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After a little sleep and refilling the coolers and gas tank, we returned back down RT 61S, through the corn and soy farms, to find SCV. I thought about WVU80 as we took the exit off 80, and wished he could have made a trip to PA...he will know why from the pic.

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The field right behind the Pottsville middle school was a unique setting. No stands and bleachers, the staff was on a terrace overlooking the field, while spectators had to sit on a hill to the side. It was hot, but a nice breeze and some clouds made it more comfortable than the day before.

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SCV was working on the ballad, stressing dynamic balance and expression. I was curious to see the vibe, and if it was any different than Philly a couple days before. After about 45 minutes, my wife was about to agree that there had been no positive staff comments at all. This was a little different from PR and BD, who were constantly praising reps and performance. Just then, someone in the box said.."hey listen up, I know after every rep we seem to be nit picking and calling out some individuals. That is because there is so much good going on in every rep, that we are now at the point of being super critical, especially of individual things. That is a great place to be drum corps, so don't get discouraged!" I think sometimes the staffs are so engrossed in the cleaning process, that they can lose site of how important that type of thing is, especially to todays generation. Excellent job of instructing by SCV!

Jeff F. told the staff that radar showed some potential for bad weather, so it was decided to take a water break and do the run through ahead of the planned schedule. Between the previous comments, and the potential of a little less rehearsal work, the corps was energized, and did a great run through. We looked forward to them bringing that momentum to the night show.

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We stopped on the way and ate at Yoccos, an Allentown institution, with several locations, including one right across the street from the stadium.

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Deep fried Pierogies and 2 with everything!

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We also kept our promise and delivered Rita's custard to the BD souvie crew. Another great choice for ice cream lovers, there is a Ritas a couple blocks from the stadium, behind the fair grounds.

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The crowds and tents in the park were much bigger than Friday night, so we couldn't park in our usual spot, and had to go on a side street across the street from the park. I figured my run of parking right next to where my prefered corps would warm up had come to an end.

We stopped by the screw on our way into the stadium. A landmark of the park, everyone should enjoy the big screw before a show!

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We also visited the Surf pit, where my daughter was catching up with some of her friends from last year. They told us how they had to put stickers on a couple thousand banana sticks before they ate breakfast. The corps planned on giving them away and accepting donations instead of selling them, as they wanted the stands to be full of of them .

Next up...East shares the Love!

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I decided to “blog” my tour 7 straight days of drum corps, including 5 shows, here on the review page. I have planned to see as many of the top corps as possible, including practices. This is a great

It was 45 minutes to the stadium, where we the “first customers” at the box office. This was the first year that reserved seating in the top center was being offered. Previous years had been general a

Got on the road to Frostburg MD early, looking forward to spending the day with PR. The Frostburg U campus is a nice small college in a nice small college town. There seemed to be a lot of constructio

The crowd was definitely bigger than Friday. Tonight we were on side 1, still low.

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It was really something to watch Surf take the field with the Bridgemen Alumni Corps standing at attention in the end zone. Listening to the Bobby Hoffman clip with Pure Imagination playing in the back round was a great moment. By the time the DM hung up with Mom, the crowd was electric with anticipation.

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I was really happy with how well they performed the opener. The brass had a nice controlled and blended sound, and still showed the power of a full brass line. It was a far cry from what we heard in Jackson. Land of Make Believe had the crowd around me grooving to the familiar tune. They got a little woogity during William Tell, but everyone was having too much fun to care.

Pure imagination is a beautiful ballad and the crowd ate it up.

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The energy of Party Rock was over the top. The shuffle clip and segment is a great visual moment. The huge throng of thunder sticks in the crowd managed to play their parts clean. The had one of the cymbal dancers change into a judges uniform and join in the dance that they do. That was hysterical. When the brass did the Bridgemen faint after the last hit, the place went crazy. I am not sure there has been a DCI crowd reaction like it at East since Spartacus in 08.

They were mobbed by the Bridgemen alumns when they left the field.

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As much as I wish they could have cleaned to the level of making the live cinecast, it is going to be interesting to see where this year can take the organization. I have heard of some staff changes already occuring, but really don't know the details. They should have a pretty strong turnout at the audition camp in the fall, and I hope they can continue the success they have enjoyed this year.

Back in the lot, my "legendary parking master status" was confirmed. As we were mixing a couple refreshments and getting ready to go find SCV's battery, they appeared about 20 feet behind the car.

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Amazingly, a local resident had arranged his yard for them to use, and even provided refreshments and lights! Some groupies stopped by and asked if we had seen the cymbal line. I told them just to wait a couple minutes, as I was sure they would "come to us". Within a few minutes they arrived!

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The sights and sounds in the park, as we made our way back to the stadium, are what makes DCI East in Allentown what it is for us.

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Next Up...

Show thoughts and pix

Edited by truman
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The crowd was ready for Madison.

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The Scouts did not disappoint. It was fun to see some of the fans "get into" the familiar clips that are woven into the show.

They have been hard at work cleaning some things since I saw them in WVA. It's going to be a tight race for 7-8 next week.

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I am not sure how anyone could not stand up when the wheel comes around to the front and they bring home the closer.

I accidentally had my camera set on video, and considering the VOD's aren't up yet, I decided to share this clip.

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Who the heck was the backfield DM conducting for there?

Boston's show is growing on me with every viewing. The pre show and opening is a great effect. The brass line is doing a really nice job handling the challenges of the book. The "East" crowd gave them alot of support.

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SCV did a really nice job as well. We did the Vanguard yell at our "new spot", right at the pause before the front in MOTN. It fit's so nicely there compared to the old Mars one. I really do think that the design staff added that pause specifically for this purpose. I thought they had a chance to put some heat on Cadets, and their momentum seems headed in the right direction for next week.

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BTW...Guess who showed up on the front sideline before the show? He had not been with them earlier in the week or at practice that day. I would think his presence will be welcomed for the last big push to the Sanford.

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Cadets did not have a particularly clean run. They have added and changed some voice, including the classic "you'll shoot your eye out" pre show. There were some attack and release gacks in the brass line. There was a substantial tear between the opening trumpet quartet and the battery and the pit that caused the first brass "hit" to be close to a count off. They did recover fairly quickly, but it was a little alarming for them to start that way. I am thinking that the acoustics of JBC were a little different than those in the Meadowlands. Perhaps they sensed that they had the show won before they went out? I'm sure they took advantage of having Giants Stadium for a couple days, and bet they were worked pretty hard. While the drum line seems clean, they don't stand out to me like some of the other top lines. The show is great and they perform the hell out of it. I was not surprised to see SCV close on them a little, and think they will have as big a fight with them and Bloo as they do with PR.

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We watched the Bridgemen from the BD souvie trailer area after making our final purchases from the trailers. It was cool to see Surf run out and join them for their finale.

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The trip down truck alley is always another unique part of Allentown. You get to see the food and equipment trucks up close, and there is always nothing like the smell of diesel fumes on a hot summer night.

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It was really great to be with my daughter and her boyfriend to enjoy the shows and the East Weekend experience. He has decided he wants to try out for PR this fall. Maybe he will convince his girlfriend to do that as well? Not sure my poor old heart could take that!

We stopped at the City View Diner in Whitehall on the way home. This has been a tradition for us for some time now. For those who like breakfast after a drum corps show, I recommend the City View Feast special. In honor of our friends who could not make the trip this year, we were sure to order a chocolate milk and some dry white toast.

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NEXT UP...

The last day, more PR practice, and the last TOC

Edited by truman
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Well, thanks for ruining my planned sack time. I read the whole thing and thought what a great way to spend a week. You made it sound so good I wish I could do the same thing. Got to see one show this summer (trip to DCA still in the cards). I miss touring. Thanks for the travelogue and pics.

Regards,

John

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After 4-5 hours of sleep, we repacked and headed out for New Jersey to find PR for their show day block. The boyfriend was out, and our youngest daughter was in. Again we found them on a soccer field near the main stadium turf, so it was lawn chairs for us and scaffolding for the staff. A lot of nice consistent reps were going on.

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A YEA staff member was there, helping coordinate an impromptu meeting with a PR staff member and some local band kids. He was also selling $28 tix for $20, and since we only had 2 tix pre purchased, we bought 2 for the girls.

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Props to the whole PR staff. They ran efficient positive rehearsals. They tempered cleaning and reinforcement very well. I thought that the staff worked really well together, and their styles really compliment each other. The members have a level of commitment that is fun to watch.

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The show design takes us through the transformation of the princess through 3 sections that are named by the answer to the story lines 3 questions. Blood, Hope and Turandot. The guard does a fantastic job of portraying the cold princesses transformation in a beautiful love story. The beauty when they "let their hair down" is breathtaking. A fantastic classy group of young ladies.

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I thought this was an interesting clip of the pit and synth parts only of the opener. It helps show all the goo support being used by today's corps. Sorry about the wind noise.

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There seemed to be an inside joke with Dean about the amopunt of time they had before their performance that night, and the need to do a run through. I gathered someone had wanted one before East, and someone else did not. He ALMOST cracked a smile when the staff assured him they would be setting for a full run through.

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I put the cameras away to enjoy what I thought would be the first of the last 2 live, full performances that I would ever see of this fantastic drum corps show. One might think that after seeing it so many times in the last week that it would have less of an effect on me. Nothing could be farther from the truth...it was fantastic!

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We spent a little time at Barnes and Noble on the way to the Meadowlands, then stopped at a nice New Jersey diner, 6 Brothers, on route 3 going to the stadium. You can't go wrong with diner food!

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Saw a Hawthorne Cabs polo a couple booths over. That was symbolic of the crowd that would be at tonight's show.

There is a spot on route 3, just before you get to the stadium, where you crest a hill and suddenly the NYC skyline appears in the distance. It is always a cool thing to see.

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Next up...

Rain in the lot

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We arrived at the stadium along with a storm front. As a life long Giants fan, I really enjoy attending a drum corps show at this venue.

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It was a pleasant surprise to only pay $10 at the "band show" gate. I fully expected $20 or more. I noticed the huge LCD signage outside the stadium only flashed Cadets ads this year, no TOC or DCI logos like last year. Hmmm...

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About 15 minutes after opening the gates, the PA system repeated, (about 1 million times), that they were clearing the stadium area and fans should seek shelter as there was a severe weather warning in the area. Lot security circulated the lots warning everyone, (including corps members sitting outside the busses) to get inside over bull horns. Looking at the sky and the radar, it appeared that the show might not go on.

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You never know who you might meet up with in the lot.

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We shared one of our chilled Starbucks Frappacinos with Mr. Gibbs, and when he asked if he owed us anything, we told him all we wanted was to see drum corps on the field tonight. He promised they would do all they could to make that happen. At 8:00 it was not looking good.

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Little did we know that just to the North, tragedy had struck at the Pocono raceway. Our marching band members and families have the opportunity to work a concession stand every year to earn money toward their trip and uniform fees. Only a couple weeks before, my wife and daughters were close to committing to work the Sunday race. I was so thankful later that they were with me. As it was, my daughter's boyfriend that was with us for East was working in security there, and thankfully he, and all our band members are fine. Lightning is nothing to mess with folks.

At 8:30 the skies were clearing and the lightning had moved off. A light rain fell as Dan Potter's voice boomed from inside the stadium, announcing there would be drum corps in the Meadowlands. He ran down the line up as activity sprang up at the busses and trucks.

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We learned that the corps would perform in exhibition, and that the TOC activities and INT would be cancelled.

The stadium is a beautiful facility, with VIP areas and suites with flat screens and bars and restaurants. The Cadets had a Championship Trophy display in a suite near the entrance. There was no qusetion this was a YEA event before it was a DCI one.

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Next up...

No judges?...no amps?...NO PROBLEM!

Edited by truman
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Why would anyone think it is acceptable to boo a drum corps performance, EVER? If you want to complain about the judges decisions at the announcement of scores, that is one debate. Booing a drum corps at the end of their show is just WRONG!

Couldn't agree more! To express dissatisfaction to the judges is one thing, but to express it directly to the corps following a performance is indeed WRONG!

Thanks for a most interesting and entertaining thread...some GREAT pics! (Would have liked a few more Bluecoats :tongue: )

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We watched BAC from the cover of a tunnel at field level as they performed in a pretty steady rain. They were intense and focused, and performed with remarkable precision. I was more impressed than ever with them.

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The rain let up as we went to our seats. Just off the 50, in the lower section. The girls weren't quite as lucky, about the 20 on side 2.

Our section was almost full, only a couple empty seats. Most had ponchos. Giants stadium has been hosting drum corps since the 60's, originally known as The Grand Prix, a combined Jr/Sr

event. A lot of the fans who attend this show are used to senior style shows, and normally only see one or two DCI shows a year. A huge contingent of FMM's from all over the East coast permeate the crowd, with constant comments about "back in the day".

The entire show was accompanied by a multi cam live feed on the big screens and LCD's throughout the stadium. Made me wonder why there was no FN broadcast? Perhaps they needed to get to Indy?

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SCV performed without aussies, and without electronics. Being lower, there was still a great pit presence and a great brass and percussion sound. They also had no big bass and no gong. It was funny watching the pit member playing air for those parts, as he still went through the movements. A good crowd response with the familiar Mars and MOTN. We scared the crap out of a few people with the "yell". Someone behind us proudly told his buddy that MOTN was a trademark tune for them.

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PR was next, and there was clearly something wrong. They must have been caught off guard with the decision to perform. There was quite a delay as no one appeared at the entrance tunnel for several minutes after SCV was off the field. Then the guard appeared and started out in two lines. They were not going to set up the per-show, presumably because they had no electronics. After a few more minutes, the pit started out. After a little longer the rest of the corps came out.

The DM stood on the front sideline at attention for 5 minutes or so until the podium was finally wheeled in. The whole surreal pre show was accompanied by YEA, Cadets, and DCI commercial clips blaring away on the big screens. Then there was an awkward silence as it took what seemed like forever to get the ladder on the front of the podium secured. The crowd, not realizing that the ladder was for a different purpose later in the show, cheered wildly when they thought Dean was "dissing" the ladder by climbing up the side.

It was interesting hearing the no synth show. Some spots I found myself missing it, but most of the time the rich "natural" brass and percussion sound was sweet to the ear. The rain started down again at a pretty good clip as they finished the opener. It was then that PR staff came forward, stopped the show, and pulled the guard off the field. Dan Potter immediately made an announcement that for the safety of the performers, the show was being suspended. I don't think that PR ever intended to do anything other than pull the guard, because the DM immediately pointed at the brass and percussion, and they started right up again. Most took this that the PR DM was not stopping, no matter what the show officials said, and that endeared them even more to the crowd.

It was surreal, and powerful, and just so cool to have the huge crowd cheering every brass and percussion moment and impact. Dean's conducting seemed more dramatic and emotional than usual, and by the time they cranked up Nessun Dorma, nobody cared that there was no story line, guard characterization or electronic goo. I found it to be about the only way I hadn't seen this show performed in the last week, and enjoyed every second.

The 2 "women" behind us complained that there was no reason to pull the guard just for a little rain. They were clear about how back in the day, they never would have let a little rain stop them. LOL

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Bluecoats also performed without amps, and without full guard uniforms. We found ourselves mouthing the missing "scared" and "angry" background clips at the appropriate time.

They also did an inspired performance, and the crowd was appreciative.

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I started to look forward to seeing how DADA would come off with no electronics.

With the rain seemingly stopped, Crown appeared with their synths and sound board. During the opener, not many seemed to notice, but when they started with all the sound effects in the second movement, there were a lot of gasps and rolling of the eyes.

The power of the brass line and the performance of the corps won out, as the response as they finished was really good. We started to stand as they played the final chord in the "crown set" and the wonderful lady behind my wife actually reached forward and tried to pull her down as she growled "sit down". Perhaps she was mad because we were blocking her view, as she obviously was wedged in pretty tight into the stadium seating and probably couldn't stand herself without a hoist and a pulley system. She got "the look", and decided she was at the disadvantage, and didn't try that again!

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Just the night before, we found that the Cavs use of electronics was way to heavy for our taste. With all the goo gone, a decent sounding brass and drum line could be enjoyed. My wife went from not liking the show at all to kinda liking it!

BD took the field, with their synth and speakers in tow. I was kinda disappointed, because I really was looking forward to the old school crowd reaction to their show without the electronics, voice and other assorted sound effects.

Drum tech Rudy Garcia judged the drumline...I would love to hear that tape!

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They performed with typical BD passion and showmanship. Earlier, they had dedicated the performance in honor of Fred J Miller, who passed away earlier in the day.

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There was some very nice reaction to the musical impact moments, but at the end of the show it was polite applause at best. The BITD Guard critic behind us briskly announced..."I just don't have a clue what that was all about." The guy next to me said he preferred the BD that he competed against when he marched to this one.

Cadets were last and they had the full program "hooked up". The ensemble problem at the beginning from the night before was non existent. The home "Garfield" crowd cheered them loudly as they finished a strong performance. A notch above the previous night, IMO.

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We stopped by the BD souvie trailer to say goodbye on our way out. All the trailers were pretty busy, except for BAC, who had taken off a little early.

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My oldest and I talked part of the way home about trying for a last minute run to Indy. The plan just didn't seem like it could, or should come together.

There was quiet sadness that overcame me as we traveled up route 80 with the BAC caravan for awhile, wishing that my tour was not over. When we had to stop for gas it seemed like fate that we got one last look at PR as they were taking a break at the same stop. I would love to know the story behind the "free Dean" t-shirts a lot of them were wearing.

Riding home with the corps clip

Next up...Thanks!

Edited by truman
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I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who read through all this. Now that it's done, I think a better title might have been "Diners, Drum Corps and Drives". In all I logged over 2,000 miles in the last 8 days. I have gotten to see some great parts of the Northeast, eaten some great food, and have seen some amazing drum corps. Hopefully, you got a small fraction of how much fun I have had the last 8 days.

I am mostly thankful for my wife and kids, who have supported me in the last year while I have taken a sabbatical from the working world. I am so lucky that they not only helped me to do this trip, but that they were able and willing to enjoy a good part of it with me.

Thanks also to WVU80 who helped make the first leg of the journey so much fun. He will join the list of drum corps friends that I have made over the years that make up a lifetime of great memories.

A special thanks to the Phantom Regiment, Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, and Carolina Crown members and staffs for being so friendly and accessible, and for allowing me to lurk around your practices and warm ups. I have learned that every corps faces the ups and downs of a DCI tour in their own way, and they all represent some of the best of todays young adults and educators. Best of luck and safe travels to everyone this week!

I want to finish with a wish for all the DCP community. It's great to have heated and passionate discussions about your favorite corps, the competitive results, the differences in show design, and even the management of DCI. Please don't forget what a great activity this is, and remember that you can always find something to love in every drum corps out there!

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