When Minnesota Brass takes the field this season, members are wearing more than new uniforms — they’re also proudly bearing a new tradition in the form of corps necklaces. The neckwear was presented for the first time to performers and staff members at last fall’s end-of-season banquet to denote how long each person has been with the drum and bugle corps. But for corps director Eric Molho, the necklaces mean much more than that. “It’s important for all of us to have tangible, meaningful reminders that we’re all part of one organization — and many of us refer to that organization as a family,” he said. “The necklace helps serve as a reminder across different ensembles, different seasons, different sections that we all share a common experience and common connection.” To create the necklaces, Molho enlisted the help of baritone/euphonium section leaders Jacob Welle and Sam Springer, and Linda Belcher of the support staff. The trio drew inspiration from similar efforts from DCI corps such as Spirit of Atlanta, the Madison Scouts and the Colts of Dubuque, Iowa — all of which count Minnesota Brass members among their alumni. “We looked at a few websites to find a ‘look,’ something that was meaningful to us,” Springer said. “But truth is our logo was what we valued most.” Their efforts resulted in necklaces that featured a large center bead with the Minnesota Brass logo on a black cord, along with a variety of beads with meanings depending on color and style:
* Blue round bead: marching field member * Gray bead: staff member (field, support, administration, board) * White bead: one year with the corps * Black bead: five years * Silver bead: 10 years * Gold bead: 20 years * Red bead: 30 years * Wooden bead: winter drumline member * Light blue glass bead: winter color guard member (A small blue glass bead, available for 2014 only, honors the memory of Kayla Koranda, 18, a member of the winter drumline who was killed in January.) “The beads per section tied them together, and the years just held tight to the fact that we never age out of drum corps; we just age in to senior corps,” Springer said.
Now, thanks to the corps necklaces, members can carry around a little part of Minnesota Brass wherever they go. “For each individual, the necklace is now something every member has to signify their experience,” Molho said. “While many of us have jackets and all of us have memories, the corps previously did not make sure that every member had a memento, a reminder of what it is they have accomplished as an individual performer. Hopefully, the necklace will be a source of pride as people recall their own hard work, commitment to excellence and positive experience with the corps.”
(Any Minnesota Brass alumni who are interested in getting a necklace representing their involvement with the corps should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)