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Hundreds of performers in San Antonio for Southwestern championship competition

SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of performers were at the Alamodome Saturday for the Drum Corps International Southwestern championships.

One of those groups, the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps from Chicago has won the Drum Corps International World Championship seven times.

The Cavaliers are currently staying at Jourdanton High School at the invitation of the Jourdanton band director.

Jacob Armstrong is one of the Cavalier drum majors who is majoring in music at the University of Florida. He says it’s an overwhelming feeling to be part of a drum corps, especially when they perform all at once. 

“It’s so together and it can get so loud, but it’s not necessarily what you hear— it’s how you feel it inside of you,” Armstrong said. “It’s a really cool experience.”

There are 154 members of the Cavalier Drum and Bugle Corps. The group has won the most titles in the world. 

“It is a traveling circus,” said Joe Roach, Cavaliers director of programs. “It’s a marching band circus tour.”

The all-male group was founded in 1948 and is made up of high school and college students ages 16 to 22 who spend their summers living on the road, practicing and competing.

The cavaliers perform 32 shows over a nine-week period, traveling 15,000 miles across the country. 

“We travel with five buses, three semi trailers, including a cook truck which makes about 800 meals for our 154 performers,” Roach said.

But it’s the repetition that makes the Cavaliers world champions. Getting to that level while lifting heavy equipment in the heat is taxing work.

“There’s been studies done that rival the cardiac work we do to that of Olympic sprinting,” Armstrong said “It’s very much a cardiovascular activity.”

Roach says it’s what it takes compete at their level and win world championships.

“But most of these guys, this is their craft. You are only able to perform in Drum Corps International until you are 22,” Roach said. “So they are at the highest level of this activity right now.”

To learn more about the Cavaliers, check out their website.


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