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 Post subject: Michigan City Review - 7/6/02
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2002 10:25 am 
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I arrived in Michigan City at about 4:30 pm and it was absolutely gorgeous weather. A perfect summer afternoon that would later turn into a perfect summer evening. I drove by Michigan City High School to check out the Cavalier's practice. There were a fair number of spectators that had the same idea as me. I watched them rehearse the last part of the first tune and the first part of the second tune. It seemed like they were having some issues, but I don't get to see many rehearsals so I don't know what the standard fare is. Anyway, I couldn't stick around because I still needed to go buy a ticket and I was starving!

On with the show! Ames Field is one of the finest, no it probably is THE finest small stadium I have ever seen. Brick facade, brick wall surrounding the grounds and pretty tall as well. I sat on the 25 yard line 20 rows up (out of 25 or so). I had a very good view of the field but wasn't in position to feel the full brunt of the hornlines. Now to the reviews.... in scoring order:

Racine Scouts - 32.85: It was announced that they are the oldest continually active drum corps in the US, celebrating their 75th anniversary this year. Way to go Racine Scouts! A very small corps, although this one had a much smaller guard than the other three Div. III's. That adds up to very little GE in this show and it showed up in the score. But it's pretty hard to do anything spectacular with 8 horns, 8 drums, and 4 flags. They did well with what they had, which is play. They played a few patriotic tunes and the crowd loved it.

Dutch Boy - 38.20: They were a late edition to the show and man it was nice to see them! Definitely not the Dutch Boy I remember from the last time I saw them (early '90's) but a little Dutch Boy sure beats no Dutch Boy! They had a spanish themed show that was a lot of fun. The guard was pretty large for this size corps which I think is a good thing. If you can't overpower someone with your hornline you at least give them something to look at. The closer sounded like it was a bit over their heads at this point but overall a solid effort.

Bandettes - 39.30: This corps is much better than they were last year when I saw them. I think last year they tried to do something a little over their heads. This year the show was written more for their level. I'll call this show "Four Corners Lite" :) The show was titled "Thinking outside the box" or something to that effect. They outlined a 13 yard square box and the entire corps stayed inside that box for the entire first piece, which was "A Few of my Favorite Things". Let me tell you they fully explored every square inch of that box and I thought it worked well for them. When you have such a small corps, defining a space like that can help you seem bigger. After the first tune they started exploring the field outside the box, ending with a jam session on the front sideline. They have some real nice players in this group! Great job!

Lake Erie Regiment - 39.55: They played "The Firebird" and at first I was nervous. Symphonic pieces like that are tough to pull of with really small groups. But, I was pleasantly surprised. They were able to handle the horn book for the most part and the arrangement worked for a group that size. Like Dutch Boy, this Regiment had a large color guard which really added to the show. They also had a platform sandwiched between two ramps that they made extensive use of during the show to create 3D marching effects. Overall a very nice job.

Pioneer - 55.10: They had the enviable position of going on after the Glassmen. I really liked this show a lot better than when I saw it in Toledo. What a difference 3 weeks makes! The color guard now has uniforms and everyone seems much more comfortable moving the tables around. The pit has been moved onto a long line of platforms at midfield as opposed to being clumped on the 50 yard line. Still can't hear them very well though. The girl begging for food during the set-up was fun. Some people behind me yelled "(I think her name or something), we'll feed you!" It was good for a laugh from those sitting in our area. This corps seemed larger than the last time I saw them as well. Not sure if they really are or not but they put out a better sound then I remembered.

Capital Sound - 57.30: This was my first ever viewing of this group and you can tell they flurish under the wing of the Madison organization. Dedication to entertainment value is their philosophy and it is blatantly obvious in this corps performance. The gumby outfits in the middle of the show were pretty much as everyone has previously described it. I didn't watch the rest of the corps because the gumbies were so entertaining to watch. I love "Carry On My Wayward Son" as the closer. It's a good song that works well on the field. The drum solo was awesome too. This corps received the first rousing standing O of the evening, and it was well deserved! I hope I get to see them again.

Capital Regiment - 64.75: This show improves every time I see it. The forms are much cleaner now than they were a couple of weeks ago. I love the music and the horn line is very powerful. They do some nice small ensemble work at the beginning of the closer as well. The drumline is rocking and the color guard is doing some good work. I can't wait 'til I see Magic next week to see how these two stack up. There's going to be a battle at the top of Div II...

Phantom Regiment - 80.95: This show rocks my world! It's probably my favorite of the summer (of the ones I've seen). The music is so powerful and it's so typically Phantom! The low brass really shines through (although they were on my side of the field a lot so that may have helped!). Since there is so much to love in this show let me focus on the two things that stuck out at me that need fixing. The forms are muddy right now. I don't know if that's bad design or bad execution but one of the two needs to be fixed to make a serious run at the top 4. The second thing (and this may just be personal preference), the color guard needs to be front and center for the grand finale. You have this awesome hornline coming down your throats and all the color is relegated to a block along the back side line. Other than that, this show rocks! The rewritten opener works really well and has an added musical impact point. The crowd was stunned to hear they came in 3rd (No booing though...) . No offense to the Glassmen because they got a rousing round of applause when they were announced in second. I was shocked as well. I gave Phantom the advantage in Music GE, Vis Ens, Colorguard, Brass, and Music Ens. I'd give them the advantage in Vis GE too if they could fix those forms :) I knew it would be close but thought it would break the other way.

Glassmen - 81.50: The Battery-operated Glassmen. Their drumline is still smokin' but they don't touch the Cavies (more on that in a minute). But they hold their own and sound awesome! People complain and complain about the Glassmen being boring and playing rhythmic as opposed to melodic music. This show is built in 4 pieces. Only the second tune has no discernable melody. The opening statement is absolutely wonderful and gave me my ONLY goosebumps of the the night! Just the way they built that chord I guess. Overall, I think this show is still lacking something though. Some sort of drive or something. It seems as if they are just going through the motions. The closer sounded different than before but I can't be positive if they changed it. I thought it lacked focus before and it seemed better last night but it could still be better. IMO, this show was marched much cleaner than PR, although individual technique wasn't even close to PR. I don't see a lot of growth left in this show. It leaves me feeling like I did last year about PR with all the body movements, etc. That show, and the Glassmen's show this year, will go as far as they can clean it. I think that'll be a long way, but in the end I think there is more meat in Phantom's show and, in a role reversal from last year, that will push them over the top in the end.

The Cavaliers - 88.25: When I saw them in Toledo 3 weeks ago I left a little disappointed in the music. After downloading the mp3 and cranking it in my car I came to appreciate just how amazing their music book and hornline are so I came into the show expecting to be blown away! The Cavies music is UNBELIEVABLE in the stand-still! Their sound is incredible. By far the most impressive horn line they have ever assembled in my 13 years of following D/C. They play with such control.... every section perfectly in balance. The musical arrangements are perfectly written to make the sound as deep as can be. And their battery rules the world! Musical and much more flashy than last year. Unfortunately they did not play the second tune from their show in the victory concert. The chords in that piece are amazingly rich and resolve in THX fashion. Yes, the audience is listening!! That said, the field performance left me cold. I wanted them to peel my face off but they never did. This show is so "in control" it's hard to get really excited about it. Everything I'm seeing is awesome. Everything I'm hearing is awesome. Somewhere, something's not working. Maybe it was my seat that wasn't working (way out on the 25 yard line). I was also sitting next to a lady who was completely unimpressed so that dampened the mood a little as well. I still think this show can win but I don't think it's untouchable. Yet. I hear a new ending is on the way and that will do wonders for this show! Although, cutting loose just a little would go a long way as well. The last 2 years I KNEW I had seen the next DCI Champion after watching the Cavaliers, this year I don't have that same gut feeling. Although last year I didn't get that feeling until I saw everyone else in Indy whereas in '00 I didn't have to see anybody else. I just knew. We'll have to wait and see.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2002 1:17 pm 
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Great review thanks.

I've had friends tell me similar things about Cavies. Especially the fact that it seems that they have it uder such perfect control. They also said that if they could just get it a bit louder it would be awesome.

I really enjoyed the top three from this show musically (mp3 only) I have trouble understanding the remarks from people who do not seem to appreciate one or all of these three.

Each review-the good ones and the bad ones-give me something else to listen for now or to look for once I finally see everyone.

Again thanks for the review.

Bill D

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