was successfully added to your cart.

A Dream 13 Years in the Making

By | Drum & Bugle Corps | No Comments

Who says “13” can’t be a lucky number? That’s exactly how many years it took for MBI euphonium player Elkin Navarro to realize his dream of marching in a drum and bugle corps in the United States.

Navarro, 31, is a long-time band director from Bucaramanga, Colombia, located some 250 miles north of the capital city of Bogotá … and nearly 3,000 miles south of St. Paul. The city of around half a million hosts a large clothing industry as well as a growing technological research effort specializing in energy, gas, oil, asphalt, leather and agro-industrial development tools, among other concerns. Located in the Colombian Andes, it is also a popular destination for tourists.

After some 15 years of teaching band, Elkin said he thought he’d better get on with trying to fulfill his drum corps dream. Looking for online videos of U.S. marching bands in the pre-YouTube days was a daunting effort, but he eventually stumbled upon videos of DCI corps. And watching videos of the Cavaliers only fueled his desire to participate. His first visit to the United States came two years ago when he played mellophone with the Medellin Gran Banda on a Sound Sport tour. That was his first experience playing a horn in an ensemble, he says; previously he’d played timbales with Latin orchestras in his hometown.

Suspecting in April it was too late into the season to get a marching spot with a DCA corps, Elkin wrote to several corps seeking a volunteer position, “and Colts director Vicki (Schaffer MacFarlane) was the first to answer with the beautiful YES!” he recalled. While with the Colts, from June 13 through July 29, Elkin was part of the props crew. “Vicki talked to one of the MBI staff members about my situation, and here I am! Just a month before DCA finals – I still can’t believe it!”

Back home in Colombia, Elkin receives support from brother Christian and sister Nathalia, his parents (Fernando and Mildred), and his “beautiful and wonderful” daughter Mariana, who celebrated her sixth birthday on July 29, the same day he left the Colts in Atlanta for the Twin Cities. “That wasn’t easy,” he says.

Even though he’s getting to play for only part of this season with MBI, Elkin says he wouldn’t dismiss an opportunity to spend an entire summer with the corps.

So how might he parlay his drum corps experience when he gets back home?

“I think that I should help instructor friends, members and marching bands in my city when I go back to my country,” he said. “Being with Colts and Minnesota Brass has given me a lot of information and a wonderful experience that I would love to help people [have] who want to live the same adventure.”

DCI Minnesota Returns Featuring the US Marine Drum & Bugle Corps

By | Drum & Bugle Corps | One Comment

DCI Minnesota is being presented by the U.S. Marine Corps in 2016, and will feature a rare appearance by the U.S.M.C. Drum & Bugle Corps, “The Commandant’s Own,” who are in demand around the country and will be traveling to Minneapolis following their weekly Friday evening parade at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.

More than 2,000 musicians and dancers will perform with some 20 drum and bugle corps from around the country, including defending world champions the Blue Devils from Concord, Calif., and past champions Madison Scouts from Madison, Wis.; Vanguard from Santa Clara, Calif.; Cavaliers from Rosemont, Ill.; and Phantom Regiment from Rockford, Ill. Minnesota Brass will also appear presenting their 2016 production, “Now Boarding.”

The event is expected to draw some 7,000 spectators to TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.  Tickets are on sale now at dci.org

 

Minnesota Brass, Bands Form Bonds at Vikingland Festival

By | Drum & Bugle Corps | No Comments

Minnesota Brass will join six other units in the inaugural Minnesota Drum Corps Premiere on June 25 as part of the 32nd Annual Vikingland Band Festival Parade Marching Championship in Alexandria, Minn.

The show will be held at the Alexandria Area High School’s Viking Savings Bank Field at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25. MBI will be joined by the Govenaires of St. Peter and Minneapolis’ Chops Inc. in presenting their 2016 field shows for the first time. Also appearing will be the Calgary Stampede Showband, Calgary Stetson Show Band and Calgary Round-Up Band, all from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The host Alexandria Marching Band will also perform.  Tickets to the show are $6 in advance; $9 at the door.Vikingland Band Festival

Show co-founder Ken Martinson, an Alexandria native who now lives in Nashville, Tenn., said the unjudged show will feature the presentation of a “fan favorite” award, noting the show will be “nice for the corps to participate in a supportive and relaxed dress rehearsal for everybody to debut their shows.”

The following day will feature the annual Vikingland Band Festival Parade Marching Championship, a bands-only event that will feature more than 2,000 performers representing 24 units, including 19 in competition and the units appearing Saturday night.

Martinson, whose drum corps experience was playing with the Hutchinson (Kansas) Sky Ryders, is also a judge, instructor and founder of the popular marching.com website. For him, the highlight of the weekend is “the camaraderie that exists between MBI and all the high-school bands that compete. Most of MBI’s staff has either marched with or are on staff with the high-school bands appearing at Vikingland. Plus, the audience gets to see both the field-show and street sides of the marching activity during the weekend.

“We tend to forget there is always a new audience among the kids,” he said. “A good number of people here have never seen a drum corps show. This event introduces a whole new generation to the drum corps activity, and lets them know that after graduation the all-age corps offer an opportunity to continue to perform.”

Under the B – a ‘break’

By | Drum & Bugle Corps | No Comments

We’re taking a summer break from Coach Purse Bingo, but we’ll be back in the fall.

keep-calm-and-no-bingoWith the advent of softball, baseball, volleyball, tennis, cricket, horseshoe, pickleball, soccer, swimming, biking, hiking, gardening seasons – and vacations, if you can work one in through all of that – we decided it was unfair to hold an indoor event during Minnesota’s fabled (i.e., short) summer.

We’ll be back at Joe Senser’s Sports Theater in Roseville on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Keep an eye on this site for updates as the date nears for times and the possibility of even more prizes.

See you then!

MBI’s Palmer vies for music educator award

By | Drum & Bugle Corps | No Comments

Scott Palmer, the brass caption supervisor for Minnesota Brass, is among nearly 300 quarterfinalists to win the 2017 Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation.

Palmer, a band director at Eden Prairie High School, is one of five Minnesota music educators in contention for the prestigious award. The others are Eric Songer (Chaska Middle School, West Chaska), Peter Meyer (St. Cloud State University), Geneva Fitzsimonds (South View Middle School, Edina) and Adrian Davis (Roosevelt High School, Minneapolis). He also is on the brass instructional staff with California’s Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps.

The music educator of the year and nine other finalists will receive cash honorariums supported by the GRAMMY Foundation’s Education Champions: Converse, Disney Performing Arts, the Ford Motor Co. Fund and Journeys. Additionally, the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, the NAMM Foundation and the National Education Association support the program through outreach to their constituencies.

Palmer is among 290 music teachers from 41 states have reached the quarterfinals. More than 3,300 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states. The award will be presented during GRAMMY Week 2017.