The drum corps or the drum and bugle corps is a marching band that performs parades, tours, on-field competitions, festivals and other social programs. The culture originated from military history of America after World War I and lasted through present time.
The corps has two main streams, namely the classic and the modern. While the classic does not make any modifications in its traditions, the modern branch of drum and bugle had made certain modifications in the traditional style and arrangement of drum and other musical instruments.
The performance of these groups is spanned over a lot of areas including competitions which usually takes place at the summer and in the football fields. Both male and female members are allowed and needed. While the age of the performers range from as young as 8 to 9 to as old as 60 to 70, most of them are in the age group of 13 to 21.
While in tours, the members of the groups suffer hard as there is minimal arrangement for comfort allowed and possible. During these tours, most corps takes part into competitions which is mainly designed to increase performance level and exposure and popularity.
As the corps only takes part in competitions during the summer season, the drum corps competitions are usually arranged so that the corps can be allowed to travel, perform, take part in parade and also can return home in a weekend. The drum corps competitions are held generally in college grounds, school football fields and church areas.
Some circuits of corps organize individual and ensemble (I&E) competitions optionally for individuals or groups from corps in order to showcase the skills of the members outside the field performance. These kinds of competitions are usually held only once or twice per season (summer). In their free time, members are required to practise their routines.
The main instruments that accompany the corps are drums, horns (bugles, trumpets, mellophones and contra-basses etc.) and percussions (marimbas, xylophones, vibraphones, timpani etc.). Also colour guards (flags and weapons carrying persons) are on the team. Creativity often requires the corps to change their arrangements or instruments although this is limited to only modern corps as classic corps, as their name suggest, offer no change in traditionalism.
In 1972 the Drum Corps International (DCI) was founded, which is now regarded as the governing body of the North American drum and bugle corps circuit. The DCI is a non profit organization whose job is to create policies and organize performances and drum corps competition and providing an experience for youth through marching musical performances that change their life.
Every year since 1972 a DCI championship is held and winners are selected. In 2005 DCI started the classic countdown, a selection of previous shows selected by online voting by fans. The DCI 2009 was won by the Blue Devils while the DCI 2010 is scheduled to start from Thursday May 13th.