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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 Monday, July 26, 1999

Page Eight 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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Friday July 23
Dallas, TX (DCI)

This was my sixth consecutive year to attend the Festival of Drums and Bugles in Lake Highlands, TX. Without a doubt, it was one of the top shows I have seen here. The evening began with the playing of the national anthem by select members of the Lake Highlands High School band. The trumpets and snare drum only foreshadowed what was to happen in the next 4 hours or so.

68.0 Tarheel Sun
I haven't seen this corps since '96 and they have definitely made vast improvements in the past few years. The show was interesting. It started with a version of Buddy Rich's Time Check which didn't sound too familiar to me. Next was Chick Corea's Celebration Suite which didn't sound like the Celebration Suite I have heard before. I'm not really sure what was up with that. Maybe I was just not paying enough attention or something. The drill didn't move very much in the first two tunes and it was kind of disappointing in a way. But that all changed with Bohemian Rhapsody. Although Rhapsody felt like more of a closer, Tarheel Sun ended with (what I guess is) their corps song, What I Did For Love. I'm not sure if it was included as part of their show or not. The corps put out a good sound. Not too loud but it was pretty good tone quality throughout. I didn't count the numbers in each section but I plan to remember to bring a pen and paper to Houston and San Antonio.

69.9 Pioneer
This show just didn't catch me very well. The hornline was the smallest of the evening but they put out a good sound. The drumline was pretty good as well (I'm no drummer so I can't say much there). The music was all pretty esoteric and it just didn't jump out and grab me. As a result, I don't have too many comments here. The program consisted of Flute Concerto by Christopher Rouse, Girl I Left Behind by Leroy Anderson, Mahg Seola and Daragason/Greensleeves; both from Holst's St. Paul Suite.

71.3 Spirit of Atlanta
This hornline gave the audience the first wake-up call. Like Pioneer, their pit was inside the front sideline. They started with the upper brass in front of the pit and played an impressive shout section. My complaint is that the dynamic level, once again, seems like loud, louder, and backfield. What I really do like about this group is that they appear to be having a lot of fun out there. That's what the activity is really about anyway, right? I was, in a way, almost pleased to NOT hear Georgia On My Mind in this year's show. It's a wonderful tune but it's almost overdone by them. Instead, they played Since I Don't Have You by James L. Beaumont, Nutville by Silver Horace, Hollywood Nocturne by Brian Setzer, and Jump Jive and Wail by Louis Prima. They ended with a reprise of Since I Don't Have You. Very fun music. Very convincing group of kids. The battle for top 12 will indeed be tough. If Spirit can do a few solid weeks of cleaning, they stand a shot.

75.3 Magic of Orlando
Magic decided to march rather esoteric Chuck Mangione music. I have personally never heard Echano or The Lullaby for Nancy Carol before tonight. Land of Make Believe was good but I liked Crossmen's 95 arrangement slightly better. Pretty good execution of the music but it looks like perhaps they are running out of steam. There were a few impressive drill moves in this show. I'll review it better after the next two shows.

77.8 Bluecoats
I really liked some of the music they played. This version of Celebration Suite is closer to what I'm used to hearing. I sounded more recognizable. This show was the music of Chick Corea. The drill was pretty nice but nothing exquisite really jumped out at me. I like this corps and have liked them in the past and I hate to say it, but the show didn't do too much for me. Maybe another viewing or two will give me more things to remember. I really regretted not having a pen and paper with me! Started off with Armando's Rhumba, Leprechans' Dream, Duende, and finally Celebration Suite.


83.9 Crossmen
I will admit I am biased towards this corps. Two guys who go to school with me are in charge of the hornline and drumline. It was really nice to hear Brady's beautiful mellophone solo towards the middle of the show. The music is Blue Shades by Frank Ticheli and When October Goes, Appalachian Morning by Paul Winter. The beginning is very impressive with no audible beat going on and the hornline just playing staccato eighth notes here and there while doing some impressive marching. The drill was really good throughout the show. I am very much a fan of well executed symmetric drill interspersed with curvalinear forms and the Crossmen delivered there. I'll have to admit I thought I heard a phrase or two from West Side Story early on in the show. I wonder if anyone else heard that. It's interesting to note that the gap between Crossmen and Madison has narrowed to less than a point. I expect this corps to be ahead of the Scouts by Murfreesboro.

90.5 Blue Devils
What else can I say about this show than WOW!? The hornline was very clean and they had some difficult parts as well. I really liked Estancia when Phantom played it in '93 and I really liked it when the Blue Devils played it in '99. The program lists Powerhouse, Rhumba for Orchestra by Graeme Koehne two times in a row so maybe something was left out. Other than the opener, the music was not familiar to me, but it was played very well and very loud. Adios Nonino, Unchained Melody, and Dirty Boogy rounded out the show. I didn't recognized Unchained Melody like I thought I would. Maybe I will hear it better when I see their show again in San Antonio. The drill was really good. The music was really good. The execution was really good. I don't know what more could be asked for. It was nice to be able to see the first performance to brak 90 for this season.

84.8 Madison Scouts
Back in November when I heard that the Scouts would be playing the music of Jesus Christ Superstar I bought the CD. Since then, I think it has been out of my car's CD changer for about a week and a half. It's great music. Madison did a very nice job with it! I have heard people ragging on King Herod's Song but, if you know the show, you will realize that it is a very good representation of what's going on with that particular music. The soprano player with the rifle is a nice touch and this tune provides some really nice comic relief to the show. Not that Madison needs that, mind you. This corps is what drumcorps is all about. The people behind me had never seen a drumcorps before and they said that they liked Madison's show best, but they're not judges. According the the Scouts, they are the only judges that matter. And they did win me over this year, just not as well as I would have liked. As much as I love this music, something wasn't there. The Scouts definitely had a more refined than the Blue Devils at some points. But they never quite got up to the loudness and brashness with which the Devs played.

87.5 The Cavaliers
Nice music, great drill. I think I would enjoyed this show better had they gone on before Blue Devils did though. I know someone in Madison so it gave me a chance to watch him march. I don't know anyone in the Cavaliers and, frankly, I haven't been a big fan of them since 1995. I really did like the music and the drill, it just didn't do too much for me on a whole. Timothy Mahr's Fantasia in G was the opener. The rest of the show (a more substantial portion) was devoted to Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn by Normal Dello Joio. I've just never been a big fan of putting wind ensemble music on the field and that seems to be what the Cavaliers enjoy doing. They do it very well, I must admit. I get to see them again tomorrow and Sunday so hopefully things will be better then.

Joel Wagner

Finally DC has hit Texas, and I have the sunburn to attest to two days of rehearsal-watching. Something tells me that the future is in exposing new people to shows, so I've been talking it up for several months and was able to take 10 newbies tonight. Our line of sight did not include the front 5 or so yards of the field, and we were surrounded by poor loud explaners of everything drum corps, so ...

Tarheel Sun- Going on first was good for them. I admit to a few chills from the hornline. It was a greatist hits of drumcorps playlist. Their unis are a very bright yellow.

Pioneer- They were smaller than TS but were as loud and the drumline got positive responses from the old drummers in my group. I liked the beige unis. My companions put them just behind Bluecoats.

Spirit- Always one of my favorites, I was happy to see them. Their show is good, but not what I expected. I had to field many questions about the randomness of the guard's attire. I replied that maybe the show would give us the answer, but it didn't. They were loud, but the blatting baritone was louder. Three weeks might just be enough time for them to break through. Everyone liked it.

Magic- All of us liked their look. Most of us didn't recognize Land of Make Believe. I worried a couple times if the music was going to break down. I have been listening to vintage Bridgmen for the last weeks and was not satisfied tonight. But hey, I bet that they make me a believer in San Antonio.

Bluecoats- Usual comments about the rudeness of B(l)ooing. Usual explanations. Usual increase of bluers after the show. Great flags. I think everyone likes Chick Corea.

Crossmen- Wish I could have shown the kids Bones, but it wasn't a total loss. Drums still rock. Horns do too. I still like the old look, and missed those coats. A solid fourth tonight.

Scouts- A resounding favorite with the kids. A slim overall victor according to the rest. I liked them. A lot. Familiar music, comic relief, guard in sync, volume. A true show. They were working on marching today, and when those files straighten up they will be hunting for top 6. It seems that every show is a home show for these guys. Does anyone not like them after a performance? This show should always get a few standing O's.

Cavies- They got the unenviable position after Madison and BD. Their show seems like it would take a couple viewings to appreciate, therefore everyone thought they should be third. They were clean. I think I caught some humor in the guards dhutting, but am not used to laughing with the Cavies. Nonetheless they were solid and I look forward to seeing them more. Something about that show is begging me to get it.

BD- A clear winner tonight, and breaking 90 for the first time to boot. LOUD. Great guard. Many different drums played by an excellent line. I liked the drill. Can't wait to see SCV and Cadets so I can make a prediction. Standstill victory concert was huge. Their look was super clean. Should be in the hunt for another ring.


Well it was an incredibly HOT day in Dallas today - 101. It was the first triple digit temperature day for Dallas/Fort Worth, and was reminiscent of last summerís heat wave. The stadium was packed as usual, and the crowd was very receptive to the corps performances.

On to the reviews:

Tarheel Sun - Thanks to the heinous Dallas traffic, I arrived just in time to listen to Tarheel Sun from underneath the stadium. They sounded pretty good from what I could hear, but unfortunately I have nothing more to say since I did not get to see them. The people I talked to in the stands said they were very good. I canít wait to see them in Madison. If they are anything like last year, I will like them for sure.

Pioneer - All I can say to the kids in the corps is WOW! An absolutely incredible amount of improvement in the past couple of weeks since I saw them last. The drum line is the strength of the corps, and they are have toned down their played just a bit, so as to blend with the horn line better. The horn line is playing with better tone quality, and they are just plain playing better. They are still a bit rough in spots, but so much better than the last time I saw them. Their marching is much cleaner, and they are executing very well. You can see a consistent marching style developing, and some crisp marching execution.

Spirit of Atlanta - SAO was entertaining. They have a good repertoire, and they are doing a good job of selling the show. The horn line continues to have some problems with tone quality as they have in the past, but they can crank out some serious decibels. At the end of their show, they hold a chord, the DM turns to the audience and raises his arms to increase the crowd applause. He then turns to the corps and does the same, and the line cranks up the volume. He proceeds to do the same to the audience. He then turns to the corps for a third time, and motions for more volume, and the line wails and let you have it. The crowd then went into hysterics without the assistance of the DM. It was good showmanship, but the horn line tone quality really suffered. The visual program again plagues this corps. Marching execution really needs some serious work. Their guard uniforms (if you can call them that) need to go. They are all in red tops of all different styles and shards of red, and the bottoms are khaki shorts and pants of all different styles and shades. They look like they lost their truck and had to perform in whatever they could throw together, or like a commercial for the GAP.

Spirit performs well, but they lack something - confidence perhaps. After seeing SOA, Magic, Bluecoats, Colts, and Boston all within a couple of days, I can tell you that SOA is not performing on the same level as the other 4 corps. The other 4 are more solid, confident, chutzpah, etc. They just perform like they know they are one of the best - SOA just didnít do that.

Magic of Orlando - Can you say HORN LINE!!!! WOW! What a show! That brass section is incredible once again. A very powerful show. I read someone on RAMD say that Magic reminded them on BD during the 80ís. I must agree. Their book had that kind of flair and style to it. I really liked their show. Their drill and marching execution continue to plague them, but it has improved over last year. Their new uniforms look so much better than they did last year. They have black pants, cream tops, and what appears to be a purple sequined vest. The hat and plume are the same as last year. They guard uniforms are typical of what you would expect from Magic - different. Youíve heard of the sleeveless shirt? Well Magic have guys with the shirtless sleeves. Funky looking, but kind of cool. They are definitely in the hunt for a top 12 spot. I thought their placement was correct, but I thought their spread with Bluecoats should have been much smaller.

Bluecoats - I liked their show this year. Iím not typically a fan of Bluecoats shows, but I like this yearís edition. They had more of a presence on the field than Magic - more so visual than musical, and this is why they topped Magic in my opinion. I was not overly impressed with the guard, but their drill is much improved over prior years. When they began their closer, I could not help but think of Cavies in 83. The arrangement was very reminiscent of Cavies rendition.

Crossmen - I think they have a nice show. The arrangements are good and the flow of the show works well. Crossmenís version of Blue Shades does sound a bit like SCV at times - and not at all like SCV at other times. They play a lot more of the piece than SCV, and itís a great tune. I really need to find a good recording of this piece, because it really cooks. I donít like their new uniforms. There just is not any definition to them, and in some respects remind me of Phantomís uniforms. Seems like they canít come up with an original uniform - their old ones looked very similar to Madison when they first came out. I wish they would get a look of their own. Their guard is great, but I donít like their uniforms - all gray spandex. At one point, they add partial body cover yellow pullovers. I didnít think the yellow worked well.

I was amazed by their high score tonight. I didnít think they came even close to deserving it. They did not have a great performance, they were VERY dirty visually (e.g., drill, marching execution, etc.), and they had a lot of problems. A contra bit it during the opener - and he bit it hard. The recovery was very poor. There were a number of slips, tumbles, mismeshes, form breaks, people getting left behind by the form, etc. To their credit, the field is terrible. It is a deceptive field - it looks so smooth, but that is just an illusion. The grass is smooth, but the field itself is like a minefield. After marching on that field several times myself, I can tell you that it is one of the worst fields I have marched on.

After seeing 3 of the 4 Division I YEA corps, I noticed a common theme - dirty visual. Magic, Crossmen, and Cadets all have a lot of serious ensemble visual and marching execution problems. Their guards are all very good, but the marching - sheesh!

Blue Devils - This is the first BD show that I have liked since 93. WOW! They were hot tonight too. That horn line was absolutely smoking. Hot soloists, great music, and actual sustained playing - not the screaming sop note, loud chord, guard rifle toss, snare rim shots, loud chord routine from the past few years. There is some serious sustained playing of melodic music that really cooks.

The guard is perhaps the best Iíve seen from BD - or anyone else that Iíve seen this summer. Cadets have the only guard that can challenge them IMO. The entire line does work on flags, rifles, and sabers. Itís great to see that many people on a single piece of equipment doing the same thing at the same time, and doing it so well and so clean - very impressive.

Their drum line is much improved over last year, and they play some sweet notes. The snare tuning is good too - a nice wet sound - no Formica counter tops here. Drill wise, they are no Cadets or SCV, but they are finally moving and doing something visually - and doing it well too. I think SCV marches better and is cleaner, but BD is really good - and they have some cleaning to do, which gives them room to continue to improve and hopefully not peak to early as they have the past few years. They really have a total package this summer - no sections are weaker than the others.

Madison Scouts - I donít know what got into Madison tonight, but my, oh my, oh my - were these guys on tonight or what? Absolutely ON FIRE!!! The crowd always likes Madison, and the Texas crowds have always been really receptive to them, but they really cranked out an emotional performance tonight. Much more power and excitement than at the Stillwater, MN shows earlier this week. The crowd booed their placement, but the placement was correct. The problem was the score. The score was much too low in my opinion. I thought the spread over Crossmen should have been much more like 5 or 6 points, based on how dirty Crossmen were, and how much cleaner Madison was. I also thought their score should have only been no more than a point and a half below Cavies. I would have had Madison at and 86, and Crossmen at about 79 or 80.

Cavaliers - They have a nice show. It is not as entertaining or engaging as BD, or Madison, but it is nice. They are really flying this year. I think they are hauling tail just as fast and far as Cadets are - if not more so at times. And they do it better than Cadets do. Cavies marching execution is better and they are far more controlled. You donít see the bobbing hats and flailing bodies when they fly. They had one baritone eat turn at the end of the show when they were really hauling, but the recovery was extremely fast. They have a lot of cleaning yet to do visually - both marching and guard wise. There were a number of guard spaceouts, and guys that did not seem to know the work at times. They are also marching a couple of holes (perhaps someone out due to injury or still learning the show?). Their drum line is once again very strong, and their horn line is much like last years - strong, but not wowing you with their performance.

One thing I did not like, was that Blue Knights souvie truck was their selling their goods even though the corps was not there performing. I do not think they should have been permitted to do this, since the corps did not perform there. I said the same thing last year about the Blue Devils who did the same thing. I know I will get numerous posts once again this year for this comment with all kinds of arguments about how the corps need money, yada, yada, yada. The corps that are performing are selling their souvies to earn money and promote themselves. If a corps is not there performing, they should not be selling their stuff. This takes away business from the corps that DID perform. If this is going to be allowed, then why donít the high volume souvie corps like Madison send out multiple trucks on tour and sell at every show on the tour? That would be cool now wouldnít it? I think not.

Overall, this was a great show. All of the corps have entertaining shows, and they al did a great job. BDís encore was incredible - Oh so very loud! Itís going to be quite a run for the top spot once again this year, as well as for 11th and 12th.

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

I tried to take down a few notes during the show - maybe ya'll will appreciate them.

Tarheel Sun: This was the 2nd time I've seen them, and they are improving. Though it was obvious they were fairly new, everyone seemed to enjoy doing the show and the overall effect was nice. The only thing that bothered me was the colorgaurd... I don't think there was a single moment where they were all together.

Pioneer: I wrote "pretty damn good" beside their name.... I think I was mostly impressed by their sound - very nice tone, though they could use a lot more volume. Nice show.

Spirit: I really enjoyed this show! I actually had them in 6th. They had some great footwork, and one really impressive spiral that had the audience cheering away. Tone was nice, though I was left wishing they had used more volume. There was plenty of it at the end, so we knew they were def. capable of it!

Magic: Sorry, I was not impressed in the least. Everything just seemed average w/ these guys....average drill, average sound, average cleanness.

Bluecoats: Did anyone notice the size of their colorguard?!?! It's HUGE! I was wondering who had more: winds or guard? The routine was fairly simple, but carried off w/ great execution. Colorguard (and I am not a colorguard fan) was super and well used in the drill, esp. the part w/ the purple flags. Bluecoat sound was very nice....I enjoyed this show thoroughly.

Crossmen: They, unfortunately, had the one fall of the night (in the contra line), but the recovery was swift. I wasn't too happy w/ the drill or the uniforms (ugh), but they were tight on everything they did. One very cool horn swing in the middle....made you feel like you were passing by the corp on a train.

Madison Scouts: Maybe it's just my incredibly large bias showing right here, but myself, along w/ the entire audience, felt that the Scouts should've been 2nd. I almost felt bad for the Cavies when everyone starting booing at the top of their lungs. Madison was very clean, and their sound left you smiling like an idiot. One very impressive part of the drill on the back part of the field where they doing a constantly reversing spiral that ends when every layer has finally peeled off. Music selection was well received, as were the Scouts themselves. Many many standing ovations throughout the show.

Cavaliers: Was not impressed w/ the was VERY boring! Sure, the players are top of the line and the marching cannot be beat, but the music had the audience falling asleep. I think most of the points came from the flags.... they were just WOW!

Blue Devils: My first time to see them....I instantly fell in love. You can tell these guys are in it for the gold, but you don't mind b/c they're just so damn good! Sound that will blow you away and the cleanest footwork of the entire evening....very complicated drill. They have a squealer in there that should be considered for one of the best sops. He could play!

It was a fun show. I really appreciated the fact that the Scouts had an interactive clinic. We broke up into groups and designed drills to perform in front of the other groups. Though I was marching w/ two of my schoolmates (which lessened the thrill), I know it had to be really exciting for some of the high schoolers. I got to spend the day w/ my best friend in the Scouts (i.e. a backstage pass to DCI.) If anyone ever interested in marching DCI has an opportunity to do that, I really recommend it. It clues you in and makes you feel like a part of the corp. I feel a lot more knowledgeable now!

See ya'll in san Antone!

Heather Ainsworth

Thursday July 22
Burlington, IA (DCI)

I wasn't planning on doing this, but oh well. The crowd was a little dead tonight, but that's probably because it was about 100 degrees and towards the end of the night, it was completely still and humid as anything. Also, if this stadium is going to continue to host DCI shows as they have for some time, they should look into getting another set of lights that shine on the front middle of the field, it was fairly shadowed and difficult to see a lot of the detail work, especially in the guard.

Allegiance Elite-They did Bye-Bye Birdie, seemed to have a good time. Is this corps division II or III. I wasn't sure, and they never specified.

Blue Stars-Wow! I was highly impressed with this corps, especially with regards to what I've seen in previous years from them. Their guard was CLEAN. Clean as my mother's kitchen. And their percussion wailed. The brass was the weakest point, but by no means bad. In fact, they had a few contra players who were very good. Good show tonight.

Les Etoiles-It was cool to hear the DM count off in French. This corps is very small this year, in fact, it almost seemed as if they could be Div. III, if not D.II. I liked the show musically, but I think the scaffolding did more to distract from the show than add to it. You coudn't really even hear the pit either. IF they want to maintain semi-finalist status, they have their work cut out for them.

Troopers-Better than I expected from this corps. They had a nice, balanced brass sound, and the guard, although a little cheesy, was pretty good. They had a lot of very creative visuals, such as the "jail" and the part where the snars all lined up their sticks into an arc with a cross on top.

Colts-This is a great show this year. The music was, although not nearly the cleanest, the most exciting of the night. They just fielded a new closer for the first time tonight, and it flows much better than the old one. The drill still need some cleaning, especially the rotating boxes and the closer, but it's on the right track. The guard has really cool work, but still need some cleaning. Strong finish this year for Colts.

Cadets-I was very impressed with this show. The short brass atacks in the beginning were cool, and sounded hard. The percussion was really tight (multi-tenor soli---drool drool) and the guard was really really clean. No drops that I saw tonight. I liked all the silent guard parts too-very cool. The marching was very complex, especially the last 40 seconds or so, which was amazingly fast, but the technique was lacking. There were plumes bouncing all over the place. Definitely top three this year.

Santa Clara Vanguard-I liked this show a lot, but I think I will appreciate it more the more I see it. The marching was very clean and smooth, and the brass had a rich, full sound. I can't imagine BD's brass can be much better, because this was pretty good. The guard had some amazing modern dance, which, in my opinion, was accented by the unis, which many people have called ugly. The guard had a few unneccessary mistakes though. SCV's pit is awesome, and they get a really nice sound. I haven't seen BD, but this corps definitely has a shot at the top spot.

Colt Cadets-They went in exhibition, and did a pretty good job, following Cadets and all. This was there last show, and I think the kids have a really good time doing this show.

That's all, and if I made any spelling mistakes, I don't care, and i don't want to hear about it.


Wednesday July 21
Stillwater, MN (DCI) #2

First off, it was typical Minnesota weather. Rainy the first day (although not in the evening), then warm and humid the second day. It was rather nice both nights. I saw the whole show on Tuesday, but only from MN Brass to the end on Wednesday because I watched Boston and Santa Clara warm up.

Capital Sound: Their big band tunes are fun to listen to, despite not being played particularly well. It's a pretty good corps, given their age.

Troopers: It's been two years since I've seen them, and they've improved nicely. I always like Billy the Kid, although, as previously mentioned, the gunshot and "Murderer!" thing in the middle was trite. The Starburst got a good response from the crowd.

Les Etoiles: The scaffolding stuff is interesting, but I can't think of a good reason for it to be there. The drill did take the members through and around that area, which was good. The music seemed pretty inaccessible, so the crowd didn't get into the show much. They did perform pretty well, though.

Crusaders: Wow! What a great show! The music was great, and the corps performed well. I'm particuarly fond of the third movement from Four Scottish Dances. That's a beautiful song, and the baritone soloist at the end was wonderful. I look forward to seeing them in finals.

Colts: I like this show, but they haven't improved much since DeKalb. It's weird hearing a major chord at the end of Dies Irae, but the rest of it is cool. The drum solo is good, too. After that, the corps loses me. I was surprised at first to hear that Boston beat the Colts, but now I think it was accurate.

Cadets: First off, their rifles and sabres are fabulous. If the corps did nothing but drum and spin rifles, it would be great. Which leads me to my second point, they don't play well. It's been mentioned enough already, but their hornline does not perform well. I wasn't in a good position to judge the drill overall, but they were certainly moving faster than anyone else. The swirling thing in the beginning was awesome. After that, I can't remember much. The music is totally forgettable, except the stuff that they played in 96. Their performance was better on Wednesday, as the tighter score with SCV would indicate.

Vanguard: I just loved their 97 and 98 shows, and was ready to love this show, but it didn't quite happen. They easily out-executed the rest of the corps, but the music didn't stick with me. Then, after hearing the victory concert and seeing the show again, I started to like it more. I had a completely different vantage point from the first night so I saw some different things in their show. Without having seen the Devils yet, I can't make a finals prediction, but I'd be surprised and disappointed if the Cadets caught up with Vanguard.

Madison: This show grows on me more and more, it's just a lot of fun. The hornline plays pretty well, except for a few individual lapses. The guard is pretty weak, and the drumline is fairly dirty, but I like to listen to them. I really wish, though, that they'd re-arrange the closer. It doesn't sound right to me when the main theme comes back at the end. Overall, I honestly would have placed Madison higher than the Cadets on the first night, and maybe a bit lower on the second night. The Cadets do more stuff, but Madison does their stuff better. Plus, the Scouts' hornline is head and shoulders above the Cadets'.

MN Brass: I've seen them countless times in shows and rehearsals. They're really good, especially the opener and second song, with the drum solo. My room-mate, Justin Foell, is playing baritone with them this summer so I've met a bunch of people in the corps. It looks like a lot of fun, so I'm looking forward to that for next season. Besides, I'm always looking for another excuse to drink beer.

Overall, it was a good show, and I can't argue too much with the scores and placements, other than maybe switching Madison and the Cadets around. Oh, and Stillwater Jr High's football stadium sucks. I saw Vanguard rehearsing at Blaine HS, which has a much nicer stadium. In fact, there has to be countless other sites in the metro area which would provide more, and more comfortable, seating. I know that the Drum Beauty show lines up with Lumberjack Days, but atleast one of the shows should be somewhere else.

Michael Oldemeyer
Phantom Regiment 94,6,8.

Tuesday July 20
Stillwater, MN (DCI) #1

It rained most of the day, and it looked like it might rain all night, but it never did. The temperature was perfect for a show, and the state bird was not out in force (mosquitoes for you non-Minnesotans). The stadium was pretty much packed out beyond the 5 yard lines, and they were pretty receptive to the corps performances.

On to the reviews.

Capital Sound - Their show is pretty good, and the crowd liked the recognizable music of the corps. Their performance was a bit rough tonight, and their horn line just isn't putting out much sound for their size. They could dramatically improve their performance and score if they would just use some air.

Troopers - A significant improvement over last year. the horn line TQ&I was good for most of the show, but they too need more volume. The snare tuning was excellent - a nice wet sound - not cranked so tight so they sound like formica. They have some cheezy guard theatrics in teh middle of the show that had even the bandos in the stand making fun of. They really could be cut out and not hurt the show one bit - it would actually help it.

Les Etoiles - They have a very small horn line this year - 20 memebers. And it really shows. I could barely hear the show. What I could hear had good tone quality, but I was straining to hear their show. The pit is on the field on various scaffoldins, elevated into the air. I found them to be very distracting, as they blocked your view of the full field. I was not overly impressed with their musical selections, and they did not get much of a response from the crowd either.

Boston Crusaders - This is the best BAC corps since I first started in the activity in 1977. Their horn line plays very well - good balance, and TQ&I, and their guard is excellent. However, their horn line does not put out enough sound, and the horn book has been watered pretty good. Fiesta is watered to death. They have one guy in the guard that does several solo tosses with the rifle and sabre - really high ones. Kinda cool, bnut reminded me of the baton twirlers from band shows because he was the only one doing it. BAC is good, but their show just comes across a bit like a band show to me. I did not think they beat the Colts tonight, however, I did have them scored very close.

Colts - I liked the Colts show, but I was not blown away by it either. I think their show is the kind that will grow on me, and after a couple of viewings and listenings, I will like it more. They are strong in all captions - good drill, good horn line, good drum line, good guard - good balance overall. Just nothing great that really wow's you. I thought they edged out BAC.

Cadets - I was surprised at how generous the judges were with Cadets. They are DIRTY! The show is well designed, and has plenty of appeal and amazing musical and visual moments. BUT, are they ever dirty. Like 97, they are being rewarded points in the visual caption for difficulty and demand, not their execution. major interval problems all over the place, barely readable forms, form breaks, and just plain dirty drill. They were MUCH cleaner than this last summer at the same time. Believe what you have heard about their horn line as well. They are nt nearly as good this year. Lots of rough spots. Their guard is amazing, and the drum line is excellent again. I like the show and appreciate the demand, but the visual filth is just not deserving of hte scores they are receiving. Madison was cleaner, and I had their score much closer to Madison.

SCV - I LOVE THIS SHOW!!! They have a total package show wise and performance wise. I don't have a recap, but they should have won all captions tonight. They are strong in every respect. They crowd was not as receptive to their show as they were Cadets or Madison, but their show is one that I will listen to over and over and over. It will be one that grows on you and becomes a favorite, but is not an immediate love affair (just my opinion of course).

Madison - Great performance, and the crowd favorite tonight. They had one fall early in the show, but a good recovery. The horn line is typical Madison - powerful, screaming soloists, and driving excitment. Their guard is great and gets the crowd response as usual. Their drum line is entertaining, but again they seem to be their weakness. Visually, they have really cleaned up the drill in the past few weeks. I really thought they were much cleaner than Cadets. Granted they don't have the demand of Cadets, but they execute much better. Both SCV and Madison march with control - even when moving fast or at great distance. Cadets bounce around. I thought they would be breathing down Cadets necks tonight.

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

Here are my impressions of the corps at the first night of Drum Beauty.

Capital Sound: Very nice sounding hornline, drumline sounded like there were playing some nice stuff. Recognized some of the music from old Scouts shows. Corps has good numbers - close to 90 - very entertaining for a small corps.

Etoiles: There's a certain "je nais se quo" to french corps. Maybe it's hearing the dm count the corps off in french, but this corps has the classic, french style. Music that is original, but accessible; nice tempos, nice drill, innovative props (scaffolding); some nice drumming, but on the dirty side. A lot of individual sounds coming out of the hornline. I appreciated the original composition inspired by the bad winter ice storm Quebec suffered through a couple winters ago.

Troopers: Through all their ups and downs, the Troopers have always maintained their unique visual style and battery sound. The snare parts especially had that classic Troopers sound. Liked the opener and the closer and the drum solo, but middle part of the show, just like the middle part of Billy the Kid wore on and on and gets kind of boring. Did not like the guard guy "shooting" the other guard members in an attempt to portray the story of Billy the Kid and then the guard members screaming "Murderer!" Glad to see Troopers with stronger numbers, but they need to program a more enjoyable show from start to finish. Middle section of this show is dreary.

Boston Crusaders: Wow! Why are people slamming YEA? If YEA can take a corps on the verge of extinction, the way BAC was a couple years ago and transform them into a full 128 open class corps I'm all in favor of YEA! This is a very nice show. Almost had a Glassman-like feel. Lower brass sound is nice, but sops need help. Great guard - lots of high saber flinging, great drill. Drumline could be exposed a little more, liked what I heard from them, though. It's exciting to see the Crusaders vying for a spot in the top 12 again.

Minnesota Brass: Nice show, greatly improved since I last saw it at Hastings in mid June. Really nice drill and visual show. You don't even think of this corps as being a senior corps. Getting tired of the same old schtick, though. After awhile, featuring high note soloists just starts to sound like so many balloons being squeezed to let the air squeak out. This corps could be Crossmen-like if they featured the battery more. This battery is jr. corps level good. The Brass show designers need to take advantage of this and feature the drumline more.

Colts: Great opener. Liked the body stance things the corps was doing with the music. Show almost Glassmen-like in that there were some nice exposed battery features and a strong hornline. Not enough hashing and trashing in the closer from a visual standpoint. I hope they do more drill the last minute of their show the way they have in the past.

Cadets: Spent the whole show watching their tenor line. Fantastic tenor feature. Noticed some really nice guard stuff; drill was cool, but not as wild as some years past. Will they add more drill to the last minute? Show overall very enjoyable - music is accessible and enjoyable - really gives you a musical feel for the hustle and bustle of NYC. Love the guard uni's - totally believable that these are people rushing around Madison ave ect. Drill a bit dirty, very nice horn sound.

Vanguard: Clean clean clean! Visually, musically very clean. Some very fast drill. More complex than Cadet's drill. Beautiful guard work, sweet snare feature - about twice as long as the snare feature last year but in the same wacky, cool vein. Hornline very clean, beautiful sound. Music is lush and pretty, even jazzy at one point near the end, but does not evoke any real emotion. I can see why they're winning though, because they are clean!

Scouts: Great show, but you can see a definite gap between the top corps like Vanguard and Cadets and the next level corps like Scouts in terms of visual cleanness, battery and hornline cleanness. There were some glaringly dirty drill points, like where the hornline rushes into a company front, but the feet are super dirty and not uniform at all. Horn sound is very rich, music is very pleasing - I walked around with the Jesus Christ Superstar theme in my head all night after the show - love how it comes in subtly with tasty bass run. Drill wise, there's some really nice things happening, there's a really cool ribbon trace drill in the opener that looks really cool. The big cross to star thing is nice for a park and blow, but it's not the wickedest drill move ever. If the forms were tracing *that* would be cool. Before finals: modify last drill moves to build tracing cross, then break into tracing star. Horn line definitely loudest of night.

Reed Munson

Troy, AL (DCM)

IMO, there have been many less reviews written this season, so I will give you my comments about the Troy show last night...

In reverse order of appearance:

Tarheel Sun - I saw this corps for the first time in 1996 and was surprised by the level they had achieved in such a short time. Last night, I was again surprised. They really impressed me. Tarheel's brass had a nice sound in the opening of "Don't Let the Sun go down on Me", but it was the soft harmonies in the beginning of "Bohemian Rhapsody" that had me smiling. It was beautiful! A very nice balanced sound. There were some slight phasing problems in the middle of Bohemian Rhapsody, but not bad. They seemed to have a really good performance, even though their scored dropped from their last outing.

Magic of Orlando - This hornline has such a nice sound! I liked the Mangione theme and they performed it well. They were pretty clean, but the drill was rather simple. IMO, the corps stands still a bit too much. Whenever the horns have a more demanding technical part to play, or when they want to play super loud, they park it. The guard had some nice moments, but once again, their uniforms are just too funky (why would any youth organization put the guys in something like THAT?). The end of the show, Land of Make Believe, was fun and a blast from the past (almost every high school in the country played that tune in the late 70s). I enjoyed the show but realized that this one might have some trouble reclaiming their spot in the top 12.

Spirit of Atlanta - My former corps, of course. I had anticipated this night for a long time. I wanted to view first hand the corps that has been viewed as among the most entertaining and the most dirty. I was surprised. They were not as dirty as I had expected, but it was still sloppy. The opening, as everyone has heard, is very loud and full. Then comes "Nutville". Nutville is a tough piece, and from recordings that I had heard from the corps earlier in the year, some things have been watered. The beginning verse of the tune is now played by a trio of horns, instead of the entire hornline. That might be what was intended, and that might be the way they have done it all year, but it seems to be the easy way out. The baritone solo in "Since I don't Have You" was beautiful, but many times got drowned out by the backup. Jump Jive an Wail was fun but the most dirty of all of the show musically. As far as horn sound quality, there was a lot of over blowing in the show, but the most notable section was the baritones. Too many times those guys are honking away without any regard for quality. In most instances, when someone was out of the ensemble, it was a baritone. One of the soprano soloists had a difficult night, not only trying to reach his higher notes, but keeping them in tune when he did hit them. His lip must have been busted or something, because it sounded as though his spit valve was open. Visually, the guard never grabbed my attention except to keep gawking at the costumes (you can't call them a uniform). It looks as though they are on the field in practice clothes. They detract from GE more than it helps. From a drill standpoint, this corps never stops. The movements are big and fast most of the time. It could some of the best drill Spirit has ever put on the field, if it was clean and a more unified style of marching was evident. That would be my biggest complaint for Spirit...every member seems to be trying hard to project a good marching technique and style, but there are 128 very different versions of it on the field. It is as if the corps does not practice basics. The drill is hard, maybe too hard for them to ever get clean. From my wife's perspective (she only saw drum corps for the first time 3 years ago, and this is only her 3rd or 4th show) there was too much going on. It was too "busy". My view is that this show does have 12th place potential (but not much higher than that), but they've got a lot of work to do to get there.

Bluecoats - I knew that Blue had changed genres of music this year, but I didn't know to what. Hearing Bluecoats play Chick Corea was different. They did a good job of it too. The horns were tight and their marching technique was good. IMO, they are fielding the best guard that they've had in a long time. They caught my attention several times throughout the show. There was one particular mello part towards the end of the show where I was amazed at the great intonation in the section. I had not heard a line play so well in tune since Star did their Roman show. But it didn't last long...a few bars after their "feature", there were some problems. Blue's drill was good and was marched rather well. I enjoyed it.

Crossmen - First, I really don't like the uniforms. But a few beats into the show I had forgotten all about them. After listening to SCV's arrangement of "Blue Shades" for the past couple of weeks, I expected to be disappointed in Crossmen's rendition. Boy was I wrong! The opening is TOUGH, with a lot of cold brass attacks during silent drill moves. I was very impressed. The horn sound was loud and beautiful. The percussion (this is my only reference to percussion in my review...I am not a drummer!) stood out and made me notice them a couple of times. And the guard...simply the very best of the night. Clean as hell and very effective. The ending of Appalachian Morning is lovely. The music is very beautiful. This show, IMO, has the potential to be a top 6 show, but I will put it in the 6-8 range because the competition in that group of corps is so intense. They were my favorite of the night, even edging out Spirit.

Cavaliers - Very very good show. I expected the same old worn out drill moves, but didn't see them. They kept their identity but gave me some new stuff. Very effective. No other corps can move like they move. The brass was loud and powerful, and clean at the same time. The second number started with the percussion, who was dutting very loudly, then a few more people joined in the dutting as if to mock those of us that have complained about it. It wasn't until they had played this piece for a few moments that I realized that it was comical in nature and seemed to intend to fool us into thinking that things were going to happen that never did...such as the guard lining up for what seemed to be a big aerial, only to never let go of the equipment and fall to the ground. Many of these types of gestures was lost on some of the fans around me. As I said, Cavies were good, but they just don't seem to have the edge that they've had in much of the 90s. Maybe it is the program that doesn't have the edge, I don't know. They just weren't as intimidating and sharp as I have seen them before. Don't get me wrong, though, this show is good and is performed very well, so they will put a bid on that 4th spot.

I did have the opportunity to sit in possibly the best seats I have ever had for a show. I was on the 50 on the second row of the upper deck. A great place for drill and brass sound. Here are some general comments:

My best friend and I (both alto players) noticed that most of the arrangements of the brass books have some really great mellophone parts. This seems to be a good year to be a mello.

As a former DM, I noticed (as only a former DM would) that most of the DMs perform a rather slowly executed salute to open the show. What ever happened to short sharp quick salutes? These were as though they were in slow motion.

I thought it was odd that the show offered a high percussion award (Cavies) and a Best DM award (Bluecoats) and no other award. Why would that be?

It is rather ironic that we are preparing to witness an instrumental competition, and hosted by one of the best college bands in the South, that the national anthem is sung rather than played.

I also found it odd that for retreat, Spirit's drumline was absent along with over half of their guard. I have no idea why they didn't attend retreat, even though they might not be needed to play.

America/O Canada - I have never been a fan of this tune in retreat, but tonight, it did not even give me a goosebump. Cavies started it of course, and usually when the other 5 corps, in this case, join in the audience has to catch their breath because of the wall of sound. The ending is usually very loud. Not tonight. The mass hornline was not as loud as one singular corps was in their performance. What a let down. If you are going to bother to come back out on the field and play that tune, at least pump it up and let us hear what 200+ horns sound like. When it was finished, the audience barely applauded, however that could have been because Tarheel Sun held over a couple of counts past the Cavies' DM's cutoff..

The results...

I had predicted Spirit and Magic to be a lot closer. Spirit does do more visually, it seems, and their execution suffers, but to me that should balance out to be closer. I certainly didn't see a 4 point gap. I don't see Tarheel Sun being as close to Spirit as Spirit is to Magic. Bluecoats and Magic in a way. Bluecoats deserved to be on top. I thought Crossmen should have been closer than 3.7 from the Cavies, but I expected a 4 point spread there anyway.

One other comment...I heard through the grapevine that morale in Spirit's camp is getting low and I can understand why. Yet another 2 point drop and back in the 60s again. They had built themselves up all pre-season as a top 12 hopeful and I know that the kids were expecting a bit more from this season. Now, they've got 3 weeks left in this season and 14 points to gain just to get to where they were last year. Sure, everyone can claim that it is not about the scores, and that they members should enjoy being a crowd favorite, but it has to be tough on them, after all, this is a competitive activity. Madison can claim not to care about scores, but it is easier for them to make such a claim when they are always solidly in the 5th-8th place range. For a corps the has struggled for a few years, a little competitive success will go a long way in their recovery. Like I said, these members were expecting a good shot at 12th place or beyond, but 4 points behind the corps ahead of them is a lot of ground to cover in a short time, especially if the corps members are frustrated. I hope they can tough it out and make the best out of the situation. The staff needs to really get intense (I'm not saying that they haven't been, but it is obvious that something is missing)...Tarheel Sun has cut Spirit's lead on them from a 5.7 spread four days ago to a 3.3 two days ago (4.0 spread last night). Making finals not only is a long shot, but it not inconceivable that making semis could be in jeopardy. Spirit has been sitting around 15th place most of the season, and the corps below them are gaining. Like I said before in other threads, there is a lot of responsibility on the staff at this point, not only to clean it up, but to keep the member's chins up.

Forgive me if I sound a bit tough on my former corps. But they are the talk of many drum corps discussions. I have said nothing that hasn't been said before, right? I am worried about what will happen in the future should this year not pan out to be what many expected.

There you go. All flames accepted.

Steve Sorrell

I am back from Troy, Alabama and the first Trojan Summer Music Games. What a great night for a show! Perfect temperature, no mosquitoes, and no rain. Enough about the weather, let's get to the show!

First up was Tarheel Sun. IMO, a very entertaining show. I am surprised at how quickly this corps has improved over the past couple of years. Overall good brass sound, solid marching technique, and a fun show. They will probably wind up in the 20th to 18th spot in Madison. Good work from this up and coming corps.

Magic of Orlando was next. What a nice hornline sound! What a neat opening feature! What an entertaining show! As you can tell, I liked Magic! The new uniforms are nice, although I liked the old ones too. I don't care too much for the guard uniforms though. When you see them you will know what I mean. Magic has the best sound since 1996 and Twelve Seconds to the Moon. Fun, exciting music plus energetic corps members equals crowd pleaser. I hope that the judges get them back in Finals.

Spirit of Atlanta....hmmmm....well, as much as I want Spirit to rock the house, they just didn't seem to have enough energy. The show is a great concept and does have its moments, but there are times when there is just too much dirt and too much visually happening at one time. The whole picture gets muddled. And why is the guard tryng to be a Gap Khaki commercial? Man, if you are doing a swing show, get some vintage clothes! Swing dresses for the ladies and some zoot suits or some 1940s looking stuff would be just the ticket! Anyway, all after all the Top 12 hype, I don't think it will happen. After all is said and done, Spirit will be 15th to 17th.

Blucoats had a fun, high-energy show that I really enjoyed. Last year I thought they were sooooo dirty, I don't know how they made Finals. This year seems much cleaner. There are still some spots in the drill that are shaky but overall it is really nice. I put them in the 12th to 10th spot.

Crossmen have improved incredibly from a month ago in Orlando. They have almost filled the horn line, going from 4 contras to 9. I only saw a couple of spots left open. The added horns have really filled out their sound and although I don't care for the new uniforms, after they start playing you won't even notice them. Very very nice colors all around visually between the guard and the flags and the rest of the corps. Exciting hard driving music and clean licks from all sections make this a great show to see and hear. Put them in for a 10th to 8th place finish. Once again, YAY GUARD!!! You WOWED me!

Finally, the Cavaliers!!! They won the show quite handily and for good reason. Traditional Cavie drill mixed with great new moves and a solid brass and percussion section, outstanding guard work, super flow throughout the show....I can go on and on. Cavies will be in the Top 4 again this year. If not, something is wrong. Of course, with the inconsistancies in judging who knows what will happen.

Thanks to all of the corps and show sponsors and everyone who helped put this show together! I brought my best friend who loves drum corps but joined the Army right after we graduated high school so he didn't get to march. His little brother and a friend that are in my old high school band came. This was their first live drum corps show and they were floored by everyones performances. The little brother and his friend will be looking for a corps to march with in the near future...they are percussionists...set on fire by drum corps at an early age! Ain't it great!!! This is my last show to attend this year :^(

Take care and enjoy the wonderful thing called drum corps!

Shane Ainsworth
Southwind Soprano 1996
Pioneer Soprano 1998

This is my first shot at this so here goes:

Tarheel Sun: They are smaller than last year but played well. The huge pit makes a good contribution to the corps, but I thought the drumline was not as strong as last years (MUCH smaller also). They may have been having an off night but nothing seemed really clean. Their horns however were impressive for their size.

Magic of Orlando: In my opinion the weakest drumline of the night. There was just never any point at which they really shone through as being clean. As has been said before though the hornline is really good and handles the Mangione book well. They had lots of problems with phasing between the horns and drums all the way through Land of Make Believe though. I wish I could say it was my seats but I was in the first row of the balconey on the 50.

Spirit of Atlanta: First drumline I saw that I really felt good about. Again Thurston has showed he is one of the best at writing Jazz battery parts. I would have liked to have seen more contribution musically from the pit though. Horn line plays well and had a good sound. I also am not a big fan of the guard uniforms. they just don't make sense together. I can understand different looks for the different members but these don't relate at all. it looks like they were bought at Wal-Mart. Show loses momentum on the second ending also. It is a good corps and a good show but needs cleaned (or hosed) visually to move up.

Bluecoats: Liked the Corea music. All sections played well I thought. Some visual problems that will hopefully be worked out. Should have been at least 2-3 points ahead of Magic.

Crossmen: Great show. Loved the drumline - very clean and a great quality of sound. Also a good hornline and a very cool visual program. Should be around 6-7 at DCI.

Cavaliers: Cool show. I liked the second tune with the drum solo and "humor" factor a lot. Was nice to see from them. Horn line sounded edgy at times but will get better I am sure. Lots of very neat ideas in the percussion book and again one of the best pits on the field.

Tracy Wiggins
Freelancers 94
Black gold 91-93

Monday July 19
Columbia, SC (DCI)

Early afternoon thunderstorms cooled the air in Columbia for the six-corps show at Irmo High School's W.C. Hawkins Stadium. I had a 50-yard line vantage point 2/3 of the way to the press box, a perfect spot to see all of the great performances this evening.

Spirit of Atlanta kicked off the show with their interpretation of the Brian Setzer Orchestra hit "Jump, Jive and Wail." I have to say that it was more, "Stand Still and Wail" than anything, but the closer is still down-tempo a bit and the whole corps is double-timing the tune. The brass are asked to perform at extremes that they might not be capable of at this point, but there are definite moments where the brass arrangements allow the line to shine. The batterie had a bit of an off-night, but still managed to be aggressive and project. All in all (the guard uniforms aside...) This was an entertaining show with plenty of volume and glitz. Hopefully, Spirit can continue to grow toward world-class stature again!!!

Magic was up next and they performed their Chuck Mangione repertoire well. This show is definitely a finals contender, but Magic will have to really sell their strong points to get to Saturday night in Madison. Ron Ellis's horn line is really well balanced and exhibits great control. The percussion is not the strongest that it's ever been but there is still almost a month left to go in the season. The corps' uniform change (cream-colored jackets and purple under-vests) is a positive and greatly enhances the visual package (the drill doesn't).

Carolina Crown performed before intermission and left the crowd around us wondering, "where did this corps get a horn line?" I have to say that Crown's horns are the strongest that they've ever been at any time in the corps' ten-year history. Control and balance are exhuded from every phrase of "Jeckyll and Hyde," and the horns are featured in several very exposed sections. The batterie are very strong, also, although the overall scores didn't truly reflect the phenomenal effort and presentation of this dark show. Hopefully, the guard will mesh more with the rest of the visual show by the end of the season (on a down note). Crown is making a quantum leap in design and execution this year, not unlike the one that the Glassmen have made in the past two years!

The Bluecoats opened after intermission and really made a statement about what this corps is all about. They were extremely aggressive in their performance and their confident execution proved (to me, anyway) that the Bluecoats still belong in the top 12 corps in DCI. I had read most of the reviews of this corps' show and frankly, I didn't expect much. Boy, was I off. I was startled by the horns' volume and cohesiveness and I found myself asking, "why are they so far behind everyone?" I guess that really doesn't matter. What does matter is that I really got into this show, as unfamiliar as some of the Corea arrangements sounded to me. The drumline seems stronger than it has been in recent years, and the guard has plenty to do to make the visual show effective.

Glassmen, who in my opinion should have placed 1st in this show, performed with the most control and balance from all sections tonight. I mean, they really sold the music of Zoltan Kodaly. This is not an easy thing to do! I was devastated by the rich soud coming from a hornline that at one point in this decade gave us the loud, raucous (dirty) music of David Arkenstone and David Lanz. A friend and drum tech explained to me after the show that Glassmen's batterie aren't playing as tough a book as Cavaliers are, and that would explain the margin of victory this evening. I didn't really hear that, but I'll take his word for it. All I know is that I was totally blown away by Glassmen tonight from every element in their show. What a performance!

Cavaliers performed last and were the victors in this show by one point. Their drill (by Mike Gaines) is stunning and is nearly clean. The Cavies' brass are nowhere near as warm and balanced as Glassmen, but their drumline more than makes up for any musical shortcomings from the horns. The guard was very en pointe and delivered a strong show! The Beethoven riffs throughout the show seem sort of out of place IMHO, but the corps is marching so well that little else seems to matter!

I hope to see more shows as the summer unfolds!


First my qualifications: horn player, been attending corps shows since 1988, marched in 1990, currently teaching middle school band and high school color guard.


For those who did not go to the Columbia show, GO NEXT YEAR! This is one of the best run shows in the southeast. Great stadium, good seating, good concessions, show moved quickly, retreat started quickly, parking wasn't too bad either. Best of all, the judging was quite accurate IMHO. Congrats to Chris Buck and the SCDCA for a great show.

Spirit of Atlanta (71.2) - Very sloppy but very entertaining. I like what they're trying to do but it looks like the drill was learned last week. The color guard needs to get a more unified look. Compliments to the cymbal player who dropped a cymbal in the third number and continued on crashing his hands. The crowd ate that up. The saving grace for the corps though is the horn line. They won't make finals, but they'll make semis again and have good things on the horizon for them.

Magic of Orlando (74.3) - Great horn line, glad they're still making it through tour. The drill is rather simplistic with lots of marching band looking moves. The percussion is much improved allthough they only had two tenors out there (they had three in June). They're going to have to change some drill to make finals. A small complaint that in an all Chuck Mangione show, they had NO flugalhorns, which is what Chuck plays).

Bluecoats (74.6) - DON"T COUNT THEM OUT YET! The coats are really starting to look better. Their hornline is excellent and they are getting visually cleaner. They need to change a few drill sets in the closer to have more impact. The color guard uniforms are excellent (midnight blue and gold Spanish dancer type outfits) and are very effective for a Chick Corea show. They deserved to beat Magic, and I'm glad they did. They just might make it to finals.

Carolina Crown (78.2) - What a Color Guard! Oh my! IMHO the best guard of the night. "Jeckyll and Hyde" is a great show for them. Drill-wise much cleaner than before however their brass had an off night. They're looking at 10th place right now. If they can pull out some more sound in the brass they could beat Phantom or Blue Knights for 9th or 8th.

Glassmen (85.1 and high brass) - Excellent horn line. Very tight percussion section. Their drill is innovative especially in the closer as the brass intertwines with the pit several times. The only thing holding them back with the crowd in my opinion is the choice of obscure music. When I was studying music history in college, we never studied a Kodaly symphony, and CDs of his music are rare. Average fans will not get this show unless they delve deeper into music history.

Cavailers (86.1 and high Perc, GE, Visual) - I've never been a big Cavies fan, mainly because their brass has never been their strong point, but I love this show. One of the better brass sounds from them in recent years. Battery is very tight especially the snares, but it was the drill that took the crowd's breath away. Wonderful eye-catching drill moves were very entertaining throughout the show. Cavies have the total package this year and they pleased the non-educated fans as well with music that flirted with the "Ode to Joy" melody several times. A great show from them.

Mekel Rogers

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