The beat goes on July 6 when the annual Drums Along the Columbia festival gets under way in Richland.
Ask most people what draws them to this popular event, and you'll hear many interpretations. But the one that stands out above all is that there's something about the sound of beating drums that stirs the mind and soothes the soul.
This year's show will be in Richland High School's Fran Rish Stadium. Normally the event takes place in at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.
"The surface of the field at Edgar Brown is being replaced, as well as the track is being resurfaced," said Diane Call, with the organizing committee.
The seven drum corps scheduled to appear include the Columbians from the Tri-Cities, the Cascades from Seattle, the Oregon Crusaders from Portland, the Santa Clara Vanguard from California, the Blue Knights from Denver, the Crossmen from San Antonio and the newest band to join the event, Eruption from Bonney Lake, Wash.
"Once the event begins, the drum corps perform exhilarating shows unlike anything you've seen before," Call said.
Drum major Austin Hively, from Southridge High School's marching band, says the event is designed specifically for traveling drum corps. Southridge, along with all Tri-City-area high school band members, support the Drums event.
"It is a very high energy and fun events," he said. "And a lot of volunteers are needed to make the event run smoothly."
Those interested in volunteering to help in concessions, parking attendants, ushers or security should contact Call at 509-531-4095.
An added bonus to the day's festivities will be a group of local students who have taken part in drum camps through the winter in preparation for the national tour this summer, Call added.
Hanford High music director Russ Newbury said this 2014 competition will be one of the largest Drum Corps International-sponsored events in the Northwest this year.
"With the former world champion drum and bugle corps Santa Clara Vanguard, along with the others, the audience will never forget the sights and sounds," Newbury said. "And the Tri-City-based Columbians will blast its way into the heart of the open class (category) of this competition, posturing to be a force to be reckoned with this season."
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20 in advance for reserved seats or $15 for general admission. Cost is $25 reserved, $18 general at the gate. There also is a family rate of $40 in advance or $50 at the door for a family of four. Tickets are available at Ted Brown Music off North Columbia Center Boulevard in Richland, Tri-City Bookworm stores, Adventures Underground and Music Unlimited, both in the Uptown Shopping Center in Richland. Online ticket purchase is at www.drumsalongthecolumbia.org.
Drums Along the Columbia is a sanctioned event by the American-based Drum Corps International organization, which has been around since 1972 and has become a powerful nonprofit with far-reaching artistic, educational and organizational influence to young musicians around the globe.
The summer tour is a series of more than 100 competitive events across North America that feature young musicians, with performances that that include dance as well as music.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com; Twitter: @dorioneal