Amber Cameron took 2018 off. After performing for Pacific Crest in 2017, she came back for her age-out season.
It was like she never left.
“I came back and instantly felt like I was at home,” Cameron said. “The people we had recruited, the auditionees we had and just the story of our show, I just knew this was going to be a special age-out (season) and I couldn’t be happier.”
Cameron rejoined the corps with little expectations for how the corps would fare competitively. In her absence, the corps had finished 20th at the 2018 DCI World Championships.
Even as she integrated again with the corps, she admitted that they “didn’t really believe that we could make a big difference this year.”
Before 2018, Pacific Crest had never placed higher than 16th and hadn’t broken 80 points since 2013.
Even when they made their 2019 debut at their home show in Vista, California, the corps finished two-tenths of a point lower than they did at the same show last season.
But then Pacific Crest jumped two points, then three points, then two more. All the sudden it was July 9 and they had already broken 70 points, a score they didn’t achieve until July 21st in 2018.
Pacific Crest’s progress kept rolling, all the way to Indianapolis.
“Surprisingly we try not to look at scores too much — but we all do. With the scores it was like we’ve got to keep our head down, don’t let it phase us,” Cameron said. “Got to keep working. Got to keep digging. Got to keep going. We’ve got to prove to DCI we deserve these scores and we deserve the placement.”
On Friday night at the DCI World Championship Semifinals, Pacific Crest completed what will go down as the best season in the corps’ history to date. They bested their all-time high score by more than three points, placing 14th, its highest finish by two spots.
“It’s beyond words,” Cameron said. “We went from being the 20th drum corps to the 14th in one season and words can’t even justify how hard we worked to get there.”
Pacific Crest’s 2019 production, “Everglow,” is a show all about memories. After two and a half months, it has given a corps’ worth of students one of the best summers they’ve ever had.
Along the way, as the corps started stocking up more memories during the tour, the memories of the members made their way into the show. And, thus, the show evolved.
“It took a long time for our members to be like, ‘Wow, I have this connection with this moment. I have anger with the third movement,” Cameron said. “I have sadness and heartbreak. I have excitement and joy.’ It took a long time but it has paid off, 100 percent.
“Throughout the season, it was a lot easier to make connections because we’ve been doing this for 85 days. So we were able to make memories together and it made it a lot easier.”
Cameron began to tear up a little as she reflected on her last drum corps show and her last drum corps season. She thought back to her time with the corps in 2017 and all the progress in between there and Friday.
As she stood in Lucas Oil Stadium, she grinned. Perhaps because she knows she was part of a historic milestone.
“It’s so special,” she said. “PC 2019 has been an absolute treasure and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”