The stadium lights are beaming down on a dew-covered field. Meanwhile 150 pairs of feet march along, breathing hard with anxiety and excitement. This is it. It’s time to show them what we’re made of. It’s time to take the field for competition. The announcer exclaims, “From Toledo, Ohio, THE GLASSMEN!” The drum major salutes the crowd then turns toward the corps. As he raises his hands, it all begins.
What is the GLASSMEN, you ask? ?The GLASSMEN is something different to so many people. To some, the GLASSMEN is an Ohio-based non-profit youth organization they have heard about on the news. To others, it’s the drum and bugle corps their niece or nephew marched in last year. For many, it’s the best part of summer.
The GLASSMEN Drum and Bugle Corps, founded in 1961 as the Maumee Suns, was originally created by a group of parents who wanted to give their children an enriched summer program to participate in. Now, as the GLASSMEN, they are still centered around family values, but have evolved into so much more.
“The mission of the GLASSMEN,” as told by Executive Director, Brian Hickman, “is to provide opportunities that promote and develop life skills and personal enrichment through education, participation and performance. Life lessons are learned on our summer tour and by the end of our tour, members become leaders and gain the experience of a lifetime”
One-hundred-fifty high school and college-age musicians earn the opportunity to participate in this experience of a lifetime. Though drum corps season does not begin until late June, the process for the GLASSMEN begins much sooner. Auditions begin in November and continue one weekend each month until the 150-member corps is set, which is typically in March.
Each weekend, the young musicians rehearse musical pieces for the summer show, as well as the marching formations that go along with the music. The roots of drum corps stem from traditional marching band, but expand upon it.
The GLASSMEN presents entertaining music with various visual elements accomplished through the movement and expression of the color guard, visual motions by the brass and percussion sections, and the occasional props. These elements make up the drum corps’ competitive field show, which is performed and perfected during their summer tour.
Members of the GLASSMEN dedicate their entire summer to drum corps. The tour itself lasts about sixty days, beginning in late June and ending in August at Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championships in Indianapolis, IN. In that two-month span, the GLASSMEN competes against other drum corps at competitions across the country.
The GLASSMEN first achieved DCI World Championship Finalist status in 1993, and since then has had the honor of ranking itself amongst the top corps in the world.
In addition to field competitions, the GLASSMEN participates in occasional festivals, parades, and educational clinics throughout the summer as well.
The GLASSMEN has also had the unique distinction of being a featured performing ensemble at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Hills Symphony and Lima Symphony.
The GLASSMEN Drum and Bugle Corps will kick off their 2010 summer tour with a home show at Doyt Perry Stadium on the campus of BGSU on Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 8 p.m.
The competition will feature six World Class Drum and Bugle Corps. ?For more information about the corps, please visit www.glassmen.org.