Why I Like Drum Corps…

And it’s not just because I’m a band fag, either.

First of all, Drum and Bugle corps basically represent the pinnacle of the marching & music “medium”.

I’m not about to call it a sport, like competitve cheerleaders do. It’s an activity.

But an activity that takes a great deal of skill, coordination and athleticism. Which I totally respect.

To anyone who doesn’t understand this, I invite them to tote a brass instrument around a football field (bell to the pressbox) in the dead of summer dressed head to toe in polyester while playing symphonic music (dynamically and in tune) while simultaneously keeping your upper body still during movements (sometimes involving running) to 130+ exact memorized locations on a sparsely marked field while performing additional body and horn motions along the way.

I was never in better shape than the summer I marched with the Cavaliers.

But this isn’t why I love it.

Drum Corps also represent programmed synesthesia to me. At a show you not only get to hear good music, but you get to see shapes, patterns, and bursts of color.

But this isn’t why I love it either.

Corps also continually introduce me to new composers and new pieces of music. I’d never heard the Planets before the Cavaliers performed them.

And thanks to the Blue Devils I fell in love with Don Ellis, Chick Corea, and Stan Kenton.

Cadets brought me Bernstein. SCV? Copland. The list goes on and on.

This year the Cavies introduced me to Johann deMeij and “Extreme Makeover”. I had to make an mp3 from Youtube just to get a recording!

But this isn’t why I love drum corps either.

I love Drum Corps because they deliver those perfect brass choir moments that make my heart stop beating.

80 brass instruments, in tune and playing a major chord at full volume. But with absolute sound transparancy. Perfectly balanced bottom to top.

Sometimes so well in tune that you hear harmonics.

The sound hits you like tsunami of fog- completely engulfing you it it’s glory.

And the wall of sound doesn’t relent– it grows and swells and pushes and it’s so gorgeous and wonderful that you think your heart is going to pop.

And then the corps rips the sound away. A precision cutoff that sends the chord careening about the stadium and caroming off into the distance.

Then the chord gets reflected back off of distant buildings and trees and hills and you get one last shadow taste of the perfection.

I think those that “get” drum corps will completely understand the moment I have described.

And those that haven’t experienced a moment like this– well, I truly hope you get to. Or at the very least something similar.

And THAT is why I love drum corps… And always will.

About cb

Nickname: Munt Measurements: 45 B, 34, 38(?) Ambition: to be the best human ever! Turn ons: long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, porn, rainbows, cock Turn offs: bad smell face, men who are full of themselves, dead puppies, popcorn, sadness
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Why I Like Drum Corps…

  1. Blobby says:

    Having only played in concert band, I’ve never experienced drum crops. Not really. We didn’t have a marching band in high school – not that I would have done it either.

    But I did go to Ohio State, which does have The Best Damned Band in the Land. …and it is a site to see them perform – and not JUST “Script Ohio” – though that admittedly still give me goosebumps.

  2. penny says:

    ME, TOO!

  3. So, you love drum corps right? I got the right message from this post, didn’t I?

    I think you and me should head to yorkshire one year for the brass band championships…truly spectacular, but in a totally different way. Very, erm, British compared to your drum corps…

    Anyway, look up the Black Dyke Mills Band. You’ll love ’em.

  4. Mark in DE says:

    But, do you like drum corps more than Karen Carpenter?

  5. The Mutant says:

    Wait, I’m confused… did you just describe a drum corps performance, or the ultimate orgasm?

  6. Ben says:

    I’ve never seen anything that would resemble drum corps here in Oz, but as a former trumpeter in an orchestra, I loved teh sensation when all 50 musicians would finally get it right and the most beatufil sound is produced.

    It still gives me goose bumps thinking about it.

  7. daniel says:

    I so get it. And the cute Cavelier boys aren’t a bad bonus either.

  8. Rich says:

    You hit it, CB. I remember one of the first times I started to play in the “big” league corps, I actually couldn’t hold the note because I started to smile. It was so perfect to hear that sound which only gets better after months of practice. Plus you meet very cool people. I’ve tended to forget sleeping on the gym floor and 16 hour practices in the General Electric factory parking lot. Was a very good experience.

  9. Marc says:

    Great post!!

    Growing up as a fag in a suburban American high school in the 1980s was, to say the least, not easy. I am so grateful to drum corps for giving me a place where I was valued and accepted. It was the center of my existence throughout my teens and early twenties, and I wouldn’t trade a second of it. 20+ years later (ugh) many of my dearest friends are from drum corps.

    I will never tire of watching our old videos (and retreat at finals in 1988 – !!), and those of the corps I grew up loving: Madison 1978, Phantom Regiment 1976-82, Blue Devils 1981, Garfield 1982, SCV 1978 and 80 . . . sigh.

    Again, excellent post, CB – and you didn’t even touch on all the hotness of spending a summer (or five) in close quarters with 120+ other guys in their late teens/early 20s . . . if you were lucky enough to be in an all-male corps, that is.

  10. RG says:

    No wonder you have an affinity for the fat girls in the flag corps, having twirled that piece of material a few times yourself for the Cavaliers! Awesome!

    In all seriousness, I do get the gist of your post. I love Drum Corps and yes I was a marching band fag and loved every minute of it too!

    It IS physically exhausting and mentally challenging. It not the easiest thing to remember where to march AND play a musical instrument at the same time.

  11. Pingback: Ever Think of your own Death? « Mark Riley Media

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s