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Episode 10 of Box Center is now ready for download.

In this week's edition:

Box Center is a weekly podcast dedicated to the news and events throughout the drum and bugle corps activity.  Box Center is hosted by Kevin Gamin, Drum Corps Planet News Managing Editor.

Direct download: Episode_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:58pm EDT

Episode 9 of Box Center is now available for download.

In this week's edition of Box Center:

Direct download: Episode_9.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:01pm EDT

Episode 8 of Box Center is now ready for download.

Covered in this week's edition:

Box Center is a weekly podcast, released each Monday, dedicated to the news and events of the drum and bugle corps activity. Box Center is hosted by Kevin Gamin, Managing Editor of Drum Corps Planet News.

Direct download: Episode_8.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:24pm EDT

Episode 7 of Box Center is now available for download.

In this week's edition:

Direct download: Episode_7.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:05am EDT

Episode 7 of Box Center will be recorded tomorrow morning at 9AM Eastern. Since it's been such a long time since the last episode, here's a preview of the show notes so you can see what to expect.

Category:special -- posted at: 10:54pm EDT

Box Center will be returning soon. I was hoping to post a new show on Monday (11/7/05) but I'm still getting settled into the new place, plus I have to do laundry somewhere else since our washer/dryer combo hasn't been delivered yet. Add to that no free weekends for the next month and life gets pretty hectic.

My next plan is to attempt to post the 1966 tribute show on Friday (11/11/05), then post a "normal" show next Wednesday (11/16/05). After that, hopefully, it's back to a regular schedule. Whatever that is.

I appreciate that people are still interested in the show and I have every intention of fufilling the desire for more shows.

Category:general -- posted at: 6:34pm EDT

My wife and I are preparing to move at this time. We're almost completely surrounded by boxes, empty bookcases, and two cats who are totally traumatized by all the packing we're doing. I haven't really had a chance to do a show for this week yet and, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure I will have a chance until after I unpack and set up the computer in the new digs.

On top of that, I've had problems with my computer, ranging from Outlook shutting down as soon as I start it up (no error message, either) to Norton Anti-Virus getting corrupted and not giving me the virus protection goodness my computer needs. As a result, I decided to reformat my hard drive. I'm back up and running but need to re-load Audacity in order to put a show together.

I will attempt to do a show on Wednesday or Thursday but I don't see much time on either day when I could do it. Worst case has me breaking out the voice recorder on my Palm Tungsten T3 and recording the show while at work, then transferring the show to my computer, slapping on the intro/closing music, and throwing it up on the blog. We will see what happens.

Extreme worst case: No show until the 1966 Tribute on November 7.

Category:general -- posted at: 6:58am EDT

I just got an e-mail from the support team at Liberated Syndication informing me that the issues with Episode 6 have been resolved. I was able to play the file in Windows Media Player to confirm this. You can download the show as much as you'd like!

Category:special -- posted at: 12:58pm EDT

I do not know why a 404 error message appears when people attempt to download the latest episode.

I have contacted Liberated Syndication and requested their assistance. According to my account information, I have not gone over my 100MB space allotment for the month. The upload of the episode file appeared to work without issue last night, as well.

I appreciate your patience while I get this worked out.

Category:special -- posted at: 8:13am EDT

Episode 6 of Box Center is now available for download.

Covered in this week's edition of Box Center:

Box Center is a weekly podcast, released each Monday, dedicated to the news and events of the drum and bugle corps activity. Box Center is hosted by Kevin Gamin, Managing Editor of Drum Corps Planet News.

Direct download: Episode_6.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:30pm EDT

Episode 5 of Box Center is now available for download.

This week's edition is a special tribute to the 1961 drum corps season, featuring clips from:

Also featured:  Remembering the 1961 Saint Catherine's Queensmen - Frank Dorritie looks back on his first exposure to the Queensmen.

Special thanks goes out to the following:

Web-based information about the 1961 drum corps season:

If you would like to know more about 1961 as well as the history of our activity in general, check out the following sources:

If you would like to order recordings of the shows you heard, please contact:

Box Center is a weekly podcast, released each Monday, dedicated to the news and events of the drum and bugle corps activity. Box Center is hosted by Kevin Gamin, Managing Editor of Drum Corps Planet News.

Direct download: Episode_5.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:20am EDT

Unfortunately, due to the size requirements of my account with Liberated Syndication, I will not be able to post the 1961 tribute episode until TOMORROW.

I apologize for the delay.

Category:special -- posted at: 12:57pm EDT

You're probably wondering why you couldn't download the latest edition of Box Center.

Here's why:

You have exceeded your monthly disk usage limit on the LibSyn server. If you would like to upgrade your account to accomodate more storage space, please contact support@libsyn.com. Otherwise, you should consider re-sampling your audio files at a lower bit rate in order to make them smaller and conserve space. You will not be able to upload any more files until you have either upgraded your service or freed up some space in your account. As always, Thanks for hosting with Liberated Syndication! Liberated Syndication http://www.libsyn.com

First of all, thanks to Eddie Escobar for letting me know that there was a problem.

Second of all, I have re-exported the podcast at a lower bitrate and replaced the original Episode 4 file with the new one. You should be able to download the file whenever you want.

Yes, I did check my account space before posting this. I'm cool now and, at the beginning of the month, I'll go back to 0% usage, just in time for my mega-sized 1961 tribute show.

Thanks for your patience. E-mail me at boxcenter@gmail.com if you have any issues with this new file.

Category:special -- posted at: 11:03am EDT

Episode 4 of Box Center is now available for download.

Covered in this week's episode:

Box Center is a weekly podcast, released each Monday, dedicated to the news and events of the drum and bugle corps activity. Box Center is hosted by Kevin Gamin, Managing Editor of Drum Corps Planet News.

Direct download: Episode_4.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:13pm EDT

Show: The Zone [dreamscapes in four parts with a door]

  • Twisted Nerve (from Kill Bill)
  • Liquid
  • Overture to a New World (from Dancer in the Dark)
  • Cualda (from Dancer in the Dark)
  • Vertigo
  • False Mirrors

The Good: Unlike a lot of people, I liked the two-sided uniforms the corps used this year and the concept of the girl dreaming different dreams. Twisted Nerve is a unique way of starting the show. The Liquid portion of the show reminded me of the opener from 2000, very fast paced. The overture from Dancer in the Dark is a favorite of mine from when Bluecoats performed it in 2002. Cadets do a great job of capturing this piece and making it their own. The drumline goes insane during the 2nd half of the overture, laying down more notes during this one piece than some corps seem to play in their entire show. They play it clean, too. They also do it on the opposite side of the field as the horn line, so the simple fact that both sides are in time is box 5 material. More crazy drumming during the beginning of Cualda, especially from the tenors. Time for a guilty admission: I actually get into the drumspeak and anybody that gets upset because they're not drumming for 30 seconds totally ignores EVERYTHING the drumline has played up to that point, which, again, is more than what some drumlines play their entire show. Strange to hear Medea on the field again.

The Bad: The Twilight Zone narration just doesn't sound right if it isn't Rod Serling. The hornline, again, does not feel powerful enough to me and the sopranos sound strident, not what a championship hornline should sound like. The hornline is too top heavy for my taste, too bright for an outdoor sound. The Bjork speak during Cualda doesn't fit like it does in the movie, especially since it's so distorted over the microphone.

The Ugly: None.

Overview: I'm not sure this show should have won and I'm definitely not convinced it deserves to tie the highest score in DCI history, but it is definately one of the top shows of 2005 and one of the more unique shows on the field in a while.

Website: http://www.yea.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Cadets

2006 Auditions: November 18-20

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 4:57pm EDT

Show: My Kind of Town

  • Chicago
  • The Magnificent Mile
  • Jig
  • The Great Fire of 1871
  • Sweet Home Chicago

The Good: A very difficult opening statement full of double tonguing and 16th note runs. I've become quite the fan of Jean-Luc Ponty (not Picard) thanks to 27th Lancers' drum solo of New Country, so I was quite pleased with Cavies use of Jig during the baseball portion of the show. Especially appreciated hitting the home run over Johnny Damon. 2004 is over, Johnny, get used to the feeling. The mellophones on the ladders playing Amazing Grace was one of the most effective moments of the season for me. The Sweet Home Chicago closer was the perfect way to end the show, a chance to the corps to throw down like drum corps should and a chance to show off, both in terms of the crazy drill among the ladders still on the field from the previous pice as well as musically as sopranos played both their sops and flugelhorns AT THE SAME TIME.

The Bad: This is another hornline that I feel doesn't push the envelope in terms of volume and, as a result, doesn't fill up the stadium like I wish they would. I'm also not sure how clean that opening statement was. Waaaaay too much marimba throughout the entire show, it might as well be marimba corps.

The Ugly: None.

Overview: Chicago's my kind of town and Cavaliers are my kind of corps. Great show this year.

Website: http://www.cavaliers.org/

2006 Auditions: November 25-27

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 4:42pm EDT

Show: Rhapsody

  • Rhapsody in Blue
  • An American in Paris

The Good: Paul Rennick is a god. Jamey Thompson is a god. J.D. Shaw is a god. Adam Sage is a god. Double-tonguing sopranos are gods. "Buicks" are gods. The drumline are gods. Hell, every single person involved with this show is a god. That's how much I love this show. The hornline makes me melt. The drumline makes me giddy. The drill makes me want to march. The colorguard make umbrellas cool guard equipment for the only time in DCI history. The melding of Rhapsody in Blue and American in Paris is so seamless it's sick. Can you tell I love this show? The contras are so good they must be from another planet. The crowd just ate this show up and so do I.

The Bad: Anybody that tells me I'm wrong is bad.

The Ugly: See The Bad.

Overview: How could this show place 3rd? This was, by far, the best total package of the night, speaking to both old and new fans alike.

Website: http://www.regiment.org/

2006 Auditions: November 25-27

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 4:20pm EDT

Show: Dance Derby of the Century

  • Redline Tango
  • Brother Can You Spare A Dime
  • Prelude Fugue and Riffs
  • On the Town
  • In Wartime

The Good: That first chord the hornline hits is just beautiful. The hornline performs this show at typical BD standards. The drumline throws down some insane playing as well. The tenor line does this crazy lick that I can't even describe but sounds something like each player has his own part, and they all fit together.

The Bad: Who thought that doing a dance derby in reverse would make sense??? On top of that, we have even more of the horn book dedicated to stand alone chords what essentially amount to parking lot warmups.

The Ugly: Three guesses what this would be and the first two don't count.

Overview: This show belonged no higher than 6th. This is the last time I listen to this show.

Website: http://www.bluedevils.org/

2006 Auditions: BOA - November 11 / Texas - November 19 / California - November 26-27

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 4:11pm EDT

Show: Caravan

  • Caravan
  • Incantation (from Cirque du Soliel)
  • Ombra (from Cirque du Soliel)
  • Hajj

The Good: It's amazing how far Bluecoats percussion has come in just the past two years. They're now one of top drumlines in DCI and for good reason. Add the always spectacular hornline sound and it's no surprise that Bluecoats are a Top 5 corps for the first time ever. I have a hard time picturing this corps as the same group I would compete with during the 90's. It's amazing how good the hornline sounds from top to bottom, so mature with such a full and dark sound. The contra line is just phenomenal, especially during a fast-paced walking bass line during Hajj.

The Bad: The Tabla chanting, while I understand how it fits into the show concept, is a little annoying, especially since the drumming isn't necessarily Tabla in nature.

The Ugly: You know the corps is good when you can't say anything ugly about your in-state rivals.

Overview: This is another show where it's hard to review the entire show because I'm lost in the performance. There's just so much that's amazing about this performance.

Website: http://www.bluecoats.com/

2006 Auditions: Texas - November 19-20 / Ohio - November 26-27

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 1:44pm EDT

Show: The Carmen Project

  • Carmen

The Good: Michael Cesario pointed out during a DCI Field Pass interview that the hornline starts with the trills from Slaughter on 10th Avenue. They do, but backfield. I kind of want my face blown off by those trills. The Scouts, however, make up for that by hitting my square between the eyes with the opening statement of the Fate theme from Carmen. Percussion sounds so much better than in years past. Nice double tounging by the sopranos and mellophones during the opener. This is a very Madison show, thanks in part to the Scott Boerma horn arrangements. The fans go nuts when Carmen appears, which was a pretty effective visual moment from what I saw in Allentown. The whole show is really Variations on Themes from Carmen with some West Side Story and a little Malageuna thrown in for good measure and it works well. It doesn't hurt that there's plenty of screaming sopranos. After all, it wouldn't be a Madison show without them. I just noticed how, as Carmen is carried off the field, the horns are playing the Somewhere chords while the pit is playing the Carmen theme, nice touch.

The Bad: The ending never really did work, no matter what the designers did to make it better, which is too bad because they did try their hardest to put something together to end the show properly. While the ending drill moves are great to watch, it just doesn't fit with the rest of the show. Bringing back the whistles from the drum solo is a little overkill in that particular area.

The Ugly: Carmen's not ugly, she's hot, and so's this show.

Overview: The best Madison show since 1999, both in terms of entertainment and placement, and a great start to the Top 6 of 2005.

Website: http://madisonscouts.org/main.asp?corps=madisonscouts

2006 Auditions: TBA

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 12:58pm EDT

Show: Angelus!

  • The Reason
  • A Mighty Fortress
  • Angel
  • Never Surrender from First Knight
  • Joy (from Awakening)
  • Call of the Mountain (from Gates of Gold)

The Good: Crown had one of the lushest hornline sounds, another King hornline that I worship. It's so clean, too! Just listen to the opening statement of The Reason, which is brass only. This is the 2nd corps to perform music I played in '95 Glassmen (Mighty Fortress), so, again, I have a soft spot for this corps as a result. I like our Mighty Fortress arrangement better, more meat to the horn book in my opinion, but that's not to say that Crown's arrangement is bad at any level. The arrangement and performance of Angel is beautiful and has a kind of gospel feel to it which fits well. The mellophone statement of the First Knight theme is majestic and I half expect King Arthur (or, at least, Sean Connery), to show up in response. A reprise of Mighty Fortress along with a lot of numbers, Roman and Arabic, in the drill finish the show perfectly.

The Bad: I'm still trying to understand why this drumline placed 12th. They sound much cleaner than that. Was the book lacking in demand?

The Ugly: This show is angelic, not ugly.

Overview: Between Crown and SCV, I may never get to CD #1 in this year's set.

Website: http://carolinacrown.org/artman/publish/

2006 Auditions: November 18-20

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 12:44pm EDT

Show: Russia: Revolution-Evolution: 1917-1991

  • Carol (from Russian Christmas Music)
  • Symphony 12 - The Year 1917
  • Cathedral Chorus (from Russian Christmas Music)

The Good: Another show the crowd was behind 110% and SCV answered with plenty of energy. I can't tell that the snares are playing matched grip at all, the writing and technique is that good. The Vanguard yell during Russian Christmas Music had to be THE loudest ever and sent chills through me.

The Bad: I feel there's a dropoff in energy before the final push of RCM. It's been there in every recording I listened to so I can't tell if it was written that way or if the corps had endurance issues.

The Ugly: The drill was VERY dirty and one of the reasons SCV placed as low as it did.

Overview: It's actually hard to write a full review for this show because I'm too drawn into the performance, even during a streaming audio recording which doesn't do justice to how good this show was. 8th place my butt.

Website: http://www.scvanguard.org/

2006 Auditions: November 25-27

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 11:04am EDT

Show: The Promise of Living

  • Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
  • Overture to Candide
  • The Promise of Living (from Tender Land)
  • Sing Sang Sung
  • Ninth Symphony (Ode to Joy)

The Good: Two pieces I played with '95 Glassmen were used this year. One of them was Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, which Boston performed this year. As a result, I already have a soft spot for this show. So, it appears, did the fans, as there was a strong reaction just to the opening intro alone. Candide's always a fun piece to listen to and I like how they worked Make Our Garden Grow into the arrangement. I greatly prefer Boston's Promise of Living arrangement over Colts. I feel it's more like the original piece and less choppy. I love the groove the drumline puts down at the beginning of Sing, Sang, Sung, although I felt like this was similar to 2002's Artie Shaw section. Of course, Conquest grunts in Boston are going to make people go nuts.

The Bad: Candide was pretty watered down, giving much of the melodic line to the pit. Not sure that was really necessary as the horns sound pretty good. Sing, Sang, Sung was a played a little straighter than I prefer. Ode to Joy was a little muddy before the final push of the song.

The Ugly: This show is the joy of no ugliness.

Overview: A very fun, crowd pleasing show, practically taylor-written to get the home crowd off their feet at Finals.

Website: http://www.crusaders.com/crusaders/home.asp

2006 Auditions: November 25-27

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 10:40am EDT

Show: A Midsummer Knight's Dream

  • A Midsummer Knight's Dream
  • Some Enchanted Evening

The Good: Another great sounding hornline for the Blue Knights. It seems to me that all the hornlines using King horns have improved greatly since making the switch. The drumline, which has been a staple of the Blue Knights ever since they broke into Finals back in 1991, are once again at the top of their game.

The Bad: Nothing really happens during this show. I feel like they're trying to recreate 2004 and it doesn't work. The opener sounds like they're trying to copy Trittico, while the next piece sounds like they're trying to copy the feel of last year's drum feature. I never feel like I'm going to get a powerful moment during this show.

The Ugly: This show is just so...vanilla.

Overview: This show really didn't do anything for me. The corps performs it well, but I felt like I sat through the show waiting for something to happen that never occured.

Website: http://www.bknights.org/

2006 Auditions: November 19-20

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 9:58am EDT

Show: A New World

  • New World Symphony

The Good: I purchased a copy of a pre-season recording of this show. It reminded me of when I started marching with the corps, mainly because there were a lot of weaknesses to overcome in the brassline. Fortunately, the hornline has come a long way since that May recording. It helps to have such a fun, innovative, yet familiar book to play. Robert Smith does a great job re-imaging the New World Symphony for the 21st century. I especially love what he did with the Largo (Going Home) movement, almost New Age in this new desgin. I also like that Glassmen used ALL the movements from New World, unlike Phantom in 1989 when they substituted one of the Slovenian Dances for their drum solo. Speaking of drums, the drumline has taken a step up over last year with more demand and exposure. I'm looking forward to seeing them continue this improvement. Of course, the New World Tango closer got everybody's feet dancing and is a blast to listen to.

The Bad: Despite my comments above, the hornline is the weak link for this corps. It doesn't play quite in tune, sopranos are strident with individuals sticking out and cracked notes.

The Ugly: The guard uniforms. Orange doesn't go with the theme nor with the corps color scheme in general and just distracts my eyes from what's happening on the field.

Overview: The current design team might be what this corps needs to climb back towards the Top 5.

Website: http://www.glassmen.org/

2006 Auditions: November 25-27

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 9:24am EDT

Show: The Spirit of Broadway

  • Give My Regards to Broadway (from Yankee Doodle Dandy)
  • New York, New York (from On the Town)
  • On Broadway
  • They're Playing Our Song (from They're Playing Our Song)
  • Entre Act (from Sweeney Todd)
  • Not While I'm Around (from Sweeney Todd)
  • Pie Jesu (from Requiem)
  • As If We Never Said Goodbye (from Sunset Boulevard)
  • Luck Be A Lady (from Guys and Dolls)
  • No One Mourns the Wicked (from Wicked)
  • Defying Gravity (from Wicked)

The Good: The low brass has such a strong presence in this hornline, especially in the contrabass section. I feel this gives the hornline sound a very rich and full resonance. The Broadway theme works very well, including many songs which drum corps fans are already familiar with. The Pie Jesu section seems like a similar design to 2003's October, paying tribute to past Andrew Lloyd Webber shows as opposed to past drum corps icons. I'm surprised so few corps have performed music from Sunset Boulevard. Outside of the Bushwackers in senior corps and Defenders and Quad City Knights in junior corps, it's rarely been touched. I just heard thunder during the Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again solo quote, very neat yet unintended effect. Luck Be A Lady makes me think of Dutch Boy, although they only played it one year. It's just their style. Very strong drumline, believe it was reflected in the scores. They're just tearing up their solo (in a good way). The music from Wicked is catchy. I don't know the musical that well (my wife read the book) so I may have to pick up this soundtrack.

The Bad: Like Esperanza, Spirit's hornline, while sounding wonderful, doesn't pack enough of a punch for my taste. I feel like they fill up the stadium in front of the stands, not including the stands.

The Ugly: Just the Wicked Witch.

Overview: A strong return to Finals for Spirit and a great way to start the night for the fans.

Website: http://www.spiritdrumcorps.org/

2006 Auditions: TBA

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 9:08am EDT

Show: Postcards From Home

  • The Promise of Living (from Tender Land)
  • The Red Pony
  • The Landworkers (From Estancia Ballet)
  • Till There Was You (from The Music Man)
  • Stomp Your Foot
  • Jubilee

The Good: Great sounds from the hornline. Another corps who has built a strong hornline over multiple years. I really enjoy the arrangement of the Red Pony, although I don't really see this as a piece for the middle of a show, more like a closer. A very clean performance from all sections of the corps, very balanced with no weak sections.

The Bad: I'm not a fan of this arrangement of Promise of Living. It's too choppy and fast for my taste. I'm also not sure if The Landworkers fits in the theme of this show. Maybe if Colts hadn't lost their postcards during Finals week, we'd have a better understanding of the story the show tells.

The Ugly: Nothing ugly to write home about.

Overview: This is the cleanest Colts show in a few years. My problem with the show, though, is that it's pretty vanilla and doesn't grab me like past shows have. Nothing really stands out about the show. Still, their best show since 2001.

Website: http://www.colts.org/

2006 Auditions: December 16-18

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 5:42pm EDT

Show: Crossroads

  • Classical Gas
  • Radar Love
  • So Far Away
  • Paradise by the Dashboard Light

The Good: My wife was not a fan of this show when she heard about the musical selections. The Crossmen converted her in Allentown. That's how fun this show is. I didn't recognize Classical Gas but it's got that Crossmen groove so it fits perfectly. Radar Love has a great contra line that I can't help but bop my head to. I really like the horn arrangements during this piece. You can never go wrong with a looooong loud ending chord, either, especially with the corps right up on the front sideline. I've never been much for Carole King but Crossmen did a great job with So Far Away. In fact, I'd say Crossmen have had two of the best ballads in drum corps over the past two years.

The Bad: For as entertaining as this show was, there was also a lot of dirt, which was unfortunate. Much as I would have enjoyed seeing this show in Finals, there was just too much ground to make up. The percussion arrangements left me kind of flat, too, and I feel the Crossmen miss Lee Beddis more than they think they do. Much as I enjoyed Paradise by the Dashboard Light, I don't think it worked very well on the field.

The Ugly: The Crossmen aren't in Finals. That's pretty ugly in my book.

Overview: This show gets a lot of plays on my iPod but it was clearly performed at a 14th place level. Crossmen are making moves to get their house back in order with a new director and the return of Chuck Naffier. I hope they're able to jump right back into Finals next year.

Website: http://www.yea.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Crossmen

2006 Auditions: November 18-20

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 5:05pm EDT

Show: Chiaroscuro

  • Chiaroscuro: Symphonic Dances in Shades of Darkness and Light

The Good: I didn't expect to like this show but the more I listen to it the more it grows on me. This is a much more demanding production than last year's Holsinger show. Very aggressive opening statemen, which pulls me in right away. Low brass has a great statement during the opener, repeating what the sopranos played, which is very clear and strong. The mellophone soloist during the ballad has a wonderful tone and is a joy to listen to. This is a better performance overall than Quarterfinals. Great resonant echo in the stadium after the corps cut off during a power chord in the ballad, very effective. The piece after the balled is very celebratory, easy to tap my foot to. Great drum writing by Kevin Murphy and the drumline rose to the level of the arrangements. Powerful ending by the corps, great job keeping the energy level up to the end of the show.

The Bad: This would be one of the first shows I've listened to where every section is at about the same level. There's a little dirt in the brass, a little in the drums, and a little in the visual. Not so much a bad thing, but something that does need to be worked on should this corps wish to move up and contend for a Finals spot. I will say I wasn't a fan of the sundial prop although I do understand how it fit into the show. I just wish the two members pushing the prop around the field could have performed with the corps in some way.

The Ugly: No shade of ugly to be seen.

Overview: Another corps that lowered in placement from the previous year only because other corps improved. Capital Regiment had a strong year despite many setbacks and performed a wonderful show for me to experience

Website: http://www.capitalregiment.org/

2006 Auditions: November 19-20

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 4:53pm EDT

Show: A Distorted Imagination

  • Song of Bethlehem (from Ben Hur)
  • Pure Imagination (from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)
  • The Battle (from Gladiator)
  • Mars (from The Planets)
  • Blue Shadows and Purple Hills (from Spartacus)
  • Main Title (from The Wind and The Lion)
  • Incantations (from Que Dam)
  • A Mother's Love (from Ben Hur)
  • Bacchanale (from Samson and Delilah)
  • Re-United (from Van Helsing)
  • The Horseman ( from The Wind and The Lion)
  • Raisuli Attacks ( from The Wind and The Lion)

The Good: First of all, kudos to Southwind for finding something worthwhile from Van Helsing. Also, congratulations on making so many selections work together. I have to admit, I do like it when corps start their show BEFORE the start of the show, especially when it's so...dreamy sounding. I like how all the themes weave together. I can pick them all out even though their short and blend together. Strong opening statement. The quotes from Incantations get my attention more than the rest for some reason. At least this corps can sing without amps. It would be so easy to lose your place with all these different themes playing at the same time, but the corps makes it all make sense. I love that they brought back the tenor feature with the basses playing tenor with the tenor line.

The Bad: You can't see it, but the corps did have a dirty visual program this year. That held the corps back. The drumlime improved from 2004 but still has some work to do. Hornline needs to maintain during the Bacchanale section, volume is dropping in strange places. The corps loses steam during the closer, so endurance is something to work on for 2006.

The Ugly: This show is distorted, not ugly

Overview: Another corps that appears to be on the rise, just need to get the dirt out. The design is there and the horns are currently the strongest section of the corps.

Website: http://www.southwind.org/

2006 Auditions: TBA

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 4:11pm EDT

Show: Airborne Symphony

  • Airborne Symphony
  • Aerodynamics
  • Weeping Willow Rag
  • Redline Tango
  • Stairway To Heaven

The Good: This is such a great sounding hornline, just like last year. Very balanced, great intonation, and attacks and releases are pretty clean. I love the airplane sound made by the pedal tones. Wonderful dissonance during the air battle portion of the show. The arrangement of Stairway to Heaven works so much better than I ever could have imagined. Hats off to Tim Salzman. Glad to have you back arranging for drum corps.

The Bad: I'm still not happy with the drumline, although it has improved over the years. Too many flams for my taste, however.

The Ugly: The narration. Enough said. I understand the narration comes from the original Airborne Symphony. If that's the case, then that's one piece I'm not going to buy.

Overview: There's a lot of good things happening in Seattle. The horns sound wonderful, Tim Salzman's arranging compliments that asset. I've already said my piece about the narration. Just get the drums and visual up to the hornline standard and you're back in Finals.

Website: http://www.seattlecascades.org/

2006 Auditions: TBA

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

Show: Loves Me... Loves Me Not...

  • Adagio from Spartacus
  • Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (variation 18)
  • Vibraphonissimo
  • Nuevo Tango
  • Symphonic Dances Mvt III

The Good: Love the sound of the unusally large hornline Mandarins had this year. This was a very Phantomesque show for the Mandarins and I feel they pulled it off. I thought the Piazolla portion of the show was the most energetic, complete with park and blow moment and screaming sopranos. The end of the show even has a final statement with mellophone 16th note runs while they run around in circles, which is another thing Phantom has done the past couple of years.

The Bad: Drumline is pretty dirty, a problem that was painfully obvious at the beginning of the season. The hornline might actually be a little TOO passionate for this passion-themed show, not that I can blame them.

The Ugly: Love means never having to say the show's ugly.

Overview: I'm hoping the sudden growth of the corps means that the corps is ready to keep moving up the ladder, maybe make a run at Finals in the near future. This show is very fun to watch and listen to and I can't wait until I have the CDs.

Website: http://www.mandarins.org/

2006 Auditions: December 10-11

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 3:41pm EDT

Show: Fluid States

  • Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
  • Sinfonia Antarctica

The Good: Very nice hornline sound from the backfield at the beginning. I'm getting more power from the hornline so far as compared to Esperanza. Very nice job from the soprano soloist playing backfield during the ballad. Very difficult drum book. This is a strong drumline in terms of playing ability, but I have a hard time hearing them, as if their sound stops at the front sideline.

The Bad: I could use more drumline. They seem to be lacking in projection and power compared to the hornline. Sopranos do not sound good when they're on their own, very strident and out of tune. Imbalance in the low brass to begin the ballad portion of the show. Hornline is not in tune, either.

The Ugly: Sopranos - very sloppy, strident, and hard to listen to.

Overview: I'm not sure how this show got past Esperanza. The horns aren't in tune and unbalanced and the percussion is hard to hear. I'm assuming the visual scores must have made a difference. The music is enjoyable, but I can't get into the show as much as I'd like to because of the technical issues.

Website: http://www.pacific-crest.org/

2006 Auditions: TBA

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

Show: Crossroads

  • Piano Concerto No. 1

The Good: I'm familiar with this Emerson, Lake, and Palmer piece thanks to '85 Blue Devils and '92 Northern Aurora. A very nice, warm sound from the hornline, very effective when facing backfield. This is one of those pieces of music where I'm betting I'd enjoy the drum corps version more than the original. Very nice job with the small horn ensemble during the 2nd movement of the show. Percussion is cleaner than anybody I've listened to so far. I also like the tuning of the snares, "wetter" sounding and not as high pitched as your average kevlar snareline.

The Bad: I did say the hornline sound was nice. That's actually part of the problem. There's no power behind the sound, as if the hornline never goes above a forte. When I was a teacher, I'd tell my young students to use their "inside" or "6-inch" voices when in the classroom. I fear that Esperanza is doing the same with their sound even though they're out on the playground.

The Ugly: None that I can find.

Overview: I definitely notice a rise in quality between Esperanza and Magic, a much tighter musical ensemble and I enjoy the music very much. A very solid performance from Esperanze in 2005.

Website: http://esperanzaarts.org/

2006 Auditions: TBA

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 1:45pm EDT

Show: Transfiguration: A New Beginning

  • Silhouette
  • Metamorphosis
  • A New Hope

The good: MUCH improved hornline over 2004. All those returning vets are a big part of that. What's more, the book is more demanding than last year, yet the horns were more than able to handle it. On top of that, the horns are using Kings this year and it shows. Very nice power across the board. For the record - Ludwig drums no longer sound like crap. Whatever Ludwig did in the past decade is working.

The bad: Key Poulan charts are beginning to sound like the same piece re-written for each corps who plays his music. I'm actually kind of glad Magic has brought in Donald Hill as the new arranger. Horns also have to be careful not to overbalance. Sometimes there's too much low brass, sometimes too much high brass. Balance is also an issue during soft moments of the show when the horns are more exposed. Drums have some dirt to clean up for next year, but, knowing Lee Beddis, his staff will be more than up to the task of handling that.

The ugly: Endurance. The corps loses steam during the closer, something that will need to be addressed next year. I'm hearing phrases dropped a lot during the last 3 minutes of the show, as well as increased balance issues in the hornline.

Overall: The corps may have dropped four places from 2004, but it was more a case of other corps becoming that much better as Magic showed much improvement in 2005. With a new all-star design staff in place for 2006, it will be interesting to see where Magic ends up next year in Madison.

Website: http://www.magicoforlando.org/

2006 Auditions: November 25-27

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 12:28pm EDT

Show: Gold Rush

  • Death by Triple Fiddle
  • The Gates of Gold (for Violin and Orchestra)
  • She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain

The good: This just SOUNDS like a Troopers show. I don't know what about it makes me say that but my mind just says Troopers when I hear this show. The arrangement of She'll be Comin' Around the Mountain was the highlight of the show and showed off a silly side to the Troopers which I enjoyed. The piece after Mountain is straight-up Troopers, very Western, if you will.

The bad: Death by Triple Fiddle was kind of abrupt and I'm not sure it translates well to the field. My wife has the original recording and that's a tough act to follow.

The ugly: The drill (from what I saw in Allentown) is lacking. I understand that's due to uncertainty of the size of the corps when the drill is written but I'm willing to bet a more demanding drill would push this corps up a spot or two because the corps did have strong technique.

Overall: I do feel this corps is better than last years but the demand was lower than 2004. I think the corps is ready to be challenged in 2006 and they won't disappoint.

Website: http://www.troopersdrumcorps.org/

2006 Auditions: November 18-20

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 12:14pm EDT

Show: This Place Called Ireland

  • Our Homeland
  • The Irish Spirit
  • Tragic Legacy
  • Celtic Pride

The good: When Pioneer does Irish, they entertain. This year is no exception. While the music is "original", it still contains many familiar Irish melodies and, therefore, is easily accessible by any fan. The hornline has a great sound when they play full out and the drumline is agressive. I really love the drum solo, gets my Irish up in a good way (and I'm Polish).

The bad: Attacks and releases. I expect it in the lower tier of Division I so it doesn't bother me, but the hornline and drumline have to clean up it's technique if they wish the corps to move up. The hornline also has to play better at softer volumes. Softer does not mean more timid.

The ugly: The hornline does some body movement (leg kicks and knee bends) which kill the hornline sound and technique. Might want to hold off on that until the corps gets better body awareness.

Overall: This show is a great step up from last year. The corps is showing strength and maturity which they can build on and continue their climb back up the ranks of Division I. I'm looking forward to next year!

Website: http://www.pioneer-corps.org/

2006 Auditions: November 16-18

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 9:56am EDT

Show: Mission Accomplished

  • The Glory Days from The Incredibles
  • Secret Agent Man
  • Theme from The Pink Panther
  • Betrayal from Mission: Impossible
  • Mission Accomplished

The good: I like the music selection and anything from The Incredibles is going to get a thumbs-up in my book. I also have a soft spot for any high hat cymbal work a snare line does on the front sideline. The cymbal work along with the arrangement of the Pink Panther theme was the favorite part of the show for me. If I remember, the colorguard had Pink Panther tails as equipment during this part of the show. When I saw Kiwanis in Allentown, I felt they were mailing their performance in because I felt no energy from them at all. I can say that was a fluke, though, as this performance had the energy I was looking for.

The bad: The lack of size hurt the hornline as they just couldn't project to the box as well as the corps ahead of them. There were also tuning issues in the hornline, especially during softer moments of the show. The trenchcoats worn by the guard made them look more like flashers than like spies, which was the actual intent of the coats.

The ugly: The new corps uniforms, while attempting to pay tribute to the past, only come off as looking cheap and ill-fitting. Might be a good idea to bring back the '97-'04 uniforms.

Overall: The corps performed as well as their size and design allowed but Kiwanis isn't going to do much better than the bottom of the Division I pack unless some changes are made. It might even be worth considering dropping back down to Division II for the time being.

Website: http://www.kavaliers.com/

2006 Auditions: TBA

Category:Reviews -- posted at: 9:29am EDT


Raiders, 2005 DCI Division III Champions

Episode 3 of Box Center is now available for download.

In this week's edition:

Box Center is a weekly podcast, released each Monday, dedicated to the news and events of the drum and bugle corps activity. Box Center is hosted by Kevin Gamin, Assistant Editor of Drum Corps Planet News.

Direct download: Episode_3.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:17pm EDT

Yes, that's right. That's why you're not getting a show tonight. I've worked a 12 hour shift today, the Indians and the White Sox are facing off for what may be the deciding series for the AL Central division, and I'd like to spend a little time with my wife tonight.

Tomorrow will likely be the same as I work another 12 hour shift. Assume the show will be released on Wednesday. To tide you over, here are the show notes for this week's episode so you have an idea of what to look forward to...


Raiders, 2005 DCI Division III Champions

Episode 3 of Box Center is now available for download.

In this week's edition:

Box Center is a weekly podcast, released each Monday, dedicated to the news and events of the drum and bugle corps activity. Box Center is hosted by Kevin Gamin, Assistant Editor of Drum Corps Planet News.

Category:general -- posted at: 8:41pm EDT

KYOU, an AM radio station in San Francisco, currently broadcast podcasts. Only podcasts. 24 hours worth of podcasts. Talk about cutting down on production costs.

Now, here's the big deal: I've submitted Box Center to KYOU radio and will do so each week. The chances of them putting the show on the air, however, depends on if THEY think people will listen.

By chance, there are THREE major drum corps in the San Francisco area...

If you're a drum corps fan, especially a San Fran drum corps fan, go to KYOU.com. If you don't see Box Center on the program grid, contact the station and let them know YOU want to hear the show on the station.

If we pull this off, this will be the only drum corps focused show on broadcast radio and the first since Matt Mingle's Drum Corps Radio, last broadcast in 2003.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

Shortly after the Apple e-mail I received, I got this message from my host, Liberated Syndication:

Ok, like almost everyone of our users have emailed us about the recent flush of iTunes emails. Please keep an eye on http://support.libsyn.com for the latest on this.

It looks like there was a combination of events today that have compounded. The iTunes change is just one of the things going on. We're not putting all the blame on it, but it's been hard to diagnose. The important message is we are working on our end of it and have a line of communication to the Apple guys.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Category:general -- posted at: 8:21pm EDT

I got this from Apple today which at least partially explains why Box Center isn't showing up in the iTunes podcast directory:

Dear Podcast Owner

An error was encountered in your Podcast feed [ http://boxcenter.libsyn.com/rss ] preventing update. We will not be able to update the directory from your feed until this error is resolved:

We had difficulty reading this feed. Bad http result code: -1

Sincerely,

The iTunes Music Store Team

Category:general -- posted at: 8:17pm EDT

From DCI.org:

DCI Hall of Famer and Louisiana resident Moe Latour, along with his entire family), is in a hotel in Baton Rouge, La., and has been there since last Sunday, away from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

According to George Hopkins, director of the Cadets, Moe has been "Sitting in bed eating cookies and drinking Diet Coke" all week.

Latour saw his house in Kenner, La., yesterday, and although he will need a new roof, he had no water damage.

Category:special -- posted at: 5:31pm EDT

From YEA:

Moe Latour, tour manager for the Cadets for many years, and past manager for the Blue Stars, Phantom, and Star of Indiana, lives in Kenner, Louisiana.

We have tried to locate Moe for the past few days with no luck. Moe does not have a cell phone or e mail and we are reasonably sure his house has been seriously flooded as be lived close to the airport.

Moe did talk to Megh Healy of the Cadets administrative team this past Saturday evening, and he and his sister were still debating whether to evacuate. Of course, we hope they did, and that they are just too busy with life to give a call.

If you hear anything about Moe, please call me direct at 201-960-0605 or give the office a call at 610-821-0345. If you know of anyone who might know Moe or his family, please give them a call.

Any info would help!

Category:special -- posted at: 9:13am EDT

Episode #1 of Box Center is now available for download.

In this week's edition:

Box Center is a weekly podcast, released each Monday, dedicated to the news and events of the drum and bugle corps activity. Box Center is hosted by Kevin Gamin, Assistant Editor of Drum Corps Planet News.

Direct download: Episode_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:58pm EDT