The West Coast showed up in full force Tuesday, Aug. 7, as Oregon Crusaders (1st, 95.25), Blue Devils B (2nd, 93.85) and Vanguard Cadets (3rd, 93.80) swept the top three spots at the 2012 Open Class World Championship Finals. Oregon Crusaders director Mike Quillen said it feels awesome winning this year's Open Class title. The corps placed second for the past two seasons and won their only other Championship title in 2004 in what was then Drum Corps International's Division III. "I'm proud of the members and the staff for the hard work that they've done," he said. "It's well deserved for them." Quillen said the win sets the corps up well for their World Championship Prelims performance on Thursday, and he's very confident they'll do well in Indianapolis. The Portland-based corps took home three caption awards — General Effect, Brass and Visual.
Oregon Crusaders' win meant a snap in Blue Devils B's three-year winning streak. Had the corps won the 2012 title, they would have been the second Open Class corps in history to achieve a "four-peat." "We feel that we accomplished our goals," Blue Devils B director Rick Odello said. "We're just happy to be here. The kids had a blast tonight during the performance. It was a fun performance." Although his corps walked away with second place, Odello left Ames Field having been named the 2012 Open Class Director of the Year, an award voted on by his peers. "It's overwhelming really," Odello said about the recognition. "It's really a humbling experience. And for it to be voted on by my peers, it feels great. I cherish that."
Blue Devils B
After tying in Prelims, Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets fell behind Blue Devils B by a small margin of .05. In his first year as director, Steve Barnhill secured another third-place finish for Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets. "We've had an amazing year," he said. "I look forward to our task in Indianapolis." Richard Rigolini, director of Spartans (4th, 91.15), said his corps' 2012 tour was the best they've had since they re-emerged in 2010. The corps is in the midst of a five-year rebuilding plan. "We got our feet wet again, learned how to play the game again," Rigolini said. "We are a visually strong corps. We have a color guard staff that has won the Open Class Color Guard trophy several times since 2001. We're just focusing on a stronger educational program for the corps to continue in the future."
Like they did in 2011, Spartans won the Best Color Guard caption award this year with a score of 19.1 at the Finals. Moving up from their seventh place finish in 2011 was 7th Regiment (5th, 86.35). 7th Regiment drum major Jamil George said the crowd was amazing, the best part being able to hear their fans cheering for them. On their third trip to the Open Class World Championship, Genesis (6th, 85.50) performed "Epic," which drum major Fred Barrera described as "a love story, mixed with a war, mixed with a lot of tension and music by Adele." Adding to the West Coast presence was Gold (7th, 84.30), in their first visit to Open Class World Championships since 2007. Director Donald Flaherty said the corps was able to make the trip by watching every penny this season. "It's tough," he said. "I always say every drum corps can be one flat tire away from disaster. It's really tough out there economically."
Legends (8th, 83.95) moved up one spot compared to their 2011 finish, and walked away with the 2012 Most Improved Corps award. "Michigan City is the first field Legends performed at when we came out in 2008," Legends director Ibe Sodawalla said. "Tonight was a connective performance to our history, highlighting a show that represents Michigan history." Legends performed "The Edmund Fitzgerald." The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was a freight ship that sank in Lake Superior in 1975. Music City (9th, 83.85) blended country music and "Phantom of the Opera" for their 2012 field show "Phantom of the Grand Ole Opera." According to their drum major, crowds appreciate the mix, even outside of "Music City."
"We have a couple of different cities that have really great supporters," Music City drum major Destiny Holt said. "And there are places we go where we can just tell the crowd is excited to be there from the time our buses pull up." According to corps manager Kim Roman, Raiders (10th, 82.00) made every effort to make it out to Michigan City. "We did a lot more fundraising than normal to get here," she said. "We had a last minute jewelry drive to raise money for the buses to get on tour." It was the first Championships week for Revolution's (11th, 78.50) drum major Sebastian Vega. "I've now done a full year of drum corps," he said. "I've been a part of it. I've done the whole experience. I've met so many new people, and I've learned so many things. It's a really awesome feeling."
Colt Cadets (12th, 75.40) held on to their 12th-place spot in the Finals, having placed 12th in 2011. Colt Cadets cymbal player Morgan Swearinger spent the season performing in a head-to-toe red spandex body suit, playing a character in the corps' 2012 mad scientist themed field show "Alive!" "We haven't had a lot of attention in past seasons," she said about the corps' cymbal section. "Now that we're the central focus, we have definitely become closer as a family. We've become sisters since we're all girls on the line." All 12 finalists, as well as Les Stentors and Blue Saints who performed Tuesday in exhibition, will compete for at least one more performance at the 2012 World Championship Prelims in Indianapolis. And with 22 World Class corps, a guaranteed three Open Class corps will see their season extend into Friday night for the Semifinals. View all scores from this event. View a complete schedule of World Championship events. Contributing to this report: Michael Boo, Jeff Langan, Jessica Skogh, Chris Weber