Marc66

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Everything posted by Marc66

  1. Well, the first weekend of drum corps in SoCal came to a close last night in Westlake Village @ Mystikal's first ever HOME SHOW...and, by most accounts it was a great experience. I actually had the chance to simply watch the performances from up top, being that I'm taking a bit of time off from teaching this year. I figured that I could finally give a solid review now that I've seen everyone out here. First off, the venue - Westlake HS, Westlake Village. Actually, a pretty good stadium, with two notable exceptions. 1 - there was no back stands, so any backfield playing was lost into the vast valley (meaning - couldn't hear squat being played back field). This was definitely apparent during several shows. 2 - while the warmup area was a good distance away, there were a couple of nasty hills that pit players had to push equipment up/down which was bad enough...but, the final hill was also dirt, making all shoes extremely dirty upon entering the stadium. However, the stadium itself wasn't too bad...and the brand new turf looked like it was quite cushy to march on. Note to Ryan Turner...you were listed as the announcer for this show in the program and, while the actually announcer was alright, your voice would have been a lot more welcomed. The Performances - overall: Most every corps seemed fatigued (no wonder - it was the final show of a long weekend, and obviously most hornlines were exhausted). With the first weekend completed, I'm sure those kids are ready to enjoy some rest before heading up to NorCal this next weekend. The Corps: Hawthorne Gold (Exhibition) - This is first year corps from the South Bay area of LA (city of Hawthorne) and they made a really good first impression. About 30/23/11/1 and, while they had the obvious jitters (it's a high school music program that has a year-round music program) in front of different audience, they were still very enjoyable. Original music (titled Introductions) was nice, though not hummible, but overall a nice opening package from them. Definitely want to see where they go from here. Dream Senior - OK...it's a senior corps. So, they have the requisit loud, sometimes over-blatting, horns, a green drumline (definitely the weakest link at this point) and an ok guard. Music is from Kill Bill and, while there are some nice moments, this show does need a lot of work if they are going to make finals at DCA. Oh, and Sam, you were missed on the DM podium (no slight against their solid DM, but Sam was still missed). D-II/III: Jester - OK, I'm going to come right out and say it...DCI needs to send every performing member of this corps a letter of apology for allowing the leadership of this corps to subject them to this mess. The kids are doing what is being asked of them, but the difficulty of the book is extremely too much for the kids to handle. Also, it's obvious that the leadership of Jester does not have a clue on how to run a corps (feeding kids at 1:30am after a show, then waking them at 6am later that morning after a frantic first show night is NOT HOW TO TREAT YOUR KIDS...yes, I know this for certain after speaking with folks who stayed with the corps Friday night/Saturday morning). Sorry, but I can't even properly "review" their show because the music/drill is pretty much unrecognizable...my apologies, but these kids are getting the royal shine-ola. Vanguard Cadets - Definitely the greenest SCV-C in a long time. The music is various Key Poulan pieces from his plethora of music. All sections are improving rapidly, but the difficulty of the book is making it so they have to work harder. Some really nice moments (the single guard member at the start of the Death sequence really sets the mood for the piece) are evident. The hornline does have a very nice, rich sound, but the music definitely could uses a good watering. Impulse - The Incredibles (or, as they call it, The Impulsibles). Can't say too much about this show, because there isn't much there, yet. The soundtrack from this movie has a lot of great music that this corps should be eating up. Instead, without any of the "gags" that they will put in later this year (I'm hoping), this show just sounds like a lounge orchestra. The music is very mellow, and lacks a lot of "umph." All sections are alright, but this show suffered from several bouts of drum major slow down (would start a song at one tempo and immediately start slowing down). The Academy - Everything you've heard about them is true. This corps will be a DCI Champion. Everything about them is solid. There book is challenging (not hummible, but really good) and all sections handle it well. They are not perfect...by any stretch of the imagination. The first horn hit generated an audible gasp of delight from the audience, and the attraction lasted all through their show. I was delighted to hear that they will be going to Madison next year for championship week. The rest of the drum corps world needs to see/hear/experience this group cause they are for real. Mystikal - First off, I'm the former visual caption head for this group, so there is a natural bias - and I freely admit it. However, I still can offer a neutral review. This show (A Sorcerer's Sonnet) is musically/visually far more challenging than last year's Pirates of the Caribbean show. Unfortunately, it definitely shows. This corps is very strong in both percussion and guard, but the hornline and drill are a major issue. The guard book is strong, and the performers are well up to the challenge (using silk/rifle/sabre/long sword). When everyone is there, I'm sure this show will make sense. However, the drill will definitely need to be changed to accomodate the smaller than expected hornline, and for the music/drill to make sense. Blue Devils B - First off: there is a male guard member that looks like he just entered kindergarten (Impulse, you should be doing Willie Wonka THIS year, cause here would be your Oompa Loompa). But...OMG, can this kid spin and perform. Definitely someone who has a bright future in the activity. As for their show, original music from John Meehan is great (but the usual BD trademark hits are growing increasingly tiresome) and this corps is definitely maturing from previous years...awesome show. Div. I: Esperanza - Performing Keith Emerson's Piano Concerto, this corps enters with a smaller corps than last year. The show doesn't really have a lot of impact, and the audience reaction was more like a golf tournament than a drum corps show. Guard is alright, but lacking in color (though their work is good)...however, nothing about them stands out...and, I'm sure the low numbers are indicative of their lack of emotional impact. Almost forgot...the whistles: VERY ANNOYING. I'd almost settle for amps if they'd lose the whistles (note, I said ALMOST). Pacific Crest - Fluid States is way different than last years show. I really loved last year's PC cause it was accessible and fun. This year is more esoteric, but performed much better than last year's corps. And, while on this night, they were a bit off across the board, this show has a lot more potential than last year. And, as has been previously reviewed by others, this is a guard show (sorry horns and drums, but it is). Drill nicely reflects the fluid states of vapor, solid and liquid (the wave-like drill is really cool). Mandarins - By all accounts, my favorite show so far this year. Horns are strong (48 sounds like 70) and powerful, yet tender in the right moments. Percussion...yes, I love the Taiko drums, but they are not appropriate for this show, and guard is really strong. Oh, and the drum major...simply AWESOME. Show is titled, "Loves Me...Loves Me Not," and is wonderful. Music is from Spartacus (haven't heard since Phantom), plus pieces from Astor Piazola and Rachmaninov. This show is pure romance. I really love the beginning with the guard and their sunflowers (as if to pull a petal to say, he loves me...he loves me not) while a lone sop plays the intro....wonderful!!! Santa Clara Vanguard - OK, I'm also an alum, so I have a bias here too. However, I can give an unbiased review here, too. Let me sum this show up with this: This show ain't even close to being there, yet...but (like the Vanguard of the 70's and 80's) there is a lot that will probably be added/fixed to make them a contender and the end of the year. The music is Russian (an SCV strength), the uniforms are a modern adaptation of the classic Vanguard in White (yeah), and they are doing what they used to do...just get the show on the field and proceed to tweek, fix, add, add more, and work towards the final goal: DCI CHAMPIONSHIPS WEEK. We forget that this is what they always did, and rarely scored really well until the second half of the season. Now, this performance was alright, but not nearly as strong and entertaining as it could have been. I'm also hoping that I'm accurate in my observation, or else SCV is in for along year. It was great having drum corps in a place where it hasn't been in a long time and, if the size of the crowd was any indication, there will shows here for a long time to come.
  2. I only saw the '93 show on the live broadcast on PBS. My first reaction still stands: This show should have won it. Yes, it's my opinion, but I still think this show was absolutely awesome (and, is one of my all-time favorites). Nikk...GREAT PIECE. Wonderful reading, and excellently written. Thank you.
  3. Sorry, Ryan...I thought I gave you my new cell #. I got there about 6:30pm (dang traffic) and decided to take a chance and try by getting a ticket to another movie (Beauty Shop) and was able to get into the theater...and, yes, there were some empty seats (all down front). I figured since the theater wouldn't release the non-claimed will call tickets, I would at least pay to get into the door and go from there...
  4. I'm really glad I went last night (Irvine Spectrum - Irvine, CA)...I originally heard that the theater was sold out (which it was), but thought I'd be able to get in anyway...which I was able to. I was totally blown away by the audience in attendance - a wonderful mix of all the generations represented during the show...PLUS, it was great seeing the large number of Kingsmen alumni (they even took a group picture holding a Kingsmen flag from the '74 show). The sound was actually pretty good (though, it ALWAYS could be louder). One of the best parts of this show was that there were many times during the show when it actually felt like I was at a stadium watching this...people yelling (love the "Play it, 27!" right before the hit in Danny Boy), laughing (VK...Now THAT'S Art), and cheering wildly. As for the corps: Kingsmen - Nobody marks time like that, anymore. The high school kids here were gasping at the sight of it. Madison - Now THATS a loud hornline!!! BD - The North Drums were unique, and the show - awesome! Spirit - I forgot that Jim Ott passed away during the season. Let it be Me...very emotional. 27th Lancers - I now fully appreciate this show...early Zingali was still great stuff. SCV - I remember my reaction when they were announced as winners...I hit my head on the ceiling from jumping so ecstaticly. What a show...simply stunning. Star - I never really liked Star...just didn't like the fact they were a fully funded corps. My opinion has changed...what they accomplished was amazing...and this show was superb. Between the running middle horns and the running drill, I'm a convert. VK - We need them back...or, at least get another excellent and funny corps on the field (Impluse and Jersey Surf are getting there, but not quite there yet). This show was both good AND funny...great talent and creativity. Come back, VK! Phantom - OMG...This show was haunting, beautiful and INTENSE!!! I need to get the '96 DVD and watch this again, and again, and again...you get the idea! Boston - while I liked this show and was happy to finally see them in finals, I really didn't think this show should have been included. I know they were voted in, but (IMHO) they are not quite on the level of the other shows here. Cadets - This show was wonderful. And, while the music wasn't readily recognizable, it was still great to listen to...and the final piece really was great at drawing the audience in and making us feel a part of the show. Cavaliers - OK, I didn't particularly care for the music, but Cesario was right...you need to see AND hear this show together to "get it." And, boy, did I get it. All in all, some absolute great stuff...and, I'm really glad that DCI is doing this theater thing...can't wait for quarterfinals in August...BRAVO DCI!!!
  5. The Pasadena All-star HS band is actually the creation of Kerry Willett, band director at Marshall Fundamental HS in Pasadena, and wife of Thom Willett (drum corps alum, and staffer with Impulse)...like LA All-City, they are composed of member solely from Pasadena high schools (Pasadena, John Muir, Blair, Pasadena Poly, and Marshall). PCC Honor Band is more of a group comprised of high schoolers from around the area and is extremely difficult to make (auditions are quite tough). As for the parade overall - some incredible groups...and, I too loved the group from Costa Rica...just wonderfully different (and those bass drum being flung around the players' necks was sweet!!!).
  6. RYAN - Thank you for your wonderful words about MYSTIKAL. This group was absolutely phenomenal to work with. The kids, most of whom never even had seen a drum corps prior to their first show, were eager to learn about the activity - both in its present form, and its history. After their final show of the season Saturday night (we purposely chose not to go to Denver our first year. Instead, we wanted to get the corps on the field in a limited number of shows and develop our group slowly and get financially stable before heading out to DCI Finals) you could see in the kids' eyes that they "got it." They understood drum corps. I could go on for days about what these kids accomplished...but, instead let me simply say thank you again for noticing this group and acknowledging them in their first season. We already are looking forward to an even better 2005 and, once again, giving the drum corps community a group it can be proud of.
  7. Still looking for a great place to march this summer? Don't have the ability to march a full summer season? Want to march with a corps where you get to create traditions that will last for decades? THEN, MYSTIKAL - SOCAL'S NEWEST DRUM & BUGLE CORPS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU!!! We still have some horn and guard spots available and are welcoming any/all who are interested. Our staff is tremendously strong (having marched and/or taught with groups such as SCV, Madison, Cadets, Blue Knight and Pacific Crest) and have created a show that is fantastic! JOIN US THIS WEEKEND: Friday, May 28 starting at 6pm, til Monday, May 31 @ Noon - NEWBURY PARK HS - NEWBURY PARK, CA DON'T JUST MARCH - HELP ACTUALLY CREATE THE DRUM CORPS EXPERIENCE YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED!!!
  8. Still looking for a great place to march this summer? Don't have the ability to march a full summer season? Want to march with a corps where you get to create traditions that will last for decades? THEN, MYSTIKAL - SOCAL'S NEWEST DRUM & BUGLE CORPS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU!!! We still have some horn and guard spots available and are welcoming any/all who are interested. Our staff is tremendously strong (having marched and/or taught with groups such as SCV, Madison, Cadets, Blue Knight and Pacific Crest) and have created a show that is fantastic! JOIN US THIS WEEKEND: Friday, May 28 starting at 6pm, til Monday, May 31 @ Noon - NEWBURY PARK HS - NEWBURY PARK, CA DON'T JUST MARCH - HELP ACTUALLY CREATE THE DRUM CORPS EXPERIENCE YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED!!!
  9. 2004 is truly evolving into a MYSTIKAL year!!! Be a part of drum corps' newest group...MYSTIKAL DRUM & BUGLE CORPS. Guard Auditions are taking place this Saturday/Sunday, May 1-2 @ Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park. With one of drum corps' best staffs, Mystikal is quickly becoming another in a long-line of California success stories. DON'T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO BE A PART OF OUR GENESIS!!! Times for this weekend are: Saturday, May 1: 1-4pm Sunday, May 2: 10am-5pm DIRECTIONS: From the Northbound 101 Freeway: Take Wendy Drive exit, Turn left onto North Wendy Drive, Turn right onto Old Conejo Road, Turn Left onto North Reino Road (School is on left, meet outside of band room). From the Southbound 101 Freeway: Take Wendy Drive exit and go straight off freeway onto Old Conejo Road. Turn left onto North Reino Road (School is on left, meet outside of band room). For more information: www.mystikal-corps.org
  10. I consider myself lucky and blessed that I was able to march with the groups that I marched with... However, if I could have started marching earlier, I would have given just about anything to have marched with THE BRIDGEMEN in the late seventies/early eighties (especially 1980)! That corps epitomized what, imho, drum corps was meant to be...entertaining, fun, musically excellent and an all-around great program. Oh, to wish...
  11. Thanks all...I've been quite curious and your responses have been very helpful.
  12. During my years of marching in the mid-eighties, The Boston Crusaders were only called Boston. I was wondering the reasons for this. Can anyone enlighten me, please?
  13. The pants trick was actually quite simple. The corps had two pairs of pants on: One green, with one white underneath. The green pants were velcroed all along the seams down both legs so that they could simply be ripped off. As a member marched into the tunnel, they had a firm grip on the green pants and, as soon as they entered the tunnel, pulled them off. There were assistants in the tunnel to make sure everyone got 'em off. Quite ingenious, actually.
  14. On the one hand, I think it's great that Europe is going to get two of DCI's best. It will be a great experience for both the members, and the EU fans. On the other, I agree whole-heartedly with my buddy SkaJerk in that too many Eastern groups/fans complain about coming to the West Coast. Hey, we've been going to Buffalo/Orlando/Boston/Atlanta/Miami/Montreal ETC. every year since the last time DCI has even attempted to move out this way (and, no...DENVER IS NOT THE WEST COAST). I read previous posts here and elsewhere opining that DCI plays favorites (after all, they do the scheduling - they dictate which groups go where, for the most part). Frankly, I'm really getting tired of it! I'm all for BD/Cadets going to Europe in 2004. HOWEVER...DCI had better find it in their infinite wisdom to finally send some groups that have never been to the West Coast. Bluecoats, Glassmen, Carolina Crown, Magic, Colts, Boston Crusaders: The West Coast wants the chance to cheer for you here...Crossmen, come back - we miss you; Phantom Regiment: CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU OUT HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1981. That's all for me...
  15. TICKETS HAVE BEEN SOLD!!! thanks to all who inquired.
  16. HEY EVERYONE IN DCP LAND... Because of health reasons, I am not able to get to Madison for the glorious DCI Championships. So, I am making available my 3 seats (1 for quarters, 1 for semis, 1 for finals). These seats are INCREDIBLE (50yd line, 62 rows up...re: some of the best seats in the house). These will probably go fast ... but make me an offer, I'm fairly easy (to a point ;)^ )
  17. While I'm stuck in California and couldn't get to the Open House in Madison, I just had a chance to finally hear the Open House recordings of Madison's 2002 Show... If they can clean the marching, this show is going to be the Scouts' official welcome back to the upper-tier of DCI...amazing hornline for this early in the season...I can't wait to see 'em... :D