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All time shows: the Cavaliers

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DCI is a little dry during the off season.  I thought it would be cool to start a weekly thread about what performances we loved and didn't love about each corps.  I am starting with the Cavaliers because I think they are easy to discuss without things getting out of hand or dying quickly.

What are your top 1-5 all time Cavaliers shows?

What are your 1-3 least favorites from them?

You can go into as much or little detail as possible but please please try to keep things positive!

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Fun!  I've been a huge Cavs fan since the first show I ever saw.  Always happy to talk about one of my favorite corps.  :)

All time favorites (in no particular order):

Gloria (1989) - the best of the Rutter-ific shows.  The opening minute of drill is captivating, and they manage to give you pretty much *all* of the important brass material.  And that was the first (and best) year of the guard holding the hula-hoop drumheads!

Four Corners (2001) - a few years back, DCP voted this show the "weakest" of the Cavaliers championships.  What does DCP know?  This is a wonderful program with some jaw-dropping visuals.  They manage to make the incredible look effortless.  And if you don't like the third movement with the hi hats, there's something not quite right about you.

Samurai (2008) - such a great visual program from start to finish, from the opening execution to the closing Bullet-Time defeat of the villain.  The drum book gets a special mention here - absolutely spot on, and even brings in a lot of Japanese sounds onto the field in unique ways.  While not the most memorable brass book ever, it's no slouch, and the whole of the program is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Honorable mention: Spin Cycle (2003) - not the catchiest musical book ever, but quite possibly one of the best visual programs DCI has ever seen. 

Also Honorable mention: Frameworks (2002)'s drum feature - "shave and a hair cut... two bits.  <Green Acres.>"  True story - in '03 I got to watch SCV from my office window while they ran a drum sectional.  Every time they took a minute for a break, guess what the snares were hacking, sometimes apart, sometimes together.  Yup - can't get it out of your head once you hear it.

Solid doubles, not home runs (again, in no particular order)

Secret Society (2013) - I get what they were going for here, but it never quite materialized.  The capes and hoods just didn't work with the old uniforms (they might have worked better with the new Slimline Cavs), and Enterprising Young Men is supposed to blast you out of your seat, not squeak a piccolo trumpet at you. 

Heroes, Then and Now (1993) - as the followup to their first title-winning show, the Cavaliers did as a lot of corps have done before and since - copy the formula with more sophisticated music.  Emotionally, though, this one didn't generate the response that Revolution did.  I don't think it was so much Been There Done That as it was that it's just #### hard to catch a genie in a bottle.

My Kind of Town (2005) - the Cavaliers do not play jazz.  They don't.  Uh-uh.  (I don't care that they played it well, and that this is totally me acting out!)

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 Good thread topic, imo. I'll stick with just 3 of my favorites from the Cavaliers ( instead of ones that maybe I was not too fond of. )

  1995... " The Planets "

  2006...  The Machine "

 2008....." Samurai "

   There are others, but these are 3 right off the top of my head that immediately come to mind anyway. All three were well integrated theme wise, ie music, visuals, guard, imo. All were cogent and understandable themes for me as well.



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My 5 all-time favorite Cavaliers shows:

The Planets (1995) - How can you not enjoy this show? Great music, great visuals, and a surprise victory to top it all off.

Frameworks (2002) - The Perfect Show. Enough said.

Machine (2006) - One of my favorite visual packages ever.

Mad World (2010) - One of the first shows that truly defined modern drum corps for me.

Propaganda (2016) - The most creative show concept ever to come out of Rosemont.

Honorable mentions:

Cavalier Anthems: Advent Collection (or whatever it was called) (1991) - Never thought the Cavaliers would sell Christmas music as well as they did. Plus, one of the best Steve Brubaker drill moves ever toward the end.

XtraordinarY (2011) - It was definitely a good show with a fantastic percussion section, but it felt like a more "out there" version of Mad World to me.

Immortal (2014) - Of the four Cavaliers shows in their recent "dark ages" (2012-2015), this was by far my favorite one. You could tell they were really trying to add some originality.

My 3 (well, 4) least favorite Cavaliers shows:

The "dark ages" series of shows (2012-2015) - With the exception of 2014, this series of shows was really hard to watch and listen to. Poorly-conceived show concepts, subpar execution on every level, and lackluster visual design really did them in during this time.

Men are from Mars (2017) - The Cavaliers are typically not the most musically nuanced corps, but they set a new bar for a lack of musicality with this show. I know for a lot of people this show has grown on them, and I have to commend how well the corps performed, but I just can't get into any part of it after the ASZ/Common Man/Arrival opener. (It could also be that this show is still fresh on my mind, especially after they beat the fan-favorite Bluecoats for 4th in Finals.)

Disclaimer: As someone who has only been really following DCI since 2012, I can't really say too much about a lot of the Cavaliers' shows from before 2000.

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Got home from work and finally have time to answer my own question.


1. Mad World- this show to me is  the most complete Cavies show.  It's fantastic visually and musically and it's easy to really get into this show from a GE perspective. A great show from start to finish with no dry moments. THIS IS MY RIFLE.

2. Four Corners- this is my favorite show from the years of Cavalier dominance. Classic Cavaliers with mind blowing high camera visuals and catchy music...and they are all over the field.

3. The Planets- (duh) just a great show with great visuals and a few standard must know tunes from music education perspective.

4. The machine- this show to me is the definition of the Cavaliers. One of the guys in my college marching band got to be a part of this show and it was one of the last to push this type of show design to it's limit.

5. Propaganda- welcome back Cavaliers! I watched the tour premier in the theaters and thought "this is a really cool show design with a lot going on but I don't know if they recruited the personnel to pull it off"...well they cleaned it up and got 5th place. Well done.

HMs for Niagra falls, 007, frameworks, spin cycle, Samurai

Least favorites

2012 - definitely a dark year for the Cavaliers.  Saw this show at finals and my husband and I were like "who is this and what are they doing"

Men are from Mars- see @Cadevilina Crown...word for word. Also wasn't into the Mars/my way mash up.

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You know, 15 Minutes of Fame (2012) was the first show of theirs my kids ever saw live, and they absolutely loved it!  They felt like the corps totally sold themselves as rock stars, and my kids pretty much thought the MMs were stars by the end too.  I can't dislike that show for that - if nothing else, they nailed the "vibe" they were going for.  And I think the dubstep ending is still *really* cool...


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2006 Machine

2010 Mad World

2008 Samurai 

2003 Spin Cycle

2000 Niagra Falls

HM: 2002 Frameworks/2016 Propaganda 


2009 Great Divide

2005 My Kind of Town

2015 Game On

2012 15 Minutes of Fame

2013 Secret Society 



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Such a, as we say- "bando" answer, but man, this 2017 show was fantastic.  I loved it, because it didnt just thrive off of drill.  The guard, percussion and brassline were fantastic as well.  Plus I'm a sucker for that My Way/Mars mashup.

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2004 - Jame Bond

1989 - Gloria 

1991 - Cavalier Anthems (just incredible design)

1992 - Revolution & Triumph 

2002 - Frameworks

  • also loved 1990, 1988, certainly 2006 (Machine), and 2014 (Immortal)


Least Favorite

  • most of the shows from 2011 - 2017, with the exception of 2014.
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