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19th September 2019 to 17th July 2022.

1,029 days thatís how long weíve had to endure without an in person, live Drum Corps United Kingdom show but was it worth the wait?

Well YES it was and hereís the whys and the wherefores, the ups and the downs and the story of Drum Corps return from the Pandemic along with its response to the cost of living crisis and much much more.

Now Iím not going to review the performances. Why you ask? Well there are others far more creative and knowledgeable than me when it comes to giving meaningful, insightful commentaries on the merits and production values of each individual group.

What I will say however is that without a doubt the three Corps, Revolution, East Coast Elite and Beeches done themselves proud and entertained what was in fairness a fairly small but extremely enthusiastic audience.

So Iíll start my account of the day around 10.00am with the drive down Saffron Lane, Leicester towards the stadium. Itís always been the roundabout where you turn left into the Saffron Lane that has for so many years been the catalyst for my heartbeat to rise a little in anticipation at whatís to come and brought many a memory to the front and centre of my mind. In particular driving past the playing fields on the right hand side which over the years had seen so many corps, so many people and so much movement and music. Alas on this occasion whilst it was busy with people none of them where my people they werenít drum corps people. Never the less it was still pretty cool to know I was only a few hundred yards away from the stadium.

To my great relief after a long drive there was plenty of action going on at the stadium with officials putting up various information signs and posters with arrows on them directing people to various locations (as if anyone needed them, weíve all been there so many times and know the drillÖlol). Anyways as I walked up the path behind the main stand I could hear drums and horns (Oh yeah, that was cool) and as I came up over the edge of the hill I could see equipment trucks being unloaded, silks and weapons being spun along with a horn line, a front ensemble and battery percussion section warming up. Really felt good to be back and witnessing live British drum corps once more after an almost three year break. 

The atmosphere felt pretty cool and relaxed with people just seemingly pleased to be there to meet up with friends and colleagues form the other corps. Obviously the weather was awesome which always helps but there genuinely was a sense of fraternity and togetherness from organisers, volunteers, Corps Staff / Marching members and of course the judging team. 

Oh did I mention it was free entry to the show, Bravo to DCUK for taking the financial hit of paying for the stadium and associated costs of running the show. Maybe not a great deal of money in the big scheme of things for those that did attend but it helped it little in these times of unprecedented spiralling rising prices. It certainly helped me out seeing that I almost needed to take out a second mortgage to afford the fuel to get here in the first place ��.

I got to watch each Corps rehearse for an hour each on the competition field from my seat in the stand which was pretty cool and really enjoyed listening and watching how each corps ran their rehearsals and the ways in which their staffs worked with the members.

With the Ice Cream man and the Burger van in place show time came around at 2.00pm and we were ready for the off. The announcer, Mr Thompson, gave his usual rousing welcome but today it seemed a little more enthusiastic than usual (well thatís how it felt) and the small but excited audience certainly responded in kind and Iím sure the Corps waiting to perform certainly took inspiration from the opening address.

The running order was Revolution then East Coast Elite and finally Beeches. Now as I said Iím not going to make comment on the shows but will sing from the roof tops about how much I and the audience enjoyed all three performances. 

This was helped in no small part by each Corps having a performance slot of 30 mins which enabled their members to sit in the stand and watch the other corps perform. From my perspective they took full advantage of this and they were a credit to our activity with their vocal support for each other. Hats off to all three Corps for being there for each other and carrying the torch for us all. 

A Drum Majors only retreat which was very wise in my opinion given the heat and what the writer felt were the right placements with Beeches taking top spot followed by ECE in second and Revolution a close third.

I did hang around for a while afterwards catching up with a few friends that Iíd not been able to speak to earlier and witnessed the usual pandemonium of truck crews trying to load trucks with either too many or too few people to help and those that were helping handing them things in the wrong order but still in the main seeing the funny side of things. I even managed to blag myself into the staff room to snatch a left over pork pie and a brew whilst critique with the judges was taking place and even that seemed to be more jocular and jovial than Iíve seen in the past ��

So all in all DRUM CORPS in the UK is alive and kicking, might not be as big and as vibrant is we would all like but itís still here and those who are doing it are giving it the beans. All in all a top day out watching some Drum Corps and catching up with some dear friends and colleagues from years gone by 

Hereís the unashamed plea 
To each and every Alumnus of any Drum Corps out there. Please please come out and support these guys and gals, If you canít be there in person then let them know youíve got their backs though the wonder of the interweb. 

Theyíre still living the same dream you all did, Okay there might not be as many of them as there was back in your day but the fire in their bellies is as fierce as yours was and their desire to excel is also just as strong. 

Give them your blessing, show them some support, think back to how important it was to you and youíll find it easy to show them youíve got their back. At the end of the day they are walking in your footsteps and just as importantly carrying your legacy forward. Just think back to when you walked in their shoes and shared their values of achievement, enjoyment, family, commitment and loyalty to each other.

Come on folks we either all once were, still are or we will be in the future in this together so letís harness our shared bond to support the activity that has given us all so much on the path to stability and then hopefully growth,

Surely we owe that much to each other donít we?? 

Thea Giles (Ms)

19th July 2022



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