It might be 6AM, but we’re marching straight into our conversation for the day. Sound the trumpet — we’re talking about Marching Music’s Major League.
Starting today, 35 marching groups from across the country will compete at the Drum Corps International World Championships in Lucas Oil Stadium (hey INDYtoday 👋), including San Antonio’s very own, Crossmen.
Never heard of it? Here’s all you need to know:
What is DCI? 🥁
Drum Corps International (DCI) was originally founded in 1971 to organize + unify leadership for youth-focused competitive drum corps events throughout North America.
While DCI has been described in many different ways — including “a cross between a Broadway musical and a marching band show” — it’s important to note the key differences between what you see in a Friday night halftime show and what you can expect this weekend.
- Modern drum corps are composed of about 150 members ranging 14 to 22 years of age from all over the world.
- These groups feature a variety of brass and percussion instruments with the addition of color guard members.
- Note: there are no woodwinds (contrary to most typical marching groups).
- Following a rigorous audition process, contracted performers train for several months to put together a ~11-minute show.
- These groups will tour across the country, performing shows to audiences while competing for a chance to be crowned DCI World Champion.
- Show level difficulty + athletic intensity is much higher than typical marching productions. Watch: ESPN2’s report on DCI Athletes in 2005.
According to DCI.org, the organization has been able to reach more than 7.2 million young people involved in the marching arts across the US every year.
Who are The Crossmen? ❌
Crossmen Productions, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) education and youth development organization that participates in DCI events with the goal of assisting young people to become outstanding individuals through the performing arts.
In October of 1974, the 507 Hornets and Keystone Regiment merged in Allentown, Pennsylvania to form what is now Crossmen. It was not until the fall of 2006 that Crossmen moved operations to San Antonio.
Contrary to its name, Crossmen is made up of performers of all genders and backgrounds. In the corps’ 40-year history, they have reached DCI Finals 29 times. Watch: the 2019 Crossmen DCI production, Valkyrie.
Get involved locally 🎺
DCI is an incredibly demanding activity, asking individuals to dedicate several months out of their lives to producing one 11-minute show. However, Crossmen is not exclusively a marching arts organization. If concert music is more your style, musicians from any background can also join San Antonio Community Wind Ensemble (SACWE), run by Crossmen Productions.
SACWE hosts four major concerts per season consisting of 50+ members from all over the community. Think: educators, high school + collegiate students, military servicemen, veterans, and grandparents to name a few.