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I'm a bit slow (ok, a lot slow) to post, but it's been a busy week getting back from vacation and all. Here are my thoughts on the corps I saw in Ogden (not so good seats) and Denver (great seats, 2nd deck on the 50). I will say again & again, Denver has the perfect stadium for Drum Corps. My favorite venue by far. Great sight lines and great acoustics. My comments here will be brief, with a heavy dose of my personal opinions, having been in, taught, & followed the activity for 28 years now (marched in 90).

Thunder - Tasty corps, with a lot of talent & execution for the smaller size that they are. Enjoyable product!

Golden Empire - Large corps, which is great to see. Pretty rough from an execution perspective. Really need to focus on body control (which will help sound) and lower body across ALL sections. Not too bad for as young of a corps as they are & great to see them touring outside Cali. Hope to see them continue to grow.

Gold - Not a fan (at all) of the uniforms. The huge, long, loose jacket just makes them look like a blob floating around the field. Executing ok, but not a show that drew me in. Good to see them continue to grow & tour, though. Some nice color accents from the guard.

Columbians - First time I've seen them and I was very impressed! Clearly the class of the Open Class corps I saw. Solidly developed theme (though I thought the pro-hipster bias was a bit grating), entertaining and performed well. I hope this corps keeps building and growing (and expanding their tour). Some nice brass playing, and nice performance levels. Good job!

Cascades - I think this group has made a huge leap forward from last year. The music book is far more demanding, and has some excitement and impact too it. Execution levels have improved year over year, but there is a TON of cleaning to do - especially brass entrances and such. Lower body needs serious work with the guard. I noticed the "O"s didn't have their yellow cloth coverings in Denver. I wonder if that was intentional? I think things looked better & more defined with them on. Great to see positive momentum coming from Seattle.

Oregon Crusaders - I was a huge fan of the 2014 show, less so last year. This year is about on par to last year. As usual, OC has a solid hornline that executes well. Not a fan of the unis. Visually, extremely dirty performance levels, though the drill is ambitious & demanding. I hope they can soon find a vehicle that has a richness and strongly communicative quality to it like the Raven show from 2014. This group seemed to be going places 2 years ago, but seem stalled. One final positive comment - love that the electronic string player is back. She is a great performer!!!

Troopers - Oodles of potential here. Clearly designed to compete for Finals (or above). LOTS of dirt - especially visually. From the higher seats in Denver, the uniforms kind of grew on me, though I miss the traditional Casper look. The Coldplay closer is FANTASTIC. Love the brass line & lush sound. I agree with others, the middle, AIDS section needs a ton of work to sell well. Still, I'd take what Casper is selling over BK any day & twice on Sunday.

Blue Knights - Hard to find a bigger fan of 2014 (especially) and 2015 than me. I've loved BK most of this decade & even loved the dark years in 07 & 08. After the last 2 seasons I was very excited to see BK and see if this is their year to breakthrough. Sadly, No. While the talent & performance levels are superb, the show as a whole seems an aimless, enormous miscalculation. Others are right - it does take forever before the show gets going, and I'm never drawn in. The show seems distant, too esoteric, and a clear waste of talent. Might it grow on me? Maybe, but after 2 viewings, my least favorite of the 7 world class corps in Denver or Ogden - by far. I also feel they screwed up what was a stellar uniform with the dark grey, sparkly arm, leg & show on the right side. Just looks weird and not effective. I hope I'm wrong with one of my favorite corps many years. I guess we will see. The response of the home crowd in Denver seemed very muted compared to the last 2 years...

Cavaliers - What a big step forward for Cavies. Entertaining & solid show - FAR superior to the design of their show last year. Accessible, with some strong visual moments and a very improved horn line & guard. This is a show that is solidly in top 6/7, and quite possibly higher. For the newbie fan I brought with me, this was their favorite. I very much miss the green in the "Green Machine" but for a one year concept, it sells well. I hope the ending we are seeing now is not the real ending. Really needing a great hair on fire drill ending.

SCV - There are some really beautiful and elegant moments in this show. Love the artistry of the drill & guard - and field coverage is far better than last year. Vanguard is still quite ragged by top 6 standards and that could bode VERY well if they are able to clean up. Best drill of the top corps I've seen at these 2 shows, easily. Loved many parts of the show (especially opener, middle & closer. Some other areas need some sprucing up to make the show flow & go over the top. My favorite of the 7 world class corps (Troopers closely behind) in Ogden or Denver.

Blue Devils - Just stunning to see performance levels, showmanship and execution at this level so early. Is that a good thing come August? We'll see. I admire this show, and some parts (ballad, and closer) pull me in. Other parts, I just admire. I don't think this show communicates or moves me in ways that 2014 and 2015 did. Seems to be less heart & emotion in this year's show, and the theme seems less cohesive so far. Will be interesting to see what they can do. The opener seems very long, though it has some exciting moments to it. Guard is just on another level. Wow. I'm not sure this is a championship package, though. This will be one of those years that BD will be spotless and it will take another corps with a show that communicates better AND is performed great to beat them (like Spartacus or Crown's championship show (or last year's Crown IF they had played to win on Saturday night)).

Well, that's it for now. Next shows for me are Denton, San Antonio & Dallas! :)


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