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Ah 2002 - the Greatest Year in DCI History!  Not because of that on-field stuff, but it was the year DCP was created!  Thanks again, GeorgeD. 👍

As for the on-field stuff, I got to see all of the D1 groups in San Antonio that year, then of course on video at Finals.

Cavaliers - Frameworks GOAT yadda yadda.  Visually, the program is a masterpiece. Guard is excellent, drill is otherworldly.  The big stuff is done so well it looks almost casual, and they never stop hitting you with big, big, BIG drill moves. But here's the problem.  The music is boring as hell, and for much of the show never gets out of the "DCI mf" dynamic comfort level.  (DCI mf of course = high school fffff).  Down here in UIL high school land, it feels very familiar - tone quality over volume. The first 2/3 of the show is not very engaging on CD, to say the least.  The final "rhythm" movement, of course, suddenly amps the energy up, but I can't help but wish they'd maybe gone with *less* original music.  Anyways, gonna focus on the positive - legendary - Mt. Rushmore level drill.

Blue Devils were not very well received during the season, and I couldn't figure it out.  Yes, Channel One was the 2-minute-highlight version, but unless the rules were expanded to include 20 minute shows, it kind of *had* to be.  They did a wonderful job of capturing 4 very distinct jazz styles, and honestly didn't get enough credit for their movement as well.  I know I've told this story before, but when they hit the end of I've Got Rhythm/Fascinating Rhythm with the jam around the drum rack, in the Alamodome you literally couldn't hear anything but a wall of sound distortion - it was the only time I've ever heard a corps do that before or since.  After they're done with the song, I look down and the lady in of me has a sleeping baby with wads of cotton in his ears - they came prepared!

Cadets paid homage to their 1995 show with a hyperpatriotic extravaganza.  It... sort of worked.  The playing and marching were great, but the extra layers of cheese on top of everything made the whole thing kind of a turn off, honestly.  The stupid fire truck thing was just the icing on the cake, along with the Pledge of Allegiance (this was the year the whole "under God" part was a raging argument around the country) and 9/11 tableau.  I know it's a personal deal, but I still don't think 9/11 should be included in a marching band show.  I don't think enough time has passed yet.  Anyways, to the good - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy brought the house down wherever they went, and I think it was DCI East with the double-encore where it just kept growing.

Vanguard kept their programming formula from 2001 and went with wind ensemble and dark classical literature.  The opener was the only original piece, to answer an earlier post in this thread.  It definitely wasn't stuff the casual listener would recognize (though most band students likely would), but it was pretty engaging.  They also changed the uniforms slightly and added <argh> wings.  They didn't break new ground with the show - as I said, it was very much in the same vein as the 2001 program - but they performed well, created some cool musical moments and marched good stuff.  

Boston tied their highest placement ever with "You Are My Star," which married a lot of songs with Appalachian Spring from a handful of tunes that were not Appalachian Spring.  Modern viewers will go right along with the screens / posters they used throughout, including photos from American history, but at the time they were kind of new and different.  Drumline stood out in this program - they weren't doing virtuoso work out there, but they were solid and had some neat effects.  And everyone loved the ballad, though I couldn't hum it for you today.

Phantom tied Boston for 5th after trailing most/all(?) of the year with a Shostakovich based program that the visual designers pretty much said "meh."  They managed to create classic Phantom musical moments with the material, though.  It's probably the most old-school Phantom program of that entire decade.  

(more coming)

Mike

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such a fun year. first show early June in Landsdale.....Cadets with a big lead on BD who seemed a hot mess. Crossmen starting strong...heat of the Day was genius...Spirit nd the Holsinger was showing

Absolutely loved the Glassmen Flugelhorn soloist (it was the same performer from the 2001 show).   

I saw Magic Wed-Saturday.....Wednesday was their best run. I am telling you at D2/3 finals they deserved every bit of that 99 on the 2/3 sheets of the day

19 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

Cap Regiment making a nice showing after 2/3

The vets in 04 who marched that year spoke fondly of it. For one, I heard there were once chicken sandwiches for lunch (you had to have been their joke). I think 2002 was the last year the corps had the logistics and finances to do the tour they did, the Div 1 and a jump to a big national tour was just too much for a corps run by 3 people and led to their demise.

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I have a well thought out manifesto on 2002, wherein I quote Tolstoy and Angelou, draw parallels to the creative processes of Berlioz and Rick Rubin, and finish with an ending the likes of which haven't been seen since The Usual Suspects or SCV 1989. But I got a 500 Internal Error and can't post it. 

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In order to keep this a reasonable length, I will focus on only one or two aspects of each show.

1. Cavaliers - People talk about their visual program, but man that brass was a revelation. The tone quality and intonation the Cavies put out in 2002 was simply unmatched in DCI history up to that point. Their 19.7 brass score at Finals seems laughably low in retrospect. No, it's not the hardest brass book of all time, but it sure is one of the cleanest.

2. Blue Devils - Their drumline was the weak link all season (not that anyone was catching the Cavaliers), but the bass drum runs in the last ten seconds of the show are still the best bass drum runs I've ever heard. Love.

3. Cadets - God I hate this show. Gimmicky garbage. The worst aspects of nostalgia passing for general effect. The drumline was fire, and BWBB was fantastic. Everything else about this show can go right in the dumpster.

4. Santa Clara Vanguard - Show should have been better than it ended up being. A great arrangement of Copland's Organ Symphony ruined in the last ten seconds by an awkward modulation back into a major key and a Trivandrum recapitulation (the original music from the opener) to end the show.

5. Phantom Regiment - I'm a brass guy, a huge Shostakovich fan, and a Phantom homer, so of course I love this show. It's not without flaws but it was *clearly* better than Boston and the Music GE judges at Semis and Finals savaged them in a fashion completely inconsistent with the rest of the season.

6. Boston Crusaders - I hate this (mini-Cadets) show only a little less than the Cadets show. It was the first season after 9/11 so both of the Northeast corps went with sappy, glurgy dreck for show themes. Brass was good, rest of corps was not (8th in visual, 9th in music ensemble, 10th in percussion). But, everyone wanted to be spoon-fed patriotism in those days and the judges ate it right up and over-scored the hell out of them. They should have been 8th, behind Phantom, Bluecoats, and Glassmen.

7. Bluecoats - One of my favorite Bluecoats shows. Great "Dancer in the Dark" ballad (sure, the Cadets would end up doing it better in 2005, but this version is still really good), and a fantastic closer with one of the 2000s great "screamer" soloists.

8. Glassmen - Sure, Phantom would do "The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms" better in 2010, but this version is still really good. From 97 or 98 through the early 2000s the GMen had some absolute nail-eaters in their drumlines, and this is another fantastic one. I thought the show was more effective than the judges did but, as I have already established, the Finals Music GE judge was on crack.

9. Crossmen - I don't remember anything about this show. The Crossmen did similar, non-descript jazz shows over and over and over for about 20 years. Unless they were truly exceptional (1992, 1997) or bizarrely against type (1995) I barely remember any Crossmen show until their rebirth in the 2010s.

10. Spirit of Atlanta - The Easter Symphony is possibly David Holsinger's most ambitious work and, being a devout Christian, also one of his most intensely personal works. I knew that, for a long time, Holsinger very closely guarded the arranging rights to this piece, so I was amazed Spirit got permission to perform it. They did a great job with it, too, this was their best show since the 1980s.

11. Magic of Orlando - Great, fun show and corps that had been relegated to Division II for the season due to missing 2001. I seem to recall Wayne Downey wrote the brass book for this "Wind and the Lion" show. One of my favorite Magic shows.

12. Seattle Cascades - Most shocking finalist of all time? Only time in corps history they placed higher than 15th, and one of only seven years they've been in the Top 20. Didn't Wayne Downey or someone from another "Big Boy" corps write their brass book, too? Not sure they should have made Finals, kind of a generic Bernstein show.

13. Blue Knights - Still love this show (musically), especially the barbaric Barber Piano Concerto finale. Holy smokes that visual design is a mess, though.

14. Madison Scouts - Speaking of visual design disasters... their first time out of Finals since 1972. Musically they were good enough. But their guard had been scoring behind the likes of Kiwanis Kavaliers, Mandarins, Southwind, and Capital Regiment, and their marching wasn't much better.

 

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36 minutes ago, hostrauser said:

8. Glassmen - Sure, Phantom would do "The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms" better in 2010, but this version is still really good. From 97 or 98 through the early 2000s the GMen had some absolute nail-eaters in their drumlines, and this is another fantastic one. I thought the show was more effective than the judges did but, as I have already established, the Finals Music GE judge was on crack.

I agree with your thoughts here. Glassmen were actually running top 5 for a good portion of the season. They took 5th at the DCI Southwestern Regional in San Antonio and were neck and neck with Phantom until late season. Something happened after that. Perhaps the show plateaued...not sure. They started the season HOT. And that percussion section was excellent once again. 

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7 hours ago, MikeN said:

Cavaliers - Frameworks GOAT yadda yadda.  Visually, the program is a masterpiece. Guard is excellent, drill is otherworldly.  The big stuff is done so well it looks almost casual, and they never stop hitting you with big, big, BIG drill moves. But here's the problem.  The music is boring as hell, and for much of the show never gets out of the "DCI mf" dynamic comfort level.  (DCI mf of course = high school fffff).  Down here in UIL high school land, it feels very familiar - tone quality over volume. The first 2/3 of the show is not very engaging on CD, to say the least.  The final "rhythm" movement, of course, suddenly amps the energy up, but I can't help but wish they'd maybe gone with *less* original music.  Anyways, gonna focus on the positive - legendary - Mt. Rushmore level drill.

Although I personally liked their music a bit more than than others I do agree with your take here. There was a lot of talk that summer about music and what many felt was a simplistic wind ensemble approach with not a lot of DCI-level volume or exciting musical passages. The brass line was extremely good and the blend, balance, and intonation were outstanding. To me despite the music I felt the level or coordination with visual was stunning, and as you said the visual package is one of the best we've seen. As masterful as this show is I enjoyed their 2004 James Bond show more.

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2 hours ago, jwillis35 said:

Although I personally liked their music a bit more than than others I do agree with your take here. There was a lot of talk that summer about music and what many felt was a simplistic wind ensemble approach with not a lot of DCI-level volume or exciting musical passages. The brass line was extremely good and the blend, balance, and intonation were outstanding. To me despite the music I felt the level or coordination with visual was stunning, and as you said the visual package is one of the best we've seen. As masterful as this show is I enjoyed their 2004 James Bond show more.

to me, one phrase ruined all the hype about the music....."shave and a haircut...BIG TICKS!", but they got like a 19.6 in drums anyway

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General thoughts of 2002.

I loved DIi-III Finals.  That is the reason why those corps always deserved the right to do prelims with everyone else.  One of my favorite nights of drum corps.

Cavies:  still meh on this show.  Scales are fun and all, but wow.  

BD AND Cadets were strong, but neither really seemed fully realized.  The Cadets had too much cheese for me -- and I am a huge Cadets fan.

I loved the SCV show though.  That was my favorite of the night.

Only other thoughts from Finals were how much I enjoyed Bluecoats, Crossmen, Magic and Cascades.  It was an odd Finals when the pre-intermission group was more fun and enjoyable than post intermission.  IMHO.

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