The Alamodome in San Antonio opened its doors to 22 drum corps and thousands of excited fans Saturday, July 18 for the DCI Southwestern Championship. The competition was the final event in the Southwestern Series, sponsored by Jupiter Band Instruments, which included performances in Dallas and Houston Thursday and Friday. The Blue Devils maintained their pattern of success at the event with a score of 91.40, earning the title of DCI Southwestern Champion and sweeping all caption awards for the series. When asked what the corps owes their success to, Blue Devils drum major Brian Howard said, "The hard work of the members right now. The hard work and the great show that our staff has put together for us. It's just a great drum corps we have this year." "The job's not done yet," Howard said. "We have a lot more to accomplish. We've got to fix some things, add some things; also step it up a little bit. There's a lot more fire and a lot more [to our] performance that we can add to our show. We're going to definitely bring that come the Finals."
The Cavaliers maintained the second place spot, earning an 89.75. Alex Harmon, drum major for the corps, said being able to play indoors for the first time was an exciting opportunity.
"The highlight of tonight's show was being in the dome and getting to see what our show was actually designed for, being inside with the echo effect. It created new things to hear," said Harmon. "Wherever we land in the scores, if we're happy with our show, that's all we really care about and that's what we want to do come Aug. 8." Holy Name Cadets (3rd, 89.55) and Carolina Crown (4th, 89.15) continued jostling for a position in the top three. They were followed by Santa Clara Vanguard (5th, 87.80), Bluecoats (6th, 86.50) and Blue Stars (7th, 84.65). In another extremely close result, Phantom Regiment (84.25) came out on top of Boston Crusaders (84.20) by a half of a tenth of a point. The evening's top 12 were rounded out with Glassmen (10th, 82.20), Blue Knights (11th, 81.80) and Troopers (12th, 79.60). Taylor Schultz, a Blue Knights brass player, said his corps had a great performance and the judges recognized it.
"I was on the 50-yard line at the end of the show and the music judge was standing right in front of me. As soon as we played the last note he just nodded his head and walked away, like he was saying 'All right, I know what you did. That's cool. I understand. You're done.'" The Colts took 13th place with a score of 79.10, followed by the Madison Scouts (14th, 77.10). The Crossmen (15th, 76.30) overtook the Academy (16th, 75.90) and Spirit (17th, 75.15), while Pacific Crest (18th, 73.05) held on to their lead over Mandarins (19th, 72.75). Pioneer (20th, 69.80) and Cascades (21st, 68.10) capped off the World Class competition. Brian Wilson, drum major for Pioneer, has been marching as a member of the corps for five years. He said the Southwestern Championship is one his favorite events. "The show went great today. It's definitely our strongest of the season so far. Tonight's performance had a lot of emotion—it was very passionate," he said.
San Antonio based Revolution, the only Open Class corps at the event, earned a score of 74.50 while playing for their home crowd. "It's so nice to be home! I heard a bunch of people calling out names and that was so great. I'm glad that there's a lot of family support here," said Revolution drum major Angelique Juarez, who was born and raised in San Antonio. "Our show went exceptionally well tonight. It held together a lot better than it usually does. We've been working really hard for the past week or so, getting ready for this." Following the conclusion of the Southwestern Series, corps will start looking to the Southern Series, which includes competitions in Hattiesburg, Miss; Murfesboro, Tenn., Gadsden, Ala. and Atlanta, Ga. next weekend.
Contributors: Johnny Gilbert, Justin Herberger, Peter Mitchell, Craig Olear, Chris Weber