Learning More About Drum Corps

SCV Hornline

Okay, I can't help myself. The DCI (Drum Corps International) Finals competition begins in just under two hours and I gotta talk to somebody about it, so I'm telling you.

First, the CBS Evening News did a story on the drum corps activity: follow the link then scroll down to the sixth video story on the left side of the page; the video is entitled "Super Bowl of Marching Band" (yes, that's cheesy). It's a fairly short piece, but should give you a little taste of the physical demands made of the people who participate.

Next, some videos taken by the drum corps from Concord, CA. Here's a page of videos; the one to watch is called "SCV Drumline Warm-ups". The Santa Clara Vanguard's percussion section was best in the nation last year; here's an idea of how they play in the parking lot before they go on the field for competition. Note: you'll need a Quicktime viewer to watch these videos.

Finally, if you're crazy enough to pay to watch this season's performances before they've available on DVD later this year, go to the DCI Season Pass web site to listen to the audio of your favorite corps. The Cavaliers are worth a listen, as are the Madison Scouts and Blue Devils. I'd love to say that the Vanguard is a top pick, but unfortunately I can't say that this year. Well, better luck next year.

By the way, on September 6, ESPN 2 ("The Deuce") will be showing highlights of tonight's competition. The broadcast will be two hours long and will likely show excerpts of most of the top twelve corps and the complete shows of the top few. Usually PBS does this broadcast, but DCI is improving its marketing partnerships and getting better coverage and spread. This is a good thing.


Looks like Clara finished 8th -- unusually low finish for them. However, they have a history of finishing very string the year following a low finish. One of my favorite shows was 1980 Clara when they finished 7th, but pioneered asymetric drill (and Stone Ground 7 is one of the most underrated drumsolos of all time) At least your corps survives -- I'm a Suncoast alum and gatherings of alumni are not frequent. As many of my old friends work/have worked for Magic, it isn't the same.

Posted by David Hall on August 17, 2005 at 12:59 PM PDT #

Hey David, nice to meet you. I remember the first time I saw Suncoast was the year I marched Vanguard --- 1985. Suncoast had a beautiful show that year and a horn line that was beating the Blue Devils that summer (for those of you who don't know drum corps, the Blue Devils from Concord, CA, traditionally have a dominating brass section that often wins the award for best brass in DCI championships). Anyway, sorry that Suncoast is no more. And I'm with you on the SCV 1980 show; it was very cool. Did you ever see or hear the original show, with "Caravan" as the production number? That show underwent major surgery, plus the now-famous political infighting between the SCV instructional staff and Gail Royer (SCV corps director at the time). It's amazing that SCV could change so much of their show mid-season and still make finals.

Posted by George Drapeau on August 17, 2005 at 06:48 PM PDT #

The "SCV Drumline Warm-ups" link is no longer offered on the Blue Devils site ... Folks can check out: http://www.vicfirth.com/features/SCV_video_feature.html

Posted by Nancy Renzullo on November 07, 2005 at 05:39 AM PST #

I'm with you on Stoneground Seven....when I was a kid, it was that and the Bridgemen in 80 that hooked me for good. I went on to march VK in 82 and remain as amazed at that level of percussion today as I was the day I first heard SCV. Underrated...YES. I always wonder why they don't retro with another souped up version--corps fans would melt. I think the wisdom though is to let that year go...sounds like a bad one. I did get to hear the version with brass and I wonder why they had to rip that out--really strange. For a corps that prides itself on class and control....that must have been a wild ride. With Finals on the west coast next year, it's time for SCV to scratch back up to the top of thier game. They can do it--they're an instituion. My favorite thing about the SCV line is that they know they are there to play, and play hard--percussion never disappoints, although last year was a shock (new line, match grip?).

Posted by Rustman on July 20, 2006 at 02:48 PM PDT #

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