Eight of Drum Corps International’s 22 world-class drum and bugle corps will make one of the last tour stops of the season next Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Baldwin High School Stadium.
The event — DCI Pittsburgh presented by Three Rivers Summer Games — will be headlined by Phantom Regiment of Rockford, Ill. Also competing will be the Boston Crusaders of Boston; the Blue Stars of La Crosse, Wis.; the Blue Knights of Denver; the Colts of Dubuque, Iowa; Pacific Crest of Diamond Bar, Calif.; the Mandarins of Sacramento, Calif.; and the Cascades of Seattle.
In addition, the show will begin with a performance by the Commandant’s Own United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps from Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.
For spectators, it’s a chance to see the corps at their best as they head into the final week of the season. The Drum Corps International World Championships will be held Aug. 7-9 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
For the performers, it‘’s the culmination of months of practice that began in mid-May with spring training that consisted of 12- to 14-hour rehearsal days for up to four weeks. Once the tour began in mid-June, corps will have performed in approximately 30 cities throughout the United States, traveling up to 400 miles per night, sleeping in buses and school gymnasiums along the way.
The scene in parking lots before and after competitions is an interesting sideshow in itself as the fleets from each corps roll in and out. A typical drum corps entourage consists of one or two full-size trailer trucks for equipment, another 18-wheeler with a kitchen, three luxury buses, a souvenir truck and trailer, a staff recreational vehicle, and various vans for volunteers. In all, 88 corps vehicles will be coming to Baldwin.
Before shows, people flock to watch the warm-ups of hornlines and drumlines. After shows, food trucks provide full meals, and it’s common to see hundreds of performers sitting on the ground eating and mingling, and the camaraderie among the competing corps is evident. Once the buses and trucks are packed, it‘s on to the next tour stop.
Performers range in age from 15-21 and often pay more than $3,000 each for personalized instruction from staff members who specialize in brass, percussion and color guard. Each corps is composed of up to 150 members.
Musically, productions range from classical to theatrical to modern, but many are original compositions designed for a specific corps.
Phantom Regiment’s “Swan Lake” includes music from Tchaikovsky’s original score plus contemporary music that supplements the performance. Boston Crusaders have an unusual production called “Animal Farm,” which is based on George Orwell’s 1945 novel.
The Blue Knights will present “That One Second,” a depiction of special moments in life where every second matters. The Blue Stars show is “Where the Heart Is,” which includes Paul Simon‘s “Homeward Bound.”
All four of those corps finished in the top 12 at last year’s DCI World Championships.
The festivities will conclude with a drumline battle between the Colts and Blue Stars.
For tickets ($20-$40), 1-317-275-1212, www.dci.org/tickets, or purchase at the gate on the day of the event.
DCI in theaters
The full performances of the top 15 corps from the quarterfinals of the DCI World Championships will be featured when “DCI Big, Loud & Live” will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at four local movie theaters: Cinemark Monroeville, Cinemark Robinson, Cinemark Pittsburgh Mills in Tarentum and Cinemark Center Township Marketplace in Monaca.
Ken Mrazik: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1725.