Drum Corps International
A look back at the very first WGI World Championship in 1978

A look back at the very first WGI World Championship in 1978

by Drum Corps International

WGI Sport of the Arts will kick off its 2013 Color Guard World Championships this week, taking place April 11-13 at and around the University of Dayton in Ohio. The founding of Winter Guard International in the late 1970s was rooted in the drum corps activity. Prior to the formation of WGI, a national championship for color guards took place during the summer as part of the Drum Corps International World Championships. The initial discussions and planning to launch the organization took place in October of 1977 during the DCI Rules Congress (an annual off-season meeting of drum corps directors, staff, judges and others) in Chicago. In the spring of 1978, WGI held its first World Championship in the Chicagoland area. Attending the Finals competition were 15 color guards, primarily based in the Midwest, but representing locales as far away as New York, Massachusetts and Washington. Now taking place outside of the summer drum corps season, corps like the Cavaliers and Phantom Regiment had the opportunity to compete. On the eve of the start of WGI's 36th annual World Championships, we take a look back at scenes from the organization's very first, April 15, 1978, at Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Competing color guards present the National Colors.

The Cavaliers


The Cavaliers

The Cavaliers
Though finishing in the middle of the pack in eighth place, the Cavaliers headed into competition in 1978 with an aggressive swagger, marching into their routine to Queen's "We Will Rock You." While it'd be three years before the Green Machine's color guard would be WGI Champions, they'd win three straight between 1981 and 1983.

Colts


Colts
Kicking off their routine to the show tune "Give My Regards to Broadway," Colts finished in fourth place with a score of 91.20. 1978 marked the only time the Dubuque, Iowa corps' color guard finished as a WGI finalist.

Seattle Imperials


Seattle Imperials
Seattle Imperials, whose drum corps attended the DCI World Championships between 1975 and 1983, captured the bronze medal at the 1978 WGI Championship with a program that introduced ballet to winter guard.

Phantom Regiment


Phantom Regiment

Phantom Regiment
Instructed by the late DCI Hall of Fame Member John Brazale, Phantom Regiment's color guard shocked and delighted audiences at the '78 WGI Finals with some last-minute theatrics. Recapping the performance, the Drum Corps News publication reported: "The music of 'Star Wars' began and up from the middle of the crowd emerged Lord Darth Vadar! Women screamed in fear and then a standing ovation followed. Instructor John Brazale had brought out his secret weapon, that little extra touch to finish off the almost complete theme show." While Phantom Regiment fell just under a point short of winning WGI's inaugural title, the corps would win back-to-back WGI gold medals in 1979 and 1980.

Quasar


Quasar
From the same hometown as Drum Corps International's 27th Lancers, Quasar from Revere, Mass., was instructed by legendary DCI Hall of Fame member George Zingali. Showcasing trademark Zingali flair, the Quasar color guard became the first WGI World Champion ever.

Color guards lined up for the finale of the 1978 WGI World Championship.

Don't miss miss a second of the 2013 WGI World Championships in Dayton!

If you can't make it to the stadium, the WGI Fan Network powered by Drum Corps International will be webcasting all of the performing color guards (April 11-13) and percussion ensembles (April 18-20). Pay-per-view and subscription options to gain access to all six days of competition are available. Learn how you can watch the WGI World Championships live online. Photos from the Drum Corps World archives.

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