On June 21, 2016 I attended Sanpete Beat, an exhibition of The Battalion and Madison Scouts in Mt. Pleasant, UT. The Scouts were formed in 1938, and 2016 is The Battalion’s inaugural year.
The summer after I graduated high school I went on national tour with a military-style, all-brass-and-percussion music group.
For the uninitiated, this is called “drum corps” and the competition league is Drum Corps International or DCI. Yes … it’s like a competitive marching band without a school affiliation and caters to 14-21 year olds who, like me at that age, couldn’t get enough from my high school’s program. You live on a tour bus, practice/perform/compete 12+ hours a day and get maybe a few hours of sleep on a school gym floor after arriving there around 2 or 3 a.m. No joke. (Did I mention 21 is the age limit?)
Anyway … a decade later … the guy (James Sparling) who first really showed me how to ram notes on quads is now the percussion director of the Madison Scouts, the second oldest drum corps around.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Watch] Archive footage from my high school variety show (2003!!!) of the drum duet my best buddy Nick Fields and I put together: A Tribute to J.M.S. & Co. by NNDT.
James was on leave getting R&R with family (dude — next time skip a flat state like Kansas; #Utahisrad don’t miss it), so he’s not in the pictures, but here are the guys he writes music for and directs all summer long. (Yup, guys. Madison is by tradition an all-male corps).
And later … The Integrated Arc!
When James first showed up at Sycamore High School, he shook up the drumline a lot and taught me about training my ears to listen. We’d warmup in traditional setups like the one above and also in other formats like this where the tenors and snares intersperse with each other:
Madison Scouts Drumline :: In The Lot :: Video
If the videos don’t show, hit refresh or watch all three here.
And here’s the Madison Scouts Drumline working their opener in uniform (again, backup link):
… yeah, there’s dirt in here. It’s early season. And as James was fond of
saying teaching yelling back in the day:
“CLEAN YOUR OWN HOUSE.”
For 2016, Madison’s show is Judas and showcases music from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Broadway hit, Jesus Christ Superstar.
The Scouts did their first full, in-uniform run of their 2016 show at this exhibition on the North Sanpete High School football field. Which btw was PACKED! S-R-O in the stands.
HQ Audio of The Madison Scouts 2016 :: Drumline In The Lot & Full Corps On The Field
- Madison Scouts 2016 Show – Judas
- Madison Scouts – Encore (four)
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Accent Tap
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Book Clip (six)
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Eights
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Flams
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Stick Control
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Triplet Diddle
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Triplet Partials
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Untitled Ditty
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Untitled Warmup
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Snares – Triplet Roll
- Madison Scouts Drumline In The Lot – Tenors – Untitled
The mountains made for a good backdrop:
The Battalion is the first drum corps ever to come out of Utah.
Just to see this piece of music and state history was worth the 90-minute drive each way.
Mad props to the trio that envisioned The Battalion and are making it happen: Luke and Alyssa McCollum and Dallin Hatch. When I marched inside quad on the BYU Drumline in 2004 the fall after my DCI tour, Luke was at my right and Dallin was a few spots over on snare.
Getting The Battalion together and onto the field for their first exhibition was two years of hustling and rallying a crap ton of people and resources. Running an existing corps is a huge undertaking. And they are tasked with starting one AND running it. I’m so proud of them and all their staff/volunteers/board/backers/etc. for creating musical opportunities for the 100+ youth in their corps.
HQ Audio of The Battalion 2016 :: Full Corps On The Field
- The Battalion 2016 Show – Standing Runthrough (Partial)
- The Battalion 2016 Show – Moving Runthrough (Complete)
Live Drum Corps is a Singular Experience
There is nothing like sitting on the 50 yard line in front of a full field of brass and drums.
Booming and bellowing waves rattle every bone in your body.
The soprano trumpets scream on pitch, and every hair on the back of your neck tingles.
When the contra tubas blast, your lung chambers echo.
If you monitored your heart, you’d find it beating in sync with the drums … whatever the tempo.
And goosebumps … the goosebumps!!
Call me a band geek for life.
I don’t care!
It’s worth it if only to keep feeling that sound.