Saginaw, TX – As a result of the DCI G8 agreement, the first show of the year had the 2010 Top 8 coming to the Fort Worth area in a unprecedented first show lineup. With thunderstorms looming in the distance, it gave a dramatic surrounding for a dramatic opening event. Here is a rundown of how each group looked at their first performance.
Due to traffic, we were not able to see much of the Blue Stars (less than three minutes), but hopefully plan to get footage of them at a later show.
Santa Clara Vanguard
Clearly, people wanted to see the efforts of Paul Rennick at SCV. Many questions were laid to rest when the front ensemble pulled up in front of the drumline and before they played any notes as an ensemble, they played through their entire show, top to bottom, and it was extremely clean for June 18th. It was obvious that Rennick was making a strong statement about what he expected out of this group. I would not call this “Finals clean” but it was not far off.
Six bass drums….not what you typically see from drum corps. But after seeing their body movement and how it related to the show concept, it was clear why they had six bass drums as they split the drumline in half – half angels, half demons.
The snare sound was a little thin, but I expect it will fill out once the hands have a few weeks on them. They did body movement while playing show excerpts and they are able to translate their role in the show through their approach to the drum during tacet moments which is a very cool idea.
What to make of Phantom after Paul Rennick had left? Seeing that most of the vets followed him to SCV, this was essentially a restart for the program and the differences are evident. The notes are there, just not the hands….yet. It is a different style of book from what we have gotten use to hearing from the Rennick years, and the new sound will take a little to get use to. I look for them to make a late surge in July once they get a handle on the drum book.
Some comments have been made about the drum color this year. If you look at the drums up close and on an individual basis, it’s not something I would pick. But pull back about twenty yards and look at the drumline as a whole and it makes sense. I’m not a complete fan, but I like it and how it works with the show.
How do they sound? Pretty strong for first show warm up. I only got to hear exercises as they overlapped with the Bluecoats warm up. All the sub sections sounded strong with no audible weaknesses. The snareline had some minor technique differences but that’s typical this early in the season.
Ten snares, one vet on tenors, a strong bass line, and an extremely hard drum book are the elements that make up the 2011 Bluecoats. Yes, there were some minor fuzzes here and there, but in a book this hard I can see why. They were right behind SCV in cleanliness but took the cake for difficulty (at least in the drumline parts)
The Cavaliers have the same situation as the Bluecoats – new members: four new snares, a couple of basses and a few on tenors. That doesn’t stop them from having one of the most musical drum books around. This is a show about tricks and showmanship so there are tons of split parts, wild dynamics and lots of visuals. Coming over late from the Bluecoats lot, I didn’t get the best angle and therefore some of the notes sound dirty when they are not. I am putting this up to show the warm up, but I would recommend checking out the footage I took of their four rehearsal days right before this show.
Last but not least, were the Blue Devils. Unfortunately, darkness had set in and they picked a location away from the lights so the video portion did not turn out. From what I heard: lots of fast rolls, space between hard passages, and very technical from all subsections. It has a very airy feel to it as I’m sure it makes complete sense with the horns, but is hard to read when it stands by itself. Whereas the Santa Clara Vanguard book and the Bluecoats book could almost stand on their own as WGI scores. Here is what we have from the Live stream we did that night: