By Rosa Lee HardenWhat a difference a few days makes!I had the great joy of joining the 'A' Corps on the road for two days near the end of their first East Coast swing. And what a two days it was! The two shows I saw were the home shows for the Crossmen (outside of Philadelphia) and the Cadets (in Clifton, N.J.)Top 12 contenders who were on hand included the Spirit of Jacksonville State, Carolina Crown, the Crossmen, the Cadets and the Blue Devils. Both the Cadets and the Blue Devils have a healthy dose of dose of American music, with the Cadets' show looking back to war times in the '40s (and to their "Main Street" show of some years back). The Blue Devils also pull material out of the past with "Channel One Suite," but the show is much more aesthetically complicated, challenging and compelling. The end result is a very exciting, very "Blue Devils" show that Blue Devils fans will be proud of.Only being able to watch two competitions left me wishing for more. The Friday night show in Philadelphia (the first show I had seen since Family Day in June) was great. The kids performed well, but the crowd didn't seem to understand what they were seeing. The most exciting thing about the weekend was that not one ounce of frustration from the night before showed up in the performance on Saturday night. And in most alien territory, at the Cadets own home show, the 135 Blue Devils reached down and gave the performance of their still-young season, bringing the entire crowd, which included the Cadets' most loyal fans, to their feet. Several in the stands chanted "one more time" as the corps members took their final bows.Both Dave Gibbs and I spontaneously left the stands immediately after their performance. We weren't sitting together, and each of us had planned to stay to see the Cadets, but after seeing the performance that Blue Devils turned on, there was no way I wanted to see anything but the smiles on their faces after that incredible performance.As Dave told the kids, the scores aren't yet showing what's there, but after that show, I appreciated in a whole new way how little a judge can really tell you about what has happened in front of their eyes. The kids were fabulous -- and I can't wait for California audiences to get to see what we saw on the East Coast.Rosa Lee Harden is President of the Blue Devils, and is also a Friend of DCI.