Quebec’s drum corps activity revival project kicks into gear

by Daniel Buteau, DCW staff

This article was originally published in the April 2009 issue of Drum Corps World (Volume 38, Number 1).

First, we’d like to thank Steve Vickers of Drum Corps World for his interest in our project. His help is extremely appreciated.

You are certainly aware of the decline of drum corps in Quebec for some years now. At the end of the 1970s, we had over 50 organizations throughout the province, several of them competing in Ontario and the United States.

Most of these groups have since folded, leaving today only one active junior competitive unit, Les Stentors from Sherbrooke. As the sole survivors of this musical sport in Quebec, they have had to compete exclusively in the U.S., leaving them unable to tap into an important marketing tool, their own provincial and regional visibility.

The revival project

The instigator of this project, Bruno Lavoie, is a drum corps fan, having marched with Les Metropolitains from Chicoutimi in the ’70s and ’80s, as well as an expert in marketing and economic development. He has used his expertise to develop   short-, mid- and long-term goals for this project and has surrounded himself with others from different backgrounds.

One of his goals is to develop an organizational culture for our activity, something that has been seriously lacking in the past.

The mission of this revival project is to break youth’s isolation and develop its sense of membership.

Consistent with the mission, many partnerships have been and will continue to be formed with other social and community-oriented groups. The membership cost for the activity will be kept at a low range — about $150.00 — thus catering to youth from any social background.

To help develop this sense of membership, a democratic pattern will be established where the members will be given a choice regarding many elements of the group, such as its logo, uniform, number of rehearsals, repertoire, etc.

Phase I

The first phase is spread out over three years, culminating in the return of a provincial competitive circuit. Les Ambassadeurs from Monteregie (the region south of Montreal) started their activities in September 2008 and already have a roster of 50 members and will be present at different regional events.

Two other drum corps which already have their board of directors are incorporated and will start their activities in September 2009 — Les Aventuriers from Quebec City and Les Insolites from Laurentides (region northwest of Montreal).

By September 2010, Les Metropolitains from Saguenay (the region northeast of Quebec City, once the home of Offensive Lions), Les Grenadiers from Mauricie (region north of Montreal, south of Quebec City) and Les Gendarmes from Outaouais (the region south of the province, near the Ontario border) will be underway.

At this point, the provincial competitive circuit will be a reality, with seven active corps.

Phase II

This phase will take place between 2011 and 2013. Les Troubadours from Bois Francs (the region northeast of Montreal) will make an entrance onto the scene in 2011, followed by L’Impact of Lake St-John (northwest of Saguenay) and Les Mariniers from Bas St-Laurent (northeast of Quebec City) in 2012. Finally, Laval Connexion (from north of Montreal) in 2013 — a grand total of 11 units.

Quebec Association of drum and bugle corps — in French, Association des corps de tambours et clairons du Quebec [ACTCQ]

As early as March 2009, the ACTCQ will be created to help present and future groups use common resources (i.e. finances, activity organization, recruitment, community recognition and educational and design tools).

This will help obtain the necessary credibility to ask for the provincial governement’s help in financing existing groups, as well as starting future corps. As a non-profit organization, the ACTCQ will encourage the private sector and other community organizations to help in the revival of drum corps through tax credits.

The Association will also encourage its corps to perform at different venues to increase visibility via popular events, such as the Montreal Jazz Festival.

As you can see, we are witnessing some action in our neck of the woods and we hope to have some American drum corps compete in Quebec once the provincial circuit is established.

For further information, please contact Bruno Bergeron at