Categorized | Benjamin Goff, Feature

NWA Music on the Move


Elite drum and bugle corps from around the country came to Bentonville Tuesday during Drum Corps International’s 3rd annual NWA Music on the Move competition in Tiger Stadium. Each band was a stand-alone entity not associated with a school or sports team, with members ranging from high school to college age.

I’ve seen and photographed many a high school marching band over the years, but this was my first experience with a drum and bugle corps competition.

The two types of bands are more similar than different. They both march in formation and play music. Both have percussion, brass and colorguard. Both wear bright uniforms with a feather in their caps.

On closer inspection, however, drum and bugle corps are a specific type of marching band with only percussion and brass, no woodwinds or strings. It’s a little more than snares and bugles, though, with some bands having stationary gongs, timpani, kit drummers, xylophones and even electronic percussion in addition to the marching drum line.

I also noticed that they used more traditional-looking tubas, rather than the sousaphones you typically see in marching bands. I looked it up out of curiosity, and in DCI, sousaphones and trombones are not allowed.

With only percussion and brass, and more of each than in the average marching band, the sound was certainly loud and bold. Surprisingly, however, none of the subtlety was lost.