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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
1999 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews - As Posted on RAMD!

Page Twelve of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Saturday August 14
Madison, WI (DCI)
DCI Championship Finals

The weather for tonightís show was perfect. The high temperature for the day could not have been higher than the mid 70ís, partly cloudy skies, very light to non-existent breeze. It simply could not have been better! All of the guards were much better tonight because of the lack of the wind. The crowd was huge and responsive to all of the corps performances - including the exhibitions.

The show was well run tonight, but once the show went live, the time between corps performances was too long. Whatever they were showing - cut it out and add another corps! I much preferred the rapid-fire score announcement with the live broadcast to the long drawn out routine from the past couple of years.

The show was fantastic tonight. This has to be perhaps one of the best Finals I have been to. Great shows top to bottom, and the quality was much improved. On to the reviews:

Colts - 86.0 The Colts have once again set the record high score for a 12th place corps. They were fantastic tonight - absolutely smoking from the start. Perhaps they were happy to have made finals and were just relaxing and performing, or they were out to move up. Maybe they just decided to play their hearts out. Whatever it was, they were amazing. I thought they should have moved up a place because of the quality of their performance tonight. My wife agreed that they were cleaner than last night, and she thought they should have beaten both Crown and Crossmen.

Carolina Crown - 86.3 Crown did an excellent job tonight. They had a very solid performance. The ballad is so beautiful, and the guard was so much improved over yesterday. While their show was very good tonight, it was just not as exciting as the Colts. My wife thought they were not as strong as yesterday.

Boston Crusaders - 88.6 BAC was exciting tonight. They put out one heck of a show, but kept it in control musically. There were a few more visual execution errors drill wise, but the overall performance was a big step up from yesterday. Their ballad is very beautiful as well. One of the really high saber tosses was dropped, but the overall guard performance was better. They deserved to beat Crossmen. My wife thought they were better yesterday, primarily because the drill was cleaner.

Crossmen - 87.0 The guard was on tonight! The marching was bit rough - many visual execution problems, one member of the horn line ate turf, and another almost did in the closer and had a very bad recovery. The soprano soloist in Blue Shades was terrific - perfect stylistically and great sound. This was not their best show of the week, and they deserved to drop a place. I thought the spread over Colts and Crown was much too high. My wife thought the drill was sloppy, but the guard was good. She thought both Boston and the Colts beat them tonight.

Phantom Regiment - 91.2 PR had a good performance again tonight. There were no major differences between tonight and last night or the night before. All three shows were solid, performed well, but had some sloppy drill and a bit ragged sounding horn line at times. The show was excellent, and the performance was very good, but they were in a class by themselves. Head and shoulders above the 9th through 12th pack, and nowhere near the 7th and up pack. They simply had a lock on 8th, and they did it proud.

Madison Scouts - 93.4 Madison was ON FIRE! When they entered the field, the crowd noise was deafening. As a result, part of the line did not hear the command to march forward, so the file was a mess. They got it together on the 30- yard line and completed their entrance flawlessly. There were a couple of soprano soloistsí cracks, but otherwise, the show simply rocked! Super charged by the crowd, they screamed through the show. They received multiple standing ovations, and really laid it on the line. They were rewarded with an increased score, and a well deserved 6th place. My wife loved them too, and thought they were much better than yesterday.

Blue Knights - 92.5 BK had a solid performance tonight. The horn line really sounded terrific, as did the drum line. However, there was a bit more visual dirt tonight, and the excitement level just was not as high as it could have been. The performance was not flat or bad - just not cranked up as high as the competition. They might have been psyched out by the huge response Madison got, or perhaps itís just my read after being energized by Madison. My wife did not care for their show, and she thought it was dirtier tonight.

Glassmen - 93.7 What a performance! Excellent job tonight. The more I see and hear this show, the more I like it - itís simply beautiful. No, itís not Madison style exciting, but thatís OK with me. Not everyone can have that style. I donít find their show boring at all. My wife thought they had the best visual program of the evening. She thought they simply looked beautiful, the drill flowed so well, and the colors were all blended to perfection.

Cadets - 96.4 The Cadets were on tonight as well. A significant improvement over last night - both in cleanliness and in the excitement level. After the opener, someone screamed out "TAXI!" It was hilarious! I really like the show - I just wish the ended were a bit more spectacular. It just left me wanting a bit more. Overall, it was a remarkable performance. I thought the 4th place finish and the score was dead on. My wife thought they were much better than yesterday, and the guard was absolutely spectacular.

Cavaliers - 97.0 Cavies turned it up a notch tonight. What a horn line! Not something you often say when discussing the Cavaliers, but this yearís edition was stellar. What an awesome sound from the line and what execution! Truly beautiful and powerful. The drill is amazing, and they most so fast with such incredible control. When they were done, I thought they had a shot at the title if SCV and BD failed to turn it on. My wife loved them. During the move in the opener when the horn line is in the triangle and they rotate in blocks of four, back through the triangle, she was asking me how in the world they could do that. Awesome job!

Santa Clara Vanguard - 98.4 MY, OH MY, OH MY! SCV threw down the gauntlet tonight! They laid it on the line and just went for it. This was the absolute best SCV performance I have ever seen. Just simply awesome! The control and execution were simply beyond belief. The baritone soloist during the Barber Symphony #1 was just incredible - gorgeous sound! At the end of the Barber Symphony #2, someone was shouting out something for an extended period of time. I could not make out what they were saying, but it was loud enough to hear. No doubt it will make the recordings (damn!). My wife loved them and once again, simply said, "CHAMPIONS!"

Blue Devils - 98.4 BD did an incredible job tonight - rock solid in every caption. I did not think they had the same level of emotion in their show as SCV, but they just performed the hell out of their show. The guard was without a doubt the best on the field. I have not yet seen the caption awards, but if they did not win best guard, some judge deserves to be shot. The bad crowd screaming phrase of the year for BD? An unoriginal "Spank Me". Unfortunately, I did not hear a "SHUT-UP" afterwards. My wife thought they were good, but she thought SCV was better.

On the whole tie issue - I wish the judges could have selected a champion, but I have to admit, it does not bother me all that much. Both SCV and BD were incredible! How do you pick which one is best? To be honest, I couldnít tonight. In Quarters and Semis, I thought SCV had edged out BD, but tonight I really had a hard time deciding which corps was better. When they announced the tie, I was not in the least bit surprised. Iím glad they get to share the title, because they are both deserving of it.

I believe this is the best Finals I have ever attended. Great shows and exciting performances. Not a bad performance in the bunch. I hope this momentum continues next year!

Tim Kviz
Sky Ryders 85-88
Various Others 78-84

Colts- What a cool sounding show, and from my vantage point, Section EE, the drill looked cool. This is my favorite Colts' show yet.

Crown- Having not seen this show before, I was impressed. As previously noted, the guard was very good, and the flags were beautiful. They weren't quite as exciting as the Colts, but probably performed a bit better. The 11th and 12th placements were interchangeable, as far as I was concerned. Liked 'em both.

Crossmen- I wanted them to be more entertaining than last year, and they were. Again, a first time viewing, not counting from the endzone on Friday. I enjoyed a slightly different take on Blue Shades. Is there a decent recording of that song? The "Phantom Legion look" isn't the way to go, though.

Boston- Yes. Way cool. I've already gushed over this show before, but it's worth saying again. This show rocks.

Regiment- What can I say, they did a much better job on Saturday than the night before. This show was a tough sell for me, even as an alumn, but by finals they'd won me over. That high brass arc/low brass wedge in the middle of the show was awesome. As would be expected, I would have placed them a spot or two higher, but whatever.

Madison- Sorry, but I laughed my ass off at the field entrance. After that, everything was great. I've loved this show all year, even if the ending puzzled me. Gotta give special congratulations to my college bud, Scott Arnold, who aged-out after two years in the pit. He was the timpani player. Great job, man.

Cadets- After being very disappointed with the Cadets at the Stillwater, MN, show, they actually impressed me this weekend. Besides the guard being spectacular (best guard beyond a shadow of a doubt), the hornline improved some, and the drill was cool. I'd just as soon hear some more melodic music, but I'll give them props for changing my opinion of their show.

Cavaliers- Whew, another big change of impressions! I saw them at Show of Shows and both nights in DeKalb, each viewing seeming less impressive than the previous, but from up top on Saturday, damn. They had the best drill out of any corps, and performed it well. The best part was that they didn't just copy past Cavaliers' show. There were atleast three brand new things, and, well, that zipper/rotating block, whatever it was, was the coolest thing of the whole night.

Vanguard- The winners. The only winners. I saw them first in Stillwater, MN, and wasn't sold right away, but they left me awestruck on Saturday. Just incredible. I wouldn't have changed anything, I couldn't have improved anything.

To the members, staff, and volunteers of the 99 Vanguard: you are the number one reason I'll be attending drumcorps shows in the future.

Michael Oldemeyer
Phantom Regiment 94,6,8.

Great show, great crowd...

All the exhibition corps were very good but I think that 4 exhibition corps is a bit too much. I mean, come on, that's 16 corps. If I wanted to see that many corps (+1) I could go to semi-finals! I think they should just stick with the Div 2 &3 champs.

Here are my short thoughts on the corps. It's nothing detailed, just a chick run down of what I thought.

Colts: Good solid show. Marching has cleaned up a lot. Nothing very memorable about the show but still very good.

Crown: Like Colts, the marching has cleaned up a lot! Great Job tonight. Guard, like always, was hot and proved it by getting 6th place. Hornline is best they've ever been. My favorite from the bottom six.

Boston: HOLY S$&T!!!!! I usually don't like Bostons shows at all but when I saw this one they blew me away. I don't know what they did to improve but it worked. I knew they would be ahead of Crossmen. This corps deserves their score and placement.

Crossmen: Guard caught my eye from the beginning. Unfortunately, that's about all I can say. I did like the first piece a lot but after that I had a hard time concentrating on them. Good job anyway!

Phantom: Show is much better than last years! Still has stuff to work on to be a top 6 corps again but still a very good show. Loved every minute of it.

Madison: WOW!!!!! I think that pretty much summarizes it up.

Blue Knights: I liked the show a lot but I knew they would be down to 7th. Cool visuals from the sop line. Oh well, this show got 7th in 94 so might as well repeat history. You're doin great BK!

Glassmen: I'm usually not a Glassmen fan but this show totally won me over. I don't exactly know what it is about it but it was great. The corps marches extremely well! Great job Glassmen, you just won a new fan.

Cadets: Haven't seen them at all this year and wasn't expecting much but I REALLY liked the show. I kind of thought that they would either pass the Cavaliers by a tenth or tie them. Unlike everyone else I really liked the tarps, it seemed to make the show more memorable. They had the best ballad of the night.

Cavaliers: Hot damn, they've improved since i saw them in June. Back then they were boring and the crowd wasn't getting into it but they really got the crowd on their side tonight! Very impressive drill and a very impressive drum line. Great job Cavs.

SCV: Like Cadets, I hadn't seen this show all season but I was expecting A LOT. I was expecting them to be so damn good that I wouldn't be able see correctly afterwards. You know what... they didn't let me down one damn bit. They were actually better than I thought! This may be my favorite show ever. Awesome job SCV. Whether you win, tie or get whatever place it doesn't matter because you all are tops!

BD: Never really a fan of their shows but I got into this one like I did the first time I saw it. Hornline is awesome like usual. This was a very entertaining show.


I was overwhelmed by how pro-Drumcorps Madison is....front page color photos every day, welcome signs everywhere....really a nice experience. Special thanks to the thunderstorms that decided to stay away.

I attended all 3 nights, section E midway up for 1/4finals...section FF, on the 52, 2 rows below the pressbox Friday and Saturday....

I'll only comment on the finalists, as IMO there were a clear-cut top 12. I will say, however, that I found SouthWind quite impressive.

Colts - loved this show! Nice sounds, great drill. They were a bit over-the-top with the visuals, I thought. I love the red and white. I preferred them to Crown, and just maybe to Crossmen.

Carolina Crown - Well performed show of music that really didn't interest me much. The excellent color guard dominated to such an extent that I got the impression of a WGI show on a field with live music.

Crossmen - Really liked the black and grey - I though it was clean and stylish. I liked them much more at 1/4finals, when I was really surprised. They didn't have quite as much impact up high. The drumline ended up 11th, but I found their drum solo to me one of my favorites of the evening. Great color guard.

Boston Crusaders - I have them on a few CD's...but this was my first live viewing. I was awestruck. I love the traditional look, they played music I like (when I picked up my rental car, the first thing I searched for was a classical station and they were playing Malcolm's English Dance...and it was a chevy Cavelier!!). I really enjoyed this corps every night. Great color guard....even with the drop he made up for it at the end. Thanks also to whichever railway decided to join in during their semifinal show. I hope they can build on this moment, I like their stuff...but please fans don't sing along to Conquest.

Phantom - I must have blinked during the Tragedy, cuz all I saw and heard was Triumph! If he were not permanently fixed in a horizontal position, Petr himself would stand up and cheer. Big, powerful, emotional sound. Great drill, color guard. This is one of my four faves of the night. A very different show than what I saw a month ago. I was hoping they would place ahead of the Blue Knights.

Blue Knights - I really did like this show...I just liked PR a little more. They have everything going for it...talented horns and drums, a good color guard with the prettiest equipment, great drill design. I just wish they would select music that would "grab" me more. It doesn't have to be music I'm familiar with, just something that makes me want to go out and maybe finding a recording or wanting to learn more about the composer.

Scouts - Jesus Christ!!!! There are two ways to experience 11 1/2 minutes of pure hedonistic pleasure and this is one of them. During the finals the stepoff got messed up somehow, but on the 25 all was well and the crowd really went wild. "I don't know how to love him" is my favorite song from the show, and I was hoping that by the 3rd night people would realize that the warmup was part of the show and stop screaming and talking cuz it was a really pretty arrangement. Scoring is always a controversy with them, so I guess I'll just congratulate them on placing in the top 6. There actually wasn't much of the usual booing - I think the crowd appreciated their move up.

Glassmen - I have read about them being boring, but I didn't find this to be true. Lots of power, I liked the music, and it was performed all around quite well. I thought the hornline was more impressive than the Cadets.

Cadets - I kind of liked the blue tarps around the edge...don't know why. This show was a real thrill ride, but I wish the music had more (or perhaps some) melody. Color Guard is just awesome.....bested by BD by the very slimmest of margins. The beginning and ending were very energetic, but I think it lagged just a bit in the midsection. Movement was sooooooo much better than in Denver, but still not the best of the night.

Caveliers - Another corps that posts on RAMD had described as boring. I guess boredom is also in the eyes of the beholder. I was really happy for them when they moved up Friday. Always such an eye-popping drill, great hornline, great drumline, great color guard. A lot of humor, which isn't alway present in Cavies' shows. A great show all three nights! Congratulations!

Santa Clara Vanguard - I thought the opener Thursday was a little flat...but from there they just streamrolled! I thought the show was exceptional and was hoping they would move closer or surpass BD. They won ensemble music, and they were indeed tight tight tight. It was great seeing the drill (and all the others) from so high up. I loved the new (from Denver at least) ending. Color guard was great, not quite up to BD/Cadets, and I LOVE the Martha Graham Goosestepping. SCV gave a fantastic presentation that grabs me from the first snare roll to the final chord. Congratulations on a very well deserved #6!!!!

Blue Devils - Awesome every night. Color Guard is just about as close to perfect as humanly possible - it's easy to understand why they are perennial WGI champs. Horns and Drums were what one expects from BD. Congratulations on #10!!!!

The Tie - As a matter of purely personal preference (heretofore known as PPP), I thought SCV had a more complete package, and had a more commanding presence on the field. I think both shows were performed unbelievably well. I'm not taking anything away from BD's show, which I also loved. There's no need for me, or anyone else, to argue the tie - it happend and thats that.

Souvies - London in October is going to be I limited myself to a BAC tshirt with 9 rampant lions on it, a madison tshirt, an SCV seat cushion (god I hate those metal benches!), and the Phantom Classic CDs I and II.

Good night....Don Davis / Long Beach, CA

Friday August 13
Madison, WI (DCI)
DCI Semi Finals

What a great day for a drum corps show! Overcast and comfortable temperature wise. The predicted rain never materialized. Not too cold, so as to cause intonation problems for the lines, but cool enough to enjoy the show without sitting in a pool of your own sweat. It was a bit windy today, and most of the guards had problems today as a result. Generally speaking, Iíd say that most of the corps went out and really tried to put on a good show today. Several of them ended up getting a bit ragged in their performance while trying to put in some oomph that might cause some movement in placement and score. Overall, I thought the movement in both scores and placements was right on - except for SCV and BD.

For todayís review, my family decided that we would all contribute a brief comment on each corps. To put our opinions in perspective, here is a run down on our exposure to drum corps. My daughter is only 7, but this is her fourth time at Championships. My wife has been to Championships in 91, and 93 to the present year. She is deaf, so her comments focus largely on the color guard and visual program (obviously!). I marched 10 years, and have been at Championships every year since 78.

On to our reviews:

Pioneer - 75.3
He Said - Field entrance seemed rushed, but it did not seem to phase the corps. They had an excellent performance, but did let down just a bit - probably happy to have just made semis. Nice job!

She Said - Very nice performance for such a small corps

Out of the Mouth of Babes - I liked the color guard and they were nice and loud for a small corps

Spirit of Atlanta - 76.9
He Said - They had a rough show tonight. Tone quality was ragged, intonation suffered, and the marching was sloppy.

She Said - They seemed a bit rushed to get on the field, and they looked tired.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - Kind of OK. The big flags looked pretty.

Southwind - 78.4
He Said - Excellent job tonight - as solid as last night, if not more so. Performance level/energy was up.

She Said - Visually appealing show with a good drill. They have a lot of potential for a corps just returning to the field.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - They were really good, and nice and loud. The flags were really big, and I liked the guardís hats.

Magic of Orlando - 81.3
He Said - They gave it their all tonight, and the quality suffered a bit, but the emotion was there - Great performance, and a stellar horn line!

She Said - Nice uniforms - always loved them as a corps

Out of the Mouth of Babes - Very, very loud, and the guard was awesome. The music was great!

Bluecoats - 83.0
He Said - They seemed better tonight, and they really gave it their all. The horn line at the end of the show got a bit rough, but overall they had a really great show.

She Said - They were a little boring - didnít do much for me.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - I liked the music and the flags were pretty.

Colts - 85.2
He Said - I thought they had a solid performance tonight. The soloists were on tonight. If they maintain tonightís execution, and pull out an emotional performance tomorrow, they could move up.

She Said - The color guard was not together at all the first half of the show, but overall they had a nice performance.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - So awesome, and they were so loud.

Carolina Crown - 85.3
He Said - They seemed a bit off tonight. The visual execution was bit dirtier tonight.

She Said - They have a great show. It is visually entertaining. I could actually feel their music.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - The flags were really, really good.

Boston Crusaders - 86.5
He Said - Great job tonight! They had a very powerful performance. The fans and RAMD cried for more volume from BAC, and then there was volume. The drum corps gods have listened! BAC finally cranked out some serious decibels tonight. During their ballad, another corps warming up was ridiculously loud - they were drowning out BAC on the field. They should have been penalized!

She Said - Excellent job overall. I liked the color selections for the uniforms and the flags. The guard was a bit troubled by the wind tonight.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - Very, very good. I liked the really high guard tosses.

Crossmen - 86.7
He Said - They seemed a bit off from last night, and there was a bit more visual dirt. They performed well - just not as good as yesterday. If they perform like this again tomorrow and BAC, Crown and Colts are on, they could wind up in 12th. If they rock, theyíll probably be in 9th.

She Said - Good performance and they move very fast. I donít like the uniform colors at all.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - They were god and loud, and the guard was awesome, and so was the music. But where was Bones???

Phantom Regiment - 91.7
He Said - Rock solid performance tonight - a very confident and take charge kind of a show. Visual execution is still a bit dirty, but it was better than last night.

She Said - Good choice of colors for the guard uniforms and flags. A very exciting show. One member of the guard was spacing out the entire show.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - Very good and LOUD - SUTA!

Madison Scouts - 92.2
He Said - HOT! HOT! HOT! I thought their performance was much better than last night, and they should have been right on top of BK scorewise.

She Said - Awesome! I like the drill formations that fit the theme of the show.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - SO LOUD - they were the most awesomest today. But when are they doing the Pirates of Lake Mendota again? (She loves that show)

Glassmen - 93.8
He Said - Excellent job tonight - a big improvement over last night. There were a few tone quality problems in the opener, but the rest of the show was terrific - perhaps a bit of the jitters.

She Said - Beautiful visual! They have beautiful flags, and terrific coordination throughout the entire program. This is one of my favorite shows.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - they had nice music and the guard was really good at throwing their flags.

Blue Knights - 93.0
He Said - They were not as good today as yesterday. The visual execution was bit dirtier, and the performance level was not quite there. Crank out a great show tomorrow, and they might top Glassmen. Lay an egg, and they could be bested by Madison.

She Said - I was not very impressed. They seemed flat, and the guard had a lot of problems with the wind.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - I didnít really like them. They were boring.

Cavaliers - 96.8
He Said - They really turned it up a notch tonight. Absolutely awesome execution and performance from all sections of the corps.

She Said - Fantastic, fast, and truly awesome! Everything about their show was wonderful tonight. The guard was fantastic.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - They were really loud some of the time. The flag moves were good, and they march soooooo fast.

Cadets - 95.5
He Said - They had a good performance, and body control was better today than yesterday. However, the visual execution was not as good - more dirty sets tonight than yesterday. The tarps were blowing around at the beginning the of the show.

She Said - They have a great drill and a really good guard. Why do they need the tarps? And why donít they do something with the cabs?

Out of the Mouth of Babes - I lied the taxicabs - they were so cool. I loved the guard. They were good and fantastic.

Santa Clara Vanguard - 97.6
He Said - Absolutely on fire tonight! They threw down the gauntlet with this show. They performed like they wanted a Championship. Sum it up in a word - EXECUTION!

She Said - Champions!

Out of the Mouth of Babes - They were awesome, and it was cool yelling "Vanguard" in the first song.

Blue Devils - 98.5
He Said - A solid performance, but not nearly as emotional as SCV. Their show is great, itís fun, and itís cool. I love watching the guard.

She Said - They are good, but nearly as complex as SCV, Cavies, or Cadets, and not as clean as SCV.

Out of the Mouth of Babes - Awesome dude! Liked the color guard dancing so much. They made her ears bleed (so she says:))

Overall, this was a great show. Lots of potential for movement tomorrow night, which should make things interesting. All of the corps have something to shoot for and protect, so hopefully we will be treated to some really awesome performances.

Tim Kviz
Sky Ryders 85-88
Various Others 78-84

Thursday August 12
Madison, WI (DCI)
DCI Quarter Finals

Here are my thoughts on Quarterfinals:

First off, the weather was great. It was overcast for most of the afternoon and a bit cool actually. Overall, great weather for a drum corps show. The Canadian flag was missing from the stadium today. I guess the "I" in DCI no longer stands for International? There were two corps from Canada performing after all! Stadium security was so much better than the naziís in Orlando, but they did not do a very good job of preventing people from entering the stadium when corps were on the field. Concessions were good overall - very fast service, just a bit pricey.

Blue Stars - 70.2
The crowd seemed quite happy to see blue Stars in Quarters this year. They received quite a good audience response, which was well deserved. They put on an excellent show this afternoon. Their visual execution was most impressive. Crisp execution, and the striped pants really helped show off their marching prowess. I had them placed above Les Etoiles.

East Coast Jazz - 71.6
They have excellent music, and once again their soprano soloist was amazing. All solos were nailed. Their guard was quite good, and the overall program was written appropriately for the talent level of the members, allowing them to effectively perform and sell the show - which they did quite well. I really enjoyed their performance. Their visual program was the weakest area of their show. I thought the score and placement was dead on.

Mandarins - 73.9
All I can say is WOW! Great job today. I was not sure what to expect from them because of their repertoire - rather aggressive for a smaller corps. But did they ever prove themselves. The arrangements of both Candide and On the Waterfront were fantastic, and the corps pulled off an incredible show. Very exciting! The soprano soloist was fantastic too. Score and placement were dead on once again.

Spartans - 73.7
This was my only viewing of the Spartans this summer, and I was disappointed. They had one of the only performances today that I felt was really off, and a show that I did not particularly care for. They had almost 50 brass players on the field, but where was the sound??? They had intonation problems, sloppy visual, and several spaceouts. The show was a bit abstract, and it was not sold very well. Sorry Spartans, but I was very disappointed.

Patriots - 76.5
An excellent performance by the Patriots today. They were smaller than the Spartans, but they put out so much more sound, and the tone quality was still good. Their show was very entertaining, and the guard was fantastic. The rifle line was very good, and there was a bit of humor in the second number that was well received by the crowd. I though the score and placement was too high, but considering how close I thought they were to those I thought should have beat them (i.e., Tarheel Sun, Kiwanis Kavaliers, and Troopers), this did not bother me too much.

Les Etoiles - 72.2
This was my third viewing of Les Etoiles, and I still do not like this show. It didnít do anything for me. Overall show design was poor in my opinion, and the members of this corps were sold a bill of goods. They deserved better. I thought the Blue Stars beat them.

Tarheel Sun - 73.2
Tarheel had the first "Big" sound of the day. They had a good show too. The repertoire was good - toe tapping tunes. The crowd liked Bohemian Rhapsody. The horn line had a good sound, and the entire corps put out a great excitement level. Overall and excellent job today. I thought they had just edged out Patriots, but the fact that Patriots beat them did not bother me. The spread in the score did - it should have been much closer.

Troopers - 73.8
If you could say only one thing about the Troopers it would have to be tradition - and the crowd loves them for it. Their entrance to the field - marching in a file from the end zone - was dirty. They were marching 8 to 5 straight across the field - youíd think a line would be able to do that cleanly by this time in the summer. They removed much of the really cheesy guard theatrics in the middle of the show, where the guard was shouting "murderer" and putting Billy the Kid in jail. The new version was MUCH better! The sunburst was met with the usual rousing audience response. I had them over Patriots, but not by much. Like Tarheel, the placement didnít bother me, but the point spread did.

Kiwanis Kavaliers - 76.3
This was my first viewing of KK, and all I can say is YAWN! They performed very well, and the show was pretty clean. The show itself was just plain boring. I felt like the elevator doors opened when they were done performing.

Pioneer - 77.8
I really like this show. Their visual execution is nice and crisp, and they really performed well today. The crowd seemed to like the show given the response they received. The horn line balance with the drum line is much improved over last month, and the tone quality has improved as well. Their guard still does too much individual work. The drum line is their strength - very good line indeed. Overall, a great job by Pioneer. Iím glad I will be able to see them once more tomorrow.

Southwind - 78.8
Absolutely FANTASTIC tonight! They pulled off a really exciting performance, and the crowd really got into their show - huge response after the opener and at the end of the show. The drill was executed very well, and was very exciting. This was the first show of the summer for my wife, and after viewing them today, she could not believe they were not finalists. I thought they beat Spirit be about 2 points. Welcome back Southwind and great job today!

Spirit of Atlanta - 78.8
Spirit did manage to clean a good part of their show, but there is still plenty of dirt - in the drill, in the guard, and in the horn line. Tone quality suffered when the line played loud, and intonation became a problem as a result. I thought Southwind topped them without question.

Magic of Orlando - 82.6
I really like Magicís show. They performed well today too. The horn line is amazing, and the arrangements are great. I still think they sound like BD from the early 80ís - they style and flair to the arrangements and in the playing. Itís a shame they wonít be making an appearance in finals, because they have a hot show. I thought the score and placement were dead on.

Bluecoats - 84.5
Strong performance in all captions, and a great show to boot. Iím not normally a fan of Bluecoats shows, but I love this one. The last show of theirs that I really liked was 86 - another year they were not in finals - not a slam - just an observation. I thought the score and placement were dead on. I donít think they will be able to move up a place tomorrow evening, but anything is possible.

Colts - 85.8
Awesome job by the Colts today. I love the new closer. The show was exciting today, and I was very impressed overall with the sound of the horn line. The arrangements and the brass performance were truly amazing. My first reaction was that the sound was uncharacteristic for Colts, but then after thinking about it, they have changed styles and sound every year now for several years. So perhaps this is in fact characteristic! Whatever the case, I like it.

Boston Crusaders - 87.7
This is the first BAC show and performance that I have thought was deserving of a top 12 spot, and they will most assuredly receive one this year. Great job tonight BAC! The guard is great, and the musical is nice. The brass line sound is fantastic - just not loud enough for my tastes. Their marching execution is not as clean as some of the other corps they beat, but their overall package is excellent.

Carolina Crown - 86.5
Guard and drum line - Crownís strengths this year. This was my first viewing of Crown, and I liked their show. The music was good and the show was interesting. I liked the guard uniform changes - from the half black/half gray to the half black/half white to the red. Great job! I though the score and placement were correct.

Crossmen - 88.5
Great show, awesome guard, ugly guard uniforms. Their drum line does not have the groove from years past, but it is still quite good, and they play some exciting licks (even if one of them is just a warm up exercise heard endlessly in my years of marching). I thought their score and placement were correct.

Phantom Regiment - 91.7
This was my first viewing of Phantom, and I was pleasantly surprised. Based on everything I had heard, I was expecting a really filthy show. There was some visual dirt, but overall, the show was excellent. The opener was really exciting, and I didnít find the middle boring as I have read on RAMD. I though their score was high, but their placement was correct.

Blue Knights - 93.4
Incredible show and performance. Their arrangements are much improved over the 94 version of Trittico. The guard is terrific, and the flags are cool. The drum line was wailing tonight - one of the best on the field I gather. The horn line can really wail too. My only complaint is the shoes - why did they go to black? They look terrible! The white shoes looked 10 times better. Placing ahead of Madison I agreed with, but Glassmen? I donít know about that.

Madison Scouts - 92.1
Madison was ON FIRE tonight. They were obviously energized by the crowd, and by playing the hometown gig. If they play with that level of excitement tomorrow and can clean up just a tad here and there, they might be able to pull ahead of both BK and Glassmen.

Glassmen - 93.3
They had the unenviable task of going on after Madison, and they did a terrific job. I know their show is not for everyone, but I absolutely love it! The visual program - both marching and guard - is absolutely beautiful. This is one show I know I will be listening to again and again when the CDís are released. I thought they were 5th tonight, but they were awfully close with BK and Madison. Depending on how they perform, they could be 5th or 7th - itís up to them IMO.

Cavaliers - 95.8
Cavies had a wonderful show tonight. Lotís of oh's and ah's from the crowd. 2 members of the horn line ate turn in the opener, but the recovery was almost instantaneous. A most enjoyable performance from them. They really fly at several points in the show, and they have such excellent body control, you donít see the speed in the way they carry themselves or in the music. I thought they beat Cadets tonight - or at least were within a few tenths of a point.

Santa Clara Vanguard - 97.0
SCV too was ON FIRE! The crowd really got into their show, and they got two standing ovations. A soloist in the opener cracked a few times, but the rest of the soloists nailed them all beautifully. They really fly at times, and have some very scary pass-thrus, but they execute with such precision and control. The drum line is amazing and they really show off too. You could tell they really wanted it tonight - but they were denied! My bet is they turn it up another notch tomorrow night and win it. I thought they won tonight.

Blue Devils - 97.8
BD was hot tonight, and their guard was on. They really have a fun show. I love the third number when the horn line is in 2 triangles on the front side of the field and the guard is in a triangle behind the horn line dancing in unison - it just looks cool, and itís fun. I thought SCVís marching execution was cleaner, but BDís horn line was the best tonight. I had them in second place overall.

Cadets - 96.8
Cadets performed well tonight, and their guard was on. They will be in the hunt for the guard title thatís for sure. They added some light blue tarps around the outer edge of the field. My guess is this is suppose to be the NY skyline and the sky on the outside of the buildings, but you could not really tell. They didnít really add anything. In fact, I found them quite distracting. The taxi cabís didnít really add much to the show either - yes it worked with the whole NY theme and all, but simply walking around with pieces of taxi cabs? Sorry - it just didnít work for me. There was plenty of dirt in the marching, and you could hear the marching demand in their horn lineís playing. They lose body control while marching fast, unlike SCV, BD, and Cavies. I thought Cavies beat them tonight.

Overall this was a fantastic show today! Great shows and performances top to bottom, and most of the corps really cranked out great shows. I am really looking forward to tomorrows shows, and I really hope SCV takes the title. I simply think they are the best overall corps on the field, and they deserve recognition for it.

Tim Kviz
Sky Ryders 85-88
Various Others 78-84

Tuesday August 10
Madison, WI (DCI)
DCI Division II Prelims

It was a pretty good show overall. All 12 corps put on their best shows. All were very energentic, even Dutch Boy who went on at 7:00!

Dutch Boy---what a nice way to start a morning! They surprised me with their show of melodies by Lerner and Loewe. I hope these kids stick it out, they're young and they can only get better.

Les Stentors---This was the first time I had seen them. Overall a decent performance. Not as entertaining as Dutch Boy but you could tell that they are a tad better.

Kip's Bay---Nice nice job! Very nice sounding hornline! I wondered about the use of six snares and only one tenor but I suppose they have their reasons. The nightclub scene was very well designed. I don't know if I would have trusted those folding chairs enough to dance on though!! Good job!

Teal Sound---what a wonderful first year they are having! O Daddy O was a gas!! I hope they stick to this style because it works very well for them. Welcome to the activity Teal Sound, I really enjoyed your show!

Allegiance Elite---when I first saw they were going to do Bye Bye Birdie, my first thought was "why?" Tell ya what, I really like what they do with it! By far my favorite editon of this corps!

Capital Sound--They rocked the house--granted many family members there, but they grabbed everybody who was there and just put on a very good performance. The hornline was very good..marching had some problem areas. But still quite the show today! Too bad they're not going on to finals.

Cascades---definately different. They performed well but I just don't know about this show. Not that it's totally weird or anything, just different from anything I've seen--in a way that's a good thing though as it's becoming more difficult to be original so the Technology concept worked in that regard and I suppose in other areas too. Nice drumline!!!! Those of us sitting together were trying to figure out all the auto parts hanging off that rack! Yes a good performance and I'm glad to see them doing so well after their year off a couple years ago.

Jersey Surf--wow! Entertainment to the max! The different variations of Summertime and A Night in Tunisia were very well written and well performed. I'm glad to see them make it, their first DCI finals! Very well deserved.

Americanos---this was only the second time I've seen them all year since they were always on before us in shows. What control and what great ensemble!!! That is what puts them above Capital Sound in the midwest and now has them reaching for the top nationally. The guard is very good as is the design of the drill. I like! Good luck tomorrow night!!!!

East Coast Jazz----I was really looking forward to seeing them. We're they what I expected? Well...overall it is a good show, great soloists!!! I was hoping for Fanfare to be truer to the original. But "Invitation to a River" I just loved! Wow, they nailed it!

Spartans----speaking of control they have it. Everything fits just right but I would like to see more emotion. One person told me they were flat. Since I have no other viewing of them this year I have nothing to compare today's performance to. Other than that, yes they are a contender, they are very well controlled. Is that all they'll need to repeat? I don't think so, IMO they need the emotion factor.

Patriots---WOW! One of the best shows I've seen in my years doing this. I love Russian music to begin with and what they did out there this morning was nothing short of wonderful. The visuals were a gas--the wave with the water coming out of the jugs was just plain awesome!!!! Good luck Patriots tomorrow night--it's your title for the taking!

I have to say, all in all, that division II corps are on the right track. Sure Spartans and Les Stentors have shows that I wouldn't call audience movers, they still present well designed shows. I had a very enjoyable experience this morning from all, thank you very much all 12 corps! Good luck to the finalists!!

Frank Schoenbach

Saturday August 7
Allentown, PA (DCI) #2

A great night of Drum Corps. I got there late so I didn't get to see Southwind or Tarheel Sun. Sorry.

Pioneer: Good GE for the amount of horns that they put on the field. The crowd loved this corps, and I couldn understand was obvious the kids were leaving it all on the field. They really had one solid Sop, and he carried the corps throughout the show, but it was a good group effort tonight none the less. Crowd was pleased with the score, but it seemed fair.

Spirit of Atlanta: I have been hearing all these horrible things about Spirit all year. I heard they were the dirtiest corps in Division I, and that the arrangements were too hard. However, I was pleased with what I heard and saw tonight. This is obviously a lost year for them, the guard unis are still horrible, you can tell the kids are dimoralized from scoring in the low 70s all summer. However, they brought a strong performance tonight, musically and visually. Glad to see them at 77.0, crawling closer to magic.

Magic: I usually love this corps, but I loathe this show. The show announcer pronounced the composer of the music as "Chuck Man-gionie", and it was all down hill from there. Not much spirit from them tonight. It sounds like they have the 9th or 10th most talented horn line this year, or better. But the show is not good, and they will miss finals again because of it.

Crown: Typical YEA thing going on here. The horn line is better than in past years, but I still think their show is dry and I can't get excited about it. Nice Guard tonight though.

Phantom: Just a quick word on the looks like they are strutting around in black body suits from the press box. The small amount of red outline on the cuffs of their sleeves can't be seen with the naked eye. They look like shadows. Anyway, I like there show better than last years. Solid job visually. I always like the way they march. Good GE musically, even though I don't like music, the horn line is good enough to pull it off.

Cadets: Even though I struggle to stomach the same show year after year after year, there are certian shows that the Cadets bring a level of emotion that no one else can match. Tonight was a night like this. A similar thing happened last year....the Giants Stadium show the day before Allentown they were horrible, no energy, losing at their home show to the Blue Devils. Allentown arrives and they give an unreal performance. This year they lost to SCV at giants stadium, show up to allentown and even though they didn't win, they had much more energy than BD, and as the recaps show, tied them in GE for the first time, and beat them in ensemble. The guard is special this year. I am surprised the Devils beat them in guard tonight. I don't know if they can deliver a better show than tonight in madison, but this is the cadets, and they do tend to pull things from you-know-where.

BD: This was the only corps I had not seen up to this point, and it is all I have been thinking about for a few days now. I was so excited from all the things that I have been reading that anything short of the '94 show would have been dissapointing. And it was. Don't get me wrong, they have the best show this year, they were extremely clean, and the guard was strong. However, I expect more from a BD show. The horns were great, but the show is not enough of BD's style. It can win, but it will not be a favorite of my Devil's 90's shows. Drumline was clean. Should give glassmen a challenge for perc. caption. The best part of their performance was the winner's encore, WHICH WAS UNREAL. Their lead Soprano is my new hero, this guy can wail...and he knows it. Maybe I just caught them on a not so good night.

Thoughts for Madison....I hope the cadets don't win, I am so sick of the same show for the last (fill in the blank) years. The execute well, but still.... SCV should win, I don't care what BD has been doing to them. They are too clean. And they own the next trend in marching with the opening T.


I have been reading reviews on this website religiously over the summer so first a big thanks to everyone for keeping me posted as to what is going on. I just thought I would throw out my own thoughts on the 2 shows in Allentown this weekend. I've been following Drum Corps for 19 years since I first saw the Scouts as a Junior in High School at a show in Columbus and I've been hooked ever since. I was really looking forward to Allentown in that I didn't have a chance to catch many shows this year and I was not disappointed. For those of you who have never been to Allentown, J Birney Crum stadium and the Park with it's surroundings is a great setting for a weekend of Drum Corp. The show is well run and the stadium is ideal for DCI (except for the old wood seats that gave me a couple of splinters). The crowd was knowledgable and pretty much into all the corps.

Friday opened with TROOPERS. (71.0) - Nice show but it looked like they were trying to put on a show that was a little too difficult for their level of expertise. I think I expected to like the show more since I'm a fan of Billy the Kid, but it didn't do much for me. It was nice to see Troopers again in that I hadn't been to a show with them in quite a few years. I hope they keep building back to the level they once were back when I started following Drum Corp.

LES 'ETOILES (68.7) - I actually liked the show more than I thought I would. After reading the reviews all summer, I expected something a little more dreadful than I saw. Don't get me wrong, the scaffolding was just stupid and annoying but the music wasn't too bad and I was glad to see they gave up the spinning drummers. Maybe they'll stay away from the gimmicks next year? Doubt it.

KIWANIS KAVALIERS (74.0) - Nice show but fairly uneventful. Horn playing was a little sloppy for this time of year but definitely a step up from the first two corps. Nice hornline and I did enjoy the music.

BOSTON (85.2) - Previous reviews had me ready for something special. I guess I just wasn't prepared to be blown away and wow these guys did just that. Kind of reminded me of Crossmen a couple of years ago. What an entertaining show and the music was great. A couple of weeks ago it looked like they were fighting for finals. At this point, I think they've pretty much stormed in. The crowd loved them! They're strong in all areas and I had never seen a Crusaders corp this good. Not sure what they did in the off season to get this show on the field but keep it up.

BLUECOATS (82.0) - I'm usually a big Bluecoat fan but I thought the show was kind of flat. Horn line was vintage Bluecoats and the guard was pretty good but they just didn't seem to have much of the spark they usually have. Not sure if it was an off night or it's just not their year.

COLTS (82.8) - OK show, but like Bluecoats, didn't do much for me. Good horn line, played very tight, but music selection didn't do much for me. Can't really think of many highlights that stand out in my memory.

BLUE KNIGHTS (90.2) - I'm not usually a fan of BK but loved their show. Excellent quality throughout all the ranks on a difficult program. I wasn't familiar with the music but it was accessible.

CROSSMEN (86.9) - I always love these guys and they didn't disappoint me. Difficult horn work was performed very well and the guard was in top form. (they took high guard honors for the evening) Loved the music and drill. And actually liked the new uniforms. (sorry to most of you out there who seem to not like them)

SCOUTS (88.9) - The Scouts were what got me into DCI in the first place and I would travel across the country to see these guys. Too bad they don't have a caption for crowd appeal because they would win all the time. Great show, great music, great guard.....there really isn't much else I could say that hasn't been said so far in past reviews. The crowd just loved them and soundly booed the scores and placement. Although a huge Madison fan myself, I agree with the placement. Maybe not the spread in scores but the 3 that scored above them all put on more difficult programs. The music was the most hummible and accessible of the evening and they will definitely bring down the house at finals in front of a home town crowd. These guys are straight in your face entertainment. As a fan, that's what keeps me coming back.

SCV (94.8) - Tremendous drill, wonderful music. It seemed like the show had just started and then it was over. They made a 13 minute show seem like it lasted only 2 minutes and I wanted to see more! The hornline sounds amplified compared to everyone else for the evening and the drill never stops. Loved the split "T" move and although not a fan of repeating moves in a show was glad they did it again because I kind of missed it the first time. With so much going on, I actually missed most of the guard and that's probably a shame since I assume they're probably good, but the drill was just phenomenal and they obviously have the goods to win it all. And for everyone who left after scores were announced, you missed one hell of a victory concert. It was breathtaking to say the least.

GLASSMEN (90.9) - The only problem with the Glassmen was that they had to come on after the Scouts and SCV. Great show but I think the crowd was pretty much spent from watching the other two. Percussion is tremendous and all sections are top rate. I didn't like the music as much as last year, but that's probably just the "casual fan" coming out in me since last year's score was a little more recognizable. They deserved every bit of their placement and are the real deal.

Saturday opened early with a fan/judge clinic that was a lot of fun. Everyone not only had a chance to ask questions of the judges but they also presented a pretty clear and concise explanation of the entire judging process. The Crossmen took time out of their schedule to participate as well, letting the fans hear from the show designer's what they wanted to get across to the fans and judges and the judges explained what they see. Not only was it a great chance to hear what goes on in the minds of the judges but we got to see the Crossment perform again. The clinic was a great idea DCI. If anyone out their with clout is reading this, keep it up!!!

Saturday opened with SOUTHWIND (76.1) - Very good show and entertaining. I think these guys are a future powerhouse and their affiliation with Madison is obviously paying off. Whether or not you're a fan of YEA! or the Scouts Association, you have to like what you see when corps' like Southwind can come out of retirement and field a show like they do. They're solid in most categories and obviously have telented kids in the organization. I like to be surprised and Southwind surprised me with a great show.

TARHEEL SUN (71.7) - Nice show and interesting mix of music. I wasn't sure how it would all work together but it did. The corps looked sloppy and the sound wasn't all that great, maybe trying to tone down the difficulty of the score and drill would help. It almost seemed like they were trying to play something that they weren't quite up to from a talent standpoint. Don't get me wrong, there were times where they sounded great, but other times where I kept thinking a slower drill or easier music would have lent itself to a better performance. Not everyone has to perform like the Cadets do. Play at your level, and the crowd will be entertained. (just my opinion)

PIONEER (75.5) - Case in point. Pioneer did not perform a particularly difficult drill, music was sound, hornline handled everything tightly, had a great guard for a corp at this level and flat out put on an entertaining show. The crowd really liked them and even though they were not my favorites of the evening, I enjoyed the show. They were smaller than in years past? At least from what I remembered from seeing them 2 years ago.

SPIRIT (77.0) - After about 2 minutes of their show I started to wonder why everyone seemed to like them in other reviews. But then they turned on the power and put on one kick a$# show. It was nice to see them turn up the horn line and blast a little bit. I saw a lot of vintage Spirit in the show and I hope they keep it up. As for the guard uniforms, can anyone honestly say what they're wearing now is better? I didn't see the old ones, but from the sound of things I guess I'm better off. And what's with the spandex craze with guards? And I'm not just picking on Spirit. Tight spandex is not flattering on most of the world's population including quite a few guards that seem to be sporting this type of outfit. I'm not a prude by any standard, but the guys and girls running around the field in some of these uniforms ("costumes?") just don't quite cut it. It's a distraction to what's going on during the show. (sorry, I'm digressing here)

MAGIC (79.7) - Is it just me or do they seem to be kind of going backwards? I think I've seen these guys every year over the last few years and I like them less each year. I love the music of Mangione, and maybe I expected more, but it just didn't do much for me. On the contrary, their hornline is a strong point. I had come to expect exciting and different things from them and I guess I was just a little underwelmed. It seems like they have the talent so I'm not sure why things aren't better.

CAROLINA ( 84.6) - I can usually judge a show by how fast it appears to have ended. When I'm really into a show, it seems to flow by seemlessly until I can't believe it's over. Crown's show did that for me. Even though I don't know the music, I enjoyed it very well. I often hear fans complaining that crops play too much obscure music. Well Crown is able to do that and pull it off wonderfully. Great drill, great guard, strong show.

PHANTOM (90.3) - Love the hornline. Always did, always will. They always pull off a deep rich sound that just gives me the chills and I have to thank Phantom for introducing me to classical music when I was in high school. I nevered listened to what my parents wanted me to and listened to stuff like AC/DC, but Phantom showed me classical could be cool and they never fail to get to me. Classical music has moved into the scores of many corps this year, but in my opinion, Phantom still does it best and with a unique style that will always be classic Phantom. So many other corps' have changed styles through the years. Phantom hasn't and I hope they never do.

CADETS (93.8) - It's funny how critical we can all be of the Cadets. What a show! They continue to amaze me on the field and whether your do or don't like their style, every drum corp fan has to appreciate what they do on the field. Musically, I think I liked last year's show better. But ther drill is still spastic and the guard is wonderful. I'm not sure why the Cadet guard did not take high honors tonight but that's just my opinion. I'm not a "guard person" but they were nothing short of perfect and the rifle work was phenomenal. The hornline wasn't in top form, but then again, I'm being picky. They probably won't win this year, but definitely deserve to be in the same class as BD and SCV.

CAVIES (92.8) - Saw them earlier in the year and was disappointed but loved them this time. Very complex drill that wowed the crowd high up in the stadium. Great music and usual great guard. They only scored a point behind Cadets but I'm not sure if they can go much further with the show. They have definitely kept the "Top 4" intact in DCI. Not quite sure they are ready to break into the top 3 yet.

DEVILS (94.4) - Not sure what else to say other than they rocked the house! The hornline is wicked......drums, guard and drill aren't far behind. Soprano's kicked major butt and they brought the house down. Not only once but twice. The victory concert was awsome and unlike the night before, most everyone stayed to be blown away. I don't think anyone was disappointed.

There's major competition heading in Madison, can't wait to see the results. And good luck to the Division III General Butler Vagabonds, who are pretty much my home town corp here in Western PA. Kick some butt guys. You have a great show! And congratulations to anyone out there who marches. What you do is tremendous. Whether you win the championship or not, you make a lot of drum corps fans out here feel really good. It was a wondeful weekend in Allentown. Thanks.

Dave Givens

Friday August 6
Allentown, PA (DCI) #1

Hello all. This is my first attempt at a review so I hope all of you will be merciful towards it. As for background, I'm a HS Band Director (The Heat Shield is in place in anticipation of the flames now being sighted on yet, another "Bando") and my spouse aka Guard Instructor. We are both avid fans/supporters of corps and make it to several shows, and to several Finals.

Day 1. (Was sitting in Row 1 on the 48 right in the "Power Alley"

Troopers: It was nice to see the strong development from last year's addition. Mostly young kids, with some determined older section leaders and DM. Music worked well for them, although endurance/intonation began to slip towards the end. Guard work was very two dimensional w/o much lower body work. Will someone buy or donate some silks and 6&7 foot poles for this hard working group? Always nice to see the nod to their tradition w/the Sunburst at the end of their performance.

Les Etoiles de Dorion: Hmmmmm. First thought was "Where did all of the players go?" 2 Contras trying to support Ensemble sound? There were, of course, the now infamous scaffolds which I did not find distracting (and only minimally enhancing). My spouse found them to be a huge impediment to their performance noting on several occasions that significant parts of the drill were obscured from most of the audience and we could only see it at all by being near to field level. Not a deep sound, and ensemble was suffering w/lots of individuals popping out from time to time. Daring move to play original music but question why they would compete open class w/this size group.

Kiwanis Kavaliers: Definitely not the same Kaviliers I saw at Falls Church in July. Better sound, good flow, and a more mature sound. Aux. work was convincing even if on the simplistic side. Tempi now at reasonable settings. Sorry, nothing more comes to memory.

B.A.C.: Two words, God and D**n! These are the 'Saders? Words cannot describe their performance this evening. M&M was TIGHT!. A rich, full ensemble brass line w/good control of dynamics, and a battery not far behind. Auxiliary added the the show unlike other editions of BAC. Was the first "goose-bump to goose bump" Corps of the year for me. Corps fed off the crowd response and kept elevating their performance as it went on. Thought the DM was going to either launch himself off of the stand at the end, or that he and a number of the corps members would be stricken from strokes as their complete, total concentration was transcending the entire venue! Veins were a poppin'! Reed works well as literature and of course, the place went wacky w/the Conquest tease. If these guys aren't on the field on Sat. nite, it will be a travesty!

Bluecoats: Opening impact and that typical 'Coats jazz style and sound. Unfortunately, it was to me a tease of the show that was never to develop. The rest of the show sounded like the development sections of many of their favorite pieces. No real beginning or end, but lots of the stuff in the middle. Sops dominated their brass line and at times, they sounded a bit top heavy. Beautiful outfits on the guard, and they gave a solid performance. Somehow, the show didn't connect w/me and most of those around me despite the familiar nature of their repertoire. Perhaps the corps is trying a new direction? Oh, by the way, the black gauntlets do work for the group as they match the epaulets and the pant stripes. Also, they serve to help cover up some of the inconsistencies in the corps numerous uses of arm and body work throughout the show.

Colts: Wow! The corps continues to up the ante in complexity w/their book, and the guard is MEAN! They've found a niche in their music/show selection that really works. This is not a flashy show, but a solid performance of well executed, solid literature. Stretched the limits of crowd appeal, w/o beating them in the face w/complexity for complexity's sake. It is fun to watch this corps, w/their obvious long term vision, develop from year to year w/relentless progress. Perhaps a lesson to be learned from this strategy? Hmmmmmmm.

X-men: The guard is OUTRAGEOUS although, IMHO, the nites' performance was a bit off. Solid rendition of Shades of Blue w/most impressive opening licks of the evening so far. M&M is obviously this corps weak link. Are there holes? Can't explain the problems w/interval as they seeming open and close w/o rhyme or reason. (Contras were the prime offenders here) Corps appears younger, and less mature which might explain their "down" year. Battery was their same solid selves and offered the first "prime" percussion feature of the evening.

Magic: I want to like this corps. They've had, as I'm sure all of you know, a rough tour this year. Like the new uniform variant, loved the guards' look, (and their performance) and their Premier equipped battery was by far the best sound of any of the other corps saddled w/that brand. It's the book that I can't get into. A great lead sop, and a lead mello to go w/him, and the music is pleasant sounding but it's not really what I expect to hear from their selections. Excitement for sure, but missing some sort of oomph? An iffy selection for the 12th. spot for finals IMHO but I hope they make it.

Scouts: Crowd favorites as they should be. JC Superstar is a gas to watch, and what else can be said but that the Scouts are still the Scouts! Their emphasis is on entertainment, and the members show it to the core. Tasty Sop licks, humor, and a guard that never gets the recognition they deserve. (Will someone look at these guys, please?) Sure, you could pick on them for little problems and some drill dirt, but hey, they're there to perform for the crowd and themselves. If making that pitch to the audience comes at the expense of something else I say it's more than a bargain!

Blue Knights: Trittico in all of it's glory. These guys may be trying to "out-phantom" the Regiment's approach on GE music and ensemble. A SWEET Contra section especially) A full, mature, balanced and dark sound from the brass. Lush would be another way to describe it. M&M and drill design was another definite strength. Perhaps not the whiplash effect of CBC, but a complex, and well executed show. Was first viewing of this year's show, so I was just soaking it all in, and definites are hard for me to remember. Again, sorry,

SCV: OK, here's where I'm gonna' get flamed if I haven't been already. As a musician, I can appreciate the intricacies, subtle nuances, and musicianship necessary to pull off such a show. There is absolutely nothing wrong with contemporary music w/it inherent difficulties and it's surely a resource for any musical endeavor and at least there's someone out there to give modern music exposure. W/contemporary marching, both corps and band, the balance lies between "What do the judges like?" and "How does it effect our audience?" The Scouts are representative of one polarity, and with it's recent editions, SCV would seem to be leaning towards the other. Is this a good move for the members of both the corps and the crowd? It's certainly not for me to decide and only time will tell. I personally found myself trying very hard to appreciate this show rather to enjoy it. There were of course, moments. The Guard was killer. Velocity, difficulty, and execution. The battery has Serious chops! The music was certainly quite effective for the genre and I feel well representative of the original compositions. Is it awesome? Yes. Does it stretch the boundaries? Yes. Will it win at finals? I think it probably will. Can I remember a single lick? Hardly.

Glassmen: See above re: content. There is one note that I wish to add however. I was sitting directly behind the staff viewing area the whole evening. These kids went on to that field and gave it their all. As w/many of the staffs, the G-men staff would look expectantly at the crowd after major hits, and at the end of songs. Like most, they were eagerly looking for a response from the spectators. When there wasn't much response to the moments that the kids and the staff were juiced for, the crestfallen expressions on their faces told the story. They get it, and the corps obviously does, but on this nite, the crowd didn't and I don't know if they understood why. Battery is killer, and brass is good as well. Uniforms and Guard outfits were working great. I'm sure that they felt that the music was working at least as well.

Well, that's it. If I have time, I'll try Day 2 later on, but I saw that there wasn't a word about Day 1. Looking back, it seems I've written a tome rather than a review. One last word. It is amazing to me to have witnessed the overall increase of the quality of performance from ALL of the corps. Sure, the elite 6 have always been there w/quality it seems, but the rest of them are far and away better than ever before and are continuing to improve. What a great activity for all of the folks involved. Kids, Staff, Volunteers, etc., we all owe a debt to you all. Good Luck to all of the corps at finals. We will all be rooting you on towards excellence!

Richard Hood

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