jwillis35

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jwillis35 last won the day on October 18 2018

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About jwillis35

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    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. All very true. But we must also acknowledge that even if The Cadets did not go through the issues of the past few years, and had all their staff stayed (hypothetical), it is likely that all those with Bloo, Crown, etc., would still have to look elsewhere to get jobs. There are only so many jobs in DCI Open and World Class competition. A corps that produces 30+ years of top 5 and top 3 shows with tons of regional titles and 10 world titles is bound to produce a lot of great teachers/designers for the next generation. The Cadets simply cannot keep them all, nor can BD or SCV. Another thing to consider, too, is that hiring from within is not always good. Like many places of employment it is often good to hire from outside. When Star of Indiana left the activity after the 1993 season, the Blue Devils were smart to grab their visual coach (forgetting his name right now). What he has done for BD over the decades has been incredible, and he is an alumnus of the Madison Scouts. Sometimes it just works out that an alumnus of one corps will better find their niche and design or teaching talents with another corps.
  2. Not at all. Yes, they jazz run, march, stage, act, play great music, and all that, just like most corps; but the use of props, the show theme, the ideas behind this show are very different from last year. I would maybe lump 2017 and 2018 together. I thought 2015 & 16 had some similarities. But 2019 feels very different and I love it. And by the way, I think all corps should try to bring back ideas that work and see if they can use them in a slightly different way. You can't just reinvent the wheel every year. What BD has been doing from 2014 to now is brilliant and I have enjoyed each of those shows. What a thrill it is to see the visual designs of BD and Bloo this year. Incredible stuff!
  3. THIS. It takes time. Simple as that. Honestly, I think they are doing well this year. No, I am not a fan of the show design, but the members are performing very well. They sound and march fantastic. As the above poster noted, they are exactly where I expected them to be this year. Their percussion section is worth the price of admission. Love that energy. There is simply no way any corps could go through what Cadets did and come out back on top or in the top 5 in just a matter of 2 or 3 years. There was simply too much of an overhaul in staff, management, board, finances, and you name it. This will take some time. I could care less about placement and just want to see this corps survive, give their members the best experience, and watch these kids perform the heck out of their shows. Yes, I would like to see better design, but I have a feeling they learned their lesson this year. It's time for some fun Cadets-like music and a show that builds on great music and movement. Placement could be 12th, and as long as they are having a blast and giving the crowd a great show, then I am good. There is a lot of competition out there right now. Blue Knights are really good, as are Stars, Crossmen, and many others.
  4. I'm definitely pulling for Bluecoats this year. Such a fantastic show...and a very gutsy show in my opinion. So beautifully designed. But BD and SCV still scare the heck out of me. Those are fantastic shows, too...and I have been in love with BD's show since the season opened.
  5. Good points, and I agree with most of this. I think at this point the one thing we can all agree on is this: the winner will likely be BD, Bloo, or SCV. The other 3 who make up the top 6 are fantastic this year, but I would be shocked if they push into the top 3. For the most part I am a Bluecoats supporter and fan. I've been living in North Canton for close to 20 years now, so my heart is with the home team. I grew up a huge fan of Garfield in the 80s and will always love The Cadets. But I also grew-up in total awe and respect for the Blue Devils and Santa Clara. My heart says the home team has the goods and can win this year. The Bluecoats have been spectacular all season and we are fortunate to have a corps like the 'Coats who have come out with excellent design and performance every years since 2014. They have an amazing design team that really knows how to program, and their teaching staff has these kids performing incredibly well. They are a force for sure. The Blue Devils have amazing championship pedigree, as we all know. But in particular the BD of the last 5 or 6 years is somewhat different. They design differently, build from the bottom up, and they really know how to showcase the talents of their members and sections. I love their show this year as much as I love Bloo. I really like SCV's show this year, too, but not as much as last year (which I thought was one of the all-time great shows). I am not wild about their color pallet this year nor the use of props. Music is great. To me this will likely be a fight between BD and Bluecoats. Glenn426 posted some advantages that BD has over Bloo. GE could be one, and Visual may be another. Overall, however, Bloo at this point in time has the better constructed show by a smidge. BD still has not fully worked out their transitions between scenes (still a lot of clutter), and the closer after the clogging/hand drumming segment needs work musically and visually. The closing of their show feels underwhelming, in part because the rest of that BD production is spectacular. I predict a dogfight. If BD comes up with the right changes/tweaks, then they may have an advantage; but the same is true for Bloo. And, of course, now that I called for it to be Bloo and BD in the #1 or #2 spots, SCV will win by .1 over both. :)
  6. I did not give you a lecture on how to enjoy current DCI. I don't see that anywhere. I would never do that to you or anyone unless someone asked me how they might better enjoy today's corps. I simply made note about how things will change. Art tends to progress. Trust me, there are things I do not like about today's design. For me it likely has more to do with the music construction. I have complained about that too. So I am not asking anyone to like it or deal with it. It's simply not going to be for everyone but as long as the present generation of marchers are loving it and happy, I am cool with that. Definitely meant no disrespect to you. Peace!
  7. Was that for a late gate time? I remember it happening but forget what it was for.
  8. Hey, it's your opinion. I'm fine with that. I doubt one man's idea changed everything to where it is today. It seems obvious to me that today's designers like what they are doing and how they are designing. I doubt they are doing so because of what one person may have wanted. The activity has evolved because of the people who GET involved. The current designers, teachers, and performers seem to like it. I'm not saying people should leave, but if they are going to cry all the time then maybe they can find something else more positive in their life. It beats being upset all the time. I, too, liked some things better back in the day, but I have adapted to the new era of design and frankly find myself really enjoying it.
  9. Very true points and well stated for such a touchy subject. I agree. This is why we all were sad and angry at what all this did to the Cadets. I certainly disagreed with him on many issues, but also thought he did some excellent things. The members of the Cadets always worked hard, pushed to the end of tour, and so many of them have gone on to achieve great things in life. It's just sad that the guy who inspired many of them was also a criminal underneath his own message. He did things he preached to his corps to NOT do. In the end he engaged in criminal behavior and that tends to overshadow any message he may have had for his corps or for the greater DCI community. This should be a lesson to everyone, but sadly these types of crimes are being committed daily in this country.
  10. That has always been the case. It's called choice. So DCI loses some folks that don't like the activity, and they gain thousands of young people who love it.
  11. Neither is staying the same or going backwards. You can't tame or control art. Artists explore and create. There are a lot of young people today that love where the activity is in terms of design. Not everyone is going to like it, but such is life. You can't have everything your way...and I think we all know that. I love the activity today and I loved it in the 80s and 90s. I have no desire to see the same old same old just. I love the new creativity and new design principles. I also like it when some old-school ideas or concepts get thrown into a modern show. That's cool too. Ultimately, if the current DCI model is not your thing, then I think there are other things to do, right?
  12. I think the comparisons are more about how things have changed and what sort of differences we see from then and today. It's not about trying to find a show from the past that could beat a show today. I could care less about that option. Comparing shows 20 to 30 years apart from a standpoint of their unique styles, difficulties, design principles, etc., is a lot more fun. 1992 Cavaliers was a beautifully designed show.
  13. I have always loved the Scouts and will continue to love that corps, just like most on here. I am glad they made a tough decision. Not easy to do. Will it work? Nobody knows, and if they say they know they are just guessing. I hope it works out. I actually love their show this year. So old school. They just need to clean and execute a bit better, but that is a fun show. Go Madison Scouts! And welcome to all the young ladies who join in the coming years. I know you will bring amazing things to this organization.
  14. So a few days ago I commented on Garfield's spectacular 1987 show. Below are my thoughts on Blue Devils exciting and spectacular production from 2017. How We Got Here Most of you know all this, but I do think it's fair that when comparing two shows (both amazing) but from vastly different eras, it is necessary to examine the 30 years between the design of these two productions. Over the past 30 years we have seen... corps of today are using better instruments many more music majors marching with the top-tier corps, including more specialized members coming from WGI, BOA, dance studios, etc. design models have certainly changed, with more influence from BOA and WGI finding its way into DCI. For lack of better word, shows today are more theatrical. This isn't to say they are all presenting a Broadway show on the field, but there is a great concentration on the combination of the arts. Body movement and staging with dance, with shared responsibilities in these area between guard, brass, and percussion. The staging has allowed for more interaction with all the elements and performers. Electronic amplification is allowed, along with non-brass and percussion instruments such as bass, synth, strings, and keyboards Props are more elaborate today and much more important to the show (in general). Many of them are used to a high degree (Bluecoats 2016, BD 2014 to now, SCV 2018, and many more examples) Narration, singing, audio clips, and sound effects are all part of the norm today Blue Devils 2017 There is a notion that many have in which they believe Blue Devils lack of traditional, full ensemble marching somehow makes their shows less difficult. Very false. There is also a notion that today's brass and drum lines have less physical demand placed on them because they are not marching (traditional style) and playing at the same time nearly as much as corps did in the 70s, 80s, 90s. Also false. I think the first thing to do with today's shows, and BD 2017 is certainly a perfect example, is to appreciate them. Period. We are seeing a different style and I love it. No, it's not the 80s. I'm fine with that. I loved the 80s and 90s. But now is now. I love the trial and error, but I especially love when a corps, like BD, can knock something completely out of the park, as they did with their Metamorph 2017 show. We don't need to knock down the current model of design in order to prop up the 80s. Garfield Cadets of 1987 will remain a timeless classic, like the Wizard of Oz, many decades from now even when shows are no longer created that way. As for the Blue Devils 2017 show, there are obvious differences in design (as there should be 30 years later) For starters the brass and percussion have many other responsibilities to the visual program in addition to playing. There is a physical element that goes beyond just marching and playing (which is certainly physical enough). But BD brass and percussion are combining jazz running, body movement, and dance with the traditional marching. Does the brass line play their most difficult passages while in some staged area? Most of the time, sure. But this is nothing new. Many corps even back in the day did the same thing. Those corps were also not running roughly a half mile (the jazz running between scenes) per show while also engaging in dance, other body movement, and some seriously tough playing (standing or marching). If you watch Metamorph closely (and there is a video out there that gives you the perspective from a trumpet cam) the corps was doing some serious running. Just the jazz running alone might have been close to a half mile per member for the show to go along with so much more. I doubt very much that most folks who have been out of drum corps for say 4 to 5 years would even make it through BD's opener without being totally gassed. Not unless you continue to keep yourself in great shape. Let's now talk about timing. Most traditionally marched shows from back in the day used typical evenly-numbered counts between sets (8, 16, 24, 32). Typical step-offs were on strong beats of the music (1 & 3). There are exceptions, but this was certainly more common in the day. If you watch BD 2017 closely, they include a lot of moves where the performers break rank from a traditional motion form, often doing this at a new tempo or double time, then they fall back into time while setting a new form. As the new form sets, other members break rank as well, but they do so on any count, or even half count, moving at double time or just scattering (all the while maintaining their timing with the music coming from their brass or percussion instrument) and then they fall into the new form and find the proper footing/timing. I really don't know what I would call the above, but it's a type of flex sequencing. It is somewhat similar to what we saw the Cavaliers do so effectively in the 90s and 2000s. But their sequences were often evenly metered (although not always) and usually revolved around a specific move that would be repeated in sequence by 2 groups, then 4, then 8, and so on. What BD is doing now is totally different with some similarities. THE MUSIC: much like Garfield in 1987, the Blue Devils played fantastic music in 2017. The old-school opening with modern elements thrown in was well staged. The old school percussion beat was awesome to hear. The first brass hit is goosebumps, and had a film score feel to it. Flight of the Bumble Bee is fast and furious, with great staging and a few WOW drill moments to bring home to bacon. The ballad had some great solos, and allowed BD to stage the guard very effectively. But the icing on the cake was staging the brass on the other side of the field, closed into a clustered circle and letting them remind us that old-school park and bark is still exciting and an effective part of a show in this style. The section features in this show, exposing each section, was amazing. The tubas in Bumble Bee, the Trumpets in several tunes including the long feature toward the end, the bones just before the percussion feature, and more. Musically, this was as entertaining as any show in 2017, coming from a corps that many have criticized for being too complex and modern. That has not been the case from 2014 to now. Finally we have the amazing guard showcasing everything from old-school rifle work, to the wings from the 1985 era, to modern rifle and flag work that left the jaw dropped. And the dancing, staging, and interplay with the rest of the corps was on a different level from everyone else. In my opinion, 2017 Blue Devils is one of the best shows of its' era and I hold it pretty high among the greatest shows of all time. They scored higher in 2014 (phenomenal corps), but I like 2017 better. There is more that we could say about this show, and much more we could argue over as well, I am sure. But if anyone thinks this show was easy, they clearly are not evaluating the content. They are simply holding to old sayings like "they don't march" or "all their hard music is standing still." So limited in scope is this type of thinking. A few more thoughts on this show: I loved the use of color and uniform. Beginning the show with jacket and hat, then moving away from that as the show got more modern. The guard outfits were perfect, and seeing that many rifles at the beginning of the show perfectly illustrated that you can occasionally throw in some old-school corps and make it fun. The crowd ate it up. One of the similarities with BD 17 and Garfield 87 is the use of field. Amazing field coverage. It's achieved quite differently, but so effective.