2015 Drum Corps Challenge
In 2012, the Cavaliers and the Phantom Regiment joined forces for the Backyard Brawl, a fundraising event which took the friendly rivalry between the two Illinois drum corps from the field to the internet. The Brawl was incredibly successful for both corps, as demonstrated by how much it has grown over the past three years. The success of the Backyard Brawl also led to other corps across the country holding their own fundraising challenges. This led to a big question in 2015 – NOW WHAT?!?!?
Chris Hartowicz, a member of the Cavaliers board of directors, had the answer: Open up the event to any corps which wanted to participate. The idea was presented to the directors and board presidents of the other DCI World Class corps in January and received a very favorable response. The Drum Corps Challenge was born.
Unlike the Backyard Brawl and the other fundraising events which took place between two or three corps at a time, the Drum Corps Challenge puts all of the corps against each other in the ultimate fundraising battle royale. From 9AM on July 10th until midnight on July 17th, 16 World Class corps will compete to raise the most money. The competition isn’t limited to World Class, however, as 13 Open Class corps are also in the hunt for the 2015 title. In fact, because the Open Class corps are the lifeblood of the activity, the World Class corps are covering all expenses
Drum Corps International is also helping with the Drum Corps Challenge, hosting the website for the event. The site is now live at http://www.drumcorpschallenge.com/. At the site, each participating drum corps is represented by a racing helmet. Clicking on a helmet directs donors to each corps’ donation page. With each corps processing donations, donor information stays with each corps and is not shared between organizations.
With this being the inaugural Drum Corps Challenge, the goals of the organizers are conservative. According to Matt O’Brien, another member of the Cavaliers board of directors, the organizers are hoping to raise $400,000 combined for all of the participating corps. Money is not the only focus, however, as close attention will be paid to the number of visitors and views the Challenge website and the related corps donation websites receive. If the Drum Corps Challenge can demonstrate strong levels of web traffic, it is possible that corporations could join in for future challenges with matching donations or even sponsorships of the drum corps activity in general.
Just because the Drum Corps Challenge is taking place, though, doesn’t mean that there can’t be a little action on the side. Corps are encouraged to hold mini challenges similar to the Backyard Brawl format to encourage higher levels of participation from their respective fans and alumni. These mini challenges would take place for 1 to 2 days during the Drum Corps Challenge week and their results would count towards both the mini challenge as well as the overall fundraising event.
The Drum Corps Challenge is also a great opportunity for the participating Open Class corps to flex their fundraising muscle. Many of these corps have a long and rich history as well as strong ties to their communities and alumni. Events like the Drum Corps Challenge give these organizations a chance to increase their donor base by reaching out to the alumni and former drum corps members from their home bases. This outreach can also serve to increase drum corps’ visibility as a whole, helping bring new fans to the activity.
Be sure to visit http://www.drumcorpschallenge.com/ and pledge your support for one or more of the participating drum corps. Be sure to also tune in to the DCI Southwest Regional Championships on Saturday, July 18, as the winners of the 2015 Drum Corps Challenge will be announced during the webcast. There will be two winners, one in World Class and one in Open Class.