Drums Along the Columbia set July 1 in Pasco

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJune 27, 2013 

The sounds of drums can conjure up all sorts of images, from a Native American celebration to a halftime entertainment show at a football game.

When the Drums Along the Columbia festival gets under way July 1 at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco, the event promises a moving experience to anyone who loves music, said Russ Newbury, the event coordinator.

"Drums Along the Columbia is a wonderful opportunity to see some of the finest drum and bugle corps in the world in a fun, family-friendly environment," Newbury said. "The achievements of these exceptional young performers are remarkable and spectacular."

Doors open at 6 p.m. Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is $12 in advance. At the gate, admission is $15 for general admission and $20 for reserved. The rate for a family of four is $45. Tickets are available at www.drumsalongthecolumbia.org.

The event is sanctioned by Drum Corps International. Six world-class drum and bugle corps are scheduled to perform, including The Santa Clara Vanguard from Santa Clara, Calif., Blue Knights from Denver, Cascades from Seattle, Oregon Crusaders from Portland and The Thunder from Spokane.

The newest group to join this year's festival is the Tri-City-based Columbians Drum & Bugle Corps.

The Columbians are not actually a new group, but a revived drum and bugle corps from yesteryear.

"After nearly a 40-year absence from DCI, the Columbians are back," Newbury said. "The resurrection of a local drum corps provides access to summer performance opportunities for many more students who may not have been able to access the larger groups."

The Tri-Cities was the first in the Northwest to establish a drum and bugle corps in 1955 called Pasco American Legion Junior Drum & Bugle Corps, Newbury said. The name changed to The Columbians in 1958, then disbanded in the mid-1970s.

"There also used to be a drum and bugle corps show here called Cavalcade of Drums," he said. "Randy Hubbs, who was a member of the Columbians (years ago), borrowed the name and created Cavalcade of Bands for high school marching bands, which has been in existence since 1981."

The new group of Columbians is made up of musicians ages 14 to 21 who have achieved levels of excellence in performing at football stadiums for various events, Newbury said.

"Last November, many local music educators came together to re-establish the Columbians," he said. "We have 69 members from all the local schools as well as from Naches and Yakima. The group includes percussion, horns and color guard.

"Now our talented local students can save money and time and not have to travel thousands of miles to partake in this most excellent experience."

Newbury also believes this year's event will be memorable.

"With the inclusion of the world-class Santa Clara Vanguard and the newly formed Columbians, people will have an evening to remember," he said. "It'll be a classic summer evening in the Tri-Cities."

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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