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Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps to go Inactive in 2018

By April 23, 2018Drum & Bugle Corps

The Minnesota Brass, Inc. leadership and its board of directors have decided not to field a competitive drum and bugle corps for the 2018 summer season. Despite the outstanding work of the artistic staff, marching members and the administrative team thus far this year, the corps has not been able to recruit a large enough base of brass members to field a summer program that meets the historically high performance standards audiences expect from Minnesota Brass.

The board has invited staff and existing members to explore the potential of creating a SoundSport ensemble that would perform at the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis on Saturday, August 11. An informational meeting regarding the potential SoundSport ensemble will be held on Saturday, April 28, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids, Minn.

“The decision to withdraw from the 2018 competitive drum corps season was a very difficult one,” said Todd Tanji, Minnesota Brass executive director. “Unfortunately, the competitive drum corps activity has experienced a decline in members and audiences over the past several seasons, and we’re feeling the pressure in Minnesota as well.”

The corps elaborated on some of the reasons for the decision:

  • Minnesota Brass has had difficulty recruiting enough members for the brass section.
  • The Drum Corps Associates (DCA) competitive schedule is both a recruiting and strategic challenge that puts the organization at odds with high-school and college music programs, particularly over the Labor Day weekend when DCA holds its championship competition. This has limited the corps’ ability to create beneficial partnerships with music educators at the high-school and college levels.
  • Retention of multi-year veteran members has declined in recent years adding complications to our recruiting efforts
  • It is expensive for potential members to participate in the ensemble despite significant subsidies the organization uses to keep member dues far below the actual costs of running the drum corps.
  • It is increasingly challenging to recruit and retain talented, committed staff to lead all sections. We have been extremely fortunate to have stable, long-standing staff leadership in some aspects of the program, but other commitments of musical educators have become more prevalent in recent years.

Minnesota Brass Inc., a vibrant drum and bugle corps entity in Minnesota for more than 70 years, remains a healthy and viable performing-arts organization with stable finances and committed leadership. We anticipate no changes to our existing winter color guard and percussion ensembles. The board will be conducting a comprehensive review of the organization’s strategy in the coming months.

Minnesota Brass will continue to uphold its commitments to Drum Corps International as local partners for the 2018 summer events DCI Minnesota and March On! However, the organization will not sponsor the Sounds of Minnesota event this year.

For more information contact:

Eric Molho
Chair, Board of Directors


  • Amy L. Snook says:

    Extremely sorry to read this. Always looked forward to seeing your production. Best wishes to you all.

  • Michael Pafka says:

    My prayers go out for the Corps and all involved. Your plight is felt in other organizations as well. My hopes are you keep the interest of the remaining members strong and return in 2019. Having lived through this issue in both Jr and Sr corps myself, I feel your pain. Best wishes for a return soon. You will be missed until you do.

  • Tim Boardman says:

    That is truly saddening. DCA can’t afford to lose another great corps. Hope things will work out in the future.

  • Donnie Solinger says:

    Very sorry to hear this. The reason’s you give for suspending your competitive season are very familiar. In 1996 we briefly considered taking the same course of action. Somehow we pulled it together and and survived. I’m hoping the same miracle happens for you. DCA without MBI is a grim and somber prospect indeed.

    Donald H. Solinger Jr.
    Reading Buccaneers
    Corps Historian

  • It is always a shame and disappointing to see this happen. MB has been a contender for several years. If you have brass members still interested in marching this season, Heat Wave in Florida has limited brass openings. They may contact stathis.l@heatwavedrumcorps.org

  • Bill Klein says:

    you have broke my heart! I offered to help…

  • BD says:

    “Unfortunately, the competitive drum corps activity has experienced a decline in members and audiences over the past several seasons, and we’re feeling the pressure in Minnesota as well.”

    Proof is in the pudding. Nobody likes the changes going on in the world of “drum corps”. Perhaps if DCA stopped trying to copy everything DCI did, then more people would stay with the activity and we wouldn’t have to read posts like this.

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