With all eyes on upcoming World Class events in Murfreesboro and Atlanta, Open Class corps have hit the road for their own series. Some, like Revolution and Velvet Knights, have an extensive tour schedule close to matching that of their World Class counterparts, while others either end midseason or begin mid-July and continue through the DCI World Championships in August. Ten Open Class corps performed in DCI events last weekend, and many other exciting shows are in store from now until the Open Class Quarterfinals kick off in Michigan City, Ind. on Aug. 10. 7th Regiment, an Open Class ensemble from New London, Conn., began its tour July 2 in Bristol, R.I. and competed at other East Coast events in Bridgewater, Mass. and Manchester, N.H. But at the corps' most recent show in Warrenton, Va., on July 24, 7th Regiment won first place among the other Open Class corps, topping Legends and Raiders. "This is new ground for us," said 7th Regiment Corps Director Tim Rall. "We've been around a few years now, and [we're] developing year after year, getting a little bit bigger and a little bit better. So now we're starting to win some shows and the kids are pretty excited about that." Established in 2002, 7th Regiment is fielding a corps about 65 members strong, with a solid base of veterans and some new members as well. Though members got "a little edgy" with the heat over Fourth of July weekend and some extra-hot rehearsal days, Rall said the corps handles life on the road just fine.
"There are a number of rookies, and there's a learning curve for the new ones," said Rall. "But the veterans are bringing them along and trying to help them out, so it's a pretty cohesive group. They try to help each other." One longstanding Open Class corps from Nashua, N.H. returned to the field after a year of inactivity in 2009. "The Spartans have had a great return to the field," said Corps Director Rich Rigolini. "The corps has been met with significant support from the community, local businesses and our alumni base. The season started with an "introduction" to rehearsal camps and parades long before we hit the field for our first show. The entire process of re-establishing the Spartans has been very powerful." Seventy young adults are participating in this year's corps, which Rigolini says contains several veteran members from 2006-2008 along with many rookies. In its first competition in early and mid-July, the corps topped 7th Regiment at Bridgeport Drums in Connecticut July 5 and took first place July 16 at Music in the Meadows in Massachusetts. "This has been a learning experience for all of us," Rigolini said. "Every time we are together for a long weekend or getting ready to travel as a corps, we set a list of goals for that specific time together. All of our members have reached these goals and it has been a very rewarding experience for us all. The Spartan work ethic has been strong." After performing in DCI events in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the Spartans
are about to enter the final segment of their tour leading up to DCI Open Class World Championships. "We look forward to bringing the corps back into finalist standings," said Rigolini. "Our season has been about taking one step at a time and re-establishing the values of the corps on and off the field. We have one expectation at every event we attend: to be as classy, positive and strong as a group of performers [as we can]." The next series of Open Class DCI Tour events begins Saturday, July 31 in DeKalb, Ill. It will be one of the largest lineups of the season, featuring 11 corps in competition at Northern Illinois University's Huskie Stadium. Current leaders Blue Devils B., undefeated since the Vanguard Cadets topped them at the So-Cal Classic July 17, go up against other contenders Revolution and Legends. On the first of August, Open Class corps meet again in Paw Paw, Mich., an event scheduled to include International corps Strangnas from Sweden. On Monday, August 2, Oregon Crusaders joins the lineup of Blue Devils B, Revolution, Les Stentors, and more.
Blue Devils B