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MikeN

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Everything posted by MikeN

  1. Still one of my favorite shows - by far one of my top Crossmen shows (along with '90, '97 and '01). Always glad to see it get love! '92 was such a great year for DCI - there were a ton of corps with incredibly fun programs. I've got the snare music at home, and I can assure you the battery book is Dense with a capital D - would need a lot of retooling (read: watering) to fit today's movement-heavy visual programs. Mike
  2. So sad! I’ll miss him greatly - he was such a great evangelist for all aspects of this activity, and an all around great guy. RIP Michael. Mike
  3. (not for you) For those who don't know, the reason for the tarp was Mile High's almost paranoid insistence on protecting their turf so close to football season. Quarters and Semis were held facing the back side of the field to even out the pit wear and tear, and they had that tarp put down so there would be no divots on the grass. Mike
  4. As a former admin/BoD member now, all I can say is 😮 😑 ☹️ 😡. I know that many many members had a similar experience back then, but that's ... wow. Good on you guys for powering through, but man you shouldn't have had to. Mike
  5. Um... that's not really how this works. See, me saying "I *think* Cavaliers should have won" means, to me, the judges got it wrong. Margin in that case doesn't matter. I've got no issue if you think BD was the best - clearly the judges did too, and it's a hell of a show. As I said before, I think the opener belongs on the Mount Rushmore of DCI openers. However, I still think it was the wrong call to have them in first. I think Cavaliers had a better overall program and executed at a top level as well. I'm not quite sure why this particular argument has become a thing? I'm happy to agree to disagree. Mike
  6. 2004 was a transformational year in DCI for allowing voice and amplification for the first time. I had no problem with amps - voices took a while longer. Cavaliers decided to pair their mind-blowing visual programs with some catchy music. As a result, they won. 007 is a great show and well worth having on your "must watch" list. Welcome to Cuba is by far the highlight of the show, and very out-of-character for the corps during this time. Blue Devils' show felt very avant-garde in its approach. I don't know if I'd call it jazz - more "jazzy." Still awesomely performed, though. Take the A Train and the insane snare accelerando was my favorite. Vanguard kind of caught lightning in a bottle with Scheherazade - a perfect pairing of design and execution. Let's face it - the original ballet is not set-the-world-on-fire material, but man did SCV *make* it that. The battery was one of the best they've ever had. Loved hearing the guard coming from a mile away when they entered the field - their coin-like belts swishing in unison. The Cadets decided to take a leap into the deep end with Jethro Tull. Complete with twirler. Strangely enough, the result was actually pretty good. They managed to capture the spirit of the music pretty well, and I think it's a testament to how good their performers were. Worth watching for the historical curiosity, or if you just like The Cadets. Phantom used the same basic structure as their 2003 show, but plugged in Piazzola. On a technical level, it's a big step up from the year before, but it didn't capture the emotion in quite the same fashion. Killer drumline again from Paul Rennick. Bluecoats took a quantum leap forward while still focusing on what they always do best. While they didn't reach Fully Armed and Operational Battle Station mode until 2007's Criminal, they were significantly improving the brass program and trending a bit darker starting this year. On top of that - it's fun to listen to. Crown kept their upward velocity going with a much more technically sophisticated show from the year before, and were one of two corps to jump on the Vocal bandwagon. Gotta admit - I didn't care for it. It felt very high school theater. Rest of the show was pretty good, but they raised their own bar out of sight since then, so I don't know how much replay value the show has. Madison decided to recreate their 1988 show. I mean, listen to it. It's pretty obvious. Didn't capture the same magic, obviously, but it's a *good* show. Not earth-shattering, but a fun time. Boston Crusaders also decided to mess with vocals, including a lot of narration. Not my favorite result - nebulous color-or-feeling shows always feel to me like stuff HS's do. DCI's always been more in-your-face than that to me. Blue Knights hit on a formula that worked for them starting in 2004, with dark, catchy music and a much more "modern" approach to movement. I love this era, and will watch them again anytime. Nice use of I Go On as well. Crossmen *almost* had me on board for this one. Their take on Jubal Step is interesting, and Both Sides Now of course feels very Crossmen. They lost me on Puma though - we went from one of the best battery books ever in '92 to Three Camps in '04. Killed it for me. Glassmen went dark in music with Voice of One. Neat solo moments throughout, but probably not worth a re-watch these days. Other Highlights: Speaking of nebulous, HS-color-or-feeling shows, "The Architecture of Life" and "Celebration of Life: Mind, Body and Spirit" have to rank in my Bottom 5 of show concepts ever. Magic crashed and burned with Pirates of the Caribbean, Southwind actually impressed with The Mummy, and Pacific Crest showed definite signs of growth. Next year (2005): Cadets did not zag in the slightest. Mike
  7. <shrug> I liked Cavies more than BD (post-opener) - *and* I think Cavaliers should have won. Those don't have to be mutually exclusive. Mike
  8. I've heard similar, and that there are multiple options in the mix depending on circumstances at the time. Corps are definitely going to have to be nimble in operations this year leading up to the season, as circumstances become clearer. Mike
  9. Gotta be honest - as a drummer I don't even miss them. Mike
  10. 2003, to me, was a good DCI year, if not really a great one. Orlando for Finals was a terrible idea in retrospect, as attendance suffered. Also for us fans, the audio/video quality wasn't great - lighting in the Citrus Bowl is just baaaad. Blue Devils had 1/3 of a great show. The opener belongs in the DCI Hall of Fame as it's own member. It's virtuosic, precise and absolutely channels the spirit of Brubeck while creating something new. It's a shame the rest of the show couldn't match. Concerto de Aranjuez just fell flat, and West Side Story was done to death even at that point. Honestly, I'd have had them in second. Cavies' show had the legs. Cavaliers, like I said, should have won. Spin Cycle was by far the most complex visual package of that whole era, and they nailed it. The music was more engaging than Frameworks by a county mile. The Cadets decided to zag instead of zig again, and went with a lot of previously done material. Honestly, I *like* their version of Malaguena - the battery parts managed to hit the rare intersection of Appropriately Complex and Fun to Play. (Trust me, that's not a common thing in DCI.) Rocky Point was much abbreviated from the classic version, but still felt like "classic" Cadets. And for the record, the FJM jackets were fine. It's just frogging. Phantom Regiment kept climbing for a title, one spot per year. Their 2003 show is legendary for <gasp> including a reprise, but that moment - yeah. (Note from my OCD: the title of the music in the opener was Sanctus, not Pachibel's Canon, BTW. From a choir group named Libera.) Paul Rennick made his presence known immediately, as the whole percussion section blew everyone away all summer. I'll listen to this one anywhere, anytime - you don't need the video. Which... might be why they didn't score even higher... (personal note. Thanks to Chris Maher at DCXMuseum.org, I got to hear Phantom's encore from the track in front of them. They played both Sanctus and Amazing Grace. It's an achievement on my DCI bucket list.) Santa Clara's Pathways show is one of my all time favorite programs for them. It has one of the most amazing battery books I've ever seen / heard in it's absolute spot-on mapping between drums and brass. Seriously - you can pick out exact brass parts based on what the battery's doing. So coooool. This was the first corps to use Orawa for Orchestra, and they weave it through the entire show to give it a very driving feel. And the opening minutes are to die for - the brass starts split on each end zone, trading melodies. How long did it take them to refine *that* part?!? Overall, this one's on my SCV Mount Rushmore. Boston did a sequel to 2000's Red, and it was ... ok. The corps was probably a little better than the 2000 version, but the show wasn't as catchy. That said, it's a *good* show, and has some great moments (ballad is awesome, and the 15 snares in Malaguena are fun!). Maybe just not an all-world program. Bluecoats had, in retrospect, what felt like a transition year between their more old-school approach and a more sophisticated "big corps" feel. It's hard to put a finger on. They played catchy stuff and visually were more interesting than normal, but they didnt feel like challengers to Boston quite yet. Worth revisiting by Bluecoats fans, but probably not for everyone. Madison's new leadership nailed their initial production. My kids literally played a don't-call-it-ripoff show of this last year in band. The unfortunate part was that everyone was still mad about Scott Stewart and the new uniforms that they couldn't really appreciate what the corps was doing out there. They had a tremendous drill program, and they showed they could "play the game" while still adding so many signature Madison Moments. I do still pull this one out to watch every once in a while. Crossmen put on a very Crossmen show. If you like very Crossmen shows, you'll like this one. They didn't push the envelope, but you'd leave humming the tunes. I have to keep defending that I *do* like the Crossmen, but this one didn't really raise my blood pressure any. Crown also reinvented themselves in look and sound, and came closer to the more modern Crown we all know and love. They definitely doubled down on the "bell" gimmick. Worth watching if you want to see the evolution of the group. Magic of Orlando's real last hurrah came in 2003. It was definiely a more complex show than the 2002 version, but maybe not as interesting. The bits from Bernstein's Mass were fun. Finally, Spirit made 12th with a more jazz-inspired show that honestly, I didn't like as much as the symphonic stuff the year before. Joke's on me, I guess - they made Finals with this one. Honorable mention - BK was soooo close, with a great music book. Glassmen kept bouncing in and out of the top 12, and Seattle started a slow decline. Honestly, there were a lot of corps that felt like they were on the downswing - Colts, Kiwanis, Southwind, Troopers, Pioneer. Coming up were Pacific Crest, Mandarins, Capital Regiment. Next year in 2004 - Cavaliers wonder what would happen if they adapted their visual program to Cool Music, BD experimented with jazz-but-not-really, SCV caught lightning in a bottle ... and there were also singers and twirlers and amplification. You know, normal stuff.
  11. As someone in the process of starting a SoundSport group, I'm... not sure where we stand now. To be fair, I haven't had the conversation with them yet either. Had a conversation with those that know more about it than me. I'm reassured that a) they're still looking out for DCI/Summer SoundSport and b) the Varsity/SS fall circuit is going to be an interesting alternative to traditional marching competitions, especially for those literally thousands of HS's that don't attend BOA/USSBA/State/etc. Mike
  12. Answering my own question - he's in the DCI Hall of Fame. https://www.dci.org/static/larry_mcCormick
  13. It was started by Larry McCormick, of https://www.mccormicksnet.com/ - but I always got the impression it was much more about the musical mission with him. He was also a longtime sponsor (and staff, IIRC) for DCI. Mike
  14. (gonna keep trying to get this in, come hell or high water) Spirit stormed back into Finals with from Holsinger's Easter Symphony. Which... you could kind of obliquely tie back to a Southern inspiration if you stretched, but that's ok. The new dark and sophisticated Spirit worked good for me. This was one of those corps that wasn't going to light imaginations on fire, but it was very well designed for what they could achieve, and the corps just had no real weaknesses all around. Brass, drums, guard, drill all were solid and well done. You would definitely have to call this a home run shot for the design team. Magic of Orlando was a Division 1 corps that was forced to compete in Division 2 thanks to massive lack of foresight on the part of the DCI Board at the time. I don't think that Magic's situation was at all what they had in mind when they decided a corps had to "work their way back up." Instead, a Finals-level Division 1 corps had to stomp on Division 2 corps all summer, Colossus-style, before maxing out the Division 2 championship sheets and setting fire to half of the upper division on their way to a Saturday night slot. Anyways, the show itself was another one that was incredibly well suited for the level of performer they had, if the program itself didn't overflow with wow moments. Well, the tenor guy did fall over backwards with the drum in the air, and the judge helped him slot right back in like a Boss, but that was more of an organic moment. Seattle Cascades rounded out the top 12 with their first and only Finals performance. It's basically the Cadets' Greatest Bernstein Hits, but they play it well, the drill is good, and the guard was technically sound. I'd give it a solid B. Probably worth watching for the novelty factor, and to see a tribute band done well. Adding a 13th this year, 'cause BK put on what at that point was probably the Angriest Show in DCI. The whole thing is angsty, stabby, and still wonderfully engaging. I don't know if technically they were as clean as Seattle, probably not, but they generated exponentially more amounts of emotion. I think it's on YouTube - definitely worth watching. Honorable Mention - Madison fell (relatively) flat on their face. Music was still no real problem for them, though there were even cracks in that formula (remember the "X-Percussion" that turned out to be one short auxiliary feature?). Visually, they had like 12 guard and the whole program was a mess. Their Board that offseason finally let Scott Stewart go, and that was the end of that era. They did rebound the next year, but Sal Salas had a rocky tenure. Also, Carolina Crown had a solid (Greek Gods!) show concept, a decent lineup of tunes (though Moulin Rouge even then was trite and another corps using Javelin) and ... pink togas. Yeah, that's the part they still can't live down. Seriously, ask anyone from BITD about that show, and I guarantee you they'll say "oh, the one with the pink togas?" Also also, Capital Regiment had a decent show, Southwind was slowly declining and Kiwanis Kavaliers kind of fell apart. Oh, and Pioneer pretty much exploded this season, with their Oliver show lacking both technical complexity and... well... enough members to fill out the corps. Felt like this was the year Roman decided "screw it, we're not going to compete." Next year - the top two keep doing Top Two things, Phantom shows everyone how to create a finale, and Crown and Madison reinvent themselves. One kind of sticks. Mike
  15. Been getting these for a while now in the 2002 season review thread too. Same as above - you get it 4-5 times, then lose access to the site. I wondered if it was because I was posting my 10-million word essay on the season - is there a character limit for posts? Mike
  16. Been trying for ages to post the rest of my review... continued from before. Bluecoats went with a very wind-band repertoire, but also introduced us to Dancer in the Dark way before Cadets did. In hindsight, this show felt *very* much like their 2011 Brave New World production musically, with heavy emphasis on metal and dark musical effects. I love Paradise Utopia (the opener) in particular, and they did a tremendously faithful job in the arrangement. Glassmen, to me, missed on their '02 repertoire, with one giant-sized, Euphonium-shaped exception. "Javelin" was the flavor of the year that year, but no corps really did a proper job with it. Glassmen's ballad though... wow. That dude was nails. Absolute brass ba.... um, he was an exceptionally talented performer. I'm not a fan of the whole show, but I'd definitely recommend you watch it at least once just for the ballad. It's that good. Crossmen, as a fan, felt like this was going to be The Year. They had a spectacular set of charts to work with, and in the early going they were absolutely on fire. The opening drill to Heat of the Day was brilliant, with crosses and boxes swinging back and forth, appearing and disappearing. I want to say it was during the East Coast swing somewhere that year that their brass was within spitting distance of Blue Devils! Alas, they couldn't clean the show, and then the hose came - the Finals version you see today was much different than what they started with in June. I'm still a huge fan of the show, though - it's fun, jazzy drum corps, you know? <still more to come> Mike
  17. If (big if at this point, 'cause nobody knows) they do cancel, then I'm pretty sure DCI would as well. Mike
  18. testing a reply - having all sorts of trouble with DCP's server...
  19. I know it's not your actual question, but ... $2.5 billion in 2018, when they were acquired by Bain Capital. Make no mistake, Varsity is coming for music programs next. They've already monopolized cheer and dance. They also own yearbook publishers and class rings (bought Herff Jones who bought Jostens who bought ArtCarved, which I worked for back in college). Mike
  20. I actually interviewed Jeff Fiedler for DCP back in whatever year it was the big groups left DCM. I'm paraphrasing, but their big concerns were the equal pay structure (big corps the same as little corps) and the fact that the circuit was pretty much being run out of someone's car trunk. Mike
  21. Probably more accurate to call the hypothetical group Varsity Spirit. Mike
  22. Ah 2002 - the Greatest Year in DCI History! Not because of that on-field stuff, but it was the year DCP was created! Thanks again, GeorgeD. 👍 As for the on-field stuff, I got to see all of the D1 groups in San Antonio that year, then of course on video at Finals. Cavaliers - Frameworks GOAT yadda yadda. Visually, the program is a masterpiece. Guard is excellent, drill is otherworldly. The big stuff is done so well it looks almost casual, and they never stop hitting you with big, big, BIG drill moves. But here's the problem. The music is boring as hell, and for much of the show never gets out of the "DCI mf" dynamic comfort level. (DCI mf of course = high school fffff). Down here in UIL high school land, it feels very familiar - tone quality over volume. The first 2/3 of the show is not very engaging on CD, to say the least. The final "rhythm" movement, of course, suddenly amps the energy up, but I can't help but wish they'd maybe gone with *less* original music. Anyways, gonna focus on the positive - legendary - Mt. Rushmore level drill. Blue Devils were not very well received during the season, and I couldn't figure it out. Yes, Channel One was the 2-minute-highlight version, but unless the rules were expanded to include 20 minute shows, it kind of *had* to be. They did a wonderful job of capturing 4 very distinct jazz styles, and honestly didn't get enough credit for their movement as well. I know I've told this story before, but when they hit the end of I've Got Rhythm/Fascinating Rhythm with the jam around the drum rack, in the Alamodome you literally couldn't hear anything but a wall of sound distortion - it was the only time I've ever heard a corps do that before or since. After they're done with the song, I look down and the lady in of me has a sleeping baby with wads of cotton in his ears - they came prepared! Cadets paid homage to their 1995 show with a hyperpatriotic extravaganza. It... sort of worked. The playing and marching were great, but the extra layers of cheese on top of everything made the whole thing kind of a turn off, honestly. The stupid fire truck thing was just the icing on the cake, along with the Pledge of Allegiance (this was the year the whole "under God" part was a raging argument around the country) and 9/11 tableau. I know it's a personal deal, but I still don't think 9/11 should be included in a marching band show. I don't think enough time has passed yet. Anyways, to the good - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy brought the house down wherever they went, and I think it was DCI East with the double-encore where it just kept growing. Vanguard kept their programming formula from 2001 and went with wind ensemble and dark classical literature. The opener was the only original piece, to answer an earlier post in this thread. It definitely wasn't stuff the casual listener would recognize (though most band students likely would), but it was pretty engaging. They also changed the uniforms slightly and added <argh> wings. They didn't break new ground with the show - as I said, it was very much in the same vein as the 2001 program - but they performed well, created some cool musical moments and marched good stuff. Boston tied their highest placement ever with "You Are My Star," which married a lot of songs with Appalachian Spring from a handful of tunes that were not Appalachian Spring. Modern viewers will go right along with the screens / posters they used throughout, including photos from American history, but at the time they were kind of new and different. Drumline stood out in this program - they weren't doing virtuoso work out there, but they were solid and had some neat effects. And everyone loved the ballad, though I couldn't hum it for you today. Phantom tied Boston for 5th after trailing most/all(?) of the year with a Shostakovich based program that the visual designers pretty much said "meh." They managed to create classic Phantom musical moments with the material, though. It's probably the most old-school Phantom program of that entire decade. (more coming) Mike
  23. Cite your source? Garfield said: "it was once shown by data that kids "want to march in DCI", not a particular corps. (Vaticinate study)" Mike
  24. Hah - I thought it was '02 for some reason! You're still my favorite Sooner. Well, it's a list of one... Mike
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