First-ever all-age, senior corps census

by Brian Tolzmann, DCW staff

Last year, Drum Corps World Publisher Steve Vickers asked me if it would be possible to do some sort of all-age/senior/alumni corps census, to go along with the junior census I have done since the early 1990s. At that time, I didn’t think I would be able to get an accurate count on those corps.

This year I thought I’d give a stab at it to try and find out just how many of these corps were active in North America during the year. What I found was quite astounding.

No fewer than 152 North American all-age corps performed on the field, in parades or in standstills at some point during the summer of 2006. These corps represent 31 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces.

A large portion of this number is the group of 38 Shriners International drum and bugle corps scattered throughout 21 states and two Canadian provinces.

Here are the leading all-age/senior/alumni corps producing states and provinces for 2006:

New York, 25
New Jersey, 13
Pennsylvania, 13
Ontario, 10
Minnesota, 8
Texas, 8
Massachusetts, 8

The all-age/senior/alumni movement is rapidly exploding and the following corps, not included in the 152 corps already active, are planning to be active in 2007:

Austin Stars, TX; Capital Brass merger with Retro Sound (Retro Sound was active in 2006); NY; Cathay Alumni, CA; Crossmen Alumni, PA; Derby City Knights, KY; Masquerade, LA; Mountaineers, VA; North Coast Rock, OH; Presidents, TN; Santa Clara Alumni, CA; Sky Ryders Alumni, KS/TX; Spirit of Drum Corps, British Columbia.

The geographic breakdown on the 2006 all-age/senior/alumni corps is:

• Western states, 10 corps, or 6.6% of the total
• Midwestern states, 32 corps, or 21% of the total
• Southern states, 26 corps, or 17.1% of the total
• Eastern states, 72 corps, or 47.4% of the total
• Canadian provinces, 12 corps, or 7.9% of the total.

While the movement began in earnest back in 1921 as American Legion posts started parade — then competition groups — there are now drum and bugle corps in Europe, South Africa, the Philippines, the Far East and such diverse places as the West Indies and Portugal.