Drum Corps Returns To Ankeny In 2019

March 7, 2019

Celebration In Brass 2019

In 2019, the annual drum corps show Celebration In Brass will return to Ankeny, Iowa. The show has its historic roots in Ankeny, with the first drum corps performance in the town taking place in 1982. Ankeny hosted the event for over 25 years, where the show became a staple summer event for drum corps fans in the Des Moines area. In 2019, the Colts are partnering with the Ankeny Instrumental Music Foundation to host the show. Established in 1999, the foundation supports the band programs in both Ankeny High School and Ankeny Centennial High School.

Brandt Crocker, DCI Hall of Famer and "The Voice Of DCI" since 1972, has been with Celebration In Brass since its first year.

"The show really had a small beginning," said Brandt. "There was a guy in town who ran a tire shop and, someway or another, he knew about drum corps. He happened to also be on the Ankeny Area Chamber Of Commerce and brought the idea of hosting a drum corps show to the Chamber in the fall of 1981. The Chamber then approached DCI and started setting everything up. Shortly after the contract was signed, I got a call from the DCI office asking me to work with the Chamber to make sure everything went well."

"With all the prep work completed, we were all ready for what looked like was going to be a great event. I was there to announce the show and oversee the day-of operations. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. The first year was dominated by storms and a mini-tornado that blew through the north end zone of the stadium. In those days, we didn't have any real weather policies, so we kept moving the crowd between the school's gym and the stadium, hoping to have the show go on. Eventually, we called the show, with only one corps being able to perform. However, a spark had been lit within the Chamber, and they were committed to the idea of hosting a drum corps show. We came back next year and had perfect weather. Over the years, the show developed a massive following in the community and we generally had around 3,500 people in the stands. The community loved the drum corps activity and loved seeing the performances every summer. The corps always enjoyed coming to Ankeny as well — we had some great housing sites and the crowd response was always top-notch."


A couple years after the Ankeny Chamber dropped out due to a change in the DCI tour schedule, the Colts brought a show back to the Des Moines metro. Originally named Summer Showdown to tie into the fall marching band festival at West Des Moines Valley High School, the event was held for two years in Valley Stadium before moving to Waukee. In 2011, the regular DCI tour stop resumed the long-standing name Celebration In Brass in partnership with the Waukee Band Boosters. Celebration In Brass then moved to Johnston High School in 2017 due to a stadium conflict in Waukee, and now this year the long-overdue return to Ankeny.

“We’re thrilled to have an opportunity to reunite with Ankeny for Celebration In Brass,” said Colts Executive Director Jeff MacFarlane. "The school district has been fully supportive — from the superintendent and facilities people to the band directors — everyone is excited to see if we can rekindle the magic of drum corps in Ankeny. I remember coming here in 2004 when my son marched in Colt Cadets, and while the setting will be familiar, the stadium has been completely remodeled and will provide a perfect setting for a good ol’ Midwest drum corps show. Not to mention, the corps line up is fantastic.”


Christian Baughman, Colts alumnus and instrumental music instructor for Ankeny Community Schools, is working closely with the Colts and the Ankeny Instrumental Music Foundation to coordinate the show.

"30 years ago, in the summer of 1989, my high school ‘band buddy’ picked up an incoming freshman who knew nothing about drum corps, let alone marching band, and brought me to Celebration In Brass," said Christian. "That experience put me on a path that would eventually lead me to join the Colts in the summer of 1991. The following school year, I had an English teacher who shared my passion for music, the trumpet, and drum and bugle corps. I went on to become the drum major of the Colts, major in music education, and become a band director. Eleven years ago, I joined the band staff in Ankeny and three years later my former English teacher, Dr. Bruce Kimpston, became our superintendent. Like so many others in our community, we have both been eagerly anticipating the return of Celebration In Brass to Ankeny."

"I know that somewhere in that crowd this July there will be another kid who will be just as awestruck as I was that night all those years ago. That kid will end up following a dream that was ignited by the power, precision, and excellence that is competitive drum and bugle corps. This kid’s experiences may be repeated hundreds of times, and in this way the show will further the Ankeny Instrumental Music Foundation’s goal to elevate the skills and knowledge of every student musician to the highest level possible. I could not be more proud to help present this event with the cooperation of the AIM Foundation, the Ankeny Community Schools, and the Colts. These organizations are all world class in their own right. The audience and participating corps are in for a very special event on July 10!"


"For 2019, I'm very happy the show is back in Ankeny," said Brandt. "The community here still remembers the event, so I'm sure they'll be very excited to have drum corps back in their town as well. The renovated Ankeny Stadium will be great for the show — there's now a turf field and the stands now face east, so the setting sun won't be in everyone's eyes. I'm looking forward to being the contest coordinator for the great line up at Celebration In Brass this year."


Celebration In Brass will be held on Wednesday, July 10, at Ankeny Stadium At Northview Middle School. This year’s show features eight corps in DCI competition. In addition to the hosts Colts and Colt Cadets, Celebration In Brass is thrilled to welcome the 2018 World Class Champion Santa Clara Vanguard from Santa Clara, CA; the 2016 World Class Champion Bluecoats from Canton, OH; last year’s first-time DCI Finalist Mandarins from Sacramento, CA; as well as the Blue Stars from La Crosse, WI; The Academy from Tempe, AZ; and River City Rhythm from Anoka, MN. Tickets are available for purchase online! Tickets are assigned according to the date/time orders are received. Order early to get the best seats! Discounts are also available for groups of 20+. Have questions about tickets? Reach out to the Colts Ticket Desk and tickets@colts.org or by calling 563.582.4872.

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