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BigW last won the day on January 26 2015

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  1. 2017 Rankings

    Don't discount Fusion and CV at Finals weekend.
  2. Well, we go from LI to Pittsburgh. Jeff, a lot of what you said puts more pieces together from information I got from an interview with a long time and knowledgeable friend out that way for a college paper. What I know: Late 60's, roughly- The Drum Major of the Rockets and the Color Guard Captain (at one time the CG Captain had also been a DM) did something a bit different. The Drum major got his Mus.Ed. Degree and with the Color Guard person took what he knew, applied it to the HS setting, and took Norwin HS to the top. The Color Guard person was also involved with the Royal Crusaders (aka Finleyville for those who are confused). I find it interesting that there was a friction with kids with Royal Crusaders and certain band directors, but in some ways, I'm not too surprised. Why? Read below. The skinny, Ego, Jealousy. I'm also not surprised about the issues with egos. Observation of many of the personalities out there has led me to apply the old adage that a lot of them would rather choke on their own ambitions than dislodge the crumb in their throat because they're too proud and their egos are too big. I'm happy that Mon Valley's doing something. It's better do do something grassroots where one is successful rather then overreach and fail miserably. As for SCDA... if they had some internet presence, some of the events I think are close enough they would tempt me, but they're running under the radar like a B-2 in today's environment and they appear to me to be also a bit taciturn rather than trying to actively promote their end of things in a positive way.
  3. I also think they forgot Excelsior- but to be truthful, after living in upstate NY for 2 years... LI and NYC are kind of their own entity that grudgingly admits the rest of the state is part of them and likes their taxes for that reason.
  4. 2017 Mini-corps lineup?

    The prototype event, before it was called Minis... was around '92 or '93, and if Erie hadn't won, I don't think the panel would have left alive. Crowd was all into it, almost like a big rock event.
  5. The Pittsburgh area has issues, Jeff. Been out there enough over the years (I'm from there) to realize there's a very slim niche of enthusiasm for this activity and the school version. More interest in the WPIAL god and the Stillers. Seen band contests out there with very few people let alone any parents in the audience. Staying at home watching football. People prefer the big loud droney-baloney non-competing 300+ member show bands like Pitt, Ambridge HS, and NA to what the better groups out that way offer. They have more fluff than real substance, which it sadly seems folks out there go for in spades. Tough enough out here to guide any kids to the activity. Yes, there have been some directors keeping kids away and injuring the activity, those are thankfully dwindling. Cost, commitment are two factors also that make it hard to recruit and keep individuals.
  6. Jeff is spot on. I worked as the "Summer Band Director" for a small 30 piece concert and marching ensemble for a small Central PA high School. Several competitive parades in the area and fairs. The program made money, especially when we started winning a few parades we weren't previously winning before I got there. Extra money for standstill concerts, etc. The PA Grange Fair within their district was a big deal and had a parade with good prizes as well. There were even some big events we had to not attend because we gave priority to in district commitments. There were just so many weeks in the Summer. The money is out there, or at least was for the local High School bands.
  7. To close, let's look at some things of interest, and something related on an earlier thread. First, How did the Cabs win? I'm sure some folks are curious. The weight of effect in DCA got them there. They weigh effect far heavier than they do in scholastic circuits, which generally favor technical, performance, and music related captions. The interesting thing to me is what position I believe the Cabs are in right now in relation to the Sabres and Fusion, at least. (Warning: discussing this kind of thing awhile back honked off some people. I'm fine with disagreement on this, and I think it's worth a great discussion, not some flippin' argument.) Right now my impression, backed up by the scores on the recap, is that the Cabs may have more room for growth since they're not as clean in visual, percussion, and guard. My impression with the percussion is that they're starting to really discover what's within that book and create some real musicality from it. Sometimes, when one looks at music, it takes some time with it to find the different angles and dimensions within the score before one really begins to get what's in there out to the listener. This is beginning to happen. Can the guard make some changes here and there? My guess is that this is being worked on very seriously. Can they create situations where the guard is presented in a more obvious way? They're doing what they do well, it's just not as slam-bang-in-your-face about it. At least to someone like myself, who is not a visual/guard specialist. I'm certain the Sabres and Fusion are also thinking they have a lot they can work on as well. Keep in mind that their staffs live with that show and know every nook, cranny, and canoodle that lies within the program, which leads to the next item that's had me thinking. I really appreciated Holly Marino's reply in the thread concerning Fusion's appearance in Williamsport. Fusion's been very active in appearances, parades, and also been a very friendly and non-aloof crew to the other corps and the fans. I thought about their performance, and again, I realized some of the issues may be some inconsistencies. My guess is that they fix something, talk about it, and something else that was correct in the last run, segment, or chunk happens that causes staff to run in that direction. Sometimes, you have to have the time to do continuity segments in rehearsals to get the corps to piece together sections of the show so they get an understanding and feel as to how various smaller chunks of the show interconnect so that the presentation doesn't clunk and bump from one idea to the next. I know from experience that more and better continuity rehearsal can beat opponents who over-focus on individual chunks and phrases of their show. It's how we beat two of our local rivals that had more talent time and time again. Soooo, you need time to do that! I thought about this, and Holly's listening to staff who know they desperately need time to do this and really grind it, but she also wants to get the corps out and perform and keep commitments, which Fusion has a record of doing time and time again. (Some corps would kill right now to have as many performance opportunities... that's another can of worms...) I fully understand the decision that was made. Corps management also has a responsibility to the members to try and put them in the best possible position to seed well at prelims, and then also present well for championship weekend. Being a bit "selfish" (note this is in quotes) in this instance is the right thing to do. Fusion's been a very giving organization to perhaps the point they've been taken for granted. I know they will use that time to get things humming rather nicely and come out quite, quite ready. Anyhow, this is it for me this season. Next season, we'll see how the schedule breaks out, and whether the T-Birds want a nut like me around and I'll head to that show. I hope so, I miss 'em. I'll also be doing something for I and E and attending at least prelims next year. I'm looking for some I and E folks who might be interested in putting some duets and small ensembles together. I hope I'll find 'em. I might not be quick on my feet, but I can still play. Take care, best of luck to everyone- God Bless!
  8. I had a conversation with one of those types at East in period. I told them flatly, "Take out all the stuff and leave the drill and book. Is there substance? Is it done at a high level?" No answer for that...
  9. This was the first time I saw Fusion's "Connection" program, and I really enjoyed this program. Fusion's brass section is very much a "Thinking Man's" brass section, subtle, nuanced, definitely not facile. Very much in the spirit of the 1990-1995 Bushwacker lines. It took a bit of time at the beginning for the horns to settle in then.. they brought it. The percussion section really finishes their phrases elegantly, and with the perception of effortlessness. The battery's really strong in their feature. They've really come into their own now. They're no longer "up and coming". The "Sound of Silence" is a fine example of great arranging and provides a great moment for the corps. I really liked the closer of "Uffe's Workshop", which I think was a nice angle and unique take on the piece, which is better known from the 2014 Blue Coats. The infinity sign at the program end was pretty sweet, though I wonder whether the show ending might be a bit abrupt. There's little stuff that needs to be addressed. It might be a consistency issue. It struck me that some of the fluffs might have been ones that didn't happen at rehearsal and wouldn't happen in the next run-through. I'll talk more about that as per some recent comments on other DCP threads in my show wrap-up. I sense some things coming together as per those discussions and it's well worth discussing. I need a break to really focus those final thoughts.
  10. The Cabs were much more determined and focused in their performance here than when I saw them at Nazareth. The French Horn features are like paint off the brush, so elegant and smooth. I can't repeat here what's in my notes. great stuff, great moment. Things happen. The brass have really developed a dense, tight sound that's really strong, yet controlled. The Low brass is playing a very subtle but critical part in that, and they deserve a lot of respect. without the underpinnings they provide in harmony and color, that wouldn't happen, period. I'll discuss more about the Cabs in my overall wrap-up. As I said in my previous review, the show speaks to me musically on a deep level, and it's a very special musical program.
  11. I was excited to see the White Sabres perform their entire package, and it's a good one with all of the drill and final ending. The corps performs with a lot of energy in certain segments, and it does get the blood in the crowd boiling. They really give of themselves, and it really reaches to the audience when they do so. I really enjoyed the solos in "Bridge over Troubled Waters" and really appreciated the clarity in the percussion feature, there's some pretty tasty things going on there. The show ending is smart, and energetic. The one thing that did worry me a bit was that the front ensemble might have been cutting though a skosh too much in certain show segments. I was right in front of the box, so it wasn't that I was too far down the hill and in front of a speaker. It's a strong show, and performed with energy and intensity. The White Sabres, as do Fusion, CV, the Cabs, and C2, all hold their destiny under their own control at this point.
  12. The Skyliners stood for a long time at the ready line, and got roasted in the process. I observed. A lot of the time one can tell a lot about a corps from how they behave at rehearsal and in situations like this than from the actual performance. They kept cool, focused, and collected like a veteran crew. That's what you want to see. The run appeared to be a solid effort from the corps and one where yeah, there were things here and there- which I'm not going to nitpick. There were a lot of little details than can easily be cleaned with some time and effort. The visual forms at times needed to have more clarity, for instance. The integration between the brass and percussion in "Kingfishers Catch Fire" can be improved. The Electronics were far better integrated and the Low Brass came forth at the end and pressed with a full, big sound, which was fantastic. Thinking about Sky, it seems they may have hit a wall with numbers, and it could be a symptom of normal growing pains from a younger corps trying to grow and improve. I've been through this. It can be massively frustrating, and the only way out of it, as Truman Crawford told Westshore when we experienced this in 1979, was to push for consistent excellence in every rehearsal and to be consistent in every run. Sky can fight through it if they all dedicate themselves to consistency, and I know they will. They owe it to themselves to give themselves the best possible prelims performance and to see how it shakes out.
  13. I'll start again by talking about what I've been listening to corps-wise and my thoughts about some of the reactions. The ones that have really killed me lately are the comments surrounding some of the Blue Devils programs, notably from 1985 and 1991. Got to love the Geiger-counter tenor feature at the beginning of the 1991 program, especially when you can get the digitally remastered copy. I read comments like... "THIS IS THE WAY BD SHOULD BE...." "THE REAL BD"..... Obviously, there's a short institutional memory bumbling around the Drum Corps internet. I remember that both of those shows were pretty controversial and thought of as downright weird in their day. It took several views for me to really appreciate what was in those programs. Now... people WANT them to be like that? Some folks are downright fickle, forgetful... or a bit too nostalgic. I figure some people want to know about STA Stadium. You can find pics of it on the net. It's pretty much a nice by the standards of Pennsylvania High School stadium. Bleachers, clean. Get there early to park. In the evening, sunset can get in your eyes due to the stadium facing, so have sunglasses or a hat with a wide brim for daylight portions of shows. The stadium view is quite good- I've had top 2 rows on the 50 seats the last 2 years as well as seen some fall shows from the box- you have a good unobstructed perspective and is plenty high enough- the only HS stadiums I've seen that might be better is Red Lion HS Stadium from a HS perspective. People with physical issues will want seats near the top of the stadium since you enter from the hilltop, not from field level. As for stadium food, it's inexpensive and typical fare, though I save serious eating for afterwards. The local homemade ice cream stand is excellent and when they have the Root Beer Floats, they're superb. Make time to stand in line for the ice cream. Driving to the venue, at least for me, is far less adventurous than for a Jersey contest or driving to work. It's not far off the main highway network. There are some slow areas up US 15... but you can make up for that if you have the car and are so inclined. (I do.) It's not Annapolis. in terms of venue. No other DCA venue was. I think the field is far better than Scranton for the performers and the view is superior to it, and I also think better acoustically just to compare. On to the actual contest...
  14. Carolina Gold ?

    Never been to Reptiland- Though it's supposed to be really awesome if you truly crave a hands on educational experience with Snakes, Skinks, and Gators. The closest I got to any reptile Saturday was going to the Bullfrog Brewery. That... was the experience I craved.
  15. Carolina Gold ?

    Raw Oysters at BJ's, and good Chicago Steak. Even the freakin' Iced Tea is good. I do miss Tedd's Landing, though.