Drum Corps International
Favorite drum corps memories

Favorite drum corps memories

by Drum Corps International

The following contributions follow up on Fanfare columns from June 30, 2006, and Sept. 8, 2006. Here are some more favorite memories that were sent in as a result of those submissions. Have any favorite drum corps memories? Send them in to boomike@dci.org for a future Fanfare column. Jamie Hooker writes: I remember my first drum corps show like it was yesterday. Before my first show, I had only heard of drum corps through my band director, a veteran of the Madison Scouts. I was so excited to finally get to see live what he had been boasting about for a year! Six of my fellow band-mates, myself, our band director, and his friend, set out on a journey up-state to witness the 2004 Tour of Champions in San Jose, Calif. If Drum Corps International does another Tour of Champions, I highly recommend you look into it. First off, we were able to watch the top six corps perform (Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, The Cadets, Madison Scouts, and The Cavaliers) and secondly, we not only watched them practice, we got to watch the "instant encore" performances. After this show, it was not until 2006 that I attended another drum corps show. This time, however, I actually knew what to expect, and I had quite a few friends marching, making the experience that much more personal. There is just something about being able to sit in the stands and scream for the corps, not only screaming and yelling, but also calling out your friends by name. Although I have never got the chance to march as a member of a corps, my heart will always be with the dedicated people that march in Drum Corps International corps. Chuck Nicoloff writes: I only marched when I was a drum major in high school and didn't get my first drum corps exposure until 1969 at the old age of 45. I saw a Des Plaines Vanguard ad for a show in Des Plaines, Ill. I remember the awesome impression and thrill I got as the Vanguard stepped off the goal line with a dynamite show. Then the frosting on the cake was seeing Troopers in the corps' heyday. Another vivid impression came in 1985 during a Cavaliers' show. They opened with about 20 marching cymbals playing "Mars" from "The Planets" by Holst. Just after the first few chords, the brightest orange moon came in view over the trees. What a setting! My wife and I gasped at the sight and the thrill of the music, as I think most everyone else did. The effect of all those cymbals, that very dramatic music and the orange moon had an overwhelming effect. Mike McGhee writes: My all-time favorite memory was in 1981 at my first show ever. It was in San Diego at a small high school where a chain link fence separated the bleachers from the track. The show included Santa Clara Vanguard, Seattle Imperials and Phantom Regiment. I went to an afternoon educational clinic put on by Phantom, a corps with an amazing horn line and drum line. They played the music from Khachaturian's "Spartacus." I was just knocked out at what they could do. At the end of their clinic, the corps came to the home side of the stands. All at once they turned to the stands and played the love theme from "Spartacus" at full volume with the bells of the front line of horns literally inches away from the chain link fence. It was simply the most awesome thing I had ever heard—loud, clean and packed with emotion. My second-favorite memory is a seeing the 1983 Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard at sundown in southern California. Between Blue Devils' drum line playing "Paradox" with the killer accelerando and Santa Clara Vanguard playing "On the Town," it was sheer drum corps brilliance. Anthony Durrum writes: I was 16 years old in 1992 and loving every single moment of my tour with the drum line of Magic of Orlando. We watched the DCI World Championship Finals as spectators since we weren't in the Saturday show that year. I had seen many of these shows all summer, so I decided to do some exploring of Camp Randall Stadium. I wandered around and checked out the parking lots to see who was "throwing down sweet beats." It was cool, but nothing really got my interest until I heard this familiar sound coming from the field. But, it was being played in a manner I had not heard before. It was huge, and it was probably the biggest sound I've ever heard. I thought, "I don't remember hearing that on tour! Who is that?" I got back to the field in an end zone and saw Santa Clara Vanguard unleashing, yes, letting loose a brass "beast" upon the Finals-night crowd. The name of that beast was "Bottle Dance" from "Fiddler on the Roof." Remember, I was standing on the end zone side of the field. The force of that sound was so great it seemed to cause a light wind one could feel even in the end zone! It was my first experience of pure, raw energy. You could have bottled that energy and powered Las Vegas for a week! I stayed to the end of their show that night. In just those few instances, it was new to me again. I watched them march off the field and watched their eyes, each and every one of them. They all had a look of extreme intensity and ownership, like a child who gives a gift to a parent and really understands what it means to give that gift. Mix in a little bit of, "I just exorcised any demons that the crowd may have had" and you will understand the look I'm talking about. I was proud to be a drum corps member and knew I was right where I needed to be at that moment. I was truly inspired that night to tap into that kind of energy and intensity within myself. I'll think back to that night sometimes when I'm not feeling really sure of myself. It's a kick in the pants down memory lane.


Editorial assistance by Michael Boo. Fanfare archives

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