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TechGuy

U of I Review

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As always, this is just one old fat guy's opinion, so don't take it too seriously. (See signature.) All bands worked hard to put their shows on the field today, and you all should be proud of your accomplishments. Any comments I make on show design in no way reflect on performance, and I try to avoid them unless I just can't stop myself.

<rant

First, for the love of God people, learn some Live Performance etiquitte. DO NOT seat yourself during a show. DO NOT proceed to talk about the stadium pointing out various sights (loudly) to impress your friends with your knowledge. And these were adults. Kids, you don't want someone blocking your parent's veiw while you perform, please extend the same courtesy.

And can we get over the whole 'I put my jacket down so this seat is mine' thing? I understand if you're sitting there and saving a couple of seats for someone. But if you lay down a blanket and walk away and no one has any idea who put it there 30 minutes later and it's the only seat left, I'm going to let someone else sit there and reserve the right to look at you like you're an idiot when you return. You want to save the seat? Sit in it.

And Drum Majors? The only people worried about your salute are you, your parents, and maybe the Drum Major Judge if there is one. We want to see your show, not your 42 count salute. Snap one off in two or three counts and get the show rolling. In reviews, I will abbreviate this "Salute rant".

</rant

On to the shows!

 

Johnsburg - Percussion too loud at times. Guard has major drill and work clarity issues. At some point someone dropped a flag they should have retrieved instead of 'air flagging'. (Techguy's rule: If you can get it in less time than you'll be without it performing, then GO GET IT!)

Trombone solo a bit flat. Winds drill OK from a clarity standpoint for the most part, but basic.

 

Salem - Great show! Loved the guard uniforms, really enjoyed the opening statement. Caught some foot phasing in tune 2 in the woodwinds. Felt like the soft sections could have been a tad louder. But then I wrote "Rude people walking in front of me during show", so that might explain it also. Liked the ending to second song. Liked the good ole 'High Step' and thought it was very uniform across the unit. Well done!

 

Highland - Holy crap where'd all these kids come from? I don't remember Highland being this big. Salute rant. Like the opening silk. Heard phasing in the first big impact. Drumline dutting too loud (insert discussion on dutting, volume, and it's merits here. I am unmoved. If I can hear you dutting from the second-to-last row in the upper deck at the U of I, it's too loud). More phasing. I thought the white swing flag was too small for the moment, it needed a bigger silk. Drill appears complex at times and is handled reasonably well, but demand is not all that strong. Nicely done.

 

Morton - Here's what I wrote for Morton's show : !

Too busy watching to write anything else. Shows like this are the reason I love marching band. They're telling a story but not beating us over the head with it, it's just another layer in this finely nuanced show, while at the same time it's the underpinning of everything on the field. Can't wait to see how far they take this.

 

Pontiac - I was really impressed by Pontiac's show. Haven't heard any Copeland on the field in some time, so it was a great joy to return to it. I really liked the opening statement. Great to see Base Clarinets on the field! Opening of Simple Gifts was very well done. Love the 'windup block'. Some minor guard form issues at the end. Was happy to have some Pontiac parents sit behind me later in the day so I could tell them I enjoyed it. I'd really like to see this one again.

 

Rochelle - Guard lost me at the streamer - hoopy things. If you can't spin it, I hate seeing it in the guard. Just my pet peeve. Nice sound from the band. Caught some moving at a halt - c'mon, it's October! Saw too many basic form and facing issues throughout. Flag duet where one person didn't have a flag... I assume that was not on purpose. If it happens again, I'd stay off the field. Caught some phasing in the percussion feature.

 

Streator - bathroom break. Sorry guys. Sounded like the crowd liked it.

 

Bloomington - Great sound. Thought the keyboard was a bit loud during soft passages. Thought the ladders were neat but under-utilized. Musically complex sections sounded muddy, but couldn't put my finger on why. Guard has a lot of cleaning to do. I've enjoyed Bloomington's show over the last several years, but have to admit a bit of surprise at seeing them win thier class today. Well done!

 

Lincoln Way West- Hey! Small bands! Look over here at LWW! Here's what you can achieve! Really enjoyed this show. Well deserving of second in class, although I would have had them first. Lots of movement and nuance, very well done. Some around me thought they were 'prop heavy' but I thought they filled the negative space nicely without being overwhelming. Great show!

 

East Peoria - Ok, I heard 'Elvis' and immediately thought "Cheese Dog time". Glad I stuck around. The guard was one of the best on the day, very confident and a great bunch of performers, obviously having fun with the show. I didn't feel that the drill matched the intensity of the music in some places, but overall it was a fun show and they managed to avoid any 'gimmicky' stuff. Very well done.

 

Galesburg - Salute Rant x 2

Noticed some interval issues, may have been marching a hole? Make sure it stays there. Some phasing in the impact in second tune. I wrote 'sets take a long time to build' which means I thought sections lacked needed velocity in drill. I appreciate the rifles but wish more work was done with them. Winds if you're going to stand still to play a difficult passage, you'd better nail it consistently. Today you did not. Overall a nice 'Galesburg' sound and show.

 

Washington - Drumline is tight but sometimes overbalanced. Guard was very good. Again I thought drill lacked some needed velocity. Appreciate the musical styles attempted here and with other groups doing more modern stuff - the Journey worked for me. Well done!

 

Yorkville - Not handling vertical form responsibility well, noticed cover issues throughout. Found the guard to be pretty basic but clean. Appreciate the double-flags at one point, not sure how it's been since I've seen that. Some folks off step in the slow tune, others foot-phasing. Watch the major. Guard has some clarity issues when varying upper body facing pull equipment to different angles. Appreciated the woodwind sound in song 3.

 

Alan B. Shephard - Guard moves and spins very well, really nice sabre work (normally I'm not a fan of sabres on the field, but this was good!) Trombone solo could have been louder. Noticed some minor form issues at the end of second tune. Enjoyed this show!

 

Overall a nearly perfect day at the U of I. It will be intersting in the coming years to see how / if some bands adjust to the new sheets, or if they just go elsewhere.

 

 

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One thing I noticed was that quite a few bands marched bass clarinet this year. Not every other one, but probably more than one might expect.

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Techguy, you are so on target with your rants about fan etiquette and the drum major salutes that have taken on a life of their own. I was also glad to see you mention the guard from Alan. B. Shepherd. I was very impressed with their sabre, flag, and rifle work as well. ABS is a good example of classic drum and bugle corps.

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Hey TechGuy, were you done? Where's the rest of the review? I'd like to hear your review of other bands?

 

I stayed for most of the next class, but chose not to review because I have family competing in that class. I left before the last class.

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Techguy. Great review. Thanks for giving us guys who wish they could make it your take on how the show went!
In hindsight I wish I would have had more info, what band played what, etc, but I enjoy watching the shows too much to write that stuff down.

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Alan B. Shephard - Guard moves and spins very well, really nice sabre work (normally I'm not a fan of sabres on the field, but this was good!) Trombone solo could have been louder. Noticed some minor form issues at the end of second tune. Enjoyed this show!

 

As an alumni of that school and I still have my cousin invovled I completely agree. :D One thing I would like to point out about the trombone soloist. I know no one would know this unless you would be from this school but, the soloist is deaf. He has come a long way and to be able to play as well as he does and not be able to hear it is amazing in itself. Just for your information.. :)

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