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All time shows: The Academy

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I don't know about you but it's super cold and snowy here- let's head to Tempe Arizona where it will be sunny and 72 today and spend the week celebrating the Academy!

What are your top 1-5 Academy shows?

(Optional) What are your 1-3 least favorites from them?

You can go into as much or little detail as you like but please please try to keep things positive.

For a quick recap in case you missed it and/or want to add your contributions:

Week 1- Cavies- 2006 the Machine is the favorite and 2012 15 min of fame is the least favorite.

Week 2- Jersey Surf- 2012 Bridgemania favorite

Week 3- Blue Knights-1994 Trittico for bras band favorite. least  2001Blue Toons

Week 4- Spirit of Atlanta- 1980 favorite

Week 5- Carolina Crown- Favorite: 2015 Inferno; Least Favorite: 2017 ...It is

Week 6- The Mandarins- 2017 inside the ink for favorite.

Week 7- Boston Crusaders- 2000 RED is the favorite.

Week 8- Pioneer- 1996 Celtic Twilight is the favorite.

Week 9- Santa Clara Vanguard- 1999 Inventions for a New Millennium favorite. 1995 Not the Nutcracker least favorite.

Week 10- Oregon Crusaders 2014 Nevermore is the favorite

Week 11- The Crossmen- 1992 Songs for the Planet Earth is the favorite.

Week 12- The Cadets- 2011 Between Angels and Demons is the favorite. 2006 The Zone Part II least favorite.

Week 13 Corrps that are no longer with us. Every show is a winner!

Week 14 Genesis TIE 2016 Hell Hath No Fury and 2017 the other side of now.   Music City 2017 the tribe

Week 15 Madison Scouts- 1995 A Drum Corps Fan's Dream: A Day in the Life of a Bull Fighter. Least Favorite 2009 Relampago

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Have loved Academy's recent shows, as well as some of their shows from years past.


  1. 2016, "Drum Corpse Bride." Because how can you not put this at #1? Just a perfectly constructed show, and the closer still gets me every time.
  2. 2011, "(RE)." One of their best musical books ever, and that opening impact... Geez.
  3. 2007, "The Chase." Almost a decade before their first Finals appearance, this show came very close to making it there. Very fun, but also a step up in maturity from the year before, and a prelude to their recent string of lighthearted media-based shows.
  4. 2015, "A Step in Time." They proved everyone (including me) wrong by making Mary Poppins really work on the field. Very reminiscent of the late '80s Sky Ryders shows.
  5. 2006, "Danzon." The show that put The Academy on the map by winning Division II. So much energy throughout!

Least favorites:

  1. 2013, "Piano Man." The only Academy show I've seen that I feel was a flat-out failure design-wise... although the German narrator did a great job.
  2. 2012, "Left of Spring." Certainly a unique take on a work often heard on the field, but it didn't really do anything for me and also left me a little confused.
  3. 2008, "Vienna Nights." Honestly I haven't seen this one, but something obviously went wrong here after they nearly made Finals the year before and then rebounded the year after.
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I'm still relatively new to The Academy (even in comparison to older corps), so I'm only really familiar with them since 2009 (the first year of Semis DVDs I have)

2011: (RE) - I love the concept, love the music, everything just fits and I would not be mad to see some corps out of Finals to see this in the Saturday show.

2015: A Step in Time - Such a fun concept that really works well for them and lead to 2016.

2012: Left of Spring - I really like this turn in intensity from everyone's favorite recent whimsical corps. I kinda wish they stayed dark for a while.

2016: Drum Corpse Bride - The took a good overarching view of show design and made it into a Finalist show. Good job!

2014: Vanity Fair - I really enjoy the music. That's all I really remember.

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  1. 2016: Drum Corpse Bride - obviously
  2. 2017: By a Hare - they struggled early season, seemingly unsure of the tone (too serious), but they rebounded late season when they just embraced the wacky lunacy of WB cartoons
  3. 2010: Strangers in Paradise - this one doesn't get talked about too much, but the music of Borodin is glorious and I loved the visuals (although it still needed a lot of cleaning)

Least Favorites:

  1. 2008: Vienna Nights - it's major crime was that is was just SOOOO boring, nothing of interest happens in this show, such a disappointment after their 2007 breakout year
  2. 2013: Pianoman - it had MAJOR design flaws, but at least it was never boring, the narrator gave it his all but I have a major aversion to that level of CHEESE
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Honestly haven't seen enough of them to have a "least favorite."

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I’ve been meaning to do these threads........this is a great one to jump in on.  There isn’t really a show from The Academy I haven’t enjoyed, even the Pianoman show.   Well.  Maybe 08.  2016 and 2011 are personal overall favorites of mine from any corps and there are a lot of others I *really* enjoyed.  Haven’t seen their pre 2006 shows.  

1. 2016 - Drum Corpse Bride

This was so so so fun to follow that summer, even preseason it felt special.  Pretty perfect design, simple and fantastically told story with amazing music and pretty immaculate staging.  And it was just full of those magical moments throughout like the xylophones and that amazing closer.  Far and away their best and seeing them make finals for the first time just made it that much better.     

2. 2011 - (RE)-

.......however this show is a very close second for me.  I listen to this show all the time.  I think this was their 2nd best playing corps and easily their best drumline to me.  Loved the wacky color scheme and Hinshaw drill as well.   Just a quirky, intense, and downright fun show.

3. 2014 - Vanity Fair

This was the start of what would lead to 2016, such a great rebound after 2013.  Simple, entertaining, and so much more cohesive on all levels.  Really enjoyed watching this one come together, as always it’s a fantastic show to listen to from them. 

4. 2015 - A Step in Time

This is the year that they started to feel like a potential finalist in the making.  Clear identity forming, stronger in all sections than the year before, and this is when they really began to get the fans on their side.  This show just felt right for them on all levels.  And it was downright fun.  

5. 2006 - Danzon

I haven’t ever seen a super high quality recording of this show but it’s so so so fun.  One of my favorite Latin shows   Pretty beasty show for a Division 2 corps.

6. 2010 - Strangers in Paradise

Not a lot to look at but they had a fantastic top 12 quality brass line and I love Borodin so this show gets a lot of plays from me.

7. 2012 - Left of Spring

Rite of Spring is pretty tired for me but I enjoyed their treatment of it.  VERY aggressive show.  Loved the absolutely bonkers guard costuming and color scheme.  

8. 2009 - The Ascent

Pretty standard show but done very well, really enjoyed this one when I was starting to fall in love with the activity.  

9. 2017 - By a Hare

This would probably be higher if it hadn’t followed 2016.  It was a very fun show that just lacked the magic and cohesion of their masterwork the year before.  They developed the hell out of it over the summer though.  

10. 2007 - The Chase

Definitely their breakout season, really enjoy the music.   

11. 2013 - Pianoman

Yes it was flawed but I admire them going for the audience and having fun with it.  I’d rather it be that than something boring.  

12. 2008 - Vienna Nights

Not a lot to say, source material was given a pretty bland treatment.  Solid but not a lot of punch. 


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 2017...." By a Hare"

 2011.....  "RE" 

 2009  " Ascent "

  2014 " Vanity Fair "

........... HM  ( but will probably be voted favorite..... 2016.. :" Drum Corpse Bride"



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