Minnesota's Biggest Summer Marching Band Competition


Saginaw, MI


Honor group expands "Band" Festival

It's true. The special guest unit performing in this year's "Band" Festival is not a band.
In keeping with the tradition and purpose for including an honor unit -- to introduce unique and entertaining musical styles to the Festival parade -- the 1991 guest unit was selected not from the marching band activity but from the world of drum and bugle corps.
The Northern Aurora Drum and Bugle Corps from Saginaw, Michigan, is performing as the featured "Honor Corps" in today's Vikingland Band Festival. As honor corps, the group will perform in the middle position of the parade and will not compete for awards.
Your first temptation might be to call Northern Aurora a band, but after a closer look you will clearly understand that a drum and bugle corps is quite different from the high school bands marching in today's parade.
One of a drum corps' biggest distinguishing factors is its instrumentation. Drum corps perform with drums and bugles designed specifically for the activity. The bugles come in eight different sizes and are all pitched in the key of "G." You will find no woodwind instruments in a drum corps.
Both bands and corps are capable of playing a full range of musical repertoires. However, bugle arrangements must be written for drum corps because music for their instruments is not available in stores.
While parade competition is a priority for most of the high school bands performing here today, drum corps place more emphasis on field show competition. There are some corps which regularly perform in parades, but corps at the national level of competition -- such as Northern Aurora -- perform in parades only on very special occasions.
Another difference is that bands are affiliated with specific high schools and band members come exclusively from those schools. Drum and bugle corps are independent organizations and members are likely to come from several states.

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