Preserving the legacy: the Drum Corps Collectors and Historical Society

This article was originally published in the April 2009 issue of Drum Corps World (Volume 38, Number 1).

Drum Corps World, Drum Corps Associates, Drum Corps International, as well as private collectors and other individuals, have come together in an unprecedented collaborative effort to launch the Drum Corps Collectors and Historical Society, a brand-new initiative intended to preserve the historical records and artifacts, photographs, video/film archives, audio recordings and other memorabilia tracing the history of the drum and bugle corps activity . . . “from the battlefield to the performance field, to Broadway and beyond.”

According to Steve Vickers, publisher of Drum Corps World and co-chairperson of the fledgling group, “We want to make sure that the legacy of the drum and bugle corps activity is preserved for future generations and we’re inviting folks to get involved now with this unprecedented move.   The spirit of cooperation for this project is tremendous and we are focused on organizing our efforts to celebrate the storied past of the organized drum corps movement, tracing back to its earliest military roots through various fraternal and community-based ensembles, while also supporting the outstanding performances of those currently involved in modern-day drum corps groups of all sorts, scattered around the world.”

These thoughts are echoed by Drum Corps International marketing director and executive director of the Jersey Surf, Bob Jacobs, who is assisting the startup effort as co-chair. “The history of drum corps is fascinating and far-reaching, and is one certainly worth preserving for generations to come. This effort is inclusive to embrace and involve drum corps supporters and enthusiasts of all sorts. It will enable fans young and old to share in the tremendous legacy of the competitive and non-competitive drum corps art forms, while also creating opportunities for the uninitiated to share in the rich and colorful narrative that accompanies the evolution of the drum and bugle corps activity throughout history.”

A first-stage goal for the self-funded DCCHS is to create a network of enthusiasts, enabling the identification and organization of the whereabouts of existing repositories of historical information, memorabilia and resource materials. The open call for interested parties will now begin in earnest, with future plans calling for “Webinar” conferences and potential organizational and informational meetings this summer at the Drum Corps International and Drum Corps Associates World Championships, in Indianapolis, IN, and Rochester, NY, respectively.

“There is truly a need to preserve and celebrate the past while we work to support and create the future,” said Gil Silva, president of Drum Corps Associates. “The establishment of this society will be a great thing for drum corps fans throughout the world and will undoubtedly lead us to the discovery of many interesting aspects of the drum corps activity and countless stories which will be engaging, entertaining and enjoyable for current and future fans of drum corps.”

“We are extremely pleased to assist in fostering the creation of the Drum Corps Collectors and Historical Society,” said Dan Acheson, executive director of Drum Corps International. “There is no better time for fans of drum corps from around the globe to come together to celebrate this great activity and we’re proud to play a supporting role in creating a forum for the vast audience of passionate drum corps fans to share in a spirit of conviviality.”

“Once we identify those who are interested in contributing to the initial stages of this effort, we will further develop some of the plans already on the drawing board,” said Vickers. “We hope that we can put the wheels in motion to one day create a museum with permanent, rotating and traveling exhibitions, created through loaned personal collections and bequests.”

Jacobs added, “We also hope to eventually   create a Web-based educational library and establish a dedicated resource center from which students from around the world can access a vast array of materials for use in their research projects and classroom presentations.”

To learn more about and to get involved with the Drum Corps Collectors and Historical Society, please contact Steve Vickers (publisher@drumcorpsworld.com) or Bob Jacobs (bjacobs@dci.org).

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About DCW

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.