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Your Drum Corps Experience

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  1. There's an afternoon occurance in Arkansas where on a hot summer's day, sometimes the clouds will decide to explode and dump eleventy billion metric tons of water. A perfect set-up for a drum corps show, no? God would not have any of it, as He took His mighty hand and shoved that mess aside just in time for the 8pm delayed start. I wish He would have thrown in a big divine blow-dryer as well. We could have seen full-on versions of these great shows with no short-cuts or boo-boos. That being said, a great evening was enjoyed by all, including my two teens and their tag-along friend. I will be sharing their perspectives with you as well. The field, as expected, was treacherous and we in Arkansas thank all the participants for risking your health and well-being to give us fantastic entertainment. There were about three to four thousand in attendance at the horrid, unaccomodating War Memorial Stadium in downtown Little Rock. Despite sad, poor conditions, nine corps persevered and all represented themselves well. They were: Cascades "Turn" - Small. That is the first impression you get with this corps. Small. And tiny. And small. I do not know why some administrators and staff of these corps misstrategize how these groups should compete, because I would rather see Cascades win Open Class than for them to finish next to last in World Class. The program was well designed, but elementary in its difficulty, rightfully appropriate for its membership. You didn't see them overly struggling like some small corps tend to be subject to by an overzealous staff. Good foresight and judgement on the part of the show designers. I thought the kids did an admirable job with the arrangements, especially "Turn, Turn, Turn". They finished a distant 9th in all captions. In a open class environment, this corps would easily challenge for a Top 5 spot. Respectable. Stephen - "Not bad" Abbie - "Meh" Alex - "I wanna talk to that boy again" My rank - 9th Actual rank - 9th The Academy "Vanity Fair" - Slick, sharp and very clean for a corps at their tier level. This wonderful, elegant show features some amazing silks, and they are used to great effect by a very capable color guard. Visual is such a strong point for the corps in this very classy program featuring some good musical selections. Marching technique and execution was fantastic. I feel the brass, although good in quality, need a bit more difficulty for this show to challenge those ahead of them, and also - not hold back!!! Wonderful visual performance I think was also hampered with some design over-simplicity. Unlike Cascades, there is Top-12 talent in this corps, especially in guard and percussion. They would hang if they had the vehicle. They lost brass and music rep to Oregon. The show just feels safe and restrained and they need to just let it loose. Percussion were impressive with a nice feature. Striking uniforms with flowing capes added to the formalty of the show. The color guard was splendid, and performed with confidence. With some musical rewrites and another dynamic level of brass performance, this corps could get really interesting.... Stephen - "Wow, beautiful!" Abbie - "I want a lemonade" Alex - "I really think he likes me" My rank - 7th Actual Rank - 8th Oregon Crusaders "nevermore" - I appreciate the innovative idea of attaching a poetic narrative to a show, which the Blue Knights would also do later in the evening. The hornline and program concept is carrying the corps, plain and simple. "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, was the DNA for the show, and the corps ably incorporated their selections into the theme. The guard did an impressive job of selling the visual. The hornline was powerful and loud, with good dynamic contrast but some obvious dirt. I have one main criticism - the overuse of sound bites!!! Now don't get me wrong, James Earl Jones narrating is something to be revered, but having him drop "nevermore" a dozen times, sometimes over brass hits is distracting, unnecessary and incohesive. That is no fault of the kids. The designers need to reduce the electronic clutter in the show. In other ways, the atmosphere set up electronically is quite nice and effective, but some refinement is necessary. The percussion slightly lags behind the other two captions who are holding their own. To improve, the narration needs to be honed better, the hornline a little cleaner and the percussion to bring some snap and aggression to their roles. It will be tough. Academy was better, over all in my opinion. Stephen - "Really interesting" Abbie - "Wow - I like dark and creepy - cool!" Alex - "I like the raven, it's really cool!" My rank - 8th Actual Rank - 7th Crossmen "Alma Gitana" - As much as you can in Arkansas, this was the hometown corps....a lot of Arkansan kids marching with Bones this year. They were getting serious and you felt it in this awesome, powerful show. Even though the only recognizable tune in this was their closer, I felt so comfortable with their selections, they were performed like I knew all the tunes already. They actually beat Boston in General Effect 1 (should have won the whole caption) and should have beaten them in Percussion. This gypsy-themed show was the turning point in the night, where the "ish" got real. There was a good amount of footwork and choreography in this show, and excellent use of accessories by the guard. Hornline was monstrously powerful, with only a small amount of noticeable anomalies. These guys and gals will solidly be in finals, no question. Stephen - "Whoa" Abbie - "Is this like from Aladdin, daddy?" Alex - "Hey that's a cross - neato!" My rank - 5th Actual Rank - 6th Boston Crusaders "Animal Farm" - For a show called "Animal Farm" there were a whole lot of macabric elements present. This was a dark and brooding show, understated and ominous. They topped Crossmen tonight on the judges sheet because they marched their shoes off, even defeating Blue Knights in visual proficiency, and rightfully so. They need to enjoy that while it lasts, because I do not see a lot of potential improvement with this program design. The hornline of Crossmen are slightly brighter and more impressionable than Boston's, but the apparently judges saw more in Boston's show, likely the complexity of its composition and integration. I liked the intensity the performers provided, and keeping the feel of it consistent. Good push at the end for a strong finish. Stephen - "The dark thing really gets me." Abbie - (Missed it - talking to boys) Alex - (Missed it - talking to boys) My rank - 6th Actual Rank - 5th Blue Knights "That One Second" - I absolutely loved the poignancy and emotional punch this show has. This was such a wonderful improvement from the corps' more esoteric previous efforts. To me, the program seems to be about recollecting memories that one second before you die, with its female narrator sending a strong message to appreciate all facets of life. The show also incorporated oceanic elements into the visual. I can get behind this program. CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN!! So crisply performed, much cleaner than The Cadets later (who, in fairness, had more difficult drill)!! The kids looked like machines programmed to march. BK had my favorite uniforms of the night, and their percussion was downright sicko. Crown's percussion better keep improving, or they will fall behind these guys. Excellent staging in the drill with very effective use of props and the poetic narrative. You can tell this program was put together by some of the best in the idiom. Stephen - "That's just cool." Abbie - "Can I get a lemonade yet" Alex - "I like the blue - pretty!" My rank - 4th Actual Rank - 4th Bluecoats "Tilt" - The best show of the night - but the Cadets were cleaner. Even with the Bluecoats playing it safe on the calisthenics and tarp usage because of the rain, they sold the bejesus out of this program. They won colorguard performance and percussion, and should have placed second in brass, and also should have won MA and GE. They will on finals week. Their cutting-edge repertoire selections were the most accessible of the night, and Doug Thrower's arrangements prove to be the best in the activity. The percussion put on a clinic and blew everyone else out of the stadium. They have the goods, people!! Well-balanced captions with a championship vehicle. There is just a slight bit of refinement needed in the hornline, and some transitionary issues to address in the program. I'll go ahead and say it, "Hymn of Axciom" is amazeballs. The transition into the next tune kills enthusiasm for the ballad. END IT COLD AND LET US RESPOND!!! Same thing goes for the final 30 seconds of the show after a perfectly executed pitch bend!! Even though the staff added a cold cutoff and a hearty "blue" (i think it's because they realized it was a problem) - staff....the last 30 seconds of the program needs work and improvement, it is anti-climatic!!! If these areas can be fixed, the Bluecoats will catch and pass Cadets on the judges sheets after they peak too soon. Get it done! This show is amazing and these performers are champions!!!! Stephen - "OH MY FREAKING GOD!" Abbie - "They're slanted all the time!" Alex - "That was awesome!" My rank - 1st Actual Rank - 2nd The Cadets "Promise: An American Portait" - To verify, this corps, with a couple of slight exceptions, is way clean and will peak before finals week. Short of pulling out a gigantic American Flag and releasing 13 bald eagles, there is simply nothing more the Cadets can add to this show. In fact, they should reduce the narration slightly. The hornline was impeccable, loud and proficient, but I can see how Crown beat them in this subcaption. I was very surprised and shocked to see the phasing in the hornline!!! Did I just watch two people out of step? The only other corps I saw do that were the Cascades. So how in the hell can Cole give them a win in Visual Proficiency? Ridiculous!!! Percussion - always reliable - held up their end nicely. The color guard was neck and neck with Bluecoats, but should not be. They did a great job of selling this show and not being overshadowed by the 150 large props on the field. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if the staff has them parking a bus on the field during finals week. Classic, wheelhouse Cadets show. Stephen - "History book - the drum corps." Abbie - "I hate school." Alex - "I want to talk to that boy again" My rank - 2nd Actual Rank - 1st Carolina Crown "Out Of This World" - The mics for Crown's singers fritzed out and they had to do the opening unamplified, just like in the olden days. The hornline put on the clinic this time. The all high-brass moment during the percussion feature was just insane - very entertaining! Percussion, while improved from last year, has only one flaw - they are not victory-quality. Some I talked to felt the excessive prominent featuring of the caption hurt the corps. I agree. They need a serious non-percussive brass chorale moment to improve GE a bit. Also, between the hoops, frisbees-to-nowhere and trampolines, there is a bit of design clutter on the field. A better purpose needs to be forged for these interesting props. The program design is interesting, but not smooth and cohesive enough to compete with the top 3. Stephen - "Dad, did they just bounce on trampolines and play?" Abbie - "I want a frisbee - yay!!" Alex - "I liked how they ran around the trampolines!" My rank - 3rd Actual Rank - 3rd Welp, there you have it, Drum Corps Community! I always like to be of service when there are goings-on in my state! A GREAT job by Robert Hesse and workers at the show who handled the elements and delayed schedule very well!!! How they can polish a turd like War Memorial Stadium and turn it into a useable venue is beyond amazing. It made the show - amazing - great memories for me and my attention-deficit-disorder-riddled teenagers, who were of no critical help.
  2. Because most of these tiny shows get overlooked, and because I enjoyed it quite a lot, here is my review of Sunday's show! (Disclaimer: this review will likely be deficient in color guard and drumline commentary. I'd rather spare you "Wow, drumline's big" and "flags were nice but it was windy" because I admittedly don't have much expertise in these areas.) Legends: This was my first ever experience with Legends. I found the hornline to have a warm and nice sound, generally, however, the visual element definitely hurt the musical delivery. Granted it's early July, so there's still plenty of time to get the feet out of the sound. I really appreciated that the (unamplified) pit had timpani. I enjoyed the concept of the show, though at times integration of horns and drums muddied things a bit. Genesis: First viewing of this corps as well. Visually, a noticeable step up from Legends; this group marches well. The hornline sounds good, now if they would only turn down the awful synthesized bass in the pit. With 12 tubas, there's no need for electronic rumblings in the background; the one brass hit without synth was great. Shoutout to the mellophone section, who stuck out in a solid and good way. When the execution is up to the level of show design, it will be quite excellent. Colt Cadets: Again, first time I've seen CC. The level of demand doesn't seem as high as the previous 2 groups but it seems appropriate for the younger/smaller Colt Cadets corps. I thought the adaptation and performance of Eric Whitacre's "Equus" for the DCI field was well done, as it's an especially rhythmically challenging piece. The hornline, though small, held its own. Pioneer: I've only ever seen Pioneer once or twice, but always found them enjoyable. Musically, the material was traditional in a way (Pioneer's traditional style/traditional hymn tunes and Irish tunes) but also non-traditional in some of the settings of the music. I liked the brass book, I think the arrangements work. I do wonder if there is more to be done with the props in the show, the move around but don't seem to add much to the overall effect. Visual clarity (some especially notable lines and diagonals) looks like, well, July. The corps performs the show enthusiastically, for sure. Though the hornline is small for world class, they play reasonably well and I'd still rather hear it without synth bass beneath. Jersey Surf: I'm unsure about the midi sounds coming from the pit; I don't mind the added effect of woodwind and organ sounds too much, but I think they'd fit in much more musically if the samples had some decay instead of just releasing keyboard-style. I loved the effect of the plumes gradually appearing on the members through the opener. Surf's hornline is growing up and they have an understatedly wonderful show to work with. The tuba soloist in the Copland and mello soloist in the ballad both played very well. Also loved the return to the navy blue uniforms, it's fitting for this program. I can't wait to see this show in August, as Surf has more time on tour this summer than they've ever had. Colts: I'd been hesitantly looking forward to this show for quite some time since I love Pink Floyd. The corps really delivers. Hearing a hornline of this size and quality play parts of Dark Side of the Moon was really incredible. I don't have much commentary on the narration. I think it was delivered well and I understand that is evolving, though I don't know if parts of it would have been as effective if I had not know it as lyrics from Dark Side of the Moon. Radiohead's Everything in Its Right Place translates to the drum corps idiom incredibly effectively, I wanted to hear more of it. I'd seen a lot of complaints about the vocals in The Great Gig in the Sky, but I didn't find it to be disagreeable mostly on account of knowing the source material. Top split trumpets, and the trumpet section in general, were impressive (I'd noticed that last time I saw Colts live back in '12, too). I'm looking forward to see what happens to this show throughout the season.
  3. Quick review of a great night of Drum Corps here in Illinois. First, severe thunderstorms were supposed to roll in and ruin everything, but instead the sun came out and it was a perfect night! Racine Scouts were up first. Small group but big heart! I think this was maybe only their 2nd or 3rd show this season and they had some jitters. Some tentative brass as the show got into the latter half of the show but overall a nice showing. Guard had some issues with drops but I am sure the wind had a lot to do with that as it affected pretty much every corps tonight! Always great to see a young group enjoying themselves and giving it everything on the field. Special props to the baritone soloist who had some chops :) The Troopers came next and the opening hit was nice and powerful. Had some issues with the prop screens lining the front sidelines on Side 1. They pretty much all fell over, but it didn't seem to bother anyone too much. Again, screen props were blowing all over the place all night, so it wasn't just the troopers that were getting it ;) Guard wore really striking yellow dresses that matched the corps proper and had some nice moments. Percussion played with confidence as well, but the brass sound was what stood out. Lots of big impact points. Seemed to get a little tired towards the end of the show, but nothing that a week or two worth of reps won't fix. Overall a very nice show, but lacking a little in depth IMO. Blue Stars were on after Troopers, and they opened with The Chairman Dances, one of my favorite pieces. Was a little too chopped up for my liking personally, but had some relatively difficult exposed parts all over the hornline that were nice. Hornline and percussion were way more controlled and polished than Troopers. Definitely a step up in content and difficulty as well. French horn in the duet was barely able to be heard despite being mic'd and didn't really do anything for me unfortunately. The whole corps started in blue jumpsuits covering their uniforms like a moving company and at some point mid show, sections began removing them to expose the corps unis. Very cool moments when small groups would be in their uniforms and others were in the blue jumpsuits.Neat contrast. Also they get my vote for most ingenious props...lots of carts and dollies...not hard to pack up your props when they are moving equipment :) Color guard had a GREAT show and was probably the biggest standout. The Madison Scouts were up next and they were light on props but big on hornline moments. Percussion was pretty clean and have a fairly demanding book. The trombone feature was not as offensive as I thought it would be going in (my primary instrument is trombone, so I can say that :P). Not really digging the arrangement of the opener (Fanfare for the New). It gets a little square in parts and kind of meanders. Back half of the show shines with some strong brass work and a trio of trumpet players that can bring it. Not 100% sold on the down ending, but the trumpet player that closes it out is a beast. Guard had a rough night and they seem to have some issues that need to be worked out in the coming weeks. Short intermission and then Phantom Regiment was up with Swan Lake, though you would be hard pressed to indentify it except for the closer. Hornline was pretty good though the book seems like it might not have enough meat in it to go much further. What was there was played pretty well however. Uniform change was kind of ruined due to the screens blocking the transition being blown over but was a decent effect. There is a portion of the show where some members of the guard are covered with big black tubes held by horn members that seems to go on for wayyyy too long, totally ruining any effect it would have had. Overall a nice show, but I don't think they have the vehicle to hold off the pack and unless they get going on the rewrites and additions I think they will end up on the lower middle of the pack come finals night. Next up was the Blue Devils, and while I'm a bit of a homer, I have to say it was a massive step up in performance level and content. The opening trumpet feature is super impressive and when the full corps comes in for the first big hit you can tell they came to play. All sections are super strong and the show flows naturally, with almost no noticeable breaks or transitions. The Gordon Goodwin piece is straight ahead big band jazz with lots of meaty baritone parts (which I love). Percussion has a serious book that should be in contention for the trophy come August. Color Guard is typical Blue Devils. Tons of exposed work with lots of different styles and effects. What is being asked of the individual performer is huge. Guard highlights were the huge rifle tosses from atop a ladder to waiting members a good 15-20 yards away (two drops on that tonight which seemed to be due to the wind blowing them off course) which elicited a lot of oohs and ahhs from the crowd and the tambourine segment. The ending is the only part that I feel needs a bit of a change. Not that it isn't satisfying, but it just reads like a placeholder until something better comes along (which I expect will). Easily thought BD were 4-5 points ahead of anyone up to this point. Last was hometown favorites, The Cavaliers. BIG step up from last couple of seasons! The Immortal theme comes across well and the hornline came to play. They were on the loud end of the spectrum for Cavies (but there were a few moments of some individuals sticking out of the ensemble, especially in the low brass, and 1 pretty bad release that marred a pretty good night for the hornline). Favorite part of the show was Danse Macabre which is just awesomely arranged. The on field pit tears it up with some insane mallet work! Another super cool moment is when the guard pulls long black silks from the chest of the hornline, which I assume is symbolic of pulling their souls from their bodies. Really cool effect! Percussion was a little off tonight in the battery I felt (though to be fair I'm really a horn guy) but nothing major that can't be cleaned up. If they can get the hornline a little more under control and polish for the next few weeks they are within striking distance of 4th-5th (I just don't see them getting into medal contention, but you never know!) but they are gonna have to fight for it. Great to see them back on track! Overall, great night of drum corps and can't wait till next sunday for the Tour of Champions show!
  4. Akron Cinecast Review Let’s start off with some disclaimers. I’m a guard person, and I’m much more active in the winter than in the summer. I have no musical training, so I can’t comment much on brass or percussion. I mostly watched the color guard and overall visual effect. With that out of the way, here we go. Cavaliers: I just could not get into this show because of the cheesiness factor. My guess is this show looks and feels much different under the lights, because during the day it felt comical and forced from the guard. The guard characterization was not right for me – I know that’s what they were given, but as an overall concept I think it was wrong. Also, didn’t Crossmen do this a few years back? Positively, the marimba feature is awesome. I enjoyed the drill; lots of visual impact and some clean moments from a guard perspective. The guard relies heavily on the 8 weapon boys – kind of obvious that there are some flag members that are struggling. Cavies have a high upside with their visual, but there needs to be a more mature vibe from the color guard. Scouts: The commentators nailed it at the end of the performance: what was the significance of the actor who walks from one corner to the other corner, does a tumbling routine, and then show’s over? I know this characterization will be added in, but they’ve created so many moments around him that to not explain him or his role was criminal. They even had a show designer talking about the show who made no mention of it. I like the progression from black and white to psychedelic. The guard has a lot to clean and clarify, but I was underwhelmed by vocabulary and impact. Another reviewer said there weren’t a lot of impact moments, and I agree. What’s memorable about this show? Corps proper uniforms weren’t impressive, but the guard looked good. Overall, I would have put them last tonight. Boston: Okay, I liked this show, and I’m trying to separate bias. Michael Lentz show design is all over this production, and it’s obviously something new to DCI, let alone Boston. The corps struggled through their first performance. The visual demand is sky-high, and achievement is way behind. BAC has so much work ahead of them to clean up visually. That said, I love the moments. I am familiar with Lentz’s style in the winter, and it’s clear they went visual first (as opposed to Bluecoats/Scouts music first). The guard personifies the show, and I thought they struggled to meet a high-demand show. Weapons probably had the most drops of all corps. The last minute or two of work still needs to be filled in. But again, I like this show. I didn’t need a storyline, and clearly they know where their moments are. I thought they should have been closer to Cavies, but obviously a lot of dirt to be cleaned and filled in. I am looking forward to seeing where this show is at the end of July. Phantom: Totally opposite from Boston in terms of readability and cleanliness. This is probably my favorite PR production in sometime. Clear storyline that’s not totally hokey. PR’s guard puts a lot of emphasis on clean, readable work; although to me it looked like harder work than last year. They need to work on some of the transition stuff, especially uniform changes because it was just way too forced instead of an impactful change. The music was very enjoyable, and complimented the visual. PR has a history of adding onto their visual over the summer, so I look forward to the additions. As it stands now, they just look safe. Solidly middle of the finalist pack, and only ahead because of clarity. Very similar to last year, and I could see them getting passed by a corps or three. The white guard costumes were correct, but not totally flattering to the girls. Characterization was spot on – they expressed themselves wonderfully and believably. My favorite moment might have been the wing-flapping free arms under a toss. I’m not sure what more beef can be added to this show, so it will really be up to other corps to see if they can catch up to PR’s polished show. Cadets: I saw their run-through they posted as a live feed, so I spent a lot of time watching my friend who was featured in a lot of parts. Great overall show, and felt more traditional than the corps around them. Music was great as I love Copland. Guard was performing at a high level. I am wondering about the costume changes and hoping that adds more to the visual program. I don’t really like the blue costumes – they don’t seem to be the right shade to evoke Americana and lore. My other big criticism was the long phrases of ensemble work. I wanted to see something a little more interesting instead of the whole guard spinning the same work. That style is great for an effect, but after a while loses its luster. I see why the corps is winning; there is not a down section of the show. But I do struggle to come up with a memorable or signature moment besides the ending, which is mostly memorable for being a big musical hit. I could see this show leveling off and falling out of a medal. Crown: This was a hard show for me to consider. At times, the show was championship caliber – pushing boundaries, creating amazing visual impact, and interesting and entertaining music. But, there were also moments of nothing – no impact, no emotion, and using props/equipment just to be using props/equipment. And so I am not sure if I like this show or not. I don’t think the trampolines add much – there wasn’t anything super cool being done with them. I liked the Frisbees, but did not like the hoops the guard danced with. I hated the guard costumes – looked very high school and not like mature performers (exception: the face mask was interesting). If Crown can resolve the dead portions of their show and eliminate some of the cheesiness I would be much more on board. A lot of high achievement from the guard, but the costumes made them look young. I had similar feelings about the corps proper uniforms – I think it makes the corps look short (or maybe it was a bad camera angle). There’s a lot to play around with in this show, so I am looking forward to seeing where the show evolves. Bluecoats: Another show where I spent a lot of time looking for my friend in the guard. As an aside, I have no idea how the DCI judges stay focused for the whole show. There’s a lot of tenacity there. Back to Bloo, this show was great, but still a step behind Crown/Cadets. The problem with moving up in the rankings is you have to knock someone out, and I’m not sure if they can dislodge Crown/Cadets/BD for a medalist spot. The programming was great – I really enjoy the concept of tilt with the props and the altered field. One example – when the guard spins around the perimeter, it’s a great effect as opposed to when Madison did it which looked thin and too spread out. I appreciate a lot of the nuance, but I think they need to dial it up to take a crack at the corps above them. I love where the show is going so I hope they can pull it off.
  5. Here is a review of my theater experience in North Canton on June 23. Most of my comments below are what I was posting to DCP during the show, but I have edited and refined a few things. Overall, the show was fantastic! I thought DCI did a wonderful job with sound and video, and the special features were excellent. The interviews with the corps directors and/or program coordinators were very helpful. Overall impressions: Cadets will be tough to beat now and down the stretch, but Crown, BD, and Bluecoats could certainly challenge. All 4 of these corps have wonderful shows, and all are very different. Madison is strong in brass and percussion and weak in show design, guard, and drill. Boston is strong with drill and brass, but weak on show design, guard, and theme. The Cavaliers can definitely challenge for top 6 with this show. Not sure about top 5. My comments below are mostly what I thought after each corps performed. ----------------------- Cavaliers just finished at the theater. I have a different view of this show now. Much better sound in this theater and the video is wonderful seeing these corps full screen. This Cavaliers brass line will be very good. Much better than last year, and they play some demanding material. Their percussion is a beast, especially those marimbas. WOW, their front percussion ensemble is really amazing! Drill is really good but not clean. However, I think they have one of the better drills on the field this year. When that cleans I can see this show shooting upward, but how high we will have to wait and see. Not sure about top 5, but this is a dangerous show when clean. The baritone soloist was wonderful as he plays in a somber manner, knowing the vampires are going to take his soul, and when they finally take him, the acting was wonderful. That whole segment was really well staged. This is a gem of a show, but very rusty at the moment. Thank you, Cavaliers. Madison has a solid show. Top notch brass line, and the percussion has taken a huge step up. Love the opener, but their drill is cluttered. Some of this is design, some is marching...very sloppy. The corps is very dirty visually, and marching technique really needs some work. Musically they are far along and sound amazing. The 2nd tune didn't allow for more movement in the legs (due to meter and tempo) and because of that I felt the drill was stagnant. The percussion feature is awesome with a nice trombone feature. This section is good, but the mallets over balance the soli trombones. I really love the music of the closer...WOW; but again the drill is cluttered and difficult to read at times. Madison will be hurt visually, but it's an enjoyable show musically. The new uniform is nice but too much white for me. I'm not wild about Boston's Animal Farm show. Tough theme to pull off. Brass sounds good, but not as good as Madison and maybe slightly more balanced than Cavaliers, but with less demand. Drill is better than Madison with better focus and use of the field, but nowhere close to Cavaliers drill. A very loud horn line. I do like the Conquest at the end in minor mode. Powerful and dark! However, this show will be a tough sell with audiences. Let's see what the judges say. The guard has the most difficult task of trying to sell this production, and I believe they have a lot of work to do. I love Phantom Regiment's uniform this year, despite some criticism (the beginning of the show uniform). And the guard outfits are gorgeous. Their Swan Lake show is a mixed bag. They perform wonderfully in all captions but percussion needs some cleaning. Brass is lush and in tune. Music GE will be a challenge. Drill is very readable and good, but not overly demanding by drum corps standards. I like the uniform change but the outfit is not my cup of tea. Half of the brass goes to all black uniforms along with percussion. The helmet with the plume is not good and hurts the visual. Drill is effective for the bi-tonal look and the music is exciting during that section. Musically this show is wonderful until the end of the closer. It goes flat, as does the visual program. With some tweaking this should be a good Phantom show come world finals in Indianapolis, but top 5...probably not. But you never know what surprises they have in store. With some tweaking the closer could be wonderful. BLUECOATS: WOW what an opening statement!!!! TILT is an amazing show! Love the opening trumpet solo with synth effects. Then after the first big hit the full trumpet section plays an amazing soli section. The musical colors in the opened are wonderful. Drill is crisp and well written to take advantage of the the Tilt theme. They need to accurately lock in that marching style to really pull off the effect. Brass sounds big and bold with a high level of demand. They have that amazing Bluecoats balance. Percussion may contend for a drum trophy this year...and they are usually in the hunt for top 3. The synthesizer bell effects are wonderful and help to transition into the 2nd section of the show. The use of pit instruments is really the best I've heard this year. I also love the whistle effects which are used a few times. This show oozes colors and great music. What a JOY! The end of the ballad is to die for. What beautiful music played by a killer brass line. The tuba section may be the best in DCI again. Their soli feature was wonderfull with chordal tones and all. Finally the ending treats us to some special glissando effects that not only get the crowd going nuts, but they help set up the ending in grand fashion. The effects are mostly done via synthesizer in the pit, but it's really cool and the visual moves are stunning at this time. This show has serious potential and can easily contend for top 3 come mid- to late-season. I was a little taken back that their score was not closer to Crown, but I believe the will move to within a point or under very soon. The marching is GOOD. The visual program is top notch. Best Bluecoats show, for me, since 2007 Criminal and I think better than 2010. Way to go BLOOOO!!!!!!! Carolina Crown has for the past 6 years been getting my full attention, and this show will as well. Their space theme is much like a drum corps version of Disney's Mission to Mars. Interestingly, the Cadets show is much like Disney's Hall of Presidents. Nice coordination guys. Make sure Disney chips in. :-) The brass is to die for!!! Just amazing playing and they will be the odds on favorite for the Jim Ott high brass award. Percussion is vastly improved and we'll featured in this show, although in the long run I see Cadets and Bluecoats being stronger. I love the turquoise pants, but they get lost a little on the field at Akron. Not sure how this will look at other stadiums, but they didn't stand out as well on the Akron field. Visually this show is not as strong as Cadets. Drill is good but cluttered, and often there is too much going on. In the long run this will be a great show and should also contend, but they have work to do. The Cadets...just WOW! This is a championship potential show in all ways. They have the potential to be top 3 in every caption come finals, and that is often what it takes. They are clean and amazing for so early in the season, yet with so much room to grow. This patriotic presentation featuring quotes from American Presidents has all the elements of good drum corps, showmanship, and theater. It's a musical history lesson and an emotional journey of what it means to be American. The narrator was magnificent and he did an interview after the show for the theater presentation. What a voice. It's definitely him. I love that some of the narration is straight out of Copland's masterpiece Lincoln Portrait. It really doesn't clutter the show as some might think. I believe it enhances the meaning and very professionally links to the music. The drill is impeccable and the marching technique is wonderful. The cadets are giving a lesson in how to march for so early in the season. Brass and percussion are monster lines and will both be top 3 come August, along with guard. Is this a winner? I think it has a chance. This is a very artistic show that might not be everyone's cup of tea. But Cadets and Bluecoats were my favorites tonight, and just happen to be my favorites any given year. I'd be shocked if this wasn't top 3. The crowd in our theater hollered out bravo and cheers at the end of this show. Just WOW! Thank you, Cadets!
  6. Hello! I'm new here on this forum and I was just wondering... how are the auditions like for The Blue Devils and how is tour life in the corps? any advice or tips would be great!! Thank you
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