Blue Devils completed an undefeated season Saturday, Aug. 11, winning their 15th Drum Corps International World Championship, their fourth in the last six years. With a final score of 98.70, the California corps also took home hardware from Lucas Oil Stadium for caption awards in Visual Performance, General Effect, Percussion and Color Guard. Blue Devils corps director David Gibbs said although he can't rank how this title compares to the corps' 14 others, he can say the 2012 corps is one of the best performing ensembles he's ever had. "We're just blessed," he said. "We're thankful that the whole activity is going great. This is one of the best ensembles we've had." With her fifth and final year under her belt, color guard captain Rachel Silva has seen the Blue Devils win three World Championships in that time. Silva was especially proud of what her color guard section accomplished. "This is our fifth guard title in a row," Silva said. "I'm very excited. All five years I've been here we've taken color guard, and that is a huge honor."
Blue Devils pose with the Founders Trophy.
Blue Devils won't leave Indianapolis just yet, however. The 2012 World Champions will perform selections from "Cabaret Voltaire" at halftime for the NFL's Colts versus Rams preseason opener on Sunday, Aug. 12.
Blue Devils react to their 2012 World Championship win.
With their second place finish, Carolina Crown (97.65) tied their record high placement. They placed second to Blue Devils in 2009 with the show "The Grass is Always Greener." On Saturday night Crown took home caption awards for Visual Performance (tied with Blue Devils) and Brass. As for their Finals performance, Carolina Crown drum major Mike Roach said they had an unbelievable run. "Honestly it was the best feeling I've ever had," he said after the awards ceremony. "They're my best friends, and it's going to be hard to leave them. Honestly this was the best way we ever could have gone out. It was a great show." After swapping places throughout the last half of the season, Phantom Regiment (96.55, 3rd) kept themselves ahead of The Cadets (95.05, 4th). In the end, the Cadets found themselves a point and a half away from the bronze.
"Last night in Semifinals, we had an amazing performance," Phantom Regiment drum major Dean Patterson said. "It was unreal, and I said to the corps, 'I don't know how you're going to top it, but you better tomorrow night.' And they definitely did. It was an emotional performance, and everybody is just so proud of what they've accomplished." After just a .05 increase from Prelims to Semifinals, The Cadets went up almost a full point in Finals. The corps took third overall in Music, their highest overall ranking of the night. Cadets drum major Kendra Orcutt said their season got off to a shaky start, with a fair share of ups and downs. "With a Christmas-themed show you could say we had a lot of non-believers, both outside the corps and even some members who didn't know how it was going to shake out," Orcutt said. "I think we've all come to really accept this show and what it means. It has become something that is really special. I think everyone is going to remember that."
Improving both in score and ranking from 2011, Santa Clara Vanguard (94.45, 5th) kept themselves ahead of Bluecoats (92.55, 6th). "The corps maxed out tonight," Vanguard director Jeff Fiedler said. "We'd probably max out more if we had a couple more days, but we are at the best we've been all summer, which is exactly where we want to be." Fiedler said his corps came off a strong finish in 2011, and combined with a great design team and talented corps members, Santa Clara Vanguard was in a new league in 2012. Their fifth-place finish is their highest since 2009. Bluecoats drum major Haley Burks led her corps to a sixth-place finish on her 22nd birthday and "bonus day." She said she spent her birthday exactly how she wanted to and couldn't have asked for anything better. "This is a great show to age out on," she said about "UnMasqued." "Everybody loves it. It's totally us. This is definitely a Bluecoats show, and it was perfect."
Santa Clara Vanguard
There was only one shakeup in placements during this year's Finals competition — Boston Crusaders (89.10, 7th) surpassed The Cavaliers (88.85, 8th). Despite trailing the Illinois-based corps coming into the World Championships, Boston had previously bested The Cavaliers in Atlanta, San Antonio and Minneapolis. Despite improving in rankings compared to Semifinals and the 2011 World Championships, Boston Crusaders color guard captain Amber Brown said what made this year extra special was the dynamic of the entire corps — there was always a shoulder to lean on or a friend to talk to. The last time The Cavaliers failed to break 90 points was in 1984. That year, the corps played "Don Juan," which was also a part of this year's "15 Minutes of Fame." The corps placed eighth in '84 as well. But for Cavaliers drum major Andrew Rhebergen, the 2012 corps is the best group he's been with. He described this season as "unbelievable." Color guard co-captain Ethan Marcus said the drive and work ethic of every individual in the corps was amazing.
Madison Scouts (88.00, 9th) staved off Blue Knights (86.70, 10th), who were less than one point away after the Semifinals. "At the beginning of the season, there were some loose ends, but we could see the goal in sight," Madison Scouts trumpet player Jared Holmes said. "We really focused, and throughout the summer, with the new staff changes, we really found ourselves as a drum corps again. We've put our foot down and said, 'We're going to be here for a long time.'" Blue Knights baritone player Michael Mendoza said the season has been an emotional roller coaster. After four years with Blue Knights, he said the last performance was a surreal experience. "We did our job tonight," Mendoza said. "[Every performance] you do what's required of you, but there was that special excitement and emotion tonight." Spirit of Atlanta (84.40, 11th) director Dr. Todd Snead said it's great to be among the Finalist corps. In 2011, the corps returned to the Saturday night competition after missing out for the previous three years. Snead and Spirit were also excited for Crossmen (84.00, 12th) who made their first return to the Finals after missing out the previous seven years.
"It was phenomenal," Snead said about Crossmen making Finals. "We were walking off the field last night when the Crossmen's score was announced. The crowd went crazy, and then our members went crazy. We were probably more excited for them than we were for ourselves because we have a great relationship with that organization." In 2012, Crossmen became the second Texas drum corps in DCI history to make the top 12. They are the first since 1991 when the Sky Ryders from Desoto, Texas qualified. "It's been a wonderful ride all summer," Crossmen director Fred Morrison said. "It's a great group of kids. They showed me right from the very beginning how they wanted to be remembered. This is the first time the Crossmen from Texas made Finals and we have a lot to celebrate." View all scores from this event. Contributing to this report: Michael Boo, Jeff Hartowicz, Johnny Gilbert, Jeff Langan, Christina Mavroudis, Jessica Skogh, Linda and Sid Unser, Chris Weber, Kate Weber