Each of the last five days leading up to the DCI Tour Premiere presented by DeMoulin Bros. and Co. on June 21 in Detroit, Drum Corps International will be taking a look at where each of its World, Open and International Class corps stand competitively and artistically entering the 2018 campaign.
Starting with DCI’s easternmost corps, here’s the first installment in a five-part series previewing the upcoming DCI Summer Tour.
7TH REGIMENT | New London, Connecticut
2018 Program: “In a Different Light”
A Taste of the Music: 7th Regiment will perform James Horner’s “A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics,” from the film, “A Beautiful Mind,” which has been used multiple times over the past several years in DCI. Most recently, the Crossmen and Pacific Crest both featured Horner’s piece in their respective 2017 productions.
Competitive Refresh: Last year, 7th Regiment used a late push to fend off Guardians and Southwind and earn its eighth consecutive top-eight finish in the Open Class division. Despite earning eighth place — the corps’ lowest standing in Open Class since 2009 — a 72.000 at Open Class Finals marked its highest score since the same event in 2015.
Trending: 7th Regiment is now four years removed from its most recent trip to the DCI World Championship Semifinals — which includes the Top 25 World and Open Class corps — and three years removed its last top-six finish in Open Class. Over that span, individual scoring numbers have fluctuated, with the corps’ peak in recent years being its fifth-place Open Class finish in 2014.
BLUECOATS | Canton, Ohio
2018 Program: To Be Announced
A Taste of the Music: While the 2016 World Champions have once again kept their show information locked away, they recently announced their musical selections for 2018. Parts of this year’s repertoire seem to hearken back to the Bluecoats’ jazz roots, and will feature Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child.”
Competitive Refresh: Despite opening 2017 where they had left off in 2016 — atop the drum corps universe — with a first-place finish at the DCI Tour Premiere, the Bluecoats ended up falling to fifth place by season’s end. The Canton corps spent most of last season hovering in fourth place, before being leapfrogged by The Cavaliers at the DCI World Championship Finals, by a miniscule .037 points. Even so, the Bluecoats finished less than 1.5 points outside of a medal position.
Trending: It’s been five-straight years of top-five finishes for the Bluecoats, who burst onto the competitive scene as an elite contender in 2014 with their first silver medal. The Canton corps earned a medal in each of the next two years, ultimately notching its first-ever world championship in 2016. While 2017’s fifth-place finish was a competitive step down from the year prior, the Bluecoats have firmly established themselves in the top tier of World Class competition over the last five years.
BOSTON CRUSADERS | Boston, Massachusetts
2018 Program: “S.O.S.”
A Taste of the Music: Alan Silvestri’s music will be on display at the World Class level for the first time since Carolina Crown’s 2013 production, “E=MC^2.” Boston will feature Silvestri’s end credits music from the film “Cast Away” in its 2018 production.
Competitive Refresh: The Boston Crusaders flew under the radar for the first few weeks of the 2017 season, but started making major noise on July 12 when they defeated The Cadets head-to-head for the first time in over three decades. Boston never fell below its Allentown-based foe again, ultimately earning an impressive sixth-place finish.
Trending: Boston’s top-six standing in 2017 is even more impressive when put into a long-term perspective. The Crusaders finished on the fringes of the Top 12 in 2014, 2015 and 2016, before rising six slots from 12th to sixth and improving on their final score by eight points in just a year’s time. While 2017 was not Boston’s highest finish ever in terms of ranking, a 92.963 at the World Championship Finals did mark the corps’ highest score of all time.
THE CADETS | Allentown, Pennsylvania
2018 Program: “The Unity Project”
A Taste of the Music: 2018 won’t be the first time David Holsinger’s “Ballet Sacra” will be part of a Cadets repertoire; the piece was also featured in the corps’ gold medal-winning 1993 program, “In the Spring, At the Time When Kings Go Off to War.”
Competitive Refresh: In 2017, The Cadets spent the majority of the season slotted in 7th place, firmly ahead of the Blue Knights (8th) and Phantom Regiment (9th) but just a hair behind the Boston Crusaders (6th).
Trending: While 2017 was uncharted territory for the 10-time world champions — the corps’ 7th-place finish was its first time falling outside of the top six since 1981 — The Cadets’ consistent long-term success remains unmatched by the majority of DCI World Class corps. The Allentown corps has been a finalist each of its last 37 years. Since winning their most recent gold medal in 2011, The Cadets earned one bronze medal in 2014, and were just shy of two more with close fourth-place finishes in 2013 and 2015.
CAROLINA CROWN | Fort Mill, South Carolina
2018 Program: “Beast”
A Taste of the Music: Carolina Crown will feature Anton Bruckner’s iconic “Symphony No. 8” in its 2018 show. This is the first time Bruckner’s powerful piece has been used since 2015, when it was performed by The Cavaliers in the opening movement of “Game On.”
Competitive Refresh: Carolina Crown spent the vast majority of its 2017 season positioned in third place; after falling behind the Bluecoats in a handful of early head-to-head meetings, Crown surged into the medal hunt in early July and never let go of its top-three standing. On a few occasions, the corps came dangerously close to cracking the top two, but ultimately earned its second consecutive third-place finish at the DCI World Championship Finals with a score of 96.575.
Trending: Having been a medalist in five of the past six years, Crown has also finished in the top five every year since its first such finish in 2008. Crown’s bronze medal and brass caption title in 2017 were both repeats from 2016. Five years removed from its first World Championship title, Carolina Crown has held serve in the upper echelon of the World Class ranks for the past decade.
JERSEY SURF | Camden County, New Jersey
2018 Program: “[mondo mondrian]”
A Taste of the Music: Jersey Surf will be the second corps to bring Hans Zimmer’s Academy Award-nominated music from “Interstellar” to DCI, with “Cornfield Chase.” The Blue Devils also featured music from the sci-fi film in 2017.
Competitive Refresh: Surf’s 2017 campaign saw the corps finish just under three points shy of its first trip to the DCI World Championship Semifinals since 2014. Jersey Surf edged out Louisiana Stars for 27th place by just .05 at the DCI World Championship Prelims.
Trending: Jersey Surf has spent the last decade hovering around the top 25 cut-off, with Semifinalist finishes every year from 2009 to 2014. After 2015’s 28th-place finish, Surf was a little over a point away from a spot in the top 25 in 2016.
JUBAL | Dordrectht, The Netherlands
2018 Program: “Vincent: The Beauty of Madness”
A Taste of the Music: This year, Jubal will perform “Clair de Lune,” a late 19th-century work by Claude Debussy, as part of its 2018 production. Debussy’s piece has been used twice by Phantom Regiment, in 2015 and 1994, as well as in 2008 by both the Blue Stars and Carolina Crown.
Competitive Refresh: Jubal has earned top-three finishes each of the past five years in Drum Corps Europe competition, with its most recent DCE championship title coming in 2013. Last year, Jubal earned third place in DCE, with The Company — 2017’s DCI International Class Champion — taking home DCE gold.
Trending: Jubal has competed on the DCI tour twice in the last 10 years — 2011 and 2015 — and earned an International Class title in the latter appearance. Jubal scored above seven Open Class corps en route to its 30th-place finish overall in 2015.
RAIDERS | Burlington, New Jersey
2018 Program: “Beowulf: Rise of a Legend”
A Taste of the Music: Raiders’ 2018 program will be entirely comprised of original music by staff member Jake Kaplan. This is Kaplan’s first year arranging for the New Jersey corps.
Competitive Refresh: Raiders’ streak of Open Class Finals appearance was briefly threatened last summer by Shadow. The Wisconsin corps finished less than a point away from its New Jersey-based foe at the Open Class World Championship Prelims, but Raiders’ 63.050 was enough to earn a 10th consecutive finish in the Open Class top 12.
Trending: While the Raiders have been in the Open Class top five since 2010, they’ve been Open Class finalists every year since the term “Open Class” was devised in 2008. From an overall standpoint, the Raiders have broken the 60-point threshold in all but one of the past six years, with their top score of 66.250 coming in 2014.
SPARTANS | Nashua, New Hampshire
2018 Program: “Da Vinci’s Workshop”
A Taste of the Music: While the majority of Spartans’ 2018 production will be original works by Key Poulan and Matt McGuire, the New Hampshire corps will also feature Christopher Tin’s “Sogno di Volare,” which translates to “The Dream of Flight.” Other music by Tin has been used twice by the Vanguard Cadets, in 2016 and 2017, and will also be performed in 2018 by the Louisiana Stars.
Competitive Refresh: Throughout the majority of the 2017 season, the Spartans were locked into fifth place in the Open Class, closely behind Music City, finishing within a point of the Nashville corps on several occasions. The Spartans earned their second-straight fifth-place finish in Open Class, and ultimately edged out the Seattle Cascades for the last spot in the DCI World Championship Semifinals (Top 25) by just 0.225.
Trending: Spartans have been about as consistent as can be in Open Class competition over the past handful of years, with top-five finishes every year since 2010. The corps has earned two bronze medals in that span — in 2010 and 2015 — and has made the cut for the DCI World Championship Semifinals in each of the past six seasons.
On Sunday, 2018 DCI Corps Capsules — Volume 2: Midwest, featuring: Blue Stars, The Cavaliers, Colts, Colt Cadets, Legends, Madison Scouts, Phantom Regiment, Pioneer, River City Rhythm and Shadow.