Impressions of this year's Drum Corps: performances, rankings, designs, etc.

From what you've seen, what have you liked? What/who has surprised you?

I've been very impressed with Crown so far. I was worried when they surged out ahead early in the season, that they might peak too early, but they are clearly making a strong case for winning this year.

And with all credit due to the drumlines, I'm surprised that Cavaliers are not placing first in this category.

I'm incredibly surprised to see my alma mater, Phantom Regiment, fairing so poorly. Can anyone who's seen them live shed some light on this? Maybe the visual package?
Eric, you might have just opened Pandora's Box.

[b]NOTE: If you're going to share your thoughts, please refrain from being blatantly disrespectful and ignorant, simply out of bias.[/b]

As far as full corps goes, Crown and SCV get my votes this year. Kudos to Murray and the crew on a great year for those guys - holy 2s in the percussion feature! At semis, that one of few shows that really kept my attention the entire time, and did so with such power and grace. Their show this year and Crown's last year go to show that you don't have to reinvent the wheel to be effective.  Crown just sounds great and has a nice package to tie it all together.

And Troopers.... wow, what a year for this team. Fun show and probably the best hornline they've probably ever had.

As far as Phantom goes, I think they are a bit lacking every year in the visual ensemble and performance department, in comparison to the groups are consistently in the top 5 area. There is also little to no integration of the guard in the drill, which seems to be frowned upon these days.  However, after a season like last year, they would have needed another home run in the design department to compete with themeselves.

As far as my alma mater (Cavaliers), what a great percussion section this year. First time I've felt that they whole department was really solid top to bottom in many moons. Last year was good, but this year took it another step in the right direction, and they really should be floating right around that top spot with BD. I think the show was good, but it just had trouble holding my interest at times and their weren't as many WOW moments as one might be used to from that corps. But the lack of attention on my part might have been due to the fact that I had watched 12 other corps before that :-)

Blue Stars' battery also impressed me this year. I guess it helps having both Brent Montgomery and Tom Aungst running the show.

Boston and Cadets probably have some of the more tasteful use of the electronics this year - in my opinion.

I'm not going to touch on Blue Devils, simply because I don't want to open a huge can of worms on a forum that has a reputation of being - by far - the most civil percussion forum on the internet. I will say that I feel like the percussion section has finally gotten back to the standards they had years ago, and justly deserve to be at the top this year, duking it out with Cavaliers.

Hopefully none of that offended anybody.
[quote author=Bryan Harmsen link=topic=3257.msg17235#msg17235 date=1249775313]
Eric, you might have just opened Pandora's Box.

No doubt that in the wrong hands, I did. Good insight, Bryan. Tastefully said and without a slam to anyone. Maybe we can hope to keep things civil?

BTW, forgot to mention this in the first post, but I LOVED Boston's show. I hadn't seen it until last night (not taking advantage of my Fan Network Subscription, I'd say). Just some really cool ideas and some GREAT sounds, that were, as you said, tasteful use of electronics.

There are parts of BK's show that lose my already short attention span, but I really appreciate some of the visual ideas that are taking some risks. It doesn't hurt that we have a kid in the corps this summer, so I'm all about rooting him on!

And the Cavaliers' show this summer is going to probably start several new threads here about what needs to be added in VDL 3 (bottles anyone? continuous fountain?)
While I only saw them in the theater, I love the Boston and SCV shows. Talk about a great sound from SCV... wow. I was super impressed from Bluecoats line, great sound, great balance, great playing. Of course BD and Cavies are laying down, wouldn't expect anything less. :)

And Phantom had a great show in concept, it just doesn't seem to be coming together as a cohesive whole. It's just missing that certain je ne c'est pas.
Appreciated the ";fun factor"; in Bluecoats' and BD's battery books.
I only saw the live broadcast online, so I'm in no position to comment.  I'm glad Blue Stars and Troopers have made quite the comeback, and you have to be a really good corps just to advance to semis. 

I also LOVE amplified pits.
[quote author=Marsha N. Mambo link=topic=3257.msg17252#msg17252 date=1249890283]
Appreciated the ";fun factor"; in Bluecoats' and BD's battery books.

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