Legends of Kalamazoo is a touring drum and bugle corps made up of 15 to 22-year-olds who perform and compete with a variety of instruments and pageantry-like movement.
This past summer, two buses of staff and students and two semi-trucks that haul instruments, equipment and a kitchen pulled into the Cedarburg, Wisconsin High School parking lot for a performance and competition on their annual tour.
Ibe Sodawalla, Executive Director and CEO for the Legends Performing Arts Association started the group in 2006 to build performing ensembles through the marching arts for students in the southwest Michigan region. They have programs for seventh grade through age 22. Clair Miller is in her third year marching on baritone. Her first instrument was clarinet at Western Michigan University.
“I’ve always been into marching band and music and I learn a lot of things every day, not just about the show," she says. "I learn about how to be organized, how to stay focused, how to interact with other people, how to deal with the stressful days and how to celebrate the days that we have a really awesome rehearsal.”
Stephen Alia is the program coordinator and visual designer for the corps.
“There’s generally three major sections, We have a brass section, which is made up of bell front brass instruments, trumpets, mellophones--which are like marching French horns, baritones and euphoniums, which are kind of like trombones or baritones that you might see in a concert band, but a marching version of that, as well as tubas that are held on the shoulder. The second section is the percussion section. It’s divided into two groups. We have what’s called the battery, which are the drums that the performers wear and march with on the field and then, we have the front line, which are instruments like xylophones and marimbas, timpani keyboards. Then the third section is the color guard, performers that dance as well as spin equipment. They spin flag, rifle and saber through the show. Those three groups together combined to make Legends Drum and Bugle Corps.”
Sodawalla says that the sole purpose of the corps is to give a great educational and music experience to students and in the process to engage and excite an audience through their production.
“The Legends Drum and Bugle Corps, we compete and perform with the Drum Corps International circuit over the summer. That group actually starts doing auditions in November and December," she says. "We do rehearsal once a month, January through May. And, then, we get together and do all day rehearsals for about 20 days. And we hit the road and do tour through July and the first two weeks of August.”