Monday, August 3, 2009

Drum Corps

I was introduced to a new art form last night when I went to a competition sponsored by Drum Corps International at Giants Stadium. It's kind of like watching a series of stadium half-time shows on steroids, and I don't mean that in a bad way. The bands participating are incredibly well trained and outfitted, and have perfect timing and movement, with elaborate flag-waving-and-throwing groups known as Color Guards. It was spectacular!

It seemed from my untrained perspective to be a uniquely American art form -- a combination of ballet, Broadway stage spectaculars and athletics. So many people think of marching bands merely as support for the football team, and this showed what bands can do on their own, propelled by nothing more than a desire for excellence in music and showmanship.

It was also interesting that the Color Guard groups work with artificial rifles and sabers, twirling them like batons and throwing them high in the air. I guess this is an outgrowth of the military traditions behind marching bands, and to me it's kind of funny that they're throwing around fake guns -- but Dave said he doesn't even really think of them as guns anymore, but as their own unique props in the show.

Anyway, it was a really terrific evening. I had a great time, and it's yet another example of how Dave and I are showing each other things that we wouldn't have experienced otherwise.

(Photo: Bushwick, Brooklyn, May 2009)


  1. Lots of energy coming out of those drums, but ... I don't get it. Too loud for me.

    Have a wonderful week, Steve.

  2. Our oldest son played trumpet in a Drum Corp for several years. I was a Corp Dad, traveling the country hauling equipment and making meals.

    The big Corps have paid staff to do those things.

  3. In college I had a friend whose father was the director of the FSU marching band. I was intrigued that he had to stand on a rather tall ladder so everyone could see him. At some point he ended up breaking his ankle falling off his "perch". I'm sure there are a lot of details of the band business that are not at all apparent as we watch them perform. You are on the inside track now, however, so I'm sure you will keep us informed!

  4. Reya: Actually, although they're called Drum Corps, the brass is louder than the drums.

    Merle: No kidding! You probably know some of the corps we saw, including Carolina Crown, the Cadets and the Phantom Regiment.

    B: I will never divulge trade secrets. :)