Drum Corps In May

Posted May 27, 2018

This is drum corps in May: where the drum corps is built from the ground up.

May drum corps is far removed from the grueling temperatures, the shiny medals, the jam-packed stands.

By May, DCA corps have moved outside permanently.  DCI corps have begun to move in for the summer.

The members rehearse through the frigid mornings of early May, the scorching afternoons of Memorial Day weekends and the damp evenings that never go away.

Absent are the bulky props and flashy show design, and most of the completed production.  This is a bare-bones style of drum corps, a coloring book with none of the bright colors filled in.

What you do see on the field, between the empty spots in the drill, between the entrances that aren’t together, between the complete train wrecks of long reps, is a drum corps that is being introduced to how to do drum corps.

Just because what you see and hear out there isn’t up to championship standards doesn’t mean those members are putting up any less of a fight.

May is a learning month.

May is where you learn what parts of your body break, how they break, and how to keep them from breaking.

May is when the sky opens up and you learn you need to bring trash bags to rehearsal to put your backpack (and your entire section’s backpacks) in.  Even when you think it isn’t going to rain.  You learn you can’t trust a blue sky.

May is when you discover that a rainy day means 17 pairs of socks.

May is when you discover that sunscreen is your forever friend, and when you forget, or are negligent, you pay in peeling skin and pain.

May is where you figure out how to push through a sore muscle, a rolled ankle, a headache.  You learn how to forget an uncomfortable argument or a bad grade on a test when it’s a Saturday night and you have to focus to survive that first run of the opener.

Will the reps become less dirty?  Yes.  Will the disasters of attempted run-throughs become less tragic?  Of course.  Will the holes get filled?  They will…….Eventually.

But there is a reason drum corps don’t begin their outdoor rehearsals in July.

In all honesty, in most cases, a drum corps HAS to start out at square one: a barely coherent mass of drill and noise stumbling around a parking lot or dandelion field in very little semblance of a world class ensemble. 

It takes months to build a drum corps show from the ground up, months to clean, months to learn how to perform to the greatest potential. 

You need to have clay in order for it to be molded into what it is really meant to be.  And you need to have that clay eating up drill in May at the very latest.

Those crowds stacked hundreds and thousands high in the bleachers, in the stadiums, in the indoor air conditioned domes wouldn’t have anything to clap for--

If there wasn’t such thing as a drum corps in May.


 Lauren Buzdygon attends the University of Delaware as a music education major, set to graduate in spring 2015. After high school, Lauren went on to complete four years marching baritone with the University of Delaware Marching Band, four years marching tuba with the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps, and four seasons marching cymbals in WGI groups Imperial Dynasty, Cadets Winter Percussion, and Field of View, where they are currently marching their ageout.  Last summer after aging out of DCI, Lauren filled a mellophone spot with the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps and will be marching cymbals with the Bushwackers in DCA this summer. In their spare time not doing band, Lauren maintains a personal writing blog:, swims, runs, and likes to learn about dinosaurs, especially the velociraptor.