Quick Allentown Saturday Review


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Here's a really quick, few words type of review. I don't remember names of programs, etc. These were general gut reactions.

I arrived at intermission. Sorry to the corps who perfomed before, I missed you. And, message to DCI: $25.00 to sit on the GOAL LINE is a rip off, thanks.

Boston Crusaders (5th, 77.400) - Didn't see a lot of this corps, I had just arrived and was looking for friends, food, etc. What I heard tho sounded nice, had good power and blend. The little bit of visual I did see looked good.

Madison Scouts (8th, 70.050) - Unfortunately, IMO what's been said before is true. I *did* like the moving warmup off the line. Very nice touch. Downhill from there. Opening hit had no real power. Brass line had no volume all night, and I was taking into account where I was sitting. Feet were a mess. Big time. Snares out of step is unacceptable. Ending was nice, but this show needs work. I'm hoping the get it together over the next month.

Carolina Crown (4th, 83.125) - I was gonna go souvie hunting during them, but I was convinced by Jami Mills to watch them, so I did, and boy was I glad. This hornline was amazing. Nice volume, great hits, good technical playing. Their opening hit was nice...they held out the last chord longer than you'd expect, no audible gaps of people breathing...got a nice crowd reaction from us old brass players. They did William Tell in their closing and the double and triple tounging was CLEAN. Some visual issues, but not bad. I personally had them 3rd, ahead of SCV.

Santa Clara Vanguard (3rd, 83.425) - I just looked at the recaps, and apparently the judges saw it differently than I did. Horn line was nice, powerful, technically clean. I'm partial to a Key Poulan book (I'm Cabs 2003-2004, he did our book, he writes incredible stuff, but I digress.) I also saw more visual issues with SCV than Crown, but the judges had them ahead across the board. Oh well. The spread means this one should be fun to watch the rest of the season

Phantom Regiment (2nd, 83.950) - Wow. Frickin wow. Hornline better than Crowns, great sound, great control, great technical playing....exposed contra playing! I love it. Musical effects done well and effective. Some visual issues. They sounded like they were running out of gas at the end of the show. Just as I said this to someone the whole line starts jazz running...and playing their butts off. This show will be right up there at the end of the year.

The Cadets (1st, 85.700) - I want to like this show. I really do. This has all the markings of a great Cadet show: Marching, Guard, Percussion and Horns are tight. Really tight. This was the only hornine that I actually FELT hit me in the chest with one of their hits. Hornline is clean, maybe almost too clean. Percussion was tight, Guard was amazing. They march their show well for July. Again, almost too clean (if there is such a thing. lol) But......I'm sorry George, your narrations are a distraction, they add NOTHING to the show, and should be taken out completely. They mask this amazing hornline. I dread what'll happen if this show wins (and, without the narration, should.) EVERY corps will see that this is what is necessary to win and we'll hear this ad naseum for years to come.

So, the only placings I disagree with is 4th and 3rd. I'd have swapped them.

Cadets/Phantom playing America the Beautiful was nice but I wanted a wall of sound. I didn't get it.

Cadets encore just proves how amazing this hornline is and how Hoppy is ruining it with his BOA gimmicks.

Flame all you want, I own nomex.

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Allentown Night one – short review

A few words of intro.

1. I was seated on the 45, but not seated high enough to get a good view of drill so I won’t make any drill comments.

2. Its still early in the season so there were lots of phasing problems and many instances of single players sticking out.

3. My comments will be basically on overall show design and any elements that IMHO deserve attention/praise. Etc.

Crossmen Extreme played the national anthem. Sorry to be harsh here, but the quality was not much better than your average high school band. In fact, I felt embarrassed for them.

Reading Buccaneers – Nice show design and great to see some major movement from a DCA corps. Right now its very rough, but this could be a repeat title for Reading.

Jersey Surf – 73.075 - Very hard to tell what’s going on musically right now. Nice show design and interesting background props. Can’t wait to see this later in the season.

Troopers – 68.1 – WOW – what an improvement – very nice brass sound. Loved the “costume malfunction”. But what the heck was going on in the guard. I thought they should have placed above Southwind and Madison.

Pacific Crest – 72.85 – Nice concept and an excellent soloist. The few bits of narration were perfectly timed and sometimes even funny. I would like to see more Vegas Showgirl costumes for the guard.

Southwind – 69.750 – hmmmm….. much ado about nothing – and the show just stops. Not sure what the concept was supposed to be.

Spirit from JSU – 73.750 – very rough – when they finished the only comment I had was “what?” Again not sure what is supposed to be going on here.

Boston Crusaders – 77.4 – Boston seems to have created a template for their shows over the last few years. This one isn’t much different. Good Guard work. The brass was blatty tonight.

Madison Scouts – 70.050 – Is this corps going to make it semis in August? Weak show design, seems to be no center to the show. Madison seems have a testosterone deficit.

Carolina Crown – 83.125 - Nice sounds, but lots of phasing. The horse theme is cool. What is holding them back is a total lack of subtlety and nuance. They play at two volumes right now – mezzo forte and blast.

SCV – 83.425 – subtlety and nuance in spades – beautiful scoring of the Ravel. Lots of beautiful sounds. The guard dance is weak and detracts from the mood.

Phantom Regiment – 83.950 – Gorgeous sounds from the low brass in the opening. For me, the Delibes is too fast. The duet needs to flow, not saunter. The Firebird works well.

Cadets – 85.70 – People actually got up in the middle of the show and left in disgust. The corps may be playing very well, but the narration is so amateurish, condescending, self-promoting, poorly written and embarrassingly enunciated – SHUT UP! One line stuck in my head – “athletes of God.” I wanted to vomit. I have never hated a show concept before - I hate this show. George – when the result of your show is people actually getting up in the middle of the performance and leaving because they hate the show, you are doing no favors to the members of the Cadets and Drum Corps in general. My heart goes out to the poor kids that have to endure the hatred this show seems to instill. People hated this show because of the narration.

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Thank you both for your reviews!

MikeM, what's "nomex?" Will you also be attending today's half? If so, I look forward to your review!

Mr Ed Boxer, man, I wish I had the ability to judge shows like you... I'm too new to music so I don't really know the nitty gritty stuff; however, I am learning! Now I just need a music dictionary.. I still don't know what phasing (in music) means. :) If you are going to today's half, I look forward to your review!

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Thank you both for your reviews!

MikeM, what's "nomex?" Will you also be attending today's half? If so, I look forward to your review!

Mr Ed Boxer, man, I wish I had the ability to judge shows like you... I'm too new to music so I don't really know the nitty gritty stuff; however, I am learning! Now I just need a music dictionary.. I still don't know what phasing (in music) means. :) If you are going to today's half, I look forward to your review!

Nomex is a flame retardant material used by firefighters. I expect the Cadet Borg to come after me full force.

Unfortunately, I cannot attend tonights portion. :(

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I expect the Cadet Borg to come after me full force. :(
You expect too much, Mikey. I thought your review was great. I've been called a Cadets Borg more than I care to say but I think we're pretty much in agreement on the narration. You can still support the Cadets even though you disagree with the voice. :P

As far as Ed's review saying that his heart goes out to the poor kids marching Cadets- I want to laugh out loud. That remark just shows how little some people understand of what it means to march Cadets. Perhaps Mr Ed should buy himself a clue.

Thanks to both for the reviews, they are always appreciated. :)

Edited by IRMO
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Nice reviews, and thanks.

Personally I think that Crown had the best show last night.

I'm not a judge or really even a Crown fan, but their show really CONNECTED with me (the audience).

That was the GENERAL EFFECT it had on me.

Cadets narration: don't really like it, but if you're going to amplify the human voice, do it correctly.

They desperately need a sound engineer that won't overload the mic preamps.

This is the inherent problem with miking the voice to cover a STADIUM clearly.

To do it right, with proper headroom etc.., you'd need much more than any of the corps carry.

And.you.must.speak.clear.ly.

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Cadets – 85.70 – People actually got up in the middle of the show and left in disgust. The corps may be playing very well, but the narration is so amateurish, condescending, self-promoting, poorly written and embarrassingly enunciated – SHUT UP! One line stuck in my head – “athletes of God.” I wanted to vomit. I have never hated a show concept before - I hate this show. George – when the result of your show is people actually getting up in the middle of the performance and leaving because they hate the show, you are doing no favors to the members of the Cadets and Drum Corps in general. My heart goes out to the poor kids that have to endure the hatred this show seems to instill. People hated this show because of the narration.

I'm thinking I'm going to have to strap myself in my seat at Quarterfinals to keep from walking out myself. I find The Cadets psychological approach to narration very manipulative and condescending as well. Trying to play on the emotions of the audience members so that we'll say, "Aww, it's not that bad. They're talking about ME!" is just so beneath morality that I'm astounded others don't pick-up on this.

Thank you for the review

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As far as Ed's review saying that his heart goes out to the poor kids marching Cadets- I want to laugh out loud. That remark just shows how little some people understand of what it means to march Cadets. Perhaps Mr Ed should buy himself a clue.

Agreed. When those kids showed up to audition, they knew the mindset of the design team at Garfield, so they're obviously ok with where GH is taking the corps design-wise. No reason to feel sorry for them, as they're clearly getting the level of instruction necessary to achieve at a high level in the musical and visual end of things.

IMHO, the only debate that really needs to happen with regards to the whole amplified voice thing is where and how that aspect of the corps' book and performance shows up on the sheets. As it is, the 'caption' of voiceover is more or less unjudged, which has allowed some poor writing and vocal performance to go by without affecting the score one way or another. That needs to be clarified sometime soon in order to get the level of writing and performance in line with all of the other aspects of a corps' performance.

Edited by mobrien
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Agreed. When those kids showed up to audition, they knew the mindset of the design team at Garfield, so they're obviously ok with where GH is taking the corps design-wise. No reason to feel sorry for them, as they're clearly getting the level of instruction necessary to achieve at a high level in the musical and visual end of things.

IMHO, the only debate that really needs to happen with regards to the whole amplified voice thing is where and how that aspect of the corps' book and performance shows up on the sheets. As it is, the 'caption' of voiceover is more or less unjudged, which has allowed some poor writing and vocal performance to go by without affecting the score one way or another. That needs to be clarified sometime soon in order to get the level of writing and performance in line with all of the other aspects of a corps' performance.

Timely post, Matt! clock.gif

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Agreed. When those kids showed up to audition, they knew the mindset of the design team at Garfield The YEA! Cadets, so they're obviously ok with where GH is taking the corps design-wise. No reason to feel sorry for them, as they're clearly getting the level of instruction necessary to achieve at a high level in the musical and visual end of things.

.....snip

There all fixed. And yes. I fully believe there should be a CLEAR distinction between the two.

Thanks for the reviews up there!

Edited by supersop
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