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2013- This is my absolute favorite show from The Cadets. The brass book shined in this production. 

2011- I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like this show. They knocked it out of the park with this one.

2000- see 2011.

2007- Love or hate all the narration (I generally hate it), this show was masterful performed, and the concept was well executed, in my opinion. I rather enjoyed it.

2014- It seems most people don’t care for this one. I thought it was great. The Copland pieces worked great and I thought the changing cummerbunds were subtle, but very effective.

Least Favorites:

2004- Not an especially awful show. It just never really “wowed” me.

2016- It was very apparent this year that they needed to try something new.

2017- This wasn’t it.

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Favorites from The Cadets ( DCI years ) Chronological order:        1984......"West Side Story "         1987...." Appalachian Spring "         1989..... " ;Les  Miserables"      

This is actually really tough. The Cadets are probably one of the few corps that has achieved some of DCI's highest highs as well as its lowest lows in terms of show design. Until recently, however, e

No one really mentioned 1982, my 2nd favorite.  The immense change from 1981 and their amazing performance in Montreal, that is when I fell in love with the Garfield Cadets and knew I had to march wit

My favorite Cadets show is a sentimental choice: 1980. If you watch this show, you see that better things and upward climbing are possibilities. 

I still view 1984 as a classic.

2013 "Side by Side" I just loved the sheer power of it.

2012: I loved 12.25 and on hot sultry nights in the stands, Christmas music was a great way to cool down. 

2014: I thought the Copland arrangements were great and with a great speaking voice like Jordan Koenig had, I didn't mind the narration.

1987: Though SCV in 1987 gave us one of my favorite all time shows, I did have a great appreciation for "Appalachian Spring."

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  • No one really mentioned 1982, my 2nd favorite.  The immense change from 1981 and their amazing performance in Montreal, that is when I fell in love with the Garfield Cadets and knew I had to march with them.  It took me a few years to get there, but I was lucky enough to be part of my number one favorite 1987 show.
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Just watched an old rehearsal of 12.25. Merry Christmas DCP!

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On 12/23/2017 at 8:56 AM, frazib said:
  • No one really mentioned 1982, my 2nd favorite.  The immense change from 1981 and their amazing performance in Montreal, that is when I fell in love with the Garfield Cadets and knew I had to march with them.  It took me a few years to get there, but I was lucky enough to be part of my number one favorite 1987 show.

I play the 82 a LOT. As you say, the change from the previous year was night and day.


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Tough one for sure. The Cadets are one of the great all-time historical drum corps. Plenty of great shows to choose from. 

By Decade I vote them this way: (I will leave the 50s, 60s, and 70s to those with better knowledge)


  1. 1987 - An almost perfect show by any standard
  2. 1984 - The best West Side Story ever with the classic ending of Tonight.
  3. 1983 - Mass and Rocky Point Holiday. First title and some sweet drill including first Z-Pull
  4. 1989 - Les Mis
  5. 1982 - Gershwin and Rocky Point


  1. 1992 - To Tame The Perilous Skies was a killer show. Guard, design, drill, music, it had everything. Didn't win and at one point of the season was running 6th place, but the Cadets mounted their trademark charge and brought to life a true drum corps classic. 
  2. 1995 - Perhaps my favorite patriotic show of all done by any drum corps. The ending of this production brings tears to my eyes. LOVE LOVE LOVE the music from this production. All John Williams. 
  3. 1993 - In the Spring was complex and perhaps the quintessential show from the run n gun (whiplash) era. Talk about speedy and complex drill and music. 
  4. 1998 - Clean, impressive, with wonderful pageantry. Love the drill writing! WOW.
  5. 1990 - A wonderful look at Bernstein's classic scores with elements of fun, cute, comedy, and a flashback of the Z-pull with a twist.

2000 - 2009

  1. 2000 "We Are The Future" show is a classic with fantastic music, drill, guard, and a very showy percussion section. 
  2. 2001 is often unheralded, but it features a killer brass and percussion line, some classic Cadets drill, and the closer is goosebumps.
  3. 2009 - This was another redo of West Side Story, but it was quality all the way. In fact, I like this version better than 1994 but not as much as 1984. The closer with its' tribute to The Cadets 75th anniversary is well done, and the running company front and classic speedy drill at the end is fun stuff for sure. 
  4. 2005 - No doubt one of the better Cadets corps in terms of technique, cleanliness, and the show was daring and risky for the time. The ballad really shines in this show - as does the percussion feature. It remains to this day THE ONLY CORPS to sweep all captions and sub captions at Finals. 
  5. 2007 - As others have said, I have been up and down with this show. There is absolutely no doubt that the technical ability of this group might have been the best on the field that summer. They were expected to win DCI after winning the Stanford show the weekend before Finals. The brass was UNREAL. One of the Cadets best lines -- and they have had many great lines. A powerful line. The music is fantastic! The drill was classic Cadets speed and complexity. The guard was outstanding, and the closing drill was amazing. Even the classy Blue Devils media team (who was blogging finals that night) described the Cadets ending as "having put on a fireworks display." Sadly most people found the narration too much to deal with. That coupled with "hash-gate" unfairly turned the Cadets into the enemy to many a fan who disagreed with Hopkins ideals that summer. Despite all that, even Dennis Delucia thought The Cadets won on Finals night.  This particular corps will remain a point of discussion for many years I believe. The show design opened a can of worms, but the quality of the corps was also undeniable. One of the most talented and best performing corps I have seen in the activity. We all have our opinions and the debate will remain. Not a bad thing. 


2010 - 2017

  1. 2011 - For sure this was the best production for the Cadets of the last 8 years. Quality in every area with brilliant show design.
  2. 2013 - one of the best music books we've heard in the last 8 to 10 years. Incredible playing and scoring. Awesome drill too. 
  3. 2012 - I loved the Christmas show and especially love it this time of the year. It had its' flaws from a competitive standpoint and deserved 4th that year, but as we look back to that show there was a lot of goodness. Love the ending despite the fact that they never got it clean.
  4. 2017 - Mass was highly criticized this past season, but to me it was very true to the stage version of Bernstein's epic composition. A bit too literal with too much narration and a tad too much singing. Had Cadets pulled back on the tarp, the narration, and the singing this production could have been wonderful top to bottom. The choir was really amazing but just needed a smaller role. 
  5. No 5th place. I am not fond of 2010, 2014, 2015, or 2016. 2015 had AMAZING brass and percussion, but so many mistakes were made by design and staff that I feel a potential 1st/2nd place corps was robbed. 2014 Started strong and the corps was talented, but what they did to that show come Finals was highway robbery. I believe it was the nail in the coffin for what has taken place in recent years. 
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...and my top 5 all time Cadets shows are:

  1. Appalachian Spring (1987) - Perhaps the quintessential show that encapsulates the Cadets style. The show had it all and stands the test of time.
  2. West Side Story (1984) - Another true classic DCI show that wowed anyone and everyone who saw it live.
  3. Angles and Demons (2011) - Near perfect design with excellent performance captions and a heart-warming ending.
  4. We Are The Future (2000) - Pageantry and power were combined with showmanship to create this classic. The last 3rd of this show is something to behold, and live in person it had you on your feet. 
  5. To Tame The Perilous Skies (1992) - It was a late bloomer during the season, but the design of this masterpiece is undeniable in my book. 
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The best 5 Cadets shows in no particular order:







1998 was Sacktig's best work, and I believe I read somewhere that that was his favorite drill. Too bad others haven't mentioned this show. And OMG the ballad is incredible, both musically and visually, with the guard and their angel wing choreography, holding 2 short flags. I would hate to see how this show would be done today, probably props all over the place. But for 1998, it was just about perfect. 


2005 was about as complete as a show as a staff could get at that time. This show I bet would hold up even today, design-wise, despite the activity changing. This show was ahead of its time, and a sneak-peek at how a staff might go about deciding a show theme a decade later. 


2000 had it all: The drill, brass, guard, and PERCUSSION, probably the best percussion feature of any show up until then and even after. I think this was their best show, and best closer to boot. 



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Thank you for your contributions and keeping this thread tame! It looks like in general a lot of folks agree about the favorite and least favorite cadet shows. Here is our tally after one week:

1. 2011 Between Angels and Demons- just wanted to mention that this show got more mentions than any show from any corps so far.

2. 2000 We are the future. To me one of the gold standard drum corps shows

3. 1984 West Side Story

4. 2005 the zone

5. 1987 Appalachian Spring

6. 1992 to tame the perilous skies

7. 1993 in the spring when Kings go off to war

7. 1989 Les Mis

HMs for 1983, 1985, 1995, 2012

Least favorites

1. 2006 the zone part II. Most votes against a show yet

2. 2008 pursuit of happiness

3. 2016 Awakening

4. 2014 Promise an American portrait

5. 2004 Living with the past


Most disagreed upon show/ love it or hate it show is 2007 this I believe.  2017 and to some extent 2014 fall into this category too.

My next thread will be an extra special thread that isn't just about 1 corps

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