In the Open Class Finals competition at Lucas Oil Stadium, Blue Devils B swept both general effect captions and all three music captions on the judges' sheets to take the gold medal. Runner-up Vanguard Cadets finished eight tenths of a point behind, and Burlington, Massachusetts' Citations achieved its first DCI World Championship medal by placing third.
Blue Devils B's title-winning corps helped the Blue Devils organization achieve a DCI milestone, being that both the Open Class and World Class corps went undefeated for the 2009 season.
The production, “Pursuit,” was originally going to be titled, “Chase.” According to brass arranger John Meehan, staff members “wanted all of the music to give the feeling of an action movie, while also conveying the solitary nature of being pursued by someone or something.”
But the show wasn't just about the thrill and terror of being chased; Meehan added that the show was about chasing after whatever one pursues in life. As such, the show was written with extremely subtle references to athletes chasing after victories, workers searching for more satisfaction in their daily lives, and people trying to find true love.
The production was divided into two parts. Part 1 included two works by English singer-songwriter Imogen Heap, sandwiching an original work by Meehan and staff percussion arranger John Mapes.
The show opened with Heap's ethereal “Hide and Seek,” from the artist's 2005 album, “Speak for Yourself.” The eeriness of the original recording of the song was largely due to Heap's use of a vocoder, a device that synthesizes the human voice. Such devices have long been used to create the sounds of robots and extra-terrestrials in movies, and perhaps have been most famously used by rock artists including Peter Frampton and Styx.
During these opening segments of the show, a lone Blue Devils B horn player set the theme by cautiously running across the field, attempting to avoid detection by whatever was chasing him.
“Hide and Seek” segued into “Roller Coaster,” composed by Meehan and Mapes for a 2008 original marching band show titled “Thrill Ride.” After a handful of brass players joined in, they departed by looking around and fleeing some imaginary entity that was about to pounce on them.
Part 1 continued with Heap's “Have You Got It In You?” also from her “Speak for Yourself” album. The work provided the corps with a chance to catch its collective breath and feature a lone brass player and one color guard member running from a pursuit, finding each other and taking solace amidst each other's company.
The segment ended with an intense percussion feature, sending the brass players into a tight triangular block formation in the lower right of the field, then running to an arc across the upper right of the field, where they were safe from whatever was in pursuit.
Part 2 started with Patrick Cassidy's solemn “Vide Cor Meum (Behold My Heart),” written for Ridley Scott's 2001 film, “Hannibal,” a sequel set 10 years after the timeline of the 1991 Oscar-winning “Silence of the Lambs.” The corps only played 10 seconds from the work before Meehan and Mace's “Race Car” composition intruded upon the piece, immediately kicking up the intensity as flags depicting flames filled the football field.
This original selection was from the third and last movement of “Thrill Ride.” The final several seconds of the show showed a drum major running through the gaps created between the moving drill formations. The brass players totally encircled him, trapping him within the form.
Finally escaping from between the horns, he tried running off the field, but was stopped by the corps playing the last note of the show. Fans were left to wonder if he escaped or was caught by whatever was chasing him.
Michael Boo was a member of the Cavaliers from 1975-1977. He has written about the drum corps activity for more than 35 years and serves as a staff writer for various Drum Corps International projects. Boo has written for numerous other publications and has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating.
As an accomplished composer, Boo holds a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition. He resides in Chesterton, Indiana.