1. BK -- Our son is a mellophone ageout, so, after 4 years in DCI and 3 with BK, this show connected on all kinds of "I Remember Everything" levels. It's only natural this would be our favorite of the year and that, as the corps resolved into the BK dots and "were, at last . . . home," we'd be choking back tears. More objectively, as one of the GE judges said on tape, BK brings something completely unique to the activity, something that connects on a wavelength that no other corps generates. For all the reasons others have so amply expressed throughout the season on this forum, Blue Knights was the standout from a pure enjoyment/emotional-connection level. Few 2019 corps even approached BK's level of communication clarity . . .
2. . . . and BD was one of them. I started the season cool to this show. Early on, it came across to me as bloodless and clinical. By the time I saw it live at LOS, I was happily proved wrong. They might not have executed visual forms to the same degree as Crown or Blue Stars, but the member-to-member visual quality of their set-pieces was superior to anything else on the field. These were musicians who could, to a person, dance. The extended swirl of the horn line around the ghostlight in the opener was a masterpiece, something that I have replayed in my mind many times in the past few days. It was the most stunning visual moment on the field this year. Musically, it was all fabulous, though only the closer really reached me emotionally. The tap/percussion feature was a hoot to watch, and I agree BD's props were the most effective of anyone's. I thought they deserved the win.
3. Crown. The energy from beginning to end was compelling. Soloists were majestic. The snares leaning back in front of the brass during the ballad's big hit was a pure drum-corps thing, and I like drum-corps things in my drum corps. The closer was a complete gas. I will listen to this show a lot.
4. Cavaliers. Road to Perdition alone would put it on this list of personal-anjoyment faves, but the gentlemen performed this entire show with such passion that I can't leave them off. They made their mark on me.
5. Bluecoats. Just the overal design aesthetic makes it a favorite of the season. Musically, it was all about Blackbird for me.
6. Crossmen. I loved how the show blended raw horsepower with tongue-in-cheek cartoonishness. So many years, Xmen are solid yet indistinct. Not in 2019. Can't forget that drum major.
7. Troopers. The show design didn't set DCI on fire, but it did set the stage for Troopers' continued relevance and, as a corollary, their competitive advance. 2019 was a watershed year for Troop, moreso internally to the members, admin and Troop nation than to the fans in the stands, and a number of necessary internal cogs snapped into place this year. It was memorable and enjoyable to me for what it signified. The show itself was pretty strong musically. The young brass line punched above its weight. The percussion, as usual, didn't flash but cranked out clean, solid beats and was undervalued all season long IMO. Their 2019 production should serve as a . . . um . . . launchpad.
8. Scouts. Just the way they went for it. And for the last chapter of a long story. The feeling I had as I watched them leave the LOS field on Friday will stay with me a long time.