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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2001 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews - As Posted on RAMD!
Reviews On This Page Were Last Updated on August 13, 2001

Page Twelve of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to: scores@soundmachine.org
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Go to Page 11 of Reviews!


Saturday August 11

Buffalo, NY (DCI Championship Finals)

Ah, where to start tonight. Honestly I left the stadium so pissed off, for two reasons:

1) Madison's 11th place finish. Not that I disagree with it, because I don't (I'll get to that later). Rather, there was a former Cavaliers member next to me who couldn't have been more thrilled that Madison had fallen so far. In his screams of, "that's right" and "it's about time." I thought it completely classless to be so elated when a corps doesn't do very well. That's EXACTLY how I remember the members of the Cavaliers!

2) The fact that Blue Devils got completely robbed tonight (I'll get to that).

I'm going to start, from 1st to 12th.

CAVALIERS: Compared with last night and Thursday, I thought the level of their entire performance was drastically off. They seemed tentative throughout the entire performance. The brass line was not tight too much for a DCI Champion. The visual product is fantastic, but it was not performed at the same level as semi's or quarter's. Now way. I had them 2nd.

BLUE DEVILS: Okay- I have not, historically, been a big Blue Devils fan. Being that I am a huge SCV fan, I usually would look for flaws in Blue Devils- reason's why they shouldn't win. Well- the product on that field tonight was musical and visually FLAWLESS from start to finish. I could not find one single moment where I questioned what was going on. It was steller- to the point of being, perhaps, the most perfectly executed and performed show I had ever witnessed. When they were done - I thought it was impossible to beat. And it was. I'm a firm believer in slotting now. Their score and placement did not reflect the performance those kids gave tonight. Absolutely incredible, throughout. Absolutely not 1 second of weaknesses in that show. A championship performance.

CADETS: Great show tonight. They performed really well. I had them in third. There were moments in Moondance where I raised questions and they lost me. The performance was great - best of the three days - but I am just astounded that they tied BD!

SCV: Great show. Again slotting. They should have been forth, but their score did not reflect what they did. They should have been closer to the Cadets. The Chant was awesome- just awesome! Short Ride just lacks depth- it's too much a surface piece. The show was great though. I ate it up.

GLASSMEN: Incredible. Beautifully clean and energetic. Soloist nailed it tonight, guard nailed it, great show.

PHANTOM REGIMENT: Over the three days- this show has completely grown on me. PHANTASTIC! They were on tonight and it was just awesome. That opener is just incredible.. those runs just knock my socks off. Festive was great. I really really like what they do there - it's really found me. Great subtilties within the brass line. Brilliantly executed. 6th place- right on target.

CROSSMEN: Great show. Loved it. Never knew about the "Phantom Crossmen" until tonight. VERY COOL. In all the years I've marched and followed drum corps - I never knew they had a "phantom." Loud, powerful sound. Great horn moves in the park and blow section. Really cool. Guard was great. It was all good.

BLUECOATS: I have come to entirely love this show. Incredible. Great brass line- well balanced. Guard is good. Love the leg kicks in the closer. Ballad is haunting and gorgeous. Loved it.

BOSTON CRUSADERS: Good show. Most beautiful balland of the season, IMHO. Guard was fantastic. The fact that all those women did weapons was astounding. Awesome show. They placed where the should have.

CAROLINA CROWN: This is one of my favorite shows of the season and they were on tonight. Incredible in design and they really performed well- across the board. I absolutely loved their guard. I hope we see them up and coming. A well deserved 10th place.

MADISON SCOUTS: IT was awesome. The second after the announcer said "you may take the field in competition" they hit the opening cord. It was timed perfectly. Musically- they were great! I was higher up tonight and all the visual weaknesses were as plain as night and day. Wow- I was quite surprised. Heel-toe is still there and they have great feet- however - the design is sub-par (at best) and the execution is weak. All straight lines were greatly crooked. It was a fairly easy drill that was performed very poorly. They should have been 11th.

COLTS: Really love this show. Great all around - musically and visually. The ballad was gorgeous... everything was good. Loved it. They were a great corps to round out the top 12.

I was very frustrated tonight with the outcome, because what was performed was not reflected on the judges sheets at the top. I thought BD had handedly won the title tonight. Without a doubt! They were musically and visually flawless.

Thanx for reading.

Elliott


The weather tonight was perfect. The crowd was very into the show and seemed pretty big, although it still seems that attendance in 1990 was larger in Buffalo than this year. There really is not all that much to do in Buffalo. Makes for a tough vacation with family when you try and incorporate other things into the trip. One again, my vantagepoint was on the 45-yard line of side 1 at the bottom of the upper deck - perfect seats to see the drill and close enough to really hear the shows as well.

Colts - 84.9
They seemed like they were just glad to be back in finals, and were resigned to the fact that they would finish 12th. They really just relaxed and had a good time on the filed. The performance was very enthusiastic and controlled. They really did a nice job. Their score should not have dropped, but the slotting began from the start.

Carolina Crown - 86.95
They were much better tonight than last night. The guard was more together, but they still have a lot of problems with inconsistencies in how they use their feet and position their bodies while doing their work. It is really distracting. Even though the show was better tonight, there was still an awful lot of dirt in the drill. The drum line had a great show, but the brass line still had TQ&I problems all through the show. Their score went down, but I thought that yesterdays score was too high anyway. They should not have beat Madison. To the designers of Crown's show, this is DCI, not WGI!

Madison - 86.55
Madison had a great show tonight. I thought they were better tonight than last night. Their score and placement should not have dropped. They should have topped BAC. The recordings of their show will most likely be ruined though. There was a small plane circling the stadium carrying a banner which read "Best Crossmen Ever - We Love You Melissa". This stupid F@$#*@g plane circled through out Madison, Boston, and Bluecoats shows. The annoying drone of the engine went on and on and on. It was very distracting. Madison seemed to just focus on performing their show, and they did an awesome job. Apparently the judges were distracted and thought it had something to do with Madison. Sorry, but the judges screwed the pooch on this one.

Boston Crusaders - 88.8
I thought that Boston had a rough show tonight. There were more problems with the drill tonight than any other night this week, and the brass show was a bit ragged in spots. They seemed very distracted by the plan overhead. The show on the whole was very flat. Madison should have topped them tonight. They were also the worst offenders in the check pattern category tonight. The drum line's dutting was audible in the upper deck when they were behind the back hash. They could also be heard dutting more than 16 counts before entrances. Give it a rest guys.

Bluecoats - 90.75
They had a very strong show tonight. The soloists were on, and they really cranked out a great show. The increase in score was deserved, as was the closing in on Crossmen.

Crossmen - 91.15
Just before Crossmen took the field, the plane carrying the "Best Crossmen Ever - We Love You Melissa" banner left. The corps didn't even get to see it (unless they saw it during warm up). There were a lot of people chanting for Melissa. "We Love You Melissa", "Go Melissa", "You Missed Your Plane Melissa", and just plan old "Melissa, Melissa, Melissa" were extremely loud. YES - WE WERE PISSED! That stupid plane ruined the performance for three corps, and will no doubt have ruined the recording. I hope to god that the semi-finals recordings are used. More likely than not, the Crossmen organization had absolutely nothing to do with this stupid plane; however, it still reflected very poorly on the organization as a whole when their name was plastered in the banner and it disrupted three other corps performances. No doubt, Melissa was embarrassed by the whole situation. Whoever it was that thought they would do this is an absolute MORON! A sign in the stadium would have sufficed, and would have cost them less I am sure. Not to mention the fact that it would not have ruined the performance of three other corps! If you think you have to go to those kind of lengths to tell someone you love them, you really need a good therapist.

As for Crossmen's performance - It was a solid performance. No better or worse than yesterday, thus no change in score. Another score and placement that I agree with.

Phantom Regiment - 91.9
Phantom was much better tonight than yesterday. The brass sound was much better tonight. There were fewer people sticking out of the ensemble, and the tone quality was much better overall. Timing was much improved, as was overall execution. They were placed correctly; however, they should have scored MUCH closer to Glassmen.

Glassmen - 94.3
Overall, they had a strong show this evening. The fluegal horn soloist was not as good tonight as he was in Semifinals or Quarterfinals, and there was one contra that seemed a bit clueless from a marching perspective. He was in and out of forms all over the show, and intervals were all over the place. Otherwise, they had a strong show. I really hope they program a more audience friendly show next year. Their placement was correct, but their score was too high, and their spread over Phantom was much too great. Phantom should have been within .5 of Glassmen.

Santa Clara Vanguard - 95.35
SCV was on fire tonight. For a third night in a row, they put on an incredible show, and each night was better than the previous night. Once again, I thought they beat both Cadets and BD (not by much mind you). Why their score went down is an absolute mystery - other than perhaps - slotting? Thanks for an incredible perforamnce SCV!

Cadets - 97.6
Cadets were pretty much like last night. No major differences night over night. Their show was..., well it was just a performance. The show is very appropriately titled. It quite simply was not that great. It was not bad - just not great. Certainly not what I think most fans have come to expect from them. The crowd response was nothing like the response from previous years. That in and of itself speaks volumes as far as I am concerned. I thought they beat BD tonight, but I thought SCV beat them. I also thought their score was too high.

Blue Devils - 97.6
I thought that BD was flat tonight. They didn't seem to have as much energy as they did yesterday. Their show is a tough sell - too much like Glassmen with the dissonant brass bursts and percussive rim shots. Yes, that type of show is very exposed and difficult to perform cleanly when spread all over a football field; however, there is no melodic line, nothing to reaches the audience, etc. Awayday Snooze just doesn't cut it. I thought that Cadets beat them tonight, as well as SCV. I also thought their score was too high.

Cavaliers - 98.35
Cavaliers were exciting tonight, but there was still a bit of dirt in the visual program. That is to be expected given how difficult the drill is; however, the score seemed a bit high. They deserved first place; however, it should have been a squeaker with a lower score. To all of you who have said that Cavies music is not melodic or interesting or whatever, I say you are wrong. And it would seem that I am not alone here. Each night, I heard several people singing/humming sections of their show at various parts of the stadium - in the drink line, on the way out into the parking lot, and even in the men's room at the urinals for crying out loud. Plenty of people like the music, and it was the only music memorable enough apparently to get people singing. Keep it up Cavies, and thanks for a great show. Congratulations on another Championship!

This year showed marked improvement overall in execution, especially visually. However, I still think there is plenty of room for musical programs that are more accessible, melodic, familiar, and audience friendly. I hope the corps will continue the progress next year of continued improvement in execution, and step it up in the entertainment department. Obviously I don't think this is the best year yet (like some have posted), but it's still a lot better than a great week at work.

Tim Kviz


Well, I'm back from another fantastic DCI Finals & thought I'd share my final thoughts, since I could only find 2 reviews for the show.

First, a little rant. To anyone ever involved with corps, please NEVER, EVER EVER consider flying a plane with a banner around the show. I'm sure "Melissa's" parents did not realize what affect that would have (noise, noise, noise) on the show. It was very distracting and impacted the crowd's enjoyment of Scouts, Boston & Bluecoats. I would also wager that "Melissa" was quite thoroughly embarrased. Especially after the crowd finished venting their frustration with a quite fun "Melissa, Melissa, Melissa" chant as Crossmen came on the field.

Ok, now on to the show. It was just a great night, from top to bottom. I really enjoyed the exhibition performances as well, although Blue Stars had a very weak horn show. It just wasn't a good year for Division III I would say, having been there Wednesday for II/III finals. It was a VERY good year for Div. II, though, and Mandarins were great. The Sr. Show, and the night exhibition by Syracuse Brigadiers was wonderful. It was pure goosebump city, with an amazing competent visual program and color guard to go with some great music. Wouldn't it be great if some major Div. I corps had the kahunas to bring back some classics like Macarthur Park? Crossmen, Phantom & Cadets all proved that you can play music the crowd loves & be successful...

Colts -- I have to say that I'm sorry I missed these guys, as I got stuck in an awful concession stand line until their show had started. My friends all said that they had a MUCH better horn line performance tonight, and I'm very glad for them. Congratulations on making it back in to Finals, Colts!

Crown -- A much, much better performance last night than in Semis. The horn line projected much better to the upper deck, and the visual program, though still messy, was much tighter tonight as well. The show is entertaining, and somewhat reminiscent of their stormworks show here in 95. This is probably the best horn line Crown has had, and the drum line just rocks. I think the problem with this show was that there was just too much going on to ever be crisp and clean visually. The horn line did not march very well (feet were awful), and the guard, while fun and exciting, is just a mess in places (particularly the wood section). I agree with another poster that this is not WGI, and some things don't translate well from that venue to this one. I think the scores finally caught up to that tonight, as they guard only had (and deserved) an 8.6 for excellence., as well as the corps only having an 8.4 for Visual Perf Excellence and 86 for Visual Ensemble Excellence.

Scouts -- I know the crowd was upset with their score, but I thought that the two were really close on Finals night, with Crown being better than they were on Friday & Scouts staying about the same. I did think Madison should have scored higher than Crown, and actually would have had them around an 88.0. In looking at recaps, it looks like they were underscored in GE music ( I wouldn't have placed them differently, just closer to Boston) and Performance Visual. Otherwise, I thought the judges were right on. This corps, while solid musically -- and especially in brass, did not have a visual show. Worse, what they did have, they did not march exceptionally well. For the Scouts to regain middle of the pack to 5th or 6th status is a new direction visually, and particularly in guard, where they just don't have a finalist-caliber program any more. I hope they accomplish that, because they are a lot of fun to listen to. The ending tore down the house, just as it should. Thanks for being SOOO much better than last year, Scouts.

Boston -- This was a solid, but not spectacular show, from the Cru. Their aggressiveness is a style unique to them, and very enjoyable to watch. Design wise, this show had some great highs, but also some areas that did not flow well or make sense. I thought the color guard was a little underscored today (would have had them in 8th). If anything, the guard has too much weapon work and not enough flag work. In 2 places -- the ballad and the closing tag, the show really suffered without any flag work to highlight the great music being played. The horn line was a step up from last years in terms of power, which was great to hear. Thanks to a visual design superiority to Scouts, I would have had Boston just ahead of them, but not by the margin in score that was awarded.

Bluecoats -- This was one of my favorite shows this year. I think that their Semis performance was just a bit better than Finals in terms of emotion and connectivity with the audience, but then again the "Melissa Plane" could have affected that quite a bit with all the quite & subtle sections to their show. The show design was brilliant for Canton this year -- by far their best since 95, and they had the performance levels to match. They were very, very deserving of breaking 90, and I thought that they judged right on target in most areas. The brass line was superb, with a rich, deep sound. The visual program was not overly demanding, but it melded seemlessly with the music to create an outstanding total package. This is a show I could watch many, many more times (along with Phantom & Cavaliers) & for that reason am sad that season is over...

Crossmen -- Boy, did these guys perform this week! This might have been the best Crossmen ever, and I thought they were a little underscored today, as I had them in the mid 92 range. To me, their guard score should have been higher. In fact the whole cluster of SCV, Glassmen, Phantom & Crossmen's guards seemed very equal and all scored too far behind the top 3. This was the best hornline I've ever heard from Crossmen, and the corps marches very well. A sqeaky clean show in all respects. The only thing seeming to lack was much difficulty in drill. Congratulations, Crossmen, for finding a show that remained true to the activity, entertained the crowd and was competitive all at the same time. My only sadness here is that Crossmen will leave those great-sounding G bugles next year for Bbs. I hope it doesn't hurt their sound as much as it has others, most notably SCV & BD).

Phantom -- I will admit my bias here, but Oh boy! What a show Phantom put out on Finals night. It was great to see most of the fans on their feet well before the end of the show. That was the best they have performed the end of Festive all year, with all the recent changes seeming to finally "click." Even my "group" of friends that sit together every year (most of whom haven't liked Phantom at all in recent years) were on their feet yelling before the end of the show. Phantom was the corps that improved their score the most from Quarters to Semis to Finals, and their performance just kept getting better. It makes you wonder what another week of cleaning could have done. The horn line was brilliant tonight, with impeccably mastery of the soft sections of the show -- no one on the field came close to Regiment this year in their ability to play softly and in control with a fantastic symphonic tone quality. I think PR placed where they should have overall, as the show just seemed to have too much demand to pull off anything clean and crisp enough to move higher. No one had a more difficult horn book (or more notes) or more spread out filed coverage than Phantom this year, and at times the design may have gone a little too far, with some phasing and timing problems remaining to the end (though far better on Saturday). On the other hand, the corps was underscored big time, and I would have had them at around a 93.5. Looking at the recaps, they were 8th in Brass -- No way. They should have been 4th in Brass, within tenths of Cavaliers and ahead of SCV. Also, they seemed cheated in GE music as well, where I would have had them in 5th -- ahead of Glassmen, or at least, certainly not in 8th. Finally, the guard was much better than their score, though overall placement was about right. All in all, a huge congratulations to Regiment as they made it back into top 6 as they continue their climb back towards the upper corps. And one last thing -- TOMMY FAEGIN, YOU WERE ROBBED. No way was he not the top Drum Major in DCI. Thanks for 4 great years, Tommy -- and for showing loyalty to your corps in a time when you literally carried them through some very rough years. If only I could re-live the closing minutes of this show a few more times!

Glassmen -- To me, this year was by far the best the Glassmen have ever been. I did think, however, that they left their best performance on the field on Friday night when I thought they should have been 4th. Saturday nights show was night as tight, with more noticeable visual problems, not to mention the musical problems with the ballad and soloist. It was a shame, because that soloist had been incredible all year. I hope that DCI uses the Semifinals recording for Glassmen on the CDs. The drum line really, really cooked tonight and deserved their 4th place scoring. A wonderful drill also helped propel this package, with great "marriage" to the musical book. There are times in this show that I swear you could trade out their uniforms with the Cavaliers and you really wouldn't notice much difference, particularly in the ballad section and in the closing number. I'd look out for this corps next year if I were the top 4.

SCV -- Let me say this -- I really enjoyed SCV's show. I do think, however, they were scored correctly (with two exceptions), and there was a SIGNIFICANT performance gap between SCV & the top 3. I thought that their guard was significantly underscored. At the same time, the corps got a huge gift in their Finals Brass Score. They had not scored close to 2nd all year, and they did not deserve it. While they did perform much better on Saturday, their were many moments with problems with tone quality (especially the trumpets) and intonation, as well as a lack of overall demand in their book in comparison with the top 3 (and even Phantom). Visually the corps was not as clean as their chief competition either. From a programming standpoint, the drill was wonderful and their were some great "highs" in the show -- topped of with the chant. There were also some musical lows, and the closer was not strong musically. Wouldn't it be nice for Vanguard to change directions again and pull out a really beautiful crowd accessible book next year? The last 5 years for SCV are starting to blur together...

Cadets -- I think the Cadets got a gift on Saturday. There, I said it. Don't get me wrong -- I grew to love their show this year, but I think they performed much better on Friday night, particularly in the brass line. That being said, they still should have had the top brass honors, as their horn line seemed in a league of their own this year. They certainly should not have been 3rd. Why would I have had the whole corps behind Blue Devils? They just didn't seem as crisp. Congratulations to these kids, though, for working with the staff to correct what was a goose egg of a show at the beginning of the year and turning it into one of my favorite shows of the year. They also had for me one of the drill highlights of the year with the block that is pulled inside out towards the end, with one guard member spinning a flag to "pull" the block inside out. I can't wait to see that on Video/DVD.

Blue Devils -- WOW. They performed the @#$%*& out of their show on Saturday night. I honestly thought they had a chance to win, and this was my least favorite BD show of the past 5 years. While not overly inspiring (and thus the deservedly lower GE scores), the execution of this corps, and particularly the guard and corps visual program, was awe-inspiring. The horn-line also put in a MUCH better performance on Saturday night than they had all year, with improved tone quality in the upper voices and a sharpness that had just been lacking. I still think they suffer from the switch to Bb's though, as the corps just doesn't have the beautiful sound they used to have. I had this corps in 2nd, by themselves, and with a score of around 98.0. I still had Cavaliers in front, but not by as much as the judges did.

Cavaliers -- A great show, especially visually. The music book was also quite solid for an original composition, with many memorable musical moments. I think I enjoyed last year's show more from a total package perspective, but this show was more difficult, and performed very well. The drill was awesome, particularly with the four "spinning inside the form" file move accross the field and the "flying" backwards block at the end of the show. A great show, just without much music that stirred the soul like some others out there (namely Bluecoats, Cadets and Phantom).

In all, a great year for DCI, with all the top 12 being enjoyable and entertaining. That's a great step up from last year when there were only 4 or 5 shows that I really loved. It's made me ready for next year already!

Bud Phelps


This is my take on the corps over 3 days of viewings. Scores are not considered, as I was happy with 90% of what I saw. havnt watched the video yet.

hey DCI one gripe.........that corps you may leave at your will crap at retreat sucks. takes forever. the proposal in Boston was cool, but it takes forever. Go back to playing off.

Kiwanis...I missed you and I am sorry but nature called. I will probably order a video of you out of guilt...sounded good from outside tho.

Patriots...nice show. music was a little vague bu my tastes but performed very well. I love the guard and you had some really nice staging ideas. you guys are on the right track.

Spartans....didn't much care for the music but you performed it well. Nice flowing drill, made sense to the show. Guard unis added highly....intersteing if not quite as notey drum book as i like but handled well. glad to see you again.

Capital Regiment......what a brass sound....absolutely appealed to the loud is good side of me. Nice show, well done. Drumline had some moments...and unfortunately i missed the guard....but from what my cohort in crime told me, they were good as well....i expect a lot from you guys down the road.

Seattle Casacdes......amazing drumline...i'd stack you guys against anyone. Well thought out show...moved well, played well...you guys are definitely ready to move up and I wish you the best.

Mandarins........not as impressive imho as past editions, but still very well done...loved the jam/groove in the drum solo. Year in and year out, noone in the lower divisions does it better and kudos to your organization for yet another ring.

Troopers.......god bless you for being true to yourselves. smaller than previous years, but great horn sound for 40ish or so. A new approach to Copland and well done. Maybe some say you need to go d2, but this fan doesn't agree.

Pioneer..............Nice idea for a Civil War theme. Drumline great as always and the brass seemed to do well....guard i didnt really catch. I was wondering how you would get the traditional Irish touch in there and you did a great job.

Southwind.......welll....I wanted to like the show Thursday but it seemed flat...Friday it hooked me in more. Some brass issues but overall well done....drumline played well and i enjoyed the guard. Not as in your face as last year, but well done.

Spirit......ok, I am a mark for this corps egardless of the year. I loved Ghost train...perfect vehicle for them......percussion did a great job, brass played with precision and a lot of emotion Friday. The trainisms were well done (chilling at one point). Jim Ott banner was a nice touch. All the Spirits greatest licks thrown in here and there were great as well. I hope next year is the year.......and kids, i know you were saddened by the loss of Jason...great job keeping it in check and playing the show of your lives.

BK.....great idea on paper...didn't carry to the field. After all the hype about the drum solo, i felt a little let down...performed well but the design..eh...tho i thought it was cool to see guard ladies holding roto toms aloft like some idol they were worshipping. The guard unis flags again were to die for...great color schemes. But on a whole the show left me flat.

Colts...show grew on me by Saturday...the drum solo/fight was well done. Very well done ballad....great staging and voicing. Drums performed very well.......some interesting scoring ideas. Not my fave Colts show, but it got you in and you deserved it.

Madison...wow, holy opening impact!!! very entertaining...i believe Thursday my quote was "God spoke to me n said loud is good". great rifle work, cool cymbal toss.....andgobs of old school fun in your face. I was afrid you got penalized Saturday when Crocker was still saying you may take the field in competition. Ok, so you were 11th. you were in. the fans loved you. you got the best reactions of the 3 days...that is what it is all about.

Crown......well, i still dislike the show, but you performed it well. Amazing drumline...out of this world. The guard did some nice stuff and the tires kind of grew on me. The concept grew on me as well, but overall on the entertainment scale of jeff, you were a 4. performed well, just boring.

Boston.......great show idea....just a lil too much for the troops to clean i believe. Making the drum judge groove during the ballad was classic.....you sold it well. Conquest hits diminsihed a bit...a lil downer there. Following Scouts Saturday didnt help either. Drumline light years ahead of last year and the pit was mesmerizing. Color guard's weapons work was superb and the color was something unlike the drab yellow the rest of the world seems to like. Ok you werent on tv this year...but you were in...great job.

coats.....I am biased here due to a lot of friends and extended family in the organization, but by far your best show. ever. Horns had power, drums performed well and guard helped show the tango concept. A great job, well performed. Pit was a show unto themselves...good soloists...i loved it all. congrats on your season.

Xmen....i dunno....solists had a rough time Saturday....great show, entertaining, clean, full of fun. seemed to lack that special something...if anything i think the kids tried too hard. but you are top 7 now and you deserve to be....just wasnt your time to go top6 yet.

Phantom..........Nice show. festive was what i expoected but i do miss that old Phantom low brass sound. drumline performed well, brass did a great job....guard didnt really stick out in my mind but they must have beeok as they were in the top 6. Overall nice show.

gmen....flugel soloist is a god....nuff said. Drumline was great as well. show left me flat on a whole....dunno...performed well, but bored me to tears.

SCV......this show was ahead of its time. very challenging yet accesible. Sops on the upper register at low dynamic ranges in Short ride...wow. throwback Lezghnkina lick in the Jug tune. pretty ballad...and New era. the corps got into it...killer back beat, kids gettin funky and the bottle dance for a count......outstdanding. great musical and visual ideas...proof that you can do stuff no one has heard and be entertaining.

Cadets.....i wanted more, but I didnt get it. Young persons was good but seemed to lack that certain something that scv had when they made it a classic. Moondance was a gas....kids sold it well. Ballad was performed well and Farandole left me flat. Kids performed the hell out of it I will say that...drumline was on fire. Not their best ever but good enough for top 3. Anxious to see where they go from here.

BD.....great show. well designed well performed...aggressive in yor face drumming.....soloists screamed and the guard was absolutely out of this world. when I saw you early season i thought it could be unless cavies clean....if you guys have one flaw it is that you are too good too early an you get caught. Any other year, this could have done it. This year, you got caught

Cavies...best total package on the field......visually eye catching musically accesible and performed incredibly. design wins now and you had it...no one section stood out as golike yet all were good enough to get the win and deservedly so.....the victory run was fabulous a well and Jupiter and Rainbow gave me gose bumps. Congrats you deserved it.

Jeffsjetta


Friday August 10

Buffalo, NY (DCI Championship Semifinals)

Hi All. Just got back from Semi's. Unfortunately, I was late getting to the stadium again. I lived in the Buffalo area until I was 13, so I spent a large part of the day visiting some old friends, who I hadn't seen since then- 18 years. It was great. Anyways, I didn't get there until Blue Knights.

BLUE KNIGHTS! I felt bad for them when their score was announced, because I knew at that moment that they knew it was official- their season was over. I wasn't surprised. Hopefully next year they will return to the style they are meant to do. It was evident that they really put there hearts into tonight- but there was nothing they could do. It's a show that couldn't possibly be performed well.

COLTS! Good job tonight. Brass had some problems at some points throughout the show. Overall, I really liked it.V

CAROLINA CROWN! I just love this show. The "wood" section is just plain awesome. The "tire" work is really cool. I love what the guard does with the tires. The "steel" section - I just don't care for. The design of this show is really terrific- from start to finish. Everything is just great. Guard is amazing. I thought they placed where they should have- but they were way too close to Madison.

MADISON SCOUTS! They are scoring very well in everything but visual- and I just don't understand it. I realize that a big part of their visual hit is their guard - and rightly so, but bad guard and all they were in a different league than BAC was. No contest. Horn line was terrific- I believe they got 6th in horns last night. I can see why. Wonderful show. Crowd ate it up, as usual. Guard is just a huge weakness and that does impact the visual scores- which is their downfall. I thought they deserved 9th tonight. Easily.

BOSTON CRUSADERS! I love this show. It's so entertaining, and musically beautiful. Visual, aside from the guard, they are not up to Madison's level. Those black pants just hide a ton of dirt for them. Intervals were a huge problem again tonight. In the company front spacing was all over, tight in some places and loose in others. They really need to watch that. Guard was great. The weapons work is excellent. If it's just their guard that's pushing their visual scores over Madison, I won't argue. But it isn't. They are scoring too high. I thought that they should have been closer to Crown in score and a couple points beneath Madison.

BLUECOATS! They were fantastic tonight. Wow! This show is just incredible. The hornline does some really great leg work and it just fits so perfectly. The drill was very well performed and the guard really heighted the overall product. I had them in 6th tonight.

CROSSMEN! They were good tonight- but performance wise, I did not think they were as good as last night. The crowd loved them. Brass, percussion, and guard were all good. Visually I thought they were quite dirty tonight....straight lines were not straight. Good show though. I thought they should have been 7th tonight.

PHANTOM REGIMENT! Okay- I am really starting to dig this show. Although I thought their performance tonight was quite a bit off compared with last night - but their score did not reflect that. The performance, tonight, as a whole was quite a bit sloppier than last night. The music is so beautiful though- the whole product. I'm even starting to like Festive more. One guard chic had problems getting her top on tonight- and she did last night too. Tonight she had to squat on the front sideline for the whole intro to Festive because she didn't get her top on on time. Beautiful show. Performance was not good tonight. I had them 8th.

GLASSMEN! They were good, but their score was WAY TOO HIGH. They were visually sloppy. They should be in fifth place - but they should be scoring a few points lower.

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD! They got jipped tonight- AND BIGTIME! Erase everything from my review of last nights show - because tonight was a whole different story. They were fantastic. Short Ride was EXCELLENT... the brass line nailed it. It didn't let up for the rest of the show either. AWESOME! The Chant was incredible tonight- the guard work during and after it is fantastic. They performed the hell out of the show and should have been at least 4 points ahead of Glassmen, and I thought- they should have beaten the Cadets tonight. A major injustice! They were fantastic.

CADETS! They were off tonight. I had them fourth. Love this show though. I am pulling for them tomorrow.

BLUE DEVILS! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW! This show is just AWESOME! The entire package and the guard? Oh, the guard is amazing- the most theatrical in DCI! They were on fire tonight. I had them first.

CAVALIERS! It's impossible to even review this show. I will not fully appreciate it until I get the DVD and can watch it from high camera. They were great though. I can see why they won, but I thought Devils had taken it tonight.

Elliott


Good news is that I brought my laptop to Semifinals, so I could write the review as I saw the show. Bad news is that I left my cell phone in the car, so I couldn't send the review as I wrote it. :)

So, everything I wrote occured right after each corps show. If I didn't write anything, I missed the show for various reasons (late to stadium, eating, shopping for souvies...Stuff like that). Most of these are immediate impressions and not always nice, so be prepared.

Mandarins: 79.3

Southwind: 80.05

Spirit: 84.05
I'm not sure what the staff of Spirit was thinking when they designed this show. I didn't like "Ghost Train" When Mandarins did it in 1997 and Spirit did not do anything to change my opinion this time around. The Bb sound doesn't help their cause, either. Contras (tubas) sound blatty when they play above MF. The throwing in of various snippets of past Spirit standards is, to me, a way of them saying, "Hey, we know this show needs help, that's why we're throwing in stuff you like so we have a better chance of getting a reaction!" About the only cool things with this show are train effect/formation in the opening of the show and the Southern swing style section in the middle. The rest is bland and without direction.

Blue Knights: 83.9
Have you ever heard the music to a cartoon...and had no clue what was going on cuz you never saw the cartoon before? That's the Blue Knight's show in a nutshell. The Blue Knights tried to do a Velvet Knights show, but in the Blue Knights style and it didn't work at all. Visual design was terrible, with lots of cluttered transistion, straight lines that weren't straight, and rotations that were just plain terrible. I will say, though, that their hornline sound was better than JSU Spirit, but Spirit has them beat overall, so BK might have a tough time finishing in 13th for the 3rd time in Buffalo.

Madison Scouts: 87.8
Something I said during Madison's show that I haven't said yet: "That's cool". The horn sound got to the box, first hornline to do that so far. Visual package wasn't especially difficult BUT it was cleaner than either Spirit or BK. Horn book got my foot tapping, partly because I recognized half the show from '85 (Four Score and Seven and Ballet in Brass). Still can't hear contras above MF, which, to me, is a Madison trademark since they focus more on upper brass. Anybody worried about this corps not making Finals never had anything to worry about.

Carolina Crown: 87.6
This show was a winterguard show with hornline/drumline accompaniment. The show went NOWHERE. The props would make no sense to anybody if they hadn't heard the name of the show first. The forms had plenty of spacing and covering down problems. The horns did not reach the box. In fact, only Madison so far had the power to do that. This is not shaping up to be a good night of entertainment.

Colts:
The first half of this show lacked power, but Colts managed to dig deep from the drum solo on and put out a good performance. I especially enjoyed the drum solo, when the hornline essentially staged a battle in the backfield while the drumline threw down. The ballad was especially beautiful, complete with an ending set in a block cross. Visual still is a problem, however, with people missing spacing, not covering down, even having trouble staying in step. So far, Madison and Colts are the corps I have enjoyed.

Boston Crusaders:
Last year was Red: a Spanish-style show. This year it's African. This was the best hornline sound so far to me, with the low brass really coming through in the hornline (what can I say, I'm biased?) This isn't as good as last year's show, more abstract, more exposed, and too much recycled drill moves! I do like this show, so that's a 50% rate tonight up to this point. OK, break time, so I'm heading down to the souvie booths.

Crossmen: 91.15

Phantom Regiment: 91.55

Glassmen: 94.6
Glassmen started out weak, with major misses in drill and a lack of power in the hornline during the opener. Once the ballad started, though, this was a whole different corps. Kevin Creasy's flugelhorn solo totally amazes me (and everybody else in the stands) every time I hear it, and he was ON tonight. I still don't like the staging of the drums in the drum solo, too much emphasis on drill and not enough on the small fact that this drumline is highly talented and should be showcased right up front instead of behind the front hash. The closer was the total opposite of the opener, high powered and clean. I expect them to stay in 5th unless SCV lays a big egg tonight.

Santa Clara Vanguard: 95.4
They did NOT lay an egg tonight! The show was clean, both musically and visually. This has to be one of, if not THE best designed show of the season. Heck, their brass sounds so nice (outside of the soprano/trumpet/whatever the Hell you call them now), I'm almost ready to support Bb horns as a result! Looks like Glassmen will lead off the TV broadcast tomorrow. The question, though, is how late in the show will SCV appear.

Cadets: 97.2
I give them points for choosing songs that the fans want to hear. I don't give them points for executing it. This corps CANNOT march at high speeds and play well. This corps has also gotten away with dirty forms because of their drill design for too long. Not to mention the bounce in the hornline is back from years past, which makes me think they also SOUND bad because they look bad. And don't get me started on the Bb sound.

Blue Devils: 97.5
Awesome colorguard. Drumline much improved from last year. Brassline pretty good. Drill holds the corps back. And, once again, the soprano/trumpet/whatever the Hell you call them line does NOT sound good, especially during high-speed maneuvers. The music ranges from OK (opener) to exciting (swing section) to uninteresting (remainder of the show). I like this show, but not enough to do more than clap nicely.

Cavaliers:
BEST drill of the night, and it's almost totally clean. Note, I said almost. The question, though, is how much credit will they get for their difficulty? Will it be enough to make up for any dirt in their program? I think so. Cavies do so much more than any other corps on the field right now, and they do it very well. In my opinion, they won tonight and put themselves in a good position to win tomorrow night, as well.

One more thing: I didn't get all the scores, so you'll have to look those up in other posts or on dci.org.

Kevin "Gadget" Gamin


A couple of years ago, I posted a review from Championships where my wife, my daughter and I all made a couple of comments. I received a lot of positive remarks about it, so I thought I would do it again this year. I marched for 10 years, and aged out in 1988. Three of those ten years were with finalists. This will be my 24th consecutive year at Championships. This is my wife's 10 year at Championships (91 and 93 to present). She is deaf, so her comments focus exclusively on the visual aspects of the show. My daughter is 9, and this is the 6th year she has attended Championships.

The weather tonight was perfect for a drum corps show. It was much cooler and less humid than yesterday. There was a gentle breeze all day that picked up a bit as the evening went on. Attendance seemed a bit light for semi-finals. Our seats were on the 45-yard line on side 1 in the 6th row of the upper deck, so we had an excellent vantagepoint.

Seattle Cascades - 78.3

He Said: We were a few minutes late getting to the stadium, so I had to watch them from the tunnel. From what I did see and hear, them seemed to have a better show than yesterday. They declared Div I status for next year, so I hope we will continue to see great things from this corps.

She Said: She did not see the show because we were late.

Out of the mouths of babes: She did not see the show because we were late.

Mandarins - 79.3

He Said: They had a much better show tonight than yesterday. After a second viewing, I liked their show more. They play some very demanding runs near the end of the show, and they actually march at the same time - unlike most of the other corps out there that stand still when the music gets tough.

She Said: They have a nice visual program for a small corps.

Out of the mouths of babes: They were pretty good. I liked the flags, but thought the guard was not very good at catching their tosses.

Southwind - 80.05

He said: They had a strong show today. Their performance was a step up from yesterday, but their score dropped - can you say slotting?

She said: They have a beautiful visual program. The drill is very nice, and the overall program has a nice flow. The colors used (uniform, and flags) worked well.

Out of the mouths of babes: They were good. I liked the guard uniforms, and thought the music and the guard work fit together really well.

Spirit - 84.05

He said: They had a strong show today. Like Southwind, their performance was a step up from yesterday; however, unlike Southwind, their score did not tank. They deserved to beat BK. They pulled out a banner with the Spirit logo and Jim Ott's name and birth year and year of his death at the end of their show. Why they did this is beyond me. I didn't see how it tied into the show.

She said: This show does absolutely nothing for me. The drill did not have much motion, and the guard was not all that great.

Out of the mouths of babes: They were OK. The show was kind of boring.

Blue Knights - 83.9

He said: The show was very flat today, and there was more visual dirt than yesterday. Spirit deserved to beat them.

She said: They did the best they could with the program. The theme to the show was stupid.

Out of the mouths of babes: She did not watch them. She said they were so boring yesterday that she would rather color than watch them.

Madison - 87.8

He said: They really did a great job tonight. They really performed with a lot of emotion and energy, and got the crowd going. Awesome job!

She said: They were very entertaining. The corps performs with a lot of raw energy, and there are a lot of neat visual treats. They are not as demanding as some of the other corps, but at least they are clean. I'd rather see something easier performed clean, than something difficult not performed well.

Out of the mouths of babes: Outstanding! They were really loud and the music was so exciting. The guard was good, and I liked the cymbal tosses over the drums.

Carolina Crown - 87.6

He said: They were MUCH better than yesterday, but there was still an awful lot of visual dirt. The guard had a really tough show - lots of drops and work that was not together. Crown has extended the whole percussion check pattern gig (read Dut, Dut, Dut) to color guard check patterns. The guard check patterns were audible in the upper deck. This is something we definitely can DO WITHOUT!

She said: The drill was too difficult for them. They move too fast, and cannot perform the show cleanly. Madison should have beaten them by a lot more than they did.

Out of the mouths of babes: There was too much stuff that was too difficult for them to do. The guard was not good at catching tosses, and the marching was messy. What's with the silver thingies?

Colts - 85.95

He said: They had a very solid show tonight. I thought it was on par with yesterday, and it is definitely worth a 12th place spot. They have a very good chance of breaking the record high score for a 12th place corps this year.

She said: They were good. The show is entertaining and has a nice theme. It's just not as clean as the past few corps.

Out of the mouths of babes: They were good. I liked when the guys died when they were fighting.

Boston Crusaders - 89.05

He said: The show was more emotional tonight than yesterday, but there was more visual dirt as a result. They really ran out of gas at the end of the show. There were a lot of space outs at the end. There were more missed entrances for the final statement than I could count. Madison should have beaten them tonight.

She said: The weapon work was awesome! They started out great, but faltered towards the end of their show.

Out of the mouths of babes: I liked the music. They were really good, and they have a great guard. I liked the uniforms. They were really good at throwing and catching things.

Bluecoats - 90.15

He said: They had a great show tonight. It was a big improvement over last night. The only criticism was that the soloist during the tango had a bit of trouble tonight.

She said: The tango was nice. The crowd seemed to really enjoy their show. The overall program was well coordinated.

Out of the mouths of babes: They were good and so loud!

Crossmen - 91.15

He said: They had a great show tonight - it was much more controlled than yesterday. They started out a bit tentative, but got into a groove about half way through the opener. The soloists were a bit off, but the rest of the corps was on.

She said: They really put their hearts into the performance. They did a really great job. I say no glaring mistakes. They seemed to really want to try and move up tonight. The guard was awesome!

Out of the mouths of babes: They were loud and really good. The music was very exciting. The flags were SO good and the uniforms were nice,

Phantom Regiment - 91.55

He said: They seemed a bit off tonight. There were a lot of timing problems between brass and percussion and side to side during the closer tonight. At the end of the show, one of the butterfly wing flags got caught on the plume/helmet of one of the brass players, and he/she just kept on going like it didn't happen, dragging the flag along with them. That was one tough plume! I thought Crossmen beat them tonight.

She said: They really looked tired today. There were a lot of mistakes tonight that were not there yesterday. I love their program. It's really beautiful - one of my favorite shows this summer.

Out of the mouths of babes: I liked the music a lot and the guard work really fit the music perfectly. I liked the butterfly flags at the end. (she was singing Festive Overture - loves that piece).

Glassmen - 94.6

He said: I thought they were a little flat tonight. They were cleaner, but just did not have the energy they had last night. Their show is beginning to grow on me. The soloist in the ballad was awesome tonight!

She said: Visually, they have a beautiful program. It really flows well, but the show was a little bit boring. There were no big "wow" moves or major visual spectacles.

Out of the mouths of babes: I didn't like them. They were boring.

Santa Clara Vanguard - 95.4

He said: SCV was on fire! Absolutely awesome job tonight. They raised the bar a notch higher. I thought they beat the Cadets and BD. The sound of the brass line is sweet. The french horns and euphonium line just make the sound so dark and rich.

She said: They were awesome! They march so fast and so clean. They should be in the battle for the championship - not placed on the bench like the judges have them.

Out of the mouths of babes: They were loud. I liked the closing drill move with the blocks the spin around. I liked the music - it was very exciting. When they were saying "New Era" it was so cool.

Cadets - 97.2

He said: They had a very strong show tonight. The horn line and the guard nailed their performances. It was a big step up from last night. It's sad that the only exciting drill move they has is a rip off from SCV from last summer (the star the rotates around into a block). I thought they beat BD tonight.

She said: The opener was awesome, but then the whole show just went down hill. The horn line lying on the field on their sides during the ballad was just stupid. There was too much standing around. I'd like their show a lot better if they marched the entire time like they did in the opener.

Out of the mouth of babes: She didn't want to watch them, because she said they were so boring yesterday.

Blue Devils - 97.5

He said: They too had a strong show tonight; however, the show itself is just plain boring. The only part I like is the end of the opener. What is their show called? Awayday Snooze? The different colored backs to the guard's vests were distracting and annoying.

She said: Their color guard is their only asset. The rifle and saber lines are fantastic, but I don't like the hats or the striped pants. The drill is a real bore.

Out of the mouths of babes: They were BORING! Why can't they do a show like they did two years ago? That was cool!

Cavaliers - 98.0

He said: They seemed to be really trying to turn up the energy tonight, but lost a bit in execution. It was still a fantastic show. If they can do both, I think they will win.

She said: 2001 Champions. There is nothing more I can say.

Out of the mouths of babes: They were great and the guard was totally awesome. The music was fun and the marching was really cool.

Tim Kviz


2nd night in a row of great drum corps last night. Had great seats -- lower 2nd deck on the 48, a few rows behind the judges. This year has turned out to be much stronger than last from top to bottom, as all 12 finalist shows (and Spirit in 13th) were solid and entertaining after last year's kind of hit-and-miss affair. Got their late due to traffic, so sorry about no comments for Cascades, Mandarins and Southwind.

Spirit -- Great job! This show seemed to work really, really well for the corps and they are definitely headed in the right direction. I thought that they performed better, particularly from a hornline perspective on Thursday than last night, however, as the horn line sounded a little ragged today (over-hype?). That said, it is obvious that the relationship with JSU is going to go great places. I think that Spirit will not only make finals next year, but have a shot at top 10. If they had had as good a show last night as they did on Thursday, they might have made finals tonight. The horn book was excellent, and the train effects throughout were tastefully done.

Blue Knights -- There is not much positive I can say other than they obviously had talent. The design of the show was very poor. I'm not going to agree that the style wouldn't fit, but the visual program was extremely poor, with drill too compact and virtually unreadable in many places. The opening statement was solid. The show was VERY reminiscent of their last fiasco -- the "dot" show in 95 ON THIS SAME FIELD!!!. 3 trips to Buffalo and 13, 13 and 14 for BK. Do you think they ever want to come back here again?

Colts -- This show does not project too well to the upper deck. Something has happened to their horn line. From the deck, they were just not good (I would have had brass in 14th). Poor intonation and tone quality. For the most part, little volume, and when they did get loud, the sound was very unfocused and blatty. Visually, they were solid.

Crown -- This show is a mess. It is a very likable mess, but it is a mess. The guard is overly intrusive and ther work and the whole visual book is so complex it could never possible be clean. Horn line had a much better performance last night than they did at Quarters (being on time surely helps...). I thought that the spread between them & Scouts was way too small. Crown is getting a little more credit than they deserve for difficulty when they are not executing it. Their position (11th), however, is very deserved. Way ahead of anyone behind them.

Scouts -- I had them at about an 89 tonight. This is a solid and enjoyable show. The horn line is excellent -- much better than last year, with a terrific and very FOCUSED sound that project well. They are also much more balanced than in the past few years. What they don't have is a visual show. Scouts really need to assemble a new guard team. The gap between them and Boston in quality of visual design (and guard performance) is HUGE. Boston has more going on in 3 minutes than Scouts do in 10.5. I do love this show, though, from a muscial standpoint and the closing minute is wonderful.

Boston -- OK! I like this show SO much better than when I saw it in Texas. I still don't like the color scheme in the guard and silks at all, but I'm not as offended by it. Musically, the show is inconsistent. At times great, at others disjointed. The ending is a perfect example. The tag ending does not develop enough of a musical thought -- it's too short. And the corps uses the same body poses at both "ends." The balad is great and at times the guard show is brialliant & classy. There are other times, thought that they don't add to the show as they should (the end of the ballad should have a great flag statement to add emotion, not an ensemble sabre feature, IMO). They are placing where they should, I believe.

Bluecoats -- WOW. This was a fantastic show last night. More than ANYONE else, Bluecoats create a mood with this show that leaves you almost breathless. They create a moment in time where 10.5 minutes go by incredibly fast. This was much more apparent last night, as their show projected and sold much better than on Thursday. The tango section is unbelievable. The only corps of the night that gave me chills twice. By far Canton's best show since 1995 -- ON THIS SAME FIELD!!! The hornline was absolutely fantastic, with an awesome, rich sound. Visually, they are not on Boston's level from a design level (or with guard), and that is probably the only reason that they are not fighting for 5th. Musically they are that good.

Crossmen -- This is another great show! Very classy, with a terrific and consistent feel throughout. Drill lacks a lot of demand (especially when viewed right before Phantom), but guard is great and this is probably their best horn line ever. The color scheme for the guard is outstanding throughout. Great, great silks that carry the feel of the show (take note, Boston).

Phantom -- I must have seen a different show than some tonight, because except for a phasing tear near the end of the show, I thought their horn line was much better tonight. What this corps does when they are playing soft and controlled is unbelievable -- and that takes more skill than any other type of playing. They are approaching Star's old level of ability in playing soft and controlled with terrific tone quality and releases. The symphonic sound of the corps is a pure joy to listen to and the show really flies throughout. What's missing? Well, the drill for the opening to Festive is lacking (otherwise Phantom's best drill since 94). Also, the drum line almost seems non-existent (10th in Percussion???). One last request, Phantom -- when you hit the impacts, unleash the horn line some more. 72 horns should blow you over and Phantom never acheives that. Part of that is their field placement, as they are often spread over 50 or more yards and well off the front. Kudos for that, as NO ONE spreads the field this year like Phantom, but you need some heavy impact points so fill out the show. I hope the find something dark, angry and LOUD to give the Low Brass a chance to shine next year.

Glassmen -- I have to admit, this show has really grown on me. There are a few things I don't like (the squat sections at beginning and end and the bad music that goes with it), but the rest of the show is by far their best yet. The ballad is fantastic. The show also has a very "Cavalier" feel to it -- Especially in the ballad and the closer.

Vanguard -- I actually think Glassmen should be beating them. I love their show, but the horn line is not up to snuff. The trumpets really stick out like a sore thumb in places, with an unpleasant, unsupported sound. They are one corps that has really suffered from the switch to Bb's.

Cadets, BD & Cavalers. I'm running late, so I won't say much (besides, I think too much focus and attention are given to the top 4 anyway.) I enjoy their shows, and I will say this -- Kudos to Cadets, as I hated this show in July, and I love it now. That is by far the best hornline in DCI. Beautiful. And Cavies -- wow.

Cant' wait for tonight! This is the best 3 days of the year, every year.

Bud Phelps


Well I finally got some time to write a quick review about last night's show. Overall, a great show filled with lots of entertainment and some surprises.

Seattle Cascades - Big corps, excellent sound and good power. I really enjoyed their show and thought they had beat Mandarins. If this corps keeps grwing, they will be Div I soon.

Mandarins - Visually a neat show and some nice marching, but music was weak. Lots of people sticking out of the texture, overall balance was poor and way too much fracking going on. Though Seattle should have beat them in perc and brass (maybe they did, I didn't check recaps).

Southwind - Very nice brass performance of "Fanfare for a New Era" by Jack Stamp. Good intonation for the most part and solid timing. The drill seemed too scattered and hard to read after the opening tune, but I did enjoy this show and look forward to their continued success.

Spirit - Let me say that I didn't know Jason Loewe (SP?), but I have read many of his posts and can only imagine what a tremendous and wonderful person he was. I was glad that DCI had a moment of silence for him and my condolences go out to his family, friends, and the drum corps community at large. I am sure Jason was there last night! And that being the case, Spirit didn't dissapoint him. I thought there show was well done. I love "Ghost Train." A complex, unique, and most difficult work to put on the field, and they did an excellent job of performming, and of bringing out those unique moments which I thought helped to make it more entertaining for the fans. Horns had some good power and the guard was very nice last night. I most enjoyed, however, their rendition of "Salvation is Created" for their warm up, and you can imagine how hard is must have been for them to perform it--but it was beautiful!

Blue Knights - BK was an interesting ride for me. From the performance perspective, they have a better horn line and drum line than a number of corps that made finals, but their show is so disjunct and hard to follow that GE and Visual had to be what killed them. There show sounded like a parody on Gershwin's "American in Paris." Much in the opening strains really hinted at that work, yet you could never really grab onto any musical line long enough to get into it. Then they play the middle section, a ballad, and they play the heck out of it, just beautiful. And here it is obvious that this comes from the Gershwin. However, the last part of the show moves back to playing around with the themes from the music, but never fully developing any of the themes. Too bad, they had the brass and percussion, and marching execution to be top 2 in my opinion.

Colts - I saw them in Erie, PA and loved them, but they were sloppy and not quite "ON" last night. Still love the music, but their horns need a better performance tonight. Good overall staging of the show and the ideas flow pretty well. Horns and drums need to address timing issues tonight, and if they do it should be an great show. Congrats on making it back into finals, Colts.

Carolina Crown - Good overall sound and blend, intonation was good, and percussion was strong. There guard is very good and they have a physical program. Don't care for all the equipment on the field. It looks like they are building a house back there. The move with the tires is kind of neat, but maybe it is just how they staged all this equipment that bothered me--don't know. The music is very good to listen to, but marching execution was sloppy and will hurt them tonight if they don't clean and the Colts execute better.

Madison Scouts - Love it!!! Entertainment! Madison's show this year is really enjoyable and well worth the price of admission. Their horns and drums are performing very demanding books and doing it quite well. I love "Ballet in Brass" and the whole show is based on that theme, except the middle tune. There are some nice groove moments in the show that get the crowd snapping their finger and tapping their toes and the closer is solid Madison. Maybe not the most exciting I have seen them, but definitely entertaining none the less. If they were just a tad cleaner in all areas this show could contend for top 5. The last chord of the show is held out forever and the fans go nuts. It is a site to see! Go Scouts!

Boston Crusaders - Very nice show! The opening stuff seems too much like last year's to have the same kind of effect that it did last year, but I still enjoyed it and theye are performing well. Brass sounds good, balance is excellent most of the time, percussion is solid, and their marching is very good. They are simply more consistent at these things than are the Scouts and that is why there was a bigger gap there over quarters (after the penalty for the Scouts). However, if the Scouts nail their show tonight, they could sneak up on Boston. Should be within .5 in my opinion.

Bluecoats - WOW! Blue came out to play and they sold their show big time. Huge horn sound, lots of power--maybe more than Scouts and Boston. There was no doubt that they beat Boston last night, but that could also change. I thought Boston had the tougher overall show, but they lack the GE Music and GE Visual of the Bluecoats show. Loved the ballad last night, although the soloists were a bit off with their performances. Beautiful guard integration in the Coats show, much better than any of the corps prior to their performance except for maybe Crown. Best Bluecoats show since 1995! Go Canton!!!!

Crossmen - WOW - Awsome show guys! Yeah, this was one of the top two most entertaining shows of the night (Madison and Crossmen). Great arrangements and solid playing. Soloists were on fire last night and the crowd gets into this show. I love the percussion feature and the overall visual package is excellent. They need to go back to white pants, that is my only request--PLEASE!!! Great show guys, just awesome!

Phantom Regiment - Yeah, I love it. Talk about demand and exposure to error, the Regiment is playing the most demanding musical book on the field this year (at least as difficult as Cadets, but I think even a tad more difficult). This was the first horn line of the night to really WOW to crowd in terms of demand and excellence on a higher plane. Their overall show was solid last night, but those phasing problems that I noticed in Erie, PA are still there. However, the individual phrasing problems that they were having in regards to dropping the ends of phrases (and leaving others hanging out to dry) are gone! The Bartok was a gas and Festive Overture was incredible. There was a major phasing problem in Festive about midway through and it last for about a good 5 to 6 seconds, so everybody noticed it. Even with that problem, there is almost no way to completely elliminate some of this, the program is just that difficult. The visual designer has the corps spread all over the place as well, so cleaning some of that stuff is just going to be hard. I love the ending. The corps pushes to the front side line then expands the form to cover the entire field (5 yard line to 5 yard line). Very nice and powerful. Personally, this is a better brass line than SCV, Cavies and Glassmen. And I am not cutting on those lines, but even with the phasing problems, I wish the judges would take a closer look and listen to how Phantom is really playing--they are missing the boat. Phantom should be in 3rd in brass performance IMO.

Glassmen - Snooze! Ok, I did enjoy some of this show, and they execute the heck out of the visual program, but come on, try to entertain the audience a bit. The flugel soloist in the ballad is wonderful (by far the best solo of the night), but this show is a flop IMO. And there is no way that Glassmen should be beating Phantom in brass (but like I said I didn't check recaps). G-men's musical book is easy and choppy. Very effect driven with lots of power chords in the right spots to enhance the visual, but not a lot of linear line to grab onto, and that is where the demand issue becomes a big one for me. This is a music activity first and foremost, is it not? Maybe I am wrong about that. It is much more difficult to play what Phantom is (and the crowd likes it better) than it is to play was Glassmen are. To the members of the Glassmen, Bravo on a fine and well executed performance, but I just hate the show and its concept.

Santa Clara Vanguard - Neat show. I love "A Short Ride in a Fast Machine." Very well done and the brass sound is big and dark--excellent tubas (contras). Upper brass was having problems with pitch control and timing issues, and the baritones were still fracking lots of passages. To be expected actually, the music is very difficult and all those articulation in Short Ride make it difficult to nail when you are marching at those tempos. The middle part of the show kind of sits there, then the corps starts to jam and the crowd gets into it big time. The New Era rap at the end is neat--lot's of fun. I think the audience needs to participate in order for this to be effective. Maybe we can do that tonight. Solid 4th place show, but no higher. Kudos, SCV!

Cadets - Awesome musical mastery of a very demanding book! And, thank you for playing music that is easy to listen to and even, dare I say, hum. This is the most complex musical book next to Phantom's. There were some fracks last night, and the lead trumpet player completely biffed his high note in the first big chord of the show after the fanfare. Having said that, I am not sure anyone should have been close to this horn line--not even BD, and they are incredible. There was a sophistication to their sound that nobody esle had, they were a wind ensemble on wheels. However, in drum corps I don't think the judges always buy into that. If they play their butts off tonight, they should win high brass, drums, and music GE. Other parts of their show may hurt them tonight, but overall this is a great show to watch and the crowd was very into them last night. Go Cadets!!!

Blue Devils - Another high octane performance by BD. I like this show, but not as much as their 80s and early 90s stuff. The music is a bit choppy, and like the Glassmen, very effect driven. Not a lot of melodies to grab onto, but it is more enjoyable than the G-men. Most of the people around me thought they were in 3rd. I had them in 3rd too, thoughts Cadets took 2nd only a tenth under the Cavies. BD's guard is amazing. They nailed everything and I love those unis. great baritone sound from this corps. The trumpet solo towards the end of the show was very nice, but the overall trumpet section sound was a bit forced. The ending of the show was ok, but nothing spectacular--as with Madison, Phantom, Cadets, and Cavies.

Cavaliers - 98.0, I don't know about that? They were a bit too sloppy to be getting a score that high, but if the Glassmen are a 94 something, then Cavies, BD, and Cadets are like a 105 something. I just don't get what the judges are seeing in the Glassmen's show. But that's off the subject, I did think Cavies deserved to win, but by only a tenth or so over Cadets. The visual and general effect program of the Cavaliers is unmatched and incredibly fun to watch. Their percussion did not seem to be as tight, but brass was solid. The music is fun to listen to and at times has a 70s funk flavor to it (almost Earth Wind and Fire like). Overall, this is the show to beat tonight, and I doubt anyone will. They have that total show package and it is really fun to watch and listen to. Go Cavies and Kudos to you on a great season!

Here are my opinions on some areas of performance:

Most Entertaining
1) Madison
2) Crossmen
3) Cavies
4) Cadets
5) SCV
6) Bluecoats

Brass Demand
1) Phantom
2) Cadets
3) SCV
4) Madison
5) BD
6) Boston

Percussion Demand
1) Madison
2) BD
3) Cadets
4) Crossmen
5) SCV
6) Glassmen

Guard Performance
1) BD
2) Cadets
3) Cavies
4) Crossmen
5) Carolina Crown/SCV
6) Bluecoats

Visual Execution
1) BD
2) Cadets
3) Cavies
4) SCV
5) Glassmen
6) Phantom

Enjoy tonight everybody and good luck to all the corps. It has been another good year for DCI!

Jonathan Willis


Thursday August 9

Buffalo, NY (DCI Championship Quarterfinals)

The first comment I have to make is about Madison. I was so relieved to find out they received a 3.6 penalty (after the competition was over). I admit it- I booed (along with almost the entire crowd) when their 84.65 was announced. Most of the us (in my section) sat their in disbelief and disgusted thinking that was their actual score. A man in front of us kept shaking his head and making comments to his wife like none of us knew what we were talking about. Obviously we were all right in thinking a 84.65 was too low.

Second of all. Because it was so hot, I didnít make it until Spirit went on, so thatís where Iíll start my review.

SPIRIT: I really liked this show. The brass line was powerful, effective, and well balanced. The package was well designed and entertaining. I was very pleased. The only negative- if you cannot do effective weapons work, then donít do weapons work at all, it really created a negative effect. I thought 13th. Judges thought 14th = 84.50.

BLUE KNIGHTS: It was very hard for me, being a big Blue Knights fan, to sit through this show without feeling a loss. I want to be honest in my review and avoid being cruel, so I will do my best... although I fear I will fail.

There was very little I liked about this show. All sections were very inconsistent, weak, and executed their product poorly. The music and visual package were almost completely ineffective and were very lacking in terms of entertainment. I couldnít tell if they were trying to be amusing or be serious with an amusing theme. Again- if you cannot do decent weapons work, then donít do it at all. Like last year, I thought their guard work was horribly designed and the weapons distracted from their product because I was scratching my head thinking, "they actually want to try to sell this weapons work?"

There were a few excellent visual components in this show - but I felt their brilliance was wasted on an overall sub-par product. I love this corps, and wish them the best. I thought 14th. Judges thought 13th - 84.55.

COLTS: I really liked this show. It was very well designed, and they definitely were on a different level than Spirit and BK. The drill was effective and executed very well. I didnít care for the shields work they did during the drum solo- but that was minor. Brass, percussion, and guard were good and they did well in selling their product. Great show. I thought 12th. Judges thought 10th - 86.40.

CAROLINA CROWN: They also received a penalty for being late- although I donít know what the amount was. There isnít anything I can say that is negative about this show. I thought it was awesome. What a thrilling concept and the design was excellent. The guard was incredible, and the brass and percussion sections played well. I thought 10th. Judges thought 11th - 84.70.

BOSTON CRUSADERS: I was disappointed here. I felt for what they did on the field they were scored way to high. It seemed as though the performers had no concern for intervals - they were not consistent throughout the entire performance. The drill was very sloppy and the brass was quite weak. On the flip side - the guard was absolutely incredible and the whole package sells. Great entertainment value here. The biggest flaw was the color scheme of the flags in relation to the mustard uniforms. Really created a nasty effect. They need to learn how to use flags that donít clash with their unis. Guard was just awesome- rifle work was excellent. I thought 11th. Judges thought 9th - 88.55.

BLUECOATS: They looked so elegant coming onto the field. I love their uniforms. Their show was great. Very well balanced and well performed. Guard really enhanced the product. Fantastic brass line. Loud, powerful, and very well balanced. Drill was nice....not too difficult, but well performed. I thought 9th. Judges thought 8th - 89.70.

MADISON SCOUTS: I really focused on the technical side of their show. I wanted to find what was "wrong," for lack of a better term. I had a hard time doing so. I spent time just wactching their feet, which were great... almost flawlessly in unison.... Heal - toe is there - everyone does it... in unison throughout the entire show. I heard they have problems with their feet - I didnít see it. Show was fantastic. Pure entertainment and very well designed. It was the most pleasant surprise of the night. They did some really nice things visually. The biggest problem was the guard. Itís very small and sometimes only a few members of the guard are used. It was almost like they didnít have a guard at some points in the show. Ending was fantastic- couldnít even hear it because the crowd was so loud. I had them in a close 8th (on Phantomís heels). Judges thought 12th - 84.65. Of course the penalty bumps their "real" score up to 88.25, which is good enough for 10th... but is still frankly an insult.

PHANTOM REGIMENT: This is a hard one. There were things I loved about this show, and things I didnít like. The opener was purely awesome. Great runs, fantastic brass. However, I take issue here. Every single time their brass had any demanding moments - throughout the entire show - they were stationary. It makes me say, "big deal! What corps out there couldnít play those runs with brilliant clarity if they were stationary?" Itís not difficult to learn to play killer runs in a stationary position. Visually I thought the design was very poor. There wasnít any clarity to their transitions from form to form. It was like nice form, blob, nice form, blob, and so on throughout the entire show. Festive Overture had its ups and downs also. Moments were thrilling, others seemed incoherent. Guard was great. Horns were wonderful- but I would like to see how they are if they actually moved while playing those insane runs. I thought 7th. Judges thought 6th - 90.55.

CROSSMEN: Great show... top to bottom. Guard was incredible. Horns and percussion were great. Loved the horn moves. Very well done. I thought they had a solid lock on 6th. Judges put them 7th - 90.40.

GLASSMEN: Liked this show a lot. I thought, however, that it could have been more entertaining. It seemed the whole show, except for the ballad, consisted of alternating brass hits and percussion features. It was still very impressive. Brass and percussion were tight. Very loud on the impacts. Quite a great show overall. I really appreciate their effort. Visual package was excellent. A very well deserved 5th. They got what I thought they should have, 93.80.

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD: My biggest disappointment of the night. This show seems incomplete across the board - from start to finish. Short Ride seems like it was hosed so much that it is just a skeleton of a piece. I didnít like the chant at all... they stand still. Although the guard was cool during the chant. Great brass line. Guard was very good. Show is in no way shape or form a championship caliber show. 94.90. They were put right where I thought they should be.

Side note: A man wearing an SCV Staff Shirt came up after SCV was done performing and sat behind us. When SCVís score was announced, he chimed "bull$hit!" Then he said, "I donít see how Cavies can win with that. I mean that was f&*(ing $hit!" Very surprised to see someone apparently affiliated with SCV making comments like that.

CADETS: FANTASTIC!!!!!! This was hands down my favorite show of the night. Who cares if the pieces donít go together? They are all entertaining and the Cadets perform the hell out of them. They are judged on how they perform, not what they perform. Excellent across the board. Brass was hands down the best of the night. Guard was great. I thought 1st. Judges put them 3rd - 96.70. My money for Saturday night is now on the Cadets. WOW!

CAVALIERS: Eh? Donít have much to say. Very well performed, but not what I was expecting. Not nearly at the level of last years show - from a design standpoint. Well performed. I thought 3rd. Judges put them 1st - 97.20.

BLUE DEVILS: I have said on this board that I thought their drill was easy. Well- I was totally wrong. This drill was great and had some really tough demand within it. They performed it very well. Excellent show- top to bottom. Liked their visual show better than anyoneís tonight - never thought I would say that. They did some cool things out there. Guard was wonderful. Brass didnít seem as tight as Iím used to. Thought Cadets would have beaten them through Brass & Percussion. I thought 2nd. Judges put them 2nd - 96.75.

Elliott


This afternoon started off hot and windy. The temperature was well into the 90s, and the winds were strong and gusty. Despite the fact that the upper deck was open for seating and it was extremely hot, the stadium concessions were not available on the upper deck until the show was well under way. It's not like you can just go down a few staircases to get to the first level either. The path down to the first level is way off to the side and ends on the extreme end of the stadium, and then you have to walk back to the middle of the stadium to stairs to take you down to the level to where concessions are served. Then the concession personnel insist on opening the bottled drinks for you and retaining the cap. As a result, you can't close the bottle to reduce the risk of spills, you have to wait much longer in line, and you pay 3 times cost. What a bargain, eh? It is almost impossible to go for a drink between corps and not miss a show.

This type of situation is something that can be addressed by DCI. Concession availability on all decks should be mandated in the contract with the stadium. DCI needs to flex its economic muscle. World Championships is one of the nations top annual conventions. DCI should be sure they are treated as such. I frequently attend conventions all over the country for business, none of which have the attendance the size of DCI, yet we are ALWAYS treated better by the sponsor. Enough of the ranting, and on to the reviews.

Patriots - 72.6
This was my one and only viewing of Patriots, and I must admit that I was disappointed. The music was very inaccessible and unmemorable, the marching was very dirty, there were misses step offs, the tone quality and intonation in the brass was not very good, and the guard attempted several very high or far tosses, and I don't think any of them were caught. I thought their score was WAY too high.

Capital Regiment - 73.45
Like the Patriots, this was my one and only viewing of Capital Regiment; however, I was very impressed by their performance. The musical selections were not only appropriate for the talent level of the corps, they were very entertaining as well. The soloists were excellent, and the drill was very well written for the musical selections, the size of the corps, and the talent level of the kids. There were a few intonation problems in the brass, and the guard had a bit of difficulty with the wind (as did most of the earlier performing corps), but the overall performance was very good. I thought their score was about right, but I thought they had beaten the Spartans. Nice job Capital Regiment!

Spartans - 73.8
Once again, this was my one and only viewing of the Spartans. The Gladiator theme and musical selections were well suited for a corps their size; however, the TQ&I of the brass line left much to be desired. There were MANY interval problems and lots of dirt in the drill. The guard had a lot of difficulty with the wind, but otherwise, seemed pretty good. The percussion line was the dirtiest of the three corps performing so far. I thought their score was too high, and I thought that Capital Regiment beat them handily.

Seattle Cascades - 79.35
This was my first viewing of Seattle cascades, and thankfully it will not be my last. What a wonderful show and performance! This corps could be a Division I corps! The show is very well designed, and was performed fantastically by these kids. I was extremely impressed. There were a few TQ&I problems with the brass, but they were not all that bad. The drum line was very good for a Division II corps. I thought their score was about right, but I thought they beat the Mandarins.

Mandarins - 80.85
This was my first viewing of Mandarins, and I was left thinking to myself - this is a very nice drum corps. Nothing great, nothing terrible - just nice. The brass and percussion are both good, but the brass had several sections that were a bit on the rough side (TQ&I and runs). Their guard is strong once again, but they too experienced difficulty with the gusty winds. I didn't think they had a great show this afternoon - it just seemed kind of flat. I thought that Seattle Cascades buried them this afternoon. Also, they were only 1.2 behind Southwind. Whatever drugs the judges were taking, I'd like to know what they are and where they are getting them. There is absolutely no way that Mandarins are anywhere near that close to Southwind I am sorry to say.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - 72.8
I am afraid that once again a great injustice has been done to the kids in the activity due to the ridiculous way corps make it into quarterfinals these days. Had all of the corps performed in a preliminary round for a shot at quarterfinals, I do not think KK would have made the cut. They were rightfully sitting in last place this year, but received a Quarterfinals position with DCI membership and board representation, yet there are probably several other Div II/III corps that could beat them and deserved that spot. This is the same thing that happened with Tarheel Sun last year, and L'Insolte the year before.

It is obvious this corps got a late start. There were TQ&I problems with the brass, lots of fuzz in the percussion, the guard had a tough show (wind problems, etc.), and the drill still had a lot of dirt left to clean. The biggest crowd reaction came when the pit started playing New York, New York, but alas, it was just a tease. They never actually played the tune. I think they would have had a much better audience response had they closed with that tune, as opposed to the collage of NY themes they used. They could have lost the props too, and the show would have been better off. They added nothing. The soloists were actually quite good. It's really too bad to see this happen. KK has had some very good shows and performances these past few years. I wish they could have gotten an earlier start and had the chance to clean and perform the program on the level it seemed they could have, if they had the time.

Troopers - 76.2
Troopers had the presence of a Division I corps on the field, even though there were Div II corps on the field with greater numbers. They just had more confidence in their performance. They are a young corps this year, and had a few rough spots in their performance as a result (i.e., TQ&I in brass, fuzz in the snares, etc.). They have a very good show from a design standpoint, and they performed it well. As much as I like Aaron Copland, I wish the Troopers would look elsewhere for their repertoire. I thought their score was about right.

Pioneer - 79.3
Their show was much improved since I saw them last in Indianapolis. Their brass line did a good job for their size, and the arrangements were good. Their drum line was back in usual form - solid as a rock for a corps their size. The guard seemed to either have a few new people that had recently learned the show or they recently changed work that a few members had trouble remembering. There were just a few individuals that seemed to be making mistakes throughout the show. Overall, a nice performance from Pioneer. I thought they beat the Mandarins; however, Seattle Cascades deserved to beat them.

Southwind - 82.05
Southwind has a nice show; however, it does seem to lack impact. For a corps their size, I expected more volume during the impact points. Overall, the horn line has a very nice sound, the drum line plays very well, and the guard does a pretty good job. From a design standpoint, it's a good show - it just never really does anything. I thought their placement was correct; however, the spreads were wrong. They should have been closer to Spirit, and MUCH higher than Mandarins.

Spirit - 84.5
This show was an absolute treat. It is well designed, and was performed exceptionally well tonight. The brass sound did get just a bit ragged at the end of the show, but it was most likely due to the energy in which those kids performed. They really poured it on today, and they got a great crowd response. I thought they topped BK and Crown today, and without their .1 penalty, they would have.

Blue Knights - 84.55
OK, I'll just come out and say it - I HATE THIS SHOW. Whoever designed this show should be taken out back and worked over a couple of times. I really feel sorry for the members of BK. The product they were provided is just terrible. They changed the guard uniforms since Indianapolis - they are now light blue with colored spots and lines and crap all over them, rather than white with color spots and lines and crap all over them. The ending of the show has been changed since Indianapolis as well. The new ending is better, and there were no train wrecks like the one in Murphreesboro, but it is still nothing special. They also changed Black Market Juggler even more. It now sounds absolutely nothing like the version performed by the Bridgemen. As for the performance, it was solid. The kids in the corps did the best they could with what they were given. Unfortunately, they were not given much. It is highly unlikely they will make finals, and I thought that Spirit beat them, but I thought they beat Crown.

Colts - 86.4
Overall, the Colts have a very well balanced corps. There are no glaring weaknesses in any section, and there is no one section that stands out from the others. The show is designed appropriately for the talent of the corps, and the corps performed it exceptionally well today. Except for one missed step off in the battle sequence (and it was one really bad missed step off), their show tonight was rock solid. Nice job tonight Colts! I thought their score was correct; however, I thought they beat Crown and Madison beat them.

Carolina Crown - 84.7
Crown was late getting on to the field. They did not get a warm up, and they were still setting up after the DM saluted. I can't remember a time when corps arrived late like this in Championships when they didn't lay a big fat egg. Crown was no exception. Their show was an absolute train wreck, and they received a penalty of 2.5 points for starting late. I felt sorry for them, because I had seen them perform so much better earlier this summer and know they have it in them. I really hate this show. The wood props are just a ugly distracting mess, the wood pieces used by the guard are simply not clean and are not visible because the color of the guard uniforms and the wood are the same, rolling tires around?, sheet metal?, the sheet metal was not even close to being together - it lust looks like an incredibly sloppy mess. This was probably a good idea on paper, but somewhere it went completely awry. I thought that Colts and Madison beat them, and quite possibly BK and Spirit as well, based on their down performance.

Boston Crusaders - 88.55
Boston nailed their performance today. It was very emotional, and received a rousing crowd response. They have added vocalizations to the percussion feature, and they really add nothing to the show. It was better without them. As far as their visual performance - have you ever had a feeling of De ja vu? Or is that de ja Cru? I thought their score was about right; however, I thought that Madison edged them out.

Bluecoats - 89.7
BBBBLLLLLLUUUUUEEEE! What a terrific show from them today! The tango footwork in the brass line was excellent. Their guard is really good, and the overall show is just down right fun to watch. I have not been a big fan of Bluecoats shows in the past, but these past couple of years have really made me a Canton fan. I thought their score and placement were correct.

Madison Scouts - 84.65
Madison, like Crown, was late getting on to the field. Madison; however, did not seem to let it affect their performance at all. They were on fire today! There was one soprano that fell in the opener (can't scuff your feet on turf, ya know?!), but otherwise this was one terrific show. They had a penalty of 3.6 points for starting late, which would have put them just under BAC. I thought they should have beaten BAC, but it was close.

Phantom Regiment - 90.55
SUTA! Wow, what a difference a couple of weeks makes. Phantom changed the end of the show, so now it actually ends like you expect a drum corps show to end. They really cleaned up a ton, and put on one helluva show tonight. I was not a big fan of their show earlier in the year, but after the changes they made and all the cleaning they did, I am a BIG fan of their show now. It is truly a wonderful product that is performed incredibly well. I thought they deserved to beat the Crossmen, but they should have scored much closer to the Glassmen.

Crossmen - 90.4
Crossmen really poured it on tonight - and the show suffered as a result. It was a bit ragged at times, both musically and visually. The show is really entertaining, and it was nice to have three corps in a row with very audience oriented programs. Their guard is amazing, and their drum line is much improved over last year. The horn line was really smoking tonight. Great job Bones!

Glassmen - 93.8
I like this year's edition of the Glassmen. I don't love it, but I don't hate it either. The musical selections could be a bit more "fan friendly", but they are no worse than the Blue Devils. Both shows are filled with short brass bursts, followed by or accompanied with thundering licks, then power chords. Glassmen DO have a visual program. The drill is very good, and has a beautiful flow to it. It is actually interesting to watch. The fluegal horn soloist in the ballad is absolutely amazing. I do wish the guard would use equipment during the ballad, rather then dance; however, the same could be said for BD (as well as others). They also had a pretty ugly fall by one brass player in the opener. Guys - YOU CAN"T SCUFF YOUR FEET ON TURF! Great job tonight Glassmen.

Santa Clara Vanguard - 94.9
Awesome performance tonight by SCV! This is the first time I have seen them really fired up when they performed. They had an extremely emotional performance. Their show is an absolute treat to watch. They have added even more visuals along the whole time/clock/watch theme that have added to the program. The crowd LOVED New Era - especially the bottle dance tease. I thought they beat both the Cadets and Blue Devils tonight.

Cadets - 96.7
The runs added to the beginning of the show (ala 1997) really add nothing. It's like having 2 introductions. The first one is like "hey, look at how many notes we can cram into the opening seconds of the show", then on to the show. It just doesn't fit well, and seems like a desperate attempt to try and fix a flawed show design. They have added a lot of vocalizations - A LOT of them. Again, they add nothing. I am less than impressed by Cadets this year. They spend so much time standing still and meandering around the field. WHY NOT MARCH for crying out loud! The "curvy I am not a rifle thingies" still look like rifles. Sorry George, they just do. Even my 9-year-old thought they were bent rifles. This show simply does not do anything for me. The performance is excellent. The brass line is amazing, and worthy of the top brass honors. The drum line is tight, and should be in contention for top percussion honors. The guard is good - when they are doing work. The rest of the show just seems to sit there. All the while, the design team has added more runs and guard vocalizations in a vain attempt to convince us that the show is really something. Sorry guys. Better luck next year. I thought their score was about right, but I thought that SCV beat them.

Cavaliers - 97.2
Cavies just seemed a bit flat to me tonight. Their show is a visual treat, even though there is still a bit of dirt and body carriage issues. The drum line is like a machine. The guard is fantastic. The brass is the best they have had in a long long time. They performed well tonight, and deserved the score they got. The show just seemed a bit flat. If they turn it on tomorrow and Saturday night, I think they will be unstoppable.

Blue Devils - 96.75
I pretty much feel the same way about BD as I do about Glassmen. They have a nice show that I neither love nor hate. Someone posted recently that BD's arrangements sound so angry. I think that pretty much sums up this year's edition. The drum line plays at 3 dynamic levels - nothing, LOUD, and F@$*%&G LOUD! I thought they were a bit flat tonight. Technically, they perform extremely well. It's just that their performance is like a hospital - clean, but totally devoid of emotion. I thought that SCV edged them out tonight.

Tim Kviz


I just returned home last night from quarterfinals. I had a great seat..5 seats off the 50 and half way up the lower deck. It was hot, but not nearly as bad as it could've been seeing temps. elsewhere, and it was nice at night. The stadium has an excellent sound.

Patriots: good musical quality at times in both brass and percussion, but inconsistent in brass today. Percussion played very well at times. Guard had a rough day...many drops. Music was a bit abstract, and lacked continuity and emotion. I had them above Spartans and a toss-up with Capital Regiment...

Capital Regiment: a spirited performance. Had some good sounding moments, but also lapses in tone quality/blend/intonation. Percussion had some consistency performance problems, too. a good young corps.

Spartans: They performed with emotion. However, major problems in brass tone quality and intonation, imo the roughest of the day brass-wise. Percussion also had execution concerns. OK visual show. I had them last due to significant brass problems.

Seattle: Great opening with big sound and energy...unfortunately had trouble sustaining that energy level. They play very well at times, but then tended to lapse in easier sections. Fairly large size.....if they don't rush things, they could develop into a major division I player in the near future. I had them neck and neck with Mandarins. Overall score, though, for both Seattle and Mandarins WAY too high, and both should have finished below Pioneer and significantly behind Southwind.

Mandarins: they do perform very well with a small hornline, and displayed alot of confidence. All sections were competent, with some interesting music. Field spreads seemed to be a bit big for such a small corps, but they did perform well, although I do not think the effect levels were the level of the scores given, which seemed very inflated.

Kiwanis Kavaliers: Considering they had such a rough season, they did not perform badly. I don't think the kids were given much of a vehicle show-wise, as the arrangements didn't sell. I felt they were better than the first 3 corps in terms of quality and maturity of performance, but they were spared no mercy judging-wise today.

Troopers: From a quality standpoint, it was not a bad performance here. They need better musical arrangements, and they shoot themselves in the foot by playing charts that have already been done in the past by champion corps....you can't help but compare.....they have talent to build on here......

Pioneer: A good performance today. This is another corps that could use more effective arrangements....they perform well, but they need a vehicle. I still had them in semis, and was somewhat floored that they were edged by Seattle and Mandarins.....

Southwind: I thought they played a nice job today. The hornline has a fine musical sound and balance most of the time. More impact could've helped sell this show. The arrangements were interesting, but seemed to lack continuity a bit. Proficient in all captions, I did feel there score was a bit low, and should have been way ahead of those behind them.

Spirit: 1st surprise of the day for me. I saw them on 6/30, and they were big but ragged. I also noticed stagnant scores in July. Somebody did homework. They did a job today, especially brass-wise, and sold the program. They came a long way since June, and it is a shame they came up a bit short..in many a year this show would've been in. I had them over Blue Knights.

Blue Knights: the talent was there, but not the vehicle. If they wanted to succeed at field humor/etc., they should have gone back and studied some old Bridgemen and VK shows. The performance level was ok, but they did not generate much excitement. Good percussion with a very resonant snare sound. Hopefully will come up with better arrangements and be back strong next year.

Colts: Balanced in all sections; no huge strengths, but no big weaknesses, either. Show has some good musical moments and a decent visual program.

Crown: When I saw this 6/30, I wasn't buying it. Whereas I still think they had trouble selling this program, they did improve much and were performing, and they did try something different...Especially noteworthy were solid performances in percussion and guard. Sopranos were weak at times.

Boston: They had a fine visual program with a well-integrated guard. Unfortunately, the music arrangements don't have the continuity or fire of last year's. They did have some difficult sections. Brass did not reach high performance level as others in their scoring range. Still, they have come a long when you compare them to where they were 3 years ago.

Bluecoats: Very full brass sound, and they played a fine music job today. They were noticeably tighter in ensemble than last week in Philly. They sold their show pretty well and gave a solid performance.

Madison: biggest brass sound of the day, yet maintained control. Arrangements have deceptive difficulty when you consider the dynamic range demanded of the performers as well as the range of the horn, especially sopranos. The arrangments were also well-written, had great continuity/emotion, and they sold them. Percussion and ensemble were solid, too. I do agree that they need to step up the visual program in order to contend again, although they did seem to execute their drill well. I felt they were underscored based on strong musical performance as well as music effect.

Phantom Regiment: Their written musical book is imo the best thing on the field this year. Full supported sound with excellent blend and articulation in the brass. Arrangements have continuity and emotion so lacking in many other programs. They sold this show. I feel they are also closer visually to corps above them than the numbers given to them, and also felt the corps was underscored. They are taking heat percussion-wise, which leads me to believe that the judges are not intimately familiar with the original works, as the percussion is arranged very well, but doesn't distract from the brass line. They have a bit of dirt there, but are not getting credit for musicality. This is a fine corps that IMO should have been 4th and on TV....Glassmen musically are nowhere close to this corps.

Crossmen: strong in all captions today, and they have a good musical book which also sells. Color guard does much to sell the visual program, and percussion is much improved over last year, fits well, and performed well. The middle is tough this year, but I had them in 6th, behind Phantom, and just above Madison.....below Madison in Music, perc. a toss-up, and significantly ahead of Madison in visual/CG, and solidly above Glassmen.

Glassmen: great drill and strong percussion. Weak arrangements: overuse of dissonance, using resolved power chords (which they play well) to try to "make it alright". Some noticeable articulation and intonation problems. Brass and GE Music numbers for this corps are HORRIBLY inflated. Arrangements lack continuity and emotion. Show comes off as "drill with musical accompaniment". Perhaps I could buy their placement with a strong brass book and performance, but I'm sorry, it's not there. I had them in 9th overall....5th in percussion and visual, but 10th in brass and GE Music.

SCV: They played with much emotion in the beginning and at the end of the show. Unfortunately, there was some horrible overblowing in the baritones, losing sound quality and intonation. They also had some very noticeable articulation/support problems in Sopranos in the opener. Overuse of dissonance, and not much melodic content in the musical book. Effective drill, and strong color guard. Percussion was interesting and musical. Problems with both brass arrangements and brass performance should have cost them, but didn't...I had them in 5th overall, solidly behind Phantom, and battling Cavaliers for that spot.

Cadets: I thought they really performed well today. Both brass and percussion did fine performance jobs...they were noticeably better in visual today than at Phily last week. Moondance had better phrasing today.....it still doesn't fit the rest of the show, though. However, Young Person's Guide and Farandole are both great pieces of music that they played very well. Perhaps their biggest problem is comparison to themselves....this show is not as strong as last years, but they still perform like a champion. I had them in 2nd, behind not Cavaliers, but Blue Devils.

Cavaliers: best visual program on the field, and a fine drumline in a battle for first there as well. Brass??? NO WAY. Folks, this is an 8th place hornline. Sopranos were weak in support in many places. Lack of melodic content. Balance problems overshadowing what melody there is at times. Overuse of dissonance. Noticeable blend problems. How this brass book is winning music GE is beyond comprehension. I have no problem with them winning GE Visual, but they shouldn't even be in the game in GE Music. I had them vying for 5th overall with SCV.

Blue Devils: There is no weakness in this corps. Superb brass sound. Percussion is back to very high execution levels, and has a demanding program. Visual is performed very well, and CG has impeccable timing and attention to detail. If there is any qualm at all here, they need to try to pour more emotion into the performance, as they have a "machine like" quality to them. If they do that and thus sell effect, they should be the champions this year.

General observations: the top 5 corps did not receive any number lower than 6th place in QF (Glassmen 6th in Music Ensemble). I do not believe that the top 5 drills were also the top 5 musical programs, either in brass book, performance, or GE Music. As I have said before, if you have a great drill, in DCI you are GUARANTEED a strong musical number regardless of actual music book/performance. Food for thought. Enjoy the finals!!!

GB B.S. Music Ed.
M.M. Music Performance

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