The Seattle Cascades, in their first year as a Division I corps, are turning into one of the surprise hits of the 2002 drum corps season. In Kelso, Wash., last night, the corps scored 74.00, ahead of the Madison Scouts (73.05) and the Pacific Crest (68.85). The Santa Clara Vanguard won the contest with a final score of 79.05."I am surprised. It's beyond my expectations," Cascades corps director Sal Leone said today. "We have the motivation and the attitude to succeed, and that's what makes it happen. We're excited about our start. We're hoping to progress even more," Leone said.In 2000, the Cascades were Division III champions. In 2001 the corps jumped to Division I, came in second place, then advanced to quarterfinals at the world championships (and placed 17th), which earned them Division I status for 2002."I think that over the past three years we've been turning a lot of heads," corps member Melissa Davis, 19, a mallet player from Beaverton, Ore., said today. Davis also said that the corps has been receiving standing ovations from the audience halfway through the show, which she said was unusual. "I think we're going to de really well this year. A lot of people in the Northwest are realizing how good we are. We're improving each day. With each rehearsal we're getting better," Davis said. "We can take this really far this year," Davis said of future Cascade performances. She said that the corps will "Work hard every day, and stay in the game mentally" to keep the Cascades improving. The Cascades' show this season is an all-Leonard Bernstein program consisting of "Our Town" (from the musical "On the Town"), "Profanation" (from "Symphony # 1 – Jeremiah"), "Simple Song" (from "Mass"), "Prelude, Fugue and Riffs" (written for Benny Goodman) and "Make Our Garden Grow" (from the musical "Candide")."We chose a selection of music and a design that was challenging and entertaining. This combination of songs hadn't been done in a long time, and we thought it would work again," Leone said of the Cascades show this year. Leone also described it as "Entertaining and challenging for the kids."Davis agrees with Leone's assessment of the show. "It's really high-energy. 'Prelude, Fugue and Riffs' really works well for the Cascades. The Bernstein stuff is really cool," Davis said.On Saturday night at Husky Stadium in their hometown, the Seattle Cascades came up third with a score of 71.50, behind the Santa Clara Vanguard (77.80) and the Madison Scouts (72.50). Pacific Crest scored 68.20.