Success in the Blue Knights organization can measured in many ways…primarily through the growth of the individual member, collectively as a team both on and off the field, and through the member’s continued success in life. Another fact of our activity is competitive success as measured through the lens of the judges and the DCI scoring system. Todd Eastis, Blue Knights promotional booth manager and longtime drum corps fan takes a fun look at “the numbers” for 2016.
DENVER, CO – A quick glance of the scores can only give you part of the picture. Let’s compare this season to overall scores back to 1988 and caption scores since 2003 to put this season in perspective.
This season was a strong one in a number of categories across all captions and a record setting year for growth. The last three years have been a great time to be a Blue Knight as they have been 3 of the highest scoring seasons in drum corps’ history since 1958.
Although 2016 was not the highest scoring, it was the third year with the highest score of the season over 91 points, marking the longest stretch above 91 ever. The highest 10 scores since 1988 are in Figure 1. This excellent level of performance continued in the captions. General Effect had the 3rd highest score, with Visual being the 4th highest, and Music was the third highest.
In these specific captions, some major victories emerged. The Blue Knights Color Guard had its second best season ever, scoring an 18.4, just .1 behind their highest score of 18.5 in 2007. Brass achieved its 3rd highest score with 18.4, just behind the 18.5 in 2015 and 18.8 in 2007. The last three years in General Effect are even more impressive when we look at the average score each judge in that caption gave, and the average. The judges at the Drum Corps International Finals average score for the Blue Knights was an 18.238, just behind 18.35 in 2015 and 18.375 in 2014. Even though the score is a hair below the last two years, the General effect spread,or standard deviation, was at its lowest since multiple 4 judges were implemented in 2009, meaning that all the general effect judges more closely agreed on the score than in any other season. A lower number in Figure 3 means that the judges had stronger agreement between them on the score.
These scores are a great indicator of the strength of program that the Blue Knights have become since 2014, but there is still more to this story. As many will remember, at the first show of the season, the Blue Knights scored 1.8 behind the Madison Scouts, but at Semi‐Finals, defeated them by 6.362. So how did this happen? By having the greatest improving season since at least 1988.
Since the first show in Fresno, the Blue Knights improved a total of 29.175, which was .075 higher than the highest recorded increase of 29.1 in 1999. Plus, this season was eight days shorter and had one less show than the 1999 season.
The next closest season was a tie between 2014 and 2002, which saw increases of 26.45, which is 2.725 points less than this season. Each day of the season saw an average score growth of .595, which beat the record set last year of .529. Every show raised the Blue Knights’ score an average of 1.122, which fell just short of the record 1.25 in 1996 when they competed in 6 less shows.
Not only did this season rewrite the Blue Knights record books, the drum corps demonstrated how to improve. The Blue Knights led all of World Class drum corps at DCI Finals in an average score growth per day with .595, more than .017 over the next closest drum corps, Academy. In average increase per show, they fell just behind Blue Devils by only .153, with 1.122 to their 1.275. The complete breakdown is in Figure 4.
All in all, another strong season has come to a close. More strong scores across the board, with record setting improvement through the season. The Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps continues to be a strong ensemble from top-to-bottom. Every single score from every judge in every caption is a testament to the expertise and direction of the design and educational staff and countless hours of practice and determination from the Blue Knights themselves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Eastis has been a Drum Corps fan as long as he can remember. He is a recent transplant to Denver from Northern Indiana. You have probably seen him at the Ascend promotions booth at the Rocky Mountain Percussion Association (RMPA) shows, Friendship Cup Marching Band Competitions, Drums Along the Rockies show or any number of events. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Nonprofit management at Regis University in hopes of working in fundraising and grant writing.