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Had plans for this weekend that didn't exactly work out.  So I went to the Chicago area to visit friends.   After only a sort time, things got boring, so

"Road Trip"! was being chanted and off we went tp do some drum corps chasing. We new Cavies were in DeKalb and just didn't want to go there.  Good (not great) place for the DCM drum corps show but little else.

Madison is a hip place and we thought we might get an early taste of finals week.  Turned out that Scouts were not in Madison, but in a small town called Marshall.  We were happy to make the drive.

We talked a lot about what we would probably see.  We were wrong on most accounts!!!

From rumors and posts on DCP and RAMD, I guess we all put too much stock in people's opinions without stopping to think that the predictions and comments are based on conjecture and rumor and not things people have actually seen or heard for themselves.  

Here is what we saw:

Pulled up to the new high school and saw the corps vehicles, but no corp.  It was too late for lunch and too early for supper.  As we got out of the car and walked far enough to see the front doors of the school, we saw the guard spinning sabres.  There were 28 guys doing basic spins, then tosses.  THIS IS NOT LAST YEARS GUARD!  They seemed very disciplined and focused.  There were two guard instructors at first and then later that afternoon, four or five.  I asked someone who the instructor was.  They said it was the new caption head.  His first name was Brandon.  I don't remember his last name.  He was very calm, but straight forward.  We were impressed and realized there was the first of many rumors proven wrong:

Most posts were stating that the guard staff had not changed, that there were only 18 or so guys and that the corps was probably going to produce the same product as last year.  Not gonna happen.  I am also assuming that some guys may have been still at school or graduation.

As we watched the guard, we heard the horn line begin to warm up from the other side of a hill about two blocks away.

We trecked over the hill and took a long route around the horn arc as not to draw too much attention to ourselves.  The weather was cool and hornlines never sound good their first time outside, but these guys did.  The instructor in front of them was not familiar.  His conducting was very precise as were the horn line's attacks and releases.  Intonation was very good and the warm up seemed to roll along like everyone knew exactly what to do.  There were lots of comments about always making your best sound and playing forward through each exercise or phrase.  There seemed to be only one other brass instructor.  he did part of the warm up and was very much like the other guy, though younger.  There were six or seven other people watching.  I asked if anyone knew who the instructors were.  The new caption head is Mark Waynemeyer.  Apparently he was on staff for the first time last summer and marched with Phantom and then taught there during the late 80s early 90s.  He cranked them up some toward the end of the warm up, but I never heard anyone sticking out of the ensemble, and tuning and tone remained great.

Another rumor proven wrong:

Many posts also were stating that the brass staff was going to be the exact same.  I also read several posts about only 50-60 brass.  I counted 19 sopranos  and I am assuming one was missing for some reason.

I counted 17 mellophones, 20 baritones, 11 contras.  I also find it kind cool that the Scouts have a non-Scout at the helm, not that the other guys weren't doing a great job.  The horn line has always been good, including last year.  I though that 7th place in horns last year was low.  I also think their books are harder than most and they make it seem too easy.  Ever play swing on a football field with 64 other people?

Drum line was warming up and sounded good.  Many surprises from them as they night went on.  I' ll get to that later.

The biggest surprise of the night came when we saw the first 30 seconds of drill.  Another surprise and proof that many things said on the news groups are not accurate. It is 30 seconds of fast paced ,symmetrical, push-pull drill that fits the music more than perfectly.  All this to a big horn wedge, a big guard wedge and the first impact of the show.  OH MY!!! THIS IS NOT A CORP IN DANGER OF NOT MAKING FINALS.  The rest of the opener was exciting as anything I have seen for a long time.

Found out the drill writers are new!!  Bad pre-season rumors again.

A drill guy from their past is writting, in addition to another newer staff member and the brass captian head.  This is very interesting and apparently working well.

I have always enjoyed the Scouts but have not always thought all the best choices had been made.  I enjoy the activity as a whole and want everyone to do well.

This is better than just doing well.  I think many of you will be very surprised and  very entertained buy the 2002 Scouts.  


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thanks for the great run down of the camp!  I now look forward to their first show as well!  Thank you so much!

Any more Corps Camps out there?

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thanks for the great run down of the camp!  I now look forward to their first show as well!  Thank you so much!

Any more Corps Camps out there?

Well, I stopped in Marshall on my way to Madison from Racine(from my camp).  Scouts were on break but I got to visit with my friends Allan Z. (number 3 bass) and Mark V. (snare).  Good Luck to you both if you see this and I will see you in Menasha.  I was sorry I didn't get to see the corps rehearse.

I drove on to Madison to LaFollette HS to pick up my son from Cap Sound camp.  Got to see their rehearsal and run thru.  

Ahhhhhhhh.  What can I say?  This is the best Cap Sound I've seen.  And I've been a fan since '95.  The show is just great.  I think I have the ability to be impartial (I did NOT like Cap Sound's '99 show and my son WAS a marching member) but this show is one of the best I've heard and seen in a long time.  The second piece, "Curious Carnival" is classic.  And they are performing it quite well Memorial day weekend.  Lots of tempo acceleration from being to end.  Not EASY.  A fine job of brass arrangement.  A tip of the hat to you.  And the rack in drum solo........ well, I can't WAIT until that is complete!!!!!!!   And the ballad is so sweet...... that is gonna make me cry.

JMHO, as always.  Go Cap Sound!


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Woo hoo!  Thanks for the great review.

I'm so excited Madison is coming to California this year... I can hardly wait! Even with BD's unfortunate trek to the east coast during June, this summer is going to be an exciting one for us left-coasters!

See you on the 50.

- Greg

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I love these reviews, this one especially!

You guys are so tremendous with reviews and such. I'll be anticipating them a lot as the season kicks off, considering I'll see my first show in the end of July and then on to Finals.

The Drum Corps Planet will be excellent in providing me with some guidance about what I can expect to see and hear...I'm so excited.

Now, Madison sounds like they're the hit corps this year. I mean, they really seem like a crowd-fave. No offense to any other corps. You guys are part of a corps for a reason....

All in all, what a promising season 2002 will be.

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After reading the post about the Souts Memorial Day Camp, I cannot wait to see the Scouts in the bay area in july. The way you wrote, they could be a contender for top 5 and an extreme dark horse to take the title. We'll see when the come in july. :P

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Even with BD's unfortunate trek to the east coast during June, this summer is going to be an exciting one for us left-coasters!

That great news about Madison!! Thanks for the review

Hey Greg

What is so unfortunate about BD's trek to the East coast?? Don't you want your friends over here to be able to see them?? LOL

Are you keeping Joe in line for me??

Can't wait to see you guys :D

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I'll give my somewhat biased views on the Bluecoats so far. I just got back from spending a couple days on the Bluecoats chuck truck. I've got good perspective on this corps having marched with them and now being a member of the board. I've seen this corps make DCI finals with literally no talent, no money, and a borderline show. I've seen this corps have phenomenal talent, and then have a poor show, and still make finals. I've seen this corps with great talent a great show and still finish behind some corps they shouldn't.

This year is different. Everything seems to have come together all at the same time. Larry Hershman (program coordinator) has put together the best talent the Bluecoats have ever had (especially the color!), an incredible staff, and I'm happy to say, a show that is designed to make the top 5.

They aren't completely done with the whole show visaully (finishing up this week) but the first half is insane. I've never seen the Bluecoats do this much movement (especially the drumline). The beginning of the show is just crazy drill with the color doing 36 rifles (and they catch!).

I think the section the activity has to take notice of this year is the drumline.....especially the BlueQ (they might be better right now than they were at finals last year.....seriously). I thought the Bluecoats drumline was slighted a great deal last year (played more clean notes than they got credit for). This year this drumline might be the most entertaining in the activity....I'll leave this to your imagination but they do some interesting "tricks" and "gimmicks" that really fit the show. You'll love it when you see and hear them.

Hornline is much deeper sounding than in the past....probably because of the new horns. You'll hear more contra/euphonium sound out of the Bluecoats. Horns are still what carry this corps. If you've been wanting to hear a Bluecoats corps with some lead sop sound, YOU GET IT this year! The soloists throughout the show remind me of a mix of classic Spirit of Atlanta and Blue Devils. Very bluesy, high, and entertaining.

The Bluecoats have definitely taken the steps needed to jump into the top 5. Everything is in place, now they just have to perform it!

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