Empire Statesmen’s Second Auditions For Winterguard
The first of two auditions for Empire Statesmen’s 25th anniversary year winterguard team attracted individuals from Rochester, Syracuse, other areas of western New York and from across the border in Canada. Those attending the first audition on October 21 included some members from the 2007 field show unit, and many new faces.
Final selections will take place after the audition session to be held on Saturday, November 3 from noon to 8 pm at Our Lady of Mercy High School, 1437 Blossom Road in Rochester. Everyone with previous guard experience is welcome to attend.
Rochester’s Empire Statesmen winterguard made its debut in Winter Guard International (WGI) indoor competition in 2005, landing in the top six in the independent world class at the WGI world championships.
The Empire winterguard program is one of several special projects that Empire Statesmen will offer during the corps’ 25th anniversary season in 2008. Since its founding in 1983 by the late Vince Bruni, the Empire Statesmen drum and bugle corps has aimed each year to produce a program that operates an octave above the ordinary, with a strong emphasis on audience entertainment.
During those two and a half decades, the Empire Statesmen have won the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world title five times, the American Legion national championships four times, and the marching music world’s triple crown in 1998: the DCA, American Legion and World Show Band championships all in one year. The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame chose the Empire Statesmen as the 1990s all-age corps of the decade.
The Statesmen also operate the Empire Cadets youth marching band as a community outreach program. In addition, the Statesmen have helped raise more than $300,000 for Rochester and area school music programs, by participating in benefit concerts over the past 20 years. Most of these concerts are held on winter weekends, the same time the Empire Statesmen winterguard will be traveling the contest circuit.
The winterguard competition season begins in January and winds up with the Northeast Colorguard Circuit (NECG) championships on April 5 and the WGI 2008 world championships in Dayton, Ohio from April 10 to 12. Empire winterguard will compete locally in NECG events and travel to three WGI regional championships before heading to the world championships in Dayton. WGI is a non-profit youth organization founded in 1977, offering winter guard and indoor percussion activities. More than 11,000 individuals participated at the Sport of the Arts World Championships in April, 2007. WGI events feature pageantry involving an array of equipment, movement, and skill.
In its 31st season in 2008, WGI contests will feature more than 300 units from 41 different states, competing in six classes of scholastic and independent groups. More than 109,000 fans are expected to attend 24 regional contests and the world championships. Another 100,000 fans will support more than 600 local contests throughout the world.
WGI offers two divisions of competition. Scholastic units include members who come from the same high school or its feeder school. Independent units include members who are not necessarily associated with a particular school. The units are then further divided into classes: A class, for beginning programs and performers; open class, featuring intermediate developmental level performers; world class, offering the most advanced programs and performers.
Empire Winterguard leaders are David Bruni and Allen Buell. Head designer is Peter Garrow. The complete winterguard staff will be introduced to participants during the audition sessions.
Bruni, who has served as Empire Statesmen’s drum major since the corps first competed in 1983, is a member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame whose honors over the years include being named as Drum Corps Associates (DCA) corps director of the year and top DCA drum major. Buell, Empire Statesmen’s business manager, has served as chair of the DCA world championships local planning committee for the two years the tournament has been held in Rochester. He also heads the Northeast Colorguard Circuit. Garrow, who served as Empire Statesmen color guard caption head for the 2007 field competition season, was also caption head for Rochester Patriots drum and bugle corps when the group won both the Drum Corps International (DCI) and WGI championships.
The Empire Statesmen organization offers many opportunities for involvement beyond participating as a performer or support staff volunteer. 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