The 150-member Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps of Austin, Texas, rolled into Perry High School about 2 a.m. Monday and will leave PHS Tuesday afternoon, in the meanwhile using the school as a staging ground for their performance Tuesday night at the Johnston High School.
Orien Landis of Salt Lake City, Utah, one of about 30 instructional staff and chaperones traveling with the high school marching band, said the band began its 70-day summer tour in Pittsburgh, Pa., June 27.
Daily rehearsals began May 30 in Austin. Landis has spent five years with the world-class drum and bugle corps, which formed in 2009.
“This is our first year in the world-class corps,” Landis said. Before that the Genesis band was in the open-class corps, he said, which is like the minor leagues. He said the 23 world-class corps in the U.S. will compete Aug. 1-7 in Indianapolis, Ind., in the Drum Corps International World Championships.
The 150 students and 30 band director chaperones cover between 15,000 and 20,000 miles on their summer tours, Landis said, in what is quite a production, traveling by bus and preparing four meals a day for the young musicians.
He said auditions for the prestigious drum and bugle corps start in November, with 400 to 600 players vying for one of 150 spots. The band then gathers for monthly rehearsals all winter, meeting in a central location for the students, who come from 10 states.
“We’re more fast paced than what you see at a typical college marching band,” Landis said. He said this year’s theme emphasizes color changes and uses “kaleidoscopic drill effects.”
Cameron Wilson of San Antonio, Texas, who graduated high school this year, is the drum major for the Corps after serving the past two seasons as assistant drum major.
Genesis performed over the weekend in Minneapolis, Minn., and drove through torrential rain to reach Perry, with the first buses arriving in the wee hours of Monday and the rest following as much as an hour later. The group travels in five charter buses, with the fifth serving as “pantry bus.”
Students and directors crashed overnight in the varsity gym, band and choir room and around the high school. Many praised the school, saying it was one of the nicer venues they stayed at this summer.
After Tuesday night’s performance in Johnston, the caravan will trek to Lebanon, Ill., for their next competition. Lebanon is 20 miles east and slightly south of St. Louis, Mo. They will then travel back north to display their talents in Dubuque.