After a combined seven years as DCI Open Class corps, this August, Bakersfield, California's Golden Empire and Inverness, Florida's Heat Wave will each make their inaugural trips to the DCI World Championships.

Far from new to the drum corps scene, Golden Empire has competed on the DCI Tour as an Open Class corps since 2014. Director Tim Heasley says that his corps’ journey to Michigan City, Indiana and Indianapolis this August is the final step for the organization in a carefully conceived five-year plan.

“With thoughtful guidance throughout the initial [Open Class] evaluation process with DCI, we developed a plan to gradually extend our tour each year,” Heasley said. “By setting goals that have pushed us a little further away from home each season, we've been able to safely test our abilities across all areas of our organization.

With ties to Bakersfield College, Golden Empire operates through the institution’s nonprofit foundation, and Heasley runs the corps as a faculty member in the college’s performing arts department.

The college has run a winter drum line since 2006 and has performed in Winter Guard International competition since 2009. Like the drum corps, that group also took several years before first attending the WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio. “The lessons learned there are certainly informing our planning for Golden Empire as we prepare for the DCI World Championships,” Heasley said.

Florida-based Heat Wave joined Drum Corps International’s Open Class ranks in 2015, and also has focused on methodically working up to what will be the corps’ longest tour to date in 2018.

“Since year one, we’ve been focused on acquiring instruments, equipment, growing our educational staff and support teams, and laying the groundwork to get to this point,” executive director Jonathan Otero said.

Heat Wave members learned the corps would be going to the World Championships this August during a recent callback audition camp.

“The members are pumped to go,” Otero said. “Saying they’re excited is an understatement. Everyone from the administration to the membership is ready for the opportunity this year’s tour will bring.”

To attend the World Championships, Golden Empire will be adding a month to its 2018 summer season and will make the more than 2,000-mile trip from southern California to the Midwest by plane.

And with just under six months to go until corps members will step onto the field for World Championship competition for the first time, Heasley says everyone in his organization is anxiously awaiting this year’s milestone summer tour.

“For those of us who have experienced the World Championships personally, or have had students experience it with other corps, we know that it can be a life changing event,” Heasley said. “I'm particularly happy to see the excitement from our remaining charter members. When I think about the courage they had to be a part of our first season, it's so fulfilling to know that they will see the investment they made result in a trip to the pinnacle event in our activity.”

Golden Empire 2018 Summer Tour Schedule


Heat Wave 2018 Tour Schedule