ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The first day of one of Drum Corps International’s longest standing events, the DCI Eastern Classic, came to an early end Friday evening as prolonged rain showers led to deteriorating weather and field conditions.
“We’re very sensitive to fan and performer safety,” DCI executive director Dan Acheson said. “It’s always a priority to make sure that performers can put on the best and finest programs that they’ve prepared all summer for. It just made sense for us to make the call to end early because forecasts show it’s just imminent the rest of the night.”
Initially, the Allentown showers were light and sporadic throughout the first handful of corps. Seattle Cascades and Pioneer were able to perform on schedule, before rain picked up and pushed back the performances of Music City, Troopers, Madison Scouts and Colts.
Mandarins’ standstill concert run-through, which took place as the downpour began to increase, wrapped up the shortened night of performances on a high note, with a memorable reaction from an energetic audience.
“There’s no better audience than the Allentown audience especially in these adverse conditions,” Acheson added. “They appreciate everything the performers give them.”
Throughout the event, the Allentown crowd was consistently engaged despite less-than-stellar conditions. Corps members certainly took notice.
“It’s so cool to see,” Troopers trumpet player Katie Gruner said. “They’re not here for anything else, they just want to see drum corps. It’s such a cool thing to know that we’re giving them that experience and that we can provide this kind of entertainment that they’re willing to stand out in the rain just to watch our 10-minute show.”
While the back half of Friday’s corps were unable to perform their programs in full, the first six corps to perform received scores. Colts took the top score of 82.400, with Madison Scouts not far off, earning a mark of 81.275.
The DCI Eastern Classic is slated as one of three events used to determine the performance order of the DCI World Championship Prelims which will take place August 9 in Indianapolis. As six corps were unable to perform and be scored on Friday night in Allentown, that seeding will now be figured by the average of scores earned in San Antonio (July 21) and Atlanta (July 28).
Despite inclement weather putting a damper on Friday night’s portion of the storied event, the DCI Eastern Classic will roll on with 12 more World Class corps Saturday night.
Prior to the drum corps performances, a handful of SoundSport teams will perform inside the stadium. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. ET with the first team stepping off at 5 p.m. Cadets2, originally scheduled to perform on Friday night, will take the field at 6:10 p.m.