Photo by Ronald Walloch
The Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, will participate in one of America’s great parade traditions, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
“We are launching this new group called ‘Corps of Brothers,’” says James Mason, Madison Scouts artistic director. “It consists of the present-day Madison Scouts and an alumni group joining us. A very large group of 300+, gliding down the streets of Manhattan with its glorious sound. There’s nothing more thrilling than the sound of a drum and bugle corps echoing off the canyon of New York City.”
Only a few other non-military drum corps groups have participated since 1975. (Records before this time are not available). These include the Pride of Drum Corps in 1991, Drum Corps East in 1992, Summer Music Games All-Star Drum and Bugle Corps in 1994 and The Cadets in 2005.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be seeing these types of drum and bugle corps be represented at such a wonderful event,” Mason says. “Not only is it great exposure for Madison Scouts, it’s also wonderful exposure of what the activity is to literally tens of millions of people.”
Because drum corps are usually separated by the time Thanksgiving comes around, there has been a lack of drum corps applications for the Macy’s Parade, says Wesley Whatley, creative director of the Macy’s Parade and Entertainment Group. Whatley hopes the Scouts’ appearance will inspire more corps to apply.
“For financial and logistical reasons, we have not received many applications from drum corps; we get most of our interest from high school and college bands,” Whatley says. “Our goal is to shine light on all varieties of the marching arts. Drum corps is certainly a pinnacle of that, and we’d love to showcase more.”
The “Corps of Brothers” (also the name of the Scouts’ 2013 show) will play a few corps favorites—“Ice Castles” and “Empire State of Mind”—in the parade. Mason plans to get the group together every five years for a big event.
A surprise announcement about the Scouts’ parade invitation earned a standing ovation at the corps’ inaugural performance at its home show, “Drums on Parade,” in Madison, Wis.
The Madison Scouts will be joined by the following marching bands in the 2014 parade: American Fork (Utah) HS; Bahamas All-Stars from Nassau; Baldwinsville (N.Y.) HS; Center Grove (Ind.) HS; Foothill (Nev.) HS; Georgia State University from Atlanta; Paul Laurence Dunbar HS from Lexington, Ky.; Western Carolina University from Cullowhee, N.C.; Winston Churchill HS from San Antonio, Texas; the New York City Police Department Band; and the Macy’s Great American Marching Band.