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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/04/2010 in all areas

  1. 71 points
    Dear DCI, Over the past 15+ years, I’ve been a faithful fan. I’ve gone to at least one live event every year, save one. I've watched a theatrical presentation at least every other year. I’ve subscribed to the FanNetwork for the past two years. I’ve bought several DVDs and CDs from new releases to legacy collection DVDs. This year, I volunteered to serve as a DCI ambassador and hosted multiple DCI-watching parties at my house early in the season. However, I will be taking some time off from DCI, and I wanted to let you know why. I fell in love with drum corps because I loved the power of brass and percussion matched with beautiful visual designs. However, performances in recent years no longer highlight the qualities that made me such a rabid DCI fan. I didn’t like vocal elements, especially voice-overs, but I tolerated them (though a very few notable exceptions were well-planned and well-executed, including this year’s performance by Spirit). Even so, I bristled when it seemed that judges failed to reward excellent usage and/or penalize poor usage. I also object to the idea of a non-youth soundboard operator having so much control over what is supposed to be performances of a youth activity. Worse yet, I absolutely hate the idea of using synthesized sounds (how is it fair that a single key-press can overpower and/or cover an entire tuba section, for example?), and in almost every case, I still find them offensive, especially when, again, judges ignore blatantly tasteless applications (for example, the hideous patch that echoed the beautiful solo in the Cadets’ “Do You Hear What I Hear” this year). However, because of my love for brass, percussion, and drill, I’ve tolerated them, too. As this season wore on, I found myself caring less and less for drum corps. I watched fewer FanNetwork events. Instead of watching tonight’s semi-finals, I watched the Olympics, chatted on Facebook, and wrote this letter. A big part of my disappointment is the DCI judges’ continued approval of the Blue Devils’ show (following on the heels of several confusing, annoying, and critically acclaimed BD shows). Despite the many scatter drills, absurd theme, disjointed music, and general disregard for audience enjoyment, DCI’s judges have consistently rated them as the best show in the competition—this despite at least a few shows that seem equally difficult, clean, and stylistically unified, while presenting greater entertainment value and artistic quality. If Blue Devils 2012 is DCI’s picture of perfection, then DCI is no longer a place where I can feel at home. It is no longer an organization dedicated to brass, percussion, and drill. It is more concerned with synthesizers, amplification, and dance. When I want to see and hear such things (which is rare), I can find all of them in other places for a whole lot less money. When I want to see and hear brass, percussion, and drill, I no longer have a place to go—there are no DCA competitions in my area. Instead, I’ll go back and enjoy the great shows of the past via the FanNetwork (until my subscription runs out) and the DVDs in my collection. I will not be going to any DCI shows next season, I will not subscribe to the FanNetwork, and I will not buy any DVDs or CDs. After a year, if I find I’ve missed the activity, perhaps I’ll come back. If rules change, perhaps I’ll come back sooner. In summary, the great moments of Drum Corps have become fewer and farther between, while the tolerated annoyances have become more and more common, and I see no evidence that DCI is willing to do anything to shift the balance in the opposite direction. As a side note, I have made a point of asking other audience members their opinions, including new and old fans, of a variety of ages, in several different locations. I have found only one who found the Blue Devils’ show interesting (none used the word “entertaining”, and several described it with an expletive), and none who specifically complimented the synths. On the contrary, the most common description of them was something to be “tolerated”. On the other hand, everyone commented on big brass moments, blazing percussion features, and fast drill patterns. My survey is completely non-scientific, and I’m sure it will sound to you like I cherry-picked my respondants. Even I have been surprised by the uniformity of reactions, but I swear that what I’ve reported is exactly what I’ve heard. I know that this is a letter from a disgruntled former fan—something likely to be ignored—but I sincerely hope that the DCI membership will take it to heart. I am not the only one who shares this opinion, and I don’t think I’m even in a minority. Perhaps others will stick around for a few more years, but in this era of limited financial support for arts organizations, I can’t imagine that losing even a few long-time, dedicated fans is an ideal organizational model. Furthermore, I miss the DCI that lit so many fans on fire for so many years. I long for the day when I will be able to feel that energy and excitement again. Sincerely, Julian Bryson Poll update: I eliminated one of the answers, and I sincerely hope those who chose that answer will now choose a different one. I wish I had never included that answer, but I just didn't think it through well enough from the start. Sorry for that. For the sake of accuracy in figuring future percentages, there were approximately 40 votes for "Not really, things have changed, but I don't think they're as bad as he says" when that answer was removed. And before you jump on me, my purpose in removing it was not to inflate the percentages for other answers. Those who completely agree with me should still be in the neighborhood of 15% (not 20% as it now shows).
  2. 57 points
    My son gets on an airplane and heads for Mars tomorrow. He will be marching his age-out year, and I find myself pretty weepy about the whole deal. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was driving him to Jacksonville AL for his first camp when he was still 16. Drum corps, irrespective of where loyalties/preferences/tastes lie, is a fabulous thing for Thomas, and for thousands of kids each summer. He has literally grown up, one rehearsal, one run through, one performance, one bus ride at a time. He started as a boy, and now marches his last summer as a fully grown man. All of you who teach, who direct, who volunteer, are owed a great debt of gratitude by parents like me. We put our children into your hands, and you have earned our trust. I hope every single kid, no matter what judges sheet or someone screaming in a crowd or here has to say, gets to experience a summer of fun, of growth, of excellence, and, every now and then, of the transcendence and beauty that drum corps can bring into this often fractious world of ours. Good luck to everyone! Wear sunscreen! Find that quality within yourself that allows you to know that sometimes limits aren't limits, and there is always a little something more that you have deep down inside yourselves.
  3. 53 points
    I went to the Colts home show last night in Dubuque. And I'm sorry to say that I found myself completely entertained despite the fact that not one G8 corps was there. I thought that type of thing was NOT supposed to happen!! I think somebody owes me an apology. It all started with the Colt Cadets. I knew those kids were up to no good the minute I heard the hot drum licks and saw their energetic marching. Then they had the gall to play music that entertained the crowd. Notorious indeed! But it didn't stop there. Next came Teal Sound. And how were they? Well, lets just say they committed the 8th sin with their show - being entertaining! I took a few minutes to compose myself. "Maybe they just didn't get the memo," I thought. "Spirit is up next. Surely THEY know how it's supposed to be. They'll follow the rules and come out flat and dull like - wait a minute..." Spirit was entertaining too! Then it just wouldn't stop... Glassmen? Entertaining. Madison? Entertaining. Boston? Entertaining. Colts? Entertaining. It was as if EVERY corps planned on being entertaining from the very beginning!! Dear God, what a disaster. Oh, and I'm not the only one who was entertained. I looked around and all I could see were rows and rows of smiling faces. "Stop, STOP!" I cried, "This is NOT the way it's supposed to be!" But people just kept on enjoying the show and cheering for all the corps anyway. The poor fools. So today I'm upset and a little worried. If this entertainment thing catches on with every corps that is not G8, well, I just don't think drum corps will ever be the same again. Heaven help us.
  4. 51 points
    I hung out with Pioneer Wednesday night and Thursday this past week as they prepared for prelims. I was there to support one of my former students who is now marching quad with Pio and being taught, ironically enough, by my former instructor, Tyrell Carver (an amazing guy, I was very happy to know "T" would be her instructor, but that's another story)... Seeing my student and T again was pure magic, and Pioneer are wonderful hosts - Roman is a true gentleman. I can't say enough good things about that organization and will encourage other kids I teach who are considering the jump to DCI to consider Pioneer without hesitation. I started marching in 1968. I've spent a lot of time thinking drum corps is not the same as when I marched and in many ways, it's true. Electronics, trombones, singers - much has changed and I haven't been onside with a lot of it. But I watched those Pioneer kids give it everything they've got in run-throughs Wednesday night, sectionals and runs Thursday morning, and then show prep in Military Park, most if not all of them understanding where they would place at the end of the day. It didn't matter to them, they threw every muscle and fibre of their being, and all of their heart, into preparing for that show. I could only watch in admiration. And I learned in that moment at show prep, that the things I maybe don't like about modern drum corps - the mics, the instrumentation etc. - are entirely superficial to the main event, which is the experience these kids have in marching. The work ethic you learn, the ability to learn your limits and then break through them, the lifelong bonds of friendship you make, the joy of performing for the audience - none of this has changed, and that's the essence of drum corps regardless of the era or competitive level you marched. If you marched, you get it. I'm 62 years old and in this, my last year of teaching, I learned a great deal about drum corps from these 22 and under year olds this week. In every way that matters - drum corps has not changed one bit. I'm a fan again. Thank you Pioneer for your gracious hospitality, and for the lesson.
  5. 47 points
    I sat on the 50 yard line inside the lower press box tonight in San Antonio. The Blue Devils are simply the most phenomenal performers I've ever seen in 33 years of drum corps. There isn't a moment that wasn't captivating, engaging, or that failed to just blow me out of the water. I alternately whistled, laughed, or just held my breath waiting for the next insane moment. It's the first time I've seen a show ever that captivated me completely from the corps entering the field to the very end. There has never been anything like them, and this show left me breathless. Just WOW. Can't wait to see it again... Thanks Blue Devils... that was outstanding. I also understand why people might not like it... but I just witnessed a new standard in performance and coordinated design. Outstanding! Chuck Naffier
  6. 45 points
    For reaching 100,000 posts here on DCP! What the **** is wrong with you. 😂
  7. 45 points
    Its a warm up... not a performance. Want to get blown away? Buy a ticket to the show.
  8. 44 points
    They haven't totally erased me yet: https://ascendperformingarts.org/blue-knights-announce-2017-brass-staff-2/ It is amusing to me how this is considered "news", it is irritating to me that there seems to be some implication that I should have been/have been let go. The amusement comes from the fact that I came home a little after Memorial Day. It seems a combination of altitude and blood pressure was making both ankles swell significantly, and the next week the corps was going to be a few thousand feet higher in elevation. So I went home for awhile. After getting home, I found out one of my cats has inoperable cancer in his sinus passages (He's fine and happy right now, as long as one of us is here to give him his pain medication exactly every 8 hours). The Blue Knights is a wonderful organization, with wonderful kids (Let's face it, EVERY corps has wonderful kids!), and a great administration! I enjoyed my time there immensely. That said, I am looking for a new home that does not require spending large amounts of time at 5,280 feet above sea level. If any of you have read this far, please remember folks that you are not only discussing real human beings here, but real human beings with real lives, and involved in an activity that they are very passionate about.
  9. 44 points
    Well that's vague. You could judge Effect for dci with comments that nonspecific.
  10. 43 points
    Drum Corps kid's photo This is my kid. He's been watching DC since before his second birthday. He's 16. He filled spot #150 with Madison two weeks before the first show this year. He doesn't particularly care what the scores are (except that a classmate is marching in a competing corps!) He's been bitten by the bug that lives in the roar of the crowd. He's learned that hard work has rewards, that trust is earned and shared, and that his old man (a DC fossil from the 80's) is only half full of crap. He's learned that his limit is further out than he ever imagined. While the discussions we have here on DCP run the gamut, from thoughtful to _____________, lets remember the real value of this activity and why it is worthwhile. Pardon my bias, but drum corps kids have been and will continue to be something incredibly special. Of anything we may have "lost" along the way, this is the thing that is sacred.
  11. 40 points
    There's no real structure to this, I'm just commenting on the stuff I feel like commenting on after watching the theater event. E-SARN: Loved it. Fantastic addition to the end of the show. Would love to see them do another exhibition at Finals before awards, in front of a full house. TROUBLING TREND: There were many DCI corps this year that had HALF of a great show. It seems like the show designers came up with this really awesome idea, and front-loaded the show so that the first 5-6 minutes were just incredible and amazing. But then we got to the point of development and resolution and the inspiration fairy fluttered away while giving them a two-fisted "rigid digit" salute. Too many corps followed up an impressive first half of a show with a fairly uninspired, drum corps-by-the-numbers second half, as if they either (a) didn't know how to wrap the show up, or (b) were just going down the Standard DCI Checklist for What Scores Well and checking off boxes. The G7 corps were not immune from this plague, either. I don't want to name names, but if you think of the University of Virginia, West Point, and old Leroy Anderson pops pieces you might figure it out. YAY: Troopers. Chalk one up for "wasn't expecting to like, but did." As a drum corps fan I'm pretty much late-80s and beyond: I hold little to no nostalgia for much that is "old school." Westerns aren't my thing. Which is why I was quite shocked at how effective Troop's "Sunburst" was to me this year. Good job implementing old school homages into a modern drum corps show. I really liked how this corps performed and am surprised they aren't scoring closer to Blue Stars and Spirit. MEH: Blue Knights. Really interesting show concept and excellent visual design. But the musical design never hooked me like last year's show did. Also, what's with that new ending? It's an ending. In a show called "NoBeginningNoEnd". Didn't care for it. YAY: Madison Scouts. I'd actually been dreading seeing this show for the first time. I just didn't see a way for a G.I. Bro show to not be schmaltzy and manipulative, going for the easy, obvious tugs at the heartstrings instead of adding depth and meaning (see also: 2002 Cadets). But it wasn't that bad. I liked the way the Mussorgsky was woven in, often present but rarely out in front. Parts of the show were a little cheesy, but just because it's cheesy doesn't mean it's NOT effective. MEH: Cavaliers. I wanted to like them, and for five minutes or so I really did. But then I got bored, and the show did nothing to pull me back in. It tried, with the great Michael Giaccino music, but as soon as they quoted it they would wander off and do something else. The visual design is much better this year but, and this has been glaringly apparent the past two years, this corps has had a real problem with musical cohesiveness and development since Saucedo left. YAY and MEH: Phantom Regiment. My favorite corps disappointed me a little. Great concept, great source music, great beginning, but then... meh. The last half of the show just seemed rote, to me, it lacked the emotional pull of Spartacus, Juliet, or Turandot. I mean, of course the evil queen was going to be vanquished, but there's just didn't seem to be any REAL threat or draw towards conflict for the viewer. The Shostakovich piece seemed an ill match to the show and the "tag-on" ending felt very forced, like "Awp, time to wrap this up in a neat little bow." YAY and MEH: Santa Clara Vanguard. Okay, I don't care for the source music, but I did like the arrangements (even if the tempos were taken all the way up to "ludicrous speed"). But come on, folks, this is a cotton candy show, with just about as much substance. It reminds me of 1991 Phantom, actually: it's fun, enjoyable... and it's also already maxed out, and nowhere near deserving of 1st place. YAY and MEH: The Cadets. Loved, loved, loved Symphony No. 1, how much they used of it, and how it was worked into the show. Fantastic. On the other hand, Medea was a mess. Just a few chop-n-bop segments and quotations, never allowed to develop or contribute like the Symphony and Adagio did. The soft ending didn't bother me, but the lead into it did. The six note pattern at the end of Medea that builds into a furious climax they neutered, turning it from a crescendo into a decrescendo, and hammering that square peg into that round hole until they reached the Adagio again. Sorry Mr. Bocook, DCI Hall of Famer or no, that Medea-to-Adagio progression at the end of the show is just plain bad writing. YAY: Carolina Crown. DAT BRASS. I sure wish Michael Klesch was more harmonically adventurous, though. Crown does one thing far better than any other DCI corps (fast runs, brass articulation technique)... but that's all they do, over and over and over. It's fun to listen to, though. I think this is the best designed show on the field this summer, and SHOULD win the DCI title, but you know how those judges are. Crown's percussion started the season rough, and the judges are still penalizing them for it. IMO, they've caught up and passed the drumlines from Scouts, Cavaliers, and MAYBE even Bluecoats. Vanguard, Cadets, and Devils are still clearly better, but this Crown drumline should probably be 4th, maybe 5th at worst right now. ?6MfWz2#Q!?: Blue Devils. People talk about comparing apples and oranges, but that's not quite right. It's more like comparing a bowl of assorted fruit (the rest of DCI) and a talking octopus throwing bricks at the fine china (Blue Devils). The Blue Devils are fundamentally different from every other DCI corps (for better AND for worse). Every other corps treats the visual book as drill and guard for the skeleton, then body movement, dance, and other flourishes as the meat and skin that's added to the skeleton to make it look real. The Blue Devils toss all of the elements in a blender, then make a funkadelic visual golem out of the resulting putty. They both LOOK and ACT like visual programs, but they are fundamentally different to their very cores. Sure, the Blue Devils' drill is once again the easiest of the Top 3 or 4: lots of follow the leader, block forms, and scatter. But while the DRILL demands on the performers might be less, the overall VISUAL demand is not. The scope and variety of different elements going on simultaneously but working together to form a cohesive visual program in the Blue Devils' show is staggering. The field coverage and utilization of space is incredible. Musically, the drumline has been the strength of this corps for most of the past five years. But there's significant brass difficulty here, too. The harmonics of Stravinsky have not been watered down, placing tremendous demand on the performers to have a unified concept and execution of tone and intonation. It can be very difficult to make dissonance sound correct and not like a mistake and, far from just dipping their toes in this pool, the Blue Devils' horn book stays in this challenging area for pretty much the entirety. In terms of chord structures and ensemble harmonics, BD has the toughest show on the field. And, while they might not have the audacious runs of Crown, there were more than a few complex jazz syncopations that require an almost hive-mind like approach to articulation. So, yeah, Blue Devils. I'm not sure they should win, but there's no way they're not one of the Top 2 corps this year. Again. I like it, I'm not sure I like it, I don't want to like it, I don't like it, and I really, really respect it. All of these are true, all at the same time. You are free to disagree with anything I've said here and be wrong.
  12. 40 points
    In 2007 I shot a jerky, hand-held, 1-minute video clip, zoomed-in, of my stepson marching in Madison Scouts at the Lisle, IL show. That clip has been on YOUTUBE since 2007. About 60 views after all these years. Today, YOUTUBE sent me a NAUGHTYGRAM informing me that my video was removed at the request of DCI for copyright violation, and basically putting me on notice. Wow. Really? DCI: I hate what you have become.
  13. 40 points
    Any year that has drum corps is going to be a great season.
  14. 39 points
    A limit on the number of seconds a show can use pre-recorded singing as part of the musical score. If singing is key to an arrangement, it should be done live, just like any other soloist.
  15. 39 points
    Segmentation: How DCI Has Gotten More Complicated... And Less Difficult Of all the changes DCI has undergone so far in the 21st century--any key brass, amplification, electronics, generalized body movement increasingly replacing marching/drill, the move from corps-specific uniforms to show-specific costumes--the change that has affected my enjoyment of the activity the most has been the increasing segmentation of show design. This is a reward-based activity, so if a change doesn't boost the score (when utilized correctly) it will fall by the wayside. So perhaps my argument is that the DCI sheets are due for another overhaul. Perhaps I think that the sheets aren't rewarding the correct aspects of the performance in the correct proportion. And, like anything else in this activity, my opinion is as subjective as anyone else's. For every person that comes onto DCP and shouts "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG" at DCI there is someone else who thinks they are doing it right, and they eagerly dive into that day's monkey slap-fight in Thread X. And, of course, it goes without saying that these are concerns regarding show design and scoring, not performance caliber or effort from the kids. I try REAL hard not to slide into dinosaurhood with regards to drum corps, but the bottom line is drum corps is about the performers NOT the fans. Some fans have strong issues with this, but the simple fact is that the time and money we put into this activity as fans doesn't come close to outweighing the time and money put into this activity by the performers. So, with the usual caveats in place, here's what's bothering me about DCI as of 2017... 1. SEGMENTATION OF MUSIC To this day I consider the 2009 Blue Devils' show "1930" to be the easiest ensemble brass book to win DCI in the modern era. Visual, guard, and percussion were all smoking in that show, but the brass was carried by a small handful of extremely skilled soloists while the full ensemble played long tones and not a whole heck of a lot else. The show was almost at the level of a Concerto for Brass Soloists and Drum Corps. And when it scored 99.05 at Finals, we were off to the races with regards to musical segmentation (specifically brass). I say specifically brass due to the relative limitations of segmenting the percussion section. The field battery has a limited number of both performers and pitches. They might break into smaller ensembles a time or two during the show, but one really skilled snare drummer can't carry the whole snare line: the way percussion is written doesn't really allow for it. The front ensemble has a few more options, but again their limited numbers require more cohesiveness to be effective in the full ensemble sound. Brass, on the other hand, you can slice and dice a million different ways: soloists, duets, ensembles of 6 or 10 or 20, high instruments, low instruments, concert instruments (like trombones and french horns), the possibilities are endless. By creatively breaking apart the ensemble over and over again, you can have your 10 or 20 strongest players carry the entire difficulty load of whole brass book, lessening the impact of your "weakest" performers and making cleaning the ensemble sound a whole lot easier. I'm not saying solos and small ensembles should be banned. Nor am I saying they don't present their own unique challenges to perfect. But it's also a bit of a smoke and mirrors act with regards to difficulty. Let's say you have an 80-member horn line. The top 25% play challenging music for 10 minutes of the show, the 2nd 25% play challenging music for 8 minutes, the 3rd group for 6, and the bottom 25% for only 4. Your brass line has 560 "player-minutes" of challenging music in the book. Now let's say there's another 80-member horn line that focuses more on a whole (large) ensemble sound. Their top 50% plays challenging music for 10 minutes, and their bottom 50% plays challenging music for, 6 minutes of the show. They have 640 player-minutes of challenging music. It's hard to combine subjectivity and analytics, but the second group has arguably a much harder brass book for the ensemble as a whole. I do not think the DCI sheets and/or judges currently reward/consider this at appropriate levels. Cleanliness is--and always has been--king in DCI. And it is far easier to clean an ensemble, match intonation, address tone quality problems, etc. when there are only 10 or 20 performers as opposed to 80. In modern DCI, the MORE your whole ensemble is playing the harder it will be to get a good score. That doesn't seem correct. 2. SEGMENTATION OF VISUAL My realm of knowledge in music is far broader than in visual, so this won't be quite as in depth. Also, I don't want to repeat myself too much and a lot of the same principles apply: cleaning four batches of 20 is far easier than one batch of 80, particularly when the four batches of 20 are spread across seventy yards and their movements are not interconnected or uniform. Sure, it adds wonderful layering. And complexity of a sort. But since drum corps has gotten to this point it also largely eliminated the single-most difficult part of visual design: transitions. No need any more to write a challenging drill move to maneuver the right instruments to the right positions for the next segment. Just have Pod 1 finish their body movement and do a flutter/scatter drill twenty yards to their left where they will join half of Pod 3 for the next body movement segment. Meanwhile Pod 6 is still on the back forty doing completely different movements because Pod 6 is jerks. Oh look! All the pods have joined together to form one large ensemble that... does 32 counts of follow-the-leader or jazz running before breaking up and fluttering away to their next pod/body movement assignment. The warning sign, in retrospect, came a few years ago when visual ENSEMBLE became visual ANALYSIS, and musical ENSEMBLE became music ANALYSIS. The ENSEMBLE aspect of drum corps just doesn't seem to matter a whole lot any more, and that makes me sad. 3. COORDINATION OF ELEMENTS I'm sure we've all seen the 2017 Blue Devils by this point. They play very, very well. They move very, very well. And they almost NEVER do both at the same time. There's what, ten or fifteen seconds at the end of Flight of the Bumblebee where the brass is trucking with both fingers and feet simultaneously. Otherwise, all the difficult movement occurs by performers with their horns down, while the hard music is performed by small groups stationed and immobile on the staircases. And then there's the park and bark. Oh sure, you can throw in a few lunges and leans, maybe a stanky leg or two, just so you aren't COMPLETELY immobile while you're playing, but come on. It's still park and bark, just "new" park and bark. I pick on the Blue Devils, but they're just THE BEST at it, they're not the only ones doing it. I like Vanguard's show better this season, but their design definitely seems to have been of the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mindset. SCV is going to have their best finish in almost 20 years essentially by performing a Blue Devils visual book. I guess that's both a compliment and a criticism. I look back over the past five or ten years, and almost all my favorite musical moments do not have WOW visual moments accompanying them. And vice versa for the great visual moves. The Bluecoats seem to be the best at maxing out visual and musical effect simultaneously these days, but look where that's gotten them in 2017: 4th place. They just can't get clean enough to match the BD's and SCV's who aren't trying to do so much all at once. Which, if I recall, was the whole point of moving away from the tick system in the first place. The tick system was only about error. Doesn't matter what you're doing, just don't make mistakes. The build-up scoring system was introduced in 1984 to allow for more creativity. And yet, over the course of about 30 years it has slid back into the same trap as the tick system: doesn't matter what you're doing, just don't make mistakes. Be creative, but not TOO creative. What you are doing and how well you are doing it, except the "how well" is about 90% of the emphasis seemingly. And that's how we got to where we are today. Avoiding ensemble difficulty (because it's much too hard to clean). Breaking drum corps shows into pieces so we have COMPLEXITY shifting the full weight of the show's difficulty onto a small portion of the corps' most elite performers. The criteria and judging rewards this, encourages it. This isn't what I want drum corps to be. And in THAT regards, I guess I am part of a very large ensemble.
  16. 39 points
    This is certainly an interesting discussion and will be exciting to see where DCI stands after this weekend. Here is an official response from The Troopers organization that was forwarded to me last night. I wonder how this letter will impact any voting for this weekend... 1/23/13 The following is the Troopers Board of Directors' response to the 1/9/13 e-mail letter from the Directors of the "7", titled "re: Drum Corps International and the Future." As the leadership of a founding member of Drum Corps International, one of the very few who initiated the effort to create an independent, viable structure that would allow American Drum & Bugle Corps to thrive, we are greatly saddened by the current divisive state that exists within our activity. Our founder has been oft-quoted as saying "We are the show." The "we" to which he referred was not the Troopers, but to the drum corps of the era. DCI was created as a collective, an organization to work solely in the interest of American Drum & Bugle Corps. We, the leaders of the youth whom we serve, are responsible for maintaining that collective spirit. Therefore, in the name of that spirit, we firmly reject the claims and requests contained in this letter. We believe the claim that the current "tragic" economic realities of operating a drum corps was somehow "inevitable" and out of DCI's control is disingenuous. Obviously, many of the "7" have been responsible for it to a significant degree as they've advocated changes that have made competing more and more expensive while working to maintain a status quo where revenue is concentrated at the top. Equally disingenuous is the claim that the decline of open class corps is a "product of economic times." Times are clearly difficult as we all know too well, but we see this argument as a red herring. The decline is due to a failure of stewardship over the activity as a whole, a failure aided and abetted by the philosophy espoused by the "7", that has funneled the resources to the "haves" while ignoring the need to build capacity at all levels, and has indulged the whims of a few influential corps directors, preventing any real sense of community and mutual ownership of the activity, driving up expenses, and leaving corps without the skills and means to survive the tough economic times. While the "7" seem resigned to, if not even proud of it, we are not content with a situation in which there is a large disparity in "fiscal and organizational abilities." We believe true stewardship demands that resources should be allocated in a way that lifts the level of these capabilities throughout all strata of the activity. Similarly, we disagree with the argument that the governance of the activity should be exclusively in the hands of corps directors. In addition to representation from competing organizations, the governing organization needs to include voices that have demonstrated excellence in nonprofit management and who are motivated solely by a passion for keeping the activity alive and free from the pressure to advance the interests of individual drum corps. Competitive success is simply not the same thing as organizational capability. We are predominantly nonprofit organizations and the nonprofit world is a precise industry with benchmarks and best practices of organizational competence that have nothing to do with scoring well in a stadium. As an example of this, we believe board representation must be gained in legitimate fashion in a manner that is fair to all. Even though the initial DCI board was determined by competitive placement, the leadership of those very finalist corps, which included members of the "7", agreed to change the board to be an elected body. It was a selfless act on behalf of the collective that they easily could have refused to do in the interest of protecting their individual power. The current situation, where none of the "7" are represented on the board is due in no small part to their own deliberate non-participation in the electoral process that those twelve similarly situated drum corps established many years ago, and that we have all agreed to over time. Ultimately, if the "7" truly have some valid claim to superior qualifications, organizational ability and vision, we feel it is incumbent on them to act like it. This means running for election, honoring and following procedures outlined in current bylaws, ending petty bickering, refraining from issuing ultimatums, and participating in the process. To summarize, the Troopers' Board of Directors stands by the efforts of the greater drum corps community to bring stewardship, fairness and parity to the activity, as opposed to the self-serving and divisive demands of the "7". We reject the tactics currently employed by this group, its disregard for due process and parliamentary procedure, its lack of respect for duly established organizational bylaws, its penchant for resorting to disrespectful and aggressive behavior at the expense of mature and mutually respectful deliberation, its lack of professionalism and all of its attempts to undermine the unity of the activity. We are heavily and wholeheartedly invested with our colleagues in governing in a way that will strengthen and grow the activity as a whole and at all levels, including the organizations represented in the January 9 letter, not diminish it as the very name the "7" seems to endorse. To this end, we applaud the recent proposal to create a regular opportunity for board members of DCI member corps to meet, engage in mutual problem solving and share best practices to better serve the activity and the respective members as a whole. It is thanks to the collective of volunteer board members in each of these organizations, who truly bear the fiduciary responsibility for this activity, that all of our organizations are able to put "...the rubber to the road," and it would only serve to strengthen our organizations by allowing the free exchange of ideas between those bases. By tapping into this broad and diverse experience, we are confident that we will soon see an age where our activity will be united once again as a collective, and that the numbers of organizations, experiences, and opportunities for young musicians involved with DCI will flourish and grow. Respectfully, The Troopers Board of Directors Milward Simpson, President
  17. 38 points
  18. 38 points
    ...you get a first good look at your kid in action. He's the one in the center-back. He put a lot of years of dreaming into being out there. Couldn't be happier for him!
  19. 37 points
    Kudos to Jeff for judging the PERFORMANCE in front of him and ignoring the rest of the season. Too many judges make up their minds about a show early and NEVER take a fresh look at each performance. Clearly Jeff is a judge who's willing to let the performers change his mind. And that's the guy you want evaluating your show.
  20. 37 points
    As someone also studying for his BM, I’m confused how someone could go to Juilliard and come away with such a two dimensional sense of what good music is. I’m Confused with several of your points, especially the one concerning tempo as it changes about maximum 5 times, a pretty average number for a full DCI show, which are rather short in comparison to other musical compositions. The show follows a standard form of Fast, Slow, a Dance section, and a triumphant finale; a tried and true musical journey if there ever was one. The music takes you through chaos (Metropolis), Loneliness and Sadness (ballad) and finally resolves in the finale. It’s pretty self explanatory. As far as melodies, I could probably sing almost the whole show for you. Not trying to come down to hard on you here, but frankly, when you come down on a show trying to use your credentials in order to establish an opinion as a factual analysis, it makes you seem pretty elitist. Sorry you didn’t enjoy. I’m gonna go listen to Babylon again!
  21. 37 points
    I had a conversation with Madison Scouts' Executive Director Chris Komnick and corps arranger Robert W. Smith and found out something that may be of interest to many fans. As fans who have been reading DCP know all too well, music licensing seems like an increasingly annoying problem for corps.This came to a head last season when Madison Scouts’ popular closer, “Empire State of Mind” had to be blacked out on the DCI DVDs because the corps couldn’t secure mechanical licensing rights. (More about what really happened later.) DCI corps aren’t the only entities running into music licensing difficulties. Last winter, Burger King had to pull a commercial with singer Mary J. Blige over rights and earlier in the year, former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was sued by the owner of the “Rocky III” theme song, “Eye of the Tiger,” for using the work without permission at campaign rallies. A brief history of how we got to where we are The way music is produced has changed dramatically since digital media has taken over. Madison Scouts’ arranger Robert W. Smith states, “The record companies lost the keys to the kingdom as soon as the first CD was pressed. It wasn’t all that long ago that Napster and other file sharing services were under attack for causing record companies to lose a lot of money.” But now, according to Smith, the music companies are “almost giving away the music,” making their money through concerts and merchandising…even receiving a share of the beverages sold at concerts. Much more so than before, licensing is a cash cow for the holders of music copyrights. In DCI’s earlier years, corps didn’t have to worry about licensing and didn’t pay the statutory rate for mechanical licenses. Corps have gone from barely being a blip on these companies’ radars to becoming very much a part of their income stream. (According to Smith, popular speculation that the move from G bugles to B-flat horns was responsible for increased licensing issues is an unfounded myth.) While corps must receive permission to arrange a piece of music, mechanical licenses are not required for live or audio broadcasts. However, they kick in once a performance is recorded for sale to the public. (Why is it called a “mechanical” license? The name originated from the use of mechanical machines that used to copy the recordings.) Additional problems arise with synchronization licenses, which are required when pre-recorded audio is fixed to a moving visual image…something that occurs in television shows and commercials…and DCI DVDs. Such a license is not required for live performances, which is why those who attended DCI’s “Big, Loud & Live 7” Quarterfinals broadcast were able to enjoy watching Scouts’ “Empire State of Mind” in its entirety. That is where things become more difficult for those requesting a synch license. A publisher has the right to say “no” for whatever reason. Which leads us to… What really happened with “Empire State of Mind” Until now, drum corps fans blamed a variety of sources as the problem for why Madison Scouts couldn’t obtain the synch rights to “Empire State of Mind,” which resulted in the blackout on the DVDs. Rap artist Jay-Z was often blamed for this, as he is the original recording artist. This is still a topic of conversation as the corps has scheduled the piece to be performed as an encore. “In our case,” according to Smith, “State Farm Insurance knew well in advance that on 9/11/11, they were going to put out a nationwide television commercial using ‘Empire State of Mind’ as the central statement, with school kids singing the song at a New York City firehouse. It was in the best interest of the insurance company to obtain exclusivity and they paid a lot of money to get it. If someone else in the popular media had come out using the piece, it would have lessened the impact. “I tried assisting Scouts by using my channels in the publishing industry to get the synch rights, but I kept getting the same answer. When someone turns down a request for a synch license, they just say ‘no’ and that’s it. The reason for our problems became abundantly clear the moment I saw the commercial on September 11, 2011, understanding why utmost confidentiality had to be maintained. Generally, such exclusivity lasts a year and is so expensive because the publisher can’t make money from anyone else during that time.” Madison Scouts Executive Director Chris Komnick recounts, “By the time the publisher gave us the definitive ‘no,’ we were already into May. We made the decision that the music in the live show was more important than the DVD and so we decided not to change the last third of the show. We thought they were telling us ‘no’ because it was such a hot piece of property at the time. It typically isn’t that hard to get such licensing. “We are continuing to pursue the licensing of “Empire State of Mind” with the expectation that the synch rights will eventually be granted. We’re hoping that sometime in the future, we can make available a full recording of our ‘New York Morning’ show in conjunction with DCI.” I hope this clears up some of the confusion I've read on DCP regarding this increasingly important issue.
  22. 37 points
    I marched in the 80s. I have been on this board before under a different screen name. I swore to God I would never come back, and that I would never go to another show again....AFTER vocals were instituted. The use of the Yowza, and the singing that the Cadets did drove me away. I truly can't watch those shows EVER. That said. This year my son asked me about taking him to see a show. I relented. We went. I was floored at the sound. I was anti amp, anti electronics, and still HATE vocals, always will, but there is no comparison to what I am hearing out there on that field. We can all debate the songs and them being chopped up bits, etc. I am talking about the beauty of the sound, and how well its woven. I am almost to the point that if DCI wants to try woodwinds, then so be it. I have no doubt some corps will go full on overboard and alienate half of the world with their overuse for a year. Then they will learn how to use them wisely and it will be incredible. I bought the Cadets pretour cd and am astounded by the sound. If this is what it sounds like with all the changes in place, then change on. I missed about 5 years of corps over my stubborness. I have some catching up to do.
  23. 37 points
    Sorry, but your post is too sanctimonious. I personally have never booed, but I have shaken my head on a number of occasions. An entire generation (I'm talking to you Millennials) was brought up under a sissy system that everyone was a winner: "C'mon. Don't say bad things about nobody...everyone tried the same and had fun, so let's give everyone a trophy." This is a competitive activity comprised of young adults--many of whom are going to be entering "real life" soon enough and they're learning some of the most valuable life lessons right now. They are NOT all winners and drum corps is a competitive activity with scores and winners and losers and stuff. They have staff who yell at them and make them run laps. Expectations are put on them and guys in green shirts and khaki pants tell them they did good or did bad. Booing isn't the end of the world and it's not gonna hurt these young people. If it does, then they need to be booed more. Welcome to life. Sorry for sounding crotchety, but this "everyone's a winner and don't hurt their feelings" sentiment is for the birds.
  24. 36 points
  25. 35 points
    Bluecoats' 2017 production, Jagged Line, has met with quite a bit of controversy. "It the same thing as last year!" "There's no theme!" "Dancing is dumb, why would anyone do it?" Well, these are all completely valid concerns, so I decided to dive into the Jagged Line and try and figure out what the show is actually about. What I found shocked me, and may shock you. In an unprecedented move, the 2017 Bluecoats design team actually had the cajones to do a show of commentary on drum corps itself, both acknolwedging its past, and looking toward its future. Hear me out. The very first thing we hear when the show begin is a sample of the "Prelude" from Thank You Scientist's album Maps of Non-Existent Places; the lyrics are "Leaving without a trace / Don't know when I'll be back again". That is, we are starting from a place of familiarity (the paradigm of drum corps until now) and moving into uncharted territory (innovation in design). As the full brass choir comes in, we are given a final sample of "Leaving...", signaling our departure from where we "are" and the start of our journey into "where we will go". As the percussion enters, the brass ensemble struts out from under the prop and performs a choreographed dance program. Some say that this is simply recycled from last year's program; in actuality, it is the beginnings of an examination into the "past", beginning with just one season prior. In fact, this is our first hint into the theme of the Jagged Line in general: the Jagged Line represents the schism of past and future. If you don't see it, simply look at a timeline that has been abbreviated: Things that happen on the left of the prop represent the "old", and things that happen on the right represent the "new". This is a recurring theme that will show up later. But what does it mean when the corps is on the prop itself? Back to the show: The very first impact of the show takes place with the entire corps on the prop. Is this just a visual decision in order to emphasize the Jagged Line visual theme? Or is it more? When you think back to the left/right of the prop design from earlier, the answer becomes clear: when the corps is on the prop, it represents the marriage of old and new; the intersection of tradition and innovation in the present. Thus, the initial impact is a statement that while this show is going to examine both past and future, it is going to do so from the perspective of unifying them. Immediately after the opening chords, the high brass marches down the ramp and veers straight off into the "past" side of the prop. What does their drill do? They make rectangles and do box rotations, classic drill characteristics of the 2000s decade. When the low brass on the right side of the prop joins the high brass in the standstill with body movement, the form is disinctly reminiscent of 2000 Cavaliers, and the footwork reminiscent of 2010-era Crown; when they break into individual movements, it's a taste of "breaking down" the form and movements from unity into elements; a "deconstruction", if you will. What's interesting about the next phrase of drill is that while the horns start off facing backfield, they quickly turn to face right; facing the "future". The battery drill seems to lead them to want to go to the "past", but they reverse their direction and follow the horns. Meanwhile, the guard is gathering in the "past", and using traditional guard equipment such as flags and rifles, both things that are becoming more and more scarce in modern guard design. After the impact, the quad feature; a standard of drum corps designs both old and new. This one combined both style, utilizing both modern rhythmic and melodic vocabulary (in the feature proper) and traditional, less active writing (in the ostinato). Note also that this feature is in 7/4, and then moves to 4/4; even while the written material moves from traditional to modern, the time signature moves from modern to traditional, ending on the same spock roll that was so lauded in 2015. The tubas being on the prop is the glue that ties the next section together; a truly brilliant marriage of old and new. The low brass on the right side of the prop are playing very modern, pointed rhythms, almost percussive; when the high brass enters on the left side, they are in the very high register, reminiscent of 1980s Madison Scouts. The tubas on the prop privde the grounding that marry the past screaming and the future minimalism together. This is emphasized even more when the brass snakes through the prop, literally jumping between eras as they bring their statement to a final close. Now, the ballad. Much talked-about, very controversial. First, observe that the brass and guard spend the entire movement in the "past" side of the prop. This does not necessarily mean that the ballad is meant to be a representation of the past; rather, it is an examination of the past and what made the past great. The soloist stands on the prop, again signaling that the past will be viewed through the lens of the present. There is a very clear demarcation during the ballad; the curvilinear where the brass puts their horns down. To me, this is intensely reminiscent of the visual theme of the Bluecoats 2015 show, Kinetic Noise, except inverted; where before, the frantic action taking place during the baritone solo was above the curve, where here it is below. Note that as players "escape" from the hectic choreography inside the curve, their movements "calm down"; they become pensive as they reflect on the past. As the brass choir comes to a cadence, we expect a huge hit, but no. The brass begins marching away from us, as if to say that our expectations are outdated, and we cannot cling to the past. To emphasize this, they literally turn around, gazing one last time into the venerated altar of history as they play their beautiful chorale, which, again in defiance of our expectations, gets played back to us loud and clear, a foreshadowing of the integration of old (brass) and new (electronics). On the final chord, they turn back to the front, allowing us for one last time to luxuriate in the lushness of the traditional chorale ending of ballads old. However, even as this is happening, the battery, under the prop instead of over it, beckons us toward the present (the prop), to grow till tall, heard but not seen as if to represent the irresistable pull of idiomatic evolution. I haven't spoken much about the front ensemble yet, because there hasn't been too much to say about them so far. However, note that for the percussion break, the marimbas (the featured instrument in the original One Study, One Summary) are pushed forward; this may seem odd in the context of their setup, but realize that where the marimbas have pushed to is actually where the marimbas would normally be in a traditional front ensemble setup (at least in terms of front-to-back). This is a small way to ease the transition into the very, very modern percussion break; our attention is drawn to the snares on the prop, who start as a solo but build into a full section, representing more and more people wrenching away from the past and back to the present. During the snare feature, notice the shapes that the hornline make with their drill; they are arrows, first pointing right, to the future, then for a moment heading back left, toward the past, before resolutely heading into the prop (the present), simultaneously "pushing" the guard into the future. Note that the guard equipment has changed from the traditional flag and rifle into a newer implement: a cane. As the percussion breaks down their groove, the hornline and guardline are integrated into a very, very modern dance choreography, in some ways reminiscent of the choreography from earlier but also different. At the climax of the percussion break, the hornline has formed a literal line through the prop; this is the timeline that got slashed in the image above. Note that most of the timeline is on the right side of the prop; we are nearly finished with the past, but the future has much to explore. The Zappa piece, Zomby Woof, takes place exclusively on the right side of the prop, much like the ballad took place exclusively on the left. Canny observers will note the extensive similarities in visual design approach to the very recent developments of the Blue Devils, as well as the Bluecoats themselves in 2016. Musically, no more fitting word can be applied to Zappa in general than "weird"; when gazing into the immediate future of drum corps, that word applies aptly, and the strange fivelets that the trumpets (and piccolo trumpet solo) play reflect that perfectly. The Zappa is fun, it's energetic, and it's high energy, but it can be easy to be lost in all of that hype and energy, and lose sight of the history that got us to where we are. The quads show up just in time to remind us; two on the left of the prop, two on the right, and one up on top, they march down the field to remind us that we can't just have fun in the sun with our new design toys. Indeed, as the quads finish, the snares pick up, this time entirely on the left side of the prop, as if to emphasize that we cannot forget the past; the front ensemble has returned to the groove from earlier in the show, demonstrating even here a small look into ten minutes ago. As the final percussion break finishes, and the trumpet duet takes over, the hornline gives perhaps the best homage to old-school drum corps possible: symmetrical drill, and follow-the-leader. Even as we are hearing an incredibly modern usage of mic'd guitar patch over screaming trumpets, we see a throwback to the earliest visual designs of drum corps. However, right at the end, when the block consolidates, it is not symmetrical, but repeats the arrow from the drum break, pointing to the right. The message is clear: Even as we respect the past, we MUST stride toward the future. As the form unwinds and the low brass sprints down the ramp, we see this demonstrated as the symmetrical drill returns and the brass, now completely in front of all of the mic picks and therefore playing completely acoustically, marches into a double company front, while the guard behind them chaotically throws their flags to the winds, mounts the prop, and flings their hats, creating an explosion as old and new fuse to create the perfect marriage of style. ----------
  26. 35 points
    Sorry at how scatter brained/off the cuff this is. Wanna get it done while it's still fresh on my mind but I'm pretty wiped right now. I was in Broken Arrow, Belton, and San Antonio. Got to see all 23 WC at least once, most twice, and Carolina Crown three times. Every single show that I thought I hated was way better live, can't say there are any shows I have distaste for. Certainly some personal preference but there isn't anything scoring wise that has me ripping my hair out. Interacted with a ton of amazing friends, fans, a few MMs, and people. Even got to meet @Terri Schehr and @Jim Schehr! If they're at a show you're at go talk to them.......so approachable and friendly! The community of this activity is what keeps me coming back, it's an amazing group of people. Every single performer did an amazing job out there, there is something memorable in every single show I thought. Was incredibly impressed from top to bottom. I'm gonna keep this thing mostly positive with a few small things. I'll do a more refined/focused one at the end of the season. But for now....... Sound Sport First time I've seen some Sound Sport ensembles live and I was really impressed, Horizon especially. Such a professionally designed and fantastically performed for the size of the ensemble show from them. Arsenal and Bayou City Blues were a blast. Guardians - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy I was not sure at all what to expect from this show but ####, I was so incredibly impressed especially from a design perspective. This is leaps and bounds better than last years show and that was great too. The use of that ramp prop was World Class level stuff. Brass had some great power moments, with time they're gonna be great. Percussion was fantastic, great playing and they have an incredible presence. And that guard.......wow. They were so fun to watch, the featured performer (or it might have been more than one) stole the show. She owned it. Oh, and the uniforms looked awesome on the field. Loved the leg colorings. Great stuff. @MikeN, hope you had a great time seeing your daughter perform. You should be VERY proud. Pioneer - Irish on Broadway That singer is incredible, sad her mic cut out in San Antonio but I got to hear her in Belton too and she is phenomenal. I Love what they do with the barricade props towards the end in terms of staging/playing through them. And finally, just a show with music I love I can just sit back and enjoy. Jersey Surf - Make it Our Own First of all, I felt so bad in Belton, the props got pretty wrecked by the wind, it seemed like the performance was REALLY shaky. But in San Antonio they blew the house down, don't think I've ever seen a reaction like that to the second World Class corps performing. Beautiful use of color including the newly fleshed out props, and in the guard as well. Some BIG sounds coming out of that hornline, especially in the ballad and closer. And that plume change, that kind of stuff never gets old. Just need to clean clean clean but this is the most mature/enjoyable show I have seen out of them in years. Seattle Cascades - Set Free I don't care what the scores say, this is their best corps in years. Such an energetic and accessible program from beginning to end. Love the entire visual aesthetic of this show, so pleasing to look at. And the Sia/Shostakovich layover in the closer is about as awesome as that "Black Hole Sun"/"Jupiter" mashup in 2015. Amazing arranging Mr. Norfleet. And wow.......I had just assumed the voice was a sample. She is LIVE??? AWESOME! She sounds amazing, awesome job to her. They should try to find a way to stage her so that's more obvious because she deserves it. Great to see the color guard growing, the stuff with the wings was fantastic. Brass was very solid and percussion was great. All in all very entertaining and their best corps in years IMO. Genesis - The Other Side of Now They really brought the house down, they seemed twice as loud in the dome as they did in Belton. That brass sounds so...so...so good. No shocker with Jason Buckingham at the helm. So many awesome BIG moments throughout the show like the first big Hide and Seek hit in the opener and the one in the Both Sides Now ballad. And I never get tired of a good ole charge the stands ending getting right up in the audiences faces. Great stuff. The show is pretty familiar territory thematically but they sell it incredibly well. Oregon Crusaders - EnCompass This show with a few more weeks could be super dangerous, incredibly mature and difficult programming for this bracket in all captions. Brass and percussion are as good as ever, and the color guard is the best I think I've ever seen it from them. Love the usage of the U2/Enya to really enhance the Elgar stuff, it brings another layer that gave the show a very ethereal and beautiful vibe. The ballad was a musical highlight of the whole week for me, just letting a piece breathe and develop can do amazing things, loved it. And the guard work during it is fantastic, love the paired stuff. Dang, new ending since I saw it last. VERY cool stuff, can't wait to see that cleaned. Really enjoyed them. Pacific Crest - Golden State of Mind Brass has some serious punch in this show, way more presence than last years show. Alfonso Muskedunder is so so so much fun, love it when corps let their hair down like that. Also really liked their treatment of the Lost Soundtrack in the ballad, very nice breather from the rest of the show. And love the full circle approach of the reprise of "California Dreaming" at the end. Percussion is very solid as always, and I love the use of color in the guard throughout, the gold at the end is very striking. Just a very fun, easy to watch, and well performed show. Spirit of Atlanta - Crossroads: We Are Here This show is an eclectic blast musically, so many different styles and textures they use. It's old Spirit of Atlanta with some new direction. I loved the Vienna Teng ballad, her music is amazing and I'm glad to see more of it being used. And their arrangement of Shofukan is off the hook fun. First brass impact was GREAT, they can really push the volume. TONS of color in the guard, interested in what all the different costuming/props represent. Percussion is very solid as well. Visual performance not as strong as music, still lots of time left though. Very enjoyable show. Colts - Both Sides Now I really enjoy this show, it has a beautiful understated quality to it. Love that build in the opener, very pretty. Highlight of the show for me is the ballad, that drum major/trombone soloist is easily one of my favorite soloists this year. Absolutely beautiful tone and musicality. Love the guard as well in this, that unison work at the climax is gorgeous. Brass and percussion really shine in the latter half of the show, those last big chords before the soft ending really have some punch to them. Not much else to say other than beautiful show. Troopers - Duels and Duets I have always enjoyed Troopers drum majors back to my infancy as a fan in the late 2000s, but Gabe man, you're on another level. I had a freaking blast watching you conduct. The transition into the Puccini ballad and the ballad itself are what I love most about drum corps. Loud, beautiful, emotional, and BIG music. And the percussion.........so so so tasty in writing and teaching. The front ensemble kinda Latin sounding stuff is to die for. Wish it was as strong visually as it was musically, if it was I think they'd be punching higher than they are but they made some improvements throughout the show. I see myself listening to this one a lot over the winter this coming year. The Academy - By a Hare I am so glad to see them really start to buy into this show, it's starting to really sell. So many recognizable and fantastic musical moments, the Anvil Chorus one in the closer is especially great. Some incredibly tasty percussion playing throughout the show, they're great this year. And they sound absolutely beautiful in terms of music ensemble sound. Guard antics got pretty good reactions at the two shows I attended, they're starting to be a lot more convincing. I think some of the changes/rewrites maybe put them a little bit behind in terms of performance but it's getting there. I think this is a show that has gotten a bit more grief that I'd expect it to, I think part of that is coming off of last year. Regardless, I'm excited to see where they take it. Madison Scouts - Last Man Standing Man, of all the corps I saw more than once these guys were the most improved the week of San Antonio. I wasn't a huge fan in Belton but something clicked in San Antonio. I don't think you can watch this the way you would a traditional show, now that it's sunk in it's actually incredibly intriguing. The brass sounds HUGE in that first big entrance, absolutely love the usage of trombones there and throughout. Really like the quirky darkness of the Bartok, the big moment in the ballad is GREAT, and "Music for Prague" really brings to life the angst and intensity of this show. O2 drum feature is really starting to sell. Color guard had some really great moments, love that flag feature in the ballad. Just keep selling and keep digging in with the theme and I think this show will really start to sparkle. Mandarins - Inside the Ink Oh man. This is a show from the second they enter the field to the second they exit. So many amazing moments to pick from, the ballad is definitely a highlight but I think this drum feature might be my favorite drum feature of the year. It's just so.........bad ### in every single way. It has Ike Jackson written all over it. Love the tone of the brass and how much of the low brass comes through. And that guard........####. Blew me away. They REALLY sell the insanity aspect of them theme so well. Love the new ending, the tarps are really cool and I love the added velocity in the drill. This show is just textbook good design in every way. Top 12 or not, what an incredible season so far for them and their future is incredibly bright. Blue Stars - Star Crossed/Belton Encore I really don't care what the recap says, this brass section is otherworldly awesome. The high brass is especially good, the clarity in those HUGE mellophone chords in the opener in that high brass feature right after the ballad is incredible. The tricks and things this guard attempts year after year never lose their shock value, there are very few color guards that entertain me that much. And the percussion is as bad ###/intense/fun to watch as ever. They are HOT. Show is really starting to come together, I think it'd be stupid to count this one out of moving up. There are so many great moments throughout, the opening few minutes are especially strong and I love the ballad and closer as well. Drum feature is the only part where I'm thinking they could finalize some layering and change a few things. Regardless, I think it has a ton of potential for growth. If this show is 11th, it's only because there are 10 amazing corps above them. Also, that encore in Belton was AMAZING. Getting to hear them play La Vie en Rose and Shofukan up close and personal was easily one of my favorite moments of the week. They sounded incredible. Crossmen - The Enigma They grab you by the balls from the get go with that soloist/drum feature start and do not let go. That first hit is EXPLOSIVE. Ballad soloist is fantastic and when the whole brassline comes in that was.......oof. Awesome. And the clarity of the articulations of the brass throughout but especially the closer was amazing, you could drive a truck through the space in those notes in the featured articulated passages. They were HOT HOT HOT in San Antonio. I'm really starting to get the show overall and I'm glad they're using the props a lot more, or I just had noticed before. I am interested in how much further they can take this because it comes off as super complete and very clean to me. Blue Knights - i The Beck and Schwantner........oh man. That's some of the freshest percussion and brass writing I've heard in a long time. Those drums are absolutely insane, and the brass side to side passages were INCREDIBLE from a timing standpoint. Wow. Loving the guard changes in the percussion concerto, the flags are WAY more effective than the discs ever were or were going to be. Incredible control and contrast in the closer, it's some of the most musically interesting stuff I heard all week from a dynamic standpoint. I'm really starting to come around to this show overall, kinda shocked at where they finished, because the brass and percussion are top tier. Phantom Regiment - Phantasm This show has come such a long way and still has so much room to grow, I give them credit for attempting such a difficult show. Brass is getting there, still some intonation and tone things throughout but I attribute that more to what they're having to do drill wise while playing. Very solid percussion stuff, some cool writing in the Jarre section. Color guard improved a ton from Broken Arrow to San Antonio, they had a WAY better run on Saturday. And it obviously showed in the recap, not sure about 4th but I'm no guard expert. Loving the new flags at the end, very impactful paired with the white skirts. They're starting to sell me overall, more so visually than on the musical/overall concept side of things. Not huge on the SUPER Broken Arrow voiceovers saying fantasy, invasion, madness, and whatever else ten billion times but I'll not let that ruin a show for me. They have limitless potential this year, interested in how far they take this thing. The Cadets - The Faithful, The Fallen, The Forgiven I have to give them credit for having one of the most unique shows from a pacing standpoint I've ever seen, don't think I've experienced anything like it. Simple Song in the opener is beautiful. Agnus Dei is straight up Cadets with some singers thrown on top, great job to them by the way throughout. The middle portion of the show does feel really long, but it has some incredibly fun moments, especially towards the end of it. New closer definitely has more punch than the old one did. The two big things that turn me off some are still the narrated/dialogue bits and the last uniform change. The rest of the show is what it is and it's incredibly clear without it being told to us. But overall, it's starting to come together and kudos to those members for attacking so many changes/additions head on. They're beasts being able to tackle that stuff. This show has a pretty high ceiling, they're in a potentially good place depending on how they move from here. Boston Crusaders - Wicked Games I don't think I have a single negative thing to say about this show; I think this was my favorite of the week. It's 12 minutes of perfectly spaced amazing moments and being sold by 150 incredible performers. Musical construction as I've said before is amazing, the pacing, layering of voice overs into the music, use of voice in the texture of the brass in the ballad, and use of the front ensemble as a thread to weave together the whole show is just absolutely masterful. Visually it's the same thing. Your eye is guided so well to every single big event and moment and is sold by what I thought was easily one of the best guards on the field at both shows that I saw. They grab you by the throat and do not let go for the whole show. I was so blown away by them, the work and performance quality selling the characterization of this show is amazing. The singer in the ballad, she looks and sounds like she's part of a high end theatrical production and her voice is incredible. She sounds like she is singing with a purpose. Brass and percussion are fantastic, the control and clarity in that opening statement from the brass is so tasteful, and the percussion throughout is text book McNutt/Moyer. Those rim shots going into "Grohg" are so tasteful and their features in that section and the Ginastera are absolutely fantastic. The usage of themes in the front ensemble throughout again is so good; I love how "Moonlight Sonata" kept finding its way back in throughout the show. The ending........screw historical accuracy. That is one of the most enthralling things I have ever experienced at a drum corps show. The little addition of that smoke just puts the cherry on top, but that chord in the brass at the end..........wow. Had me on my feet well before the end at both shows; this is one of the most entertaining experiences I've had the pleasure of experiencing as a drum corps fan. Finally, I love the fact they're not shying away from such dark material and selling it in a way that's appealing. That's hard to do. And as I told the souvenir lady in Belton, those members are kicking ###. The Cavaliers - Men Are From Mars Man. Texas loves them some Cavaliers. And so do I. Easily one of my top three favorites from the last week. Like Bluecoats their confidence/performance quality/personality/etc. when they perform is so so so fun. Lets start with the obvious. That guard. Incredible. The athleticism and level of performance of this incredibly hard program is absolutely enthralling to watch. That 20 yard flag exchange near the end of "Little Green Men" is jaw dropping. A breeze caught that thing in Broken Arrow and almost sent it into the stands which added a whole other level of oh ####. lol Love the rifle stuff in "Mars"/"My Way" as well. Percussion is old school awesome in your face cool splits and tricks POWER playing, the stuff at the end is so awesome. I sat in front of a tenor (I think) grandma in San Antonio, and told she should be very proud. As should our resident @PopcornEater1963. Brass has made TONS of progress and they're really starting to hang with the big boys. Technical passages are starting to sound tight and that ballad is really starting to reminisce of their mid 2000s ones. I love the theme and its underlying messages. TONS of emotions and tones in this show, I still think the middle section is absolutely hilarious. I wonder what the joke was in San Antonio......his mic cut out as he was telling it. BUT we did get to hear some super tasty bass splits. They were one of the crowd favorites in San Antonio easily, there is just a aura about them that makes them hard not to love. Last thing, that section leading into the ballad with the flag exchange and whiplash drill and insane keyboard stuff and all that is some of the coolest run and gun stuff I've seen in recent memory. This show is a blast. Bluecoats - Jagged Line It's a pretty freaking good year when a show like this is sitting in 4th. I still think they're a change/cleaning away from easily fighting for a medal but we shall see. Opener timing seemed pretty solid, maybe a bit more so in Broken Arrow. No guard expert but I still love that opening flag feature right up front, it's incredibly exciting to watch. "Psychopomp" is a ton of fun, some incredibly cool time signature/timing stuff they do. That 20 yard tenor feature still blows my mind. And that snake drill REALLY got that crowd hyped up at both shows I went to. I personally really like the ballad live, I think the contrast of what you see/expect to happen when they turn around and what actually happens is pretty cool. But to each their own. Soloist was great. Psathas is really starting to cook for me, no one ever seems to talk about the absolutely ridiculous keyboard stuff that goes on in this. FANTASTIC stuff. Aggressiveness of the drums is new for me, usually their writing is much more laid into the texture/relaxed but this is a fun change. Zappa is where the fun really begins for me. In Broken Arrow especially, the clarity of the hornline reaches its greatest point here, some incredibly complex time/rhythmic stuff that might not be your traditional technical run but it's just as impressive to me. But above all else it's just a fun, let their hair down, and entertaining piece of music. Ending is still....wow. When they hit that snake with the two soloists (the one on the right using a pedal is SO cool!) the crowd went nuclear, especially when it hits that reprise. The low brass sprinting down that ramp is still as terrifying and awesome as ever, and those ear splitting power shots and the end are everything. They are easily a crowd favorite and was encouraging to see them inch closer on Saturday. The season really has just begun, and I can't wait to see this thing clean/enhance. The way those performers look like they're enjoying the show is so infectious, I have a blast watching them perform. Carolina Crown - It Is I came into this week REALLY thinking I was going to really dislike this show. They're starting to sell me. I'll work backwards. That closer is so so so dependent and features the percussion HEAVILY. That was incredibly bold move on their part and man. They pull it off. After years of people (IMO in most cases unfairly) using the percussion as the scapegoat for their scoring shortcomings, they are undeniably good. It's an incredibly agressive and in your face book with some absolutely ear splitting stuff in the closer. It's a blast. And that Carolina Crown bass 5 solo built into the closer is fantastic. Love it. Ballad is really nice, still is a pretty stark contrast to the rest of the show but in itself it's really started to work. Brass sounds gorgeous underneath it. The Giannini/Ives/etc. section is a ton of fun, like the play with the props and deconstructing the field (just hope no one ever catches one of those boards and bites it). And the Bach opener. As soon as they play the first note you know this hornline is incredible. The restraint and builds/falls volume wise display their incredible musicality right from the get go. Overall I think the show is super obvious myself, and I don't mean that in a bad way just that I definitely get it. They always have a trick up their sleeve in terms of late season additions so I'm excited to see those. Color guard is getting the same kind of grief percussion did in recent years which IMO isn't fair. I think for a staff change and what seem like an incredible amount of amazing guards they're doing fine. Just need some time to get more confident and a lot of issues will fix themselves. Enjoyment grew with each consecutive viewing. Santa Clara Vanguard - Ouroboros Oh my God. This show is one of the most seamless, coordinated, detailed, freshest, and enthralling shows I've ever seen live. Even up close where I could see a lot of corps tricks/equipment changes/etc. coming I could not with SCV. The way they use the props to hide members, equipment changes, etc. is just all a masterful game of "WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM???". Every little thing is effective. So elephant in the room is the featured performers vs. the rest of the hornline. I really don't mind it, they're not trying to hide this with some mics hidden in the corps and playing a trick on us, they're obviously featured throughout and I like the uniform change to highlight that. They're absolute virtuosic animals. The rest of the hornline is not backup to them, they have PLENTY of very intricate and hard passages and they're hauling ### doing it most of the time. IF they can match the featured performers in performance it'll really be amazing and they're getting there. Other sections, the percussion is as amazing as always. I didn't really enjoy the book on its own (this was VERY early in the season) but the way it's woven into the horn book is MASTERFUL, it's so organic and plays so well with the brass stuff from Shaw. And of course they perform it at the highest of levels, loved the basses spinning on the prop right after the ballad is over. Color guard seems like their best in.......a long time? They're amazing, the featured male performer is amazing. And that flag work in the closer is to die for. The highlight of this show is the ballad for me, incredible use of velocity in atypical ways and some incredible restraint and use of tension/release. I think this show simply comes down to performance. I think the risk/reward balance of this show is pretty extreme on both ends. If it gets clean enough..........this is gonna get really interesting. Regardless of that, easily one of my and both audiences I saw it with favorites. It's the IT show this year. Blue Devils - Metamorph I'm going to get my one major personal complaint out of the way. WAY...TOO...MUCH...BASS. Like Oh my God. I thought that was gonna reach brown note frequency from South Park levels, it's LOUD. Might be better up top but where I was it was a good few times louder than anyone elses. Ok. That's done. And I think they had some soloist mics out in San Antonio but they still projected very well where I was. On to the show. The way they perform is just second to none in confidence/professionalism/and clarity. Everything they do is done at the highest of levels. I love how from the get go of this show they put everything on super high exposure. 16 member snare feature is INCREDIBLY exposed and risky, that kind of writing and playing has to be nailed perfectly to sound clean and they're getting there with every show. And the rifle work and file marching across the field have to be impeccable too or it won't work. Love the added drill towards the end of the opening statement. Bumblebee is starting to sound really good, they've rewritten some ends of phrases and added some landing points that give it more accuracy and clarity. Starting to really cook. And man, I don't know much about guard but their rifles throughout, but especially this part were otherworldly awesome to watch. The ease they toss some of those INSANELY high tosses with blows my drummer mind. "Everything Must Change" is a ball buster, that's about as old school park and bark (I USE THAT IN A GOOD WAY HERE) ear shattering straight up music as it gets and people are still complaining about it. Oh well, I loved it. And the level of talent in those soloists is just insane, they all sound incredible. Trumpet feature immaculate. Closer still isn't my favorite thing in the world but I just apply my own personal preference to that, I will say that it is incredibly dense in terms of simultaneous events going on and I could probably find something new for years now which I have come to expect/love from them. Sitting down low I sure never thought hmm.........they sure are not moving any. They might not be marching 4 - 5 220 or whatever but it's smart. It's allowing them to max out. And if they max out too early I'm sure they'll add something else. All in all, they perform at a level that is their own and they really sold me on this thing, it's mind blowing how good they are.
  27. 34 points
    As each of you travel back home, I want to express my gratitude for your restraint, and decision not to approve the latest proposal to include marching woodwinds at this time. As I see it, Drum Corps International has seen too many fundamental changes, too fast. Recent changes to amplification, movement, uniforms, set pieces, and judging have placed more than enough on your plate for the time being. Add in concerns over funding, housing, performance rights, broadcast quality and reach, etc. Frankly, each of these items still need work. Particularly the amplification matter ! Better to fine tune/conquer matters already in hand. Now is a time for focus, stability, and calm. Much appreciated.
  28. 34 points
    Dusk. Dan Acheson stands, head bowed, on the 50 yard line of an empty J. Birney Crum Stadium. A slick show promoter is standing at his side with a pen and a contract. Terrence Mann wanders the field nearby. PROMOTER: So there's no dome. Bleacher seating. No amenities. No club boxes. The press box is ancient. It's hardly wired for internet. The field's a hundred feet from the stands. It's not air conditioned. A hill that half the spectators need golf carts to get up. It's not near a major airport. You have no parking. There's a diner and a hot dog restaurant and not much else nearby. The population's graying and the area band circuits are declining. Sign here and let's go somewhere bigger and more comfortable and near a decent microbrewery. TERRENCE MANN: Dan. Dan looks up. People will come, Dan. They'll come to Pennsylvania for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll park along Linden Street and walk through the park and past the creek not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at that gate as innocent as children, longing for the past. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it, for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk up the hill to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect evening. They'll find they have reserved seats between the 45s, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll eat funnel cake and they'll watch the show and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. Mann gestures, and Dan turns to his left. We see the 1977 Bridgemen, the 1980 27th Lancers, the 1992 Star of Indiana, the 2004 Glassmen and other corps from the past entering from the gate. With them are Royer, Warren, Seawright, Zingali, Ott, Brubaker, Kempf, Owens, Wolner, and a host that perhaps cannot be counted. Bob Bennett is with them. Paul Cain sits at the announcer's table. The one constant through all the years, Dan, has been Allentown. The activity has marched by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rewritten and erased again. It's been domed, turfed, synthed, amped, propped, miced and danced. But Allentown has marked the time. This hill, this field, this show; it's a part of our past, Dan. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh…people will come, Dan. People will most definitely come. GEORGE ZINGALI: That was beautiful, man. ####### beautiful. DAN ACHESON: I won't sign. PROMOTER: Until next year... Wish I were going. Next year in Allentown.
  29. 34 points
    I've been asked by some what I think of the latest news out of Madison Scouts. I'm still processing this, but here are a few thoughts. (You're welcome to share this if you think it expresses your own thoughts and wish, and please add your own positive thoughts.) I have always loved the Madison Scouts organization and I always will love it. Over the years, I got to know many wonderful people who instructed Scouts or were on their management team. I cherish those memories. I also got to know several who currently are involved with management. I cherish their friendship as well. I will continue to cherish those I know who lovingly give their time to the organization. Such decisions are not made lightly. I trust the decision was made in the best interest of the corps, that it was based on what is right for the corps and right for future members regardless of competitive concerns.There are bound to be mixed feelings and some feelings expressed (or hidden) that are not mixed at all. I hope this decision helps assure the survival and thriving of Scouts decades into the future. As a Former Marching Member (FMM) of The Cavaliers, I've been asked what I think this means to the organization that introduced me to this wonderful activity, a passion to which I've gone on to dedicate a huge portion of my life. I believe this isn't about The Cavaliers; this is about the Scouts and it should remain so. I don't want to take away anything away from my support of the Scouts by diluting it with conjecture regarding what the decision means to any other organization that isn't the Scouts. I've long stated that drum corps is whatever drum corps becomes. I've also long felt that tradition is whatever a corps does for more than two years. (Those just coming on board the activity, new fans whom we need for the longtime survival of drum corps, will always know Scouts as a coed corps.) Just like all the innovations that have become part of drum corps, innovations loved by some and scorned by others, time lessens the shock. Those coming into drum corps fandom now may find it hard to imagine a time when such things weren't part of the activity, and were even forbidden. I've seen corps experience highs and lows. Those that have learned from their lows have gone on to experience highs that have been a pleasure to behold. I look forward to the day when I watch the Scouts and think about not how far they've come competitively, but how wonderful it is to just plain enjoy what they're doing on the field. I anticipate relishing the thought that many youth who will be future members of the Scouts will enjoy the experience of a lifetime, one that will stay with them decades into the future and will shape their lives for the better. Until that time, I plan to continue to enjoy the product Scouts put out of the field now, a show their members worked thousands of collaborative hours to perfect and deliver to a grateful audience. And I trust those audiences are more grateful the corps still exists than they are focused on dwelling on competitive standing. Drum corps needs the Madison Scouts, whatever form the organization takes on.
  30. 34 points
    The IRS form 990 is the tax return for non-profit organizations. As such, all of the financial data for DCI and each corps is exposed for all to see; 990's are open for public view because of the filer's tax exempt status. That is, if you can figure out how to read them because the forms are notoriously hard to read and decipher, especially for non-financial people. The financial stability of DCI and the individual corps is a hot topic in DCP-land. My hope is to present the finacial data here in little bites, giving plenty of room for discussion, in hopes that we all can become more familiar with the facts about the financial health of the activity. My method for studying the 990's is to analyze the trends over as many years as are available. Typically, there are three years of 990 data available and my goal is to spot the trends over time, subject to the 990 forms available. A word of caution: nothing that we can present here is a full explanation of the background story of the numbers; complete explanations are not part of the forms even though notes are an integral part of the form filings. It's just raw data - income, expenses, assets, and liablilites - it doesn't explain how the numbers came to be. As a result there will be a natural tendency to speculate on the reasons for the numbers - something that DCP'ers are very good at. But the real back story can only be explained by the financial people at DCI or the individual corps. Still, I've always believed that numbers can tell a story. My hope is that, by presenting the numbers here, that story will reveal itself to all of us. Disclaimer: While I work in the financial industry, this thread is not official in any capacity, and does not reflect the position or opinion of DCI, any corps, or my employer. All data comes directly from Form 990's found on www.guidestar.com, is presumed to be accurate but is not guaranteed to be so. All opinions expressed are mine, personally, are not audited, and are only based upon my amateur interpretation of the 990 forms. With all that in mind, here we go! Fun with numbers! EDIT: For those who may wish to skip to their favorite corps, I've added the following index of post numbers. First the corps name and then the post number where their 990 discussion begins: INDEX OF CORPS 990's (Name: Post number) DCI: 2 YEA!: 134 Blue Devils: 204 UPDATED 2011 NUMBERS ARE IN RED Cavaliers: 286 Carolina Crown: 367 Phantom Regiment: 437 Santa Clara Vanguard: 469 The Bluecoats: 525 Boston Crusaders: 576 Blue Knights: 603 Madison Scouts: 647 Blue Stars: 669 Spirit of Atlanta: Not available Consolidated Summary of Top-11 plus DCI: 724 The Glassmen: 739 The Troopers: 767 The Academy: 808 The Colts: 824 The Crossmen: 845 Pacific Crest: 869 The Mandarins: 891 The Cascades: 917 Jersey Surf: 957 Pioneer: 969 Consolidate Summary of All Corps: 994
  31. 34 points
    This is simply a place to put drum corps video clips that give you goosebumps (or do you say goose pimples?...because I don't). Anyhow, I"m seriously expecting my plus button to get hit many times for this one:
  32. 34 points
  33. 33 points
    Preface - So, 2017 is in the books! What an amazing season this was start to finish, Championships or not, Open and World Class, etc. I had a blast following this year, my week in Broken Arrow, Belton, and San Antonio was a blast. When it comes down to it the people and atmosphere fosters is just amazing and second to none......I'm having some battles right now with what I exactly want to do with my life but I know for certain it has to be under the umbrella of this activity. I'm pretty exhausted right now and REALLY need to go to bed, so this might lack some proofreading and details but I just wanna get it out there for everyone to enjoy! EVERYONE deserves some love. Every corps and member does an amazing job every season. There are shows that I might not like and corps that don't place where I might want them but I am not gonna let that get in my way of finding something positive in every show and performance. Congrats on the members, staffs, volunteers, show sponsors, and everyone involved on an incredible 2017. I took on every single show I saw this year, so prepare for a helluva long winded post. But I hope it's worth it for everyone to read through it. Enjoy! I'm gonna do an additional post on my thoughts of the BIG topics of 2017 like A&E, Uniforms, etc. so look out for that too! But for now....... Regional Touring Corps – These make me so excited about the future and growth of the activity. So many great corps weren’t even at championships this year, I had a blast watching a lot of these. Assuming some of these make the trip to Championships some day soon, it’s going to get incredibly exciting in Open Class. Blue Devils C always blows me away for their age, this year seemed especially mature and well performed from them. Always a fun and entertaining show from the most adorable corps on the planet, loved the plane theme this year. Incognito was small but impressive considering the exposure each performer had, they performed very well. Watchmen were a great surprise, loved the Norse thematic material and they had a GREAT percussion section. Only caught a YouTube video of Heat Wave, but man they improved a TON this year, easily the best show in their three year history. It definitely showed in their scoring too, they were right on the heels of Southwind and Louisiana Stars early on before their tour ended. The next three REALLY impressed me, these three are incredibly mature for their age in pretty much every aspect on and off the field and when they decide to head to Indy they are REALLY going to turn even more heads than they already have. Golden Empire’s hidden gems themed show is pretty appropriate, they continue to put out incredibly ambitious and increasingly well performed programs. I really enjoyed the more tangible theme this year and accessible music, “One Day I’ll Fly Away” was very nice. Incredibly successful season for them beating the next two corps. Columbians really impressed me two years ago with their “1942” program and again last year with their INCREDIBLY fun “Clash!” show with one of the coolest props I’ve ever seen. This years “Do Not Go Gentle” show seemed like an attempt at a much more mature and difficult show and I think they definitely succeeded. They’re an incredibly balanced corps with a particularly strong brass line in my eyes...ears? Nevertheless, a regional open class corps giving such an incredibly mature musical moment in the “Adagio for Strings” ballad with that huge and long crescendo is a testament to how far down the ranks talent goes nowadays. Loved their show on the Denver FloMarching cast. Lastly, The Battalion. This was their 2nd year and their performing a show like that that well? Wow. This is the kind of corps that a decade from now could be a huge heavy hitter in Open Class. Incredibly cohesive and well constructed show, use of silence was very clever and the visual design was especially great. Some absolutely fantastic moments throughout the show that were fantastically paced and built into. And they are incredibly strong in every caption, brass especially blew me away. That first big statement with the mellophones…...oof. Gimme more of that! If I had to buy stock in a corps I could see being the next thing, it might be these guys. Second year? That makes me giggle, cannot wait for next year. Open Class - The best set of Open Class shows I have ever seen, top to bottom. The Company - Tomorrow, It's Just Around the Corner 1st Place International Class - 72.325 The Company – So glad these guys made the trip over, have always enjoyed their offerings for DCE, and this show was no disappointment. This is probably the most impressed I have been by an overseas corps coming to the US since I’ve started following the activity, fantastic design and incredibly energetic and clean performance all three times I saw this one online. Very seamless and well constructed music book from Markworth and loved the visual program, especially the use of color and the overall aesthetic. Overall, great job and come back again! Les Stentors - The Red Line of Fate (I think?) 16th Place - 55.2 I always appreciate when corps that are on the small side shrink down their performance spaces, really helps make the performance feel more intimate and energetic and it just stages them better. Very fun start to Open Class overall, really enjoyed the singer in the ballad and the color guard usage, they were definitely the standout section. The level of exposure for groups of this size is pretty astounding, everyone has to be pulling their weight 100% and I think they did a great job of it. Can’t find a list of their repertoire but it was all fun and familiar music I enjoyed. Overall, nice job! Impulse - In the Beginning 15th Place - 58.125 It’s been cool to see these guys be able to make it out to Indianapolis this year and last year, hope they can bring more of their regional Open Class friends in the coming years. Very fun show, particularly enjoyed the “Rite of Spring”/”Eye of the Tiger” mashup, I could get used to this two things that shouldn’t work together but do thing that one other corps I’ll talk about later has certainly mastered. Hornline for their size really puts out a good and strong sound, especially at the finish of their show. Big drumline was very solid and the color guard had some great moments too. Overall, a very fun show! Colt Cadets - The Rivers Edge 14th Place - 61.2 Again, love the shrinking of performance space to fit the corps. This was a big step up, very pretty and gorgeous color and musical palette they worked with in this show. Loved the use of the silks in the guard. Hornline put out some very mature and musical sounds, lots of tasteful dynamic work throughout. Drums were solid as well. Particularly enjoyed the Smetana ballad, love “Ma Vlast” which I think is what they pulled from. Overall, very nice job. This Colt Cadets corps is light years better than the one I saw when I first started following the activity back around 2008/2009. Shadow - Atreyu 13th Place - 62.225 Seeing corps of this size doing this ambitious of a show is pretty awesome. First of all, percussion stole the show for me. From the get go the front ensemble plays with incredible maturity and musicality, they were easily one of the best front ensembles of the day; they were great throughout the whole show. They put out the first BIG sound of the day in Open Class prelims, hornline had a ton of energy and presence. Really liked the use of the fabrics and tarps throughout, I knew back in Minneapolis they were gonna have one at the end and low and behold there it was. I also liked the addition of the white fabric at the end, great transformation that helped bring some thematic clarity. This is a corps in their 2nd year doing great things and with high school aged kids? That’s awesome. Raiders - Iconic 12th Place - 64.975 Very fun show from these guys, loved the eclectic mix of music that everyone knows and loves. They have a ton of great soloists in this show, the talent level of the membership is obviously very high when you feature that many members so well. Particularly enjoyed the “Beat It” and “Let it Be” parts of the show. Really enjoyed the color guard as well, they’re staged and featured well throughout the show. Nice job! River City Rhythm - Misshapen 11th Place - 67.688 Very cool and fun show, they get the morphing/distortion theme across very well communicated through the Beethoven that we all know and the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” ballad is GREAT. The star of this show for me is easily the percussion, the brass had increasingly great performances through Championships and the guard was solid but percussion…...well you can tell they have their roots indoor. Fantastic front ensemble playing from the get go, great features throughout, and I really enjoyed the morphing tenor feature. That was a great variation on the stationary tenor feature we’ve all seen before, nice keeping it fresh AND thematically relevant. Loved the pitch bend at the end of the show. I’ve really enjoyed them every year since their first season back in 2015, and this year was easily their strongest yet. I’m very excited at what’s in store for these guys in the future. Guardians - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 10th Place - 69.737 This is easily one of my favorites from the Open Class slate this year, this show is a blast. The insanity versus sanity idea has been done before but never in a way this fresh through Kanye West of all things. Love the way this show is set up from the get go, tons of great drill and moments throughout the first half but the second half of this show is where the real fun begins. Absolutely loved the Himdemith trombone feature in the closer and then we throw that amazing ramp drum feature on top of it and the energy and excitement goes into overload mode. They have a fantastic percussion section and color guard that’s featured in that portion, the two featured performers symbolizing sane Kanye and insane Kanye are AMAZING performers, they’re a blast to watch. Love the subtle use of the uniforms throughout the show, the different colored legs and flipping of the caps are small things but super effective. Overall this show is IMO one of the more ambitious and mature designs on the Open Class field this year. I can’t wait to see what they do next year, they’re two for two with me. Southwind - Toxic Mind 9th Place - 70.125 I hadn’t seen anything the whole year from Southwind and hadn’t read a ton either, so when they came on and did what they did in the 11th place slot in Open Class prelims me and I think everyone else watching were blown the hell away. Their arrangements and hornline performance were easily some of my favorite of the week relatively. The energy of this show was off the hook; Loved the use of Creep throughout mixed in with all the other music, “Superstitious” was fantastic, loved that trombone feature and the Muse stuff in the closer was amazing as well. This show is just straight up what I love about drum corps. Their brass definitely stole the show, high brass and mello books and performances were amazing for that tier of corps. Percussion and guard were both very solid throughout as well. Seeing these guys back on the national stage for the first time in a decade making that kind of impression is probably one of my highlights of the season, I love getting shell shocked by Open Class corps I haven’t seen all year and this one probably takes the cake for that. I am dying to see where they go next year. 7th Regiment - ...as the Sun Loved the Moon 8th Place - 72.0 Beautiful show this year, love story shows that are very easy to follow and interpret. Fantastic use of color throughout to communicate the sun and moon and both coming together at the end through the guard costuming, silks, and props. Very interesting and eclectic use of music throughout, who woulda thought that “Incantation and Dance” mixed with “Total Eclipse of the Heart” would work so well together? Very nice. Very controlled and clear brass performance from them, loved the ballad soloist. Overall I don’t have a ton more to say other than beautiful show, great job, and I look forward to seeing these guys every year. Fantastically designed show that was perfect for them as a membership. AND THEY GOT THEIR DINO NUGGS!!! Gold - Grow 7th Place - 72.75 This one grew on me every time I saw it this week, they really shined in Lucas Oil on Thursday morning. It was a lot easier to pick up this theme on the high cam in prelims, the growing theme definitely came across. I think it’s all original but some great musical moments throughout, the ballad was especially nice. Brass has great tone and clarity throughout and the color guard really shined in this show. Loved the ending, great drill, bright flags, ramming drums, and that last brass chord were all a great way to cap off that show. Great job! Louisiana Stars - Sanctuary 6th Place - 73.213 They won the most improved Open Class award for the second year in a row, and I can see why. Much more cohesive and better performed show this year. And I enjoyed last years too. The star of this show is definitely the musical program, tons of variety in style and musicality, they really play with great control throughout the whole show. Loved the vocal moments, the duet at the start of the show was great and the full corps singing stuff in the ballad was nice. Percussion really shined this year in addition to the brass, they definitely led the corps through OC Championships. Great visual program too this year that was a huge improvement over 2016. This corps is going places, and I’m excited to see what’s next for them! Spartans - Connected 5th Place - 75.925 This was a huge step up in visual programming and performance in Open Class competition, and it’s ultimately what put them in Semifinals. Fantastic use of choreography and staging, and that guard is fantastic year in and year out. I really enjoyed the show this year, particularly the drum feature with all the cell phone/communication stuff that they turned into an incredibly fun and exciting closer to the show. Congrats on keeping the semis streak going, and I look forward to seeing the show next year! Music City - Tribe 4th Place - 76.763 I can sum it up pretty shortly, this was their best show and corps in their history. After how their season began……...it warms my heart seeing how they finished this year. They earned every bit of that finish this year. They took a huge leap forward to me visually, the drill design and staging was a huge improvement over last year with some incredible field coverage and staged moments. The color guard was also fantastic, loved their use of color and thematic portrayal. Musically they were as enjoyable as ever, the musical texture of the ballad and that HUGE entrance after the drum feature that they nailed every time were amazing moments coming from an Open Class corps, though lets be honest; at this point in OC finals we had already well surpassed World Class levels of design and performance. Huge congrats on an amazing 2017 season and 2nd semis appearance! They’re currently under evaluation for a World Class promotion for 2018, they’ve certainly reached that level as a performing ensemble. They’ll move up soon if it doesn’t happen this year. Legends - The Signal 3rd Place - 77.25 First of all, I’m just glad they made it to Championships. Seeing them raise 100k in about 24 hours was pretty incredible. Just get that in order please! That’s out of the way now. Man, they just keep on improving year after year. This years show was a huge step up in maturity from a design perspective and from a performance perspective. The level their brass performs at is amazing, my personal favorite from Open Class Championships. The color guard and percussion also took big strides this year. GREAT music and drill this year, the “Wall-E” opener and “Sound of Silence” ballad were definitely highlights of OC Championships for me. The lighting trick this year was about as cool as 2016s, very fun theme that they portrayed well. Nice job, hope to see them as strong next year! Blue Devils B - The World the Children Made 2nd Place - 79.625 These guys have every bit as much swagger and confidence as their World Class counterpart and man it’s fun to watch. Their show had the best of what makes the Blue Devils the Blue Devils, incredibly professional and tight performances from all captions, very tight show design, and they perform it at an incredibly high level. I didn’t enjoy this years offering quite as much as last years amazing space show, but it was still an enjoyable program. Loved the weaving of “Pure Imagination” throughout the whole show in different ways. Loved the use of a mbira and the overall musical texture added from the front ensemble. Overall, just a great and solid show as always. Vanguard Cadets - In Pieces 1st Place, All Captions - 80.725 SCVC this year and BDB last year are the peak of an amazing Open Class, and man this was a fun show this year. This show reminds me a lot of Bluecoats 2016 Championship show in the best of ways; it was incredibly seamless, featured simple but hugely effective props, and had an incredibly infectious energy that was hard to deny in terms of effect. In addition to that they were just incredibly solid across the board, their sweep at Champoinships was very well deserved, particularly really enjoyed the percussion and color guard. Loved the use of percussion in the front half of the show and the closer was just a blast…...fantastic trombone and screamer soloists that nailed it all five times I watched the show online; that paired with the Vanguard moment made this show just incredibly exciting to watch. That was an amazing way to kick off SCVs 50th Anniversary on Championships week. 13th - 23rd in World Class - Full of incredibly accessible, fun, and record setting shows across all corps: Pioneer - Irish on Broadway 34th Place - 65.913 I can always count on Pioneer for something that’s very easy to just sit back and enjoy, and this years Les Mis show is no exception. Loved the various showcased soloists throughout, some fantastic guard moments, a great flugel soloist, and that singer is just stellar. Loved the use of the barricade props as well in the latter half. Pioneer has put out some very solid and entertaining shows as of late, last years Joan of Arc show particularly being a highlight. They do what they do very well, and I enjoyed it this year once again. Jersey Surf - Make it Our Own 27th Place - 71.613 This year was a big step up in programming to me from previous years. After 2012s huge success in that amazingly entertaining Bridgemen tribute show I felt like either they tried to recapture that magic and were not as successful or went too serious and lost what made them Jersey Surf. Musically especially this show had tons of depth and maturity to it filled with some fantastic moments throughout. The Snarky Puppy opener was a blast, the Sia ballad is beautiful (that climax is great), and the Basia closer was very laid back and fun. I easily see myself listening to this one a lot over the summer, courtesy of the arrangements and a hornline that can really push some power. Enjoyed the guard contribution as well, loved the use of color from them. Overall, most I’ve enjoyed one of their shows in a few years. I feel bad that they missed semifinals, they had a better show this year Open Class is just explosive in its growth right now. Seattle Cascades - Set Free 26th Place - 74.125 I’ve loved watching this corps grow every year since 2014 and seeing them field their largest corps ever only three seasons later is awesome. This year was the next logical step in a set of incredibly exciting and accessible shows. Easy to understand theme and great music with an incredibly tasteful visual program. I can always count on Mr. Norfleet for some incredibly fresh and exciting arranging and this years closer mashup of “Shostakovitch 10”/”Bird Set Free” is no exception. All captions continue to make strides, and even though the color guard might have been a scoring weakness after them fielding less than ten a few years ago, seeing the field full of flags and equipment is very promising. And like Jersey Surf, I think the explosion of Open Class is just really hard to keep up with. That shouldn’t diminish what was IMO a great season for them. Genesis - The Other Side of Now 23rd Place - 76.213 First of all, welcome to World Class! And I definitely think they belong. They showed incredible maturity in designing a show that is very challenging and taking it on with fantastic performances from all three captions, especially the brass. Their approach to ensemble sound, tone, etc. is very good and with a few years watch out for them. Overall it’s a familiar but very well executed concept that is very accessible and very captivating to general audiences. The music book was very eclectic full of great music that we all know and love in this activity and that visual program was a blast to watch from up top; so many cool sequences and moments throughout it. If this is their first effort in WC, I can’t wait to see what they’re doing down the road. They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with. Pacific Crest - Golden State of Mind 21st Place - 78.00 I really enjoyed Pacific Crest last year and I did again this year. Highlight is definitely the very easy to listen to music program, full of very recognizable, fun, and beautiful music. Best part of the show for me was definitely “Alfonso Muskedunder”, that was just old school park and bark jam out fun. The “Lost” ballad was great too, really enjoyed the use of color in the ballad visually. And the “California Dreaming” recap was great too. The visual program was great too, very well constructed and very readable. Great in all captions, brass line especially live because they had some punch. Overall not much else to say other than I enjoy what they do and I can always count on them for an easy to get and easy to watch/listen to show. Oregon Crusaders - EnCompass 20th Place - 79.05 Who woulda thought that U2, Elgar, and Enya would make such a seamless and gorgeous musical program? I’ve always wanted to hear more of “Enigma Variations” on the field, and them supplementing it with the U2 and Enya songs was a great move. By itself it could have gotten a bit redundant (it is a theme and variations after all) but adding those other two elements was a fantastic move that really gave it some freshness and variety. This show is a pretty seamless and organic thought so it’s hard to pick just one moment but that ballad was fantastic. The Academy did this last year in their closer and Oregon Crusaders caught on too…...it’s amazing what can happen when you just let something breathe for a few minutes and let it be what it is. Love what Tim Snyder and his team did with the hornline this year, they sounded amazing. Percussion was as amazing as ever, the bass line (which is always kick ###) and the front ensemble especially stood out to me. And the color guard…….this is the best guard I think they’ve fielded ever maybe? They were great, that’s been a weakness in the past but not this year. Great visual program too with the props and use of the encircling motif throughout. This is gonna be a show I listen to on repeat a ton. Spirit of Atlanta - Crossroads: We Are Here 18th Place - 80.075 Ever since post 2013 it has felt like Spirit of Atlanta has been lost in finding what they wanted to do, their shows felt a little bit safe and familiar until this year. This year had a sense of them trying something new and trying to forge a new identity and I think it was a great start at that. This show was way more exciting than their last three efforts, the very eclectic music program especially. There was enough familiar Spirit of Atlanta in there but also some great stuff that was new territory like the John Mackey, the Vienna Teng, and the Snarky Puppy closer. The ballad was easily a highlight of the show for me, so so beautiful. Very exciting visual program as well, loved the use of color in the guard and I personally really liked the new uniform. Overall I’m more excited about where Spirit of Atlanta is headed than I have been in awhile, almost reminds me of 2010 in a way. I think good things could be in store for them next year. Troopers - Duels and Duets 17th Place - 81.275 Overall it might have missed the mark conceptually and visually but man what a fun show this year form them full of INCREDIBLE moments. They cleaned and transformed this thing drastically over the back half of the season and turned it into something very fun to watch and listen too. The obvious standout here is the Puccini ballad........the transition into and then the payoff at the end is absolutely GLORIOUS! Musically I see this show getting tons of replays when I get the audio for it. So it might not have placed as high as recent years, but still a fun show that everyone seemed to enjoy. Interested in what 2018 brings! Colts - Both Sides Now 15th Place - 83.888 What a beautiful show this year........this was just a pleasure to sit back and enjoy. From the beautiful slow burn opener, to the AMAZING trombone soloist and guard moment in the ballad, to those piercing last notes this was their most cohesive and seamless show in years. I don't have a lot more to say outside of that. Fantastic performances from all sections, and a huge shoutout to what I think was probably their best percussion section in the modern era for them. Huge congrats, can't wait to see the shoe next year! The Academy - By a Hare 14th Place - 84.188 Man, it took a little bit of the season to get it there but what an incredibly fun and just down right entertaining show this turned into. Even if it was quite as competitively successful as 2016s show this was still true to what everyone has fallen in love with in terms of their identity. EASY to get and amazingly fun theme, beautiful melodies and all recognizable music, amazing characters and portrayal by the guard, sweeping huge drill, and just amazing energy all around. This was an incredibly talented corps too, all sections put out great performances this year. Don't have much more else to say other than I loved it and PLEASE........just because this year was a bit of a step back in numbers, don't let it change who you are. You are a voice we need in this activity and I hope they maintain who they are. Mandarins - Inside the Ink 13th Place - 85.55 What a season. When The Academy made finals in 2016 as the first new corps to make finals since 2002 it sparked a discussion of who would be next after them. My pick was the Mandarins. In the recent years they have been putting together some incredibly cohesive and well designed shows that were well performed in all captions and when they announced Ike Jackson and the new visual team joining this past year that feeling intensified. Well, they blew past my expectation of it still taking about five or so years to happen and almost pulled it off only a season later. The design of this show on every level was top tier, it was full of so many perfectly coordinated and paced moments throughout the whole show tied together with a fantastically presented theme that they nailed. The build and payoff of the opening hit, the pillow people and use of color and contrast, the AMAZING ballad that used incredible visual tension in the color guard, my favorite drum feature of the year bringing the best of the indoor activity outside from the amazing vocals of “Crazy” to the overall style, and that closer and ending that just exploded. Brass and percussion took leaps forward and the color guard just stole the show this year……...they were amazing performers that brought this show to life. They grew exponentially this year as a membership and an organization and finals would have just been the cherry on top of this corps best show and season in their history and not making it in doesn’t diminish any of what they accomplished. I’m leaving the 2017 season with a new favorite all time non finalist show and one of my top five favorites of the year from the Mandarins. If they did this after placing 17th in 2016……..what the hell do we have in store for 2018? Cannot wait. 2017 Finalists - An AMAZING slate of top 12 corps, and probably the best top 2 since I started following the activity. Madison Scouts - Last Man Standing 12th Place - 85.25 First of all, welcome back to finals! It just feels good when their name is announced on Saturday night. What a transformation this year………...incredibly bold and sharp direction change that was pretty polarizing, myself being on the more positive side of that discussion. They made a statement this year that they’re ready to be something new and break out of their mold to accomplish whatever goal they wanted to and they did. This was an incredibly unique and off the wall show to watch develop all season. Early on I thought the bones were there but they were gonna have to work really hard to sell it for what it was and by finals they definitely did. Loved the use of trombones in the Bartok, loved the ballad, and that ending was absolutely nuclear. They really brought this thing together in the finals week. All of that said I still think it’s the Madison Scouts, they were not as in your face about it but it was still there. I’m excited to see where they go from here, the possibilities are endless. And when they perform that well across the board...look out in 2018. Crossmen - The Enigma 11th Place - 86.825 It seems my view of this show is the opposite of a lot of others. I was not a huge fan early on and was worried about where they would place but I really came around to it overall in the end enjoyed it. Musically this was just fantastic. Tons of amazing moments in the opener, especially the ballad, and love what they did with the Emerson Concerto in the closer. Ballad was probably the highlight of the show for me, that horn soloist was pretty much perfect a huge majority of the time and when the brass comes in at the peak of it, wow. Love it. Loved the tone and approach to brass this year, they had incredible clarity and control to their playing. Percussion and guard were very solid too. Visually, hmm. I think they ended up using the props in more ways than I anticipated and Ebert did a good job writing around those things for sure but it just have a ton of punch up top. That’s probably the only negative thing I can say though, overall a very high energy and exciting show that solidified their position as a finalist. Blue Stars - Star Crossed 10th Place - 87.938 First of all, their encore in Belton this year live up close and personal with that brass and percussion playing the corps song and some other stuff was easily a highlight of the year for me. That was the essence of what makes me love drum corps musically. Their brass this year blew me away. Pure, smooth, clear, powerful, restrained, etc. Love what Ward Miller is doing with them, they sound like no one else and I appreciate them keeping it unamplified, they might not have as much punch as their peers coming out of a speaker but the purity and clarity we get in return? I’ll take that all day everyday. Color guard is as fantastic as ever, every year they blow me away at what they attempt and this year is no exception. Percussion was great too. In terms of the show, I acknowledge the issues thematically and in terms of flow but that doesn’t detract away from the fact that they were marching some of the most exciting drill and playing some of the most emotionally satisfying music on the field this summer. The opener was absolutely beautiful and restrained, the ballad was pretty stunning, the high brass feature in the last third was AMAZING, and the closer with the mellos soaring over htat amazing brass was a treat this year. These guys are the right show away from a huge hit and soaring up in the placements, every single piece is in place. They just need the right medium to communicate it through. But I’ll enjoy them regardless, have always had a soft spot for them since they blew me away as a new fan in 2010 in Denton Texas. Phantom Regiment - Phantasm 9th Place - 88.125 They took on an absolute beast of a show this year, and they cleaned that thing up way more than I ever expected them to by finals. In the end it wasn't my favorite show of the season but it felt like they were trying to turn over a new leaf and start fresh with something still distinctly Phantom Regiment but new and fresh. Wes Cartwright sure made his mark this year, he gave that color guard one of the most easily identifiable and exciting looks on the field this summer. Loved the closer, the use of color in the guard and kinetic energy on the field paired with that absolutely triumphant music was a sight to behold. Great season, looking forward to next year. Blue Knights - i 8th Place - 90.4 To me, the Blue Knights have found the best balance of what is the best about what drum corps was and the best about what drum corps is becoming. They’re both incredibly pure and progressive, finding an amazing balance of what makes drum corps what it is and being bold and fresh. Musically they’re probably the most refreshing and creative corps out there, what Bocook and Jackson among others are doing with their arranging is incredible. The Schwantner percussion concerto portion of the show this year is absolutely to die for. The drums in this show were mind blowing, they play with an intensity and aggression that is rivaled by absolutely no one else. And the level of variety and musicality in what the brass does isn’t either, there wasn’t a show I saw live this year that hard more control and depth to what the brass did. The extremes they play at is unreal. As a show I’m not sure if this was as strong as 2015s seamless and incredibly fresh show or 2014s amazingly emotional and gripping show but after a season that felt a little lost in 2016 they are back to what made me fall in love with them. If they can get stronger visually…….these guys are going to soar up the ranks as a leading voice of progression and purity in the world of the marching arts. The Cadets - The Faithful, The Fallen, The Forgiven 7th Place - 91.675 First of all, the crap and hate that people have to see regarding this corps disgusts me. It pains me to think about members reading the kind of stuff that gets spewed at them. I know they don’t need my concern and they don’t buy into that stuff but I hate that it happens. I have a ton of feelings about this show, I feel like at the end it got heavy handed and a bit buried by all the additions and symbolism but at its core……..what a unique and fresh show this was. I love them experimenting with pacing and musical textures, they tried incredibly bold things in those regards and I we can argue about if they paid off, but I think they did. Some AMAZINGLY beautiful moments in there, the first "Simple Song" impact was just stunning in every way and that ending.........that's about as big and good as it gets in the pageantry world. Great performances from all sections this year, I particularly thought that the color guard did a fantastic job. I'm excited at the possibilities of Bernstein next year........it fits them so well. Here's to 2018! Boston Crusaders - Wicked Games 6th Place - 92.962 My favorite show of 2017. This show for me is everything that is right and that I love about drum corps; the range of emotions I felt live watching this show is pretty unmatched by anything else I’ve say through in a stadium in the heat of the summer. This show is one I have been waiting for to hit the drum corps field in my time as a fan; something that wasn’t afraid to embrace emotions and themes that are a bit darker and harder to sell in a way that is appealing to the masses……..and man they did it. The level of clarity and cohesion from things as big as the choices of music and as small as how tiny snippets of voice overs lay into the musical texture of the show was just second to none for me. No show for me this year felt so seamless or well coordinated. They nailed the programming of music in this show, the eeriness and creepy innocence of “Moonlight Sonata” woven through the show from the opener into the ballad brought to life by that amazingly dynamic and musically mature front ensemble, the angst and anger of the Prokofiev, Copland, and Ginestara that was portrayed with amazing intensity and power by the fantastic brass and drumline, and the mournful sadness and distress that was personified in that amazing…...stunning singer in the ballad that looked like she belonged on some high end Broadway stage was just perfect. Ryan George, Colin McNutt, Iain Moyer, Michael Zellers, and anyone else who helped arrange and construct this show deserve huge congrats. The clarity, power, and level of detail not just in arranging but how the amazingly done voice overs and singer laid in the brass and percussion writing is just mind blowing. And Gino, the aforementioned two percussionists, and all the instructional staff bringing it to life deserve as much praise. And then Leon May and the color guard staff setting an incredibly emotional, easy to follow, and perfectly coordinated stage to bring the music to life visually? Amazing. The color guard live just took me by the throat and didn’t let go, the level of intensity and emotion they perform with while tossing rifles, sabres, flags, and everything else with was just mind blowing. And it all came together to make a show that is easily one of my favorite shows of the modern era of drum corps. There are too many moments from the rifles set up in a pentagram at the beginning to that absolutely explosive final chord as they are burning and hanging the witches to talk about. I wasn’t happy and didn’t get joy watching this show, but that’s why I love it so much. Tension, dread, sadness, anger, angst, mourning, and just a disturbing darkness. They communicated such taboo and off putting emotions so effectively that it made it impossible to not be impressed and blown away. And the last piece of the puzzle…….the members that made it happen. In 2016 them squeezing that show for everything it had to give is what got it into finals and in 2017 them stepping up to so many expectations and an incredibly emotionally complex show and selling the absolute #### out of it is why they ended up in 6th and with their highest score ever. The designers coulda done everything in their power, but in the end it’s the members that brought it to life. Congratulations on an amazing transformation, building a champion has more than begun. I cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store. Bluecoats - Jagged Line 5th Place - 95.162 One of my big questions about 2017 will always be why this show could never seem to get traction in the scores........but that's beside the point. I've been a die hard fan my whole time as a fan of this activity and tonight didn't change a single thing. When they hit that "Psychopomp" reprise and the crowd erupted, that's why I love this corps. 1st or 5th. They keep giving me those moments that make me come back for more. Every. Single. Year. I loved this show, musically it's about the most straight forward and exciting thing I've heard out of a top tier corps in years. A few amazing pieces of music each given their time to breathe and brought to life by a corps that has about as much energy as anyone could ask for. In the end what probably bit them was the incredible depth and complexity of the visual program, the amount of Fosse choreography and content was NUTS, huge props to them for taking that on. Amazing performance from them across the board this year, it might be time for a bit of an adjustment to what they do but I know they won’t lose what makes them so enamoring to watch. Here’s to an amazing 2018! The Cavaliers - Men are from Mars 4th Place - 95.2 Before the summer began I got the chance to be a part of the Marching Roundtable podcast where The Cavaliers were the topic. I talked about one of my favorite things about 2016 and now 2017 has been The Cavaliers finding their voice again and reemerging as an updated version of what made everyone love them in the first place. Incredible drill, stunning and death defying color guard, and a level of swagger and presence that just makes them impossible not to enjoy. And now that they have really began to recruit talent in all three sections again……...they’re soaring. Best brass from them in at least six years, best color guard in maybe a decade, and continually amazing percussion. I LOVED this show, the tones and underlying messaging of what they did was incredibly complex and so much fun to dig through over this whole season. The whole mockumentary section on men was HILARIOUS! I totally got what they were going for; and even if that wasn’t for you the balls to the wall FLYING finish to the “Little Green Men” section of the show with that insane flag exchange was about as old school run and gun insanity as it gets. This is a corps that isn’t afraid to be bold, they’re not afraid to pick a concept that should be incredibly off putting and in your face, and they pull it off in a way that is so complex but still so approachable and enjoyable to the masses. Next year is an Anniversary…and they’re flying high going into it…...and I’m dying to see what they pull out for it. The Cavaliers are BACK. Carolina Crown - It Is 3rd Place, High Brass - 96.575 When I first saw this show I thought they were in BIG trouble. It seemed incredibly cliché, over designed, and almost…….pretentious? But man, they did way more with this thing than I ever imagined they could. First lets get this right, that singer did an AMAZING job this year as a hugely featured member. Any distaste for her is peoples own personal preference and that’s fine, but when you go after her as a performer you’re kinda being pretty petty. Amazing job by the brass once again, they're amazing. Color guard ended up doing pretty well despite the grief they got over the season. And percussion.......that's gotta be their best line in YEARS. They did an incredibly job carrying that second half of the show, it relied on them and man they pulled it off. Overall they've given me a ton to digest and go through this off season. I'm not sure where they go next, and that's pretty exciting! Santa Clara Vanguard - Ouroboros (...and Alumni Corps) 2nd Place, High Color Guard, High Percussion - 97.6 What. A. Year. 50th Anniversary. First medal in over a decade. First caption win outside percussion in God knows know long. The Vanguard is back in Vanguard. I knew over the last few years as much as I loved their shows there was one piece missing. Maybe it was Michael Gaines? Maybe it was them being bold and adventurous with their show. But wow. What a seamless, ethereal, and STUNNING show this was! From start to finish it's just one organic and complete thought. Cyclic. The drill........oh man. Pete Weber at the top of his game, some of those sequences in the ballad took my breath away every time; impeccable staging of the color guard and sections overall as well, and integration of the props was totally masterful. And that guard.......HUGE congrats on the win! Incredible performance from them, that diamond moment in the closer is just to die for. Musically that percussion section is just undeniable, amazing intensity and restraint at the same time. Brass did an amazing job, those twelve featured performers were just absolute animals this year. I can talk about scoring, but watching them watch the alumni corps in semifinals and that connection of so many decades of members it just doesn't matter where they finished. That is what this is all about. SCV is back, and going forward I can't be more excited for them. Blue Devils - Metamorph 1st Place, High GE, High Visual Proficiency - 98.537 So. In my infancy as a fan of the activity I was definitely off put by the Blue Devils. Their shows were too confusing their shows were too easy blah blah. I went through a ton of my time as a fan over almost the last decade annoyed when they would come out and go undefeated. They were beating corps and shows I loved and it didn't seem like anyone else was being given a fair chance. 2014 I still felt the same way but they blew me away regardless. 2015 on finals night I loved a lot of other shows more but defended their win. In 2016 I LOVED my Bluecoats riding high but began to really enjoy what Blue Devils had to offer, their ballad remains one of the moments I consider utter perfection in portrayal of a theme and visual staging. Then this year happened. I saw this show twice San Antonio week in Broken Arrow and San Antonio. I was so close minded and had convinced myself that I was gonna hate it and low and behold.......I didn't enjoy it. Then they started adding things. The voice overs. Stuff started cleaning up. Atlanta weekend.........they had me in tears at the end of their performance. What this show transformed into..........it was an INCREDIBLY emotional, beautiful, and amazing tribute to where this corps came from, their roots and incredible legacy full of amazing references to their storied past. It was an amazing display of who they are now with incredibly challenging staging and depth for me as an audience member to sort through. And it was an AMAZING peak into the window of what this corps future could hold. The thread of time throughout this show and how they paid tribute to their whole history is just...........incredible. And I have no ties to the organization. I can't imagine what this must be like for alums or MMs of this organization. As a future educator the level they perform at in everything is staggering.......the clarity, professionalism, and expertise they do everything with blows my mind. But when it's all said and done, when they hit that ballad tonight with that AMAZING flag feature, the INCREDIBLE music and soloists, and just overall marriage of that moment.........it left me speechless and weak. 2017 made me a Blue Devils fan. Any hate and distaste I had is gone. I have nothing but respect, admiration, and gratitude for what they did this year. I'm just sad it took me this long to get here. Congrats on #18 Blue Devils. What a journey this was for me, I'm dying to see what 2018 has to offer and no more taking a whole season or years to come around to shows. I'm a fan from the get go from now on.
  34. 33 points
    To the staff and members of the Santa Clara Vanguard: Yes -- it's a gushing, wild-eyed fan letter! Thank you for being THAT corps! THAT corps that I tell my friends about when they say "What's a drum corps?" Percussion is SOOoooo sweet... colorguard hit every emotional milepost... the brass was gorgeous... and the show... (VAN - guard on the other side of the field!) I am a fan of Les Miserables on the stage. The movie? Not so much. I had my doubts. I had my fears. And... When the entire corps stood behind the backdrops... and the guard took over the field alone... I had to wipe away the tears... emotional at the beauty and expression I was witnessing. You were THAT corps that I remembered the Vanguard always being from the very best years. I know you may not be where you want to be yet competitively... but you became my favorite corps of the year in San Antonio. Pure joy! Thank you for being THAT corps again! Chuck Naffier Drum Corps Fan
  35. 32 points
    If you’re like me, you’ve been checking DCP constantly these past few weeks to see all the changes happening with World Class corps staffs. Unfortunately, the "Staff merry-go-round" thread is no longer a viable source for any information as it has been derailed by irrelevant topics for 40+ pages. Therefore, I’ve started this thread to be your one-stop shop for staff updates. I will try to update this post as corps continue to share new updates. You can help by posting new updates in this thread as you see them! WORLD CLASS: Academy: 9/10: Design Team and Caption Coordinators 10/30: Percussion Staff Blue Devils: Staff Roster (no formal updates have been published, but their staff roster lists new staff for 2020) Blue Knights: 9/3: Brass Leadership 9/4: Visual Leadership 9/5: Color Guard Leadership 9/6: Percussion Leadership 9/7: Design and Education Leadership Blue Stars: 9/3: Design Team and Caption Heads Bluecoats: 9/5: Instructional, Design, and Production Teams Boston Crusaders: 9/3: Design and Educational Teams Cadets: 9/3: Administrative, Design, and Educational Teams 9/25: Guard Staff 10/28(?): Entire Instructional Staff Carolina Crown: Cavaliers: 10/16: Design Team 10/21: Percussion Team 10/23: Brass Team Colts: 9/3: Music Team 9/4: Music Advisor 9/6: Visual Design Team 9/19: Brass Team 10/1: Visual Instructional Team 10/15: Percussion Team Crossmen: 9/17: Design Staff 9/24: Visual Staff 10/15: Percussion Staff Genesis: 9/17: Design Staff 9/19: Administration, Design Staff, and Caption Heads Jersey Surf: Madison Scouts: 9/6: Design Team 9/10: Director of Recruitment/Music Education Consultant 9/18: Caption Leadership 10/9: Percussion Team 10/18: Color Guard Team 10/24: Visual Team 10/28: Brass Team Mandarins: 9/20: Design and Caption Manager Team Music City: 9/12: Design Team Pacific Crest: 10/24: entire Design and Educational Teams Phantom Regiment: 9/5: Design Team Santa Clara Vanguard: 9/3: Brass Staff 9/4: Corps Director 9/5: Design Team and Caption Leadership Seattle Cascades: 9/3: Corps Director 9/4: Educational Director 9/6: Design Team 9/9: Administrative Staff 9/27: All Instructional Staff Spirit of Atlanta: 9/15: Percussion Staff 9/17: Brass Staff 9/18: Visual and Guard Staffs 10/6: Design Team Troopers: 9/4: Design Team 9/5: Caption Heads 10/23: Visual Staff 10/30: Color Guard Staff 11/11: Percussion Staff You can also view all these updates in this corps staff tracker article posted on DCI’s website. Let’s try to keep this thread focused to staff changes—tangential discussions are free to be held in their own separate threads!
  36. 32 points
    Hats off tonite to the Cadets. Missing 16 marchers, holes everywhere, thats a daunting task. But they never pulled out of the show. They pushed thru it all. No quit in them tonite, and those that were healthy in their Corps, or at least somewhat healthy, went out there and competed and performed for the audience, no matter what. Some of us notice these things. And we tip the hat to the 110% effort the Cadet Corps gave out there tonite under such trying circumstances. Some " wins " arn't found in the scores. Tonite... with the Cadets... is an example of such.
  37. 32 points
    My name is Beau Rowell and I'm a Board member of Friends of Spirit, Inc., which operates the Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps. With respect to housing for Cadets for the Hoschton, GA show, both Spirit and Cadets were caught off guard about the loss of Woodland HS as a housing site for the Cadets, only learning about it last night during the Valdosta, GA show. We are very thankful to the staff at Cairo High School, who made their facilities available at the last minute for Cadets. Further, we understand Cadet's decision to not attend the Hoschton show at Mill Creek HS due to the distances between Cairo HS and Mill Creek HS. Here are the facts surrounding Woodland HS as a housing site for Cadets for the Hoschton show: the Friends of Spirit team dealt with a particular individual at Woodland, who had confirmed to us in writing in May that Woodland could house Cadets on July 10/11 during the Valdosta show last night is when it became known that Woodland HS wasn't available as a housing site for Cadets Friends of Spirit has learned in the last couple hours that the individual we were dealing with on housing suddenly no longer works for Woodland and, prior to his departure from Woodland, apparently didn't follow proper procedures to officially request that the school be used as a housing site for July 10/11, despite telling us otherwise as a result the Woodland school administration was not aware of the Cadets' arrival for July 10/11 we do not know at this time if other events are occurring at Woodland today, but it's likely that football practice or other activities could have been a conflict Woodland did try to make it work but were not able to make arrangements at the last minute Securing housing sites is a big challenge for all DCI drum corps. Please know that the principal at Woodland High School is NOT the person to be blamed this situation. As you now know, the principal did not "back out" and in fact did all they could to try to make it work. From Woodland's perspective, they learned that Cadets would be arriving with only about six hours notice. Hopefully you now understand this situation. We respectfully ask that you not bombard Principal Ellis and blame her for Woodland not being available for Cadets. Sending her derogatory letters will not help this situation, and in fact could be problematic long term for Spirit, which held spring training at Woodland. We've worked diligently at developing positive relationships with school districts in the greater Atlanta area. Let's please not undermine the foundations built by blaming the wrong person for this situation. Thank you.
  38. 32 points
  39. 32 points
    Getting a new look might even help launch the corps into the top-three.
  40. 31 points
    Some very quick thoughts, I'll do a more extensive review when I get back Tuesday after seeing some shows a 2nd time in Mesquite up high. For reference I was row 6 112, so blast zone right on the 50. I'll keep my quick thoughts more positive. I thought everyone was fantastic. There was not a show I didn't enjoy in some way. Sorry if these are a little......disjointed. Pretty wiped today. Like deceased. Dead. Think of these as my gut reactions. I've gone to this show just about every year since 2011 and this is far and away the best one top to bottom I've been to. - Compass was a nice surprise, some powerful sounds and a fun show they obviously love performing. - Aresenal was a little more mature all around, tons of potential there! Some great teaching going on there all around. - Seattle Cascades first hit SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME. They had some huge power in the front half of the show, some great music moments in there. - Jersey Surf is so so so much better this year than I've seen them in awhile. The show looks so great and they are really solid across all sections. Aurora Awakes was probably my favorite part of the show. Even if the scores don't show it, this is a hugely improved corps this year. - Music City sounds really really really solid, they have a great brass line and I love the Imagine closer. Maybe a little bit on the cheesy side for me, but we need some of those shows. Fun! - Genesis has a HARD show this year, tons of field coverage and exposed musical moments. The props have some great usage in the show, and the ballad is probably the highlight for me. - Troopers play SO well, that opening Persichetti solo is phenomenal. I think they achieve the space theme pretty well musically. To The Stars is a very pretty ballad. - Madison Scouts have some INCREDIBLY athletic moments, and even if the show isn't scoring super high it was probably the first to get the crowd REALLY going. Jazzy Young Persons Guide is fun. Made me kind of sad in ways, just in that we are seeing the end of an era. - PACIFIC CREST. HELLO. This reminds me of how I felt about Spirit in 2017. A huge step forward in design and performance for them. So many captivating musical moments in there. And seeing this live down low really brought it to life, those members really embody the various characters and moods so well. This was one of my favorites of the day. Bravo. - Colts sound great, they do the ANGRY fire section so so so well, that intensity is awesome. Percussion and guard really stood out in this tier to me, especially the guard in the closer. Love those icy blue silks flying through the air. - The Academy's visual aesthetic is so pleasing to look at, I love shows that coordinate like this. And bravo to that very exposed flugel soloist in the ballad. - Spirit of Atlanta is super fun, I really like the distinct changes in the uniform throughout the show, but especially the white. That whole ballad is just MONEY. Will it push them into finals? I'm not sure it's their year. It's SO CLOSE to being there, but I'm just not sure how they would do it looking at the recap. I wouldn't mind if they did it though. - Phantom Regiment. I didn't give you the grief a lot of other posters did in June, but I did have some big question marks. I love being proven wrong. It's not my favorite show from them but it doesn't leave me devoid of emotion like last year did. It's got some rough spots in there (mainly design related), but wow those kids sell this thing. O Fortuna was the signal that we were in finalist territory. Drums are fantastic as well. They've made some great changes to the show, and while I still have some personal quips design wise, I don' think they're missing this year. Honestly I think they're going to start putting pressure above rather than receiving it from below. - One of my friends said it best last night, this show is a freaking rock concert on the field AND I LOVED IT. I liked this online, but LOVED it in person. Every single person on that field buys into that show. That head drum major especially is a BAD ###! And they've still got some points to squeak out across the board too. I can't believe this show is sitting in 11th, but I think that's a testament to how good of a year this is. Loved the new ending with the guitars just shredding. SHRED IT BRO! - Mandarins also buy into their show on every single level. GEEZ, this is an intense show. Online the guard was good but seemed a bit.......sterile? Especially the flags. But in person. 😳There is so much nuance and characterization there you don't get online, they grab you by the throat and don't let go for twelve minutes. I do think musically they need another year to keep building. I love the ambition there musically and they sound great, I just think that's the weakest spot. But as a production. WOAH. - The Cadets. I hate to see them this low because those members are performing their collective ##### off. As a performance, I really enjoyed this show. Brass didn't sound like a 13th place brass line, even with some issues. I just think that's how the book is designed bleeding into performance captions. I won't harp on what has already been said. I'll end with HOLY MOTHER OF GOD DRUMLINE. They can have my keys and wallet. They were worth the price of admission. Incredible performance from them. - Blue Stars play SO MUCH Better live! I liked this show online, LOVED it in person. Musically there are so many little flurries and nuances, in the Copland especially, that are so impressive beyond the typical loud technical stuff. Them and two other hornlines really blew me away with their phrasing and shaping of musical lines. They have developed an incredible brass sound. Online I kinda thought they could fully commit more to the theme, but in person I got it. And yeah, they're hauling ###. Fantastic job. - Blue Knights are on the cusp of something incredible, and I think they're there in many regards. My biggest take away is oh my GOD they're athletic. If you think marching and playing demand is dead, look no further. They are running and playing constantly in Liquid and in the closer. Bocook and Jackson and Crew create such an ethereal experience musically. One second they're brushing their hand across your cheek, and the next second they're decking you and giving you a black eye. I love how they can turn the tone of a show in a split second. It's hard to put into words that show, but it's something. I'll elaborate more later. - Cava-freaking-liers. WOAH. This was either my favorite or second favorite show of the night. I'm going to talk brass for a minute. No one last night shaped and phrased like they did to my ear. And they did it on freaking technical passages like it was nothing. Pacing crescendos and decrescendos like that or doing terraced dynamics that evenly on both fast and slow passages is NOT easy. Bums Rush especially was incredible. 4th in brass was VERY well deserved, there were a lot of lines that PLAYED LOUD AND FAST THE WHOLE SHOW and did it well, but not not much else. Bravo to Cavaliers and a few others on that. Now, the ballad. Dear GOD. That was probably my favorite moment last night. As soon as they face forward......they hit you like a freight train. And it made the show make sense. It's one of those things where I can't put my finger on how to say what they're conveying, but I got it. Well deseved mid show standing O. That's gonna be a riot on finals. Also, colorguard and drums are fantastic too. Cavaliers guard does athletic tricks like no one else out there, they're wildly entertaining to watch. Drumline is fantastic, and I love seeing another really cool split marimba feature. Of 4-5-6......this show felt the most complete to me. They very well might end up 6th and if they do it's because the five ahead of them are just so good. But they're creeping up. And I don't think that's going to stop. I'd love this show in 4th. - Boston Crusaders are LOUD. Geez. They really push your hair back. I'll get the obvious out of the way, the guard is incredible. As an ensemble and as solo performers they are so captivating and portray the theme very well throughout. I love the front half of the show, some of the best drum corps out there this year. Back half I enjoyed but I do have some thoughts which I'll share later. Percussion was the sore spot on the recap, but I think that's mainly due to how deep that caption is. They're playing well, just needs to cross into that next level of clarity. - Carolina Crown's first note is WOAH HOLY CRAP. I wasn't ready for that, even knowing how good their brass is. That note alone is worth seeing them for. This show is non stop energy and excitement from top to bottom. Drums are very solid again this year and I was pleasantly surprised by the colorguard. As a production it's still not really doing it for me, but as a performance. Wow. Top notch. - Santa Clara Vanguard has a championship tier corps. Brass sounds amazing, drums are still insanely good, colorguard is phenomenal, and they perform so incredibly well. Musically, I bought this more live. It's incredibly quirky and agressive, and then the closer just SOARS triumphantly over all of that. Like Carolina Crown it's not really for me as a production, but as a performance I'd totally watch it again. Don't really have any thoughts on the tarps, was too low. - Blue Devils.......I thought they were going to do it last night. That show is so fun, so entertaining, and so expertly crafted by both the performers and staff. I totally get it live, it's a ghosts of performances past coming out to play. I have known all season that is what the theme is, but tonight I got it in context for sure. There is something both scary and downright fun about their colorguard. At the beginning of the show the ones depicting the Zeus type stuff just slowly turn their heads around to the crowd with these CREEPY masks on and just pulled me right in. That's an example to me of the kind of individual performance of even the smallest detail that makes BD what they are. Just a slow about face made me shooketh. Katchaturian is ALMOST there, and when it does holy crap. The ballad is INCREDIBLE. The exposure and clarity there is just mouthwatering. Closer isn't done, I can tell they've got more planned. The prop usage in this show is incredible, the amount of variety they get out of them is mindboggling. This show just sets a mood so well and keeps at it the whole show. Brass was a little loose, that's my only slightly critical observation. But other than that, bravo. Can't wait to see where it goes next. - Bluecoats. Blue.Coats. Maybe a little of a loose run last night (which I thought well before scores were announced so don't come @ me), but WOW. No one else this year has a show that is so top to bottom seamless and knows what it is at every waking moment. Dean Westman said it best on opening night, this is a Beatles concert that never happened. That's how it feels, it's a concert that just embodies what the Beatles were and are today. The build to the opening hit, all of Elanor Rigby, the brass licks, BLACKBIRD, Come Together, etc. I can just name moment after moment in this show. And they perform on an individual level like no one else. They PERFORM, if that makes sense. Brass is incredible this year, with a cleaner run they can win brass. Percussion was great too, I think the score last night was a pretty good representation. COLORGUARD! They are great this year, the individual characters throughout each section are so great, and as an ensemble they have so much chemistry. I've seen words like synthetic, choppy, etc. thrown around about this show. And if you don't like it, hey! That's great. Not everyone is going to like every show. But those are the farthest words from what I'd use to describe this show. It just feels so.......authentic. They know what this show is and believe in it every second they perform. Again.....sorry if that's a little bit of word vomit. I'll do a combined one when I get back home mid week. Every show had something great in there, and again, those kids and staff doing this are incredible people bringing something incredible to a football field. If I didn't have drum corps to follow, I'm not sure what I'd be passionate about. Love this activity.
  41. 31 points
    At a minimum, it's about time they separate Percussion into separate judges for Battery and Pit, since it's ridiculous for them to be running back and forth between the two, especially when they have to go all the way around the huge pits of today and avoid all the speakers and mics, etc.
  42. 31 points
  43. 30 points
    Can I get this off my chest? I love Crown. I'm a brass player and they make my socks roll up and down. But that singer...Bless your heart darlin' and I know you're trying but...
  44. 30 points
    ...I stumbled on this crazy internet place called Drum Corps Planet after finally throwing in the towel on the old RAMD threads and She Who Will Not Be Named. After that, DCP became a growing, and growingly important, part of my primary and favorite hobby - this thing we do. I've learned posting etiquette by forgetting everything I learned on RAMD, I've embarrassed myself foolishly and been forgiven, been chastised, laughed at and with, made new wonderful friends, and hopefully avoided making enemies. I've learned more about important subjects like the finances of the activity and corps, and been amazed about informative subjects like the tone quality of different horns, the breathing practices of athlete musicians, and the practice habits of top drum lines. I've learned from other posters about judges and judging, I've made friends, and shared PM's, with corps directors and leaders of the activity. I've built a community of like-minded show sponsors with whom I share and receive tips on running a DCI tour show. My DCP presence has resulted in my being connected in different ways with the individual corps that have entertained me for years. DCP has given me a place to share my drum corps passion with my family, and pass it on to my children. There are others here with more posts than I and I respect the dedication to their passion. But I didn't want to waste my touchstone 10,000th post on anything other than expressing my thanks to Mr. Donovan for his hard and gratis work in building and maintaining this place to only satisfy his and our passion, and to his mods for their patience in allowing me to express myself. And to the many "friends", both real and in-person as well as "alias" that I've come to know and share many, many fun and entertaining hours, I offer my great and humble thanks and gratitude. DCP has been a fabulous place for me to enhance my passion for "this thing we do". Yours in the spirit of drum corps and what it does for us and for kids, Garfield
  45. 30 points
    Dear DCI, I spent the last 10 years of my life, religiously following drum corps, and had the opportunity to march for a couple (Blue Stars 2005, Minnesota Brass 2010). Over those 10 years there have been experiences that I’ll never give up, people who I’ll never forget, traditions and philosophies that I practiced in the military, and even now going through college. In my opinion, DCI has lost its roots to the history of Drum Corps. In 2005 I auditioned for the Cavaliers, and the first thing that Jeff Fiedler said to us was “If you’re here to win, then you don’t belong here. Either go two thousand miles west, or a thousand miles east to do that.” These were words that as a rookie, I had no idea why anyone would not strive to win. Later on in the month, Chad Armbruster called me up, and said we have a spot open if you want it. Thinking that I’m planning on joining the military, this may be my only chance to join a corps, so I took it. For the first half of the season, I thought, “if I don’t join the military after this season, then I’m going to go back to the Cavaliers”; I even strived to get better at the Cavalier style of marching, for practice. It wasn’t till mid season, for our home show, that we added the Star of David to the drill, and premiered it for our alumni, and families. There wasn’t a single person in their seat when we hit that chart, people were crying, the crowd erupted, and cheered till they couldn’t talk anymore; even now, just recalling this instance brings a tear to my eye. When this happened I started to realize, that maybe it isn’t about the scores, maybe it’s not about me but that it’s really about being with the people around me, the alumni, those people we were performing for. From then on, it was all about those around me, not going back to the Cavaliers or a division one championship contender. Shortly after, I went to the doctor to find out that I had gotten bronchitis, which was really close to pneumonia; I refused to quit, even for a day to get better, I kept going no matter how bad it got. It even earned me the nickname ‘coughdrop’. After a lot of dead grass, even more sunburns, and finally getting to finals; when we were getting ready to march on to the field, I heard someone say “These guys deserve to win everything”, sitting there at the end of the show, watching possibly the longest standing ovation ever, and seeing people all around us crying as we marched off. During retreat, all I could think about, was Fielder was right; it’s not about winning, not about the scores, not even about us, it’s the fans, those people who go to one or as many live shows as possible, that without, we wouldn’t exists, I wouldn’t have gotten the experience, and made the friends that I have. Now I’m not going to sit here and talk to you about G vs Bb’s, or amps, voiceovers, synths, or even an old school having only a 50 yard line with marching pit members. Because even with the changes along the way, the appeal to the audience has stayed there. From the 88 scouts playing Malaguena, to the 95 Cavaliers playing The Planets, to Phantom 89, 96, 03, 08, even now bringing back Nessun Dorma and making who knows how many people cry. I even enjoyed Jersey Surf’s ‘amped’ phone call “about packing enough underwear” while having “a good band show, with his drum corps”. Some corps still uphold the integrity of how important the audience is, and ignores the scores. Now I’m sure you already know one of the corps I’m referencing to, and before I talk about them, I just want to say that I respect the corps, and members, and all the hard work they have been through to put a show on the field. But when I was watching quarterfinals in the theaters, they announced the future corps coming up after intermission, and for each corps, people cheered, and it louder each time, until the Blue Devils. You could hear a pin drop, when they announced the Blue Devils, even when it came time for the performance. The focus was not there, no one cared at this point of time, why not? Why are the fans, the audience not interested? I guess the better question is, why are corps being rewarded for a technical show that takes all interest away from the fans? I don’t know one person that I’ve ever marched with, that would willingly stay in a corps to win a title, on the basis of losing the audience. I have a friend, who I served with in the Navy; he left the Cadets after 2005 when they did it, refused to march for them again. This activity is no longer about the audience, and I appreciate the corps who stick with it, but it seems that in order to win, the corps have to break their bonds with the fans. As I said before, I only marched one year of junior corps, then I joined the military. I spent my age out year (season), on deployment off the coast of Somalia doing piracy operations. The only thing that kept me sane, was looking at the scores every night. Finally seeing a corps that deserved to win more than once, rise to the top, made the deployment that much more enjoyable. When I got out of the military, I joined Minnesota Brass; just remembering the kind of respect that they gave the Blue Stars in 2005, with loaning out their horns to us, and sharing the field during an encore. In Minnesota Brass, I saw even more respect between the corps, in 2011, when there was a marriage proposal with a couple of MBI members, the Govenaires stayed behind and played for them. Another instance was when the Buccaneers stayed off to the side, instead of marching off, to cheer on Minnesota Brass, for the championship run. They cheered for a corps that was potentially going to end their 6 year championship streak. The fans stayed behind to watch a cancelled encore, after retreat. I saw a corps member in a wheelchair, and they pushed her around the field to make sure she was involved in the show. In 2005, we were told to have respect for all corps, and it doesn’t matter if they were in front or behind you in standings. The fans have respect back in DCA, and they want to be there and cheer for everyone, especially since the shows are designed around them being entertained, in DCI, I think they’ve lost that respect. With all things considered, I think I’m going to have to part ways with DCI, maybe temporarily, maybe permanent, depending on how things turn out in the future. I will always remember what my time in a junior corps taught me, the life values, or when they refused to teach me the definition of ‘easy’, ‘quitting’, and ‘failure’, and the new family that I made, and will never forget. I will stick with DCA, and will return to March again for Minnesota Brass, and will enjoy the comradery between the corps, members, and fans. I feel that DCA will never lose its history of playing for the audience and alumni, more than technicality.
  46. 30 points
    I just called an official on your behalf and you have nothing to worry about. Here's what you need to do. Go to the ticket office with a photo ID and the ticket you've still got. Tell them what happened and that you don't remember if the lost ticket is one number before or one number after the ticket you've still got. They can look up your purchase on the computer and establish which ticket is missing. They will then give you a ticket location form that you will use to get into the stadium and also use to present to someone in case they find your ticket and attempt to use it for free admission. And if someone does do that to you once you're there, (or if they get there first), alert an usher. I hope you now feel better about what happened.
  47. 30 points
    Hi All, A couple of days ago I posted a little something about how I loved the Blue Devils. I still do. But much in the same way I love peanut butter & chocolate malts, and really dark oatmeal stouts, I wouldn't make all my guests in my home eat or drink it. There is room for variety. There just is. The opening 2 acts in 1988 at DCI Finals were Velvet Knights putting Pee Wee Herman into a boiling pot in a tribal dance, and Suncoast Sound showing us anger and an atomic blast nightmare. The Bridgemen were hated when they went "bananas" on us after switching to the long coats, after years of being St. Andrews' with the cadet style uniforms. "That's not drum corps!" "You can't see their feet!" "They're not marching!" "Look at their stick heights!" "Disgraceful colorguard!".... I remember all that very clearly. 2012 Blue Devils. You're awesome!! Don't stop being awesome!! But... I'm not telling anyone else they have to like it. Try the cookie dough shake. . . and have a Miller Lite. It's all good. peace and love, Chuck Naffier
  48. 30 points
    As Revolution's Drill Writer, I can tell you we have approximately 4 Brass spots available, they are in the trumpet and mello sections. We do already have a tentative Baritone member for our last low brass hole, but we're happy to talk to any low brass musicians to discuss other opportunities as well. (Trumpets are a lot lighter than tubas) ;) We have spoken with several Teal Members directly, and are working hard to ensure they get to complete their season either with our ensemble or someone else's. There is also discussion about sending a van or some sort of transport to bring a group of members so they don't have to feel like a "loner" coming in to the new group. I told the director this morning that I will re-write the drill if I have to. We're already 90% full of our original instrumentation of 32Br/20G/14Bat/10P... GIVE ME A REASON TO WRITE MORE DOTS!!!! But if you're a Teal Sound or Racine Scouts member, we would be happy to welcome you with open arms. Please don't hesitate to contact either myself, or the corps administration directly I'm also the guy working on building the new website, so please be kind about it's sparse nature at this stage of the game. Teaching the members is higher on the priority list ;) Come finish your summer!! Michael "Big Mack" McGlothlin Visual Designer Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps
  49. 29 points
    I guess the marimba was on the wrong side of the...well, you know...don’t make me say it...
  50. 29 points
    The DCP Habitat is wild, weird, and wonderful. A brief field guide to the kinds of wildlife that can be found here is below. However, I am not so bold as to say that I have explored the whole of this environment; thus, the results of your research are also welcomed. SuperFans are easily distinguishable as they often have the corps logo as their avatar or corps name in their screen name. They are also known for repeated cheering on show threads as if they themselves were actually at the show. Often, SuperFans live in their own threads, but some venture into the wider world. Of these, many mix well with other SuperFans, but some types are easily upset by numbers or the Blue Devils. These can be dangerous when cornered. The Parent is very excited that son or daughter is in a drum corps and amazed and thrilled that they have found a place online for people just like them! They are known for asking well-meaning but somewhat screechy questions about scores, periscopes and pictures. Unfortunately, the Parent often cannot cope with the harsh environment of DCP and the lifespan is usually brief. Some, however, adapt, survive, and even thrive. The Unified Field Theory of Drum Corps, born in the fevered brain of the Messenger and scrawled upon the whiteboard of a glowing screen, is meant both to redeem past failures and restore drum corps to its former greatness. That is, if the arch-reactionary elements are soundly put in their place. The Messenger's incessant and repetitive chatter often drives away others, but woe betide the unsuspecting soul to whom the song becomes a siren song. The Dinosaur can be found in both herbivorous and carnivorous varieties. Herbivores are placid creatures, contenting themselves with saying 'back in the day' and patiently chewing on old recaps. Carnivores violently attack anything, with exception of brass instruments in the key of G. Both herbivores and carnivores are destined for extinction. The Mathematician seeks meaning in numbers, constantly putting them into series and sequences. DCP Mathematicians are divided between those who will compare numbers from different spatial/temporal universes, and those who hold that only numbers from the same spatial/temporal universe can truly be validly compared. The rival camps continually accuse each other of failing to understand the rules of numbers, with some mavericks going so far as to state that the rules themselves are based upon false premises.
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