Great show last night! Wasn't sure I would be able to attend due to a rehearsal and other work commitments, but my DCP buddy WVU80 Dave managed to score to excellent seats on the 50 in the second deck and I managed to arrive by 6:30ish in time for the show. Big thanks to Dave!!! Also had a chance to meet one of Carolina Crown's support staff drivers. Classy guy and he cheered for everyone. He had driven a small bus of Crown fans up to Ohio and Michigan for the opening shows. He actually marched in Spirit of Atlanta back in the day and was in the last horn line that Jim Ott taught (1980). We shared some good stories and had a blast watching the corps.
The following is info on a Sound Sport unit that performed first. Visually they still have work to do and were quite sloppy, but musically they were great with some fantastic solos and overall strong performers and sound. Great music, too. I enjoyed them very much. The following is info from our DCP friend N.E. Brigand in case you wish to catch a performance of this group.
"Rogues Hollow Regiment from Doylestown (for those who don't know, that's about halfway between Akron and Wooster). Don't quote me on this, but I think the group was originally an offshoot of the Chippewa High School band. This appears to be the source of their name: http://www.forgottenoh.com/rogueshollow.html"
The official placements for last night's show were:
Bluecoats - 71.600
Carolina Crown - 70.600
The Cadets - 67.000
Phantom Regiment - 65.700
Crossmen - 63.850
Genesis - 55.450
My placements would have been: 1) Bluecoats, 2) Crown, 3) Crossmen, 4) Phantom, 5) Cadets, and 6) Genesis
My favorite shows from last night were Bluecoats, Crossmen, and Crown; but everyone had something to grab onto...and it is June. All of these shows have potential to be wonderful. Some will take more work and a few are already in prime form and just need tweaked a little here and there and cleaned.
Bluecoats have a show that may remind you of Downside Up (2016) in terms of how they stage, and perhaps the Blue Devils of 2009 (chairs, jazz). To me, however, the show has a feel uniquely Blooo, and it feels modern and fresh and primed for a run at the 2018 Gold Medal. Session 44 is a show is centered around music sung by Billie Holiday such as God Bless the Child, Bird and Bela in B-Flat, and An American Concerto (and others). The young lady singing the charts for Bluecoats is outstanding. The vocals are woven into the show so well that you are not bothered by them but look forward to each section. Once again Bluecoats have a killer brass and percussion ensemble. Percussion has very demanding responsibilities so their scores will slowing move up as they clean. The guard displays a variety of techniques and talents, and their outfits are fantastic and colorful. The small chairs are used to great effect as part of the drill process and for individual staging with the brass. The large props help to shape the field for each section of the show and work well to enhance the overall theme and production values. The color coordination is outstanding and draws you in. The trombone feature was excellent and well played. All the solos are well played and beautifully written. Once you see them live you will find there is not much to complain about. The show is strong top to bottom and super entertaining. It is already one of my favorite Bluecoats shows. Certainly a show that will challenge for a medal and possibly Gold.
Carolina Crown is also sporting a colorful, daring, and unique show much like Bluecoats. Their show is called Beast! They are a tad behind according to our friend Joe who sat with us. The closer is not on the field yet, but what they do have is just fantastic! As their brass cleans they will once again be a force. The music book is a joy to listen to. The Bruckner opening hit is thrilling. Crown percussion is really featured and playing well. Strong! Love their sound and tuning. The guard is so effective and will only get better and I just can't take my eyes off the total look and feel of this show. The staging, uniforms (costumes), and sounds all create a unique effect...it pulls you into a different world. The upper brass feature reminds me a little of the one they did in 2014. It is hair raising and should generate a big audience reaction as they clean. I love all the music but especially enjoyed "Blow It Up, Start Again" by Jonathan Newman. It just rocked the house. It kind of reminds me of something the USC Trojan Marching Band would play in the stands at a game...kind of. :) There is a lot to like and this BEAST has legs for sure. This is another show capable of a medal, and I would not rule out Gold for them either. With Santa Clara Vanguard starting strong, the always amazing Blue Devils will be in the hunt as they always are, and Bluecoats and Crown...wow, we may have a killer finish this year. Cavaliers look mighty good to me as well, but I have not seen them live yet. Judging will be very difficult this summer.
The Cadets entered the field to many many enthusiastic cheers here in Ohio. Fans were genuinely glad to see this corps alive and well. For purposed of this review I will avoid the off-season issues. From a competitive standpoint the show needs some work. You can certainly tell that some of the changes made late in winter and spring still need some fine-tuning. It is June, and the Cadets are typically very dirty in June. The show is called The Unity Project. The music itself is wonderful and really features their powerful percussion section. The brass felt somewhat under powered and lacking in big GE music moments for much of the first half of the show - but the music book is very demanding. My feeling as of now (first read) is they will need to make sense of the first half of this show from a GE standpoint. The members will master it and perform at a much higher level as time goes on, but design will hinder their scoring until they find the right mix of general effect. The closing segment of this show is worth the wait. The Cadets use David Holsinger's Ballet Sacra, which was featured at the end of their monumental 1993 show, In The Spring: When Kings Go Off To War. The music is wonderful and emotional. It can certainly be a great closer. I did not care for the props. They felt somewhat underused, but perhaps they can do more with a Doppler effect or various interplay between different brass sections. The drill is wicked hard. For my taste, the uniform did not help. Others may like it. I did not. Live at the stadium the pants reminded me of a hunter out in the woods with his rifle. You want to accent those legs because they are good marchers. As always I applaud the performers who are fantastic. The ballad and closer are strong and will allow this show to have a strong ending as they clean. The design team will have a lot of work to do to flesh out the concepts in the first half of this show. I expect plenty of changes, big and small, and that could be a really good thing. Time will tell. With the right changes this corps will flourish and could be a nice surprise come Finals. I hope so, because early in their show last night I was really worried. I was shocked they beat Phantom at this show, but Cadets do march really well and have more demand in visual.
Phantom Regiment is presenting a show called "New World." If you were a fan of their 1989 Dvorak "New World Symphony" show (and most are) you will be pleased to know that they are not trying to recreate that show. This is a very different type of show that simply features one main theme from Dvorak's 9th Symphony. It comes from the 2nd movement. Their 2018 production also features some Prokofiev, film composer Alexandre Desplat, David Maslanka, and Adam Schoenberg. All of their music is truly beautiful, powerful, and classic Phantom in so many ways. Their brass already sounds fantastic. They are not blowing the house down yet, but the balances and sound are there. Percussion is strong and well integrated into this show. The massive tenor feature up front is truly awesome to hear and see. I love the guard unis and overall think this will be a strong year for Phantom. If anything they need to adjust some visual elements to make the music pop more (which should help GE). I am not wild about their props, but perhaps as I understand the story a bit more I will take to them more kindly. The back part of this show feels more like a sketch so there is plenty of room to grow. Way to go, Phantom!!!
To say that the Crossmen put on a show would be a understatement. Their show is called "The In-Between." It is fantastic from start to finish with very few moments that didn't grab my attention. I honestly would have had them 3rd, but I am sure the judges were catching some of the individual marching issues. When this show cleans it will be a competitive force capable of pushing them up the ladder from last year...at least potentially. So many good shows this year. My feeling about Crossmen is they are playing some of the best music on the field this summer. The drill, guard, brass, and percussion are all solid and will mature into a killer ensemble come Finals. Huge sound and there were many GE hit points that grabbed the audience. All the classical music they play makes the show feel somewhat Phantom Regiment like. The Tchaikovsky 6th Symphony music was blowing me away. Loved it!!! Absolutely one of the best shows of the summer and you simply must see them live.
Genesis continues to grow and mature and they put on a fantastic show tonight. They have a rich, dark sound and feature the guard and percussion in fine fashion. The sound the low brass present is really rich. I enjoyed that. Very musical. They have a big sound and yet I felt they held back some. I actually really like the uni they are wearing. I am not wild about grey, but it was dark enough to really present the corps. The show is called "Retrovertigo." It features the music of Moody Blues, Peter Gabrial, Metalica, Mr. Bungle, John Zorn, Jonathan Ellas, and Pink Martini. For my taste it is a great combination of selections. The corps is big with a big mature sound. The guard is well used and seem very confident. They do not have all their routines in yet, so their scores will rise fast as they complete the process. The guard did march all their set points, but much of the back portion of the show was incomplete. I like where this show is going and hope to see them again.
Below I included link for Repertoire for each corps if you would like to read more.
Bluecoats: Bloo Repertoire
Carolina Crown: Crown Repertoire
The Cadets: Cadets Repertoire
Crossmen: Crossmen Repertoire
Phantom Regiment: Phantom Repertoire
Genesis: Genesis Repertoire