The Madison Scouts Mixed Ensemble performed a
rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Thousands of talented performers fill the ranks of drum corps across the country, and every year, Drum Corps International's Individual and Ensemble Competition (I&E) gives these members a chance to show what they can do. Along with traditional brass, percussion and visual categories, I&E offers performance opportunities for woodwind players in the corps whose main instrument is not allowed in regular DCI events. Until now, I&E was held during the week of the DCI World Championships at the end of the season in August. In 2010, the competition will take place for World Class corps members over two days during the DCI Southwestern Premier Event in San Antonio, July 24 and 25. Open Class corps members will have their own I&E event in Michigan City, Ind. on Wednesday, Aug. 11. In San Antonio, 358 participants will exhibit their talents over the weekend, with most scheduled to perform on Sunday. View event and location details. Having I&E earlier in the season, before the frenzy of the week of the World Championships, may have some advantages – some corps who haven't participated in the past are now joining in on the action to allow members the opportunity to showcase their skills before the last leg of the summer tour. The Bluecoats haven't participated in I&E in many years, but on Saturday, members of the corps took advantage of the opportunity.

Benjamin Ash of the Cavaliers performs an
auxiliary (flag, rifle, sabre) routine.
"I&E is not something we're philosophically opposed to, but for us it's just really been about time and what the best use of our time is," said Bluecoats Executive Director David Glasgow. "We've always felt that the best use of time during Championships week truly is to prepare for a World Championship. For it to be in San Antonio this time of year really makes it work a lot better for us. It's a great opportunity for the kids to show what they can do." Even for longtime I&E participants like the Cavaliers, the mid-season scheduling of the event is a welcome change. Front ensemble member Mike Olsen is a music major who soloed Saturday afternoon on marimba. "[Having I&E in San Antonio] moves it away from that big push at the end of the season, which in a sense is kind of nice because it gives more of a chance for us to focus on the collective Championship performances," said Olsen. "I kind of liked it more this way because it gave me a lot more time to get prepared before tour even started. [I&E] is a good chance for self-expression, to get your face out there and play."