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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 Tuesday, July 13, 1999

Page Six of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Saturday July 10
San Jose, CA (DCI-Pacific)

I attended Pacific Procession tonight and thought I'd post a few thoughts.

It was a great night for the show. Temperature around 70 with a breeze that kept things comfortable. The stands were around 3/4 full.

The Vanguard Alumni performed the National Anthem. It would be great to see more people in this group. The Northern Lights Youth band were supposed to perform but were not there. What happened?

Now on to the corps!

Division III:
WEST COAST SOUND (57.7) - I liked it. Well played. A very expressive guard. I thought they should have scored higher.

IMPULSE (61.2) - These guys are fun. I ended up being beach ball retriever a few times when it got booted to the lower rows where I was. The unis are very loud. I hope they change them. The show was strong musically. It seemed that maybe they were trying a bit hard for the humor instead of just letting it come out. Drum majors worked well together in the comedy. One note guys, you shouldn't continue the antics when other corps' scores are being announced. I see this corps becoming strong in a few years and going Open Class.

MANDARINS (76.8) - Wow! What an improvement since my last viewing in Concord. They had a bus break-down and started late but that didn't hamper their performance. Strong in all captions with an exceptional guard. The platforms that they use frame the action very well. They will once again be a contender for the DIV III title in August.

SEATTLE CASCADES ( 67.6) - Even though I didn't understand it, I liked it. The "oil rig" on the field gets put to good use as it gets climbed on and then used as part of the pit. This is a stronger show than last year's. Well done all around.

BLUE DEVIL "B" (71.7) - Another good show. They were another corps that was late getting started. Good performances all around.

SCV CADETS ( 78.2) - This is another show that has really improved since Concord. They look very mature and perform all parts well. It's too bad they won't go to Madison. They would have been a DIV II finalist, if not winner.

PACIFIC CREST (83.6) - Here's the note I made in my program, "UNBELIEVABLE!" What a great show. Strong enough to compete against Open Class if they wanted. They would win DIV II if they went to Madison. Midwest and East fans should come to see them next year. (BTW, bring your corps and have finals here)

BLUE DEVILS (83.0) - It's clean, it's loud, it's musically accessable, so why did it not thrill me? It seemed to be lacking emotion and, please pardon the word, clinical. It's good but is missing something that I can't put my finger on.

SCV (84.2) - I like this show. I can see it taking the title this year. Tonight it was rather flat, though. I thought BD had won. I wish I didn't have to wait until August 14 to see it again.

Oh, well, it's late.


OK, just got back from PP. May I take a moment to say YAHOOOOOOO, SCV FINALLY WON THE HOME SHOW AGAIN, FIRST TIME SINCE 1989!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, that being said, I had even MORE fun ripping on my BD brass alum husband tonight. I believe some of the crowd around us was in on it too. Last I noticed, he had pulled his shirt up over his head from humiliation. Ah, I knew it would work. Nyuk nyuk nyuk. But on to my generally short reviews, since I made the majority of my comments last night:

WEST COAST SOUND - a vast improvement in show quality since last night in Stockton. This is a really neat little corps, I hope that can grow.

IMPULSE - OK I liked 'em better than last night, and they did perform very well tonight, but some of their sight gags still fell a little flat. Once again, everyone seemed to like 'em a lot more than I did. Just call me Ol' Grumpy-ass Garcia!

SEATTLE CASCADES - It's a pretty solid corps overall but in terms of their "dawning of technology" show, I guess I just don't get it.

SCV CADETS - Looking really good, with the high drums and visual trophies in Div. II tonight. Congrats!

BD B - They're wearing the old BD jackets from the 80's. Ah, memories when I watch them perform, except they don't wear cummerbunds or white ruffly shirts. Anyhoo, they have a nice program and, like SCV Cadets, offer a very strong fundamental program for future A corps members. Talented kids, in my opinion closer to SCV Cadets than the scores show.

PACIFIC CREST - Same comments as yesterday, times 10. PLLLLLEEEEEEEAAAAASE TOUR!!!!!! I'd even say that if they competed in open class, they'd probably place abourt 15th or so, and that's with only about 40 horns (but a pretty full drum line and guard).

MANDARINS - Another strong performance tonight. Love the show, but I love Bernstein so go figure!

BD - This show really grew on me more tonight. A much more exciting performance than last night, BUT still horribly plagued with some nasssssssty horn to horn and horn to drum phasing problems that made me say "eek, blech" at least 4-5 times. They certainly deserved the high percussion trophy tonight (SCV had some dirt flying around) although their pit parts seem a bit watered compared to other BD pits I've seen in years past (no offense, Jeff Lee - they play great). Color guard - yikes-o-rama, you guys kick ass!!!!!!

SCV - An overall better performance tonight, but still some weird parts that need a lotta cleaning. Still hate the guard uniforms and ballad work. I agree with Dan Day's comments about the goose stepping and missing out on some great impact points that could have flag work but don't. Bummer. Even my drum corps "virgin" friend Jeanine said, as soon as the corps walked on to the field, "oh god, those maroon and tan guard outfits are awful and really distract my attention". Like Dan, I wonder.....why haven't the judges said anything about this? Still SCV was the best corps tonight, but it's interesting that the scores basically didn't go anywhere. I thought SCV would win by at least 2 points tonight. Oh well.

Great performance of Clowns in honor of Arthur Velarde (SCV bass drummer recently killed in a car accident) but why no victory concert? They said it was out of respect for Art, but I'm sure he was smiling down on us all tonight and to me it seemed wrong NOT to play a victory concert FOR him. Clowns was a nice ending to the night though.

Waaaaaahhhhhh, the two Dutch boys from SCV (Ercan - center snare, and Timo - contra) we've housed for the past couple of years are leaving on tour tonight and are both aging out in Madison. I'm VERY sad and will miss them like I would miss my own kids. :o( If you're out there, please be sure to step up to say hello at your local show.

Anyone going to DATR? Hope to see you there. I'll be the one in the REALLY loud obnoxious Holland national team soccer jersey (BRIGHT orange with red white and blue flags on the sleeves).

Nightynite to all!

Martha Garcia

Lee Rudnicki: Random Pacific Procession Thoughts et al

1. First, a color guard comment - something I know to little to nothing about. The color guard is supposed to be the primary "visual aspect" of the corps performance, no? How come both the Blue Devils, and especially SCV, have guard uniforms that are not nearly as flashy and "visual" as the corps proper? Check it out, it is very weird. In both corps, the color guards are nearly invisible compared to the bright and relatively flashy uniforms of the horn line and drum line. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? Very strange...

2. The moment of silence for Art Velarde was very touching.

3. My girlfriend, attending the very first drum corps show of her life, liked the Blue Devils, and the wacky drum majors of Impulse.

4. Santa Clara's show was much better tonight. Surprisingly, their brass line is much better than Blue Devils at this point in the season. (.4 worth) really....

5. Whoever designed the Mandarin's uniforms is a genius (again).

6. The Blue Devils were much better than last night (Stockton) as well. Uncharacteristic of the corps, they still have a few ensemble problems created by the brass line. I believe this is caused by the rhythmic difficulty of the charts coupled with the extreme drill spreads that you usually don't see in this corps. Talking with the staff, they seem to know what needs to be done, and I expect these issues to be dealt with in the next two weeks or so. With this huge mount of ensemble difficulty, the judges should give them the credit they deserve when they finally get it to work....

On the other hand - the BD drum line is unbelievable, even for Blue Devil standards. If you get a chance to check them out in a parking lot, do it, and bring your tape recorder. I have never seen a drum line playing this many notes, and executing as well and a musically, as they do, even at this early point in the season.... Scary, scary, scary.... Yes, Cadet fans, they do march. A lot.

7. It was nice to be back in Spartan Stadium. I have some memories there -- my first field show with 1987 SCV (a performance at a soccer game, with drunk soccer fans laughing and/or ignoring the corps), 1987 Pacific Procession w/ Gail Royer conducting Send in the Clowns, SJSU Graduation in 1991 with my family in the stands, and the Cure concert in July 4, 1992 where I almost fell down the stairs when the fireworks started...

8. Ran into Julie Liedtke, another SCV Alum (1987, 89 Guard) turned attorney at the Blue Devil warmup. Very amusing to share bar exam horror stories with the BD drum line jamming in the background. Last night's "twightlight zone conversation" was with Larry Cohen (Bayonne, 27 and Star - now with Microsoft), on the implications of anittrust law as we walked along side of SCV as they took the field.

9. OT - Just finished reading Richard Holbrookes's "To End a War." My conclusion: The bombing of the Serbs started 2 years too late, and stopped 6 months too early....

10. Back to drum corps... :-) Pacific Crest. Although they are technically very good, they need more "impact" in their show, and less of the "symphonic syncopated sound" ( for lack of a better name) pioneered by the Garfield Cadets in the 80's. The corps is very good, but the staff needs to focus a bit on developing their own identity/sound. Are they really not going to DCI? That needs to be the mission for the future, b/c the corps would do well.... As an aside, their cymbal line gets an A+

blah blah blah the end.

Lee Rudnicki

First I must say it is always a pleasure to see PP held at Spartan Stadium.

Nation Anthem: SCV Alumni - Awesome, I haven't seen them since they did their medley at Cal Sate Hayward in 1997 I believe. I would love to see more of them. :)

Blue Devils " C " ( Participation Award ) - To see them is to love them. I look forward to them each and every year. :)

No Color Guard Judge tonight, so no Caption awards were given out !

Division 3:

Impulse ( 61.2 ) - WOW ....... I really enjoyed this group, it reminded me alot of VK !!! I see them coming back strong next year. I look forward to seeing some great shows coming from IMPULSE in future years.

Mandrians ( 76.8 + All Captions for Division ) As always another great show by them. Even know they were late due to some problems, they still pulled off one hell of a show ! Great Job guys.

West Coast Sound ( 57.7 ) I really wasn't too impressed with this group this evening, but maybe it was just me !


Kingsmen Star - This small group of guys playing songs from their 1974 repertoire opening song, and closing song. These guys were awesome !

Division 2:

Seattle Cascades ( 67.6 ) The oil thingy in the middle was different, although I did enjoy their drum solo, when they use that and another piece of equipment they brought out on the field with various things on it. They broke into something like you would see from " Stomp ", but it was an enjoyable show.

Blue Devils "B" ( 71.7 ) I was not impressed at all by their show, it seemed that they put no effect into the show at all. I was watching some of the pit, and they seemed lost during the show 50% of the time.

SCV Cadets ( 78.2 High Visual and High Percussion ) Another well done show by SCV. I had some people I brought with me, which were their first time ever to anything like this, and they thought this was the last group to be on, and they were blown away to find out that there were 3 more corps to go!

Pacific Crest ( 83.6 General Effect and High Brass ) Words can't describe this group. IMHO I thought this was the best group of the whole night. They blew me away with their talent on the field. If Best Colorguard award was given out tonight, I feel they would of won it. Great job guys!

Division 1:

Concord Blue Devils ( 83.0 High Percussion ) Well very disappointed here too! Compared to their 4 years of shows, this was nothing to write home about. Their color guard and uniforms were awesome, a winner for that award tonight. I will say they were very loud and all, but just didn't do it for me.

Santa Clara Vanguard ( 84.2 High Visual, High General Effect, and High Brass ) Damm Awesome show ! They kept moving throughout their whole show ! I was impressed by the sound, and the marching all together, one of the best shows I have ever seen in awhile, plus I think it is a first time they have won a home show since 1990 too!

Next were the awards, but first they talked about about Art Velarde, and the tragic accident. They took 60 seconds of silence to honor him. Most apporpriate in my book.

The Drum Major from IMPULSE antics throughout the awards reminded me so much of VK, they were an awesome team together. The Pacific Crest group left their shoes on the field after the wards, and I asked one of their members later what the symbolic gesture of that was, and it was simple. This is their last show, and they do not travel back east, so those that aged out left their shoes.

No victory was given, out of honor for Art Velarde. I felt this was very much the most humble thing a corps could do ! The A and B corps got together and played " Send in the Clowns " instead. While playing that, alot of people around me had tears coming from their eyes, and were hugging each other. Especially the colorguard and pit people from both corps. This was the best ending to a show a person could ask for.

Overall it was an awesome evening can't wait till next year. Thank you for letting me post my opinions on the show. Until next year ....

Dean Golden

Hershey, PA (DCI-Atlantic)

Well hi all, fresh from Hershey. No need to post scores, so a review and a few gripes.

For staff, sponsors and etc please keep warm up areas away from the show....i am tired of dr beat blasting away on the long ranger so loud you can't hear the corps on the field.

Ok, and security, be friendly....i was happy to commit alcohol abuse and pour ther beer out, no need to threaten police, geez....we did it for hours before the show and after, why all of the sudden the need for cops?

Lots of holes tonight, for everyone.

Cadets....loved it but I dont think it is their year. Great drill, nice articulation, , staged well, eye catching gaurd.....and hat a tenor lick......all the keys elements, but seemed to miss that ooopmh needed...time will tell.

Xmen......liked it better than last year...drums actually played, nice brass, great guard. Excellent use of blue in opener. Closer was good, but i liked 92 better.....still an effective closer....give em time, could make a lateyear surge again.

Crown...Wow nice show......excellent use of color, loved the drumline, esp the basses. Brass well written and played, a contender for top 8....i want to see this show again. it the year finally??? Nice tease of it!!! Great overall show, flowed well, and I cannot wait for East to see youguys again! was Corea??? To be honest a lot of dirt, drummers marching poorly, phasing......very let down. I really hope rewrites are coming, cause this show needs it.

Spirit...jump, jive n wail...great show, esp the fake out ending.Another Thurston line, complete with "the lick"....a possible contender, we shall see.

Magic...i liked it, but it needs some can be done, just let it hang out. Snare line playing singles, like days gone by....great drumline, some fuzz, but it's July.....another show that could

IMHO both Spirit and Magic should have beaten Canton

Tarheel....Love the 70's idea, and thank you allowing me a Wayne's World mosh moment during Rhapsody. The yellow stands out, and there were some visual booboo's that stuck out...clean it up, that yellow shows it off.

Les Etoiles....smaller, but nice sound, good drums, and liked the scaffold idea...always love the guard., a lot of holes. I was hoping for big things but the corps is down a little...Baroque Samba was nice, but after that ya kind of lost thanks to dr beat outside the stadium. I hope you guys fill it up soon.


Seeing as most of the stuff on here is about the trumpets and drums and stuff ... here's one for those of us who just watch the guard. : )

Tarheel Sun
Obviously a group of younger inexperienced kids ... which is fine for their level. They all pretty much know how to spin ... one or two very strong individuals stuck out ... but they seem to have an even talent level to work with. Overall there was a strong sense of performance and the kids really seemed to enjoy themselves ... BUT ... these poor children have fallen victim to the worst case of over writing I have ever seen. At the risk of sounding pessimistic ... if DCI were in October I doubt these kids would be clean by then. Timing was very poor and stuff was hitting the ground left and right. I gotta give it to the kids ... they did pretty well considering what they were given ... but as a staff you need to know when it's time to water it down ... bring it back to basics ... and basically try to establish your program before you get into the fun stuff. Learn to walk before you run.

Kiwanis Kavaliers
First off ... fabulous uniforms. Unitards with full length skirts slit up the middle to the waist (almost looked like a half skirt ... but it wasn't)(the one boy was in baggy pants) in a beautiful deep champagne. (It was too pretty to call beige) The opening body statement was quite impressive ... they had a very mature look. The opening silk was WAY too harsh for their uniforms. Very bold and mostly primary colors ... nice silk ... but not in that show. Flag book was a bit repetitive ... but at their level it should be. They had a bit of trouble with the wind (which there really wasn't much of) but overall timing was good for mid July. Weapon lines really did a nice job. I'm not remembering exact numbers ... but the weapons were very well proportioned to the flags (in terms of marching members) and the book was creative ... but totally written to their level. They move just as well with equipment in their hands as they do without it. The second silk was MUCH better. Purples, yellow, and turquoise ... looked beautiful with the uniforms. They later picked up the opener silks again (which makes me hope they are temporary) and coninued to do more of the same ... which again is great. They were relatively clean and in control of what they were doing. Hats off to the staff.

Les Etoiles
First off ... not really a guard thing ... but the pit on the scaffolding was a 10. Rather big guard for the size of the corps ... but no complaints from me about that. They wore black shorts (well above the knee but not tastelss) with a deep blue vest. Simple ... cute ... and unmistakeabley French Canadian. The opener and closer silks were borrowed from Les Etoiles from this past winter (and as we all know they had the best silks in Dayton hands down) Flag is definitely what they do best. They looked relatively effortless ... pretty clean by the standards of a less established guard ... but all done with a VERY aggressive book. These kids were everywhere on the pole and in every plane known to modern man. They also moved extremely well under equipment. Oddly enough ... when they put the equipment down ... things got ugly. The choreography was VERY awkward (both with the music and on the kids) I was literally quoted more than once as saying "What the hell are they doing?" Then they picked up weapons ... and it made the body statement look good. The entire guard (save 3 or 4 members) ended up with a gun and I think at least one was on the ground at all times. They had a decent amount of kids who really knew what they were doing ... but I kept watching the ones who didn't. Then they ended with the red, orange, purple, window looking flags that Eclipse used this winter and I loved them again. What they did well ... they did very well. But what they did poorly ... dear God.

Magic of Orlando
Very cute uniforms. Individualized tops in a bright multi-colored print ... grey pants ... all with different touches of the print from the top. The right people were covered ... and the right people were showing A LOT of skin (which I am a huge fan of) Silk design was rather tame considering what they've done in the past. And for each song and each new silk there was a solo dancer wearing a dress of the same color scheme ... cute shtick ... it worked. As far as flag lines go ... they were very hot and cold ... when they were dirty ... they redefined dirty ... but they had several really nice moments where they clicked. Weapons where fairly consistent. Rifles pretty much flourished alot ... then tossed ... well. Sabres on the other hand had a REALLY cute little book compared to the rest of the show. I really need to pay attention next time I watch cause there are one or two little things I may want to steal. They did the whole double swing flag thing in the ballad. I had a lot of issues with that. I have a hard time seeing a guard of this level ... be dirty ... with swing flags ... in the middle of July. If they clean that up it'll be golden. In "The Land of Make Believe" there was a VERY cute textured, 3 lines interweaving, flag ditty that resolved into a nice little jam box (one of those moments when they really clicked) But it all happened with plain white practice silks ... It's July ... get your show flags. Over all I liked 'em a lot more than I have ... well ... ever.

Spirit of Atlanta
Horrible uniforms. I hope to God these are not final (but again ... it's July ... Hello?) It's a case of "Just grab a red shirt and white bottom from you're tour bag. What's that? You don't have red? Oh hell ... just grab something close" I couldn't get past the uniforms ... they looked THAT bad. The opening body statement with the stronger dancers was very cute. Flag book was mildly challenging and executed rather well. It'll look really nice in a month ... hats off to the staff on that one. When they split to rifle and sabre it was obvious after 4 counts that all the talent was in the rifle line. HUGE difference in quality. But oddly enough ... when they went to the extended sabre line ... all the good rifle girls forgot how to spin. I'm thinking they just need a better sabre tech. Flags continued to hold their own during this whole fiasco. So then they get to their little jump, jive, wail, swing, whatever song. The music was soooooooo much fun. They spent a good portion of it on flag (a mishmosh of metalic lames ... not pretty) but timing was great. There was a whole bunch of poles going around together and that's enough for me. But when they put down the ugly flags and started dancing ... they reminded me of 5 year olds forced into beauty pageants. They were smiling ... but they just looked like they didn't want to be there. If they can learn to perform that it'll be a nice moment. The funny thing is ... after that song ... people clapped, got up, started walking around ... but the show wasn't over. They finished with "Georgia on My Mind" ... cute enough ... but they were spinning several different shades of green ... which ALL blended into the grass oddly enough. Rule #1 in outdoor design ... like it or not ... you don't have a neutral backdrop to work with. You have to keep in mind you're spinning on grass. Green can be done very nicely on grass if you use the right shades ... they did not.

Boston Crusaders
Two counts into the show they unleashed upon my eyes the ugliest silk I have seen in the past decade. A 9 or 10 foot pole with an orange, yellow, gold, sun on it. Now I realize the pole is huge ... but when all you do is bring it over in 4 counts ... then turn for 4 counts ... YOU HAVE TO BE CLEAN ... (they were not) Luckily they put those things down after like 2 seconds. Then they got pretty decent. Cute flag book ... timing was good. Nice to watch ... nothing amazing. Rifles were pretty much more of the same. All in all they were good up until they started dancing. A beautiful lush ballad ... full of every jump known to man ... herky jerky "Martha Graham wannabe" ungodly body shapes. Again I was quoted more than once as saying "What the hell are they doing?" Nothing against the kids ... just VERY poor choreography. Then they picked up blades and started going to town. All of the sudden they could catch ... they had cute work ... they were expressive ... I suggest extending the sabre portion of the program. Dirk did his 3 turn (yes only 3 ... but the toss was high enough for the 4 and he actually paused before he caught it ... I think the 4 will be in soon.) (other side note ... he caught on the half ... I saw him nail the CRAP out of it in Kingston in the rain so I was kinda let down.) Overall ... didn't care for them that much ... great kids ... bad show.

They started the show with big poles (corps members even got in on the action) Cute idea ... (and I know not an original one) but don't see how it fits into their show and just seemed like a lot of effort for a little effect. Definitely the most talented group to have graced the field at that point. Uniforms and silks were just there. Not ugly ... but nothing to write home about. They were cleaner than anything that had gone on before. The book was decent ... just nothing exciting. Rifles were pretty solid ... but they tossed way too much and when they weren't tossing they were doing baton work. Very fast ... very dirty ... and made them look much worse than they really were. I really can't think of much to say. All in all they were good and I enjoyed watching them ... but it was just very ho-hum.

Carolina Crown
I LOVE THEM THIS YEAR. This guard is not playing around. They are DEFINITELY in contention with the big boys. They start the show in half black half white body suits. Opening body statement was wonderful. They were fluid and expressive ... but VERY uniform at the same time. (even with the big boys ... when it comes to movement you get one or the other ... they give you both) Then the sabres come out and just start nailing sh** left and right. I don't think they release that blade the same way more than once. They have more variety in the first minute than most guards have in their whole show. Flags were the same deal and they were VERY clean for the middle of July. You always get some kind of "hook" from these guys and this year is no exception. When they split to rifle and sabre ... they bring out a third line that spins sable. They had them specially made and it's a hilt with about 6 inches of blade connected to about 3 inches past the bolt of a rifle. And it's not just a gimmeck ... they spin the hell out of it. So if they haven't won you over already ... they bring out a 20 or so person rifle line and give you some damn nice work. Then you see 20 fives go in the air ... spin at the same height ... and come down like nothing happened. During the rifle portion the dancers have removed the black and white body suits to reveal red body suits with patches of velvet and I belive some corduroy (which I can't spell) ... it just had a very nice textured look to it. While that's going on the rifles have unzipped one leg and one arm of the black and white body suits to reveal hints of red underneath. So on top of all the amazing work they do ... they have to worry about grabbing loose uniform parts while doing it. I don't even remember where the ballad fell into play ... but again ... they give you a minute or so of beautiful, clean, expressive work on one of the most gorgeous silks I've seen in a while. Half the guard has a burgendy while the other half has a dusty rose. But both sets have a black,grey,white patch on the bottom ... I can't do it justice by describing it. I can't do this guard justice by describing them. DCI pretty much places guards somewhere near where the corps places ... but Crown's guard is DEFINITELY top 5, possibley top 3. It's a damn shame they won't place where they deserve to.

Again I'm gonna just rave up a storm. They are in a heated race with SCV 96 for best uniform of the decade. It's a grey body suit with a blue (the best way I can describe the cut is "toga") over it. But it's just stunning ... really can't describe it. The show starts with a significant amout on silent work done VERY well. Then they come to the front sideline ... spin it up ... and move on. By this point you can already tell it's a new Crossmen. Their whole look is just sooooooo much more sophisticated and mature than anything they've done before. The new staff has alot to do with this I'm sure ... but the old staff spent many years getting these kids to spin like this. I think everyone deserves credit here. My only bitch is that when they split to 3 sections the staging SUCKS. The flag line (which is rather small at this point) is in 2 small groups on either 30. The rifles are burried in the back the whole time ... and even they split up into 2 small groups ... while the sabres stay up front. They are ALL just spinning and moving like there's no tomorrow ... but you don't know what the hell you're looking at. The blue togas come off and a large portion of the guard moves to sabre. It's a very beautiful moment. The kids are just so fluid and effortless when they spin ... there are some really nice textured moments written in ... it's everything you could want. For the closer they come out again but now they've put on yellow togas. (I hate to keep calling them togas ... they are sooooooo elegant ... just can't describe them) The closer silk is a sunset (very similar to what Cadets spun in 96) but with a blue sky, yellow sun, and a beige olive landscape ... with the yellow togas ... it's a 10. Then they just spend the last song spinning up a storm. By the looks of them now they will be virtually spotless by finals. I love this new look on them ... just can't say enough good things about them.

I hate to come down after raving so much about Crown and Crossmen ... but Cadets did let me down a bit. A HUGE part of it is the fact that I just expect this guard to be flawless. They have such high expectations to live up to ... where as Crown and Crossmen had a slightly easier time impressing me. Uniforms were great. A very dark blue long sleeve mini dress on the girls with black stockings ... boys in pants and a shirt of the same color. Very sleek ... very chic ... very simple ... they let the spinning do the talking ... and it does. Opener is on a pastel blue/grey skyline silk. Wonderful writing ... cutting all kinds of planes ... but not as clean as I'm used to seeing them at this point in the season. When rifles and sabres split they do some of the best spinning in the show. The highlight being when they trade off throwing 3 fives in a row followed by a six. During most of this there are a few people just kind of walking around in and about the weapons. These people will eventually be holding different parts of a taxi cab which will be cute as hell ... just hope they put it in soon. Flag line comes out with a purpley silk with an apple in the middle ... each apple is a different shade of yellow, orange, red, and pink ... this is by far my favorite silk in the show. Next the boys and girls split and start a whole question and answer dueling sabre thing. Again fast intricate work ... performed VERY well. Other guard members are dancing with brief cases. There's a sequential where the sabres release and pick up the brief case while the other people catch. Guard staging in the ballad leaves a bit to be desired. They are kind of split into 3 groups ... one in the back and two on either side. They eventually come togther but I wish i could see it all at once because Cadets have NEVER moved like this before. I'm thinking some of the equipment ticks are due to the fact that they must be spending a lot of time dancing this year. They're definitely up to par with the Blue Devils when it comes to body (I'm wondering if BD will be up to par when it comes to spinning) A solo Statue of Liberty flag (also in pastels) is introduced while the ballad continues and they all come to the front sideline. From there the whole guard comes out on Liberty flags entering the field the same way they did in "Cool" in 94 ... but after the last group of flags joins in ... then they look like the Cadets I know and love. The closer is just a non stop spin fest. It's fast ... it's furious ... and it's clean. They are definitely stronger than last year ... but still not near the guard of 97 (which I still think is the best Cadets guard since 92). But all in all ... they're Cadets ... they're great.

So after all this rambling ... if I had a gun to my head ... and had to rank the guards based on Saturday's performances ...
Cadets ( I hate to do this ... I aged out of Cadets ... but I shant be biased)
Crown (mind you these 3 would be VERY close)
(Big Drop)
(Big Drop)
(Big Drop)
Les Etoiles


Just a few subjective thoughts to add to others on these corps:

Tarheel Sun: good show given their age, and an excellent performance by the pit (better than several bigger corps).

Les Etoiles: great show for their size and only 20 horns! The pit on the scaffolding was a plus--and they played too. Battery might have been a little large considering the small horn line, but that's okay. Guard was a pleasure to watch (though I didn't get the "let's all climb one of the scaffolds and wave" thing).

Kiwanis Kavaliers: I really admire the effort these kids put into their show...but they're still a small corps trying to do what the big guns do, and it basically comes across as boring and...well, small. Someday I hope more directors of small corps realize that the smaller you are, the more imperative it is that you be unique (e.g. Les Etoiles' scaffolding).

Magic of Orlando: (I'm not qualified to comment on their show because all the Spanish music turned me off--heard WAY too much of that in the 70s!)

Boston Crusaders - YEAH!! BAC's musical show was second only to the Cadets. This is a very sophisticated program--the Armenian Dances and music by Malcolm Arnold (English, Scottish Dances) are beautiful. Great performances by everyone, too. I was enjoying their arrangements so much I didn't even pay much attention to everything else going on...but it was good! THEY DESERVE TO MAKE TOP 12!

Spirit of Atlanta - very entertaining show!--but sloppy as hell. If they could clean this up alot they'd get some great mileage out of it. They might have been the only corps--besides BAC--that had memorable, singable tunes in their show. It's always great to see Spirit do the jazz/blues thing. "Nuttville" was a mere shadow of what they did in 1979...(if you heard the soprano riff in 79's show, you had to laugh or cry at this year's version) so was the "long last note"...79's was about 10x louder and longer! (Come on guys, crank it up!)

Carolina Crown: Everyone's ranting about these guys for some reason, because their musical show put me to sleep. Not much cohesion, hardly a memorable tune in the show. Granted their execution was clean and guard was pretty tight, but without a better book, what's the deal? One standout: the pit (okay, I admit it--I'm a pit guy) was excellent, very tight playing that could be heard and good writing.

Bluecoats: What's with the poles? I've seen the show twice now, and the poles are just plain stupid. So they stick 'em in stands and they sit there. Okay. Now what? They look like poles stuck in the field. Oh, I see--the horns grab them--one to an end--and spin around. VERY clever! This is just a gimmick when the gimmick-well ran dry. (And more Spanish music...what's with this 70s revival thing? Leave it dead and buried!)

Crossmen: Great show. The opener looks difficult and is very abstract, lots of cool interplay between pit, battery and horns. Beautiful guard unis. Beautiful horn/drum unis. And kudos to the battery for doing what so few corps do anymore--come to the front and WAIL for 30 seconds! (The crowd totally loves that.) Someone said they thought this show was "maxed out" way, they can go far with this show.

Cadets: Well, what can I say? Same old Cadets, but on a musical and execution "plane of existence" far higher than anyone else there. What I don't get is, why are the Cadets one of the few corps that can actually turn a performance of brass and percussion into a world-class musical concert? Even my wife--who knows nothing of drum corps--said "It's not fair to make the other corps compete against them."

Scott Wilkinson

Let me start off by saying that, drill wise, I had about the worst vantage point possible..front row..but I got the best up close view of some of the here they I saw them:

Chuck Mangione - anthems:
Oh Canada... absolutely beautiful....
National Anthem - ... stunning.... made me wish I new how to play a brass instrument....and what was that in the background???..the stadium singing?..I love that.... it gave me goosebumps... I just wish people had the balls to belt it out sometimes..after all... what is there to be ashamed of.... LET IT RIP!!

First off let me state that I'm a percussion guy... so it was hard for me to take my eyes off of the lines as they marched around.... but I did what I could!

Tarheel Sun:
I dig the uniforms...really bright yellow jackets with a gold metallic type sun on the front.... I've followed this corps ever since they played in a forth of july parade near my house in 95'.... it was great to finally see them on the field.... the corps starts out scattered in mixed sections all over the field.... the elton john opener was great!!..... very slow and beautiful..... time check had me grooving..... there was a bit of phasing between the battery and pit in this selection... it also looked like they had a tenor hole.... then... bohemian rhapsody... wow.... great tune...I was really curious to see how the arrangment of this tune would be rocked.... i felt like singing the whole time........ the closer was a return to elton johns "Don't let the sun go down on me"... and it looked like the corps final set was the same as the first..scattered in small sections all over the field.... it was a very understated close..I liked it... but I must say..i wasn't totaly sure the show had ended.... but I guess that was the point of the understatement.. overall..... great show..I loved it... to me it seemed like there wasn't much color involved in this show..the guard was a bit drab in all black..and there didn't seem to be an access of color used with the flags....but then again maybe I was too close to judge...

Kawanis Kavaliers:
First Impression was that they seemed to be sporting a smaller corps then last year... drumline was sporting..4b 5s 3t's..same unis as last year...this corps isn't afraid to march wherever they like.... it seemed like many drill moves were spent in front of the pit.... which was cool for me considering they were right in my face..I was diggin it... the second part of there show. ain't no sunshine, was beautiful... the horns seemed to be slightlt out of tune at times during the show and there was a good amount of phasing between the pit and battery...the ending was very strong.... Unfortunatly...there wasn't anything extreamly memorable about this show.... the only thing I noticed was that the battery feature seemed to be distracted by some flags that were right near the couldn't really see what they were playing..... overall..the show was played well..but it lost me.... there were times when I just wasn't sure what was going on

Les 'Etoiles -
first impression... Good God... there pit is separated on scaffolding!!!.... and I mean high to!!!.... I felt bad for the guy who was furthest up... had to be about 15-20 feet high.... as the corps marched on..they pieced together about 5 different sections of scaffolding about midfield on the 35.... all the pit was on them except for the timpanys.... then they removed the supports that criss-cross to support the scaffoling so that members could march threw during the drill... thats when I cringed...the highest players scaffolding started to bend.... I was worried.... it looked like it was gonna go any second... after the show had started.... two staff members noticed it and had to run out on the field to prevent the guy from making a 1 1/2 story fall..with his marimba..I must say...the scaffolding distracted me the whole time..I just wanted to be sure that the kid up there made it out ok....what I did see of the corps was that they were smaller....sporting the same unis..eww...and the drumline had 4b 6s 3t's.....the soprano solo in the beginning was slightly out of tune...then there was a nasty fall...oh god..I felt bad...a contra player either tripped on his feet or the 40 yard line marker..anyway..after he recoverd it seemed like he lost track of where he was.... nocking a few other people out of formation...god.... I cringed... I felt bad..... it seemed like at this point the show was falling apart.... I didn't really get a chance to follow the show just from all the distractions.... one of the judges kept asking the staff member supporting the scaffolding if he needed was bad....what I did take from the show was that it really reminded me of Acadime Musicale in 96..... the guard unis..were very similar along with the drill..... and the corps seemed to do most of its marching on the right side of the field... much like acadime did....I can't say much more... they tried.... just fix that scaffolding.....its making me nervous.

Magic of Orlando -
wow... love the new unis!!!.... same kinda tuxedo look...but with a different flair... it hard to describe... anyway..drumline sported 5b 7s 2t 6c's corps starts show on there knees in a big circle..with there heads forward on the ground... the opening itself was down and dirty...i was digging it!! big time!!!!.... the soprano solos were phat drum break.... part 2 was beautiful....Land of make believe totaly grooved.... it had me on my feet before it ended... overall... great show..i loved it... can't wait to see it again...seemed to be fairly clean to me..despite the bus mishaps.. the crowd favorite so far

Spirit of Atlanta -
I love this corps..... great unis.... same as last year.... drumline was 5b 7s 4t 4c' opens with the corps horns in front of the pit.... and you can see it coming.. as soon as the show starts they tried to blow all the hair off my head.. I wanted more..... another down and dirty opening....totaly phat.... jump jive and wail was good... but I'm sooooo tired of that song by now..... snare visuals were phat in the drum break....and at the end of the show they decide to embarass me by faking the ending..they had me.... it was cool thought.... the crowd was diggin them.... seemed to be a bit sloppy at times.... overall I thought they were on tonight... great show!

Boston Crusaders -
One word...FINALS... theres no doubt in my mind anymore..... the show is worthy and them some.... the arrangements were beautiful..this is a show I'll be listening to over and over again when I finally get my finals cd's... and they can sing too... its the best vocals I've ever heard a corps do.. gave me goosebumps..again..... I didn't write much of the actuall show.... I was in such awe that I just wanted to take it all in... this is what I had though.... 5b 7s 3t's....I diged the guard unis...and the ending had about the highest sabre toss I've ever seen in my life!!!.. great show.. I want to see it again..

Carolina Crown -
Very Very clean.... music was beautiful...... marching was very clean..... warm-up was absolutely beautiful... flags were on ..... can say much else..nothing really stuck out to me.... besides the show was so clean... its an up year for them.... without a doubt

Bluecoats -
what was that?? chick corea???..really???.... couldn't tell.... the show doesn't suck at all.. its just very dirty..... the show kinda loses you...... the corps has a brighter look uniform wise.... much more silver..... drumline was 5b 8s 4t's... hope they can clean it up.... I really like them

Crossmen -
I my eyes they won tonight...... its the best crossmen show I've ever seen.... much darker..... the opening was very erratic.... and done very very unis are phat with a capital PH..... much darker look...all black exept for a gray flap on the left side fo the uniform which also sports a red crossmen emblem..... very cool.... I didn't write much during the show...just took it all in.... I'll give a more detailed review next friday from cumberland MD..... heres the stats on the line...5b 8s 4t 4c's.... and they were tight too..... my favorite of the night....actually had a drum feature!!!! I waited all night for it.... they made me feel like I was just starting out on drums again they were soo good..... overall..the show is much less jazzy as the last few years... I like it... I NEED to see them again....!!! GREAT SHOW!!

Cadets -
well..what can I say..its the cadets... you know the rest... do I really need to tell you??... drumline was 5b 8s 5t's.... I must say this show didn't get me like last years.... I didn't realize they play part of the music from 96..... I think its the gunfight section...... anyway.... they were the best tonight.. no doubt.... but I just don't know about what everybodys saying about dci champs..... maybe.... its possible.... but I'm not gonna sit here and say its a sure thing untill I see the vangaurd devils and cavies..... and anyone else whos making a bid..... I REALLY can't wait for the vangaurd..sorry just being honest.... anyway... it was a great show.. typical cadets..... fast..furious.... took my breath away.... end of story!

Cadets took all caption awards....
OK..... yea I'm a guy... the hottest gaurd award goes to the crossmen along with the hottest drum major

Overall..... 2 shows stuck out in my mind .... Boston.. and Crossmen....

hope you like my review.. let me know what you think... I can take it.. really

Namdog Nod

DeKalb, IL (DCM Championships)

Saturday, July 10 was a great night for drum corps in Dekalb, IL. The show started at 6:30, with the div. 3 groups, Phantom Legion, Blue Stars, General Butlers Vagabonds. Blue Stars won but I certainly can't understand why. Phantom Legion has a much more cohesive show, and a much better drum line. General Butlers Vagabonds were all right except for the drums. They only had 15 horns, but maintained a very rich sound throughout. The scores between the three corps were very close.

Next to perform were the Senior Corps, Kiltees, and Minnesota Brass. These guys are fun to watch. They are entertainment oriented shows (very loud), but not so much movement in the drill. The croud really appreciated them. It's great to see the Kiltees still having fun.

The First Corps in Div I was PIONEER. Their horns and drums have come a long way this season. There uniforms look sharp, their book has adaquate demand, and their performance level was higher than I expected. Their show and their more mature performers will probably allow them to make semi-finals this year. Way to go Pioneer.

Next in compition were SOUTHWIND. I was extremely impressed with the show design. It flows very nicely. Everything is properly staged. But what I was most impressed with sound of this corps. Someone has spent alot of time making sure the corps sounds just so. The horns are very rich sounding and well balanced. In fact, they might even be a little thin up top. Way to go mellophones and contras. Whoever put together their drum book has done a fantastic job. The pit timbres are carefully orchestrated. The drums sound great on the field. I love the mylar snare heads in this show. Southwind horns and drums were as in tune as any in the show. What's holding Southwind down on the scoreboard is Percussion performance. Playing on mylar means the snaredrummers really have to play through the head more, and hold the rebound down. This is a drastic change in style from the loosy goosy Southwind lines of the past. Keep working to get stronger, it sounds great. Finally, I thought the corps looked really sharp, too. The overall show is orchestrated beautifully. I thought they were scored way too low (seven points behind colts).

Next in performance were the COLTS. They played alot of familiar opperatic tunes. Right away I was impressed with how the colts look when they take the field. Their red and white unis and pollished silver brass make them look almost pristine. I think the croud got into the show alot. Thier mellodic insistancy allowed everyone to stay in the show. The colts were as loud as anyone, but they need more volume-- richness, depth, the ability to fill up space with their horn sound. They need to listen more, spend some time playing chorals in a big arch. Get in ballance even if it means dropping an 'f' off of their fffff. Their drum book is solid, and their performance is sharp too. Their bass drums are too small and mufled. They don't have adaquate pressence. The snares sound a too chalky. They get plenty of snare sound, but I can here them ringing from the top of the stadium. They might want to try using mylar for their bottom head. Normally, a show of this quality would be a shew in for finals, but this year their are 14 shows that would normally make finals. Between Magic, Colts, Boston, BlueCoats, and BlueKnights--two of these corps won't make it to Saturday Night. If the colts want to be in at the end, they need to spend some 'quality time' making sure their sound is as good as it can be.

Next was PHANTOM REGIMENT. I liked the Tchecovsky, it's cool, but I understand why they have been placing so low this year. Part of the russian romantic style is quick scales over many octaves in the strings. Phantom tries to do this with horns. They really need to work on the quick parts of their horn book. The first minute of their show was a big phase between the pit and horns, because the horns couldn't play at tempo. The entire horn line is trying to play these impossible runs at way to high a volume, and they are laying the tounges on thick, too. Part of the reason they lose time is their tounging is too thick and slow. Lighten up or brake out the hose. I sincerely thought Phantom had the cleanest drumming show of anyone. I heard a couple really minor technical problems but overall it's pretty neat book. Perhaps it could be more demanding, and more exposed. I thought Phantom should have been closer to Madison than they were (3 points).

Next was Madison doing Jesus Christ Superstar. I'd say it was less like JCS, and more like the scouts. Personally, I'm not a huge Scouts fan. They've done basically the same thing every year since I've been watching. Their horns sound the same, they're drumline does exactly the same drum solo. So during the last minute, when the entire croud was on its feet yelling so loud not even the judges could tell if it sounded good, I was caught in a yawn-- reminiscing about the rich tradition of Madison, and how it's preserved in it's original condition to be appreciated by drum corps fans everwhere, again, and again, and again.

Next was Glassmen, who were very very classy. Their horns will put in a bid for high brass this season. They sound terrific. The colts should take a lesson. Remember a few years ago, when the Glassmen's drum line couldn't play it's way out of a wet paper pag? Those days are passed. They have a great book, and the performance of it is almost realized. I was disappionted that the opening tennor roll was a chiefff. It always sucks to blow the fist thing you play. That cool thing they do during the slow section with the tennors (with snares on them) paired with a bass player also didn't happen. The backfield pair really botched a very exposed part. Also when the snares came forward in front of the pit, it was almost good, but almost clean means a little dirty, and there is no where to hide when you are that exposed. The Glassmen have a great style, and are really trying to push in their own direction this season. Perhaps they err on the side of balance, because that is obviously their thrust. Perhaps they could go up a few decibals in volume and maintain their very balanced quality. I think that would help their GE scores. They are the warmest sounding corps I've heard since Star '92. All that was lost on the fans, however, who desprately wanted the Scouts to beat them tonight.

Finally, the CAVALIERS performed. I think they have a really good show with a ton of GE done in a very artful manner. The drum book was the most difficult and most exposed book on the field tonight. They really nailed their opening percussive statement, which is good, because their first solo (some three minutes into the show) was a debacle. The snares cheeched and shwaged the entire thing, the tenors were cleaner by comparison only. This years Cavaliers are very strong in all elements, their horns are almost on par with glassmen, their visual and GE are very strong. I'm confident that the drums can learn to play their book, and this will increase the .2 spread that they have over the glassmen. Their real edge over the glassmen is GE. The Cavies have no where to go but up, and I wouldn't be suprized if the placed ahead of the Devs, and/or Santa Clara at the end of the season.

Well, all tolled, it was a great show. Fans have no excuse not to see semi-finals in Madison this year, as they will miss some great shows if they only see finals. There are more strong corps this year than ever.

Judging note: DCM judging continues to be something like voodo divination. They only have seven judges. When I saw the recap from DCM semi-finals, and saw that the percussion performance judge had placed glassmen a half a point behind the cavies, and behind Phantom and the Scouts, I was a little pieved. The glassmen have been scoring very high in drums all season. It seems to me that the judge must have expected the Glassmen to come out and suck, and so he penalized them for his own expectation. But that was last nights show, which I didn't see so I can't be too harsh. The drum judge for tonight's show was Jay Webb, and I'll have to check the recap to see if he nailed the cavies for their sins.


Pete Harter

Here's a few notes about Div III, II, and Seniors...I feel guilty that I didn't see them much this year, and don't want anyone to think the oversight was intentional.

Div. III:

Saw a few of the prelims. didn't really get to see finals...I really misjudged dinner this year on both nights. someone tell Eduardo's in downtown Dekalb to get the lead out! I noticed how much all the kids in Div III corps were trying really hard; kudos to the fans who were there for them in the sweltering morning/afternoon heat! Wished that they had taken four into finals as in past years. Cincinnati Glory did a great job, but was a little short.

Captions (from Prelim scores!): High perc--Phantom Legion, High Brass, Visual, Colorguard--Gen'l Butler Vagabonds, Best Drum Major--Marion Cadets (and wow--she worked hard!)


Phantom Legion--third with 56.3---missed their final performance...saw their prelim, good job, nice chops, and they move the field well.

BLue Stars--good show...clean performance...took div III with 57.7

General Butler Vagabonds...took second with 57.2...they were first in prelims...really sold the Les Mis show, good theme interpretation with guard, and I actually liked the 2X4's! The panels set the stage nicely, but it limits the drill possibilities some.

Main thing that I noticed was how close all three of these were in performance. On any night, one or the other of them could have taken the lead.

also, even though Americanos' score in Div II was from Friday night, after seeing Americanos in exhibition--how could their score be lower than the ones above? There was a marked difference in the performance level and demand level.

There were a lot of inconsistencies in judging in DivII/III this year. Looking at recaps of Div III prelims would show someone a good 2 points ahead of another corps in music ge, but that or more behind in both music ensemble and performance each! sounds a little unrealistic to me--the scores should not be uniformly monotone, but this seemed weird. I know that there are different judges for each column, and we don't really want them conferring, but there were these glaring types of jumps in all categories. Sounds like the judges need a clearer understanding of what is to be valued.



Saw a couple of prelims here, too. Governaires and Chops, Inc. were great crowdpleasers as are all the senior corps. The perennial finalists were again Racine Kilties and Minnesota Brass.

Captions: High Perc, Brass, Visual, Colorguard--Minn Brass; Best Drum Major (or at least the most entertaining!!!)--King Kumonahwanaleiya! from Chops, Inc. (the headdress and the banana earrings were very alluring!!!)

Finals: Kilties 54.9 A lot of fun, as always! Much better guard than I have seen from them. Female guard, too! Talk about a straight company front. The crowd went bonkers.

Minnesota Brass 63.7 Wow! And to think that I past their right as they were headed to the field before prelims...about half of them were sporting a final smoke, didn't think that they would have any lungs left...told me, huh! they were smoking. Drill was nice, guard was as good as many div I semifinalists (at least!!!!). As a matter of fact, they would be pushing top 15 in junior division!

All I can say is that I hope that the Seniors continue to thrive and that more of them appear. They seem to be our most entertainment now!


I just read a post wondering if Dekalb was blown off the map, and no! it wasn't, but all the folks who were there had a great time, and there was definite partying going on in town after finals.

After carrousing with some friends last night after the show, sleeping late, and driving home today, I'm going to try to write some thoughts and reactions on last nights finals!

First overall, what an evening! Great weather, and the shows were all "up" shows, I thought. Definitely, all of the Division I corps took it to a higher level last night than prelims. Prelims were good, but the corps all seemed more "on" last night--which is preferable, I suppose! :) Scores didn't go up for most of them from prelims (different judges) and I guess that DCM must monitor that payscale for next year ;-) but the shows were definitely better on Saturday night.

I apologize: this year, I didn't spend as much time getting to see other than Div I. I don't mean to give them less attention. There was a lot of drama in those Divisions thisyear, and they were all great. Just the way my schedule worked!


Division I:

Wow! Everyone turned it up a notch tonight, and it was great! No placements changed but some gaps were narrowed and that made it interesting.'

Captions awards (taken from Prelim scores): High Brass, High Visual--Glassmen; High Percussion, Colorguard--Cavaliers; Best Drum Major--Phantom Regiment (a great conductor!!!)

Final performances:

Pioneer: 62.7
A much cleaner show tonight in both visual and brass. The brass really sold their show tonight. The first two numbers were written with a larger horn line in mind, but they are really cleaning it up! Guard had some really nice moments--the only area still needing heavy work is rifle work! Percussion cooked...a full battery and they wailed! The brass are still playing a little over their heads (still feeling deprived of some anticipated horns), but have realized that they must sell their show with their personnel and they are good personnel. Everyone was really excited when they got to their closer (St. Paul suite) and more familiar Irish strains were dancing in the air! Nice package--keep building that confidence! they really closed the gap on SW tonight and this should be continue to be a friendly rivalry for placement till the end!

Southwind: 63.3
Also, a heck of a lot cleaner tonight! In prelims, I said that the show design was nice, but they weren't selling it. They answered that tonight! Much more energy and the crowd really dug their show. The marching execution was really improved from Friday night and all the elements of the show fit together better as a result. The guard was greatly improved. The opener with the red flags was cleaner and that still has a lot of work to do. (A guard mom for SW just sent me anote and said that the flags were from Scouts--nosurprise--because their first choice of yellow flags clashed with the uniforms of the brass/perc). Overall, the guard had a really nice ballad again tonight, and the closing flags and work fit nicely with the show's end! Percussion was good, but I think that Pioneer was better in perc (battery, at least) tonight.

See Pioneer, Southwind, and Tarheel Sun (from what I've heard) duking it out for 16, 17, and 18 at Madison.

Colts: 70.9
Great show...some phasing problems, and ensemble problems that didn't happen so glaringly in Friday night. I still really like the show design and it has potential. Gulp...the guard uniforms are growing on me the tan with blood read fire flames licking into the tan. Tonight, the closer didn't seem to seems as if they ran out of ideas, and tagged the closer onto the end. I look for them to do some rewriting in the closer and wow us with the creativity of the rest of the show. Still I think that this show is a clear top 12 show this year. I really like the visual effects in the show, esp in the percussion!!! gotta see it! I also like the beginning of the second number when the horns are split into pairs across the field...visually, it is very effective. The horn line is running across the field often, and playing at the same time. Thus, the horn quality is the thing that needs refinement in July. Keep at it, Colts!

Phantom Regiment: 74.9
Ok, I may be paranoid, but someone read my prelim ramblins! As in SW, the guard really cleaned up the act last night! The show design still doesn't integrate them effectively as I usually think of PR's fine guard, but the group is cleaning it up. the Building of the flag wedge from the "goal" line into the brass outline of a wedge was really neat. There is still a place where the flags are integrated into the brass/perc with interweaving S's and there, the guardwork is still really unclean! Horns--great power...the upper voices had more fullness and warmth that matched the middle/lower horns tonight! some unfortunate glitches withthe Dekalb train schedule that took away some crowd effect...the end of the opener with the descending contra cadence was covered entirely by train whistle, and another train whistle got them at the end of the "ballad" where all the horns are ending softly backfield. Covered a really nice performance. Their hornline is just downright powerful! I mean a force! Percussion had a great show, and the whole thing click much more than the prelims--even the closer which seemed a little disjointed from the show in prelims. Their marching execution was also much cleaner. PR's signature visually has long been those clean blocked wedges, diamonds, and squares! They were much cleaner in form tonight. Their one glaring weakness visually is still there however--spacing. It is uneven in almost every set. If they can clean the spacing, continue cleaning the forms, I would like to see them move up. I hope that they do...I have always been a PR fan!

Madison Scouts: 77.0
A big jump in score from prelims, but they were the one corps that I thought had a better show on Friday night! Nevertheless, they were still the crowd favorite tonight! People all around were humming parts of Jesus Christ Superstar from "Idon't know how to love him" to the main theme. Drill movement was fairly clean, and is the type of drill that looks even more impressive and complex than it is! Lots of movement. Wild cheers still on the percussion solo, the middle flashback to early marching drill maneuvers, the cross, and the star to end the show. Loved the wedges in high step, with the brass player spinning the rifle at the point of one! Horn line was solid, but not as hyped as Friday night. Likewise, the guard had a great show, but not as hot as Friday night!

I think that the middle of the pack this year is going to be interesting, with Phantom, Crossmen, Carolina Crown, Madison, & Blue Knights all duking it out for 6-10 spots.

Glassmen: 78.6
Great show tonight! Much more energy than Friday night! the percussion, still great, were much more on than prelims! the horn line had some power tonight that they seemed to lack on Friday night. Overall, I was quite impressed with the horn quality of the and sonorous! Especially in slower marching sections, or standstill, it was the richest sound on the field. The show design has some nice moments that highlight each section, but overall, I still find the show design a bit ho-hum. The crowd didn't really go ape, either! Maybe the DCM crowd is just learning to love G-men like Madison and Cavaliers! :-) The set up of the ending with the sabre chop leading the wedge into the closer is a nice moment, and the show ends on a high note! The guard does a great job, and I really, REALLY like all of the silks that they use! Their sabre work was pretty darn clean tonight! Again, however, I don't think that this show will pass Cavaliers and the top 3-4 because of its visual design. It is too's not that some drill moves take you by surprise (that's agood thing)'s just that it is 2-4 beats into the drill move before it is apparent what is going on and then it's not worth the wait. E.g., there is a block rectangle with a curve that serpentines through the diagonal of the rectangle as the block moves forward. What a cool move, but it does become apparent that this is what is happening until it is too late. many of the sets are visually unreadable and this takes away from the many that are beautiful and some of the slick drill into them! I think that the percussion is hot, the brass are more solid than ever, the guard is complementing the show, but the visual constraints of this show will hold them back from reaching higher than 5th ploce!

Cavaliers: 79.8
Again, as all the corps, Saturday night in Dekalb was good to them! Their opener was much tighter visually and musically. It is taking me longer to appreciate the music book of this show than in years past, but it is coming. Clearly they were the show of the night in performance, but still have a lot to clean! The demand visually and musically is quite high in this show, and it is slowly coming along. When they hit the strains of Beethoven's 9th, "ode to Joy" the crowd loved it--it was nice musically and the visual was wowing. The percussion solo was really on tonight and everyone got a kick out of it. The guard I thought was a little off tonight, and had some problems that weren't there Friday. To give credit where it is due, the guard members that I mentioned in Friday's prelim cleaned up their performance greatly. Overall, though, the level set by this guard (and by Madison, and some would say, G-men) is a notch over anyone else. I thought the single high rifle toss that dropped on Friday wasan error, but last night, it seemed as if it was supposed to have landed on the ground and bounced into position as it did. Anyone know the scoop? The trademark swelling in the diagonal backfield form was much more effective tonight. what else stuck out? Hmm...the ending is somewhat similar to is a work in progress, and not the ending we will see in August. Probably true for a lot of corps, but really noticeable here. Also, the last 1/3 of the show, the brass seem to lose power and finesse. If they clean this show, and really work on selling it more, and fix the ending, I could see them passing Blue Devils (mindyou--only one viewing of BD thus far!), but from what I've heard on RAMD, I would be hard pressed to predict them jumping either Cadets or SCV.

Tim Hendrix

Toms River, NJ (DCA)

Under perfect weather conditions considering it was July 10, The Reading Buccaneers with an impressive 50 horns and 8 snares (almost double the average over most of the corps at the show) powered their way to their first official win of the 1999 season not counting the evaluation. Perhaps Donnie, the corps historian can fill me in on the last time the Bucs won a show. The show was held at Toms River South HS, which is undergoing some renovations and had no press box. The Bucs scored a 78.2 and were very impressive. They sold Russian Christmas Music well tonight, as they went on right after the Caballeros. The stiff breeze that blew through the field at the end of the show really highlited the ending as they used giant white flags that rippled in the background as the corps finished Russian XMAS.

Not to be outdone, the Hawthorne Caballeros once again were the crowd favorites as they finshed 2nd with a 76.3. Horn line was on tonight as the hits in Mask of Zorro were nailed with vigor. 46 Horns that sounded like 60. Hornline was rewarded with a share of high brass with the Bucs. Guard staging and bright red costumes, coupled with the masked DM Jim Russo entering the field were visual highlites as well. One more thing about Russo: He can simultaneously pump the crowd up behind him AND pump up the corps in front of him. He plays one off the other effortlessly. I thought after watching Cabs and Bucs back to back there could be a closer finish.

In third place with a 71.8 were the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are embellishing the western theme of Magnificant 7 which is their trademark closer. I have to say that with 24 horns but ample guard and effective drumline, they pull it off. The hornline did fill up the field and they will defintely close the gap with more bodies.

The Sunrisers were the second corps on the field, using variations on patriotic music. Sun and Hurricanes had roughly the same hornline numbers but from my angle on the 45 yard line, the holes looked more gaping visually. Sound was balanced, though. Guard staging showed off their talented guard and there were many ohh's and ah's from the crowd on some rifle tosses. 4th with a 67.3

The Bushwackers, in conjunction with a local HS band were the sponsers of this show and they went on last. Bush had the misfortune of following the Bucs. Bush was 5th with a 66.5. 28 Horns and 3 marching snares were visual obstacles to me. Bush did have a nice sound though, and as they were passing by after their show it looks like it is a young corps.

First on tonight was the Cheiftans and they were in 6th with a 51.1. When they first stepped on the field, the 17 horns were back field warming up and I thought I would have to strain my ears to hear them when they turned around. Playing music to Fiddler on the Roof and displaying a young guard, the Cheiftans were better than I though they would be, but are suffering numbers problems. There is not enough to really have an impact that is going to make Joe Fan sit up and notice. But going on first has it's advantages. There is nothing like the first sound of G bugles to start the show, no matter how many horns you have.

Notes....Stands were not very high and were about 3/4 full. Plenty of seats avail if you arrived late. Ticket price was $12. Best Drum Major was awared to "John" Russo. Crowd got a chuckle out of that one. Bushwacker soprano player soloed the national anthem to start the show. The venerable Moe Knox who has been photographing drum corps forever it seems was on the sidelines snapping away. Cabs were wearing black ribbons on their lapels. Next big show..... Grand Prix in Clifton when the Syracuse Brigs, fresh off their victory over Empire hit NJ for the third straight DCA show in NJ.


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