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Summer of DCI Should be Another Entertaining Season

Last Wednesday, summer officially started.

Yes, I know summer really started Sunday, but Wednesday was the Drum Corps International premiere at Lucas Oil Stadium and simulcast in theaters across the country, starting off nearly two-month long journey across the country that will end up right back in Indianapolis in August.

Yes, summer is officially here. And if the premiere is anything like how the rest of the season, it’s going to be another great year for DCI.

The Madison Scouts started it all off with an interesting take on Gene Kelly’s MGM Musicals. I was disappointed there was no “Singing in the Rain,” but the corps made up for it with really great music and some pretty interesting visuals.

Unfortunately, they had a number of mistakes and near misses in the drill, but that’s sort of expected with all of the nerves and excitement of the first show. Those will all get worked out and they certainly weren’t the only ones who showed a few nerves that night.

As I tweeted out Wednesday night, the Blue Stars took home my award for the most surprising show. It was the only one of the six shows there I didn’t preview and in hindsight I should have. Performing “Side Show,” the Blue Stars mixed in a lot of visual aspects, completing the side show aspect, as well as some interesting takes on traditional circus music. They ended up sixth Wednesday, but I could see this show getting them into finals easily.

The Cavaliers came up next with “Game On” and this is the second year-in-a-row that I really like their show. I’m not sure which sport they were trying to emulate, though the guard uniforms looked like wrestling uniforms. Still, the music was strong and the visual aspect really strong as well.

Then came the heavy hitters. Carolina Crown downsized a lot when it came to the on-field props, which was a bit time plus for their show “Inferno.” There’s a lot to like with this show. The music and the brass line is on point once again and the visual aesthetic was great as well, especially in the ballad with a screen that covers a soloist and then covers the entire horn line. There’s still a long way to go with this one I think, but Crown will contend again for a title.

The Cadets thankfully went away from the narration and have a more organic show. It’s still very hard to pick out the theme of the show, but there were a lot of strong moments, especially towards the end where concert french horns made an appearance.

And there’s the Bluecoats. As a friend put it, it’s like they took the end of “Tilt” and tried to stretch it out for the entire show. There’s a little too much going on with the electronics and it feels a little too chaotic. That being said, it’s still a strong show and there are great moments, especially the ballad with Bon Iver’s “Woods.”

Overall, Wednesday night was a really good look at what we can expect this year for DCI. There were a number of corps not there, but I can only imagine that they also have really, really good shows this year. Last year will be hard to beat, but I think this season will be very competitive at all levels. It’s going to be a fun year.