150 corps members

4 charter buses

6 stops

2 dress rehearsals

2,593 miles

This is what’s in store for the Madison Scouts’ 2016 tour to California—The first time the corps will start its summer in California in more than a decade.

With eight Pacific region tour stops on the schedule, the Scouts will face some of the top corps in DCI, taking a break from their Midwestern roots while soaking up some west coast sun.

“When we first announced the [Pacific] tour, we heard from a lot of excited alumni and fans out in California who haven’t seen the corps in a long time,” Madison Scouts executive director Chris Komnick said.

Last seen in California during the 2007 DCI World Championships in Pasadena, the Madison Scouts will also have the opportunity to take part in a number of exhibition performances outside of their competitive DCI Tour stops.

Special events include an appearance at Santa Clara Vanguard’s Family Day event on June 27. On June 29 in Oxnard, California, the Madison Scouts will join the Blue Devils and Vanguard. The intimate lineup will give corps members the opportunity to interact with each other and to watch each other perform.

“We’re excited to do that,” Komnick said. “That was the norm back in the day when I marched, but our schedules usually don’t permit that nowadays.”

Additionally, the Scouts will take part in a “thank you” performance at the headquarters of the Yamaha Corporation of America, the corps’ longest-running sponsor, on July 1. Members will also have a day off of rehearsal to explore San Francisco landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street.

With more than 2,000 miles to cover, the Scouts will begin their long trek to California on Friday, June 17. The corps plans to spend six to eight hours on the bus each night between stops, arriving at a new location around 4 or 5 a.m. After a few hours of “floor time,” the corps will typically have two rehearsal blocks, pack up, and leave again.

Komnick described this tour as an interesting challenge—a “rinse and repeat” cycle.

“If something happens [in transit], you have to make decisions really quickly,” he said. “We have drivers from all over the country we can call so the ‘circus’ keeps moving.”

The corps is currently wrapping up a month-long series of spring training rehearsals at the FFA Leadership Center in Trafalgar, Indiana. Here the Scouts worked to stage the entirety of their 2016 production, “Judas,” which takes music and some thematic elements from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” as well as the 1973 film.

“[The show] is a complete 180 from last year—This is dark, it’s gritty with lots of metallic sounds in the brass,” Komnick said. “There’s lots of intensity from start to finish.”

Madison Scouts front ensemble
The Madison Scouts' front ensemble percussion section rehearses in Trafalgar, Indiana on June 13.

He said the corps’ color guard members were instructed to grow out their facial hair; a “hippie” style that complements the use of torn and leather elements in their costuming that are reminiscent of the movie. The corps’ planned use of ropes and scaffolding as props on the football field are also a nod to the film.

Although the Scouts presented “Jesus Christ Superstar” in 1999, their 2016 program follows a different path in terms of musical selections and will take advantage of the latest technology available to drum corps.

With the anticipation of the first 2,593 of their 13,000 mile summer tour ahead, members are taking note of a new, positive energy circulating throughout the drum corps.

Color guard captain Jacoby Taylor is enthusiastic about kicking off his second year with the corps: “[What’s changed most is] the dynamic of not just the color guard but the whole corps … Right out of the gate we’ve had to drive to be really good.”

Third-year trumpet player Paul Tarricone, although returning to the Scouts after a year break, agreed: “I’ve seen a lot of changes in staff, but I’ve never seen this level of devotion and amount of self-driven energy in members … it’s at a different level.”

Madison Scouts West Coast Tour Stops

Fresno, CA | Friday, June 24
Sacramento, CA | Saturday, June 25
Stanford, CA | Sunday, June 26
Oxnard, CA | Wednesday, June 29
Oceanside, CA | Friday, July 1
Pasadena, CA | Saturday, July 2
Riverside, CA | Sunday, July 3
Mesa, AZ | Tuesday, July 5