There seems to be a good buzz in the drum corps community that this might be Santa Clara Vanguard’s year to win Drum Corps International.
Mike’s Thoughts on the 2017 DCI Season
I think SCV stands a good chance of winning if there is no “game changing” innovation introduced by another corps that is around their score. These “innovations” that cause paradigm shifts seem to ebb and flow from year to year. Phantom Regiment did it with their 08 show. They caused a shift in storytelling, that would ripple throughout the drum corps activity. Cadets did it in 2011- they essentially marched two different drum corps on the field at the same time.
I think we saw a game changer (maybe a few) last year with Bluecoats’ ‘Down Side Up.’ We also saw one from Bloo in 2014 which, in turn, boosted a relatively raw show into 2nd place behind the highest scoring show of all time. (As a side note: Tilt is one of my all-time favorite drum corps shows, so I’m not implying any negativity).
I would say that SCV’s closest thing to one of these “innovations” is the mix between the horn line and electronics. But that specific feature isn’t much different from what Bloo did with mixes in the Kinetic Noise show, in my opinion. Strangely enough, the biggest innovation I see right now is The Cavaliers using electronic effects on trumpets and tubas. It sounds like they’re running their audio through a vocoder. I haven’t seen a corps do that until now.
Also, I know it’s not necessarily working how they intend it to yet, but Bluecoats backfield full horn line amplification is also something that has never been done on that scale.
Based on the shows I’ve seen, I think that many corps are presenting their reaction to Bluecoats 2016. And this is great! They’re leveling up to the new status quo. Ultimately, I think the corps that pushes past the status quo will win Finals night. Granted that show is relatively clean. Sounds weird but I think to beat Bluecoats this season- a corps has to innovate.