Bluecoats and Blue Devils became the first corps to pass 90 points this summer during another close competition at the Masters of the Summer Music Games presented by Jupiter, Mapex, and Majestic on Friday night.
The Canton, Ohio corps edged the Devils by just over three tenths of a point, 90.800 to 90.450 at this event that featured the performances of nine corps at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.
Bluecoats was one of a number of groups to debut bold new endings, as corps work to squeeze as many points out of every competition before the DCI Tour comes to an end just over two weeks from today.
Drum major Samuel Crawford said his corps typically puts a new ending on its production every year following its late-season stretch of rehearsals through Arkansas, and tonight those efforts came through.
"I remember the first time that I saw it, I couldn’t stop laughing out of amazement, out of how wonderful the ending is, out of how it affected me on the field experiencing it. I can’t even imagine how it affected the audience,” Crawford said. “I think that they responded so well. It’s dangerous because of the pass-throughs, and it’s daring, but it’s so worth it. The energy that it brings to the field is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”
Finishing in third place with a score of 89.800, Carolina Crown is still in the thick of the hunt as the corps continues to hold close to the top-finishing corps.
“To us it feels like [the competition] changes every night and it does,” Carolina Crown drum major Ross Werner said. “Our focus now is not so much the scores as much as it is having the best performance that we can.”
Santa Clara Vanguard (4th, 88.225) continues to hold a lead over the Cadets (5th, 86.800). The more than 1.4-point gap between the two corps in Nashville is the largest it’s been all summer.
The Cadets were another of the corps on Friday night to unveil a significant change to the ending of its production, with its statuesque color guard “awakening” in the closer, transforming into humans and unfolding a new, dramatic storyline.
“I think it’s super badass,” Cadets drum major Kendall Stevenson said of the new change. “Everyone in the corps can unanimously say that it gets them more excited in the performance knowing that this epic ending is coming. They know this huge maestoso is coming as we play super loud, play for the fans and play for the crowd. It’s a lot of fun.”
Blue Knights (6th, 84.150) narrowly passed Phantom Regiment (7th, 84.125), marking just the second time this season that the Denver corps has been able to do so.
Madison Scouts rounded out the competition in eighth place with a score of 82.875. Drum major Zach Sheller said the corps has made significant improvements as it’s traveled this summer from coast to coast.
“Our growth this season has been hard, rough, but it’s been exponential,” he said. “It was really hard at the beginning when we were out in California because there wasn’t a lot of rehearsal time, but as we headed east, we kept wanting more and more and that was what was driving us the last couple of weeks.”
Welcomed to the field by a chorus of cheers from friends and family, the Nashville hometown favorite Music City was the sole Open Class competitor with a score of 65.450.
“As soon as I saluted and took off my shako I could just see the sea of people. It’s an awesome feeling,” Music City drum major Jeremiah Wooten said about performing at home. “Having a lot of [alumni] from our corps from last year and a lot of family and friends watching the warm up really helps us not to get psyched out [during a performance].”
The Nashville event will be a warm-up to tomorrow’s competition in Atlanta. The DCI Southeastern Championship presented by Lone Star Percussion at the Georgia Dome will be the first time this summer that all 22 of DCI’s World Class corps face off in a single lineup.
Contributing: Lauren Wilcox