Drum Corps International
Road to Michigan City: Open Class corps set sights on Championships
Houston, Texas' Guardians performs on July 22 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.Photo by: Drum Corps International

Road to Michigan City: Open Class corps set sights on Championships

by Angel Mendoza

Beginning this week, DCI Open Class corps will push through the home stretch of their seasons and look to impress crowds at a number of events. It all leads up to the beginning of the Open Class World Championships in Michigan City, Indiana, which kicks off on Monday, August 7.

2017 is shaping up to be a significant year for Open Class corps, whose numbers are growing and talent levels are reported to be at an all-time high.

“It's really encouraging to see the positive growth in training and performance levels, the positive growth in the number of students who these corps are servicing, and the positive growth in their infrastructures,” said DCI Open Class coordinator David Eddleman. “There's positive growth going on in many different facets and levels of the organizations and in the Open Class in general.”

This upcoming series of events that will feature lineups exclusively made up of Open Class corps, will provide an opportunity for corps from the West, Midwest and East to finally converge and compete head-to-head. This series is especially important competitively as the top two scores for each corps will be averaged to determine the seeding and performance order coming into the Open Class World Championship Prelims in Michigan City.

Gold's horn line rehearses outside Rose Bowl Stadium on July 1 in Pasadena.

These events, which Eddleman said have seen increasing attendance in recent years, are ones that Spartans corps director Richard Rigolini says his corps members look forward to every summer.

“To be able to get on the road and travel and perform what they've been practicing for the past eight or nine months — They're pretty pumped about that,” Rigolini said.

With the Vanguard Cadets spending the first half of their season on the west coast and with a lengthy journey out to the Midwest, director Steve Barnhill said his corps is not only excited to start performing again this week, but to also see the Open Class corps who they haven't seen yet this season.

“We're looking forward to going out, getting the uniforms on and just getting in front of these crowds,” he said.

River City Rhythm brass players warm up outside TCF Bank Stadium on July 8 in Minneapolis.

Seventeen corps will attend the Open Class World Championship Prelims beginning on Monday, August 7, including THE COMPANY, an International Class corps based out of Chesterfield, England. Eddleman says that with the continued improvements seen up and down the Open Class ranks, he is especially excited to see how the competition plays out.

“Beyond the usual frontrunners, this year, there are so many corps that have come out strong right out of the gate and are performing at such a high level so early,” he said.  “Some of our newer groups — Golden Empire, Columbians, Southwind, The Battalion, Louisiana Stars, Guardians — all are really raising their performance levels. And for those who will be attending, they'll be looking to shake things up in Michigan City.”

Open Class Event Series Schedule

Wednesday, July 26

Drums Along the Mississippi |
Cape Girardeau, MO

Friday, July 28

Metamora Music in MotionMetamora, IL

Saturday, July 29

A Blast in the BurgJohnsonburg, PA
Drum Corps Mid AmericaOskaloosa, IA

Sunday, July 30

Legends Drum Corps Invitational | White Lake, MI

Tuesday, August 1

March On!Minneapolis, MN

Wednesday, August 2

Spring City ShowcaseWaukesha, WI
Petunia City BrassOregon, IL 

Friday, August 4

Music on the MountainSheffield, PA
Shadow Showcase | Oregon, WI

Saturday, August 5

Shoremen Brass ClassicAvon Lake, OH
Tournament of DrumsCedar Rapids, IA

Monday, August 7

DCI Open Class World Championship Prelims
Michigan City, IN

Tuesday, August 8

DCI Open Class World Championship FinalsMichigan City, IN