Drum Corps International
7 memorable color guard moments in DCI history
DCI Defualt ImagePhoto by: Drum Corps International

7 memorable color guard moments in DCI history

by Michael Boo



The first weekend of the WGI Sport of the Arts World Championships will get underway in Dayton, Ohio on Thursday, and for DCI fans, that means drum corps are just months away from taking the field in competition.

In honor of the many color guards who will be putting in their last weekend of rehearsal before action gets underway April 16-18, we've rounded up this collection of historic drum corps color guard moments that never get old.

1. 1976 Phantom Regiment





The "Rockford File" was a trademark of the Phantom Regiment color guard during several seasons starting in the mid 1970s. As seen in this clip from 1976, the guard members moved into a single file and then alternating rifles and flags exploded in sequential tosses and spins.

2. 1982 Santa Clara Vanguard





The "Bottle Dance" from "Fiddler on the Roof" was a famous recurring trademark of Santa Clara Vanguard's color guard. After not being seen for a few seasons, the corps secretly prepared it inside the school gymnasium where they were staying for the 1982 DCI World Championships, saving it for the corps' Finals performance in the cavernous confines of Montreal's Olympic Stadium.

What happened next was not anticipated by the performers or staff of the corps: The audience, recognizing the familiar setup for the routine, screamed and clapped so loud that the members of the corps couldn't hear from side to side. Listen as the horns?”unable to see the drum major due to being in a straight line across the front of the field?”seriously came unglued.

3. 1993 Star of Indiana





In the corps' last season on the field before morphing into "Brass Theatre" and eventually the Tony Award-winning stage production "Blast!," Star of Indiana's "Medea" show captivated, enthralled, angered and confused a lot of corps fans; sometimes all at the same time.

The show opened with the color guard performers employing a sparseness of minimalistic body movement and equipment that hadn't been seen on the field anywhere near to that degree. Poles-sans-flags and metal contraptions that looked somewhat like building trusses expressed the sheer brutality of the "Medea" storyline.

Modern dance and body movements left an indelible impression on the evolution of color guard productions, forever changing the role this important section would play on the field.

4. 1998 Cadets of Bergen County





During the Cadets' "Stonehenge" show of 1998, the color guard members moved to the back right corner of the field and performed a stunning sequence of rippling changing colors.

Note the colors of the flags as the performers approach the corner, the assorted colors of the first ripple, the assorted colors of the second and third ripples, the color of the fourth ripple, and the colors of the flags when they finally leave the corner.

Perhaps never before or since have we seen such an ever-changing kaleidoscopic explosion of color in such a quick period of time.

5. 1982 Blue Devils





The Blue Devils color guard section has long been at the forefront of innovation. The popularization of dance, costuming, and unique pieces of equipment by the corps' guard have continuously pushed the drum corps activity forward.

In 1982, the Devils' guard had rid itself of traditional shakos and English riding boots, which opened up greater possibilities for dance. Designer/instructor Shirley Dorritie was looking for ways that fabric could be connected to the ankles to add wide swatches of color and create an impact different from rifles and flags. As a result, the corps' famed "wings," were born.

6. 1991 Cavaliers





Sometimes the simplest ideas have the most profound impacts. During The Cavaliers' 1991 production of "The Cavalier Anthems: The Advent Collection," the guard utilized nothing but windsocks with long streamers during Samuel Barber's "Die Natali," based on "Silent Night."

These metallic silver and blue creations were inverted midway to instantly create a totally different color scheme, an effect as mesmerizing as it was simple in concept. Note how during the big dramatic pause of silence, the audience is all but totally silent in awe.

7. 1980 27th Lancers





No feature on drum corps color guards can be considered complete without mentioning the 27th Lancers, whose guard continually innovated and amazed.

1980 marked the corps' most successful year after televised performances at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.

Closing out the production at the DCI World Championships, color guard performers with double flags (first introduced by the corps in 1975) surrounded a massive horn line rotation. The rest of the section, with rifles, came up through the center and then laid down on their backs to spin the rifles while the flags created a dizzying flurry of motion.



Live Webcast of the WGI World Championships



Drum Corps International will power a webcast of the 2015 WGI World Championships that will bring groups performing during the Percussion/Winds (April 9-12) and Color Guard April 16-18) weekends live to your computer screen.

Learn more at WGIwebcast.com.

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