For years, the alumni corps platform has been a key tenet of Drum Corps Associates, offering former members of the junior and senior corps activities the opportunity to tap back into their talents and memories.
At Sunday morning’s DCA Alumni Spectacular, held as part of the 2023 DCA World Championships, an array of alumni corps got the chance to take the Rochester Community Sports Complex stage, and take advantage of the unique alumni corps activity.
And for Star United member Andy Tye, like many others, it was most certainly a highlight of an eventful championship weekend.
“You could tell when we were done, how appreciative the crowd was,” Tye said. “We have so much respect for all the other groups that are here.”
While 2022’s alumni event took place under misty conditions and cloudy skies, 2023’s Sunday morning weather was bright, sunny and altogether ideal for a morning of drum corps performances.
“It’s unbelievable,” Tye said. “Not much wind, super sunny, it’s not crazy hot, perfect.”
Sunday’s events featured seven performing groups in total, with ensembles of alumni representing the following drum corps: Tri Valley Brass, Freelancers, Mighty St. Joe’s, Star United, Hamburg Kignsmen, New York Skyliners, and Hawthorne Caballeros.
The event included a pair of alumni corps that also took part in DCA World Championships as Mini Corps — those being Freelancers Alumni and Star United, who took first place and second place respectively at Friday’s annual Mini Corps competition.
For Tye, while the Mini Corps platform offered a positive indoor venue for friendly competition, the Sunday morning alumni corps provided a much-appreciated opportunity to get outdoors and under the sun.
“We sound way better outside, I think everybody does,” “Being able to have the opportunity to come here and perform in this venue, which not a lot of Mini Corps normally do, was really great for us. We very much enjoyed the other night as well, but it’s great to be able to play outside.”
For Steve Rondinaro, a prominent drum corps broadcast host who had the opportunity to attend 2023’s DCA championship weekend, the alumni spectacular was a brand-new experience.
Rondinaro dusted off his baritone to help bring Hamburg Kingsmen’s alumni performance to life.
“That was a ton of fun,” he said. “This is my first time having a uniform on and a horn in my hand since 1975 when I aged out (of drum corps). These guys are great to play with.”
Also included in Sunday morning’s festivities, drum corps historian Bill Ives shared a brief intermission presentation with an appreciative Rochester audience, featuring several artifacts from across drum corps history.
Sunday’s alumni event featured an array of other musical highlights, including the always-popular Freelancers performing the likes of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “MacArthur Park,” a standing ovation for Mighty St. Joe’s rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and New York Skyliners’ renditions of drum corps classics with Skyliners ‘A’ Class competing DCA corps in supportive attendance. Skyliners also threw in an added encore of Bobby Sherwod’s “Elk’s Parade” to boot.
Rounding out Sunday’s lineup, a large contingent of Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni brought a rousing performance of several fan-favorite tune to close the all-around memorable event on a loud, high, and positive note.
“They do it for the love of making music,” Rondinaro said of the event as a whole. “These guys, they live it, they love it. It’s just the sheer joy of doing drum corps, for the fun of it. That’s it.”
With a memorable morning of alumni celebration and recognition in the books, all eyes at the 2023 DCA World Championships will focus to Sunday night’s DCA Finals, set for 5 p.m. ET at the Rochester Community Sports Complex.