The 2017 Drum Corps International Tour kicked off Thursday night the same way it left off last August – in Lucas Oil Stadium, with the Bluecoats taking home first place.
Having once again waited until opening night at the DCI Tour Premiere presented by DeMoulin Bros. & Co. to unveil the season's show title and uniform, the defending champions earned a score of 72.300, while also taking top honors in the general effect, color guard and music analysis captions.
“It feels great,” Bluecoats executive director David Glasgow said. “It feels like we were just here yesterday, which is kind of crazy, you know, with the success of last season.
The Bluecoats' show, titled “Jagged Line,” features similar uniforms to last year's all-white design, with a black line running from top to bottom, along with suspenders of the same color.
A black-and-white jagged line also appears in the form of a towering stage that spans most of the 50-yard line.
“This show is something completely different from what we did last year,” Glasgow added. “But still takes the same approach in terms of us coming up with some new ideas, and of course the music I think is something that people are going to love.”
Finishing in second place, last year's bronze-medalist Carolina Crown debuted “It Is,” a complex show derived from the art of deconstructivism.
The show, according to drum major Ross Werner, still has about a minute-and-a-half of music to be added on to the end, but the corps expects the full program to be completed by the DCI Central Indiana event on June 30.
Sporting a purple and gray version of its familiar uniform design, Crown finished with a score of 70.950, while taking top honors in the visual proficiency and brass captions.
“For a first performance, it was great,” drum major Ross Werner said. “High energy, and it seemed like the fans really got into it. Going forward, if this is our starting point, the success of the season is almost limitless for us.”
Finishing in third place with an energetic show, “Men Are From Mars,” that centers around the evolution of man, The Cavaliers earned a score of 70.150 and took first in the percussion caption.
According to executive director Chris Lugo, the corps' strong opening run was due in large part to a very productive spring training.
“The guys have put in four and even five weeks of work and we feel great about that run, indicative of where we are right now,” he said. “These last couple of days have been really productive for the corps.”
In one of the night's biggest surprises from a design perspective, The Cadets debuted a completely new uniform that changed multiple times throughout the corps' show, “The Faithful, The Fallen, The Forgiven,” which features Leonard Bernstein's “Mass.”
Scoring 68.300, the 10-time DCI World Champions took fourth place, while finishing as high as third in the color guard caption.
With more to learn to get their entire show on the field, director George Hopkins said the experimentation isn't over yet for his corps.
“It's been 34 years since we did ‘Mass' so we're pretty excited to have the opportunity again,” he said. “We have a lot of work to be done, and we (still) have a minute and a half to pop on the end.”
Looking to continue the steady improvement they've achieved over the last few years into this season, the Blue Stars debuted “Star Crossed.” which features an array of familiar storylines, including “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Great Gatsby” and “Moulin Rouge.”
With a final score of 64.150, the corps took fifth place in Thursday's competition, while also improving upon its first score from a year ago by more than two points. Blue Stars' high mark on the score sheets was a third-place finish in the percussion caption.
“That was amazing, it was just so full of energy,” drum major Nessa Guerra said. “That's what we were looking for, the goal was to kick off the season with a really good run and I think we just did that.”
With the honor of being the very first corps to perform tonight in Indianapolis to kick off DCI's 45th anniversary season, Crossmen finished in sixth.
Featuring a new spin on the corps' usual black uniform look that includes pink and orange flair, the corps finished with a score of 63.800. Crossmen's highest caption finish of the night came in overall visual, where the San Antonio-based ensemble took fifth.
“We've come a really long way since spring training,” Crossmen mellophone player Sara Cathriner said. “We put in a lot of hard work especially in the San Antonio heat.”
Finally, the DCI season is underway, and all eyes will now shift to the west coast as several other World Class corps kick off their tours in Clovis, California, Friday night. Catch all of the action out west, particularly at DCI West in Stanford on Sunday, June 25, via the season's first webcast of the season on FloMarching.com.