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The 1996 Thread

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'In second place, which is actually...a tie for first place...' Phantom - fourth to third to first. What a finals week. 

The sound of BD this year was like the full-throated roar of an engine.

I loved the Cadets, thought they would win early season. Wonder if the Olympics and the tear in the closer at finals kept it from a three-way tie. 

Bluecoats grew on me through the whole summer. 

If Crossmen had only had a full hornline...


Drum Corps Planet presents 1996! 

1. Blue Devils - DCI Finals, Allentown Victory Concert

1. Phantom Regiment - DCI Finals

3. Cadets of Bergen County - DCI Finals (The Promise of Living); DCI Finals (The Red Pony - closer); 1996 Summer Olympics Closing Ceremonies

4. Cavaliers - DCI Semifinals

5. Santa Clara Vanguard - DCI Finals (excerpt); Logan, UT

6. Madison Scouts - DCI Finals (opener); DCI Finals (Bolero); DCI Finals (Malaguena excerpt)

7. Bluecoats - DCI Finals (excerpt one); DCI Finals (excerpt two)

8. Crossmen - DCI Finals (excerpt one); DCI Finals (excerpt two)

8. Magic of Orlando - DCI Finals

10. Carolina Crown - DCI Finals

11. Colts - DCI Finals (excerpt one); DCI Finals (excerpt two)

12. Blue Knights - DCI Finals (excerpt)


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96 as i was marching in DCA again, had me see little until finals week. in fact i just saw a little of DCE finals in Allentown in early July.


however my corps performed in exhibition at DCI finals, so i got to see some of Thursday and finals night. I remember seeing Boston and VK...and thinking VK missed the mark.....and also Troopers.


we stayed where a lot of corps warmed up, so man i got a ton of lot stuff...and I remember thinking hmmmm....Phantom


BK i enjoyed, and Colts show I loved,but man some dirt. Carolina Crown 1996 remains an underrated gem with the Chess show. Magic's iconic 12 seconds show...Crossmen...man if they only had a hornline....Bloo...i just never got into it. Madison...end of the serious latin power jazz triology fun, but dirty especially that huge tenor line...SCV....la Mer again an underrated show...Cavies....good, but...meh to this day...Cadets with all the Beef...BD...my god still to this day the biggest opening note ##### slap in DCI history


and Phantom. time stood still. Like you forgot everything going on around you. they totally sucked you in with that slow, soft start, building and building.....eventually ending up with "my dog has fleas!" what a show.

you can pick apart the recap and say BD and Cadets had claims. But since it wasn't televised, you had to be there to experience it. truly a night where the panel judged the show of the day.


and getting to perform in exhibition at semis, after BD no less and hearing Brandt Crocker announcing our corps was cool as ####! And even way back in the tunnel waiting BD was ungodly loud. 


Hopefully Southwind has forgiven the DCA corps that decided to celebrate the evening performance at the housing site, and apologies to the Magic Kingdom for the very tired and hungover DCA corps that performed in front of that ####### pink castle the morning of finals. 

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I saw Phantom early in the season and thought they had a good show.  Didn't see them again until NightBeat.

Stopped by their souvie stand before the show and in talking to the PR folks they said the show has grown and improved.

That was an understatement though they didn't win on this night.

But what a great show it became.

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25 minutes ago, DFA1970 said:

I always wonder why PR could not capitalized on their tie with BD. Their next and only win was 2008. And 2008 was a close win.

Follow the history of the corps.  Coming so close, so many times. 

So. Many. Times.  

Phantom suddenly creeping up as finals progressed.  The history of this corps up until this point makes every single person doubt that it could happen.  After all, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.   Even those that know how good the show is doubt that it could make it just because of history. 

Blue Devils were ahead all season.  Often many points ahead.  Near the end of the season they were almost 3 points ahead of Phantom in some shows.

2:00 am.  Montreal time. The early morning after DCI finals.  I call the Phantom Regiment hotline.  I had no idea about what happened the week prior to finals.

I hear the news.  My eyes well up as I hear the outcome. 

Yes, it was a tie.  Buy as always seems to be with the history of the Phantom Regiment, the push to that tie was extraordinary.  Even after this, Phantom's history is incredible. 

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There was no looking back for Regiment after Allentown. I must say finals was surreal. I was working souvies and when the scores were announced, the souvie staff from Blue Devils were the first to congratulate us. With champagne. They were gracious co-winners. 

I swear we sold out of everything  on that trailer!

Edited by Sutasaurus
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My first live drum corps show was at Tulsa Union HS in 1996. Magic, Crown, Regiment, and Cavaliers were rained out and performed standstill in the Union Performing Arts Center. I wish I could've seen them live, especially since my favorite corps ended up winning their first title that year, but it was still an exhilarating experience to hear the horn arc on stage.

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I couldn't stand that BD show at the time, but I've grown to love it since. Perfect musical selections for that show.

Kudos to Cadets for finding Tulsa: A Symphonic Portrait in Oil. That's definitely a sleeper that I assume has gotten very little play during its existence. Great tune and great show.

Absolutely loved the SCV show. La Mer is perfect for drum corps.

Magic and Crown had great designs that year. Robert W. Smith loved him some Robert W. Smith while he was with Magic, but it really worked for their identity (which I guess is "we play Robert W. Smith" so that makes sense). Loved the show musically and visually. 

I've said a few times on here that if I could pick one corps to redo a show with their current talent level, it'd be Crown and the chess show. Nimrod is great, but THERE ARE 13 OTHER VARIATIONS. Crown gave us just a small amount of the last variation in the closer that year, with some Crown Imperial. Really innovative show musically. 

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'96 was a year of firsts for me.  As much of a drum corps fanatic as I'd been since '89, that summer was my first live show (Killeen, TX - Phantom over Cavies over Crown).  Finals night '96 was also my first time finding drum corps online via RAMD (also dumbly asked "what's the best show ever" and got decades worth of education in one thread).  Also my first year buying the videos for Christmas.  

Phantom had a show for the ages.  Brass was great, guard was good, drums were okay, and the GE was iconic.  It's hard to see on the videos, but the triangular poles they used in the middle movement were an "ooooh" for the audience as they strobed, catching the light.  When we heard them midsummer, I thought for sure they'd challenge for a title.  And the black on black unis looked spectacular under stadium lights.  Visually, it was a show built for outdoor night performances, for sure.

Blue Devils, however, punched equally as hard.  I think this show has grown in a lot of peoples' estimations *since* that year.  That gut punch opening chord is to die for.  Desi, in particular (the 2nd "production" number) leaned hard into jazz, and the Dick Tracy music fit the mood really well.  Why'd they end up tying?  Probably because Phantom rode that GE wave and caught them - I don't know BD put a foot wrong.

The Cadets had... well, a fun show.  A well performed show.  Not a terribly visually interesting show, and not one that felt like it took any risks.  Yeah, they fixed that the next few years.  Beef.

Santa Clara rebooted themselves in '96, and while it might not have been a young group (I truly don't know), it *felt* like a young group.  You can definitely see the design groundwork being laid for their 97-98 shows, building of course to their title in '99.  They do capture Debussy well, and while it's not going to blow your mind, if you're a Vanguard fan it's worth watching.  

Madison Scouts went back to the well, and while the brass felt a little fuzzier, and the guard moments not quite so Wow, and the drumline (holy cow, 8 tenors?!?) underwhelmed (how can you not hear 8 tenors?!?), it's still a wonderful production.  If anything, I think the *show* in '96 was much better than in '95, though the performance wasn't as sharp.  Bolero > Concerto de Aranjuez, always.

Bluecoats had a rock solid show, and performance.  The Auld Lang Syne closer was an awesome touch to end it, but My Funny Valentine kind of stole the show.

Crossmen had their famous move to YEA, of course, and the numbers suffered, but the show was a great Crossmen jazz performance.  Birdland of course was spectacular (and even better in '97).  I wish they hadn't kept the shakos that year, but that's about my only gripe.

Magic put on probably their best show of their existence in '96.  Twelve Seconds, though not written for drum corps, sure felt like it was.  Of course, at the time we still felt they were a little *too* avant garde for what we still thought of as primarily hot-dog audiences.  Looking back from today, it's a fine, 20th century show done about 10 years too early.

Carolina Crown's Chess show was I think the best-designed program of their 90's years.  It was dark, edgy and the chess pieces were amazing in person.  Again, modern audiences are used to these sorts of things now, but at the time most of us had never seen anything quite like it.  I can still sing you the Walton opener.  Nimrod was really good as well, if since waaay overused.  I may have to go watch this one again.  Oh yeah, and these were the second best uniforms they ever had.  (Gotta go with 2013 for first.)

Ok, I've always had a soft spot for the Colts, but as I write these reviews I realize I keep dumping on their shows.  Can't do that with Magnificat - absolutely beautiful arrangements!  The whole production is glorious, and I love love love it.  It felt like it was written for a 5th-6th place corps musically.

BK snuck into Finals with a smaller corps, a more reserved set of charts and a little more reserved visual program, and I can't find much fault with it.  They gave the kids an achievable vehicle that they could clean really well, and it worked.  They, like SCV, also used this show to lay the groundwork for much-upgraded vehicles in the next few years.

It was only a few years ago that I finally heard the pre-show from Glassmen - go find it on Youtube.  Absolute brass balls from the arrangers to put that on first in a late-90's program.  You could make a pretty convincing argument that they should have been 12th.  They had horn intensity from start to finish.  

VK's last show came in '96, and it was definitely a whisper rather than a roar.  I'm sure the arrangers took it as seriously as ever, but it almost felt like the gags were becoming the program, not the music.  

Finally, Les Etoiles earned the second biggest upset of the summer by beating Pioneer.  Seriously - Pioneer's Celtic Twilight show was a beast.  Almost Division 1 size, drill, music - they had it all.  Did *not* see that one coming, but once you see Les Etoiles, man they had a good show.  And of course, zero-gee drum racks.  You had me at Zero Gee...

Next time - DCI's middle year in Orlando surprisingly brought one of the strongest lineups of the '90's together.


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