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DCI Ft. Worth Review

Saginaw High School - host of DCI Ft. Worth

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.

Blue Stars

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.

The Cadets

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.

Phantom Regiment

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.

Carolina Crown

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

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.

Blue Devils

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:

Video streaming by Ustream

Cavaliers in Broken Arrow (Part 2)

The Cavaliers spent four rehearsal days in Broken Arrow, OK on their way to the first show of the season in Saginaw, TX. While at BA, they started working on drill for the closer and cleaned up as much as possible of the show that was already on the field. Another reason for the stop was to work on solidifying the electronics and adding various sound layers into the show.

Below is a gallery of pictures and video I shot over three of the four days The Cavaliers were in Broken Arrow:

I also had the privilege of helping The Cavaliers Bass Line Wednesday night. I marched with one of the bass techs and he needed to trim out excess muffling from the drums. He asked me if I wanted to help and I jumped in without hesitation. We ended up taking the drums back to the housing facility for better lighting and electricity. I marked the new measurements to be trimmed and the bass tech trimmed out the foam. Once that was complete we had the bass drummers straighten out the logos on the heads and finger-tighten the lugs. After that, I helped bring the drums up to pitch and the bass tech fine tuned them to their pitches. It was a late night, but well worth it. Check out the finish on those bass drums in the gallery – amazing work by Yamaha.

DCI Broken Arrow 2010

Cadets 2010 on the fieldAs usual, it was extremely hot for this show and the drumlines did a good job finding shade where they could. Good idea considering 90% of the corps there had dark colored pants.

This show had nine corps: Music City, Legends, Teal Sound, Pioneer, Madison Scouts, Blue Knights, Boston Crusaders, The Cavaliers, and The Cadets. With this being a high school, it was much easier to find the warm-up spots as opposed to the Edmond show. The hardest group to find was Madison Scouts – they found a little strip of grass between two buildings that was about half the width of a football field. Other than that, I got most of the groups and I hope you enjoy what we’ve posted on YouTube.

Let’s get on with it:

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Big Loud & Live! 7

DCI Quarterfinals will be shown LIVE, August 12 at 6:30 ET (that’s today) in nearly 500 movie theaters. The five hour long broadcast will show the current top 15 shows in their entirety. Ticket prices look to be around $18.

For more information and to find a theater near you, check out:

DCI Edmond Review

UCO Stadium in Edmond
This was my first time to the DCI show in Edmond, OK and was a stellar line up of top corps. Troopers, Glassmen, Blue Stars, Phantom Regiment, Blue Devils, and a few others were in attendance. The show was set at the University of Central Oklahoma and like any other college, it has many buildings and grassy knolls to accommodate the student body. While this is ideal for the college student, it can be a nightmare for the drumline lot connoisseur. There are too many places to hide and if you judge your destination by sound, it can be deceptive with the sound reflecting off of adjacent buildings.
With that in mind, I went to the show with the goal to see at least three warm ups and I hit my goal. The full review is after the jump…

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