Not Even Rain Could Dampen the Relentless Spirit at NightBEAT
After a near-perfect afternoon and evening of community service and entertainment, NightBEAT 2016 unfortunately had to be cut short due to rain and lightning. By then, five of eight scheduled drum corps had taken the field to entertain a record crowd of over 9000.
The Bluecoats of Canton, Ohio, had managed to get their show, Downside Up, on the field before a cell moved in and forced fans to take cover. After a long delay, DCI and the corps directors determined that it was best for the safety of the performers and fans to cancel the remainder of the show. Unfortunately that meant that hometown favorite Carolina Crown was unable to perform, along with The Blue Devils and The Cadets.
The corps that did perform along with the Bluecoats included Phantom Regiment, The Cavaliers, Madison Scouts and Santa Clara Vanguard. They were all treated to huge rounds of applause and standing ovations from the enthusiastic NightBEAT crowd.
The NightBEAT pre-show performances also had the crowd cheering wildly. Durham, N.C., native and finalist from the hit TV show, The Voice, Katie Basden, took to the field at 6:30, mesmerizing the crowd with a beautiful rendition of the James Taylor hit (and Crown corps song) Carolina In My Mind. She also performed an original song about the tragic Orlando shootings entitled Heaven Won't You Come Down. In between songs Katie talked to the crowd about her love for drum corps and Carolina Crown and how the fans were in for a special night of entertainment.
The US Marine Drum and Bugle Corps wowed the crowd right after Katie's performance before the North Carolina Brass Band performed a spectacular version of the national anthem. And, as if those performances weren't enough, the pre-show festivities were taken to the highest heights as the Bandit Flight Team, led by Jim Kilpatrick, over-flew the stadium in historic World War II Warbird aircraft.
The evening was also personally important to five special individuals. Four new Crown Hall of Fame members were recognized at intermission, including Crown co-founders Andy Crews and Bill Loelius, Crown music director Michael Klesch, and longtime volunteer and board member David Whitesides. Plus, before the start of the show, the voice of DCI, Steve Rondinaro, was recognized as this was his 20th year serving as the NightBEAT announcer. Steve has volunteered in this role for all these years and the NightBEAT committee extends their warmest thanks to him for his dedicated service.
Though the NightBEAT show itself was not completed, one of the most important parts if the day was. In partnership with Samaritan's Feet and the United Way, the CrownCARES community outreach program, led by NightBEAT chairman, Jim Williams, concluded their weekend of community service on Sunday afternoon. Jim led a team of Samaritan's Feet, Directors Showcase International, the United Way of Forsyth County, Love Out Loud Winston-Salem and Crown volunteers who washed the feet of 1,300 underprivileged kids from the Winston-Salem area. They also gave the children new socks, shoes and a message of hope for a brighter tomorrow.
"Words cannot adequately express how proud I am of the Crown organization," said Executive Producer of NightBEAT, Jim Williams. "To witness the smiles and tears of a multitude of volunteers and children was priceless. Together the teams took a small step toward CrownCARES' mission of "Impacting a Generation!"
Carolina Crown would like to thank all those who participated in this amazing charity event and for touching the lives and encouraging a positive future for these young people.