Madison, Wis. DCI Division II & III World Championships Semifinals Magic victorious tonightAfter being inactive for two years, the Magic of Orlando's victory tonight (they scored a 98.0) in Madison is a surprisingly sweet one. And because the top five scoring corps in Division II and II finals competition tomorrow night may declare Division I status and move on to Division I quarterfinals on Thursday (only if the corps intends to participate as a Division I corps in 2003), some of the Magic are anticipating a performance on Thursday."I think we're looking forward to Thursday. That's what they've been working for. They feel that they have a point to prove," said Magic of Orlando executive director Dennis Cappello."The year has been better than we thought it was going to be! We're extremely happy. We're extremely happy with the kids. It' just been absolutely amazing," Capello said."It feels very good for the organization" to be back competing, said corps director Rod Owens. "We're working hard to build a solid foundation for the future."Justin "Curly" McKinney, 21, a Magic baritone player and a veteran of the 1999 Magic corps, estimated earlier this summer that 10 or 15 players from the 1999 Magic have returned. He also said that 15 or 20 performers from other corps joined the Magic this season."Everything that I've seen administratively has been done correctly," McKinney said of the differences between the Magic of 1999 and the Magic of 2002. "The staff is top-notch." McKinney is from Palmetto, Fla., and attends the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Fla. He is studying music education and hopes to become a teacher. The Magic program this year is entitled "Desert Wind," and includes music from the 1975 movie "The Wind and the Lion." The original music was written by famed film composer Jerry Goldsmith, who also penned the music for the recent movies "U.S. Marshals" and "Hollow Man," among others. "The Wind and the Lion" featured Sean Connery and Candice Bergen."We're excited about it," Owens said of the Magic program this year. "It's crowd-pleasing and energetic. It's geared toward the fans and audience," Owens said. "I love the show. The show is a blast," added McKinney. "The drill is killer – very entertaining." McKinney said he particularly liked the high tempos and loud dynamics of the 2002 Magic program. "I get to play as loud as I possibly can (in certain passages), and I love that," said McKinney, who moonlights as a trombonist in the off-season. The Magic is made up of performers mostly from the state of Florida, Owens said, and added that the corps is sporting new uniforms this year. The corps is made up of 62 brass players, 34 guard members and 33 percussion players.Magic of Orlando – Orlando, Fla. -- 98.0For anyone who has witnessed a Drum Corps International World Championship event, there is always at least one special moment of the week. Perhaps this performance here this evening was one such moment. Without question, there is definitely magic in the air. What a thrill it is to witness the success story of a corps that only a few years ago left the field of competition with no immediate plans to return. As the week progresses it will be interesting to see just how far the Magic of Orlando will go. Some have suggested the possibility of making an appearance in Saturday night's show. Only time will tell. Stay tuned.Capital Regiment – Columbus, Ohio -- 95.6Here is a corps that is really going places. Under the bright lights tonight, the Capital Regiment's mission to "Climb Everest" appears quite attainable. Clearly this articulate ensemble of musicians and performers is passionate about their work and perhaps there has not yet been a more passionate performance here this evening. Featuring an intensely powerful horn line and a brilliantly accomplished percussion ensemble throughout this program, the patience and determination to build a powerhouse corps from Columbus has paid off.Mandarins – Sacramento, Calif. -- 95.6This corps seems to mature even more each time they perform. From the technical proficiency of the drum line and front line percussion to the elegant visual support of the color guard, the Mandarins have obviously earned the title of a champion over the years. Reaching beyond their past successes, the Mandarins' upper brass has really extended their skill set with this year's incredibly challenging repertoire. If it is the responsibility of a champion to constantly seek a new challenge, then the Mandarins have not only accepted the responsibility, they have met the challenge.Vanguard Cadets – Santa Clara, Calif. -- 93.8The lights in the stadium are now casting a shadow of each member in at least two directions, adding another dimension to an already dynamically visual corps. As this program evolves, each section of the horn line is discernable, but it is the very rich baritone sound that seems particularly striking. This becomes even more evident as the corps breathes "Lento" (from "Dance Movements") into life. Supported under the stadium lights by a rich gold layer of silk from the color guard this piece makes all in life seem good.Spartans – Nashua, N.H. -- 93.35The cool, crisp evening air here in Madison proved to be the perfect vehicle to carry the Spartans' baritone solo introduction. Delivered with great tone and phrasing, this soloist deserves the title. Also appropriately featured, the Spartans' rifle line has easily earned the right to wear red and draw attention, as they appeared flawless in the handling of their equipment. Equally deserving, the percussion line had a great performance tonight as could be expected from this well-seasoned organization.Esperanza – San Diego -- 91.5After a hauntingly beautiful on-the-field warmup from the horn line, the impact of the opening sequence of this show was completely captivating. Displaying a superbly integrated visual program, the focus seams clear every step of the way with each component of the corps handling their responsibilities incredibly well. Soloists, ensemble presentations and drum line features each delivered as the designers likely intended. The visual and audio balance of this presentation was spectacular. Great job!Revolution – San Antonio, Texas -- 89.55From a wide opening set and a dynamically poised color guard, "Ballet Sacra" introduces this presentation by compressing tightly and then unwinding with an emotionally driven drum line. This opener appropriately exposes the strengths of the Revolution drum line, which is later brought to the front again to visually interact and support the color guard. With highly accomplished skill, the guard successfully handles rifle and body work that rivals even some of the most successful corps in World Championship history. We can expect more great performances from this corps in future competitions. Patriots – Rochester, N.Y. -- 88.75With an airplane-shaped beginning set and the color guard lying in an irregularly structured line of airplane figures, the tension builds throughout the opening piece as one can imagine the passion associated with the search for and later discovery of flight. With broad strokes of red silks filling the air framing the corps, the horn line is visually lifted with this passion and spirit. The intense tempos throughout the back half of the program further carries this passion forward as flight is realized through the overall ensemble field presentation.East Coast Jazz – Malden, Mass. -- 87.8Tonight, East Coast Jazz appears to be on top of their game. A fantastically mature and well developed brass sound is now filling the cool evening air here in Madison. The color guard has released their presentation of "Pegusus" with a poignantly airy and elegant phrasing of body and soul. In "Music for an Unwritten Play," the soprano soloist easily conveys the spirit of the introduction of this richly melodic piece. While periodically working through some challenging staging transitions, the color guard has effectively maintained a highly dignified and effective performance throughout the program.Scores at dinner breakBlue Stars – 87.8Jersey Surf – 87.65Taipei Yuehfu – 85.2Capital Sound – 85.1Yamato – 85.05Americanos – 83.55Marion Glory Cadets – 83.15The Lehigh Valley Knights –78.95Raiders - 78.3Blue Stars – LaCrosse, Wis. 87.8This corps uniform looks as great today as it did in '72. OK, I wasn't there in 1972, but the look is timeless. The strong blue and white contrast heightens the dramatic and fluid movement of this presentation. And what a strong percussion line! This group of 14 skilled and highly articulate drummers have accepted the challenge of this program and made it sound easy. Every step appears in to be in perfect in time. This was a very impressive performance by a corps with an even more impressive history.Jersey Surf – Berlin, N.J. -- 87.65"West Side Story" with a twist! This is really great stuff. Funky, cool to really great effect. A well-programmed show and very, very well-executed. With a color guard dressed in tu-tus, neon orange shirts and lime green hair, you can imagine how effective the tune "I Feel Pretty"can be. With a brass and percussion ensemble that can really "belt it out," this show really fills Camp Randall, if not all of Madison. The corps even managed to work in a short "On Wisconsin" fight song cheer for tonight's crowd while maintaining the true spirit of this classic musical.Taipei Yuehfu – Taipei, Taiwan -- 85.2With a very strong corps uniform in red, black and white, an equally strong introduction is captured through tightly articulated drum and brass phrasing. This later gives way to a more reserved and delicate melody featuring the body and equipment of the creme and pastel blue of the color guard. This program also exhibits some remarkably pure and full ensemble brass sound that reaches levels not yet heard this evening. Undoubtedly, Tapei Yuehfu has matured over the years and has achieved a very impressive performance level this season.Yamato – Osaka, Japan / Riverside, Calif. -- 85.05The shadow of the stadium's concert side is now midway across the field as Yamato takes the stage. Using a very colorful series of props to frame their performance, this program opens with a serene and sometimes dark brass melody supporting an impressive array of color guard solo saber tosses. During their second piece, "Pigalle," the drum line exhibits serious skill through both heavily articulated stickwork and impressive marching footwork. Their program "Symphonic Sketches" is literally connoted as the color guard effectively introduces 10-foot-tall paintbrush props and silks that eloquently move across the canvass of Camp Randall stadium. Yamato has brilliantly introduced the next level of performance in tonight's competition.Capital Sound – Madison, Wis. -- 85.1The mood is clearly set even before the first note is played. Cloaked in long, black hooded gowns, the color guard dramatically opens this rendition of Elton John's "Funeral for a Friend." But the strength of this program is revealed later as the brass produces a full lush sound within the context of Pink Floyd's "On the Turning Away" and later as the drum feature takes center stage in Kansas' "Carry on Wayward Son." Clearly this program builds as the conclusion arrives amidst a successful visual intensity.Marion Glory Cadets – Marion, Ohio -- 83.15The highlight of the Marion Glory Cadets program seems to be the color guard. Moving skillfully throughout the brass and drum line staging, they capture the visual component of the program. Without question the Marion Glory Cadet's musical program is challenging, yet the color guard manages to enhance the incredible efforts of the musicians exceptionally.Americanos – Appleton, Wis. -- 83.55What a beautiful afternoon here in Madison. The stadium is soaked in sun and a mild summer breeze greets the Americanos haunting mellophone and bell introduction. This piece unfolds with an impressive display of percussion skill exhibited from every element of the drumline. Given the challenging staging of the visual program, the hornline easily handles a series of tightly scored brass moments throughout the program and is supported by a color guard that has obviously mastered the skills of an impressive array of equipment. This corps should be very proud of their accomplishments this summer.The Lehigh Valley Knights – Allentown, Pa. -- 78.95Supporting a dramatic opening color guard soloist, the Lehigh Valley Knights horn line begins the program with a series of impressive body movements before offering a serene, melodic introduction. Further showcasing their agility, the horn line further explores the use of body as visual element to dramatic effect as they set the stage for a solid drum line feature. The show progressed through an incredibly successful romantic melody creating a peaceful calm within the stadium. Of particular importance is the rich texture added by the front line percussion throughout this piece. As the drum line moves to the front stage for yet another feature, it is clear that the bass drum line has spent countless hours throughout the summer perfecting their craft. Indeed, a very impressive performance from this relative new comer to the DCI Division II/III World Championships.Raiders score 78.3The Raiders of Hillsdale, New Jersey have opened tonight's competition and appear to have added another level of refinement to their performance. With a brilliantly tailored red gown for the color guard and the cobalt blue corps, the visual dynamics of their program are clearly enhanced in the Wisconsin afternoon sunlight. Although relatively compact in size, the Raiders'musical ensemble is strong and bold in a manner not usually found at this level of competition. They have truly brought a great performance to open tonight's show and offered an impressive finish to their 2002 season.