Kicking off a marathon of drum corps performances on Thursday, Aug. 11, 18 Open and International Class corps took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for the DCI World Championship Prelims with energy and high spirits. With the class divisions erased and all judging done on World Class score sheets for this unprecedented event, each participating corps had a chance to make it to tomorrow's World Championship Semifinals. Three Open Class corps have earned their place among the 25 corps who will advance to the Semifinals on Friday, Aug. 12. Blue Devils B, Oregon Crusaders and Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets will all have at least one more chance to wow fans at Lucas Oil stadium with their 2011 shows. Open Class Champions Blue Devils B retained their hold on the top Open Class spot in the Prelims, earning a score of 75.15 under the World Class standards. Less than two points behind BDB came Open Class silver medalists Oregon Crusaders (73.35) with their crowd-pleasing show, "The Blue Hour." Both Blue Devils B and Oregon Crusaders surpassed the Cascades, who scored 72.80.
"It honestly didn't feel like the same show; everyone's energy was going through the roof. I could feel their energy from the setup—it was electric," said Happiness Yi, drum major for the Oregon Crusaders. "We just wanted to make a perfect show and we got pretty darn close." Yi explained that her corps was excited to perform again at Friday's Semifinals competition because it gave them another chance to attempt perfection. "We don't really care about scores anymore—it's about us making a great show and making great memories for ourselves." Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets earned its spot in the Semifinals with a score of 72.60, prevailing over World Class corps Jersey Surf (72.25) and Pioneer (68.40). The Spartans' 69.35 score kept them ahead of the surging Yokohama Scouts (66.55), who bounded ahead in the rankings, squeezing past Revolution (66.50), Genesis (65.80), and 7th Regiment (64.35), all corps that outscored it in the Open Class Finals. Music City followed, earning a 62.20 with their fan-friendly show, "Let's Dance."
Jubal (61.30) jumped above Raiders (57.50) and Legends (60.65), each of which had placed above the Netherlands corps at the Open Class Finals on Aug. 9. Both Jubal drum major Ciska Trouw and staff member Robin Devreas said the corps members had their best show of the season on Thursday morning. "This performance here in Lucas Oil stadium was the best moment of the tour. For me, it was the best show ever," said Devreas, who finished his eighth season with Jubal with that exceptional performance. For many corps, the Prelims brought the first opportunity to perform in a large venue. Raiders snare drummer Carlton Haelig also said performing at Lucas Oil was a great experience for his corps mates because it was their first time in such a venue this season. "It was business as usual. We thought we'd just go out and do what we'd been doing, and the consistency paid off," Haelig said.
Forte maintained its spot in the Open Class' top 12, scoring 56.60, as did the Colt Cadets (54.30). Open Class Semifinalists Spirit of Newark/NJ (41.35), Blue Saints (44.20), Racine Scouts (48.50), and Les Stentors (51.75) all performed admirably in their last show of the season. "They left it all out there and had fun," said Daniel Lamoureux, a staff member for Blue Saints. "They knew they were competing against the rest of the World Class corps and with World Class judges, and they just decided to give them their best." While the Devils, Crusaders and Vanguard Cadets will be performing their full programs on Friday, the remaining Open Class corps will don their uniforms and play with their corps families one last time in 2011 for the Celebrate Indy Arts! Parade on Saturday morning in downtown Indianapolis. View the complete schedule of 2011 World Championship events. Contributing to this report: Ryan Cain, Christina Mavroudis.