This year's DCI World Championships Individual & Ensemble competition was held in the stunning new Overture Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Madison, Wis. A total of 277 entries comprised of a multitude of corps members performed in competition in a series of brass, percussion, guard and woodwind captions. Woodwinds were added to the mix last year to give corps members who aren't performing on their major instrument in their corps a chance to shine on their primary instrument. Madison's Overture Center is still quite new. Designed by renowned world-class architect Cesar Pelli, the Shangri-La of beautiful rooms and spaces provided corps members with an opportunity to strut their stuff within one of America's premier performance venues.

Colts cymbal line
Here's what some in attendance at the event had to say about it. Kyle Senninger is a third-year trumpet member of Santa Clara Vanguard: "I really enjoy performing solo literature for my friends and hearing others play. I talk to other trumpeters about trumpet stuff. We all ask each other, 'Hey, what piece are you playing?' They reply, 'I'm playing this, you should check it out.' "It's a little more stressful than being on field since you don't have 64 people behind you. If one cracks a note on the field, no one will notice. When you're in I&E and make a mistake, no one else is there to cover it up. The people in the room are there to hear you. They're not watching the guard or listening to the drum line, they're just listening to you." Roberto Villegas plays snare for the Academy: "I&E is awesome. It's a great experience for everyone, both the performers and the audience. It's fun to see where the passion falls and what the individual members are like off the field. I plan to come back to play at I&E. I'm not ready yet, but I hope to be soon." Three trumpet players from Yamato showed up at I&E to watch others perform. Ashley Hayes from California claims, "It's awesome. There's a lot of talent here and people get to show off their special talents when they perform here. As a corps, everyone has to play the same music the same way. At I&E, they can play what they want." Masako Inoguchi and Yuko Okuda are Yamato trumpeters from Japan. Masako states, "Overture Center is a great place for I&E. Where I'm from, it takes a lot of courage to stand in front of people and play their instrument." Yuko adds, "I wish I could be like them. I need to practice more." Marieke Bronsveld from the Netherlands aged out as a soprano last year in Pioneer and came back this year to help out her old corps: "The quality is high and it's good the corps stimulate their kids to do individual solos so they become better. It's nice to watch individual talent instead of the whole corps all the time. In the Netherlands, I&E is open to anyone as long as they're members of a corps or band. The quality here is quite a bit higher. Our I&E isn't as big. It takes place in one room, so we get to see everybody." Al Moffat represents Zildjian, one of Drum Corps International's corporate partners: "I've been to the DCI World Championships almost every year. Since drum corps is a team sport, this is an excellent opportunity for individuals to shine and show their stuff, and have some fun while they're doing it." Ty Parker is a former 27th Lancers snare drummer. His daughter Paisley is a color guard member with Mandarins: "I participated in I&E in 1980 and 1982. The big difference is the venue, which in Birmingham was outdoors in 1980. This is a great place. Also, they didn't have color guard at I&E at the time. "The performances are much more musical and theatrical for the snare drums, and a lot more visual. It's great to see the interest in the individual. It helps them become more musical." Juanita Steichen and Mary Delaney not only had their own kids in drum corps, their kids married each other and now they each have grandchildren in Colt Cadets. Juanita had a child in Colts in the mid-1970s and Mary had two kids in the Colts about the same time. Juanita's granddaughter Kayla Kenyon is a Colt Cadets guard member who performed at I&E. Mary's grandson Jonathan Fuller is a 12-year-old soprano who is in his third year in Colt Cadets. Juanita saw Kayla perform and said she was "... excellent. I had tears in my eyes. She was awesome. This makes them more responsible and makes them a better person." Mary adds that being at the I&E competition "was very entertaining to hear and see what the kids accomplish. I&E is a step beyond than what they do in their corps. They have to really dedicate themselves." Helen Turner is a volunteer nurse with the Cavaliers: "This takes a tremendous amount of talent and the kids from all corps are just awesome. I've seen a number of kids from other corps perform. It takes a lot of confidence and hard work and a deep desire to achieve to do this."