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This season has to be remembered for the lottery draw for order of appearance. I recall hearing from VK vets from that season how disappointed they were that they had to perform 1st even though they were ranked 7th.

Bloo and VK are fun shows.

Scouts strength is in the closer.

BD and SCV had the more balanced shows. SCV has such emotion and I feel BD should have won. 

Looking back, I wonder if people were thinking if the Cavies may become contenders.

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Cadets.  Copland's Third Symphony.  So well done.  Just so well done.  I had not listened to his Third Symphony before Cadets performed it.  I had listened to Fanfare for the Common Man however.

I've had multiple requests to create threads for years prior to 1989. Technically, according to DCP practice, these would go in the Historical Forums; however, they have not been used well in recent y

Wasn’t the Interstellar Suite in ‘89? I think they did Petrouska in ‘88. 

On 5/7/2020 at 10:55 AM, troopers1 said:


Was 1988 the year Ventures had the "man" dummies they threw around.  HILARIOUS!

And VK 1988 was a great show, with probably their best musical performances I ever saw.  Zorba's sops, and then there was this....

1988 Velvet Knights | Drum corps international, Drum corps, Knight

I wasn't as enamoured with the Spirit Amin Bhatia show...

1988 Spirit of Atlanta - "Petrouchka" - Closer - YouTube

Wasn’t the Interstellar Suite in ‘89? I think they did Petrouska in ‘88. 

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4 hours ago, Brian Tuma said:

Wasn’t the Interstellar Suite in ‘89? I think they did Petrouska in ‘88. 


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Suncoast Sound changed my world that summer!

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There are plenty of highlights from '88. Vanguard's first run at Phantom of the Opera which was, in my opinion, even more entertaining than their championship reprise of '89. The Devils were just plain cool with their swagger and musicality. Madison brought the house down with their muscular Malaguena...

… but for me the show of the year has to be Velvet Knights. That soprano line was off the hook in Zorba, and even though Madison won it all with Malaguena, the VK version is an all-time classic. That show had comedy gold and pure entertainment from top to bottom, culminating in a patriotic salute that could only be dreamt up in California. If I could only see one show from '88 hands down I'd pick VK.

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Woohoo 1988! To repeat some context I shared in the 89 thread, 1986 I only went to one show and I had no idea what I was getting into. 1987 was also just one show. But the thing is, I saw SCV live in 87 and instantly became an all-in drum corps fanatic. 1988 I went no holds barred (as much as my parent's permission and money would allow. Much thanks to them.) Apologies for not paying close enough attention to the non-finalist corps when I was a kid. 

My first show was pretty early.  

    June 20, 1988
    Mishawaka IN

    1 Cavaliers 67.300
    2 Bluecoats 66.600
    3 Colts 45.700
    4 Glassmen 36.600
    5 Northern Aurora 36.000
    6 Northmen 30.200
    7 Guardsmen 29.600

Bluecoats had just beaten Cavaliers for the first time ever just 3 days before. Bloo came out like gangbusters. Not only had they beaten Cavies, but they beat Star of Indiana AND Phantom at that same show. They were 1987 on steroids. Autumn Leaves had been more appropriately reprogrammed to the closer. Talent had beefed up nearly every section although some arrangements were ... similar. We didn't know it but we were just wrapping up an era where corps could repeat programming from the previous year and the fans would barely blink. They were really energetic and the crowd ate it up. I bought a signed tenor drum head that night. Ended up marching with one of those dudes eventually. I just pulled out it of my garage a couple of weeks ago, as I have been de-hoarding during quarantine. Wild stuff.

The Cavaliers' stab at Firebird Suite had fans turning their head sideways. The crowd reaction between Bluecoats and the green machine was a complete 180. Not nearly as accessible, and downright difficult to pull off. I was sitting by my band director and he was the only one of our crowd that could see how this show would develop.

===Cut to 1 week later===

    June 26, 1988
    Goshen IN

    1 Cavaliers 72.600
    2 Bluecoats 71.700
    3 Troopers 56.700
    4 Glassmen 39.400
    5 Bandettes 26.500
    6 Guardsmen 24.500
    7 Coachmen 24.200

This seems like a ditto, carbon copy experience of the previous week, but if felt different. Bluecoats still had the crowd on it's feet. But the Cavaliers had already started to feel more comfortable in these dissonant shoes. And personally for me, a kid that didn't have any background on Firebird, a few more viewings of Cavaliers would make a big difference in the appreciation.

===Cut to another 3 weeks later===

    July 16, 1988
    DCM Championships
    DeKalb IL

    1 Phantom Regiment 84.000
    2 Star of Indiana 83.000
    3 Cavaliers 81.900
    4 Madison Scouts 81.400
    5 Bluecoats 78.300
    6 Sky Ryders 71.700

I went with a friend and his father to DCM finals.

Phantom was your definititive winner here. A friend of mine in Star percussion told me that the first time he heard the opening fanfare and then the snares crystal clean rallentando roll he thought "welp, so much for beating Phantom." That snare line was fire. A friend that marched contra at PR told me a story of learning the drill to the drum feature. Apparently Marty had to break it down the first 20ish seconds into 2, 3 and 4 counts at a time from the tower as the pulse was elusive the for the brass and guard. Sounded like a verrrrrry long ensemble session.

First time seeing Star of Indiana that year. I had friends here too, including playing the famed Porgy and Bess mallet part. This was a cool show. It worked well for them for most of the season too. The were pretty much above Cavies, Cadets, Madison all season. Trading places with PR frequently.

Madison was messy. This was there 2nd or 3rd show back after retuning from the their Europe mini-tour and honestly, it wasn't anywhere near as memorable as it would become as they continued to clean and edit into August. FWIW Madison beat Cavies at DCM Prelims that afternoon by 8 tenths of a point.

Also worth noting here was an entirely fun Sky Ryders show. A real blast. So much fun that every show they did after 1988 would feel plain, stuffy and just a little too serious.

===Cut to 3 weeks later===

    August 10, 1988
    Bloomington IN

    1 Blue Devils 95.200
    2 Cavaliers 93.300
    3 Star of Indiana 92.400
    4 Bluecoats 87.600
    5 Troopers 75.900
    6 Quad City Knights 62.500
    7 Beatrix 51.000

The final show at IU's Bill Armstrong stadium. A small soccer field on the opposite side of famed Assembly Hall in relation to Memorial Stadium. A very cozy show where I also attended my lone drum corps shows of 1986 and 1987. The 87 show is posted to youtube from a local PBS broadcast. Good stuff. Still looks a lot like it used to.

This is still my favorite Blue Devils show. Hard to imagine what it would take to displace it. Swagger is right. And yet, a bit of a change, which should not be overlooked. Those of us there know how different this was for the BD designs that, no matter how well they were achieved, were getting a little stale. The beautiful look, the powerful and seductive sound, the completely swinging front ensemble. Incredible soloists. *chef's kiss*

Cavaliers were now full-on embracing the aggressive discomfort of Firebird Suite. This was a risk that was paying off. It is a very interesting choice, historically. They were delving into what would become their signature visual approach and it was working well. But pairing the Brubaker's unique geometry (and that of his followers in Rosemont) would rarely happen with such dark musical material. This would be the first time they finished above Star of Indiana since the season opener on June 17th. After 14 opportunities.

The Bluecoats were nearly the same thing that I had seen at the beginning of the season, but ... with maybe less energy. I ended up marching with more than a few veterans of 1988 Bluecoats and they were a hardened bunch. I'm not going to air anyone's dirty laundry here, but things did not go as planned for just about everyone. And I'm not necessarily talking about the numeric result although the evidence was on the scoresheets as well. There was staff/design turmoil very near the top of the chain. Imagine coming into the summer on fire and pumped about your new position as a DCI Finalist and then spending the entire summer dealing with drama and some reluctant "last-man-standing" situations on the tower. And let's not forget this was the summer of the famed drought of 1988. All hot and all dry. Kudos to the bunch of friends that came out of this situation. A very close knit bunch.

=== Cut to 3 days later ===

    August 13, 1988
    U.S. Open
    Marion OH

    1 Star of Indiana 94.300
    2 Garfield Cadets 93.800
    3 Phantom Regiment 93.300
    4 Dutch Boy 86.000
    5 Blue Knights 80.000
    6 Colts 78.500
    7 Glassmen 65.600
    8 Spartans (WA) 65.200
    9 Beatrix 59.600
    10 Oakland Crusaders 44.400

Exactly 1 week DCI finals night and my last show of the year.

Why did my parents drive me and a friend nearly 3 hours to the US Open finals when I had just seen a show 3 days before? No idea. Up to this point, they had never been to a drum corps show in their lives. No doubt I didn't appreaciate their efforts until later in life. We pulled into park and a neighboring driver said there was a hiss coming from my father's van. We went back to inspect and couldn't find a thing. Into the show we went.

Before we dig into any specific corps, check the Top 3 results from US Open prelims that day with the exact same panel.

    1 Garfield Cadets 93.200
    2 Phantom Regiment 92.800
    3 Star of Indiana 92.300

That is how tight the middle of the pack was in 1988.  The DCI finals results and spreads do not reflect just how competitive the season had been. Especially 4th through 7th.

When things would gel for this Porgy and Bess show it was a fantastic result. But it was a very tough ensemble task. Not just with the syncopated Porgy and Bess theme. The extended Hurricane segment both before and after the percussion feature was a bear. At the US Open finals, it was ON. At DCI Finals, it was not. Sitting through The Hurricane on DCI finals video is unsettling. This was a great Prime horn arrangement. The entire pacing and book is remniscent of his Garfield work earlier in the decade. Additionally, this was one of those Brubaker side-gig drills. Solid drill and recognizable. But not his best stuff. In retrospect, it is easy to say that there was a better stylistic combination out there. Not to mention, having it be a dedicated visual designer. This group of "kids" was ecstatic with the result. I remember a verrrry long line at the payphone when visting friends post show. They were going into DCI finals week on top of Cadets and Phantom! (If they only knew).

This was the first time I had seen Cadets live since 1986 Bloomington. It was a whole new ballgame. Being a big fan of the Copeland source material, this show was very rewarding to me. Was it as epic as 87? No. But the quality was unmistakable. Even if it was a little esoteric. In fact, when the show was over, my rookie-viewer mom turned to me and said "I don't understand it. I can tell that it was very good and they were doing it very well. But I don't get it." She loved the Phantom Romeo and Juliet, of course. Moms, right?

We walked back to find a flat tire on the car. Tough to find a repair/replace on a late Saturday night in Marion, OH. Thanks again Mom and Dad!

I'll save the finals week craziness and ruminations for others and stick to my live experiences.

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On 5/10/2020 at 5:06 PM, mingusmonk said:

And let's not forget this was the summer of the famed drought of 1988. All hot and all dry.

That was the summer that Cleveland recorded its hottest day ever. (Not sure about Canton.)

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