Hi. I had upper deck seats on the 50 yard line this year 0 so a great view of the shows;
For Drumlines, here is my impression of the top corps;
1. Blue Devils
Of course there aren't any scores published for drumline, which makes it more interesting. The Blue Devils snareline is very very good. They had some complex rhythmic stuff, which was well blended with the pit, resulting in some striking passages. I only detected one rough spot, and it was a very difficult exposed passage at the beginning of their third piece, where they have to hit t it cold without any sort of comfortable downbeat rhythm to sink their teeth into. very difficult!
The Bluecoats show starts of with a clapping miked rhythm across their different parts of the ensemble. They were spot on. The opening snare line passage is done on one of their props, and was very clean and challenging. In fact, the whole show was performed well by their drumline - I would have liked to have heard more from them, as I thought some of the other drum lines actually had more playing time throughout the show ( like Crown for instance). I have more to say about Bluecoats show at the end of this review.
For SCV, their show was the most traditional of the night, with the most marching drill of any of the corps, and the least use of props and more traditional guard writing. Their show flowed very nicely. The drumline writing is complex technically, but they had more rough spots which offer opportunities of improvement as the season continues. Like maost of the corps, they have exposed quad features, bass drum features, and at the beggining of the show, the pit percussion carries the music.
The Cadets drumline also has a lot of quality and demand written into their book, but they had a few times where the snareline came apart a bit. I will say that they do have the longest drumrolls out of all of the corps, and they were clean. Pit percussion was excellent as well. The problem with the show is that it just doesn't flow. It seems to have been written in segments that don't connect well, in my opinion. So they are playing something intense and detailed in the hornline, and then it drops to nothing the next second. There is nothing wrong with demonstrating that you can play subtlety, as that is a skill, but the audience should be able to experience the flow of a good show, and this show ain't it. I did like the violin player addition. I couldn't appreciate what the color guard was doing as much as with many of the other corps- they didn't really stick out. I do get the whole turning from stone into more active forms as they pull off their uniforms throughout the show - I just don't know how much it contributes to the general effect of the show.
Crown's drumline plays very physical. They tended to warm into their show and did miss their first big attack. Exposure to error was good and they played pretty much continuously throughout their show, which i like. I felt that the technical writing of their snarebook wasn't quite up with the other mentioned corps however. Crown's pit percussion performance was my favorite of the night.
Just a note - the Cavies show was super intense on many levels. Way better than in recent years in my opinion. The audience can really get into their show. If they can get technically clean in all aspects of their show they could catch the Cadets score-wise. A really good show!
So I saw later when I got home that the Bluecoats won the show- they deserved the win! They absolutely blew the doors off of their show- and had no phasing problems across the ensemble like some of the other corps did - resulting in a very powerful performance! They were the only corps that separated their pit members away from each other on the sideline, which is interesting. Their hornline is awesome this year! They had a continuous mix of ensemble versus soloists playing across the field and on their props, and it all fit nicely and had a great general effect from my vantage point. They used the space of the field well for their hornline playing. They were very powerful. ( better than just loud). Not a lot of subtle music passages though. Just very powerful. They did have a blind toss of their flags sequence which they pulled off. ( flags come flying from behind their slide props and get caught on cue by the visible guard members.
So at the beginning of the show, the announcer mentioned the scoring captions - things have certainly changed over the years. There were two visual captions and a separate color guard caption - really a de-emphasis on music and marching demand in my opinion. There was no drum judge on the field, and I think the category was percussion ensemble or something like that. Pretty much a new world.