The Madison Scouts were back to the drum corps grind the weekend of April 27-29, bringing all sections of the corps together in the Indianapolis area for the first time since November.

With audition season complete and this full complement of corps members coming together for one of the very first times, bringing new members up to speed was a main focus as the corps worked to make the most of the short rehearsal weekend.

Madison’s horn sergeant, John D’Amico, said that the membership of this year’s corps is about one to one first-year members to returning veterans. “This year is one of those years we have a lot of growth that can be made, leading to a lot more members we can keep in the future,” he said.

The color guard section in particular is where a lot of the group’s newest members are found, and according to fourth-year color guard captain Jacoby Taylor, the opportunity to work with so many fresh faces is a positive.

“The color guard is young which we’re all excited about because they’re not scared of anything and really eager to learn,” Taylor said. “They’re here to soak up and absorb everything.”

“With the newer members I feel like it’s one of my top priorities to help them get up to speed,” D’Amico said. “Also to mentor them to understand all of our standards and help them meet those goals that we set.”

Earlier in April, Madison revealed the theme of the corps’ 2018 production, “Heart & Soul.” Billed as “an exploration of the heart’s physicality and the spiritual influence of the soul,” the show encompasses a wide variety of musical types including works by Steve Reich, Danny Elfman, Sting, John Mackey and Snarky Puppy, among others.

“It’s definitely a big step up from last year in terms of demand and what we’re going for,” D’Amico said. “This show is going to be kickin’.”

D’Amico says that the production is a combination of “different” and what fans have come to expect from the Madison Scouts over the corps’ long and storied history. “Once we get toward the end of the show, a lot of our music is some of that classic Madison type of stuff,” he said. “From the perspective of the horn line, the music is very fast-paced. There’s not a lot of down time.“

Scouts members are approximately three weeks away from their spring training “move-ins,” where they’ll gather for full-day rehearsals to continue to work on music and start to learn the visual portion of their production.

Competitively, the corps will make its debut in front of a Wisconsin audience on June 23 in Whitewater.  

View the Madison Scouts’ 2018 tour schedule.