In the first of the two-day DCI Southwestern Premier Events, 13 corps took the field at D.W. Rutledge Stadium in Converse, Texas which is located just outside of San Antonio. The sole representatives of the Open Class at this event, the Vanguard Cadets performed their final iteration of their 2010 program, "Chakra," while a rainbow stretched across the skies above the end zone. Though the corps will not compete this August at the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis, members put on a grand first act setting up a night of intense competition. "It was probably the best season I could have asked for," said second-year color guard member Mariah Hemminger. "As a whole, we just fought for everything we could get. We pushed through and loved every second of it." Drum major Andre Garcia, conducting the corps for a second year, said corps members focused on performing their best at each show, no matter where the season ends. "It's a little weird not finishing in Indianapolis, but we told everyone that it doesn't matter where you finish, it's how you finish," Garcia said. "All of the members have worked extremely hard all season. The staff has been pushing them and they've been pushing back.
"In tonight's run, they put out so much energy and they played their hearts out … We played, marched, and tossed like champions." In the World Class, the Blue Devils (92.300) also played, marched, and tossed well enough to win first place by more than four points. "The show tonight was pretty good, pretty consistent from what we've been doing during practice," said tenor drummer Scott Nelson. "It is the dream to win you know, so I mean we're hyped when we do and a little sad when we don't, but we try not to worry. If we had a good show and the numbers don't reflect it, then we don't worry about the numbers." Santa Clara Vanguard (2nd, 87.600) moved up by more than half of a point with its performance of "Bartok." The Phantom Regiment (3rd, 86.850) performed consistently compared to its previous night in Houston, the corps' score coming down only a tenth of a point. The Blue Stars (85.150) took fourth place Saturday, with a show that entertains members as much as the crowd. "It's been really tough since I haven't marched in a drum corps before, but it's been very rewarding," said first-year Blue Stars member Jared Martin reflecting on the 2010 summer season to date.
Other members of the Blue Stars horn line are pleased with the cohesiveness of both corps and staff this summer. "Everyone is united this year as an entire corps," said horn line veteran Aliya Musselman. "Some corps have sections to themselves, like the drum line is separate from the guard and the horn line from the front ensemble, but we're knitted together. I don't think there's anyone I don't know in our corps." The Blue Knights (5th, 83.900) ended up with the exact same score they had Friday in Houston. You don't get much more consistent than that. Glassmen (6th, 81.850) fell by a point, but still brought a high-energy product to the field. The Troopers (7th, 79.850) have moved up since re-creating their ending, and now hover near the 80-point milestone. They pull 1.25 ahead of the Academy (8th, 78.600) after edging the Tempe, Ariz. corps by only .05 in Dallas. Pacific Crest finished Saturday night in ninth place with a score of 74.500. The Mandarins (10th, 73.650) take drum corps fans through the travels of the famous explorer Marco Polo in their 2010 production. The corps improved by more than half of a point Saturday.
Fourth-year tuba player Becky Moore says she hadn't made plans to march in a drum corps this summer, but when the opportunity came, she couldn't turn away. "We had a lot of staff changes in the beginning, so that's been completely different for us," said Moore. "But the corps still has its traditions. Personally, [tonight's performance] felt good for the contra line, and I'm sure the rest of the corps feels that way too." The Cascades (11th, 71.200) have also experienced a rollercoaster ride on the score sheets recently, but Saturday in San Antonio improved by almost half a point. Wrapping up the Saturday lineup was Pioneer, bringing its score up by .6 to a 69.550. Sunday, July 24 will mark the conclusion of the DCI Southwestern Series presented by Jupiter and Mapex. Scores from both Saturday and Sunday in San Antonio will determine the eight World Class corps advancing to Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Friday, July 30, as well as the order of appearance for the Saturday, July 31 Premier Event at the Atlanta Georgia Dome. View a complete recap of scores from Saturday night in San Antonio.