MICHIGAN — For nearly a half century, Drum Corps International, Marching Music’s Major League, has been the leader in producing events for the world’s most elite and exclusive marching ensembles for student musicians and performers.
Thirteen original founding member organizations formed the Drum Corps International collective in 1971 to organize and unify leadership for youth-focused competitive drum corps events throughout North America. Directors of those competing groups sought to unite their corps by providing opportunities to perform together-in the end building a foundation for future success.
Now Michigan is the home to currently only one competing group, known as Legends. This year they have a large group participating.
“The group is doing really well,” said Noah Koch, Tour Manager of Legends. “We have 142 members this year. So we are just about full size and we are just continuing to dial in what it means to be Legends in terms of this activity. Also we want to continue in terms of how we expect our members to operate and act. So I have seen a lot of tremendous growth from the group and it has been really exciting to see.”
The group was established in 2006, and all members must go through a strenuous process to be accepted into the group, which is then followed by weeks of extreme hard training. But this is all made possible by volunteers helping these young musicians throughout the summer.
“It is a big commitment and a lot of people are giving us all their time,” explained Anna Koh, Section Leader for Legends. “Like Tracey who is with the food staff, puts all of her time in this for us and all of the students give everything we can everyday to grow as people. Every season you learn something new, you also meet new people and find new challenges.”
Now many ask why the DCI group is so important to young musicians and most will say it’s because of their mission.
“Our key motivation is just bettering our own performance and being better legends then we were yesterday,” said Jack Murphy, head Drum Major for Legends. “We are also striving to do our personal best that we can.”
Now the mission of Drum Corps International is to bring the life-enriching benefits and enjoyment of marching music performing arts to more people worldwide. DCI makes this possible by creating a stage for participating organizations to engage in education, competition, entertainment, and the promotion of individual growth.
“When you see them start from nothing to where they are right now at the end of the season,” said Traci Glasscock, Food Service Manager for Legends. “It is amazing to watch how much they mature and become people.”
The goal of DCI is to create and show the positive life-transforming personal and societal benefits of marching music performing arts which are widely recognized and enjoyed by many across the nation. Legends competed at the DCI World Championships in 2008, Legends has also been recognized with an impressive string of Most Improved Open Class Corps awards in 2009, 2012, and 2015.
The Kalamazoo-based group has finished as an Open Class finalist every year since 2009 and was the Open Class bronze medalist in 2016 and 2017. Now in 2019, they look to take gold and are making great strides to achieve this challenging feat.
“Hopefully just get the group as far as it has ever been and bring home a championship,” explained John Callahan, First Year Musician for Legends. “It is a lot of hard work and we are just all trying to put it in for the finals.”