Blue Devils B cinched its third straight Open Class World Championship with a score of 95.00 at the Open Class Finals in Michigan City, Ind. on Tuesday, Aug. 9, edging out the Oregon Crusaders by three tenths of a point. The Devils join the ranks of only two other Open Class corps and four corps in any division that have won three times in a row.
“It’s amazing—the best feeling I've ever felt in my life. I think better than getting into college” Blue Devils B drum major DaJuan Brooks joked. “This season has been very hard, but we’ve worked hard and tried to put out a good show every day while being true to ourselves as Blue Devils. We’ve entertained the crowds and had fun while doing it,” he said.
The California corps had a nearly perfect season, winning all but one competition with their show, “Synchronicity.”
“This year the competition was really tough, the corps were really good, and it was a dog fight,” said Blue Devils director Rick Odello. “I’m just really proud of our corps for being able to step up when they needed to and we couldn’t be happier to be in this position right now.
Members of Blue Devils B celebrate their third straight World Championship title.
In their most successful season ever, the Oregon Crusaders took second place with a score of 94.70. They were the only corps to beat Blue Devils B all season.
Michael Quillen, director of Oregon Crusaders, said finishing in second place still felt great.
“The kids have been wonderful, we’ve had our largest growth in membership and talent, and we had a very difficult show this year. The kids did their very best and maxed it out, and we’re very pleased with the results they had,” he said.
“We’re not done here after the Open Class Championships,” Quillen added. “We’re very much looking forward to competing with the World Class directly [at the World Championship Prelims on Thursday] and seeing how we shake out.”
With no clear favorite coming in to the day’s competition, the anticipation during the awards ceremony only increased more as caption awards were handed out to three different corps. While Blue Devils B brought home the awards for general effect and percussion, Oregon Crusaders earned the award for brass and visual performance. Spartans took home top honors for color guard.
The Vanguard Cadets, who earned third place with a score of 94.20, were happy with their final placement according to director Robert Nieves.
“We walked off the field tonight knowing that we performed the best show that we could have and you can't ask for anything more,” Nieves said. “Would we have liked to have won? Sure, who wouldn't have? But we feel good about what we did, and the kids did an awesome job. We truly couldn't have asked for anything more.”
Fourth place went to the Spartans, who earned a score of 91.50. Spartans baritone player Korey McKinney said his corps’ performance was “one of the most energetic and magical performances” he had ever been a part of. “When we got off the buses there was just this vibe in the air that it was going to be our night and no one could take that from us. We went out on the field and we just threw down and did exactly what we needed to do tonight, plus more.”
Revolution (89.25) ended the 2011 season in fifth place, nearly two points above the corps’ previous score on Aug. 6 in Dubuque, IA.
Genesis (86.85) earned sixth place, improving three places and nearly three points from its ninth place finish in 2010. The corps was also chosen as the Most Improved Corps this year by the Open Class corps directors.
Seventh place went to members of the 7th Regiment, who followed less than a point behind Genesis with their score of 86.15.
Music City (84.80) danced its way to 8th place with a show titled, “Let’s Dance.” The Tennessee corps’ members could call themselves Open Class Finalists for the second time ever with the biggest corps they have ever fielded.
Music City tenor drummer Andrew Sorensen explained that the show is filled with fan favorites and includes the corps’ theme song, “Tennessee Waltz” by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King.
“I think our show tonight was fantastic. I don’t think we could have ended it any better. The emotion was amazing and it was an incredible show,” Sorensen said. “I feel like we’re ending the season the way we need to end it. We’ve had a good season.”
A score of 82.30 put Legends in ninth place, while Raiders followed closely behind in 10th with 81.90. Eleventh place went to Forte, who earned a score of 79.20.
Rounding out the Open Class finalists were the Colt Cadets (12th), who earned their spot in the Finals for the second time in their history with a 79.15. The Iowa corps had the show of the season according to drum major Betsy Guthrie.
“There was fire and there was passion in it, and there was excitement and an energy, just a burning energy that I’ve never felt before. There were goose bump moments,” Guthrie said.
In the International Class, the Yokohama Scouts, from Yokohama, Japan emerged as the victors over Jubal, of Dordrecht, the Netherlands. Yokohama earned an 85.35 over Jubal’s 80.20. The last time each participated in competition in the US was 2007 and 2006, respectively.
In addition to their performances in the World Championship Prelims on Aug. 11, both international corps will participate in special exhibition performances on Friday, Aug. 12.
As Semifinalist corps, Les Stentors (72.10) took thirteenth place, followed by Racine Scouts (69.55) in 14th. The Blue Saints (15th, 63.05) and Spirit of Newark/NJ (16th, 56.60) were the only two corps to put their show on the field twice after the Open Class Prelims were rained out on Monday, Aug. 8.