Drum Corona International Week in Review: July 5

July 5, 2020
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Earlier this week, I posted about kicking off the Drum Corona International season, and talked about my plans for the year. This is the first of several weekly updates I’ll do, where I talk about the week that was, how the scores shook out, and what to look forward to. Because this is the first post of the season, I’ll cover scores since June 18th.

What happened this week

To start off the season, Star of Indiana were the favourites, with Cavaliers in second, and the rest of the top 12 all having a pretty decent shot at a medal.

Star of Indiana being a heavy favourite is mostly an artifact of how the simulation is set up. Because I only used scores from the last 52 days of each season, corps with shows from longer seasons have a bit of an advantage because their early-season scores don’t count. 1993 was a very long season, so Star of Indiana’s first 7 shows don’t count, and they get to start the season expecting scores in the 80s 1. Carolina Crown, Sky Ryders, Velvet Knights, and The Cavaliers also benefit from this effect, but less so.

Star of Indiana only has about a 50% chance of winning because, no matter how well they start, they can’t end with a score higher than 100. So we should expect corps like The Cavaliers and at least one other from the rest of the top group (Blue Devils, Phantom Regiment, The Cadets, Bluecoats, and Carolina Crown, and Boston Crusaders) to catch up as the season goes on. The question is whether or not it will be enough to make up the 4-point deficit they started the season with, and which corps of the top group will catch up to the leaders 2.

Now for the scores themselves, Star of Indiana got off to a very good start, managing to work themselves up to scoring 84s and 85s (they got an 88.9 on Friday!) very quickly. The Cavaliers started fairly strong as well, keeping pace with Star of Indiana. Phantom started strong in the first week, but have cooled off since, while the Bluecoats and Blue Devils have managed solid showings pretty consistently.

Farther down the lineup, the race for Finals is already beginning to stratify. The current top 8 are all likely to be in Finals, but there are still several corps that could make it after them. Madison Scouts started the season in the top group, but haven’t had a great run so far, while Glassmen and Blue Stars have started strong and are in good position to make Finals. The corps currently just missing Finals - including the Blue Knights, Crossmen, the Mandarins, and Spirit of Atlanta all have work to do, but are still in the hunt. Velvet Knights are off to a terrible start, and need to have several strong shows in a row to have a good chance at making Finals.

The race for Semifinals is pretty wide open, except Pioneer looks to be more or less eliminated from contention, with the Seattle Cascades, Kiwanis Kavaliers, and Les Etoiles not far behind. Oregon Crusaders had a very strong first performance and have put themselves in good position to make Semifinals despite not having an especially optimistic outlook initially, while a good start for the Troopers have more or less cemented them into making semifinals.

Here’s a look at the current forecast:

Table 1: Updated with scores through July 05
% Chance of …
Corps Average Gap Gold Silver Bronze Finals Semis
1 Star of Indiana 0.000 45.96 12.47 8.25 94.59 99.51
2 The Cavaliers -1.874 19.28 18.15 10.76 91.65 99.54
3 Bluecoats -3.004 6.99 12.13 12.11 90.27 99.68
4 Blue Devils -3.202 7.76 12.96 11.77 88.01 99.49
5 Carolina Crown -3.608 5.20 10.50 11.42 86.46 99.34
6 Phantom Regiment -3.652 6.83 11.20 10.84 85.32 99.09
7 The Cadets -4.315 1.91 4.80 8.18 85.34 99.60
8 Boston Crusaders -4.364 3.28 7.41 8.91 82.53 99.32
9 Santa Clara Vanguard -4.677 1.63 5.21 7.25 82.04 99.22
10 Madison Scouts -6.077 0.54 2.41 4.04 70.76 98.61
11 Glassmen -6.603 0.46 1.80 3.32 66.09 97.72
12 Blue Stars -7.689 0.08 0.59 1.68 56.91 97.23
13 Crossmen -9.178 0.01 0.12 0.23 42.36 95.40
14 Blue Knights -9.863 0.07 0.17 0.92 43.94 89.02
15 Mandarins -10.138 0.00 0.07 0.25 36.61 91.71
16 Spirit Of Atlanta -11.012 0.00 0.01 0.06 27.59 89.75
17 Colts -12.378 0.00 0.00 0.01 14.71 87.13
18 Troopers -13.334 0.00 0.00 0.00 7.27 84.10
19 Capital Regiment -13.644 0.00 0.00 0.00 9.85 79.77
20 Velvet Knights -14.347 0.00 0.00 0.00 16.23 73.68
21 Southwind -14.674 0.00 0.00 0.00 6.28 73.69
22 The Academy -15.006 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.74 72.26
23 Pacific Crest -16.097 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.13 65.26
24 Freelancers -17.512 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.71 55.85
25 Academie Musicale -17.538 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.95 56.90
26 Oregon Crusaders -17.886 0.00 0.00 0.00 4.80 57.04
27 Jersey Surf -19.209 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.08 49.22
28 Music City -19.630 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.06 37.07
29 Genesis -21.720 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 26.09
30 Sky Ryders -21.739 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.20 40.46
31 Seattle Cascades -24.502 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 13.00
32 Kiwanis Kavaliers -24.972 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 14.18
33 Pioneer -27.233 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.64
34 Les Etoiles -29.120 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 15.54
35 Magic Of Orlando -29.682 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.52 41.89

What to Look Forward To

The week kicks off with DCI La Crosse on Sunday, which is a pseudo-regional that will feature the current top 3, being Star of Indiana, the Cavaliers, and the Blue Devils. Sunday is a big day in general, with 32 of 35 corps performing. It will be a great day for corps who started off rocky, like Phantom and Madison, to make a statement and change their fortunes.

The rest of the week will be fairly busy, but close out with a big Tour of Champions event on Saturday, leading into DCI St. Louis on Sunday. With 23 corps on the schedule, it will be the biggest event of the season so far and it will feature all of the current top 7 corps and 10 of the top 12. That’s a very important show.

Remember that scores will be posted over at drumcoronaintl.org#schedule every day, and you can follow me on twitter to get posts with the scores every evening as well!

Upcoming Features

My plan is to write a series of blogposts that will cover all the competitors and their shows as the season goes on. You can look forward to reading about the Canadian competitors later this week, as well the defunct corps from the West coast, like the Velvet Knights, Freelancers, and Oregon Crusaders shortly after. It’s been lots of fun doing research about these corps and trying to find old video and audio recordings, so I hope you’ll enjoy reading them!

In addition to that, I will be releasing more detail about the forecasts soon - most importantly, the ability to look at how the forecast has changed over time. I think it will be really cool to see how things develop over time, so I hope you’ll check back soon!


I hope you are enjoying Drum Corona International! People who do open-source projects like this often ask for donations to help cover expenses (like server costs) but luckily I’ve got that covered. Instead, if you’re enjoying any of my projects, please consider donating to the Michigan Drum Corps Scholarship Fund.

The Michigan Drum Corps Scholarship Fund is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that I cofounded to help support members of the Michigan band community who are interested in DCI. The organization offers scholarships to Michigan students marching or auditioning with any DCI drum corps. The economic implications of COVID-19 are broad, and I think scholarships programs like this are especially important for keeping drum corps accessible to everyone. Every dollar helps!

  1. I’m going into this level of detail thanks largely to u/umasstpt12 on reddit asking a great question about this. Thank you for your question!↩︎

  2. While the odds that any particular corps out of the group catches up to Star of Indiana and The Cavaliers are low, the odds that one of them will catch up are significant. This is why Star of Indiana has about a 1 in 3 chance of missing the podium altogether, while the Cavaliers are only a 50-50 bet to be in the top 3.↩︎

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