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The Cardinals Alumni are to be congratulated for running a very smooth show in Beverly Ma on the 4th of July. If there is a negative in the venue, it would be that Hurd Stadium only has low level bleachers, and most fans probably can not fully appreciate the visual aspect as easily had there been higher and deeper stands. Parking at the stadium is non existent, so parking is done in the surrounding streets of the Beverly neighborhood. Word is that this show may be moved to another stadium next year, so we'll see what develops. The Cardinals Alumni had a post drum corps get together at the nearby Franco American club in Beverly. Ticket holders were treated to an all you can eat fabulous buffet with a incredible layout spread of a variety of food and desserts. Ticket holders were treated to an absolutely fantastic performance by the Legends Drum and Bugle Corps. This Corps is amazing....SIMPLY AMAZING. They are made up of an All Star group of mostly New England former Drum Corps legends of the Drum Corps community in the New England. They only perform twice, that's right, twice, per year on average. Once at the Massachusetts Drum Corps Hall Of Fame Banquet, and here at the post Beverly show every year. They have approx. 60 brass, a huge drum line, and can they ever play !. They played " Masquerade ", Malaguena", "Battle Hymn of the Republic "( nice touch for the 4th of July ), and several other long time drum corps classics. This Corps needs to play outdoors more, and in front of more people. ( 2005 DCI in Foxboro, Mass. ? ). They are very, very talented, with great soloists, terrific balance and depth across all lines with fine tone, power and contol in their Brass line, and a percussion line of All stars who play like the All Stars that they are. This unit calls themselves the Legends. And they are. If there is a drawback, they appear to have no Guard. Then again, they only perform twice per year. In a Hall. I loved this group's performance. So did everybody else And I do mean EVERYBODY else who heard them this evening

.....Now for the Show Review of Corps ( brief, as I'm tired and it's late...haha ):

ST. JOHN'S.....This Division 3 Corps opened the evening with a show revolving around " The Pirates of the Carribean " and while they are obviously a small Corps made of young and inexperienced performers, the staff did a very good job of providing this corps with a challenging book but staying within the talent abilities of it's members. All too often in the past, Corps would be provided charts and marching that is way beyond the abilities of it's members and fortunately this was not the case with this Corps. They had a nice guard and the guard uniforms, of the Pirate variety, had colors that blended well with the corps uniform's colors.

EAST COAST JAZZ....Loved what the staff has done with this Division 2 Corps. Really enjoyed the Chick Corea material. The Show is entitled " Heart of Jazz ", and they were a definate crowd favorite tonite. " My Spanish Heart " and " Spanish Fantasy " were well played. They have a soprano soloist that can wail with the best of them. Drum line and color guard and drill were very solid and appropriate for this Division 2 Corps. Suffice to say, I enjoyed this corps more than some Corps we see in Division 1.

GLASSMEN......First, let me say, that the Glassmen are a technically well schooled Corps in Brass , Percussion and Guard. The intonation and pitch in the brass line is fine. There is great, and I mean GREAT dynamics in the Brass line, and they rarely, if ever overblow. They play with balance and control, and the Corps show really moves and flows from one movement to another about as good as any Corps. I'm guessing there are a lot of newer members, but this corps is not devoid of talent. The Guard is fine, although nothing stands out visually. The drum line and battery are very competent as well. But, here's where I have to be frank. The theme was " Voice of One ". It just didn't work for me. It seemed thoroughly disjointed musically. It seemed a hodgepodge of music from Berber, Dello Joia, and Copeland. It never seemed to ever become integrated at all from a thematic standpoint, and certainly not as a " voice of One ". The music not being accessible to many fans is still a concern for many fans, especially around where I sat. Unfortunately, for this fan, this show had a much bigger problem.... Confusion..... The show is so confusing for me that narration, ironically, might have been helpful to this Corps tonite. That's because while the Glassmen are a technically proficient and clearly well taught Corps, they unfortunately missed the mark entirely on a coherent theme for me with their " Voice of One " musical offering. ( please don't shoot the messenger. It's just one fan's opinion here )

SPIRIT OF ATLANTA........ I liked the music of Richard Saucedo tonite from Spirit. The Corps started strong, but seemed to tire a bit near the end. It's clear they have much cleaning to do. But it's a fine offering, visually, and musically from Spirit this year. They had some great impact moments, maybe a little too short time wise though, before they went into a new movement. The show is entitled " Architecture of Life " and it provides a glimpse into a few structures that life builds upon. It's Urban Movement had some great percussion drum movements that gave one the feeling of the beat of the City. It worked for me. This Corps had a huge and very effective guard. Didn't particularly care for their colors as it certainly did not seem to blend very well with the Blue Unis of the Corps proper. But Spirit was enjoyable and the brass line and percussion line are wonderful. The Corps show is fan friendly. They have much cleaning to do. But so do most corps.

CAROLINA CROWN.......I really like what Crown is doing this year musically. First of all, my favorite moment of the night was their rendition of " Bohemian Rhapsody ". The xylophone entry into this peice was simply gorgeous. Their theme was " Bohemia " and it works well for them, and it seemed for the audience as well. As for the singing, It was new, different, and something fresh. The fact that it was done briefly and in good taste meant it never became a problem for me. As for my first intro amplification, it also was not a problem for me, as I barely noticed it's useage tonite at all. Crown has a good guard and percussion line. I like their uniforms, but their hats look too bandish looking to me, and the guard uniform colors are not eye appealing for me as a contrast with the Corps Proper. But that's just me. I might add, their drum major is very good. He uses a baton in his directing, and he did a very good job, I thought. This was my most enjoyable Crown Corps in quite awhile. They conveyed a nice interpretation of an era of " the Beat Generation " They have some cleaning to do, But they impressed this fan tonite with a fine show, performed well.

CROSSMEN...... First off,I hope the Crossmen never change their fan accessible style in order to score higher in successive years. The Crossmen bleed fan friendly entertainment. Lots of impact moments. The drill is too basic and limiting...again...But the music is accessible. " Both sides now " a Joni Mitchell 70's classic was memorable, and I would love to hear this on a recording. Their percussion is good as always, and the guard is competent although with no defining memorable moments. They really have a ton of work to do, as they are very dirty visually. Their brass line can be harsh at times, but they are still a very entertaining corps musically. I could care less what scores they get. I want to be entertained. The Crossmen rarely fail to do so with me. Tonite, while technically they have some obvious issues, they gave me my money's worth. They made some subtle uniform changes this year too yet kept their classic Crossmen style. The guard unis with split colors was very appealing and unique If you've liked the Crossmen in the past, you'll probably like them again this year. It's a very classic Crossmen show that while technically it has some issues, it nonetheless delivers again in overall entertainment with very accessible music.

CADETS........The Cadets have a show this year that just has SO MUCH going on every moment that each viewing will show more to the eye. Their visual show just went up a whole notch from all the previous corps tonite. They corps moves rapidly into so many formations quickly that it's amazing. This is definately a more demanding show visually than recent editions. There are a few park and blow moments and those are sweet. The Jetro Tull theme works very well. I have heard the Cadets in recording this year, and was somewhat disappointed but you really have to see and hear the corps play and move to really appreciate it. " Aqualung " is awesome. Rich and full. I love the interpretation this staff did with Jethro Tull's compositions. The guard is terrific again this year, changing unis with the music's change from a prim and proper ballad to a let your hair down " thick as a Brick " movement that really gets the crowd going. They utilize a baton twirler briefly in the show and although I'm not going to be a fan if every corps had one, I can live with this one. The guy is awesome. Their drum line is exactly what you'd expect from a Cadets Line. Fast, furious and a drum line that can move. Their battery and Pit are wonderful as well. Another fine Cadet Corps this year. If they have a possible achilles heel, it's that they still have a lot of cleaning to do marching wise. Their spacing, intervals, formation clarity etc still have a ways to go, but this can probably be attributed to an increase of field movement they have returned to this year over the last couple of years, and for which they were previously noted for. Nice job from the Cadets though. Just what you'd expect from this elite corps.

BOSTON CRUSADERS........ Boston is fielding a terrific corps this year, embarking on a show with a musical composition of original peices. Their theme this year is " A composition of color " and they begin their show with an entrance on the starting line coming out from boxes of black and white. There is no color until they enter from these boxes. We see red, then black, then the guard in a mix of white and grey. They go to the starting line and give us a snapshot remembrance of long ago corps on starting lines bringing up their bugles in rotation, and enter with a solo from a single brass player ( great exposure here ). The Corps then makes a rapid succession of single lines facing the back field and move rapidly to the 50 yard line to face the crowd. I thought it was by far, the best entry of any corps tonite. Boston has a very clean sound in their brass that has not been evident in some previous recent years. They have an awesome guard that is very well integrated into the show's theme. Their guard is a standout in the use of flags, equipment and dance, and most importantly, for theme wise.. the fine use of color. Boston's percussion section , particularly the snares are also very good this year. I think this might be Boston's most talented Corps we have seen. This show seems to have much room to grow as well. As for Boston's use of narration, the biggest fault I had with it was that the corps narrator, a percussion member in the pit could not be heard properly. Others in the stands thought the same thing tonite. As for the use of narration itself, it seemed to me be to be brief and unobtrusive, yet not something that added to the show for me. There are unintelligible shows out there from a couple of corps that could use narration to convey to most in the audience what they are trying to do musically, visually and story telling wise with the audience. But Boston's show didn't seem to need to do that. Their theme seemed readily understandable as it is. That being said, the criticism that I'd heard before the show on the narration of a portion ( and it's a small portion in Boston's show )did not seem to be that big a deal to this audience tonite in my section. The show itself is seemless and flowing. The emergence of color that comes about as the corps performs was very creative as the talented guard develops more color thru multiple flags and unis changes, until the corps returns with less and less color for the audiences senses slowly retreating into the boxes and the absence of color at the end. This was a very creative, innovative show from Boston, utilizing original composition to match the theme. I enjoyed Boston's show tonite very much. It seems from this fan's perspective that there is a lot of room to grow with this theme and show design too. This is a very well integrated show from start to finish.

RETREAT..... Before the scores and Drum Majors only retreat, The Crusaders Sr Corps put on an exhibition. They are smaller this year than in previous years, with approx. 32 Brass and a smaller percussion line and guard but they had fine soloists and performed some of their classics nicely before an appreciative crowd.

As for the scores and placements, this was one of the few times that I can recall that I actually agreed with the scores, placements and differentials in point spreads between corps. Anyway, this was one guys take on the corps at this show. On the whole, I enjoyed the diversity of corps offerings this year. My overall corps enjoyment quotient was met tonite. Thank you Beverly Alumni and thank you Corps !

Edited by Lieut. General Effect
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Regarding your question on the use of the Cadet Baton twirler, I'm not sure if it's been controversial or not. The folks I was with ( 6 of us ) seemed ok with it. The fans around us went " wow " when he did his thing, so it didn't seem controversial at all from where I sat. There are still a number of fans though ( fair to say, older fans ) where the biggest drawback for them is not the singing, narration, baton twirling, but the music not being readily identifiable to them. They love what corps are doing movement wise on the field, but the music for some leaves them less than satisfied. I hear that quite often. I'm ok with what I'm hearing, and for me, the Corps on the whole, seem to be offering more accessible music than in some previous years. But for some fans, they simply prefer musical offerings from the 70's and 80's, and for them, that's a much bigger issue than the baton twirler, narration, singing, amps or what have you. That was my take, anyway, from the fans around me in the stands, and friends I've known for years who annually attend these shows, and at the post show get togethers.

Edited by Lieut. General Effect
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Great Review...I thought it began at 6:00 and arrived very late....

Anyway, I agree with your review of Boston, and Cadets....

However, I do have to say that for me the best show of the night was Legends in that hall!!! I was at the first table in the middle, I began stuffing napkins in my ears prior to them beginning. I saw many faces I know, and marched with, and at the first note, I took the earplugs out....their drum line, oh my, their horn line, oh my, their choice of songs, oh my....when they did Johnny Comes Marching Home, I visiulized myself being 6 and in the stand watching the Troop......someone walked by me at the end and said "this was better than sex"! No kidding!

Thanks Frank and Frank and the whole Cardinal family for a truly memorable evening.....my first after show party....always meant to go, just never did. Suffice it to say, I won't miss it next year!!

EDIT: Was that Johnny? and was that Children of Sanchez-the first song they played or Malenguena? I was sitting with North Star people and we were fighting back and forth!! And I closed my eyes and could picture either Jim Brady or Jerry Noonan being in the room...Masquarade was memorable although I didn't like it as much on the field-it was truly beautiful inside...the drum line to me was that old time sound where you can dance while you walk type of drum line...Legends!

Edited by LancerFi
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Agree with you on The Legends Drum and Bugle Corps from Massachusetts. Musically, they were absolutely outstanding. Not sure if they intend, or DCI intends, to include them in the 2005 DCI exhibition line up. But after what I witnessed last nite, they should be included. Most DCI fans, young or old, would LOVE this Corps. I think they must be the best kept secret in Drum Corps. They don't go to Scranton for the DCA, don't do parades, or outdoor exhibitions They practice for essentially 2 indoor exhibitions a year from what I could gather. They were awesome. Maybe we'll see them at 2005 DCI in Foxboro ? I hadn' t heard if they or DCI were interested at all ? Anybody know if they and or DCI have any plans for that ?

Edited by Lieut. General Effect
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Hey great review I enjoyed reading it!

I might not have that much of a hang up on the baton twiler after seeing this review!

You should be a writer! :)

Side note we (27) are trying to get the Legends to perform at our reunion this November..I can't wait, and hope they will agree!

Maybe you should lobby them to DCI for 2005!

Steph

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Great review Lieut.

Regarding the Legends, many of the members perform with other corps that do go to DCA for mini corps and the alumni show. Other corps commitments make it more difficult to d omore than a couple of shows a year but Al Cisco, Mike Cahill and Paul Lusardi did a great job with the corps this year. I was invited to jump into last night's performance and had a blast doing it. Glad you guys enjoyed the performance.

The repertoire was:

Pictures of Spain

Masquerade

Malaguena

Battle Hymn of the Republic

A St. Kevin's tune and I'm not sure of the name

American Salute (Johnny Comes Marching Home)

Edited by strutta
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Paul Lusardi hasn't lost a beat on that snare drum has he? And to see Joe Lyons, our drum instructor while I was in the Reveries was a fabulous reunion....he hasn't changed a minute...Frank G. didn't tell me he would run the show and play the drums...what a night!

Love the pictures of Al in the MMA...really funny!

strutta, I did not know you were playing, or there! Maybe next year!

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