A Run Down of the Top 3 Corps from the 2016 Season

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The Drum Corp 2016 season was definitely full of surprises, complete with a nail biting finals night. In this post, I will discuss the top three finalist corps, with a description of each corp’s show. Finishing in third with a score of 97.088, was the crowd favorite: Carolina Crown. Coming in at second place with a score of 97.250, The Blue Devils. The 2016 DCI champions, for the first time ever with a score of 97.650, The Bluecoats.

Carolina Crown

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Carolina Crown’s show “Relentless” was based off of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, taking place on the western frontier. It depicts a man tricking and killing many innocent travelers with anger in his heart. This is truly a show of heartbreak and vengeance.

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Carolina Crown’s performances demonstrated their brass and and visual appeal superiority, placing first in both areas on finals night. The show was overall very powerful, sporting a powerful intro, an intense bar scene, an emotional ballad of “Hallelujah”, finishing with an over the top moment of truth at the end with the corp’s signature “Crown Set”, where the corp forms a crown with a heavy brass hit. This was personally one of my favorite shows of all time, click here to see their entire show.

The Blue Devils

The Blue Devils preformed a show called “As Dreams Are Made On”, based off of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The show is filled with emotion as it follows a man and his daughter cast out to sea, saved only as they are washed upon an enchanted island’s shore.

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The Blue Devils, showing consistently outstanding high brass, colorguard, and General Effect, were able to snag second place with an amazingly clean finals performance. The show begins with a fascinating visual effect, before displaying their dominance in high brass. The show then moves to a trombone/percussion feature that fit together perfectly. The show finished with an inspirational closer. For a closer look, click here to view their entire show.

The Bluecoats

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The Bluecoats performed their show, “Down Side Up”, in turn completely turning in the classical drum corp uniform type for a slick white body suit, yellow for guard, complete with a blue squiggle. The Corp’s show contained ramps, an outstanding number of trumpet/trombone solos, and a variety of music from the modern era.

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The Bluecoats, edging the reigning DCI champions, The Blue Devils, showed a different side of drum corp shows; implementing sound effects, well positioned microphones, and a  new aggressive flair to their show. The show begins with a percussion/visual appeal introduction, followed by a number of brass showcases. The show then moves to an unconventional ballad, really letting loose with their high brass and trombones. I can only describe the closer with one word: Legendary. Containing everything from outstanding brass hits to breathe taking visuals. This was truly the year of the Bluecoats. Click here to view their entire show in all its glory.

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Welcome to Drum Corp Haven!

Hello! Welcome to the fascinating world that is Drum Corps International! For those of you not familiar with Drum Corps International, or DCI, it is the competitive and professional aspect of marching band. Drum Corps are made up of brass, percussion, colorguard, and drum majors. In this post, I will break down each aspect of what makes up a corp, along with a list of corps that are still competing.

Drum Majors

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Drum majors are the “conductors” of a corp. The drum major counts the corps off, leads them onto and off of the field, and gives the corps a visual for tempo, as well as breathe locations and “impact moments”.

Brass

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A corp’s brass line is what makes up a bulk of the corp’s sound. The brass line consists of, traditionally, trumpets (soprano voice), mellophones (alto voice), euphoniums and baritones (tenor voice), and contrabasses (bass voice), although trombones, french horns, and jazz trumpets called “flugelhorns” are commonly used by soloists or even whole section features.

Percussion

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A corp’s percussion is made up of two sections. A “battery”, which is the percussion group made up of snares, tenor drums (quads), bass drums, and occasionally cymbals, is the group that marches on the field with the corp’s brass and colorguard. The second percussion group is commonly referred to as the “pit”, which is made up of marimbas, xylophones, keyboards, drum sets, and many more miscellaneous percussion instruments. This group is stationary, and is commonly positioned  directly in front of the drum major  off the field, or can be positioned on the field with the rest of the corp.

Colorguard

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The corp’s colorguard is the section that spins flags, rifles, and sabers, while also representing a large visual effect in helping move props and preforming a great deal of choreography.

These sections above are all imperative to a corp. Corp’s are also very selective in who is chosen to join through rigorous audition camps, training camps, and grueling all day rehearsals. Only 150 spots make up a corp, so it’s not unusual for the top corps to have some of the best marchers, musicians, and staff in the world. Here is a list of the the corps still in existence today, and are listed along with their final placements.

  1. The Bluecoats
  2. The Blue Devils
  3. Carolina Crown
  4. The Santa Clara Vanguard
  5. The Cavaliers
  6. The Cadets
  7. The Blue Knights
  8. Phantom Regiment
  9. The Blue Stars
  10. The Crossmen
  11. The Academy
  12. The Boston Crusaders
  13. The Madison Scouts
  14. The Troopers
  15. The Colts
  16. The Mandarins
  17. The Oregon Crusaders
  18. Pacific Crest
  19. Spirit of Atlanta
  20. The Cascades
  21. Jersey Surf
  22. The Pioneers

This concludes the basics of Drum Corps. If you are interested in seeing these corps on the field, click here to view a video of the top 12 corp’s best moments from the 2016 season. Thank you and enjoy!