In The News: Drum Corps Are So Hardcore

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With its loud playing, fun spirit and unmatchable style, the UW Marching Band is a staple of the UW-Madison’s campus. You would be hard pressed to find anyone, even a freshman, who hasn’t heard the band play. Yet an entirely separate world of marching music exists outside of the university setting, one that very few people have heard of: Drum corps. As much a physical sport as an arts activity, marching music’s “major league” is an intense, highly demanding activity that explores a new frontier of the arts. I experienced this hidden marching world when I saw the Drum Corps International Championships in Indianapolis this past August.

Drum corps are non-profit entities made up of young people ages 16-21. Members audition for a spot in one of these highly selective organizations. If accepted, they “move in” to their corps in late May to begin pre-season rehearsals. From this time until championships in August members live, rehearse and travel with their corps. A corps consists of three sections: The hornline (brass players), drumline (percussion players) and color guard (dancers and flag/rifle spinners). These three sections come together to perform one 10-minute show they perfect throughout the season. Shows are scored by judges on the field on the basis of how well the musical and visual packages are executed and how well they fit together.

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Posted by on Wednesday, September 29th, 2010. Filed under DCI World.