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Jubal Drum & Bugle Corps won the DCN Championships tonight in their home town. They scored a 81.20 in their final DCN performance of 2015. Juliana won 2nd place. Johan Friso from Middelburg became Junior Class champions.
All caption awards in the Premier Class went to Jubal as well. The German corps were very strong. Starriders placed third, Spirit of 52 ended in fourth place and Wölper Löwen came fifth. Federatieband had their come back in the drum corps competition. They scored 51.10 in the new Open Class (the class for corps that don't have all sections - FB doesn't have a color guard).
Johan Friso topped the Junior Class with a score of 77.40. They also took High Visual, High Percussion, High Music, High Effect and High Front Ensemble. Second place and High Field Music went to Jong Jubal. Jong Beatrix ended third and received the High Auxiliary. Jong-Holland Juniors came 5th.
The packed stand in Dordrecht enjoyed great performances from all corps. Next stop in the European Music Games: the DCUK British Championships in Widnes, next Saturday, followed by the DCE European Championships in Kerkrade one week later.
Premier Class scores:
1 • 81.20 • Jubal
2 • 79.00 • Juliana
3 • 75.05 • Starriders
4 • 70.55 • Spirit of 52
5 • 67.90 • Wölper Löwen
6 • 63.15 • Jong Holland
7 • 55.35 • Con Spirito
Open Class scores:
1 • 51.10 • Federatieband
Junior Class scores:
1 • 77.40 • Johan Friso
2 • 75.25 • Jong Jubal
3 • 71.00 • Jong Beatrix
4 • 67.30 • Jong Holland Juniors
In addition to a place in the European ranking, a score in the European Music Games will now also earn corps a bronze, silver or gold star. This means that participation in competitions of the EMG immediately leads to visible results.
Every corps in DCE certified contests will end up in the annual European Music Games ranking. "Not all corps participate in Championships events, and not everyone ends up on the podium", says DCE Chairman Marcel Matthijsse. "By awarding bronze, silver and gold stars, all corps finish the season with a tangible recognition of their achievement."
The stars are linked to the boxes of the DCE judging system. Box 1 does not entitle a corps to a star, box 2 is a bronze star, box 3 is a silver star and boxes 4 and 5 earn corps a gold star. The stars will be awarded virtually on the corps pages of the DCE website and in the EMG rankings once the EMG season has ended.
The Reading Buccaneers were on top again as the world’s best all-age drum and bugle corps competed at the Drum Corps Associates World Championships over Labor Day Weekend in Rochester - New York.
The corps from Pennsylvania sailed through the Prelims and Finals competitions held at Sahlen’s Stadium on Saturday, 5th September and Sunday, 6th September, finishing more than a point ahead of the nearest competition with a final score of 97.580. The Bucs, who have been nearly untouchable in recent years including this season's undefeated run, have now won the DCA Open Class World Championship title for four years in a row and a total of nine times in the last 10 years.
With a late-season surge to the top, members of Cadets 2 of Allentown - Pennsylvania, found themselves in a spot they’ve never been in before on Sunday, finishing in second place behind the Buccaneers with a score of 96.330. In addition to its highest finish ever on Sunday, the corps also won caption awards for Best Visual and Best Color Guard, which is a section of the corps that director George Hopkins was especially proud of.
Finishing just five-hundredths of a point away from the Buccaneers on 15th August in Scranton - Pennsylvania, the Hawthorne Caballeros had to settle for fourth place (94.880) in Rochester after falling behind members of Minnesota Brass who finished in third place with a score of 95.400.
Class A competition this year was dominated by the Govenaires who took first place with a score of 82.450. (Text: dci.org)
The Kidsgrove Scouts have finished in sixth place at the DCA World Championships in Rochester. The corps scored 91.90, increasing both their score and placement compared to their DCA results in 2012.
In the Prelims on Saturday Kidsgrove managed to reach the top five (92.35). Their Finals score was slightly lower, while the score of Atlanta CV (number six in the Prelims) jumped more than two points from 91.80 to 93.83. The Buccaneers became the Drum Corps Associates Open Class champions with a score of 97.58. Thirteen corps participated in the Open Class, of which the ten highest placed corps proceeded to Finals. The Govenaires won Class A. Scores and recaps are online at www.dcacorps.org.
"Such a fantastic event and tour", Kidsgrove stated on their Facebook page. "Thank you to everyone who have helped us on our tour." Kidsgrove will bring their production 'The Stone Circle' to the DCUK Championships in Widnes on 19th September and the DCE Championships one week later in Kerkrade.
Drum Corps Europe would like to congratulate the Kidgrove Scouts with this fantastic achievement.
Dalymount Park stadium in Dublin saw one of Irelands most exciting finals take place on Saturday September 5th. Clonmel Bluehawks (Premier Class) and The Cadets (Junior Class) were crowded champions.
Clonmel Bluehawks opened their show facing back-field, while a voice over and colour guard began to tell the story of their beauty and the beast theme. They received rapturous applause from the audience, when they turned and produced some of the most uplifting and exciting sounds of the day. Clonmels show 'As the Last Petal Falls' won the championships with a score of 63.30, just ahead of Celtic Crusaders who scored 62.05 with their production “Mirror Image”.
For the first time in at least ten years, the IMBA league was awarded to a different group than the championships winner. Celtic Crusaders were awarded the 2015 league, as their average points over the season were greater than Clonmel Bluehawks.
Vikings Drum Corps had dominated IMBA competitions in recent years, having won the previous three championships. They were placed third with 57.95.
In the Junior Class, The Cadets were awarded the championships. They were the only group taking part in the Junior Class in Ireland this year, and their production of 'The Yellow Brick Road' achieved their highest score of the season with 52.25.
Up early, checked out of our hotel and on the coaches (all four of them) by 9:15am. The trucks had gone ahead of us at 3am. This was it! My first DCA show ever!
DCA BRIDGEPORT 2015
The journey to Bridgeport was approximately 90 minutes. We had been warned about the surrounding area not being very safe to walk around and as we got closer we received a police escort to the stadium. The first sight was a huge spectators stand and floodlights. To the right a corps was rehearsing and it felt great to see one guy wearing a Kidsgrove Scouts t-shirt to rehearse in. We received a warm welcome from people as we unloaded from the coaches and entered the stadium and a real buzz started to fill the air like an under current of electricity. We started to make our way to sectional rehearsals which didn’t last too long as we coordinated as a corps for most of the rehearsal. The temperature seemed to be the hottest so far with sweat dripping without moving at muscle. Unfortunately some sort of lurgy seemed to be spreading through the corps as a number of people rushed to the toilet to be sick. However, we soldiered on. Our rehearsal field was adjacent to the stadium and it was exciting to see our booster stall being set up especially when the Union Jack and England flags were raised and people began to crowd around. We were joined at rehearsal by with the largest dragon flies I have every seen and a few ditches in the field too. The new stones looked amazing and the final moving stone was rehearsed with for the first time.
As the temperature dropped slightly, the sky began to darken, the floodlights were turned on and a serene sense of satisfaction seemed to wash over me. We changed into our uniforms and warmed up.
Lining up at the side of the field waiting to go on felt like a dream but also a reality I had waited a long time to achieve. From first watching a DCI video back in 1989 and dreaming of being a member of Santa Clara Vanguard to now being able to march on American soil felt really good. Thanks to a dedicated and committed group of individuals who have made this tour possible and let this hobby become something more for so many people. Incredible!
The show felt good. For me personally there were lots of great parts but also some mistakes that I was annoyed about. The crowd reacted very well to our performance and many members received lots of positive comments from spectators after the show. I was unable to watch many of the other corps as we needed to pack the trucks and get changed. Retreat was for drum majors only and that was nice as I got to spend some time with my daughter albiet she was asleep, We achieved second place (89.50) with the Caballeros coming first with 93.55. Unfortunately I didn’t get to watch the Caballeros but our supporters really enjoyed their performance and raved about how fantastic it was. (For pictures and vidoes please visit our Facebook page Kidsgrove Scout Official).
Once the results had been given and the trucks were loaded we all boarded the coaches for a long six hour journey through the night to our next destination, Seneca Falls. Once we arrived at our new hotel we ate breakfast in the function room and waited to be allocated to our rooms. Most of the youngsters went off into the swimming pool (7am) and played football tennis on the court. Receiving a room key was like being the winner on the Price is Right! Come on down and claim your key! At one point I started clapping (I was so tired) and then it was my name – hurray!
The rest of the day was spent by the swimming pool, chatting, playing and sleeping. There was lots of fun in the swimming pool with games galore! The funniest point was the belly flop competition and my friend, who was still waiting for a room key, who entered the pool fully clothed. Next stop another free day!!
Monday – Another free day! Many went to Niagra Falls and thoroughly enjoyed the experience whilst others who had visited the falls before went to Darien Lakes (a park with roller coasters and water rides). This is where I went as my children wanted to do this and what a fabulous day it was. There was a such a range of rides that there was something for everyone. A great day off for all!
Tuesday – and our first day at a new rehearsal venue however…… When we pulled up to the site it became apparent that it was not going to be suitable. We stretched out and worked on dance work whilst the rest of the corps worked visuals. Meanwhile the staff were busy trying to find an alternative venue and as if by magic a site that we had previously been told was unavailable was now available and so by 10am we were back on the buses and off to a local high school (Waterloo) just a few miles away. The site was fantastic and the local area reminded me of Smallville. The weather was very humid and once the sun came out the heat was intense. This made rehearsals harder work. I was dripping in sweat throughout and the final run through felt incredibly tough. Today was my son’s 14th birthday and I was just about exhausted as I’d been 14 years earlier! Back to the hotel for 7pm and an early bedtime ready for another hard day of rehearsing.
Wednesday – A very early start (7:40am stretch out). The humidity and heat were already present and by half past nine it was 32 degrees. We worked hard running larger chunks of the show collectively. A staggered lunch break and back on the field within 30 minutes. A few telephone calls home as my eleven year old son started high school back in the UK today – it felt great to hear his voice. Today has been the hardest rehearsal for me so far. The heat and exhaustion just kept washing over me continually. Sweat dripping in my eyes and feeling faint, sick and dizzy all from the pure intensity of rehearsing so hard in the heat and pushing through the pain barrier. My knee (only damaged through wear and tear) ached throughout the day and was throbbing by 2pm. Like a miracle the staff, who must have been visited by the ghosts of Christmas, decided to finish rehearsal an hour early – woo hoo!!! The trucks were loaded and back at the hotel an hour early everyone headed to the pool for diving, jumping and canon balls! A group of us went out for dinner at the beautiful Seneca Falls for Toni’s birthday and enjoyed relaxing and each other’s company.
Tomorrow we move to Rochester so suitcases must be packed up as the finals competition gets closer.
After nine years of absence, Jong-Holland will be entering the DCE European Championships in Kerkrade again. The corps from Zwijndrecht - The Netherlands has signed up for the 2015 edition. “We feel ready to make a comeback now”, corps director Stephan van Nes stated.
In recent years, the DCN Championships were the end of the competition season for Jong-Holland, but still it always felt a bit as if the members were unable to complete the season. “The members always enjoyed visiting the DCE Championships in Kerkrade and we were also increasingly asked why Jong-Holland did not participate”, said Van Nes. “We feel at home in the DCN and DCE competitions. It's always fun to measure your own performance against other organisations that play the same game.”
Jong-Holland has long been successful in the competition of Drum Corps Netherlands and the corps is doing well. “We have a healthy and strong junior corps. With projects like Music Kids and Dance Kids we are still attracting many children from our community to our association and we are very proud of this.”
The DCE Championships on Saturday the 26th of September in Kerkrade promise to be a huge spectacle again, with a total of 32 performances from Europe's best corps. Tickets can be ordered online at www.drumcorpseurope.org/tickets.
The Irish Marching Bands Association will host the Irish Championships in Dalymount Park stadium this Saturday September 5th.
2015 has been a year of very close scoring among the top corps, with Clonmel Bluehawks and Celtic Crusaders being separated by less than one point in the Clonmel contest, while top and bottom were separated by only eight points.
TYB Cadets are the only unit competing in the Junior Class in Ireland this year and will be looking to achieve their highest score of the season with their production 'The Yellow Brick Road'.
This August, Drum Corps International once again recorded a record attendance figure at the DCI World Championship Finals, capping off a successful 2015 summer season that saw several additional new records set across the entire tour.
An estimated 330,000 spectators headed to 107 live events on the 53-day DCI Summer Tour. Tens of thousands of additional fans visited movie theaters throughout the United States and enjoyed viewing events in real-time on their personal computers and mobile devices via the newly launched DCI Live! streaming video platform.
Attendance at the DCI World Championship Finals on Saturday, 8th August, once again surpassed the most drum corps fans ever recorded at Lucas Oil Stadium, marking the third straight year that a new record has been set.
Additionally, attendance figures for the Thursday night Prelims and Friday night Semi Finals also set records for their respective days when compared across all seven years that World Championship events have been held in Indianapolis.
Figures for the 2015 Prelims, Semi Finals and Finals (including paid and complimentary tickets): Prelims Thursday 7,924, Semi Finals Friday 11,570 annd Finals Saturday 24,638.
Total attendance for the three-day series was 44,132, an increase of 12.9 percent over 2014.
Total paid attendance for Open Class World Championship events in Michigan City, Indiana (3rd-4th August) came in at 2,157, up from 1,581 in 2014.
The Kidsgrove Scouts earned second place at the Drum Corps Associates show in Bridgeport yesterday. The UK corps scored 89.50 points in the Open Class.
The Caballeros topped the Open Class with a score of 93.55. Kidsgrove came second on all captions, and the total score is more than five points ahead of the other competitors Sunrisers (84.20), Hurricanes (82.95) and Skyliners (78.30). Other DCA hot shots like Buccanees, The Cadets 2 and Fusion Core were not competing in Bridgeport yesterday.
Scores and recaps of the Bridgeport show and other DCA contests are available on www.dcacorps.org. Next stop in the DCA competition is next Saturday: the DCA Championships Prelims in Rochester.
Well we are Stateside! Since my last post we’ve been a very busy corps. A weekend rehearsal in the UK only four days ago now feels a long time ago because so much has happened.
Monday morning was a very early start (4:30am). Once we arrived at the airport we were greeted by our fabulous tour manager and four check-in desks dedicated to Kidsgrove Scouts.
The airline staff greeted us with a warning, “This is not a party plane!” But the flight was superb and we all arrived safely at JFK airport – 6pm local time (11pm GMT) with the heat and humidity greeting us immediately. Four coaches arrived to take our party to the hotel where we were checked in quickly, by which time many people were very tired.
Tuesday – happy faces all round at breakfast and lots of excitement. Many of the younger members who hadn’t visited New York before seemed to be buzzing (as was everyone!) As a free day members/supporters got to explore the city at their leisure and a great day was had by all.
Wednesday – first rehearsal day. I felt equally anxious and excited but talking to my friends made me realise lots of other members felt the same. The coaches arrived early for people wishing to visit Wall-mart to stock up on water, drinks and snacks. Picture the TV program Supermarket Sweep and a similar scene was reenacted in store due to a limited amount of time before rehearsal and a dash for the best water coolers! Dale Winton would have been impressed.
We arrived at rehearsal and met our American staff in person and everyone was allocated equipment. The Boston Crusaders D&B Corps have been so incredibly generous in sharing their equipment with us and we all felt excited and honoured. As the brass and percussion started warm ups the guard needed to tape poles and attach flags; 120 poles needed to be made up! It was during set up that we all made a new friend; a snake! Which was slithering amongst our bags and coolers where we stood (pictured). The beautiful Keleigh tried to shoo it away but we decided it was probably easier if the whole colour guard moved. Lunch was a delicious feast with seconds available and fresh fruit for the remainder of the day (the juiciest water melon I have ever tasted).
After lunch we worked in sectionals on the opener and later coordinated this as a corps. Some pass throughs really weren’t working for me but the members in the brass line who I needed to pass through were very eager to help get it sorted. :-) First day of the U.S. rehearsals survived! Now out for tea with four of my most handsome friends who are always fabulous company.
Thursday – Medea day! Coaches arrived at 8:15am and off we set for rehearsal. The morning was spent in sectionals cleaning Medea. This piece is at 195 beats per minute which feels fast! It was hard work to keep going at times but our guard instructor, Jimmy gave us all an analogy which really worked for me and helped me keep pushing through. Thinking of our show as a bank and the amount of deposits (effort) we put in creates our balance. I’m going for mega bucks!!! Another wild life visit – three small deers visited back field for a nose but soon vanished once the drum line arrived. The afternoon felt equally tough when we coordinated Medea as a whole corps as it’s just a tough, demanding piece and only 110% effort seems to be able to make this piece work. The high school band where we are rehearsing in New Jersey came to watch us and their support really helped.
I called home after rehearsal and it felt good to hear my two boys whom I’ve left at home. Tonight I ordered a takeaway (lasagne and salad, not like takeaway at home – note to self to talk to my brother-in-law (drum line) about this and compare to Kass, his favourite takeaway establishment) and I ate in the hotel room whilst having a cuddle with my little girl. Now time to chill and catch zzzzzzz in order to revisit my bank in the morning and work on increasing my balance!
SHOW DAY READY
So it’s midday and I’m currently sat on the coach en route to Bridgeport for our first show.
Yesterday was very hot and subsequently three days in, harder work. Rainbow day for the colour guard! So we all rehearsed in our chosen colours, a nice way to start the day with photos (to be uploaded later).
The day started with our third visit of wildlife; geese. But they spoon waddled off to listen to the brass line. Oh my days…… The horn line sounded incredible today. During stretch out I got goose bumps just from the sound of the horns warming up. The quality of the sound they produced all day today was just femoninal and really inspired me to try harder.
Today we worked predominantly on our ballad and Pagan. We deep cleaned the ballad (where we use 7 foot poles) to ‘and’ counts; Gem Moore this should make you happy! I have big sets at the end of Pagan followed by a toss which earlier in the year resulted in a visit to A&E and some skin glued back together above my eyebrow. We worked the interlude into Medea where we were told to roll play a part of monkeys and minions to Chief Druid. Some further explanation was needed for most of the guard as they are of an age who took that literally and were inspired by Despicable Me!
Our new stones were finished and put into place. Huge thanks to Bob, Doreen and Lea for their hard work and talents in getting these so good.
We rehearsed till late and were invite to play at the high schools show and tell. The stand filled up with parents and we watched the high school band perform. They had only been at band camp for two weeks and did a really fantastic job! The director Nelson Mendez introduced The Kidsgrove Scouts to the audience as ‘a marching band on steroids’.
It was a great run through and felt good to be under the floodlights. I was so physically exhausted I didn’t even think I’d get through the show but this helped calm the nerves for a good performance; that and a cuddle off my beautiful Zimmers (nickname for a branch of our supporters).
Drum Corps Europe has started a crowdfunding campaign in order to keep the live webcast of the DCE European Championships going. Earlier this summer, DCE sounded the alarm about the costs of the popular webcast. Drum corps fans can help by sponsoring the webcast and buying airtime.
Drum Corps Europe recently announced that it would be forced to consider whether it would be viable to continue the live 13 hour webcast during the DCE European Championships in Kerkrade. The webcast of the European Championships is becoming more popular and more professional each year, but it also costs a lot of time and money. With hosts in a studio and interviews on the field, the webcast has grown into a big live internet event. The service has always remained free and has therefore been a great way to advertise our activity on a global scale, but DCE wants to avoid the situation where the webcast suffers structural losses.
It is now up to drum corps fans to decide whether they believe that it is worthwhile keeping the webcast going. Via Patreon, a special crowdfunding campaign has started, where people can donate money to make the live recording possible. This varies from small gestures of 1, 5 to 10 dollars per webcast, to larger amounts. Major sponsors are offered minutes of airtime and a tour through the studio by the webcast team. Go here for the full overview of pledging options and the rewards for each option.
Of course we'd like to see everyone join us at the Parkstad Limburg Stadium, but for the people whose work, studies, health, financial restrictions or travel distance does not allow them to attend the DCE European Championships, we would prefer to keep the webcast on air. Are you a fan of the live webcast too? Become a patron! And who knows, we might see you on air.
In 1990 the Southern Knights Drum & Bugle Corps from Brighton, England embarked on a three week trip to the USA to be the first European corps to compete at the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) World Championships which were held in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In 2015 they are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of this tour.
On the weekend of Saturday 1st September and Sunday 2nd September 1990 the DCA World Championships were held at the J Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown and on the Saturday the Corps were placed 12th in the Prelims. As only the top 10 went through to Finals the corps were given the honour of also performing on the Sunday in exhibition at the Finals where they were presented with the DCA European Champions flag.
A Facebook group has been created to commemorate this anniversary and was launched at the beginning of the year and is being continually updated with photos, stories and videos from that never to be forgotten summer for so many people.
"It’s surprising how quickly 25 years passes" said Alan Thompson, corps director in 1990 and current Chairman of Southern Knights - which is now a winter guard only organisation, "I wanted to create a reminder of that great year and see if we can rekindle friendships that may have been lost over the years, allow people to relive the experience and also enable them show their new families what they were involved in all those years ago and the Facebook group has already bought people back together although we are still looking for a number of members and staff we have lost touch with.”
After returning from the USA the corps final performance of 1990 was at the Drum Corps United Kingdom contest held at the Leicester Saffron Lane Cycledrome on 16th September – little did anyone know at the time that this would also be the final performance of the Southern Knights Drum & Bugle Corps at this level.
Alan, along with the 1990 show coordinator, Ian Newton, and 1990 brass caption head, Ian Lyall, will be travelling to Rochester, New York for the 2015 DCA Championships to celebrate this 25th Anniversary and for Ian Lyall there is an added celebration as his youngest son is a member of the Kidsgrove Scouts who are competing at this year’s event.
The second IMBA show of the season proved to be very interesting with all six IMBA groups in performance in Clonmel on Sunday at the Clonmel Rugby Club. The Clonmel Bluehawks topped the Premier Class.
In Premier Class, some very close neighbourhoods are forming with only 8 points separating top and bottom and ranking changes for all of the top four placings. At the top of the table winners Clonmel Bluehawks 59.90 have overtaken Celtic Crusaders 59.50 setting up a grandstand finish for IMBA Finals in Dalymount Park Dublin in two weeks time.
With less than 20 performers, Inbhear Mór Performance Ensemble have closed the gap on 4th position at 51.35. This forms a close neighbourhood with Clondalkin Youth Band 53.80, and TYB’s Vikings Drum Corps 53.85 in third place. TYB Cadets are the only entry in the Junior class in Ireland this year, and their production of the yellow brick road scored 44.10.
The Diamond Cadets, the junior corps of the Blue Diamonds from Nienhagen, have decided to enter the DCE European Championships this year. It will be the first appearance of the German junior corps at DCE.
The mission of the Diamond Cadets at DCE is to enjoy performing at a big Championships event, meeting other junior corps, and simply having a great day with the 40 members. The Blue Diamonds take the education for children very seriously. They have the Diamond Babys, for children starting at the age of 3, the Diamond Minikids, the Diamond Kids and the Diamond Cadets. Last year the Diamond Cadets won the German Open, a contest in the European Music Games series.
"We are proud that we can perform our first show at a big event like this", says corps director Christian Korn. "The youngest member of the Diamond Cadets is six years old and very much looking forward to the big trip." Both the Blue Diamonds and the Diamond Cadets will have their first appearance at the DCE Championships.
The Junior Class at the DCE Championships 2015 now features six corps from three countries: Diamond Cadets (Germany), Johan Friso (The Netherlands), Jong Beatrix (The Netherlands), Jong-Holland Juniors (Netherlands), Jong Jubal (The Netherlands) and Thurrock Marching Brass (United Kingdom).
Drum Corps Europe will follow the Kidsgrove Scouts during their DCA tour. We will post the 'Proud Scout' blog updates by Helen Daniels on our website. Helen a Kidsgrove Scouts member and will write a blog about the American adventure. Here are her first two blog entries.
My name is Helen, I was born in Kidsgrove and have been part of the scouts ever since. I am an invested scout and now sit on our Group Executive Committee. I enjoy ‘giving back’ as I experienced many happy years and extraordinary opportunities with Kidsgrove Scouts. I first joined the corps in 1986 and played the glockenspiel and later the mellophone. I have performed winter guard seasons twice (97 and 00). In 2009 I joined the instructing team for Kidsgrove Scouts Juniors. I work full time and I am a mother of three children (four if you count the hubby!)
TURN BACK TIME
Soon I will be setting off on my first DCA tour ever and as a 38 year old, mother of three it’s as daunting as it is exciting. I’ve not marched drum corps in 18 years or done anything this active for the last 14 of those years. What am I thinking? That’s a question I’ve asked myself repeatedly over the last six months.
Turn back time to a very wet and windy weekend in April this year and the first rehearsal is still very clear in my mind. I was so nervous to be back on the field after such a long absence and I’ve never marched a colour guard summer season (a winter guard in 1997 and 2000) and (as I was soon to find out) never ‘spun’ like this! But I needn’t have worried so much because I was made to feel so welcome and included from the outset. My fellow guardies have remained supportive ever since offering me friendship and encouragement that have never made me feel out of place, for which I am appreciative more than they could realise.
So why turn back time for me? After 14 years of devoting my life to my family I just felt like I needed to do something for me. I have the best family in the world; they not only understood this but have supported me. My children have biked, ran and scootered alongside me as I’ve tried to get fitter, they have waited (not always patiently) as I’ve practised in the garden and the rest of my family have listened to my doubts, insecurities and offered encouragement continually. They have also found it quite amusing watching me hobble about as my body has found muscles I didn’t know were there.
Why guard? That’s easy – they make it look so much fun! Throughout my younger years I thoroughly enjoyed dance classes and being a member of the British gymnastic society plus I’ve done amateur dramatics so you could say I was best placed here plus I like to set myself difficult challenges. I still like it when I’m near the mellophone section (my old haunt) and I often get goosebumps from hearing their parts.
Why drum corps? After a long absence for me, my son joined Kidsgrove Scouts Juniors in 2009. Within a week I couldn’t help myself and I was instructing visually. Fast forward five years and we had taken the juniors to the championships numerous times and DCE twice. In 2014 we integrated the junior corps into the senior corps and in turn watched them come of age. What a privilege that was. I’ve heard and read comments this year about Kidsgrove Scouts being ‘oldies’ well there’s no denying we have some silver tops (me included) but we have lots of youngsters who keep us all young and in our place. That’s the real magic; marching with my son and his friends, not just watching them experience the same feelings I did back in the 90’s but experiencing alongside them, with them and because of them.
SOMETHING'S IN THE AIR
Something felt different this weekend at rehearsal. If wasn’t tangible but there was definitely something in the air. It’s excitement! Imagine putting 121 children in the same room waiting for Santa Claus; that’s how it felt being on the field this weekend. The talk has changed from ‘when we get to DCA…’ to ‘next week at DCA…’
We spent all day Saturday on our own sectional fields piecing our show back together, recapping changes and making more fine adjustments. At one point our guard section was split in four large sub groups (four lines of work) cleaning our closing number, Medea. It’s such a great feeling to watch each other like this. At one point we were running and re-running a chunk of ensemble flag work which ends in a toss when we heard screams of appreciation from back field ‘Go Team Green, yeah!’ which made us all smile a lot. I feel lucky to be with a group of people who are so supportive and appreciative of each other.
On Sunday we worked with the whole corps. I personally had to tackle new drill and several cross throughs with the horn line and drum line, new flag work for a mini guard segment and a monster tempo in the closer with guard work faster than a Zanussi spin cycle which left my shoulders burning.
Normally at some point during every rehearsal I hit a wall, I’ve had enough and I want timeout but this weekend was different. Now I’m standing at the top of the hill and I can see the end of the season hurtling towards me at break neck speed. There’s a lump in my stomach that now wants time to slow down. I’ve made new friends and grown closer to old friends. This is the feeling which will take me through this adventure, this opportunity and leave me with no regrets.
The Kidsgrove Scouts are leaving for the United States on Monday, where they will take part in a DCA contest and in the DCA Championships.
Twice before, the Kidsgrove Scouts participated in the Drum Corps Associates competition. The tour will start on Monday 24th August, when the corps is flying to New York. They will then have a free day, and the rest of the week will be full of rehearsals in the run up to the DCA contest in Bridgeport on Saturday. A week later, on the 5th of September, the Kidsgrove Scouts will take part in the DCA Semi Finals in the Sehlan stadium in Rochester, followed by the DCA Finals the next day.
For the 2015 DCA tour, Kidsgrove will be using the equipment trailers and contents from the Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps. The Boston Crusaders compete on the Drum Corps International circuit which came to a conclusion at the World Championships in Indianapolis in August.
Corps director Rob Swindells of the Kidsgrove Scouts commented "Taking the corps to the world stage requires world class equipment which is exactly what the Boston Crusaders can provide for us. On behalf of our organisation I can't thank them enough for their support throughout to make this happen. I also wish to thanks Greg Small who has played a key role in helping us with this deal, Greg will be joining us on the tour and taking on the role of equipment manager for the whole duration. Exciting times ahead."
While the DCI World Championship Finals didn't officially start until Saturday evening, the sound of music was already filling the Indianapolis air by mid-morning as SoundSport arrived on Pan-Am Plaza. A row of bleachers was erected in the spacious lot and fans quickly filled the stands to cheer on eighteen of the best musical ensembles the young activity has to offer.
Founded in 2013, SoundSport offers an opportunity for groups of two to fifty members to perform on a smaller scale, and, in some cases, eventually grow into full-fledged drum corps. “This setup is awesome,” said Sean Peck, director of the Sonus Brass Theater, a SoundSport team from Prince William County, Virginia. “We saw this as a kind of fun opportunity to create a new performance group to take advantage of small numbers. And we had a lot people who just wanted to play, so this is the perfect venue for us.“
An important element of SoundSport is audience engagement, something Sonus Brass Theater excels at. The group was named Best of Show at a SoundSport event in Atlanta earlier this July. “When we have our first meeting of the year, I always tell the members that our number one priority is to have fun in what we do,” Peck said. “We want to always get better at it, but if we’re not having fun as performers, then why are we doing this activity?”
SoundSport is open to all age groups, so former drum corps participants, like many of the members of Sonus Brass Theater, can march alongside young performers who may not have even reached their teenage years. One team, the Diplomats from Windsor, Ontario, featured performers as young as eight years old. “Most of our corps members are still in grade school,” said Diplomats drum major Shayla Hudson. “I feel that it’s really constructive, in our corps, because we’re trying to inspire them to keep going and they’re growing so much.”
It’s not just the performers who are growing. SoundSport itself is growing as well. In the first year that SoundSport was held in conjunction with World Championships Week, three groups participated. The next year, that number grew to five. But this year, the event has nearly quadrupled in size. “The total numbers of performers is way up, the geography of where they’re coming from has expanded, and the number of sponsors have increased,” said SoundSport co-founder John DeNovi. “Everything is moving in the right direction.”
DeNovi expects to see even more growth in the future, not just in the United States, but across the globe as well. Groups from four countries participated in Saturday’s event including the United States, Canada, China and Taiwan. “We want to continue to become more and more international,” DeNovi said. “We’d like to stage more events in more places, and create more opportunities for people to come to Indianapolis and be a part of this throughout Finals Week.”
The season of close finishes amongst the four top corps was unlike anything DCI has ever witnessed, driving up attendance to record-breaking numbers at many shows. But when the smoke cleared, Blue Devils finished in a spot they’ve been 16 times before: 1st place.
The high caption awards were based on scores averaged from Prelims, Semi Finals, and Finals, and as such, may not reflect the top caption placements from Finals alone. Blue Devils took top honors for Visual Performance, Percussion Performance, and Color Guard. Carolina Crown won the award for General Effect, and the Cadets attained the award for Brass Performance.
Blue Devils (1st-97.650) added 1.025 to its score from Semi Finals. Though Crown won the combined GE captions, BD was only 0.10 behind in 2nd place. The corps won all three Visual captions, scoring 0.45 over Crown in Total Visual, accounting for most of the 0.575 spread over Crown in the total score (0.30 of that Total Visual score was due to BD’s lead in Visual Analysis). Brass took 3rd, but was only 0.20 under Crown’s 2nd-place caption finish (which accounted for only a 0.10 difference once that caption was divided in half). Percussion took 1st, 0.75 over Crown’s 5th-place score, accounting for 0.375 of the total spread over Crown. Despite ending 3rd in Brass and 2nd in Music Analysis (by just 0.10), BD won Total Music, 0.225 over Crown.
Add that 0.30 advantage over Crown in Visual Analysis (after dividing in half) to the 0.375 spread for which Percussion accounted (also after dividing in half), and those two captions alone accounted for a 0.675 lead over Crown. That was 0.10 more than what BD needed to pass up Crown for the title. Therefore, it can be stated that the Visual Analysis and Percussion scores steered the championship to the Blue Devils.
Carolina Crown (97.075) added 0.30 to its Semi Finals score, winning Total GE and Music Analysis. Visual Proficiency, Color Guard, and Brass placed 2nd. (In Prelims, the Crown Color Guard beat BD by 0.60, then took 2nd in Semifinals.) Visual Analysis finished 4th and Percussion 5th.
Bluecoats (3rd, 96.925) added 1.15 from Semi Finals, the most of any corps in the Finals. While the focus may be on Blue Devils beating Crown for the title, it shouldn’t be discounted that Bluecoats closed up the gap with Crown by 0.85, coming within 0.15 of matching Crown’s score (despite winning no captions) and 0.20 of taking 2nd place away from Crown. In addition, Bluecoats came within 0.725 from matching BD’s score.
The corps was 2nd in Visual Analysis and Percussion, 3rd in Total GE, Visual Proficiency, Color Guard and Music Analysis, and 4th in Brass. Total Visual and Total Music finished 3rd. The 0.15 deficit to Crown in Total GE was exactly the spread by which Crown stayed in 2nd place, and Bluecoats’ lead of 0.05 in Total Visual was matched by Crown’s lead over Bluecoats in Total Music.
Read the full report at the DCI website.
Carolina Crown took first place with a score of 96.775 during the penultimate competition of the 2015 season. "Tonight’s performance was exactly what we wanted and exactly what we needed,” Crown drum major Ross Werner said.
With a win the night before in Prelims, the South Carolina corps edged the Blue Devils for a 0.15-point lead. The Blue Devils took second (96.625), rebounding from their fall to fourth place during the Prelims on Thursday. The corps took first in total visual and third in total music.
Bluecoats (3rd, 95.775) skipped ahead of the Cadets (4th, 95.500). Despite the drop, the Cadets took first in brass and percussion and first in overall music. But with a fourth-place score in General Effect, the corps yielded nearly a full-point advantage to Crown. The corps’ energy and drive continue to stay persistent as the corps heads into the Finals competition.
Santa Clara Vanguard (5th, 93.425) kept a strong lead over Blue Knights (6th, 91.150) by more than two points. The California corps took third in the percussion caption, dropping from first place in Prelims the night before. Phantom Regiment finished in 7th with a score of 89.775, and Madison Scouts (8th, 88.625) kept their hold over the Cavaliers (9th, 88.400) by 0.225 points.
Boston Crusaders (10th, 86.300) held their position from the previous night at Lucas Oil Stadium. Blue Stars (11th, 85.275) and Crossmen (12th, 83.875) rounded out the top-12 corps, who qualified to compete in the World Championship Finals Saturday night.
Troopers (13th, 83.800) kept their lead ahead of Colts (14th, 83.025), but it wasn’t enough to bump the corps into the top 12 for Finals. All scores are available on www.dci.org/scores.