Members of the Blue Devils made history Friday night, as they performed their way to 96.825 points, the highest score ever recorded at Allentown, Pennsylvania's historic J. Birney Crum Stadium.
Only three times have corps scored 96 points or more at the DCI Eastern Classic (formerly known as DCI East). Santa Clara Vanguard was the first in 1998 (96.000). The Blue Devils (96.150) did so when the event was held in Philadelphia in 2001. Most recent were the 2005 Cadets (96.225) who were record breakers of their own when they tied the highest score ever (99.150) at the DCI World Championship Finals just a week following their Allentown performance nearly a decade ago.
Blue Devils took first in all captions on Friday, including percussion, which has been a spot held tightly during much of the summer by the Santa Clara Vanguard. Vanguard was just a tenth of a point down to Blue Devils' percussion section as the corps jumped almost a full point in total score from the night before to grab second place (94.075).
Phantom Regiment (3rd, 89.750) snuck ahead of the Blue Knights (4th, 89.600) by a slim margin after giving way to the Colorado corps for the first time last Saturday at the Atlanta Georgia Dome.
Regiment members were ecstatic to have such a strong performance in a venue that drum corps have come to for more than three decades.
"It feels incredible being able to perform in a stadium where so many other amazing Phantom Regiment [corps] have performed in the past," said drum major David Warren. "Just to walk on the same field as those who have come before us, it was an awesome experience."
Boston Crusaders' performance of "Animal Farm" earned a fifth-place finish and a score of, 87.825. The corps showed strong visual scores, taking fourth place overall in the caption ahead of the Blue Knights.
The Blue Stars were not far behind Boston in sixth place with a score of 86.800, and the Colts snagged seventh place with a score of 82.175.
As members of the "Red Team" from Dubuque, Iowa reflect on their summer season to this point, they don't just see drill formations improving or hear notes sounding more in tune. The corps members have also found a lot of growth and achievement in the way they interact with one another.
"We've definitely been getting a lot stronger physically and mentally, but we've also gotten a lot closer," said Colts drum major Jason Schubert. "It's always great to see all the friendships that form through this activity and to watch this group come together as a family is really special to me."
After channeling Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" with their 2014 production "Nevermore," the Oregon Crusaders received a score of 78.375 which was good enough for 8th place.
Pacific Crest took 9th (77.350) with its fun, lighthearted performance of "No Strings Attached."
"We had a lot of energy coming into the show tonight, and I feel that translated well on the field," said Pacific Crest drum major Hobie Lindholm. "I think that this week we will make one final push and all the work will really pay off at the World Championships in Indy."
Cascades (10th, 71.750) and Pioneer (11th, 68.100) rounded out the first night of competition in Allentown, working hard through a rainy start to the event to deliver excellent performances to an enthusiastic audience.
Day two of the DCI Eastern Classic will take place Saturday, Aug. 2, kicking off at 6:30 p.m. ET. The event will be webcast live on the DCI Fan Network.