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Drum Majors, are your corps ready?

It’s that time of year again. Students are settling back into school and pushing through the new semester. While some are still trying to get back into the swing of things after the long winter break, others are more prepared than ever.

Pulling out their instruments, warming up their bodies and getting into the mindset of a champion, many students here at UNT are preparing themselves for the new Drum Corp International (DCI) season.

The Basics

It’s more than your average halftime show.

DCI is a non-profit governing body based out of Indiana for drum and bugle corps in the United States and Canada. Aside from being every band fanatic’s dream, DCI is a full-year activity that results in a summer-long competitive tour.

For those who are not familiar with DCI, the organization can be described as “marching band 2.0”. It is an upgraded version of the well-coined religion that is high school or college band where talented individuals invest countless hours into practicing, touring and performing.

With an age limit of 21 years or younger, DCI performers are most commonly made up of college students and the occasional high school students. These individuals sign contracts dedicating their summer to non-stop traveling from performance site to performance site, ending with the DCI Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Currently the competitive season for DCI begins in June and ends with the World Championships in August. However, drum corps tend to begin practicing and holding camps as early as November.

The Expectation

Because UNT is well-accredited in the music department, there is no shortage of students interested in joining a drum corps.

Music education and performance major Robby Garrison plans to audition for Carolina Crown, the 2013 DCI World Championship-winning Drum Corps.

“I have always enjoyed their shows ever since I became a fan in 2011, and I’ve always dreamed of being apart of their famous brass line,” Garrison says. “I want to have world class training in marching band that comes from being a part of drum corps.”

Garrison, among many others in the UNT marching band, use their experiences from band to help them prepare for the upcoming DCI auditions.

“I have been preparing for my drum corps audition for almost a year now,” Garrison says. But it’s not just for the world-class training and championship title, Garrison is hoping that his experiences in DCI will help to prepare him for his future.

“It is my dream to have a top-notch marching band if I teach high school and I feel that Carolina Crown has some of the best education in DCI.”

The Reality

It is one thing to dream about the possibilities, but it is another to have lived it. The constant early mornings, lack of personal space and never ending practices can seem like a turn-off. But like most things, hard work has a funny way of paying off.

Integrative studies major David Arias talks about his experiences in the Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps and how this organization has shaped him into a better person.

Life on tour sometimes is not as easy as it seems.

“It was very tough,” says Arias. “Going on tour for months basically felt like I was sleeping on a two-by-two foot bed the whole summer, but after a long day of hard work, it wasn’t so bad.”

While he spoke about the countless hours of practice and dedication required to be in a drum corps, Arias says he joined because “the sheer power and remarkable performance possible is what made me fall in love with the activity.”

But practice, touring and performing isn’t the only thing that Arias values from his season with Genesis. He says, “The whole process of enduring poor living conditions on the move, pushing your body through physical and mental limits and getting up to do it all over again can really transform someone into a better person.”

The amount of devotion and work it takes to be a part of something as big as DCI is inspiring.

“In the end, drum corps isn’t about the show. It is about a group of strangers becoming one and giving their lives up to achieve something so special it is difficult for others to understand. That experience is what changes you.”

If you are interested in learning more about auditions, tickets and live streaming for Drum Corp International, click here.

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