Saturday, August 13, 2005

DCI Finals

Drum Corps International (DCI) will host the 2005 World Championships tonight in Foxboro, Massachussets. 12 drum and bugle corps who have survived two elimination rounds will compete for the title.

Drum and bugle corps emerged after WWI when veterans formed corps with rudimentary instruments for parades and other events. After several decades, the level of musical performance and marching had become competitive, and DCI was born in 1972. Now, DCI coordinates regional competitions nationwide and across the world through the summer months.

Participants are age 14 to 22 and give up their entire summer to participate. They practice 8-12 hours a day under the blazing sun, and they sleep on gym floors or on buses traveling to the next competition. Their dedication to the pursuit of perfection and to each other teaches lessons they will carry for a lifetime, and these corps become better at playing and marching than most of us will ever be at anything else in our lives.

DCI appeals to a relatively small part of the population, but it is a loyal and enthusiastic group that supports these young people. The creativity, precision, and talent of the corps is remarkable, and there is nothing like an audience in the tens of thousands springing to its feet in appreciation of a corps' performance.

I attended the World Championships in 1984 and 2002, but I will have to settle for the tv broadcast this year. ESPN2 will show a two hour highlight show next month.


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