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About MiamiNight

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  1. Both are outstanding, quality organizations who support each other. Both encourage positive family atmospheres and will continue to train your daughter as a performer. As a Emanon homer I lean towards them, but I think both are great. You should note that for the upcoming seasons, Emanon will be fielding an Open and World guard, while I believe AMP will stay in A class. This may make a difference depending on your daughter's skill level. If after the spin clinics she's still undecided, attending both auditions might give your daughter a better sense of what's a best fit.
  2. Akron Cinecast Review Let’s start off with some disclaimers. I’m a guard person, and I’m much more active in the winter than in the summer. I have no musical training, so I can’t comment much on brass or percussion. I mostly watched the color guard and overall visual effect. With that out of the way, here we go. Cavaliers: I just could not get into this show because of the cheesiness factor. My guess is this show looks and feels much different under the lights, because during the day it felt comical and forced from the guard. The guard characterization was not right for me – I know that’s what they were given, but as an overall concept I think it was wrong. Also, didn’t Crossmen do this a few years back? Positively, the marimba feature is awesome. I enjoyed the drill; lots of visual impact and some clean moments from a guard perspective. The guard relies heavily on the 8 weapon boys – kind of obvious that there are some flag members that are struggling. Cavies have a high upside with their visual, but there needs to be a more mature vibe from the color guard. Scouts: The commentators nailed it at the end of the performance: what was the significance of the actor who walks from one corner to the other corner, does a tumbling routine, and then show’s over? I know this characterization will be added in, but they’ve created so many moments around him that to not explain him or his role was criminal. They even had a show designer talking about the show who made no mention of it. I like the progression from black and white to psychedelic. The guard has a lot to clean and clarify, but I was underwhelmed by vocabulary and impact. Another reviewer said there weren’t a lot of impact moments, and I agree. What’s memorable about this show? Corps proper uniforms weren’t impressive, but the guard looked good. Overall, I would have put them last tonight. Boston: Okay, I liked this show, and I’m trying to separate bias. Michael Lentz show design is all over this production, and it’s obviously something new to DCI, let alone Boston. The corps struggled through their first performance. The visual demand is sky-high, and achievement is way behind. BAC has so much work ahead of them to clean up visually. That said, I love the moments. I am familiar with Lentz’s style in the winter, and it’s clear they went visual first (as opposed to Bluecoats/Scouts music first). The guard personifies the show, and I thought they struggled to meet a high-demand show. Weapons probably had the most drops of all corps. The last minute or two of work still needs to be filled in. But again, I like this show. I didn’t need a storyline, and clearly they know where their moments are. I thought they should have been closer to Cavies, but obviously a lot of dirt to be cleaned and filled in. I am looking forward to seeing where this show is at the end of July. Phantom: Totally opposite from Boston in terms of readability and cleanliness. This is probably my favorite PR production in sometime. Clear storyline that’s not totally hokey. PR’s guard puts a lot of emphasis on clean, readable work; although to me it looked like harder work than last year. They need to work on some of the transition stuff, especially uniform changes because it was just way too forced instead of an impactful change. The music was very enjoyable, and complimented the visual. PR has a history of adding onto their visual over the summer, so I look forward to the additions. As it stands now, they just look safe. Solidly middle of the finalist pack, and only ahead because of clarity. Very similar to last year, and I could see them getting passed by a corps or three. The white guard costumes were correct, but not totally flattering to the girls. Characterization was spot on – they expressed themselves wonderfully and believably. My favorite moment might have been the wing-flapping free arms under a toss. I’m not sure what more beef can be added to this show, so it will really be up to other corps to see if they can catch up to PR’s polished show. Cadets: I saw their run-through they posted as a live feed, so I spent a lot of time watching my friend who was featured in a lot of parts. Great overall show, and felt more traditional than the corps around them. Music was great as I love Copland. Guard was performing at a high level. I am wondering about the costume changes and hoping that adds more to the visual program. I don’t really like the blue costumes – they don’t seem to be the right shade to evoke Americana and lore. My other big criticism was the long phrases of ensemble work. I wanted to see something a little more interesting instead of the whole guard spinning the same work. That style is great for an effect, but after a while loses its luster. I see why the corps is winning; there is not a down section of the show. But I do struggle to come up with a memorable or signature moment besides the ending, which is mostly memorable for being a big musical hit. I could see this show leveling off and falling out of a medal. Crown: This was a hard show for me to consider. At times, the show was championship caliber – pushing boundaries, creating amazing visual impact, and interesting and entertaining music. But, there were also moments of nothing – no impact, no emotion, and using props/equipment just to be using props/equipment. And so I am not sure if I like this show or not. I don’t think the trampolines add much – there wasn’t anything super cool being done with them. I liked the Frisbees, but did not like the hoops the guard danced with. I hated the guard costumes – looked very high school and not like mature performers (exception: the face mask was interesting). If Crown can resolve the dead portions of their show and eliminate some of the cheesiness I would be much more on board. A lot of high achievement from the guard, but the costumes made them look young. I had similar feelings about the corps proper uniforms – I think it makes the corps look short (or maybe it was a bad camera angle). There’s a lot to play around with in this show, so I am looking forward to seeing where the show evolves. Bluecoats: Another show where I spent a lot of time looking for my friend in the guard. As an aside, I have no idea how the DCI judges stay focused for the whole show. There’s a lot of tenacity there. Back to Bloo, this show was great, but still a step behind Crown/Cadets. The problem with moving up in the rankings is you have to knock someone out, and I’m not sure if they can dislodge Crown/Cadets/BD for a medalist spot. The programming was great – I really enjoy the concept of tilt with the props and the altered field. One example – when the guard spins around the perimeter, it’s a great effect as opposed to when Madison did it which looked thin and too spread out. I appreciate a lot of the nuance, but I think they need to dial it up to take a crack at the corps above them. I love where the show is going so I hope they can pull it off.
  3. In a last minute organizing effort, my friends and I roadtripped up to Chambersburg from DC. We are all guard people, so that's what I can judge. We watched Bluecoats ensemble - I remember why I have a love/hate relationship with outdoor. Here are my thoughts, coming primarily from a guard perspective. C2 "Les Miserables" - Enjoyable show music. Can't say I'm that familiar with DCA, but they are comparable to an Open class DCI corps. The hornline was carrying the corps tonight. Unfortunate for the members that they had to warmup in rain and preform in the mist. From a guard perspective, I was surprised that their show is still very incomplete. Several members marched without equipment work, and there was a lot of tuck and carry from set to set. The guard uniforms weren't particularly effective, although I liked the color combination. The costume, to me, is too modernist for what is straightforward show/music concept. I liked this corps, but the Guard has a long way to go. Raiders "The Raven" - After watching them warmup, I was pleasantly surprised with how well they preformed. I loved their costumes and flags. Very effective in the show concept. The rifles have a door knocker on them, which they actually used. Unfortunately, there is a wide variety of achievement levels in the guard. Technique was not apparent in much of their work, especially the weapons. I think some of the book is overwritten. To me, Raiders CG would benefit greatly from a simpler, more refined show that demonstrates some solid technique. From a whole show perspective, I liked Raiders. Please tone down and take away the large majority of the narration. The Raven is evoked with the open line of the poem and the characterization of the guard. I'm okay with some of the more famous quotes, but it is frustrating to hear the whole poem, which drowns out the sound of the corps. Boston Crusaders "Rise" - A big step up from Raiders. Solidly a finalist. I loved the musical choices, and the corps was very effective at presenting the concept. Two kids lost their shakos, which was distracting for a moment (find the hornline with the missing shako!). The guard is a big visual aid to the corps because of the color variation from the flags and rifle. I thought the guard was pretty solid, but with some critical errors. The transition from taking almost the whole guard onto rifle was so exciting, but the final soloist dropped, which unfortunately ruined that effect. I was impressed with the rest of that feature though. For a long part of the closer, the guard is all on flag in a unison moment and mostly in the back. I think this section could use more variety, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a rewrite coming. Overall, thoroughly enjoyable. Bluecoats "To look for America" - I cautiously am liking Bluecoats. Someone else said that they seem to be flirting on the line between being totally patriotic and being more controlled, and I agree. I would not have minded a more patriotic, pops brass style. The voiceovers are a little much at times, and I don't understand why Agnus Dei and Hallelujah were included. The bleachers are a cool prop, and are well used, but the final staging doesn't seem right. Compared to other corps, the guard doesn't carry as much of the visual responsibility. That said, the staging was great. From a performance perspective, Bluecoats were opposite Raiders in that they seemed more nervous in their run than in their warmup and earlier practice. I didn't feel the performance from the guard. Overall, I'm not sold on this show yet. I think it's possible, but for me it hasn't clicked. Phantom Regiment "Triumphant Journey" - Diametrically opposite from their competitors Bluecoats. Bluecoats guard was aggressive with challenging work that showed that the members were not yet confident in it. Phantom's guard took the approach of simple, pretty and CLEAN. With the exception of the middle third of the show, the guard was graceful and pretty. I will admit that perhaps because it was clean I didn't see it, but I did not see much complexity or difficulty in their work. Their dance work and technique was impeccable, but I don't feel it was exceedingly challenging. My other big complaint with Phantom is the disappearance of the guard for two extended stretches of time. And in another section, half of the guard is performing, first on flag and then on sabre, while the other half carries the white tree branches. I should mention that I thought spinning the swords (and I mean swords not sabres) was very cool. The excellence of the Guard was exceedingly high (absent some sabre difficulties in the middle), but the substance was just not visible to me. I applaud them for looking finals clean by early July, but I think that should translate to some more difficulty in the writing. As a corps, I liked Phantom but this is not the fan favorite of other years. Cadets "Side by Side" - Wow. Wow wow wow. Extremely impressive. I though this show would be an "Angels and Demons pt. 2" but it was clearly not. A lot of duality, but very well balanced and not antagonistic. The corps was great, but the guard was simply awesome. Challenging work that was mostly well achieved. I don't like the uniforms, but the color choice is right and gives the show structure. Their props are towers that rotate for each color choice (yellow, orange, red, and purple) and roughly correspond to a movement in the show. The guard also spins some unusual almost airblade-type thing, which is interesting. Although I've only seen BD and Crown via video, I'm totally okay with Cadets taking another title this year. Can't wait to see everyone again with the corps swing through the Mid-Atlantic!
  4. Here are my picks: Scholastic A - (G): Jamestown HS (S): Minooka HS (B): Lyman HS They make finals: John A. Ferguson HS Independent A - (G): Artistry in BLUE (S): Luminosa (B): Stonewall Ind. They make finals: Patriots Scholastic Open - (G): Claudia Taylor Johnson HS (S): Cypress Bay HS (B): Mechanicsburg HS They make finals: Cape Fear HS Independent Open - (G): Interplay (S): Field of View (B): Identity They make finals: Lexis Scholastic World - (G): Carmel HS (S): Flanagan HS (B): Arcadia HS They make finals: Lake Central HS Independent World - (G): Pride of Cincinatti (S): Onyx (B): Blessed Sac They make finals: Emanon
  5. West Broward opened in 2008-2009. They mostly split from the aforementioned Everglades High School, which lost 1/2 to 2/3 of their band program (and color guard) to West Broward. West Broward also split from Cypress Bay High School (7th in SO this year. While Everglades faced somewhat of an identity crisis and un-supportive administration following the split, West Broward, Cypress Bay and Flanagan have had much more supportive administration and band booster programs. Just goes to show you that building a successful program means engaging your administration and band boosters. Congrats to all of these Broward County programs!
  6. Predicted prelims finish: Round 1: Pride of Cincinnati Blessed Sacrament Fantasia Imbue Diamante Orlando Visual Light Brigade Etude Lake Erie Regiment Round 2: SCV Aimachi Black Watch Opus 10 Emanon Alter Ego Juxtaposition Eklipse Perpetro Independent Round 2: Onyx Zydeco Braddock Independent First Flight Cypress Independent Paramount Black Gold Rhapsody Ars Nova Semis results: Onyx SCV Pride Aimachi Blessed Sacrament Braddock Zydeco Black Watch First Flight Fantasia Opus 10 Imbue Cypress Independent Emanon Alter Ego -- Orlando Visual Diamante Black Gold Paramount Juxtaposition Finals: Onyx SCV Pride Aimachi Blessed Sacrament Zydeco Braddock Black Watch First Flight Opus 10 Emanon Fantasia Imbue Cypress Independent Alter Ego
  7. Round 3 Black Gold (9:20 PM) – My sincerest regards to Black Gold – you guys got jipped. A starting spot in the third round is not right for this guard, but an unfortunate quirk of scheduling (a tenth of a point higher and they could be performing 50 minutes later in Paramount’s spot). They’ll comfortably move into semis, but performing in the first three spots probably prevents them from getting into finals. The show is good, and their soloist boy is great. Positive show message against bullying and being yourself. The newspaper floor and costumes work well. The show design isn’t mature enough for the next level of competition, but it’s a great show for where they’re at. I wish I could see it on the DVD. Ars Nova (9:30 PM) – Two years of getting kicked out of finals after being in for prelims looks to have taken its toll on Ars Nova. This group doesn’t look to make semis. I think the show is cute. They present “It’s alive”, which starts off pretty soundly but trails off a bit. It seems to be a bit over the performers heads. I also don’t think they connect strongly with the theme, but that may be hard to do with, “it’s alive.” Overall, the show is cute, but thin. I hope they come back stronger next season. Rhapsody (9:40 PM) – With just Ars Nova separating them, Black Gold and Rhapsody will be vying for the pro-gay crowd with “Somebody to Love” using the song of the same name. Unfortunately, someone has to do it better, and that someone was Black Gold. There’s great things happening in this show, but overall it’s a little bit hard to watch. The guard doesn’t match the song in intensity or focus. I don’t understand the things on the floor, and the black and white don’t match the color of the song. There are lots of tricks, but still a lot of inconsistency and drops, especially for late March. Individual mistakes hurt here. I think this guard had a lot of potential, but with such little time, I’m not sure they can pull it together to move up. Cypress Independent (9:50 PM) – Agh, my ears. Cypress presents “Ex post factum”, or After the Fact. I think they play Adele’s music backwards, and then play just a snippet at the end of their show to tie it together. What gets me is the thud, which just irks me. Besides the music, the group of spinners is great. Their book is good, and they spin it well. Unfortunately, the show concept is a little two strange, and I think the pathway they lay from corner to corner restricts them too much. It’s hard to think of memorable moments form this show. We all knew Adele was this year’s it song; Cypress tried it and was only partially successful in my opinion. I think they’ll spin their way into finals, but it’s a tenuous grip on their 12th place right now. First Flight (10:00 PM) – In contrast to Fantasia, First Flight’s look at the Holocaust is much more light-hearted and optimistic. What I found the best was their ending flag feature, which was spotless on the Fan Network and utterly beautiful. Their equipment work is up to par, and the opening sequence with the squares is pretty cool. There are some moments of significantly less energy in the show, such as starting slow, but the ending pulls this together. I’m curious to see how they stack up against the west coast, and semis will be interesting to see where they get put. Paramount (10:10 PM) – Paramount does a tribute to film with their delightful show. Black Gold’s scheduling loss doesn’t help Paramount either, as they get sandwiched between First Flight and Braddock, both solidly better guards. That said, I think this guard is doing better than what they are getting credit for. I like the televisions and the tribute to film. I can see Michael Lentz’s drill stamp on this show. They still need more huzzah to bump themselves up to the next level of competition. This is a well put-together show. I don’t think it’s enough to bump out another finalist, so check them out in prelims or semis. Braddock Independent (10:20 PM) – Braddock’s show is about PTSD, Post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s a fierce Braddock show, with loud music and fast spinning. Michael Rosales’ dance work is great as always, and their guns can spin. For me the, first two minutes are fantastic (even if it is the same trick from the past two years). Then its two minutes of pretty good stuff with their weapon work. Then the last two minutes loses me. Strangely, their flag feature wasn’t clean, and it didn’t wow me like First Flight’s did. I dislike the running around, and the dancing at the end was veeeerry color guard (I’m hoping it will be fixed). I’m afraid for me there are just too many people on the floor, which leaves for some cluttered sets. I’m normally a big Braddock fan, but this year doesn’t hold up to last year. I think the medal is out of their hands this year. Onyx (10:30 PM) – Wow. This is world class, and a strong front runner for the championship. Onyx presents “The Blank Canvas.” A blank white floor, simplistic black costumes, and a big pencil-like object set the stage for my favorite show this season. The level of execution is outstanding. I know ripping silks on and off poles isn’t terribly new, but the way they do it is still entertaining and exciting. The flag soloist is one for the ages – she’s outstanding. There’s interesting body shapes and ensemble moments, but this show isn’t going to change the hater’s minds of what color guard “should” be. Onyx has a favorable round and will almost certainly take the lead into semis and finals. Zydeco Colorguard (10:40 PM) – Sac’s sister guard in theme this year is Zydeco’s “The Tin-Man’s heart.” While Sac looks at the various emotions of the Wizard of Oz and presents them in the context of the movie, Zydeco takes the singular emotions of a man without a heard and how that works in our world. I liked this show more as the season went on. You can see Michael Shapiro’s handiwork in the flag feature (which is very good). I like the yellow brick road floor. I really like this show, but it’s got its share of small issues, such as cleanliness. I think this show should be challenging Braddock and Sac, and I look forward to seeing them live in Dayton.
  8. Round 2 Eklipse (7:40 PM) – In the same vein as Etude, Eklipse has some nice moments strung together with a very mature Open class show. The door props are interesting, but the show needs more huzzah to get it higher up. The group hasn’t been out since the Cincinatti regional, so they may be able to show up a couple of close guards (Etude, Light Brigade), but I think their current ranking is about right. A nice start to Round 2, but meatier guards coming up… Perpetro Independent (7:50 PM) - …after Perpetro. I’ve seen online that this guard was formed by people wanting to spin, and that’s the effect I get. A nice show, and welcome to World Class. Juxtaposition WG (8:00 PM) – While we start moving a step up in terms of world class maturity, Juxtaposition still needs refinement. I like the show about time (and love the music), but the show comes and goes in terms of performance value. Certain moments are sold, especially some ensemble moments, but little things are lost, like the flags coming in. I think the show is just too far behind others close to it to fight into finals. Alter Ego (8:10 PM) – Into the solid contenders for finalists block. AE’s concept is “i”, which sounds intriguing, but I’m afraid it doesn’t translate to the floor. The silks are pretty. There are clear moments, like when the weapons are up stage to the left and weapons downstage to the right , and they sell their show, but I don’t think the performance covers the show. The music is interesting though. Someone told me that was Brittany Murphy’s face – true? This show needs some work before finals, and I think other groups could pass them up if they don’t sell their show. Opus 10 (8:20 PM) –In complete contrast to last year, I truly like Opus 10 with “Fearless Symmetries”. The show is fun and zany, with exaggerated movements and quirks. The show is still very much in the style of Opus 10, and movement is still the strongest part of this group. The read is simple and understandable, but still with enough variety and layering to keep the show exciting. The judges are hitting them on G.E., and there are some transitional places, but the talent is there to just watch them dance and spin. The music is jazz-y (?), and I smiled watching it. Is it good enough to hold onto last year’s placement? Landing mere tenths behind their West Coast competitors, Opus 10 may have what it takes to schmooze their show and get the judges to smile. Emanon (8:30 PM) – I think this show is demonstrably better after someone explains the show concept. Emanon presents “Rise and Fall”, which is a non-literal take on the Tower of Babel (similar to Sac, “ooohhh”). You can hear a couple of the quotes scattered into the music (“so they will not understand each other,” “who are you,” “that is why it was called Babel, etc.”). You can see Mike Lentz’s handiwork in the drill design – very reminiscent of the craziness of Onyx the past couple of years. I’m torn on the show. On the one hand, I love it because of its intensity and complexity. On the other hand, it’s confusing and it needs cleaning and polishing. This show is a finals contender IF it’s clean(er). Will Emanon surprise everyone again and rise into finals, or will it fall out after being close to top 10 at one point? (heh. pun) Aimachi (8:40 PM) – Presenting their program “?” Aimachi will be surprise fans with their rendition of something. Just kidding, I don’t know anything about the show. And few people do, besides Michael Gaines. I think their video submission should be put on the Fan Network (everyone else had one up); they’ll have the element of surprise. However, this could backfire, as in 2009’s prelims score. Apparently the video puts them into the top 9 seeding. I usually enjoy Aimachi, but I’d like to see a few less batons and a few more interesting twirls of rifles, flags and sabers. Black Watch (8:50 PM) – Putting together one of the stronger seasons in a while, Black Watch took second at the Northeastern non-power regional with “Together we can make it.” No doubt about it, this guard does “This Bitter Earth” the best, but picking a popular song this year does take a little away from. The music does a lot for BW, and the emotion is there. The big question for this group is how they will stack up against the trio of west coasters (Fantasia, Imbue and Opus 10) and if they can take Zydeco. On the other hand, they could fall into the clutches of some of the guards right behind them if they lose the emotion in a big venue. Design wise, I think the colors are weird and the uniforms are not my style at all. Lastly, sheer again? Please don’t become that guard. One year was cool, and that was because it fit your theme. This year, I don’t understand it. GE points aside, that’s fan points I think you’re losing. Santa Clara Vanguard (9:00 PM) – Strong like “John Henry”. SCV takes another stylistic change, presenting a live narrator and an enormous guard. I like the presentation – from preshow to finish, this show is thought out. And it’s great strength of strong design and great performance that give me the strange weakness of this show to me – too much control. I guess I don’t connect with this show as much as I do some of the others at the top. I like the story-telling and there are some great features, like the blue flag statement and the laying of railroad tracks. But to me, the show just passes me by without catching me (sidenote: I wasn’t caught by last year’s show either). I think the show is great, and definitely a medalist contender. But I don’t think it’s a lock, and I don’t see this show being regarding as a legendary great. I’m hoping seeing it live changes my mind.
  9. So I’ve watched every group on the Fan Network, except for Lake Erie Regiment and Aimachi. I’m assuming Aimachi makes finals in the top 10, because they’ve been drawn into that group. This is my take on the whole group from top to bottom – please enjoy. (Again, biased views included – take with grain of salt. Please feel free to add your own thoughts. ) Round 1: Light Brigade (6:00 PM) – It’s Light Brigade. Fantastic tricks, but small guard. Actually, considering the group took last season off, I think it’s a pretty decent show to come back with. Unfortunately, they take the same Peter Gabriel “In your eyes” that SCV and others are using. I know you’ll struggle to make it to finals on-time, but it’s worth it for this show. Etude (6:10 PM) – Using Tori Amos’ “Silent All These Years” and boxes, Etude continues in their second year in world class. I like their flags in the middle section of their show, but as a whole, the show is just… a little lacking. The show is shorter, especially when compared to the marathons of the upper echelon of world class. In my opinion, it’s a very mature open class show. Lake Erie Regiment (6:20 PM) – Not on the Fan Network. The real question is how this group affects the later groups. Orlando Visual and Diamante are both in the hunt for finals, but going on after L.E.R. doesn’t give a good basis of comparison. Unfortunately, L.E.R. in this spot might pull down the scores for this round by judges trying to leave room at the top. Orlando Visual (6:30 PM) – “It’s a Man’s World” – This show has grown on me, but I still don’t think I really like the show. As a friend mentioned to me, it’s hard to take serious any group with a pink floor. The split guy/girl guard is cool, and I think visually it’s used well. On the other hand, the props are not useful, and I don’t think they add to the show. They also create an enclosed space by walling off the sides, which makes this group appear cramped and cluttered. 36 members and 18 huge portrait-like props are a lot on a gym floor. I like the weapon book, and it’s a great first statement from the boys, IF it’s clean. I’m looking forward to what they bring in Dayton, and I’m wondering if they squeak into finals. They sit in 15th going in – can they fend off Diamante and Emanon? (P.S. – can someone explain why they use “OTV/OVT”?). Diamante (6:40 PM) – Uh, what? This group is very tribal, sporting bald heads and earth tones. The props and movement also suggest primeval. I think this group is performing what they are given, and the tosses are sky high. But what’s the “zing” factor besides the tosses? The other thing is that the music doesn’t build, develop or grow. The show draws us in, but then just leaves us there. Diamante sits just one spot out of finals, but have to push past Orlando Visual and hold off Emanon. Thankfully, OV goes on right before them, giving the judges a head-to-head comparison. May the best group take it. Imbue (6:50 PM) – “Interior”. Another shorter program, Imbue comes to WGI looking to capture the same magic of Opus 10 last year and Fantasia the year before to make Top 7. With a household setting, I think its Imbue’s strong ensemble sections that give them that “umph”. That said, it’s a small guard, and ensemble sections, while powerful and interesting, don’t seem to give the same World Class intensity that I see from other groups. Whereas most groups have lots to look at and take in, Imbue doesn’t seem to have the same “I see something new every time I watch.” Kudos to the weapons and strong performers, because the show doesn’t allow for any person to hide. But to me, the group loses a little depth with the straightforward show. Blessed Sacrament (7:00 PM) – Can a world class guard be considered cute and adorable? “O-Zone” from Sac looks at the emotions from the Wizard of Oz (for those of you who didn’t get the show yet, ooooohhh is the appropriate response). From the preshow to the work to the floor and costumes, I love this show. Is the floor a little cluttered? Possibly – they have a large guard and people have to go somewhere. But I think the show sells itself. Sac is reaching for a medal, but I’m not sure they’ll be able to grab third (Onyx and SCV seem to be locks). Whatever their final standing, Sac took the fun parts of last year and transformed them into a whole whimsical show. While Zydeco took a serious look at Oz, Sac is fun and I look forward to seeing them. Pride of Cincinnati (7:10 PM) – Another contender for that final medalist spot, Pride’s Christianity show amazes me. Michael Gaines has some master staging, and the work is phenomenal. But the best part is that the show is the intellectual part. Pride asks you to consider whether there is a God or isn’t one, and uses the voices and imagery of Christianity to great effect. I think the props are some of the best in World Class. This show is memorable, but is it enough for 3rd? Fantasia (7:20 PM) – “That show”. First off, boo. Fantasia’s request to remove themselves from the Fan Network was in poor taste, and has left a sour taste in my mouth all season. The chatter is they changed their show, and removed the offensive parts. But the design decision from the start was poor. If it was in poor taste and WGI strong-armed them into taking the video down, WGI deserves the fault and blame for not taking responsibility. If Fantasia did it, then they shouldn’t have designed the show in the first place. (side note: I guess we are now finding boundaries in world class). Back to the show, I find it interesting, but there’s one thing that gets me. Fantasia’s tradition includes 2008’s all-weapon show that was breath-taking and standard-setting. Any attempt by Fantasia to go all-weapon will be inevitably compared to that group, and unfortunately this group doesn’t match up. The show is strong, but I think Fantasia’s design team face-planted here. Top 10 quality obviously, but intangibly frustrating.
  10. I agree that the video should be up on Fan Network. In my personal opinion, it's especially pompous to present a show every weekend in a gym, but claim that it could be offensive and not have the video shown. Fantasia's design team, and the rest of the Winter Guard World, has been fully aware from the beginning that their show would be on Fan Network. As a paying subscriber, I'm deeply disappointed in WGI. If WGI and Fantasia feel the show is offensive, add a disclaimer! But taking it down seems to me more like politics and horse-racing then actual concern for the audience. I hope WGI will reconsider its stance, or offer a partial refund to those of us who expected to be able to watch Fantasia and all of the other performing guards.
  11. Yup, looks like Nease HS has been promoted into Scholastic Open. Congrats!
  12. Mission Viejo's is a Chinese song, and I can't seem to find it without using Chinese characters. Thankfully, Soundhound on my iPhone recognized it. In Chinese it's 冬天来了。 It's sung by 丁薇. It's transliterated as "dongtian lai le", which means Winter is Coming. I loved the song, and its been on my iPhone since I found it.
  13. Here are my realistic predictions: 1. SCV 2. Onyx 3. Pride 4. Blessed Sac 5. NEI 6. Mayflower 7. Braddock 8. Crown 9. Black Watch 10. Diamante 11. Fantasia 12. Cypress Ind. 13. Juxtaposition 14. First Flight 15. Opus 10 How I would judge it: 1. Onyx 2. Pride 3. NEI 4. SCV 5. Braddock 6. Blessed SAC 7. Black Watch 8. Diamante 9. Fantasia 10. Juxtaposition 11. First Flight 12. Opus 10 13. Premonition 14. Imbue 15. Cypress Ind. I haven't seen Mayflower, so I really have no idea where they will fall. And I'll admit I'm not impressed by Crown at all. For SW, this is just a hybrid what I think and what I like. Carmel and Avon just don't strike me like Trumbull and Arcadia, but you can't deny the technicality of it. 1. James Logan 2. Carmel 3. Avon 4. Flanagan 5. Arcadia 6. Trumbull 7. Warren Central 8. Marian Catholic 9. Choctawhatchee 10. Miamisburg 11. Lawrence Central 12. Seminole 13. Center Grove 14. Rancho Bernardo 15. Center Grove
  14. READER BEWARE! Not all of this review is positive. I sometimes offer my own opinions that are not always PC. While every performer should be encouraged, I do find faults in shows (it’s a competition!). So apologies before hand, but these are my thoughts. Although I caught a couple of novice groups, I missed all of B and JV class because of another commitment in the morning. I think SFWGA should consider splitting Guard and Percussion premier. The 8 am start was a drag. Also, could we follow the rest of the country and premier a week earlier? Also, how about more than one local show in March? Yes I know, the regional and then its Orlando, but really? And about that March show, thats the one you put in Palm Beach? Ah, I guess that's a complicated issue and money's tight for schools trying to host. Anyways, I got up early and enjoyed a great show. The gym at West Broward is brand new but small, and overflowing for the world class units. Coming from midwest gyms, I'll never understand this (for instance, my high school was 1/10th of the population yet had a gym easily double or triple that capacity.) Apologies in advance, it was a long day (I worked my two jobs besides the show), so some of the earlier SA and Nat’l A shows have escaped me. I forgot to take notes, so forgive the occasional lack of information. And on a tangential note, what do directors have against posting their show information online? I would love to know the title of your show and your music, because I found it entertaining and would like to let others know about it. I think it builds hype and gets people excited about your show. By the time its posted (early January), no one is going to steal your music or show idea. *grumble grumble* Starting in SA (which is Regional A elsewhere): Hollywood Hills (42. 7) – Unfortunately, this wasn’t the class for them. Good ideas but need to finish the show and I think they will drop back to SB. Cardinal Gibbons (52. 8) – Another unit pushing for this group. A larger group than last year, they’re blessed with good writing but struggling to pull it off. Cooper City (58.9) – I was surprised they didn’t score higher, but could understand why the judges placed them here. They folded their JV unit into the varsity and dropped all the way from Open. It makes sense, as some performers shined but the majority had first show-itis. However, the group has been trained and had some good moments like their flag feature. J.P. Taravella (61.8) – Another group that came down from Open (although it was A for half the year). Again, good moments interspersed with missing work. Liked it . ---Its obvious that the lack of a JV program can change a group’s goals and show for the year. Unfortunately until some of these units develop a feeder program, they’re combined shows leave me wanting more. The show will be great at the end of the year, but you’re left to wonder what if. – Miami Springs (62.3) – This was an interesting and exciting group. Their concept was great, and the music was intriguing. They swept the GE and Ensemble captions, thanks to a complete show and some great moments. I love the little rabbit ears. They’ll have to add in their equipment work, but I think this is a great start. Really liked this show. Miami Coral Park (64.6) – Congrats to good show that was also nearly complete. (Hey directors take note! It’s possible to have a good complete show by the end of January!) Their show was about the people of the night, with some great music from Roisin Murphy. Their weapons were hot, and the tosses sky high. The flags need some more oomph, and I was concerned about a couple of jarring soundtrack issues that interrupted the flow of the show. But I can’t knock the dancing or the concept. National A: I think these scores might be a bit inflated (giving a bit too much credit to Seminole Ridge before seeing the rest of the pack), but if they’re real, South Florida has some strong contenders this season! Seminole Ridge (69.5) – Finally taking the plunge into Nat’l A, they started off Nat’l A with a soft and pretty show. I think the artist was Missy Higgins (thanks Cooper from last year!) and the ladies managed it nicely. 12 ladies earned 2nd in Equipment thanks to some strong weapons and beautiful flags. I think they’ll need to put some more emotion into this show to get it where it needs to go. John A. Fergusson (71.7) – I was rooting for this show, but I think a music editor would be immensely helpful. I like the idea of “1,” which uses several versions of the song “One is the loneliest number” and gives many members a chance to spotlight themselves, but the soundtrack’s editing seemed off and at some points didn’t allow for good pacing. The spotlights though were outstanding, with good solos. The uniforms were sharp and the attitude was thoroughly given. Let’s hope the show cleans up to really showcase that attitude. Park Vista (72.6) – On a cool floor, Park Vista used a favorite song of mine (Return to Oz by the Scissor Sisters) and did a great job with it. Not a storylined show, but still entertaining. I liked the floor, but didn’t know if it meant anything (Z?). I’m sure it was practice silks, but color choices should be addressed. Really liked this group. Cypress Bay (77.4) – One of my favorite shows of the night, Cypress also took a larger group (No JV!) from their great marching band and made a good show about pushing people out of the way. Using a Regina Spektor song from her new album (I recognized it immediately but have since forgotten it), the group pushed people out of their way on the way to a good show. The weapons highlighted the show, and I suspect they come from last years group and the marching band. A couple of individual struggles, but another great show. Loved it! Coral Glades (78.4) – A well-deserved score from a well-trained group. I’ll admit, its not my favorite style of show, but I appreciate what makes this show good. Good design and execution, but it’s not the kind of show that makes a huge impact statement. West Broward (80.4) – Talk about making a statement! I think this score was a bit generous, but the ladies from this ensemble rocked their home show. Complete with show uniforms, silks and floor, they took the class with a complete, finished show. Their soloists rocked their weapon tosses, and they capitalized on their ensemble moments (no performers sticking out!). ON the downside, I couldn’t follow the show. I don’t really understand what it was about, although they used some Imogen Heap song from her new album. Clean it up and rock Dayton, because this show will be in finals competing for the top. Independent A: Medea (75.3) – Taking a giant leap forward from last year, Medea gave a great show about reflections in the moonlight. They used some giant window props, and although there was some “variation from performer to performer,” I loved the concept and the way it was presented. It was easy to follow and had good moments. I hope they continue to refine their show, and I hope they go (wish they were going?) to Dayton. Scholastic Open: Spanish River (58.2) – On the other hand, Spanish River may have taken a step back from last years 2nd place finish in A class. The unit had some strong performers, but some weak ones. And despite the fact that I’m not a fan of Sage-style shows anyway, this show was just not up to par. I couldn’t find a concept (flowers? [sarcasm alert! What a surprise for Sage!] sorry). I found my attention wandering. However, one moment was beautiful and gorgeous, and that was the build-up into the flag feature. That part I loved. And I know Sage shows finish strong, so we’ll see how this show turns out. Stoneman Douglas (61.4) – Stoneman took the year to reflect on their success, which means back to Open class and no Dayton. But the direction they took for their show was fantastic. They used Ingrid Michaelson’s “Turn to Stone” (one of the “it” songs this year) and overlayed snippets of previous shows into the music. The result was a beautiful and touching look back at their shows while trying not to “turn to stone.” A great memory/tribute show, and I found myself focusing even harder to get the references. Okay, so there were some weak links in the guard and some dead moments, but a fan of the this guard will appreciate the direction they’ve taken. It’s not the in-your-face Stoneman we’ve known, but I like this group too. Santaluces (71.1) – Wow, this was my other favorite show not in world class. I think this show was low-balled in score, and I think they have the show to push themselves to a great finish in Dayton. They were using last years floor and practice silks, but they created a great atmosphere with the song “Two steps away.” Great ensemble and GE moments, and I loved it. Independent Open: FIU (67.3) – This group made a strong entrance into Open class with a crowd-pleasing show. Similar to last year, their lack of uniforms make them look a little ragtag, but they were much stronger than last year. The weapons were good, and the blues beautiful. Clearly an early season show, I think this has a lot of room to grow and develop. It seemed short to me, and I couldn’t tell if it actually was (as in cut-off) or if it was just a lot going on and I couldn’t keep up. I’m pleasantly surprised by this show, and I hope they continue to get the most out of the pretty show. Scholastic World: Flangan (73) – A truly intellectual show from the class of South Florida Scholastic units. “Atlas Shrugged” takes elements from the book and weaves it into a classic Flanagan show. Although that is one of my complaints; Flanagan has a habit of presenting a somewhat formulaic show, and it comes off as slightly stale this year. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a great show with plenty to get excited about. But its not a new direction or a completely different idea, just good Flanagan. And although I like the music, it was used last year by Diamante (its from The Dark Knight). Their weapons were phenomenal, and the flag feature good. But I think the emotional element was missing as it has from their shows the last couple of years. I hope they made the guard read the book, cuz that would help the guard in my opinion. Really liked the show, but wanted that emotional pull I usually get from Flanagan and I just didn’t. Independent World: Premonition (69.9) – Premonition is making a name for themselves as the fast, exciting tricky show masters from Ft. Lauderdale. Their show about “Obsession” was rightfully exciting and unnerving. Here’s my complaint though: they’re using the same music as Diamante (and Flanagan [the Dark Knight – South Florida may be sick of it by the end of this season]) as well as Ars Nova (the 1-2-3-4-5-6 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 operatic music) did from last season. While these soundtrack choices are great (I do love the music), I question why you would use it when those two units will be some of your direct competitors this year. Choose something new. Also, the doors were cool, but as with any moving prop (doors, a la Northmont last year), they can be a bit distracting. One cool feature was the chalk they used to write on the floor with, but the point may have been missed. In the small gym, I couldn’t see it because of the vantage point, and I think in a larger gym you wouldn’t be able to read it either because its so light and so far away. Hopefully, they figure it out so it’s a great GE effect. All in all, I thought this group would’ve scored higher and closer to Braddock. I really do like the show. Braddock (76.2) – Wow, talk about some great dance. And after hearing what this show is about, I enjoyed it even more. It’s a step in a different direction, and gloriously awesome one. If it is about the last hour of Jesus’ life (and I think it is, with some fantastic symbolism), then this show is one for the ages. The show wasn’t finished yet I’m sure, and I can’t wait to see the end. Just jaw-dropping good. There’s still Braddock sexiness, but a little less crowd-pleasing and a little more seriousness. I loved it, and it was my favorite show. Can’t wait to see them in March. So that’s my review, and again sorry for the unkind words. I’m looking forward to the Ft. Lauderdale regional!
  15. Independence WG in 2006 with their "Cathedrals" show and 2004 Corona with "Basic Training" both jump to mind. The first is a moving show about loss in Europe during the World Wars. The second is a hard, in-your-face, Michael Shapiro show with tricks and physical strength on display. Two shows with very different takes on war.