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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2003 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews
As posted to R.A.M.D. and submitted to Sound Machine

Page Two 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:
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Friday June 27

Stockton, CA (DCI Pacific)

Well, since nobody else seems really interested in writing a review for the Stockton, CA show, I suppose I'll give it a try and see if it helps any of you out. First review, no notes, not really in the know when it comes to the technical nitty-gritty, so cut me some slack.


Blue Devils C (Concord, CA) - What can I say? Simply amazing what these young kids can do. From what I can tell, they played something I remember BD-A playing back in 2000, and I was dumbfounded. Good job by BD-C. It's no surprise that BD-A is what it is today with these kids.


River City Regiment (Sacramento, CA) - 53.10 - New corps, from what i've seen and read. I have to say, after having seen the Renegades it's a bit difficult finding anyone that can smack the crowd as well as they can. However, River City Regiment did perform well tonight and pleased the crowd. Being new, they are relatively small and really can't do a great deal as far as drill goes. They were moving though, and did their best to create visual effect. The drum line was solid, along with the horn line, and the corps was overall well received by the crowd and myself. Well done, and hope to see them bigger and better next year.

Division II

Fever (Modesto, CA) - 52.80 - WOW. I mean, there was dirt, there were holes, but this is their first year! You can see that the members and staff mean business because I thought what they performed this year for their first time was incredible. Again, being new they were pretty small and the drill reflected that, but I see their drill becoming exciting and effective once they get more members on the field. Unfortunately I didn't pay much attention to the drum line, but from what I could hear in the horns they were suffering from some intonation problems. All in all, good effort by Fever, and I'm anxious to see what they can pull off next year.

Blue Devils B (Concord, CA) - 63.10 - Blue Devils B performed well, as I anticipated, perhaps a little better than in past years. They definitely take their cleanliness from their big brothers, and their horn lines and drum lines have BD written all over them. From what I can remember, there wasn't much in the drill department, but their impacts and volume were surprising (perhaps not so surprising considering their big brothers). Good job by BD-B, and once again it's easy to understand the level of excellence BD-a achieves with these kids performing they way they do.

Vanguard Cadets (Santa Clara, CA) - 66.30 - Deserving of the win in Division II tonight. Drill a little dirty, but it is early in the season, and that goes for everyone that was dirty tonight. Their horn line rocked, and the volume clarity were impressive by all accounts. The drum line was awesome as well, and the times I caught them I remember thinking, HOLY CRAP, are they playing that? The drill was something that you expect from any corps affiliated with the SCV organization, and in my opinion has a great deal to do with the point spread between the Vanguard Cadets and BD-B. The corps was moving, using a lot of the field, and was just having a good night, if I may make that assessment. Nice job by Vanguard Cadets, enjoyable as always.

Division I

Troopers (Casper, WY) - 57.15 - Enjoyed them. A lot. First time I saw them in CA a couple of years ago I wasn't thrilled. Thought they were awesome tonight, though. I thought their music selections were good, and felt they did a decent job executing. Their drill was a little dirty and slightly lackluster, but something they can work to clean up and add to as the season progresses. Thought their horn line was good, for the most part but nothing in the drum line stood out to me as spectacular, as so many did later in the night. I was glad I was able to see these guys again because this time around it seemed like an entirely different corps to me, cleaner and more exciting altogether. Hope to see them out west next year.

Pacific Crest (Diamond Bar, CA) - 65.55 - I've been watching this corps get bigger and better over the past few years, and I enjoyed their style immensely. They always had a big, bold, dark sound, and they were always on the clean side for so early in the season. This year, they were good, but not all I had hoped they would be. They were great, there is no doubt about that. Their horn line was amazing as usual. The volume wasn't quite there to me, but they play the notes and play them well. They chose latin music this year, jazzier, lighter music than they had performed before and I wasn't quite ready for that. I thought that Pacific Crest has carved their niche in the more classical, abstract area, but this was great none the less. As with the Troopers, I don't remember their drum line catching my eye by performing any spectacular feats, but judging by the quality of this corps I imagine they were good as well. As for the guard and the use of the boxes, I really had no problem with the boxes and thought they were great effect for the first impact in the opener. Perhaps, that should've been it, though. They stacked them later on, and the corps marched in behind them during the end of one of the movements blasting the audience, and I didn't really quite get why they did that. Maybe there wasn't any reason for it, but I thought aside from the beginning and the use of the boxes in the closer, maybe the boxes should've been put to rest. In any case, great drill and great horn line from Pacific Crest tonight.

Mandarins (Sacramento, CA) - 66.10 - They were great tonight, but I think that the build-up of a lot of these corps is starting to take its toll on me. From what I had been reading and hearing, it seemed like the popularity of this corps had just exploded, so I was expecting a significant member increase from the last time I saw them. Perhaps there was and I just didn't notice it, but they seemed about the same size to me. Their size, however, has never held them back from performing extremely well, in all captions. The horn line was amazing tonight and during impacts blew the crowd away with their power. The drum line was cookin' tonight, and from what I could tell performed the hell out of their book. Drill was good as well, and I thought cleaner than a corps that placed ahead of them tonight. I seem to remember a lot of fast drill, at times running, creating some excellent visuals. The uniforms were different than I remember them being, still kind of big and baggy, but not nearly as bulky and riddled with ropes and whatnot. A good move, in my opinion. Overall, a great performance by them, and I'm extremely happy to see that they are getting better every year. Hopefully, they'll break into the top 12 in a couple years.

Seattle Cascades (Seattle, WA) - 68.00 - Glad to see them still going strong, and getting better every year. They were good tonight, but I had Mandarins above them. The horn line was great and packed a lot of power and the drum line was up there as well, but I didn't see much in drill as I had expected. The drill was dirty tonight from what I could tell Though the horn line performed well, I didn't care much for their musical selections. The guard, which is something I wasn't too enthralled by the good part of the night, I thought complemented the horn and drum lines well, but I had Seattle behind the Mandarins, and definitely not above them by nearly 2 points. In any case, good performance by the Cascades, and I wish them luck on the rest of their season.

Blue Knights (Denver, CO) - 69.40 - I saw the Blue Knights a couple of years ago when they came out to CA. It was the year they saw a dramatic fall in their overall placements, and the year they performed a show based upon a cartoon theme. At the time, I wasn't impressed. This year is an entirely different story, however. I expected something better from them, and I got what I wanted. The horn line was quite good, and their musical selections I enjoyed immensely. I thought the show had a good amount of energy, and I thought that was partly conveyed through the decent amount of drill that was there. I remember a lot of running from these guys, and a lot of movement across the field. Dirty, yes, but exciting. Their drum line was also amazing, and I remember one or two great moments from them, I believe one of those times being the solo. This was another corps whose guard I noticed. The guard had some great points, especially during the first impact in the opener where the guard opened up with flags of bright primary colors. It was a solid visual. I'm happy to see that they have taken a step in the right direction as far as reclaiming their top 12 status goes. Great work, and hope to see you in CA next year.

Santa Clara Vanguard (Santa Clara, CA) - 76.75 - I'll first have to say that I am a hardcore Santa Clara fan, through and through. From the first time I saw them 6 years ago, I was hooked. As far as tonight goes, I thought the show was great. There was one thing though that stuck out to me time and again as I watched the show: the drum line. WOW. They were smokin' tonight. Absolutely on FIRE. Perhaps the best drum line that I can remember ever seeing from them. From the end of the opener, to this jam thing they do later on, to the closer, I noticed no weaknesses in the drum line, whatsoever. Amazing. As for the rest of the show, I enjoyed the music a lot and picked up on the concept of the show without much difficulty. The horn line was great, coming in at second loudest of the night. I thought they played their horn book quite well, but it seemed like there were a few impact points missing from the show. I wanted a little more impact. Their drill was astonishing, as usual, though dirty. Some lines were off, but the drill and feet were cleaner than I had expected after I had read some reviews from earlier shows. I actually happened to notice that their marching technique was GREAT, throughout the entire show. They have so much to clean though. Another thing I noticed about the drill was that there was no AMAZING signature move in this show, like the "arrow-box", and the closer ended with the corps in a couple random formations like a circle and a rectangle, I believe, and perhaps a couple other formation, but nothing memorable as in years past. I had hoped that they would pull out some INSANE move like they did in '99, but the closest thing I saw was a move from the opener that they repeated later on in the show that consisted of the corps in 2 halves of what was to become a box, each half marching in some ludicrously fast and chaotic snaking and weaving into the aforementioned box. It was cool, but it was no "arrow-box". The guard uniforms were nice, and the flag and equipment work was better than I remember it being in years past, and I thought the guard complimented the rest of the corps, very well. Despite a couple of my own personal gripes about the show, I thought it was awesome, and I hope they clean it and perfect is so that they can pull something off by the end of the season. Good luck, SCV.

Blue Devils (Concord, CA) - 80.80 - I'm an SCV fan, but I'm also west coast drum corps fan, so it is incredibly easy for me, based on the performance put on tonight by the Blue Devils, that they were the undisputed winners of tonight's competition and that they performed one hell of a show tonight. The horn line was on FIRE tonight, not to mention their drum line as well. It was a well put together show that the staff and members have worked on to make absolutely AMAZING. The opener is great, with the theme following into the closer and well. This first impact was exciting, along with the many other impacts throughout the show. The drum line has some awesome moments where they played on the racks of cymbals set up near the pit, then later on playing them out on the field and absolutely wailing on them. There were times where everything came together, where the horn and drum lines were playing in the crowd's face and the guard was doing something to effectively compliment the rest of the corps, and it was mind-blowing. Lots of energy in every part of the corps, and the drill, though very BD in style, was the cleanest of the night. Some dirt, but undoubtedly the cleanest. They actually pulled off some really past paced runs, one part I remember in the opener in particular when the horn line is playing loudly and the members, in a parallelogram type shape, are running forward through lines of other horn members and the form is just flying across the field. There were some spectacular drill moments, and the fact that it was clean helped to make it that much better. I thought the music selection were great and were of the BD style, it just seemed that they lacked a little dynamic contrast. I know BD style is to play well and play LOUD when you're supposed to, it just seemed like they were playing loud too much of the time. When it was an impact though, there was no denying that the power and volume of this corps was above the rest. Amazing performance tonight, and I expect the Blue Devils to do A LOT come finals this year. Well done, BD.

One thing I have to say about the scores at the top is that I think the point spread was a little too big between SCV and BD. 4+ points seems like quite a discrepancy when it seemed like SCV had actually done quite a bit of cleaning since their last show. Well, what's done is done.

All in all, a good night of drum corps. Nice weather (fricken' hot earlier in the day though), decent seats, and awesome performances by every corps. Good luck to everyone making it out to the DCI championships this year. It's going to be a good year, but I really have no idea how it's all going to end up. Hope this review helps everyone get an idea of what the night was like.


East Rutherford, NJ (DCI Atlantic)

Ok folks.. so I was there tonight.. Id like to give my thoughts... I didnt want to.. but someone asked me to... and she knows who she is.. so if you get mad at me.. blame her. LOL

first off: weather was FINALLY weather for this show I can remember in years... probably the first without rain since the late 80s!

first corps up was the Raiders.... nice smaller corps. It is very early in the season for them and a lot of corps. They are small, had some intonation problems with overplaying... your usual early season gaffes ... but overall a very enjoyable smaller corps that I look forward to seeing again.

Carolina This corps wants back into the game BIG time. New unis are very nice looking.. kind of like the 93 Star unis with purple stripes across the chest and shako. Very clean. Sound was phenominal... Music they played was also done by SCV a few years back. Gone are the Home Depot props and they have gone back to good solid drum corps. Cant wait to see how this show develops.. and with what looks to be a knock out punch to Boston due to some massive virus.. there will be an open 'spot' to take.... they may just be able to make it back to the big dance.

Bluecoats... they continued and picked up where last years show left off... mature, full sound.. awsome looking and jazzy. They are SUPER clean for only June..... should be interesting to see where they fix and tinker... I only hope they dont peak TOO early!

Xmen.... this show has SO much room for growth... they are rocking as it is now.. but I feel the corps doesnt have the feel and confidence in Rondo ala Turk yet... but when that clicks? Watch out Blue... They bring back the entry drill move from last season in the closer... loads of emotion...

Cavies... what can I say. The drill is the best thing I have yet seen in my years watching drum corps. Simply put. Amazing... The guard unis.. um.. looks like Sponge Bob Square Pants and Kermit the frog at like 30 tadpoles... those who've seen them.. tell me I am lyin. What do numbers on the backs of the guard have to do with a 'spin cycle'? Anyone? Well.. the music bored me to tears... so its the same old from Cavies.. visually amazing.. musically clean but boring... but man.. a great show... I think they might pull off the 4th title.. time will tell.

Cadets... its no secret I am an ardent Cadet supporter.. but I am MAJORLY bummed. First of all.. the new unis? Look like SHIT. When they turn around? All the jackets are out of the cumberbunds... they look horrible.. GREAT JOB CESARIO.. YOU'VE DESTROYED YET ANOTHER UNIFORM.. ugh. From a distance the only difference someone might see other than that is the top of the shakos now have maroon fabric...

Music... I dont know... its early... good at times... kind of loses me in others.

drill? I throw my hands up... I guess after watching the Cavies come out and blow me away it was unfair.. but.... Its no secret that I don't care too much for the drill writing... nothing personal against Jeff... I just see ALL the same tendencies neigh same moves or parts thereof again and again... loops and pass throughs... I dont know.. I watch the old shows and the drill doesnt do ANYTHING for me anymore...

heres a question: why have the Cadets done nothing but old ideas and shows of late? Everything is rehashed and old ideas... Anyone else seeing this? Note to George.... if ya can't think of something new.. (aside from adding guitars and mouth harps) maybe its time to let someone new in to run things and you run the marching band end like you want anyway??? Just a suggestion...

overall a good show... for early in the season... looking forward to seeing the Westchester University show in July...

peace all.


Just some quick thoughts about the Meadowlands show. (Note: we got there late so the first corps I saw was Crown).

Visual Design
1. Cavaliers
2. Cadets
3. Crown
4. Bluecoats
5. Crossmen

No surprise here. Cavaliers are years ahead of the pack. They are constantly moving. The spinning theme works extremely well and they do a lot of interesting things with it. Also, color guard is perfectly integrated. By comparison, Cadets show seems very static. Too many block moves or just plain standing around. Often the CG is way off to the side, as during the "hit" in Malaguena - the horns and drums are to the right, the guard is to the left. Your attention is divided, which lessens the impact. Crown has some nice moments, especially their opening drill which is reminiscent of Cadets 2000. Guard uniforms look like they are made from those thermal blankets they give to marathon runners. They have a nice effect under the lights. Bluecoats are smooth with a good, well-integrated guard, but not very innovative. Crossmen with those dark dark uniforms just don't have much visual impact. Way too much park and blow.

Visual Performance
1. Cadets
2. Bluecoats
3. Cavaliers
4. Crossmen
5. Crown

Cadet are marching well as an ensemble. Their forms and transitions are clear, lines are straight, intervals are consistent. Cavaliers have excellent individual technique but are dirty as hell except for the first two minutes. Wind caused several drops in the guard. Bluecoats do a nice job with a relatively undemanding book. Crossmen probably look dirtier just because of their uniforms. Crown is hitting their sets, but has a lot of interval, dress and cover issues not to mention phasing.

Music Repertoire
1. Cadets
2. Bluecoats
3. Crossmen
4. Crown
5. Cavaliers

Cadets have a fun show. Interestingly, Malaguena was the highlight of the evening. It is different from any of Hawthorne's or Madison's versions, but it still cooks right along and generates a high level of excitement. Fanfare and Allegro and RPH were relatively tame. I prefer the '83 RPH. This time around, they decided to throw in "references" to other pieces and it really detracts from the integrity of the piece. Bluecoats, I don't know what they are playing but it's kind catchy. I think there theme is "catch and release" or something like that. They do a tango number that is pretty good. Crossmen have a good opener in SOTR. Good enough to give a few chills and bring back memories of Sky Ryders and Cavaliers. I was expecting more from the rest of their show. Blue Rondo is nice, but there is this section where the horns retreat to the back left corner of the field and do some drill that is just distracting and not real appropriate for the music. Drum line kicks ass with those rackmount things. Cavaliers, oy vey! About the only thing I can say is that this music is far less distinguished than anything they've played in the last 5 years. Crown has some nice musical moments the Carol of the Bells turns out to be a pretty decent closer.

Music Performance
1. Cadets
2. Crossmen
3. Bluecoats
4. Cavaliers
5. Crown

Cadet really get into their show with a very talented and musical line. They also generated the most volume, had the best soloists, plus good TQ&A. A few splatty attacks and missed releases, but nothing major. F&A needs to come up a few notches to match the intensity of Malaguena. RPH is a bit of a let down, but this seems to be a problem with the arrangement, not the performance. Crossmen also generated volume and excitement but were a little more raw. Bluecoats are smooth, but a little too restrained. Cavaliers were barely audible but inoffensive. Crown is good, but not nearly at the level of the first 3. They are really lacking an upper register sop/trumpet sound.

Cavaliers are riding their visual design. Nothing about their performance justifies their numbers right now. Their show is not nearly as captivating as last year, but this may be because they are not executing. Once they get that edge, this could be another monster. Cadets need to go back to the original RPH, add some new drill moves and integrate the guard. Then they might challenge Cavaliers. Too often during Cadets I was thinking "why are they just standing there?" Do something! I think Bluecoats will continue to stay ahead of Crossmen. They march better, have better drill design and play just about as well but without as much energy. Crown has a lot of room for improvement. Frankly, I was surprised to see them so close. Here too, I think it is an issue of their visual design being better than Crossmen or 'Coats. They could move up if their performance improves.

BTW, The crowd was huge. The lower tier was packed from endzone to endzone. There were a fair number of people in the upper tier as well. I would estimate the crowd around 8000 to 10000.

Vincent Ferrera

Long Day yesterday so sorry this was not sooner.

It was a great day to be a Drum Corps fan here, the predicted late afternoon thunder showers only produced a few sprinkles, and then cooler air blew into the stadium just short of the contest start.

I left work around 2 PM to pick up the entourage and while walking to my car heard a beautiful, powerful symphonic chord. I drove 1/2 mile to Whippany Park HS to find The Cavaliers practicing chart # 90 something, the day was off to a great start!

Congrats to the YEA organization for a well run, on time contest. Those excited about the impending demise of Drum Corps probably collapsed over the pre-contest Horn ensemble, which combined band instruments ( yes- multiple woodwinds included) and the after contest encore by The Cadets and Crossmen - with an amplified trumpeter!

My general impressions of the Corps is that all the corps seemed to be missing their drill marks a little, (lines - spacing - shapes - forms), but were really good for early in the season. The color guard work, was really on, especially rifle and saber tosses, for this early in the season. Everyone on the field Friday night should be proud of their performances, and look forward to a great 2003 season.

Here are my individual corps impressions:

Wayne Raiders : They played the often discussed "Carmina Burana" and did a fine job with it. They fielded a good size percussion and pit section, but were a little light in the guard and horns. Although a few folks overplayed on occassion, the Raiders presented a good full sound with good field coverage - keep up the good work!

Carolina Crown : I LOVE this corps; the new uniforms look great and the color guard unis really complement the new look. Their guard work was superb, the low voices in the longchords really made my night! This was my favorite program of the night, I thought the "Bellisimo" idea was tremendous. Needless to say I did not agree with their placement, nor did I agree with the spread between 1-2 and 3-4-5.

Bluecoats : Another fine program, with some great drill moves. My wife and In Laws were horrified at the crowd booing before they even started, until I explained they were shouting "Blue"!. and soon so was my group. Great horns, drums , guard and they look pretty good to.

Crossmen : I don't understand how they are scoring low, the XMen seemed to have everything going to me, even though I am really not a big fan of their style. Hopefully all this talk about flags will explain why they are running around with purple flags while playing "BLUE Rondo a la Turk"? Xmen unis look much better to me under lights.

Cavaliers : Great show, although I feel they can be beaten. Great guard - corps balance in the Drill, plus great flag work. I never thought I would look at it this way, but to me the visual balance was one reason why Cadets are not catching them. My father in law the music lover stated " Their music leaves much to be desired", but I did like it ( BIG FULL SYMPHONIC SOUND). This one is hard for me to understand: Drums - it seemed to me they were often backfield and there did not seem to be a great deal of demand ( I usually love Cavies Drums). I think the guard uniforms are great, and a great program, a really entertaining show.

Cadets : Great show, definitely one with championship potential. I do not know how they scored low in Drums, my impression was no one else was even close. Great full sounding horns, drill (IMHO) seemed to be where Cavies would best them. They move a lot (unlike the last two years), but the color guard lacks integration with the entire corps. I do not care for the moving warmup, it lacks emphasis, and the finale has my pet peeve with all the programs- retreating into a block formation and attempting to blow the house down - these new horns do not produce shrill power, but they sure do produce huge - rich- symphonic chords - please show designers- add a little kick to these endings. Cavaliers did'nt seem to end, more like they stopped- and Cadets execute the crowd favorite Z-pull ( end on this please!) and then retreat into a box with a few notes.

Kudo to YEA for making a great evening for musicians young and old, and for presenting a wonderful well run and entertaining show.

frankiE (I am from Jersey)

Attended my first outdoor viewing of drum corps for the season. And here's the review......... (Kind of long and sorry for any typos)

Weather: Hazy and hot through the day and temp hanging around 92 Degrees. As the night went on it became cooler and cooler.

National Anthem: Played by a small brass ensemble of the Cadets hornline.... Nice sound and nice job.

The Cadets hosted a clinic through the day for marching band students and alot of the them took part in playing "Cadillac of the Skies" with members of the Cadets. There looked to be a couple of hundred kids out there. Instruments of all kinds out their flutes, trombones, clarinets........

The Show:

The Boston Crusaders were scheduled to be at this show but due to a large number of the members and staff catching a stomach virus this past week they pulled out of their first 2 shows. Boston......I hope you all get well reaaall soon.

A good little area div 3. (?) corps that did a fine job tonight. They came out with a solid sounding opener and I was paticualry impressed with the horniline. They played with a nice balanced sound. The 2nd number seems to one of the productions the corps needs to work on a bit. There was a very good mellophone and trumpet soloist at one point as well. Drumline seemed a little sloppier than past seasons but I am sure they will be cleaning things up soon. The color guard was fairly small and looks like they need some cleaning.
Summary: The crowd was real supportive and think they were a little surprised at the quality of the performance. This is a talented little corps. The staff and corps are doing great and it is obvious which parts of the show they have locked down and the areas that they haven't touched too much yet. Great job.

The show starts out with some nice bell tones and great sounds from the pit. They really do have an excellent pit this year. The hornline turns around and gives the crowd its first big Div 1 impact of the night. The opener is performed really well and the corps hits 3 big impacts and finishes strong (My kind of playing and writing). Throughout the show you keep hearing strains of bell tones and not just from the pit but with the horns as well. The guard appeared to be strong as well with no drops tonight (As far as I could tell). The guard has bells attached to the end of their rifles which makes for some nice moments. Drumline is strong as usual. The drill is spread out and with the new uniforms it will look real nice when it is cleaner. The marching is the weakest part of the corps performance right now.
Summary: A huge improvement with program choices by the staff and a solid corps all around. I really enjoyed the impacts that they programmed and executed. Crowd response was real good and deservantly so. Nice job and I look forward to seeing and hearing it again in Allentown (6/28).

The Bluecoats approach to this years show is similar to the Cavaliers in that it's performed in a very controller manner. The hornline really doesn't play anything louder than a forte. Also there were really no WOW impact moments either. It will be interesting to see if they make some changes because there are a couple of spots that would be perfect for a nice double or triple forte sound. The drumline did a real good job and had a decent length drum feature. The color guard also did a nice job overall.
Summary: The crowd did not get very excited with the show tonight. All of the issues are program related. The kids are performing real well...... it is the staff that needs to do a little tweaking.

I really like the direction that the corps has been taking for the last couple of seasons. This year's program looks to be strong again. The show starts with a flugel horn solo playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I really like the arrangement and as previously stated I like the use of the brightly colored scarf's that the color guard uses to make a rainbow just as the full hornline comes in with the melody.... nice effect. The hornline plays pretty consistent throughout the show as does the drumline. The drumline has a couple of really nice features and one towards the end is great. They use these 2 rolling racks with drums and cymbals mounted on them and some members wheel them side to side as the snare line crab steps.... really cool.
Summary: The program is well written with the crowd in mind at all times. Lots of impact points and they are just going to get better an better. The crowd went nuts and they probably received the best crowd reaction out of all of the corps. Jazz fans.... don't miss this one.

Unique opening drill move with horn players spinning in many different directions before turning around and hitting the crowd with a very controller warm brass sound. I will agree that the Cavaliers have a very warm rich brass sound. The problem is that the program (As it stands right now) does not allow them to open up and play an in your face double forte. The drill is really moving at all times and it is classic Cavaliers with a lot of fast movement and geometrics. The guard does a great job and the variety of equipment being used at the same time is a real treat. The crowd really didn't get to excited until the 3rd production. To me... this is a serious programming problem. Also..... for a good part of the beginning of the show the drumline is almost non-existent. The show ended kind of abruptly but I am sure they are going to add to this really soon.
Summary: I think that the talent of this corps is amazing and I really wish the staff would write a show for them to show it all off. When I think of the 2003 Cavaliers the first thing comes to mind is a machine. Very impressive but nothing that hits the crowd over the head. Staff..... please make some changes..... kids...... your AWESOME.... keep it up.

As stated before the Cadets come out and play a moving warmup and then go right in to allegro. I did not find the transition as cloudy as some other people have. The opener has some nice impacts and the color guard is real good. The thing about the Cadets that is amazing is their drumline. I am going to take a small gamble here and bet all of my chips that their drumline will be crowned best drumline in the nation again this season at DCI. Malaguena is real hot and I like some of the changes that they made to it. Again..... the drumline is simply amazing with several great features in this song. The crowd was on its feet at the end of this song. Something I like is that the drum major wastes no time at all starting in with the third piece which is Rocky Point Holiday. The mellophones have a lot of really neat parts throughout the show and in this number they are allowed to really shine. There not quite they're yet... but they will make it. The show ends with the infamous Z Pull drill move and a few small musical reprises of the previous songs.... Really nice... I really hope they don't change the ending.
Summary: The crowd went nuts for the corps. The show is a lot of fun to watch and more importantly listen to. Lots of what I like to call drum corps moments and the drumline alone is enough to make you sit in awe.


The show experience was so mixed with sadness, annoyance and a brief segment of excitement that I find it difficult to make myself write about it. This will probably be my last YEA! show. Next year will be the year of the amp and from the feel of the show last night, I think it is time for the band crowd to make it or break it on their own.

After the ride up the Turnpike and paying the for the parking, I spotted the now familiar "Band Show" arrow directing us to the correct entrance. The parking lot was being shared with the Meadowlands Fair Site and parking. I picked up my tickets at "Will Call" and noted for perhaps the last time the "delivery charge" of $5.00 on the tickets that I had just stood in line to pick up. I walked over to the two downstairs souvie wagons while my friend paid for the 2 pieces of newspaper filled with advertising called a "program". I shook my head in disbelief as I picked up a button at Crown's souvie wagon that said "Winds beat Brass". I showed it to my friend who said "That's not even funny. I don't want to look at it. I'm not interested in looking for any souvenirs here". We were thirsty from the long ride so we stopped at the refreshment stand and got 2 diet cokes - $9.00.

I watched with anticipation for the first corps to through the tunnel. Imagine my disgust as the Cadets took the field interspersed with band members from several host bands. Do you remember a day when we wouldn't let anyone cross our ranks, no less, march out onto a field of exhibition outnumbered by band members? Yup, they were all there, the trombones, the saxophones, the flutes, the tubas with the covers over them and the school initial emblazoned on the bell. And together as one big giant band, the Cadets and the lucky members of the school bands played a giant crappy band rendition of Cadillac. The Cadets new uniforms made their backs looked slumped and they fit in rather nicely with their band brothers and sisters.

The Raiders, Wayne, NJ: Very nice show. Unbelievably well done for what I believe was their first show of the year. They looked nice, they sounded nice and they did their Division proud. Much appreciated. Good job Raiders.

Crown: The new uniforms look very nice however they are very "ice cream man" from the stands. There is very little color in their show except for nice pink flags that are brought in somewhere in the middle of the show. They could use some color, but they looks quite professional and sounded good. I could see what was meant by the pole vaulting move! As always the guard is top notch.

Bluecoats: Not as enjoyable as last year. Hornline excitement and volume is missing. I heard more volume from the souvie stands behind me at times and people talking in the stands. The contras looked exceptionally large.

3 corps. Just getting settled in. It's Intermission Time! 35 minutes. Agh.

Crossmen. HELLO! The Crossmen are a drum corps. They added some real nice silver shine to their uniforms (finally) and enlarged the cross on the uniforms. Uniforms looked great. Show was great. Full of life. Full of entertainment. Full of excitement. Cool drum features. Cool horn jams. As always, great guard. YUM! This corps was worth the price of admission. Kids looked like they were enjoying every minute. Just love 'em. Thank you Crossmen. You ROCK! Oh, and by the way, the drum majors did NOT wear the new Cesario uniforms. I'm so glad they didn't!

Cavaliers: Guard uniforms. Okay, they just don't look as clean and crisp and professional as the corps proper. The green might look good somewhere else, in some other corps, or some other lifetime, but this is not the corps or lifetime. Takes the corps appearance down from the always mature professional look of the horn and drum lines. What did they play? Who knows? It sounded pretty nice except it reminded me of some hornlines of old hanging on some notes with nothing interesting going on behind them. Drill was nice. It was interesting. They're FIRST PLACE show maybe lost something following the FOURTH PLACE Crossmen. Are the Crossmen the Scouts of the future? The corps everyone wants to win? Hmmmmm

The Cadets: Hoppy had the good sense to not lead the corps onto the field. I didn't hear any booing. This was supposed to be a crowd entertaining show? Okay. It's no 2000 show. It's no 2002 show. 30 seconds into Malaguena I heard a man in my aisle say "Well, this is the first time I've ever heard Malaguena done as a dirge". That about sums it up for the beginning of Malaguena. I was not dancing in my seat. For the first time in drum corps history mind you, I was no where near dancing on my seat for Malaguena. Towards the end it gets better but by then you are so annoyed at the waste of a good Malaguena, you really can't let yourself get into it too much. For the third year in a row, we had the battle of the hornline and drumline. Not as good as the previous years. Don't like the band uniforms. Guard uniforms/flags clash with the corps like a color chart with PMS. One Silver lining: No commas. No hopscotching. Flags, rifles and sabres. Oh, by the way, the Cadets were the only corps to not troop the stands after their show. They turned their backs and exited the way they came.

And now for what we have all been waiting for - the introduction of microphones and amplifiers in drum corps. Cadets and Crossmen play a song together as a finale (instead of the first place Cavaliers - another "treat" we have become used to) pretty much like they have never played it together before. The "Professional Trumpet Player of 2003" was announced and proceeded to play into the microphone, screeching and drowning out the two corps. Eyes were squinting everywhere and the stands started emptying out. People were walking out before the scores, during the scores, after the scores, during the Cadet/Crossmen/Professional Trumpet Player fiasco #1 and then, after an uncomfortable period of time where it seemed the people on the field didn't know what they were doing, Round 2 began. This time besides the Professional Trumpet Player screeching into the microphone a Cadet soloist with better tone joined him. By the end of the second number the stands were clearing out pretty well and the Cadets and Crossmen sauntered off the field.

By the way, the guy sitting next to me ate a hot dog, a sausage sandwich, a coke and ice cream. By my calculations he must have been a millionaire.


I went to the Gianrts stadium show on Saturday.... perfect weather, and a great stadium.... the corps....

Raiders..... had some good moments for June, and the small corps works hard. Once they can address performance issues, they will have a decent div. III product.....

Crown...... big surprise here.... best product they've had in a while.... both drill and music... some good emotion and impacts tonight, and all sections are competent... another strong drumline, and a young hornline that shows good promise, playing with excellent quality and emotion at times.... typical June dirt holding them back a bit now, but they have a decent and enjoyable product to work with, so it will be interesting to see how this show sounds/looks in August.

Bluecoats.... a different show for them...seems a notch higher both visually and musically from years past..... they were a bit flat emotionally...executed well for June.... I think if they open up their impacts a bit, the show can work fine.... some interesting composition both brass-wise and percussion, and good visual staging....

Crossmen.... the good news is that the show is entertaining, with accessible (yet demanding) arrangements that connect well with the audience.... well-written percussion book.... racks were fun, and park and blow end was a gas..... I think they need more visually....... June dirt also holding them back, but it's a fun and entertaining show.....

Cavaliers.... well, flame away, but the Spin cycle for me turned into "tumble dry" or should I say 'fumble dry" by the end of their show. After 1/2 of the show, the individual spin move grew old, yet they continue to do it redundantly throughout, ad nauseum. They do march well, CG is fine, and the hornline played well from a quality and technique standpoint. HOWEVER, they are TOTALLY LACKING in DYNAMIC CONTRAST MUSICALLY, and this is obviously being IGNORED by musical judges.... they struggled to get above mf, with weak impacts, and there music effect scores are a travesty....where's the emotion, the connection with the audience (IT IS on the sheet now).... void, especially in the second half and the end. Drums also had much dirt and Cadets were FAR cleaner.......... If this show wins, it will be a musical travesty and perhaps worse than last year's ridiculous 99.

Cadets...... they have issues as well, although I think in their case, they are fixable... on the other hand, I think Cavies will have a tough time coming up with an entire new second half of their show. Now, on with the Cadets. I didn't have a problem with the "Favorite things" warmup into the start of the show....however, many do, so they may want to change..... ie just play Favorite Things as a moving warmup...stop...salute, and then on to Fanfare....what I DID have a problem with was the interjection of the "Favorite Things" melody in other places in the show..... whereas I understand the intent... it doesn't work, and it's not necessary. I think Fanfare is strong, and will grow much like Farandole did the other year.... they will have to open up the impacts and really nail it, but they are capable. Malaguena...same deal...they need to "let it rip" with more emotion and impact. Rocky Point.... they should revisit the 83 version a bit closer, esp. the ending, and it can work fine. CG was stellar, and the drumline will be deadly in August, too. Some June hornline and visual dirt, however, the hornline had some fine moments, and could be stellar come August... and no argument Cavies had them tonight in performance in those captions (not percussion or guard IMO though....but how Cavies beat them in music effect... even with the issues (not nearly as severe as Cavs, though).... is beyond me. If the Cadets tweak the program fast, they will contend.... if not, they could be 5th.

Crowd booed Cavies winning placement/score.... before you think it's a Jersey thing, they have warmly cheered Blue Devil and Vanguard wins in the past..... if the "automatic win" for them (ie not judging that night, that show) continues, DCI can expect some serious booing at later shows this year. To the judges credit, I agreed with all placements and scores except for the top 2.... Cavies too high..... I had Cadets eeking out a win, winning perc., Music Effect decisively, and guard.... Cavies winning all other captions by narrow margins, but unable to overcome serious problem in music effect... I had both at 78's..... 80 way too high this early with very evident effect problems..... good night!!!!

by the way.... I read tons of complaints about concession prices at this show.... please understand that at large college and pro stadiums, and even many medium-size venues, the concessions are contracted and you can not bring in your own vendor.... ie you are paying "NY Giants" prices....are they outrageous... yes.... are they completely out of the control of the sponsor.... yes.... know it and deal with it (ie if you really have a problem, pack your trunk.... I nursed my "$100 coke"... lol... until I stopped to eat after the show)... enough said. All it would take is if some day 70,000 people walked in to a game there and nobody bought a damn thing.... you would see prices drop in a hurry.... wishful thinking...


Thursday June 26

Chesapeake, VA (DCI Atlantic)

OK, here's my review from the Chesapeake, VA show....sorry if it sounds like a judge's tape;

Opened pretty good sound wise with so few horns. I saw many problems with the feet throughout the program. Interesting concept with drum spread in one of the #.... although it could be hurting them too. Guard has most of their work in .... but they need to clean and complete the exit.

As you all know their equipment truck was involved in a major accident on the way to this show. With the help of many drum corps through out and the hosting high school band, they managed to field a corps last night. It must be tough to get used to someone else's equipment. Opening guard statement was pretty good. In one number the guard does a battle scene, I really didn't care for the staging of it.... look muddled. Ava Maria sound nice and controlled but the guard had incomplete work. They did not have their exit in last night.

2 in the guard, 18 horns, 15 drums and 1 DM. Ummm.... Horns sound like they have a rough time moving & playing at the same time. Their sound is really weak..... could use more support with more members in the guard..... two just doesn't cut it IMO. I realize they are only Div.lll, but they should have at least 5 guard members out there. When the hornline stands still, their sound isn't too bad but couldn't hear the melody. They need to work on feet execution throughout, especially the exit. Guard only contributed twice..... the rest of the time they did nothing.

Nice opening sound & move.... very spread out. One thing I did noticed, their guard has mucho improved over last year! They use some of the most gorgeous flag designs in their show. However, their sabres need to work on toss heights. I would have to say, they were the best guard last night....haven't seen the recaps yet. During the drum break, the drill is still rough but you can see it has potential. I really liked the set with the guard up front during "Carol of the Bells." With the hornline now wearing cream colored shoes, the feet errors are screaming at you. Uniforms look nice, BUT if they want to score higher in the visual area, they need to work on those feet. Last song seemed like it could use more punch in the end.

Nice mysterious opening with the trumpet solo's dispersed on the field. Very good marching through out..... liked the visuals from the hornline, especially in the ballad.... well thoughtout. Interesting music effect with the 4 blocks across the field. Their exit is a little rough, but is going to be nice.

DM is not wearing the new design we all saw.... they are wearing the hornline uni for now. The word is, the uniform isn't like they picture and they are trying to get it right. Nice solo job in the opener... glad to see the drill open up a little more. Their hornline is VERY LOUD! Guard much better in the performance than they were at rehearsal. Wall of rainbow colors look will look better once they are done with it. Like the horn drill block thing happening in the back. Count Bubba sounds like something the 1980 Spirit of Atlanta would play....... IT ROCKS! Towards the end the drill started to bother me..... I know they were passed out drill sheets the day before the show, but the base drums wondering over to one set while the rest of the corps was standing still didn't look right. I know it's still "in the works." Snares have a nice visual moment with the "running hanging drums" ..... however, they really need to clean it..... sound wise. With 10 snares all running and playing their drums while playing something in front of them moving too, is going to take time. The ending for guard IMO really needs to be rewritten. They are using 7 foot poles at a 5 step interval.... with all the foot directional changes, they are crashing and burning! I seriously think they should either, a) open up the intervals to help with clarity AND with the confidence that they won't get smacked or b) go to a shorter pole.... which I know they aren't because they are making gorgeous flags for the exit. After Crossmen jammed on the sideline in their exit and held a long sustaining note to get everyone up, my 7 yr. old son turned to his dad (a Crossmen alumni too) and sad, "That's the loudest music I have ever heard!" It was apparent that Crossmen was definitely the crowd favorite for the night.


Tuesday June 24

Charlotte, NC (DCI Atlantic)

FirstBEAT was an unjudged show so there are no scores (a wise decision made by the host to lower DCI the contract price). As I was working the ticket booth I did not get to see the Division 2/3 corps, but here are my observations on the rest.

Bluecoats: The show is difficult and clean in many areas for early season with a good horn line and drill design. However, this is not a show that can easily be latched onto. Th concept is very different for the Bluecoats (music that is more dissonant and motivic as opposed to tonal and melodic) with little of the big band jazz/blues/swing sound they have been known for. However, I think this is a show that will grow on a crowd over repeat viewings and their recent scores are justified.

Crossmen: The crowd favorite by far. This is a very fun audience-pleasing show with lots of percussion work that just needs a little bit of cleaning to really smoke. The horn line is outrageously good and there's always something interesting to look at. Yes, there are some park and play sections in the show as mentioned in other posts but it is by no means excessive nor out of character for the music (on the contrary, it works really well). The only danger with this show is they might peak early unless they are planning to add a few things as they go through the season. But, who cares. I loved it. I loved it. I loved it.

Carolina Crown: Great new uniforms. Great show concept. Tonal music that you can latch onto. The guard is outstanding once again as is the pit percussion. The drill design is interesting as are the visual touches (LOVE the bells inside the rifles). The horn line is projecting more volume than in the past but the sound is not quite as full as say the Crossmen or Bluecoats, mainly because the horn line is very young and is learning to develop a mature sound. There is still more to add to this show and the final product should be fun to watch. They've got the package this year, they just need to clean.

The show included an exhibition of North Carolina's Senior Corps: Carolina Gold (a collection of many Crown alumni plus alumni from other corps). Their performance was loud and fun. It's good to know that you can still hear some screeching sopranos with a raw-sounding large-bore horn line produced by a group of weekend warriors and have a REALLY good time.

Mekel Rogers

Monday June 23

Rockford, IL (DCI Midwest)

Cavaliers became the first corps to crack the 80 mark this year, at Show of Shows in Rockford, Monday, June 23, 2003, and deservedly so, with an 80.65. Cadets were a surprisingly strong second 79.15, the one score I was puzzled by (on the high side, I thought). Phantom was third at 76.20; I would have thought they'd be within a point of the Cadets, in their first meeting of the summer, and a few points back from the Cavaliers, but Phantom wasn't that close to 2nd tonight. Colts not only got but I thought earned a 69.15 for fourth, about ten points higher than they scored two nights ago in Louisville!

Perfect night for drum corps, with temps dropping through the 80's into the 70's, reasonable humidities, and calm winds. I didn’t hear whether Boylan Field was sold out, but I didn’t see empty seats, so I'd guess it was. I was in row 27 near the 40 yard line and only arrived there right before Marion took the field.

Marion Glory Cadets (I counted 17H/13P/6 Pit/4 CG) did their "Oppressions in Red" show, featuring music by Prokofiev and Basil Poledouris. I like the way they use the field, staying forward, with lots of side to side motion, which I think is the best approach for a smaller corps. Strong color guard performance, with only four (sometimes three) young women, but good performers; in the opener alone, they go from yellow leis, to white flags, to sabers. Some good solo work in dance and in brass. The hornline started well but grew tired. I think they would benefit most from working on intervals in visual, and on blending the horns. They only have two on soprano voice, and the inner voices are hard to hear. They just edged the Americanos for 7th with a 41.40.

Blue Stars (I counted 17H/13P/9 Pit/9CG) did music by Stamp, Clichy, Sparke, and Reed. They've improved considerably since I last saw them 10 days ago in Racine. Much better horn blend, and feet, in the opener. Their color guard was the big puzzle for me (and hey, they still need real uniforms). Sometimes, they looked sharp - at one point, for example, they twirl flags by the cloth, not the five foot pole - but at other points, some of them still look uncertain about the show. Blue Stars also did some good solo work. They are frequently farther backfield than I think is ideal for a smaller corps, in contrast to MGC. Horns seemed to tire as the show went on. Sixth place, 49.40.

Americanos (I counted 15H/8P/7 Pit/12CG) had the most familiar and accessible book of the Div. II/III corps, with their "Zorro Rides Again" book, and this familiarity helped sell the show. I loved the color choices in the guard. The guard work was a bit easier than Blue Stars; of course, with a Zorro show, you have to have some good saber work. The color guard gave a mixed performance with it; good design, but too many drops. As with the other Div. II/III corps, the horns grew tired as the show progressed, and the blending broke down, but if they can build stamina, the strong musical book and visuals which tell the story can take this show much higher. Eighth, 41.25.

Pioneer (I counted 30H/23P/11 Pit/12CG) tackle a David Holsinger piece called "Song of Moses". The opening section is strong, with a full and well-blended brass sound. I think it, and the percussion feature near the end, are the strongest parts of Pioneer's show this year, along with their visual flow and use of the field. The music book features lots of good impacts. The feet are coming along well. To get the most out of this show, they also need to work on clarity and blending in the horns, and stamina, as again, brass got tired. Now that I think of it, I can’t recall any visual design relating to the Moses theme. Maybe I missed it, or if not, that could help the show as well. I did not like the baby blue thigh-length mufti outfits the guard wore, and thought that broke with the theme. Pioneer trooped the stands with a nice rendition of "Gary Owen" that was well received. Off by themselves in 5th with a 55.25.

During intermission, Phantom gave a nice tribute to Jim Wren.

If you looked at the scores through last Sunday, you’d have been hard pressed to make a case for the Colts pulling back up into the top 12 in 2003 after last season's miss. Somebody forgot to tell the Colts this. They’re right back in it, with an astonishing 10 point jump in two days. Besides criticism I've read here about lackluster performance, I’ve also seen complaints about an unmemorable show. I couldn't say whether the visual design has changed, or what caused them to be off last week, but tonight, they looked and sounded great, and the crowd ate 'em up. They have a very powerful opening fanfare off a slanted cross formation in David Gillingham's "Cantus Laetus", that gets the show off to a roaring start. The middle section, Peter Grahm's "Harrison's Dream", features a quiet section with a strong ending. In the final piece, Roger Cichy’s "Blue Sapphire", there’s some wonderful solo work in all sections, and they switch to a jazz motif. Throughout, excellent use of color by the guard; the guard design is basic, but the performance is clean. As good as Colts were tonight, there were some obvious spots for improvement: in the Grahm piece, early, there's a drill formation that goes from diamonds to blocks, that needs dressing. The Cichy will benefit from cleaning and tuning the quiet opening and for smoother use of dynamic contrast in the jazz section, and the ending needs tighter ensemble. But Bravo Colts! Welcome back to the top 12 scramble.

This was my first look this season at the last three corps to perform tonight. It was also the first head-to-head of Phantom and Cadets.

The Cadets, as you’ve probably heard, go right from the warmup of "My Favorite Things" into the Clifton Williams "Fanfare and Allegro". Though I heard some positive buzz from the crowd about this ("It's different, I like it", one said), to me, it kind of takes the wind out of the crowd's sails. George is doing this, it seems likely, because he thinks drum corps shows are too choppy. I don't agree. I like the build-up of tension before the start, and missed it here. The three pieces in this show have all been done and done well by corps, and seem to represent some of the staff's favorite things. Fair enough. The arrangements are new, but little details remind the audience of the originals. "Fanfare and Allegro" has some horn riffs reminiscent of SCV's "Bottle Dance". "Malaguena" starts off with a more staid and traditional wind ensemble arrangement, but melds into a jazzy, Scouts-like chart with screaming soloists. "Rocky Point Holiday" has a G-arrow visual from the '83 Garfield show, and of course a Z-pull. People have complained in recent reviews that the show is fun musically but visually drab in comparison to what Cavies bring. Actually, I didn't agree this time. I think this show has a very clever visual design. Besides the tricks, it has a clarity of design, a simpler elegance, that I think works quite well to communicate this music long-time fans know well. The Cadets are really evolving their own style of visual design, less bando this year, and I think there’s room for it. They played well tonight, except in the closer, which too often lacked ensemble and impacts. With Cadets, there's no doubt, this will be fixed and fixed soon. The show also features a fun drum solo and good dance work by the guard. Very entertaining.

Cavaliers. I was ready, having read others’ reviews here, to not like this show musically, and pronounce them vulnerable to an assault by BD. Actually, I think the book is better than some others here think. In my view, Cavaliers are very strong in Musical GE, as scored by judges. Look, GE Music judges do not award many points for arrangements that rock the house. If that was what scored Music GE points, Madison would not have been down in that caption where they were the last couple of years. The judges don't care about that. In Music GE, they're looking for effect that is generated by clear inner voices that blend well, for smooth dynamic flow, high contrasts and emotional range, difficulty, and most importantly, highly creative arrangements that fit the visual show. Cavies did all of that better than the other corps here tonight. Visually, this show is eye candy. The drill is insane, but somehow works. I don't like the guard uniforms, but they're not as bad as they look close up. Yes, some of the music is unmemorable, but the way it interacts with the drill is very high impact. They make good use of humor in the last section of the show, with a drill very reminiscent of the "Fight Club" sequence last year, but it’s still highly original. As for the complaints I'm reading about a lack of volume from this hornline, I didn't feel that way tonight, either. At peaks, they're louder now than they were in mid-July 2002. OK, it's not concrete-crumbling high volume a la vomitbunny, but it's a very full and very, ahem, musical brass sound no one else is getting yet this summer, at least in the Midwest.

Phantom is radiant and gleaming in their new uniforms under stadium lights. Just gorgeous. Who says Bb horns can't play with as bright a sound, or as loudly, as G bugles? Well, I've said this, for one. Upon further review... if anything, Phantom’s new King horns sounded bright to the point of shrillness in the clear dry air tonight, and volume was no problem. I never would have guessed these were Bb horns. I loved this "Harmonic Journey" show. Great emotional range. The second piece, John Adams "Wild Nights from Harmonium", isn't wild, but very effective and very dark. Micklos Rosza's "Lord's Prayer" is goosebump city, the only one of the night for me. I loved the 15 foot silver poles the guard uses in the Pachelbel opener, as well as the guard's outfits, their flags, and their performance. They add a lot to this show. There is, of course, some dirt to clean; it's still only June. Cadets did a better job of pivoting diagonals with straight lines than Phantom did in the Adams section. And horn runs in the Bartok closer need some polishing. Nonetheless, I was very surprised, as I said at the outset, that Phantom was almost three points behind Cadets. I'm not sure why, until I see recaps. I thought they’d be close. Maybe judges feel visual design is still off the pace, or maybe they wanted better blend and a less shrill hornline. Or maybe there’s a gap in percussion. But then I personally liked Phantom’s show better, though I enjoyed Cadets as well. I think Phantom is significantly better now than in June 2002. This show is better designed, and they're performing it better. Godspeed to Phantom; have a safe and terrific trip to the west coast, and kick some butt out there.

Resume Hut

Atlanta, GA (DCI Atlantic)

Corpsvets were up first, I am telling you, they were hott!! sound great for first show of the season, these guys will be in top 5 come DCA finals. Great show guys, see you in Scranton!

Court of Honor: Let me say, great job guys, really really great program, looks good and sounds good, this staff has done a great job putting this show together, basic problems with stuff being dirty they just need a little more confidence, once again awesome job.

Memphis Sound: I really liked there show, you could hear a lot of feet in the sound, I think some GE was lost due to some bad drill writing but overall not a bad show, quite entertaining, not a bad guard either.

Teal Sound: I liked firebird, very nice arrangement. I found the rest of the show boring, I kinda lost intrest, nothing really exciting. Percussion was not quite on top of things, guard's show was ok.

Scenic City: It is really hard for to write this review, me being a Scenic alumni and all, Visual is cleaning up well, and if they keep working hard it will be fine. Brass just needs some confidence to get the notes out. Battery was a little dirty but scores seem to be getting better. Pit really did not add to the show as I would have hoped. Timpani sound nice, I would like to hear more notes in the pit all and all if they keep working hard there scores will rise and they will end in a nice position for finals.

Revolution: When they came on the field I thought it was the Glassmen. Awesome show, really coming together well. Guard was outstanding and percussion not to bad, could use more notes. Brass is looking and sounding great. The end of there show needs some work but they will be high up there in Div 2.

Carolina Crown: The new uniforms look sharpe. Very nice sounding show. Just a bunch of the basic problems. Pit was awesome, battery could use a little work. Guard had some drops but they also had a great show. Good to see Crown back in the top.

Crossmen: Yes sir. Awesome job, most entertaining corps of the night, awesome show great percussion, Lee has the line sounding great. Great solos. A very well put together show. Guard was great, nice drill but very dirty.

Bluecoats: I really did not like there choice of music, they pull if off well, Visual seems to be coming along great, Guard is looking good, Percussion not to bad. Some feet in the sound. I did not like this show compared to the last few seaons, but very nice show.

Spirit: All I can say is LOUD!!!!!!! very intense show. Really enjoyed it, drill was very nice. Just need to clean the visual and get all the horns together. Guard was a little off. Nice ending, it takes a lot of confidence to end like that.

I must say the school did a good job with the show. Every corps got a standing ovation.

D Ingram

It was a perfect night for Drum Corps! I love having the show at Kennesaw Mtn. High School. It really is a great site and it is only an hour from my house which makes it even better! Anyway...this was my first show of this season and it was a great one! Plus, I brought a friend with me who had never been to a drum corps show or even seen one on video. Needless to say he was like a kid at Christmas time opening presents! I will share some of my thoughts on the shows and some of his.

Notice: I want to try and not be too critical of any of the corps, because these kids (and adults) are working their butts off to put on the shows. But, I do have a few opinions on a few things. They all deserve a BIG round of applause! And every corps got a standing ovation which I think was deserved for getting out there and playing with their heart! With that being said here we go...

Corpsvets - Senior Corps - Judged Exhibition
They rocked! It was so great to see and hear them again. (I have not heard them in about 2 or 3 years...I think.) These guys and girls can play! The show was very fun to watch and listen to. of course there was dirt in the marching, but hey, who cares, it was a fun show and they played it well! Plus, it was great to see one of my long lost friends from high school playing in the pit! Jennifer told me I would be kicking myself for not trying out, after I saw the show...she was right. Anyway, the thing that stood out the most to me in their show was the sound. They have great sound quality and they are loud, at the same time. (They can be soft when they want to, too.) The guard was great. There were a couple of drops, but hey, who didn't have drops. I liked the uniforms. They really look sharp on the field. Great show! I can't wait to see them again! My friend just had a BIG grin on his face after their show.

Court of Honor - Div. III - Score: 43.30
I was very surprised by this young, but confident corps! They played beautifully. By watching the show you would have never had known that this was their very first show ever. One of the biggest things I remember about the show, well really two things, is that you could tell these kids were playing with emotion and they were having fun. Isn't that what this is really all about? They did selections from "The Wiz". This is a great vehicle for them to start out with. The music was very balanced and performed very well. The brass had a very mature sound and visually the corps did well. This corps might be small and they might be new, but I think they will be a force to be reckoned with in the up coming years. Great job, CoH! My friend was surprised that they were a new corps. He thought that they were very good.

Memphis Sound - Div. II - Score: 47.50
I don't really remember much from their show. That is not a bad thing. It is just that nothing stood out to me. It was a balanced show. The guard was good. Sorry, nothing just blew me a way with this group.

Teal Sound - Div. III - Score: 47.00
I am really not sure about this show. The kids did a good job, but it is just missing something. There seemed to not be consistency through out the show. I don't think it was the playing, maybe it was the overall visual. I just really did not get the show. The guard seemed to perform very well. The percussion seemed to be having some problems tonight. I am not sure what it is about their uniforms. I mean they are effective and simple. But, there is just so much black, almost too much. Just my opinion. My friend really did not like their show. He thought it was missing something, also.

Scenic City - Div. III - Score: 42.25
This is the hardest show for me to review. (Please remeber this is just my opinion and from my view point.) This show just seemed so incomplete. There were several times throughout the show that all I could do was cringe. The drill was not clean and at times the different sections were very exposed at times were I don't think they were supposed to be. I did not what so ever understand what was going on with their guard. (2 guard memebers.) I mean no disrespect, but one guard member was pretty good, but the other one just looked like she started learning the routine a couple of days ago. Which that might just be the case. I don't know. I know the guard did not do any work the second part of the show. A full guard, or at least about 8 members would have added so much more to the visual program. The music was a little rough at times. An enjoyable part of the show was the rhythm part where all of the brass picked up the different types of wood and were doing syncopated rhythms along with the percussion section. That was a little fun. The only thing about that was when they laid the wood back down, the brass members ended up marching on them and over them and there were a couple of times it looked like someone was going to trip over the wood. My friend did not have any comments on them.

Revolution - Div. II - Score: 65.10
The first thing I thought of when they came out on the field was that some one had taken the Glassmen and thrown them into the washing machine and they had shrunk. Their unifroms look almost exactly like the Glassmen's uniforms. They played very well and had a GREAT sound quality. Their brass sounded full and mature. Their drill was fast paced and complimented the music very well. You can tell this corps is acustomed to winning and striving for a championship. They have picked right up where they left off last year with their Div. III championship and they are striving ahead this year in Div. II. There is still some cleaning to do, but they are right on top of things to be high up in Div. II. My friend thought that they did very well.

Carolina Crown - Div. I - Score: 65.80
Now, I do not attempt to know everything about drum corps and everything about judging. Of course who in the world knows what might happen with the judges, but I thought Crown was on top of their game tonight. I would have thought that their score would have been higher than what it was. I was not sure how I would like their show or their new uniforms, but I liked both! Their uniforms are sharp and they work well. It just takes some getting used to with the plume being on the side. The music for this show is awesome! The bell tones at the beginning and right in the middle of the show were great. And the visual program compliments the music so well. The guard was on top of things as well. There were some drops, but the routine goes right with the music and as the season goes on I know it will be cleaned up. The guard uniforms make sense with the music and theme, at least they did to me. The percussion seemed to have a couple of problems tonight, but they did well. The drill needs a little cleaning, but was great. Now, "Carol of the Bells" was AWESOME! This is my all time favorite Christmas song, so I couldn't wait to see what they were going to do with it. I absolutely loved it! I just had a big smile on my face the whole time! They really carry through with the theme through out the whole show. I was impressed by their show. It was very enjoyable and I felt very accessible. My friend was impressed by their show and really enjoyed it. Good job, Crown!

Crossmen - Div. I - Score: 70.15
FUN...FUN...FUN!!! This show just rocks! This show, to me, just has everything. It just seems like a very complete show. The Crossmen are always fun to watch and listen to, and this show is no different. They came out on the field and just took control of it and the stands! They always seem to have a presence about them that says "Sit back, relax, watch us and have a great time!" And boy, did I ever! This was probably overall the most entertaining corps of the night. There is still a lot of cleaning in the drill, especially the closer. I know that will be cleaned up quickly. And when it does, watch out cause here they come! I just don't understand how those snares are marching backwards and playing so fast and not falling all over themsleves and being ran over by the racks! The guard was fantastic! There was a couple of problems with the fabric they were using during "Somewhere", but that happens from time to time when the fabric has a mind of its own. And did I hear a glimpse of "Somewhere Out There" in "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"? I thought I did, but was not sure. The percussion seemed to have a pretty good night, and they were throwing out some pretty good licks out there. Overall, an AWESOME show! They really let it loose at the end when they group up at the side line and in the pit and blow their brains out, what seemed like forever. This was the show that I went home humming. My friend was floored by them. Crossmen, you have picked up a new fan. He even went and bought a Crossmen T-shirt. That is just about all he talked about the rest of the night.

Bluecoats - Div. I - Score: 70.70
BLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCOATS! They had a great show tonight. I was finding it very hard to get into their music after hearing and seeing the Crossmen. Don't get me wrong, they played well and marched just as good. It was a very balanced show. I know the Bluecoats fans out there will probably give me evil looks when I say this, but they reminded me a lot of the Glassmen of years past. That is not a bad thing, but the music seemed inaccessible to me. That is just my opinion. Visually, the Coats have it going on. They have that down pat this year and they seem to do it well. Much more body movement this year, than what I remember seeing from them in years past. It seems they are building on where they left off last year. It will be neat to see where they go throughout the rest of the season. My friend thought that they show was kind of boring and was just "ok". I think he was still mesmerized by the Crossmen.

SPIRIT - Div. I - Score: 68.95
I am a little biased towards this show... It was a great show! And the more and more I hear it the more and more I fall in love with it. It was great to finally see the drill to what I have been listening to for the past month. This show has so many touching moments and is fun at the same time. And man are they LOUD!!! These guys and girls can belt it out. But they just aren't playing loud to play loud, they do it VERY musically! That first hit after they turn around...WOW! The visual program has been turned up a big notch this year! And the guard is notably better than years past. The drumline was rockin' tonight! They had a good show. The brass...have I said they are loud, yet? Man, this brass will make you want to through your first child onto the field. They are very mature sounding and balanced. And I know they will just get better and better as the season goes on. "October" is absolutely beautiful and the "Let It Be Me" solo is very touching and a good addition to the show. "Nutville\No Jive" is fun and exciting. This was probably my favorite part of Spirit's show. I think the ending will have to grow on me. I am one that likes that in your face, blow my brains out, light speed endings. But, I think it will evolve nicely over the season. I am not sold on the guard uniforms right now, but I know things are subject to change. Overall, I could not have been more happy with Spirit at the show! I thought that they would have been a little bit closer score wise to the Crossmen and Bluecoats. But, I just sat there in awe of what these kids, staff, alumni and supporters have done. Just thinking back where this corps was heading just a couple of years ago and to see them now...WOW! It is about TIME! My friend really enjoyed Spirit. I think he was still captivated by the Crossmen.

My Placements:
1. Crossmen
2. Spirit
3. Bluecoats
4. Crown

1. Revolution
2. Court of Honor
3. Memphis Sound
4. Teal Sound
5. Scenic City

Most enjoyable: Crossmen, Spirit & Court of Honor

My Friend's Placements:
1. Crossmen
2. Spirit
3. Crown
4. Bluecoats

1. Revolution
2. Court of Honor
3. Memphis Sound
4. Teal Sound
5. Scenic City

Most Enjoyable: duh! Crossmen

Overall, I think the overall scores do not really show how close the preformances really were. I think this is going to be the toughest fight for finals in a LONG, LONG time. This was a great show and was put together nicely! Many thanks to Robin and Tracey, and everyone else invovled in getting this show together and making it an enjoyable experience!

JT Gazaway

Sunday June 22

Riverside, CA (DCI Pacific)

Just got home-WOW! I'm excited and exhausted.

Tonight was LA in June Gloom-drizzling rain, overcast, muggy, cold. OK night for drum corps.

I didn't see everyone.

Esperanza-first viewing of their show. Also listened to their hornline in the lot. Very impressed with them. Rich sound and sound interesting drill.

San Diego Alliance-they marched 6 horns (sop, 2 mellos, two baris one contra). They receive the BPH award tonight. The corps actually has a balanced sound considering the percussion line has 5 snares, two tenors, 4 bass drums and 3 or four pit. they were impressive because they weren't bad. Everyone plays and marches-that's why they get the balls per horn award tonight. Good job.

Pacific Crest-dark sound, but corps doesn't sound as big as they look. Drill is pretty interesting, nothing to complex though. Still have a bunch of cleaning to do. They actually start out like they were shot out of a cannon, but the show grinds to mediocrity by the end. Their main highlight is the silver cube. In the first minutes or so, they spin the cubes around on it's corner. It's a nice effect because the stadium lights reflecting off the silver looks cool.

Mandarins-although I think they should be Div II due to their size, they try very hard and achieve. They beat PC tonight. Their hornline sounds alright and their drill is complex. Not a fan of their unis.

Blue Knights-they have a distracting hitch to their step-off. They pop out their knee on count 4 before stepping off on count one. They also have a bunch of exposure in their marching style. Some members are very good at the style, while some appear to not know there is a unique style. It's very inconsistent. Horns sound pretty good. You can hear some playing inconsistencies in the line-ok they have an interesting book, but not everyone can play it yet.

Vanguard - my favorite all-time corps.
They are trying to stuff 2,349,928 things into this 11 minute show. They are doing a ton and they're still really dirty. Performance tonight was significantly better than Friday. Drill was more recognizable. One of their big moves this year is an interesting way to pop into a box. The move consist of some follow the leader, but backwards and blind. This line is a snake like ftl, then pops into a box right at the end. It's still very dirty, but you can tell that have been working it. Horn line book is extremely demanding and difficult. Not only is it non-stop, but it's non-stop difficult passages. Tonight the HL played much better then Friday, probably related to the first show jitters. Unfortunately they had a few tears tonight. One tear sounded like they cranked up the tempo a little and some players weren't ready or prepared to go faster. I also really enjoy the guard-seems their unis, flags and work is relative to what else is happening on the field. Bottom line-this show is real difficult. There's a ton of marching and possibly more playing. Tons of room for improvement. Very entertaining show right not-could be a jaw dropper or breaker come August.

Blue Devils made me give birth to a cow tonight, and I'm not pregnant or female. They had tons of positive energy tonight. Their show is not even close to the level of demand of SCVs show, but the talent and execution is better right now. In fact, I think there is a bunch of silence or limited horn playing from the 8 minute mark to the 10 minute mark. I guess they're resting to have fresh chops for the end. I just noticed a longer pause from the hornline than usual. Drill and marching style is typical BD-avoid exposure at all costs and look good doing it. Horn book ,especially trumpets is also not to difficult. Drumline smokes/rocks-whatever your term for exceptional is, insert it here. I would guess they won drum tonight, but not by much. The spread is cleanliness of drill and horn playing. Also, BD has thrown in a bunch of gimmicks-snares playing a cool roll, Blast opening using all the battery, all the battery running around the cymbal rack, high notes! I thought the spread should have been 3 points at most. My experience is that scores and spreads are always a day or two behind the actual performance.

VC-I love loud high trumpet notes. Tonight was the first night in 15+ years of going to drum corps shows that I stood in front of the scream sops/trumpets at the victory. The two BD soloist are the schtick. The main soloist tags Gs effortlessly. He barely puffs up sweat and he's popping loud Gs. Double Cs are the high, but soft ones (not like Shawn Owens, more like the BD soloist in 96). Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the high note victory concert and I'll do it again some day. One thing I did notice were flaws with individual players in BD. I heard a bunch of bad/tired attacks and some tone issues in the middle horns. Maybe they're just tired from the first weekend with back to back to back shows and VC on the first week of tour.

Other thoughts:
-Mandarins should be in Div 1
-Wayne Downey is a master with his music writing/arranging pen. The music just flows.
-I think Vanguard's show has a better chance of winning a title, but the quality of BDs players may take them to the promised land.
-SCV should pass BD if they clean their show and BD doesn't increase the difficulty of their show.
-I had another thought, but forgot it. I'm very tired and my youngest daughter has minor surgery in a few hours, so I'm also distracted.

Good Night


So Cal Dream - didn't see them! But from what I could hear sounded alot like Velvet Knights!

Impulse - Yet another Velvet Knights lookalike corps, didn't really like the Willy Wonka theme kinda High Schoolish I though. Decent guard and percussion horns need some work.

San Diego Alliance - they marched like 6-8 horns, and I believe 6 guard members. Guard needs some serious work on basic technique. The staff needs to do a better job at recruiting and balancing Horns / Percussion, but other than that Good job for trying.

Esperanza - Very impressed with them. Rich colorful sound and drill. Great guard liked the two pits and the different guard soloist in the middle! great show! I see a DIV 1 corps in San Diego in the next few years.

Vanguard Cadets - Very Vanguard style of music big color guard, cool unique props! Need to clean ALOT if they are going to do anything in DIV 2 in Orlando.

Blue Devils B - Some nice jazz sound coming out of these kids with a little more push from the staff I can see them successfully competing in Div 3 maybe even DIV 2.

Pacific Crest - dark sound usual PC music. Drill is easy, nothing complex. CLEAN. They start off OK but get worst and worst. The spinning cubes were cool when Mission Viejo HS used them last year! Guard was decent but still could use some work in performing. I saw alot of blank, deer in headlights faces. Very High Schoolish still of show! Should have stayed in Div 2.

Mandarins - Great music and design, love this show, just wished it was cleaner, Great drum break without a drum major! Kudos for that but could be alot cleaner! Very theatrical and dramatic color guard! Samson and Delilah in the closer could sound better.

Blue Knights - Usual BK show nice melodies and soothing sounds. Cool Flags, DROPS, DROPS, DROPS these kids just ccouldn't keep there equipment in their hands! Possibly Top 12 finish.

Vanguard - I love this corps but was very disappointed by them. Their show was MUD, MUD, MUD. Interesting and difficult drill, very Vanguardish style of music. Key Poulan is working out great for them. Guard staff should be shot for color choices! Uniforms are nice but silks need to go! Cool drill move in the closer were the guard runs across the horns, They need lots of work! I see them falling to 5th possibly 6th.

Blue Devils - OMG! Loved this show from beginning to End, Guard is on fire and they never let down. Concierto de aranjuez was awesome. High Five to the males in the color guard for the dancing in the ballad. Cool was on fire but I felt like there was a little to much silence. Vocals were great! Watch out Cavies!

My predictions:
1. Blue Devils/Cavaliers
3. Phantom Regiment/ Cadets
5. Santa Clara Vanguard

Dion Jones

Birmingham, AL (DCI Atlantic)

just got back from B-ham so I'll throw a recap out there.

Memphis..... brand new corps, and it shows. Many many problems with timing and the sound... well.... hmmm. young corps so I'll not say much more Scenic City..... very small corps with very young kids. They work their butts off and do what they do decently. If you're looking for really good drum corps, though, this will not give it to you.

Teal Sound..... eeeh...nothing impressive. Drumline had a few decent spots... center snare looks like he knows what he's doing out there..... but other than that.... just didn't do anything for me.

Revolution.... solid for the most part for this early... will compete for DII title. Solid drumline, esp. bass line.

Intermission... for some reason, the field became slippery during the break because every corps after the intermission had multiple slips and falls.

Southwind..... good show concept with great drill moments....big time weaving/interlocking moment at the end got much props from the crowd... BUT..... dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty..... company front that was no where near a company front..had to ask if it was indeed suppose to be a company front... and it was. Show should be good once it cleans a little bit.

Glassmen...... never been a fan and... well.... this won't be the year I'm transformed. I'm sure it's a solid and beautiful show if you have a doctorate in music studies or are a professional composer...... typical Glassmen ending... music stops, people look at each other, realize the show is done... then start clapping.

Spirit..... impressive for the most part... loud hornline from the get go grabbed everyones attention...drill was lacking much of anything impressive.... only thing I didn't like was the ending... the hour glass thing was neat, but I'm not a fan of drum corps shows with subtle endings... I want my ears to bleed at the end.

Crossmen.... Somewhere over the Rainbow was good.... but not the Cavaliers..... drum racks intermixed with the drill that was marched was good....good show if you like park and blow and no drill..... ending was crowd pleasing.... pack into the pit as tight as you can get and play as loud as you can until the drum major cuts off.

Madison..... Great show concept... the unis are ok but I'm more impressed with the design on the truck and busses... unis look like Pioneer from the side... snares had some rough moments.... definate difference in horn sound... to me doesn't have that typical Madison sound... several Scout vets agreed with me.... but a good show overall.

Post show...Ice Castles... WOW... HOLY CRAP WOW... Blew the freakin' house down.... Last cord, hold the note, drum major grabs a banana and proceeds to lounge on the rail while eating the banana while the corps blow drys everyones hair... crowd went nuts.


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