Representatives from DCI and several European marching arts organizations met March 21 in Bristol, England.


Representatives from Drum Corps International, Marching Music's Major League?„?, met with officials from a number of European marching music organizations during a recent visit to Ireland and England. The focus of the meeting was to expand existing relationships and to increase communications on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, ultimately resulting in greater participation in the marching arts and related activities around the world.

Set against the backdrop of the first-ever SoundSport?® and DrumLine Battle?„? events held in Europe, meeting attendees expressed their enthusiasm for increasing collaborative efforts to foster increased interest and participation in various musical events and performance ensembles.

According to Dan Acheson, Executive Director and CEO of Drum Corps International: "We are simply thrilled at the response we've received from our friends in Ireland and the United Kingdom in staging these inaugural events, and are extremely interested in continuing to broaden our partnership with our colleagues throughout Europe and around the globe. We are focusing on the common goals of engaging more people in the exciting world of the performing arts and helping to foster their pursuit of excellence through their involvement."

Accompanying Acheson at the meeting in Bristol were John DeNovi, DCI Sr. Director of Global Business Development and Eric Hjellming, Business Development Programs Manager responsible for SoundSport and DrumLine Battle events. The trio was joined by Drum Corps Europe (DCE) Chairman Marcel Matthijsse, as well as DCE Secretary Marco Janssen, and Mark Bassett, DCE Adjudication Manager. Representing Drum Corps United Kingdom was Alan Thompson, Chairman of Marching & Performing Arts United Kingdom, and Andy Hewlett of the Kidsgrove Scouts. Also in attendance was Oisin Molly of the Inbhear Mor Marchers of Arklow, Ireland.

"We are very grateful to Colm Bolger and the Ravens Drum and Bugle Corps for staging a fantastic event in Athlone, Ireland, at an incredible multi-stage historic location on the banks of the River Shannon. We're very much looking forward to a reciprocal visit from the Ravens in the United States in the future," Acheson said.

"We're also grateful to Andy Hewlett and our friends from the Kidsgrove Scouts for putting together an excellent program in Bristol," he added. "It was simply wonderful to see so many generations of performers coming together at both events to celebrate marching music. This meeting signals a new sense of opportunity for our common interests, and I have no doubt that our partnership will become stronger thanks to the time we were able to spend together this weekend."

DCE Chairman Marcel Matthijsse echoed Acheson's sentiments.

"The organizations which comprise Drum Corps Europe share a remarkable passion for the marching arts with our American counterparts," Matthijsse said. "We have come together to provide opportunities for people from throughout Europe to enjoy the drum and bugle corps activity and to help the activity to grow. Our meeting today in Bristol was extremely productive and will undoubtedly pave the way for future discussions, sharing of resources and growth of the movement on both sides of the Atlantic. The prospects for the future are very bright indeed."

Speaking on behalf of MPA:UK, established to promote both the drum corps and color guard activities in the United Kingdom, Chairman Alan Thompson added: "Today's co-sponsored event signals the start of the next chapter of the continuing growth of the marching and performing arts in the U.K. We join with our partners at DCE and DCI to focus our efforts on bringing more great performers to fields, floors and stages far and wide."