by Peter Jan de Werk, DCW staff
The KNFM National Show Championships and the Drum Corps Europe Championships will be combined in 2004. The contest will take place on September 25 in The Hague, The Netherlands at Zuiderpark Stadium.
In 2003, Drum Corps Europe hosted their first outdoor championships in the same venue which was the long time venue of Drum Corps Holland. On the same day, however, the Dutch Music Federation held their national championships in Helmond. Many felt this was not a good situation. Days in September (the drum corps month in Europe) are scarce. After discussions between all the organizations, the outcome was the most positive for any drum corps and show band member or fan. The events will be combined in 2004.
This means the largest line-up ever assembled for such an event and a renewed, back-to-back championships competition between some of the greatest drum corps in Europe.
In open class, there will be a huge battle between the two Dutch drum corps titans, Jubal from Dordrecht (DCE Champion 2003) and Beatrix from Hilversum (show champion 2003). Or is it between three titans as Juliana from Middelburg has been improving dramatically lately and came close to Jubal by a mere 0.5 at the first DCE contest of the season.
They will be joined by other Dutch powerhouses like Showband DAP from Apeldoorn, Federatieband from The Hague and Die Tamboureijnen from Eindhoven. All these corps have proven to have high quality and could create a major battle.
From Germany comes the two powerhouse corps, Starriders (Bad Munder) and Wolper Lowen (Neustadt) that have been in a fierce neck-and-neck race in Drum Corps Germany competition so far this summer. They will be joined in open class by last year’s third-place Fidele Vogelsanger from Gevelsberg and the up and coming Showband Rastede from Rastede.
From England come the two surprises of last year’s DCE Finals, Kidsgrove Scouts and Northern Star. These two surprised many competitors and audience members last year and should be able to do the same thing in 2004.
Going to A class, a lot of special corps are competing. From The Netherlands comes Dio (Dordrecht), the former all-girl corps that rocked DCHolland competition and returned to the field in recent years as a co-ed corps, and Federatiebands cadet corps; Jeugdfederatieband (The Hague).
From the United Kigdom we will welcome Distant Thunder and Midsomer Norton Marching Brass and Red Stars come from Hannover-Munden in Germany. From Sweden comes the Strangnas corps that competed in DCI several years ago.
The marching percussion class be another big competition. These groups don’t have brass, but do have a lot of quality in percussion and guard. This class will include the Blue Lions from Lens, France; Edelweiss Marching Band (Saint Cyr sur Loire, France); Göteborg Drum Corps (Göteborg, Sweden); Showkorps Harpe Davids (Zoetermeer, Netherlands); and the Showband Rhythm Stars (Sneek, Netherlands).
The line-up of the cadet class is also a return to the old days as the so-called four powerhouses of the Dutch cadet world re-unite for the first time since halfway the 1990s. They are Johan Friso from Middelburg, Jong Beatrix from Hilversum, Jong Jubal from Dordrecht and Jong Avalance from Vlaardingen. They are even joined by the United Kingdom’s Pegasus from Waterlooville.
A non-competing exhibition will be displayed by La Vaillante Show Band from Saint-Quentin, France.
Four corps take part in the “show section.” There won’t be a European title there, but there will be a Dutch national title attached to it. They are Showband Antonius from Brunssum, Jachthoorn-en Trompetterkorps Gemert from Gemert and Showband Marum from Marum) in the top class and Drum-en showfanfare Jong Advendo from Sneek in the middle class.
All-in-all, European drum corps fans are in for a real treat with these corps and bands!