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 Post subject: Lafayette Review
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:07 am 
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The venue-This was supposedly the first event held on the brand new turf there at Cajun Field. I thought the turf looked nice, although the stadium itself could stand to see some renovations. I have sat in many a bleacher in my days, but their seats (and these were the expensive seats, mind you) were the most uncomfortable I have ever sat in. Otherwise, this stadium is great for drum corps. It’s the kind of sunken in stadium where when you enter you have to step down to get into you seats, unless you were sitting in the top section. Oh, one more mini rant that has nothing to do with drum corps. What is UL? There is no University of Louisiana. I am still left wondering how this University gets away with marketing itself in this way. They should be ULL. On to the corps. . .

I had heard a few gripes about show order before it started. But, I don’t think it mattered much. It would have been nice to have the corps grouped a bit better, but then again how is it fair for the top corps to always get to close the show?

Teal Sound was a really nice way to start the show. Although I am not familiar with any of their musical selections I found the show to be full of nice melodies. Their visual program was well designed. Their main issues deal with what I expect to come from a more young corps. They have many different marching techniques being used. Upper body was an issue for several members. Another issue I have is hornline volume. They were really loud, and I am a fan of that. But, if you have a hornline with 15-20 fewer members than most other corps, then don’t try and match them. Play within what you have. Overall, they did a really nice job.

Bluecoats came out and gave some of the best brass moments I have ever heard on the football field. . . .ever. With all of the talk of the other 5-6 corps fighting for the top, I had kinda forgotten about Bluecoats as a stellar corps so to speak. They came out and reminded me to take notice. Their brassline is still one of the best on the field. There is no way I would have them half a point down from Cadets/Crown. They deserve to be right there with them, if not beating them in that caption. The boxing theme is coming along nicely with some great visual treats using punching bags. The corps forms several boxing rings throughout the show and the choreographed fighting between the boxers is working nicely along with the percussive hits in the music. At first I had a problem with the main character being the champion boxer and a ballet dancer, but as the show went on and he was doing so well at both (the boxing and dancing) it grew on me. I actually think I will end up liking this show more than Criminal. The Bluecoats could make some noise at the end of the season.

Boston Crusaders have taken a more traditional straight-up approach to their show this year, and the crowd is really enjoying them. The design is very in your face with an improved guard and overall visual program from them. My only issue with this corps tonight came from the cleanliness (or lack of) in many of their forms. Some of the most simple things, like dressing and covering down ranks, gave Boston tons of trouble tonight visually. They have a lot of sets in ranks and probably 75% of them had at least one marcher out of line tonight. I wonder if the corps has spent a lot of time lately working on changes. Get back to the basics and you will be fine, BAC. The show is a good vehicle for them. They just need to clean it.

You could feel the crowd waiting for Crown almost from the start of the show (or maybe that was just me). They did not disappoint. The show is wonderfully designed, not chopped up as many would say. They actually play giant chunks of some of the pieces. Those who say you never get much of a piece in their show just are not listening or find it easier to hate than to enjoy. The guard really helps sell the show with their crazy Mozart/Beethoven hair and conducting batons. Some issues I did have with the show is some individual technique problems. It was too easy for me to pick out a few weak marchers on the field who struggled with upper body control. This is something the top corps just don’t have normally and Crown needs to do some work here if they want to contend, and I think they can. This is another show that is complete and they just need to keep cleaning.

As much as the crowd was waiting in anticipation for Crown, I could feel the apprehension for The Cadets. Will the changes they have made help the show flow better? The answer is yes, but they still have some issues that I think will keep them from the top. For one, other than the opener and possibly the percussion feature piece, the music is just not the best choice. There is not enough melody in this show to keep the audience engaged. As far as the narration is concerned, I barely notice it. It has been cut considerably, and in spite of what many have said, it plays the background to the rest of the show, not the other way around. The guard is light years ahead of where they were last summer. They have also created characters out of the guard to represent the 3 or 4 parts of Sarah’s story who act as soloists to a point in each section of the show. The ending is much improved. Basically they have a fast and furious ending which does include a nice company front. Then they do the backfield elegy smiley face thing, and Sarah comes mid-field and joins those guard soloists (similar to 2005). There is no snap or awkward ending that most people won’t get. This will never be one of my favorite Cadets shows, but as we all knew it would, it has changed a ton and the changes are working. Unfortunately I still don’t see it getting any higher than 4th and possibly an outside shot at 3rd.

Glassmen have taken what could have been a pretty interesting show theme and have made it a bit lackluster. There are some really nice parts of the design where the crowd eats it up but then also several parts where the show drags a bit. I think their brass is one of the main issues for them. They get a muddy sound to me in comparison with other corps around them. I would be a bit shocked to see this show staying in contention for a Finals spot.

The Colts do old school in a great way this summer. Although I feel the show is a bit like a part 2 from last summer (very formulaic in design) it still works for them and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Their brassline has really come along in the last couple of years, and their visual design is really well done and should keep them heading strong into Finals, although it seems the judges disagree. I was a bit shocked to see them last as I see them much better than Spirit and Glassmen.

I am not sure what to make of Spirit. They have one of the most boring and poorly designed shows on the field this summer. The corps seems to be strong in talent, but you could almost see it on the guard’s faces. They even seemed to hate performing this show. Why have a theme (an odd one at that) that you are going to spend no time developing or selling visually? What was even more disturbing is that I got the sense from some of the visual sets that they have already started watering the show a bit from my last viewing. They were the dirtiest visually of the night. I know it probably won’t happen, but this corps needs some new, fresh blood in the visual/creative department. They are too good to be doing shows like this.

The Blue Stars closed the show. I hate to say that I don’t think I like this show as much as I did on my first viewing during one of the webcasts. The opening statement is fantastic, and then aside from a few other nice spots, the show drags. Also, some of the visual elements in the guard are a bit velveeta. I don’t like the handle bars on the flags, and the wheels being put on the end of the poles also. Rolling the bike wheels around on the field just is not enough for me to sell the show theme. Honestly, and I hate saying this, I felt like this would be a well designed show if it were a high school, but that a drum corps design staff should be able to come up with better. They will more than likely make finals on the strength of the performance, but the show design left me wanting a lot more from them in the future.

I had been anticipating the Crossmen all night. I had tried finding some of my old food truck buddies earlier in the night and could not find any, and then while Crossmen are coming onto the field I look next to me and one of the ladies I cooked with was standing next to me. We talked for a few before they started their show. The kids’ attitudes are fantastic. They were slightly pumped after beating Spirit Tuesday but then launched into their longest block of the summer during Wednesday’s rehearsal. They are definitely making a big push and it shows. Visually they are already as clean or cleaner than they were in August last summer, and their hornline is light years ahead of last summer. The guard is selling the show in a fantastic way. Looking at the recap they were 5th in GE, which says Glassmen should be watching out. As the Crossmen clean, they should pass them. I could honestly see them passing Blue Stars as well. I will be surprised if Crossmen don’t make Finals.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:19 am 
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Great review...thanks!

I agree with you about Glassmen and Colts; when I saw them at the Milton, GA show a week ago I was disappointed. Last year both of these corps really impressed me, and I feel this year the show design is what is lacking.

I also don't see Spirit making Finals with this show....although their percussion is quite good, and that is an area that I often don't notice.

What is your opinion on Crossmen's musical arrangements? How similar is it to Cavies '95 Planets show?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:13 am 
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I know it takes time to write down initial impressions, collect your thoughts, and actually compose a review that is as thoughtful as this. Thanks for taking that time. This is a good read. I'll get back and ask some questions of you later. Gotta get back to work!

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:27 am 
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I watched the Crossmen practice at my old highschool... Their attitudes are very fantastic. They worked through each section of their show and cleaned things up, and then ran the show from the top to that point. They had several short water breaks in which you didnt hear much conversation going on. They drank some water and ran back to their set to do it all over again. A great example for band programs around the world.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:53 am 
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JP08TPT wrote:
I watched the Crossmen practice at my old highschool... Their attitudes are very fantastic. They worked through each section of their show and cleaned things up, and then ran the show from the top to that point. They had several short water breaks in which you didnt hear much conversation going on. They drank some water and ran back to their set to do it all over again. A great example for band programs around the world.


welcome aboard

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:23 pm 
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chadwick wrote:
Great review...thanks!

I agree with you about Glassmen and Colts; when I saw them at the Milton, GA show a week ago I was disappointed. Last year both of these corps really impressed me, and I feel this year the show design is what is lacking.

I also don't see Spirit making Finals with this show....although their percussion is quite good, and that is an area that I often don't notice.

What is your opinion on Crossmen's musical arrangements? How similar is it to Cavies '95 Planets show?


I think the arrangements are about as far away from Cavies 95 as you can get while still retaining some semblance of the original works. I really like what Guidry has done with the music this year.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:07 pm 
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chadwick wrote:
What is your opinion on Crossmen's musical arrangements? How similar is it to Cavies '95 Planets show?

Well, while I'm sure there have been some changes, this was Aaron Guidry's book for the Crossmen as of late May.
http://www.yataforluda.com/audio/crossmen/planetx.mp3

More detail:
http://www.yataforluda.com/crossmen2008.htm

The second link on the page is, I believe, his "original" version from earlier in the year.

Personally, I love it. I love how he stayed melodically faithful to Holst's version while adding some "Crossmen groove" to it. I knew the Crossmen were going to take a step up this year when their music arranger can make a tired, over-played piece like "The Planets" sound pretty fresh and original.

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Last edited by Hostrauser on Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:23 pm 
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2nd link incomplete?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:04 pm 
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Fixed

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 Post subject: Re: Lafayette Review
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:02 am 
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LAMystreaux wrote:
You could feel the crowd waiting for Crown almost from the start of the show (or maybe that was just me). They did not disappoint. The show is wonderfully designed, not chopped up as many would say. They actually play giant chunks of some of the pieces. Those who say you never get much of a piece in their show just are not listening or find it easier to hate than to enjoy. The guard really helps sell the show with their crazy Mozart/Beethoven hair and conducting batons. Some issues I did have with the show is some individual technique problems. It was too easy for me to pick out a few weak marchers on the field who struggled with upper body control. This is something the top corps just don’t have normally and Crown needs to do some work here if they want to contend, and I think they can. This is another show that is complete and they just need to keep cleaning.

As much as the crowd was waiting in anticipation for Crown, I could feel the apprehension for The Cadets. Will the changes they have made help the show flow better? The answer is yes, but they still have some issues that I think will keep them from the top. For one, other than the opener and possibly the percussion feature piece, the music is just not the best choice. There is not enough melody in this show to keep the audience engaged. As far as the narration is concerned, I barely notice it. It has been cut considerably, and in spite of what many have said, it plays the background to the rest of the show, not the other way around. The guard is light years ahead of where they were last summer. They have also created characters out of the guard to represent the 3 or 4 parts of Sarah’s story who act as soloists to a point in each section of the show. The ending is much improved. Basically they have a fast and furious ending which does include a nice company front. Then they do the backfield elegy smiley face thing, and Sarah comes mid-field and joins those guard soloists (similar to 2005). There is no snap or awkward ending that most people won’t get. This will never be one of my favorite Cadets shows, but as we all knew it would, it has changed a ton and the changes are working. Unfortunately I still don’t see it getting any higher than 4th and possibly an outside shot at 3rd.


Great review, Michael! I'm going to NightBeat next weekend, and I am looking forward to seeing Crown's show. Plus, watching the Cavies and BD duke it out should be FUN!

Regarding the Cadets, I see tons of improvement and refinement since I got my last glimpse of them. The narration is better; it has more impact now. I'll have to disagree with you concerning the music. There are some wonderful musical moments there especially in Vesuvius. The ending does need a little sumpin' more to "bring it home." Yet, if I may wax philosophically, perhaps it is best if the ending isn't as emotionally satisfying as Crown's show. Maybe reaching the goal of one's "pursuit" doesn't fulfill as promised. Is that the true meesage? Is happiness, like art, subjective? Is it about holding on or letting go? Hmmm....

With continued improvements, I'm seeing third for Holy Name right now. Crown will not overtake the Cadets again.


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 Post subject: Re: Lafayette Review
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:55 am 
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cwbjr67 wrote:
LAMystreaux wrote:
You could feel the crowd waiting for Crown almost from the start of the show (or maybe that was just me). They did not disappoint. The show is wonderfully designed, not chopped up as many would say. They actually play giant chunks of some of the pieces. Those who say you never get much of a piece in their show just are not listening or find it easier to hate than to enjoy. The guard really helps sell the show with their crazy Mozart/Beethoven hair and conducting batons. Some issues I did have with the show is some individual technique problems. It was too easy for me to pick out a few weak marchers on the field who struggled with upper body control. This is something the top corps just don’t have normally and Crown needs to do some work here if they want to contend, and I think they can. This is another show that is complete and they just need to keep cleaning.

As much as the crowd was waiting in anticipation for Crown, I could feel the apprehension for The Cadets. Will the changes they have made help the show flow better? The answer is yes, but they still have some issues that I think will keep them from the top. For one, other than the opener and possibly the percussion feature piece, the music is just not the best choice. There is not enough melody in this show to keep the audience engaged. As far as the narration is concerned, I barely notice it. It has been cut considerably, and in spite of what many have said, it plays the background to the rest of the show, not the other way around. The guard is light years ahead of where they were last summer. They have also created characters out of the guard to represent the 3 or 4 parts of Sarah’s story who act as soloists to a point in each section of the show. The ending is much improved. Basically they have a fast and furious ending which does include a nice company front. Then they do the backfield elegy smiley face thing, and Sarah comes mid-field and joins those guard soloists (similar to 2005). There is no snap or awkward ending that most people won’t get. This will never be one of my favorite Cadets shows, but as we all knew it would, it has changed a ton and the changes are working. Unfortunately I still don’t see it getting any higher than 4th and possibly an outside shot at 3rd.


Great review, Michael! I'm going to NightBeat next weekend, and I am looking forward to seeing Crown's show. Plus, watching the Cavies and BD duke it out should be FUN!

Regarding the Cadets, I see tons of improvement and refinement since I got my last glimpse of them. The narration is better; it has more impact now. I'll have to disagree with you concerning the music. There are some wonderful musical moments there especially in Vesuvius. The ending does need a little sumpin' more to "bring it home." Yet, if I may wax philosophically, perhaps it is best if the ending isn't as emotionally satisfying as Crown's show. Maybe reaching the goal of one's "pursuit" doesn't fulfill as promised. Is that the true meesage? Is happiness, like art, subjective? Is it about holding on or letting go? Hmmm....

With continued improvements, I'm seeing third for Holy Name right now. Crown will not overtake the Cadets again.



On that note, I completely disagree with The Cadets (or George's) notion of happiness and how it is easy to attain. Although I feel being positive is something we should all strive to be in our daily lives, true happiness was never promised to us and in the end only comes from One Source.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:24 pm 
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Hey man... thanks for the thorough review! I wish we would see more of these articulate reviews on here from those who were at the shows.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:33 pm 
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You're welcome. I really enjoyed Bluecoats.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:27 pm 
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jazzer wrote:
JP08TPT wrote:
I watched the Crossmen practice at my old highschool... Their attitudes are very fantastic. They worked through each section of their show and cleaned things up, and then ran the show from the top to that point. They had several short water breaks in which you didnt hear much conversation going on. They drank some water and ran back to their set to do it all over again. A great example for band programs around the world.


welcome aboard


thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Lafayette Review
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:20 am 
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LAMystreaux wrote:
On that note, I completely disagree with The Cadets (or George's) notion of happiness and how it is easy to attain. Although I feel being positive is something we should all strive to be in our daily lives, true happiness was never promised to us and in the end only comes from One Source.


Preachin' to the choir, my beloved friend! 8-) Yes, you can see elements of pantheism and relativism in this year's show. Great conclusion!


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