What are your 12 favorite non-finalist shows of the 2010s?

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Also Mandarins 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 get a big nod.  Before Inside the Ink the Paper Sons show was far and away my favorite of theirs and a big breakout show.  2015 really peaked well in August despite its placement.  As mentioned above, 2016 was the start of what we have seen today and 2017 was the development of an identity that I LOVE.  I know the dark and quirky isn't for everyone, but I am in love with that style.  2017 especially was just so.......cool.  

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I've been pleased to see many people listing plenty of older shows among their choices. Just came across this great 1923 quote from G.K. Chesterton that seems apt: "My attitude toward progress ha

The Colts - Dark Side of the Rainbow. The mic didn't work for much of the show at pre-lims, but the Scarecrow still brought it, and the exit off the yellow brick road was magic !

5 hours ago, N.E. Brigand said:

"Renewal (Crossmen 2011) ..... Renewal (Spartans 2012) ..... The Resurrection (Thunder 2010) ..... Resurrection (Racine Scouts 2011) ..... Resurrection (Mandarins 2015)"

Looks like a common theme there.

There were also a few "out of the ashes" or "from the ashes" shows in there. I'm not sure "we promise not to suck anymore" is necessarily a good theme!

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13 hours ago, N.E. Brigand said:

For reference, here is every non-Finalist DCI show, 2010-19, alphabetically (A-H):

Each Hour Wounds (River City Rhythm 2018) ..... East Meets West (Gold 2013) ..... Ebb & Flow (Jersey Surf 2016) ..... Ecstatic Waters (Blue Devils B 2012) ..... The Edmund Fitzgerald (Legends 2012) ..... 87 (Racine Scouts 2014) ..... EnCompass (Oregon Crusaders 2017) ..... Enigma (Stentors 2016) ..... Epic (Genesis 2012) ..... Everglow (Pacific Crest 2019) ..... Exodus (Pioneer 2015) ..... Experiment X (Spartans 2019) 

Two trivia questions:

(1) Gold added about a dozen people to their 2013 show late in the season. Who were they?

(2) Legends rang a bell repeatedly during the last movement of their 2012 show. How many times did they do so?

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One of my choices will raise some eyebrows…


  1. Spirit of Atlanta 2018 – Knock. My favorite all-time show, PERIOD because …. my son performed in it. Sorry not sorry.

  2. Colts 2018 – True Believer. I know the canned vocals didn’t sit well with some people but I connected emotionally with this show.

  3. Troopers 2016 – hero

  4. Madison Scouts 2018 – Heart & Soul. I know what you're thinking .... but I really love the last 2/3 of this show and it compensates for the spoken part in the first 1/3 (for me). And I’m basing this on listening only (I would have to drop it lower if I factored in the uniforms).

  5. Pacific Crest 2019 – Everglow

  6. Troopers 2018 – The New Road West

  7. Oregon Crusaders 2016 – Hunted

  8. Mandarins 2017 – Inside the Ink

  9. Music City 2018 – Hell on Wheels

  10. Jersey Surf 2019 – FantaSea


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26 minutes ago, SOA Dad said:

One of my choices will raise some eyebrows…



Oregon Crusaders 2016 – Hunted

Completely forgot about that one. Excellent choice. 

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7 hours ago, N.E. Brigand said:

Two trivia questions:

(1) Gold added about a dozen people to their 2013 show late in the season. Who were they?

(2) Legends rang a bell repeatedly during the last movement of their 2012 show. How many times did they do so?

An acrobatic group from Taiwan?

The bell rang 29 times for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald. 

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The Colts - Dark Side of the Rainbow. The mic didn't work for much of the show at pre-lims, but the Scarecrow still brought it, and the exit off the yellow brick road was magic !

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I picked 12 mix and match open and world (with more open because I saw them more).  Made it a personal rule to only allow a pick from the same corps once because my first try came up really lopsided: 

  • As the Sun Loved the Moon (7th Regiment 2017)
  • The Grid (Legends 2016)
  • Passion in Red (Stentors 2019)
  • Coronation (Music City 2016)
  • Darned (Guardians 2018)
  • To the Moon (Blue Devils B 2016)
  • Caged (Southwind 2019)
  • Experiment X (Spartans 2019)
  • In Pieces (Vanguard Cadets 2017)
  • A Step in Time (Academy 2015)
  • Wild Horses (Troopers 2015)
  • Ebb & Flow (Jersey Surf 2016)

Notes: My choices needed to come from the latter half of the decade because I didn't see the earlier half. Also, Darned was not the actual name of the Guardians show, but you get the idea. 

Edited by kkrepps
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My absolute favorite in all of this: N.E. Brigand's taking the time to roll out this meticulously researched and articulated list. Thank you! The list, I am sad to admit, underscores my waning knowledge of Open Class offerings over the entirety of the decade. I began to make up for it in the past three years, learning that some of the most precious jewels in the drum corps necklace shine on Monday and Tuesday of championship week. With my admission also comes an apology: if the methodology I have chosen to tackle this task leaves out obvious gems, I'd love to be told of those omissions, so I can catch up!

I decided to take the place listings and offer up my favorite, and a second helping of mighty good shows at each competitive finish.

As Mr. Crocker says: "In 25th place:"
"Off the Grid," Seattle Cascades 2019. When I realized that this production, which the members thread-the-needle performing with such exuberance, would likely be the lowest-scoring of the World Class offerings, all I could do was smile. All is well in the drum corps world.
(Spartans, 2018: "DaVinci's Workshop" was the type of show we have all grown to love from the Northeast Open Class powerhouse. What came next ... Whoa!)

24th place:
"FantaSea," Jersey Surf, 2019. A lesson, it seems to me, in smart programming. Design what can be achieved, the rest will fall into place. As it did in this very fine, entertaining, voyage.
(Genesis, 2018: "RetroVertigo." Another signature show and style that was upended just a year later.)

23rd place:
"Corps Prayer," Pioneer, 2010. The last appearance in the Top 25 for a corps and its members, both current and alumni, who always deserved better than the denouement that lurked for years. Pioneer was, at its apex, one of the most vital, competitive, corps in the activity. I will choose to remember it well, especially iterations from late 70s and early 80s.
(Mandarins, 2012: "Prophecy." And here they come!)

22nd place:
"The Blue Hour," Oregon Crusaders, 2011. Watch it again, as a precursor for Pacific Crest's breakout 2019 show. Good staff, better performers, solid show.
(Vanguard Cadets, 2012: "Heroes and Legends." Even with a greatest hits playlist, this show underscored that Open Class only means open to anything ... wonderful!)

21st place"
"Song of the Siren," Legends, 2019. An exotic tale as old as the seas themselves. I couldn't take my eyes off this show.
(Pacific Crest, 2017. "Golden State of Mind." California was dreamin' and dreamy, in this easy to love coast-to-coast tour.)

20th place:
"Sinvitation 7," Teal Sound, 2011. The corps' last championship appearance, before the truncated season to follow. An out-of-the-box musical mashup of "sin."
(Mandarins, 2015. "Resurrection." When the Asian culture esthetic was the centerpiece of the corps, it moved us all. The corps' last thematic offering of the sort. To be remembered well.)

19th place:
"Experiment X," Spartans, 2019. The winner and cham-PEEN! For all of the wonder of this spectacular production, I was hooked at the first phrases of the opening's "Balkan Dance." The rest was drum corps gravy.
(Blue Devils B, 2018. "The Other Side." Devils' magic, in only a slightly different veneer. Just when you thought you knew what was coming ... MAGIC!)

18th place:
"Off the Wall," Vanguard Cadets, 2018. Loose. In the groove. Of the moment drum corps. A gold medal moment, at that.
(Troopers, 2019. "Beyond Boundaries." This show was not a threat to any competitor, save for the organization's brand, which is, after all, the most precious of all. The rebranding worked; a beautiful score, well-played. But for my enthusiasm here, it will all come down to 2020. Space Troopers likely will not hold up for a second year. Storm Troopers? State Troopers? ; )

17th place:
"Full Circle," Crossmen, 2010. When the X-Men excel, the corps has a vibe. This had a vibe. "First Circle," in its umpteenth iteration, was singularly effective.
(Madison Scouts, 2019. "Majestic." The end of a majestic drum corps era. To a monumental new one!)

16th place:
"Forging An Icon," Spirit of Atlanta, 2010. Perhaps the most under appreciated Spriit show ever! Not by me, though.
( Colts, 2011. "Deception.". Oftentimes, the Dubuque corps can seem as provincial as its hometown. For me, this show broke through like a jagged edge.)

15th place:
The Academy, since the corps owned half a decade's worth of fifteenth-place finishes. "Academic," 2018 was a level grade up, what with the theme from "The Imitation Game" right off the desks. "(RE)," 2011 was the corps' vanity fair brand at the time, but I will admit that I'm a honk for "Mary Poppins." And "Feed the Birds," from 2015's "Step in Time" takes musical flight for me, often.

14th place:
I would have loved to have seen both of these shows on Saturday night.
"Everglow," Pacific Crest, 2019. No one was prepared for the scrumptious wonderfulness that this show brought to the field. Perhaps even, the judges?
(Colts, 2015. "... and a Shot Rings Out," I love this dinner theater-style murder mystery! This was well beyond the usual drum corps realm.)

13th place:
Finalists in every way, except final placement: "Inside the Ink," Mandarins, 2017 and "Knock," Spirit of Atlanta, 2018."

There are another fifteen or more shows that I could have included on this list. Thanks, again, N.E. Brigand for the memories.

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