July 4 Preview Of Champions Contest In Rochester
Champions from different areas and different eras will compete on Independence Day in the Vince Bruni Preview of Champions drum and bugle corps contest in Rochester. The contest, named in honor of the late founder of the Empire Statesmen, will feature the Statesmen, Syracuse Brigadiers, Kingston Grenadiers, Rochester Crusaders and White Sabers in competition and St. Joe’s Alumni and Empire Cadets in exhibition.
The contest, sponsored by the Statesmen, will take place in Growney Stadium at St. John Fisher College, starting at 7 pm, with gates open at 6 pm. Last year’s show was a complete sellout, with a long lineup at the ticket box office right up until starting time. For ticket information, contact the Empire Statesmen office by telephone at (585) 266-2232, e-mail at esmen [at] rochester [dot] rr [dot] com or visit the Empire Statesmen Web site at: www.statesmen.org
All the competing corps have strong credentials, earned during many years of performance and competition.
The Empire Statesmen, formed in 1983, won the International Corps Associates (ICA) championship before joining the ranks of Drum Corps Associates (DCA) in 1986. ICA was founded by Vince Bruni to provide performance and competition opportunities for small drum and bugle corps. The Statesmen are now five-time DCA world champions and have also won four American Legion national titles, and the triple crown: the DCA and American Legion titles and the World Show Band championship in London, England in 1998. Empire Statesmen have finished in the top four during DCA championship tournaments for 21 consecutive years. In addition to winning five championships, the Statesmen have finished in second place six times; in third place six times and in fourth place four times.
Syracuse Brigadiers have also won five DCA championships, including four consecutive titles from 1999 to 2002. The Brigadiers are one of the longest surviving organizations in DCA, originating in 1938 and competing at the highest level for more than 30 years before disbanding for a number of years then returning to the field in 1990. The first appearance of the re-organized Brigadiers was in Rochester, at a contest sponsored by Rochester Crusaders.
The Crusaders originated in 1947 as a street parade corps sponsored by the town of Hilton fire department. In 1953, the Crusaders were the first American drum and bugle corps to compete in Canada in a contest governed by Canadian rules. The Crusaders have won the American Legion national title twice: in 1965 in Portland, Oregon, and in Chicago in 1972, the 25th anniversary year of the organization.
Kingston Grenadiers, celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2009, are the only Canadian all-age corps still competing internationally. Originally known as the Limestone Grenadiers, the corps has performed for Queen Elizabeth during one of her visits to Canada. The Grenadiers are winners of the Canadian national title and a DCA Class A title.
The White Sabers, of Dansville, New York, have been on the march since 1928, flourishing until 1980 when the group disbanded. At an alumni reunion in 1994, former members re-organized the group to participate in local parades and special events. The White Sabers took to the contest field in 2005, finishing a strong second in the DCA Class A finals that year.
Empire Statesmen will compete in seven more regular season contests across the Northeast in July and August, before returning home to wind up the season in the DCA world championship tournament on Labor Day weekend. Preliminaries and the final contest to determine the 2009 champion will take place on September 5 and 6 in downtown Rhinos Stadium (formerly Paetec Park Stadium).
Empire Statesmen will be the local host for the DCA finals for the fourth year in row. Events begin Friday evening, September 4, with individual and ensemble competitions and the highly popular mini-corps contest in downtown Rochester, with free admission to all events and an outdoor street party. Events on Saturday, September 5 include the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame induction ceremony during a noon luncheon and class A and open class preliminaries beginning at Rhinos Stadium at 2 pm.
Sunday events include the Alumni Spectacular field show by nine of North America’s most popular alumni corps in the morning, with the DCA class A and open class finals beginning at 5:30 pm. The championship tournament will be held in Rochester again in 2010 and 2011, with DCA acting as the host organization.
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 corps also sponsors the Empire Cadets marching band for city and area youngsters, as a community outreach program.
For more information about the Empire Statesmen organization, visit the website at: www.statesmen.org