INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Hundreds of performers took over Indianapolis Wednesday afternoon for the DCI Performers Showcase presented by System Blue, which allowed members from DCI’s World Class, Open Class and SoundSport ensembles a rare opportunity to showcase their own unique skills.
“It’s really neat to see individual performers come out and be able to take themselves out of the full corps setting and be able to express themselves as an individual, solo or ensemble performer,” percussion judge Mike Leitzke said. “It’s something you don’t always get to see in the drum corps idiom.”
Four stages — three in the Indiana Convention Center and one in the Indianapolis Arstgarden — featured a wide array of musical and visual performance, ranging from common drum corps instruments to vocals and woodwinds.
The Artsgarden, a glass domed structure suspended above the intersection of Washington and Illinois Streets, featured vocal and visual presentations.
Ally Farrand, Pioneer’s color guard sergeant and one of the many members of the Wisconsin corps who took part in the Performers Showcase, particularly enjoyed the unique venue.
“It’s so cool,” she said. “There’s so many windows, the sun is shining through, you see cars going underneath you. It’s very open and warm, and it’s an inviting environment with everybody clapping and cheering.”
Farrand, an impending age-out, said she’s been attending the event for all six years of her drum corps career, but this was the first time she’s experienced the perspective of the performer.
“Oh, it’s so awesome,” she said. “I’ve been going here every year for six years, cheering on the guard, and this year, I said, ‘This is my age out, I want to do it so bad,’ and I did it. I’m so proud of myself for doing it, because I experience stage-fright by myself.”
A few blocks away, the Convention Center featured solo percussionists, brass players and small ensembles. Josh Hirner, a tenor drummer, was one of three members of Santa Clara Vanguard’s percussion section to present an original solo.
“It’s something that I never actually dreamed of in the beginning, and when I heard of it, I never actually thought I’d get the chance to be a part of it,” Hirner said. “I never even tried to do this before this year, it’s my age-out year, and I couldn’t be happier with the way things have been set up.”
Hirner, much like his fellow performers, has quite the weekend coming up with the start of the DCI World Championships looming Thursday.
The fourth-year Vanguard member said he appreciated the ability to break away from the corps’ day-to-day rehearsals and participate in what is, for him, a once-in-a-lifetime event.
“I think it’s amazing that this showcase can happen during finals week,” Hirner said. “I think that’s, in one way, genius, and, in one way, insane, because there are so many different responsibilities that all these different performers have this week.”
But most importantly, the Performers Showcase allowed drum corps members to be themselves and put their own personal skills on display before taking the field and competing in Lucas Oil Stadium.
“It’s so empowering,” Farrand said. “To have an event where people can showcase their talents to the judges that see us every day, and to see the individualistic efforts that go into each performance is amazing. I think that this is a great event for people to come out of their boxes and focus on something other than their show.”