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Spring 2013 | Vol. 7 No. 1

The Magazine of Marching Music’s Major League™


Big Steps New DCI programs map the future of marching music


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Dan Acheson Executive Director/CEO Bob Jacobs Director, Marketing John DeNovi Director, Sales & Business Development Chris Weber Sr. Manager, Communications

Custom Published By: In Tune Partners, LLC

Santa Clara Vanguard

Irwin Kornfeld CEO Will Edwards President Angelo Biasi Publisher


Marching Music’s Brave New World


Master Class: Band Together

Emile Menasché Editor-in-Chief Jackie Jordan Creative Director Mac Randall Senior Editor Robin Garber Production Director Barbara Boughton Business Manager Photography Johnny Gilbert, Linda and Sid Unser Contributors Debbie Galante Block, Rachel Borok, Geoff Giordano, Fran Kick, Danny Miles Drum Corps International is the leader in producing events for the world’s most elite and exclusive marching ensembles for student musicians and performers. Editorial and business contact is 110 W. Washington St., Suite C, Indianapolis, IN 46204, phone: 317-275-1212, fax: 317-713-0690. Drum Corps International Magazine is published twice a year. Nonprofit organization U.S. postage paid at Long Prairie, MN permit #710. Copyright ©2013 Drum Corps International. All rights reserved.


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Drum Corps International’s two new programs are turning musical competition into a global phenomena and bringing more people onto the “field” than ever before. BY DANNY MILES The leader of DCI’s popular Kick Start program demonstrates how the teaching techniques used by DCI groups empower and motivate performers. Learn how educators can draw from the drum corps experience to teach their own students to develop the desire to excel from within. BY FRAN KICK


Madison turns 75 ... The Marching Music Academy ... How DCI set a TV composer’s career path ... Reliving the classics on Blu-ray, Championships lodging, and more!

8 The 2013 DCI Tour

Plan your summer by checking out new events, updates, and other highlights from the summer season ahead.

26 Commitment to Excellence

Boston Crusaders help President Obama inaugurate his second term.

30 Teacher Talk

High school music director Scott Spradling explains why taking his students to a DCI event has become an annual pilgrimage.



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THE ACADEMY REWARDS Coinciding with its 2013 World Championships in Indianapolis, Drum Corps International will present a two-day edition of its acclaimed Marching Music Academy on Friday, Aug. 9, and Saturday, Aug. 10. Created to help music educators enhance the marching music programming at their schools— whether their programs are already advanced or just beginning—the Academy’s interactive and highly engaging educational sessions consist of information, demonstrations and teacher participation. Experts in the field of marching music will share their knowledge on program design, music arranging and visual design, music and marching technique, and health and safety practices, connecting these topics to the Marching Music Guidelines currently being developed by NAfME. All participants can earn graduate credit for continuing education; there will also be a separate track and sessions for future music educators. Learn more at



75 Years of Scouts Honor

uch has changed since a group of Madison, Wisconsin Boy Scouts picked up instruments in 1938. But after 75 years on the march, today’s Scouts remain linked to the past by “the tradition of brotherhood and perseverance expressed in Madison’s 2013 show, ‘Corps of Brothers: 75 Years of Survival,’” says executive director Chris Komnick. “The show will include the corps song, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’” After marking the anniversary at its June 29 hometown show, Drums on Parade, the Scouts will hold an official celebration banquet on Sept. 28 at the Monona Terrace along Madison’s lakefront. The party will include historical presentations, archival displays, music, and a screening of the full-length documentary Scouts Honor, which followed the corps during the 2012 season. Still, Komnick says the milestone is not just about looking to the past. “We’re honored to be one of the oldest corps in the activity and will continue to program and develop exciting shows for our fans,” he explains. “But our true mission is to develop the character of the young men who participate in the corps. We’ve been doing that for 75 years and we expect to continue that for at least another 75.” Follow the festivities at, and check out an effort to digitally preserve Madison Scouts history at




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Sidelines Spend Championship Week at the Center of the Action

Age-Out: Wendell Yuponce 3 Sacramento Freelancers Percussionist NOW 3 Film and TV Composer THEN


ou’ve likely heard Wendell Yuponce’s music without knowing it. The percussionist and composer has written for everything from HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm to the graphic novel app Madefire ( He traces much of his success to 1978, when a season with the Sacramento Freelancers drum line “made me realize that I was functionally musically illiterate,” he says. “So I set out to become as thorough as possible.” In 1979 Yuponce enrolled in Seattle’s Cornish College, majoring in percussion and minoring in piano. After graduating in 1983, he embarked on the path that now finds him working with co-writer Don Silva on a project for FirstCom (the largest U.S. library of prerecorded tracks) that will include drum cadenc- Wendell Yuponce es of all styles from the 1940s to the 1978 2000s. “To get the proper period sounds, we’ll be receiving support from Sennheiser/Neumann and are also seeking the assistance of Remo and Innovative [Percussion] or Vic Firth,” says Yuponce, who adds that his ability to take on such huge assignments goes directly back to his drum corps days. “I learned to break up larger things into digestible parts,” he says,” “something that serves my career to this day.”

Now’s the time to start planning your trip to Indianapolis for the 2013 Drum Corps International World Championships. As always, Championship Week starts with the Open Class Prelims and Finals in Michigan City, Indiana, on August 5 and 6, before the action moves south. Indianapolis marks its fifth year hosting the World Championship Finals with a return of the popular DCI Kickoff Party and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony the evening of Columbia Club Hotel Wednesday, Aug. 7. Competitive events featuring World and Open Class corps take place from Thursday, Aug. 8 through Saturday, Aug. 10. Be at the center of the action downtown—and find great rooms at great rates—by booking your stay through

Stay in Touch! Get social and keep up with the latest from DCI this summer and throughout the year on Facebook (Drum Corps International), Twitter (@DCI) and YouTube (DCI Fan Network).

Virtual E-Gift! A Drum Corps International gift card makes the perfect present for the drum corps fanatic in your life. Available in a range of dollar amounts, DCI gift cards can be applied to any merchandise available at

$75 $25 $100

Classic Corps in High Definition Relive more than 40 years of classic drum corps performances with the clarity provided by today’s technology with DCI’s new Essentials Collection—Champions. The Blu-ray disc includes shows by Santa Clara Vanguard (1973 and ’89), Madison Scouts (’75), The Cadets (’84, ’05), Blue Devils (’86, ’94, ’99, ’07), Star of Indiana (’91), Phantom Regiment (’96), and The Cavaliers (’00,’06)—all with remastered audio and video up-converted to high definition. Learn more at


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With more than 100 shows coast to coast, Drum Corps International’s 2013 season is sure to offer something for every student and fan of marching music from all over the country.


ith more than 100 events scheduled coast to coast from June through August, the Drum Corps International Tour will offer incredible excitement and entertainment for every student and fan of Marching Music’s Major League™. Showcasing the world’s most elite marching music ensembles, the 2013 Tour will span a total of 53 days and feature more than 100 competitive events in 38 states. Some 45 World, Open and International Class corps are expected to perform this summer on their way to the big prize—a shot at the DCI World Championship title. Championships Week will kick off in Michigan City, Indiana the first full week of August for Open Class groups, before everyone heads to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to compete August 8–10. The summer tour officially gets underway on Wednesday, June 19 in Mesa, Arizona, ahead of the season’s first big weekend of competition. The following are just a few of the highlights for the upcoming season. For a complete list of all the events broken down by state, turn the page or visit

JUNE Lexington, KY gets its inaugural taste of Drum Corps International action with World Class groups facing off on the first Friday of the summer season. Traveling all the way from Fort Mill, South Carolina, Carolina Crown will make a first-ever appearance in the Bay Area for DCI West at Stanford Stadium.

Eight World Glass groups will meet in Muncie at the third annual DCI Central Indiana showdown at Ball State University’s Scheumann Stadium. The show caps off a week of activities for hundreds of high school music students attending the Music For All Summer Symposium.



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event series ( tour-of-champions) returns to Middle Tennessee State University’s Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro. DCI debuts in another important new venue as the action moves to Alabama A&M University’s Louis Crews Stadium with a huge lineup of World Class corps slated to perform.

Over the years, the DCI Southeastern Championship has grown to be regarded as one of the biggest events of the season— and a great preview of the upcoming Finals. As usual, the entire World Class will compete at the Atlanta Georgia Dome. What will be different this year, however, is a move to Sunday due to a citywide convention on the event’s usual date.

AUGUST Mandarins


The music of top World and Open Class corps will fill the rarified air of Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver for the 50th anniversary edition of Drums Along the Rockies. University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium will be rocking as DCI Minnesota brings together the largest lineup of corps to date. DCI St. Louis returns to McKendree University’s Leemon Field. Seats tend to fill up fast in this intimate venue, so order your tickets in advance. DCI’s annual Texas swing gets underway with DCI North Dallas at Denton’s CH Collins Athletic Complex. Fans heading to DCI Houston will see World Class groups march into the drum

corps-friendly Berry Center Athletic Complex in the suburb of Cypress. Every one of DCI’s World Class corps will compete head-to-head for the first time this summer, performing under the roof of the San Antonio Alamodome at the DCI Southwestern Championship. The Texas tour wraps up at DCI Dallas with an exciting lineup of World Class corps squaring off at Lake Highlands High School. The final push to the World Championship Finals starts with two Premier Events on the same day: DCI Southern Mississippi at Southern Miss’ M.M. Roberts Stadium and DCI Arkansas at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium The Tour of Champions

The last of DCI’s Premier Events before the World Championships is also among the most traditional—the two-day celebration of marching music at Allentown, PA’s, J. Birney Crum Stadium known collectively as the DCI Eastern Classic. With half of DCI’s World Class corps appearing on Friday and the second half on Saturday, it’s sure to be an entertaining and exciting preview of the World Championships.

The Georgia Dome


DCI World Championships MICHIGAN CITY, IN i Open Class Prelims Monday, August 5 i Open Class Finals Tuesday, August 6

For tickets visit /tickets

INDIANAPOLIS, IN i World Championship Prelims Thursday, August 8 i World Championship Semifinals Friday, August 9 i World Championship Finals Saturday, August 10

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Blue Devils B

We’ve broken the schedule down by state to make it easy to find shows near you this summer. For a complete list of events, up-to-date lineups, ticket information and more, visit iiALABAMA 7/25 7/27

Opelika Huntsville

iiARIZONA 6/19

Mesa ii

ARKANSAS 7/16 7/24

Bentonville Little Rock

iiCALIFORNIA 6/21 6/22 6/23 6/24 6/28 6/29 6/30 7/6 7/7 7/13 7/14

Clovis Stanford Sacramento Santa Clara Oceanside Walnut Riverside Sacramento Pleasant Hill Mission Viejo Bellflower




New Haven

iiGEORGIA 7/28


iiIDAHO 7/2



iiILLINOIS 6/21 7/7 7/9 7/14 7/15 7/31

Rockford Lisle Metamora DeKalb Lebanon Spring Valley

iiINDIANA 6/22 6/26 6/28 7/6 8/5-6 8/8-10

Merrillville Evansville Muncie Michigan City Michigan City Indianapolis

iiIOWA 7/10 7/11 7/12 7/30

Waukee Muscatine Dubuque Mason City

iiKANSAS 7/15 7/16

Olathe Wichita


Lexington TCF Bank Stadium



iiMASSACHUSETTS 6/29 7/5 8/1

Quincy Lynn Lawrence

iiMICHIGAN 6/25 7/27 8/1

Kalamazoo Kalamazoo Niles

iiMINNESOTA 6/30 7/1 7/13

Rochester Mankato Minneapolis

iiMISSISSIPPI 7/23 7/24

Ocean Springs Hattiesburg







iiNEW JERSEY 6/28 7/6 8/4

Jackson TBA East Rutherford

iiNEW YORK 8/1 8/5

Rome Buffalo



iiOHIO 6/22 6/23 6/25 7/30 8/3 8/5 8/6

Akron Bowling Green Fairfield Dublin Avon Lake Centerville Massillon

iiOKLAHOMA *Events, dates and locations subject to change


7/17 7/23

Broken Arrow Mustang

iiOREGON 6/27 6/28

Medford Tualatin

iiPENNSYLVANIA 6/26 7/7 7/31 7/31 8/2 8/2 8/3 8/4

Pittsburgh Chambersburg Erie West Chester Allentown Johnsonburg Allentown Pittsburgh




Sioux Falls



iiTEXAS 7/18 7/19 7/20 7/21 7/23

Denton Houston San Antonio Round Rock Dallas

iiUTAH 7/3


iiVIRGINIA 7/30 7/31

Salem Warrenton

iiWASHINGTON 6/29 7/1

Renton Tri Cities



iiWISCONSIN 6/29 6/30 7/3 7/5 7/12 7/29

Madison Salem Cedarburg Whitewater La Crosse Rice Lake



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Championship corps deserve a championship city. Indianapolis is excited to welcome back the DCI World Championships. As a city that strives to be the very best, we’re in-tune with your elite standards of excellence and are proud to transform our home into your stage. Each year the spotlight shines on the DCI World Championships, and each year we are inspired by the moving composition of your performances, your leadership and your dedication. Indianapolis has been working hard to raise its game to provide the best for you. In the same way you work tirelessly to perfect your performance, we are working hard to strengthen the championships and our commitment to you. Good luck to everyone!

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DCI World Championship Prelims


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DCI marches into



DCI’s new DrumLine Battle and SoundSport programs will bring musical competition to more students— with more diverse interests—than ever before


here’s nothing quite like the experience of seeing a Drum Corps International competition in person. Watching those massive marching ensembles perform moves over an entire football field while trying to impress demanding judges and the audience alike has been inspiring young musicians for decades. But not everyone who wants to compete musically can take part in DCI’s summer tour–or even join a structured school-year competition such as those held for indoor color guard or percussion groups. Time and costs can be barriers for some. Others may not feel that their ability matches the elite performers who make up DCI corps. There are also accomplished musicians who play instruments deemed ineligible by DCI rules. Recognizing an opportunity to bring those students into the world of musical competition for perhaps the first time—and provide flexible off-season opportunities for current performers as well—DCI


is launching t wo new initiatives: DrumLine Battle—a structured but flexible high-energy competition for marching percussion ensembles; and SoundSport, a program inspired in-part by TV talent shows (as well as DCI’s own Individual & Ensemble program) that’s open to all instruments and ages. “Through the creation of these new initiatives, we will provide fun, new performance opportunities for instrumental music students around the world,” says DCI executive director and CEO Dan Acheson. “With more than 40 years of experience producing events showcasing the best of the best in marching music, the new SoundSport and DrumLine Battle programs are intended to engage young musicians in exciting new ways.” Both programs, which begin this year, are designed to make it easy for both students and teachers to get started and tailor their involvement to fit their particular desires, schedules, and abilities. “Band directors can choose to be very involved

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with the creation of one or more teams from within their these programs will include “virtual performances,” which existing instrumental music program, or they may opt to will let groups from around the world perform and even serve as a mentor, allowing the students to handle creative compete in exclusive online tournaments. and instructional chores in addition to taking the stage as “It’s an amazing teaching opportunity for both music performers,” Acheson explains. “The goal is to make it very classes and cross-curricular programs—especially social easy for ensembles of all types to be a part of a fun and cre- studies and language classes,” he says. “It’s designed to let ative performance outlet, while also encouraging the pursuit groups create special programming. For example, teachers of excellence which is the hallmark of the DCI brand.” can work with band directors from other schools in their area “It’s especially good for what some feel may be under- to create DrumLine Battle opportunities at football games served communities, such as those students who are not next fall. We’ve simplified the rules and designed the judging already participating in other activities like indoor percus- to be immediate and understandable to both the participants sion and indoor color guard, drama club, jazz band, or choral and the fans, which should make the overall experience more music activities,” adds Robert Jacobs, DCI’s director of mar- entertaining. We’re starting with a series of Olympic-style keting and executive director of the World Class DCI group demonstration games this spring that will include the Denver Jersey Surf. “Millions of kids want to make music, have fun, Broncos Stampede Drum Line, Madah Bahana from the and enjoy some teamwork and competition but don’t fit with- University of Indonesia, the Jersey Surf, and the Center in existing programs. That’s why SoundSport is open to all Grove High School Drum Line, which shows just how flexinstruments. You can have a ‘bucket band’ and you’re in! ible and open this concept is.” Handbell choirs, woodwind ensembles, brass ensembles, Keeping the ensembles small—maximum size for a brass and woodwind ensembles, sax or trombone or tuba or DrumLine Battle group is 35—and using a compact “Battle flute choirs, mariachi groups, string players who can move, Zone” not only allows groups to perform virtually anyaccordions, harmonicas, kazoos—they’re all welcome, as are where, it also makes rehearsals easier to organize—potensmall marching bands and drum corps-style groups.” tially giving students a chance to go beyond simply perWhat makes both programs for m i ng. “ We e x p ec t t h at so unique is how “community” many w ill start developing is defined: It can be as local as their skills as budding composDrumLine Battle competitions use a compact arena to make one school or can encompass ers, arrangers, and choreograevents easier to stage anywhere from a mall to a gym, while keeping the audience focused on the performers. the entire globe. Jacobs says that phers,” Acheson says. the combination of social media “We really hope to empower 12m 2m 12m and well-received international the members of the communitours and workshops by DCI ty—the young musicians and BATTLE BATTLE groups and adjudicators have their teachers from all over the ZONE ZONE spawned the formation of drum world—to shape t hese procorps-inspired ensembles all g r a m s ,” Jacob s conclude s. over the world, especially in “They’re designed to evolve A sia. So, in addition to live along wit h t heir interests.” “head-to-head” competitions, Learn more at 16







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master class


Motivating students to work hard and get good— not because they have to, but because they WANT TO!


Here’s the dilemma…

Teacher says: “I’m sick and tired of always telling these

kids what to do and when to do it!”

Kids are thinking: “We’re sick and tired of always being

told what to do and when to do it!” How do we get to the point where students start internalizing some sense of personal responsibility, self-motivation, and “Just do it?” Like most things in life, our individual perception greatly influences both our motivation’s content (what actually motivates us) and context (how and why it motivates us). The better we understand what motivates us as individuals, the better we can help others connect to what motivates them in a lasting way. In his book Emotions of Normal People, author William Marston argues that everyone is motivated—they’re just motivated for their reasons, not yours. When parents say:

“We don’t understand our kid! He’s not motivated—all he wants to do is play video games,” perhaps they miss the point. Their son is motivated: He’s motivated to play video games! So rather than thinking of motivation as something students either have or don’t have, ask a question based on the root of the word: “What’s your motive?” The answers can show that motivation isn’t a “yes or no” proposition, but is more like a continuous scale with three levels. At the bottom, students have little or no motivation. They’re apathetic. Everything at this level seems to be an obligation—something they “have to” do. They only seem to respond to threats or punishments. The middle level of motivation involves things they “get to” do. Students are motivated by opportunities or incentives. They see their level of motivation as some sort of

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pay-off. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll put in the work, but only if thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a reward. That attitude can be summed up by the question â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in it for me?â&#x20AC;? Both of these levels (â&#x20AC;&#x153;have toâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;get toâ&#x20AC;?) tend to be externally directed. Students require bribes or threats, carrots or sticks to â&#x20AC;&#x153;motivate themâ&#x20AC;? into doing something. But when students start to tap into the highest levelâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a more internally inspired level of motivationâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;their commitment increases, and so does their success. Remember William Marstonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s argument that everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s motivated for their own reasons? The things students will do on their ownâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;without threats and without bribes, but because they want to do itâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;fall into this category. This selfmotivation, or intrinsic motivation, differs from extrinsic motivation. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that personal, internal, inherent, natural human tendency to do something for no other reason than the pure joy and satisfaction derived from the activity itself. Everything we do with conscious intention has some underlying reason behind it, be it external, internal, or a mix of both. Someone might go to the gym because theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re training for a competition, but others might go because they enjoy the exercise, like the endorphin rush they feel afterward, feel better about themselves when people notice their fitness, take pride in being disciplined, fear getting cut from the teamâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the reasons may even change over time. But their workout is usually more effective when the internal influences outweigh the external pressures.

When Work Gets Fun

Find someone whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really good at doing something. It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t matter what it isâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;sports, music, art, video gamesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; and then ask: â&#x20AC;&#x153;How come youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re so good?â&#x20AC;? More times than not, their response will be something like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just fun.â&#x20AC;? They see it as a cause-and-effect relationship, rather than a process or cycle with one key element they rarely mentionâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;work! 22

W hen you consider t he amount of effort, energy, and time it took them to get good, you begin to see that they â&#x20AC;&#x153;work at itâ&#x20AC;? more than most. That t4FFNPSFBCPVUUIF effort improves their ability, and concepts weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve discussed as they get better, the activity BUUJOZVSMDPNLJDLJU BOEUJOZVSMDPNLJDLJU becomes more funâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;so much t5IFXPSLTIFFU fun that they forget about the POQBHFPGGFSTUXP â&#x20AC;&#x153;work.â&#x20AC;? And the process cycles BDUJWJUJFTZPVDBOUSZ all the way aroundâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;working XJUIZPVSPXOTUVEFOUT hard, getting good, and having t-FBSOIPXZPVBOE f u n in t he process. M ihaly ZPVSTUVEFOUTDBO,JDL 4UBSU:PVS4FBTPOUIJT Csikszentmihalyi, who studied TVNNFSXJUI'SBO,JDLBU the psychology of happiness and TFMFDU%$*5PVSFWFOUTBU creativity, once said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Learning LJDLJUJODPNEDJ to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of hard work is essential to successful development.â&#x20AC;? Aristotle called this joy, experienced from pursuing excellence in a worthwhile activity, eudaimonia. Abraham Maslow called it â&#x20AC;&#x153;self-actualization.â&#x20AC;? Csikszentmihalyi calls it the optimal experience of â&#x20AC;&#x153;flow.â&#x20AC;? And I call it KICKinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; IT IN! Mary Poppins may have been on to something when she said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;In every job that must be done there is an element of fun, you find the fun and snap: The jobâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a game!â&#x20AC;? The musical and physical challenges of drum corps illustrate how the combination of working hard, getting good, and having fun motivates and inspires young people. No one gets past the first rehearsal because they â&#x20AC;&#x153;have to.â&#x20AC;? Some may do it because they â&#x20AC;&#x153;get to.â&#x20AC;? But most take part because they â&#x20AC;&#x153;want to.â&#x20AC;? In fact, when I talk to the educators who bring their students to Kick It In events, where they can see DCI groups on the field and up close, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll often cite one main reason for excellence theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re seeing and hearing: â&#x20AC;&#x153;All those kids really want to be there!â&#x20AC;? Well of course they do. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lots of FUN!

Kick starters

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master class Activity #1 List one time in your life where you found yourself working hard, getting good or doing well and having fun.

Describe what made you “work hard.”

How were you “doing well?” Or what were you “getting good” at doing?

What made it “fun” for you?

Activity #2 List things in your life you feel like you... “HAVE TO” DO...

“GET TO” DO...


COMMITMENT & MOTIVATION Notice how your level of commitment and motivation increases as you move from things you “Have to” do vs. “Get to” do vs. “Want to” do?


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Commitment to Excellence

By Geoff Giordano

Monumental March

Boston Crusaders paraded into history at President Obama’s second inauguration.


arching in the inaugural parade for the President of the United States is an exhilarating—and humbling—moment. So when the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps got the news in mid-December that they were one of the 40 ensembles from around the country chosen to participate in the January 21 launch of President Obama’s second term, Executive Director Tom Spataro says the group was both excited and realistic. “We knew we were in for a lot of work, but it would certainly be worth it.” It’s not the first time the organization has marched during Washington’s biggest celebration. The corps—which was founded in 1940 and became a charter member of Drum Corps International in 1972—played in Lyndon Johnson’s parade in 1965. After the initial thrill of having their application to perform approved, the Crusaders immediately set about adjusting winter rehearsals and getting uniforms out of storage. The parade committee needed a preliminary roster by the end of December. The Crusaders quickly selected 140 players from more than 200 applicants and set up several online conferences to help prepare them for the task at hand. “When we initially discussed submitting the application for the parade, we developed preliminary plans should we be selected,” Spataro explains. “The biggest of those meant


moving our January camp one week earlier and moving it from Florida to the D.C. area. Combining a regular camp rehearsal weekend with parade prep was a great way to continue to work on our 2013 production while also making sure we were all ready to go for the parade.” The inaugural roster was similar in size to the corps’ typical assemblage of 150 members. Applicants were caref ully considered to achieve the right mix. “In addition to their performance aptitude, we asked them what this opportunity meant to them,” Spataro says. “We also wanted a blend of veteran members and folks who were new to the organization.” For a unit of the Crusaders’ caliber, highprofile performances go with the territory. “Ever y year the corps does a number of parades, usually in Boston around the Fourth of July,” Spataro notes. “We performed the national anthem at Fenway Park last summer. [But] aside from those performances—along with the DCI World Championships—there is nothing near the official importance of this parade coming up.” And how do you make your corps stand out in such an august affair? “Our in-house composer, Ryan George, arranged a custom patriotic medley for this occasion,” Spataro says. “We worked on it at our December camp in preparation for January.” Of course, it’s not just about the music—a great look helps emphasize a great performance. “Prepping the uniforms was a big part, too,” Spataro adds. “We don’t usually work on fitting uniforms until April or May. Thanks to our great team of volunteers we were able to accelerate that process, and we started in December. Our uniform provider, Fred J. Miller, was able to get us jackets and other uniform accessories on short notice. We really appreciated their attention.” After a weekend split between working on the parade and preparing for their 2013 summer season, the group was ready. “The board, staff, volunteers, and members of the organization stepped up on all fronts,” says Crusaders Assistant Director Justin Heimbecker. “The professionalism from the performers was recognized by many, many military personnel. The group made a lasting impression on quite a few folks.” “Following in the footsteps of an earlier generation of Crusaders and marching down Pennsylvania Avenue as the sun set over D.C. was an experience I’m sure none of our members will soon forget,” Spataro concludes. “I know I was honored to be a small part of that weekend.”

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Teacher Talk

By Debbie Galante Block

Students get a lesson in leadership before the start of the 2012 DCI Kalamazoo event.

Scott Spradling Director of Music

Concord High School, Elkhart, IN

Every summer, Scott Spradling has made it a point to take a group of students to a Drum Corps International event. “They see kids around their age pursuing excellence at an even higher level than we do with our band,” he explains. Yet as he discovered at the DCI Kalamazoo event last July, watching the action on the field is even more instructive when it’s combined with an inside look at the way DCI groups achieve such excellence. Taking advantage of DCI’s group experience packages, Spradling and a group of Concord High seniors took part in the “Kick Start” leadership program. Offered for free to groups at select DCI Tour events, the educational seminar for students was created by DCI and motivational speaker Fran Kick (see page 20). About 40 seniors from Concord attended the session before the show. We asked Scott to tell is about his program and what his students learn by witnessing drum corps at their very best. How does the drum corps experience fit into your program? I have been at Concord for 27

years. As director of music, I oversee all music classes throughout the school. I also direct our marching and top concert bands. The music The Cavaliers department consists of about 500 kids—almost half of the school. Our year is divided into trimesters. First trimester classes are focused on marching band. The second and third trimesters are focused on concert bands. We start in summer and we do marching band through the beginning of November. In early July, we do a senior getaway

weekend. We usually travel somewhere that revolves around a drum corps show because I want the students to see what is possible beyond their own marching band. What did they experience in Kalamazoo last summer? It started with the hands-on Kick Start leadership workshop. Our students worked together with kids from other schools— something I always appreciate. Students learn that another band may be your competitor, but we are all in this for the same reasons. We are trying to learn and cultivate talents. How did the students respond to the leadership lesson?

When they become seniors, they think, “I have to lead people!”—that they have to get in front of the group. We show them that leadership is about working within their comfort zone. Leadership is about being a good role model. How did they react to the performances on the field?

Many of them hadn’t seen drum corps before. When the Cavaliers, Phantom Regiment, and other top groups performed, you could tell that it was way beyond what they imagined. High school kids are usually up and down and moving around every five seconds, but during this show they sat in the stands and never moved a muscle! How did the outing enhance your own teaching? It was satisfying to hear many of the things

we talk about emphasized in the leadership workshop. It always helps for students to hear things in a different way. As teachers, we also learn about different ways to work with kids.

What do you recommend for other teachers who might want to attend a DCI event with their groups? Ticket pricing for groups is rea-

sonable. In today’s world where traveling finances might be an issue, I would try to pick a local contest or a close regional show. I recommend watching a corps rehearse as well. If students see the practice, they have more of an attachment to what’s going on during the performance so it’s a lot more of an interesting event. The kids see and hear things they didn’t think were possible.

Learn more about taking your group to a 2013 DCI Tour event. Visit or call 317.275.1212 for additional info. 30

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For tickets, group rates & additional info, visit

The 2013 Drum Corps International Tour

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DCI Magazine, Spring, 2013  
DCI Magazine, Spring, 2013  

Drum Corps International Magazine, Vol. 7, No. 1