ATLANTA (CW69 News at 10) — Some of the world’s most elite drum and bugle corps showed up and showed out in Atlanta this weekend for the Drum Corps International Southeast Championship.

Fast-paced and creative drills are what marching fans have come to expect at DCI shows, and it’s what about 10,000 fans got at the Atlanta regional, as DCI celebrates its 50th anniversary. The show was held at Center Parc Credit Union Stadium.

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Fans cheered on the 16 competing corps, including Carolina Crown, the Blue Devils, and the Boston Crusaders. All three put on a show, but the Blue Devils were a step above the rest, taking home top honors this weekend in a tight race, beating Boston by less than two-tenths of a point.

Before the show, the Spirit of Atlanta Alumni Corp and Atlanta CV performed in the exhibition. They compete in a separate competition called Drum Corp Associates (DCA).

“We’re fortunate enough to be here and display our organization, which is slightly different from Drum Corp International,” said Atlanta CV Executive Director Russ Thompson.

Like many organizations, drum corps struggled during the pandemic and are glad to be back in the competition.

“I’m very much happy to be back. This would actually be my DCI age-out, but I decided to come back to CV and do my final season with them,” said Bass Section Leader Brandon Cunningham.

Boston Crusaders Executive Director Christopher Holland and two corps members from Marietta weighed in on the 2022 season.

“I’m in the guard, and we’ve really come close as a family, and just pushing each other to be the best group that we can be,” said Harrison Smith, who marches on the Boston rifle line.

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The push is real with just two weeks left before the world championships.

“Finally being here, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I’m in the Boston Crusaders.’ It’s kind of crazy,” said Sean Lee, who plays baritone. “Recently, in San Antonio, when we got to second place, I was like, ‘I can’t believe that I’m making history with the corp,” he said.

Corps members, ages 22 and younger, willfully endure hours of practice every day, battling extreme heat, all with a common goal.

“When we’re out there, you just gotta know you’re not alone. You’ve got everyone else out there with you going through the same thing,” Smith said.

“We’re really just trying to stay in the moment, enjoy every day, you know, obviously the competition is exciting,” said Holland, describing how also learn skills they’ll take with them into the real world.

They’re also creating lifelong bonds and memories.

“Just knowing that we’re setting up shoes for the next generation after to just keep this excellence going, it’s exciting. It’s invigorating,” said Lee.

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They’re down to the last few shows before the DCI World Championships. We wish them all the best as they wrap up a phenomenal season.