jwillis35

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jwillis35 last won the day on October 18 2018

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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

    Madison Scouts all time Top 12

    I liked basically everything from the 70s, 80s, and 90s when it comes to the Scouts. And 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 were fantastic as well. I really enjoyed the 2010 show. Would love to see that corps again. No matter who your personal favorite corps was from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, it was apparent and well-regarded among most drum corps purists that the Madison Scouts were one of the most entertaining corps of that era. I wish I could have seen them in the 70s. My first viewing was 1980 and I was blown away. Saw them every year in the 80s and most years in the 90s. Some of their shows literally left the crowd screaming for more, as if a legendary rock concert just ended. My top 10 (no particular order though): 1984 - Ballet in Brass and Memory (Cats) 1997 - Pirates of Lake Mendota, Finals night was epic! This may be my favorite Scouts show of ALL! 1995 - What did this show get? Something like 6 standing ovations on Finals night 1975 - Have only heard recordings and seen a little video. Classic old-school music arrangements and incredible power. 1992 - City of Angles, a more sophisticated yet entertaining Scouts 1981 - Maybe the first rifle line that blew me away, and what a great brass line 1988 - Obviously a classic closer, and a super talented corps. The arrangement of Malaguena for this show will live forever in DCI history. 1999 - As others have said, on that night in Madison, WI, the Scouts lit-up the stadium like a Christmas Tree. I don't think it's possible to craft a better ending to Jesus Christ Superstar. 2010 - From the opening to the end, this was a classic Scouts show and the crowd loved it. Multiple ovations at Finals. 2011 - Another modern, yet classic Scouts show that gave you goosebumps and some tears. Too many good shows to list them all, sadly. I love hearing about the 1976 corps that had to change shows mid-season and still took 2nd place. I never saw the 1993 corps, but I heard their Finals performance (in the rain) put the crowd on their feet big time. I really enjoyed the 1987 show, which I believe was Rhapsody in Blue. Took 4th at Finals. Fantastic music arrangements. The 1986 book also has great music.
  2. jwillis35

    Old Man DCI was cool...

    No doubt. All the things you are saying are true. There are many more college music majors in DCI today. Then again, not all music majors are great players. I knew many music ed majors who were average at best as players. Many of the non-major types are terrific musicians. But overall I have long felt that there is more depth in DCI today. Another factor to consider is kids taking music lessons. Here in Northeast Ohio it is well known that more kids took private lessons in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Far fewer kids are taking private lessons today while in middle school and high school in our region. This has lowered the general quality of many music majors entering college as freshmen. I am totally on board with you when it comes to the WGI effect and have stated this much in other threads. The guard, in particular, is something that has taken huge leaps over the last 30 years. It's more integrated, scored vastly different, and more young people are training year-around for this type of art form. As for percussion, I'd say depth is great and there are more solid-to-good lines from 1st to 25th. But none of this should take away from the great SCV lines in the 70s, the Bridgemen in the early 80s, BD in the 80s, Cadets in the 90s and early 2000s, etc. There was plenty of talent in those lines too. The same can be said for brass. I hear better overall depth today, especially when I listen to corps ranked 13th to 25th and lower. At the same time, how many brass lines in the last 5 to 6 years have played a brass book as technically challenging (not that technique is everything) as what Cadets did in 1997, or Star in 1993? Maybe Carolina Crown 13 and 14. Maybe BD 2017. Even the Cadets 2015 music book, which is revered today for its' demand, does not compare to their 1997 Celebration book, IMO. At least not from a technical standpoint. My point here is that it took a lot of talent to play those books. So we have to be careful with the word "talent." The Blue Devils brass line in 1993 was wicked good. They've had brass lines in the 2000s that were not nearly as good, and maybe not as deep. If the question is depth, then no doubt I hear better depth today. If the question is: Are the best corps today playing better than some of the best corps from yesteryear? If so then I'd say it's a toss-up. Listen to Blue Devils and Garfield in 1984. Those are tough brass books played incredibly well...on 2-valve G Bugles. Most of us are also familiar with how bad some of those instruments were in terms of make, quality, and age. Bridgemen, 27th Lancers, Garfield, and others all were playing on some really bad instruments in the 70s and 80s. Today's brass and percussion instruments are superior. Especially the marching brass. The pit is larger and more varied with orchestral colors. The corps are larger (150 members now). All of this, along with more instructors coming from the music teacher ranks, dance, theater, etc., have brought more depth to the activity. This is a great thing and I am a huge fan of today's youth and their thrilling performances in DCI. Are there things about the show construction today that bother me? In some cases, yes. Do I want a return of the 80s? Heck no. No way. I loved it then, but then was then. Now is now. I love what we are seeing today. There were great music books back in the day, and we hear that today as well. There were also duds back in the day, and we hear that now as well. We can compare yesteryear to now, and it's fun to look at the differences; but doing so to put-down and belittle one or the other is never going to end well. There was plenty of talent and great shows BITD and that has paved the way for modern DCI. We should all be thankful.
  3. jwillis35

    Old Man DCI was cool...

    This. I don't think the "no longer support" page was intended as a jab at today's talent and the show styles. It was more about DCI and member safety, sexual misconduct and hazing, etc. Also, we should always refrain from saying things like "kids were more talented then, or are more talented today." Is there really proof either way?
  4. This is probably what I would say too. I know many will throw Dennis Delucia some love. I always wondered, from a visual standpoint, how much credit we should also give Marc Sylvester for his work with George Zingali? They were a team for many years...and I believe it was Marc who worked out the routing on the field for many of Zingali's designs? Also, I used to absolutely love the percussion scoring of Mark Thurston (is that correct?) from the Crossmen in the 80s/90s.
  5. jwillis35

    DCI LEAVES (downtown) INDY!

    I do believe that was part of the agreement. Perhaps now that they are in their 2nd 10-year agreement that the cost for rent in downtown will no longer be so cheap. I have no problem with DCI looking for the best value for the day-to-day offices they need. If they insulate the building well enough then perhaps the airport noise will not be so bad.
  6. jwillis35

    Carolina Crown 2019

    Loved all those Crown shows you mentioned above, but also very much enjoyed 2008, 09, 10, 11, and 14. When it comes to winning in DCI I honestly do not believe there is a formula. I think it boils down to great performance, great design that works, high impact in the right moments, and appropriate demand. I know there are trends in body movement, electronics, props, style of design and integration; but those things can both help and hurt. It all depends on how things are constructed. Some shows start with a good mix of ideas and performance and end up being cluttered and unreadable. I've seen well-constructed shows simply not meet the quality of performance to compete for a medal, and I've seen shows with poor construction reach top 3 based on outstanding performance. Two shows that come to mind are Crown 2017 and Cadets 2014. Both corps took 3rd at Finals, but both also suffered from poor design in the back-end of their shows. There were corps below them that likely had better overall design but perhaps did not have the performance caption scores. In 2017 I personally thought Carolina had one of the cleaner and better performing units on the field. Some great drill design. Had they simply had better flow to their overall theme after the ballad I believe they could have passed SCV and gave BD a fight for 1st. Ultimately I feel they had too much singing, poor choice of musical content in the last 2 songs, and a theme that didn't bring much high impact. Are the designs of the Bluecoats (from Tilt onward), SCV (17/18), and BD (2008 to now) the styles that are trending? Most certainly. Carolina has also played a big role in the modern concepts of show design with their body movement and story telling. Their 2013 - 2016 shows have certainly been part of the modern design movement. I thought their 2016 show was exceptional in almost every way. I feel as if Carolina can continue to be top 4, even win some titles, by utilizing their strength in brass and percussion. As others have said, their brass arranger has a fantastic idea of what their trademark identity can and should be. I don't see any reason why they can't build around that. I think it's more important to keep a unique identity and style than to play copycat with the most recent flavor-of-the-month concept.
  7. Competitively...I have no clue how they would stack up. From a standpoint of my favorites, I would say this: 1984 West Side Story 1987 Appalachian Spring 1995 forget the name, but the 50th anniversary of WWII show (all John Williams music) 1993 In The Spring 2000 We Are The Future 1985 Symphony 3, Make Our Garden Grow, Candide (Bernstein) 1992 To Tame The Perilous Skies 2011 Angles and Demons 1983 Rocky Point & Mass 2005 The Zone 1998 Stonehenge 2001 Juxtaposition * Honorable Mention: 2012 the Christmas show ( not clean at all, needed some tweaks, but this is an entertaining show) 2002, 2007, 2013, 2014, and 2015 shows were all strong corps; but the design was sadly flawed with each show. My apologies to the alumni from the 60s and 70s. I am not as up-to-date on shows from that period.
  8. jwillis35

    Your Ultimate Finals

    That's a killer show. I don't know if I could watch another live DCI show after seeing this. I'd likely need a few years away just to recoup. All fantastic and legendary shows!
  9. jwillis35

    The Cadets 2019

    I very much enjoyed the 2006 show. The opening and ballad were fantastic! I did not see the early version of the show but I can imagine it was a better design early (coming from Marc Sylvester) vs what may have taken place during the season when some of the better ideas got tossed. Very talented corps despite having to follow a stacked 2005 Cadets group. This is one show that would have benefited from a more stylized uniform specifically for the show ( a costume) and a more modern use of props (a la Bluecoats 2016).
  10. 1989 is still one of my favorite Bluecoats shows. 1988 and 1990 are high on my list as well. Of course, their current offerings have been amazing.
  11. jwillis35

    Unique?

    This is what I thought you meant. I can't really think of anything at the moment that is quite like DCI or various band judging. In Olympic judging each judge looks at all aspects of the program. I'd be interested to see how scores would be with each judge looking at each caption, but drum corps and band judging is difficult because you're combining brass, percussion, guard, visual design, general effect, visual proficiency, and more. Simply put there are certain people who are more qualified to judge certain areas.
  12. jwillis35

    Then vs Now

    I agree with Jeff. Suncoast 1984 is certainly acquired taste, but I loved it. Even if I hadn't I would not have made a scene. I can understand the argument that designers and entertainers should be realistic enough to know that they may get booed. Not everyone will like the design or performance. I have always had a policy to not boo or gripe loudly in the stands. My review of the show may be critical, and I will try to explain myself as best I can; but I also want to show respect for the performers and designers. For me at least, I attend for both enjoyment purposes and to support the performers and their hard work.
  13. jwillis35

    Then vs Now

    I agree. I think most young marchers/performers understand this too. The fans are going to offer their opinions. I certainly don't boo at a show, nor do I make it a point to air my complaints at the show for all to hear. However, in a review I may be critical of some shows and their designs, and in other cases I may be critical of the performance of a show. I hope people understand it's just one person's opinion. No big deal. We can all argue over it -- which is sometimes fun -- but it amounts to opinion. I do enjoy a LOT of things about drum corps today, but there are things some corps do better than others and I wish we saw less of the copycat approach.
  14. BD 1984 is one of my favorite shows by them -- and there are many I love. It is a throwback to a time where some corps were still doing a "concert number" and the crowd loved it. La Fiesta was incredible for sure, but I just loved the opener, and the ballad before the closing tag was lovely. BD and SCV were certainly in the hunt in 1984, and Phantom Regiment was no slouch. That was a strong top 4, top 5. Garfield was simply on a different playing field in terms of visual. The brass caption was amazing for the top 5 corps, I believe with the top 3 all taking first in brass performance. Garfield was not up to par with SCV or BD in percussion, but made up for it in GE and Visual. 1984 is still one of my favorite years, especially for music.
  15. Yeah, no doubt. Party my fault. Madison 1988 is interesting discussion. As it relates to this topic I think it came up because many feel Blue Devils 1988 were one of the better early-season corps to not win. Some feel SCV 1988 deserved to be in that discussion as well. While I did love SCV 88, I never felt they were in the championship hunt but a solid 2nd place corps. Fantastic show of course!!!