Michael Boo was a member of the Cavaliers from 1975-1977. He has written about the drum corps activity for more than a quarter century and serves as a staff writer for various Drum Corps International print and Web projects. Boo has written for numerous other publications and has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. As an accomplished composer, Boo holds a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition. He resides in Chesterton, Ind.
It would be practically impossible to reflect on the end of the Open Class season without commenting on a couple things. First is the advent of the Open Class system, which has worked as well (if not better) than hoped for when the decision was made by the (then) Advisory Committee of Divisions II & III. Second is the validation of the decision to hold the Open Class Quarterfinals in Michigan City, Ind. The community enthusiastically supported the event and the number of fans in the seats for the entire day was unprecedented, filling most of one of the best intimate drum corps venues in the country.

Yamato After taking a year off, it was a pleasure to see Yamato push its way back into the Finals. The original John Meehan musical production of "Mythos," inspired by the myths and legends of Greek and Roman mythology, develops an aura of mystique that leads one to wonder what is around each bend of the music.

Memphis Sound
Memphis Sound It was a little scary this year when it appeared that Memphis Sound might not make it onto the field or on tour, and here the corps is in Finals with "Awakenings," which, ironically, was conceived to represent the euphoria that comes from not giving up when times get tough and one's problems seem overwhelmingly without a solution.

Beatrix This Netherlands corps has really figured out the American drum corps experience over the course of its six tours to the DCI World Championships. "The City" features some of the most unrestrained big-time swing on the field this year. The horns relish the ability to cut loose and blow down the stands like a corps twice its size.

Dutch Boy
Dutch Boy "Boxed" is a most intriguing show, focusing on the things that keep us boxed in throughout our lives, preventing us from experiencing all that life has to offer. This is seen in drill forms that contain and restrict. Eventually, the sections of the corps break free and jubilation follows and the corps celebrates its newfound freedom.

Raiders "Deep Blue" is the color of the corps' uniforms and a conceptual excursion to the vastness of the open ocean. Debussy's "The Sunken Cathedral" depicts the unfathomable deepness of the ocean with ethereal sounds from the pit. A tumultuous tossing and turning of the angry waves envelops the show with a power belying the corps' size.

Revolution "E.le.va.tion" was conceived to explore how people lift themselves up and go on to enhance their life with possibilities and action. The music is at once ethereal and bombastic, as if inviting one to reach out and explore life's possibilities and then get pushed back into one's seat with the order to sit back and observe first what life has to offer.

Spokane Thunder
Spokane Thunder In only its third year, Spokane Thunder has blasted into the Finals for the first time with "Antithesis," an original music program that demands the horn line to sear the turf with a rhythmic program heavy on accented articulations and exposed volleys of rhythmic, chordal brassfire.

Citations Making it into the Finals for the first time since 1986, Citations' show, "The Razor's Edge," features music from "Sweeney Todd" and selections from the rock group Evanescence. I'm astounded by the power and quality of the corps' horn line. They're small, but very, very mighty. You have to open your eyes to remember you're not listening to a much larger group.

Teal Sound
Teal Sound Happy and delightfully quirky, the vocal stylings of the Finnish a cappella singing group, Rajaton, give "Voices of the Seasons" a somewhat whimsical quality. When the bright green and yellow flags pop out near the end, followed by the huge musical push, one knew the clouds that floated over the stadium during the show would not bring rain and would soon give way to nothing but sunshine.

Oregon Crusaders
Oregon Crusaders "Inner Connections" is about links and associations…how one musical fragment is related to another, and how one drill form is likewise coupled with other forms. At the end, poles are laid on the ground as if trusses connecting the beams of a bridge, putting all of the segments of the corps together and showing how things and people are stronger when united.

Jersey Surf
Jersey Surf "So Far" celebrates the corps' 18th year with a musical homage to turning 18, full of the youthful exuberance that comes with reaching the critical age in life when one feels the world awaits the chance to leave an imprint. The horn sound from this corps is MASSIVE and the guard does a great job of expressing the pure elation of youthful living…of which drum corps, of course, is an essential part.

Vanguard Cadets
Vanguard Cadets Like its bigger brother, Vanguard Cadets relishes stretching musical boundaries and has adopted a kaleidoscopic style of drill. "Perspectives" is said to explore the conflicting perspectives between individuals and the collective, accomplished through individual investigations of differing styles of the same melodic material. While not immediately obvious, when listening closely, the varying treatments of the music do become clear.

Blue Devils B
Blue Devils "B" Within 24 hours, many people in Bloomington will be flying home, referencing the images of "Flight" presented in this program. Much of the drill presents the corps as an airplane in flight, taking off, experiencing turbulence and landing. Like another BD corps, this corps is noted for its hard hammering jazz, exposed drumming features and big silk guard presentations. Seen from an overhead view near the beginning, the airplane comes in for a smooth landing.