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I'll start with a few things I promised some folks this weekend when I talked to them that may prove of interest:

Here's a link to a Doctoral Thesis on the development of the Front Ensemble in DCI that has some interesting bits of info of one reads through it- For instance, The Kilties were the first to incorporate Marching Tymps into their percussion section in 1968. Quite interesting that the Kilties at one time were at the forefront of innovating, and while doing so, experienced success. Some of the reasoning behind the evolution is also interesting reading. Mr. Boo is one of the interviewees- and provides a really good look at the way things were. It just takes a bit of digging through.




Also I'll discuss some of the stuff I've been listening to of late- I can't link it, but smart searching can find it:


Let's start with some really great recordings of Clique Alouette from the 50's and 60's. Many of us remember them for their involvement in DCA in 1979 and 1980 but they were around for many years before that as what appears to be an all-male Junior Corps sponsored by Patro Laval, which is more or less the Quebec equivalent of the CYO. They're still around doing local events in Quebec City. A lot of fun to listen to. That's real Drum Corps.


1977  Les Ambassadeurs D'Arvida. They took High Guard, great female tom line, the rotating box in "Hymn L'Amour"... that's real drum corps.


1980 Blue Devils, "Dindi". Great ballad/closer. Real Drum Corps.


1981 Sky Ryders, "Fire Dance"-- great solos, lots of hype, even though even by 1981 DCI concert number standards, 3 sets in 3 minutes 50 seconds equated to camping out long enough to build a Maginot Line gros ouvrage and likely was a serious factor in keeping them out of finals...(don't say that to the people sniping nastily on that video about today's activity, heaven forbid!) that's real drum corps.


1985 Suncoast Sound from the Bari/Bass drum Feature through "Midnight in Miami". The first real original composition for Corps to really strike it rich. Yes, that's real Drum Corps, too! The bari dude pops a pretty sweet high E at the end. Not easy.


1986 and 1993 BD... 1996 Westshore. Hard hitting Jazz... real drum corps.


2003 Phantom, Bartok's "Ostinato" to the program end. Great Low Brass, a sublime and elegantly staged percussion feature, gorgeous and dissonant harmonic stacks at the end- I don't give a fig about the B Flat horns... it's real drum corps....


2014, 2015, 2016 Blue Coats, great ideas, accessible, exciting... real drum corps, even with electronics, sorry ... (though I'm kind of turned off by the 2017 program with the whole Vegas Chippendalish vibe...)


I enjoy a lot of good stuff from every decade. Always have. Listened to dubbed 78's from the late 40's in the car with friends, Bootleg contest tapes BITD, so on and so forth. I've been resistant to some of the more recent changes, until I started talking to people, asking questions, getting great answers, and also understanding something else:


Like Auto Racing, this is a competitive activity and will evolve because the competitors are trying to find an innovative edge over everyone else in an attempt to succeed. Some may say, why not restrict things more, well... the last time that really happened, we ended up with the breakaway of the Senior Corps from the Legion, the founding of DCA, later on, the Combine/DCI in reaction to too many restrictions.


One more thing- This has always been a Performing Art. Music has been an element from the beginning. Music is a Performing Art, therefore, do is Drum Corps, regardless of the era. My main concern more recently has been... Well, you want to go there, do it, just don't screw it up. I think there have been some notable screw-ups from certain corners, but I really think the DCA corps have been really sensitive to these concerns and learned from some of the DCI pratfalls, and they're doing a solid job with this stuff.


Why am I discussing this? I've become more and more irritated by a lot of the sniping from certain corners. Some of them from my peers about this not being "real drum corps". Baloney. It is. Kind of like comparing this wonderful 1951 Ferrari 212 Export  http://public.fotki.com/TheNewcityFamily/amelia-island-2012/1951-ferrari-212.html

to a modern Ferrari 458 GT: http://www.risicompetizione.com/


I've seen both of these cars live. The 212 smokes, smells, spits, and sounds like a chainsaw on crack. It's wonderful. It's a real Ferrari. The 458 also sounds pretty crazy when it winds up. Innovations though time have evolved the race car into the 458. It's also a real Ferrari. To me, each is special for what it is and isn't. It's okay to prefer one over the other, but when I see the "that's not real drum corps" sniping, it just honks me off. (personally on the right day and road... I'd take the 212 if I didn't have to worry about cops- you have to drive it hard to avoid fouling the spark plugs..., for everyday driving, the street version of the 458 has A/C and is more reliable...)


Okay. Off the :soapbox:.  To the review!


Edited by BigW
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Went out again to hang out with the Thunderbirds, who are pushing hard and still learning and growing as a total ensemble. For only having been together as a competition group again for 3 years- they're doing well in this way. One thing I really realized which also makes this activity clearly separated from Band is this- Many High School bands have less expectations in terms of performance in comparison to a DCA corps. If they can get through the show without fouling it up, the staff applauds, everyone's thrilled. That's only a starting point with any DCA Corps right now regardless of class. Years ago, that might have been enough to scrape into finals, it won't get you anywhere now but watching the night show from the stands. Members really have to learn to perform with nuance and subtlety, be compelling, exciting, and to come out from under their shakos. Not just get by. I'll talk more about that later. Some of my write-ups may be short especially the ones of corps I've seen at Scranton. Check there for more about repertoire, etc.


The Cabs Alumni led off the show in exhibition, and it was great to see them perform without getting rained on. The corps is really sounding strong this year- and I really think it has to a lot to do with how well-centered and tight the Mellos are. They might be the best mid-range group the Cabs Alumni have had, and they sound great!


The Thunderbirds added a lot of body and nuance to the program as well as bodies since the first contest, and the improvement was strong and noticeable. Fans really need to listen to the impeccable Bass drum section, and the overall percussion ensemble- they're creating a lot of good vibe and zen out there- when the brass locks down with them (not if), they'll be a lot of fun to listen to and watch. The nuance will come and the show will continue to develop visually as well with some additions here and there. The new members are learning and growing, the younger vets are still developing and refining- I think they'll show well at their upcoming home contest when they match up head to head with the defending A Champ, Tradition. I think that'll be a great match-up and one to look forward to as a fan.


I got to see Sky's entire program- the closer being excerpts from John Mackey's "Kingfishers Catch Fire", and frankly, I didn't expect the corps to strike so hard at the end. I could tell they really want to sell and drive that final segment- and they're close, especially the lower brass. They really have taken themselves up a few levels since the first contest, now they need to connect the various ideas in the program in a more effortless manner. The percussion had a solid run, and really brought a lot of drive to the performance. The season still has a lot of time in it, and It'll be exciting to see how much and how far Sky can drive this show by finals weekend.


I heard the Bushwackers rehearsing from across the field and knew they were ready to perform that evening- the corps has obviously flipped some kind of a switch since the first contest. The upper brass is much, much improved in terms of the maturity of sound (still has a bit of work, but a LOT better!), and the way the various melodic ideas mesh and blend has become clearer and more defined. There are times where the mashups remind me of some of the classic Bush moments from BITD, which is exciting to hear. It's a good thing to hear the Bush brass perform with the level of confidence and aggressiveness that they do- it's an element that's been needed, and I think it's been critical to the elevated numbers over the past 2 contests. They're entering some neighborhoods occupied by the "Big Six", which has to be energizing the entire team.

As for the cat on the podium- I got a better look at it because of the lower stadium. It's a kuro-neko (Black Cat), just not the one I thought it was. :satisfied: Make a T-shirt with the cat on it, It'll sell. I'll take one for everyone in my family, thank you. :happy:

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Thanks- I've been having issues posting with a "500 Internal Server Error" let alone getting onto the site and sometimes, it's not taking my posts. I'm trying to figure out how to get Sun up now, and there's a lot to say about them. I'd say Chris and Jeff also really put up some great reviews as well, it's just that they're both busy with family, which is wonderful!

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1 hour ago, Jeff Ream said:

I'll be at Scranton 

Hey! Stop by Cabs' souvies and say hello!

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2 hours ago, grenadasmoothie said:

Hey! Stop by Cabs' souvies and say hello!

Well ok if you insist 

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ls big w ok? anyone heard from him.keep checking for him to finish this review .


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1 hour ago, Florida Sun said:

ls big w ok?

It has been hot on the east coast and it sounds like he works in some pretty brutal conditions.  I too hope he's okay.  






Edited by AoEnut
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