Each of the last five days leading up to the DCI Tour Premiere presented by DeMoulin Bros. and Co. on June 21 in Detroit, Drum Corps International will be taking a look at where each of its World, Open and International Class corps stand competitively and artistically entering the 2018 campaign.
Continuing with DCI’s midwestern corps, here’s the second installment in a five-part series previewing the upcoming DCI Summer Tour.
BLUE STARS | La Crosse, Wisconsin
2018 Program: “The Once and Future Carpenter”
A Taste of the Music: The Blue Stars’ musical selections will certainly be recognizable to the average viewer, as the corps will feature several pieces made famous by The Carpenters. “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, is one of four pieces by the 1970s soft rock group.
Competitive Refresh: Like the Blue Knights, the Blue Stars ended up on the right side of a season-long head-to-head duel with the Crossmen for 10th place. Prior to the DCI World Championship Finals, the two corps were never separated by more than a point. The Wisconsin corps ended up in 10th, but turned it on at the tail end of the season, finishing less than two tenths of a point behind ninth-place Phantom Regiment.
Trending: Having missed out on the DCI World Championship Finals in 2012, the Blue Stars have finished in the top 12 each year since; in the past five years, the corps has finished in 12th, 11th and 10th once each, with ninth-place scores in 2014 and 2016.
THE CAVALIERS | Rosemont, lllinois
2018 Program: “On Madness and Creativity”
A Taste of the Music: Peter Graham’s “The Triumph of Time” was featured by last year’s gold and silver medalist corps — Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard. It will be one of nine different pieces performed by The Cavaliers in 2018.
Competitive Refresh: The Cavaliers spent almost the entirety of the 2017 season slotted in fifth place between the Bluecoats and Boston Crusaders. However, the week of the DCI World Championships, the Rosemont corps began creeping up on its foe from Canton, Ohio, closing its gap all the way to two tenths of a point by the Semifinals. Ultimately, the Green Machine earned its best finish since 2011 by sneaking into fourth, besting the Bluecoats by a miniscule 0.037.
Trending: While The Cavaliers’ stretch of 14 consecutive top-five finishes snapped when the corps finished in eighth place in 2012, the Green Machine quickly clawed its way back into the top echelon with a fifth-place finish in 2016 and a fourth-place finish in 2017. The Cavaliers will look to keep on their upward trajectory in 2018, as the corps shoots for its first medal since 2011’s bronze.
COLTS | Dubuque, Iowa
2018 Program: “True Believer”
A Taste of the Music: For the first time since 2013, Billy Joel's music will be featured in DCI when the Colts perform "Big Shot" in their 2018 program. The last time a song by Billy Joel was performed by a DCI corps, The Academy played "Piano Man" in their 2013 show with the same title.
Competitive Refresh: The Colts were locked in one of 2017’s most hotly-contested head-to-head storylines, going back and forth all season with the Troopers. After starting the season two full poins behind the Casper, Wyoming corps, the Colts flipped the script to push their way back into the top 15 by nearly the same margin.
Trending: For the past several years, the Colts have hovered just behind the DCI World Championship Finals cutoff; the “Red Team” has earned top 15 finishes in four of the last five years, but hasn’t cracked the top 12 since 2007. In 2014, the Colts came just one tenth of a point from a Finals appearance, the closest the corps has been to such a feat in a decade.
COLT CADETS | Dubuque, Iowa
2018 Program: “Moderne”
A Taste of the Music: Thanks to Colt Cadets, 2018 will be the second straight year in which a corps has performed Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful,” which was featured in the 2013 film, “The Great Gatsby.” The Blue Stars also included the ballad in their repertoire in 2017.
Competitive Refresh: In 2017,The Colt Cadets scored higher than 60 at the DCI World Championship Prelims for the first time since 2014. While last year was their second straight without a trip to the Open Class Finals, the Colt Cadets saw improvement both in terms of individual scores and overall standing.
Trending: After finishing in the Open Class top 12 every year from 2010 to 2015, the Colt Cadets have not been since, with a 15th-place finish in 2016 and a 14th-place finish in 2017.
LEGENDS | Kalamazoo, Michigan
2018 Program: “Along Came a Spider”
A Taste of the Music: Imogen Heap’s music has been quite popular in recent years, with Blue Knights using the song, "Hide and Seek," in 2017. Legends will perform Imogen Heap’s “Aha!” for the first time since the Bluecoats did so in 2010.
Competitive Refresh: For a good portion of the 2017 season, Legends found themselves firmly behind Music City, with as large as a two-point gap separating the two in mid-July. However, the Michigan corps turned it on entering August, and edged its Nashville-based competition by just under half a point to earn a top-three Open Class finish.
Trending: In the 10 years since their first appearance at the DCI World Championships, Legends has shot up through both the Open Class and overall ranks. The Kalamazoo-based corps has already won two Open Class bronze medals — back-to-back in 2016 and 2017 — and has earned trips to the DCI World Championship Semifinals in each of the past three years.
MADISON SCOUTS | Madison, Wisconsin
2018 Program: “Heart & Soul”
A Taste of the Music: As part of their 2018 show, the Madison Scouts will feature a few pieces made famous by Sting, including “Shape of My Heart” and “End of the Game.” Sting’s music has recently been performed by Heat Wave and Carolina Crown in 2016, as well as Crossmen in 2013.
Competitive Refresh: Last July, the Scouts were stunned by the Mandarins, whose defeat of the men from Madison in San Antonio was their first ever head-to-head. The Scouts quickly responded, though, catching fire into the month of August to earn a spot in the top 12 by a solid margin of 0.925 points.
Trending: The last several years have seen the Madison Scouts jump back and forth up and down the World Class leaderboard, never higher than eighth, but never lower than 13th. After 2015’s eighth-place finish, the Scouts fell out of the top 12 in 2016 by way of a last-second upset, before regaining a finalist position last year.
PHANTOM REGIMENT | Rockford, Illinois
2018 Program: “This New World”
A Taste of the Music: Phantom Regiment will feature “Symphony No. 9 for the New World” throughout its 2018 production. This won’t be the first time Regiment has used Antonin Dvorak’s iconic piece; the Rockford corps earned silver medals in 1977 and 1989 when performing what is more commonly referred to as “New World Symphony.”
Competitive Refresh: Phantom Regiment spent 2017 locked in a tight battle with the Blue Knights for a spot in the top eight. While the Denver corps won out, Regiment still continued its now 41-year streak of top-10 finishes by earning ninth.
Trending: Phantom Regiment has hovered between sixth and ninth place for the last five years, after earning a bronze medal in 2012. While 2017 saw Regiment earn its lowest ranking since 2009, the corps has the longest active streak of top-12 finishes next to Santa Clara Vanguard.
PIONEER | Milwaukee, Wisconsin
2018 Program: “Celtic Dragons”
A Taste of the Music: For the 2018 season, most of Pioneer’s music will be original works by staff members Rob Stein, Dave Campbell and Julia Coleman. The corps will also perform music from the film “How to Train Your Dragon." In 2013, the Boston Crusaders also used music from the 2010 movie, which is scored by John Powell
Competitive Refresh: In 2017, Pioneer fended off River City Rhythm by just over two tenths of a point to earn a 34th-place finish.
Trending: Outside of last year, Pioneer has spent the last several seasons hovering just outside of the Top 25, with their last appearances in the DCI World Championship Semifinals coming in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In the years since, Pioneer came closest to breaking the 70-point threshold in 2013 with a score of 69.050.
RIVER CITY RHYTHM | Anoka, Minnesota
2018 Program: “Each Hour Wounds”
A Taste of the Music: John Barry’s “Somewhere in Time,” which was most recently performed by Spirit of Atlanta in 2013, will be featured in River City Rhythm’s 2018 production.
Competitive Refresh: In just its third year as an active corps, River City Rhythm earned its third-straight trip to the Open Class World Championship Finals with an 11th-place finish. In an overall sense, the 35th-place Minnesota corps held a strong lead over the 36th-place Raiders, besting the New Jersey corps by more than two full points in the season’s final event.
Trending: River City Rhythm has finished in the Open Class top 12 in all three of its active years; while its standing hasn’t risen from year to year, the Minnesota corps has seen steady improvement from its individual scores each year.
SHADOW | Oregon, Wisconsin
2018 Program: “The Body Celestial"
A Taste of the Music: This year, Shadow will perform John Mackey’s “Aurora Awakes;” the piece was most recently featured by the Legends in 2011, and will also be part of Madison Scouts’ 2018 production.
Competitive Refresh: Shadow’s 2017 campaign saw the corps finish just outside the Open Class top 12, with 0.825 separating the Oregon, Wisconsin organization from its first trip to the Open Class World Championship Finals.
Trending: In just two years as an active Open Class competitor, Shadow has crossed the 60-point mark, while also coming dangerously close to top-12 finishes, on both occasions. Despite falling two spots in the overall rankings from 2016 to 2017, Shadow did improve on its individual score, and will be looking to do the same entering its third year in 2018.
On Monday, 2018 DCI Corps Capsules — Volume 3: South, featuring: Crossmen, Genesis, Guardians, Heat Wave, Lousiana Stars, Music City, Spirit of Atlanta and Southwind.