The Blue Devils win 2014 DCI World Championships

The Concord Blue Devils won their 16th DCI World Championship on Saturday night in Indianapolis. The Blue Devils scored a 99.65 (the highest score ever in DCI) in their final performance. The Bluecoats (97.175) won 2nd place and The Cadets (96.875) placed 3rd. The Blue Devils had an amazing year, winning every competition leading up to finals. The Santa Clara Vanguard placed first in percussion for their final performance.

For complete results and recap analysis, check out Congratulations to The Blue Devils.

Were you there or did you watch it live? What were your favorite moments of the season? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought of the 2014 DCI season.

Here’s the Blue Devils show from Salem, VA on 07/29/2014.


WGI 2014 Percussion Recap

WGI 2014 Percussion Recap

Another year has come and gone and yesterday, WGI awarded Pulse Percussion the 2014 World Indoor Championship. If you haven’t seen their show, check out the video below. (Please note, this is not the final show they presented. You won’t see the hanging snare drummers in this video. I am looking forward to that video when it becomes available). The activity has continued to grow and the competition is fierce. Congrats to all of the groups who participated.

In the Scholastic Marching World division, Dartmouth High School placed first with a 98.238. For more information about this year’s final competition, visit


Independent Marching World
1 – Pulse Percussion (Westminster, California): 96.812
2 – Music City Mystique (Nashville, Tennessee): 96.588
3 – Rhythm X (Columbus, Ohio): 96.113

Scholastic Marching World
1 – Dartmouth HS (Dartmouth, Massachusetts): 98.238
2 – Chino Hills HS (Chino Hills, California): 97.225
3 – Ayala HS (Chino Hills, California): 96.125

Update (4/14/14): Here’s the upside down drumming video. Thanks Vic Firth.

Woodbridge HS

The Indoor season is back in full swing. It’s a great time of year for percussion ensembles as groups get ready for WGI and regional circuit shows.

One of the great things about the indoor scene is the passion and dedication that the community has for their activity. This dedication is on full display in the video below. It take s a lot of people working together to create a world  class ensemble, and the students, instructors and parents at Woodbridge High School do it extremely well.

There is the obvious display of excellent musicianship from this ensemble. But, what I’ve always loved about this program is the class in which the group carries themselves. The students are humble, respectful and really enjoy what they do. I feel very strongly that teaching the concepts of an intense work ethic, cooperation and leadership skills are at least as important as teaching the musical skills. This is especially true at the high school level. The Woodbridge students definitely absorbed all of these ideas and many more, and I’m sure they walked away from the experience with a plethora of ideas and skills that they will continue to use no matter what path they take in life.

Keep a couple of things in mind as you start your 2014 Indoor season. Work really hard. Make the most of whatever opportunity you may have. And, of course, enjoy your experience.

Report from PASIC 2013: DrumLine Battle


Every year at PASIC I see or experience something that I didn’t expect would leave an impression. This year I was privileged to serve as clinician and judge for the Marching Interactive activities at PASIC 2013. Usually, one concert artist is asked to judge with another marching figure, this year it was yours truly, and Scott Johnson of the Blue Devils.

This consisted of two events; the marching interactive in the morning and the DrumLine Battle in the afternoon. The interactive was a hands on clinic to the performing groups who came to perform for feedback from the clinicians. A standout was Lewisville High School (Lewisville, TX) who performed a highly artistic and well executed show. A very special experience for sure.

Then came the DrumLine Battle which was kicked off by YouTube sensation BYOS (bring your own sticks). This dynamic duo mixes marching percussion with popular tunes of today. The battle was won by the University of North Alabama. Notable performances included Tennessee Tech University, The University of Michigan, and Indiana University. Check out a popular BYOS video above.

I have to say that the battle was a ton of fun. Groups facing each other performed a short (1.5 to 2 minute) show facing their opponent. Lots of taunting ensued! A coin flip determined who went first in each pairing. Judges wanted to see a good mix of technical facility, movement, and overall show qualities. Many of the groups brought very creative performing formats to the competition. And, judges conferred after each performance and were asked to quickly, simply choose a winner. The large crowd, and the all the judges found it quite entertaining. What were your memorable events from PASIC 2013? Leave your thoughts below the post.

Marching Percussion

So, it’s that time of year again. DCI Finals are almost here. I always enjoy checking out prelims on the big screen and look forward to it this year.

Marching percussion (especially the DCI/WGI scene) has always felt so separate and removed from the college percussion scene to me. I can even say that the drumline of the college I attended lived and worked in a completely different world than my percussion studio. I’ve always thought this was strange as a percussion major. It felt even more strange after I graduated and spent 2 years freelancing where most of my income was generated from teching various marching percussion ensembles in the southern California area. Working with marching percussion is something that the majority of percussionists will do once they graduate, so why not gain some of that training in college in correlation to a percussion degree?

It seems that marching training is going to become even more vital as we move forward. With indoor percussion ensembles popping up all over the place in high schools, more and more job opportunities will continue to open up. With the orchestral world being unstable at best (and not really showing signs of rebounding any time soon), wouldn’t it be wise for percussionists to become well-rounded and give themselves a chance at picking up this type of work? Why isn’t this integrated into percussion degrees?

There’s a strong population in the DC community of college educators. I’m sure there are schools out there mixing the worlds of marching and orchestral percussion. Please share below if you know of any. Also, any related thoughts on the subject would be appreciated as well.

In the mean time, enjoy a video of SCV!


One of the most important questions for current undergrad/grad students (and those who are fresh out out of a higher ed program) is “How am I going to turn this degree into a job?”

Good jobs are definitely tight. Especially for young percussionists. The best way to land something worthwhile still seems to be by recommendation. Like a lot of other areas, the music world revolves around who you know. And, the best way to get a solid recommendation from somebody for a good gig is to do the things that are frequently written about here on Drumchattr. Always be on time. Whether it’s music, having a lesson plan, or whatever, always have your material prepared before you “clock in.” Don’t be a smartass on the job. Or, anywhere really – the percussion world is very small. Etc.

But, I want to focus on something else with this post, and I need help from the DC community. I’d like to make a list of online resources that everybody can use to find new work. It can be full time, part time, single opening at a company or whatever. Just a list of places online that people can search through and see if something may work for them. I’ll start…

For college teaching  – Chronicle

For Southern Californians – SCSBOA

For Orchestra Auditions – John Tafoyas Website

Marching Gigs – WGI

For South Carolina Residents – BandLink

Obviously, this is nowhere near exhausting the possibilities of this list. Share what has worked for you in the past or something that may be able to help someone else. One of the things that I’ve learned is that it can be beneficial to check in on all available opportunities if you’re looking for more work. You never know how something may work out!

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