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Everything posted by wheelerand

  1. Agreed. It's all opinion, of course, but I find that story and character tend to be distracting. A show with great formations and good, recognizable music is inherently entertaining - it doesn't really need all the "extras". If I want a story I'll go to a movie or read a book. If I want a soliloquy, I'll go to a play. Drum corps is trying to be too many things and is losing its uniqueness as an activity. Agreed on the Bluecoats show also. They were clearly the crowd favorite at DeKalb - the only corps that got a standing O during the show. The ramps are an effective prop given the theme of the show. I could certainly do without them, but they make sense and they don't get in the way of the drill much, unlike all the furniture some of the other corps brought out there. Also, the show builds well musically, which seems to put Bloo in a somewhat uncommon category this year.
  2. That's an interesting analysis and probably deeper than I could have gone. If I were going to pinpoint a year of change, though, it probably would have been the introduction of amps (and then later electronic instruments) rather than 2008. With that introduction, the potential for communicating a storyline increased dramatically, at the expense of the old "show, don't tell" mantra. Consider the Cadet's two-year Alice in Wonderland concept or their talk-show show. An interesting result of this is that show designers now have a chance to make political and social statements that they couldn't make before - such as in Pacific Crest's show a few years ago which depicted the development of flight and then made (in narration) several social comments about war, etc. Carolina Crown's Bohemia show in 2004 ended up with completely meaningless beat poetry in it, but at the beginning of the year the poetry was much different, full of social commentary (which I imagine drew enough negative feedback that they changed it). To me, these are not improvements. Shows are becoming more about the show designers and less about the performers. Play great music. March readable formations. Give me a guard show that looks like it's part of the whole corps show rather than a completely different production. I find storylines distracting, especially when they feature guard soloists cavorting around the field for the entire show. When the story is presented more as an abstract theme (a la Phantom this year), that's less distracting to me. I can't follow a guard soloist trying to communicate a story and still watch the show as a whole, so I tend to ignore the guard in those storyline shows. An exception this year is Glassmen, whose show I really like - but the guard soloists in that show actually function as part of the guard for much of the show, making the story easier to follow. The best example I can give of how shows are becoming more about the designers and less about the peformers is pre-recorded voice and other sounds. Seriously? Amplifying the performers is one thing (which I've learned to live with); giving them electronic instruments is another (which I'm still trying to learn to live with). But bringing in audio elements that have nothing to do with the performers? I'm astonished that ever got passed - major step in the wrong direction, IMO. So I agree that it's probably pressure to be more competitive. It's also show designers wanting more freedom to do "whatever". (Did you ever read Hoppy's justification for the introduction of amps? No attempt was ever made to explain how it would improve the activity - it was all about the effects he wanted to create. The number of times the word "I" occurred in that proposal was astounding.) I get it, but I don't have to like it. That said, I also agree that this year's shows are generally more entertaining than the last couple of years. In the early days of "wild west" (electronics), there was a sharp dividing line between corps that used it and corps that didn't - and those that used it invariably overused it. Now, I think corps are beginning to find a balance - a way to get electronics to complement the show rather than dominate it. Same with FOF (Furniture on the Field). With the exception of the Blue Devils and a couple of others, the FOF this year generally is not that distracting. I'd rather be without any of it - but I appreciate the balance that seems to be evolving. I'm also interested to see how this all evolves. Ultimately, the financial pressure to place in the Top 8 will make scores incredibly important, so the only way things will change significantly is if the sheets change.
  3. Biggest surprise for me was Glassmen. It's hard to judge performance on what we see on the stream, but I'd certainly have had them higher than they placed.
  4. OK, everyone, it's been real, but it's 7 hours until church tomorrow so I'm outta here. Great chatting with everyone tonight!!
  5. Well, good catch, but that's a little abstruse for me. As I read comments, most of the folks aren't getting it. Their impact is not matching their intent. They'd be better off without the props.
  6. Good call there. I found something to enjoy in every show tonight, and I can't always say that.
  7. Wow!! How in the world did you figure that out? I wasn't ever going to get that. And what's the relationship to the theme of a heart skipping a beat?
  8. My sentiments exactly. I've never liked props much, even when I understood them. But these I don't understand.
  9. Yep. I know, and it will be just as inane every time.
  10. Probably my favorite music of the night. It's really great to hear something I recognize. Not dissing the "music for music majors" style, but it's nice to hear just one corps doing something I've heard before.
  11. Totally agree - very distracting. I prefer marching.
  12. really nice brass sound. Liking the music in this one.
  13. Told my wife tonight that some show in the future I'm going to yell "Go Bob" for every corps, under the assumption that just about any corps probably has at least one Bob in it.
  14. "They're always ready"....yeah, yeah, we got it by now.....
  15. At the theater, I found all the poles extremely distracting. They spend more time moving them around than actually marching, or so it seems. Seems like the drill was really hurt by being broken up by all the poles and shapes. Hoping that the role of the FOF decreases over time in this show.
  16. Blue Devils (from corpsreps): The Beat My Heart Skipped A House is Not a Home by Bacharach, Burt Summer of 77 by Bacharach, Burt Walk on By by Bacharach, Burt One Less Bell to Answer by Bacharach, Burt Woman by Bacharach, Burt I Say a Little Prayer by Bacharach, Burt Wives and Lovers by Bacharach, Burt God Gime Me Strength by Bacharach, Burt
  17. I think I heard them say at the theater that SCV has Phantom's entire drum staff from last year.
  18. 666. Nice symbolism. You really can do this with just good drill.
  19. As SCV takes the field, I note that they are the sixth World Class corps out of six tonight to have no FOF (Furniture On-Field). And only BDC had FOF among the Open Class corps, and theirs wasn't very intrusive. I know that will come to an end with BD shortly, but I say kudos to the corps for putting out shows that don't need gimmicks. Well done!
  20. Santa Clara Vanguard (from corpsreps): The Devil's Staircase First Essay For Orchestra by Barber, Samuel Piano Sonata No. 2 by Dorman, Avner The Eternal Knot by Jenkins, Karl Etude 13 by Ligeti, Gyorgy
  21. Incredible brass. Best sound of the night so far, IMO
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