The Drum Corps International World Championships will be held Aug. 8-10 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
But before heading west, seven DCI corps will display their productions at the Three Rivers Summer Music Games. The drum and bugle corps competition will be held next Sunday at 7 p.m. at Baldwin High School Stadium.
The event will have special significance for Abigail Iksic, a 2011 Mars Area High School graduate who will be a junior at Slippery Rock University this fall.
Ms. Iksic, who is pursuing a music education major, is near the end of her first season as a trumpet player for Spirit of Atlanta.
That corps, as well as all others, have been on tour since mid-June and are slated to perform at Allentown, Lehigh County, at the DCI Eastern Championships Friday and Saturday.
Spirit of Atlanta's production of "Speakeasy" reflects the jazz age of the 1920s with selections from the musical "Chicago" as well as the classic "Sweet Georgia Brown."
Ms. Iksic, who also plays flugelhorn during a duet in "Crazy World" (from the musical "Victor/Victoria"), said the amount of time and hard work at rehearsals has been well worth it.
"Everyone in the activity, regardless of which corps they march, shares the amazing feeling of pouring every ounce of energy and heart into an emotional and complex piece of performable art."
Despite the physical demands, Ms. Iksic, 20, said it has been fun.
"Some people say it is a marathon, but I see it as more of a really long sprint. Everything you do every moment of each day requires 150 percent energy and focus. That makes this one of the most challenging activities, but also the most rewarding."
The event at Baldwin is expected to be a showdown among four corps that placed in the top 12 at last year's World Championships.
Spirit of Atlanta finished 11th, the Boston Crusaders seventh, the Blue Knights of Denver 10th and the Crossmen of San Antonio, 12th.
Also appearing will be the Blue Stars of La Crosse, Wis.; the Troopers of Casper, Wyo.; and the Cascades of Seattle.
The Boston Crusaders, who performed at a competition at Gateway High School in June, have been perfecting their production of "Rise," which depicts rising from hardships into a world of possibilities.
Ms. Iksic said she is eager to return to Pittsburgh.
"I cannot wait to perform for a hometown crowd and share this new version of myself and entertain people that have personally believed in and supported me."
Tickets: $20-$40 at 412-551-4336 or www.bwmusic.net/hsband/events.htm. Tickets also will be available at the gate.
A live broadcast of the DCI World Championships preliminaries will air at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at Cinemark Robinson, Pittsburgh North in McCandless and Pittsburgh Mills in Tarentum.
The broadcast, scheduled to last just over five hours, is touted as "Big, Loud & Live 10."
Ken Mrazik: email@example.com or 412-263-1725.