Piloting New PepBand Battle Concept to Complement Wildly Popular DrumLine Battle™ Activities

Mike Lawson • Percussion • November 6, 2017

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For musical performers and ensembles, there is no “off season.” Those who live to perform are ready wherever there is a stage and an audience.

With its latest competition concept, Drum Corps International aims to give high-energy athletic bands the opportunity to expand their exposure far beyond the basketball court or sporting arena.

The experimental PepBand Battle program gives your students an opportunity to strut their stuff and throw down with other pep bands across the country through virtual band-to-band matchups all season long.

How It Works

If you have a pep band or other athletic musical ensemble for basketball, volleyball, ice hockey, or any other activity, then you already have everything you need. It’s all about swag, showmanship, and fun.

Simply work up an entry using your repertoire and then record your group in a rehearsal or a performance venue. A quick YouTube search of George Mason University’s “Doc Nix and the Green Machine” will give you some great ideas!

If you want to challenge a rival school to a Pep Band Battle or simply submit your group to be showcased with other groups from across the country, just send a link to your performance and DCI will do the rest.

Connect with them via email at [email protected] and they’ll get your ensemble the exposure it deserves!

More and More Options

PepBand Battle is just the latest addition to the treasure trove of opportunities for your students to perform and compete in non-traditional programs through DCI.

SoundSport® and DrumLine Battle™ are also DCI-sponsored programs that provide young musicians with a way to perform, improve their musicianship, and have fun. Both programs are going strong with a remarkable worldwide response, and provide many different options for groups to be involved practically anywhere at any level, with instrumentation as novel and diverse as the performers themselves!

Flexibility is the name of the game here. A few ideas to get started:

• Submit a recording of your fall marching show for helpful, recorded comments from an expert panel of judges

• Turn a portion of your existing show into a stand-still performance

• Put together a quick 1-3 song show with your pep band

• Have a student-produced indoor

feature that lets their creativity soar

• Encourage individual sections within your band to work up an entry

• Upperclassmen vs. Freshmen?

Woodwinds vs. Brass? You name it!

• Form ensembles of various instruments – either traditional or non-traditional groupings

• Use unusual instruments to create an interesting feature

Ongoing Corps Auditions

Keep encouraging your highly motivated students to go for it with their chosen Open or World Class drum corps. Many corps don’t finalize membership until early spring, and there are always those spots that crop up late in the game. In short, it’s never too late to experience the pursuit of performance excellence and its humble beginnings long before the Drum Corps International Summer Tour begins.

Remember to have your aspiring performers focus on these things for the best chance to be a part of the 2018 DCI Tour:

• Aptitude – demonstrate proficiency on their instrument or equipment through strong fundamental principles at every level

• Precision – march with precise foot timing and proper posture

• Physicality – be the best musician-athlete possible, isolating the upper body (musician) from lower body (athlete) and strengthening both

• Competence – rehearse audition materials well and perform them convincingly

• Commitment – demonstrate strong personal work ethic and dedication to improving skills

• Cooperation – display willingness to accept constructive feedback on performance while working with other members and staff

Just Do It

However you choose to get involved, DCI gives you and your students ways to showcase their talents, improve their musicianship and performance skills, and have a great educational experience along the way.

Reward your students with more opportunities than ever before and be a part of Marching Music’s Major League™ SoundSport@ DCI.org.

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