Reading Buccaneers Announce 50th Anniversary Program

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The two-time defending Drum Corps Associates (“DCA”) world champion Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps today announced its 2007 program, “BLUE ERA,” to a large and enthusiastic crowd assembled for the corps’ annual Membership Day open house, held at Twin Valley High School in Elverson, PA. The corps will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary in 2007.

“The repertoire we selected for 2007 builds on the success the corps has enjoyed in recent years,” said Program Coordinator Lee Umberger, who is also the Buccaneers’ brass arranger. “Each year, we construct a show designed to showcase excellence in each caption – brass, percussion, color guard and visual – which has worked well for us. Plus, we push ourselves to be entertaining and innovative. This year’s production will be fun, melody-friendly, and a blast for the audience and members alike. We will showcase the corps’ versatility by performing four distinctly different pieces of music, each with its own style, mood, texture, and color.” The Buccaneers will delve into the vast genre of symphonic and classical music as a tribute to the corps’ signature of a rich and balanced sound.

The Buccaneers will open the production with NEW ERA DANCE, a contemporary piece by American composer Aaron Jay Kernis. “With this piece, we want to grab the audience’s attention and simply entertain,” said Umberger. “It’s a hard, fun piece of music that will set up our outstanding percussion program.” Drum corps enthusiasts will recognize this piece as a fan favorite from the 2001 Santa Clara Vanguard of Drum Corps International (“DCI”).

The corps’ ballad will be THE PROMISE OF LIVING, from The Tender Land, by the late American composer Aaron Copland. “We will showcase our brass and color guard with this piece. It’s an incredible piece of music that will take the audience on a journey of colors and textures,” said Umberger. “The Bucs are known for a dark, rich, balanced horn sound, and this piece will highlight that. We’re very excited that Gino Cipriani will be with us this year to lend his considerable talents to an already strong brass program. And the color guard wi ll be phenomenal. This piece will be an excellent vehicle to showcase both sections of the corps.” This emotionally charged piece has been performed by DCI’s Cadets of Bergen County, Boston Crusaders and Colts, to name a few.

Next, the corps will feature the percussion section in Alberto Ginastera’s DANZA FINAL (MALAMBO), from the ballet Estancia. “In 2005, we had considerable success with an edgy percussion feature full of Rich Hammond’s creative writing, complemented by interplay with the hornline. In 2006, our percussion section showed its skill at performing music with an international flavor, most notably in Sheherazade and Capriccio Espagnol. This year, we will put them together to bring a unique and highly entertaining effect to our percussion program,” said Umberger. A piece new to DCA, drum corps fans will recognize it as a fan-favorite moment from Phantom Regiment’s famous “crab-stepping wedge” from 1993. The Concord Blue Devils also performed this piece en route to one of their many DCI championships.

Closing the production will be selections from George Gershwin’s classic, RHAPSODY IN BLUE. “When we were deciding on how to close the show, we wanted something classic and fun. We will highlight each section of the corps and bring the show to an exciting and fast conclusion with Eric Kitchenman’s outstanding visual writing. Rhapsody in Blue is a perfect piece to close the 50th Anniversary production of the Balance in Blue,” said Umberger.

Founded in 1957, the Buccaneers are a non-profit, education-oriented musical organization. The Buccaneers are a charter member of Drum Corps Associates and won the first-ever DCA world championships in 1965. Additional titles followed in 1968, 1979, 1980 and, most recently, in 2005 and 2006, both undefeated championship seasons. In 2006-2007, the corps will celebrate its 50th anniversary. All Buccaneers alumni are encouraged to visit the corps’ web site to register to receive anniversary information.

The Buccaneers are sponsored in part by Behler-Hein American Legion Post 637, Hamburg, Pennsylvania, and Roy A. Master American Legion Post 217, Topton, Pennsylvania.

For more information, visit the corps’ web site at

Posted by on Monday, November 27th, 2006. Filed under DCA News.