Are you familiar with the youth activity of competitive drum and bugle corps? These pictures are of the Phantom Regiment from Rockford, Illinois performing their 2008 show, "Spartacus".
Under the umbrella organization of Drum Corps International, there are 22 major world class corps comprising of up to 150 members each. Approximately 8000 students (primarily college-age with some high school) audition for the 3500 positions available each year. A very intense practice schedule in conjunction with a summer tour of 10,000 plus miles performing at competitive events follows. These young people are developing life skills including self-discipline, teamwork and leadership. It is a life-changing experience for them. The rigor of practice and travel is grueling, as sleep is either on the bus or in high school gymnasiums. They practice in all types of weather including rain, heat and humidity. I always think of it as a traveling boot camp for the gifted and talented.
The competitive season culminates with finals, this year held in Bloomington, Indiana last Saturday night. Competition is intense and emotional for these kids and staff. And, yes, congratulations are in order for the Phantom Regiment, as they won the world championships this year. If you have an opportunity next summer to see a competition, don't hesitate. You will be entertained, plus you will marvel at what these fine young people accomplish.
Check my next post to hear about my family's involvement in drum corps.