Drum Corps ready for summer tour

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About 750 of the world’s best brass players, percussionists and color guard performers will display their talents at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday  when “Innovations in Brass: Pittsburgh” will be held at Gateway High School’s Antimarino Stadium in Monroeville.

The competition, co-sponsored by the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps of Canton, Ohio, and the Gateway High School band boosters, is one of two Pittsburgh-area events scheduled this summer as part of Drum Corps International’s eight-week tour.

In addition to the Bluecoats, other competitors are the 10-time DCI world champion Cadets of Allentown, Pa.; the Boston Crusaders of Boston; the Cavaliers of Rosemont, Ill.; and Spirit of Atlanta.

Performers hail from throughout the United States and worldwide locations, including several from the Pittsburgh area.

Ben Smith, who will be a senior at Mt. Lebanon High School, is a first-year member with the Bluecoats’ color guard and a dancer for much of the production.

“It’s really been a good experience so far,” he said. “Going to the [Winter Guard International] finals really inspired me. I knew then that I wanted to perform at a higher level.”

Aaron Dugger, a 2012 graduate of Southmoreland High School in Alverton, is in his second year as a tuba player with the Bluecoats.

Bluecoats’ executive director David Glasgow said the talent level of all performers gets better each year.

“There is no question it’s more competitive than ever before. We had people coming from Japan and Europe. There were about 700 trying out for 150 spots.”

Four members of the Cavaliers also have local ties.

James Gabonay, a 2012 Norwin High School graduate and a student at the University of Pittsburgh, is in his third season with the Cavaliers’ color guard.

Steve Pachesky is another 2012 Norwin graduate. He will be a junior at Slippery Rock University and is a second-year member in the front ensemble, where he plays synthesizer.

Mike Luciano, a 2014 graduate of Kiski Area High School, switched to mellophone this year after playing trumpet in 2013. He will attend Penn State in the fall.

Max Jahnke is a 2014 Fox Chapel graduate who is in his first season with the Cavaliers. He plays tuba and plans to attend the University of Chicago.

Mr. Glasgow said Wednesday’s event is certain to be entertaining.

“All of the corps are extremely good. There are five of last year’s top 12 [DCI finalists] and four of the top eight. It’s a good intimate venue and gives you a chance to be up close and personal with the corps.

Another show in the area will be “DCI Pittsburgh presented by the Three Rivers Summer Music Games” 7 p.m. Aug. 3 at Baldwin High School Stadium.

That show will feature Phantom Regiment of Rockford,, Ill. It will be joined by the Boston Crusaders; the Blue Knights of Denver; the Blue Stars of La Crosse, Wis.; the Colts of Dubuque, Iowa; Pacific Crest of Diamond Bar, Calif.; the Mandarins of Sacramento, Calif.; and the Cascades of Seattle.

For tickets for both Gateway (from $15-$35) and Baldwin ($20-40), 1-317-275-1212, www.dci.org/tickets or at the gate on the day of the event.

DCI on screen

The 2014 performances of seven corps will be featured when the DCI Tour Premiere will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Monday  at three local movie theaters: Cinemark Monroeville, Cinemark Robinson and Cinemark Pittsburgh Mills in Tarentum.

The premiere, which was to be filmed Saturday night in Akron, Ohio, includes last year’s DCI world champion Carolina Crown of Fort Mill, S.C.,as well as the Cadets, the Bluecoats, Phantom Regiment, Boston Crusaders, the Cavaliers and the Madison Scouts of Madison, Wis.

Ken Mrazik: kmrazik@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1725.

Ken Mrazik: kmrazik@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1725.

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