Empire Statesmen Annnounce 25th Anniversary Program
Rochester’s Empire Statesmen will celebrate their 25th anniversary season in 2008 with highlights of the three main musical themes that have defined the corps’ contest routines since 1983: songs from the Big Band era, selections from some of the most popular shows to every appear on Broadway, and patriotic salutes to the men and women of the armed services.
The title of the 2008 production is West Side Statesmen Story, Our Way.
Our Way is a tribute to Vince Bruni, affectionately known by members of the drum corps community across North America as “Mr. B,” who founded the Empire Statesmen in 1983. He passed away in 2003, on the Friday evening of the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championship tournament weekend.
Selections from the Broadway and Hollywood musical West Side Story will include Dance At The Gym/Mambo; Tonight, Tony’s and Maria’s song of love and longing for each other and The Rumble, which depicts the clash between gang members of the Sharks and the Jets, and also symbolizes the tough conflicts that Empire Statesmen and other corps have faced.
The field show will end with an extraordinary patriotic tribute to the heroic men and women in the armed services who serve the country. Vince Bruni, a veteran of the United States Navy, was particularly fond of patriotic tributes, which always earned standing ovations from the crowd.
The important fourth element of the anniversary season show, as with all the earlier presentations, will be a strong emphasis on entertaining the audience while still competing at the top level. The field show routine for the 2008 contest season will pay homage to the corps’ history while maintaining the Statesmen’s mission to present routines on the contest field that have never been seen there before.
Empire Statesmen achievements over the past two and half decades include winning five DCA world championships, four American Legion national titles, and the triple crown: the DCA and American Legion titles and the World Show Band championship all in the same year in 1998, when the field show featured music from West Side Story. Empire Statesmen have finished in the top four during DCA championship tournaments for 20 consecutive years.
The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame chose the Empire Statesmen as the 1990s all-age corps of the decade, in recognition of their success on the contest field, and the innovative scheduling of mid-summer concert tours outside North America to introduce drum corps entertainment to audiences in such countries as Mexico, England, Sweden, Denmark, Brazil, Bermuda, the Netherlands, and France.
The Empire Statesmen have also reached new audiences while performing in such events as the Ryder Cup golf tournament and the International Marine Tattoo in Rochester, the President’s inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., the Rochester Lilac Festival, a special concert for the Greater Rochester Visitors’ Association (GRVA), aboard ship during a World Drum Corps Hall of Fame winter cruise, during half time at Hamilton Tiger Cats and Buffalo Bills professional football games, in Memorial Day parades in neighboring Irondequoit and Pittsford, during a family festival in Geneva, New York and the Burlington (Ontario) Sound of Music Festival Grande Parade.
The Statesmen 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 schools and music programs across a wide area, by participating in benefit concerts over the past 20 years. These benefit performances have taken place not just in the Rochester area, but across western New York and across the border in southern Ontario, Canada.
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.
Rehearsal sessions for the 2008 season begin January 5 and 6, at Our Lady of Mercy High School, 1437 Blossom Road in Rochester. Saturday and Sunday rehearsals will be held every other week until the end of April, with outdoor training for the field show to begin in May.
For more information about any aspect of the Empire Statesmen organization, call (585) 266-2232 or visit the Empire Statesmen Web site at: www.statesmen.org