Statesmen’s Big Blast Off Into New Season

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Rochester’s Empire Statesmen provided plenty of fireworks for their hometown season-opening contest on July 4, blasting their way to first place overall with top scores in every caption in the 6th annual Vince Bruni Preview of Champions.

Statesmen finished on top with 78.288, highest in any of the three Drum Corps Associates (DCA) contests so far this season. Syracuse Brigadiers, second in every caption except field brass, finished in second place with 69.438, including a 0.6 point penalty. Rochester Crusaders were third with 64.9, with Canada’s Kingston Grenadiers close behind with 63.375. White Sabers of Dansville, New York, were fifth with 58.025.

The Preview of Champions, named in honor of the late founder of the organization, was held in Growney Stadium at St. John Fisher College. It was also the first contest of the year for the Brigadiers, Grenadiers and White Sabers, and second for the Crusaders.

Empire Statesmen had high scores in the field visual, ensemble visual and color guard captions and high overall visual composite score; high field percussion, high ensemble percussion, high field brass, high ensemble brass and high music composite score; high visual effect, high music effect and high effect total.

Following a weekend off on July 11 and 12, the next contest for the Statesmen is Mission Drums, in Veterans Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Massachusetts on July 18. Other competing corps will be Kingston Grenadiers, Rochester Crusaders, Hawthorne Caballeros and Connecticut Hurricanes, who opened their season on June 28 winning the Barnum Festival contest in Bridgeport. Caballeros were second in their two June contests.

Statesmen will compete for seven weekends in a row in July and August, leading up to the annual DCA world championship tournament on Labor Day weekend. 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.

Formed in 1983, the Statesmen 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. 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.

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 at downtown Rochester Plaza Hotel (formerly the Crowne Plaza) and class A and open class preliminaries beginning at Rhinos Stadium (formerly Paetec Park stadium) at 2 pm.

Sunday events include the Alumni Spectacular field show at 10 a.m., featuring nine of North America’s most popular alumni corps: three from Canada and six from the United States, 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, Mexico 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:

Posted by on Wednesday, July 8th, 2009. Filed under DCA News.