I scored a few tickets to see the Drum Corps International Quarterfinals yesterday through work.

Super premium tickets to see theΒ  Drum Corps International Quarterfinals.

I figured it was a swell chance to get inside Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time and who doesn’t love marching bands?

I called my neighbor to see if she wanted to go with me. “HI, Tiffany? You see, I have these SUPER PREMIUM tickets to go see the Drum Corps International “marching music’s major league” quarterfinals this afternoon DO YOU WANT TO GO?”

Before I even spoke the last syllable Tiffany was geeking out on the other end of the line.


This is when I realized Tiffany not only knew what DCI was, she spoke their language.

You see dear friends, Tiffany was a band geek. A drum major in Ohio to be specific. She wore hats with plumes and polyester suits. She even went to drum major camp. In addition to band camp.

at the start of our seven hour band geek tour.

I pick my friends well.

Without Tiffany there I may have stayed for about an hour, long enough to see about four performances. However with Tiffany in tow we stayed ALL SEVEN HOURS. (and this just in! Apparently people go to movie theaters to watch ALL SEVEN HOURS!)

Now before I get into the pictures, I’ve learned from twitter that DCI is something to be revered, honored and respected. To those of you about to march? I salute you. Because I could never EVER do what these guys did. I can’t play an instrument, I can barely walk when I have all my senses about me so to mash the two together? Utter and epic fail.

Thankfully Tiffany was there to explain to me the finer nuances of DCI, drum corps traditions and history, because as a marching music layperson? The rifles and sabers started to become really silly.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with drum corps culture, each group has a sort of “theme” to their performance with traditional props that their color guard uses, including flags, banners, sabers, and rifles. With each theme I pictured the color guard director sitting around plotting the greatest performance ever -for example- South Carolina did a Peter Pan/Emerald City theme. At some point the color guard director had to think about when to work in rifles into the whole Peter Pan/Wizard of Oz story.

South Carolina and their Peter Pan/Wizard of Oz/West Side Story theme. (With rifles.) on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Cloud/Umbrella/LightBulb/Idea/Imagine theme (with rifles.) on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
The Caveliers and their Mountain Climbing Theme. (with rifles.) on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
The Red Violin Theme (with rifles.) on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Red Violin/Rifles. A natural fit. on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Quick Answer
Adam and Eve with big brother flags, the apple and rifles. on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Awkward DCI photo. on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Sweatshop Theme, with rifles. on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Blizzard/Skiing theme. With rifles. on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Calvery and Indian theme. With rifles (aktually ur doin it rite.) on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
my hot dot, no rifles. on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Nacho Libre theme, with rifles. on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
So yeah, the nation’s top marching bands with themes featuring Nacho Libre, Adam and Eve, Tinkerbell, skiing, mountain climbing, sailing, Pocahontas, World War II, sweatshops and the movie The Red Violin? Drum corps are awesome.
Who wants to go with me next year?
With the State Fair (starts today!), Gen-Con (starts next week!), the Indy 500 and now DCI (ends tomorrow!) I may live in the most painfully awesome yet unfairly underrated city EVER.
Seriously, your city has nothing on mine. Even you New York.


  1. @Casey,

    Ooh, now that’s really cool! See, that’s what I’m taking about! πŸ™‚

    Cathie Reply:

    @Suzy Voices,

    They do modernize “props” and make them work for the show, but the flags, rifles and sabers aren’t considered props, they’re considered the color guard’s equipment (just as the brass player’s equipment is their horn).

    If they didn’t use this equipment in the show….their scores would be much lower. Sometimes they can modify their equipment so that it thematically fits the show (ie the violins they were spinning were actually modified rifles, that looked like half violins) but sometimes, they can’t. Throwing jalapenos in the air just isn’t the same level of difficulty .

    Guards have actually progressed quite a bit from the old VFW days. They do a lot less equipment work than they use to. Now they integrate dance, use of props and even character acting in with all their equipment work….they’re very talented performers who are required to wear many hats!

    Cathie Reply:

    @Suzy Voices,

    Sorry, I used brackets with the word smile between them to show humor…..but forgot about HTML not showing them….without them, my post looks like I’m annoyed and I’m not πŸ™‚

    Just trying to explain how it all works πŸ™‚


    Suzy Voices Reply:

    @Suzy Voices, I really am interested in this! See, now when I go to my stepson’s competitions, I’ll be the person who is all IN THE KNOW, impressing everyone. I had no idea that if they don’t use rifles or other proper equipment they’ll get points deducted. Your comment, “Throwing jalapenos in the air just isn’t the same level of difficulty” made me laugh out loud.

    And I love, love, love the guard. You’re right, they are very talented people. I could do the dance part, but not the throwing of the equipment. I’d end up with multiple concussions. I especially love it when there are male guard members. I admire the courage it must take for a guy to get out there and do it. And most of the males I’ve seen are REALLY good. OK, I’m rambling now. I’ll stop. πŸ™‚