Vince's Review of Port Huron Show for Drum Corps World

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Richard Vincent Lamb

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Aug 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/17/97
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Hello, everyone in Cyberspace! While you are all waiting for scores from
Finals, I'll post this review so that you have something to read.

The article is outside brackets, my commentary is inside them.

Vince

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 1997 00:36:12 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Vincent Lamb <rvl...@umich.edu>
To: dcwe...@aol.com, sp...@aol.com
Cc: dcw...@halcyon.com
Subject: Madison Beats Regiment Again!

July 28, 1997 -- Port Huron, Michigan...In a rematch of the top two
corps from this year's DCM Championships, the Madison Scouts edged
Phantom Regiment by a margin of 0.9. The Scouts swept all captions
except percussion performance, which was won by the Regiment by a
margin of 0.4.

(And PR has been beating Scouts the past two weeks. Well, at least there
are competitive surprises this year)

Madison Scouts scored 89.4 to lead Phantom Regiment, who tallied 88.5,
an improvement of 0.4 over the night before, and a field of two other
finalists, a semifinalist, a quarterfinalists, and a Division III corps
finalist. Five points behind the leaders were the resurgent Glassmen,
83.0, followed distantly by Carolina Crown, 76.9, Les Etoiles, 72.6,
Troopers, 62.6, and Golden Lancers, 59.1. The traditionally appreciative Port
Huron Audience gave all corps an enthusiastic reception.

(The great audience makes up for the poor view of this drill in the small
stadium. Well, I enjoyed my part of it. I sat with RAMDers Whitney
Densmore and Steve Burstall. Good company!)

While they may be judged for a mere eleven and a half minutes, the
Madison Scouts began their performance as soon as they marched onto
the track and ended it only when the last member disappeared behind the
back stands. The corps held the crowd in the palm of its hand from the
beginning of the company front entrance into the fleur-de-lis and never
let it go. Even during the warm-up, during which the corps marched into
the opening set, the guard was acting out its parts, particularly one
gentleman who strode slowly but purposefully from the left front corner
of the field to the front of the "ship". Then the show proper began, with
the pirates--oops, guard (yes, they play their roles that convincingly)--
storming the "ship", stealing the show during its opening minute from the
musicians. This was almost a shame, as the brass played with tremendous
proficiency and showmanship, the percussion tackled a flashy and
challenging rudimental book with great precision and flair, and all the
musicians marched an engrossing drill, complete with braking waves, with
immense poise and control. However, the guard was a treat to observe,
especially during four parts of the show. First came the drunken sailor
sequence, complete with an inebriated runt trying to pick a fight with
a much larger man, which the fans found extremely amusing. Then, there
was a rifle-saber exchange. Two moments came during the final selection.
First, the guard moved from stage left to front and center to perform some
swashbuckling equipment work. Then there was the mutiny sequence at the
very end, complete with a swordfight on top of the rotating percussion
stand and a duel to the death between Captain Zak Schwartz and a usurper.
The audience gave the new captain and the company front that he led a
standing ovation, which barely ended before the most enthusiastic standing
ovation of the night as the Scouts concluded the judged portion of their
performance.

(Steve Burstall pointed out the full performance from entering to exiting
the stadium. The looting of Zak, who is a student from Eastern Michigan
University, was something, as was his being carried off by the last
marching member.)

Phantom Regiment put on an improved performance from the night before
in Ypsilanti as they strove mightily to pass the Scouts and regain their
position as the dominant corps in the Midwest. They were much more
comfortable with the chorale addition to the opening of their show and
sold the opener more effectively to the audience. The audience especially
enjoyed the guard feature during the second number. One member fell, but
recovered so quickly that the spectators barely had time to notice.
During the Gotterdammerung, the corps made very effective use of turns to add
contrast to the volume levels of its playing, much as they did when they
first became a contender during the late 1970s. The backfield playing was
especially fluid and enhanced the mood of the show. Apparently new and
still a little rough was a British kick out and halt as the corps hit the
sound wedge a minute before the end of the show. After blowing the stands
down from this formation, the corps flowed out into its final set, the
Phantom Regiment chevron, and earned an enthusiastic standing ovation.

(Maybe PR was adding stuff like this during the weeks between this show
and Championship, which explains why they pulled ahead of Madison.)

Glassmen entered the field to an enthusiastic ovation from their many
fans who had traveled the nearly three hours from Toledo. The corps
responded with an energized performance. The horns had an especially
powerful sound during the opening, one that set the tone for the rest
of the show. The brass demonstrated technique in addition to power while
they performed an impressive run during the first selection from Carmen.
The percussion played cleanly and aggressively throughout. The guard was
every bit as impressive as they were at the end of June, when they were
already giving scintillating performances. They continued to perform the
graceful work with and on ladders that marked them at the end of June.
They have added spins to their repertoire of moves with these props,
which they are beginning to execute in unison. The young woman who had
been on top of the ladder front and center at the conclusion of the
sequence earlier in the season was replaced by a male guard member. The
entire corps marched with good individual technique. However, they had
difficulty maintaining alignment of the opening form, a triangle inside a
triangle. Although not perfect, the ability to hold alignment and
interval improved noticeably over the course of the show, keeping the
Glassmen well ahead of Carolina Crown in all visual captions and within
a point of the Scouts and Regiment in visual ensemble and performance.
The corps added a one-count high mark time before the final move, which
earned a raucous standing ovation.

(I was being nice about their marching. They actually looked cleaner in
Port Clinton on June 25th!)

Carolina Crown played a very stately version of Crown Imperial as the
corps entered the field with great decorum through faux wrought-iron
gates. Although the arrangement was very true to the original with the exception
of an amen ending to the chorale, its interpretation as a concert march
was more restrained than what is usually considered appropriate for a
football field. For those fans who remembered 27th Lancers' version
either during their competitive heyday or from the alumni performance in
1994, Crown's version came off as rather pale. It was rewarded with only
polite applause. The show became much more lively during Terpsichore,
with the guard wearing costumes and picking up equipment or props that
reflected the activities of the English aristocracy at play, including
fencers with masks, dueling with sabers, hunters wearing hunt coats and
spinning rifles, ladies in hoop skirts and sun hats carrying parasols,
and gentlemen wearing vests and playing croquet with mallets--but no
balls. At first, the audience found this distracting, but then found
it very amusing, chuckling and giving a much more enthusiastic ovation
than for the opener. The entire guard dressed up, the women in hoop
skirts and the men in vests, and re-entered the field through the gates
for Enigma Variation #9, Nimrod. The crowd gave this Crown trademark
tune an appreciative response. The show closed with Gigue, which
featured a big flowing drill after the drum solo. The audience gave
Crown a standing ovation.

(Yes, the opener was a snore. IMHO, if this show had been performed at
the venue as the Colts show the night before, Colts would have kicked
Crown's butt by 2 points. I don't know how Crown is beating Colts now)

Les Etoiles began their show with a call and response between a bass
drum on the far right corner of the field and one in the pit. This led
into an opener that featured rotating formations--a rotating block of
sopranos, an unwinding rotating circle during the drum solo, and a
rotating wedge in front of a saber toss. The brass showed their
effectiveness through lovely backfield playing during the second number, a
ballad. The mood continued with the expressive and pretty playing of a
soprano soloist. The percussion stole the show during the last number.
First, several members in the pit spun air hoses to produce an eerie
"whooo" sound. Then, the rotating trash can tenors on wheels from last
year came out (an effect copied by Madison Scouts this year--innovation
can come from "below" in drum corps!) to enthusiastic response from the
crowd. Finally, five drummers are strapped into what may be the strangest
apparatus ever seen in a field show--standup swings with gravity-slung
roto-toms. They are wheeled onto the field, whereupon the guard plays
"Spin the Drummer" with them while the percussionists play the toms at
every conceivable angle. The spins are not uniform in timing or angle
yet, but that mattered little to the fans, who responded with amusement,
amazement, and appreciation, complete with a standing ovation for this
spectacular finale.

(Hey, John Weldy, were you reading? I called Madison on their imitation!)

Troopers sold their show much better in the intimate confines of Port
Huron High School Stadium than they had in the spacious expanses of
Eastern Michigan University's Rynearson Stadium the night before. In
particular, one could see the good to outstanding individual technique
of the members and appreciate the control over interval and alignment
that the members demonstrated. However, being so close to the performers
had its drawbacks, especially the sensation of almost having one's ears
in the bells of the horns. This allowed every instance of poor
intonation or lack of support to be heard. Despite these brass
performance problems, the brass players were very expressive and
entertained the crowd with their music. The brass, battery, and
guard marched their simple but elegant drill very effectively as well,
enthralling the crowd and staying ahead of the Golden Lancers in General
Effect, Music Ensemble, and Percussion and Visual Performance. The 11th
Ohio Cavalry earned the first standing ovation of the night.

(All of you who were reading back in 1993--Yo! Jack Dostal! This is your
cue--might remember my describing the Troopers performance at POC as "the
most expressive out-of-tune hornline in DCI; they play like shit
beautifully." Well, at Port Huron, they played like shit beautifully.
The night before in Ypsilanti, they just played like shit.)

Golden Lancers have added even more effects and confidence to their
show during the month of July. The new guard uniforms that arrived just
before DCM Championships added tremendously to the effectiveness of the
visual program, as did the expansion of guard to seven members from the
five at the end of June. The swaying back and forth by the corps while
the soprano soloist faithfully mimicked the song of a whale held the
audience's rapt attention and earned the corps an appreciative ovation.
The corps' blend seems to suffer from the closeness of the stands to the
field, but the corps generally played quite well. The judges recognized
this, awarding the corps sixth place in brass performance over Troopers.
The corps also controlled its marching much better than a month earlier,
particularly holding the forms well. The judges rewarded this with a
sixth place in Visual Ensemble over the Troopers. The corps also
communicated its show to the audience, earning what may have been the
most energetic applause the corps has heard so far this season.

(I was pleasantly surprised at how well recieved they were. Too bad they
fell from 2nd to 8th in Div. III. Better luck next year!)

Vince


Richard Vincent Lamb

unread,
Aug 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/17/97
to rec-arts-marc...@cisco.com

Another one for your reading pleasure while you wait for results. My
comments later.

Vince


Blue Devils win; Colts surprise Bluecoats

July 27, 1997 -- Ypsilanti, Michigan...In a rematch of last year's
co-champions, the Blue Devils handily defeated Phantom Regiment by a
margin of 4.1. The improved Colts ambushed both Bluecoats and Blue
Knights, leading by 0.4 and 0.7 respectively.

Blue Devils scored 91.2 to lead Phantom Regiment, who tallied 88.1,
and a field of three other finalists, three quarterfinalists, and a
Division II corps. Six points behind the elite units were the
surprising Colts, 82.5, followed closely by the Bluecoats, 82.1,
and Blue Knights 81.8. Academie Musicale, 74.6, led the rest of
the field, including Spirit of Atlanta, 70.6, Tarheel Sun, 68.6,
and Troopers, 62.6.

Blue Devils have garnered rave reviews for their guard and their
musicianship. These have been their strengths for nearly the entire
decade. What was most remarkable about this year's show was the content
of the drill. The Blue Crew entertained the Cavaliers out west earlier
this season and must have demonstrated to them that the Green Machine
does not have a monopoly on impressive and intricate ensemble marching.
The show began with brass and battery block centered on the left 20.
This block progressively expanded and contracted while rotating and
moving, first to the 30, then to the 40, where it paused at a 4-step
interval at the start of Night In Tunisia. Rotating blocks appear
elsewhere in the show to good effect, as does a spoof of the Cadets'
drill--a backwards company front segueing into a reverse A-pull during
the drum solo. During the start of the final selection, the corps
formed a set of interlocking circles and rotates and separates them
in the manner Cavaliers have made famous. This earned the only standing
ovation in the middle of the show. The corps closed its show by forming
the spread-interval horn and battery block on the left 40 and reversing
the opening drill sequence, halting the formation on the 30. There was
a second of silence and then a standing ovation.

Phantom Regiment has added a short chorale to the beginning of their
show, which they play backfield. It completely changes the tone of the
opening minute of their show, which is otherwise unchanged. They've
added a solo flag to the dance section during the second minute.
All sections of the corps showed more refined execution than a month
earlier, including more apparent and cleaner arm angles in the guard
and horns during the percussion feature, more precise marching, and
clearer drumming. The brass sound seemed only slightly improved from
June. Then again, the horns were so good in June there may not have
been much room for improvement. The corps seemed a bit flat at times,
but that mattered little to the audience, who were very responsive.
At the end of the show, the crowd leapt to their feet with the most
enthusiastic standing ovation of the night.

The Colts have made great strides during the month of July. In
contrast with their performance in Port Clinton, Ohio, on the 24th
of June, the guard spun their equipment much more cleanly, the horn
line displayed great control without sacrificing any of their power,
the percussion sold their features well, and the entire corps marched
with an authority to match their aggressive drill. All of these
improvements helped gain the audience's attention, which the corps
captured during the warm-up and held onto throughout the show. The
guard established their greater command over their equipment from the
first major move, a unison flag toss in a double file at the end of
the opening statement of Symphony for the Devil. The timing was in
synch, the angles matched, and there were no drops. Nearly all rest
of the equipment work was as improved, with much crisper timing and
more precise angles. The horn line seems to have solved their tendency
to overblow, which made their high volume exciting instead of grating.
The soloists have also improved, particularly the mellophone soloist
during God Bless the Child. The drum set solo at the end of Lucretia
MacEvil set the crowd on fire. The corps backed up the soprano quartet
at the end of Hi Di Ho with a clean "silent" drill and then a refined
yet vigorous finale. The fans rewarded the Colts with the first standing
ovation of the night.

The gloves came off for Bluecoats' performance--the drum major's black
gloves, that is, which he removed before the show to reveal white ones
underneath. The gloves stayed off as the Bluecoats emerged from behind
their large stands to an up-tempo arrangement of Harlem Nocturne. In
addition to the non-stop pace of the show, all kinds of details helped
entertain the audience, such as the unusual touch of having the
multi-tenors play a cymbal ride instead of the snares at the very
beginning. Another detail was how unobtrusively the guard changed
costumes to fit the mood of the music, which changed from swinging
(Harlem Nocturne), to mysterious (Moon), and then sentimental and back
to swinging (You and the Night and the Music). Even with all the
attention to detail, the Bluecoats still showed that they paid attention
to the big drill picture, as they formed an immense crescent moon during
the middle of the show and then a smaller one near the end. A
particularly crowd-pleasing move was a spread-interval block, which
they slid across the field at half-tempo. A horn player fell but
recovered quickly as the corps resumed fast tempo while collapsing into
a company front. Despite this mishap, the corps finished strongly and
gained a standing ovation.

Blue Knights earned the audience's appreciation with a well-constructed
drill, an entertaining guard, and a competent hornline performing dramatic
arrangements of music from the movie Ben Hur. The corps opened the show
with an eye-opening drill move, with ruler-straight lines morphing into
arcs and then swirling into a circle. This large, attention-grabbing
move set the tone for the rest of the drill show, which included pass-
through blocks of guard and brass and a large cross during the second
selection. Both of these garnered an appreciative response from the
spectators. The guard played a crucial part in completing the cross,
as they formed a sunrise with painted cloth panels at the intersection
of the upright and crossbar. The guard's costume changes, from Roman
togas to nondescript brown shirts and pants, also complemented the moods
of the performance. The brass section sold the heart of the show, which
was the dramatic music. The corps played two chorales, one backfield in
a block and the other forming the cross, that earned more goosebumps than
many corps could raise playing at full volume facing the audience. The
Blue Knights were rewarded for their efforts with roaring applause.

Academie Musicale demonstrated that unfamiliarity does not have to
mean inaccessibility. They were quite able to sell their unknown music
to the audience, gaining applause at all the appropriate moments of
their show. Their drill was much more sophisticated than last years',
while still well within the corps' ability to perform it. Simple yet
effective dance moves, such as a lunge that converted the files in a
block into diagonal, added noticeably to the impact of the marching.
Another effective move was a crabwalk which the corps performed first
sliding across the field and then directly at the stands. The amazing
part was that the corps was able to make this awkward move look graceful!
The brass played as well as they marched, demonstrating good intonation
while projecting to the top of the stands. The guard spun as well as
the brass marched and played. The corps filled the field at the end
with a scroll that extended from end zone to end zone, making full use
of their moderate numbers (39B, 21P, 19G, 1 DM). The audience responded
with a warm ovation.

Spirit of Atlanta played a show of its greatest hits from its years
as a finalist and the crowd enjoyed every moment of the well-known
repertoire. Every selection, from Georgia On My Mind at the beginning
to Let It Be Me at the end, was met with applause ranging from the
merely sincere to the wildly enthusiastic. Old Man River earned the
loudest crowd response next to the end of the show, while Walk Her Up
The Stairs gained two major ovations, one at the end of the drum break
and the other at the end of the selection. While the proficiency and
showmanship of the musicians was most responsible for establishing the
warm relationship between the audience and the corps, the visual program
added to the entertainment value of the show. The cymbal visuals added
a particularly enjoyable touch to the show. A rapid backup into a front
just before the climax of the show gained applause, which built into the
raucous ovation at the end. While the execution of the marching program
needed to improve--there are glaring alignment errors--the general effect
was there. It should come as no wonder that Spirit has been ranked more
highly by fans than by the Drum Corps World writers.

Tarheel Sun started the competition with their sun- and fire-themed
show. The began their show with a quiet opening complemented by
atmospheric sounds from the pit and built into a fanfare complemented
by an easy-to-read drill. They then segued into a selection from Stan
Kenton's Cuban Fire Suite. The horns showed good contrast between small
ensembles and full corps impacts. The drum line also showed great
professionalism--possibly a result of the experienced percussion staff.
The guard complemented the theme of the show with changing flags, all
with sun themes, first an orange sun to match the one on the uniforms,
then sunset flags, and finally a yellow on black sun. Audience response
for this surprising second-year corps took a while to build. Once the
fans warmed up to this newcomer, they gave Tarheel Sun a warm and
enthusiastic ovation.

Troopers gamely put on a performance worthy of a corps with their
long and illustrious tradition. The began the show with a sunburst
which expanded and contracted during American Salute. During The Way
West, the corps featured the guard, who danced with large and small
bandanas. The guard continued to be featured during Magnificent Seven,
as they all spun rifles and executed a pyramid toss (double in first
rank, triple in second, quad in third). The corps ended the selection
with a second sunburst. During America The Beautiful, the guard formed
a chevron while following a lone field snare drummer from the right
endzone to the center and forming a block with the rest of the corps
that slid from left to right. The corps marched very well, but the
musical performance was marred by lack of support by the brass during
the soft passages and a glaringly out-of-tune bell in the pit. The fans
rewarded the 11th Ohio Cavalry with sincere applause.


Richard Vincent Lamb

unread,
Aug 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/17/97
to rec-arts-marc...@cisco.com

Wow, it's quiet on my email screen! I guess not many people have
returned from DCI.

On Sat, 16 Aug 1997, Richard Vincent Lamb wrote:

> Another one for your reading pleasure while you wait for results. My
> comments later.

As promised.

> Vince
>
>
> Blue Devils win; Colts surprise Bluecoats

I had better seats than at Port Huron--high and close to the center. I
also had good company. My family was there, and Whitney Densmore joined
us in an empty seat next to us after meeting us at the gate to give my
daughter Kelly a birthday present and walking into the stadium with us
(her ticket was 10 rows higher, but she decided to stay until the rightful
owner of the seat showed up. The rightful owner never did!) Steve
Burstall visited during breaks.



> July 27, 1997 -- Ypsilanti, Michigan...In a rematch of last year's
> co-champions, the Blue Devils handily defeated Phantom Regiment by a
> margin of 4.1. The improved Colts ambushed both Bluecoats and Blue
> Knights, leading by 0.4 and 0.7 respectively.

The first item was "so what." The second was the big story.
Unfortunately, it didn't repeat. :-(

> Blue Devils scored 91.2 to lead Phantom Regiment, who tallied 88.1,
> and a field of three other finalists, three quarterfinalists, and a
> Division II corps. Six points behind the elite units were the
> surprising Colts, 82.5, followed closely by the Bluecoats, 82.1,
> and Blue Knights 81.8. Academie Musicale, 74.6, led the rest of
> the field, including Spirit of Atlanta, 70.6, Tarheel Sun, 68.6,
> and Troopers, 62.6.

Compare these scores to the ones from Quarters and Semis. All the other
open class corps scores jumped 6-8 points from this show. Colts only went
up 1.6. :-P

> Blue Devils have garnered rave reviews for their guard and their
> musicianship. These have been their strengths for nearly the entire
> decade. What was most remarkable about this year's show was the content
> of the drill. The Blue Crew entertained the Cavaliers out west earlier
> this season and must have demonstrated to them that the Green Machine
> does not have a monopoly on impressive and intricate ensemble marching.
> The show began with brass and battery block centered on the left 20.
> This block progressively expanded and contracted while rotating and
> moving, first to the 30, then to the 40, where it paused at a 4-step
> interval at the start of Night In Tunisia. Rotating blocks appear
> elsewhere in the show to good effect, as does a spoof of the Cadets'
> drill--a backwards company front segueing into a reverse A-pull during
> the drum solo. During the start of the final selection, the corps
> formed a set of interlocking circles and rotates and separates them
> in the manner Cavaliers have made famous. This earned the only standing
> ovation in the middle of the show. The corps closed its show by forming
> the spread-interval horn and battery block on the left 40 and reversing
> the opening drill sequence, halting the formation on the 30. There was
> a second of silence and then a standing ovation.

Congrats to the Blue Crew for winning DCI!



> Phantom Regiment has added a short chorale to the beginning of their
> show, which they play backfield. It completely changes the tone of the
> opening minute of their show, which is otherwise unchanged. They've
> added a solo flag to the dance section during the second minute.
> All sections of the corps showed more refined execution than a month
> earlier, including more apparent and cleaner arm angles in the guard
> and horns during the percussion feature, more precise marching, and
> clearer drumming. The brass sound seemed only slightly improved from
> June. Then again, the horns were so good in June there may not have
> been much room for improvement. The corps seemed a bit flat at times,
> but that mattered little to the audience, who were very responsive.
> At the end of the show, the crowd leapt to their feet with the most
> enthusiastic standing ovation of the night.

I must have been distracted during their show. When I took notes, I
thought they had no flags during the first minute. Then I saw them in
Port Huron the next night and they had flags. I have no idea what I was
watching. It sure wasn't PR!

> The Colts have made great strides during the month of July. In
> contrast with their performance in Port Clinton, Ohio, on the 24th
> of June, the guard spun their equipment much more cleanly, the horn
> line displayed great control without sacrificing any of their power,
> the percussion sold their features well, and the entire corps marched
> with an authority to match their aggressive drill. All of these
> improvements helped gain the audience's attention, which the corps
> captured during the warm-up and held onto throughout the show. The
> guard established their greater command over their equipment from the
> first major move, a unison flag toss in a double file at the end of
> the opening statement of Symphony for the Devil. The timing was in
> synch, the angles matched, and there were no drops. Nearly all rest
> of the equipment work was as improved, with much crisper timing and
> more precise angles. The horn line seems to have solved their tendency
> to overblow, which made their high volume exciting instead of grating.
> The soloists have also improved, particularly the mellophone soloist
> during God Bless the Child. The drum set solo at the end of Lucretia
> MacEvil set the crowd on fire. The corps backed up the soprano quartet
> at the end of Hi Di Ho with a clean "silent" drill and then a refined
> yet vigorous finale. The fans rewarded the Colts with the first standing
> ovation of the night.

As a Colts fan, I was so encouraged by this performance. I have the
dreadful feeling that it was the best one they gave all summer. I know
how that goes. 1979 and 1981 North Star gave their best performances at
CYO Nationals. We never got higher scores, even at DCI. :-(



> The gloves came off for Bluecoats' performance--the drum major's black
> gloves, that is, which he removed before the show to reveal white ones
> underneath. The gloves stayed off as the Bluecoats emerged from behind
> their large stands to an up-tempo arrangement of Harlem Nocturne. In
> addition to the non-stop pace of the show, all kinds of details helped
> entertain the audience, such as the unusual touch of having the
> multi-tenors play a cymbal ride instead of the snares at the very
> beginning. Another detail was how unobtrusively the guard changed
> costumes to fit the mood of the music, which changed from swinging
> (Harlem Nocturne), to mysterious (Moon), and then sentimental and back
> to swinging (You and the Night and the Music). Even with all the
> attention to detail, the Bluecoats still showed that they paid attention
> to the big drill picture, as they formed an immense crescent moon during
> the middle of the show and then a smaller one near the end. A
> particularly crowd-pleasing move was a spread-interval block, which
> they slid across the field at half-tempo. A horn player fell but
> recovered quickly as the corps resumed fast tempo while collapsing into
> a company front. Despite this mishap, the corps finished strongly and
> gained a standing ovation.

DCWorld cut out some of this. I enjoyed this show, but was amused when
they announced that Jay Wise was assisting the director. Heh, Jay was
been typing "Not affiliated with any corps" in his .sig since June!



> Blue Knights earned the audience's appreciation with a well-constructed
> drill, an entertaining guard, and a competent hornline performing dramatic
> arrangements of music from the movie Ben Hur. The corps opened the show
> with an eye-opening drill move, with ruler-straight lines morphing into
> arcs and then swirling into a circle. This large, attention-grabbing
> move set the tone for the rest of the drill show, which included pass-
> through blocks of guard and brass and a large cross during the second
> selection. Both of these garnered an appreciative response from the
> spectators. The guard played a crucial part in completing the cross,
> as they formed a sunrise with painted cloth panels at the intersection
> of the upright and crossbar. The guard's costume changes, from Roman
> togas to nondescript brown shirts and pants, also complemented the moods
> of the performance. The brass section sold the heart of the show, which
> was the dramatic music. The corps played two chorales, one backfield in
> a block and the other forming the cross, that earned more goosebumps than
> many corps could raise playing at full volume facing the audience. The
> Blue Knights were rewarded for their efforts with roaring applause.

I think they were finally getting the credit for this show at finals.



> Academie Musicale demonstrated that unfamiliarity does not have to
> mean inaccessibility. They were quite able to sell their unknown music
> to the audience, gaining applause at all the appropriate moments of
> their show. Their drill was much more sophisticated than last years',
> while still well within the corps' ability to perform it. Simple yet
> effective dance moves, such as a lunge that converted the files in a
> block into diagonal, added noticeably to the impact of the marching.
> Another effective move was a crabwalk which the corps performed first
> sliding across the field and then directly at the stands. The amazing
> part was that the corps was able to make this awkward move look graceful!
> The brass played as well as they marched, demonstrating good intonation
> while projecting to the top of the stands. The guard spun as well as
> the brass marched and played. The corps filled the field at the end
> with a scroll that extended from end zone to end zone, making full use
> of their moderate numbers (39B, 21P, 19G, 1 DM). The audience responded
> with a warm ovation.

This was one of the most tasteful incorporations of dance in horn drill I
have ever seen. It actually enhanced the drill!



> Spirit of Atlanta played a show of its greatest hits from its years
> as a finalist and the crowd enjoyed every moment of the well-known
> repertoire. Every selection, from Georgia On My Mind at the beginning
> to Let It Be Me at the end, was met with applause ranging from the
> merely sincere to the wildly enthusiastic. Old Man River earned the
> loudest crowd response next to the end of the show, while Walk Her Up
> The Stairs gained two major ovations, one at the end of the drum break
> and the other at the end of the selection. While the proficiency and
> showmanship of the musicians was most responsible for establishing the
> warm relationship between the audience and the corps, the visual program
> added to the entertainment value of the show. The cymbal visuals added
> a particularly enjoyable touch to the show. A rapid backup into a front
> just before the climax of the show gained applause, which built into the
> raucous ovation at the end. While the execution of the marching program
> needed to improve--there are glaring alignment errors--the general effect
> was there. It should come as no wonder that Spirit has been ranked more
> highly by fans than by the Drum Corps World writers.

Well, the fans were right. Spirit made Semifinals, as they predicted.

> Tarheel Sun started the competition with their sun- and fire-themed
> show. The began their show with a quiet opening complemented by
> atmospheric sounds from the pit and built into a fanfare complemented
> by an easy-to-read drill. They then segued into a selection from Stan
> Kenton's Cuban Fire Suite. The horns showed good contrast between small
> ensembles and full corps impacts. The drum line also showed great
> professionalism--possibly a result of the experienced percussion staff.
> The guard complemented the theme of the show with changing flags, all
> with sun themes, first an orange sun to match the one on the uniforms,
> then sunset flags, and finally a yellow on black sun. Audience response
> for this surprising second-year corps took a while to build. Once the
> fans warmed up to this newcomer, they gave Tarheel Sun a warm and
> enthusiastic ovation.

After watching this show, I thought they were a lock for top 21. They
didn't even make Quarterfinals! What happened?



> Troopers gamely put on a performance worthy of a corps with their
> long and illustrious tradition. The began the show with a sunburst
> which expanded and contracted during American Salute. During The Way
> West, the corps featured the guard, who danced with large and small
> bandanas. The guard continued to be featured during Magnificent Seven,
> as they all spun rifles and executed a pyramid toss (double in first
> rank, triple in second, quad in third). The corps ended the selection
> with a second sunburst. During America The Beautiful, the guard formed
> a chevron while following a lone field snare drummer from the right
> endzone to the center and forming a block with the rest of the corps
> that slid from left to right. The corps marched very well, but the
> musical performance was marred by lack of support by the brass during
> the soft passages and a glaringly out-of-tune bell in the pit. The fans
> rewarded the 11th Ohio Cavalry with sincere applause.
>

When I read the repertoire in May, I thought "Wow, they might never need
to use the third valve with these songs!" I had my doubts about them
early and thought they wouldn't make top 21. Well, after this painful
show to listen to, I thought they would come in 26th. I was wrong, they
came in 25th. Just the same, this is the worst finish by the Troopers at
a national championship since 1962. :-( Good luck to the Troopers next
year, their 40th anniversary!


Matt Elcock

unread,
Aug 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/21/97
to

On 17 Aug 97 22:13:21 GMT, rvl...@umich.edu (Richard Vincent Lamb)
wrote:

>Just the same, this is the worst finish by the Troopers at
>a national championship since 1962. :-( Good luck to the Troopers next
>year, their 40th anniversary!

Why are you depressed? The corps isn't. They knew the situation that
they were in, and the time that it took to decide to tour this summer
drove some people away. The corps _is_ fixed, they just need members.

Matt "Pinwiz" Elcock
Troopers Pit 1993-1996
Troopers Homepage: http://falcon.cc.ukans.edu/~pinwiz/troop/troop.htm
Mind Blast Fantasy Drum Corps ......................./mindblast.htm

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