A Year to Remember

Mike Lawson • Percussion • August 29, 2019

Ending with one of the closest finishes in DCI’s history, the 2019 Drum Corps International World Championship Finals competition was a fitting conclusion to an incredible season.

The Tour Premiere from Detroit in June set the stage for the 2019 Summer Tour that built anticipation in every performance category and at every level. Throughout the summer from coast to coast, corps after corps treated audiences to marching arts creativity and innovation at its best – and the scores showed it. Razor-thin margins were the name of the game in 2019 in overall placements, as well as within judging captions.

2019 is a year that no one will soon forget, with more than a third of the active corps setting their all-time best final scores.

Open Class Strength

The Open Class Championships had a new home this year at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana – a great new venue for the conclusion of outstanding year for the Open Class corps. In dynamic competition, Spartans posted a record-setting overall score along with the top scores in nearly every category, propelling them a gold medal finish. It was a fitting end to an electrifying season for the Nashua, New Hampshire corps.

Legends also set records by earning their first silver medal, as well as the highest score for percussion at the Open Class finals – another first for corps from Kalamazoo, Michigan. With only .15 separating second and third places, the bronze medal went to Gold from San Diego, California. Adding to these successes in the Open Class, Louisiana Stars and Southwind both made great strides this year, jumping several places from 2018 to 2019 each to finish in fourth and fifth, respectively. 7th Regiment was sixth. The Open Class corps enjoyed a tremendous season and 2020 promises to raise the competitive bar even higher in this growing division.

World Class Intrigue

From the very beginning of the tour, it was clear that 2019 would be a year of intensity and excitement. With mere hundredths separating the top corps all season long, the fans enjoyed not only high-level competition, but also high-caliber productions by the most elite marching arts performers in the world.

Earning their 19th World Championship title in corps history, the Blue Devils barely edged out their closest competitors to take home the gold. Their production, Ghostlight, created a dramatic look inside the mysteries and folklore surrounding an empty theater. The Concord, California corps also won the John Brazale Award for Best Visual Performance.

Only .087 behind, the Bluecoats from Canton, Ohio won silver with their production, The BLUECOATS – a remarkably staged show inspired by the music of the Beatles. The show paid tribute Fab Four’s innovative spirit and demonstration of love as they rose from the 1960s working class to world fame. In addition, the imaginative interpretation of the memorable music earned the Bluecoats the Donald Angelica Award for Best General Effect.

Santa Clara Vanguard earned bronze with its presentation of Vox Eversio, exploring the power of the voice to resist the pressure to conform. For the fourth year in a row, the corps from Santa Clara, California also took home the Fred Sanford Award for Best Percussion Performance.

For the third time in four years, Carolina Crown from Ft. Mill, South Carolina earned the Jim Ott Award for Best Brass Performance. The corps finished fourth with their production of Beneath the Surface. Rounding out the top six were the Cavaliers from Rosemont, Illinois in fifth place for The Wrong Side of the Tracks and Boston Crusaders in sixth place with Goliath – a production that also won the corps their second consecutive George Zingali Award for Best Color Guard.

The Best of the Best

In both Open Class to World Class competition, the extraordinary performers of DCI gave their all to live audiences, fans across the country, movie theater viewers, and those watching the season unfold online throughout the entire summer. These talented young people showed why they are the best of the best. Now it’s time to head toward DCI 2020. Go to and find out how you can come be a part of Marching Music’s Major League!

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