95.25 Carolina Crown
93.80 Santa Clara Vanguard
89.55 Phantom Regiment
89.25 Boston Crusaders
89.00 Blue Stars
87.15 Blue Knights
81.10 Madison Scouts
78.05 Jersey Surf
Jersey Surf - Mozart Effect
Clever title for a Mozart show. I will take this time to deliver my rant on what I think is a significant injustice in scoring throughout the ranks.
Here's the deal. Drumcorps are getting better... they aren't getting worse. All of the drumcorps from the top all the way to the bottom are getting better... not only are they getting better, but the lower tier corps are catching up with the top. So the quality of design and presentation is compressing. I don't see any injustices in placement... (i.e. Madison, Crossmen and Phantom... etc. aren't getting ripped off in placement) but It seems to me that the vast majority of corps should be scored higher. Case and point... Boston Crusaders.
This year's Boston Crusaders program is (by observable fact) of a better quality and better performed than their 2000 program... while the Cadets and Cavaliers (Cavaliers in particular) programs resemble the compositional and performance quality of what they were doing in 2000 and since. Why, I ask, is the Crusaders SCORE (not placement)... but their SCORE not higher?
The last few years has seen some tighter scoring and my theory is that the judging communty has seen fit to recalibrate the scoring to match the overwhelming increase in competitive participation in DCI.
So... here is my point. The organizations increase their competitive involvement so that they may be... competitive. Give them their scores!
It should be possible in theory to have 22 drumcorps scoring in a 22 way tie (by points alone)... but it appears to me that the change in judging calibration this year (from the last few) exhibits a philosophy that the scores should always span 100 to 70-ish... regardless of any increase in production and performance quality throughout the ranks.
My words to the judging communty:
If the drumcorps are making it more difficult to score progressively through any given evening (particularly in the longer shows with more corps) then score them to the hundredths of the point! That's where they are competing, at the level of the hundredths of a point. I know that it's hard to reserve point buffers and that you don't grant a 100 to the second place corps... but... well... tough noogies! Nobody said that judging was easy.
Crossmen - Forbidden
What to say... what to say? The Crossmen need to stop trying so hard. The capes hurt much more than they help. If they are clean, we can't see it. If they are not clean, it only looks worse with the capes. MAYBE... MAYBE, the capes would have worked better with a different color tone on the inside (red parhaps), or maybe if the capes were a little heavier and didn't respond to every slight breeze that hit it. As for the theme of the show... it seemed a bit corny to me. Otherwise, this corps is capable of all the greatness that they have been known for in the past... they just need a program to go with it. The whole Vampire thing was just not "hip" enough. Less Bella Lugosi and more Twilight... perhaps?
Spirit - Live... in Concert!
At least this group doesn't hide the fact that they are using amplification! The show is geared around a rock concert theme. Unfortunately I'm afraid that the theme overshadowed the performance a bit. It was a fun show, however.
Colts - Fathoms
These guys get better and better just about every year. They are looking and sounding mature and serious.
Boston Crusaders - The Core of Temptation
Love it. As I said once before... this is a PG-13 program! It is technically demanding and highly entertaining. Musical... Visual... JUST GIVE THEM THE SCORE THAT THEY DESERVE!!!!! (Please understand that I have no problems with the placment... just the score).
Madison Scouts - El Relampago
Same advice as for the Crossmen. Just get serious for a year or two and build some legit reputation again. I will say however that the Matrix style 'brawl' moment was HIGHLY entertaining. They remain a crowd favorite (but I'm affraid that the favoritism is still based on the coat tails of a drumcorps gone by).
Blue Stars - The Factory
One of my favorite shows of the night. Great vintage music style... great visual design. Great performance. These guys are going to be something to fear in the near future. JUST GIVE THEM THE SCORE... C'MON!
Blue Knights - Shiver: A Winter in Colorado
Best Blue Knights that I have seen in about a decade. They could be cleaner than they are, but they have a cute and visual show.
Santa Clara Vanguard - Ballet for Martha
They perform their program perfectly. This is a show straight out of 1997, 98, 99. It is classy and straight forward (with a little electronic bass additive). The musical portions are very exposed and treaty in a manner more akin to the original chamber ensemble work. It's clean, beautiful (with a beautifual and gracefull colorgard)... and falls quite short of the Blue Devils. Sorry.
One last comment on a crowd reaction to this show that I think is VERY telling. When the ensemble comes to a company front at the conclusion of the choral statment of the simple gifts theme... the crowd went bannanas. Now, I understand the impact of the moment... and I understand that this is SCV... playing Copland. But I feel as though these general truths (which are not a representation of composition complexity and performance quality, in and of themselves) are driving the audience perception that this show is better than it really is. I saw half a dozen company front moments that night from other groups before this one... performed just as perfectly. This is a fact.
Phantom Regiment - The Red Violin
They should be scored MUCH higher... but not placed higher. And I don't think that they are at all much worse off than they were last year in terms of quality... although that was some of the stuffiest jazz that I have ever heard. I'm not saying that ensemble jazz should EVER be loose... in fact it should be just as tight as they play it... but it should have a wider ranger of inflection. They need some articulation and dynamic contrast, desperately. GIVE THEM THE SCORE!
Carolina Crown - The Grass is Always Greener
These guys should beat the Cadets, SCV, and Cavies at finals. just wait for it.
They are a better, cleaner, more refined version of all of these corps. But again, the program doesn't quite touch the Devils. But I think that if any corps has a chance at besting BD... it may be Crown. They just have perfect intervals and gating effects that rival the Cadets in every way that matters. They march with perfect form of body, to say nothing of the brass and percussion ensemble. The hornline is brilliant.
There you have it... Now on to Buffalo!
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