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Annual fall junior census again reveals fewer corps

by Brian Tolzmann, DCW staff

The summer of 2006 found a total of 65 active North American junior drum and bugle corps. Of this number, 55 were on-field competition corps, with the other 10 being parade, concert or field exhibition units. The competition corps are familiar to those who follow drum corps, but the others are not as well-known.

Here’s a rundown on those non-competition junior corps that were active in 2006:

• Atlantic Guardian, Maine
• Blue Jay, New York
• Chippewa Valley Brigade, Wisconsin
• Guardian Knights, California
• New Day, Wisconsin
• North Port High School Alliance, Florida
• P.A.L. Buccaneers, Connecticut
• Pride of Oakland, California
• Steeltown Brass, Ontario
• Valley Forge Military Academy, Pennsylvania

The decrease in junior corps from the 74 that were active in 2005 does not necessarily show the deaths of these units, but rather, restructuring the organizations to other endeavors. Two of last year’s corps have stopped using horns and have become percussion units, while two others have become marching bands.

The Casper Troopers are expected to return to the active list in 2007.

Perhaps the most disheartening thing about the 2006 numbers is that just two brand-new junior corps were born, with Chippewa Valley Brigade and New York’s Vision Elite being active. Another disturbing thing is that, while in 2005 Canada had junior corps from four provinces, this year only Ontario had active corps.

I believe it’s interesting — as well as important — to look at comparing 10-year spans in this junior corps survey.

The geographic breakdown of where the junior corps came from looks like this:

1976
There was a total of 396 total junior corps, representing 35 states, the District of Columbia and four provinces. New York had the most, with 60.

In western states, there were 39 corps, or 9.8% of the total. For the midwestern states, 89 corps were active, or 22.5% of the total. The southern states had 13 corps, or 3.3% of the total, and the eastern states had 194 corps, or 49% of the total. Canadian provinces represented 61 corps, or 15.4% of the total.

1986

A total of 130 junior corps existed during this season, representing 25 states and four provinces. Ontario had the most, with 19. Western states produced 17 corps, or 13.1% of the total, while midwestern states had 34, or 26.2% of the total. Southern states fielded five corps, or 3.3% of the total, eastern states had 36 corps, or 27.7% of the total, and Canadian provinces produced 38, or 29.2% of the total.

1996

There were 127 total junior corps 10 years ago, representing 25 states and three provinces in Canada. Quebec had the most, with 19. The western states had 16 corps, or 12.6% of the total, midwestern states presented 31 corps, or 24.4% of the total, states in the sout had six corps, or 4.7% of the total, eastern states, 40 corps, or 31.5% of the total, and Canadian provinces still had 34 corps, or 26.8% of the total.

2006

A total of 65 junior corps, representing 22 states and one province, were on the field this past season. California had the most, with 14. Western states produced 20 corps, or 30.8% of the total, while midwestern states fielded 15 corps, or 23% of the total, southern states had eight corps, or 12.3% of the total, eastern states fielded 17 corps, or 26.2% of the total, and Canadian provinces had five corps, or 7.7% of the total.

As it has done since the 2001 season, California leads in the number of junior corps, with 14. Wisconsin comes in second with seven, while Ontario has five. Massachusetts had four active juniors in 2006.

The North American junior corps census shows these numbers for the past decade, 1996-2006:

1996         127
1997         114
1998         106
1999         116
2000         101
2001         91
2002         84
2003         84
2004         72
2005         74
2006         65

As is always the case, these numbers may differ slightly from numbers previously published, as new data is processed.

Publisher’s note: This article originall appeared in the October 2006 issue of Drum Corps World (Volume 35, Number 13).

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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.

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