Empire Statesmen And Cadets Starting Parade Season In Rochester Lilac Festival
The outdoor performance season for both the Empire Statesmen and Empire Cadets will blossom open Saturday, May 12 when both groups march in the largest parade ever hosted by the Rochester, NY Lilac Festival. The parade’s grand marshal this year is Bank of America Market President Joseph R. Rulison.
More than 125 parade entries, including nationally recognized drum and bugle corps and marching bands will wind their way down South Avenue and turn down Highland Avenue to pass before television cameras at the reviewing stand in Highland Park, with hundreds of lilacs blooming on the hillside in the background.
More than 500 varieties of lilacs cover 22 of Highland Park’s 155 acres. Rochester’s famous Lilac Festival is a lavish array of flowers, attractions, and special events that signal the arrival of spring. The 1,200-plus lilac bushes in Highland Park create a floral rainbow ranging from deep purple to pure white. The largest celebration of its kind in North America, the Lilac Festival attracts more than 500,000 visitors from every continent during the annual 10-day festival.
The Statesmen and Cadets, the youth marching band sponsored by Empire Statesmen as part of a community outreach program, will both be on the march again in an evening Memorial Day Parade in neighboring Irondequoit on Sunday, May 27. The next morning, the Statesmen will quick-step to another neighboring community, for a 9 am parade in Pittsford on the holiday Monday of Memorial Day weekend.
The Empire Statesmen’s field contest season begins on June 16 in Wildwood, New Jersey, the first show on a contest circuit that will take corps across five northeastern states, leading up to the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championship tournament in Rochester on Labor Day weekend.
In each contest, audiences will be treated to a Statesmen-style tribute to Canadian-born Maynard Ferguson, one of last great trumpet players of the Big Band era. Noted for his exceptional power, endurance and high-note command, he often played the lead trumpet parts an octave or two above the band, electrifying band members and the audience. He passed away in late August, 2006 at age 78, of kidney and liver failure.
Again this year, the Statesmen are sponsoring the DCA world championship tournament. The three-day schedule of events include:
•the popular Individual and Ensemble competition on Friday evening, August 31 in downtown Rochester
•the 32nd annual banquet and induction ceremony of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, founded in 1976 by the late Vince Bruni
•the DCA Class A and Open Class preliminaries the afternoon and evening of Saturday, August 1
•the Alumni Spectacular field show exhibition starting at 10 am on Sunday, September 2
•the DCA finals on Sunday evening to choose the 2007 DCA world champions.
Ten of the 43 DCA championships from 1965 to 2006 have been held in Rochester: four from 1968 to 1971; four from 1973 to 1976; in 1996 and 2006. Ticket information about the 2007 championship weekend is available through the DCA website, at http://www.dcacorps.org/
The Empire Statesmen organization, founded by Vince Bruni in 1983, offers opportunities for involvement beyond participating as a performer or support staff volunteer in one of North America’s most popular drum and bugle corps. 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.
For information, call (585) 266-2232 or visit the Empire Statesmen Web site at: www.statesmen.org