La Crosse drum and bugle corps prepares for summer tour - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse drum and bugle corps prepares for summer tour

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

It's an activity very similar to marching band (minus the woodwind instruments) although performers will tell you it's much more than that.

Forty-six drum and bugle corps spend their entire spring preparing a 12-minute field show they then take on tour for competitions across the country in summer. For the 154 members of the La Crosse Blue Stars, the next few months will be lived on buses, gym floors and football fields in the hot sun. 

Performers like 2nd year snare drummer David Ramirez say it's one of the most intense experiences out there.

"The most challenging part I would say would be putting everything together at such the quick pace that we do," Ramirez said. "We just kind of get the music, get the drill and put it together pretty much right away."

After monthly weekend camps throughout the winter, the entire corps spends three weeks non-stop sunrise to sunset rehearsals attempting to perfect their production. 

The Blue Stars will bring their 2018 building and carpentry themed show, "The Once and Future Carpenter" to the first competition of the season on June 21 in Detroit, Michigan.

"It pretty much has to be at a very high standard right away," Ramirez said.

Only the most dedicated need apply. Competition for spots on the corps is tough, and even after the audition they need to raise money for that membership.

"Everybody who is a part of the drum corps has paid us almost $4000 dollars," Executive Director Brad Furlano said. "That is only about half of what it takes for us to actually do this."

Food, housing and transportation of 154 performers and additional staff members eats up much of that operating cost.

4th year trumpet player Christian Torres said he came for the challenge of putting together a demanding and dynamic show, but always leaves each season with something more permanent.

"There's so many life lessons that we get out of the activity, out of putting your full effort into everything you do," Torres said.

The Blue Stars will be doing a preview show Monday June 18 at Logan High School's Swanson Field at 7 PM. It's free to attend, but members of the public are encouraged to bring non-perishable food item donations.

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