Having posted a 79.65 last night to win in Bakersfield, Calif., and a 79.05 on June 22 in Riverside, Calif. (also a victory), the Blue Devils of Concord, Calif., are fielding a "highly balanced show" that is connecting with audiences, according to director Dave Gibbs.

The Blue Devils rehearse on June 19.
Last night the Blue Devils turned in "A strong solid performance. There was a lot of good energy," said Pete Emmons, the corps' manager and tour director, who also noted that all performing units put on great shows. "All the corps were real good, real strong," Emmons said, noting that the unusually cool-for-Bakersfield temperatures, and an enthusiastic audience estimated at 2,500, made for "A good night for a drum corps show in Bakersfield." Director Gibbs is satisfied with the Blue Devils' progress thus far. "The corps is doing great! It's really a strong corps," Gibbs said, citing the members' "good chemistry" as contributing to their success thus far. "They've been a really good corps across the board," Gibbs said. "Throughout all the rehearsals and camps we've felt a chemistry among the corps. They really perform well together. They're good kids," Gibbs said. "The Phenomenon of Cool -- Unsquare Dances," the corps' 2003 program, which draws its inspiration from Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus as well as other classic jazz artists, is connecting well with audiences, Gibbs said. "The audience is responding in the places they should," Gibbs said. "It's a nicely balanced show. It's fun, emotional, interesting and cool." Emmons said that the "talking drum" section of the show -- where different sections of the corps "communicate" with each other using the language of vocalized drum licks -- is a particular audience favorite. "They're really enjoying the "talking drum" section," Emmons said. "We still have a lot of work to do on it," Gibbs noted -- most corps develop and augment a show throughout the summer, often up until the last day of championship week. Gibbs did note, however, that "This show is a really good version for the first one out of the chute." Members of the Blue Devils are also pleased with this year's program. "I feel so lucky to be able to age out with such an incredible show," said Beta Aminabadi, a Blue Devils tour diarist, in her online entry on June 23. Aminabadi, 21, is a guard member who will age out this summer.