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Drum And Bugle Corps To Battle In Sacramento

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, June 22, 2012

People who like loud marching brass and percussion and vivid color guards will be filling Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium this Sunday night.

That's where nearly half-a-dozen drum and bugle corps from throughout the U.S. will be competing in The Moonlight Classic - one of the oldest drum and bugle corps shows in the country.

The battle of the bands will include the Boston Crusaders. The Massachusetts-based corps has been practicing at Folsom High School for the past couple of weeks.

In the school's empty parking lot…staff member Andy Filipiak is rehearsing with a group of young musicians known as the front ensemble. They play marimbas, vibraphones, cymbals and chimes.

"All right guys, a little late on your last chime note. Let's do that one more time…"

"My name's Ivan Trac. I am one of the section leaders of the front ensemble."

Trac plays the marimba. The 21-year-old college student from South Florida says he likes being a part of the front line, closest to audience in the stands…

"The audience gets to see my face and I get to perform. If it's like an aggressive moment of the show we're supposed to look aggressive, if it's sad, we have to portray that in our music."

"My name is Justin Heimbecker. I'm the assistant director of the Boston Crusaders. It's really a big circus on wheels. We travel with about 200 people and try to make the crowds enjoy the show from coast to coast."

Those 200 people include 150 youth ranging in age from 15 to 21…most in high school or college…

"Some are actually working in factories and just take the summer off."

Ashley Trudell is the group's tour manager.

"A lot of it also comes from having a good marching band experience in high school which has made them want to go on and continue this activity."    

Corps members come from all over the country. They must audition for a spot in the Crusaders and pay a $2,400 tuition for the summer tour.

The group is working on an 11 minute, highly choreographed performance. Their theme is "The Titans" with the guys in body armor and the girls in white and gold dresses.

On this morning, the brass section is practicing on Folsom High's football field…instruments in hand but no blowing…they're working on the show's elaborate footwork.

Charlie Bernardo is the corps' horn sergeant.

"…which means, I'm in charge of the 80 brass players that are on the field right now."

Bernardo says weeks of practicing for 10-to-12 hours a day results in a very tight nit unit.

"You shower with them, you sleep with them…you are with these people 24-. It just becomes a 150 person family and it's very emotional."

The Crusaders will be competing Sunday night at Hornet Stadium with 10 other drum and bugle corps…including The Mandarins from Sacramento.

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