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#mbi16 Archives - Minnesota Brass

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

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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.”

Color Guard and Front Line Auditions April 20 (no rehearsal April 13)

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Attention all passengers!  Minnesota Brass’s 2016 production, Now Boarding is preparing for take off and we’re looking to fill our last few seats.

Wednesday evening, April 20 auditions for the color guard and front line ensemble will take place at Brooklyn Center High School starting at 6:30 p.m.  RSVP today and let us know you’re planning to soar this summer.

There is NO REHEARSAL for any section on April 13.

Rehearsal starts at 6:30 but plan to arrive between 6 and 6:30 to get registered and get equipment. (If you haven’t already paid a 2016 audition fee to any Minnesota Brass ensemble, you will also pay your $25 audition fee when you register.) Check out these important details about Wednesday’s rehearsal and audition schedule:
  • Brooklyn Center High School is located at 6500 Humbold Ave. North in Brooklyn Center
  • Registration opens at 6 and rehearsal starts promptly at 6:30.  Rehearsal ends at 10 p.m.
  • Please enter through Door 23–the door closest to the large parking lots.
  • Bring a friend!  We will welcome walk-ins so feel free to invite others or forward this note.
  • Color Guard auditionees:  You’ll be moving and spinning so dress ready to move!
  • Positions in the horn line and battery are currently full.  However, we are accepting a select group of individuals to serve as alternates this season if a spot opens up.  Please email us (or simply stop by a Wednesday rehearsal) if you’d like to be considered for an alternate role.
Still not sure?  Check out our quick guide for more information!

MBI Winter Guard Places 10th at WGI World Championships

By | Drum & Bugle Corps, MBI Winterguard | No Comments

The MBI Winter Guard wrapped up their 2016 season with a stellar performance at the WGI Independent A Class World Championships in Dayton, Ohio Saturday placing 10th with a final score of 87.615.  Competition began Thursday with 70 units.  “I’m so very proud of what the guard accomplished this year,” said Minnesota Brass executive director Eric Molho.  “The members and staff had a phenomenal season and earned a great honor as a top-ten finalist in national competition.”  Other Minnesota finalists at WGI competition included Elk River High School (5th place in Scholastic A Class competition) and Eden Prairie High School (19th place in Scholastic Open Class competition).

Auditions for the Minnesota Brass drum and bugle corps color guard are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, April 20 at Brooklyn Center High School  See our Quick Guide for more information.