Drum Corps International
Holiday sounds of the (summer) season

Holiday sounds of the (summer) season

by Chris Weber


1996 Bluecoats
Can you recommend some drum corps tunes for the holidays? I'm looking to fill my house with the sounds of the (summer) season! Joana V. – Bloomington, Illinois What might seem a tad out of place played during the dog days of summer, there are actually quite a few pieces both sacred and secular that corps have performed over the years that'd be perfect to beef up your holiday listening list. The way corps have incorporated those holiday tunes has no doubt been varied. Back in the 1980s before corps programs were as complexly produced as many are today, you might see a group like the Guardsmen perform an eclectic mix, spicing it up with the Latin "Tiger of San Pedro" before ending on the traditional "Greensleeves." In 1991 the Cavaliers took a more holistic approach to "Christmas in July," bringing a program called "Cavalier Anthems Advent Collection" to the field. The show featured a number of pieces that weren't overtly holiday, but still left fans with that warm snuggly feeling that you get during the holidays … Kind of like putting on a favorite reindeer sweater and sipping eggnog on a bearskin rug in front of a crackling fire. The Bluecoats were a bit more daring in bringing a familiar holiday harmony to the field, playing the timeless "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" as part of their "American Celebrations" in 1996, with Carolina Crown following suit with "Carol of the Bells" in the 2003 "Bell-isimo" production. And who better than the X-men to give us a steady release of an X-mas staple? The Crossmen have incorporated Alfred Reed's "Russian Christmas Music" in their production five times in the last 35 years! In past years Drum Corps International amassed two popular holiday audio collections. In 1993 "Ornaments in Brass" was released on CD, featuring studio cuts of various Christmas favorites that corps learned outside of their normal rehearsal schedules during the summer. Then in 2008, a new digital collection dubbed "Silver Bells" came out that included 10 "classic cuts" of various corps' competitive programs spanning 1973 to the 2000s. Here's a look at those two track lists:
Silver Bells Auld Lang Syne (1973 Kilties) Ave Maria (2006 Phantom Regiment) Carol of the Bells (2003 Carolina Crown) Die Natale (1991 Cavaliers) Greensleeves (1980 Guardsmen) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (1996 Bluecoats) Nutcracker Suite excerpt (1987 Phantom Regiment) Russian Christmas Music (1987 Santa Clara Vanguard) Te Deum (1991 Cavaliers) Winter (1993 Colts) Ornaments in Brass Angels We Have Heard on High (Velvet Knights) Canzona per Sonare No. 2 (Freelancers) God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen (Glassmen) The Christmas Song (Carolina Crown) Poinsettia Carol (Troopers) Amazing Grace (Phantom Regiment) Carol of the Bells (Northern Aurora) Procession of Bacchus (Madison Scouts) I Wonder as I Wander (Boston Crusaders) Christmas Collage (Bluecoats) From Quincy Jones' A Soulful Messiah (Spirit of Georgia) From the Many Moods of Christmas (Southwind) Nevorissk Chimes (Phantom Regiment) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Sky Ryders)
Lucky for all of us jonesing for something other than retail America's constant loop of McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" and Mariah's "All I Want For Christmas Is You," special for the 2010 holiday season, DCI is re-releasing both of these drum corps holiday collections as MP3 downloads. All 24 tracks are now available in one set on the DCI Fan Network for $9.99. Purchase this holiday collection on the DCI Fan Network. And as the holiday season winds down before we ring in 2011, there's probably no more appropriate way for us march Father Time out the door on New Year's than with the Kilties' signature "Auld Lang Syne."
Happy Holidays and enjoy those tunes!

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