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NEW! Videos! Argonne March of Champions 2006 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kelley Underwood   
Thursday, 20 July 2006
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NEW! Videos! Argonne March of Champions 2006
Argonne Video
Seattle Cascades Video
Cavaliers VideosPart 1
Blue Knights Videos
Crossmen VideosPart 1
Crossmen Videos Part 2
Santa Clara Videos Part 1
Santa Clara Videos Part 2
Blue Knights Rehearsal Part 1
Blue Knights Rehearsal Part 2

Argonne Rebels Uniforms on Parade On Monday, July 17, 2006 at the Great Bend, Kansas high school football field a decades old tradition was recreated with the reappearance of the "March of Champions" drum and bugle corps contest. The "March of Champions" was an annual event during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. I'm not sure when the last contest was held in Great Bend but it is safe to say that Drum Corps has changed dramatically during that time. 

Monday evening's contest began with a color presentation of special signifiane to members of the corps from the "glory" years of the late 1960s through 1973. A color guard composed of members from the corps during this time period was assembled to present the flag in a very special way. The color guard assembled working uniforms from the vaults of the last two styles used by the Argonne Rebels. One of the members, Tim Duncan, relayed that "We'll never see those uniforms again". Tim said the uniforms were so old and in such bad condition that they spent a great deal of the day trying to find and fix something that would hold up for the pre-contest festivities. For those of us in the stands, it was a job well done and a moving experience. Videos of these events can be seen on the next pages of this article.

MarkWebsterontptPerhaps even more moving than seeing the old uniforms on the field was hearing snippets of some of the legendary Argonne repertoire. Mark Webster, an outstanding soprano bugler from the 1969-1973 seasons and the current band director at Great Bend High School, performed a few measures of several songs from the corps' past. These included, among others, Barnum and Bailey's Favorites', Jesus Christ Superstar, Stars and Stripes Forever, and Shenandoah. 

While this new March of Champions contest was exciting to us old guys it was also an opportunity for young marchers in today's corps to visit a place of historial significance in their activity. According to the director of the Blue Knights, a Denver based unit, the members of the corps had been given a history lesson earlier Monday morning regarding the past of the Argonne Rebels, their record setting horn line and the DCI Hall of Famer, Sandra Opie, who built that horn line.. Most of the units in Monday's show had competed in previous March of Chamions, often multiple times, but this was certainly a new experience for any current marchers.

Since the last March of Champions the drum and bugle corps activity has changed in many obvious and less visible ways. For those in Great Bend who were tasked with the responsibility of preparing living quarters for the competing corps perhaps the biggest change is in the number of traveling vehicles including busses, trucks and other support vehicles. In 1973, my last year in Argonne, a typical top level corps would travel with three chartered busses, an equipment truck and maybe a few cars or a van. Today the corps come with four and sometimes five busses that appear to be owned by the corps. Then there are two semi-trucks. One of these carries instruments, uniforms and other equipment. The second 18 wheeler serves as a kitchen for the corps. A third truck or trailer will serve as a souvenir stand. There will then be an assortment of vans and/or automobiles used for errands and to ferry as many as 60 staff members from place to place. Arranging parking for these entourages in a way that is acceptable to the marching units in a small venue like Great Bend, KS can be very challenging.

Last Updated ( Friday, 28 July 2006 )
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