This summer, the world famous Calgary Stampede Showband is taking a break from competition and hitting the road to entertain crowds across North America. After performing all-day, every day during Stampede 2015, the Showband’s summer 2015 “Fairs and Festivals Tour” will take the group (and the Calgary Stampede’s unique brand of western hospitality) to Westerner Days in Red Deer, K-Days in Edmonton, the Saskatoon EX, the Indiana State Fair, and Drum Corps International (DCI) Finals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Coming off of three consecutive world championship victories, the Showband is shifting gears and focusing on a broader audience. Performances in Red Deer, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Indiana will showcase the type of shows that are familiar to Calgarians, but not necessarily common among other marching arts groups in North America. If you’ve ever seen the Showband perform on the Saddledome steps, you know what we’re talking about. Audiences can expect to hear the Showband play its signature piece, “You Can Call Me Al” (by Paul Simon), hits like “Runaway Baby” (Bruno Mars), “Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson, feat. Bruno Mars), “Shake It Off” (Taylor Swift), and a Daft Punk mash-up, as well as music from its summer production, “The Edge”.
The Showband will compete in DCI Drumline Battle and SoundSport events before DCI finals on Saturday, August 8 in downtown Indianapolis. The Drumline Battle will place the Showband’s drumline head to head against other drumlines from around the world. Soundsport is in its second season at DCI finals and is a competition for marching ensembles from all over the world.
The Showband will also get to watch some of North America’s top drum corps rehearse and warm-up before DCI finals. This will be particularly special because of the Showband’s connections to DCI. In addition to having a creative design team composed of veteran DCI instructors and arrangers, like Colin McNutt and Michael Klesch, many of the Showband’s instructors have performed with these high level groups since the 1980s. Marching instructor Jordan Ganchev was a member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps in 2005 and 2006 and is thrilled that our students will get the chance to see how these elite groups prepare for performances and competition. Jeff Waterbury, the Showband’s brass coordinator, who performed with the Blue Devils in 2005 and 2006, adds that he is excited that the Showband’s members will see the level of dedication and hard work displayed by drum corps members during rehearsals. Jordan and Jeff are also looking forward to exposing drum corps to the great work being done by their neighbors north of the border. Jeff told us, “it will be great for the Showband to see that many of the things that we do are not a whole lot different than what many of the top corps in the world are doing”.
Finally, the tables will turn and the Showband will get to be part of the audience for DCI finals so that they can watch, learn, and cheer on Showband alumni who are current members of top tier drum corps. Andrew Precoor, who played the trumpet as a member of the Showband for the past three years, is competing this summer as a member of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. Andrew says it’s surreal to think that the group he’s spent the last three years performing with will be in the audience at DCI finals: “It definitely motivates me to put my heart into everything I do and continue striving for excellence”.