Did you know that there are drum and bugle corps in Germany? The Blue Diamonds, from the town Nienhagen, Germany, was founded on August 28, 1984 under their previous name, Nienhagener Wappengarde, already then using the style of a drum band.
The association in those times consisted of five brass players and six drummers having been chosen by Christian Korn.
The first instruments were bought with members’ donations. Then in 1985, upon the Hachefest (a local festival), the first public performance took place.
In the same year, the membership grew to 24 players and already then several performances in the closer environs were secured. Then in 1986, the uniform parts were purchased to complete their provisory uniforms.
They joined the Spielmannszugvereinigung Niedersachsen (SZVN, a union of bands) and then Drum Corps Deutschland (DCD).
In 1987, the Nienhagener Wappengarde was renamed Blue Diamonds Drum & Bugle Corps, because their style had meanwhile consolidated, and in Germany and abroad there was competition with comparable formations. In the same year, the color guard was founded to accentuate the performances with their banners.
In 1988, the club already consisted of 36 active members who now proved their skill in major events, such as a live performance in the radio broadcast “Abend für junge Hörer” (evening for young listeners) which was a great success for the musicians. In the years to come, the corps strived for contests of the DCD wherein year by year greater successes were achieved.
The instrumentation of the brass section was changed from B-flat to G and a field show was created.
With this show, a third-place rank was achieved at the German Drum Corps Championships.
At contests of individuals and ensembles, the Blue Diamonds won seven German Championships and further good rankings within the next few years.
Besides many performances in Germany and abroad, the corps became champion of the percussion ensembles at the 1993 German Championships in Frankfurt.
At present the corps has more than 40 active musicians in the main corps. Blue Diamonds are proud about their youth organization, the Diamond Cadets corps has grown to 30 little musicians between the ages of 6 and 14.
The Blue Diamonds have a complete set of instruments, their own truck and a transporter at their disposal. Most recently, the Blue Diamonds were also provided with their own rehearsal and storage space by the parish of Nienhagen. Through this additional space, the association enjoys a great relief.
The musicians are trained two times a week and there is no age-out rule in Germany, so it is more similar to DCA than to DCI.
Every year training camps under the lead of international instructors take place in order to work together concentratedly for a few days and to strengthen the comradeship. The active corps is composed of mainly young members and, therefore, depends on donations for the payment of instruments and equipment.
They do their performances on the occasion of donation collections such as for First Aid Training, clearing away trash from regional wood dealers, handicrafts, organized holiday events or entertaining events of their own.
In the last five years, they have performed at a lot of festivals and contests in Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, France and Poland.
This spring, the Blue Diamonds will travel again to Spain, to the hometown of the famous Salvadore Dali, Figueras, with their new show, “A Chorus Line” by Marvin Hamlisch. The show has been arranged by René Ranzijn (brass), René van Dyke (percussion), Paul Doop (pit), all from the Netherlands. There will be a great festival/contest with other bands from Europe.
The Blue Diamonds’ members are passionate musicians who do a lot for their personal development and their disciplined performances.
They would like to meet, however, more tolerance on their open-air rehearsals, more public recognition and, above all, more understanding for making their music in their local area.
Learn more about Blue Diamonds DBC by going to www.blue-diamonds.de or www.blue-diamonds.org (it’s in German).
All American drum corps nuts who live in Germany as soldiers or businessmen are invited to visit or join Blue Diamonds.
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Publisher’s note: This article originally appeared in the May 2005 edition of Drum Corps World (Volume 34, Number 2), mailed to subscribers on April 28, 2005.