Empire Statesmen Holiday Weekend Contests
Rochester’s Empire Statesmen will be providing family entertainment during both of this summer’s major holiday weekends, starting with the Vince Bruni Preview of Champions drum and bugle corps contest on July 1 during Independence Day weekend, and wrapping up the contest season on Labor Day weekend by hosting the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championship tournament in the new downtown PAETEC Park Stadium.
The Preview of Champions is named in honor of Vince Bruni, who founded the Empire Statesmen in 1983 and the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1976 and served as director of both until his passing in 2003.
The Preview of Champions, in Wegmans Stadium at Aquinas Institute on July 1, will give spectators an early-season look at corps that have won more than 15 national championships over the years. Empire Statesmen and Syracuse Brigadiers have each won the DCA title five times since 1991. Reading Buccaneers have also won five DCA titles, including the first one in 1965, and are the defending 2005 DCA champions. Rochester Crusaders were two-time winners of the American Legion national championship in the “golden era” of drum corps activity in the 1960s and early ‘70s. The White Sabers of Dansville, NY, are entering their second season of DCA competition in 2006.
The Preview of Champions will also include exhibition performances by Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni Corps, of Leroy, NY, and the Empire Cadets, the youth marching band operated as a community outreach project by the Empire Statesmen. More than 15,000 youngsters have participated in the youth program since it was founded by Vince Bruni in 1975.
The 2006 summer contest season reaches its climax when Empire Statesmen bring the three-day DCA Labor Day weekend championship tournament back to Rochester for the first time since 1996. This year’s schedule of events includes Individual and Ensemble contests, a old fashioned outdoor drum corps party, induction of seven new members into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, a concert by 10 top U.S. and Canadian alumni corps, and prelims and finals for the competing corps in PAETEC Park Stadium. More than 40 units will participate in events over the weekend.
The 20-member local planning committee has received widespread support throughout the community in arranging this year’s tournament, which is expected to pump about $15 million into the Rochester-area economy. Empire Statesmen will also host the 2007 tournament. Nine of the 42 DCA championships from 1965 to 2005 have been held in Rochester: four from 1968 to 1971; four from 1973 to 1976 and one in 1996.
Empire Statesmen will meet defending DCA champion Reading Buccaneers five times during the season, starting with the Caballeros At The Beach contest on June 17 in Wildwood, NJ. Empire Statesmen finished second to the Bucs at last year’s DCA finals.
The Empire Statesmen drum and bugle corps is a self-supporting independent group that represents the city of Rochester across the United States and Canada and as far abroad as Europe, the Caribbean and South America.
The Empire Statesmen are known for their high quality, entertaining performances on the contest field, concert stage and in street parades and other special events. In addition to operating the Empire Cadets, the Statesmen support area school music programs by participating in benefit concerts that have raised more than $300,000 over the past 20 years.
The Statesmen won the DCA world championship title in 1991, 1994, 1997, 1998 and 2004. The corps also won the American Legion national title in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2004.
For ticket information about the Vince Bruni Preview of Champions and the DCA championships, call (585) 266-2232 or visit the Empire Statesmen Web site at: www.statesmen.org