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  1. I’m on the wrong continent to attend shows in person so this review is based only on online viewing and listening. As such it focuses more on the design “what” elements than the performance “how”. I’ve been meaning to have a bash at for a few years and I finally found the time. I hope this rambling collection of opinions makes an interesting read for some! Crossmen After the first few of minutes of this year’s Bones you could be forgiven for thinking it was a mix up in the running order and Regiment were on the field, and not just because of the classical slant to the source material. The visual look across the unis umbrellas and gold silks bring a lushness and strong presence to the field. It’s a quality opening to the show that goes right through to the end of the first number. There are some interesting effects at work in both the drill and music and the more traditional edge to the uniform aligns well to the theme. Throw in a some recognisable melodies and you could be forgiven for wondering how here are another eleven corps scoring higher than this? Credit too to the soloist who manages to play while holding that umbrella. That multi-tasking would scare many a player asked to play with that exposure I’m sure! I do find the show loses me a little once the figure-in-black enters proceedings doing their best Wicked Witch of the West impression. There’s some great music going on with the brass on side two and the featured character is a bit of a distraction swinging from the hourglass on side one. If there’s a story being told in the first half of the show I didn’t notice it, and for me the show doesn’t then benefit from the narrowing of focus towards the hour-glass for the next part of the production. It may sound a strange observation to make, but I kind of wish this show wasn’t performed by Crossmen. I enjoy X-men most in their groove years and while I get they can’t be that corps year in year out, I hope we aren’t entering a phase were corps increasingly have interchangeable identities, and you need to see the name on the scoreboard to tell who’s performing. Good show Crossmen. Lots to enjoy! Phantom Regiment In contrast to Crossmen, I’ve listened to Regiment a few times in the car and so far failed to convince myself that I would ever pick this show out in a ‘blind taste test’. When I think of PR at their best it conjures up adjectives such as powerful and majestic, and a church organ brass sound. I wonder if over the past decade the Phantom style has been squeezed out by the need to include so much technical proficiency and high tempo intricacy, along with the ongoing temptation for all corps to segment arrangements to allow the program to meet its competitive demand and variety obligations. This year’s edition of Regiment has an urban hooded look to the costuming. The asymmetric monkey bars also contribute to an intriguing first impression. The red bass skins are striking too, though not replicated in the rest of the battery? When the show starts up there’s a slow ethereal feel. Musically it feels a little folky and I find I’m struggling to connect the disparate pieces of the look and sound together to get a read on what this show is about. Later in the production the familiar strains of Largo can be heard but it’s all slightly obtuse. It reminds me of hearing one of your favourite pop songs on the radio but it’s the chill-out or R&B remix, not the straight-ahead original that sold millions and makes you want to sing along! By the end of the show I found I’d struggled to recount many major impact points, much effect value from the monkey bars, and was confused by the decision to include the bright red tarp across the front side line. Its acts as a thick visual buffer to the audience, and the corps finally marching onto it as the conclusion has little in the way of pay-off. I’m struggling to bring out many likes in this show but as I mentioned at the outset this is relatively uniformed views about the what and not the how….and from someone who’s probably already in the ‘dinosaur’ category! In terms of future programming I wonder if PR could find a way to return to their trademark sound and visual style, and look to own their own trends rather than follow others. For them more than most it’s about picking the right music and giving it full opportunity to shine. A modern design challenge indeed… An on-form Phantom bring something special to the top 12 and I hope they can rediscover their mojo soon. Mandarins First impressions? A large pie centre field, and a show that’s nailed on to be dark! Typically when I see capes I think about slow and cumbersome individual profiles, and Mandarin’s don’t escape this either, but the overall look is a strong one, and with some of the fiery silk choices and aesthetically pleasing visual design it reminds me of A Defiant Heart at times. I’m not familiar with Rite of Spring context, so perhaps my ignorance will shine though in this review. Mandarins have some neat effects visually, the book is well matched to their music though it does take an age to get going; two minutes in and the brass only have two power chords to their name! The field is refreshing uncluttered. The centre stage doesn’t dominate the focus, and the black back panels do their job unobtrusively. I quite like this show but at the same time there aren’t any significant moments that stay with me once the laptop is switched off. I think I’ll mainly remember the look and the pie from this edition of Mandarins. This corps progress over recent years has been fantastic and its credit to their staff team for crafting this vehicle to propel the corps up the rankings… and the performers for pulling it off. Blue Knights There’s an argument that BK have been the most avant garde drum corps over the past decade, and who’s shows are closet aligned to WGI. I care for their music more some years more than others and to get the negatives out of the way I really struggle to connect with this year’s edition. Of course shows are way more engaging when seen live, but on video it’s a music book limited to neutral appreciation of the execution for me. I would think that with repeated viewings the music could be a grower, but I’m not reviewing this show from that vantage point. What’s perhaps a little different to some corps is that a level of esotericism seem to now be an established part of the BK approach, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re quite happy being that card in the deck. Visually there’s some great stuff going on! The costuming is great! Both the purple and yellow both really pop from the field, it looks cool up close and even has room for some dots. The pyramids on the field are both simple and stylish and I like the way they catch the light across different faces, and support the yellow dominant colour pallet. It’s another standout use of colour to bring effect! The visual book is of a different ilk to most of the top 12, they paint some great pictures and utilise some long visual phrasing which isn’t so common these days (it was something I and others often enjoyed from SCV in the Pete Weber years). BK lose me a little when the figure in black from Crossmen’s show turns up again and all the prisms fall over – DC trope in action! - and for a few minutes in the middle the visual stardust dissipates a little. They do get back on track in the final production where the Sun god theme is brought through well. An Egyptian theme give some vivid iconography to work with! You’ve got to be careful what you wish for sometimes, and Blue Knights have an identity that I wouldn’t want them to lose, but in keeping with a few of this year’s top twelve I’d really enjoy a few more melodically driven effect points to balance their undoubted qualities in subtlety and sophistication. Blue Stars I think it’s to the activities detriment that there’s not really been a comedy-player in the top 12 since VK hung up their high tops. It seems that Academy have an interest in the more light hearted approaches and certainly Blue Stars bring a lightness of touch to many of their shows and that’ss a pleasing contrast to many of their contemporaries. I’d like to have been a fly on the wall in the design meeting where the oh-so-literal theme was pitched to support the music of the Carpenters. The utility belt costuming is certainly different, and the high vis gloves and shoes give great contrast. It’s a brave choice in current times given the well-established exposure challenges that contrasting footwear brings to foot phasing. I find I like this show best in the down moments where the well-known melodies come through. I found show does ebb away from its Carpenter theme towards genericism in the faster sections. Visually the book is a feast for those that like to kneel, swivel and spin, this corps doesn’t stop! Given the first impressions of the workbenches and other wooden themed props on the field, by the show’s conclusion I was a little disappointed in how little carpentry theme effects they’d managed to bring into the show. I’d hoped for some ‘Stomp in the wood-shop’! I think there is a compliment in there somewhere as Blue Stars have proven themselves to be a design team of great creativity we can set expectations high! I hope Blue Stars continue to embrace their slightly offbeat approaches to programming! Cadets Looking at the influences of wider trends, I think they are possibly more relevant to Cadets than any other corps. Mainly because in times-gone-by Cadets married the elements of tradition with innovation exceedingly well (as said Cesario on the 87 finals broadcast!) From the 2000’s on Cavies changed the game visually, then Devs came along with new levels of integration and layering, Crown brass came to the fore, and Bluecoats found an edge with their electronics and props. Steadily over time different corps have pushed the activity forward in different ways, and this last decade I think Cadets then found that the qualities that served them so well for so long could no longer support shows that reach the very top. The advantages Cadets gained across a season through mid-season changes, extra running and gunning, and an edge in work ethic (that was the stuff of legend), are no longer there to be had? A show simply has to many component parts. And then in trying to find new ways to innovate, some would argue they lost their way. Anyway…on to this year’s show. From the 1st beat of the show the costume choice for the main corps is striking. The front back split certainly provides contrast, but from the videos the back gives a bolder silhouette than the front which I’m not sure is the right way around? Front field, the horizontal strips give the appearance of the members being sketched onto the field, which is different if nothing else. With the costume possibilities of today, I’m interested to see where Cadets go next in terms of cool modern costuming that pays respect to West Point traditions. This year the balance has been tipped in that wearing shakos is now what seems different – though that’s not to say bad. I don’t think the props that Cadets use add anything t what comes across as quite a minimalist show. They take the learnings on vocals from last year and utilise the small vocal ensemble really well to give an ethereal overtone in places. Cadets play a lot and move a lot in this show – qualities that always floated my boat. But this year, they seem almost stylistically traditional compared to the corps around them. Musically, it’s great to hear the Ballet Sacra on the field (just a shame that they stick that static long tone in there after the pit and singing interlude) but I feel desensitised to the notey music, continual counter motion and relatively limited ranges of colour and mood on display. Perhaps it’s one of those shows were you really need to be there. For those that harken back for Cadets shows of old perhaps this a great example that no matter how fast you play and march, in modern shows you need more…more of what for Cadets I’m not sure. In future, if there was a corps that could pull off an ‘unplugged’ sort of revival, it would be them. Cavaliers I will be upfront and say I’ve watched far less of Cavies this year than the rest of the top six. Bolero is such a strong musical motif and they use it to good effect in places. This show just doesn’t have enough melody around it for my tastes. There are moments in the intro and the closer where the music threatens to catch fire, but they’re cases of what might have been – this show is so clearly visually led. It’s another great drill book from Cavies this year - they’ve been back on top of their game for a couple of seasons in that respect - and coordination levels are really high with some cool audio visual effects and a geometric bias that is unmistakably Cavies. However, I’m not sold on the usage of the theme, or value of props and tarps as key design decisions. There are times where the visual transitions are enhanced by the thick red lines, but for me, there are just as many times where the effect of curvilinear drill is undermined. This is further compounded by the reveal of the wider brighter tarps, with a reveal that is surprisingly clunky. If there’s an overarching premise to the props on the field and how their used then it’s repeatedly passed me by, but I no longer ready any blurb or watch the promo reveals that corps put out to explain the theoretical underpinnings of their shows (if indeed they still do them!) I will add that the Cavies costume gives them a great look this year, and I like that within about three measures of the slow piece you’d pick this out as Cavies show. I enjoy Cavies the most when they’re music books are at their most mainstream (95 and 04 as obvious examples). Not sure if it’s a coincidence that they’re also single source? As times and trends change, I look forward to when they next go back that way. BAC There was lots of online chatter in the winter months about what BAC would put on the field this year after last, and I think they’ve succeeded in putting out an all-round strong show with a few standout moments that will linger in the overall memories of the 2018 season. I’m not sure that the SOS theme gives as much scope for musical effect as Wicked Games did the year before – but it gives plenty to the visual side and the guard make the most of this! The ending effect with the corps disappearing beneath the silks into the sea is visually great - I’m curious to know if this was that was part of the original pitch, or one of those ideas that pops up once the season’s underway. ‘BAC was here’ underlines this moment fantastically, but I think that then leaves them with too much spelling-out for one show. With hindsight could they have found a better way to bookend the lost-to-found narrative? As a fan I think there are small moments that can show the difference in programming at the very top levels. Take the 30 seconds or so after SOS for Boston. It’s percussion led with the corps dancing within a fairly static wedge. It’s an example where I think to rise, they’ll be looking at those sort of sections, and examining how they can be more leading edge in terms of style and content. Likewise there’s some sections of the brass playing runs, which they do really well, but from an effect point of view it’s something Crown have already made familiar to us (some of us fans are hard to please, eh?!) The opening production up to the Conquest ‘morse’ is my favourite section. For me, Marimba Spiritual is a little long, and they lose me a little in the next section before grabbing me again with Amazing Grace through to the end. I’d guess Boston’s staff will be keen to progress the corps up the rankings from here and it will be interesting to see how the go about trying to do that. The traditional top 6 each have stylistic elements both musically and visually that are recognisable as their own. Is it fair to say Boston still have to develop some of theirs? With fire, then water effects, perhaps the natural elements is now their thing?! Crown This year‘s show is one where I wonder if some of the winter decisions might be questionable, but then they’ve done everything right since? You don’t get to fourth place with such strong shows beneath you without having some great components in the show. First and foremost though, for me, the Beast theme doesn’t align to the sounds I’m hearing from the corps in the parts I see as the strongest of the show. In the start (searing brass statement!), sonorous slow piece and kite-silks driven ending (where Crown brass are at their regal best) the beast theme seems to be left behind. Likewise the see-saw prop ticks the box of being a little different to props that have gone before, but I’m not convinced the pay-off is there to justifies it being a static beast picture for most of the show. Early season, someone made a point on these pages that there was too much texture on the field and I’d agree. “Textures” might even has made for a more fitting, if esoteric, theme! Visually Crown march and move as well as always. What’s interesting to me is that I don’t think you’d necessarily pick this out as Sacktig designed drill. There’s a cool move where the brass are in curvilinear lines radiating out from the percussion and the lines invert as they move across the field. You might spot an earlier incarnation of this in Cadet’s Farandole from 2001. That aside I think their visual book is quite indistinct this year, albeit top-end indistinct! I’m a big fan of Crown and hope they climb to the summit of the mountain again, but I haven’t quite enjoyed them these last couple of years quite as much as I did in the first half of the decade. Bluecoats I really enjoy the sense of old-skool that Coats musical selections bring to the field combines with their ultra-modern arranging and programming. The costuming is a standout from the pack, particularly that it’s a uniform costume from the high cam but more varied at field level, and I hope they continue to innovate in this respect. The colour pallet is great again this year and I like the props, with one caveat that I’ll mention later. I really like Coats approach to drill. There are sections in the show where they are really motoring but it’s never drill for drill’s sake. The end of the (2nd?) movement with the diverging and converging block is fantastic. I’m reminded of Blast in the way they move and the style of composition – I think it’s the same designer? The show uses a lot of pre-record to set the scene and transition between movement and they do this fantastically well in the main. However, I think there’s something all corps need to be wary of that when using pre-recorded and the corps are adding lots of visual layering, in that you can get some sense of loss of depth when the corps then starts to only play and march. This is more of an issue further down the ranks but I did find myself wondering about this briefly when watching Coats. It perhaps splitting hairs though, as in the main, the way the singing blends with the soloists and into the main ensemble comes across really well on the videos and when listening in the car. In fact, in contrast to some of the other shows, the middle two numbers are my favourite musically. Quite possible tight integration with the singing back and forth. I read somewhere that Coats’ Bird and Bela piece has some slightly simpler phrasing than BD did in 91? My ears don’t distinguish that – it works on its only merits overall, but I did find it a little jarring this this is the 1st number after setting such a specific laid back mood initially. The Home closer continues the recent trend of fun upbeat closers. If anything I’d have liked a bit more of it as I’m not sure there’s enough dynamism in the final minute or so of the show. The park and play ending has tinge of over-familiarity from what’s gone before, and I’m not sure the hornline being positioned all over the big chair gives enough of a visual momentum to closing things out in barnstorming fashion. Still it’s a small not-quite in a show full of likes. Percussion aside, I wonder if the difference between first and third is rooted in how much value was extracted from those huge chairs compared to their peers (and their props). It will be interesting to see where Bluecoats go next. They have a style and sense of entertainment that’s a little different to everyone else…. I hope they continue to nurture that niche that for the foreseeable future! Blue Devils ‘No significant weaknesses’ is often said about Blue Devils shows in their title winning years and while that’s maybe not the case this year, there are many cool things to like about this show. After some scene-setting pre-record (first time I heard it I thought ‘ya filthy animal!’ anyone else?), I enjoy the way they get going musically and visually right off the bat. It makes a pleasant change from the trend for quiet-and-freeform intro’s that’s perhaps too common now? Last year I thought BD had best colour design in the bag. Some of their rivals have stepped up in this respect this year, but they still own their look. An oft-heard criticism of BD over the years not enough marching demand, but the counter to that for me has always been that they’re the best in terms of design integration coupled with the aesthetic sophistication of transitions. They still are at the top of the tree in this respect but they do move a lot in this show, and the performance demand on the members can, but perhaps shouldn’t, be underestimated. The Harlem Nocturne section has some really neat coordination going on. There’s a contrast of styles leading into the company front and the well-known melody…but is it over too soon? All season I’ve been hoping they would extend the melody into a second phrase (ala 87), but alas it’s not to be. Too much effect to cram in and too little time, to repeat a melodic phrase! The slow interlude with the French horn duet also sets a compelling mood within the theme. I’m not sure the up-tempo sections of this show as memorable as the down – or contain the same standout features as some years past, but everything is performed at Devils’ impeccable levels. Natural Women is a couple of minutes of great melody and great selling. It works because it works on the most fundamental of drum corps levels. A small caveat is that the prop/story narrative doesn’t move on during this time, but many of us will take primal drum corps entertainment and forget the rest when delivered like this! What’s interesting is that musically this show doesn’t really follow a recognisable drum corps template. It’s a collection of snapshots - you could probably shuffle the sequence of pieces around in the winter and still end up with as effective a music show as this one … I can’t quite decide whether this is a good thing? Now, if there’s ever a weakness in BD shows for me it’s their closing chapters. Musically I sometimes don’t get the goose-bumps in the finale from them that I look for and this year that’s the case. Though often BD have already sealed the deal by that point! The key design choice seem to have been the narrative being propelled through the gradual reproduction of the Dreams and Nighthawks painting and I can’t work out just how much of a story they’re trying to tell along the way. The delayed resolution technique is well used in tv and cinema – for example it reminds me of the Breaking Bad season 2 intro’s with the objects floating in the swimming pool. In this show it means a lot of static prop movement logistics to get there. Do BD get the payoff they hoped for? I suppose it depends on how you choose to measure it… and how high you set the benchmark. SCV Back in the mid-noughties if you’d daydreamed about fusing Cavies and Regiment into a mid-west super corps (and add in some futuristic stardust) then you might have imagined this year’s SCV. Many have mentioned that this show is right on the zeitgeist and I’d agree. Part of it is the costuming, which is perhaps the coolest of this year’s collection. While the move away from uniforms opens up possibilities to designers there’s still a benefit to achieving certain qualities in the look. You could perform Sound of Music and dress everyone as the Von Trapp family… while that would be thematically authentic it might not contribute to having the x-factor! One of the SCV backstage videos mentions how they chose the music first, had the idea of the cages to give flexible options into the vertical plane, and then arrived at the theme to bind it all together. It’s not always the case, but I think that sequence of events shines through here as a benefit to this show’s development. Lots of effect with minimal thematic constraints. In recent years the best usage of props has been where they are at their most versatile and/or dynamic – think Downside Up and Metamorph – allowing the corps move up, down, in and out in many different ways. How you get on and off the props is now as important as what you do when on them! In time to come this show may well be remembered as the one that fully integrated performing and staging across three dimensions. It does leave you wondering where corps can take it from here in future seasons? A feature of this show is there are multiple things going on in every transition, and there’s always a balance between moments of dense layering and clarity. The cream uni’s help with the clarity aspect but there’s always a great usage of space. From the high cams its apparent the corps aren’t moving at breakneck speed as often as some others, and they don’t cover as much of the field, but these are observations rather than criticisms, such is the quality of the programming. As many agree, the horn snap in the ballad is a standout moment – it’s all the sequential activity in the lead-up that makes it. The epitome of simple but effective! Perhaps the best compliment I can pay to this section of the show is that it reminds me of Madison 88 with the Malaguena mello soloist and 360 spins into the closing push. Musically, it’s both diverse and well blended - a leading edge modern drum corps show. SCV, to my ears, sound like a classically biased hornline that also nails some Madison-esque influences in often intense but engaging book. When it’s technical it always feels authentic rather than derivative or forced. It’s also a positive that the virtuosic playing is not so obviously focused on a prop-moving small ensemble this year. If there is still clever selection of who plays and when, I can’t pick it out. And the talented soloists are another reminder of scenarios where amplification really does add something. Could they play that stuff that way if they had to project to the stand un-aided? This is one of those shows were you might come away humming one of the prominent phrases without necessarily remembering the fully melody lines. They even manage to sell a hip-hop section that could be incongruous in lesser hands – perhaps they’ve learnt from BD’s recent approach of incorporating ‘urban’ segments into some of their recent productions for added eclectism. Finally the cool Metropolis closer where the whiplash brass parts are some that I think even ardent Crown brass fans would tip their hats too. When the music hits the final push as the platforms come together it evokes Scheherazade, and from what I’ve seen the crowds were on their feet well before the final notes. All in all a really strong show with no significant weaknesses. One of those that’s become more than the sum of its parts. A few random thoughts on overall trends… Firstly, the achievement of the members these days is amazing. I’m interested to see the contents of a modern dot book just to see how all that simultaneous demand is written down! Percussion and guard sections are so skilled, as a layman it’s increasingly difficult to spot differences in proficiency, certainly without seeing them live. Speaking of which, what do you have to do these days to make a battery feature memorable to non-drummers - they can all now play fast and high while stood on one leg! There is still work to do for many corps to better balance the competitive need for layering, juxtaposition and variety with the popcorn values of melody and musically driven goose-bump moments. Consequently there’s still too much use of long tones, chord progressions separated by short drum interludes. The increasing usage of props is indicative of corps have reached the physical limits of what performers can achieve in terms of drill tempo and complexity (a few years back now) and dance and play (more recently). Adding in the vertical plane is simply a way of extending the staging boundaries a little further. Is it now a de-facto requirement that will grow in size and complexity over the next few years? If I were watching live I’m sure the production capabilities of blending in pre-recorded material, and the electronics underpinning general playing generally, would be giving me concerns about how to preserve the value of acoustic authenticity in the activity. But that’s another discussion for people who are better informed and actually witness these shows live. Despite the ever-increasing technical sophistication of shows we’re still reminded that when it comes to communication and effect the techniques available remain quite fundamental. With such a large stage and relatively remote audiences, stories have to be well signposted and significant events need to pop out. It’s probably why meeting/separation, running away/chasing, love, loss, and of course killing, remain the go-to choices, plus those figures-in-black! Perhaps the biggest miss currently is that corps aren’t able to use music from the most popular sources. I continue to hope for a breakthrough in licensing that allows box-office soundtracks, Broadway musicals and current pop be put on the field once again…supplementing rather than replacing the range of source music we have today. In terms of overall enjoyment factor of top 12 shows I’d say 2018 was a middling year. Finally, finding ways to make the audience shiver, gasp, cheer and even laugh, while maintaining competitive placement should continue to be the challenge that keeps designers awake long into the night. Thanks for reading!
  2. There is only one corps left. To close out our individual corps discussions let's take this week to discuss Phaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaantom REGIMENT What are your top 1-5 Phantom shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner! Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now. Music City 2017 the tribe Week 15 Madison Scouts- 1995 A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: A Day in the Life of a Bull Fighter. Least Favorite 2009 Relampago Week 16- The Academy- favorite 2016 Drum Corpse Bride Week 17- Seattle Cascades- favorite 2002 City Riffs Week 18- The Blue Devils Favorite 1986. Least Favorite-2010 through a glass darkly Week 19- The Colts- Favorite 2007 Equinox Week 20- Blue Stars- 2008 Le Tour for the favorite. Week 21 Pacific Crest- 2012 the Spectrum gets the win. Week 22- Bluecoats- 2014 Tilt gets the win. 1992 for least favorite. Week 23- the Troopers. Current tie between 1985 and 2009.
  3. From the red team to one of the 4 top 12 corps with blue in their name...this week we are headed to chilly Wisconsin to discuss a corps with an extremely interesting history: The Blue Stars. What are your top 1-5 Blue Stars shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner! Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now. Music City 2017 the tribe Week 15 Madison Scouts- 1995 A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: A Day in the Life of a Bull Fighter. Least Favorite 2009 Relampago Week 16- The Academy- favorite 2016 Drum Corpse Bride Week 17- Seattle Cascades- favorite 2002 City Riffs Week 18- The Blue Devils Favorite 1986. Least Favorite-2010 through a glass darkly Week 19- The Colts- Favorite 2007 Equinox
  4. For week 23 we are headed out to the wild west to discuss the Troopers. What are your top 1-5 Troopers shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner! Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now. Music City 2017 the tribe Week 15 Madison Scouts- 1995 A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: A Day in the Life of a Bull Fighter. Least Favorite 2009 Relampago Week 16- The Academy- favorite 2016 Drum Corpse Bride Week 17- Seattle Cascades- favorite 2002 City Riffs Week 18- The Blue Devils Favorite 1986. Least Favorite-2010 through a glass darkly Week 19- The Colts- Favorite 2007 Equinox Week 20- Blue Stars- 2008 Le Tour for the favorite. Week 21 Pacific Crest- 2012 the Spectrum gets the win. Week 22- Bluecoats- 2014 Tilt gets the win. 1992 for least favorite.
  5. For week 22 we are going to Canton Ohio to discuss the Bluecoats. I am excited! What are your top 1-5 Bluecoats shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner! Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now. Music City 2017 the tribe Week 15 Madison Scouts- 1995 A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: A Day in the Life of a Bull Fighter. Least Favorite 2009 Relampago Week 16- The Academy- favorite 2016 Drum Corpse Bride Week 17- Seattle Cascades- favorite 2002 City Riffs Week 18- The Blue Devils Favorite 1986. Least Favorite-2010 through a glass darkly Week 19- The Colts- Favorite 2007 Equinox Week 20- Blue Stars- 2008 Le Tour for the favorite. Week 21 Pacific Crest- 2012 the Spectrum gets the win.
  6. Let's head to California and discuss Pacific Crest. I sat amongst a crew of Pacific Crest friends/family at Semifinals and they were a pretty laid back crowd. Anyway...with only 4 corps left What are your top 1-5 Pacific Crest shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner! Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now. Music City 2017 the tribe Week 15 Madison Scouts- 1995 A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: A Day in the Life of a Bull Fighter. Least Favorite 2009 Relampago Week 16- The Academy- favorite 2016 Drum Corpse Bride Week 17- Seattle Cascades- favorite 2002 City Riffs Week 18- The Blue Devils Favorite 1986. Least Favorite-2010 through a glass darkly Week 19- The Colts- Favorite 2007 Equinox Week 20- Blue Stars- 2008 Le Tour for the favorite.
  7. It's officially Valentine's season so what better time to head to Iowa and discuss THE RED TEAM! What are your top 1-5 Colts shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner! Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now. Music City 2017 the tribe Week 15 Madison Scouts- 1995 A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: A Day in the Life of a Bull Fighter. Least Favorite 2009 Relampago Week 16- The Academy- favorite 2016 Drum Corpse Bride Week 17- Seattle Cascades- favorite 2002 City Riffs Week 18- The Blue Devils Favorite 1986. Least Favorite-2010 through a glass darkly
  8. It's week 18 and what better corps to honor than the one with an unprecedented 18 championship titles. On an ironic but unrelated note it's Superbowl week and the Patriots are in it again What are your top 1-5 Blue Devils shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner! Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now. Music City 2017 the tribe Week 15 Madison Scouts- 1995 A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: A Day in the Life of a Bull Fighter. Least Favorite 2009 Relampago Week 16- The Academy- favorite 2016 Drum Corpse Bride Week 17- Seattle Cascades- favorite 2002 City Riffs
  9. Let's go 2 weeks in a row with corps that have had 1 finals appearance. The Cascades have been around a long time and we will take this week to honor and celebrate them! What are your top 1-5 Cascades shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner! Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now. Music City 2017 the tribe Week 15 Madison Scouts- 1995 A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: A Day in the Life of a Bull Fighter. Least Favorite 2009 Relampago Week 16- The Academy- favorite 2016 Drum Corpse Bride
  10. I don't know about you but it's super cold and snowy here- let's head to Tempe Arizona where it will be sunny and 72 today and spend the week celebrating the Academy! What are your top 1-5 Academy shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner! Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now. Music City 2017 the tribe Week 15 Madison Scouts- 1995 A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: A Day in the Life of a Bull Fighter. Least Favorite 2009 Relampago
  11. With 10 corps left and the holiday season over it's back to the old grind. This week we are headed to bitterly cold Madison Wisconsin to celebrate the Madison Scouts. What are your top 1-5 Scouts shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner! Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now. Music City 2017 the tribe
  12. 2017 is winding down and an all time show list wouldn't be complete if we don't honor great shows of the past from corps that are no longer with us. Besides I don't want to curse anyone with the week 13 title. You can use any show from any corps not current. Some examples include Star of Indiana, the Glassmen, the Bridgemen...etc it i s up to you. What are your top 1-10 all time shows? (Optional) What are your 1-5 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite.
  13. Happy New year! Let's dedicate the first week of 2018 to the 2 newest additions to World Class. Considering we only have 10 years or so of repertoire to choose from for each corps- give me your one favorite show from each group and tell me what you are looking forward to seeing from them in 2018. No least favorites this week. I don't want to pick on the new guy. You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13- Corps that are no longer with us. Everyone gets a trophy!
  14. Happy New year! Let's dedicate the first week of 2018 to the 2 newest additions to World Class. Considering we only have 10 years or so of repertoire to choose from for each corps- give me your one favorite show from each group and tell me what you are looking forward to seeing from them in 2018. No least favorites this week. I don't want to pick on the new guy. You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite. Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite. Week 13- Corps that are no longer with us. Everyone gets a trophy!
  15. This week we are headed to Texas to celebrate a corps that is extremely regular to the top 12 but rarely makes the top 6. The Crossmen. What are your top 1-5 all time Crossmen shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite. Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite
  16. Let's kick off the holiday season with the Corps with the most festive colors: Santa Clara Vanguard. What are your top 1-5 all time SCV shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite.
  17. We are staying on the West Coast this week but going north of California and celebrating one of the newer corps to world class competition the Oregon Crusaders. What are your top 1-5 all time OC shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite. Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite. Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite.
  18. Interesting that someone would dig up the Carolina Crown thread overnight as I have been planning on doing Crown this week for awhile since I will be spending a long weekend in the Charlotte area this weekend. What are your top 1-5 all time Carolina Crown shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite
  19. Happy Thanksgiving! This week we are headed to Milwaukee for Pioneer. This group has been around a long time and had a lot of A60 and DII success. Looks like their best WC/DI success was 16th. What are your top 1-5 all time Pioneer shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite. Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite.
  20. The first Thanksgiving was in Plymouth, Massachusetts so let's do Boston this week. What are your top 1-5 all time Boston Crusaders shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite.
  21. Let's hit the west coast this week and discuss a corps coming off their most successful year: the Mandarins. What are your top 1-5 all time Mandarin shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite. Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least 2001Blue Toons Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is
  22. I thought it would be cool to start a weekly thread about what performances we loved and didn't love about each corps. For week 2 we are headed to Denver to celebrate and discuss the Blue Knights What are your top 1-5 all time Blue Knights shows? (Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive! I am a huge BK fan so my long answer will come later today- I am pumped for this thread. For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions: Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite...for now. Week 2- Jersey Surf- right now the favorite is 2012 Bridgemania... it's pretty unanimous.
  23. DCI is a little dry during the off season. I thought it would be cool to start a weekly thread about what performances we loved and didn't love about each corps. I am starting with the Cavaliers because I think they are easy to discuss without things getting out of hand or dying quickly. What are your top 1-5 all time Cavaliers shows? What are your 1-3 least favorites from them? You can go into as much or little detail as possible but please please try to keep things positive!
  24. Thanks for considering reading this wall of text. tl;dr No there are no conspiracies. There is virtually no herd mentality on the national level. Money nor reputation matters. Become a judge if you aren't already. Also--thank you if you're a fan of any of the pageantry activities. Not meant to be a dissertation, but a reflection of my many years of experience as a judge on the field and indoor. No I am not a DCI judge but I have been judging with DCI, WGI, and BOA national judges and have had many discussions with said men and women who are actively making these tough decisions. There appear to be several of us on here willing to share information so any input is very much appreciated. I am not speaking for every judge or even any group of judges but SPECIFICALLY to my experience. I'll be available for follow-up questions and concerns for a few days until this account and thread dies--if that's the case. ------------- 1) Herd Mentality Does not exist barring very few situations*. We judge the sheets. Particular to our caption, a unit can hit the sheets according to our eyeballs and our ears or it cannot. Sometimes there are difficult decisions that we have to make on the spot. We all see different things even within the same caption. Some judges are good enough to judge multiple captions. Ranks and ratings change for the same judge because they're judging a new caption. Also, when panels change, numbers will change as you have probably experienced in the past. It's absolutely unavoidable. Please also remember that there are separate numbers in what we see the designers intended to do and what the performers executed on that particular day/evening; i.e. vocabulary vs. excellence. It's the LEFT side and the RIGHT side respectively. It's not rocket science. We all have to trial judge for this and prove we can focus on our own caption and defend our numbers at critique and thereafter. *Note: Interestingly enough, every few shows a newer judge or trial judge will ask where I put a unit at any given point. I give them the neighborhood, e.g. high box 3, mid box 4, etc. but I'm very averse to providing an actual number as is anyone I have spoken with. Remember that we have fans only a few feet away from us in virtually every direction that can hear our conversations and are probably recording us on their smartphones. Why would we be idiots and mimic each other's scores? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. These days we can typically change our numbers for all units at the end of a round due to the mechanics of Competition Suite. It's a magical thing and it makes numbers management so much easier and more equitable. 2) Money We get a few hundred bucks or maybe a little more. It's not much. Expenses are paid if we are lucky. Rumors have it that nationals is just about the same or a little bit more but not much. This is a NON PROFIT activity. Enough said. We mostly do this because we think we can do it better than others and provide better input. We're not in this for the money--heck, we may be better off bartending for an evening. We do get the best view in the venue. That's why I do it--along with providing input to groups who actually give a **** as to improving their units. Most of us want the activity to grow and performers to get better; however, some judges are jerks who just want to criticize and call out things that are wrong because the units are not doing what they did 5, 10, or 50 years ago. It oftentimes gets tiresome in the judge's room and occasionally pisses me off. That's the main frustration I've had. We tend to argue when I encounter a judge who made a number I sorely disagreed with in a caption I've judged; there's a 50/50 chance I'll win and they'll rethink their numbers next time around if they're given the opportunity. We're otherwise complaining as to why we got a baked potato for a "meal." 3) Reputation This gets a little complicated. Many judges have obligations outside of judging. For example, several have contracts with percussion, winter guards, winds, marching bands, drill design, you name it. However, from my experience, it really doesn't matter. Our reputation is founded on the basis that we put down a number, record our commentary, and defend every ounce of it. We sometimes get stuck with a number we put down during an earlier part of the season and have to really back up any changes later in the season. As long as we reflect our APPROPRIATE number based on the sheet of our particular caption during that specific performance, it doesn't matter if we give 3rd place to a 12th place unit or vice versa. I've done it many times, "called" many shows, and still get asked to judge again. Judge's commentary is becoming more and more public, so I make sure to talk about the stuff I want my dear mother to hear as well as the unit staff and most importantly the performing members. When I hear from either the Chief Judge or a director that they played my commentary to their students, it means the world to me. Knowing they sacrificed several minutes of their valuable rehearsal time to listen to my exhausted hoarse voice makes my day. 4) Critique Sometimes a show will have a requirement for the judges to participate in critique sessions with the units. We may also get emails, phone calls, or texts about why a unit was ranked and rated as they were. This can get stressful. This is why we take notes. I keep my notes for at least 3 years. Every show is different. Some times I'll place a unit higher than another, and I take notes as to why (even though it's inappropriate to talk about other units during critique). Focus on your own show on your own caption and unit I always say. However, it's good for me to back up to the Chief Judge why I flip-flopped or made an uncanny or unpopular choice. I do it all the time. Most times people get it--they watch their competitors and see why they have fallen (or risen) in my particular caption. Critique allows us to gather input from the units and provide feedback beyond our recorded commentary. Heck I've unintentionally made a former colleague cry during critique. I've also had a situation when we had to get the Chief Judge to kick out an overdramatic irate director during critique. What really pisses us off is when someone only rants about their score without having listened to the commentary. All I can reference is my notes at that point. The commentary is not a part of my records but a part of yours. Do your homework. Listen to the commentary. 5) State of the Activity Plan on being angered! Many current judges should consider retiring. The activity has changed considerably in the past decade--let alone the past several decades--and corps art is not being recognized properly. The newer judges, about a third of any panel; if we're lucky, have still been removed from the activity for a decade or more. Yes, this is a traditional activity and that I quite understand. Furthermore, most design and tech staff who have been a part of the top competing units are of a separate generation with separate visions working alongside older generations with progressive acuities. There's a lot of subjectivity with the sheets and what is put on the field or floor. A few older judges see this. Most, however, don't. This is, in my honest opinion, the main disconnect between the overall numbers and what the fans want to see rewarded. So where is the activity heading? Which leads me to this: 6) Next Steps Trial judge. Regardless of your age. We need more judges. Many of you are analytical critical jerks and we really could use your help. Whether it's percussion, guard, winds, visual, brass, whatever. We need new blood in every activity. Please consider contacting a local circuit and start trialing. Before you know it, you may be judging state and regional championships and knocking on DCI, BOA, or WGI's doors. Just show up. That's half the battle. You're not running for office--you're helping develop youth and art. We just need new people with deductive mindsets willing to put in their experience and research to current events on the field and the floor. We're no better than you. The activity is changing too fast for most of us. Regardless, please stay a supporting member or fan of the marching & pageantry arts no matter what. The common sports have enough fans. Show up to all sorts of our musical and "artsy" competitions just because, well, reasons. Thank you. Edit: Changed title of thread. Edit: Here's a copy of the 2012 DCI sheets thanks to @Jeff Ream
  25. 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...