The nearly 2,000 people expected to attend the Tournament of Drums Friday (8/3) at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids are in for a treat.
The tournament, voted the Best Drum Corps International Open Class Tour Event in both 2016 and 2017, will include performances from eight drum and bugle corps from across the country, including one international corps from The Netherlands. The California’s Vanguard Cadets, the junior corps to the Santa Clara Vanguard, the group currently leading Drum Corps International world class rankings, also will attend.
“If you haven’t seen it, it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before,” said Jeff MacFarlane, executive director of the Dubuque-based Colts Youth Organization, the Colt Cadets. “It’s not a halftime show, certainly — it is a showcase of music and athleticism.”
“The way that the activity has changed over the last 15 or so years is how athletic the students have become and what they’re required to do when marching while playing,” he said.
The corps works hard, but it is worth it, he said.
“If you think your high school band music sounds fun, it’s a hundred times better out here. You really get nitty-gritty with things. It’s on a whole other level,” Moore said.
The youngest performer is just 9 years old and with the Colt Cadets, the organization responsible for organizing the Drum Corps International (DCI) Tournament of Drums along with the Iowa Music & Arts Association. The Dubuque organization’s flagship ensemble, the Colts, is in Pennsylvania preparing for the DCI Regional Competition set for Friday in Allentown, Pa.
The average age of performers in the Colt Cadets is 15, MacFarlane said. Some of the groups performing at the Cedar Rapids event will be older, with members between ages 16 and 21, but most will be 16 or 17.
This is Zac Moore’s first year performing with the Colt Cadets. It also will be his first year performing in the Tournament of Drums. Moore, 17, of Cedar Rapids, first watched a drum corps four years ago when he attended the Tournament of Drums with fellow band members from Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. He was hooked.
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“It was pretty cool. There were some really good groups there that year. ... I went and checked it out the following spring, but I was going to be busy so I couldn’t do it until this year,” Moore said.
The biggest difference between marching bands and drum corps is instrumentation. Marching bands include woodwinds, brass and percussion, while drum corps are made up of brass and percussion instruments only.
Drum corps will be judged in eight categories: the on-field drum line, off-field percussion, brass players and color guard all have separate judges. Two judges focus on general effect, while three judges focus on musical and visual effects.
Participants this year include Heat Wave from Inverness, Fla.; Gold from San Diego, Calif.; Golden Empire from Bakersfield, Calif.; Jubal from Dordrecht, The Netherlands; Louisiana Stars, Lafayette. La.; River City Rhythm from Anoka, Minn.; and Spartans from Nashua, N.H.
WHAT: Tournament of Drums
WHERE: Kingston Stadium, 907 15th St. SW, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday (8/3)
TICKETS: $15 door or Dci.org/events/tournament-of-drums
PARTICIPANTS: Jubal from Dordrecht, Netherlands; Heat Wave from Cape Coral, Fla.; Golden Empire from Bakersfield, Calif.; Colt Cadets from Dubuque; River City Rhythm from Anoka, Minn.; Gold from San Diego, Calif.; Spartans from Nashua, N.H.; Louisiana Stars from Lafayette, La.; Vanguard Cadets from Santa Clara, Calif.
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