First European SoundSport event scheduled for Bristol, England

SoundSport®, a rapidly growing series of worldwide competitive and exhibition music ensemble performance opportunities produced by Drum Corps International, in partnership with the Kidsgrove Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps of Staffordshire, United Kingdom, is pleased to announce SoundSport Bristol England, Europe’s first officially-sanctioned SoundSport® event.

“We are thrilled to expand the SoundSport brand into Europe,” DCI Director of Business Development John DeNovi said. “This event will engage not just the active marching ensembles in the area, but to also provide new performance opportunities to ensembles that don’t currently have an outlet from which to showcase the remarkable talents of their performers.”

SoundSport Bristol England will take place the evening of Saturday, March 21, at the Sports Hall of SGS College in Filton, Bristol. SGS College has staged many successful performing arts shows over the years, and their modern facilities include a café, bar and ample parking. Additionally, the campus is close to the M4 motorway.

The event is slated to start at 7 p.m. GMT, and will feature a growing number of performing ensembles, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We have already received an overwhelming amount of interest from groups wishing to take part in this event,” said Andy Hewlett, the organizer of SoundSport Bristol England. “Ensembles which haven’t performed in the UK in nearly 20 years have contacted us looking to participate! This is as exciting for us as it will be for them.”

Groups interested in performing in the event are encouraged to register by contacting Drum Corps Europe at soundsport@drumcorpseurope.org. Event specific information will be listed on the SoundSport event schedule page as it becomes available.

Q&A with Andy Hewlett

Why is hosting this event important to you? What makes it important to performing ensembles in Europe?

I’ve been aware for some years that there was a need for a less time consuming and less expensive form of Drum Corps/Marching Band in the UK. If you talk to former Corps members, many say that they would still like to be involved but simply do not have the time to devote to the activity on a more intensive basis. Equally, new groups can struggle to get going due to costs, both to the members and the organization as a whole.

What does the SoundSport® program do for ensembles in Europe (both currently marching and non-traditional marching ensembles)?

As soon as I saw the launch of the SoundSport program by DCI, I knew it was something which I would like to see spread to the UK. It’s the perfect vehicle for inactive Corps to re-launch themselves and for new Corps to set up. The fact that it takes place on a much smaller arena makes it more suitable for smaller groups who currently struggle to fill a football field. Larger groups could break down into multiple ensembles, rather than try to cram all their members in.  I can also see it appealing to other types of ensembles who don’t normally take part in marching events, as SoundSport is all about entertainment without a large number of strict rules and regulations.

What are the advantages of this competition as opposed to what already occurs in your area?

When I first became involved in the activity as a kid in the 1970s, there were a number of indoor contests including shows at the Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Arena. As the size of bands/corps began to grow these shows became impractical, as they were too small to accommodate marching routines designed for football fields and since then the only option has been a full sized field. In the early 2000s there were 6 or 7 groups who set up which became known as the Senior Ensembles. These were largely former members of Corps that had gone inactive, but who still wanted to be involved. But there was no organization or association for them to perform in and sadly they have now mostly disappeared. SoundSport would have been ideal for them so I hope we will see some set up again.

What four things should the public know about the event?

1.   It’s an indoor, Saturday evening show (It rains constantly in England!).
2.   This will be the first ever DCI sanctioned event in the UK.
3.   We already have groups interested from as far afield as Scotland and Ireland.
4.   The event is being run as a fundraiser for the Kidsgrove Scouts D&BC and it is in association with BYBA, DCUK and DCE.

Quick Facts About SoundSport®

SoundSport® events showcase instrumental ensembles of any instrumentation and any skill level year-round, spotlighting their unique talents and creativity like never before.

  • SoundSport® created performance opportunities which are local, low cost and entertaining for both the participants and the audience
  • SoundSport® teams come from colleges, high schools, middle schools, independent, alumni corps, small drum corps, community bands or whatever you can dream up
  • Over 190 performers from 6 teams spanning 3 countries took part in last summer’s “SoundSport Indianapolis” event, staged in conjunction with the Drum Corps International World Championships
  • There are no age restrictions and all instruments are legal
  • SoundSport® teams consist of five or more members
  • Shows are 5-7 minutes in length with a focus on music
  • The performance area is 20 yards deep and 30 yards wide (18.29 meters x 27.43 meters)
  • Some 30 teams representing 7 countries took part in 7 different SoundSport events staged in 2014.
  • Live Competitive and Exhibition Events – held throughout the year in a wide variety of exciting settings and environments, featuring a new level of entertainment-focused competition on high-energy, up-close performance stages smaller than the traditional American football stadium.
  • Established in the fall of 2014, SoundSport Virtual Performances provide ongoing online exhibitions, contests and tournaments, featuring performance videos submitted by teams from around the world for professional evaluation and commentary.
  • We expect to see 4-6 domestic and 5-6 international groups in Indianapolis in 2015. Applications have been received from Yokohama Scouts (Japan), The Ravens D&BC (Ireland), No. 3 Girl’s School (China), Chien-Kuo HS (Taiwan), Calgary Stampede Show Band (Canada), The Diplomats D&BC (Canada), School Band (Colombia), with more to be announced soon.

About Drum Corps International

Drum Corps International is the world leader in producing and sanctioning competitive events for the world’s most elite and exclusive touring marching music ensembles for student performers. Combined with its DrumLine Battle and SoundSport program offerings, DCI engages tens of thousands of students in performance opportunities around the world. For additional information, visit DCI.orgSoundSport.com and DrumLineBattle.com.

Author: Eric Hjellming

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