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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 34 points
  7. 29 points
    I am new to the forums and really only created an account to thank someone for posting such wonderful pictures of the Cadets. However, this post is so disheartening to me. You see, my child just spent her 3rd year with the Cadets. She marched The Power of 10, Awakening and TFTFTF. The POT show got the Cadets 4th place and this year the lowest of the 3 years she's been involved. However, this summer was by far her favorite and most enjoyable. I have never seen her so devastated over a season ending as I did 3 days ago. She is still crying because she misses the show, the corps and 149 of her best friends. If you could have seen the looks on their faces at the banquet and the tears that were being shed because those kids had to leave each other, the show and the corps behind until next summer you would need no explaination at all about what the Cadets are about. I appreciate that everyone is entitled to an opinion but I just wish, as a mom of a Cadet and a fan, that people would be more tactful in their postings. Being a Cadet has a far deeper meaning than any placement or medal. Please remember that. My heart breaks reading such negativity from people towards the Cadets.
  8. 28 points
    Parent of a first year DCI MM this year. And just wondering if the whole notion of "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" has ever been introduced to this community. I really don't mind at all reading constructive criticism of all the corps as long as that's what it is. But when it turns mean, rude, vitriolic, and just crusty, I have to wonder what joy people get out of trashing 17-22 year old kids who are busting their ### for 16 hours a day to make themselves better. My kid marched 2 years of DCA so I stayed mainly in the DCA section of Drum Corps Planet. And for the most part, that seems to be a fairly polite community that encourages all the corps in the activity. In one month of posting here, ( and now 4 days of shows rolling out), I've seen things posted about the shows, the corps, the staffs, etc. that simply make my heart hurt. Criticism? Sure... "I think XYZ Corps could improve by doing ABC"...for sure...bring it on. Nastiness? No..."This show is an absolute trainwreck. The whole staff should be fired and the kids sent home tomorrow." Nope. Not appropriate. Rant over.
  9. 24 points
    Excited (more than anyone can imagine) that I will get to see my son perform live in competition for the first time this evening. Should be quite a big crowd, hoping it will be a very lively one as well. Aside from the fact I'm not qualified to comment on how good (or not) any corps' performances are, I suspect I will only to get to see a few corps perform before Spirit as some face time is on the agenda. The very best of luck to all of the corps this evening - stay hydrated and have great performances one and all!
  10. 23 points
    im in tears...that was an elite performnace...no doubt..yes im homer..never saw them this good...ever
  11. 22 points
    So far, so good. Well, that didn't last long. Did it? Well, actually, you didn't say it until you just said it. But that's just my opinion.
  12. 21 points
    nope same old ending to tour....Indianapolis, again.
  13. 21 points
    A year ago I alluded on here I wanted to volunteer or spend my summer some way on the road with a corps. I’ve now been home a few days and had a chance to reflect on the amazing and life changing summer I spent with the Bluecoats as an administrative intern. Had a hard time writing this one, it was so hard to say goodbye to easily the best thing I’ve ever done with my life. Details on page 53. https://www.drumcorpsworld.com/publications/2018/august_17/#page=53
  14. 21 points
    Ok, home from the show. What a show it was!!!! Despite the line up not being as strong this year, I still believe Mile High Stadium is one of the best venues for drum corps there is....crystal clear skies, GORGEOUS stadium, excellent acoustics, a fantastic breeze...just perfection. Battalion started the show strongly. Definitely a corps that is totally present in the exact spot where they should be in their growth trajectory, if that makes any sense. Not too ambitious, not too easy; just right for their corps right now in terms of achievement and tour capabilities. I truly look forward to seeing the future of this corps! I was very happy to see Scades rebounding strongly after last year's odd dip at the end of the season really seemed to place a step backwards in their solid growth upwards. It will be a battle between Surf, Spartans, Legends, Genesis (in my opinion), and now apparently Guardians, Gold, Louisiana Stars, & Southwind (whew that's a crowded tier) to take the last three spots for Semis. They're solidly in the thick of that group, and a well-designed show, which is always Cascades' strength, will keep them towards the top of that pack. Just clean clean clean it, please. Guard quality seems to be a noticeable step up from last year. I really would love to see this group prove last year as just a one-off backwards step as a result of some end-of-season mishaps & sicknesses. The show is there, it just needs to be cleaned. Frankly, I expected them to pop around a 64 or so tonight --- I was a bit surprised at their stagnant number. Nothing in the show really grabs you and sticks out like the previous few years, but I must say it's all quite interesting and engaging. Definite commitment to the "around" theme. A professional group with a mature design. Oregon Crusaders...I want to love this show so bad, but it did disappoint a bit. I adore everything about this corps every year, so I really wanted to like the show more. A ton of potential, but it honestly didn't get as deeply into The Shining with references as I would have liked....seemed a bit half in-half out with the theme, and if you're doing The Shining (or any literary reference), I need balls to the wall literal references peppered throughout...otherwise the show occupies a vague space between hinting at a design based on a book/movie and being a design based on a book/movie. It was a weird nebulous space that I didn't like the show occupying; I definitely found myself wanting much more and not getting it. The Uninvited ballad right now has a ton of potential (see The Woodlands HS 2011) but just flat out isn't written well, it's a bit of a train wreck with a too-soon, imperfect, and messy climax (and no one wants any climax described by those words), which is sad, because the Danse Macabre & Copland Organ Symphony sections are written WONDERFULLY. It's all good, I'm just not as in love as I was with Hunted, nevermore, Encompass, etc. Gloriously dark in parts and clearly not as thought out in others. And one thing I'm used to from Oregon Crusaders --- 600% commitment to whatever theme they do! I look forward to being fleshed out throughout the season. Unfortunately, there's a ton of cleaning to be done as well, and I don't know if there's a ton of time left for both in the season. Pacific Crest was a real pleasure tonight, and I expect they'll stay above OC the rest of the season, happily occupying an island in 18th place (World Class, BDB & SCVC not counted) the rest of the season. I don't think the corps will touch the Finalist potentials of 17th on down, nor do I think OC, Genesis, Music City, etc will be able to catch them. I loved PC last year, and this year is yet another step up quality-wise, both in terms of design and performance level. Just a ton to love in this show. Incredibly well done from a design standpoint, and very well-executed by the corps. Just a great show. I legitimately loved Troop, and I haven't in the last few years. This is by far the best marriage of Troop tradition and audience-friendly meat that the corps has had since Magnificent 11. Terrific, terrific performance that I truly believe is underrated and has every business hanging with Colts, Scouts (especially Scouts), & Spirit. Sure, Welcome to the Black Parade is an excellent opener, and I love it just as much as everyone else, but the rest of the show is no slouch either --- they're playing the snot out of that Danielpour piece. What I think I love the most is the refreshingly seamless visual transitions from a corps that has given us stilted & forced visuals the last two years. This design is sleek, smooth, and absolutely perfect --- the slow ebbing & flowing of the drill from one side of the field to the other over the course of the show, the transitions of the jackets, the guard integration, it's all just perfect. The mms of Troop this year are dripping with pride & grit in their performance of the show, and I was 100% on board the entire performance with an often-not-favorite corps for me. They really had the audience in the palm of their hands; there's just something magical about this show that we haven't seen since Magnificent 11, a really unique blend of tradition and modern, all wrapped up in an easy to appreciate package. Totally on board with this underrated, under discussed show this season. Speaking of glowing reviews, The Academy will not surprise me in the slightest if they land back in Finals this season. This show is quietly building steam at a rapid pace and doesn't seem to be slowing down --- the design is unquestionably top 12, and the always-talented members of this corps are being given what last year never was: a vehicle that can be perfected instead of constantly rewritten. With a strong show to clean and nothing holding them back, watch out --- The Academy could absolutely edge out any number of last year's bottom 5 finalists. Certainly, their design is superior to Blue Stars or Phantom. What Lindsey Vento seems to have brought to The Academy this year is an unrelenting eye for detail. Everything just WORKS, and every transition is flawless and well though out. The show is just clean, crisp, and classy as hell from top to bottom. If this is the direction the corps is headed, it's hard for me to imagine them not securing a Saturday night spot year after year --- they're just that good, and the design is matching. Smart, mature, detailed, and moving. BK was lovely. Bizarre, but lovely. Hey, isn't that what we love them for? I have to say, this is probably the truest-to-the-original arrangement of various sections of Rite of Spring I've ever heard on the field, marching band or drum corps. And NO ONE does color like BK does. I do wish the visual demand was ramped up a few notches, and I'm afraid visual content will again be their weakness when August rolls around. Color guard is a step up from last year, but still not quite to 2014-2015 levels. I want to rag on the visual design a bit more, but honestly, I'm still trying to figure out if it's actually problematic or if it's merely so far outside of the box that it's jarring me, which would be fine. It's easily the most stripped down and "nude" visual book of anyone in the top 15, and that certainly carves out a unique niche for the corps, and one that they've earned. The brass line is insanely great. SCV, what to even say? Perfection. I would have left happy having only seen SCV tonight and no one else.They're the real deal this year, and that's all I have to say. Totally spellbinding for 15 minutes. I do have a difficult time imagining this corps being bested at the season's end.
  15. 20 points
    I can’t believe this is here. What an incredible summer. Enjoy it everyone!
  16. 20 points
    Great thing about a show close to home? Visiting the practice site so my daughter can spend time with her cats posted from the DrumScorps app
  17. 20 points
    My boy just called. They are not performing tonight. Academy is taking care of them. They are in shock and emotionally drained right now but will be okay. I can't tell you how good it was to hear his voice. He also shared that SCV may play Elsa's at tonight's show in honor of them.
  18. 20 points
    I just came across this. It would be perfect in this year's show! It's a MIRROR CHAIR!
  19. 19 points
    Hey everyone, I'm new but I had to post because there are so many obvious things going on I had to share. Below are some less obvious, in no particular order: Bern 1905 is the year a young Einstein first began to scribble out the theory of relativity. You can imagine the numbers dancing in his head, much like the show. ​ You can read cos in the opening segment then, the corps makes the cosine of a line. Hyperbolic geometry is the basis of einstein's theory used to explain black holes. The theme of the stretched-out S shape (cos of a line) is throughout the show and reinforces the concept of Einstein in each instance. ​ The rolling bass drum serves as visual weight (gravity) that pulls the battery through the spread form on a 45. This idea comes back when Bass 5 serves as the gravitational force during the crazy brass runs. ​ Gravity, more specifically-a form of attraction, is explored in context of of two lovers whose love may prove boundless. As we all know Einstein explored the idea that Mass (see: Gravity) may ever increase as we approach the speed of light, preventing us from ever reaching the speed of light. Impossible, you say? The rotating prism is a fun hat tip to his use of a prism to show that light can be bent, and it should follow that space time can also be bent from the force of gravity. ​ The clock sounds after the first hit seem random and ethereal, but to say that misses Einstein's point. If Space time is "bendable" then it follows that time is NOT constant, but instead relative and multiple clocks/time may exist simultaneously. Think: clocks on clocks on clocks. ​ ​Soloists sprint to the middle of the first form, being pulled by gravity. ​ There are numerous panning effects, musically and visually. Each is an instance of bending space time. ​ The other effects are just a great drum corps show!
  20. 19 points
    Lots of corps had days off to do some cleaning and clarifying. This thread is for talking about how your perception of some shows might have changed after viewing them tonight (hopefully POSITIVE!!!!!!!) Carolina Crown: I had only seen this at the theater showing in TX at the beginning of the year. I didn't think that I'd ever really buy into it. Tonight made me change my mind. Throw around the "cheese" comments all you want, but this show just works. The brass is already fantastic. And I think they're doing a much better job of selling the transitions between "Rach" and "Rock". Klesch is a genius. Blue Devils: Typically, I'm a BD honk. But when I first saw this show, I thought it would be a pretentious mess visually, with some very nice musical moments. I'm still not a huge fan of all of the stuff all over the field, but it's coming across so much better now musically and visually than I ever thought it would. LOVE how they're stretching out some of the big lush moments with the brass. The more they do that, the better, IMO. And instead of the visual becoming all about the stuff on the field, I really think it's being used a lot less obtrusively now that the performance level is getting up there.
  21. 18 points
    Another great show in Allentown. “They” all sat near me tonight. In front of me was the “Drum Corps died when the Chicago Royalaires disbanded” guy. Next to me, a kid who aged out last year who had no idea Drum corps existed before he marched. And of course Jeff Ream’s favorite: the band kids who claim their shows are better than those on the field sat behind me, and Mr. Clover, whoever you may be, your young charges claim you were consulted by every corps who placed 1st. through 10th, and maybe Cascades and Surf too, but your young charges were late. And you should sue BAC, Crown, Cavies, Crossmen, and Mandarins. They stole your ideas. Cascades: they had the tough job of opening the show. I think their show is good, and it should be strong enough to make semi’s. Jersey Surf: I’ve said before, Surf needs a show that keeps the marching members engaged and this show fits the bill. The switch of uniforms was flawless. Pacific Crest: A change of pace for PC. I found the show to be strong, especially the brass. Colts: seemed off tonight. The uniform change was a bit sloppy and at some points they did not seem engaged, at least compared with what I saw in Lawrence a few nights ago. Spirit of Atlanta: the show is similar to last year in that it is good, but not quite strong enough for finals. I did enjoy the three different uniforms. Phantom: they have worked hard this year and it shows. It is not a Phantom show from yesteryear and a great deal needs to be done for Phantom to be a major player, no question, but they have improved what they have and deserve credit for that. Crossmen: this was my first time seeing them this year and I enjoyed them more than I expected. It’s a fast paced show and the guard was amazing. I also thought the drum major had quite a bit of personality. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Crossmen and Phantom give each other a run for their money in Indy. Mandarins: a solid performance. I thought the story telling details came across better this evening which I missed in Lawrence, perhaps because it is a busy show. Cadets: they have been busy over the past few days. I’ll have to admit when I first saw the hats, I thought “Mad Hatter” but in the show they worked well. I do wish the “We Can Do Better” was just a drum solo. It worked for me earlier in the season, but less so now. However, what I did feel was an energy. Cadets will get the most from that show they can. I don’t think it’s impossible for them to hold on to 7th ahead of Blue Knights and Blue Stars. Cavies, Crown, and BAC all had great runs. I did think the scores should have been closer, within a point. Cavies were as I expected: a solid show that is strong overall. I found Crown’s show uneven on Thursday but thought after last night’s show they could catch SCV which I think most of us thought would be Cavies or BAC. BAC tells their story better than anyone, and where the top three were so good, placement could have gone in any way, but being nearly a full point behind Cavies and over a point with Crown is hurting them.
  22. 18 points
    after reading the first 5 paragraphs, i'm pretty sure I disagree with you on multiple levels. I felt lots of groove, i was moved emotionally, and I cant stop humming the ballad and closer. so your 1-3 towards the end of your dissertation i disagree with every one 10000%. And this from a guy who has #####ed about DCI arranging for years
  23. 18 points
    I was wondering about her the other day. If that's true, I'm glad she's able to move on and continue with the activity regardless of what happened.
  24. 18 points
    If the winner is based on show complexity, visual, and design... folks, I just witnessed the winner. This SCV show is one of the best shows I have ever seen. I screamed a "wow" a number of times just for the visual stuff the guard was doing. Incredible. So together. I hope everyone can see them live. Fantastic performance!
  25. 18 points
    Disclaimer: I am not a BD honk (if anything, more of a Cavies and Crown fan, well, at least earlier '00's Cavies) I was about to post this in the latest anti-BD thread, but it was locked by the time I finished writing. Throught it might stimulate some interesting conversation: In the circles I travel in it is generally accepted that from around '00-'08 the Championship was Cavaliers' to loose. With the way their design staff was putting together music and visual, if they didn't push too far such that they couldn't clean it up ('03), or pick something that did not have a strong enough visual component ('05, '07, and '08 itself), the gold medal was theirs. None of us could see how any other corps would be able to put together music and visual in a way that could beat Cavies in the years when their staff got it right. But then in '08, the Blue Devils showed us all something we hadn't seen before. I remember seeing Constantly Risking Absurdity live for the first time and being blown away by the game changing nature of it. Though they had won in '07, it was only because the next greatest challenger was Cadets with "This I Believe...", and THAT is saying something (not to mention Cavies with Billy Joel, a show I LOVE musically, but a theme which has little to offer in terms of strong visual connectivity). BD '08 was a clean break with what they had been doing for the past 7 years or so. I remember almost feeling like the Blue Devils staff got tired of waiting around for Cavies off years and their own ON years to line up (I mean, they freakin lost with The Godfather Part Blue!!!! that must have hurt!!!). When none of us could see how anyone could beat Cavies in the game of combining music and visual, BD went out and changed the game in an important (and in my opinion exciting) way and has been pursuing that same model ever since. The Championship is now BD's to lose and has been ever since '09. Don't like it? Figure out what's next.
  26. 18 points
    So let me get this straight... you're complaining on an Internet message board about the fact that people complain on Internet message boards?
  27. 18 points
    A lot of people will be happy. A lot will be mad. And we will talk about it endlessly....
  28. 18 points
    I just came up with reality, but since this topic has been beat to death, I'm just trying to make it at least a little interesting. Trying to peg the changes in drum corps over the last 40 years to the creation of DCI without also recognizing the huge changes in American society and the world around us is a wasted effort. To put it in perspective, the 'glory days' of a drum corps in every town lasted from about 1955 to about 1970 - a fifteen year period, coinciding with the baby boom and the height of vets involved in their local post. Now, take those two elements out of the equation, and what do you get? Fewer potential members, and fewer adults to manage the activities on a volunteer basis. Were there competitive marching bands in the 60s at the same level there are now? Nope. Is marching band a way for kids to play music and move without having to spend huge amounts of money on tour fees and camps? Yup. So for the 'casual' teenage user, competitive marching band does what local drum corps used to do. Were there travel teams for soccer, la crosse, and baseball 40 years ago? Nope, not much. Was WGI around to offer high school age performers a competitive experience in a much less time-intensive atmosphere than drum corps requires? Nope. What percentage of kids are growing up in single family households now vs 1966? A lot more. When mom isn't working, does she have time to run the sewing crew for the local drum corps? No, she's probably just trying to figure out where she left that #### bottle of vodka she put down on Sunday night before beginning her hellish week working full time for a crappy paycheck. The factors that allowed drum corps to be the only game in town in the 60s have changed due to an expanded menu of available options and a shrinking number of potential participants relative to the entire community. It happened. If anything, I'd imagine that the very existence of drum corps today is only BECAUSE of the DCI setup, since without that independent organization, drum corps would have had no champions left to make sure it survived.
  29. 17 points
    No matter what happens tonight let’s all remember that shot of the Knights trumpet player sobbing as he played his last note of the season. If there is anything else tonight that is more memorable than that, you aren’t doing it right.
  30. 17 points
  31. 17 points
    Explain how you were able to recognize Vanguard.
  32. 17 points
  33. 17 points
    Literally any year BD doesn't win at this point is an upset.
  34. 17 points
    Lol @ people who complain about slotting and then get bent out of shape when a judge has the audacity to give scores out that are not the status quo what do you people want?! Even Crown's staff acknowledges their guard is ROUGH right now and the Cavies have been hiding under the radar this whole season in general. Have any of you seen Cavies guard? One of the most athletic guard books I've ever seen, it's mesmerizing to watch them
  35. 17 points
    The best part about Boston's performance tonight? They performed in the 4th spot and it felt like they belonged.
  36. 17 points
    How recently did he take over? So not everyone likes his taste in uniforms. Who cares? I had more fun watching drum corps last year from Bluecoats down to Les Stentors than I ever had. And part of that is what he's talked about over the last few years. Every corps has a voice. Every corps has something in their show to get us on our feet. And IMO he has had a part in that, and for that I'm very grateful to him on what he's done for the activity. He always seems incredibly passionate, excited, and just like he loves the activity. It's so easy to pin blame on him for what we might not like in shows, but when it comes down to it corps themselves made that decision. I wish him a happy retirement and all the best. I'm certainly not gonna trash talk the guy from behind my keyboard as he is finishing up a pretty big part of his life and I imagine he's pretty emotional about this being his last season. I hope Mr. Cesario has a great 2017 drum corps season.
  37. 17 points
    Dear vets: Please, for the love of all that's holy, do what YOU want to do. Do what's best for YOU. Maybe you want to stay with your current corps. Maybe you don't. Maybe you think you'll fit in better somewhere else. Don't let anyone talk you into staying (or going) if it's not a decision that you are comfortable with. Maybe you have a dream. If you do, chase it...or you'll never forgive yourself. It's not about the ring. It's about accomplishing your goals, and setting a tone for the rest of your life. Your DCI time is finite. Make the most of it. Signed, Someone who stayed when he shouldn't have, and then left while he still could
  38. 17 points
    Everything must have an ending, except my love for
  39. 17 points
    I have a dream that someday the entire activity will be run by adults.
  40. 17 points
    I'm just going to put this... here.
  41. 17 points
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT2ZAvNGfLI
  42. 16 points
    I think just the fact that we now routinely see Boston in the conversation for medalling and/or 4th is huge. This was a 12th place drum corps only 23 months ago. So proud of this organization!
  43. 16 points
    Preamble: I admire the work of all of the performers, designers, volunteers, and parents. None of this should be taken as anything but the good natured satire it is intended as. Ok? Ok. Let's begin. . . I've attended 7 shows in person so far this season. At each show, I keep forgetting to pick up a printed program, so I have no idea what each corps is performing but that's alright! As Genesis has taught me, I have the power of my Imagination(TM)! And while that may not land a man on the moon, it DOES allow me to write substitute program summaries for some of this year's shows. Here they are: Santa Clara Vanguard presents their 2017 program "Watch out for snakes." Join 12 intrepid 49ers as they embark on a westward journey, only to discover 50 years later they are back right where they began. The Boston Crotch Hankies hope you enjoy their 2017 production entitled "50 Shades of Chris Isaak. Subtitle: WITCH!!" Join possessed keyboard player Anna, DCI's least cringeworthy vocalist, and their 148 backup performers as they answer the age old question: "If teens perform a satanic ritual in the woods, and no one is around to hear it then must you burn the witch?" and also a love story. Side note: we plan to go the way of The Academy and Cavaliers last year and sell off rights to be in our show. Start saving now to have your ex-wife's name included in the spoken list of witches names. Cost? Probably less than your alimony payments. WITCH!! The Cavaliers are pleased to bring you their 2017 production "Meh" or "We really wish there was more Mars in this show, too." Don't fret if you forget the show title, we will literally say it 100 times during the show. We mocked Donald Trump during our 2016 program and he became President. We can only hope our mocking of men this year means they will, some day soon, rise to rule the world. The Madison Scouts (we think. We have a hard time picking ourselves out in the bus lot) decided to raid their dads' closets this year and throw together a combination of Hawaiian shirts and motorcycle gear for their show "Not Mad Max" featuring not them music of Mad Max. Follow our hero, not named Max, as he maybe raids an old folks home searching for oxygen and perhaps gets in a fight with a rival geriatric gang. Don't worry if you are confused, we are too. Side note: we know ballet type posing and squatting has no place in a masculine, post apocalyptic show, but it's on the judges sheets, so bare with us. Fresh off their DCI championship in 2016, the No Coats decided the only way to repeat was to go bigger! That's why they decided to join forces with the only franchise larger than themselves to bring you the 2017 production of "Jagged Line: the Harry Potter story from Harry's scar's perspective." You'll delight as this horcrux finally gets the spotlight. Time will slow down as images of bowler hat clad wizards and witches recreate all of your most beloved scenes from the series. Thrill as the horn line magically appears out of nowhere to do battle with the "dark arts" of the judging community. Please note: for the performers safety, this show CANNOT appear immediately before or after Bostons. The Crossmen have doubled down on field filling props this year with their show, entitled "Prop & Circumstance." The props are so essential to the design that we actually a use corner-to-corner rope to perfectly align them before our opening set only to them immediately move them. You won't believe your eyes when our props do amazing things such as: kind of frame the horn line, sort of frame the drum line, not very opaquely frame the guard, and block off large sections of the field so we don't have to march in them. On the plus side, we can store flags inside them, so that's kind of cool. That at is all for now. More to come, perhaps.
  44. 16 points
    Goodness sakes...I guess I'm getting soft in my old age, I felt bad about saying something about the Crown singer, bless her heart. But I don't think I could work up the kind of vitriol for anything besides a terrorist perhaps, that I've seen on DCP. Life is short. And a lot easier if you accentuate the positive and keep a handle on the negative. I'm not singling anyone out in particular but it's early. Let's give them a chance.
  45. 16 points
    This is like Bill Cosby complaining that his date wasn't a good conversationalist.
  46. 16 points
    Garfield, it pains me to point out that Aristotle was a Greek, and marched in the fourth century BC. The Greeks were basically G7 until about the first or second century AD, long after Aristotle aged out. They then dropped to open class for the next couple millennia. Now, the Romans were medaling until about 400AD, before going inactive due to poor management and Huns.
  47. 16 points
    Maybe I've had one too many scotch and waters, but I just finished watching the Stanford show and I gotta tell ya', BD is incredible this year. I'm no BD honk by any stretch, but the epiphany came to me after watching, and loving, Crown. Their show is spectacular in all regard (well, except drums). It made sense, the theme came over and over again, the lush horns, the long chords, exceptionally brilliant writing, OK drill. Cleaned up and torque that drum line, and this is a definite winning show. Then I watched BD. OMG! That show. I'm speechless. I've not been so engrossed in a BD show in years. I'm not sure I understand the poles ("Dances with Poles", hilarious and $1 to who ever said it first. Brasso?) But BD's show wins, hands down, on their drum line alone. At least 4 times I heard the drum line take center stage and, if they're THAT clean this early, they are going to be crazy clean in August. The show makes a lot more sense to me this year (again, think scotch perhaps) and, while I was a little "let down" with the ending, I can't get the rhythms of the show out of my head. I hate to make finals predictions this early, so I'll just say it's going to be a great fight for tenths to win this year.
  48. 16 points
    Forgot there was a show? Especially the first show? Impossible.
  49. 16 points
    Just back after around 11 hours on the road. This isn't intended to be a show review, I'm sure others can do a better job than me on that front. I just wanted to keep my promise to check in with my general impressions and commentary on the state of the art. Everything here should be prefaced with - "In my humble opinion".. Most important - as I have been saying all along and had confirmed for me this weekend - the kids are incredible. Talent is off the chart and the work ethic is still as strong as ever. We sat in on practices for Crown, Teal and Surf and can't say enough about how hard these kids work, and how well rounded they are as mucisians and performers. Bravo! :worthy: :worthy: Overall.... There were some incredible shows out there. Loved Phantom, Crown, Crossmen, Scouts, Crusaders and despite the responsibility I place on Hopkins for the charge toward amps etc that he has spearheaded over the years, I loved Cadets. I felt they were the better corps over BD last night. Despite some rumblings I heard about SCV I thought they had a good show, but there were a few things, DCI, that got on my nerves and stop me short of being an unqualified fan-boy again..... 1 - Themes. Who gives a rat's ###? I would have no idea what half the themes were out there unless you told me, and then - what's the point? Yet we seem to go out of the way to sell the theme. I really don't care and wish you would lighten up on this intellectual-emotional wanking. 2 - the big one - A&E. This will take some explaining. There were two big problems for me on the A&E front. One was the use of what I will call "non-standard" instrumentation in the pit. Teal Sound absolutely buried their battery feature with a violin, electic clarinet (?) and bass guitar. As a former snare drummer, if I had been out on the field all day trying to clean up my part in the feature to be tromped on by three over-amped instruments in the pit, I'd be some ###### off. Yes - the violin and hammered dulcimer sound leading into it was pretty, but frankly, I don't want to hear it at a drum corps show. Yanni concert, yes, Nigel Kennedy concert, yes, DCI, no. The violin player was very talented, but used WAY too much. Sorry to pick on Teal, they actually had a fun show for the most part, but gave me too many cringe moments to really be enthusiastic. Crown was another example. I have to say for the most part I LOVED Crown, but the piano thing at the beginning was a "so what?" moment. I would have been far more impressed with the mallets handling this than one guy playing it on the synth. The hit of Bohemian Rhapsody was incredible, but the lead in - not so much. At the end of their show - the synth again, sounding a lot like the guitar riffs at the end of the "Frampton Comes Alive" album. Didn't need it, certainly didn't want it, and to me, it killed an otherwise powerful ending to a great show. There were many other examples. Those are the ones that especially stand out in my memory as great moments ruined or reduced by the pit toys. Second - the goo.... I thought Colts were bad for this until I saw Spirit - big grungy pedal notes stomping all over the tubas on every push. I was ready to get behind them but just couldn't. I'm sorry but there's nothing impressive about one finger holding down one key for 8-12 bars. You've got between 12 and 16 tubas out there working their guts out - let me hear their hard work, not one finger on a key..... Sound effects - what was the killer bee buzzing I heard in a couple of shows? What purpose did it serve other than to annoy? Same for the moog sounds, B-move sci-fi special effects, etc etc. I'm sure they're intended to set a mood, and they certainly do, but not the one you want, if you know what I mean.... Samples and voice overs - Cavaliers show was a bust for me because of the constant Nature Boy clips. After the third one I was thinking "Again? Really???" and of course, it wasn't over yet. The energy just dropped out of the show in those moments. The best thing in Cavies show was the jumping bit and that was all of 10 seconds. I personally had Phantom ahead of them, but I never seem to get it right with the judges. Same for Devils. You have arguably the best hornline in the world out there - why waste so much time with sirens, movie quotes and gun shots? I felt like Devils were holding back throughout their show, but maybe they were being held back. Last thing - props.... I didn't like them in the 80s and this "innovation" hasn't really gone up in my esteem. I thought Devil's props were pointless and cluttered the field. Cascade's cube hid the battery for most of the show and was an unnecessary blob in the centre of the field. Most effective use of props goes to Blue Stars, but I'm pretty sure I saw this prop in WGI 8-9 years ago. The good stuff... Shows are pretty entertaining. Crown won me over as a fan (despite the comments above), Boston and Regiment had wonderfully emotional programs (although I had no idea what Wagner has to do with Romeo and Juliet!!!). Crossmen were all kinds of fun and were probably the most goo-free corps over the two days. Glassmen are no longer "boring their way into our hearts" - I really enjoyed them. I had to look past the sampled singing on the entry but Blue Knight's block entrance was impressive as hell and the show was engaging from beginning to end. Overall it's good to see the guards being featured with equipment exchanges and high demand work, which they are handling extremely well. I forget who it was but someone had a flag-rifle feature down the 50 which brought back memories of the Kingsmen. My theory.... I don't think the pit has ever been really respected in the corps. They're the kids that don't do parades and don't do the sweaty marching blocks, etc etc, and the designers are trying to give them some well deserved respect by overbalancing the show design in their favour. There are multiple pit features in many shows, at the expense of horn and battery playing time. They are also huge - too big for me. And for all the talk of improved technique as an anticipated result of amplification, I'm not seeing it. I'm just hearing a lot of mallet over top of the rest of the corps. So I'd like to see the pendulum swing back to a more balanced position in featuring the different elements of the corps. Right now, it's pit - heavy. Final verict. There are many points where I have to grit my teeth, or am ready to cheer, only to have that enthusiasm sucked out of me by the goo. Including it in the show is a grave disservice to the kids on the field. However, I don't think those cringe moments are enough to keep me from going back next year. Walking around the busses in search of some kids who we know are marching was like coming home. I know this place, these smells, these sights. I have missed it for far too long. I'll be back, DCI, but with reservations. Please don't take my concerns, or my continued support, for granted. Epilogue. For the stalwarts that stuck it out through the rain, Bridgemen Alumni were a blast!
  50. 16 points
    You can explain it anyway you want. The fact is, it wasnt nesceassary when all the greatest, epic shows of all time were presented and since its inception, no "greatest shows of all time" have been created or enhanced by electronics...they have created more headaches than highlights, have not altered playing technique, kept costs down, brought new members in, or created more fans. Out on the football field the acoustic version of drum corps is what always has worked best. Evolution and change are fine, but not for the sake of satisfying ones ego at the expense of the product, the members experience, or the fans enjoymnet. Geoffrey
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