Eight of Drum Corps International's World and Open Class corps marched through Indiana's second largest city on Tuesday, July 8, for DCI Ft. Wayne. Despite gusty winds and a slight chance of rain, the brand new event drew hundreds of eager spectators to the campus of St. Francis University for a night of exciting competition. The Blue Devils from Concord, California, earned a first place score of 86.15 after delivering a powerful performance of their 2014 program "Felliniesque." This marks the corps' fifth performance in the Midwest after making the long trek from the West Coast to Iowa on July 2. "It's great to see new competition and new stadiums that the corps hasn't been to in years," said Blue Devils drum major Adam Schrock. "It's nice to come out and rock an awesome stadium like this one with an awesome crowd who really appreciates drum corps."
Bluecoats took home second place with a score of 85.15. The Ohio corps has been nipping at the heels of the top scoring scores of the summer, and with tonight's finish, they have narrowed the margin even further. Although Blue Devils took home first place overall, the Bluecoats outscored the Devils percussion section by a tenth of a point and also scored first place overall in the visual caption. Boston Crusaders received a score of 76.65, putting them in third place for the night. The corps' 2014 program "Animal Farm" is inspired by the concepts of George Orwell's 1945 novel of the same name. Spirit of Atlanta finished in fourth place with a score 72.50. The corps dedicated its performance of "Magnolia" tonight to the late Jim Ott, who was tragically killed in a car accident 34 years ago to the day. Ott served as both an instructor and arranger for Spirit of Atlanta, and he is recognized by the drum corps community as the namesake for the prestigious brass performance award at the DCI World Championships.
"The show was especially emotional tonight," said Spirit of Atlanta drum major Jacquie Rotch. "It doesn't happen all the time that we are able to dedicate a performance to someone, and it's just really special for us to come together and honor Mr. Ott like this." Jersey Surf took home fifth place with a score of 63.65. In the Open Class division, Music City, who performed for the first time tonight, came out on top with a score of 60.50. The Nashville corps finished almost three points ahead of Legends (2nd, 57.90).
Spirit of Atlanta
"Tonight was a really good run for us," said Music City drum major Jessica Palmer. "This is the hardest show the corps has ever done and we've been working really hard." Blue Saints received a score of 37.85 which was good for third place. The Canadian corps is fresh off an appearance in the 97th Lions Club International Parade in Toronto, but tonight marks the group's first competitive performance of 2014. Up next, Legends, Music City, Blue Saints and Blue Devils are headed to Metamora, Illinois for the Show of Shows DCI Tour event on July 9. Bluecoats and Boston Crusaders take a short break from performing until they arrive at DCI Eden Prairie on July 11. Meanwhile, Spirit of Atlanta and Jersey Surf will be on their way to Salem, Wisconsin for Music on the Border on July 10.