Junior drum corps census back to activity levels from 2008

by Brian Tolzmann, Drum Corps World staff

This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Drum Corps World

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September 1, 2010 — The 48 North American junior drum and bugle corps that made it to the field in 2010 are three fewer than the 51 that appeared last year, but the number that actually competed (46) is a drop of only one from the 2009 figure. Those other corps were Florida’s North Port Alliance (a high school group) and Connecticut’s P.A.L. Buccaneers being the exhibition-only corps from 2010.

The big news for 2010 is that Texas now ties Wisconsin as the second leading junior corps-producing state, with four each. California, with 11, was the leading junior corps producer for the 13th consecutive season, but it lost two corps from its 2009 total (Mystikal and Incognito). Not since 1997 has a state other than California led in junior corps. That year, Massachusetts edged out California, 12-10.

It’s interesting to note that in 2010, 43.75% of all junior corps are based in the Western half of the U.S./Canada. That figure stood at just 9.34% in 1980. Also, the once dominant junior corps-producing states of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have seen a drastic reduction in numbers. Back in 1980 those three states accounted for a whopping 36.58% of all North American junior corps. But in 2010, the figure stands at 8.3%, with the three states having a combined four junior corps. During the inaugural DCI season in 1972, those three states had a combined 152 junior corps that made it to the field for competition.

Canada’s 2010 total of two active juniors marks an all-time low (Blue Saints in Ontario and Les Stentors in Quebec). The Canadian total was 17 in 2000, 27 in 1990 and 50 in 1980.

Here are the five-year census marks for the number of North American junior corps that appeared on the field: 2010 — 48; 2005 — 65; 2000 — 86; 1995 — 108; 1990 — 108; 1985 — 141; 1980 — 246; 1975 — 379.