Monthly Archives: September 2012

Marching Band: Introducing the Big Red Band.

Another aspect of percussion is Marching Band. Marching band brings a very exciting aspect to any sports event in high school or in college. May it be playing the fight song during a critical point in a football game, the schools song when they score a 3 point shot at a basketball game or just a famous pop song to get the crowd pumped during the halftime performance!

The Big Red Marching Band here at Western Kentucky University brings life to every event on campus. Coming to existence in 1925 with only 20 members, the Big Red Band has now grown to over 200 students! A marching band student’s life consists of playing at festivals, sports events, and parades.

And don’t forget, next time you’re at any sporting event and hear the marching band, don’t be shy, stand up and cheer for they represent your schools spirit at its finest.

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The “WKU Fight Song”

Stand up and cheer

Stand up and cheer

For dear old Western

For today we raise

The red and white

Above the rest

Rah-rah-rah

Our boys are fighting

And we’re bound to win the fray

We’ve got the team

We’ve got the steam

For this is dear old Western’s day.

Drum Corps International, committed to excellence.

  “Excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude.”  Ralph Martson

A brass member of the Phantom Regiment stands at attention.
Photo taken by Jolesch Photography

The Cadets Drum line perform their 2008 show entitled “…And The Pursuit Of Happiness.” Photo taken by Alonzo Adams Photography

The first time I saw a drum corps show, I was hooked for life.  Seeing drum lines performing their hearts out  fueled my passion, and is what led me to excel in marching percussion.

What is Drum Corps?

  Drum and bugle corps is a marching group consisting of brass instruments, percussion, and color guard. These groups are run by independent non-profit organizations, drum corps perform in competitions, parades, and festivals. The majority of ages are between 14-22.

 Competitive Drum corps compete in summer touring, like Drum Corps International (DCI) and Drum Corps Associates (DCA). Corps release a new show each year, around 8–12 minutes in length, and over the summer perfect their shows. Shows are performed on football fields and are judged in various musical and visual categories, or “captions”. Musical selections vary among corps and include symphonic, jazz, big band, contemporary, rock, wind band, vocal, Broadway, and Latin music.

The percussion section contains two subsections: the front ensemble and the drum line. Front ensemble members perform on keyboard percussion and electronic instruments. Because of the size of these instruments, the front ensemble remains directly in front of the field and centered on the 50 yard line. A full-size front ensemble features 10–15 members.

Members of the drum line perform on marching percussion instruments, including snare drums, tenor drums,  bass drums tuned to different pitches, and cymbals. A full-size battery features 7–10 snare drummers, 4–5 tenor drummers, 5 bass drummers, and sometimes 4 cymbal players. My favorite drum corps that have influenced me are: The Bluecoats, The Cadets, and Phantom Regiment.

Drum corps has played a big influence in my drumming career; it has made me strive to excellency.

The Bluecoats performing their 2012 show “UnMasqued.” at the DCI 2012 Finals
Photo taken by Skipp Photography

I have more of my favorite drum corps videos in the “Video” section located in the top bar.

The Basic Rudiment

“You only get better by playing.” – Buddy Rich

    When learning something new, you always have to start at the beginning. Seldom there is a born master. Every successful musician started somewhere, and this is where you start…

In percussion music, a rudiment is one of the basic patterns, or “sticking”, used in drumming. These patterns of drum strokes can be combined in many ways to create a unique sound. The first rudiment you will learn is the “Paradiddle”.

     A paradiddle is the basic rudiment every percussionist should know. This rudiment can be played in marching percussion, concert percussion, and on the drum set. The paradiddle is an extremely versatile rudiment, and is easy and fun to learn.