Drum Corps International
Crown takes first during second night in Allentown
Carolina Crown performs Saturday night at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, Pennsylvania.Photo by: T. McCourt, DCI.org

Crown takes first during second night in Allentown

by Lauren Wilcox

Carolina Crown swept the competition Saturday night, putting up its highest score of 2016 on the second day of the 40th anniversary edition of the DCI Eastern Classic.

The Fort Mill, South Carolina corps took first place in the General Effect, Music and Visual captions, on way to a first-place finish overall with a score of  94.263.

“So many people [here tonight] and this is always one of the most anticipated shows of the season,” Carolina Crown drum major Ross Werner said, “The crowd was awesome, and we had a great show.”

Crown debuted a new finish to its production “Relentless” tonight, a tweak that alters the ending storyline to add a note of compassion to an overall ruthless theme.

“Our new ending has really given us a new energy about the show and allows us to connect more to the audience,” drum major Emily Salgado said.

Santa Clara Vanguard landed in second place with a score of 92.337, bringing great energy and new color guard costumes to the field that complement the theme of the corps’ production, “Force of Nature.”

The Cavaliers (3rd, 91.925) managed to edge the Cadets (4th, 91.888) marking the first time the group has finished ahead of the hometown Allentown corps since the 2011 DCI Tour. A high point on the judges’ sheets for the Green Machine was a second-place finish in overall General Effect.

“At the end of the day it’s all about having a great show, and tonight we had a really electric performance,” Cavaliers drum major Joey Chen said. “We always want to make the crowd stand up for us, and when the crowd reacts that way it feeds our energy and helps get the show going.”

Phantom Regiment (5th, 88.513) regained a slim lead on the Blue Stars (6th, 88.450), after the Wisconsin corps passed its Midwestern rival for the first time this season last Saturday in Atlanta.

Members of the Blue Stars performed in Allentown with heavy hearts after longtime board of directors member and head of the corps’ souvenir merchandise program Gary Tollers passed away suddenly on Friday while on tour with the group.

Tollers is remembered as a kind and genuine soul, always greeting whoever he met within the drum corps community with a warm embrace and a smile.

“Gary was always happy, calm, and always willing to listen to anyone talk,” Blue Stars tuba section leader T’kal Clay said. “He cared about the impact he made on the corps and DCI as a whole. Such an amazing guy.”

Clay said that Tollers was on corps members’ minds in Allentown. A moment of silence was held throughout the stadium just prior to the Blue Stars taking the field, and the souvenir marketplace was shut down during the corps’ performance so merchandise volunteers could step away from their booths to pay their respects.

“As long as we continue to progress and have good performances, we’re doing exactly what Gary would want,” Clay said. "As long as we continue to love the Blue Stars and come back year after year, and continue to do this activity that so many people do not get to do, we’re doing what Gary wants.”

In seventh place, Crossmen (86.150) increased its score by more than a point since it last performed in Chester, Pennsylvania on August 4.

With a score of 84.200 members of the Boston Crusaders took 8th place, in a stadium that holds  sentimental value to the corps.

“This is very hallowed ground for drum corps, very rich in history,” Boston Crusaders drum major Aidan Williams said. “It’s incredible that we still use this stadium and [incredible] all the history it has behind it. We have a lot of history in this stadium too. We’ve heard stories upon stories upon stories from Boston Crusaders alumni.”

Oregon Crusaders (9th, 78.113) jumped back ahead of the Mandarins (10th, 78.038) on Saturday night, after the Sacramento corps held a 1.2-point lead on Thursday in Quincy, Massachusetts. The two corps have flip-flopped placements throughout the summer, and they will face each other one more time on Monday before making their way to Indianapolis for the DCI World Championship Prelims.

Pacific Crest (11th, 75.925 ) and Jersey Surf (12th, 70.750) rounded out the competition at J. Birney Crum Stadium.

Jersey Surf drum major Katie Liming says that her corps and its 2016 production, “Ebb & Flow,” have been a work in progress all season long.

“I think our identity has improved,” Liming said. “We have gained a better understanding of our show, how it relates to us and how all of the members relate to each other so it has been really cool to see that transformation.”

Performing for their final time in exhibition at J. Birney Crum Stadium on Saturday night were members of the Bridgemen Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, a group that has taken the field for the last 12 years and will officially retire as a corps this year.

The DCI Summer Tour will make its last march of the season next week in Michigan City, Indiana for the Open Class World Championship Prelims and Finals on Monday, August 8 and Tuesday, August 9, before the action heads south to Indianapolis for three days of competition August 11-13 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Contributing: Andrea Neff

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