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 Post subject: DCI 2010 Drumlines - review of Finals Performances
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:31 pm 
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This year was interesting because I got to see both semis and finals back to back. I spent a lot time watching visual, guard stuff this year as well as drill on the field and jumbotron, and just listening to hornline sound and qualities. But a few percussive notes seem to be in order ---

1. Blue Devils - Through mirrors darkly whatever show -The show starts with an interesting approach to using the pit for effect and sort of a half hearted pseudo melodic introduction with the four quads in the center of the field accompanying and following. The snares opening sequences have some well protected short double stroke patterns including starting them on a downbeat which is a favorite effect of mine and not too hard either. Then a LOT of 16th notes. There is a nice nice bass drum run in the opening minutes that follows the 16th note snare patterns. After about 3 minutes of near total field drum downtime we have a miked or hybrid drum set mini solo which is joined by a clean quad featurette followed by the snares. As the snares move towards their we will assault the judge with a group single stroke roll maneuver, they move through some nice triplet roll, paradiddle and double paradiddle patterns and double stroke roll patterns which i thought were well performed and seamless too. In finals, amazingly, their single stroke group roll kinda fell apart. They did it fine in semis and also in Houston as well. There were other nicely done drum rolls which ended musical phrases that were very well performed as well. Drumline marching and maneuvering was at a medium speed overall.

There wasn't ANY audience booing that I heard, just polite clapping and maybe 25% of the crowd stood up for them at the end. I don't feel that there is anything memorable about the show that will have any impact on drum corps in the future. Just a fairly intense well executed show with a nice full hornline sound and some big mirrors.

2. Cavaliers - this is the mad world/donnie darko show. The theme was well expressed and the audience well guided through the theme until the end where the colorguard member breaks the rifle. This was really my personal favorite of the night and the Cavies brought a lot of energy into finals taking their semi final performance to a higher and more enthusiastic level. The guard was truly magnificent. rifle work just top notch. Drumline and pit had high esposure to erro with challenging book for both. The opener had a lower demand for snares ( which makes sense) with clear short snare drum patterns very cleanly played. Mostly short rolls and 16th notes., played in concert with the mallet pit percussion for a nice effect. Mallet roll technique and sound was excellent as well. The pit also used some nice background double mallet sort of floating with the music feel stuff that was enjoyable. This line was very well trained and was almost up with Phantom on finals. Even backfield and at low volumes the clean snare rolls just cut right through and sounded like one drum consistently throughout the show. Just a great clean performance. The judge gave them a 19.4. I thought it was a 19.5 or 19.6 show by them. Great show and great drumline. Huge audience response to this show. I talked with a dad of one of the colorguard at the airport and he said that 50% of this years corps was from Texas. Wow.

3. Blue coats - The pit was fairly musical in the opener but more orchestral with some nice background double mallet work, in support of the horns. The recorded cirque du soliel voice over part seemed a little loud to me subjectively. Quad solo was perfect performed standing still in front and in straight time. Lots of well done rolls and triplets. There was a point in the show where the pit percussion has a very long sequence of simultaneous 16th note runs that were well done and then matched perfectly to the field drums in execution. Not my favorite year for this rising ( risen) star - but well done again.

4. Crown - much improved over Houston. The corps attacked their show with huge energy and the drill was just very very fast overall in many places, including that impressive double back run they did. The drumline performed better in finals then in semis which is of course what you want. The book was not as demanding as some of their peers but the drumline held up their end of the deal. The guard was far more interesting to me. They have one part of the show where each rifle holder spins an individual toss one at a time right before the two very talented African American guard members pick up the female guard member. The guard dude second from the end chunks that rifle way up there and catches it behind his back and between his legs. He hit it in all three performances I saw this year. I saw the pair of the key guard members at my hotel and talked to them briefly. Just a lot of natural talent going on there for sure. A very exciting show. I did see the Crown Mello guy who broke his leg. The drum judge actually helped get him out of the way, which was the right move and the drum judge gets bonus points too. The crown member has very large thighs and legs, and had serious overuse injuries prior to the show - most likely left tibial plateau stress fractures, and had a frank fracture due to drill stress at finals too much beef, too much sudden acceleration demand, and an obvious do not let on the field situation. Probably he'll be OK. The thread on DCP on this was beyond ridiculous and just pathetic on this overall as an FYI. But not as much as the 300 pound busdriver who tried to run on the field and help,who tripped on a cone, and body rolled--breaking his ankle in the process. What a mess.

5. Cadets - their drum feature was played perfectly, and contained the longest continuous roll of the night. Overall, I thought the corps and the line came in a little tense and the snare line was cleaner in semis. The relative scoring between Crown and Cadets was justifiable. The Cadets had the higher book mark and Crown had the higher execution mark. On a positive note, the drill for the drumline was made a little easier, than some of the near impossible feats of the past few years. I think a nice approach to percussion and perhaps to corps as a whole is to try and establish concentration and focus early on in a show, but with more focus on mood and general effect and less on higher level technical complexity. Save that for the middle of the show and then come on down with the end. No sense giving everyone a headache-- the really impressive concentration requiring challenging stuff should be there, but in a way that doesn't fatigue the members or the audience, and also doesn't crater a score or execution if a corps is a little tired. I enjoyed the show quite a bit and the closer was very very awesome, particularly in semis. I did like the bugle herald type effect that opened the show and the guard uniforms were totally cool. It was nice to see some old friends at the alumni social on Friday too, as well as meet a few folks Saturday morning at their breakfast/rehearsal deal. So much hard work for this show for a very young group. They should fell pretty darn good about their year.

6. Phantom - Ya. They won drums. They really did. The pit opens the show with some excellent setting the mood type playing right in line with their meaningful into the light drill. They open with the corps off field in the tunnal not visible to the crowd playing at one end - with a singe trumpet in the exact opposite tunnel calling the corps into the light. The drill moves from southwest to Northeast as the show moves on. Although the color guard got blasted in placement and scoring the purple gowns and yellow flags meshed very well and the basic guard work was very complimentary to the show. Field drums were perfect and just super crisp-lots of exposure to demand and top notch execution. Nice closing music by the pit at the end too. Judge had them in first with a 19.6. I had them in first with a 19.8. I heard two minor minor snare drum issues, and I though their overall book could have qualified for a 19.9 or 20.0 if played perfectly. Damn close. I thought the show as just beautiful. I could watch this one several times over.

Just a few brief notes on the rest;

1. SCV - longest simultaneous 16th note runs by mallets in the pit of the night and perfectly played. Snare book a little less complex than previous years. Very exposed quad feature played well.

2. Blue Stars and their Houdini Show - Drumline is way more aggressive this year and book was more challenging and better executed. Tom Aungst effect is working for them. Lots of demanding drill for the line. Snares have some nice quiet passages as well. Body motion of field drums well used to accentuate dramatic ism in the music in a way that the audience can buy into. I liked when the drum line took down the corps at the end and freed Houdini. Cool. Hey great year for these guys!

3. Madison - return to traditional Madison and first Thom Hannum Book since 1997. Madison lets you know they are there right at the beginning. drill not as challenging or fast than most of the other corps but so great to hear these guys be themselves again. Huge audience support.

There is, of course. much more that could be said, but hey - that's enough already eh?

I had fun and I think the venue is just fine. Hopefully I'll be back next year.


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 Post subject: Re: DCI 2010 Drumlines - review of Finals Performances
PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:09 pm 
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Anyone get their 2010 DVDs yet? I was wondering if we are gonna get the drumline option this year and maybe even the drum judge tapes like we used to.


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