Drum and Bugle Corps Season!

Services for Real Estate Pros with Greenwood King Properties

So I figure with 39,000+ AR members, there have got to be some drum and bugle corps fans out there! If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to check it out. In the words of coach Bobby Knight ...

                      "If a basketball team trained as hard as these kids do, it would be unbelievable!"
                                                     - Coach Bobby Knight after watching a corps rehearsal

In a nutshell, Drum Corps International (DCI), is divided into 4 groups. Divisions I, II, III and International (outside of North America). Every corps within these four divisions are made up of both male and female marching members between the ages of 13 and 22 except for  two corps. The Madison Scouts (from Madison, WI), and The Cavaliers (Rosemont, IL). The only all-male drum corps in DCI.

Each corps consists of a brass only hornline (soprano, alto, baritone/euphonium and contra bass), a drumline (the "battery", snare, tenor and bass drums), a front ensemble (the "pit" with keyboard instruments and misc. percussion) and a colorguard (flags, rifles, sabres, dancers). They perform an 11 minute show and compete on football fields making their way across the country ending up at the finals location.

Division I, being the larger of the four, can have up to 135 members in each corps. D-II corps can have between 71 and 135 members and D-III corps between 30 and 79 members. International corps can compete under their own country's organizational guidelines but to carry the title of DCI Gold, Silver or Bronze medalist, they have to follow DCI rules. For example, some international corps have members over the age of 22. However, it doesn't end there! There are also Drum Corps Associates or "All Age" drum corps but for now we'll stick with the Junior circuit.

The season usually starts in the fall with auditions, but varies from corps to corps. After the members have been set, the weekend camps begin. When school lets out for summer, the members start to "move in" with their respective corps. At this point, the rehearsals really start to intensify with "everydays". These rehearsals can go from 9am to 9pm (sometimes earlier or later) with water, lunch and dinner breaks. The competitive season usually starts in June and goes until the middle of August, ending with Finals Week.

DCI is currently celebrating it's 35th anniversary however, drum and bugle corps have been around for a long time. In fact, modern drum corps can trace it's roots back to the end of WWI.

 This year, for the first time in DCI's history, Finals Week will be held on the West coast in Pasadena, CA!

- D-I quarterfinals will be on AUG 9th, semifinals, (consisting of the the top 17 corps from quarters) is on the 10th and finals (the top 12 from semis) will be on the 11th at The Rose Bowl.

- D-II/III quarterfinals will be on August 7th, semis on the 10th and finals on the 11th at Pasadena City College

There will also be an Individual & Ensemble competition on AUG 8th at the Pasadena Convention Center. Which features members from many of the competing corps from all divisions on their respective instruments.

If you can't make it to Pasadena, you can watch quarterfinals live on AUG 9th at your local movie theater! Click here to see if it's playing at a theater near you. Highlights of finals will also be broadcast on ESPN2 later on in SEP. Check your local listings.


So far this year, Blue Devils (Concord, CA), The Cadets (Allentown, PA), and The Cavaliers are leading the pack for D-I followed closely by Phantom Regiment (Rockford, IL), Santa Clara Vanguard (Santa Clara, CA), Carolina Crown (Ft. Mill, SC), and Bluecoats (Canton, OH) in one of the closest seasons to date.


There are plenty of shows left so check with the DCI schedule page to see if there is something happening near you and to see lists of all corps competing this year. You can also check out Corpsreps.com or Drum Corps Planet for more information.


Comments (8)

Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County
OK, I am one of those DCI fans. My son was a member of a group called the Teal Sound that played out of Jacksonville although they did a lot of traveling! These kids work hard and have a lot of fun.  It was a great experience for him. Saw some great competitions in Orlando. At least they televise the DCI finals.
Jul 20, 2007 11:59 PM
George Booth
WAS Group, LLC - Westlake, OH


I was offered a position with an up and coming DBC back in 91 called Limited Edition in Columbus. It never panned out, but my love for DCI goes back since I first saw them.

My all time favorite regardless of how they do is of course The Phantom Regiment. Seeing this in person is the only way to give it justice. I love that they put it on TV, but to actually be able to sit there and "feel" the music and the power these bands create is an amazing experience. Whether you appreciate music or play an instrument or not, you MUST see a show first-hand to truely grasp what these kids work so hard for.


Thanks for the reminder Randy!



Jul 21, 2007 01:54 AM
Randy Young
Greenwood King Properties - Rosenberg, TX

George: You're welcome, and you're correct. There is no subdtitute for seeing a show live. However, the cinema broadcast comes pretty close. If it's playing anywhere near you, I'd check it out!

Gary: Yep. I'm familiar with Teal Sound! What did your son play and has he aged out?

 I marched baritone back in the old days with Valley Fever (Modesto , CA 1983-84) and the CA Dons (Fresno, CA 1985). My wife let me pick up the horn again a few years back when I played with the San Francisco Renegades (2003-04). Had the time of my life!

What a great group of people. What made it even better was not only marching with people that I marched with in Fever and the Dons, but with people that I had competed against or had marched in shows that I idiolized! Lots of Blue Devil and SCV alumni plus a few Spirit of Atlanta and Star members. I'd have to say the experience was even better then when I marched the Junior circuit! I'd forgotten how it felt to have that adrenalin rush putting on the uniform and the hype before before the show! I'd still like to get out there one last time!

Jul 21, 2007 04:37 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Randy -

My son aged out - now 23 and a police officer but he still has the drumset! He played the the "quads" I believe is what they call them... a cluster of 4 drums. He had a blast, even traveled to Canada!

Jul 21, 2007 07:15 AM
Randy Young
Greenwood King Properties - Rosenberg, TX

Yeah. Tey call them tenors, as well. Wow, a police officer. I was going to suggest some of the all-age corps in the south but he probably doesn't have the time. Wish him well.

Jul 21, 2007 07:33 AM
George Booth
WAS Group, LLC - Westlake, OH

I have pasted a little sample of my favorite part of DCI below. To truely appreciate these musicians you need to see it for yourself. Just watching their sticking and precision is awe inspiring. One must understand these kids are truely the best of the best. Tryouts sometimes bring in hundreds of people for ten spots. Take for instance the snare line on this first link. This short five minute warm-up constitutes hours and hours or memorizing and playing bar by bar the music so that it's perfect. Absolutely perfect.

The first link shows a great example of Gary's sons Quads.



 Since I am biased, I have to put my favorite corps next:


 Now Imagine you are standing 20 feet infront of them while they are warming up. You can feel the music.

 The next clip I have is of another warm up, Notice the buses in back. These poor kids live on these things during their season, I have to admit seeing them in person was interesting. Somewhat messy inside. When these guys are done with their season it's hard for them to say good bye to each other. It's almost a spiritual bonding they have from all the hard work, tears and being close to each other for so long and under stressful situations. I wouldn't say it's like combat comradery but it's damn close.




Jul 22, 2007 01:36 AM
Randy Young
Greenwood King Properties - Rosenberg, TX

Thanks for the clips, George!

Oh yeah, I remember the buses well. And sleeping on the gym floors... the everydays.. the smell of the deisel coming from the buses and trucks. Brings back a lot of memories. That hornline warmup in the BD clip brought back a lot of memories too!

Since I'm a horn guy, here a few of my favorites...

Blue Devils "space chords" warm up, v1.0

Blue Devils "space chords" warm up, v2.0

Cadets warmup

Madison Scouts Alumni playing "You'll Never Walk Alone"

Jul 23, 2007 03:33 PM
Lisa VonBargen
Photography7522 - Estes Park, CO
Estes Park Real Estate Photographer

Thanks for the post! I just received the sign up info for the Nebraska middle/high school band camp. DCI stops at Memorial Stadium during the camps every year, so the kids get to watch these amazing performances! (me, too...) Nothing like being a part of something like that...I always thought that if there were professional marching bands, that would be the best job ever! Lisa

May 01, 2009 06:53 AM