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27 June 2007
JSU's Spirit Competing in 2007 Drum Beauty Show

Pounding Horns and Drums;
2007 Drum Beauty Set for this Sunday at SAHS

Elliot Mann
Stillwater Gazette

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Stillwater, Minnesota - Shortly before bringing the first festival of drum and bugle corps to town in 1956, the local Jaycees realized they still needed a name for the event.

The story goes that a group of organizers had trouble summing up a celebration of marching, music and precise movement until they passed by a liquor store and spotted a bottle of "Drambuie" scotch.

And so the similar-sounding, and nearly as intoxicating, "Drum Beauty" was born.

The 51st anniversary of Drum Beauty's debut will begin at 7 p.m. this Sunday, July 1. Eight drum and bugle corps will take the field, including Wisconsin's Madison Scouts and California's Santa Clara Vanguard, both former Drum Corps International World Champions.

"It's an opportunity to sit and watch the best music marching organizations in the country," said Scott Wild, one of the show's producers. "They're outstanding musicians - great visual entertainment."

Wild also has ties to the Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps, which will perform again this year at Drum Beauty. Other groups competing include Chops, hailing from East Bethel, the Govenaires from St. Peter, Pacific Crest from Diamond Bar, Calif., Southwind of Lexington, Ky., and Spirit, from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala.

When taking a seat at Pony Stadium, Wild suggested taking the high road rather than the first row.

"The higher you are, the better chance you have to look down on the drill patterns," he said.

Although the Jaycees originally planned the event many years ago, St. Croix Events took over in 1975. For St. Croix Events President Dave Eckberg, Drum Beauty brings a bit of the past back to the area.

In the late 1950s, the bands would come to town and stay with host families. Eckberg still remembers when the Preston Scout House band from Ontario, Canada stayed with a family on his block. The memories of watching the booming drums and lush outfits as a 7-year-old still linger in his mind.

"It was the highlight of the summer," he recalled. "The pageantry and the power of the horn lines and the precisions; it's just cooler than hell and it gets me every time I see it."

The Madison Scouts and Santa Clara Vanguard are a major draw, Eckberg said, adding that the Scouts are known for their marching prowess and powerful horn section, while the Vanguard show involves multi-tempo arrangements and Broadway-caliber theatrics.

But not to be outdone, St. Paul's Minnesota Brass features music from rock legends The Who.

"It's very, very intense activity; it's tremendous pageantry," Eckberg said. "It continues to be a great event and still highly entertaining."

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