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FMA Finals Preview
alxmm98
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Ladies and gentlemen of FMA, Finals week is at last upon us. We are going to see some great corps today at Lucas Oil Stadium. Division 1 Drum Corps is still very competitive, and the fight for the gold is a fierce one this season. After many twists and turns, expected and unexpected wins and losses, and of course all of the league championships, we are finally at that point in the season that never disappoints. The FMA World Championship is here!

Tuesday we saw some amazing performances as the major leagues in FMA held their championships. The CLASS Championship, held at the University of Dayton's home football field in Ohio, was by far the largest in FMA history with a staggering 12,721 in attendance. League officials actually had to provide 1,000 additional seats for the large crowd, making the atmosphere that much more amazing. It felt like FMA finals, which isn't all that surprising since CLASS in total has 9 D1 drum corps in the top 12, by far the most of any league in FMA. It is often said that whoever wins CLASS wins FMA, and that may very well be the case again this season.

Nemesis picked up yet another CLASS Championship with a resounding score of 98.190. Their show, "La Boutique fantasque" is a technical marvel that has impressed judges all season. Nemesis has yet to lose this season and sit at 20 straight FMA sanctioned victories. With that being said, as amazing as the show has been, many fans are surprisingly rooting against Nemesis. There is a clear case of fatigue, even though the corps has not won a championship since season 61. Regardless, they are in a prime position to take home the crown once again. The show itself is a visual masterpiece, and the guard like always has been working extremely hard to please audiences around the league. And of course, we can't mention Nemesis without talking about that amazing hornline. They have been phenomenal this season, and the drumline has also done a very good job complimenting them.

In second place, Carolina Royals impressed yet again with their show "V". However, similarly to Nemesis, the Royals are being rooted against by many fans. I interviewed one such fan who had this to say; "Listen, that hornline is always amazing, but how many darn shows are we going to get that are about keys on a computer? Carolina Royals could make hot cross buns sound good, but at some point they've got to give us something out of this world." While I understand this fan's concerns, I must also point out that the Royals are 15 time D1 World Champions, and their formula is a proven one. Why fix something that isn't broken? The corps got a 96.680, good enough for a silver medal and a nice ovation from their fans. The show is technically sound, but I'm not sure they can catch up to Nemesis. A stagnant point in the season between April 1st and April 4th due to a major storm in North Carolina definitely hurt the corps and caused them to slide in the rankings. Some hard work has brought the Royals back, but Nemesis is already on a roll. We will see if finals week will be the turning of the tide.

Before we get to the third place winner, I want to highlight some of the other corps in CLASS and in FMA for their great performances. I also want to discuss the great battle for 5th place between two old rivals, Pride of Peachtree and The Panthers.

Falcon Regiment has been soaring to great heights all season with their show, "Falcon Ascending". The reigning silver medalists have been so close to FMA gold since their comeback in season 57, but they have barely missed their target on numerous occasions. Last season was the most heartbreaking finish for the corps, as they barely lost to Carolina Royals. Corps members were crying and embracing on the field, vowing to come back even stronger. Well folks, they definitely came back stronger. Unfortunately, their brilliant show has been lost in the sea of amazing content this season in FMA. Falcon Regiment currently holds the 4th place position in FMA D1, barely behind the SIA Cadets. Of course, the corps would love to medal yet again, but their ultimate goal is to win the championship. I don't think they will be able to catch up to Nemesis, but the fight for third and even second should be a good one. There is also the potential that the corps falls in the rankings, but I just don't see that happening. At this point the show is too refined for any other corps to overtake Falcon Regiment, and the judges always appreciate a show that is clean. The closer is also among the best within the top 12, as "Birds Set Free" is a powerful and symbolic piece that makes you feel as if you can actually fly. Watch this corps very closely, as they may rise up in the rankings by the end of finals.

There are some other CLASS corps that have done well this season. Vivace Brass and Vincent Storm have been duking it out all season long, and I expect both to move up the rankings during finals. The two corps are currently separated by only .30 of a point, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. The corps are trying to fight for the 9th place spot that is currently held by the Blue Demons, but shouldn't be once finals are over. The Blue Demons started out really hot this season, and to be quite frank, nobody is sure what happened. The corps has not been able to break an 86 for weeks now, and it seems like very little progress has been made. A corps that started out as a championship contender has fallen off the edge of the map in what will surely be remembered as one of the most bizarre collapses in FMA history. If the bottom three corps play their cards right, they can potentially swoop up to 9th place. The third corps at the bottom, Aftershock NZ, is the only FAME representative in the top 12 besides The Panthers and is also in the running with the CLASS corps. Aftershock has held down the 12th place position for a few weeks now, and it doesn't look like there are any viable contenders that can potentially take them out. A lot of eyes will be on that 9th place position in what is one of the more overlooked battles this season.

The battle for 7th is also intriguing. Nashville Sound, currently in 8th place, started out the season in 2nd place, only behind Nemesis. This led many to speculate whether or not the corps would be on a serious push for 1st come finals week. This ended up not being the case, as the pressure got to the old fan favorites and the corps fell out of the top 5. Despite this, Nashville Sound has still performed amazingly this season and are fighting hard to finish strong. Bluegrass Regiment stands in their way currently after they scored a 90.295 at the CLASS Championship. The corps has been fairly consistent over the course of the season, although at their peak they held the 6th place position. After being jumped by a few corps and falling down in the standings, the corps from Kentucky is also fighting to finish strong. The corps has never medaled, and it most likely won't medal this season, but the Bluegrass Regiment is definitely getting better by the day, and their time will come soon. I predict that the corps will lock up the 7th position and hold off Nashville Sound.

And of course, one of the best battles heading into finals is the fight for 5th place between two rival southern corps, Pride of Peachtree and The Panthers. Both corps know each other quite well, as they have competed against each other on numerous occasions over the years. Although the two corps have a rivalry, both corps directors and their members have a mutual respect for each other. Bailey and Alex have worked together in PERC, FLAG, and on the FMA Hall of Fame Committee, co-founding it together. It is rumored that Pride of Peachtree was even slated to join FAME during its early days, but the corps instead chose CLASS and the rest is history. The respect and friendship is there, but on the field, the corps are fierce competitors. Peachtree's show, "The Fragile Oasis", is a technically sound show that has only gotten better with time. The corps has done very well this season, looking to win another medal. While it is looking more and more like Peachtree will not jump into the top 3, the corps still wants to end their run by at least holding on to their 5th place position. The Panthers meanwhile have been on a mission all season long. Not only has the corps never medaled in D1, they have never even made it to the top 5. With a change in approach regarding rehearsals, corps director Alexander Morales has never been so close to a top 5 finish. The show, "For The Common Good", contains the most daring music the corps has ever attempted to put on the field, and although they started out rocky, all of FMA knew that The Panthers would finish strong and be in the mix. The corps managed to win its first FAME Championship in D1, and it achieved its highest ever regular season score while doing so. With hard work and dedication, the corps is on the verge of meeting all of its preseason goals, but Pride of Peachtree is still standing in the way. We will see tonight who comes out on top.

And now, the story you have all been waiting for.

The SIA Cadets have THE show. This is what FMA fans have been talking about since the start of the season. Since the corps' return in season 62, they have yet to capture FMA D1 gold, but they have captured the attention of everyone in the sport. Their show this season, "Altered State of Mind: When Reality Becomes Blurre", is as innovative as a drum corps can get. The premise of entering the mind of a schizophrenic is the most original concept in a long time from a drum corps, and the music is otherworldly. It is a blend of classical themes and modern sound amplification and distortion. This combination has proven to be quite amazing, and fans are in love with the concept. However, judges have been torn all season. While the concept is amazing, the Cadets haven't had the greatest runs in terms of technical proficiency. While the show is by no means a mess, it isn't as clean as other shows. One can argue that this is because the corps is playing at a degree of difficulty that surpasses its counterparts, but the judges are remaining firm in their positions. I have a feeling that the corps will put on one of the most memorable performances of all time at FMA Finals, but they may not capture the gold. One fan had this to say; "If the SIA Cadets don't win this season, it would be a travesty! This show is amazing, and it deserves to be recognized. I don't care what the judges have to say, the Cadets are pushing boundaries that others haven't dared to cross." Regardless of what happens, Altered State will clearly be remembered as one of the greatest shows in FMA history. The CLASS crowd gave the corps a standing ovation, a true sight to behold. The corps has to feel good about what they have put together this season.

Regardless of who wins or loses, this season's World Championship is set to be one of the best on record, and there are bound to be some twists and turns along the way. Below are MY predictions for the eventual outcome of the top 12. Good luck to all corps tonight, and if you aren't happy with where I put you on this list, prove me wrong on the field!

Alex's Final Top 12
1. Nemesis
2. SIA Cadets
3. Carolina Royals
4. Falcon Regiment
5. The Panthers
6. Pride of Peachtree
7. Bluegrass Regiment
8. Nashville Sound
9. Vivace Brass
10. Vincent Storm
11. Aftershock NZ
12. Blue Demons

Again, best of luck to all competitors!
Alexander Morales
The Panthers Drum and Bugle Corps-FAME
FMA Hall of Fame Committee Co-President

corndogshuffle
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Nice write up! Glad to see CLASS going strong after all these years. Looking forward to reading your write up of the Lexington Legends next season!
***FMA Hall of Fame***
4x FMA Marching Band DI Champions 28-30, 46
15x FMA Color Guard DI Champions 27-31, 34, 36, 39, 45-47, 53-54, 69-70
echstrumpet8
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Awesome write up, Alex! I've really enjoyed the friendly rivalry we've had over the last few years. PoP isn't gonna give up 5th that easily!

Good luck to everyone!
Bailey Knight
Pride of Peachtree (CLASS)
Peachtree Cadet Marching Band (ENCORE)(BoD)
Spin and Rinse (FLAG)(Operator)
Renegade Percussion (PERC)(BoD)
mceuph
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Very insightful. I enjoyed reading this.
Continuum
Stradivarius
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Oh geez I better step it up to get that 9th place find sh you predicted lol. I have barely rehearsed at all these passed couple weeks
Founder of Trombone Inc.
gcurrier
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Wow didn't realize we had become so disliked. After 8th, 8th, 2nd 2nd 3rd I thought this was finally our comeback! Oh well, we have loved bringing a touch of class to the field with our ballet shows these last few seasons. We know we have our loyal fans with us so long as Carolina Royals don't sneak in to ruin another undefeated season! LOL
Chairman/Founder CLASS; FLAG BoD, ENCORE & DRUMS

Nemesis-17X Div I/W Drum Corps Champ
Marching Knights-26X Div I/W Band Champ
The Knight Guard-9X Div I Guard Champ
KnightDrum-33X Div I/W Per
sia98aidil98
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Great write up! Didn't expect the SIA Cadets to be the fan favourites this season, let alone make the top 3! This is a clear testament to the innovative programming and unique style that we have been striving for since we returned to competition.

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read and spotlight on the groups/rivalries that are poised to make D1 finals. Hope to see more of this! (and maybe the inclusion of other divisions/marching arts groups as well? Though that might be too much of a stretch)

@gcurrier Personally liked the show you've put up, hoping everyone takes your cue and puts in more effort in designing shows!
Re:Sound Collective - 1x D1 Bronze, 1x D2&D3 Champ
Excelsior Winds - 2x D1 Silver&Bronze, 2x D2 Champ
Antiphony - 1x D1 Silver, 1x D2 Champ
conNexus - 1x D1 Silver&Bronze, 1x D2 Champ
alxmm98
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gcurrier I like your show too! I think the fans are just tired of seeing you win all the time, lol
Alexander Morales
The Panthers Drum and Bugle Corps-FAME
FMA Hall of Fame Committee Co-President

gcurrier
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fair enough but Carolina Royals have been kicking everyone's butt for what nine seasons? LOL SIX championships in those times several very last minute and dropped all the way to SECOND in those 3 times they didn't win LOL Just saying!!! We are both fighting for the title of the Blue Devils of FMA I guess LOL

All in good fun --but I was working on trying to develop something more with shows so it wouldn't get stale--I appreciate the recognition SIA! I've been spending hours before each new season sifting through source music for ideas so they feel a bit more "real"
Chairman/Founder CLASS; FLAG BoD, ENCORE & DRUMS

Nemesis-17X Div I/W Drum Corps Champ
Marching Knights-26X Div I/W Band Champ
The Knight Guard-9X Div I Guard Champ
KnightDrum-33X Div I/W Per
alxmm98
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Thats just what happens when you win! Nemesis and Royals have been the best of the best since the beginning, and with that comes the fans that want someone else to win. BUT, you guys win for a reason. You practice hard and your shows are on point. Fans of FMA just need to accept that lol, and when another corps comes out on top itll be because they worked just as hard
Alexander Morales
The Panthers Drum and Bugle Corps-FAME
FMA Hall of Fame Committee Co-President

sia98aidil98
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It's kind of fortunate that we don't have a Blue Devils of FMA as it may take out the fun in the game. Although, Carolina Royals and Nemesis comes close in terms of taking 30 out of the possible 68 World titles in FMA Drum Corps between the two corps, which is wicked! Having two hardcore players battling it out is better than having just one to rule us all so I guess we should be thankful since we have two people to look up to and 'unseat'. I wouldn't say people are tired of seeing you guys win but maybe its nice to have some variety in between like in Season 63-64 when Cadets of Blue was around, and when Falcon Regiment and Cornhuskers DBC came close in recent times. It's nice to have big names like you guys winning so that we can 'unseat' you when the time comes which makes the whole thing so much more exciting. Although, that 'time' will be pretty hard to come by since you guys are pretty hardcore in this game which drives people insane I guess haha.

The 'hate' you guys are getting probably isn't hate at all but maybe its just kind of how it is similar to Real Madrid and Barcelona in LaLiga (if you watch football/soccer). There are bound to be haters irl of big names, but I think in the community we have here we all have a mutual respect for each other whilst being competitive in order to make this game much more exciting. That's why whenever a press release pops up saying so and so has come back to competition I get a little excited and when a group suddenly doesn't appear in shows or the chat it's kind of disheartening but understandable since maybe they got bored of the game or are busy irl.

Currently, with more veterans coming back and commentators like alxmm98 and theamazing1 putting out some new stuff recently, I think we have a shot of making FMA great again. So let us all just keep rehearsing and maybe put a little bit more into the game like putting up good shows, doesn't have to be avant grande and shit but maybe a nicely thought out like a musical or something a DCI corps has done recently but with your own twist or sth. The more our imaginative juices flow in this game, the more it comes alive and that will probably attract more players and add variety in competition.

TL;DR - don't worry about that thing, give a little in this game and keep playing guys, it'll all sort itself out
Re:Sound Collective - 1x D1 Bronze, 1x D2&D3 Champ
Excelsior Winds - 2x D1 Silver&Bronze, 2x D2 Champ
Antiphony - 1x D1 Silver, 1x D2 Champ
conNexus - 1x D1 Silver&Bronze, 1x D2 Champ
gcurrier
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"they hate us cause they aint us" LOL I get it, my football life is the same way! LOL

One thing many of you probably already know too, "we" often cheer for those underdogs or groups who have never won before too or havent in awhile etc. NOT that we are going to give it to you, we are going to make you work, but I think I speak for CR when I say, we love to see those Dark Knights, Bluecoats (Kstove version) or Cadets of Blue and so many more work so hard to get here and come in and kick our butts (not this season I want to win again LOL) but we do like to see that, for the individual, for the game and for you all to have that hero LOL Its great to have that challenge and competition for sure! and if you all dont think I am still looking at a list of you behind my back this season even having such a strong lead, your nuts!

I am so glad we have some discussion and reviews going! getting some excitement! I keep saying I am going to do some for CLASS and stuff but never get a chance to!
Chairman/Founder CLASS; FLAG BoD, ENCORE & DRUMS

Nemesis-17X Div I/W Drum Corps Champ
Marching Knights-26X Div I/W Band Champ
The Knight Guard-9X Div I Guard Champ
KnightDrum-33X Div I/W Per
corndogshuffle
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 920
Glad you know you don't want to see Lexington Legends win it all. ;)
***FMA Hall of Fame***
4x FMA Marching Band DI Champions 28-30, 46
15x FMA Color Guard DI Champions 27-31, 34, 36, 39, 45-47, 53-54, 69-70
gcurrier
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next season lol
Chairman/Founder CLASS; FLAG BoD, ENCORE & DRUMS

Nemesis-17X Div I/W Drum Corps Champ
Marching Knights-26X Div I/W Band Champ
The Knight Guard-9X Div I Guard Champ
KnightDrum-33X Div I/W Per
Stradivarius
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I came back simply because I missed the community. All this extra stuff that is popping up again (like reviews) are just making me feel happy that this game still isn't dead.
Founder of Trombone Inc.
corndogshuffle
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Next season gcurrier. :P

This post makes me want to put on my commentator hat again and post some marching band write ups!
***FMA Hall of Fame***
4x FMA Marching Band DI Champions 28-30, 46
15x FMA Color Guard DI Champions 27-31, 34, 36, 39, 45-47, 53-54, 69-70
alxmm98
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Strad thats exactly why I wrote this. The site has been pretty quiet lately and I wanted to get the players talking again. And I will write about some other divisions, just havent had the time. Finals are coming up. It will be fun to get into things again.
Alexander Morales
The Panthers Drum and Bugle Corps-FAME
FMA Hall of Fame Committee Co-President

Stradivarius
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I'm glad you're still around to do it alxmm!

And you most CERTAINLY should do so corndog
Founder of Trombone Inc.
echstrumpet8
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Oh man! Pride of Peachtree had top ensemble AND general effect categories (a perfect 10 for forms!), but Alex still predicted right. Congrats to The Panthers on their 5th place run! Next season will be a different story though....

EDIT: Pride of Peachtree is only the 7th corps in history to have a perfect 10 on forms in finals, and we've joined some elite company. We're still on our way up, Division 1, you've seen nothing yet!
Bailey Knight
Pride of Peachtree (CLASS)
Peachtree Cadet Marching Band (ENCORE)(BoD)
Spin and Rinse (FLAG)(Operator)
Renegade Percussion (PERC)(BoD)
alxmm98
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Thanks Bailey, it was a close one! Those ensemble scores were insane...cant wait for next season. Congrats to Nemesis on another world title, and to Father Ryan Guard for the first medal ever for JoeBrauener! These finals were flipping insane
Alexander Morales
The Panthers Drum and Bugle Corps-FAME
FMA Hall of Fame Committee Co-President