Nine-time drum corps international world class finalist to train at Western Illinois in May and June

drum line

The Colts Drum and Bugle Corps from Dubuque, Iowa, has ranked in the top 25 at the DCI World Championships every year since 1982. | Photo courtesy of Western Illinois University

MACOMB, Ill. — Colts Drum and Bugle Corps from Dubuque, Iowa, the nine-time drum corps international world class finalist, will celebrate its 60th anniversary this summer with Western Illinois University, hosting a summer training camp May 26-June 2 and June 11-26.

The group of 160 high school- and college-aged musicians, plus 40 staff members and support team members, will train, work and live on the Macomb campus for three weeks. Members will live in the residence halls and practice at Hanson Field. Corps director Vicki MacFarlane worked closely with WIU Marching Leathernecks director Matt Thomas to make this initiative happen.

In a press release, Thomas said, “The corps that previously used our facilities has moved to a new location, and we are ecstatic to have the Colts here. Not only are they a world-class corps, but WIU has had numerous band students march with the corps so this will be a great recruiting tool for Western. The turf field at Hanson, and numerous grass lots, are perfect for their rehearsals, and their addition to our local community brings activity for our local businesses while the students are gone. This is a great win-win for everyone.”

MacFarlane and the Colts chose to use WIU’s facilities due to the strong connection to WIU and Macomb, with a number of Macomb residents and WIU students and alumni having marched with the organization. One of those is WIU staff member Scott Lawson, who marched for the Colts 1996-2000.

”I credit Scott Lawson for bringing the possibility of the Colts performing at Western to our attention,” MacFarlane said. “The facilities and community are perfect for our 2023 production. Many thanks to Matt Thomas, Scott Lawson, Residential Life and the college president for making this mutual opportunity possible. It is uncommon for a large university to be so flexible, creative, and accommodating to student and organizational needs.”

All practices during the summer camps will be open to the public.

The group has ranked in the top 25 at the DCI World Championships every year since 1982, and it returned finalist status in 2022, placing 11th. A free performance for the Macomb community will be held on Hanson Field before the corps embarks Monday, June 26, on a cross-country tour, competing against 20 other World Class drum and bugle corps. The performance circuit will conclude with the Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis, from Aug. 10-12.

For more information on the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, visit colts.org.

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