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jwillis35 last won the day on October 12 2016

jwillis35 had the most liked content!

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About jwillis35

  • Rank
    DCP Fanatic

Profile Information

  • Your Favorite Corps
    Bluecoats, Cadets, SCV, Blue Devils, Phantom Regiment, Carolina Crown
  • Your Favorite All Time Corps Performance (Any)
    Garfield Cadets - 1984
  • Your Favorite Drum Corps Season
    1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Gender
  • Location
    North Canton, OH
  • Interests
    I'm a professional trombonist, music educator, and Web Designer/Programmer. I love DB&C, great orchestral music, jazz, golf, and travel. I mostly love food. :)

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  1. jwillis35

    The Cadets 2019

    One thing to consider is that it is not necessary to run a drum corps in an area that is strong for marching band. There are a lot of strong concert band and orchestral H.S and college programs in the Maryland/Virginia region, especially in the D.C. area. The talent pool is what you're after even if the area is not much into competitive marching band or corps. More importantly it would open the door for The Cadets to run a number of youth programs. The Blue Devils are not exactly located in a hotbed for competitive marching band, but that's exactly why they are able to offer so many programs to youth in the Concord region. Most of us think of BD from the "A" corps side of things. But if you think about the Blue Devils org from the B and C corps, the Diabalo Wind Symphony, Yamaha School of Music (lessons), guard units, BD entertainment and other percussion offerings, special needs units, alumni corps offerings (when they have them), etc., then you realize that most of that organization is locally-run with, my guess, roughly 250+ local kids involved year around. This is not counting the A corps which we know fields kids from all over the world. Having so many local youth involved in your org means more parental involvement. This means more volunteers, more bingo workers, more opportunity, more money. Allentown may well be the best place for The Cadets to stay. Time will tell. Western PA is a strong band area with plenty of good musicians to recruit. And you are not far from major cities on the East Coast. I am sure the new BoD and upper management are thinking about the future for sure.
  2. jwillis35

    SCV's show was an epic musical fail.

    I agree with what you're saying. My reference to chop and bop was really toward a style of arranging from the 90s. I love SCV's show! My point is that taking a lot of music and using a small amount from each source and splicing that all together is a challenge. Even if each small segment is left relatively intact it's still a form of arranging where we are piecing together many snippets to create one whole in which each little portion may have been written by different composers in different styles, etc. It's a type of arranging that may not always yield the best results, or at the very least can seem choppy, uneven. In SCV's case they really did it well. Very exciting show! But it is what it is. Drum corps arranging is a 12.5 minute presentation built on numerous songs all spliced together in various ways with percussion and other interludes and transitions piecing together sections. To someone used to listening to symphonies and overtures in the concert venue this style of arranging may come off as abrupt or incomplete. That's all I'm saying. I am not taking the side of the OP because I feel he is being slightly snobbish in his review and too harsh for the medium of drum corps. I personally love seeing and listening to drum corps and I know full well the challenge of trying to piece together all this music into a short production that can work on the field with visuals.
  3. jwillis35

    SCV's show was an epic musical fail.

    I would not call what SCV did an epic fail. Very harsh. Certainly to some the music is arranged in a way to promote the visuals. It hits fast and hard and, frankly, I really enjoyed the show. But to be fair I can see where @SWriverstone is coming from. We had plenty of dialog over this back in the 90s as music became more chopped, spliced, and arranged for the effects...the visuals. I actually feel it has developed some over the years. It is more palatable (on a whole). BD would certainly receive some of this type of criticism, as well as others. Simply put, it would be very difficult to create truly flowing, developed, and connected phrases and builds in the music in the 12.5 minutes or so of a show. Unless a corps picks one or two pieces of music only. There is no doubt that today we get a somewhat overly arranged, edited, and cut-up music score to these shows due to the sheer number of songs used and the limited show length. The way general effect is judged is part of this. I try not to over think it too much. Either the designers can make it work or the show suffers. Ever since the "chop and bop" 90s this has been the task. To me SCV was flat-out entertaining and incredible; but I was not judging them on the basis of Brahms-like music construction. They managed to piece this thing together in a way that it worked flawlessly with their visual/effects program. Is the music choppy and spliced and diced all over the place? Sure. But we could get pretty critical with most corps in that regard. The OP is not wrong, but I think he is a bit harsh. Some may not like SCV's music arranging, but it was not an epic musical fail...not if compared to current drum corps/marching band arranging trends.
  4. jwillis35

    Crowd Love at Finals

    I was not at finals so I have no clue who got the best crowd response. I am sure all the corps did well. It was such a strong top 12. As for the comments about Cadets perhaps getting more applause due to sentimental reasons, I honestly think that might have been more true for them at the beginning of the season. However, from a pure show and performance perspective, just go read my early review of Cadets from the Akron show. I was probably a little harsh on the corps. They really started sluggishly, did not sound too good, the show was not complete nor did it work from top to bottom, and I was not a fan of the uniforms. I didn't take it easy on them, despite off field issues, because I didn't think they would want that. I focused on the show and performance...not the off season. They did get a sentimental welcome at Akron, and elsewhere, as they should; but once the show starts DCI fans can be tough critics. I certainly was. As the season progressed the Cadets found magic in this show. They rewrote all kinds of stuff, become better players and marchers, tweaked the music to perfection, and really put together a killer closer to the show. The marchers and staff did a brilliant job of finding the right mix of complexity, emotional, and and exciting music; and the drill was killer. They really marched a wicked hard program and their drumline in particular really threw down later in the season. So yes, their ovations at East and Indy were more for the excellence of performance and the fact that the show was REALLY good. I don't think people were jumping out of their seat because they felt bad for the corps. The audience response for corps like SCV, Bluecoats, BD, Boston, Mandarins, etc., I am sure were amazing...and likely due to great show design and incredible performance.
  5. Nice read! Congrats to a fantastic organization and another killer show and performance by the Bluecoats!
  6. jwillis35

    10 More Years in Indy

    double post
  7. jwillis35

    Staff Merry-Go-Round 2019

    On a lighter note I hear John Williams will be scoring original music based loosely on the Indiana Jones series for a drum corps yet to be named. Spielberg and his crew will build the set pieces and direct the stage production (for field). ILM will use blue/green screens to capture images and video against the corps, and the music and marching staff are yet to be determined. Bill Gates is handling the negotiations. Stay tuned! :)
  8. jwillis35

    The Cadets 2019

    Good points. No. 1 will happen automatically now that the staff can plan a full off-season without interference from people who are not designers. No. 2 has everything to do with how demanding the product is, how much of it you teach from day 1 (think of how BD builds their shows and usually starts with a sketch), and the experience of the marchers along with other design issues. This is the big one. The Cadets will have to determine what direction they plan to go visually. It's apparent what Bluecoats, BD, and SCV have done...and Crown. Once they decide they will need a process for off-season and the competitive season. No. 3 should not be an issue. Good to hear they have smaller number of age outs, but I believe after the hard work they did this summer to refine the 2018 show that they should attract a lot of young talent. If so, that will be a good sign. No. 4 will continue to be a positive. By accounts it sounds like they enjoyed a fantastic summer and had fun while also working hard. Great management and a smart BoD will get you that.
  9. jwillis35

    Pioneer What Next?

    I think it really comes down to financials. I don't think the size of the corps or quality of show is the issue. They are who they are competitively. We don't know where they start from and the kind of talent they get, so none of that matters to me. Of course, I always want to enjoy Pioneer...and have on MANY occasions. Staying world class has more to do with the financials I think? Yes. I'm sure someone has better info than I. If they are having financial trouble, and if that caused issues on tour, then it certainly is something they need to address; and Roman must certainly take responsibility. Here's to hoping things work out.
  10. jwillis35

    The future is here

    The Bluecoats shows have been vastly different from 2014 to now. I also feel Crown's shows are vastly different each year. Are there things each corps does in a similar way from show to show? Sure. BD is very good at this. The last half of their show this year had all kinds of similarities to 2017, but to me that's a good thing. You can't reinvent the wheel every year. You make some changes, carry over old ideas that worked and try them in new ways, and you innovate or explore when possible. Show me a corps that is trying to reinvent the wheel every year and I'll show a unit not placing so well. SCV will absolutely use some of their great ideas from this year in next summer's show. That's smart design.
  11. jwillis35

    2019 Predictions!

    I predict that SCV, BD, Bluecoats, and Crown will be really really good and likely still top 4. Boston, Cavaliers, Cadets, Stars, and Knights will be gunning for one of those top 4 or 5 slots. A difficult task for sure. Phantom would love to break back into the elite crowd too I imagine.
  12. They would certainly be one of the few right there with Cadets 93 in terms of sheer marching, speed, demand, notes, field coverage. Maybe Crown 2013, Cadets 1997....there are not many, which was my point. I love to see a show like those, if the corps can pull it off, but I also love what BD, Bluecoats, SCV, and Crown are doing today. :)
  13. jwillis35

    Retreat and scores

    I'm sure they will stream via Flo for everyone come the start of Retreat. Delucia and Rondo usually show quick highlights of each corps, too. DCI may also live stream on YouTube. I know they used to provide a tunnel cam live stream for quarters and semis. I didn't check on that this year, but a few years ago the sound was so good for the semifinals that I ran the audio through my studio monitors and cranked them. Would be nice if they have a tunnel cam tonight for Finals. This way you can hear the crowd and the corps even if what you are looking at is the tunnel.
  14. Of the few posts I have read from this thread I feel like we are getting into a SCV vs BD argument and pulling out arguments for or against each group that I frankly consider to be "old wives tales" of DCI's past. Drum corps is judged differently today. The shows are different. Who cares who marches the most or has the most demand or covers the most field? Really? Some corps cover a lot of field, but have a crappy show. Some plays with all kinds of demand, but can't clean it; and if they do clean there is the chance it doesn't make sense. Some corps march more, some stage more, some utilize more simultaneous demand, and on and on. No need to throw barbs at other corps because you judge these shows a little differently. I personally think SCV has a phenomenal show that should win by a point over really good Blue Devils and Bluecoats challengers. Both Blue corps could easily win the title on another year. Top 3 shows are all championship designs and performance levels. That is a treat for the fans. As for the OP not wanting to hear anyone complain about BD not marching enough, I would agree with that part of it. I have always loved BD's athletic and energized shows because of their multiple levels of demand on the body and musically. I am especially referring to their 2008 to present run. But I don't judge each drum corps by the style they employ but by how effective it is and how well they execute. Find me a corps that marches more or plays more notes than The Cadets of 1993? And that Cadets corps is one of my favorites; but I never felt every other corps had to try that style, or that such a style was necessarily the way to go moving forward. What Star of Indiana did that year actually had more impact moving forward, and what BD did in 2008, 09, and 10 had big impact as well. What Bluecoats did in 2016 also had a big impact on what we see today. Things evolve, shift, change, so to sit here and belittle corps for not using enough field or too much field is the wrong way to look at these shows. Who plays the most notes may not be the best unless they can clean it and unless it also makes a lot of sense. SCV absolutely deserves this title for what they are doing as much as for how well they perform. The same was true of BD last year and Bluecoats the year before. Exciting times ahead for DCI Fans!
  15. Props are definitely the new fad. Styles do change over time, and right now DCI is in a props, staging, guard-focussed type of show design with marching, body movement, dance, and electronics thrown in for good measure. It continues to morph toward something more closely resembling Broadway on a football field. I quite enjoy it. Happy for the marching members that enjoy performing this style of show. The styles will continue to change as today's marching members become the designers and teachers if tomorrow.