The top seven drum corps in the world will begin arriving on Monday, Aug. 5, for the Drums Along the Waterfront Tour of Champions event taking place at 7:30 p.m. that evening at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. Western New York is the last stop on the 2013 tour, and a world champion will be crowned that night.
All of the corps will be staying at local high schools and colleges for at least one day in preparation for the event. While five of the corps will stay for one day, two corps will be staying in the area until midnight Tuesday, Aug. 6.
“The corps will arrive here the morning on the Tour of Champions event, coming from a show in Allentown, Pa.,” said event organizer Jack Gaylord Jr. “They will sleep on their buses on the trip here. Corps travel at night so as not take away from rehearsal time during the day.
“Upon their arrival they live a life of luxury, sleeping on gym floors of area high schools and colleges trying to catch a few hours of horizontal sleep before getting up to rehearse all day. If they do not have a show that day, they will practice 10 to 11 hours! The activity grew out of the military post WWI, and the discipline and work ethic still exists today. Couple those intense hours of rehearsal with the talent the performers possess, and you have the reason why they put on the most incredible performances.”
Following are the seven participating corps, in order of current world ranking, and where they will be staying in preparation for the Tour of Champions event:
• The 15-time world champion Blue Devils of Concord, Calif., founded in 1957, will stay at Erie Community College South Campus and utilize Ralph Wilson Stadium during a two-day visit to Western New York.
• Carolina Crown of Ft. Mill, S.C., founded in 1988 as the Charlotte Drum Corps Association, will be housed at West Seneca East Senior High School.
• The 10-time world champion Cadets of Allentown, Pa., founded in 1934 as the Holy Name Cadets, will stay at Orchard Park High School.
• The Santa Clara Vanguard of Santa Clara, Calif., formed in 1967, will be housed at Springville-Griffith Institute for their Western New York appearance.
• Phantom Regiment of Rockford, Ill., will stay at Attica High School. Formed in 1956 by a group of VFW members, they were originally known as the Rockford Rangers and featured an all-girl color guard called the Rangerettes.
• The Bluecoats of Canton, Ohio, founded in 1972, will be housed at Pioneer Senior High School in Yorkshire.
• The Cavaliers of Rosemont, Ill., will visit Lancaster High School for a two-day stay. The Cavaliers were founded in 1948 in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. They are seven-time DCI champions.
Drums Along the Waterfront is a competitive musical sport comprised of percussion, brass and a color guard of elite dancers. For more information about the Tour of Champions Aug. 5 event at Ralph Wilson Stadium, please visit http://drumsalongthewaterfront.org.