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July 17, 1999, Clifton, NJ - DCA

My first senior corps show of the year and I must say I was treated to a fine and entertaining show. The football field came alive tonight with alumni corps exhibitions and fierce competitors, loud and soft music mixed-in with loads of artistry and color. A large, appreciative crowd was present, amazing considering it was one of the hottest days in recent memory here in the tri-state area, to witness a great evening of competition and entertainment.

Brigadiers, 82.1, 1st. On the Town With Buddy Rich and Me! Brigs have a show that is clearly defined, distinctly Brigadier, and well thought out. They are very entertaining and appropriately devoid of bells and whistles that the theme of the show might suggest. Especially enjoyable were the colors and changing moods in the opener, Channel One Suite, with simmering shout sections and clubby slow dance motifs-- it was all there. Harlem Nocturne fits in well and continues the slow-dance motif from the opener. Their closer, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, brings the blood back to a boil, garbs and forces the foot to start tapping, and doesn't let go until the corps troops the stands.

From my vantage point, horns and drums had many great moments of powerful sound, good ensemble and technique. Although some timing problems existed, it's more than a month till Labor Day Weekend. The guard looked very well trained and polished, the cleanest, in my opinion, of the night.

The perplexing question about the Brigs' show at this stage is, "what's with the big black back drop?" It's a massive structure on wheels designed to look like the twin-towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, complete with beacon lights to ward-off low flying aircraft. I remember only one time during the show that it was used as a backfield conductor's podium. With ramps on either side of the structure, there's perfect opportunity for multilevel work. Many in the crowd were left wondering What good is it? This type of question, rather than those on the specifics of the show, is somewhat of a nice compliment to their progress at this time in the season.

Caballeros, 78.8, 2nd. The Mask of Zoro production by the '99 Cabs is another well conceived program. It's not just another concept show like one might gather, but an exploration into the Latin themes that are and have been the Cabs over the years. They ARE the concept. Though the Hawthorn, NJ unit lacks the execution and physical numbers of the corps just ahead, there's no question that emotion, sweat and tears propels what they do. Just watch the drum major, Jimmy Russo. Watch the pit percussion section. Keep your eyes on the color guard. Consider the field battery, the best of the evening with lots of exposure and technical proficiency. First is never out of reach for the Cabs, and although they have their work cut out for them, cleaning the show could yield some exciting results down the road.

Hurricanes, 72.6, 3rd. The most pleasant surprise of the evening was Hurc's Visions of the American West program. The opening of the show explodes with Elmer Bernstein's Magnificent Seven Suite, and shows the color guard, dressed in denim, suspenders and cotton T-shirts, in and around a coral setting on the field. Hang 'em High concludes the program in a fiery sort of way. Although the program is incomplete at this point, it is apparent that good things are to be expected from this corps throughout the season.

Sunrisers, 70.3, 4th. First reaction: wow, what a guard. A little smaller than in years past, Sunrisers from Orangetown, Long Island, still know drum corps... and know it well. They are very technically proficient visually, hats off to their visual staff. Their An American Celebration show, once completed, will surely excite crowds in Allentown come Labor Day.

Bushwackers, 68.6, 5th. The corps that changed the face of the senior corps movement is in the midst of a comeback. If this evening's performance is an omen of what's to come, this author can't wait to see them again. Their Sondheim Snapshots show delivers all one expects to see from Bush including a great sounding hornline, well developed percussive technique and visual excellence. Their color guard is exposed quite a lot, seemingly more than in years past-- a plus considering they really have their act together. Definite weaknesses lurk in the percussion section which appears to be pulling together as the season progresses. More presence in the pit will help things along as well. Overall, what's holding the Bushwackers back right now? In this author's opinion, it's tough to beat a legend... particularly when the legend is your own corps! The show has TONS of potential so for their sake, and for that of the audience, keep pluggin' Bush, it'll be well worth the effort by sea

Generations, 50.0, 6th. Nice uniforms and well orchestrated props. The show seems to be well written and the corps is improving. It's tough when inexperience and the lack of bodies are the only thing hampering progress.

Thanks to Edward Medina for directly emailing this review!

Editorial notes:

July 17, 1999, Clifton, NJ - DCA

I had the pleasure/misfortune (only cause of the heat!) of catching the DCA double header this weekend - here are some thoughts.....

Hurricanes - nice show - much better than last year - great guard - nice total package - horns need to play a little better - but not too bad - drums - OK I guess - congrats on the WIN in Waterbury! I think you might have been better in the heat of Sunday!

Bushwackers - I thought better on Sunday than Sat - again, go figure with the heat?!? Horns did a great job - the unison licks are really coming together nicely! Guard is also very good - a little dirty - - DRUMS - COME ON NOW - you ARE the Bushwackers - the standard setting drum line of DCA - please get better! NICE SHOW OVERALL - much improved over last year as well - and earlier too! KEEP IT UP!

Sunrisers - WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT - rumors of your demise are greatly exaggerated! VERY NICE PACKAGE! GUARD IS AWESOME(what's up with the uniforms though?!? and the DM uni - yikes!) Anyway, the Drums Rock - Horns getting better by the minute - but they gotta march & play TOGETHER! The only horn line to have people bumping into one another! Speaking of marching - the drill is VERY hard to read due to holes in the horn line - maybe too much for you handle?!?. IF you guys beef up the numbers and get the brass to march & play a little better - you will do some damage! Keep pluggin' away! A very nice program - one of the better packages!

Brigadiers - HUGE - LOUD - ENTERTAINING - Congrats on the WIN! ... But I was not as "amazed" as everyone said I would be? I like Channel One - very early BD - but could do without Harlem Nocturne and even more so, hated MERCY x 3 - and that big aircraft carrier of a prop - TOO MUCH - better things can be done with your money - now that I have trashed the corps - here's what's good -GREAT BIG HORNS SOUND & Nice GUARD - visual package is nice too! Drums - OK I guess - just kinda there! great solo sops - pit needs to chill a little on the OVER selling of the program - kinda distracting! I think that Brigs will do very well come Allentown and will see the top 3 again - but not the top 2!

Caballeros - nice product - the show fits well with the Kings of Latin image! You guys even manage to work in the rumps tastefully - bravo! JIMMY RUSSO IS THE HARDEST WORKING MAN IN SHOWBIZ! The horns & Guard are very strong - drill is a little cluttered at times - but the use of the props works well! The drums have to be better if the Cabs wanna play with the top 3 - Empire, Bucs & Brigs - Sun & Hurcs have better lines! Get to work! Knowing the Cabs, they will be in the hunt come Labor Day - and they ALWAYS perform well on Finals night!

So - I hope no one was offended by my honest commentary - I tried to put in good and bad! I think that BUSH , SUN and HURCS will make the battle for the 6 - 10 spots VERY interesting - maybe more so than the fight for the top spot - which the READING BUCS could take, but they will have to fight pretty hard to take it from EMPIRE

- let the battles continue.......

Thanks to on r.a.m.d this review!

Editorial notes:



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