbling along was funny during rehearsal; however, it became an embarrassment at show time. Overall, they had a really good performance with a couple of exceptional soloists. Also of note, the color guard's playground scene for "Another Park" was a nice touch.

Quest. Talk about taking chances - the Quest performed without a drum major. And did an exceptional job! These young musicians must be commended for the ability to work their way through complex tempo changes in numbers that included "Scythian Suite" and "Fight for Life." The dynamite opener focuses on the talented percussion and color guard, and pulls you into a whirlpool of rhythms and colors - shades of this year's Blue Devils show. The brass line was very clean, but a couple times allowed the rhythm and harmony parts to overdrive the volume of the melody. With their use of large water bottles and 2x4s for the percussion break, I was almost expecting something from Phil Collins' Tarzan's movie score. Good job, and nice headscarves.

Patriots. This group from Rochester, New York is destined to win, and I don't mean they sport a 'win or die' attitude. No, whether on the practice field or the competition field, they pick up their instruments and equipment and take on a professional attitude that shines of class normally associated with open corps. This year's program is "Russian Scenes" and fits really well with their red and white uniforms. Throughout their opener, "Eight Russian Folk Songs for the Orchestra" I was mesmerized with their color guard, especially the saber work. A very good job. The rifle work was also exceptional, there are a number of open class corps this year that could use a few lessons from these kids. In fact, the Patriots were my favorite color guard for the junior corps (they took best color guard). The horn section blends the richness of symphonic brass with the power of drum corps. A very good job. Though the percussion a section was good, it was the abilities of the pit that must be commended. The smooth execution of complex arrangements made them fun to watch and listen to.

Jersey Surf. The Surf was my biggest surprise of the evening. The opening measures of "Summertime" reaches up and grabs you by the throat and says, "I'm here!" Wow. Once a drum corps standard over 30 years ago, the New Jersey corps delivers it with an assortment of refreshing variations and tempos. Next to the opening strands, my favorite variation was the 5/4 chart with a hint of "Take Five" thrown in for good measure. The cymbal section is a very flashy, as well as talented group to watch. Overall, the Surf percussion line was my favorite of the evening. I understand that this is the second full version of the drill for the corps. Yes, there were a couple of weak moments in the visual, but with a bit more rehearsal time under their belts and the Jersey Surf should be a force to reckon with at Madison.

Archer-Epler Musketeers. Coming out of intermission Archie took the field for a standstill performance. The corps had improved considerably since their recent Dixie Stinger performance. Throughout the quarter of an hour of Archie standards the battery and brass where balanced the best I have heard them in the past two years. They closed with "The Stars and Stripes Forever," which got the crowd clapping in time with the music.

Audubon Bon-Bons. The chorus came back on to open the senior competition with the "National Anthem." And again they did a wonderful performance. If they are brought back next year, it is my recommendation the Bon-Bons be allowed more performance time.

Skyliners. After a year off, the New York Skyliners came back stronger than ever! The champions of five previous Dreams (50, 66, 71, 72, 75) opened with "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," which brought the crowd to its feet. The horn line is sassy and is loaded with a punch expected of the New York organization. The drill balanced well with the size of the corps. Too often small corps try to cover too much ground to compensate visually for their limited size. This is supplemented with really good coverage by the color guard. Unfortunately, this night the guard's timing was weak. The corps closed with a Duke Ellington medley that is the high point of the show. The screaming soloists punch through the arrangement's wall of sound leaving the crowd satisfied and wanting more.

Heat Wave. This is the Florida group's first appearance of the summer, as well as their first Dream appearance. The theme of this year's show is "Songs in the Keys of Florida, which includes "Melancholy Serenade," "Kokomo," a Jimmy Buffett medley, "Theme from Jaws," and "Here We Are - Oye." What can you say about the Heat Wave? First and foremost: They ARE entertaining! A sort of Velvet Knights of the senior circuit. Throughout their performance you get to experience windsurfing, the crowd swaying to the music, a visit from Jaws (actually, nothing to loose your head over), a sing-along, and marching Webers (you will have to see it to believe it). They are the kind of corps you will never admit you like in public, but will always look forward to seeing.

Connecticut Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are three-time champions of the National Dream (67,68,69). This year's show is a presentation of "Visions of the American West" - based on variations of "Magnificent Seven Suite" and "Hang 'em High." The corps performs on and around 10 large platforms that are dressed out as western fences. The props, unfortunately, tend to limit the maneuver space for the drill, and provide a noisy distraction when moved about the field. The color guard as always did a wonderful job, with special note to the saber work. The high point was the tender eup solo at the beginning of "Hang 'em High."

Sunrisers. Though the Sunrisers have only won one Dream, they are tonight's defending champions. This summer the corps presents, "An American Celebration" - a program of American standards. The massive color guard instantly draws your attention on the field. It would almost be to the point of distraction if it weren't for the fact that the section is very good. Their execution and creativeness made them the best color guard of the evening. The music was executed well, but with few exceptional moments. I really miss "Festive Overture."

Bushwackers. The Bushwackers was my biggest disappointment of the evening. The battery had to have been borrowed from another corps, this is not the Bushwacker standard the fans have come to expect! The color guard did well with exceptional moments of very strong flag work. The brass line, however, is the high point of the corps, with a number of excellent arrangements. The sensuous rendition of "Pretty Woman" brought out chills on this hot silky night. They do a marvelous job with the delicate fade as the horns play the number out into the backfield.

Caballeros. The Hawthorne Caballeros have won the National Dream 15 times (55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 70, 73, 76, 77, 78, 80). This year's show is built around the music of "The Mask of Zorro," which was made for the Hawthorne Caballeros. Much to the enjoyment of the crows, Drum Major Jim Russo comes out wearing the mask of Zorro. Such a showman . . . but that is what the Cabs are all about! For the opening, the performers are positioned behind large panels that look like upside down Tequila Sunrises. With the horn section was packing all the power people have associated with the Cabs for the past half-century, the corps erupts out into the open with a driving "The Plaza of Execution" that leaves no doubt in anyone's mind who is on the field. Surprisingly, at no point in the show did the panels hinder or constrict the drill or visual presentation. The color guard and their shiny "Z" flags performed a clean show - with the timing of the sabers as their only weakness. The battery is unusually smaller this year. This may have been the reason for only a good performance -- nothing exceptional. Though the company wheel did not have the late season precision, the maneuver drove the crowd up on their feet and into a final frenzy. Continued improvements with the Cabs' show could very well assure them a top spot at Allentown in September.

New York Skyliners Alumni. As the last corps of the evening, the Skyliners Alumni was the perfect closing touch to an exhausting day of wall to wall drum corps. Taking the field with 65 horns, not to mention a powerful battery that included 13 snares, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that it was time to buckle our seatbelts. Launching into a primer selection of the Skyliners' greatest hits, the audience frenzy continued to build on the foundation left by the Cabs. Their wall of sound and screaming sop solos had the crowd dancing in the aisles and crying for more at the end of "New York, New York." Never one to disappoint, the corps reformed into a company front at the edge of the field for a rousing nightcap to the evening's fine performance.

It has been almost two decades since the National Dream went inactive from the summer's must see list. The return of Dream incorporates the current evolution of drum corps with the excitement of yesteryear competition. The same sort of feel you get at the county fair as you voyage into the advancing years of adulthood - the rides are a little crazier, but the smells and feels are still the same.

Thus, it was with Dream. Drum corps, drum corps everywhere. The afternoon and evening provided a fix the way corn on the cob and cotton candy provides a heaven for those who want a quick taste of a childhood memory. From the moment you pulled into the parking lot you were quickly submerged into drum corps' Valhalla. All around there were corps in motion. At one point I counted five full rehearsals going on at the same time - not to mention the sectional gatherings scattered throughout the nooks and crannies of Belleville High School. And gathered in pockets across the parking lot were a number of tailgate parties -- who's forum served to renew old friendships and relight memories of Dreams past. All of this has to be the heaven that awaits me, because Lord knows, the weather made it feel pretty close to hell.

Michael Carlson

Friday July 2
Seattle, WA (DCI-Pacific)

Despite the cold temps, and rainy weather. It never ceases to amaze me that Seattle DC fans show up, donning parka's, thermal blankets, and jugs full of coffee, like they're ready to camp out (unusual weather for Seattle ). I had the privilege to meet a lot of new people, and to meet up with a lot of 'ol timers ... I think our thanx should be given to a fan base, that will show, no matter what ...

Northwest Venture opened the show with the National Anthem, and went directly into their show. Along with the hootin' and hollerin', fans really showed their appreciation for us 'ol farts makin' a go of it ... again ... being only 1 year old, we didn't expect too much. But, received a lot lot more than we ventured for (small pun)...

Northern Lights came next ... and to put it simply. They are a youth marching band, that deserves a lot more credit than they are given. Both, musically and percussion wise, they put on a show that any DC would be proud of ...

Next, came BD "B", and the Cascades (both Div. II). Both corps', put on a show that have a promising future. Visually, exciting ... musically, thought provoking ... Personally, (IMO), I thought the horns were a little weak (I missed the ÉÉ's of a big corps), with the drumlines a little overpowering. Both corps' (I hear) plan on picking up stray horns, during their perspective tours. I should mention, that, the Cascades have a tight drumline. Comprised of vets and ageouts, they will be something to reckon' with, come August ...

Santa Clara Vanguard ... what can I say? ... They made everyone's hair stand on end ... talk about a powerhouse!!! Even my kid brother (a DC novice) recognized the charts from Philip Glass and David Byrne, and thought the arrangements were "cool". Despite the fact, that I was looking for error, I found relatively few ... Their show has a constant movement, that keeps you on edge and anticipation throughout, with a few subtle surprises ... need I say more? ...

The West-Coast is comin' back at'cha ....

Steve Spang

I'm not very good at the review stuff but if you asked for it then I suppose I'll give it a shot...

BDB - Seems like they only use this corps to teach percussion. (Flame on I guess..) The drumline was pretty much rippin it up, and the pit sounded great. The horns could have blown a little more, or have the battery back off. I don't know what else to say really. It was a good show, but seemed to be missing something (besides more horns).

Cascades - Drumline was fairly tight. The prop (looked like an oil drill or something) in the middle of the field was a little odd, but I guess it makes sense with the theme being Technology? (sarcasm) Kinda cool when a couple of pit members went out and did a little "Stomp" action on it. Other than that it just kinda made you wonder about it. I like the drill. Lots of holes though. Hopefully some kids will step up and fill them on the tour. Hate to see that many holes in Madison.

SCV - What else can you say but WOW! They are really looking awesome this year! I can see them going all the way. Sweet sweet drill. Needs a little tweaking, but that will definitely be done in a short amount of time. The guard was definitely looking good. Most of the flag work was together and it really added to the show. The weapons were looking good too. Horns are playing some cool stuff, but I felt that the louds could have been louder. Soloists were still a little tense, but they sounded great. The horns do some pretty cool visual stuff, like always, but I just love that. The pit was soundin awesome, I'm not much of a pit guy, so I don't really focus on 'em sorry... The battery was really rippin some *@#& up. I love it! The brushes or whatever they were on the snares added alot. I saw/heard the basses using brushes too. That's was something I've never seen before, but I really liked it! Big fat loud/fast 16th notes at the end of the show, sounded sweet and sent chills up my spine. Weren't totally together, but close enough to get that feeling! All in all they had a bad-arse show. I love it! Can't wait to see it again, and also can't wait to see what happens in Madison.

Don't kill me if this review sucks. I am not a review writer so if I offended anyone, sorry!

Brent Edwards

Mankato, MN (DCM)

Here is my review of the Makato, MN show:

It was a bit warm and very humid. There was rain at the start of the show, but about half way through the first corps performance, it let up and did not return with any significance the rest of the evening. Refreshments were cheap, stadium assistance was terrific, and the stadium itself was pretty good. The stands had a nice incline that provided good viewing for all and the stands themselves were pretty good sized. The crowd was large, and was very receptive to all of the corps tonight. Very few people left before Madison completed their encore.

Decorah Kilties - 8th Place - 25.0
This is an extremely small and extremely young corps. Their score was probably about 10 points higher than they deserved from an execution standpoint, but about 20 points low based on effort for these young kids. Despite their execution problems, the audience was very receptive towards them, and they got a good round of applause from the crowd after each number and at the end of their show. Their uniforms are standard Kilts, and they really look great! The majority of the show is appropriately written for the talent level of the corps. Their program had a Scottish theme to it, and overall it was a well-conceived show. My 7-year-old daughter said they were her favorite corps of the night. I was a bit surprised, because she loves Madison. She said they were her favorite because they were just really young kids, and it didnít matter if they made a lot of mistakes because they were just trying to do their best. I donít know when I have been more proud of her!

Blue Stars - 5th Place - 53.5
I was very impressed with the Blue Stars this year. Their repertoire is music from Ivan the Terrible. The overall design of the show is excellent - drill, arrangements, etc. It is a very impressive show. The corps is a bit small, but they performed very well. The horn line played very well, and in tune. For as small a line as they have, they did not have the performance problems you tend to see from small lines (i.e., sticking out of the ensemble, over blowing, huge gacks, etc.). They did announce they had three spots in the horn line recently become available, so filling these spots should help them. They seem to be a much stronger corps than they have been in recent years. Add some bodies to this corps and they could really turn some heads, wow the crowd, and scare the competition. I had them scoring much closer to Pioneer.

Governaires - 7th Place - 50.3
The Govies have a great show - very entertaining and some great soloists. The drum major does a lot of interacting with the crowd, and the pit even tries to get the audience into the closing number with words on place cards to sing along. Their show was designed for the audience - pure fun.

Capital Sound - 6th Place 51.0
They are very large in all sections. Despite the large size of the horn line, they just didnít put out the decibels that I expected and hoped for. Overall, they have a nice show, which is comprised of Big Band Jazz tunes. There are a lot of drum corps classics in this show, and the arrangements are pretty good. Itís an entertaining show, but they need to step up the performance level a notch to draw the crowd into their show more. Their uniforms look like the Freelancers from the 80ís, without folding down the front flap half way. They look good, but could use a stripe on the pants to help clean up the visual - too much black out there to read the legs very well.

Minnesota Brass - 3rd - 63.8
MBI looked like they have a full horn line, and it sure sounded like it! Powerful brass, hot soloists, great percussion, and a good guard. A classic show of the caliber you would expect from MBI. Their Earth, Wind, and Fire show is done well. The crowd seemed to really like their show, and they got a great response from every number. The total package is there, and itís a fun, entertaining show. MBI should be in the thick of it at DCA this year, and I wish them the best!

Southwind - 2nd - 66.0
All I can say is welcome back Southwind! What a comeback! They have a full corps, and they are GOOD! Their uniform tops are yellow, and have the same design as BD - without the silver and black sequins on the front - just the same shape of design. They have black pants, and suffer from the same visual muddiness as Capital Sound as a result. Their pants could really use a stripe to clean it up and make it easier to read. Their guard is wearing elegant black dresses that look good, but because they are totally black, tend to get a bit lost on the field. They have some good arrangements, and a very good drill. There are some really nice drill moves, including one morphing block that is very Cavaliers in style, but quite cool. Their horn line can crank out some sound, and their percussion line is good. If they continue to improve their show, they should make semi-finals easily, and be pushing towards top 12. They probably will not make finals this year, given the competition this year, but they could be close. It all depends on how much they can clean.

Pioneer - 4th Place - 59.6
The drum line is quite large, but there are only something like 28 or 30 horns. This causes some balance problems for them. Their performance tonight was much better than it was in Hastings a few days before, and the improvement in score reflected this. Their horn line tends to lose tone quality and intonation as they try to match the volume of the drum line. Their program is a typical Pioneer program, comprised of Irish tunes, but nothing the reaches out and grabs you. Itís very traditional, so the drum corps purists should like and appreciate their show. Their drum line is the strength of the corps. They have 8 snares, 8 cymbals, 4 tenors, 5 bass drums, and 8 in the pit, and the entire line can play very well. If the brass line was full and matched the drum lineís quality, we would have another contender for finals on our hands.

Madison Scouts - 1st Place - 75.6
After a second viewing and from a better vantagepoint, I like Madisonís show a lot better. The show is classic Madison - powerful brass, strong soloists, exciting percussion (even though itís not the cleanest), a great guard, and a nice visual program. Before they begin their show, all if the flags are swinging their flags back and forth, pendulum style - in unison - with no apparent direction to keep time - very cool effect. My only complaints about the show are that the end of the tunes do not hype enough - they need to be more powerful to really draw the crowd to its feet. Additionally, the drill at times does not move enough. There are times when it is really moving and the music does not really call for that much motion, and vice versa. Some fine-tuning on the movement and some cranking up the ending, esp. to the opener and the end of the show - and Madison will have another show that will send the crowd into hysterics.

Tim Kviz
Sky Ryders 85-88
Various Others 78-84

Wednesday June 30
Dayton, OH (DCM)

Our lady friends from the north present us with another small but very energetic show. If you like swing catch these ladies! And shouldn't that Drum Major be wearing some sort of safety harness? I thought she would collapse that podium with her high energy directing and jumping around.

Marion Cadets
Amazing what a week can do. This corps is rapidly cleaning up their show. As always...control is their forte. Guard work and pit are moving along nicely and the horns are taking major leaps in improvement.

Phantom Legion
I finally got to see ya'll as a spectator! Really nice book. Some incredible drill work out of the battery that matches the tightness of your playing. Very nice visuals throughout the show.

Okay...I hate Les Mis...I hated the book in school...the movie on the late show....and the stage show on Broadway! But I love your version of it! A very talented presentation indeed. Guard work is really incredible.... If people say that Div II and III are not worth their time then I feel sorry for you!. If you miss GBV this year you lose!! Great Show!

Again...What a difference a week makes!. The corps seemed more comfortable with the book and it was reflected in their performance. Solid showing tonight.

As long as there is drum corps in Casper then I can rest easy knowing that the sun will come up tomorrow. Very nice version of Billy the Kid! (One of my favs by the way!) A really solid performance with only a couple of key points...1) Pit tends to over balance the horns....2) Some phasing during the duet. But a sunburst? Yes!!! and thank you! All is right in my world tonight.

Phantom Regiment
Another corps improving by leaps and bounds. The guard impresses me more and more and the rest of the visual package coming along nicely. I would love to hear that hornline really cut loose.

Blue Knights
You got me at Hello again! The entire package is tightening up very nicely and the crowd response reflected it. Awesome work in the guard with the hoop silks!

Much tighter and more in control than last week. Visuals are being executed on par with mid July. Some of the guardwork is getting lost in the guardwork. Its not carrying because some of the backdrops confuse it instead of accenting it. And someone tell the Baritone line that the key is to stay in the ensemble or does this music have "freelance" solos written in?

All in excellent show tonight. Kudos to Bellbrook on a well run show.

Michael Kolle

Allentown, PA (DCI-Atlantic)

Another great night at J. Birney Crum Stadium! Despite the problems with splinters from the seats (a problem that may be fixed soon according to an announcement made last night), this is still one of the best show sites that I have experienced in the last 20 years! The crowd tonight appeared a bit thin, but, in part, that is because the stadium is so large and, the show was on a Wednesday night. I won't discuss the various segments of the YEA Tour format because that has been done before. Instead, I will just give my impression of the corps.

Boston Crusaders - I was very impressed! This is the best designed show that Boston has come out with in several years. They are also very clean for June - marching was great! Some of the best spacing that I saw all night. The classical music was a bit unfamilar to me, but the horns, although making a few obvious mistakes, have a nice sound and the line appeared quite large (I didn't get a chance to count, but I would say they were marching around 60). The guard is small and appeared young, but I noted a few nice tosses. Boston could certainly challenge for a finals spot with this show.

Magic of Orlando - This was my second viewing of Magic's show (third if you count the stand up performance at the rained out DuBois show!). I like the Mangione music. This years horn line has a different sound than in past years - a bit smoother with less effort to blow out the ear drums. I did notice some problems with volume and dynamics. Marching was a bit sloppy tonight, but overall the drill design is nice. The biggest problem that I notice with Magic is the drum line - could just be the snares they are using (I don't like the sound). I suspect they will also challenge to reenter the top 12.

Carolina Crown - I have read this on here before, but I must agree that despite the fact that I do not know the music from "Jekyl and Hyde" it is very enjoyable. The guard work is excellent! Second best guard of the evening. The drill is well written and performed fairly well, but could still use alot of cleaning. At some points of the show I was hoping that the horns would pump up the volume a bit. This should be a very good show when August comes around - I think it should guarantee a top 12 spot.

Crossmen - OK, I will admit my bias up front (being a Crossmen fan for 22 years will do that). I will try to be as unbiased as possible here. I think that this is a really well designed show - probably the best I have seen the Crossmen put on the field in years. The horn line has a much maturer sound than in the past few years (even though the members are obviously quite young!). I would very much like to see the holes filled so that the volume can be increased and so that the drill looks a bit cleaner (although for 48 horns, they can get pretty loud!). Marching looks pretty good for June - I think the drill is more challenging than in the last few years. Drums look pretty solid as well. The biggest problem that I have noticed in the first few shows is the guard -- it is a great guard show with many high impact moments. However, I am noticing way too many drops and near misses primarily during "Blue Shades". It seems like there are two different groups on the field during the show, because during the closer the guard is flawless. I am sure that these problems will be worked out. If the Xmen fill the holes and clean things up a bit, I expect good things in Madison.

Cadets - When I first saw their uncompleted show at the Parkdale High School Preview a few weeks ago, I was very disappointed. My opinions have changed. While this is not my favorite Cadets show, it is very well designed and very well performed. Percussion and guard appear flawless - the guard work in the opener is excellent! The ballad is one of the prettier pieces the Cadets have played. The horns have a nice sound, but they have not mastered the music yet during some parts of the show. The drill is characteristic Cadets -- the frenzy of movement in the last 30 seconds is great! They will challenge for the top spot again this year in Madison.

Well, they are my thoughts on Allentown. I must say that the season appears the be building up as one of the best in recent memory!


Another YEA vehicle occured on June 30'th at the infamous J Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown under threatening skies. The weather held out, and the sparce fans were treated to a great night of corps. Here are simply my impressions.

I am not a Boston fan; however, this is the best I have ever seen them. Their drill is much more demanding than in previous years, the guard is good, and they are marching almost a full corps. Their closer features some of the best drill of the show. I can't wait to see this clean!
Score: 65.8

Magic is small this year. However, you won't remember that when they start playing. I liked this show lot. The music of chuck Mangione is perfect for Magic. As usual Magic uses color very effectively, utilizing brilliant reds and yellows to set the stage for the music. The closer is by far the most "accessible" part of the show. Very nice arrangements and tunes that you will leave the stands humming. The only thing that stands between Magic and top 12 this year is a little cleaning.
Score: 66.3

Wow, go color guard! It's been said before here on RAMD but, Crown's guard is wonderful this year. There is a ballad half way through the show which features the guard using bright yellow flags; the work is layered in triads and is absolutely amazing. The music from Jeckyl and Hyde is fast and driving and works beautifully for them.
Score: 68.1

Great guard, great drums, horns??? horns??? I saw these guys at Parkland on the 15'th of June and I thought they were destined for 10'th place. Not any longer. Wow, have they cleaned! The opener, with it's high exposure for all sections and tricky timing, now works wonderfully. It captivates you from the very start by being both musically and visually intriguing. As usual the guard is the thing to watch with this corps, but now they are being rivaled by the equally talented percussion section. The drums aren't featured until the closer, Appalachian morning, but it's worth the wait. In your face drumming at it's best! The only problem with this show is the horn line. There were parts of the show that the horns were marching and playing so dirty that I thought I was watching a senior corps ( flame protection - on ). The closer practically fell apart. They will make top six depending on how much progress this hornline can make.
Score: 73.8

Unbelievable!! In regards to design, musical demand, visual presentation, and overall show concept, there is not a single criticism I can make. This show is stunning. It is levels, LEVELS above anything I have ever seen from these guys. There are moments of this show that are inconceivable in the genius it took to create them. Come August this show has the capacity to be generating multiple standing ovations. The Opener, Manhattan, with its fast, fast tempo. The second number, which features incredible dance work from the guard. Hell's Kitchen, has a drum feature and equally thrilling drill that you have to experience to believe. And Finally, the closing drill moves that continually change forms at such a rapid pace that you think it can't possibly continue - AND IT DOES, will leave you absolutely breathless. Now, just so I don't sound like a complete sycophant, there is still cleaning to be done with the drill. Lines not lining up, people out of place. And hell's kitchen still has obvious timing problems. Horn phasing isn't consistent either. But, its June 30'th. Repeat as champions - yes.
Score: 79.5

B. H. Potoeski

Hadn't planned to post my impressions of this show, but the other day I read a post from someone who seemed so appreciative of a review, so I thought--why not? After all, not everyone gets to see these corps perform during the season (Hi, West Coast!)

To start, my qualifications to review? Never marched anywhere, just a fan who stumbled across the telecast back in 1985 & have watched ever since (I'm part of that general public DCI should be targeting).

Anyway, for the 5 corps performing, CHANGES seems to be the running theme for all:

BOSTON: they have changed in a big way. They are much larger and their show for 99 is quite serious. They are already much better than this time last year and their show is sooo much more enjoyable. At one point they played some music I recognized from a past Cavalier show (92?) & did a great job overall. Guard seemed a bit small (program listed 30, but half that perfomed), so their visual enhancement will be helped when the others join in. If the corps adds more intensity to marching & perfomance (I'm thinking SCV), this could be a killer show.

MAGIC: as for change, those (ugly) purple uniforms are gone & replaced with a new look for them (although still on the lame side IMO). Music of Mangione was fun, although I only really recognized the last tune. Their guard once again is eye popping, showing lots of skin (I believe some guys were practically shirtless, except the pudgy ones). The brass was not as forceful as last year (remember that CRESCENDO) but their scaled back program actually sounds better to me, as they are not trying to play a zillion notes. At times, drums and brass seemed to be playing to a different beat, though. A good show, but I favor Boston to pass them.

CROWN: this was my favorite package of the nite. It was a very visual show thanks to the great CG. In fact, I liked their CG program even more than the mighty Cadets guard. The music, while unrecognizable, was quite peppy and thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. I didn't expect to like Crown (last couple of shows have been somewhat drab to me). But they have a really good program on their hands, by far my favorite since they have been Top 12. I'd be disappointed if this does not make finals.

CROSSMEN: big changes for these guys. First, the uniforms. Dare I say Star Trek? Yet, I really liked the look & these may be one of my favorite uniforms of any corps ever--hope they stay forever! Next change: their music is not jazz oriented, but rather a somewhat Cadetsish symphonic type selection. In fact, their whole approach was eerily Cadetsish: wild rifle tosses during the ballad like cadets 97, a crazy staccato attack opening with dizzying drill like the opening to Stonehenge, and at one point it looked like a z-pull was being attempted (don;t think it was though). Despite these similarities, I really liked this Crossmen coprs--a lot. I just hope they don't become carbon copies of CBC & sacrifice their own unique style (when Crossmen start doing spiral moves and a Cadets "horns down," then we are in trouble). Anyway, the CG was excellent, though not as in-your-face as previous couple of years, & I actually thought scorewise they'd be a little closer to CBC in the end.

CBC: oddly, their show starts out as an almost carbon copy to the Crossmen, with mean staccato attacks & flying drill moves. Then they immediately rip right into the spiral they did last year in the Stonehenge opener (I just KNEW this would be repeated this year, as CBC has a habit of coming up with a power move & doing it again the following year on the opposite side of the field :)). The first half of the show was great: at one point they bring back the super-fast piece from the 96 show after the gunfights (who knew then that it was actually from the Big Apple? It was weird to hear again cause I've now associated that song with the Old West). Second half of show fell flat for me: ballad lacked emotional drama & visual effect from past few years & the ending of the show was fast but the drill moves weren't clear at all from my seat in the last row (a lot of players out of step and really struggling to hit their marks for the whole show). At the conclusion, I was left feeling that the DCI Champs probably are not even close to being done w/this show. Big Apple theme has sooo much potential that's not there yet & actually, I felt no presence of a NYC theme at all. Their usual plethora of big impact moments also weren't tweaked yet (even so, some drill/horn parts did elicit audible gasps and even laughter--a "wow, they actally played that?" kind of laughter--from people around me, so any show that can do that must be on to something). I look forward to seeing the August version of this show because with whatever enhancements they have planned, this could potentially be a show sniffing around Title territory.

Final note on change for CBC: is there another name change in their future? Not once was "of Bergen County" ever mentioned, not by the announcer or in the program. As dopey as the name sounded at first in 89, I've gotten used to it now & it's now weird that everythig is just "Cadets." Besides, I live in NJ & and Bergen County is actually a decent place to be associated with!

NOTE ON OVERALL SHOW: originally hated the idea of seeing just "those four corps." I purposely went to Allentown just so I could sneak in corps #5. However, the format turned out informative and enjoyable to me as a fan, who never participated in this activity. It was fun to hear the interview with Magic's drum major to find out what made him join, to hear hornlines/drumlines go thru some execises, to hear the staffs discuss their shows as the corps set up, and finally to see that the CBC color guard does a wisy ballet dance to club music every morning for 2 hours! I personally thought this was a nice change to the usual format (but note, it'll get old FAST if they do it every year!)

Best of luck to all!

in vino veritas

Jason Petteway

Tuesday June 29
Hastings, MN (DCM)

It was a great night for a show! The weather was nice and cool and there wasn't a bug in the sky. The stands were filled to capacity and we got to see our first drum corps show of the summer!

The first corps to take the field was the Edmonton Strutters. The hornline carried the corps through the perfomance with their excellent dynamics and shaping of phrases, which created my first goosebump moment of the night. Throughout the performance the corps struggled with tempo and phasing, but the drum major held firm and got the corps back together soon enough. Kudos to her! It was the first time I have ever seen this corps and I was glad to view their production!

The second corps to take the field were the Govenairs, from St. Peter, Minnesota. They had an American Dance theme, the highlight of which was a "Ska" piece which was very innovative and a great crowd pleaser. We enjoyed watching the guard and the their great facial expressions which really communicated with the audience. The show had a lot of cute moments that made the crowd sigh and we were all disappointed when they had to leave the field. Way to go Govies!

The Americanos followed with their aggressive version of the "Mask of Zorro." This corps can really intimidate you! The drumline was very fun to watch and were ready to kill somebody. The snareline was very clean! We can't wait to see the show evolve through out the summer.

After intermission we were happy to see the return of Southwind and they were yellow! The uniforms were really cool. The corps put out a huge sound that everyone appreciated and the guard was one of the best of the night. Great visual perfomance by the whole corps and great use of color! The best of the night. It was great to see them back!

The Madison Scouts followed with "Jesus Christ Superstar". Once again the Scouts showed everyone that they can blow the valves out of their horns! I was impressed with the shows format, I didn't know what to expect at first, and the guard uniforms were cool, especially the shoes.

Pioneer took the field after the Scouts and my first thought was, where are all the horns? We felt so bad that we went to the souvie stand after the show and bought some stuff. I was very impressed with the drumline, which had the most musical book of the whole night and put down some great licks. Kudos to the drum major who not only had a great uni, but did a great job conducting.

Minnesota Brass closed out the show with "Earth Wind and Fire". Many people in the stands recognized their tunes and grooved along with the corps. The color guard had neat silver space suit uniforms and the soloists knocked everyone over with their high notes. What a groove machine!

Everyone enjoyed the grand finale of America/Canada, and the Scouts gave a mini victory concert with some traditional drum corps hits and some pieces of their show. Thanks to all the corps who travelled here to entertain us! Can't wait to see you again!

Shane Walters

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