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Malaguena Salerosa

Hardest show ever - Cadets 2015?

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Rerite of Spring was a very difficult show.

I agree! Less so for straightforward technical demand (even though there was that) than for having to nail the interpretation and sell the idea of show. It isn't so hard to sell a show about, say, West Side Story, because everyone knows WSS. It's a clear story arc that's immediately intelligible. (And every top corps has done a familiar theme before, so this isn't picking on anyone.) But a jazz-funk-dubstep take on Rite of Spring is out there, and it was forever until that corps was playing it well enough for it to even be clear, outside of the big jazz hits, that this is what they were doing.

One thing I admired about Cadets this year is that they combined technical demand with an unusual show concept that made the audience work a little. I like 'Angels and Demons,' but it's angels and demons -- tale literally as old as time. I liked this year 150% more. I also think BD's show concept this year was a tough. An "Into the Woods" show is one thing, but making it about writing and the imagination is much harder to communicate via drum corps, and they killed it. Really ambitious stuff this year!!

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I agree! Less so for straightforward technical demand (even though there was that) than for having to nail the interpretation and sell the idea of show. It isn't so hard to sell a show about, say, West Side Story, because everyone knows WSS. It's a clear story arc that's immediately intelligible. (And every top corps has done a familiar theme before, so this isn't picking on anyone.) But a jazz-funk-dubstep take on Rite of Spring is out there, and it was forever until that corps was playing it well enough for it to even be clear, outside of the big jazz hits, that this is what they were doing.

One thing I admired about Cadets this year is that they combined technical demand with an unusual show concept that made the audience work a little. I like 'Angels and Demons,' but it's angels and demons -- tale literally as old as time. I liked this year 150% more. I also think BD's show concept this year was a tough. An "Into the Woods" show is one thing, but making it about writing and the imagination is much harder to communicate via drum corps, and they killed it. Really ambitious stuff this year!!

Honestly, the BD 2015 production didn't make much sense until the little girl was added.

Anyone remember Channel3? I know a lot of people got annoyed by his ramblings (I was one of them) but he definitely did have a good eye for design and seemed to have a gift in picking out subtleties in shows and finding a meaning from them. I private messaged him asking him what he personally though of BD 2015 production prior to Clara being introduced and he said that the show was lacking an ending that brought everything together. Well, BD definitely delivered by the end.

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The Cadets 2015 show was one of the most physically demanding things I've ever seen a drum corps attempt. Not from an ensemble or interpretation or expression stand point, but from a get-to-the-end-without-collapsing point of view.

Hardest ever? I personally can't think of a more difficult show. But this is DCP, where saying anything is "the most [fill in the blank] ever" is just asking for trouble.

Edited by StuStu
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doubtful this person was a yea employee, I've known many a former and know many current yea employees. I don't know a single one who would describe hopkins as brilliant

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IDK, you obviously have been associated with the Cadets and left on not great terms I suspect and agree to an extent with you BUT over the course of years, there are cycles of groups rising and falling. BD is having an amazing run, Crown has been hot since 2007, Bluecoats are surging but we have also seen great corps lose their dominance (Cavies, PR, SCV, Madison) and yet Cadets as horrid as their design team is, seem to always be in the running. Yep, they came in fourth in an extremely competitive arena and personally I was at finals up top next to the judges box and Cadets were astounding. I think the gap between Bluecoats and Cadets was ridiculous as I watched both shows. It should have been a few tenths either way but that's another story. I respect Cadets for respecting THEIR brand and that's what 2015 was about. I love Coats developing their niche, and Crown doing their thing. I want individual stylistic approaches from the top corps, not generic clones all copying the design dejour. IMO

Wrong about me, as I've loved the Cadets since the mid-80s, and not only left on good terms, but have donated over the years.

I actually agree with everything you said regarding the MMs performance. The problem was GE more than anything else, and that's due to show design.

If 2015 were just one example of bad show concepts in the last 10-15 years from this Cadets design team, well, then, no problem.

It's been more consistently bad design decisions that have torpedoed shows, and wasted top-notch talent, as the MMs have been forced to outperform more or less incompetent show design (like a stage obscuring the field for much of the audience, or ridiculous tarps, or incessant and sometimes cringe-worthy narration, to Christmas in July, to performing Shostakovich and completely disregarding the meaning of the music and thus diluting the emotional impact, but more, trading that for a nonsensical abstraction, so instead of meaning, we get kindergarten counting as the pseudo-'meaning', and thus, they get passed by shows with more narrative, meaning, and emotion, and thus better GE).

I want demanding shows. That's the Cadets brand. I've been pulling for the run-and-gun innovation from them for years (posting as Zig Zig ZAG for a reason, because I want the corps to ZAG).

But now I'm more on the side of the MMs, and less on the side of someone whose ego is getting in the way of the creative process.

The post by one corps director says a lot: "Me and the design team" was the exact phrase. Me first. Design team next. (And other voices in this process, well, all you can do is just wait and hope.)

That kind of closed innovation usually doesn't work in business or the non-profit world these days. (Full disclosure: I own an Open Innovation engineering company, and we've consulted with companies as large as $5 billion on improving their new product development programs, so I know a bit about how to innovate, plus I happen to have a degree in music composition, as well as an MFA in writing, and have volunteered consulting non-profit arts organizations, so I know a little bit about how the best such organizations innovate and remain at the top in their markets).

I am absolutely positive that there are 50+ people just on these boards whose ideas would help not only inspire the Cadets design team, but arrive at some clarity about their ideas before committing to them.

Do you actually think that in the "real" world, companies commit to major decisions without trying to get ideas from the crowd (ever heard of crowdsourcing?), or soliciting ideas from as many experts as possible (look up how Nine Sigma and many other open innovation networks partnering with most major R&D companies opening up their innovation to anyone anywhere in the world with open RFPs), or even more popular, the use of things like market research, focus groups, product testing, etc.

What the Cadets have been doing is too closed, too antiquated, too blind to their audience, and obviously, not what the judges value most highly.

Sure, this year's show was obviously, far and away the hardest on the field, and the MMs were far and away the best performers giving the best performance, since both the Ott and Sanford were well-deserved, especially considering the marching and movement demands on the MMs, as well as the books, were much higher than Devils, Crown and Coats.

Cadets GE just tanked them. And I knew that it would tank them back in November (and posted about it, and got scolded for 'jumping the gun' or being a 'troll" etc. etc.) because the show concept was arbitrary and silly and abstract and by definition wouldn't connect with people because it was ignoring the essence of the music itself.

My goal is to point out problems in the way the Cadets brainstorm and decide on show concepts, and help them make sure that they are making the best decisions that empower the MMs to achieve their best and be rewarded for it with shows that connect on every level with the audience, and as a bonus, get rewarded by the judges, rather than demoralize the MMs when they come to realize, as they have so many times in the last 10+ years, that they just don't have the show that allows them to achieve their best.

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And by 50+ people who can help with design input and feedback, I mean volunteers. People who love the Cadets and have loved them for decades, and who want them to succeed. No one needs to be applying for a job.

How could more voices in the ideation and decision process not help? How could open RFPs and idea evaluation and test marketing not help?

Answer: it obviously would because that exact method of innovation has helped many thousands of organizations across the country over the last couple decades.

And it would help the Cadets too. Period.

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And by 50+ people who can help with design input and feedback, I mean volunteers. People who love the Cadets and have loved them for decades, and who want them to succeed. No one needs to be applying for a job.

How could more voices in the ideation and decision process not help? How could open RFPs and idea evaluation and test marketing not help?

Answer: it obviously would because that exact method of innovation has helped many thousands of organizations across the country over the last couple decades.

And it would help the Cadets too. Period.

The Cadets have done the most with the "crowdsourced" show idea. On several occasions, Hop has put out a call for ideas usually with "if we use your idea, you'll get free finals tickets..." as the hook. They are also by far the most transparent of the top corps in their winter process.

Maybe they could do more? Sure. But there's no guarantee, or even likelihood, that it will lead to better show designs. The corps creating better design are largely opaque until opening day.

I think the rule for a good artistic design is the same as it ever was: find a good artist, and let him or her make a compelling design.

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Cadets move around from year to year as far as show type. People complained about towers in 2013, narration in 2014 and this season, it was total insane demand, raw intensity, no voice, no props and it was a throwback show. I think Cadets are more impressive ( to me) when they do a 2015 type show. Design wise, we all know there needs to be a beginning, development and a logical or emotional ending to be rewarded from an effect standpoint. Cadets know that and were beaten up in the effect categories because of it. They will come back next year with several guard features, a beginning, development and a logical or emotional ending. I'm sure brass, percussion and GUARD will be decent too.

I loved the insane demand of this show. I loved certain elements of the 2014 show: almost inhuman musical precision with massive field coverage; competence in playing a variety of Copland styles. And, the 2014 talent level was quite similar......but, I was able to look beyond the stage and narration for appreciation.....others could not. And finally, that Cadets corps was not exactly parking and barking for 10 minutes (my son survived on the snare line while losing around 20 pounds). That said, 2015 was truly epic!

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I figured that BD was clearly going to come in 2nd or 3rd so I was pulling for Cadets big time. That switch to black was a good move I think. What a hornline! Congrats to Cadets on the Ott.

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