A signature cheer of “Bloo!” could be heard from across a crowd of more than 22,200 at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night, as members of the Bluecoats brought home their very first DCI World Championship title in the history of the Canton, Ohio organization.
In a field that has been dominated by the Blue Devils in six of the last 10 years, the Bluecoats will be just the 10th corps in 44 years to have its name affixed to Drum Corps International’s stately Founders Trophy.
“It’s a feeling of elation,” Bluecoats executive director David Glasgow said from the field of Lucas Oil Stadium after the corps’ win. “Our organization has been in existence for 44 years. We’ve folded twice and I don’t know that a lot of people know that. To be here where we are tonight is an incredible accomplishment for everybody who has ever stepped in our organization’s door.” With a score of 97.650, the Bluecoats will also take home hardware for the Donald Angelica Award for Best General Effect.
Although the Blue Devils did not pull off the same table-turning win as 2015 when they came from behind on Finals night, they scored 97.250 points for a second-place performance that corps members put their hearts into. “It was a phenomenal performance and honestly I couldn’t have asked for anything better for our corps,” Blue Devils drum major Nikko Martinez said. “I know that it’s been an extremely competitive season for all of us, but really we just put our heart and soul out there.”
Carolina Crown not only received the bronze medal with its score of 97.088, the corps stole the show, taking home the George Zingali Award for Best Color Guard, the John Brazale Best Visual Performance Award, and the Jim Ott Best Brass Performance Award.
Santa Clara Vanguard finished in fourth place with a score of 95.300. The corps’ percussion section dominated the competition, taking first place in the caption during Thursday night’s Prelims and Saturday’s Finals, allowing the corps to take home the Fred Sanford Award for Best Percussion Performance. “It rained for the warm-up and I honestly think that may have been a good thing for us,” percussion caption manager Paul Rennick said about the corps’ Finals-night performance. “These guys are so experienced that I don’t think it rattled them at all. Tonight was totally electrifying; they were completely focused.”
Setting out to rebound from 2015 when the corps experienced its lowest placement since the early 1980s, the Cavaliers finished 2016 strong, in fifth place with a score of 94.025.
Director of the Cadets George Hopkins said the corps ended its season less than he’d hoped (6th, 92.763), but he is still happy with the hard work from the entire corps. “They had a great run, probably the best of the three nights; so that’s what you hope for,” Hopkins said. “It’s been a long year and we’ve changed a lot in our production, so the kids have been under duress fixing our problems for us. But it turned out well, so everybody is happy. We learned a lot.”
The Blue Knights took seventh place with a score 90.738 and executive director Mark Arnold said it’s the most improved corps he has ever worked with. In eighth place, Phantom Regiment added two tenths to its overall score between Semifinals and Finals to end its season with a score of 89.963. Blue Stars (9th, 89.050) spent the majority of the 2016 DCI Tour in close quarters with Phantom Regiment and the Blue Knights, managing to improve its overall placement two spots from 2015 to 2016. Scoring 86.975, the Crossmen took 10th place, marking the San Antonio corps’ highest placement and score over the past 13 years. Crossmen executive director Fred Morrison said his corps members saved their best performance for last. The Academy ended its 2016 campaign in 11th place with a score of 86.100, the first time in the history of the corps that it has finished as a World Class World Championship finalist. Following 13th and 14th place finishes at several regional DCI Tour events earlier this summer, the Boston Crusaders looked to be in danger of falling out of DCI’s top-12 for the first time in 17 years. According to drum major Mark Hambleton, 2016 has been “one giant rollercoaster ride” for the corps that ended on a high note with a 12th-place finish and a score of 84.800.
A year from now drum corps will return to Indianapolis, this time for Drum Corps International’s historic 45th anniversary.
Source: DCI.org – Contributing: Christina Mavroudis