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Jake W.

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Jake W. last won the day on March 14 2020

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  1. Oh wow I must have missed something - who won the last three championship titles other than them?
  2. Excuse me but this is not the relevant thread to be posting confirmed staff changes for the seasonal merry-go-round. Please try to stay on topic; there are at least four different conversations to choose from. Staff changes are not one of them, though.
  3. I think that's an overly-simplistic way to look at it. No judge is viewing the show as old-fashioned, and especially not for the amount of drill present - the 7 units above them have tons of drill that is interspersed with choreography, not the other way around, and mountains of fleshed-out melodic material, if that's what you're implying by the Michael Bay film note. It's just not a show that heads anywhere new, interesting (other than to alumni), or unique, and that has nothing to do with the amount of drill. It's not my favorite Cavies show, especially when compared to their 2016-2019 trajectory upward of fresh & current shows, but I get that it's a special year. It means a lot to alum, and that's fine. More importantly, the members have CLEARLY sucked all of the blood and marrow and passion they can out of this show, and that is a fantastic sight to see. It makes me, and I assume most fans following the activity, wonder what these guys can do next year when they aren't as harnessed by a design that is constrained by an anniversary year. To me, the corps feels a bit like Phantom in 2019 with Joan - a nice offering that every member performed the absolute snot out of, but I think we were/are more excited to think of what the talented members performing a flawed show could do with a product that meets the occasion and actually propels them forward. That said, similar to Phantom in 2019, I will very much enjoy watching every member of the corps proper push this show as far as it can go tomorrow, as they have done diligently the past two performances. This corps has truly figured out how to perform.
  4. I'll also add that while they were just behind their 2019 14th place Semis scores (85.05 vs 85.35), PC officially finished the closest to Finals they've ever been - 2.038 points out this year vs 2.425 points out in 2019.
  5. I hope everyone involved with PC this year is insanely proud of their season. While 2022 was of course a rebuilding season that most didn't expect, I posted on here a few times that I still saw echoes & shades of a Finalist-worthy corps in their Prelims & Semis performances last year. I just had no idea the corps proper & design team would grab onto those glimmers and absolutely run with them into 2023. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the ride this season. Seeing PC at DATR was an absolute treat, and it was even more satisfying to watch the show grow throughout the rest of the season after seeing it live. Semis was an incredible performance today, absolutely full of emotion & passion from every member. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this corps, it just feels like everything is clicking into place for them. I had so much fun watching PC grow and fight for the top 12 this summer!
  6. I agree with what everyone has mentioned so far - I am a little baffled at how the show ended up where it did in terms of development and reception now that we are in the final week of the season. I don't always get it right, but I've been around the activity long enough to generally make a pretty solid guess on what has bones and what doesn't, and I had high hopes for this one. It hasn't grown or turned into what anyone probably thought it would, but I truly cannot articulate why. I guess I found myself much more interested in parts of the show tonight (of which there are many terrific moments, and I still love the ballad), rather than the product as a whole. I wish I could flesh out what my thoughts are on this in more specific ways, but I'm at a bit of a loss to articulate them clearly. This is a new one for me - watching a show with good structure & bones paired with an exceptionally-talented corps that just didn't end up capitalizing or building on its architecture. The season is nowhere near over yet, but I echo the sentiments mentioned a few posts up that I really hope this less-than-ideal ending week doesn't lead to a major shake up with the design team. I really feel this is more of a blip in the road of a talented ensemble's success that could serve as a great learning experience for an already-cohesive team. I love it when any ensemble takes steps outside their design comfort zone. I would hope this year's show is used as a springboard as opposed to a reason to retreat to safety.
  7. That is absolutely not happening. Colts & Troop not being on the Finals chopping block is one of the safest bets you can make up and down the rankings this season. While I personally think both designs (and corps themselves) are exceptionally better than the four below them, it's not a personal opinion - use the data available. There is a clear, insurmountable tier between those two and the four directly below. Colts have been consistently untouched in any caption or sub caption by the units in 12th-16th (consistency across all captions has been their growth key), and while Troopers are scoring lower in guard each night (and a GE performance caption here & there), their music scores across all 6 sub captions at every show give them a high-number bulwark of padding that puts their basement at 11th. Colts & Troop have figured it out. There is simply not room for 2 corps from the Xmen/PC/BK/Spirit tier this season.
  8. Mandarins - Just incredible. They are absolutely living up to the buzz, and delivering well beyond that. I adored Mandarins in 2017 and went nuts for them in 2018 - I actually listen to that show frequently. It was fantastic. While I still was thrilled for the corps, their 2019 & 2022 offerings didn't wow me, and I almost never find myself revisiting either one, although I enjoyed each during their respective seasons. 2019 & 2022 both seemed too light in meat & potatoes compared to their neighbors and compared to what you could tell the corps was hungry for. Especially "The Other Side" - despite all of the early-season hype, by Finals, it was clear to me that the design wasn't competing with any of the 9 above them, and that the corps was begging for something more. Well, they got it in spades this season. All of the flash of "The Other Side" but with content upon content upon content. Demand is through the roof for every caption and the corps as a whole just took this on without batting an eye, like, ok, what's next? The design itself is a sleek, laser-like jaw-dropper: everything works so well and is relentless in both pacing and detail. So much happens that you don't notice but the progression is clear and the details come together to constantly create a defined, tightly-plotted journey that reads as lithe & nimble - a programming skill I am stunned they could create so early on in their meteoric growth and one that, frankly, Boston's designers should be envious of. There just is no down moment in this show - it's a masterclass in both intricate & audience-friendly designs. The opener is chockfull of demand for everyone and has so many cool little visual moments, like forming crosses for the marches still in white, as the corps progresses from white to red. The whip work in the second movement is fabulous, and I'm thrilled that I got to type that sentence. The overlays of Smile are vexing & bizarre. Love it. Readings from the book of Isaiah leading into Take Me To Church impact with the corps in a tight circle surrounded by white silks who are in turn surrounded by rifle work - look me in the eyes and tell me that's not a top 4 moment right there. Love the breakneck closer with the Nina Simone voiceovers that slowwwwws down so generously to a hot & heavy finish. I was hesitant to buy into the top 6 hype before last night - hopeful, but hesitant, especially with how last year's hype didn't pan out, and considering they really have not met any competition this season. But, it's real & legit. I am not one for predictions - I usually just enjoy the shows - but there's no way in hell Mandarins are finishing outside of the top 6 this season. It's just not happening. There are zero caption weaknesses and the design is just so tight. Take it to the bank. I adored everything about this corps & their performance. Blue Devils - I get it, I really do. In my younger years, I wanted anyone but BD to win. It didn't help that my first ever live drum corps show was 2008 Finals night at IU. I came of age when BD was in their Through a Glass, Darkly period, and I was obstinate and not interested. I'm ashamed to admit that I even snubbed Ink because I couldn't appreciate it until a few years later. Finally, in early summer 2017, I was properly schooled on these forums regarding BD's masterful process of putting a show on a field, and that opened my mind. I would implore all those snubbing BD this year to take a step back, take a cleansing breath, forget their tiresome winning history, and just view this show as a single, masterful offering in a one-summer vacuum. It is undeniable perfection, and per their process, will only get better from here as more moments are organically created while Boston tries hard to tie their existing moments together. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. No one wants to hear it, but to watch this show live is an absolute treat, and I can't imagine anyone arguing with that if they take the BD name out of the equation. It's a supple, limber vehicle that is far from formulaic and is engaging as hell. The guard writing in particular struck me as a massively fresh step outside of their comfort zone, and wow is it paying off. So many group tosses & intricate partner moments that stick out in my mind today. And yes, the hype around the Both Sides Now ballad is well-earned. It's truly everything a drum corps fan wants - musical, breathable, airy but powerful, an impact that modulates into a stronger impact instead of ending, and an easily-identifiable & hummable melody that binds it all. Simultaneously gossamer-like lightness paired with elegant muscle -- a ballad for the ages. I loved Moon River last year, but it ain't got nothing on this. Grand Canyon Fanfare is an odd yet appropriate closer, adding in some needed bold & rough brass color & texture to an otherwise glossy show. As always with BD, and the strength that other corps struggle so hard to replicate, the show design is just tight, tight, tight from top to bottom. A densely-packed journey that reads very light upon first glance, but still portrays its density. You don't have to catch all of the density to appreciate it, but there is so much to explore upon second viewings, and every detail serves to buttress the design instead of detract from it - but you don't need to notice or absorb any of that depth to appreciate it upon first read. Everyone from grandma to the judging box can enjoy this show. As we know, the design team will just fill in moments (especially in the closer, I imagine) from here, while the ridiculously-talented corps continues to perfect their skills, all while performing a show that the members themselves & the crowd can sink their teeth into. I get that everyone rolls their collective eyes when they come out ahead year after year, but they were unquestionably the clear winner last night, as EVERY caption showed, and they only get better from here. Again, just watch the show without BD blinders, and please experience it live! Last season felt a little safe, but was still incredible. This is a fresh, masterful, enjoyable show that I look forward to seeing throughout the season. Boston Crusaders - I do want to preface by saying that I cannot WAIT for the day Boston finally claims their first championship. I have adored watching this corps skyrocket up to the top; it's been so much fun to see. Last year, watching San Antonio over Flo, at the ending Lacrimosa hit with the company front, I said to myself, ok, there's a championship-worthy corps right there. That's the moment - they can handle it and it's going to happen sooner rather than later. That's such a terrific memory for me!! So cool to see the first shades of a new champion. That said, this year ain't it. I hate hate hate to say it - and it's a great, audience-friendly show that is absolutely among their best offerings and unquestionably worthy of a medal - but it's not "it". It just isn't. There are some major construction issues with this show that won't be fixed by reworking transitions (I do want to be clear - I mean "major" in a medalist sense - again, in the entire scope, it's another banger of a show). I loved the source material preseason, but it translates to a clunky, meandering, unfocused first half of the show that delivers BEAUTIFULLY with performance captions but does very little to portray a tight, focused, intentional design (again, relative only to medalist designs). None of it particularly ties together - the Thomas Tallis opener is mysterious & shimmering & graceful (I really love it), but then leads into what I would call simply basic drum corps "busy work" after that without much intention or direction. The drum break immediately following, the Swallowtail Jig, The Wellerman, & Shipping Up to Boston are four REALLY cool individual segments, but there is nothing tying them together organically, and again I think it's an architecture issue that adding transitions isn't going to fix. But from there, the ballad is absolutely delightful, and the On the Waterfront hit in the rotating circles is FIRE! Love it!!!! The story definitely becomes clearer from the ballad onward. I could go on and on but I will summarize with this: there are a lot of moments to love (like, really really love), and the corps proper is so talented across every caption. But right now (and I hesitate to say, for the season), you really see more the sum of the individual parts rather than a big picture/greater whole. It's not that I'm not hopeful that the design team will add in elements to tie the show together - of course they will - but I do feel as if it's a structural problem, made even more glaring directly following the tightly-plotted, streamlined, purposeful, efficient designs of Mandarins & BD. I will still enjoy watching this show and its many toe-tapping moments throughout the season!! It's just not going to claim them their first championship. Blue Knights - Ok, I actually really enjoyed this performance, even following BD & Boston!! I do think that the show, while INFINITELY better-written than last season, has design issues that are quite noticeable next to The Academy's & PC's sleek offerings, but BK certainly has the energetic, raw power edge over these groups. A bit unrefined, but raw power nonetheless. The kids clearly enjoy what they're selling and take a lot of pride in their attempt to get their corps back into Finals. I will note that the guard has really cleaned up - the writing is still a little light & amateur compared to their neighbors, but I caught them a week or two ago (I think the show where Impulse beat them?), and they are now light years ahead of that. Kudos to the guard - excellent cleaning work and those caption numbers have improved tremendously. The show itself is intense and unbridled (unharnessed?) and the corps honestly followed up the two big dogs well, if for no other reason than the energy they brought. The Verdi opener was nice. I gotta say, as much as I miss the pre-Covid BK design team, I really noticed from the ballad onward how they are still playing heavily with pacing in bizarre & interesting ways - I love that!!!! That gave me hardcore BK vibes and I was happy to see it. The back half of the show is intriguing. Full brass ensemble sound at times is way overblown, but it's a MASSIVE sound, and I am interested to see how they end up sounding when refine all of that raw energy and power. The Crown-like brass demand segment in the closer is bold and big. I don't know if they will make their way back into Finals with PC fielding such a smart show and talented corps, but the season isn't over, and I think either way, BK seems to have sustainable, hungry energy that isn't just a flash in the pan. I don't know if my expectations were low or what, but really, this BK group held their own at the end of the line up and entertained. It's a scrappy group of kids with a bad ### drum major and a high-powered show. I was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed them!
  9. I always appreciate reviews throughout the season from those at the show, so I will contribute. It was an absolutely terrific night of drum corps - not a snoozer or a "bathroom break" show in the entire line up. I truly enjoyed all 9 shows I saw last night!! Now for the novel. The Battalion - It has been so fun to watch this corps start and then grow, and I am thrilled they are traveling to OC Championships for the second season in a row. I hope that's a yearly goal as they continue to explode in growth. Smart uniforms, excellent color choices, a HOT brass line (I really expected them to be closer to Cascades in brass), and meaty brass & percussion books. Color guard writing/general strength & more complex/interesting show designs seem to be their two areas of opportunity as they continue to grow with the next few seasons, but I really enjoyed what I saw tonight. RCR has been pacing similar numbers, and Columbians won't debut for the season until they start making their first trek toward Indy, but I do think a top 5 OC finish behind Gold/Spartans/Guardians/Southwind could be in the cards - that would be a massive feather in the cap of a blossoming young group. I really enjoyed watching them tonight. And again, sizzling brass line! Seattle Cascades - Super happy that these guys are back on the field, and frankly, not in any worse shape than 2019, the last time they fielded a corps. Not bad to come back around or better than where you left off 4 years ago. Their conductor is FANTASTIC! He is passionate, animated, and knows how to get the most out of his group. That said, everything visually is filthy dirty at the moment (some of the drill even looks new? Legit missed transitions abounded in spots), but with massive headroom to grow as they continue to clean. It's a solid design underneath all of the dirt, and there are moments that are already firing on all cylinders, like the low brass chords to begin the Ticheli ballad. They sound shockingly rich & luxurious on those lines. Mmmm. It was unexpectedly good. Keep refining the rest of the show to that level. Guard needs to be grown as a caption in future seasons - they are clearly young with just basic writing this season. But, Cascades seem really healthy! Sustainably healthy. This seems to be a get-back-into-it year, and is going better than I anticipated. I'm looking forward to the finished product. Nice job from this group, and pending their ability to elevate the bulk of the show to the solid moments already coming through, should be able to secure a Semifinalist position. Pacific Crest - They are indeed the real deal this season. They seem to be following the Colts' lead from last season - steady, noticeable strength in all captions - as opposed to exploding forth a la Troopers with an insane show & high GE. I'm here for it!! After last season's young corps struggled all summer to get ahold of the show, the designers seem to have met their group perfectly this year, giving them PLENTY of meat to chew on but pared down enough to be approached & cleaned a little earlier on. The corps is gelling together fantastically. The ballad is sensational. The corps' brass sound is balanced, controlled, and blended beautifully. Guard work is intricate and punches above their weight. Drumline writing is exposed & musical. I also like that the concept is nebulous enough to be presented clearly, but can be layered in as the season demands. The Porkofiev Scythian Suite hit in the closer is FIRE now that they've moved the drill inward, and I look forward to the design team highlighting & bringing out a few more of those moments as the season progresses. Everything is just working well for PC this year, and they very well could earn their first Finals berth, and it would be well-earned indeed. This is a great show & corps with which to do it. I'm ready for it - they are fresh, nuanced, and firing together on all cylinders. It's a banner season for PC, and the scores are not lying. The Academy - Of the PC/Scouts/Spirit/Crossmen/BK/Academy tier, I think it's easy to say that The Academy has the "raw" design that looks, sounds, & works the most like a top 12 design. Of course PC has organically layered in or rewritten areas enough to have handily claimed that title by now, but Academy's raw design, which doesn't seem to have evolved much since my first viewing of them, is a really smart show filled with clear detail. They are certainly not maxing it out - the corps seems to still very much be in cleaning mode - but the design really is there. I would venture to say that if the corps can figure out how to max out the design that they already have on hand - as opposed to their neighbors who will be rewriting & reworking all season - The Academy really could make some noise, and at least move themselves top 12 adjacent. PC is probably too far gone to catch at this point, but they've got the leg up on design to the other 4 corps fighting to get close to the top 12. The performance was terrific to watch; they are starting to cook & gel together. I'm actually surprised the brass content scores aren't higher - the back half of the show is full of long, regal phrases mixed organically with solid brass demand, the front half of the show has the brass exposure, and the ballad is full of luxurious, slow, vulnerable builds, both large & small. Guard & percussion contents are quite respectable and right where I would imagine them to be. Every caption is solid all around. The Academy has rarely demonstrated themselves to be a clean-like-crazy corps, but the content is more than present - I'd like to see them polish this and rise up the ranks. Oh, and as one who is screamer-averse, the screamer in the closer nailed it both times. Crowd loved it, as did I. Honestly, it was a really enjoyable show to watch!! I look forward to seeing it again throughout the season. Troopers - I'm not sure why this show is getting more mixed reactions on the forums than last season's masterpiece - maybe it needs to be seen live? The mixed reactions from DCP could not be further from the case when in a stadium - they got the first standing O of the night (slow build to the company front near the end of the show), and had the crowd in the palm of their hands, and I'm not talking just cheering - the entire ballad had everyone around me listening in and focused. Troop was the first corps of the night where all phones around me were eventually put down and no one was fidgeting - especially in that closer. I absolutely LOVE seeing an audience captured like that. Troop has quickly developed this ridiculously effective swagger that allows the corps to command the field immediately and totally capture the audience - any corps outside of the top 6 at the moment should be envious of this. It's dangerous, and they're not stopping their meteoric rise any time soon. Rewatching today didn't have nearly the same effect on me - good god, if you get the chance this season, see Troopers live. Their performance capabilities are almost unmatched. Ok, on to the show itself - love love love it. Probably because I got so tired of season after season of forgettable, mediocre Troopers shows, and still loathe a forgettable, mediocre show from any group (hi 2023 Scouts & Crossmen!), but it's just so satisfying to watch a group completely rewrite their trajectory and burst out of their prior constraints. I do think this year's offering is a mature step up from last year's winner, and the corps is handling it well. They are hungry (starving?) for more. It's a masterfully-constructed design (with a few major kinks - we'll get there in a moment). The journey is clear, palpable, and without question as it gets fleshed out. Harrison's Dream is a beefy opener, and the tuba feature at the beginning is nails. I think I was most disappointed in rewatching the video that the harmonica/French horn duet didn't come across anywhere as nuanced as it did live - THAT is some perfect writing. After the swirling, intense opener, the entire auditory field just strips down to absolutely nothing and you are allowed to breathe and exhale while still being completely captured. The duet is a magical timbre - a longing or nostalgia for a West or Youth that strikes a universal note. It's incredibly stirring writing. The corps is spread out & encircling the entire field at that point, and they've added (or I've never heard before) some simple drumline rise & fall lines that travel around the perimeter of the field in pods, totally encompassing the harmonica soloist & the sun in this incredibly breathy, open, airy way. All of this pays off in a giant build & release that embodies the same out-West openness. Seriously, I cannot stress enough how none of this was noticeable when I rewatched this morning - SEE THIS BALLAD LIVE! And, finally, the two builds in the closer. The first one with all of the brass staccatos & block marching with the tutti pay off - love it!! But, the **minute & a half** build to the company front that immediately follows the first build is just jaw-dropping, and resulted in that first standing O of the day (and the only one mid-show). When do we ever get something like that in our activity? Shows are packed full of demand by nature and have a time limit - to devote a full 1:30 to a simmering build is a bold design choice, and one that is paying off in spades. You can tell the performers are nuts about that whole segment, and the crowd just ate it up. Myself included - chills throughout! Take me, Daddy. Enough gushing and a few notes - god they have got to get that guard figured out. It's not going to happen this season, but I imagine the caption will have new staff moving into next season - honestly, it's the writing, not the performers. There were moments where they just weren't really doing anything. Others mentioned the closer flags - the multi-colors didn't work. I do expect some uneven caption growth as a corps skyrockets up, and their INCREDIBLE drums with non-stop notes more than make up for it, but it's a noticeably weaker caption vs. their design, brass, & percussion strengths. On that note, I still need a proper ending. The 1:30 closer build that got the crowd on their feet was pure joy; anything following that was an afterthought that I hardly remember. This show is a brilliant undertaking and deserves a massive finish. The current iteration ain't it. They are so close - get an ending that finishes me properly and there's no reason to think that 10th is their ceiling at Indy.
  10. Some booze-soaked thoughts upon reviewing videos of the performances from tonight -- Honestly, I was really, really impressed with all four groups. Each corps had their strengths and seemed to have laid foundations for respectable seasons. Not a dud among them. Colts - a bit safe & generic, and by far the least exciting of the four, but they are a GOOD corps already. Certainly not an in-your-face show, but everything works, and works well, and I would implore everyone to remember throughout the season that 2022's Colts corps largely found success throughout the summer based on higher performance caption numbers - not GE - although I did enjoy their show last year. I didn't see or hear any reason to believe this season will be different - they have built something special & remarkable in consistency in Dubuque, and I could see performance captions alone keeping them in Finals again. They seem to be strong all around. And, while the show isn't a banger, it's sleek, effective, and designed thoughtfully, and already seems to have a good amount of detail. Everything is purposeful. I would not be surprised at all to see Colts maintain their Finals berth from last year. Also, what an excellent guard, yet again! I am so happy to see the wonderful consistency this corps has developed - that is something to respect. Troopers, as already mentioned countless times, are even hungrier this year, and have the design to match it. Now just clean clean clean. The last minute or two of the show from the company front onward has the potential to be absolutely massive and memorable. I'm loving everything I am seeing. Tons and tons of meat & potatoes all around; so much to chew on for the corps through the end of the season. This is a ridiculously beefy book for the Troopers - long & demanding phrases galore. I have a hard time seeing them not surging in placement yet again. It blows my mind that other corps (Hi, Scouts!) could look at Troopers' meteoric rise and think, yea, more of the same safe show will be a good formula for us. Their abrupt shift in style from 2021 onward has been immensely wonderful to watch and should be a template for other non-Finalist corps for years to come. Clearly, nothing is stalling this year. Absolutely love everything Blue Stars are bringing to the table this year. What a step outside their comfort zone. Big, bold, slinky, elegant, undoubtedly current & unique. After years of ragging on them for bland & generic shows, they won me over last season with that uncompromising brass book and delicate, nuanced energy - and have carried that glorious brass into this season as well. I found myself revisiting their 2022 show many times throughout the off-season, and this show has that same subtle allure, obviously ramped up infinitely. Brass sounds spectacular, with so much room to grow. Guard book is beyond insane, as per usual. Drums sound absolutely sensational. They clearly are done hanging out in the bottom 6. This is a show to grow into and enjoy as the season progresses. I love Orville Peck and the ballad is spot on. This was a wonderfully pleasing debut - what a step forward and I can't wait to see this one develop throughout the season. Phantom - also absolutely loved it. I haven't perused the forums too much, but I am a little surprised at the naysayers I've seen - this is somehow striking a balance between classic Phantom energy and modern, cutting-edge trailblazing. I don't know how the design team achieved that balance, but wow did they pull it off. I *LOVED* No Walk Too Far, but as the off season wore on, I found myself revisiting other shows much more frequently - it just didn't have the lasting effect that was so present on Finals night. Nothing could be further from the case this season - wow, just wow. Bizarre, unorthodox, outré, and somehow so compelling and interesting - everything about the design draws you in and holds your attention. And it all feels like you are undoubtedly watching Phantom Regiment. Similar to Blue Stars' Orville Peck ballad, the Rachmaninoff ballad shines beautifully and has so much room to breathe. It's delicious. I see this developing into a special year for Phantom. All in all, other than Colts (who I am still thrilled to see pushing themselves in the performance captions), I am beyond thrilled to see Troop, Stars, & Phantom pushing the design limits, breaking boundaries & expectations, and doing something exciting, unexpected, and BOLD! I am really happy with what I saw from all four corps tonight. Not a dud in the line up. I anticipate competitive, relevant seasons from all four groups.
  11. I too have been curious about this, especially with the heavily-expanded tour this past season. If I’m remembering right, when both Music City & Genesis moved up, their applications for World Class entrance were announced pretty much immediately following the conclusion of the 2016 season. Haven’t heard anything from Gold yet.
  12. This is excellent news regarding the Cascades - they got in an education-focused team of leadership around 2018 or so and most of that staff near the top seems fairly unchanged (via their website); I appreciated the strides they made in 2019 and was really hoping this forward-thinking leadership could steer them through Covid. Might have just taken a season longer than their peers. I look forward to their return! Drum corps is healthiest when it is increasing the number of healthy corps fielded.
  13. I’ll echo @Cappybara & @MikeRapp saying who says the other shows aren’t fun, but I’ll also underline what I mentioned a million pages back and what all of the other dissenters are getting at in this thread: why can’t it be fun and a slap in the face to bloated intellectual designs, but still be well-designed and purposeful and detailed out from top to bottom? A design where every prop and piece of source music and moment of choreography serve to clarify the intent of the show, not muddle it. That’s how Crown regains their footing as a consistent medalist corps. That is the only missing piece in my opinion. Keep a fun show; great! Just make it make sense from top to bottom. Downside Up did that. Rach Star did that. Tilt did that. RHRN did not. Have fun moving forward - just make sense out of it.
  14. I kept meaning to stop by and mention how much I was enjoying Blue Stars this season, and now seems as good a time as any! Full disclosure, I haven't really adored or even cared for a Blue Stars show since "Le Tour", which was my first time ever seeing them. I always felt like everything was too safe, checking boxes but never going full in on any of them. Somewhat cute (Where the Heart Is), somewhat kitschy (Carpenters), somewhat classical (the over-arranged Le Reve that took the teeth out of Wagner and made his music mild), somewhat thematic (Call of the Wild). All just...nice. Nothing bad, nothing to get on my feet about. I was so floored by "War & Peace" this year. Finally, it felt like Blue Stars' design team chose a direction and went all in on it! The show was mature and dignified, and honed in on and defined some vague ideas and broad themes into a supple, nuanced show with impressive complexity by the season's end. Blue Stars and Prokofiev felt like a match made in heaven all summer. I think most importantly for me, while Blue Stars have always played well, I was truly moved in the last minute of the show at Finals - something I did not expect at all! By the end of the season, Blue Stars' brass line and music book was grand, sweeping, confident, and passionate, and that last minute or two sounded huge and robust, but still nimble and masterful. I think credit goes to both the OUTSTANDING brass writing in the closer as well as the talented corps they fielded this year that handled those giant, shaped, sustained phrases so effortlessly. And, not just the closer - I could listen to that show over and over (and will!). So much meat and potatoes, and mountains of depth in the brass and percussion books. It all came together in a way that felt intensely clear and well-layered. Accessible yet complex is a really difficult balance to achieve, and Blue Stars succeeded in spades this year. This season, the closer in particular was the first time I've ever gotten shades of a top 5 corps from them. I would love to see them continue to rise and build on this record-setting season. Can't wait to see what you come out with next year, Blue Stars, and congrats on your highest finish since 1977!!!! A fabulous season and a fabulous show that I will revisit frequently. Thank you for filling the classical/mature niche so elegantly and beautifully this summer!
  15. I would just love to see more clarity and intent from Crown, both from the initial design through the growth and changes that always occur throughout the season. 2019, as much as I loved that show, had so many layers and vague ideas from the start, all of which achieved clarity to varying degrees of success, and none achieved it completely. This season, on the other hand, seemed like a simple, clear idea from the start, but it became more convoluted as the season went on and the design team attempted to add depth. BD - love them or hate them - are the absolute masters of starting with a larger picture and distilling it down to its essence and detailing it out and trimming the fat as the season goes on. All choreography, drill, prop design, and musical direction ends up buttressing the theme, vibe, or mood by the season's end, and therein lies the keys to BD's success year after year. If it doesn't add or clarify intent, it's gone. Crown was the opposite this year (and the last few years), expanding the original idea "out" instead of "in" as the season progresses, and losing or muddying intent in the process. All of the fabrics were a perfect example of that this year. Inferno (and E=MC2, Rach Star, For the Common Good) was distilled down masterfully by the end of the season so that every subtle movement, brass run, and dynamic shape felt like it purposefully (and organically) portrayed the intent of the show. It didn't matter whether that intent was clear (Inferno) or vague (Common Good), you got it. It Is, Beast, Beneath the Surface, and Right Here Right Now all became muddier and less purposeful as the season progressed to its end. Crown still attracts a huge portion of the most skilled performers in DCI. I think a lot of us in the community feel that given a vehicle with a bit more clarity and intent, the sky is the limit. I know a lot of Crown fans waxed poetic this season about appealing to the audience vs. appealing to the judges, but quit selling your expectations short - it's beyond time for the design team to achieve a balance of both!
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