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Championships Weekend Recap

The 2023 DCI World Championships proved to be a fabulous stage for The Cadets to rise to their full potential, celebrate their roots, and cap off an incredible season of performance.

The Cadets arrived in the greater Indianapolis area late Wednesday evening, August 9, where the corps moved into its final housing site of the season -- a Holiday Inn -- for some much needed rest (in real beds!). The next morning, the whirlwind of Championships weekend began with rehearsal at Northwestern High School in Kokomo, Ind.

On Thursday evening, The Cadets delivered a strong performance of Atlas Rising at Lucas Oil Stadium. After their post-show section meetings, a full-corps photo with Jolesch, and snack in the lot, they headed back to the hotel for some much-needed rest.

Friday was a bit like Groundhog Day for the corps, with a similar but slightly shorter rehearsal day due to the earlier show time. While the current Cadets were hard at work on the field, alumni and friends of the corps met up at Empire Street Bar & Grille right across from the stadium for their annual Cadets Alumni gathering hosted by The Cadets Alumni Committee. Alumni from every decade stopped by for lunch, drinks, and friendly conversations on the patio.

Soon the convoy was pulling up to Military Park and Lucas Oil to unload for warm-ups again, and in a blink, Atlas had risen for the second-to-last time. It was another solid run of the show for a larger crowd, and the corps held fifth place for the second night in a row.

After the show, 60 Cadets age-outs walked back onto the field to celebrate their last season of eligibility with fellow members of the DCI Age-out Class of 2023. They received the ceremonial age-out pin, took lots of photos, and tried to imagine their drum corps careers coming to an end in just 24 hours.

Saturday morning was that much more surreal, as the Day Meeting led straight into The Cadets' own age-out rituals. A quick warm-up to start the day was followed by an ensemble block, and the corps wrapped up their final rehearsal of 2023 just as an afternoon thunderstorm rolled. A soggy EPL followed, and then they were off for one final performance on DCI's biggest stage.

And what a performance it was. The last show is rarely the best show, but The 2023 Cadets truly rose to the occasion on Finals Night. Every moment of Atlas Rising seemed to click like never before. And then they were back in the lot, surrounded by cheering staff and alumni.

After hugs and photos, brass and percussion sections changed out of their contemporary uniforms for the last time. The 2023 Cadets would spend their final moments together in the corps' traditional, West-Point uniform.

Back out on the field, The Cadets stood proudly in retreat formation, looking just like the nine decades of Cadets that came before them. And in fifth place, with a score of 94.313, The 2023 Cadets ended their season with the corps' highest Finals score since 2015. View the full DCI Finals recap.

To cap off a spectacular weekend, The Cadets Administration brought back the corps' Awards Banquet to the event line-up. Nearly all of the corps members and numerous staff, volunteers, and parents gathered at Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis to celebrate the season at 11 a.m. on Sunday, August 13.

After introductions from John Broschak, Chairperson of the Cadets Arts & Entertainment (CAE) Board of Directors and Vicki Ferrence Ray, Executive Director of CAE, attendees enjoyed a delicious buffet, a best-of slideshow by Cadets Photographer Kevin Carlsen, and videos from Videographers Rob Hamilton and Ryan Cleary. Director Brian Murphy then led an awards ceremony recognizing outstanding members and volunteers from the 2023 season.

Thanks to FloMarching, The 2023 Cadets were then able to watch their DCI Finals performance together for the first time. After that, Corps Manager Kelsey Brunson called each age-out to the stage to receive a special Cadets Age-out Certificate and a copy of The Cadets Alumni Handbook. In keeping with tradition, Banquet ended with The 2023 Cadets singing "O Holy Name" for the very last time.

The Cadets Administration would like to thank everyone who helped to make this wonderful 89th season a success. Below is a list of Banquet award recipients.


Donovan Fields
Logan Vaughan
Joseph Elkin

Color Guard

Christian Smacher - Rookie of the Year
Emma Thunstedt - Most Improved
Mirranda Gilbert - Outstanding Cadet
Alexis Rowbotham - Outstanding Cadet

Front Ensemble

Wyatt Pettry - Rookie of the Year
Emily Eby - Most Improved
Joseph Hedner - Outstanding Cadet


Holy Bass - Rookie of the Year
Holy Bass - Most Improved
Alex Gilbert - Outstanding Cadet


Asuka Yasuda - Rookie of the Year
Robert Starling - Most Improved
Evan Stoddard - Outstanding Cadet

Special Awards

Cat Yang - Cadet of the Year
Sylvie Pastor - Volunteer of the Year
Joan Flint - 25 Years of Service
Tom Hodges - Director's Award
Shelia Hodges - Director's Award


The Cadets Brass Staff will host an informational webinar for anyone and everyone interested this Wednesday, November 3, at 7PM EST.

Register Now


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