story and photos by Lauren Vogel Weiss
Drum Corps International, founded in 1972, celebrated five decades of drum and bugle corps history with two special exhibits during Championship Week in Indianapolis this past August. One exhibit, housed in the PAS Rhythm! Discovery Center, focused on marching percussion. This exhibit will continue to be on display during PASIC 2022.
There are almost a dozen marching drums at R!DC, plus a snare drum, bass drum, and set of multi-tenors (“quints”) that visitors can play on. The instruments on display represent memorable drum lines of the past: New Jersey’s Bayonne Bridgemen won three consecutive “High Drum” awards (1980–82); The Cadets’ 2003 “My Favorite Things” show, which won them their third in a row (and fifth overall) “High Drum” award; and The Cavaliers’ 2004 Championship “James Bond” show.
Another popular part of the exhibit is a video produced by DCI as part of their “50th Moments” series. This episode focuses on percussion, especially the “blindfolded Bridgemen” and their 1983 drum solo, “Black Market Juggler.” Longtime DCI announcer Steve Rondinaro interviews his fellow DCI Hall of Fame member Dennis DeLucia about the “infamous” performance. The video may be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=Rietuwz6VxA
Nine snare drums represent five decades of memorable drum lines.
Drum finishes complement uniforms and show themes as evidenced by these snare drums. Top row, L–R: 2005 Madison Scouts, 2010 Bluecoats; middle row, L–R: 2009 Carolina Crown, 2011 Cadets; bottom: 1986 Velvet Knights. (On loan from Yamaha Corporation of America.)
A Fibes snare drum from the 1970s, made of fiberglass. (On loan from Ward Durrett.)
A Slingerland snare drum used by the Bayonne Bridgemen in 1982 when they won their third consecutive “High Drum” award. (On loan from Jay Webb.)
A scene from the DCI video about the 1983 Bayonne Bridgemen drum line performing their famous drum solo, “Black Market Juggler.”
The other display, staged in an exhibit hall at the Indianapolis Convention Center August 11–13, 2022, featured many past and present drum and bugle corps involved in DCI over the last 50 years. The “DCI History Experience” began with the DCI Founders Trophy, engraved with the names of every champion since 1972. There was also a video screen playing the final score from each year’s retreat, featuring the iconic voice of famed DCI announcer Brandt Crocker.
The “museum displays” featured uniforms, headgear, hundreds of collectible drum corps buttons, album covers, and corps memorabilia from the Blue Stars, The Cadets, The Cavaliers, Crossmen, Madison Scouts, Troopers, and the first DCI Champion, Anaheim Kingsmen.
Hats and helmets over the years from a variety of drum corps.
The Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, established in 1938, displayed corps memorabilia, including their two championship trophies.
The Anaheim Kingsmen, winner of the first DCI Championship in 1972, as well as the first “High Drum” award, included vintage uniforms along with a timpanum.
DCI Hall of Fame member and legendary writer Michael Boo was honored with a display of some of the publications he contributed to for more than four decades.
This exhibit of the DCI broadcast teams over the years featured (top) “Voice of DCI” Brandt Crocker, pictured at the 2004 Championships in Denver, Colorado; (middle, L–R) Dennis DeLucia, Steve Rondinaro, and Michael Cesario in 1995; and (bottom) Rita Moreno and Rondinaro at the 1980 Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.