As the clock winds down to the end of the 2010 Drum Corps International Tour, corps members know that at this point in the season, every performance counts. Every marching step onto their football field stage is an opportunity to come ever closer to achieving perfection, an ideal place to reach, but one that is only attainable with steady improvements all the way through the summer. Steady improvement was the predominant theme on the second day of the DCI Dallas Premier Event presented by the North Texas Festival of Drums and Bugles on Friday, July 23. All 11 performing corps were able to improve their performances from the previous day's competition in Houston, ultimately resulting in higher final scores for each corps between .1 to as much as 2.15. A placement swap between the Bluecoats and Carolina Crown highlighted the competition between top tier corps, with the Canton crew eking out a win by a tenth of point (89.550 to Crown's 89.450). Thursday in Houston, Carolina Crown had claimed the top spot over the Coats by three tenths of a point. As Bluecoats members gathered for their post-performance huddle behind the back stands of Lake Highlands High School's Wildcat-Ram Stadium, corps members radiated with enthusiasm for the performance they had just pulled off.

Carolina Crown
"The energy was incredible with the corps tonight," said third-year mellophone player Scott Dupre. "Things are just starting to click for us. All of our hard work and everything we've been doing lately is really starting to come out to the field ... The show is just rocking." Despite the narrow loss, Carolina Crown continues to hold steadfast to a set of competitive ideals instilled in its members since day one of the DCI Summer Tour. According to sixth-year drum major Preston Cheek, getting the corps to reach its own level of performance excellence is more important than any placement or number they'll see on a page from a judge. "We're all about meeting our standards. If we set higher standards for ourselves than the judges could ever try to match [on a score sheet], then if we reach those goals the judging is going to take care of itself," Cheek said. Cheek says Crown members have been working lately on small tweaks and changes to their production "A Second Chance," spending time rehearsing "big picture" items that will strengthen the entire ensemble as a whole.

With another strong showing, the Blue Stars (4th, 86.350) have moved well within striking distance of the Santa Clara Vanguard (3rd, 86.900). Blue Stars' score jumped 1.75 points between Thursday and Friday, which is one of the highest marks of improvement among all 11 performing corps. The Glassmen held their spot in the middle of the pack at fifth place. Jumping 2.15 points in a single day, a score of 82.850 marked the biggest improvement of any of the corps in Dallas. Friday's performance for the Glassmen is an indication that small changes the corps has been working on over the last few days are starting to take root. "It's particularly exciting right now because we're constantly changing the show and making it evolve in different ways," said third-year Glassmen color guard captain Gizzel Cruz. A native of the Dallas Forth Worth area, Cruz said, "We've taken out and added music, so everything is completely fresh and new all the time which is really exciting. We never get bored." If the Bluecoats/Carolina Crown placement swap was any indication of how tight competition is right now between corps, the Troopers and Academy traded Thursday/Friday placements by an even tighter margin. Taking sixth place with a 79.500, the Troopers edged ahead of the Academy (7th, 79.450) with no breathing room to spare.

Pacific Crest
Spirit (8th, 76.500), Pacific Crest (9th, 75.250), Mandarins (10th, 73.000) and the Cascades (11th, 70.750) rounded out the final four placements of the DCI Dallas competition on Friday night. For Pacific Crest, like all corps on the 2010 DCI Tour, practice leads to perfection. And in that process, corps members may learn something about themselves along the way. "Rehearsals have been cutthroat and we've been rehearsing crazier than we ever have in the past. I've been here for five seasons and it's an entirely different corps than I've ever seen," said baritone player Ryan Milligan. "Our goal is the same as any other corps, to be as perfect as we can be. It's incredible to see how far we've come since the very beginning." View a complete recap of scores from the Friday edition of DCI Dallas.