Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Colts pass through Lawrence during strenuous summer tour

July 26, 2007


They're a marching band, only better.

"Drum Corps International is a big deal," said Patrick McCarty, Lawrence High School assistant band director and former Colts member.

A Division 1 bugle and drum corps, the Colts, from Dubuque, Iowa, passed through town this week on a 64-stop national summer tour.

Trumpet players for the Colts practice Wednesday at Lawrence High School. The drum and bugle corps was in the city as part of its 64-stop national tour. There was no official performance, but the members did their 11-minute show Wednesday evening.

Trumpet players for the Colts practice Wednesday at Lawrence High School. The drum and bugle corps was in the city as part of its 64-stop national tour. There was no official performance, but the members did their 11-minute show Wednesday evening.

Traveling band makes stop, performs in Lawrence

They're a band but better. Members of the Colts Bugle and Drum Corps travel with their own entourage, cooks, multi-bus caravan and train 16 hours a day. Enlarge video

For three months, the band's 135 members travel in a multibus caravan, complete with entourage and a kitchen in a semitrailer.

Obviously, Colts members march to the beat of a different drummer.

"It's a different lifestyle," McCarty said. "The whole summer you don't read the news, watch television or know what movies came out. You have to catch up when you get back to reality."

In rehearsal, the Colts train much like athletes. The Colts usually sleep on the bus en route to the next concert, parade or performance. Tuesday night, they rolled out sleeping bags on the floor of the Lawrence High School gymnasium. Rehearsal day started at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday with calisthenics and a morning run.

"It gets better, and we get stronger, but it never gets easy," said Colts member and Kansas University junior Carol Lowman.

Members audition to be part of the group each December. Auditions screen more for attitude than musical talent, which can be taught, said Mike Grimes, Colts director. The Colts include members from 20 states, Canada, England and Japan. In the spring, Colts members travel to Iowa once or twice a month for rehearsals. Musicians who are 16 to 21 years old can be part of the group.

Wednesday morning, the band rehearsed for hours in preparation for the upcoming Drum Corps International's world championship that starts in early August in Pasadena, Calif. Although the Colts had no official performance scheduled in Lawrence, they did put on their 11-minute show for Lawrence fans Wednesday evening.

"Physically, they're at the top of their game," Grimes said. "We eat four meals a day and the nutritional value is enough to keep them going all day."

Musicians eat a high carbohydrate diet but are really fed by oohs and ahhs.

"The more the audience responds in a positive matter - stand and cheer - the kids get into it. They love performing," Grimes said.

"Some are harder than others. But when we get out and perform for a crowd, the way they respond, that's why I do it," Lowman said.


domino 10 years, 6 months ago

If you have not had an opportuinty to attend a Drum Corp International competition, I strongly encourage you to do so. I have attended several in Wichita, the last one being Tuesday night of this week. It was worth every second - including not getting home until 1:00 AM and being at work the next morning! Anyone who has a love for music will be blown away by what these kids do. The goosebumps you get are a real rush. Support music and kids and take time to go!

indythinker 10 years, 6 months ago

What he said...

It's awesome entertainment.

motomom 10 years, 6 months ago

i agree whole-heartedly, domino....the colts will be performing in columbia, missouri on are so right........if you like gettin' goosebumps you need to see this kinda stuff.......i watched them practice at LHS last was amazing

JayhawkAlum03 10 years, 6 months ago

I've never had the chance to see this group or one of the competitions, but I always enjoy the Kansas City Marching Cobras when they make an appearance at KU Men's or Women's basketball games. It's the only halftime entertainment I've ever seen there that literally stops Allen Fieldhouse in its tracks!

64 stops just this summer. That is impressive!

amac 10 years, 6 months ago

their lack of clothing isn't a very good example for our kids...just sayin'

just_another_ninja 10 years, 6 months ago

get over it amac - it's 95+ degrees out there. let's get you out there and see what happens. the all look in great shape. kudos for all their hard work. it obviously pays off in many ways.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

We were born without clothing by gods' will. Clothing is a learned behavior. With fewer clothes',marching to good sounds in 95 degree temps plus humidity sweat still rolls off however the natural AC kicks in to cool people down. Wet clothing would become quite heavy with sweaty moisture sooooo I say they must know what they are doing.

Do swimming pools set bad examples?

The music and timely foot steps was pretty cool. It must be fun most of the time.

Tristan Moody 10 years, 6 months ago

You see less clothing at a swimming pool. Having done this for three years, I can certainly tell you there is a huge difference in what you can endure heat- and exertion-wise between wearing and not wearing a t-shirt. Sweat, plus wind, keeps you cool.

TheHeartlessBureaucrat 10 years, 6 months ago


Do we wrinkle our noses at athletes for wearing very little? Volleyball players? Swimmers? Runners? Trust me, what these guys do is nothing short of athletic. I was in marching band in highschool and it was nothing like this kind of thing.


mikeyj 10 years, 6 months ago

"The music and timely foot steps was pretty cool. It must be fun most of the time."

It's not fun most of the time. It's hell most of the time, but the few moments where it is fun (at the end of a show in front of 30,000 people) make up for the rest of the hell.

Michael Stanclift 10 years, 6 months ago

This explains a lot... I live right down the street from LHS and I couldn't figure out why what I thought was the LHS band was outside practicing this time of the year and how in the world they sounded that good that early.

As a former Free State Marching Firebird I was a bit worried ;)

speerdavid 10 years, 5 months ago

I was fortunate enough to be one of the volunteers traveling with the Colts when they passed through Lawrence this year. I would like to thank Patrick McCarty and everyone in Lawrence who made the Colts members visit there a memorable one.

Everyone at the school wanted to help us have a safe and happy stay -- which is always the first concern of our staff and volunteers. The crowd that turned out to "see" a sundown performance that ended in the dark was responsive and wonderful. They really made the members feel special -- something that's not easy to do at the end of a long, hot rehearsal day. We are not always given the special welcome that we got from the people we met in Lawrence. If the rest of the community is filled with anything like the people that took care of us, it is a special place indeed.

Thanks to Lawrence. Hope to visit again next year. And thanks for the less than 100-degree temperatures!

If you'd like to know more about the corps you can visit or our "on-the-road" blog about daily life with the Colts at To learn more about the drum corps activity, take a look at

Again thanks, David

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