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The Blue Devils drum corps practicing, preparing to defend world title

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 02 2013 05:33:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 02 2013 05:42:41 PM CDT

The reigning world champion drum corps, The Blue Devils, is trying to reclaim its title, and members spent Friday practicing in Berks County.

WINDSOR TWP., Pa. -

The reigning world champion drum corps, The Blue Devils, is trying to reclaim its title, and members spent Friday practicing in Berks County.

Their performance is only 11 minutes long, but every step, every formation and every beat counts.

"Being in this group has taught me the most comradery I've ever felt before, 150 people going towards the same goal everyday," said Amy Martz, the mellophone section leader.

They are the elite of the elite, not to mention 15-time world champions. The Blue Devils drum and bugle corps hails from Concord, Calif.

The men and women compete and travel across the country. November through January, they hold auditions. The spring is filled with training, and May through August, it's grueling 15 to 20 hour days under the hot sun. The drum corps' goals are to inspire the crowd and beat their last performance.

"Be better than we were last year or the year before last year. That's what we try to do every performance," said Alan Contreras, the bass drum section leader.

The Blue Devils travel across the country, and on Friday, they were practicing on the football field at Hamburg Area High School.

"We really enjoy the hospitality we've received from the band director at the school, from the administration and the neighbors who put up with our noise throughout the day," said David Gibbs, executive director of The Blue Devils.

This year's program is called the re-rite of spring. It's very dark and very tribal, and you will see corps members maneuver through 100 poles, which represents the 100th anniversary of the rite of spring.

"They're really dynamic. They're just a straight line on the field but we can turn them into a lot of cool props," said David Reaver, the horn sergeant.

The Blue Devils are trying to turn their performance into another victory, and those 11 minutes will be tested at regionals on Saturday in Allentown, Pa., and at the world championship next week in Indianapolis.