jwillis35

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jwillis35 last won the day on October 18

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About jwillis35

  • Rank
    DCP Fanatic

Profile Information

  • Your Favorite Corps
    Bluecoats, Cadets, SCV, Blue Devils, Phantom Regiment, Carolina Crown
  • Your Favorite All Time Corps Performance (Any)
    Garfield Cadets - 1984
  • Your Favorite Drum Corps Season
    1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    North Canton, OH
  • Interests
    I'm a professional trombonist, music educator, and Web Designer/Programmer. I love DB&C, great orchestral music, jazz, golf, and travel. I mostly love food. :)

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  1. jwillis35

    Best Reprise Closer?

    Almost forgot this one, and maybe someone mentioned it earlier, but Blue Devils in 1988 doing their "Happy Days" reprise with all the trumpet soloists up front while the corps marched off the field. This actually my be my fav. Close call between this and Phantom 2003.
  2. jwillis35

    Relative Newbie

    No doubt! Still my No. 1 All-Time FAV Show!
  3. jwillis35

    Relative Newbie

    All these recommendations are excellent. I'd say watch some shows from each decade from the 70s on. If you can find anything of the old Chicago Royal Airs from the 60s definitely watch and listen. 1970s Santa Clara 1973 (their first title) or 74 Madison Scouts 1975 (as bold and powerful of a show you will ever hear) Blue Devils 1976 and 1979 (real jazz on the football field and it was amazing) 27th Lancers 1979 (drill and color guard with A+ music arranging and you have a classic show) Spirit of Atlanta 1979 (one of the loudest brass lines ever) Bridgemen 1979 Civil War Suite (the South wins in Birmingham) Absolutely awesome show that would put people on their feet today 1980s Blue Devils 1980 (professional grade soloists), 82, 86, 88 (more amazing soloists and a great reprise) 27th Lancers 1980 (many feel they should have won the title, no slight to BD who was excellent as well, but 27 had one of the best visual and guard presentations I had ever seen to that point with great music) Garfield Cadets 1982 (an extension visually of what 27th Lancers and SCV had been doing, but to the next degree), 83 (Garfield's first title and the famous Z-Pulll), 84 (west side story, and perhaps the best interpretation of it that I have ever seen on the field. I consider this show one of the BEST SHOWS OF ALL TIME by any standard. It remains in my top 5 of ALL TIME shows), 85 (wicked hard for the time), 87 (ballet and grace) SCV 1980 (one of the first asymmetrical drill moves, 1984, 85, 87, 88, 89 Suncoast Sound 1984, 85, 86, 88 (Florida Suite is one of my fav shows) Madison Scouts 1983, 84, 88 Star of Indiana 1985 (Disney show), 86 (Space show), 87 (Circus show) Spirit of Atlanta 1980, 84, 87 (high guard) Bridgemen 1980, 81 Bluecoats 1987 (first Finals top 12), 1988, and 1989 Of course, they are all fun to watch. Many others to see too. Colts of Iowa were always great and still are. The Quad City Knights had some amazing shows back in the day, and I think 1984 or 85 really stands out. The recommendations for the 90s and 2000s are all excellent, but I wanted to chime in on a few highlights from the 70s and 80s that had some historical significance.
  4. jwillis35

    Best Reprise Closer?

    Awesome in every sense! Classic Cavaliers shows for sure.
  5. jwillis35

    Best Reprise Closer?

    Agree with this. Blue Devils have been very nicely using a short snippet of earlier material -- usually from their ballad -- and weaving it into their endings. 2017 was awesome, and 2015 was very effective. Phantom 2003 was an incredible brass book and the ending rocked. In the 1970s and 1980s this was definitely more common. BD was always good at this, and The Cadets with Rocky Point and even Shaker Hymn from Appalachian Spring in 1987 did it well. Phantom's Spartacus show in 2008 had a reprise. Madison's 1999 Superstar Reprise is awesome. Crown in 2016 was excellent.
  6. jwillis35

    Looking For Some Advice

    I personally feel it is best to check your local or regional options first. The thrill of playing for a local corps and being part of a local/regional youth activity is wonderful and in many ways may give you more gratification than marching with a "national power." As others have said, Open Class and All-Age (DCA) groups offer some of the best instruction and also allow for time to work in the summer (in the case of DCA). In the long run it's not about winning but about learning great music, marching a great show, entertaining a crowd, traveling, and being a part of a great team with great friends. Of course, you do need to consider what style of show and music you prefer. Gain experience. If you do have a dream of marching a top world-class corps it will help that you have experience with another organization.
  7. jwillis35

    Regiment Ramblings (What If?)

    I have always been a fan of Phantom. I enjoyed them in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and now in the 2000s. Their best shows always begin with great music...powerful music, and a sound in brass and percussion that just sucks you in and makes you forget about scores. Their 2014 show had many of these elements but also had some visual issues that detracted from what could have been a magnificent show. Their 2012 show is, I believe, their last great masterpiece -- although I continue to enjoy them. Having the right instructors and designers is nice, but I doubt that losing Shaw and Rennick is what led to lower placements. There are lots of talented people out there. It's finding the right mix of talent in design and teaching in all areas. It's having the finances and facilities. It's recruiting. It's management. I truly believe Phantom can jump back into the mix if we are talking top 5 status and scores. I think they can design a show that has a classic Phantom feel to it but also exude a modern dimension that makes it feel fresh. These things can be done and there are a lot more people out there that can produce these results vs the few "usual suspects" that we all bring up when it comes to design and teaching. As for style, Santa Clara always had a more diverse style in their approach to show design. They would perform everything from classical, semi-classical, jazz, Broadway, and contemporary music; and they have a long history of visual innovation. I do think this helped Shaw and Rennick adapt to their needs. Phantom's style is more closely linked to Classical/Romantic music and big, powerful themes. It can be done though. Carolina Crown performed a very Phantom-esque show in 2015. I am all for new changes in style and music for Phantom, but I also feel they have to find moments in their shows that give us that look and feel (especially the sound) that remind us of their very best shows.
  8. Great hire by Madison! Love it. Chuck is top notch all the way. Good luck to the awesome Scouts as always.
  9. A lot of similarities and certainly some major differences. Without much training or explaining, I believe British Brass Band judges would lean toward corps who perform highly demanding music with technical proficiency and some flash. The visual side of things would not mean much to them, nor would taking into account simultaneous demand in body movement and music making. It would be what their ears tell them in terms of arrangement and performance. I still think corps like Crown, SCV, BD, and Bluecoats from this past year would impress them. I think they would be wise enough to take into consideration all the movement and physical demand. My guess is some of these judges and performers follow a little drum corps.
  10. jwillis35

    DCI By the Decades - The 1990s

    Neat stuff. I like it. Would have been nice to see what Star of Indiana could have done had they stayed. The Cadets had a hot and highly successful 1990s. Some great shows in there. My favorite is 1993, but 1995 is a close second. I will also always remember the 1990s for the Madison Scouts amazing showmanship and some of the most fan-friendly, entertaining shows I've ever seen.
  11. jwillis35

    The Cadets 2019

    I really like the new staff changes and the returns. To me, the drill was just fine. The props were limitations. All the rewrites needed after the turbulent off-season took its' toll, but the drill to me was good stuff. In the end drill and music thrilled a lot of people at Finals. I was glad to see Cadets keep this guy. Let him grow with the corps and whatever new styles they take (or go back to). There is a lot of experience on this staff. Should be fun to see what they can do with a full off-season. :)
  12. jwillis35

    SCV to BD..Shaun Gallant

    Amen. This. I read the article and felt good for the guy and for both organizations. Don't turn this into a drama. It's not. This guy was in a no. 2 position, if you want to call it that. It really may have been a no. 3 or 4 position. He applied for an executive director position to run all of the Blue Devils org, not just the A corps. The Santa Clara org will bring up someone great to handle his old job.
  13. jwillis35

    1988 Blue Devils

    Incredible show! Loved the music and the visual program was simple, readable, perfect, and elegant. They were one of the cleanest performing corps I had ever seen. Still thought they should have been 2nd under Madison. I will give the Scouts credit that year. They put a gem on the field and lit-up the crowd like a Christmas tree, but BD was the best overall performing corps.
  14. jwillis35

    Your 2018 Top 6

    Blue Devils, Bluecoats, SCV (the last 4 minutes are incredible), Crossmen, Crown, Boston.
  15. I think this is a good point. In order for the activity to grow it needs several things to happen. More corps would equal more shows needed, more facilities for those shows, and then hopefully the crowds follow. Great opening thoughts by the OP, and I especially appreciated that quote about baseball. I love baseball. I don't want to see more people come to baseball if it means cheapening the game or ruining the best aspects. Drum corps is somewhat similar to me. I would not be in favor of certain types of changes that might ruin drum corps for the loyal fans just to attract a few more people to the bigger shows. Having said that it seems DCI and the corps have made so many changes over the last 2 decades that short of putting woodwinds on the field (definitely NOT in favor of that) or redefining the parameters of the shows in terms of judging or length I am not sure where we go from here. Woodwinds on the field (and even in the pit) to me just ruins the spirit of drum & bugle corps. It just becomes marching band, and at that point I am out. I see enough of that in the fall. I can put up with all the synths, electric bass, voice, and amplification -- providing it is done with taste -- as long as we keep brass and percussion on the field. Filling up a stadium like Lucas Oil (and others) with even more people leads to a problem for fans. Drum corps shows are not programmed to be seen or heard from anywhere in the stadium. College marching bands do that. Some HS bands do. Drum corps shows are typically programmed to hit you between the 20s. When you think of it that way these shows are catering to a limited number of people. It is very much like a Broadway show. They don't build massive theaters in New York for 5,000 to 20,000 people to attend a show. Doesn't make sense. Many in the audience would be too far back that the effect of music, staging, costuming, dialogue and singing, etc. would not have much impact. Broadway solves this by offering multiples shows per week at the same venue year around. Watching Santa Clara's amazing and thrilling production this year isn't the same from backfield or the end zone or too far from the field. Growth in DCI, hence more popularity, may come from the number of corps. More corps = more kids involved = more shows needed (potentially) and perhaps a more comprehensive tour. A larger tour schedule = more fans. Not counting the big regional shows, the average DCI show is held at a HS or college stadium of decent size where most fans will pack in between the 20s. In order to grow we need more of those shows. If the activity could do that then perhaps a few more regional shows are created as well. The problem is that drum corps are non-profit youth groups that need a lot of funding. As of now that is a home-grown operation where many local volunteers are needed. HS marching bands are funded in part by tax-payer money. State colleges, too. DCI needs a way to encourage, support, and help start-up organizations get off the ground and put in place the pieces to start a corps. There are many communities that could benefit from this but finding the people to start and run such an organization is difficult. Having said the above, the activity is as healthy as it's been in quite some time (with the exception of the abuse issues that need rooted out). The popularity is much higher than I remember seeing in the early 1990s through 2005. The entertainment value and level of excellence in performance is very high. It's a more expensive activity today (as expected), but just like Starbucks Coffee the activity found a price point that, while expensive, doesn't leave it hurting for cash and finishing each year on fumes.