With the Drum Corps International Tour well underway in the United States, another group, Blue Devils International (BDI), is preparing to take the stage abroad to bring international attention to Marching Music’s Major League throughout Europe.

The group's members landed in Frankfurt, Germany on Tuesday to commence a 28-day tour that will take them to five different countries.

Consisting of 97 drum corps alums from the Blue Devils and other World Class corps, BDI is a group separate and apart from the Blue Devils drum corps that is currently touring the United States as part of the annual DCI Summer Tour.

Earlier this year the Blue Devils organization had open auditions for the ensemble. “We put word out about auditions, and more than 1,000 people were interested in the opportunity,” Blue Devils executive director David Gibbs said.

Having started rehearsals in Concord, California, on June 19, BDI members have prepared a seven-minute production that is specifically designed to showcase the talent of the performers and bring a taste of American drum corps to international audiences. The group consisting of brass, percussion and color guard performers will showcase a variety of iconic Blue Devils musical selections, as well as elements from other productions.

During the tour through Europe, BDI will take part in a number of high-profile events, perhaps most notably the world's second largest open-air military tattoo in Basel, Switzerland. The outdoor arena—which is situated in a hub of Swiss culture—attracts nearly 10,000 performers each year from a diverse array of groups including military ensembles, pipe and drum bands, Irish and Highland dancers, and other musicians. The nine-day run of shows is witnessed annually by more than 125,000 spectators.

To add to the excitement, BDI will join the Swiss group Top Secret Drum Corps for a performance at the tattoo. Based in Basel, this world-renowned drum line has become famous for its high-intensity performances that have generated millions of views on YouTube.

Top Secret drummers derive their fast-paced techniques from military drumming drills of Swiss soldiers dating back to the Middle Ages. Fittingly, Basel is often credited as the birthplace of drum rudiments, which are the building blocks that today’s percussion techniques for drum corps are derived from.

“We started talking with Top Secret about a year and a half ago, and we found it was quite possible to make a joint performance happen,” Gibbs said. “We really wanted to see this performance come together that will showcase a marriage of our two styles.”

BDI will be in the Netherlands for the next six days to prepare for its upcoming European show dates. Highlights include: 

June 27 PROUD Event Performance (The Netherlands)
July 4 Summer Spectacular (United Kingdom)
July 10 Performance in San Felice (Italy)
July 12
Performance in Lecco (Italy)
July 17-25 Basel Tattoo (Switzerland)

Even with three drum corps currently touring the United States, Gibbs says that the Blue Devils organization is well positioned to take on this new international venture at the same time.

“Because of our strong variation in management, we’re able to maintain excellence in the U.S. and abroad,” Gibbs said. “Our international corps going to be pretty sharp—There surely isn’t a lack of talent.”

Learn more about Blue Devils International including a complete schedule of performances.

Blue Devils International in the News

Amerikaanske Blue Devils delstrutsen yn Ljouwert (omropfryslan.nl)