KOKOMO, Indiana — As excitement builds toward the June 26 kickoff of the 2024 Drum Corps International Tour, The Cavaliers aren’t quite prepared to reveal the details of their summer production.

But at the corps’ April 26-28 rehearsal camp in Kokomo, Indiana, program coordinator David Starnes wasn’t afraid to drop a few hints.

“The performers know that the music has a very wide variety, and it starts very traditional,” he said. “And then it loses that traditional value as it moves through time.”

“At the end of the show, there's a hero in mind,” he added. “And I can tell you that that hero is every single member in The Cavaliers for 2024.”

As of the corps’ April camp, performers had yet to learn the full scope of the production either. But they’re starting to put some pieces together.

“It's a really introspective show from what I've heard so far,” front ensemble member Avery Click said. “It’s very emulative of the 2000s Cavaliers.”

And while, as Click described, the show may in certain aspects remind audience members of The Cavaliers of old, Starnes noted that this year’s production is future-oriented.

“The show is really designed around the next several years for The Cavaliers,” he said. “This is going to be a place where we can hone in on the best version of ourselves.”

After the winter off, members of The Cavaliers' color guard joined the corps for its April rehearsal camp in Indiana.


The Rosemont, Illinois corps is coming off of an eighth-place overall finish in 2023, highlighted by what Starnes described as a “magical” season for the corps’ percussion section. 

The Cavaliers took home the Fred Sanford Award for Best Percussion Performance, one of just a select handful of corps to win a DCI caption award despite placing outside of the top six scorers.

READ: 9 surprise caption award winners since 2010

And entering 2024, the percussion section’s foot is squarely on the gas pedal. 

“The energy and the talent was incredible,” Starnes said of the 2023 percussionists. “And that has all returned times 10 this year.” 

Starnes noted that The Cavaliers’ offseason has been mightily productive from a percussion perspective especially. The corps has experienced a high level of continuity in its staff, the likes of which include percussion caption supervisor Michael McIntosh, front ensemble arranger Clif Walker, and percussion caption head Josh Brickey. 

The Cavaliers Percussion April Camp
The Cavaliers' 2024 snare drum line sight reads music during their April rehearsal camp.


That, coupled with a wealth of returning membership and an influx of talented performers, has The Cavaliers’ percussion team eyeing another strong summer.

“I can't say enough about Mike McIntosh, enough about Clif Walker, enough about Josh Brickey, and their leadership and their vision for recruitment in the offseason,” Starners said. “I'm just still shaking my head. I can't believe the talent pool that's here.”

As a key piece of the consistency puzzle for The Cavaliers’ percussion section, veteran member Nathan Koenes offered a nod to Rhythm X, the highly-touted WGI indoor percussion ensemble where many of the Rosemont corps’ students and staff spend their winter and spring months together. 

The Dayton, Ohio-based ensemble took home the WGI Percussion Independent World Class silver medal, finishing within one tenth of a point of three-time defending champion Pulse Percussion.

“Six out of the eight snare drummers at Rhythm X this past year were all Cavaliers alums from this past summer,” Koenes said. “It was great to spend pretty much the whole year drumming with those guys.”

“I think the year-round education from (Brickey) and the staff here is also really huge,” he added. “Especially for the vets this summer, being able to set an example and set the standard from the very beginning.”

Overall, as multiple Cavaliers percussion members and staff noted, the emphasis for this summer is centered on furthering the development of the corps’ legacy. 

“It's all about continuing to cultivate that energy, and that culture,” Starnes said,” “not for a one off, but a legacy, as The Cavaliers have had in the world of percussion.”

The Cavaliers April Rehearsal Camp
The Cavaliers' baritone horn section rehearses in the gymnasium of Taylor High School in Kokomo, Indiana.


Another way The Cavaliers have developed consistency throughout the drum corps offseason, though, is through the use of technology. 

As Starnes described, the corps has implemented virtual private lessons and rehearsals in order to remain in contact despite busy offseason months. 

“We've been really aggressive this winter about getting to know our membership a lot better, and getting them to know the staff a lot better,” Starnes said. “It was helpful for us to gain that momentum in the offseason.”

If the corps’ April camp was any indicator, the offseason programs worked wonders. 

“This has been an amazing weekend,” he added. “So far, the fruits of our labor are showing up.”

The productive weekend of rehearsals offered the opportunity to get all sections under one roof to start building momentum, in earnest, toward the corps’ 2024 DCI Tour debut, June 26 in Rockford, Michigan.

“We had a brass camp in March,” Starnes said. “But having the color guard here and the percussion here, it feels like drum corps is getting ready to start.”

View The Cavaliers' 2024 DCI Tour schedule