With percussionists and color guard members returning after a season of competition with their respective indoor winter ensembles, all sections of the Spartans were back together the weekend of April 27-29 as the corps continues preparations for the start of the 2018 Drum Corps International Tour.
DCI.org caught up with the Open Class corps on Saturday, April 28 at Pheasant Lane Mall in the organization’s hometown of Nashua, New Hampshire, where the corps rehearses on the facility’s massive parking lot.
“Many of our drum line members have been away competing in WGI or with their local circuits,” said Andy Kim, Spartans battery percussion caption manager. “For our line, this weekend is about getting everyone back together and setting how we want everyone to operate for the season here at Spartans; the kind of vibe we want to have in rehearsals.”
Drum major Emily Dawson reports that this year’s corps is ready and eager to learn.
“We have more of a younger group this year because we don’t have a lot of returning veterans,” Dawson said. “So a lot of the corps is rookies, but they’re really determined rookies ... We have a really cool, tight-knit family [that’s] hyper-ready to get going."
Kim notes that the corps also has a number of fresh faces on its educational staff as well, instructors who will help the corps in its efforts to move up through the ranks of DCI’s Open Class division in 2018. “We have new people involved with all sections of the corps, especially with the brass,” Kim said. “We’ve also expanded the number of staff working with the battery percussion, adding people with lots of varied backgrounds.”
The focus of the corps’ April rehearsal camp centered on getting corps members accustomed to rehearsing outside. By the end of the rehearsal weekend, the goal was to put the first movement of the corps’ 2018 production on the field with music and drill.
The title and theme of that production has yet to be revealed, but it’s one that Kim predicts will be one to be remembered. “We’re taking some risks this year as far as doing a broader spectrum of musical styles," Kim said, adding that this year's program won't be too far a departure from what the corps has showcased in recent years. “You’ll still see us develop a lot of visual ideas with all the members on the field, a lot of movement while playing, a lot of choreography, and some dance-based moments.”
Spartans hosts rehearsal camps every weekend from May into June, with much of the corps’ membership based in the New England area. Corps members will undergo a week-long series of all-day practices beginning the weekend of June 23, prior to their first competitive event of the summer on July 1 in Lawrence, Massachusetts.