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Beat of the Drum – Drum Corps International

Four Avon Students Participate in Drum Corps International

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photography Provided

Four students from Avon High School (AHS) spent the summer traveling across the country as members of Drum CorpsDrum Corps International International (DCI). These students include Noah Raney (junior), Blue Knights based in Denver, Colorado; Tristyn Frazier (senior), Mandarins based in Sacramento, California; Mark Shelton (junior), Madison Scouts based in Madison, Wisconsin; and Chris Speakman (2022 AHS grad), Santa Clara Vanguard based in Santa Clara, California.

Established in 1972, DCI supports programs around the globe while sanctioning participating, recognized drum corps performances in more than 100 competitive events that make up the DCI Tour. DCI is all about excellence in performance and in life, and those who are selected to participate exhibit an extreme level of commitment and dedication. Not only did they rehearse from sunup to sundown each day, but they also slept on overnight bus treks from state to state from the end of May to mid-August, and had just one day of rest before school started back up again. These students performed 25 shows in 18 states during DCI’s 50th season.

“The first thing that comes to mind is performing, but I think it’s something deeper than that,” Frazier says, when asked about the most rewarding aspect of the DCI experience. “It’s more about knowing everyone has your back and you have theirs.”

Touring the country while pursuing their favorite activity also tops the list.

“Traveling through the mountains before a show makes those overnight bus rides worth it,” Frazier says. “The shows remind you why you’re doing this activity.”

Drum Corps InternationalSpeakman agrees, especially since it ended in a top-12 performance at the World Championship Finals.

“I loved performing instead of watching,” he says.

Shelton’s favorite aspect of DCI was getting the chance to meet new people from across the country. Raney says the culmination of hard work is his favorite part.

“It’s fulfilling to see a show come together and perform it for a big crowd,” Raney says. “I’ll never forget the feeling of hitting that last note on my drum at our final performance at Lucas Oil. All those months of intense work and dedication literally ended with a bang and a satisfying roar of applause from the crowd.”

After a shortened tour in 2021 and no tour in 2020 due to COVID-19, this year’s DCI was a celebratory comeback that celebrated an appreciation for music.

“Music is a special language all its own,” Raney says. “It expresses feelings that you can’t quite put into words.”

“It’s an escape from the real world,” Shelton adds. “You can express it the way you interpret it.”

“I think music portrays things that we think about but can’t naturally say,” Frazier says. “It’s a way of expression that speaks for us. It’s almost as if it paints a portrait in your head that only you would understand.”Drum Corps International



Drum Corps International 2022 World Championship Finals

In August the World Championship Finals were held in Indy at Lucas Oil Stadium. The results are as follows:

  1. Blue Devils
  2. Boston Crusaders and Bluecoats (tie)
  3. Carolina Crown
  4. Santa Clara Vanguard
  5. Cadets
  6. Blue Stars
  7. Phantom Regiment
  8. The Cavaliers
  9. Mandarins
  10. Colts
  11. Troopers

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