FORT MILL — For Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, Saturday night was a night of firsts. The corps won its first World Championship on Aug. 10 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It was the first time since 1996 that Drum Corps International has crowned a first-time champion and the first perfect score in DCI history for a brass line.
Jared Best, 20, toured with Carolina Crown as part of the percussion section for the first time this summer. Best is a Nation Ford graduate now attending Furman University. The World Championship win was “awesome, he said. “Absolutely awesome.”
Carolina Crown has 150 members between the ages of 17 and 22. The nonprofit organization brings students from all over the world to audition each year to be part of the corps. The corps tours throughout the summer, rehearsing during the day, competing in the evening and traveling overnight.
The excitement for the corps began early in the summer. Throughout the summer the corps has toured the country competing as many as five days a week. They frequently competed against the Blue Devils, from Concord, Calif., and the Cadets, from Allentown, Pa., who they considered their biggest competition in the World Championship, which was the last competition of the drum corps season.
Carolina Crown gave the Cadets and Blue Devils a run for their money throughout the summer and entered the World Championship event feeling closer than ever to a possible win.
On Thursday, Aug. 8, the corps competed in the quarterfinals. The performance was “solid, but there was room for improvement,” Best said. At the semifinals on Friday night, Carolina Crown found its footing and the crowd leapt to its feet.
“For the last 30 to 45 seconds the crowd stood up and didn’t sit back down. They were in awe,” Best said.
Carolina Crown finished in first place in the semifinals, allowing the musicians to perform last in the finals event on Saturday night.
As the corps walked onto the field, “We had the crowd on our side,” Best said. “It was awesome energy even before we got on the field.”
The corps members cautioned by its leaders to keep focused on performing the show to the best of their abilities – not to focus on winning.
“They had been saying to just do our job, not to get lost in the moment until the show was over and then enjoy the spoils of the job well done,” Best said. “We knew that we were in a position that if we did our jobs well we would be happy with the result.”
Carolina Crown won the World Championship with a score of 98.30. The Blue Devils were second place with a score of 98.05, followed by the Cadets in third with a score of 96.95.
It was the culmination of a summer of hard work.
“Winning a world championship is an unbelievable feeling. We all worked so hard and it was nice to make history as a drum corps, together,” said Jacob Lutz, a Nation Ford High School graduate.
After the awards ceremony, the field was cleared for Carolina Crown to give an encore performance. The encore performance is the last time the corps will perform its World Championship show, “E=mc2.”
“That was probably the single most fun performance I’ve ever had. All the pressure was gone,” Best said. “The encore performance is like a treat. You get one last performance.”
On Saturday night, the Carolina Crown Facebook status said, simply, “World Champions.”
Carolina Crown is already planning the program’s next stage in development. Officials announced recently that they plan to take the group overseas to Japan in October 2014. It would be Carolina Crown’s first overseas trip. Board President Kevin Smith said the World Championship win will also benefit the group’s recruitment drives, which have been more successful in recent years as the corps has continually advanced in the World Championship