On a beautiful summer evening in Nashville, the competition in the upper ranks of the World Class standings stayed red-hot, as the Blue Devils kept their undefeated season alive against seven other top-scoring corps at the Masters of the Summer Music Games presented by Jupiter, Mapex and Majestic.
Fueled by a handful of exciting additions to “Metamorph” — including several voiceovers from the late DCI Hall of Fame member and longtime corps director Jerry Seawright — the Devils finished with a tally of 92.450 to keep their ever-slim lead over Santa Clara Vanguard, while also topping the field in total visual and brass.
“Tonight's run was absolutely incredible,” Blue Devils mellophone player Trevor Stojanovich said. “I think the changes we've made over the last few days have added such an amazing effect to the show. It's really humbling to get to represent what the Blue Devils have been from the past, to the present and looking to the future.”
With a score of 92.350, Santa Clara Vanguard kept its second-place position with an advantage over Carolina Crown (3rd, 90.650). For Vanguard, it was a first-place finish in general effect as well as another win in the percussion caption that had them closer to the Blue Devils than they've been all season.
Finishing just 0.175 outside the top three once again were the Bluecoats (4th, 90.475), who finished as high as third in percussion, while seeing their deficit behind Carolina Crown shrink from 0.55 on Monday in Dallas on the wings of a number of additions to the corps' “Jagged Line” production.
“We decided to finally (have the horns) turn around at the end of the ballad, which I know that a lot of the fans have been waiting for,” Bluecoats drum major Graham Hopkins said. “I said a little bit ago that our show is kind of like broadway on a football field, so what a better way to end it than to tip the cap off?”
Not far from the defending DCI World Champions were The Cavaliers, whose fifth-place finish with a score of 88.550 continued a solid stretch of improvement in recent events for the Green Machine.
The corps, which took first in color guard in San Antonio, remained in strong standing in that caption in Friday night's performance, finishing in third.
“We're really trying to think as one unit,” said Tony Aviles, Cavaliers color guard captain. “Everything we do we try to do it together and we try to blend. The staff pushes us and we push them right back. We hold each other accountable and we trust each other, and that's pretty much the driving force behind our success so far.”
Earning sixth-place with a score of 85.950, The Cadets remained more than two points behind The Cavaliers after finishing behind the Illinois corps by a similar margin in San Antonio.
The 10-time world champions have spent the last few weeks developing several new additions to their closing movement.
Just behind The Cadets, a tight battle continued between Phantom Regiment (7th, 84.450) and the Blue Knights (8th, 84.100). Despite dropping six straight matchups to their opponents from Denver prior to last weekend, Regiment took its second straight head-to-head win after having topped Blue Knights by just under a point in San Antonio.
“That was a really good run for the drum corps,” said Kellie Simerly, a euphonium player from Phantom Regiment. “We had a lot of energy during our warm-up and there was a lot of energy on the field, the crowd definitely helped fuel that.”
With the honor of leading off the night's impressive lineup in its hometown, Music City represented the Open Class division with a score of 67.850 continuing its strong season on the scoresheets.
At the same event last season, the corps earned a 65.450, showing an improvement of more than two points in 2017.
“It's always great to see so many friendly faces just clapping, screaming and yelling as loud as they can,” said Music City drum major Jeremiah Wooten. “It's one of our biggest shows of the season and the audience really shows up for us.”
With key events on the schedule this weekend in Powder Springs, Georgia (July 29) and Winston-Salem, North Carolina (July 30), corps will continue to battle it out in one of the most competitive drum corps seasons to date, as the DCI World Championships loom just around the corner.