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1992 was the only year I experienced DCI 'from the inside.' Crossmen 1992 was an amazing corps to be part of. The buzz around our season from day one was special, and the reputation of the show has held up over the years, especially the outstanding performance of Mark Thurston's percussion section, which scored an incredible 9.7 in Field Percussion for 2nd in that caption on Finals night. The program 'Songs for the Planet Earth' added a unified concept to the show design without sacrificing the jazz groove we'd become known for in recent years. Tim 'Shorty' Bartholomew and his cast of seasoned Cadets and Star brass veterans introduced Don Van Doren 'breathe-dah' technique to the brass line. Both the inventions of a new, talented visual writer named John Milauskis and Matt Krempasky's original contribution and haunting arrangement of a New Age chorale were also strong contributions to the success of the program.

We had a heady opening to the season, trading victories with the Cadets of Bergen County up through early July. The mid-season was difficult, as we started to meet corps which quite frankly had better overall talent than we did (with the exception of the aforementioned drumline). The question was how our staff and membership would respond to the challenge. Would we meet it or fold up? Beginning in late July, the strength of our production and our commitment to get better, cleaning and tweaking the show nearly up to the last moment, pushed us over two far more storied corps which that year were saddled with unusually average show design. 

But this year was strong across the board. The Cavaliers won their first championship with their visual and percussion fireworks, but there is so much else to talk about. If you were there as a performer, a staff member, or a fan, you know what I mean. And so I will let you have at it. 

Ladies and gentlemen, 1992!

Edited by mfrontz
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6 minutes ago, troopers1 said:

I wrecked my parents' Subaru in Rockford, on my way up to Wisconsin for DCI.  That was memorable.

That was YOU? 😉

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1992 Santa Clara Vanguard - Early Season.  Before all the major changes (sorry, I cannot get the video to embed).

-They initially played Sunrise Sunset before replacing it with Chava Ballet.

-Note the guard uniforms during the bottle dance.

-Traditional Aussies


Edited by Continental
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oh man 92. one of my all time favorite years.


saw the east coast gang a few times early, then saw Star added in at Hershey....holy ####. however my favorite memory of that night was Hannum asked if he could squeeze in by us to watch Crossmen, and we said sure...and when the snares hit the flam 5's he swore out loud and laughed. A great memory!


then East...Star still looked like they were running away with it, tho Cadets had the usual late season surge brewing..Madison with the better coA and SCV....oh the bottle dance...and Crossmen. the question mark was in! the show seemed to have momentum growing like 91...would they maintain? Bloo and Freelancers seemed to be solidifying their spots in Saturday night.


then....a crazy plane ride to Madison for the coldest finals on record...but what a finals!


Cavies with the first win, but man Cadets and Star were sooooo good too. bD's percussion seemed ot be holding them back, and madison/Phantom/SCV Crossmen had a little battle going on. Glassmen keeping it interesting on Thursday. some of those non top 12 shows were good! Troop, Colts starting what led to the next season, Magic, and to this day i adore Southwind's Robin Hood.


and VK. that and SCV with the bottle dance are 2 of the 4 loudest crowd reactions i have personally been in the stands for.


Friday saw more shuffling...Saturday more, plus i am sure sweatshirt sales in the souvie area were strong!


and to add to it all...the Camp Randall magic.


the battle for the top...i loved em all, didn't care. knowing many people in and teaching Crossmen i marked out for the jump to 6th. disappointed in how some fans chose to revel in Star falling to 3rd as opposed to cheering for Cavies and Cadets.


Just a #### solid year up and down the ladder with more than a few shows that have become all time classics

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Let's watch drum corps shows!

CavaliersGavorkna Fanfare, Closer of Peterloo Overture

Cadets of Bergen County - Semis Run

Star of Indiana - Finals Hi-Cam

Blue Devils - Finals Run, Concord Pavilion, Western Corps ConnectionEarly Season Victory Run

Madison Scouts - Finals Run

Crossmen - Finals Run, Quarterfinals Run, DCI East Finals, Pre-Season Run at DCA Show in Jersey City, NJ

Santa Clara Vanguard - Concord Pavilion, Western Corps Connection, Bottle Dance at Finals

Phantom Regiment - Wyandotte, MI

Blue Knights - Western Corps Connection

Velvet Knights - Western Corps Connection, DCI Finals

Bluecoats - DCI Finals

Freelancers - Western Corps Connection

Glassmen - Madre

Boston Crusaders - Rehearsal Run-Through

Sky Ryders

Spirit of Atlanta

Marauders - Longview WADCI Quarterfinals

Dutch Boy - Canadian OpenDCI Quarterfinals

Troopers - DCI Quarterfinals (audio only - marked 1991, but is 1992 show)


Magic of Orlando - DCI Quarterfinals (Clip only)


Black Gold - DCI Quarterfinals

Northern Aurora

Carolina Crown - Last 2 minutes or so of show

Mandarins - DCI Division II/III Championships

Kiwanis Kavaliers - DCI Division II Prelims


Limited Edition

Arizona Sun - DCI Division II Prelims

Allegiance Elite

Railmen - DCI Division II Prelims

Adding more soon!



Edited by mfrontz
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3 hours ago, mfrontz said:

That was YOU? 😉

You must have been driving the window company truck I rear-ended on the way to McDonald's.  

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Oh, man - I've been waiting for this one. 🙂

Very few years can match '92 for overall quality down the line.  In my personal list, I'd put them on par with '95, '02 and '18 - not a weakness in the bunch.  

Cavaliers, of course, won their first championship on the back of a stunning visual program and an ahead-of-their-time battery.  The hornline hardly brought up the rear either - they were much improved from previous years.  It didn't hurt that the full-scale revolution (hah!) in DCI programming was in swing this year, though it's '93 where it finally broke through.  Gavorkna Fanfare was unlike any opener every played by a championship corps to that point, including Star's dramatic emphasis on technical playing the year before.  My personal favorite was Scottish Dances, as the geometry of the drill was simply inspired.  

Cadets snuck in to 2nd with a passionate and very hammer-over-the-head GE program.  Man, it was good though.  I have no idea about demographic data, but it just "felt" like a young corps (or maybe a young-to-DCI corps) that found its legs as the summer went on.  Holsinger was definitely a stylistic shift for them, but it sure felt like the right choice.

Star veered towards the mainstream in a year where everyone else veered away.  The show is legendary, of course, for the reactions it caused in DCI fandom.  As a production, though, it's got all of the classic Star elements, and for most of us, the first time (either ever, or at least in many years) that they had a full battery.  And man did they bring heat.  

Blue Devils are really a Tale of Two Halves in '92.  Cuban Fire was a classic BD-Jazz suite, and a really entertaining one too.  The battery felt messy at points, but the "feel" of the show was on point.  And then, of course, the closer, which was as much of a statement of "because we can" as anything else.  Love, love, love this show - have listened to it probably a couple of hundred times at this point.

Madison revamped City of Angels, and ... well... latin jazz'ed it up.  The brass came across night and day better than the year before - every note just felt tight and exact.  #### near like a sonic laser.  The battery's feature in Funny is an all-time classic that DCI and Flo still use occasionally during breaks.  Kudos to the arrangers this year - they took the skeleton from 1991 and made it into a fully armed and operational battle station. 

Crossmen's battery.  Enough said.  One of the all time greats.  I managed to snag a handwritten copy of the score to the drum feature a few years ago - I feel like framing it.  I mean, the rest of the show featured a massive brass upgrade from 1991 (which was a massive upgrade from 1990) and a very sophisticated program built around it, but ... yeah.  Battery.

Santa Clara went retro, and it's a fun, fun watch.  It's not going to reinvent anyone's notion of drum corps, but honestly - it's just an entertaining show.  I can't really find fault in their performance, but I think they probably were rightly placed in 7th.  They were cleaner than Phantom, and not as sophisticated as Crossmen.

Phantom... leaves me conflicted.  I absolutely adore this show, and I still think of the closer as the "definitive" 1812 arrangement.  That said, it's painfully obvious that it's built on the back of arrangements used many years before, and the drum feature was just an absolute mess.  It feels harsh to my heart to say they deserved 8th on the night, but... in the cold light of day they probably were, even before being slotted-to-their-face by the judges.

Blue Knights are definitely the ugly duckling of the finals lineup, and it's not very fair to them.  They had to go on, of course, after VK, and people still weren't ready for the hardcore symphonic stuff they were bringing.  The middle segment of the show has a lot in common with their "Because" show decades later, in that they kind of discard the traditional 4-act structure of drum corps and push and pull the parts around.  It definitely gives you a bit of a time-warp feeling when you watch it - I'd have believed you if you'd told me the show was 9 minutes long.  Or 15 minutes.  Closer was my favorite part - I love what they did with a classic Wind Ensemble tune.

VK's finals swan-song was everything and the kitchen sink.  (Or did they throw that in during a later year?)  Great music pulled along an all-over-the-place visual package.  Having worked for a corps that also bucked convention, I don't know how they got judges to go along with it.  Other than just ... being good.

Bluecoats' first foray into The Beatles was, forgive me, a mess.  It's one of those shows where "I know they're trying to tell me something, but ###### if I know what."  Yes, I'm being smarmily superior, but they did managed to upgrade a little bit the next time they tried it.

Finally, Freelancers stayed in finals with Walton's 1st Symphony.  I don't know who did their percussion books, but they had a great ear for adding all sorts of fun little timbers and effects that sound normal to us now, but at the time not many peers were doing.  And like the year before, they looked marvelous on the field.

Honorable mentions go to Glassmen's new age program (that might have been better than their '93 finalist breakthrough) and Boston's *almost* there Russian show.  92-93-94 Boston puts me on edge for being juuuuust on the precipice.  

I'll have more ...controversial... opinions, I think, for 1993 - The Year DCI Got Really Weird.


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What a great year with the Cavaliers leading the way.

Though spectacular they weren't my favorite.

Star was great, my favorite Star show ever, just came up a little short.

Cadets show I loved.  Seem to remember that before the season if you made a donation to the corps they sent you a tape of "To Tame the Perilous Skies"  I wore that tape out.

And then there's Santa Clara.  Just a terrific show that remains a favorite to this day.  Can't go wrong with Fiddler.


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5 hours ago, MikeN said:


Bluecoats' first foray into The Beatles was, forgive me, a mess.  It's one of those shows where "I know they're trying to tell me something, but ###### if I know what."  Yes, I'm being smarmily superior, but they did managed to upgrade a little bit the next time they tried.

The perseverance and drive of that group of kids and staff, which finished the season with only one drill set left the same as the start of the season, is part of the reason there was still a bluecoats taking the field in 2019. There is no coincidence that the Penny tradition started that year and means so much.

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