2019 Scores & Reviews

98.325 – Blue Devils
98.238 – Bluecoats
96.600 – Santa Clara Vanguard
96.563 – Carolina Crown
95.400 – The Cavaliers
94.488 – Boston Crusaders
92.050 – Blue Knights
91.225 – Blue Stars
89,838 – The Cadets
89.300 – Mandarins
87.550 – Crossmen
87.238 – Phantom Regiment

Mandarins are definitely keeping bungee chords in business this season. Full corps dance block center field while the drums continue to thunder away on their djembe and concert basses. Nice intro by the brass into On The Shoulders of Giants. Love this arrangement. I love how many guards do full all rifles at some point in their shows. Man, pit is playing a TON of notes! It’s like the percussion version of British brass band! Half the guard on flags now, and that is also very visually striking. I am in a perfect position for the mellow when they start Truman Sleeps. Great tone. Run Boy Run. This is where the guard members all hang from the towers on bungee cords while the drum line has a blast and drives our main character nuts as they make him, well, run! This version is MUCH better than Cavies and fits the theme better as well, especially how its used in its more original form. Restatement of the Trumen Sleeps theme, but at full volume. Very intense. Building to the final fate of our cursed traveler. He is stabbed and thrown from the platform, hanging from a cord. He’s not dead, he’s just restin’. Beautiful plumage. — kevingamin

Love how the Mandarins bass drum heads catch the light.  — DPsouthern81

Mandarins Color guards awesome — theonlyfizzle

Go get ’em, purple team! — grenadasmoothie

Love the rifle in the mouth work. Definitely out of the box.  — Dpsouthern81

Nice rifles — Jeffe77

There’s a bit later where they line up the props on side A and sit on them drop the rifles, catch them with their feet and hold them for the other line down on the field to take as they catch the rifles that line has tossed up to them.  They do a LOT of nifty tricks with rifles. — KVG_DC

Really enjoyed Madarin’s ballad. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t really noticed it before tonight. Haven’t seen Mandarins as much as some other corps this season. –jasgre2000

Mandarins were no fluke in 2018.  While their dark shows might not be for everyone, they’ve forged an incredible identity that is instantly recognizable, and I am in love with.   The colorguard, visual performance, and commitment to character is some of the best out there.   Keep improving musically?   They’ll be seeing some pretty high placements very soon. Unrelenting, intense, etc.  Please keep doing you.  — DrumManTx

Wow, that final chord sequence was nice — HouserCD

Mandarins, thank you so much for that show this season. Congratulations on being back in Finals for year two. I’m going to cheer my head off when you pass Cadets tonight! — Jake W.

Great job Mandarins! Can’t wait to see what you give us next year! — Dpsouthern81

I’m so glad to see that Mandarin’s placement last year was not a fluke. — Jeffe77

Mandarins! Woah, dudes! That was 10th? You guys were so good! — jjeffeory

Yaaasss Mandarins! Making Cali so proud!! Thanks for the awesome-ness! — POSITIVenrgy

Great job by Mandarins!!! — George Dixon

This year’s show Should be 9th….we’ll see!!  — fanman

Mandarins, how about a “Crouching Tiger” show next year?  If there’s one corps that could get people flying it’s them… — ExPitster

97.700 – Blue Devils
97.550 – Bluecoats
96.325 – Santa Clara Vanguard
96.025 – Carolina Crown
95.213 – The Cavaliers
93.413 – Boston Crusaders
92.625 – Blue Knights
91.300 – Blue Stars
89.800 – The Cadets
89.438 – Mandarins
88.225 – Crossmen
87.775 – Phantom Regiment
85.587 – Spirit of Atlanta
85.350 – Pacific Crest
84.300 – The Academy
84.225 – Colts
82.137 – Madison Scouts
81.663 – Troopers
80.350 – Spartans
78.725 – Genesis
78.400 – Legends
77.100 – Gold
76.650 – Music City
75.900 – Jersey Surf
73.275 – Seattle Cascades

A lot of thunder to open the show as the snares and tenors play djembe drums and the pit and bass players play a lot of basses.

This must the first show I can think of that features both Tibetan throat singing and bungee jumping. Yeah, this show is eclectic.

These rifle tosses are insane. Mario Ramirez is bringing the fire to Mandarins guard design. — kevingamin

it’s the “lets whirl them around by our teeth” (literally) that gets me.  

Also the “drop and catch them with our feet while working another with our arms” bit later on — KVG_DC

I love how my CA corps are made up of so many ethnic backgrounds — Cop

i find all of the rifle work in this opener fascinating because it’s so different than anything i’ve ever seen

i don’t usually even really notice cg. — Lance

I’m already awarding Mandarins a full extra GE point for covering up that ugly giant white Colts football helmet right in the middle of the field. Best use of a tarp this year!  — wvu80

There was the end of the “Ima drop my rifle and catch it with my feet and hold it there for you while catching yours that you just tossed up” moment.  — KVG_DC

Yeah, this performance earned its standing ovation. — kevingamin

Another great year for Mandarins — 27Socal

Mandarins 5 year To-Do list (circa 2016):
 Show Design



 General Effect

__ Clean performance of a demandingly complex music book (but they sure have been ramping it up!) Next year is gonna be amazing.  — KVG_DC

97,650 – Bluecoats
97.550 – Blue Devils
96.238 – Santa Clara Vanguard
95.938 – Carolina Crown
94.250 – The Cavaliers
94.225 – Boston Crusaders
91.475 – Blue Knights
90.850 – Blue Stars
90.100 – The Cadets
88.850 – Mandarins
87.375 – Phantom Regiment
87.163 – Crossmen
85.250 – Spirit of Atlanta
83.925 – Pacific Crest
83.900 – The Academy
83.825 – Colts
81.025 – Madison Scouts
80.850 – Troopers
80.400 – Spartans
78.163 – Genesis
78.075 – Legends
76.825 – Gold
76.588 – Music City
76.413 – Jersey Surf
73.700 – Seattle Cascades

RIFLES.  😮 — DrumManTx

Hell yes Mandarins! The last three minutes of that show are so impressive! — MikeRapp

Given the Mandarins’ show ending, brass and percussion judges must be very glad they are barred from the field this year. — lawdn

Great job Mandarins! — Dpsouthern81

Great sound and awesome guard but Mandies show is out there. Strong ending. — Whiskey

Great show, Mandarins. You look like you’ve been in Finals for 20 years – owning everything you’ve achieved and pushing further again. Fascinating and dark, and the performance quality rising every year.  — lawdn

e had goosebumps right in the blow zone here. — kevingamin

I want some of what the Mandarins design team is smoking? i love their show, and the MMs do a great job. — MikeD

The sheer athleticism of the Crossmen and Mandarins guards is just crazy. — MikeRapp

Mandarins highest score ever.  — DrumManTx

96.150 – Blue Coats
95.150 – Santa Clara Vanguard
94.850 – Carolina Crown
92.800 – The Cavaliers
92.700 – Boston Crusaders
89.550 – Blue Knights
87.800 – Mandarins
86.100 – Phantom Regiment
85.950 – Crossmen

95.875 – Bluecoats
94.775 – Carolina Crown
93.100 – The Cavaliers
92.300 – Boston Crusaders
89.000 – Blue Knights
87.975 – Blue Stars
87.200 – Mandarins
86.400 – Phantom Regiment
83.150 – Colts

Mandarins: Wow, that was VERY ambitious. That’s going to take several viewings for me to really digest. See you at Finals! — Cadevilina Crown

93.638 – Carolina Crown
92.650 – The Cavaliers
91.975 – Boston Crusaders
87.875 – The Cadets
87.125 – Mandarins
86.625 – Crossmen
85.900 – Phantom Regiment
84.600 – Spirit of Atlanta
82.863 – Colts
82.575 – Pacific Crest
76.625 – Jersey Surf
71.950 – Seattle Cascades

Oh I get it.  Mandarins are doing a “dark version” of Jersey Surf’s show and these are the ‘dark zone’ fish!   😉 But seriously I love the weirdness coming out more and more in this show.  — KVG_DC

I know a lot of people don’t like the angsty/dark shows, but they fit Mandarins REALLY well, and they really buy into them.  — DrumManTx

Ooh. The lamp is super effective lit up with the LED lighting tonight.  — KVG_DC

Hoods on the uniforms are new. — FLBuzcut


Would an uplifting show just come across as cornball these days? — 2muchcoffeeman

When Mandarins bit and spun rifles with their mouths I went 😮  — DrumManTx

Are they actually doing that with their mouths though?  It’s a “WTF DID YOU JUST DO?” moment for sure. — KVG_DC

I saw that in row 6 in San Antonio and gasped.  I was shook.  — DrumManTx

Wow,  DCI IS becoming more like WGI,  with that Ayala HS indoor drumline head gear. == 27Socal

Brass sounds a lot more balanced tonight.  Really nice stuff. I can definitely see the Diamanté influence in their guard.   — DrumManTx

Great job Mandarins. — Dpsouthern81

Please keep being weird Mandarins. I love it — DrumManTx

Three weeks ago the Crossmen has a chance to catch Mandarins. Not gonna happen. Mandarins pulling away IMO — soccerguy315

man another really strong guard – have we ever had this many top notch guards? I don’t think so — George Dixon

Wow, Mandarins! I love that ending set with the subtle slope downward toward the sideline centerfield. So simple, yet quite effective. Great show! — CrownedSantaPhantom

Mandarins looking a lot cleaner than they were in Atlanta. Love their show. — bluesman

Wow Mandarins are awesome! Love the additions. Such a powerful show! — POSITIVenrgy

Great job, Mandarins!  Congrats JW! — CrownBariDad

Mandarins have really turned it up a notch musically; X-men can’t match them there — Malaguena88

93.250 – Carolina Crown
92.700 – Boston Crusaders
87.050 – Mandarins
82.350 – Colts
70.750 – Seattle Cascades

Mandarins!!! Wow. Glad I sat down low on the 45! Might be the best corps from that spot all season.  A top 3 show for me last year and I think it might be again for me this year.  I’m tired just watching that one. I love the dark, dramatic and in your face.  — Den8yml

That one is fun down low, the members are really buying into it and that’s fun to watch.  — DrumManTx

100% selling it!  If I could be young again, that was like an invitation for me to go west coast and join them 😉 — Den8uml

92.050 – The Cavaliers
88.300 – The Cadets
87.150 – Mandarins
84.600 – Spirit of Atlanta
74.200 – Jersey Surf

Spirit and Mandarins looked and sounded awesome! — jmahone

85.750 – Mandarins
84.800 – Phantom Regiment
81.300 – The Academy
81.000 – Pacific Crest
77.350 – Madison Scouts
69.540 – Seattle Cascades

93.762 – Bluecoats
93.637 – Blue Devils
93.250 – Santa Clara Vanguard
91.588 – Carolina Crown
90.675 – Boston Crusaders
90.513 – The Cavaliers
87.175 – Blue Knights
86.913 – Blue Stars
85.950 – The Cadets
85.050 – Mandarins
84.213 – Crossmen
83.725 – Phantom Regiment

Mandarins keep me engaged the entire show! — MidWestfan

Love Mandarins ! — EricS

Mandarins have show design and colorguard figured out. Keep growing percussion and brass and they’re gonna just keep going up. — DrumManTx

I’d agree thatMandarins  have visual and GE figured out. Now to sort out the music. This show lacks a moment for me like the True Colors hit was last year where I’m pulled into it. — KVG_DC

Mandarins are getting really good Really nice ensemble sound Guard quite strong — George Dixon

Mandarins guard, I see you! Now that you’re cleaning up in spades, I’m seeing just how complex this work is as well. This is how scores are built. — KVG_DC

Mandarins are bringing it tonight. Let’s get some Cali! — Poppycock

Mandarins chant to djembe is so cool. — KVG_DC

I love the identity Mandarins have gone with. — DrumManTx

Bungie prop scares me every time they do it. — KVG_DC

This guard is WOAH. — DrumManTx

This is the first corps that I actually believe could kick my ###. — MikeRapp

I am glad last year was no fluke.  If I’m being honest I think I like the last two shows a little bit more from a thematic standpoint, but this years show is a big step up in maturity and difficulty and they’re doing it so well. — DrumManTx

Geez.  They hold that pose so still and so well after all that energy.  I’d be gasping on the field like a fish out of water, not calmly holding a yoga pose and getting ready to focus tone for the ballad. — KVG_DC

I know taste is an individual thing, but I’m struggling to see how people don’t like this show. — DCIdad

I’m on multi cam and it looked those kids left it all out there on the field!!! — Bucbari

They are much cleaner than cadets especially the guard – and the show has clarity which is everything in DCI — George Dixon

JW Koester (current Mandarin corps director) has a record of building or ramping up a corps, like SCV 1996-1999 — Jeffe77

85.650 – Mandarins
82.300 – Spirit of Atlanta
78.600 – Pacific Crest
72.750 – Genesis
69.300 – Seattle Cascades

Mandarins for the win, yawn. — skcoop63

“yawn” and “Mandarins” do NOT belong in the same sentence. 🙂 I’ll say it so they can hear me all the way in AL… BRING IT, MANDARINS!!!!! — Euphonium Dad

This will most likely be the Mandarins’ first time (as a World Class corps, at least) winning a show located east of the Mississippi River. –Cadevilina Crown

92.150 – Blue Devils
87.350 – Blue Stars
84.650 – Mandarins
84.050 – The Cadets
79.400 – The Academy
76.100 – Troopers
74.500 – Madison Scouts
67.800 – Seattle Cascades

In case I forget… BRING IT, MANDARINS! — Euphonium Dad

I really think that corps is going to have a great 2.5 weeks — George Dixon

I am wearing my Mandarins t-shirt from last year … sending some positive Vibes. I look forward to seeing them live in Allentown!!!! — Amazed&Stunned

Blue Stars 2.7 over Mandarins and 3.3 over the Cadets. First time for Mandarins to beat Cadets, ever. — TomVV

WOW Mandarins!!! — Cadevillina Crown

Just take a look at that GE score. That corps has a great group of designers moving them on the up and up — Cappybara

WOW WOW WOW – Mandarins beat The Cadets! Hears the crowd went crazy for the Mandarins and the show rocked!!! — GetOFFmyDot

When was the last time Mandarins beat Cadets? — Narrow

The last time was in Two-Thousand-Never! This is historic for the Sacramento corps! — brassy

Mandarins beating Cadets is huge. Is that a first for them?

And im amazed how quickly blue stars went from neck and neck with cadets to 3.3 up — AlexL

85.600 – Blue Stars
84.250 – The Cadets
83.550 – Mandarins
78.800 – The Academy
76.250 – Pacific Crest
72.425 – Genesis
71.150 – Music City
70.450 – Jersey Surf
67.200 – Seattle Cascades

What I’m looking for: 2 nights ago Mandarins were 1.4 below Cadets. Does the gap narrow or widen tonight? — Euphonium Dad

Answering my question. Not just narrowed but CUT IN HALF (Cadets over Mandarins by 0.7). Keep climbing Mandies! — Euphonium Dad

Here come the Mandarins!

Just 0.7 behind Cadets, beating them in overall GE and overall Visual! — Cadevilina Crown

And they beat Cadets in both GE and VI by 0.2 in both, but trailed in Music by 0.9. That was the difference. 

I officially call this a battle for 9th place now. (I love a good battle! 🙂 ) — Euphonium Dad

They cut the gap in half in one day. — Terri Schehr

91.213 – Bluecoats
91.013 – Blue Devils
90.475 – Santa Clara Vanguard
88.863 – Carolina Crown
88.513 – Boston Crusaders
87.500 – The Cavaliers
85.550 – Blue Knights
95.225 – Blue Stars
83.575 – The Cadets
82.175 – Mandarins
81.875 – Crossmen
80.613 – Phantom Regiment

Mandarins will be a very dangerous corps down the stretch — George Dixon

Mandarins have three mics on high stands and three more on low stands on the sidelines.  The mixologist has his hands full. — garfield

I really like the djembe use at the start.   it goes on a bit long for me but it’s part of the slow burn they make getting started. — KVG_DC

this show is pretty f’n hard — Lance

Mandarins guard is a step up this year from the previous year (again).  — KVG_DC

i don’t know anythin about guard, but i’m watching hi cam, and i’m seeing mandarins do things with rifles i’ve never seen much before from any corps — Lance

The show is aggressive and oh so good…..but the rifle work is outstanding. One of the highlights, for sure IMO.  — POSITIVenrgy

They’re seriously good.  The connection with Diamante indoor is paying off in spades. — KVG_DC

Mandarins – 8.5/10 — Liked the whole show, it was good, it all worked — DrumCorpsRadio

Oooh The Mandarins bass drum heads are so cool! — tommynev

Wow Mandarins!  I loved that show.  👍 — wvu80

First time I’ve watched a show in a long time…Mandarins…wow… — skewerz

Mandarins with a great ending!! — WarriorWay

The show is aggressive and oh so good…..but the rifle work is outstanding. One of the highlights, for sure IMO. — Fred Windish

89.450 – Santa Clara Vanguard
88.000 – Carolina Crown
87.025 – Boston Crusaders
86.100 – The Cavaliers
83.950 – The Cadets
83.850 – Blue Knights
82.775 – Crossmen
81.975 – Mandarins
80.100 – Phantom Regiment
77.400 – The Academy
76.250 – Colts
75.100 – Pacific Crest
72.675 – Troopers

Mandarins have very many rifles. Very many. Looking for a Winchester sponsorship, maybe? Great show. Pulled people out of their seats. Splendid. — Mookielove

88.400 – Blue Devils
88.350 – Santa Clara Vanguard
83.300 – Blue Knights
82.950 – The Cadets
81.250 – Mandarins
80.250 – Crossmen

88.100 – Bluecoats
86,600 – Boston Crusaders
84.600 – The Cavaliers
81.850 – Blue Stars
80.500 – Mandarins
78.650 – Phantom Regiment
77.150 – Spirit of Atlanta
75.400 – Colts

Wow Mandarins… That was a performance. Great brass. Great storytelling. Really enjoyed that. — Tony Flores

As expected,  Mandarins so much better in person. Brass is much improved over last year. Corps performing g with confidence. Opener especially is musically and visually tight! Show is exciting. Guard is pretty much killing it. — FLBuzcut

87.500 – Bluecoats
83.550 – The Cavaliers
81.150 – Blue Stars
79.450 – Mandarins
78.850 – Phantom Regiment
75.500 – Colts
74.650 – The Academy
73.050 – Madison Scouts

Some nice little changes in Mandarins opener, gives the music a little more clarity. — DrumManTx

RIFLES!  Tosses for days!  — DrumManTx

It’s awesome. The bungee bit makes me gasp every time. — KVG_DC

I think Mandarins does the offset pit thing the best.  It opens up the front of the field but is far enough forward that it doesn’t pretty much cut off a full quarter or half of the field that other corps do.  — DrumManTx

Man this guard is working. — KVG_DC

This feels like a much more locked in performance than on Wednesday.

Transition into the ballad has received some nice changes.  Flows a lot better. — DrumManTx

The ballad seems a lot more polished tonight. Wow I’m captivated.

Some super smart adjustments to this show from the staff as they go into San Antonio. Should solidify their run for finals. Then they can work on additions and such.  — KVG_DC

Winner of “best duet by flugel horn and baritone” — kdaddy

Percussion entrance at the climax of the ballad needs a little work but otherwise that’s awesome.  Brass is on.  — DrumManTx

Ah! That was a great close up of that tricky move the sabres do with their feet while on the ground. — KVG_DC

Mandarins have been my personal fan favorite of the west coast corps the last two seasons. Their guard is excellent, the show grabs you in and doesn’t let go.   Their vibe is great and I can’t take my eyes off them! Well done!  — DenBuml

Honestly, I’m delighted to see them taking on more.  They’re being ambitious about not only staying top 12 but wanting to move up.  Inside the Ink was no lightning in a bottle show as we saw with last year’s solid follow up.  This year shows more of the same.  I love that they’ve carved out a stylistic niche all their own. They’ve made a number of adjustments to transitions (that are good) and still have sections that need some serious cleaning attention.   This show is beyond what this corps has done before demand wise so I think they’re feeling their way through the process of doing this much.   I suspect by San Antonio, we’ll see this together a lot more.  — KVG_DC

86.300 – Bluecoats
85.600 – Santa Clara Vanguard
79.650 – Blue Stars
77.500 – Mandarins
74.000 – Colts
73.000 – The Academy

Omg. I did not notice that’s a bungee prop before. I love the tension building in this opening. — KVG_DC

Mandarins look great, sounds very solid too but I think that’s where they might need another year before moving up.  If there is one thing that Cadets, Blue Stars, Blue Knights, Blue Stars, and Crossmen all have in common it’s that they all sound VERY good this year.  Regardless, I still really like this show.  They’ve made some of the transitions a lot smoother. — DrumManTx

WOW….if anyone thought last year was a one shot deal…they’re idiots. — Bucbari

I love it! Wtg mandarins! — WarriorWay

Love the show!  Still a ton of room to grow musically, but other than that keep doing what you’re doing.  — DrumManTx

Mandarins are strong… Guard is much stronger this year than last, Exhibiting some qualities of a top 6 guard.. The Diamante connection is paying off.

Brass is moving some air.. Drums have that Ike touch.. — Glenn426

I’ll second on the guard. There’s some moments they’re really popping and selling their show. — KVG_DC

79.000- The Cadets
77.700 – Crossmen
76.000 – Mandarins

Mandarins on the field. Response:   From what I hear about the bug situation, that was a literal description. — barigirl78

WOW !!! THAT WAS A KEEPER !!! — JW Koester

75.500 – Mandarins
66.950 – Pacific Crest

Appreciative hometown crowd for subTerra. Mandarins made several changes to their show from the last time I saw, both musically and visually.

Musically, they’ve removed some of the mud from the top of “On the Shoulders of Giants,” they’ve changed some of the harmonics at the beginning of the ballad, and they added some chord changes to their final notes of the show (LOVED that particular change). Visually, they no longer have the intruder climb up and battle the DM during the ballad—instead he now struggles with a brass member on the wagon behind the brass, which makes the staging more effective. The really big deal is that they now have MANY people hanging from bungee cords at a couple points in the show. It’s not really utilized too much yet, but I’m sure they’ll be making more out of it soon. Unfortunately, it was particularly windy tonight so the guard had some rough moments with some of their really big weapon tosses, but that’ll iron out once they’re inside a dome. The audience really applauded when during the final chords some mortar fireworks went off in the distance, perfectly timed. — brassboy

78.600 – Blue Devils
78.550 – Santa Clara Vanguard
75,900 – The Cavaliers
73.300 – Blue Knights
71.950 – Mandarins
67.550 – The Academy
64.900 – Troopers
63.300 – Pacific Crest
59.800 – Genesis

Gawd yes, Mandarins! What an exciting and entertaining show! — jjeffeory

Like the show a lot and they have a good foundation to build on. In my view, they will be in the Finals again. Solid captions across the board. — Jeffe77

78.550 – Santa Clara Vanguard
78.150 – Blue Devils
75,850 – The Cavaliers
72.900 – Blue Knights
71.850 – Mandarins
72.900 – Blue Knights
67.200 – The Academy
63.250 – Troopers
61,850 – Pacific Crest
67.150 – Genesis

Standing o before the show ended!! Woohoo! Great job!!! — Tabatha Mueller

Holy cow!!!!!! That was an incredible run!! Standing “O” well deserved. This Corp rocks!!!!! — Terry Whipple

I can always look forward to the Mandarin’s playing creepy, dark shows. I love their shtick — Cappybara

Sounds like a Mandarins-friendly crowd. — brassboy

Being in Mandarins guard these past few years must be both incredibly fun and terrifying in turns. — KVG_DC

Some new little things that make the transitions a little more effective and sell the secret underground city thing a little more. — DrumManTx

Guard is HOT! — DrumManTx

There is no doubt this is an amazing show! I love that Mandarins have this dark identity!  Amazing everything! — goodmello

Love the Mandarin guard 🔥🔥🔥 — renthead09

tremendous individual skill with this corps brass section.  when they get the ensemble grooving, they’ll be something — Lance

Mandarins are going to sound so good by season’s end.  The brass is developing faster than last year it seems to my ear,. — KVG_DC

These Mandarins mellos are fantastic — Cappybara

I’ve been waiting for a corps to forge out a really dark identity and Mandarins have filled that role for me.  The last three shows have been so dark and angry but still so fun to watch.  It’s hard to do dark in an accessible way and they are. — DrumManTx

get it tubas — jeffmolnar

Can see they’ve filled in some of the gaps that were just standing around a week ago.  — DrumManTx

Yeah. I get the feeling they’ve got a good deal more they can layer I yet too. This show could be a monster by the end. — KVG_DC

This hornline is so much fun to listen to — Cappybara

This show will get great GE, visual, and guard numbers all season.  Where I think they might have some trouble pushing into the 7th – 9th grouping is music, Cadets, Blue Stars, and Blue Knights sound a tier stronger.  Not to say Mandarins sound bad, just more room to grow.  Still LOVE this show!  — DrumManTx

Agree 100%. This is a very well done visual program and man did they nail the staging this year. Guard has SOOO many times to shine and they do a great job when they are given those moments. Another great show from Mandarins! — wilme861

Woo.  The battery drilling away under those last chords at the end is nice. — KVG_DC

Okay that show was a nice little treat. I like seeing the mandarins be the best mandarins that there ever was. — jjeffeory

Mandarins one of the few Corps I think that still has a lot of content to achieve in their music book this year, quite a difficult show but I think it’s perfect for them. They have a great vehicle this season. — WarriorWay

know corps’ closers are gonna change through the season but Mandarins currently have one of the best closers on the field this season — Cappybara

Absolutely, non stop excitement. — DrumManTx

Mandarins guard is hella good. — ContraFart

Very happy for the Mandarins-  breath of fresh air in the activity and to continue to improve. The music reminds me of the Blue Stars Houdini Show- well done. Two thoughts- they boxed themselves in a corner literally- they stay on Side 1 in front field for a long long time- this May come back to bite them in the latter stages of the season. Hornline can compete with anyone, Guard strong again- Perc not at same level. Fantastic finalist corps again this year- Go Mandarins! — wesleyrp

77.000 – Santa Clara Vanguard
74.800 – Cavaliers
71.500 – Blue Knights
70.050 – Mandarins
63.050 – Troopers
62.150 – Pacific Crest
57.400 – Genesis

74.300 – Santa Clara Vanguard
73.900 – Blue Devils
72.100 – Cavaliers
69.700 – Mandarins
65.750 – The Academy
62.700 – Troopers

The hometown crowd was out in full-force tonight and let their presence be known with a roar of cheers as the Mandarins entered the stadium. The corps did not disappoint their fans a delivered their finest performance of the weekend. The evening’s highlight continues to belong to the ballad, Rain in Your Black Eyes by Italian composer Ezio Boss. The movement showed the softer side of the corps that is rich in passion and emotions. The haunting duet by euphonium Matt Miller and flugelhorn Aaron Christanson set the tone for this dark ballad. The number closed with an impressive crescendo that brought the audience to their feet. — Michael Carlson

Mandarins are technical, fun, and entertaining. Brass has hit a new gear since last year.

I I like everything about this Mandarins show. Even little intonation issues can’t take away from the show because those will certainly get fixed. — PopcornEater1963

MANDARINS!  Standing O and well deserved. So much energy in this show, and they just keep ramping it up as the show progresses. There is no doubt about it, mandarins will be in finals this year. — Photographer Jim

I really like the Mandarins these past few years. Great to see! — OnMyMind

Mandarins 69.7  DANG!!!! — GetOFFmyDot

Mandarins developing into a force is just the best thing. — geluf

Not comparing shows or scores, that’s a no-no, but it’s still weird to see Mandarins with a higher score than Cadets coming outta the first weekend. But i love it. Way to go Mandarins. Lets see where BK fits in to the mix next weekend. BK is no joke and will be ready. — Chief Guns

73.000 – Santa Clara Vanguard
72.350 – Blue Devils
71.000 – The Cavaliers
67.850 – Mandarins
64.950 – The Academy
61.450 – Troopers

Last summer proved to be a phenomenal year for the Mandarins by finishing the season in the World Class top 12 with a 10th-place finish and their highest score since entering into the top class. In 2019 the corps is already performing under a full head of steam to position themselves to be a serious challenge to the World Class top five in August. The Sacramento corps has continued its strong working relationship with Key Poulan in the creation of their production, “subTerra.” The show design builds itself around a theatrical presentation and feel, similar to last year’s “Life Rite After.” The Mandarins maintain a formula that has worked well for them in the past, with hard-hitting brass arrangements and an aggressive color guard whose execution can be compared to a sporting event. The evening’s highlights was On the Shoulders of Giants by Peter Graham. The music is pounding in a tribal sort of way and incorporated impacts you could feel push against the stands. The music builds with intensity through long passages of triple-tonguing that is reminiscent of their 2001 opener, Music for a Festival. In a first for any corps, a member of the color guard bounces from the center tower to perform a routine using a large bungee cord. Also of note is the dark ballad, Rain in Your Eyes by Ezio Bosso. The duet of flugelhorn Aaron Christanson and euphonium Matt Miller lends itself well to poetic influences of the original composition. In a move not often seen anymore, one of the drum majors conducts much of the ballad on the field, keeping pace with the rest of the corps. — Michael Carlson

I love that Mandarins has gone all in on the weird… —  dcsnare93

The mandarins have replaced Madison on the swagger scale — awunderlich

LOVE this percussion opening. — DrumManTx

Looks like their rifle line is picking up where they left off last year, fantastic stuff going on.  — DrumMaxTx

This show grabs you early and hard!  Dang! — GetOFFmyDot

Not to be crude but this show grabs you by the b……throat.  And I love it.  — DrumMaxTx

great trumpet feature! — goodmello

Mandarins are here to stay! — jasgre2000

I LOVE the ambition musically, this is a so much harder show than the last two by a ton.  And they’ve already cleaned up a ton since a video I saw a week ago.  — DrumManTx

corps is going places. this show has a ton of potential.  — Lance

Following up on the running metaphor.  This show has way more mean going on already than last year.   I loved last year, but this is a step up with complexity. — KVG_DC

Truman Sleeps, from the Truman Show. Awesome. — JayM

I’m pleasantly surprised at how well they’re playing all those notes for this early in the season. — smj02

Love it. That entire film score is amazing. — Musicman1084

The inside of Ike Jackson’s mind must be an interesting place… — KVG_DC

Mandarins were amazing last year … but this is even better (significantly). This corps will medal someday. — jasgre2000

a step up for the hornlike — 27Socal

Oh give it to us tubas. This ballad has a ton of potential. — KVG_DC

Hey Mandarins – u mad, bro? — Musicman1084

The Mandarins have such a clear identity now, and I LOVE it.  — DrumManTx

Full guard on rifle, okay! — DrumManTx

Yeah. Rifles are back for Mandarins in a big way. — KVG_DC


Favorite uniforms of the season, by a long shot. — Musicman1084

Mandarins, I wasn’t sure the first time I saw this show.  I’m sold now, unrelentingly intense well conveyed, looks great, and some HUGE difficulty they’re tackling incredibly well.  They make finals again, I’m feeling pretty confident about that. Wow! — DrumManTx

No ‘one and done’ from Mandarins. They plan to stick around for finals. — Old Corps Guy

Yep…. I’m going to binge watch this show as often as possible. Nice production Mandarins! — TerriTroop

I love everything about the mandarins this year. megaprops, uniforms, visual design, brass, percussion, everything. wow. cannot WAIT to see this show develop over the next 10 weeks. — Lance

Standing O! Nice job Manadrins! This show grabs you and just doesn’t let go — dcsnare93

Ok, Mandarins. Sure. You can stay. –Musicman1084

Ok Mandarins, I’m buying what you’re selling! This design team is on a roll — wilme861

Mandarins: Bringing on the height wars with those props!  Getting into their zen space with this pre-show… must be a great way to tame the competition jitters.  Already feeling their increased sophistication this year.  Isn’t Boston playing this opener also??  Mandarins are in Top 12 to stay.  This is an example of a corps that reads the sheets, and designs to them.  Nice release on the ballad.  Another corps with a clean uncluttered look on the field.  There are plenty of props, but the field never looks crowded.  Mandarins have some serious brass this year!!  The top 12 should be on notice.  Things are shaking up. — Ediker

Mandarins are magnificent — Cop

Mandarins are so good. They have the show designs I am captivated by. Hope they keep this up every year! — kinetic inferno11

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed that. It’ll take something really special to beat that out for my favorite show of the year. — jasgre2000

I’m extremely excited to see where this how ends up!  First show so far that I try to follow down to the slightest detail! — goodmello

Well, that was just great!  Mandarins were a favorite last year, and look to be again this year. — Reed

They’re definately not a 1 shot wonder!!!….I know its early but they’re definately a finalist again. — Bucbari

Yes Mandarins!!! Love it! Can’t wait to see you live in San Bernardino next week! Cali stand up!! — Chief Guns

I can see Mandarins/Cadets/BStars in a group for 7-9. — Reed

As of right now, I think Mandarins could end up in 7 with that show design. — kinetic inferno11

Mandarins and Cavaliers probably my two favorites tonight.  SCV was phenomenally good as was BD, just didn’t tick my boxes like the other two did. — DrumManTx

After tonight’s scores Mandarins are alone in 7th place in the rankings!  — Photographer Jim

Not saying its going to happen, but could you imagine if Mandarins topped Blue Stars and ummm………..Cadets? — Chief Guns

mandarins are about 3 points behind cavies.  boy, does it seem strange saying that. — 27Socal

It feels kind of weird to be in the minority here, since I usually agree with the consensus, but even though I am a Cavaliers homer, their show did nothing for me. I didn’t dislike it, but it didn’t blow me away like some of their past shows have.  I loved BD and SCV. SCV’s talent level is off the charts this year, and I was really impressed by their show, performance and design.  Mandarins were still my favorites though from a pure enjoyment level. — jasgre2000

Favorite show of the night: Mandarins – #### their show is good all around.  I love the repertoire.  Here’s to hoping they make their second consecutive finals run! — NeutralNovice


72.350- Santa Clara Vanguard
71.700- Blue Devils
70.200 – The Cavaliers
67.100 – Mandarins
64.600 – The Academy
60.450 – Troopers

Video by Gavyn Tapp.

The Mandarins’ “subTerra” — all I can say is HOLD ON! This production will take you into the deepest, darkest jungle at night and leave you there alone while the natives get restless and have you for dunner. This is a beautifully designed show with so much creativity, heavy drum breaks and natives climbing totem poles made of skulls. GREAT SHOW with music by Key Poulan, Phillip Glass, Ike Jackson and several others. Hats off to Director Jim Tabuchi and his staff for another fantastic show! — Jim Clayton

And the Mandarins pull a standing O ! Very impressive and entertaining show. — PopcornEater1963

Great start for Mandies in Clovis tonight!

More than 4 points above their opening score from a year ago. A bit surprised their score wasn’t closer to Cavies from everything I’ve seen and heard, but a great start. I really am expecting them to be in the 6-8 range this year, at a minimum. As a reference point, they are starting .01 above where Cadets started a year ago, and Cadets ended up in 7th. Still a long journey ahead, but my gut instinct tells me that’s their destined range this year. Hard to imagine them NOT improving from their 10th spot last year. They seem stronger musically and have a more complex show this year. Wish we could fast forward to San Antonio. Anxious to see this season unfold. — DCIdad

Oh my. This is surely a finals night show again. Good for Mandarins.  –mjoakes

Good to hear Mandarins are in good form, it’s so hard to keep outdoing yourself year after year.  Can’t wait to see them and everyone else tomorrow night! — DrumManTx

Good for Mandarins. First time they caught my eyes was back in 2009. Now look where we are today. So proud of them. — theonlyfizzle

Mandarins are for real. What a great start for them. — queenanne_1536

Love that Mandarins score. Great way to start and to send the message that last year was not a one-and-done! — Photographer Jim

Vanguard and Mandarins continuing where they left off. Awesome to see! — Jeffe77

Mandarins could make top 8 — flammaster

Saw the top four.  Mandarins are moving up. — Terri Schehr

would put Mandarins 7th just based on video and the first couple shows. We may have another Boston on our hands. JMO  — George Dixon

Mandarins also show MAJOR improvement upon their first score from last year, the difference being just over four points. The 5.25 points separating Mandarins and SCV is an ALL-TIME low, same is true for Mandarins and Blue Devils. — Jeff Griffith

I’m not as hot on it as I was about Life Rite After upon first viewing. I can almost copy & paste word for word my post in the SCV thread —- it doesn’t seem nearly as fresh as last year, but I guarantee that freshness wasn’t at the top of the design triage; I imagine depth & complexity was, of which they have boatloads. It’s a dense, knotty show that, similar to SCV, is going to take a few viewings from me to fully grasp and a good chunk of the season to flesh out and bring the ideas to fruition. But I see the shadows of what they’re going for, and it’s terrific. Tons of stuff going on, and I imagine a lot of artistic choices to be worked out still….but there’s already a ton of layering & maturity in the design. That brass book is heavy & intense, and the front & center strangling at the end reminded me that we were indeed in dark, weird Mandarins territory (which makes me happy). I love the bones of the show, but I’m aware this big step forward in depth of design is going to take a bit longer to be fully realized on the field. The fact that they’re already popping those numbers with a fairly bare bones show makes me smile. Speaking of popping those numbers, holy cow I can easily justify those scores from the video. Guard is yet again their strong caption and looks even better this year. Brass sounded TERRIFIC!! The whole corps appears to move & play with a focused, clear intent of topping last year’s successes and tackling this difficult show they’ve got lined up. That Mandarins intensity from the last two years is still overflowing, but now has an added air of maturity to it. What a way to start the season, Mandarins!!!! I can’t wait to see what this show develops into by August! — Jake W.

Also going to be interesting to see the Mandarins vs Cadets head to head for the first time (wow who would have thought any of us would ever say that).

The Mandarins sound REALLY GOOD. — ThePlanets

Mandarins started last year at a 62.95. Jesus what a jump. — Narrow

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