1998 PAS Individuals & Drumline

Note from James Christian:  I originally wrote this review in November 1998.  In September 2016, I went back and reviewed the comments to make some slight modifications.  The main content has not changed.  Hoewver, I wanted to fix a few obvious typos and reword a few things to make the intent clearer.

John Wooton
Lee Hanson

Overall, the level of competition was greatly improved from last year. I enjoyed the overall contest more. I was quite dismayed to see how badly everyone opened and closed their rolls. All but Jody Thigpen crushed the sticks into the head when they got to their top speed.

*JODY THIGPEN (4th place, 89.5)*

ROLL: He had the best roll of anyone there. 7 errors

SOLO: 7 errors 1 stick drop

Overall, he had the best executed solo of anyone. His solo also displayed much more speed and skill than the others. G.E. suffered a little bit because of the stick drop, but he recovered fast, and it wasn't a major problem. There were a few minor errors in the last half, but nothing significant. I'm not sure what the judges were thinking. G.E.-wise, there were a few sections that sounded a bit awkward. He didn't seem "relaxed".

*CONTESTANT #2 (disqualified)*

I didn't catch his name or school, but he was disqualified for late entry.

ROLL: Way too short. 16 errors

SOLO: 34 errors

He had a green drum that was about 5 inches deep. He sounded very sloppy and forced. Not a lot of dynamic contrast.

*RYAN SIRNA (3rd place, 94.0)*

ROLL: Came out of it way too fast (10 seconds difference between length of closing and opening). 11 errors.

SOLO: 36 errors 1 stick drop

He, too, recovered quickly from the stick drop, so it wasn't a significant drop in G.E. His solo was, however. It was a bunch of simple tapping around the drum. He also should have been disqualified for playing on another instrument, other than that which he was competing on. He held this metal cylinder and tapped on it with mallets and sticks. He had some creative visuals, but nothing very demanding.

*WILLIAM WHEELER (1st place, 96.5)*

ROLL: He had one of the better rolls, time-wise. He was pretty consistent in the length of time he took to open and close it. 18 errors.

SOLO: 21 errors

This was the second best performance of night. I figured that he would get first place (just because he didn't have any breaks or stick drops). Very little dynamic contrast. He had a semi-lengthy section where he played some moderately fast singles. I didn't like the fact that he actually integrated South West's entire drum line into his solo. There was a section where he was keeping a bass beat on the bottom of his drum; the whole drum line was swaying back and forth in time, and then he pointed to them, and they all shouted "Uhh!" When actually playing on the drum, there was very little rhythmic or dynamic contrast. The only contrast was provided by tapping around the shell, rim, stand, and bottom of the drum.

*ALLEN JOANIS (2nd place, 95.0)*

ROLL: 11 errors; went overtime by 6 seconds.

SOLO: 48 errors

Allen and William Wheeler (and Ryan Sirna was pretty close) had the largest "support groups" cheering them on. After one section of crushing some buzz rolls into the drumhead, someone in the back shouted "Tasty!" His solo wasn't very hard at all. It was also executed somewhat poorly.

*JOSH HINKEL (5th place, 89.0)*

ROLL: He only took half the alotted time. (15 seconds in; 15 seconds out) 12 errors.

SOLO: 16 errors

His whole solo was fairly simple. He had a HUGE rest section where he did stuff with brushes. You can't expect to gain points if you don't perform. Very low on demand and G.E.


In placing the contestants, I used PAS's point system (Roll: 10 points; Execution: 30; Demand: 30; G.E.: 30).

For the Roll & Execution captions, I used tics, and I took off 1 point for a dropped stick or break.

For Demand, I used a sub-caption system, each caption worth 5 points:

Visuals (not just any visual, but demanding stuff)
Speed & Endurance

For G.E., I again used a sub-caption system, each caption worth 10 points:

Overall Impressiveness
Overall Presentation (Energy level, Showmanship, etc.)

I realize that this isn't the best judging system in the world, but I assembled it about 10 minutes before the contest.  Notice that all of these things reward the *performance*, and not the "design" or gimmicks.  Even the G.E. sub-captions reward the *performance.*

JUDGES:                                MINE:
William Wheeler  96.5..............Jody Thigpen     83.6
Allen Joanis       95.0..............William Wheeler  77.1
Ryan Sirna         94.0..............Ryan Sirna          72.8
Jody Thigpen     89.5..............Allen Joanis        63.1
Josh Hinkel       89.0...............Contestant #2    61.0
Contestant #2   (DQed).............Josh Hinkel      56.2

This is with a 1 point penalty for Jody & Ryan for a stick drop (under my system).

John Wooton
Lee Hanson

I'm not sure what the judges were looking for, but I felt that their placing was WAY off.

*JOHN BINGAMAN (1st place)*

14 errors
25 seconds in; 10 out

43 errors, 1 break

Most of his solo was "The Barber of Seville" played around the tenor drums.  That was a neat idea, but it was executed poorly.  There were a few short sections that were meant to display some skill, but there were way too many rim clicks to be effective.


12 errors, 7 seconds in; 4 out

38 errors

Not incredibly demanding, though I had him and Devin Namaky tied for Demand.  There was a lengthy rest section where he
played with timpani mallets.  Quite dirty.  Not too impressive.


15 errors, 22 seconds in; 17 out

47 errors, 3 breaks

He did his whole solo blind-folded, but it was obvious that he could see through it.  He didn't really play a lot of chop heavy material.  It was mostly timing type stuff.


7 errors, 17 seconds in; 12 out

22 errors, 6 breaks

I liked Devin's playing the best.  If he hadn't had so many breaks, he would have won (or at least should have).  His execution was the best there (excluding the breaks), and he had the best technique there.  His solo was also one of the hardest.  There wasn't a lot of dynamic contrast though.


To see my method of judging, refer to my review of College Snare Individuals.

JUDGES:                                   MINE:
John Bingaman        (1st place)...............Devin Namaky       68.1
Jason Rejman          (2nd place)..............Jason Rejman       66.1
Benjamin Baertschy (3rd place)..............John Bingaman      61.3
Devin Namaky          (4th place)............Benjamin Baertschy 53.3

This is with point deductions for breaks.

Quote from the last issue of "Percussive Notes":

"The PAS Marching Percussion Committee is excited about this year's competition.  The committee discussed and voted on some significant rule changes during last year's committee meetings.  PAS has adapted the rules and adjudication sheets from the WGI indoor marching percussion activity.  The committee feels confident that with WGI and PAS working together, marching percussion will continue to rise to greater levels of excellence." --Julie Davila

Keep this in mind while reading.

Thom Hannum
Mike Mann
Brian Mason
Chris Lee

The props have got to go.  It was ridiculous.  Get rid of the WGI design judging, and get competent rudimental judging.

In watching, I didn't use tics.  (Many lines would have zeroed out.)  I just made some notes as I watched.  So you can be assured that my comments aren't any more subjective than the judges'.

*U of MICHIGAN (6th place, 85.95)*
Unfortunately, I missed them, so I can't give any comments.

*U of CENTRAL FLORIDA (3rd place, 88.75)*
They had a "Medieval Theme".  They had a giant castle prop & costumes, along with a narrarator (via microphone & amplifier), telling a tale throughout the show.  They didn't play much.  The last thing I wrote down was:  "How much COULD they have done if they had spent time practicing instead of building props?"  There were a bunch of cheater 16th & 24th note rolls.  Some cheeses in snare solo.  Decent pit parts. Playing "Maria" at the end didn't fit with the Medieval theme. (I was later told that it was supposed to be a joke, but it seemed rather out of place to me.)
*SW TEXAS (5th place, 86.75)*
They were one of two drum lines that didn't really have any props, though they did have these huge covers on all of their mallet instruments that looked like flames.  Good opening bass lick.  They had some nice moments.  A good section where the snares played a lot.  When they formed vertical lines, there was some bad interval spacing. Scatter drill.  Too much tacet time.  Nice attempt in snare solo, but there were flat flams and dirty diddles.  Tenor solo wasn't very hard, and it had a few rim clicks.  Overall, they were a little dirty at times.  A few nice short sections.  Some potential.  Nothing incredibly hard.

*U of NORTH TEXAS (1st place, 98.125)*
Don't ask me how they got a 98.125 with only four judges.  I pondered that one for awhile.  They had these back drops for scenery.  I almost busted out laughing when they announced "No gimmicks, just drumming...the University of North Texas."  I guess props aren't considered gimmicks.  They had an all "Classical/Art/Music" Theme.
1st song:
The pit was really good in the opener, but the battery was resigned to supply simple sound-effect parts.
2nd song:
Easy parts; a few pit licks.
3rd song:
Slow song; scatter drill; battery tacet; pit parts easy
4th song:
Easy simple stuff; anything that had potential was played too slow.
Tenor solo:  Quite dissapointed.  Way too many rims, and quite dirty.
Bass solo:  Dirty.  Parts not as good as they have been in the past.
Snare solo:  Better content than in recent years, but quite dirty.

*SW LOUISIANA (4th place, 88.25)*
They had a "Ghost Train" theme.  They brought out this HUGE replica of a steam engine (full-size!).  There were also fake cobwebs put all over the pit.  They also passed out a pamphlet that explained their show.  I chose not to read it; I preferred to let the readability of the show stand or fall on its own merits.
*Started off with an electronic keyboard playing organ music.  The rest of the pit played simple parts, while the battery acted out parts.  Once the drums finally played, the snares were dirty.  Decent tenor parts w/ 32nd sweeps, but they had rim clicks.
*Slow song.  Battery tacet. Dancing & acting out parts
*Tenor solo was a nice attempt with the accel., but there were 5 rims. Snares were dirty. At the end, someone ran across the stage with a giant black blanket, covering the entire drum line.  Overall, quite simple parts.

*U of Georgia (7th place, 81.25)*
"Art of War" theme.
*They had white backdrops, which the battery stood behind and pushed against with their hands.  Once, they finally played, they had simple parts.
*They just played simple 16th note patterns forEVER.
*Slow song.  People randomly waling around.  Interpretive dance.
*This sounded similar to SCV's '97 version of "On the Waterfront." The parts were quite simple.  The snares had some flams, but they were dirty. The tenors had some decent sweeps, but they had a lot of rims.

*U of N ALABAMA (8th place, 74.0)*
No props.  They had bright orange uniforms, which really stood out.  I strongly disagreed with their placement.  They were MUCH better than the placings indicate.  I went up to their drum line and told them so.  They were robbed.
*Slow intro.  Scatter drill.  Snares had a lot of flams.  Some pretty nice parts.  Quite a few of them were flat though.
*Slow simple song.  Short.
*Tenor solo:  Not terribly hard.  Some 32nd note rolls.  A few rims.
Bass solo:  Good.
Snare solo:  Pretty good parts, but a bit dirty.
Overall, They had the best snare parts of anyone, and they had a good bass line, and decent tenors.  The pit played fairly easy parts.  The pit and lack of elaborate show design is probably what hurt them.  However, they should have been placed much higher.  This is *marching* percussion, after all.  The battery's demand seems to have been almost a non-factor in the judging.

No props *initially.*
*Started with dutting, which I found very annoying.  Some rolls.  Mostly simple parts.  Battery sections just traded simple licks back and forth.
*Slow song.  Battery sets drums down.  HUGE Russian flag held up.
*16th note cheater rolls.  16th note sweeps in tenors.  16th diddles.  A few 32nds.  24th note rolls.  Easy tenor, snare, & bass solos.  The highlight of the show was right at the end when the snares played an 8 measure 24th note roll.  It would have been nice if it was 32nds, but at least it showed some effort.

Lose the props!  This is a rudimental competition--NOT a Broadway show! What's the deal with tenor lines this year?  Usually, they show up the snares, but every tenor line was quite dirty.  Again, where is the education in hiding behind props for 4 minutes?  You drum line members are being USED!  Don't put up with it!

JUDGES:                                   MINE:
North Texas        98.125                 North Texas
Jacksonville State 94.5                   SW Texas
U Central Florida  88.75                  N Alabama
U SW Louisiana     88.25                  Jacksonville
SW Texas           86.75                  Georgia
Michigan           85.95                  Central Florida
Georgia            81.25                  SW Louisiana
N Alabama          74.0                   (I missed Michigan.)

Best Pit:     UNT
Best Cyms:    UNT
Best Basses:  UNT
Best Tenors:  Jacksonville
Best Snares:  UNT


Again, I refer you to this quote from the last issue of "Percussive Notes":

"The PAS Marching Percussion Committee is excited about this year's competition.  The committee discussed and voted on some significant rule changes during last year's committee meetings.  PAS has adapted the rules and adjudication sheets from the WGI indoor marching percussion activity.  The committee feels confident that with WGI and PAS working together, marching percussion will continue to rise to greater levels of excellence." --Julie Davilla

John Wooton
Bret Kuhn
Brian West
Jamie Eckert

After seeing the subjective judging which took place in Individuals & College Drum Lines, I felt that it was my mission to judge all of the contests there.  After seeing the three high school drum lines in competition, I thought that there was NO WAY they could place them incorrectly.  I was wrong.

*PLANO SENIOR HS (1st place, 95.00)*
Backdrops, which changed scenery for every song; giant props which looked like apartment buildings; podiums and tables, which people stood on; flowers decorated all over the pit; costumes.
Show Title:  "Eight Minutes With Reality"

*Girl standing on table. Everyone dancing & clapping.  Once battery puts drums on, there were some open rolls.  Simple parts.
*Changes scenery.  Slow.  Dancing.  Simple parts playing on tables.  Pit solo was way too long.
*Changes scenery.  Simple parts.  Decent tenor solo (1 rim).  Decent last minute, where they actually played.  Fairly dirty.

*MARCUS HS (2nd place, 93.25)*
Backdrops.  They had these huge metal podiums on either side of the stage that they strung a wire across, so that they could have curtains to open the show...Honestly, that's all that they were used for. Costumes.  They had a pamphlet so that you could understand their show.
"Opera Theme"
*Pit intro (slow)
*Dutting.  Some good short breaks.
*Pit solo:  "Flight of the Bumblebee"; person running around in bumblebee costume; good mallet work
*4 snares set down drums & played tenors.  Nice 8-man tenor solo.  A bit dirty.
*"I Pagliacci".  Battery set down drums & played hand drums.
*"Carmen".  Tacet time.  Girl in red dress dancing.
*"Phantom of the Opera".  Everyone wears phantom masks.  Great pit. Pretty good battery parts, a bit dirty.

Marcus had slightly less tacet time than Plano.  Their parts were also harder.  Their pit was phenomenal, which should have really put them over the top. I talked with Marcus' band director after the show.  I told him I enjoyed the show, and he told me that he was trying to emphasize with his kids that they should be as good of losers as they are winners.  (I agree, but you should also be judged fairly.) Quote from Marcus' band director to me:  "You never know what the judges are looking for."

*BATESBURG-LEESVILLE HS (3rd place, 78.25)*
Electronic keyboards through amplifier; narrarator at the beginning

*Slow intro.  Pit solo.  Battery w/out drums.
*Dutting.  Battery solo.  Dirty.  A few decent parts.
*Hit trash cans.  Easy & dirty.
*Easy pit solo.  Battery tacet.
*Easy drum break.
*Easy parts.  Battery barely played, and when they did, they were dirty.


Everybody had WAY too many gimmicks & battery tacet time.  To all drum lines--college & HS:  Didn't you notice how much applause you got during the last minute of the show when you actually played the drums?  Don't let your instructors sacrifice you for holding some prop or interpretive dancing.  Tell them that you want to PLAY!

JUDGES:                                         MINE:
Plano Sr HS                 95.00               Marcus
Marcus HS                   93.2                Plano
Batesburg-Leesville HS  78.25               Bates-Lee

When they announced the results, I was in shock.  PAS, get rid of the WGI designer rules.  It was ridiculous to see the "Battle of the Props."  Don't give points for this.  If you truly are trying to promote *percussion*, place your emphasis on the players, NOT the designers.


Here's a few exhibits I saw that have some rudimental interest:

I missed the first half of their performance, but what I did see was great.  It's amazing to see the huge dynamic contrast you can make on those calf-skin heads.  I got two of their CDs at Cooperman's booth last year.  I encourage everyone to get a copy.

Just plain awesome.  Their brass was their main attraction, with three drummers playing racks.  Their horn players are unbelievable.  Great soloists.  Multiple ovations.  If you ever get a chance to see them, make sure that you do.

This was a great night of drum set playing.  Four great drummers.  I found it interesting that each of the drummers crammed a bunch of notes in on their solos, but no one chided them for being "unmusical".  I (briefly) met Ed Thigpen afterwards, and Jim Chapin even asked me if I'd seen Ed Shaughnessy. :-)

Another great show.  I loved their creative version of "Three Camps". It was great to see a drum line actually playing 48th note rolls.  They had various exhibits featuring snare drums, rudimental bass drums (with two 5-man solos), and fifes.  Afterwards, there was a "jam" session, where many people came and played "Connecticut Halftime", "The Downfall of Paris", and "Crazy Army".

Overall, there were some great exhibits.  That alone was worth the trip.

Note:  I saw many more exhibits & clinics, but these four stuck out in my mind.

James Christian