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Washington Voices

Harmony in motion

Thu., Oct. 15, 2009, midnight

Ten bands from Washington and one from Montana braved the cold last Saturday to show off their hard work this fall at the Pacific Northwest marching band competition at Joe Albi Stadium.

A marching band show is more like a musical production. The wind players and the drum line not only march and play, but also perform a few dance moves.

During East Valley High School’s performance last Saturday, the drum line picked up flags to add to the visual effect. During University High School’s performance, the drum line picked up horns.

Mt. Spokane High School told a story with its show. “The Nightmare Symphony” started with a girl reading herself a story while she sat on a bed getting ready to sleep. Once she did, the band and color guard portrayed her nightmare.

Central Valley High School performed “Caravan.” The color guard danced with tambourines while a flute player emerged from a silken tent to perform a solo.

The event was a fundraiser for the Spokane Thunder Drum and Bugle Corps, a nonprofit group for participants ages 13 through 21. Unlike a marching band, a drum corps marches with only brass instruments instead of adding woodwinds.

“Spokane is a very, very supportive community for drum corps activity,” said Mike Koch, president of the Greater Spokane Drum Corps Association. Spokane Thunder has been around since 2005, and although it merged with Seattle-based Cascades Drum and Bugle Corps for the summer, the corps plans to be back on its own in 2010.

In 2008, Spokane Thunder competed in open class at the Drum Corps International championships and placed seventh.

But it costs money to travel and to feed and lodge band members. There are also equipment, staff and uniform costs. Each member pays $1,295 to join. The corps accepts donations, leases its equipment and does fundraising to help defray costs.

Corps members will practice weekends once a month starting in December and will begin all-day rehearsals in mid-June. Their first performance is set for July 2 in Medford, Ore.

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