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Making magic happen — the people behind the DCI show in Kingston, NY

by Patti Heberssat

How does anyone begin to describe the excitement and fanfare that is evidence of a drum and bugle corps show. Shows don’t just happen by magic — they just appear that way.

During a recent interview with Dr. John Carr, Chairman of the Children’s Home of Kingston “March of Champions,” which is being held for its thirteenth year on August 8, he was able to describe the planning and volunteer hours that go into making this event happen.

Carr has worked with an amazing group of volunteers for the last 13 years. Beginning each January, volunteers assemble and the new year’s work is delegated. Everyone on the volunteer committee has a job to do that is their specialty and they work together with Dr. Carr or Patti Habersaat, development director at The Children’s Home of Kingston, to make sure that everything from tickets, contracts, sponsorships, parking, trophies, practice sites and the list goes on and on.

Thousands of dollars are raised through sponsorships and journal ads that are needed for producing a show, along with thousands of volunteer hours on both the part of the individual show sponsors and the drum and bugle corps members.

If you have been a drum corps fan for more than 50 years, chances are you attended a show in Kingston NY. Kingston has been the host to some of the most exciting and entertaining drum corps shows in the United States.

In the late ’50s and early ’60s, the show was sponsored under the direction of Ralph Shapiroand his Kingston Indians. In the 1980s, the Boy Scouts of America ran the DCI junior chow called the “Pow Wow of Junior Champions.”

For the past 13 years, The Children’s Home of Kingston has presented the “March of Champions,” a Drum Corp Associates senior corps competition.

Dr. John Carr, the chairperson, is a former member of the Hawthorne, NJ, Muchachos from 1968 to 1978 and later served as corps director of Fantasia III.

Over the years, the “March of Champions” volunteer committee has consisted of former drum corps members as well as drum corps fans who have kept the “MAGIC” alive in Kingston, NY.

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Drum Corps World is published as an on-line electronic magazine by Sights & Sounds, Inc., Madison, WI. It is supported by advertising from manufacturers, service providers, corps, circuits and show sponsors. The publication began in October 1971 at the same time Drum Corps International was formed and has been produced continuously as a tabloid newspaper until April 2011 and on the Internet since May 2011. It is released monthly, as well as six additional e-mail blasts, one in late June, three during July and two in August.

The worldwide staff of writers and photographers provide show reviews during the season and interviews, feature articles, news and human interest stories during the off-season. The photographs that appear in the magazine are provided by 27 staff members who are scattered around the world. The publication covers World and Open Class Drum Corps International corps, Open and Class A Drum Corps Associates corps, alumni, mini-, parade and standstill units, as well as the growing activity in Europe, the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and South Africa.