Jake W.

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About Jake W.

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  1. Jake W.

    Old Man DCI was cool...

    Absolutely disagreed, NE; if you mean musical in the strictest sense, then I would pit current drum corps musicality demands against any other era and bet on this one coming out near or close to the top. Brass tone quality and attention to dynamic fluctuation and overall musical shaping is terrific —- as opposed to the 00s, when the original music trend saw phrases beginning and ending with the front ensemble, or as opposed to the 80s when tone quality took a backseat to volume (as much as I love & frequently listen to SCV ‘89, I will always shudder at the soprano soloist on “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”. The same is true for many, many soloists of the era trying to fill up a giant stadium with sound.) I have no empirical evidence for this, but it is my experience that drum corps is now more blended with music majors than ever before, growing far from a youth-focused activity that didn’t always attract a ton of serious musicians. If you mean musicality as in the music book itself — also disagreed, although I will admit that Phantom playing New World as a whole, for example, was certainly the pinnacle of listenable music books. But today the pendulum is swinging squarely back to full melodies and outstanding source music, and I couldn’t be happier. I listen to the 2018 cds all the way through the ranks and find very little to complain about —- almost every group had a music book that’s great to listen to when divorced of all visual aspects. Our two “dark days” in this activity for listenable music books were back to back, and both trends have mostly passed: the all original music books of the early 00s, and the Blue Devils-driven chop & bop of the late 00s. We’re still seeing remnants of a few designers thinking chop & bop is still current —- Cavies ‘17 comes to mind —- but the original music books have all but faded, thank god.
  2. One of the best recent examples of a show that simply ran out of gas and had a design that was outperformed once the corps reached the final 2 weeks of the season. No room to grow. And, honestly, I maintain one of the best recent examples of how NOT to design a show; or, how to design a show that absolutely misses the mark of current trends despite trying to capitalize on them. And, to be clear, this was a MONSTER corps that could have easily won if they had performed a better-designed program. Counting to ten. The mystical powers of the number ten. Maybe if this show had been put on in the late 90s/early 00s, fine. But legit ten (ha) years too late. Their rivals that season at the top were BD's Ink that was deeply & intricately plotted, Bloo's dissertation on electronic subterfuge & a thickly, masterfully scored "Lost in the World", Crown's iconic hell to heaven journey that successfully crammed a massively lengthy trek into 13 minutes, with their best musical arrangements to date, and Cadets competed with....voiceovers that counted to ten? Eye rolls all around. I think the reason this still irks me so much almost four years later is that the music book and drill design were both SO GOOD...paired with a garbage, pedantic concept that literally no one was interested in. Not that the theme was the only problem --- I argued this point a lot on here in 2015, but I still assert that the ballad was just a throwaway placeholder. "Let's just get through this and go back to the impressive fast stuff". Which, by the way, WAS quite impressive. Truly a masterclass in how to design a show that holds back your world class performers. Also, why the "blackout"?? I remember it being a hugely-hyped deal by GH...but...what was the point?
  3. No one ever proposed giving points out on a per-prop basis even once in this thread.
  4. I mean...”wrong” isn’t the right word. The most that can be said about it is that it was in clear violation of the rules. Splitting hairs here, but “wrong” has a meaning attached to it of immoral, but that IS an important hair to split, because most users seem to agree they did nothing morally “wrong” —- just violated a rule —- and most of the outrage seems to lie in the comparison of the swift discipline taken for this rule breaking vs an apparent lack of swiftness when situations were taking place that were ACTUALLY morally wrong. Sorry, semantics, I know, but I think it gets to the point of why everyone is so rightfully riled up.
  5. Intentional or not (I'm sure not), that's exactly the message broadcasted. How could anyone have thought the decision itself + the timing were at all appropriate?!
  6. I'm with you on this. My judgement is still out on this situation, since there seems to be so much information coming in unsubstantiated from both sides since August, but adding more "I heard" fuel to the fire is pointless. The time has passed for that. Not that there's ever a time for that. List facts & evidence along with your claims. A corps that really seemed to have promise has gone inactive for the 2019 season, and there is no room anymore for "I heard".
  7. I too have been sitting on the sideline for this one until more comes out, but with DCI's official note on this, it's hard to imagine ANYONE thinking this was a rational move as well as ignoring the timing of it all. This decision reeks of ham-fisted & clumsy leadership, and truly puts the organization in a bad light. I'm with everyone else posting --- I know this was not DCI's intent, but this decision reads to the public as puritanical, gliding by sexual harassment & member mistreatment for decades, then sententious & moralizing when a group happened to publicly comment on it. How could they not have realized this was the OPPOSITE look desired in this pivotal time for the organization?!
  8. I get you, I really do. But the reality is that so much of placement in the upper eschelons of our activity is based on continuity of design, and the performers have very little, and often times nothing, to do with that. It’s just how it is. You mentioned you’re from Texas; the reason many bands have embraced BOA over UIL is because the scoring system in UIL doesn’t account for difficulty or design flaws or strengths. We have as an activity long ago embraced the GE caption as yes, a reflection of the performers selling the material, but also as a reflection of how well the visual design is a manifestation of the music we’re hearing, and vice versa, and if it all makes sense when put together. The kids have nothing to do with that. I get that the kids then perform the design, but they also perform with or on the props that they also didn’t choose. I’m not sure why that’s different. If, at the end of the day, O’Fallon (hypothetically) was given spectacular drill and a great music book to make an excellent, top notch show....and then, to highlight the canvas theme, the directors place that same well-performing group and same excellent top-notch show design and the pops of color become much clearer and the theme that the students are portraying becomes clearer than with great music & drill alone....where’s the fault in that?
  9. He probably did know what you meant, but there’s nothing wrong with pointing out a flaw in one’s logic, unless, of course, you are for woodwinds in drum corps, then there’s no flaw at all in your reasoning. I get it, we all have biases especially when it comes to an activity we all hold dearly, and even more so when said activity evolves at the speed of light. But there’s nothing wrong with pointing a bias out to someone either. I still maintain —- props & tarps & that whole mess are neither bad nor good for this activity as they exist —- it’s how they’re implemented that makes them successful or not. Why does anyone care that a tarp covers the whole field if it makes the show more effective?
  10. What an insightful addition to this thread.
  11. I absolutely agree on the point about members spending a large chunk of the show moving items instead of performing. I think you misunderstand me a bit —- I’m not saying these props, when used effectively, become integral to a great performance and therefore necessary. I’m saying that, when used effectively, they enhance, highlight, or showcase the already-present talents of the performers. O’Fallon was already a solidly-performing group, both musically & visually, and their performance quality was underscored by a really unique & visually-interesting theme to go along with it. We’ve already agreed that we like themes or ideas or programmatic design elements to tie a performance together in this activity, otherwise everyone would still be marching three unrelated pieces of music and calling it “O’Fallon 2018”. Again, there are many, MANY instances where I think prop usage could have better reflected the music if it was replaced by an intense few charts of drill...the end of SCV’s show this year, for instance. I just also think there are moments, like the beginning of SCV this year to Peter Gabriel, where the prop work was so effective in portraying the music that I couldn’t imagine a drill design that could do the job better. The former is most often the case, but it’s silly to assert that the latter doesn’t exist.
  12. And I fundamentally disagree with you as well. Why not all three? Or other planes of enhancement that are neither drill nor props? If a ballet company does Turandot is it less effective than when Phantom did it because there was no drill involved? I'm sure you realize how silly that idea is. We're all trying to enhance great music by attaching it to a visual component. If the visual component is effective in enhancing or portraying the music, then what's the problem? Why do you feel it's a cheesy way to get points? Why is it bad that O'Fallon had great drill and music ON an effective tarp that portrayed their canvas theme well? Tell me a more effective way with JUST drill that the group could have portrayed their theme. In my mind, splashes of color on a giant white canvas is a pretty effective way to portray...you know...splashes of color on a giant white canvas. To be clear, I'm not saying props are necessary EVER, or that I prefer them, or that they're even used effectively most of the time. I simply prefer great designs, and if that includes great prop or tarp usage, then great. But why dig in so firmly against an idea that great music & great drill was enhanced with great prop/tarp usage in these few instances?
  13. Right....no one is arguing that. A prop or tarp or ANY other design element ideally enhances an already-spectacular performance, and the same prop or tarp or design element could be used ineffectively with another group, or even with the same group on a less-talented year. Props can be used as a crutch, and often are. They are inherently neither good nor bad. They can also be used to properly (pun intended) enhance a performance that is otherwise great and now better with an interesting design element that underscores the music or idea in a way that would have been absent without the prop. To say they are all bad or weak (or to say they are all inherently great & strong) is ridiculous, and that's my point with O'Fallon's tarp. It could be used quite ineffectively by another group, rendering is useless and a waste. O'Fallon used quite effectively, enhancing their music in a way that JUST strong drill alone wouldn't have done quite as effectively. Same with SCV's nesting platforms. Doesn't mean that would be the case if another corps or group used the exact same props.
  14. I will also agree with everyone that props or tarps for the sake of props or tarps often ends up being largely ineffective, and innovation isn't inherently good, and occasionally results in a floundering show or design moment. Crown's beast prop is a perfect example of this --- largely meaningless & non-contributing. SCV's nesting platforms were incredibly well-used and I think the vast majority of viewers agree, well-thought-out and made for a very interesting visual design. Troopers' heart tarps last year almost completely useless, Boston's beach & waves quite useful. None of these are good because they are merely props or tarps, they are good because they are used in good, or engaging, ways. The videos on YouTube don't do it justice, but O'Fallon's all white tarp was used quite effectively this year, and the splashes of color that went with each piece of music, and how that color spread across the white tarp, was pretty spectacular. A new canvas for each musical idea, which is pretty neat. Its hard to tell from high videos, but in the closer, large poles with colors of fabric stretched from top to top created a really interesting & brightly colored "upper boundary" to the field and the band marched in between the white tarp below and the boundaries of color above, almost "in" the painting. I'm not arguing that this is everyone's cup of tea, but to say it wasn't well-designed and visually engaging would be to bury one's head in the sand. So, the take away....a large field-sized tarp could create an awful design. It could also create a great one. Props, tarps, & ideas aren't often bad in nature, it's more about how they're brought to life on the field that makes them effective or ineffective.
  15. I'm not arguing that Cavies were the largest influence & were THE activity-wide innovators in the early 00s, but to disregard the influence that various top high school bands had during that era would be silly. You mentioned Carmel, and as much as I love that group, I don't view them as a trendsetter ensemble until about 5 - 6 years ago, even though they've been at or near the top for 15 - 20 years. If we're talking early 00s, Lawrence Central in particular is THE group, corps or high school band, that truly made dance and non-marching movement an integral, large-scale part of their shows, and we obviously see that influence still today all across the activity. Randy Greenwell & Matt James have no corps experience to my knowledge, but despite that, the two directors, along with Greg Hagen as their visual head during that time, are truly responsible for elevating dance-based movement to a status equal to marching-based movement in their shows. We can argue till the cows come home about whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, but to deny Lawrence Central's early 00s influence on the activity, and not just high school band, is ridiculous. Same with Plymouth-Canton backing up 5 years before that or so to the late 90s --- I credit this group and the Alan Spaeth design team with the origins of deeply conceptual shows on a football field, and I don't mean just playing Don Ellis pieces in a Don Ellis show, or Copland, or a show loosely about water or something....I mean this was the first group, corps or high school band, to year after year for about a decade straight commit to choosing a theme first, building the musical selections around that, and making sure every aspect of the design portrayed that theme and told the story. This is not to say that Cavies and other corps weren't incredibly influential, I'm not arguing that, because the top corps were and are the main drivers of our activity. But to deny the influence of various high school or indoor groups as well is to turn a blind (or selective) eye to the history of the marching arts.