The DCI Southwestern Championships daytime show stepped off at 10:00am sharp at the Alamodome.

San Antonio's own REVOLUTION, the only active junior corps in the Lone Star State, started today's competition with a powerful, bold sound and rousing applause from their hometown fans. A thrill for the performers and the audience alike, Revolution's "Landscapes" closed with "Simple Gifts", giving us an emotional, intense, and quite simply, beautiful kick-off for the day.

ESPERANZA from San Diego kept the intensity alive in the Alamodome with their "Songs of Ceremony". Only in their second year of competition, this corps showed no sign of growing pains as they took command of the field with a challenging musical book -- including Holsinger's "Liturgical Dances" -- and a very polished presentation. This was Esperanza's last performance of the season; they are not moving on to Buffalo. How lucky is was for the San Antonio crowd to catch them at their best!

From Alberta, Canada, ALLEGIANCE ELITE took their cue from "Beauty and the Beast" and certainly lived up to their 1997 "Spirit of Disney" award, taking a more or less non-literal approach to the children's classic and bringing us dramatic color in both sight and sound.

Back in the States for it's second consecutive season, TAIPEI YUEHFU shared many elements of their Taiwanese heritage through continuously changing color in the guard and an intriguing display of traditional character roles juxtopposed with the contempory Chinese music of Chung Yiu-Kwong. The corps left the field with a standing ovation from the crowd, their Taiwan flag flying over head in the Dome, and a smile on the members' faces knowing that this great performance is a strong indication that the corps clearly intends to defend their 2000 DCI International Division Championship status and climb even higher in the ranks of drum corps in 2001.

When a corps doubles in size and can back it up with talent and design, there is already success written all over its program. SEATTLE CASCADES is that corps in 2001! Last year's Division III Championship, albeit spectacular, seems to fade in the glow of this years' program, "The Veneration: The music of David R. Holsinger".

A "Tribute to an Uncommon Man" is the TROOPERS' tribute to not one but two uncommon men: Aaron Copland and Jim Jones. The familiar melodies of Copland's most popular themes, combined with homage to their late Director Jim Jones, inspires the corps to new heights as they continue to weave their tradition into the modern era of drum corps. The opening "sunburst", a signature move for the corps, brought the first of many rounds of applause as the Troopers reminded us throughout their program how "Honor, Loyalty, and Dedication" (their motto) can take a corps from its 1957 beggnings to 2001.

Their bags packed with the classic "Spirit Sound", the former Spirit of Atlanta took their "Ghost Train" to Jacksonville, Alabama in 2001 to become SPIRIT of JACKSONVILLE STATE UNIVERTSITY. Travel by train seems to suit this corps and the audience as the intense swing of the corps' repertoire, based on Eric Whitache's "Ghost Train Triptych", traveled across the boundaries of the field and into the hearts of fans under the Dome.

Just returning from a trip of their own, this time to Europe, the KIWANIS KAVALIERS take us on another journey to a popular destination, "Manhattan". With the music of Bernstein's "On the Town", the Kavaliers entertained the crowd by giving us a feel for the typical work day. And today's performance was a strong indication that their final destination, Buffalo, will mark the successful completion of a not-so-typical summer.

SOUTHWIND brought the sunshine inside the Alamodome with their bright yellow uniforms and luminous 2001 program. An aggressive in-your-face approach to the music of Stamp, Brahms, Barber, and Bulla, "A New Era" is a repertoire that will again propel the corps through some intense Division I competition. Throughout the program, the powerful brass and percussion remind us that Southwind, after their break from competition in 1998, is taking full advantage of this, their "New Era" in drum corps competition.

"Chivalry" is certainly not dead, at least not in Dubuque, Iowa, where the COLTS put together a bold and brave program of five contemporary works including David Holsinger's "Sinfonia Voci" and Patrick Doyle's "Henry V". The excitement begins with the very first count and doesn't let up until the end as the corps takes us through themes of courtly pleasures, conflict, victory, compassion and devotion.

Still true to their Irish roots yet unfolding a few new pages in their evolution, PIONEER gave the audience another look at conflict, this time with "Irish in the Civil War... A Quest for Freedom." A powerful sound and presence from this corps proves that quality stems from dedication and pride.

The MADISON SCOUTS did what they do best: bring the house down with the power of "Hot Jazz--Madison Style"! Adapted from Vic Brown's "Stereophonic Suite for Two Bands", including the Madison classic, "Ballet in Brass", the program reaches out and grabs its audience by the ears and doesn't let go until the final screeching soprano. Just what we'd expect from Madison.

The BLUECOATS continued the jazz feel but with a latin bend. "Latin Sketches" is a hot and steemy romp into the sounds of the rumba and the tango seasoned with a guard whose gaze fixes upon the audience and doesn't let go until the ending seduction.

This year, you can depend on the CROSSMEN to show you how fun jazz can be with their "Late Night Jazz", a compilation reminiscent of some of Manhattan's jazz clubs. Truly inviting as they tease the audience onto the field, the Crossmen keep your feet tapping as the smile on your face mirrors the joy on the field.

Last up today, CAROLINA CROWN gave us a look at "Industry" from a few very different angles. The guard completely transforms itself from beginning to end, unveiling new color schemes and new costumes at each turn. The hornline and percussion in turn keep the machine going with an exciting level of commitment to a challenging array of scores.

Today's competition came to a close with a full retreat of the fourteen corps that rocked the walls of the Alamodome with "America the Beautiful / O Canada". For a complete recap, check the scores by cklicking back to the DCI hompage; you'll find a link there.

Advancing to tonight's championships will be Bluecoats, Colts, Crossmen and Madison Scouts!

They will join Phantom Regiment, Glassmen, The Cavaliers, Blue Devils, The Cadets, Santa Clara vanguard, Blue Knights, and Boston Crusaders in tonight's Championship Competition.

Check back later this evening for more!