Let's examine the Blue Knights


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Competitive success also has alot to do with having your staff be excellent used car salesmen in critique early in the season. .

As a person who never marched, just watched, I'm not sure I understand this statement. Can you elaborate please?:confused:

(Just trying to learn. . . . )

THANKS!

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People - LOOK ON THE FIELD! BK are consistently BORING every year. Fault? Not the Kids in the Corps. THE DIRECTION / VISION is at fault. BD stand and play. Sit and Play. Their Marching and Execution

OMG I have noticed this too. I have noticed plenty of times this year on tour as a volunteer with a top 12 corps, where a corps will change part of their show, and the very next performance, you'd th

If one more person tries to compare drum corps to sports I think I'm going to be sick.

As a person who never marched, just watched, I'm not sure I understand this statement. Can you elaborate please?:confused:

(Just trying to learn. . . . )

THANKS!

Critique is a time for the creative staff to talk with the judges after the show. An opportunity for the judges to give their thoughts on what can be done better, what is being done well ... and to ask what the heck they might be missing in some spots that left them scratching their heads.

For the more experienced staffers, they know how to handle these situations like pro's. They point out things the judges may have missed, things in the musical arrangement that are extremely hard yet not clear .... things about the show concept that aren't coming across yet ..... etc.

A great staff with pitch their strengths better than a staff with less experience. They'll also do a better job of selling the overall package to the judges. After they've had enough opportunities to talk to the judges with their silver tongues ...... the judges are then looking for what the staff wants them to look and listen for .. and not really pay attention to all the other crap their eyes and ears are picking up.

It's a mild form of brainwashing ....... but it's a corps greatest weapon throughout the seasons warfare.

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visually i don't think the demand is there with the top 5, to me it's been what's holding them back for years.

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I remember being at a BK camp(s) in the winter of 92/93 and there was a great vibe and a feeling of momentum. There was one "lower level" staff member who I remember saying "Ralph will bring us a championship in the next 3 years." This person was a recent age out. Obviously those expectations never came to pass. It really is a shame because they took a huge leap forward in '94 only to lose the mojo for a few years. Seems like the pendulum continues to swing back and forth.

It's funny that there's already a thread titled, "Blue Knights getting hosed." I was just thinking today about posting this thread when I saw that one.

First, let me disclose that I am neither a diehard supporter nor a detractor of the Blue Knights. They do good work and I have mostly enjoy their shows through the years. I especially like this year's show, partly because the music reminds me of the old days of drum corps.

So, what is it about the BKs? They are a great organization, march a full corps every year, talented players and guard, excellent staff, etc. So, why can't they break the top 5 barrier? Is it because they are the Blue Knights and not the Santa Clara Vanguard or the Cavaliers? (whatever that means) Or is it because the corps above them are ALWAYS better than them? (which is kind of hard to believe, wouldn't you think BKs would break through at least one year?)

I'd hate to bring up the dreaded word "slotting", but in BKs case, is it true? Are they doomed to be slotted middle of the pack every year?

I believe BKs highest placement was 6th with a 92.00 in 2000. Oddly, BK didn't even make Finals the next year finishing 14th (was there a staff change?).

This year, they seem to be middle of the pack again. Are they truly a middle of the pack drum corps? If they are, then what is it going to take for them to break the top 5 barrier? A Zengali drill design? A VanDoren brass line? A Hannum drumline? Cleaning house and starting all over? I would hope not.

Or would it take one or more of the usual suspects in the top 5 to have a bad year?

As long as there are the Blue Devils, Cadets, and Cavies, are the Blue Knights, and corps like them, doomed ("slotted") to mid level placements?

Would really like to have a serious discussion about this. Thank you.

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Ok, one last hypothetical. Let's say BD wins this year's championship. If you took all the kids with BD and switched them into BK unis, and vice-versa, would the BKs be this year's champion? If not, where would BK place? And where would BD place with their same show but with BK kids?

I would say the new BKs would at least be in the top 5 and the new BD would at least be in the top 6. (Staff and programs being the same)

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From what I have seen of this year's corps, Blue Knights are sitting right about where they deserve. First of all, there's nothing wrong with where they are now. They've achieved a lot this season and have come a long way from grappling with Glassmen for 11th place the last couple of years. But they're not better than Phantom or SCV or Bluecoats. Not this year. I don't care what uniform they're wearing. They need to improve their drumline, need to improve their colorguard, and they're going to need a harder show. They have some great musical moments in their show, but there were moments that I saw in Massillon where the demand of the show began to noticeably affect the overall sound of the corps. I realize that they had added some new ending stuff, but this seemed more like an endurance issue.

Also, at the most difficult visual moments in the show, there is a noticeable breakdown in technique from individual to individual. Feet timing becomes inconsistent. Upper-body control becomes affected.

All of this stuff isn't catastrophic, but these are the kinds of things that are separating them from the top 7 corps out there.

I think the drill is very effectively written. It's very readable. But I don't think that it's as demanding as the corps ahead of them. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's not as demanding as the hardest shows in the activity.

Essentially BK need to write a show that is top 5 in difficulty and perform it with control and grace. Then they will make it to the top 5. That means a top 5 horn book, a top 5 drum book, top 5 drill, top 5 colorguard work. I think it's possible, but it's also gutsy. Most corps who try to do something like this end up shooting themselves in the foot and over-programming their corps.

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From what I have seen of this year's corps, Blue Knights are sitting right about where they deserve. First of all, there's nothing wrong with where they are now. They've achieved a lot this season and have come a long way from grappling with Glassmen for 11th place the last couple of years. But they're not better than Phantom or SCV or Bluecoats. Not this year. I don't care what uniform they're wearing. They need to improve their drumline, need to improve their colorguard, and they're going to need a harder show. They have some great musical moments in their show, but there were moments that I saw in Massillon where the demand of the show began to noticeably affect the overall sound of the corps. I realize that they had added some new ending stuff, but this seemed more like an endurance issue.

Also, at the most difficult visual moments in the show, there is a noticeable breakdown in technique from individual to individual. Feet timing becomes inconsistent. Upper-body control becomes affected.

All of this stuff isn't catastrophic, but these are the kinds of things that are separating them from the top 7 corps out there.

I think the drill is very effectively written. It's very readable. But I don't think that it's as demanding as the corps ahead of them. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's not as demanding as the hardest shows in the activity.

Essentially BK need to write a show that is top 5 in difficulty and perform it with control and grace. Then they will make it to the top 5. That means a top 5 horn book, a top 5 drum book, top 5 drill, top 5 colorguard work. I think it's possible, but it's also gutsy. Most corps who try to do something like this end up shooting themselves in the foot and over-programming their corps.

Let's be clear ....... writing a top 5 book means writing a CHAMPIONSHIP caliber book. Any of the top 5-7 corps are putting it out there every year. Any of them can win because they all write a championship caliber show. Some stronger than others but the difference between them is minimal.

SO WRITE TO WIN ... then perform it.

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If one more person tries to compare drum corps to sports I think I'm going to be sick.

The Blue Devils are the Yankees of drum corps. Enviable winning record, passionate fans, and a swagger.

If you're not one of them, you want to beat them. Some people even hate them.

Am I doing OK so far?

Garry in Vegas, Angels fan

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I wanted to see what the perceptions are of BK before waying in. Here's some thoughts:

1) BK members have won World Titles every year!!! With other corps.:( That said this staff and group of kids in BK is dedicated to staying with the Blue Knights to make it into something special! Crown's the Grass is Always Greener is proof that even the Big Boys have retention issues or thoughts. Over the years when BK retains they have their best years. 99 and 00 saw them in the top 5 for some of the season before finishing 7th and 6th respectively. That group of kids started in the corps with me in 97 as 15-16 year olds! We bought into the corps and they kept coming back! In 06-07 it was great retention from 04-05. Now they're not only retaining but they're shows are exciting new batches of talent that want to be a part of the type of show they've chosen to perform! As a recruiter with them I can tell u the retention from a year ago was astounding and on top of it they've got great players top to bottom in each section! I believe they'll retain again and attract even more and better talent, thus I believe they'll continue to rise!:)

2) show designs are key to the success of any corps. That said, u cannot go out and write a championship caliber show before your kids have the technique/vocabulary and music skills to be in that realm! It's a building process! Since the current staff has been in place the last 3 years they've done something remarkable. They have changed the identity of the corps becoming more fan friendly and overhauled the marching technique. That for many corps is a death sentence.... Look at what happened to Madison after the Stewart Firing and the ways changing affected the Scouts. What is so positive about BK is that they completely overhauled themselves but didn't drop out of finals. In 09 they had a hard show that maybe was too hard and the members got injured a lot. 2010 was written to show precise and clean drill and wonderful music to engage the audience! 2010 was a huge step up for BK no matter what the placement was or if it didn't change. 2011 is BK showing they've matured and thus they have a show that's fan friendly, very challenging and they've got many more sophisticated moments/grown up corps moments if you well!! They are improving leaps and bounds and the staff has done marvelous at changing the Blue Knights without Killing the Blue Knights!

3) I think people are forgetting how truly consistent BK has been! Sure they'd love to be and want to be a Champ or top 6 corps one day and they be very possible some day. But since 91 BK has been a finalist 16 times out of 20 years!! That's remarkable for a corps that is on a drum corps island kinda by itself. BK has been so consistent because they have maybe the most underrated Corps Directors- Mark Arnold!:) Matk has been with the corps since the mid 80's and is the third longest tenured corps director in the business! He has always put together wonderful staffs and worked harder and more efficiently to get the best fir the corps! Having people like Hardimon, Robby Billings, Sully, Jay Bocook come work with the corps is a testament to his willingness to seek out the best! I know more than that he loves the Blue Knights and whether u march 1 year or 10, he'll remember u and show the same warmth and kindness he did when u marched!

So why is BK in the top 12 almost every year? Because they've got great leadership, great kids and great shows. Should they be considered a group that's not doing well cause they're not 5? Absolutely NOT! They've got to continue to retain and grow as members. This corps is not far off from being a top 5 corps, and I believe it's in their future! In the short term, they're sitting in 8th coming into tonight:-)! GO BLUE KNIGHTS GET ENGLISH BABY!!

Wes Perkins

BK 97 97

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