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I wanted to post my San Antonio thoughts/review now after getting some rest.

My wife and I have been enjoying the SA show every year since 99 and I can't think of any year we enjoyed more and it just kept getting better the later the evening went. We sat on side 1 30 yrd line on the 32nd row. Great listening and viewing spot...

We arrived at our seats right after Spirit finished. We got a hotel this year downtown and this had to coordinate a baby sitter our two kiddos. Sorry Spirit, wished I could've seen it:(

Mandarins- I was beyond surprised at the level of quality in the brass performance- full and impactful sound, good lower resonance. The show was very well constructed and executed. There was noticeable timing issues in the visual end, both with feet and body. The perc seamed to have the most issues with many little ensemble tears between front and back. The section where the guard joins the brass and plays was very cool, though the guard didn't quite march the same as the corps so was not visually as pleasing. None the less, the best I've ever heard from Mandarins- A Huge Leap forward... I give it a thumbs up rating of.....πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Oregon Crusaders- I'm a HS band director whose been involved in BOA for a number of years and the whole show from the Garden thematic idea seemed more BOA suited. I know that sounds harsh, but the Crusaders have the horses in every section to be a finals contender soon, but the show designs are lacking competitive drum corps material. I think I was expecting more from the staff and the corps, but the kids perform what they have well. Hopefully necessary changes will be made to get the OC a better vehicle to perform for their great kids in the future. I give the Oregon Crusaders a thumbs up rating of....πŸ‘

Madison came out next and I thought.... Hmmm Madtown could come out really flat at this time slot, but I WAS WAY WRONG!!! The Scouts lit up the dome! From the first move the crowd ate it up and the corps was super energized... ######, something to prove? Who cares- it was electric. My wife and I hadn't cared for this show on the webcast but live we lived it. Old drum corps? Sure, but it was fresh and so very well designed. Drill was cool, my only beef is the Paper Women which I thought was cheese ball, but my wife thought it was funny and worked well. My thumbs up rating for Madison Scouts- πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Crossmen followed as the crowd was still buzzing over the Scouts... Immediately the crowd gave great hometown support and the Xmen deserved it. The shows of the past few seasons are really a great direction that I think is going to continue to work well for them. This year's program gets a little too pop u over the head at times with the paper airplanes/kite idea but ok, it works. The first of many singers and though she's got good pipes, I didn't care for it. What makes Whitacre's vocal music so amazing is the lush and the beautiful masterful chord structure provided by all the parts in music. To sing just the melody of Fly to Paradise a a very abrupt rendition does not build as intended it sounds forced and uncomfortable. This show left me happy for the corps and their continued success but not totally digging the show... My thumbs up rating for Crossmen..πŸ‘πŸ‘

Boston set up and I thought man they really have good looking props! The Conquest theme seems solid and the music is constructed well. The brass really has a gorgeous resonate sound- really pretty. Drums seemed good, but maybe a step down from the last few years. The guard really seemed not as impactful. I wasn't on the 50, but the props clutter the line of sight to the stage. That along with the singer who has a beautiful voice but can't get mic'ed worth a flip is a HUGE distraction. It affected the members as there was a noticeable early entrance in a big moment, the staff needs to get the mic/antenna situation figured out. If you want a singer on the field and have her adding to the Vis, then give her the tools to succeed in your plan. This cut out issue has been in every live feed and I can only assume it's happening at every show? The show just seems so dirty and visually is still above the members. I hate to say it, but I really had them out of finalist position. Fortunately for Boston the judges saw through the staff issues and rewarded the performers who are good... My thumbs up rating for Boston...πŸ‘

Blue Stars- Of all the corps from 9-15 I enjoyed the Blue Stars the most! Incredible job of taking what could've been a way hokey theme and making it a true Side Show! Every act is believable and great. The members are really selling well. The brass plays with a beautiful sound but it is lacking punch it needs at big impact moments. The drums are on fire, I didn't study recaps but if they didn't place well I'd be really surprised. Guard wise they still have cleaning to do and feet issues seem to be the most plaguing concern. If they clean they could end up 9th. If not 10-12 would seem about right. Design wise this could compete with the top 7-8 but it still needs execution. Never the less-loved BStars!!! My thumbs up rating for Blue Stars....


Academy is a breath of fresh air! This is what happens when you get a group of kids to buy in and sell their performance. Mary Poppins should be hotdog material, instead it's must see drum corps. The brass is performing at their highest level since joining World Class! Kudos to the guard and corps for selling the visuals. While this corps likely is going to finish 14-15, they are setting themselves for a finalist in the near future. Soloists were pitchy but with a 20+ degree temp from lot to indoors it's understandable. Great show Academy- you are must see drum corps. My thumbs up rating.... πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

I caught the last 2/3 of the Colts as nature called and INT is brutal on toilet availability.... TMI... Ok, anyway- Colts continue to improve, J Buck, Sully and crew are developing great talent in Iowa. I'm still not a huge narration story telling idea, but the speaking is clear and performed well. Great teaching going on here, the show is not my cup- but they're doing well in this style. My thumbs up rating....πŸ‘πŸ‘

Phantom- I love Paris in the spring time... Hehehe it's stuck in my head even now. The show feels forced, it's like they're cramming so many elements- the singing motif, narration, every song that deals with being French, and an Eiffel Tower to boot. Many of the elements they're presenting would work, if not cramped by all the other fluff. It's just too much. They corps is epic Phantom- elegant, bold, beautiful sounding. The show is- a step up from Not Swan Lake, but not to par for what we've seen in Turandot, Juliet etc... My thumbs up rating.... πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Cavies- Opening of Bruckner 8-Sublime!!! Brass sound? Best since 2006. Technique- impeccable... Cavies brass is the real deal- dark, bold, resonate! Unfortunate for them the Drumline never shuts up. I mean that in respect to brass which is truly being covered up at times. The Cavies battery wins the loud/most notes award! They're great but it totally detracts from the musical performance at times. Even the music book gets a bit too technical at times and doesn't breath enough. The guard is performing very well- I'm just not sure how the Wrestling theme fits in... I see the head gear and keep expecting a Bluecoats 2008 type show which was great, but I come away confused about how the theme ties to the performers... I need another read, I just felt I missed something. Cavies are absolutely better than a year ago, I just don't enjoy this show yet like last year.... I'll have to watch it again to see what I missed. My thumbs up rating for Cavies?


Troop had tough task to follow Cavies and Phantom, and the crowd was maybe sending a let down as they were unusually subdued for Troops entrance. That quickly changed. All the inevitable Crown 07 comparisons quickly died and a GREAT Drum Corps show insued! Fantastic sounds and a wonderfully written show for Troopers! I know the Vis end seems to be what's needed most but I think corps 10-12 best watch their six! I call Troopers a finalist by August! Very Well Done! You more than hung with the big boys! My thumbs up rating...πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

SCV- my wife Lol said, hey they have my curlers😜 musically I love this show it's so evil and angry! SCV when they play angry is just so intimidating! I like the show but it does seem a bit loud all the time. Drill is great but is pretty focused in front of front hash. A little different from say Les Mis where they were all over the field. The ballad and solo was just awesome! Overall I really liked them, they'll be a solid 5 and that's no slouch for this year! My thumbs up rating?πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Crown's show online is a mere shell of the greatness it possesses live. They just have the feel of Phantom 08 I think. Lurking, needing a few changes- Ode to Joy- but if they'll stay in hell they might just get the judges to slay the rest of the field! Amazing effects. The red shroud in the ballad is the best effect of any prop or visual device I've ever seen. The guard is just totally selling this. Every year I wonder if I'll take the sound Crown creates for granted and every year I continue to be blown away. The blend and tone is just perfect, this show will contend with changes I believe😈😈😈, Go Crown- Go to Hell!!! My thumbs up rating...πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘+++

BK at this point I was worried about! I know they are just killing it this year, but a big stage performing out of the 4 spot and after SCV and Crown??? Tough to do but they did so and amazed even me at the same time. I also thought having so many corps they hadn't competed against ie... Cavies/Crown/SCV could've been an excuse to underwhelm but they didn't. The thematic approach is ethereal and is so beautiful. They perform like a top 6 and sound like a top 6 drum corps! The show is a huge success and very diverse. The ending has to change- it just feels incomplete after Fly to Paradise but I'm sure something is coming;) with all things aside, I loved the performance but it was not their best! Visually they didn't March as well as they have recently and the fall in the closer kind of cemented that. 10th in Vis Analysis seemed a bit harsh but hey, they seemed a bit off so ok. By far the best performing brass BK has ever had and drums may be top 4-5 in the end. Guard seemed not as clean as I saw in rehearsal but again maybe just a bad run. Overall thumbs up rating πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ Proud alum, great job BK.

Cadets- Off the chain!!! Just amazing! They won the crowd over with very traditional drum corps and just a few new effects. The French horn feature was way cool. I loved every part of this show and every section in it! This is my favorite Cadets of all time! Way to go!!! They had me screaming and jumping out of my seat at the end! My thumbs up rating for Cadets?


Bluecoats are so different and was such a stark contrast from the more traditional Cadets- but I loved it, I really really loved it! The electronics don't play well on a webcast, but boy live it's a true genius innovation. They've mastered how to take old school drum corps and make new wave drum corps come to life! Truly pioneering the activity... I will say that visual is still an issue and was last year too. I think this show can contend but they lack the same visual focus that we see on Crown, Cadets and BD. I can say they are a Darkhorse but who knows.... It's just so cool. My thumbs up rating for Bloo....


BD I liked last year, so it was going to be hard to live up to it.... This show does and then some. Great story telling in the creative aspects keep you engaged throughout. The hip hop section of the story and I'm in the minority- it didn't bother me. The brass maybe one of BD's best if not the best I've heard from them and that's saying something. Perc seems a bit like an after thought this year, but the brass is so great it kind of overshadows them. Guard- outrageous and great as always! Well done... As great as Cadets are I thought BD beat them last night. My thumbs up rating for Blue Devils....πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘++++++++++++++++++++

Pioneer- I really enjoyed them and was happy to see the crowd stay and give it up. Best corps for Pio since the 90s. Kudos- keep it up.... My bravery awardπŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹ my thumbs up rating.... πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Ok my one rant- Get Rid of Drumline Battle at the end of Regionals!!! Encores are so much cooler.. Just saying

Placements I had like this:

1) BD

2) Cadets

3) Bloo


5) SCV

6) BK

7) Cavies

8) Phantom

9) BStars

10) Madison

11) Crossmen

12) Troopers

13) Boston

14) Academy

15) Colts

Past that I didn't see all so I stopped there. Best top to bottom drum corps I've ever seen in SA and 12000 plus fans proved that this season is truly special

Edited by wesleyrp
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Fabulous review!!!!

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Excellent review!!

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I purposely waited to see most of the shows til the SA show.

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