Troopers Announce 2017 Program
The Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps are proud to present "Duels & Duets." For details concerning our 2017 show, follow us on Facebook or check out our video series with Robert W. Smith and take a detailed look into what you can expect from this year's show! To see the video series got to www.YouTube.com/TroopersDrumCorps
A legacy matched by few. Patty Crimm passes away.
It is with great sadness that we must report the passing of beloved member and Treasurer of the Troopers Board of Directors, Patty Crimm. Patty passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer.
She had served as an officer of Trooper Promotions, INC and then on the Board of Directors for nearly two decades, raising four children along the way, three of whom became Troopers themselves, her youngest becoming Drum Major in 2005.
Her steady leadership over the years helped guide the organization into one of it's most healthy periods in Trooper history and she remained dedicated to the mission of the corps until this very day.
She leaves behind a legacy matched by few. Everyone at the Troopers organization will miss her dearly. Our hearts are with her family at this time.
God bless you Patty. We love you. HLD
Announcing our 2017 Operations Manager!
We are pleased to announce our new Operations Manager, Heather Brown. Her experience will surely take the logistics of the corps to the next level.
"The Troopers have such a long rich history and is a true gem in the activity. I could not be more honored and grateful to be part of this organization." -Heather Brown
Check out Heather's experience by reading her bio below.
Troopers Launch New Audition Platform
The Troopers are pleased to announce the official launch of www.MarchTroopers.com. This site has been created to make auditioning for the Troopers a more streamlined and broad experience.
Today we are announcing a few exciting opportunities.
On December 10th we are holding a one day Brass Audition Camp in the Boise, Idaho area.
On December 3rd we are holding a Brass and Colorguard Audition in Lebanon, Indiana.
Our full corps camps are still on track outside the Dallas, TX area for both November & December and then we will conduct all winter rehearsal camps outside the Dallas area between January and April.
Finally, Video Auditions are now accepted, making it possible for you to take your first step into the Troopers from anywhere in the world!
Visit www.MarchTroopers.com to take your first steps with the Troopers!
Troopers Announce 2017 Percussion Staff
The Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps is pleased to announce the entire 2017 Percussion staff. Returning Caption Head Lauren Teel had encouraging words for about this year's team;
"The amount of knowledge and experience the 2017 Troopers percussion staff brings to the ensemble is incredible. The percussion program has continued to grow over the past few years with returning vets, and with this great staff I expect to see the group reach new heights. It's sure to be a year for the books, and I'm very excited!" -Lauren
Those interested in joining the Troopers percussion program can register for the upcoming Experience Camp by visiting the Auditions tab.
Front Ensemble Tech
Front Ensemble Tech
Legacy of the Troopers
Today we are excited to spotlight the Trooper legacy with an energy packed movie style trailer. This video is inspired by our motto of Honor, Loyalty and Dedication. While putting this video together, our video team focused heavily on the meaning of those words. Themes consisted of honoring our past, being loyal to our present and remaining dedicated to our future.
We should all be very proud of our history and the strength of where we are today. We hope this video reminds all of our fans, alumni, current and future members of how exciting it is to be a part of this legendary brand.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Troopers, be sure to register online at: www.MarchTroopers.com
Troopers Announce 2017 Guard Staff
The Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps is pleased to announce the entire 2017 Color Guard staff. Color Guard Caption Head Susan Hanggi and Color Guard Designer/Choreographer Adam Dalton are very enthusiastic about the upcoming season;
"Each of these staff members bring a passion and love for teaching. I am extremely excited about working alongside this team's experience and talent, and I look forward to seeing what we will create." -Susan Hanggi, Color Guard Caption Head
“I am excited to be returning for a second year to work with the incredible staff and performers at Troopers. Susan Hanggi has assembled an incredible team of educators that will help make the Trooper Color Guard better than ever. It's going to be an incredible year!” - Adam Dalton, Color Guard Designer/Choreographer
Color Guard Tech
Color Guard Tech
Color Guard Tech
Color Guard Tech
Color Guard Tech
Color Guard Tech
Troopers Officially Partner with Youtube
The Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps is excited to announce that they have officially partnered with YouTube. Now, when fans watch Trooper videos on YouTube, the corps benefits from their interaction. In addition, it is now easy, simple and fun to donate to the drum corps.
Each Friday the corps will release video content, including a new series titled “From the Archives” that will take our fans down memory lane, with access to never before seen material from the Troopers archive room. Throughout the year and especially during the summer tours, professional video programming will be a major part of the Troopers online presence.
As our fans watch videos, a card will pop up that allows them to donate in one simple step, right from the video player. From $5 to any amount beyond will be accepted and 100% of donations go directly to the corps. This interactive experience is accessible using a phone, tablet or a computer making it the fastest and most convenient way to give. In addition, through our partnership with YouTube, every time a video is watched, the corps makes money.
“Following in the same pioneering spirit that brought us the “The Troopers are Coming” documentary back in 1970, we are thrilled to be on the cutting edge of the new media economy. We look forward to giving our fans the best entertainment experience possible as a thank you for their consistent support of America’s Corps.” -Michael Gough, Troopers Marketing Director
Every week is a new opportunity to give to the Troopers at any level. Thank you for your support!
Dieter Wiselogel Added to Team as Digital Media Specialist
The Troopers are pleased to announce Dieter Wiselogel as our Digital Media Specialist. His expertise with the new media economy is second to none. His involvement at Troopers will help revolutionize our multi-media platforms and bring the corps to the cutting edge of digital media.
“I am very excited to once again be collaborating with Dieter. Since co-producing “Hell Bent for Victory” back in 2009, Dieter has gone on to establish himself as a media expert in the field of Drum Corps and beyond. Having him stationed in the heart of Hollywood gives us an incredible edge that will help keep us ahead of the curve in the digital media field.” -Michael Gough, Troopers Marketing Director
2017 Visual Staff Announced
The Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps is pleased to announce their entire 2017 visual staff. Incoming Visual Caption Heads Pat Miller and Todd Clevenger had this to say about the robust visual program;
"We are excited to announce the Visual Team for the 2017 Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps. With an exciting mixture of points of view and perspectives that all have common experiences together for more than a decade-we are confident that the members of The Long Blue Line will receive and enjoy a World Class Visual Education." -Pat Miller and Todd Clevenger, Visual Caption Heads
Troopers Announce Entire 2017 Brass Staff
The Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps is pleased to announce their entire 2017 brass staff. Incoming Brass Caption Head, Anthony Cruddas had exciting insights into what we can expect from the instructional team.
“I am very excited about the brass instructional team we have assembled for 2017. Several key appointments, including Tim Leonelli as Assistant Caption Head and DCI Hall of Fame Member Frank Williams as consultant, the continued involvement of Donnie VanDoren and Marc Whitlock, and a number of both new and returning staff, will provide the members a positive educational experience and a direct line to some of the top professionals in the activity.” -Anthony Cruddas, Brass Caption Head
Troopers Announce 2017 Caption Heads
"Over the past four years, we have established and maintained a methodical and calculated course of development in an effort to build a solid foundation and future. Our Caption Head team for 2017 strengthens our effort and allows us to move forward at an even greater pace in this regard.
With Anthony Cruddas and Lauren Teel leading the brass and percussion programs respectively, along with the addition of Susan Hanggi leading the color guard program and Todd Clevenger and Pat Miller leading the visual program, I couldn't be happier with the maturity, experience, professionalism and educational approach that this team brings to the Troopers. The role modeling and education that our students will receive is second to none. Our kids are in really good hands.
Our Caption Heads are putting together their caption teams now. Full staff announcements by caption to come over the next week or so."
-Donnie VanDoren, Staff/Program Coordinator
Donnie has extensive experience in the drum and bugle corps activity. From 1980-84, he was the Brass Caption Head with the Garfield Cadets, which won the Jim Ott Award for high brass in 1983 and 1984 while simultaneously winning their first two world championships. In 1985, VanDoren served as the Brass Caption Head with the Troopers, which returned to the DCI Finals, placing 9th.
Donnie was the Brass Caption Head with Star of Indiana in 1986 and from 1988-93. Star won the Jim Ott Award for high brass in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993, and won the world championships in 1991. From 1994-98, Donnie served as Brass Theater’s Music Manager and helped the organization transition into the BLAST! production that has been performing in the U.S. and abroad since 1999.
In 1998 and 1999, VanDoren was the Brass Caption Head with the Cadets of Bergen County, winning the world championships in 1998. From 2005-2009, Donnie was a brass advisor with Carolina Crown; from 2006-2011, was an advisor with the Blue Stars, which returned to the DCI Finals in 2008; from 2010-2014, was the Staff Coordinator & Brass Caption Supervisor with the Madison Scouts. Since 2013, he is the Program Coordinator, Staff Coordinator, and Brass Staff Supervisor with the Troopers; and since 2016, he is a brass consultant with the Bluecoats.
Donnie VanDoren is an inductee of the Cadets Hall of Fame, the Star of Indiana Wall of Fame, and the DCI Hall of Fame.
Donnie has his own Management Consulting Company, VanDoren Management Group, and is the Casting Director for Mason Entertainment Group, a position he has held since 2005.
Donnie lives in Cedar Park, TX with his wife Laurie, son Evan, and daughter Carrie.
Lauren Teel is an accomplished percussion performer, arranger, and teacher with experience across the USA. She is the Adjunct Instructor of Percussion at the University of North Alabama and the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is the Percussion Caption Head for the DCI World Class Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps and a member of the DoubleStop Percussion Education Team.
Lauren earned her Masters in Percussion Performance at Indiana University. She earned a B.M. in Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas. Her studies have allowed her to study with renowned percussionists including Kevin Bobo, Steve Houghton, Michael Spiro, Paul Rennick, John Tafoya, Mark Ford, Christopher Deane, She-E Wu, Robert Schietroma and Ed Smith. While pursuing her masters degree she was the Front Ensemble Coordinator for the BOA Grand Nationals Finalist Center Grove Band in Greenwood, IN. Prior to graduate school, she held the position of Director of Percussion at Allatoona High School in Cobb County, Georgia.
In 2014, Lauren was selected to perform at PASIC in Indianapolis, IN, for Leigh Howard Stevens clinic “Marimbists Guide to Performing Bach”. She was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Great Plains International Marimba Competition in Oklahoma City, OK. In 2012, Lauren had the privilege of traveling to Chennai, India to perform for an audience of over 75,000 people with Oscar-winning composer, A.R. Rahman. Lauren also appeared in the 2013 blockbuster, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as a timpanist. While living in Atlanta, Lauren performed as a member of the NFL Atlanta Falcons Drumline. She is a member of the entertainment group, The Wrecking Crew, based out of Atlanta, GA.
While attending the University of North Texas, Lauren was a member of the 17-time PAS National Champion University of North Texas Indoor Drumline. In 2008, the group won first place at PASIC and in 2011 they traveled to Europe for a special guest performance at the 2011 IPE Championships. She was a member of the 2009 and 2010 Phantom Regiment percussion ensemble, which received the 2010 Fred Sanford Award for high percussion, and of the 2011 Santa Clara Vanguard. Both ensembles were under the instruction of Paul Rennick.
In her spare time Lauren pursues her other passion of working with animals by volunteering at the Georgia Aquarium, Indianapolis Zoo, and with Indiana Canine Assistant Network as a certified service dog trainer. She is also an avid swimmer, trained lifeguard, and certified scuba diver.
Lauren is an endorser of Marimba One and Innovative Percussion.
Susan Hanggi, originally from Atlanta, GA, began her education training at Kennesaw State University earning a Bachelor Degree in Secondary Education with a Minor in History. She continued her studies at the University of North Texas and received a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Throughout her academic studies, she marched drum corps at the Santa Clara Vanguard and the Phantom Regiment. She also maintained constant membership at Pride of Cincinnati and Phantom Regiment Winterguards.
As a colorguard instructor, Susan has worked with renowned organizations such as Kell High School, Kennesaw Mountain High School, Phantom Regiment and Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps and their respective winterguards. She has also served as caption head for the Madison Scouts. Today, Susan lives in Denton, Texas. She teaches PreAP World Geography in Keller ISD, serves as President of the North Texas Colorguard Association, and is the Director of Colorguard at Guyer High School.
Anthony Cruddas is a Texas-based Designer, Arranger, Instructor, Adjudicator & Clinician of high school, college, and world class marching bands, drum corps, and indoor percussion ensembles. Anthony currently holds the position of Brass Caption Supervisor for the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps from Casper, Wyoming. Most recently, he served as a Low Brass Instructor and Ensemble Specialist with the corps in 2016.
From 2014 – 2015, Anthony held the position of Brass Caption Head for the 25-time DCI World Class Finalist Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps from San Antonio, Texas. While on the Crossmen faculty, the corps returned to DCI Finals competition for two consecutive years, earning the highest 12th place score in DCI history in 2014 and an 11th place finish in brass performance in 2015.
From 2011 – 2013, Anthony served as Lead Technician and Low Brass Instructor on the Brass Staff of the 15-time DCI Finalist Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps from Boston, Massachusetts. In 2013, the Boston Crusaders were selected to perform at both the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC and the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Additionally, Anthony taught the brass section of the DCI Open Class Finalist Revolution Drum & Bugle Corps from San Antonio, Texas in 2010, and has been on the Instructional Staff of Imperial Percussion Theater, a WGI Independent World indoor percussion ensemble from Houston, Texas.
As an adjudicator, Anthony has served as an Ensemble and Individual music judge for marching bands in all classifications throughout the United States. Since 2014, Anthony has been named to the adjudication panels for the US Bands National Championship events.
Anthony resides in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area where he works as a Project Manager and also maintains an active designing and teaching schedule. He holds an Associate of Arts in Music from Blinn College, has completed additional studies at Stephen F. Austin State University and is a member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, the Texas Music Educators Association, the International Tuba-Euphonium Association and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Serving as a designer, instructor, consultant and adjudicator, Todd Clevenger has been involved in the pageantry arts for more than thirty years. DCI, WGI, BOA and circuits across the country have seen finalist performances from groups with which Todd has worked. Well-versed in all facets of our activity, Todd is currently active in marching band, drum corps, winter guard, indoor percussion, and indoor winds.
A long list of respected programs have benefitted from the wealth of knowledge and student-centered approach that Todd brings to his teaching. Northmont High School in Ohio, Mililani H.S. (Hawaii), Las Vegas H.S. (Nevada), and Greenwood, Ben Davis, and Center Grove.
High Schools in Indiana are some of the programs Todd has enjoyed working with. For five years beginning in 2004, Todd was thrilled to be on the visual staff of the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps from Toledo, Ohio. It was then his privilege to accept the position of visual caption head for the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps from Denver, Colorado. Todd held this position in 2013 and 2014.
Todd also served three years as the visual caption head for Indianapolis Independent (I-Two) Percussion Ensemble from Indianapolis, Indiana, a program which was an Independent World Class finalist two of those years. In addition to teaching indoor percussion groups each winter, Todd is an active adjudicator and announcer, working for circuits nationally. His voice may be recognizable as WGI Percussion World Championships frequently find him behind the microphone serving as one of the voices of the Sport of the Arts.
Todd holds a baccalaureate degree in education (B.S.) from Indiana State University. He and his wife, Michelle, live in Greenwood, Indiana where they are the proud parents of two feline children, Fang and Waldo. A proud Hoosier by birth, Todd passionately follows his beloved state teams: the Indiana Hoosiers, Indianapolis Colts, and the Indiana Pacers. He also enjoys reading, cooking, and participating in competitive team trivia.
"I am honored and thrilled to be joining such a recognizable and iconic organization as the Troopers. The opportunity to work with my long-time friend Pat Miller as Co-Caption Head is a dream come true for me. Being able to collaborate with and learn from some of the most successful and legendary names in our activity is a rare and exciting opportunity. I am eager to get to work and make fans fall in love with America's Corps over and over again!"
Pat Miller has been involved in the world of the pageantry arts for over 25 years as an educator, designer, adjudicator, clinician and consultant. Originally starting his career as a performer with the Garfield Cadets, Pat has served in many roles including drill designer, visual caption head, instructor and consultant for several DCI, BOA, and scholastic championship programs. Pat’s involvement has included such outstanding DCI organizations as The Cadets (1988-90, 1995), The Glassmen (1997-2012), The Blue Knights (1992-93, 2013-14), and The Phantom Regiment (2015).
Scholastically, Pat has been instrumental in achieving multiple state championships in Virginia and Florida, and has been involved with Lassiter High School (GA), Center Grove High School (IN), Plymouth Canton (MI), Thomas Jefferson HS of Science and Technology (VA), and is currently the Visual Coordinator and Designer for the Braden River High School Marching Band, the two-time class 3A Florida State Champions.
As of June 2016, Pat is the Director of the newly formed Horizon Winds, which along with the Horizon Winterguard, is part of the Horizon Performing Arts Association, Inc. out of Auburndale, Florida. Horizon Winds will debut as an Independent A Class ensemble in the FFCC and WGI circuits in 2017.
Pat is an active adjudicator throughout the Southeast and MidWest and has been a guest conductor at the University of Georgia Middle School Honor Band Festival in Athens, GA. Pat earned his Music Education degree from George Mason University and is currently in his twelfth year as the Director of Bands at The Out-of-Door Academy, a Pre K-12 independent college preparatory school in Sarasota, FL. Pat enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters at the beach and running Tough Mudder extreme endurance races.
“I am very excited to be a part of the Trooper organization. Robert Smith and I have worked together over the years and I look forward to once again working with one of the great musical geniuses of our generation. The opportunity to work with Donnie VanDoren is one I have wanted for many years, since I was a performer in the Garfield Cadets. I can’t wait to get together with Todd Clevenger and the rest of the team to provide top quality education to the Trooper performers.”
-Pat Miller, Visual Co-Caption Head
Our Amazing Alumni
It’s a powerful idea. And like many powerful ideas, it’s pretty simple:
One Troopers alumnus paired up with one current member of the Troopers. Or, as Amanda Fawn calls it, “Adopt a Trooper.” Nothing fancy. Just a name and a face to connect a current marching member to the Long Blue Line.
Hatched before the start of the 2016 season, the Adopt-a-Trooper idea so far has enlisted about 50 alums -- not quite enough yet for a 1-to-1 pairing with every member, but enough that every section of the corps -- trumpets, the battery, the rifles, and the rest -- has been adopted by one or more alumni. And the results have been gratifying, Amanda says.
“To see them after the (Casper) show, in groups, talking to the alumni, seeing the looks on the members’ faces was just priceless,” she said from Casper.
A color-guard member of the B Corps in 1979 and the A corps from 1980-1988, Amanda said the idea was proposed to her by another alum, Jon Beerman, who lives near Columbus, Ohio. Via Facebook, Amanda announced the initiative and asked alums to pick a section, and then reach out.
“Introduce yourself. Send a letter. Write about how you felt when you first stepped on the field. How you felt when you aged out,” Amanda said.
“I’m not looking for you to spend a whole lot of money. All I’m asking is to start bridging that gap between the alums and the corps.”
Simple, but powerful.
One alum found the handwritten music from one of his seasons in the horn line, and shared it with today’s baritones. Amanda gave roses -- yellow, of course -- to the color guard at the Casper show. One front-ensemble alum drove from California to the Denver show to help another alum bring food to the pit. A mellophone alum plans something special for the mellos during finals week.
The current members have noticed. A color guard member posted on her Facebook wall: “I am loving our alumni.”
As heartwarming as it may be, alumni support may be more necessary than ever, Amanda says. In the mobile, digital age, Troopers can see all kinds of online discussion about their performance -- the good, bad and the ugly -- before the buses even roll out of the parking lot.
“When we marched, we didn’t have social media,” Amanda says. “We didn’t know if there were negative comments or not.” In an an age of instant, unfiltered feedback, Troopers alumni can provide a steady, encouraging voice.
“Realizing that the alumni are behind you no matter what, that helps,” she says.
2016 Troopers Hall of Fame Inductees
Where Jim Jones required professionalism from his corps, Ken Davis delivered. Ken excelled in the community, he did so all the more as a Trooper; professional as a performer, contributor to his community, and completing his final performances marching in the Troopers’ first true national championship, the World Open. In perspective, it makes sense that the Troopers and Jim Jones would need members like Ken Davis to achieve so much. Ken delivered like no Trooper horn player ever before.
Ken Davis proved himself worthy of Jim Jones' vision. Since joining the brand new Troopers in its first year, 1958, Ken Davis began as a classical trombone player, his work as a baritone bugler set him apart. Better, Ken's devotion and leadership delivered a nucleus of musicians that complimented and amplified the demands of Jim Jones' goals.
After marching with the Casper Troopers from 1957 to 1966, Pete Emmons continued his association with the drum corps activity teaching the Anaheim Kingsmen in 1967. In 1968 he and fellow Trooper Fred Sanford joined Gail Royer, beginning a collaboration that established the Santa Clara Vanguard as a drum corps powerhouse. Pete Emmons' involvement with SCV set the stage for a new generation of movement on the field. As a drill writer, Pete changed the look of drum corps forever, creating drill technique that evolved into a new world of creative shapes and movement. As a renowned drill designer of the ‘60s and ‘70s, he broke with tradition to introduce the asymmetrical drill. Pete Emmons broadened the scope of the drum corps drills and changed them to more of a choreographed style that made the group known as the Santa Clara Vanguard synonymous with the meaning of the word - Vanguard. That style, so revolutionary in the 1970s when the SCV pioneered it, evolved into what drum corps is today. The impact Pete made on drum corps and the Santa Clara Vanguard continues to this day.
As a marching member, drum major, instructor, director, volunteer, there are few people who live the values of loyalty and dedication as Mat does.
Mat has put his blood, sweat, and sacrifice into this organization for greater than 20 years. Even now he works to help support the corps through the bingo operations and various volunteer activities. Always a leader, always a mentor, and always a friend there is nobody more deserving of this honor than Mat Krum.
Gene Monterastelli was instrumental in the development of the modern concept of the touring drum corps, and for his role in the design and implementation of today's DCI judging system. Gene began his drum corps career as a marching member of the Marquette Crusaders in Ottawa, Ill. After working as an instructor for several drum corps in the Midwest, he became a Central States judge, and joined Jim Jones as assistant director of the Troopers of Casper, Wyo. With the advice of Jones and the Santa Clara Vanguard's Gail Royer, Gene led the movement toward the modern touring drum corps by organizing the Troopers' ambitious travel schedule in the early '70s. Gene became a DCl Judge in 1976. He has judged at all levels of competition, and has served as DCI's visual caption chairman. As a member of DCI's Task Force on Competition, he was instrumental in converting the "tick" system to today's system of evaluating and ranking drum corps. Later, Gene was an active, well-respected visual judge, known throughout the drum corps community for his fair and thorough approach to judging. He most recently has served as a consultant to various corps. Gene was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame in 1993
Fred Sanford began his drum corps experience as a drummer with the Troopers soon after the Corps’ inception in 1959. Although his contributions to the Corps were substantial, Fred’s ambition to become a motivating influence to the activity stretched far beyond the boundaries of Wyoming.
After his time in the Long Blue Line, Fred moved to the Santa Clara Vanguard, where he spent more than 15 years developing percussion writing and was instrumental in transforming it into a truly symphonic art. Some of Fred’s best known arrangements are SCV's "Fiddler on the Roof," "Appalachian Spring" and "Young Person's Guide to Drum Corps." Sanford’s illustrious drum corps career included arranging for the Blue Devils and for the Troopers, where he also spent time as program coordinator in 1990-91.
For his contributions to the activity, Fred was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame in 1991. Prematurely, Fred passed away in 2000, having left his distinctive mark on an activity in which his influence is still felt to this day.
Troopers Alumni Association Elections
Nominations for the Troopers Alumni Association Committee will open July 1, and will close at the end of July 31. Nomination forms will be emailed July 1 or you can submit the online form below.
The Troopers Board of Directors, which established the TAA in 2003, knows that fulfilling the Troopers’ mission to help young people continually strive for excellence requires every element of the organization to be as aligned and effective as possible—from the students, to the educators, to the administration, to the alumni.
All of us have seen the advancements in the programming and the performance of the Corps on the field. Less visible, but no less important, has been the progress in strengthening the Corps’ administration and finances. Now, in hopes of building on the momentum of the revival of TAA membership this year, the board seeks an election of a new TAA Committee to lead the alumni organization to become an even more vital contributor to the Troopers’ mission.
The TAA Committee is made up of seven to 10 members, each serving a term of two years. The current committee has served for two years.
The committee includes several officer positions: President; president-elect; immediate past president; secretary; treasurer; and one or more vice-presidents. Once the members of the committee are elected by the general TAA membership, the committee members elect the officers.
The TAA bylaws require that members have a 30-day window to make nominations to the TAA committee, and that the nomination window close no later than 30 days prior to the election. Under that calendar math, the earliest date to hold the TAA annual meeting and committee election will be September.
All active members of the TAA may nominate any other active member of TAA, including themselves, to serve on the committee.
The list of nominees will be presented to all active TAA members, who elect the committee at the TAA annual meeting. The annual meeting will be held in September, specific date TBD. It will be held online.
Rocky Mountain Rivalry
The best single opportunity for alumni to invest in the Troopers’ success
Okay, so you’ve got your TAA membership in place. How else can you help the Troopers succeed? By participating in the 2016 Rocky Mountain Rivalry vs. the Blue Knights. TAA membership and the Rocky Mountain Rivalry: Those are the focus of alumni financial support.
This is the time of year when all drum corps, Troopers included, have their most urgent need. The buses are running; the food truck is preparing four meals a day; the staff is working full-time. If you’re wondering how the TAA can concentrate its fundraising efforts to the maximum benefit of the Troopers, the annual Rocky Mountain Rivalry is it. This is the time to rally the Long Blue Line, have some fun, earn some bragging rights, and to help keep the Troopers a strong organization for the members of today and tomorrow.
The rivalry campaign begins with the Casper show, July 8. The Troopers will open a Rocky Mountain Rivalry website where you can participate. The staff will release a link to the site when the RMR begins. You don’t need to be a TAA member to participate in the RMR.
One of the more effective ways to encourage participation in the Rocky Mountain Rivalry is to set up an alumni challenge: A pledge to donate a certain amount if others combine to match it. You can challenge your fellow color-guard members from your days in the Corps. You can challenge your buddies in the snare line. You can challenge other Troopers alums in your state, or at a particular show this season. You want to beat the Blue Knights? This is your chance.
If you want to set up a challenge, email Thoro Constantinides. We will celebrate the various challenges in the newsletter after the RMR concludes.
Of course, some alums support members of the Troopers individually. Nothing we do as TAA is meant to interfere with such generous individual support. The group efforts of TAA are a way for all of us to coordinate our giving, keeping the number of alumni-oriented fundraising efforts to two: Annual memberships and the Rocky Mountain Rivalry.
Alumni Membership Update
It’s an exciting time for the Troopers. The Corps has begun its 2016 tour and many of us have made plans to see them at a show this summer. But the excitement isn’t only on the field. Here is some news that will put a bit of shine on your cross-sabres:
In the past three months, the membership of the Troopers Alumni Association has doubled!
In March, the TAA had 44 members, all of them lifetime members who had joined between 2004 and 2013. Since March, an additional 48 single and three family memberships have joined TAA.
TAA dues go into the scholarship pool to help current members satisfy their tuition requirements. We all know, all too well, how important financial strength and stability is to keeping a drum corps on the field. The surge of interest in TAA this year is something for us to capture and build upon.
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The progress of the past few months are the first small steps toward a vigorous, nationwide alumni group that provides current members with:
Encouragement and a helping hand
A connection to those who made today’s Corps possible
A reason to return and invite others to audition
A fun community they can look forward to joining
Of course, as TAA grows we want to create opportunities for members to gather for fun. More on that below. Meantime, please welcome those who have joined TAA this year:
New Single Members
New Family Members
- John & Sue Masterson
- Mike & Michelle Ottoes
- Cameron Payne
Ruth Anne Atnip
James D. McIntyre
T. Lynn Walden
To date in 2016, the new memberships, plus some separate donations to the scholarship pool, have raised more than $3,000. That’s the equivalent of full tuition for one Trooper. To those who have made this possible, thank you.
It’s a great start, but there is a long way to go yet. While we now have nearly 100 active TAA members, there are thousands more Troopers alumni to invite into an active, engaged Long Blue Line. This is your invitation. Start or renew your TAA membership today, and let’s double our numbers again by the time the Troopers take the field on finals night in August. The members are giving their all to achieve the highest level of performance excellence. Let’s do our part to keep the foundation strong and the Troopers capable of striving for the highest levels of organizational excellence. Click here to join TAA.
The Hero Journey Begins
After 31 days of preparation, the Troopers will begin their 2016 competitive season on Saturday, June 25, on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater field where they last performed on July 4, 2001.
Two months after that show, America was attacked in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
On Saturday, the Troopers will return to the UW-Whitewater field for the first time since that 2001 competition to debut their 2016 show, titled “Hero.” Among the elements of the performance is a passage involving emergency responders, whose sacrifices during and after Sept. 11, 2001, became so well known. They are, in part, inspiration for “Hero.”
And the members are eager to perform the show they’ve been refining for the past month, corps director Fred Morris said.
“They’re pretty comfortable with it,” he said by phone from the Troopers’ spring-training site in Lebanon, Ind. “Some of the detail items they’re working out. As for the show itself, they’re solid, they’re fine. We’ve been running it for three or four nights. Now it’s all those little details, and that’s going to happen all summer.”
In the final, frantic days and hours before the corps hits the road, Morris said, the staff is working out endless logistical minutiae -- how to move the corps in and out of stadiums; deciding who will haul what equipment to where -- along with the continuous attention to detail in the performance itself.
“From a spirit standpoint, they want to get on the road,” he said. “They want people to see it. They want some numbers, see where they are in the pile. They are ready to go.”
At the moment, they may be just as eager for laundry day, scheduled for Tuesday, June 21.
“They’re done with this,” Morris joked. “They’re okay, but it’s been tough. It’s extremely hot here. In the 90s, humidity in the 120s. It’s been stinky and sweaty. They’re grinding it out.”
First stop for “Hero”: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Thursday, June 23, where the Troopers will perform their show at 6:30 p.m. for a private gathering of the Indiana Music Educators Association and their invited high-school students.
The DCI Tour Premiere, the first contest of the 2016 season, will begin on that same field two hours later. The Troopers are not among the corps in the contest lineup.
Instead, they will be making their way to Wisconsin.
The “Whitewater Classic,” now in its sixth year, will feature eight corps, including the Troopers: Cadets; Cavaliers; Blue Stars; Colts; Pioneer; Colt Cadets; and Kilties. The Classic revived drum corps at UW-W after an absence of eight years from the DCI tour.
UW-Whitewater, 70 miles west of Milwaukee, was the home of the DCI Midwest championships throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s, before it receded from the annual schedule. Yet even the Troopers of 2016 know they will be marching into DCI -- and Troopers -- history when they step off Saturday at 8:04 p.m. Central Time.
On that field, on Aug. 18, 1972, the Troopers scored 81.95 to finish the first Drum Corps International world championship finals in 6th place. A year later, on Aug. 17, 1973, the Troopers scored 86.15 in finals, good for 2nd place.
“I’m really excited for two shows, one being the Whitewater, Wis., show, which is our first show of the season, and that also happens to be where the first world championships of Drum Corps International were held,” Troopers drum major Gabe Gallegos said in the first of a series of “11 Weeks” videos created by the corps.
The corps held its annual “history night” last week at the spring-training site, and some of the members learned for the first time the importance of Whitewater in the story of the Troopers, and of DCI.
“We said we’re going on sacred ground. A lot of them weren’t aware of that,” Morris said. “We discussed at length the Jim Jones involvement in the creation of DCI.” Members watched the video clip of Cavaliers director Don Warren telling the tale of the “bathroom meeting” with Jones that proved to be a pivotal moment in DCI’s formation.
In those days, the venue was called Warhawk Stadium, and held 11,000 fans. It was renamed, to Perkins Stadium, in 1996, in honor of UW-W’s longtime football coach and athletic director, Forrest Perkins. In 2008, the grass field was converted to synthetic turf, and seating was expanded to 13,500.
The hallowed ground has been updated, ready to showcase drum corps in 2016. Sort of like the Troopers themselves.
Vets Reflect on Competitive Camp Season
Perhaps it’s fortunate for Robby Chapa that he joined Troopers when he did, in 2013.
“Man, the kids that have come in so far would have blown everyone away in ‘13. I wouldn’t have been able to get a spot in ‘13, just because of the talent,” said Chapa, a baritone from Sugar Land, Texas, and the Troopers’ brass sargeant, several days before the start of the final offseason camp April 29 in Mesquite, Texas.
Chapa, preparing for his age-out season with the Troopers, has experienced, from the inside, the development of the corps’ horn line since the arrival of the design and instructional team led by Donnie VanDoren in 2013. And one of the big changes, he said, aside from the performance on the field, is the number and talent of the young people showing up at camps to compete for a spot in the corps.
Mellophone section leader Alec Cowan, of Eugene, Ore., has a somewhat broader perspective. He joined Troopers in 2012. His last camp season was winter 2014. He took a year off from drum corps, then returned in late 2015 to audition for Troopers for his final DCI season. The fast-forward effect was striking.
“It is ridiculous how much we have attracted this year,” he said. “I think at one camp we had upwards of 20 mellophones for 16 spots, which is ridiculous. I mean, my very first camp I think we had only three or four mellophones at the camp, so to see that dramatic of a shift in my time, certainly, it’s exciting.”
The April camp is a time to begin the full-corps experience. The sections are set. Color-guard members, now done with the WGI season, are at camp. Much of the activity shifts outdoors, to the field. The emphasis turns toward performing on the move.
“It’s not just being in a block, or your typical basics formation, but you begin to see each other on the field and see each other performing,” Cowan said. “It’s not just facing the guy clicking the sticks, but facing the stands and feeling what it’s like to be on the field as a corps. My rookie year, it was a big deal just being able to get on the field and experience that. It starts to set in that you’re in drum corps.”
Both vets say the Troopers’ 2016 show, “Hero,” will demand every ounce of effort and talent from the corps. Continuing a year-to-year trend, the demand and sophistication of the music and visual design have been ratcheted up.
“It’s very technical, it’s very experienced, it requires experience,” Cowan said. “It’s not just ‘loud drum corps,’ it’s very technical drum corps.”
“This year we’re combining the previous years’ experience with loudness,” he said. “We’re really combining that with technicality, and I think that’s been the last block in building this program here -- getting the sound, getting the highs and the lows, and now we’re building the intricacies of it.”
Even as they grapple with the show’s technical demands, the performers will have to contend with its emotional power. The Troopers will portray heroes of different kinds, from those who serve on the battlefield to the quiet, private heroes who face AIDS and cancer.
For baritone section leader Arlington Hayne of Terre Haute, Ind., the performance will be especially personal. He’s an emergency medical technician for an ambulance company, and volunteers with his local fire department as a firefighter and EMT.
"I am very excited for this summer, and I'm interested to see how we will play homage to all of our heroes, as I work with local heroes every day," he said.
The program features the Coldplay’s 2005 hit “Fix You,” an organ-based anthem written at the time when lead singer Chris Martin’s then father-in-law had died of cancer. Actress Blythe Danner, at that time Martin’s mother-in-law, has said she weeps every time she hears the song.
“I was emotional just hearing about it,” Chapa said. “ I don’t know how we’re going to get through it. It’s going to be like a roller-coaster, I think, both emotionally and technically.”
As powerful as the music is, the visual design is the heart of the show’s concept. The Troopers’ camp season ended last weekend as it had begun in November -- with a heightened emphasis on individual visual performance. Cowan said this has been another layer added to the overall Trooper program in his time with the corps.
“For vets and for new people, I think that is almost the most exciting thing about the year thus far,” he said. “Not just being able to go to camp and to play the music and gawk and be hyped about what you’re playing, but it’s also knowing that there is so much more to come, and that once we fit this on the field, there will be an entire new level to this show added.
“That is another thing that drives a lot of hype into this year that’s maybe a little bit different from (other) years: Knowing that the visual is going to be so different and crucial and important to the music.”
The emphasis on the visual started early in camp season, and not only with the performers’ movement. There was, for example, the detail of the horn stack. It’s a simple thing: When a section takes a break, the members line their instruments up neatly, in a row. Only, the Troopers spent half an hour of their free time at camp getting it just right.
Those are the kind of moments that raise the bar, and create a culture.
“Especially the rookies, they may not say it, but I notice that they’re definitely noticing the small details,” Chapa said. “You see new members getting their phones out to take a photo of the stack, to be able to post it on Facebook, show it to their friends, ‘This is how a stack should look. This is what we’re doing at the Troopers right now.’ “
With the stacks perfect, and with the final camp in the books, it’s time to look forward to move-ins.
“It’s one more step, no pun intended, toward being in drum corps and being a Trooper,” Cowan said. “It is not just basics block. It is drill, it is something unique to the Troopers, something unique to this year, and that is the exciting part of April, I think. It’s also the last before summer. After this, there are no more camps. After this, we are in Indiana, we are on the road, it is the kind of final checkpoint, and I think there is a lot of nostalgia around it that makes it a lot more special than other camps.”
NEW 2016 Uniforms
Perhaps the most daunting challenge to a drum corps' creative staff is meeting the ever-advancing expectations of today while holding on to the identity and history of the corps. Troopers visual coordinator Michael Raiford is the latest to pick up that assignment.
Uniforms not only are powerful symbols that connect directly to deeply-held feelings about a corps, typically they also are long-term investments that need to last several years. In overseeing the Trooper's new look, Raiford had to think beyond the 2016 production, "Hero," to shows in future years that have yet to be conceived. It's not just a look for the next show; it's a look for the future.
"We had to re-brand and create a new look for the Troopers," Raiford said. "Something that moves us forward." The overall palette is lighter, starting with the cream hats and jackets. The light-blue sleeves are rolled up. Multiplied by 120 musicians, the overall look is calculated to provide greater visual contrast between the drill forms and the green field than was possible in darker uniforms.
At the same time, Raiford said, "We wanted it to feel human, accessible. We were looking for the human quality of it, with clear nods to history."
About that history: No matter how much a uniform may change, it needs to be instantly recognizable. "When people see it, we want them to say, 'Who the -- ?' And then, 'It has to be Troopers,' " Raiford said. A moment of intrigue, followed by instant identification.
"We said, 'This is in your history. Let's pull it forward,' " just as the Troopers continue to move forward into a new DCI season and beyond.