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August 2, 1999, Winston-Salem, NC - DCI

Hello once more. The third of the NC shows is held at Winston-Salem and now I get to see Santa Clara Vanguard, along with my first look at the Spartans and Les 'Etoiles. My only problem is that I'm sitting on the 30 this time instead of the 48, but if I had a lick of sense I would have gotten my tickets when seats were available on the 48. We were sitting pretty decent for being off the center line. Another thing I'll mention is that Bowman Gray stadium has been given a facelift in some sections. New stairs installed going down the back of the stadium for the bathrooms (on what used to be a steep slope), and some new paved parking (all handicapped though).

But enough about that. Lets take a look at the judges scores.

Santa Clara Vanguard 93.0 1st
Glassmen 90.1 2nd
Carolina Crown 84.6 3rd
Spirit of Atlanta 75.0 4th
Tarheel Sun 71.2 5th
Les Etoiles 68.4 6th
Spartans 63.7 7th

And now my review along with my scores in order of appearance.

Spartans. My score: 67 - 7th
This is a pretty good show. The brass has some weak spots, the upper brass needs to work on the support, and the mid-range has a bit of mud. All in all a little less buffed than I have seen in past years, but then I'm seeing most Div-II corps at finals. The drums are not bad in spots but get really mushy in others. The marching was reasonable. I would say they are doing pretty well and I look forward to seeing them in Div-II finals, but I don't know if they will win it this year.

Tarheel Sun. My score: 72 - 5th
All right. An improvement from the previous night. Not a huge one, but you can see it and hear it. In the closer things got a little better, but I still think they can work on the arrangement of the closer a little to give it some better flow. The visual work was very good tonight with some solid marching. Coming right after Spartans shows just how much this corps has improved from the Div-II fold. The horns are doing well, and the mid-range is cleaning nicely. The drums are a bit of an on-off affair. They do very well in certain sections but are mushy in others. Luckily they are mushy rarely, so I give good marks to them. Looking over this show, it seems top-21 is there, but I don't know if they can pull off a top-17 yet.

Les 'Etoiles. My score: 70 - 6th
Every corps has up years and down years. This year is a down year for Les 'Etoiles. The horns have been pretty strong in years past, even though they sounded brash. The drums have always been locked in. This year the drums are not quite what they have been, and part of that is because they are so small. They have half the horn line they wanted. The drums also don't have a really cool tune to work with like they have had in the past. With such a small horn line, any problem they have is noticed right away. I hope they can get back on track because this corps has always been fun to watch. I wasn't sure if they could stay above Spartans, but they do have some good horn work as well. And they did beat the drum line of Spartans.

Spirit of Atlanta. My score: 74 - 4th
If you read my review of this show at Durham you know they did not do well. I've been told they must have had an off night, because they were pretty good before I saw them. I have wanted to see this show again ever since because the show has such potential. I said then they had a LOT of work to do. GREAT NEWS! They did it. Or they just had a really off night. The show was fun and had some good horn work. Clean mid-range, sops did not have problems supporting through the show. The really cooking part is Jump, Jive and Wail. I like this part. They still got a lot of people thinking the show was over when they went into a medley of tunes that includes Georgia. I recognized a lot of it this time, just not many names for other parts of the medley. This is a HUGE VAST improvement from the last time I saw them. They deserved to be ahead of Tarheel Sun tonight, without doubt. And the drill is really coming together.

Carolina Crown. My score: 79 - 3rd
As much as I like this show, and there is a lot to like, I'm surprised its scoring so high. The drums are cooking, the drill is pretty good and the horn line is very nice. I was more impressed tonight with the horn line than any other night. They really do a good job, little mud in the mid-range, nice support on the sop line. Very good show.

Santa Clara Vanguard. My score: 92 - 1st
Last year the fans welcomed back the Vanguard. This year they might well be able to hail the conquering Vanguard. This is a really awesome show. The horn line is amazing, and the drums are unreal. I like the musical arrangement as well. They have it all, music, ge, drill, and visual. This is impressive. I don't think they are missing anything this year. I hope they can pull it off at finals.

Glassmen. My score: 86 - 2nd
The Glassmen again followed a god corps with lots of GE. This time it wasn't as bad, because the music selections are more alike. But although they have a hot horn line and a good drum line, I still don't see how they are only 3 points out. The closing number is where almost all the GE is for the show, especially after following a show like Vanguard's. I'll admit I like the show, but it really is not that exciting.

Well, the weather allowed us to have a full retreat. The Vanguard bass line marched all the corps in and did a great job. Once there we got the scores and heard America/Canada. It sounded very nice. Then Vanguard did an encore. I made sure I moved onto the 50 and closer by about 6-10 rows. YEA BABY! That's a horn line!!!! They did the show at a volume just short of atomic testing. And they finished with Send in the Clowns. It was a great show that ended wonderfully.

I'm looking forward to finals this year, with SCV and Devils running so well right now it's going to be a great week. Right now I'm hoping for SCV. We'll see you all there next week.

Brian Schriber
Crossmen 84-85
The 'Original-Every-Night' T-Shirt Guy

Thanks to Brian Schriber for directly emailing this review!

Editorial notes:

August 2, 1999, Winston-Salem, NC - DCI

The weather was perfect 75 cool and no wind and I was very excited about my only chance to see drum corps this season. A little about myself I performed in the colorguard of the Blue Stars and MN Brass Inc. and was on the staff of the Americanos. I will try to mention all sections but don't be surprised if the colorguard gets some preference.

Spartans-the program intrigued me I had not heard the musical selections before. They seem to need a lot of cleaning done on marching and drill forms. Also I did not understand why they played to the back so often instead of just changing the dynamics. The guard was strong on flag but could use a little technical work on weapon. The drum book seemed a little underwritten. The singing was a interesting effect. The strongest section was the last piece. They had a great finish. Overall I enjoyed this show but if they want to make 3 titles in a row they have a long way to go before Madison.

Tarheel Sun - I feel this corps made the incorrect decision to move to Division 1 this year. The corps does not seem as mature most of the other competition. The choice of music did not excite me either. The selections seemed like something my high school band would have played. Tarheel excited me last year with their potential but I think they needed to spend at least another year down in Division II. The drill needs some major cleaning. The musical ensemble performed very well and the guard was OK although I think they could use a little more difficulty in their book.

Les Etoiles - From the reviews that I have read I was expected one long atonal chord and a mess of drill. I was very surprised. Contrary to most other reviews I really enjoyed this show. The musical ensemble played with better tone quality and control than both Tarheel and Spartans and the visual ensemble was cleaner. I think this corps is full of fresh ideas and innovative concepts. The guard was very talented and once again had some of the most original uniforms and silks of the evening. I do wish that they would do more with the levels on the scaffolding. I wish this corps the best of luck this show is a hard sell but I think that they can be successful with it.

Spirit of Atlanta - From the first few bars of this show I thought wow this show is underrated. Then they began to march. The staff of spirit ought to make them march in a block and play all day long. When standing still they are one of the strongest horn lines but when they move they lose all sense of tone. Spirit seems to be plagued by many individual errors as well. The guard is good but it seemed that in every major effect they had one person who looked like they just joined the corps that day. The closer was very much appreciated and the most enjoyable part of this show.

Carolina Crown - This corps impressed me from the start. The guard looked sharp and the corps was clean. The staging of the visual ensemble was superb. The music was both driving and lyrical. And the guard WOW they are very talented in all areas. The movement book was excellent and the flag writing especially in the ballad with the pink silks was creative innovative and well performed. This show should put them in the top 12 again without a doubt.

Santa Clara Vanguard - This is the most incredible show I have seen in years. I would rank it as one of the top 5 shows of all time. SCV has the total package. Incredible sound from the brass, tough drum book, and a superb guard. The multiple drill moves in which the corps quickly forms the tight blocks and then hits musical climaxes were so cool. Once again I appreciated the complexity of the guard book and the talent of the performers. It was great to see SCV have such a strong weapon line. Overall if the Blue Devils can beat this show they must be amazing.

Glassmen - I respect this corps from a technical standpoint but this show is a sleeper. The members perform at the same level as SCV but the staff seem to have forgot one important thing. We are out there watching and they need to work on connecting with the audience. I feel that as soon as the Glassmen can connect with the audience they will be unstoppable. All sections performed cleanly and technically superb. To be honest I don't think I can remember a single moment from this show that really sticks out in my mind. Kudos to the members for their talent!!!

Overall a very enjoyable show I didn't agree with the placements of the bottom 3 corps here is how I would have ranked the evening:

  1. Santa Clara Vanguard
  2. Carolina Crown
  3. Glassmen
  4. Spirit of Atlanta
  5. Les Etoiles
  6. Spartans
  7. Tarheel Sun

Good luck to all corps in Madison!

Thanks to Jeremy Denzer for directly emailing this review!

Editorial notes:

sCORPSboard | 1999 Scores & Reviews

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