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 Post subject: 2008 World Class Finals Drumline Analysis 8-12
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2003 9:07 pm
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Hi all,

I had the distinct pleasure to attend my first DCI finals since actually marching in finals in 1985. It was fun meeting some of the sound machine folks as well. I was sitting in the upper deck ( lower part) right on the 50. The guy next to me was my best friend because he bought two seats for himself, leaving a lot of room for both of us. He was a former hornline guy from Boston and the guy behind me was a percussionist from the Phoenix symphony, all of which lended to some decent discussions about the corps. The crowd at finals is a bit more musically educated than the groups I am used to at other events. I hope to make this an annual trek from this point on. Its great to see the corps at the end of the season after all of their hard work. I thought all the corps were great and it was a perfect weather deal as well.

12. Madison- They went with a Latin theme this year and used Cajons in the pit for part of their feature. Cajons are very interesting. There are basically two schools/origins; Peru and Europe. These are the wood boxes you sit on and can use as a multi toned percussion set of sorts. madison used ones with snares. They used hand techniques only and did not use the foot technique which allows change of pitch as you move a foot up and down the box while striking the box front at varying locations. They basically alternated between a mid tom pitch and a loose snare type sound. Pretty cool. Anyway, typical for most Madison shows they start right off with some decent snare writing using decrescendoing quarter note triplets into more interesting sixteenth note patterns, short rolls etc. The writing was more interesting than the actual execution which really was the theme for them. They attempted a lot of exposed bass drum rolls and line parts but all were uneven either due to hand to hand technique of an individual bass drummer or unevenness between bass drummers in the line as they handed off the phrasing to each other. In essence, I liked the writing of the field drums for their show but execution overall was a bit problematic for them. I liked the Latin themes of their pit writing and I thought their pit played well--technically the writing was less challenging than I would have liked to have seen myself. I enjoyed their show overall and congratulate the corps on doing what it takes to make finals and lay some groundwork for next year.

11. The Glassmen-- and their Carnival. The main problem with the Glass men field drums became evident as their show moved forward. Initially I couldnt tell if they hadnt tuned their drums correctly or if they were just dirty as far as execution. What made the latter apparent was later in the show, about 2/3rds through, when their snare line started to sound just great together. Really hitting their stride from then on in--cooking! Unfortunately, the first two thirds of the show was dotted with very fuzzy attempts at open triplet rolls, phasing of simple ruffs with the pit and a variety of other problems. They didnt attempt te snare guy pyramid thing wither this show, which was a good thing. They also cut that part that was a problem in Houston with phasing of te end multi percussion guy trying to play bass drum and hi hat with reversed hand coordination. SO anyway, back to my point-- why did they have a problem in the beginning and not the end? lack of warm up is the answer here. They simply werent warm enough to execute their book in the beginning of the show. The smart lines actually use the first part of their show as a safe warmup. There is plenty of time to impress and bedazzle later- dont ruin your line score over the first few minutes.

10. Boston- I thought their field drums played well. This is the Matrix Show and Neo cosmos. Anyway, the snares demonstrate excellent rudimental playing, using all types of accent patterns, paradiddles, double paradiddles, triplet rolls, and double stroke rolls. Things pretty much stayed on the downbeat and measures ( this will make more sense when I review Santa Clara), but the snres basically gave a clinic on clean rudiment style drumming. The pit had some nice exposed GE moments, particularly in the Matrix, which I thought was fairly well played and effective in creating the mood and handling transitions. I like the use of bells/vibraphones in a show. I thought they bunched their pit equipment way too close together and would have visually enjoyed a more opne look. I didnt see them use that Blue Man group type white pipe thing but I am sure they did at some point. Good drumming guys ( and gals).

9. Blue Knights- So there where two shows that werent really very popular at finals, despite being very very well done; Blue Knights and Cadets. The commonality in my view is that both shows use less melody and more experimental type writing for the horn line than the rest of the shows. They are simply less accessible and less pleasing shows. Yes, the horn line doesn't play as much yada yada yada. And when I playin blues bands less drumming is more as well. The show is actually tough to play because it is just so offbeat. Their are these isolated out of nowhere quarter note attacks that go between one and two snares that are tough to hit ( by the way when you hear two different pitches between snares someone didnt tune up right-this happened and when snares arent voiced together its harder to make the line sound clean). The show really is very difficult to execute because it is so unusual. The snare lines plays some tough passages early quite well, demonstrating clean roll and accent patterns, sometimes creating a double time against a half time feel. A little more use of dynamics would have been effective in my opinion. Bass drums did a good job driving the tempo in the earlier part of the show after the opening weirdness. The bass drums played very well in that pit-bass drum transitional piece. I would have like more dynamics and greater challenges to the mallet players technically however. There was some fairly lengthy down time for the filed drums during the show.

8. Blue Stars- I really liked the Tour De France show a lot this year. They just seemed to be a fun breath of fresh air this year as a corps so congrats on their success. The field drums worked hard this year I know, but I felt that establishing consistency in execution was a real challenge for their snares and quads this year. Even when they play their more challenging field drum parts, really its just a stick control exercise and devoid of musicality and dynamics. Too bad! Also, drum lines tend to practice with those amped metronomes. The problem with that, is, at some point you have to take off the training wheels and learn how to listen in on the field during a show---without a metronome. This line never made that transition this year and that's an instruction issue. Anyway, I would recommend this line for a younger snare drummer looking to get into a good corps first year out and gain some skills.

Top corps drumline reviews coming soon!


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 Post subject: Re: 2008 World Class Finals Drumline Analysis 8-12
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 1:54 pm
Posts: 1859
I can't wait to read the next installment. In fact, I am going to save this and read them again as I watch the DVD's.

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