Blue Devils B took first place in the World Championship Open Class Finals competition Saturday, Aug. 8, earning a score of 95.500 to end their season undefeated. 2008 Drum Corps International Hall of Fame inductee and Blue Devils B Director, Rick Odello, said he, the staff and members of the corps were thrilled to have an undefeated season. "We're happy obviously that we had a successful run at it and it's nice to have an unblemished record through the whole thing. It's a feeling beyond compare." Drum Major Eddie Pinetta echoed Odello's sentiments,"Words can't describe my feeling right now. This corps has pushed so hard and I'm so proud of each and every one of them. It was like magic tonight. How lucky am I to go undefeated with the Blue Devils B. I will never take that for granted." The corps swept every caption award except for "Best Color Guard," which went to the Citations.
Blue Devils B
Second place finisher, the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets, trailed behind Blue Devils B by only eight tenths of a point (94.700). Although the corps did not take home any individual caption awards, the corps connected with fans in a special way this year with their program, titled, "A Story of Love." The Vanguard Cadets' fan-friendly 2009 repertoire featured music from the musicals "Rent" and "Moulin Rouge." "It was a great season," SCVC Director Robert Ripley said. "We tried something really different than we usually do and it was so much fun putting it all together and getting the kids to understand what we were trying to do. Once they did, the joy of watching them perform night after night was just fantastic."
Taking the third in the Open Class Championships with a score of 91.75, Citations from Burlington, Mass., medaled this year for the first time in the organization's history of just over a decade. Corps Director Donna Monte said the feeling of medaling for the first time was awesome. "This is the greatest feeling in the world," she said. "We have a fantastic team of staff and volunteers and kids this season. We wanted to build on our growth from last season and create more excitement for the kids, excelling in everything we do." Outside of the corps' competitive success, first-year member Caleb DeGroot said the relationships formed with his fellow corps members helped to make the 2009 season memorable. "The people in the corps are what made this summer awesome," he said. "Everyone seems like one big family. We showed up, did work and had fun at the same time. What more could you ask for?" For Teal Sound, this season was all about strengthening the corps from a musical, organizational and financial standpoint, said director Randy Blackburn. "Our goal this year was to make sure we continued to build a solid program as we hopefully get ready to move up to the World Class. Our primary goal was to be entertaining and get the audience up out of their seats and enjoy what they saw," he said. "I think we were successful in that goal." Florida's only touring drum corps, Teal Sound earned a 91.25 placing 4th in the Finals competition. The corps' 2009 program, "The Velvet Rope," showcased a four-piece rock band, taking advantage of a new DCI rule that permits the use of electronic instruments.
Capital Regiment finished the season with a performance at the Finals, a big step for a corps that was inactive only last year. Building its membership as the season progressed; the corps did well, finishing in 5th place with an 89.95. "It's been a long journey but we all made it to the end together," age-out trumpet player Jennifer Surratt said. Surratt, who marched with the Capital Regiment before and after the corps' brief hiatus, said that even when the corps went inactive, she still felt an attachment to the organization. "It was really sad in '06 when we went inactive because I had come to love Capital Regiment. It was my home, so as soon as I heard they were coming back I was ready. I love the family feeling I get here." The Raiders and Revolution tied for 6th, both corps earning an 88.65. "Raider of the Year" winner and front ensemble section leader Lauren Lerch said the season was exciting for the corps. "We keep getting better and better every year and this one's definitely the best it's ever been. I was very happy with our show today. It brought tears to my eyes," she said. Revolution stepped up its game this year, performing their program, "ElementALL." "This year was a little different for us," age-out member Robert Andrew Larios said. "It was our 10th anniversary so they gave us bigger and better and harder work than last year. This was my second year and I had a lot of fun." Another Revolution member who was thrilled by the drum corps experience is bass drummer Sam Mata. "I've never felt more proud in my life, than with these 16 guys drumming on the field. It was a big moment in my life. Right now I have zero regrets," he said.
The Oregon Crusaders ended their season placing 8th in Finals with an 87.95. Color guard caption head Ryan Balencia said the group's nine guard members worked extremely hard this season to make it to where they ended up at World Championships. He said one of the reasons for the corps' success is the way the members worked with each other. "They are like one big team from section to section. It's great to see the horns and the guard and percussion work together as a family." The Velvet Knights earned a spot in the Finals competition for the first time since its reorganization in 2007 as an Open Class corps. VK took 9th with an 83.65. "It's been absolutely phenomenal to see the corps grow this season. Seeing kids make that jump from a high school player to a drum corps performer has been fantastic. They've worked their butts off this season to get VK back in Finals and I couldn't be more proud of everyone here," Velvet Knights Drum Major Dan Phillips said. Another corps on the rise in 2009 was Legends. Winning the award for the Open Class "Most Improved" and "Director of the Year," with drum major Kelly Koch even taking the "Jim Jones Leadership Award," the corps has much to be proud of. "It's the most incredible honor to know that my colleagues recognized what we were able to do and saw that we were able to become a great drum corps this year. It means a great deal to have that respect from your colleagues," said Legends Director Ibe Sodawalla. Koch said the corps' progress this year was thrilling to be a part of. "Making it to the Finals is just huge. To see how much individuals have grown over the season is amazing. I'm really proud of all of them," she said.
Sean Corbett of the 7th Regiment described the 2009 season as a journey. The corps has risen through the ranks in the past few years, making it into Semifinals for the first time in 2008 and breaking into Finals for the first time this year. Corbett said the corps' last performance was a strong show, but he wishes the season wasn't over. "I'd like a couple more shots at performing the show. At the same time I'm glad we had a good season, and I'm glad we made Finals. We had a great final performance so you can't be mad with that." The Memphis Sound performed their last show ever under that name Saturday, as the corps will relocate and change its name to Forte Drum and Bugle Corps. Member Aaron Fiveash said he plans on returning to the corps next year and hopes to continue established traditions while building the organization bigger and better for the future. He said this year's Finals performance was the best of any he's ever had. "It's definitely been a summer to remember. We've had a lot of ups and downs along the way but we always found a way to push through. Today was our best run. It was the most fun I've had in a drum corps show in three years." Contributors: Laura Danielson, Jeff Hartowicz, Christina Mavroudis, Peter Mitchell, Craig Olear, Chris Weber