Anticipation hung in the early morning air as the Marching Blue Devils prepared to perform at the first competition of the year. The pressure was on, as they had not competed in nearly 2 years and now they were to be the very first school to compete at the 42nd Annual Lancer Joust Competition on Saturday, September 11th. They would be performing a show entitled “Rise,” which was all about overcoming hardships. This show hit very close to home for the group; they have had to overcome many hardships these past few years. This included the pandemic putting their program to a pause, retirements of a longtime director, and a looming referendum over their heads that was threatening to their program. Nevertheless, the Blue Devils traveled to Rosselle, IL to show everyone they could persevere through the challenges.
Both the band and color guard stepped onto the field and had a strong performance. While there are still improvements to be made and another movement of the show to be added, it was a satisfying and solid first performance that was well received by the audience. Many performers even felt personally moved by their performance. One member of the band stated that “It was a very empowering experience, being able to put all of our hard work together and show it to people who will appreciate it as much as we do.”
While the most important thing was personal fulfillment, the Marching Blue Devils still had to await the judges scores. A long delay in the awards ceremony united all the competing bands with songs, jokes, and school chants to fill the time. Finally the awards ceremony kicks off. There were 9 schools competing, 3 different classes to compete in, and 5 different categories to win. Warren competed in the most competitive class, with 4 other schools all longing for the coveted first place spot. The long rehearsals and pressure all came down to this moment. Could they pull it off despite everything, and win? Yes, they can! Warren wins best in music, visuals, and general effect. With a score of 67.55, they won 1st in their class and 3rd place overall. The Marching Blue Devils, led by director Vince Genualdi, do just as their show suggests and rise from the ashes to a satisfying victory.
Come see the Marching Blue Devils at their next competition at Downers Grove Music Bowl on October 9th, or at the sidelines and halftime of any home football game to witness it for yourself!