ANKENY, Iowa -- For over 30 years music lovers have been able to take in some of the best drum and bugle corps in the nation at the Celebration in Brass International.
For the first few decades, Celebration in Brass was held at what's now Northview Middle School but the competition got too big for its stadium, forcing it to change locations throughout the metro multiple times since 2007. But this year the Ankney Stadium was able to accommodate and that quickly had corps wanting to go back to where it all started.
“We just recently renovated our stadium, the Colts, the presenting drum corps, wanted to bring it back to its roots where we all first kind of fell in love with it. So it's back in Ankeny after a few years off,” Christian Baughman, the Celebration in Brass show coordinator said.
The Colts drum corps is the local group from Dubuque, but they are accompanied by dozens of other high caliber, nationally acclaimed programs, including the reigning national champs, the Santa Clara Vanguard. With over 154 members and 40 more on the staff, they say the performances are just as visually impressive as they are musically.
“Our mission is to always make sure we are always looking forward, always looking to try to be innovative from our previous years,” David Yunis, Santa Clara Vanguard’s Corps Director said. “So every year, we try to be better than the previous year. That's kind of been our goal ever since.”
Santa Clara Vanguard is vying for their eighth national title later this summer. Baughman said his first experience of these "jaw dropping" performances was actually Santa Clara Vanguard at Ankeny Stadium back when he was a child. He says it’s very exciting to have such competitive teams coming to the Celebration in Brass this year.
“It’s kind of all the best things of like a Broadway musical production of really high class, modern dance, and incredible brass and percussion playing. So you put all of those things together, and then to see it live, there is literally like a sonic power that comes from these groups. I mean, it will set you back in your seat,” Baughman said.
The ticket booth opens at 3pm today at Ankeny Stadium, gates open at 5:30 pm, and the competition starts at 7pm.