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 Post subject: 2006 DCI Drumline Reviews - Place 6-12
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:22 pm 
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Its time for reviewing drumlines for 2006. This year, I am going with one thread for 6-12 and another for 1-5. In addition, I'll do a thread on the head- to head comparisons and how things might finnish at the top. I respect and appreciate all of the hard work these kids do to perform. However, I do get pretty critical and since we all have our favorites I'll step on toes. Its the nature of the beast. I dont assign scores much validity although as a side note I talk about them. Its more important to talk percussion itself and whats happening on the field than 15.3 vs 18.6, which tells very little of anything.

I spent two years in drum corps and one with the Cadets snare line-- so anybody can assume a bias, but I cut evenly when it comes to drums and percussion

Time to roll.....

12. Spirit- Visually this line is using a great deal of high sticking to accentuate music. This however often leads to some sloppiness as more variability and less chance for cohesiveness occurs. Their snare line book is less difficult than last year ( last years book was rockin by the way). However, they look like a more traditional drum corp line and the fundamentals are better. During their snare intro to Old Man River they ticked badly by the way. They do use more sideway motion while they play this year. They are only marching 7 snares and 3 quads. The quads are barely audible except for about 5 seconds of the show. They have almost no impact. It was the same in Houston too. Strange. When I listened to them warm up in the parking lot, the balance seemed a lot better. Their pit has seven mallet players across, with a whole bunch of reasonably good double mallett technique. I like it!! I like the drummset guy too!!!They use no crash cymbals however--even on the side lines-- they hit cymbals on stands only!!! BOOOO!!! Pit-Field interplay writingf is poor to non existsnet. This is important-- the score is a percussion score-- not a pit score and a field score. Good lines write the parts as one. The pit fits the corp and the field fits the corp---but they dont complement each other, The parts were written separately. Bass drums were excellent--both musical and echnically proficient.

11. Glassmen-- so good last year. A dissappointment this year. The pit has 12 members and use a lot of accessory percussion which is very apporpriate and good. Less mallett emphasis however. A good pit shows Mallett talent. Less here than last year IMHO. The pit is well balanced with the field and the corp. AS far as field drums-- this is the only line this year that seemed to run out of chops near the end of the show. What the heck? Yall need to put it in my face the entire show. C-mon. Energy baby! AT the beginning the snare line has some very nice clean rolls that, even though they are in the back of the corp,, cut right through to the audience. Now thats clean. Need to see this at the end. So what happened? I think its the dance/colorguard interlude-- these type of slower moments are done very well by most of the corps this year-- but the Glassmen simply bore and lose steam and energy. The drumline never got it back. Ashame. They have a sixteenth note exposed passge ( quads/bassdrums) as they march off towrds the right end zone at one point which was just horrible. The judge was all over it. Visually, the drummers are being asked ti do too much cutsy stuff. Watch em and see what I mean. Drummers need to drum first always-- we all have to contribute visually, but when the emphasis is on deme plea/grand plea postures with sticks in held unnatural non playing positions only to have to play a moment later-- forget it-- go order some milk or something and we will se you next year. Too wimpy. I feel the line has more talent than the book is written to expose. Let these guys drum. I can see their comfort zone now and again but they just arent getting enough chances. I guess I wanted to see more of last yeasr excellence. Damn. Pit to field interplay writing is poor here too; slightly better than Spirit in this regard, but Spirit has more balls as a line frankly. What can I say? Meow!

10. Madison-- OK. here we go. The pit is excellent. The Madison pit is ALWAYS excellent. What can I say? This is a top three pit for me. Check em out. So musical and so talented that its awe inspiring and humbling at the same time for me. Top flight pit. The field drums are weaker but still good. This year, many lines are using " snare builds" where one snare starts and then more add on etc until we have a full line. Madision had trouble building theirs tonight in SAn Antonio, like many corps. It may be the reverb. I am not sure.. They have some fairly long open rolls and move to triplet rolss in with their double stroke rolls. They ahd some problems transitioning and ticked the triplet rolls however. But this is hard to do well as a line too. Overall the book is reasonably difficult and well executed. A good line.

9. Blue Knights-- The line is better this year than last year. One major major major problem is their amping of the pit. Holy BeJeezzez!!! Way too much! They bottomed out their drivers frequently and rattling could be heard. The right one was up over the left too. HAte to start in with consumer electronics lessons but I would recommend they use a pre show SPL meter for 50 bucks from radio shack and set the levels at a predetermined decibel reading. Its so easy. Man. Might put an aurelex Gramma isolation platform under that metal roll frame too. Fix this guys. It destroyed a great deal of the listeneing experience and musicality.OK- done with that. The pit is used to create mood quite well- sometimes erie-- sometimes romantic a bit. Cool They use a direct snare tag fr their snare build. One snare phrase stops on the same note that the next starts. Careful here guys--you have to be right on the money. Close but no cigar tonight! Fun though.nThe field drums 9 snares and 4 quads show much less downtime than last year WEll performed book. Snares need to be in front more during the show as do the quads though. I'd like to hear some exposure to error from the quads--didnt realy get that in tonights show.. Their pit has two concert snares in the set up one on ech end-- the one on the right didnt do her concert snare trnasition solo very well. Also, the pits mallett two hand technique needs more back and forth swing during their rolls. More turning motion I suppose and less mechanical. I saw the judge visually acting this out as he spoke into the tape. he may have been seeing what I was seeing and hearing as well. The pit-fiedl interplay is VERY intersting-- take note of this--drama is added to the show bythe drumline in a technically easy way. Stop ryhtm double stops voiced interchangingly beween pit and field. Band directors take note-- interesting--effective--and technically easy. I liked this quite a bit. Enjoyable!

8. Boston-- Much improved over last year!! Very musical pit. The pit controlled a variety of tempo changes for the entire corp very well, both as a section and as an individual-- the conga guy was good! Field is 8 snares and 5 quadsMany featrued snare and quad parts means high exposure to error. They also use a snare build one at a time deal. Well perfomed. Pit-field-corp interplay is excellent and well written. The book is tough. And it got tougher as the show went on--as did the drummers. Cleaner than all previous lines. The players/corp/and book are matched. GOOD JOB! Excellent writing and instruction!!!

7. Crown-- Simple book this year for the pit. They start a funk beat near the end of the show. The girl on the concert bas drum needs to rock that thing there. She is barely tapping it. Think Motown Baby!!! Field is 8 snaes and 5 quads. Simple book. Double stops not effective. Probaby due to snare tuning problem I mentioned in my Houston show review. The sners just dont sound good. When I say "snare" we all get a certain sound in our head. This aint it. Embarrassing for Pearl drums for sure. If I want to hear sticks on plastic-- i'll check out toys r us. I knw-- brutal. But snare tuning is important. Hey drum techs-- Pimpin aint easy-- but get it done. Lots of ticks just everyweher in a simple book. I am not feelin it with these guys. Oh well. Next. ( Their horn line is STIll awesome though).

6. SCV- Pit- Better than last years fiasco of non-writing. BUT-- too spread out phsycially. Check them out. They actually are broken into sub pit sections-- where thenguys on the left face each other and the guys on the right are straightahad-- and never the twain shall meet. Huh? Who came up with this idea? Lots and lots of very well placed percussion effects for sure-- but very lacking in mallett talent compared to the other corps. Compare Spirit Malletts for example to this. To me, Mallett talent is the corp of a pit. That is an opnion and mine only. Field drums-- Only corp to march a cymbal line!!! BONUS POINTS FOR THAT!!! Field drums are excellent. The snare and quad book is inetersting and tough. Varied rhythms played in fast moving/marching sequnces. Lots of buzz rolls in the L upper quadrant of the snare drum head is interesting but bizarre. I'd like to see them stay more in the center of their drums. Lots of cleaning to do. A hard line to judge becuase the pit is in a differnt class than field and the books are written that way too. Strange.

Here is how I placed these corps;

6. Boston
7. Madison
8. SCV in a red herring call
9. Blue Knights
10.Spirit ( Good Mallett Talent means something to me)
11. Crown ( Boring again)
12. Glassmen

WE move to the top 5 lines tomorrow night....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:26 am 
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This is great stuff. Thanks!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:40 am 
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Thanks rysa4. Even though most of it is beyond me, I still learn a lot from your posts. Keep up the great work.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:50 am 
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Thanks Ryan...very interesting reading. I myself am not much of a percussion person...I notice it, but don't focus on it as compared to other aspects of the show.

I will be looking out for some of these things at the Atlanta show.

Looking forward to reading about the top 5!


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 Post subject: Quarterfinals Review Places 6-12
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:42 pm 
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Okay. Lets try and get through this review...

1. Spirit of JSU- Cleaner than in San Antonio, and I still like the mallet section of the pit. Spirited and talented. The problems this line have are mainly two fold; Number one-- The quads score close to a zero. No presence and no impact on the show at all. You can really only hear them well for about 5-10 seconds. It isnt just blending. Nothing. A near zero add for the line. Second-- the pit and field drums dont coordinate musically as far as their book.

2. Glassmen- The least effectively used and written drumbook of the night. Occasionally you see some talent burst through from the snares, but the writing for them is few and far between I get the sense that the line would rather be playing but instead they got written into some visual stuff which is OKAy, unless it takes the place of playing drums. Field drums never had a chance and the pit, while musically appropriate and fun, doesnt have a lot of mallet talent compared to other lines. Such a great line last year,...so disappointing this year.

3. Madison-- a winner line. The pit performs well, very nice musically including mallets and the field drums do fairly well. Better on that snare double--triplet roll build thingee they had some trouble with in San Anotnio. Not perfectly clean but both Mallets/Pit and field are fairly well written and well performed too. An enjoyable percussive experience and supports the buy the DCI DVD for the drummer/percussionist at heart. Nice job.

4. Blue Knights- There really is some interesting writing here for both pit and filed in the middle of the show that is technically challenging and musically interesting. I still like the opening pit passages which creates an interesting mood. The writing is between the very basic of Crown and the more sophistitcated of Boston for Snares and is performed middway between thse two lines as well. A good line not quite up with Madison and Boston but ahead of Crown, Glassmen, and Spirit this year.

5. Crown- well-- they tuned their snares a little better so that plastic scratchy is reduced. I think their percussion GE is very good but the technical difficulty is not thare at all in their book, particularly for field drums. Everything is very standard. Downbeat stuff as opposed to lets say SCV which has some more sophisticated writing or Phantom with its in between the beat sophistication. Dynamics could stand improvement in their handling as well. Cool show and one excellent sounding hornline. Just have to say...

6. Boston-- Excellent this year!!! The snarebook entertains throughout and they play throughout as well. They had a few areas of fuzz on the snares but they play just so much throughout the entire show that overall they are clean and impressive. Theyr remind me of the Cadets quite a bit as far as technical style of writing as well as overall corp speed. With regards to Chadwicks question on how they stack up with the top 5 there are some musical sophistatication limitaations based on show selection and design but they are close to maxing their show and they should score higher in finals.

7. SCV- Overall show expereience ruined by excessivlely loud pit as far as the theater production is concerned. However, at least we can hear the pit. Yuck! mallet instruments are musical and to be played--not struck like a foe or enemy. I couldnt hear the corp well and I wasnt enthusiastic about what I heard from the pit either. From what I could hear, which was a difficult focus given the loudness of the pit , the snareline book remains intersting but they tick quite a bit more than the top five lines. As far as their scoring-- well-- I dont begrudge them whatever they get but above Boston and Madison and two tenths from Cadets doesnt seem to make much sense tonight to me.


This is a good year for drumlines on average. I think Madison, Boston, Cavies, Blue Devils and Cadets are the great overall performances this year, with PR, BlueCoats, and SCV in the next excellent group giving 8 of the top 12 lines showing up as the real deal-- 2006 was a good year for drumlines!!!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 4:36 am 
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Boston really showed up this year. This line shouldnt be overlooked for the DVD buyers among us. So much exposure to error and cleanliness on the snare line in a fairly fast-paced show as well. Really good.

Madison again defining percussion in the big picture with the super talented pit and very good field drums as well.ANother must see the DVD ( and hear too)!!

Blue Knights with some highly interesting percussive effects from the pit creating mood, managing musical phrase and corp tempo and time signature changes, and some of the most intriguing pit- to filed interplay ( percussion-wise) of the night, occurring mid show. Work on some snare line technical proficiency issues and this line moves up.

I talked up SCV in the other thread. COngrats to this corps this year. A major comeback all things considered as a corps. SCV has been and hopefully always will be what Drum Corps is in one corps. Class, innovation, and technical excellence. Heavy on class.

So 2006 ends....


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 Post subject: Re: 2006 DCI Drumline Reviews - Place 6-12
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:26 pm 
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rysa4 wrote:
12. Spirit-
... They are only marching 7 snares and 3 quads. The quads are barely audible except for about 5 seconds of the show...

FWIW, I believe Spirit had injuries which impacted the size of the drumline over the summer. I know they started with 4 quads.

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