HATTIESBURG, MS (THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI) - Eleven of the world's most elite and exclusive marching ensembles will compete at M.M. Roberts Stadium on The University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg campus at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 28 as part of the Drum Corps International (DCI) Southern Series Tour.
Hosted by the Southern Miss Pride of Mississippi Marching Band, the event will feature more than 1,000 student musicians and performers from across the country. From its modest beginnings more than three decades ago, DCI has developed into a powerful, global youth activity with far-reaching artistic, educational and organizational influence.
Mohamad Schuman, associate director of bands and director of The Pride of Mississippi at
Southern Miss, believes the show will "provide a great recruiting vehicle for University Bands as well as the School of Music" and a potential boost for the local economy.
"The entire community is extremely fortunate to have such talented ensembles showcase their abilities right here in Hattiesburg, and local businesses and restaurants should benefit from increased sales as the show is expected to bring in thousands of fans," Shuman said.
Prospective, current students and alumni from the Southern Miss School of Music continually spend their summers participating in DCI. Alumnus Kevin Welborn has worked with the Troopers of Wyoming the past four seasons.
"DCI is basically marching bands on steroids," Welborn joked. "Hundreds of thousands of young musicians and dancers audition for the corps around the country and only a small percentage make it, so what you're seeing is the best of the best."
With more than 135 events each year, the annual 60-day DCI Summer Tour is held in more than 40 states. The 11 top tier drum corps units performing on July 28 at Southern Miss include the Blue Devils of Concord, Calif.; Carolina Crown of Ft. Mill, S.C.; The Cadets of Allentown, Pa.; Phantom Regiment of Rockford, Ill.; Glassmen of Toledo, Ohio; Troopers of Casper, Wyo.; Colts of Dubuque, Iowa; The Academy of Tempe, Ariz.; Mandarins of Sacramento, Calif.; Pacific Crest of Diamond Bar, Calif. and the Teal Sound of Jacksonville, Fla.
Welborn continues to participate in DCI mostly because of its audiences. "The payoff is watching the crowd's reaction to a marching band that's louder, faster and more captivating than anything they've ever seen," he said.
In addition to the competition, there will be a live learning event at noon hosted by the Blue Devils of California, the 2009 World Champions. Students and fans have the unique opportunity to learn all aspects of corps technique—taught by the members and staff that bring drum corps to life on the field. The live learning event is free with a ticket to the evening event.
Tickets for the event start at $25. To purchase, call 317.275.1212 or visit www.DCI.org/tickets. Tickets will also be sold at the stadium box office on the day of the show. Special group rates are available. For more information, contact Allison Crumpton at 601.266.6121.