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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 Drum Corps Experience
    No Corps. Performed with the Warren Jr. Military Band from 1977 - 1981
  • Your Favorite Corps
    Bluecoats, Cadets, SCV, BD
  • Your Favorite All Time Corps Performance (Any)
    Garfield Cadets/Cadets - 1984, 1987, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2011 ; Santa Clara Vanguard - 1985, 1987, 1988, 2009, 2016; Blue Devils - 1982, 1984, 1988, 1996, 2014, 2015 ; Bluecoats - 1988, 1989, 1995, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2016 ; Phantom Regiment - 1984, 1987, 1989, 1996, 2008 ;
  • Your Favorite Drum Corps Season
    1984, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Gender
  • Location
    North Canton, OH
  • Interests
    I'm a professional trombonist, music educator, love drum corps, band, jazz (combo and big band), composition, drill writing, and attending great music concerts. I also love Golf, Web Programming, and Travel.

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  1. Full-field tarp?

    Never know, we might see one of these soon. Most of the time a corps rolls out a tarp I cringe. The only effective tarp I have seen was Blue Devils' use of the wave effect in 2016. There may be one or two more examples that I am forgetting about. Mostly I find tarps lacking in anything, visual or GE. So I guess if you really want it to be effective you cover the whole field or a large portion of it. I've seen Crossmen use them over the years, Troopers last year, and I just find nothing appealing about them. To me, what Crown did with the banner that flew over the corps in the 2015 show, or their use of the see-through-silk that they used over the brass, is way more effective for visual and GE.
  2. Cadets 2018

    Also, I had no problem with the wording of the new brass staff, in particular "success". I did feel the 2017 show was more successful than 2016. There were some things I would have pulled out of that show, but overall last year was way better in design and the corps ultimately performed well at Finals.
  3. Cadets 2018

    It's a fair question. I think it's because they largely have not had to for so many years. Clearly in the 80s and 90s they were able to attract many of the top people in the industry to come and design, arrange, and teach for them. Some were Cadets alumni, but many were not. But when you can attract the best for such a long time, alumni or not, there was likely no real thought put into keeping their own at home. Also consider that Cadets 2 is a relatively new operation. Maybe 5 years old now? At any rate (and this is not aimed at you, Jeff, but more in general), it's only in recent years that Cadets have had some real staff issues. Some were fired, some left. It happens. Every corps I know (with the exception of one -- BD) has had periods of time in their history where staff change caused a drop off and the corps had to find the next great design and teaching team that could potentially put them back into competition at the level they expect.
  4. Sounds like a fantastic project. I don't have any personal experience with this, but I imagine their may be research available in how arts organizations and arts events can benefit those who suffer from depression. There has to be music listening and music performance research on this, and maybe there is in the area of visual arts. I wonder if there are benefits to the competitive aspect of drum corps? Rooting for your team, being a fan, following your team year around, and even donating money or volunteering your time which might be a benefit that makes you feel part of the team.
  5. This is largely true. I attend Cleveland Orchestra concerts as often as I can. Amazing orchestra! Truly one of the world's great performing ensembles. I don't always read the reviews, but when I do rarely is a work by a dead, established composer challenged (Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Brahms, Bach, etc.). Now maybe if it's a dead, non established composer (usually one from the 20th Century whose library output isn't universally accepted), then perhaps the composition will be challenged in addition to the performance. Even works by 20th Century composers like Bernstein, Gershwin, Copland do get challenged. Since the review is specific to the performance it is usually how the orchestra performed that is discussed. But in general it seems composers from the 20th Century onward, and especially living composers, tend to receive more criticism or praise, along with how the orchestra performed the piece.
  6. It's possible today's judges feel the older judging systems were off the mark. I doubt many feel the actual judges were bad or that they didn't get it. Judges from the 1970s did not deal with electronics, amps, singing, the more casual use of props, and the modern design and integration of guard into the total show. The judging system was setup to penalize mistakes more so than to reward great design. It was ultimately about who marched and played the best, with some GE thrown in for good measure. The Blue Devils and SCV were masters of this period, with Madison giving us a perfect show in 1975. The 80s saw a shift to the Build-Up system (1984 I think). Judges from this era -- 1984 through the 1990s or so -- were asked to look for artistry is design, demand and exposure to error, and the GE caption began to take on more importance. Design trumped performance providing the corps with the better design could clean enough to be in the ballpark of the corps that performed the best. The Garfield Cadets were the classic example of a corps built to take advantage of this style. From 1983 to 1998 they won 7 titles with smart design, excellence performance (even if not the best in some areas), plenty of demand, and great integration of all show elements. The main differences I see today compared to the 70s, 80, and 90s are as follows: You need to CLEAN. Effect is better than demand. How difficult does something really need to be? Tough question. There is a fine line. But I believe today's judges are looking for a cross between good demand with excellent effect qualities. What is considered demand? Simply marching blazing fast traditional drill and playing a killer music book are no longer the only things judges consider to be demanding. Body movement, dance, jazz running, guard integration, artistic performance qualities, and other elements have been tossed in. Hence the reason some are saying "variety" is the new king. They are right. I think judges today have great respect for their predecessors, but today's judges clearly have different criteria to consider.
  7. All time shows: the Cavaliers

    2004 - Jame Bond 1989 - Gloria 1991 - Cavalier Anthems (just incredible design) 1992 - Revolution & Triumph 2002 - Frameworks also loved 1990, 1988, certainly 2006 (Machine), and 2014 (Immortal) Least Favorite most of the shows from 2011 - 2017, with the exception of 2014.
  8. Blue Devils 2018

    I have been watching it some too. That whole show is powered by great music first and foremost. Their brass and percussion are always stellar, but the composition of that music book really set the stage. They then constructed a visual package that perfectly reflected the music, and over the season added the staging and visual interaction that made the show a true classic. Santa Clara is pretty high on that list of classic shows as well. What a great product by them this past summer, and almost equally competitive with the great Blue Devils. It was certainly a magical year for the West Coast.
  9. Massillon, Ohio 2017 version 1

    That's not a good sign then. I have not been in that stadium yet. Not really a BOA fan. Doesn't surprise me about Avon winning. They are an outstanding marching band. Who knows, maybe the Pro Football HOF will give the Bluecoats the choice of keeping the event in Massillon in order to preserve a better playing and listening experience. I guess we will find out soon. I have heard anything locally yet.
  10. Alabama A&M

    I'll chime in on a few things: 1. As for average talent in an HBCU band, I believe there is more than people might think. Sure, some of the kids may be raw around the edges musically, but I see that in all kinds of college bands. I'm pretty confident that many HBCU students could make our top 8 WC corps, and plenty of them would be of value to non-finalist corps and OC corps. From a physical standpoint there are plenty of drum corps that could use that kind of energy and power. 2. As for enjoyment, I can think of years where I might have enjoyed the Honda Classic (a big HBCU event) more than DCI Finals. Not many, but certainly a few. Someone had mentioned that one of the reasons some HBCU marchers may not dig DCI is because of it's rigid, classical, militaristic nature. And I can see that. There have been years where we have had a number of DCI shows that were too rigid, too artsy, too esoteric and perhaps too contemporary for their own good. That can be a turn off to lots of kids, and not just HBCU marchers. No doubt I tend to dislike the crass sounds that often come from HBCU bands, especially in the low brass. Musically they can be very rough, too loud all the time, and splatty. But I just try to dig it for what it is...college football entertainment. There are plenty of college marching bands that can't play all that well, so it's not just an HBCU thing. 3. Yes, there are announcements throughout many of the HBCU shows, but then again it's college band designed for college football games. Not a competition in the style of DCI. Plenty of college bands have announcers on the field giving every little detail. Go watch Texas A&M. The Aggie band is awesome, totally military, with really cool announcements. The A&M band is one of the few to march 6 to 5 (30-inch step) for the entire show, in those high-top boots. On the other end of the spectrum there are the scramble bands that also use lots of announcing...and it can be quite comical to really bad. These are typically your bad-boy college bands like Stanford, Yale, Princeton, and other Ivy schools. 4. The talk about judging HBCU bands against DCI units on DCI sheets, or vice-versa, is not realistic. Judging drum corps against any college marching band is not realistic and it has nothing to do with the sheets or styles. It's all about time. Rehearsal time, design time, etc. College bands of all types are limited to 1 to 2 hours of rehearsal per day. That's it. On game day they get in a few more hours before the game. They typically get one week of band camp (less than most high schools) and then school begins. Once in school the students are occupied by high-level academic courses, other activities including concerts, etc., and many have to work part-time jobs. Most college marching bands change their show 2 to 3 times during the season, with some changing shows for each home game. So they are learning FAR MORE music over the course of fall semester, but they simply do not have the time to max-it-out since they will likely learn a new show a week or two later. Come spring training drum corps have their members for 30+ days with no interference from classes, other concerts, organizational activities, work schedules, etc. They rehearse 8 to 10 hours a day during camp and the season. They have the full undivided attention of their members and they perform the same show for 2 months of tour, tweaking it and maxing out every facet possible as they work their way to DCI Finals. This is not a knock on either but a fair analysis of why the two can't be compared. I love all of it when done well. :)
  11. Alabama A&M

    Alabama A&M is really good. I love watching this style just as much as I love show band, military style, or corps style. I love how physical this dance/swing style is. Everyone fully commits to the dances, the body moves, the horns up, the powerful playing. No one is holding back or half-arsing it. I'm not a huge fan of the blasting, especially in the tubas and low brass, but I still dig the style and love their energy. That's a good college football game halftime show!
  12. Good questions. For starters, your second question is why regional touring is so important. In a perfect world DCI would be able to grow enough regional competitions to satisfy both fans and corps until the groups break for the national part of the tour and the TOC shows and major Regional Championships. The problem with TOC is even though they allow a few non-TOC units to take part, I believe a half and half model may be needed as more corps compete WC. As I said earlier, perhaps the TOC shows could include 4 top 8 groups, 2 other finalist units, and 2 non-finalist units. Now we can double the number of TOC shows with the random performance draw and still give some non-finalists a chance to perform under the lights in front of a lot more fans. It's still a win win for all, and I have to imagine that these shows would still draw a very large crowd.
  13. Are there pros to the G7? Sure, but there are negatives too. I'm not wild about the G7...never was. I feel it was mostly started by the wealthiest, most popular, highest ranking corps in order to benefit themselves. Their main goal, initially, was to say to DCI "we are your top brands and we expect to be paid more and we expect top billing." In order to prove it they started a series of their own shows (TOC) where they control the performance order, judging, pre-show entertainment, and post-show entertainment. Initially they wanted TOC shows to have a more varied sense of entertainment, from pre-show to post-show. They would have small ensembles performing short, entertaining works before the show started. After each corps performed on field they would immediately perform an encore piece for the fans. After the show they often did a full corps retreat where all the TOC corps combined to play a few tunes. To me this was overkill. The kids in each corps were being spread thin, there is only so much entertainment the average fan is willing to take at an already long, drawn-out show. In the end, that model didn't work; but it was clear attendance was good and the intake of money was good. There are positives. I do like the rotation in order of performance. That can shake things up a little, and even when it doesn't it's still a neat feature. All of the TOC shows have been BIG draws for them and DCI. Of course, the proper response to that should be "well duh!" Anytime you put 7 of the top 8 or 9 drum corps together at one show I imagine the draw will be good. Most TOC shows now are not exclusively for TOC corps, as they do invite 1 or 2 others to share in the show. This often depends on where the show is held. The combination of TOC shows and DCI Regional shows has given fans more opportunity to catch big match-ups. That is a win for the fans, but a loss for less-popular corps. There are negatives. In addition to others that have been mentioned, I think the TOC model presents too much of a good thing. It's like having 20 regional shows instead 4 or 5. In some ways it has ruined some of the suspense in scoring and how things might shake out at the regional shows and Finals. If the branding is so good with these top corps, then perhaps a half and half model would work well. I would like to see 4 top-8 corps, 2 other finalist corps, and 2 non-finalist corps pair up at these TOC shows. Use a performance rotation, with a slight modification, and that is that the non-finalist corps get to go on in two of the final four spots. The other 6 corps are a random order. These shows would still do well, offer some of DCI's best, and would allow some of the lower-placing corps to perform at later times under the lights.
  14. Cadets 2018

    Your opinion is valid, but am I the only person who has not agreed with the judges or not believed a corps belonged in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.? No hate toward Cavaliers. They are not my style, at least not in a long time. But I do not hate them. Just disagree with the judges.
  15. Cadets 2018

    Fair and valid points.