Under blue skies and with flowering trees in full spring bloom, Burlington, New Jersey’s Raiders were back in action the weekend of April 27-29 heading outdoors for the first time since the summer of 2017.
The corps spent a large block of its rehearsal time Saturday on the campus of the New Jersey School for the Deaf in Ewing Township, learning the drill formations to the first section of the corps’ soon-to-be-revealed 2018 production.
“They’ve got the music memorized now so we’re in the process of learning the dots,” program coordinator Lauren Moffatt Burns said.
Excited to take the next steps toward the start of the 2018 Drum Corps International Tour, the Open Class corps is anticipating fielding a larger corps this summer than it has in some time. The April camp marked the first time that color guard performers rejoined the corps since before the winter, and the group is still looking to add members in a number of sections including its horn line.
“Compared to past years we’ve got a much larger presence on the field than we normally have had in the past,” Burns said. “We’re really excited that we’re approaching that 100-member mark.”
Fourth-year member Katie Beasley, who serves as the corps’ drum major, says that a strong presence of returning veterans will be one factor in the success of the 2018 Raiders.
She noted that throughout the winter months corps members have led a series of ice-breaking activities, like a paper airplane throwing contest, in an effort to make first-year members feel welcome and to quickly absorb them into the corps’ culture.
“Each year I’ve been here, more and more veterans have returned,” Beasely said. “We’ve [built] a positive culture [focused on] being the best we can be.”
Raiders are set to kick off the competitive portion of their 2018 tour schedule on June 30 in the Philadelphia area. After a short break, the corps will hit the road in mid-July on its way to the DCI World Championships in Indiana.