The 2009 Drum Corps International Tour has already been marked by hard work, amazing performances, and incredibly tight competition, and the corps competing on the West Coast have been no exception. World Class corps from the West, joined by the Ohio-based Bluecoats, have earned high marks from judges at recent competitions in Clovis, Stanford and Stockton, Calif. Santa Clara Vanguard CEO Jeff Fiedler said his corps has performed well in the early season. Drum corps fans will hear the well-known tune of "Appalachian Spring" in SCV's 2009 program featuring the music of Aaron Copland's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Ballet for Martha." Beyond those familiar strains, however, Fiedler says the programming is somewhat unorthodox. "The Vanguard is presenting a show that doesn't quite fit the mold of what has been typical of drum corps for the past six or eight years," Fiedler said. "We're trying to form a new niche in the activity that allows us use the phrasing that was originally composed by Copland." Fiedler credits extensive pre-season preparations from administrative staff, designers and instructors in addition to the corps members, for playing a major role in the corps' preparedness so far this summer. "The corps members are absolutely excited, and that excitement has helped yield some pretty good results," he said. The Blue Devils have also enjoyed success with their program, "1930," which explores the historical time period in and around the Great Depression. The corps has earned high scores in competition so far this year and has swept first place in the general effect, visual and music captions at every event. The Concord, Calif. corps was the very first to reach the 80-point milestone on June 26 in Clovis, Calif. They increased their score by more than one-and-a-half points two days later at the Moonlight Classic in Stockton, Calif. The only other corps to break 80 points so far this season has been the Holy Name Cadets and Carolina Crown. Crown captured the highest score of any corps to date with an 83.00 last night in Rome, N.Y. In West Coast Open Class competition: After narrowly missing the top spot at the '08 World Championship Finals, members of Blue Devils B have been laser focused early in the season, staying on top of last year's champs the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets at several events. Blue Devils B Director Rick Odello said the corps is doing well in rehearsals and in its performances. "Members' spirits are high, and we are happy with the direction we are moving in," said Odello. "We're looking forward to the competition all the way up to the World Championships in Indianapolis." Following reports of the intense competition that is going on back East, the Pacific corps will no doubt be excited to see where they stack up against the competition as they travel down to Texas in mid-July for the DCI Southwestern Series. All World Class corps will go head-to-head for the first time at the DCI Southwestern Championship on Saturday, July 18 at the San Antonio Alamodome. View the complete 2009 DCI Tour schedule to find upcoming events in your area.