Drum Corps International
Driven Academy members reaping the benefits of offseason preparation
Members of The Academy rehearse on June 2 in Apache Junction, Arizona. Photo by: Drum Corps International

Driven Academy members reaping the benefits of offseason preparation

by Jeff Griffith

As the sweltering temperatures in Arizona continue to intensify and push triple digits, the confidence levels of the Grand Canyon state’s World Class corps have followed suit.

Two years removed from its first-ever top-12 finish, The Academy — according to head drum major Sierra Rogers — is prepared to bring its own kind of heat in 2018.

“I would say we’re really driven,” said Rogers, who is entering her seventh year with the corps. “Really hungry this year. I think that we have a lot of potential at the moment and I think that we’re really striving to prove ourselves, to be the best Academy that we’ve ever been.”

And from the perspective of executive director Mark Richardson, what he’s seen from the corps throughout offseason rehearsal camps, as well as the first weeks of the group’s spring training, matches that expectation.

“I think this is going to be one of the best drum corps, if not the best drum corps, that we’ve ever put on the field, without question,” Richardson said. “Every section is more prepared coming into this move-in time, the work that they’ve put in between camps has been an incredible launch of progress.

“I think it’s going to be clear when we get out there for the first time that this is going to be a strong group,” he added.  

Preparedness has been a constant theme amongst Academy members during the winter months in an effort to lay the foundation for a strong 2018 season.

Academy eyeing 2018 season after pivotal April camp weekend

Throughout the offseason, the corps’ staff instituted a structured regimen of video assignments to prepare corps members for the summer. Members were also encouraged to do their own supplementary workouts in order to be as fit as possible by the time the group kicked off its spring training schedule.

“The staff’s done an incredible job with their video assignments and using technology to move them forward while we weren’t rehearsing together,” Richardson said.

As far as rehearsal progress is concerned, The Academy has pieced together the first three movements of its 2018 program, “Academic.”

“Camp’s going really well, we’re actually finishing up movement three on the field right now, it’s really exciting,” Rogers said. “It’s pretty high-velocity stuff right now, so I’m really excited to hear what the music sounds like on the field.”

The Academy will kick off its 2018 season on June 22 in Clovis, California, with eight other corps at the MidCal Champions Showcase DCI Tour event.  

View The Academy’s 2018 Tour Schedule