The DCI World Championships have begun with a bang. The beautiful sunny skies of Buffalo, NY welcome the Division III corps today as they begin their preliminary competition. Keep an eye onthe score page as it is updated with the latest scores. The international feel has begun as well as the Swedish corps Strangnas took the field this morning. "We are excited to be here and everyone has been so nice," said Lars Ostlund, director of the corps.With all of the corps competing or checking in today the stadium has been a bustle of activity and the excitment has begun. We are here and it is the DCI World Championships!A Brief Look Inside Division II/III Murray Davis is a member of the Division II/III administration. He was asked to bring us up-to-date on the goings-on within the divisions."This year, we have 38 corps competing in Buffalo, with about another dozen non-touring community corps. About one-third of the corps are in Division II, with the other two-thirds in Division III. The average age of the members is about 17, compared with an average age of two to three years older in Division I."The II/III corps have been attracting more members who in past years might have gone to Division I corps. They've noted that the quality is higher now, and the corps, due to their smaller size, are perceived by these members to be more like a family, with a more intimate atmosphere. The idea that big is better is a stereotype that II & III is proving false."These corps are highly competitive, and they're performing musical literature that is more challenging than ever before, reflecting the increasingly higher musicianship of their members. But though the musical selections are more challenging, they remain crowd-oriented. One will notice in Division II & III that the most important thing is not the score, but the corps' abilities to entertain and still be competitive."This year, things have been running like clockwork at the II & III shows. You don't have to tell the corps anything more than once; such as where to set up and where to be at any particular time."Like Division I, we're seeing tight races in both divisions. In Division II, Mandarins and Seattle Cascades have been trading victories, with Capital Regiment and Spartans hovering close behind. In Division III, there's a tight battle at the top between Raiders, Blue Stars and Americanos, with each of the three beating the others."Attendance at shows featuring II & III corps has been on the rise. And having our finals on the night of the DCI World Championships opening ceremony has boosted attendance at II & III finals. It's also brought increased recognition to the divisions among drum corps fans who come to Worlds."As for the fact that the top five II & III corps move up into quarterfinals the next day, the corps that move up consider it an honor, but it's really just frosting on the cake for them."Those attending the Division II & III finals are not just going to be entertained, they're also going to be exposed to high levels of competition that will rival anything seen later in the week."It's not possible to talk about Division II & III without mentioning the countless hours and dedication of Roman Blenski to the II & III movement. He does it for every kid out on the field, and that's no exaggeration. Not many people know this, but his wife, Sue, also lives and breathes Division II & III business from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed, all year long."DCI has done much in the past few years to help insure the success of the II & III movement. We wouldn't be where we're at without DCI's full support, largely thanks to Dan Acheson and his staff."