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DCI Quarterfinals — as it happened

by Michael Boo, DCW staff

1:42 — Well, after a couple of years of post-DCI “Not Quite As It Happens,” I’m happy to be able to have electricity to once again do this article live. This has been a most remarkable season of drum corps, and the most excited I remember being at a Drum Corps International World Championships. The competition for the last few positions in division I finals has never been tighter; so many corps seem improved over last year, and “entertainment” is high on the list. OK, so maybe everyone didn’t get the same memo, but enough did that this season of drum corps products was a joy to behold almost from beginning to end on every level.

1:47 — Mandarins are one of the three corps that have declared their intention to do a division I tour next year. The word is that some corps will be allowed to compete in division I without having to…

2:01 — Capital Regiment is a growing corps that seems to be doing everything right. They too have declared intention to be in division I in 2003…

2:20 — I was stunned when I saw Magic of Orlando at division II prelims. I knew they were doing well, but I didn’t expect them to be this good. After division II & III finals, I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if they pulled an upset and made it into division I finals…

2:39 — Pioneer has an entertaining and crowd-oriented show that at times is quite a delight…

2:56 — Troopers’ “Red, White and Blue: The American Spirit” is an update on the corps’ traditional musical theme, with all music being written comparatively recently. It seems to be a good vehicle for the corps, which seems to be…

3:12 — Kiwanis Kavaliers seem substantially more confident than in San Antonio. Some of the superhero music…

3:46 — When I first saw Southwind, the guard was having a bad gravity day. That’s much improved now. The corps seems to have…

4:03 — Madison Scouts still turn the crowd on when they enter the field. Everyone knows the corps is in a delicate position placement-wise, and the fans are being very verbal with their support. The horns don’t seem to be holding anything back…

4:22 — I’m glad I didn’t see the pink togas that originally were put on Carolina Crown’s guard guys. Horns seem a little tentative in the Medea opener. Later on, though, they seemed to gel, especially…

4:38 — Colts seem so strong this year, and yet they could be sitting out on Saturday. I love the way the Dawn opener eloquently…

5:13 — One could be forgiven for asking, “What did we do to Blue Knights to make them so angry?” Perhaps the intent of the show is that we’re not supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy. The show is, after all, titled “Fear and Trembling…”

5:13 — Spirit is every bit as musically violent as Blue Knights, if not more so, and the crowd is eating it up…

5:30 — I have so deeply loved Seattle Cascades this year — and their show — that I don’t know how objective I can be here. To think the corps was division III just two years ago. The corps was on sort of the same path that Capital Regiment seems to be on…

5:47 — Crossmen’s horns are starting totally off the field, out of sight. I never noticed this at previous shows. The opening drill evolution is like advancing waves surging against the shore. It’s one of…

6:44 — I’ve enjoyed Bluecoats all season. They have a lot of fun with their show and they aren’t afraid to show it. The colors in the guard are especially…

7:01 — Boston Crusaders have one of the more memorably touching programs this year. Sometimes the banners that are unrolled to proclaim…

7:18 — Glassmen have turned up the excitement level substantially since San Antonio, especially in Movement One from the Kamen symphony. But the highlight of the show remains…

7:35 — Where did Phantom Regiment come from? The horns are ripping and the emotional level of the Shostakovich symphony is almost excruciating (in a good way)…

7:52 — Santa Clara Vanguard’s exclusive treatment of triangles, circles and diamonds during separate movements dedicated to each individual form is…

8:09 — Blue Devils’ silent movie-like opening “Ragtime” movement is one of the most delightful audio/visual moments in my 27-year history in drum corps. It is so unexpected, and the guard work during this segment is pure enchantment…

8:26 — Some have accused The Cadets of playing to the heartstrings of an American public still recovering from the events of 9-11. That’s bull. The corps has its finger on the pulse of the country and is responding accordingly. What else would one want from…

8:43 — I barely know where to begin with The Cavaliers. “Frameworks” is an essay in pure coordination from head to toe. Everything works either as a subtle nuance…

9:04 — The opening production to the grand evening production is awesome. Three huge scrims are set up on the field like movie screens, with bodies in motion backlit behind the screens in pantomime to various historical corps highlights; including SCV’s “Bottle Dance,” The Cavaliers’ step-over to Softly As I Leave You, Madison Scouts’ ending to “Pirates of Lake Mendota” and many, many more precious memories…

9:15 — The Parade of Champions introduced all the corps that participated in the week of championship events, filling the field with the biggest sea of humanity ever witnessed at a DCI event. It was just like the Olympics, where even the smallest represented countries get to be exposed to the public just like the largest athletic contingents.

“Late Night With David Letterman” trumpeter Al Chez, a former member of the Garfield Cadets, performed The Star-Spangled Banner and then all the age-outs from every corps during the week were invited down front to be acknowledged by the audience.

10:10 — Tim Moxley, SCV’s drum major from DCI’s first season in 1972, conducted the massed bugles in America/O Canada, then handed off the baton to Joel Carter, today’s drum major for Madison Scouts, who conducted the massed horns in God Bless America…

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Drum Corps World is published as an on-line electronic magazine by Sights & Sounds, Inc., Madison, WI. It is supported by advertising from manufacturers, service providers, corps, circuits and show sponsors. The publication began in October 1971 at the same time Drum Corps International was formed and has been produced continuously as a tabloid newspaper until April 2011 and on the Internet since May 2011. It is released monthly, as well as six additional e-mail blasts, one in late June, three during July and two in August.

The worldwide staff of writers and photographers provide show reviews during the season and interviews, feature articles, news and human interest stories during the off-season. The photographs that appear in the magazine are provided by 27 staff members who are scattered around the world. The publication covers World and Open Class Drum Corps International corps, Open and Class A Drum Corps Associates corps, alumni, mini-, parade and standstill units, as well as the growing activity in Europe, the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and South Africa.