Drum & Bugle Corps Comes Back to the North Shore!

After 30 years in “drydock” the Arbella Drum and Bugle Corps sets sail again!

After 30 years in “drydock” the Arbella Drum and Bugle Corps sets sail again! 

Just what IS a drum and bugle corps?? 

To the uninitiated, it may appear at first glance to be a marching band.  But it’s not.  Some watching a modern day performance may think it’s musical theatre.  But it’s not.  When an alumnus is asked what a drum corps is, they usually struggle to come up with a comparison: “Well…it’s…like a marching band….only soooo much better”. 

Drum Corps IS kind of like a marching band, except that it has no woodwinds .  They are not affiliated with any school or university and the intensity and difficulty levels are much higher than that of a marching band.  The modern World Class Corps has thousands of applicants auditioning from all over the country to fill only 150 places.  The chosen few will then go on to spend 18 hours a day all summer long (with training camps over the winter and spring) perfecting an 11 minute show for competition.  Kids up to the age of 22 live out of buses, travel from city to city, rarely getting a day off, compete in the hot summer sun., sleep on gymnasiums floors (albeit now on Aerobeds)….and love every second of it.   There is 150% commitment to the pursuit of perfection from every Corps member, staff and volunteer.  There is great sadness upon “aging out”.  Your fellow Corps members become family – for life. 

Drum Corps is, to the initiated, a passion, an addiction, an obsession.  

There was a time that nearly every city and town had a Corps to represent it.  There were literally hundreds along the eastern seaboard.  Here in the Boston area, was no exception.  Beverly had the Crusaders, then the Cardinals, Danvers had The Chuting Stars and the Blue Angels, Peabody had The Muskateers, Saugus the Socialites, Lynn the Jeanettes and Shoreliners,  Boston has the Crusaders, Revere the IC Reveries and the 27th Lancers, Malden the Ambassadors then the Diplomats, and Salem had the IC Rockettes, the Comets, then finally the Arbella… to name just a small few.   And now just a small few remain. 

Until now. 

A few Arbella Alumni and instructors have banded together to resurrect the Arbella Drum and Bugle Corps of Salem and bring the tradition and pageantry of drum corps back to the North Shore.  In January, the Corps celebrated it’s relaunch at the Old Town Hall in Salem, where Mayor of Salem Kimberly Driscoll attended to support the initiative. There, too, were Alumni going back to the 1960s, all the way up to 1983.  One Alumni drove from Virginia to attend this important event!  The evening was filled with great excitement and anticipation for the upcoming year. 

Arbella is hoping to entice Drum Corps Alumni from around the North Shore as well as high school musicians and guard in the area.  There will be a light performance schedule consisting mostly of local festivals and parades.  There are no plans to compete or travel presently. 

“Our goal is to simply bring the spirit and thrill of drum corps back to the area, for those who have marched, and those who would like to experience it.  We are delighted to already have the commitment of a dedicated staff to write for us.  We are hoping that with our light practice schedule people will be encouraged to participate,” says Lauren Poussard, President of the Board of Directors and Arbella Alumnus from 1979-1983.  “We are also hoping to get the support of our local communities in the form of donations, equipment – any help is greatly appreciated.  We can’t wait to perform for you this summer!” 

The Corps is running a First Corps Meeting on Sunday February 26, 2012 from 2-4 at the United Martial Arts Center in the Ideal Business Center, 20 Locust Street, Danvers, MA.  There will be an overview of the 2012 year, membership drive and souvenir stand.  Anyone is welcome to attend, even simply to pop in and say hello to old friends. 

To find out how you can join the Arbella, or for more information or donations, please visit www.arbellacorps.org 

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Dawn Cerbone February 25, 2012 at 06:43 PM
this sounds wonderful!!!
Stephen R Poirier February 26, 2012 at 04:45 PM
you forgot to mention the Northstar drum and bugle corps in your article
Lauren Poussard February 26, 2012 at 04:51 PM
ARGH, you are RIGHT! Interestingly I was writing this when Tom Dennesen was over, and he was feeding me the names and spellings as I typed! I asked him if I missed anyone, and he said there's no way to list everyone anyway (and that wasn't the point of it anyway), so we just moved on. I'll have to tease him about that later when I see him!
Beth Anderson-LaMacchia February 27, 2012 at 12:19 AM
love it


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