Ahhh...the roar of the grease paint, the smell of the crowd, sweating my $%@#! keister off on a hot summer day for my 15 minutes of fame and a nightly sleeping spot on a gym floor. THIS is drum corps.
My corps experience has been rich and varied, as shown below, pictures included:
1984: Look, look! I HAVE HAIR!!!! 4th Soprano, Blue Devils, Concord, CA (2nd place, Drum Corps Intl. World Championships). Upper lead stuff an octave down. YEEEHHHAAAA! I got to play melody! Nearly made the duet in "Latin Implosion" back when it WAS a duet.
Here's a special shot for all you 1984 "A" corps members, particularly my fellow sopranos. Remember this one? (I can explain it for anyone who asks)
1985: Corps brass arranger/recruiter/lead soprano, 3419th Student Squadron Blue Knights, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS (Air Force tech school). Not a bad horn or drum line, but never got to do drill...parade only. Then again, marching a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, when, at one point, the bands and floats are going opposite directions on the same street had its moments. It got REAL loud there a few times (Brass wars! EEEYYYAAAAAA!)
This shot was from the base newspaper the week of July 4, 1985. GREAT shot.
Here's one of the corps playing "Theme from Superman: the Movie" for the opening of the Special Olympics, which were held on the base. I arranged the piece, but we didn't have enough time to memorize it, so the boots got a chance to do something other than stand there...living music stands!
And here I am leaving the field after playing the gig.
Here's the entire corps during another performance on base. I think it was the monthly base parade.
1986: Cymbals, Dagenham Crusaders, Dagenham, England (1st place Drum Corps United Kingdom Championships). Hey, whaddya want? The horn line was full. At least I got to breathe whenever I wanted. A unique experience, particularly since I was the only Yank in the corps. About the only pictures I really have are of the various sections of the corps, taken on the night of the UK championships, in which we tied for first. I got the horn line, the entire drum line, the pit, and the snares & quads, but not the basses or guard. Sorry guys. By the way, in the horn line picture, we're holding the brass trophy...a working piccolo soprano, mounted on a wooden base!
1986: Corps brass arranger/lead soprano/snare/tenors (yes, I did it all!) Roadrunners parade corps attached to a volunteer fire department, Rome, NY. An exercise in frustration, what with young kids with the attention span of a used flashbulb. Here I am carrying a snare with Ray Szarek (hope I spelled that right), who performed with the 27th Lancers at the 1980 Winter Olympics, had to pull out of the corps before the actual corps season for financial reasons, and kicked himself thereafter for missing their 2nd place finish at Nats.
1987: 2nd Soprano, Empire Statesmen, Rochester, NY (1st place Intl. Corps Associates Championships, 8th place Drum Corps Associates Championships). Marching finals in the rain (OH YEAH, muddy field in white pants) -- not to mention having my all-time most-blown-out-of-tune note on the championship recordings. One of our instructors was the late Pepe Nataro (c), who really changed my attitude towards smaller corps. Without his influence, I never would have run my own micro-corps for the time I did.
1989-1991: Founding staff member/corps historian/corps director Pacific Sound, San Diego, CA (Played lead trumpet during the corps' marching band phase). This corps never quite got off the ground and stayed alive only on paper until 1991, when it re-emerged as the Earthquake, a very good Division II corps, and one to watch in the future. Stayed alive because I was just too stupid to quit.
1991-1997: Co-founder/corps director/brass arranger, Nightfire, North Hollywood, CA. This corps actually made it on the field in exhibition during the 1996 season, but folded the next year. We are considering coming back in a few years, but not until all the previous problems have been worked out (The brass instruments were donated to the Black Knights Drum Line from Burbank, CA, as they prepare to launch a full drum & bugle corps).
Some pictures from the 1996 Nightfire season.
As you can see, I've been around the block a few times.
Look! Here's some EARLY drum corps, including a member of the original Cavaliers...Don Warren perhaps? These were actually taken at the Renaissance Faire years ago.
Here are a collection of pictures I like to call the Dead Drum Corps Society. These are DCI corps which are, sadly, no longer with. I have left out the 27th Lancers because they're still around as an alumni corps. All pictures are from the 1985 DCI semi-finals in Madison, WI. We have the Freelancers -- who always say they're coming back, but I'll believe it when I see it -- (these are the uniforms Nightfire later used), the Velvet Knights, the (in)famous Bridgemen, Suncoast Sound (all former top 12 corps), Avant Garde (wearing the old yellow Blue Rock uniforms), the Argonauts, Les Eclipses, the Geneseo Knights, the Florida Wave, Connection Quebec, the Marauders, and the California Dons.
I did this one way back in 1987, intending to put it on a t-shirt and wear it to the "Drums Along the Mohawk" show in Rome, NY, where I was stationed in the Air Force at the time. The shirt never came about, but a friend who marched in the '92 Cadets thought it was funny.
Here are some other links:
Drum Corps International
The Keesler Blue Knights
The Burbank Black Knights
Drum Corps Newsgroup
This Blue Devils Drum Corps site is owned by
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sweating people have marched (or crab-stepped, if you're a drummer) through this site since May 8, 1999...which begs the question, how does one judge General Effect on a web site?