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Spokane Thunder drums up awards

Drum, bugle corps earns praise at championships

The Spokane Thunder Drum and Bugle Corps started practicing in January with two goals: beat their best score from last year and march as one of the top 12 corps in the championship finals.

The young performers arrived home Monday with both goals accomplished. The corps earned seventh place in the open class at the Drum Corps International World Championships, held Saturday in Bloomington, Ind. The Spokane Thunder, sponsored by the Greater Spokane Drum Corps Association and now in its fifth year, includes a brass section, percussion and color guard – all 16- to 21-year-olds who devote nearly the whole summer to marching as flawlessly as possible.

Members brought home additional awards from the Individual and Ensemble competition, with Ryan Whitehead winning third place for baritone, Casey Whitehead with fourth for mellophone, Jason Boone with 11th on snare drum and Jonathan Kim with 12th on keyboards.

Association vice president Mike Jessup said the group worked harder than ever. It must have showed – they’re also coming home with the Most Improved Corps award.

“This is definitely a big achievement and one the corps definitely deserves because of all the work they put in,” Jessup said.

After weekends of practice throughout the spring, the end of the school year means 12-hour practices at Centennial Middle School, seven days a week. Then they load the bus for a monthlong tour, staying in high school gymnasiums across the Midwest. The season is over, but corps members won’t be putting down their instruments for long – most will report to college or high school band camps within a week.

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