ANNAPOLIS – The midshipmen of the Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps are fine-tuning their act, checking their uniforms and giving their instruments a last polish for the annual Interservice Drum and Bugle Corps Championship Saturday morning.
“It’s gonna be tight, but we’re gonna win,” said corps commander Midshipman First Class Sara Penton, 21, of Van Wert, Ohio.
The competition, which is held every year on the morning of the Navy-Air Force game, will take place at 9 a.m. on Rip Miller Field. The public is invited to attend.
The corps will be pitting its own rhythm, form and cadence against that of the Drum and Bugle Corps of the Air Force and the Coast Guard. Competitors will be judged on musical performance by horns and drums, marching technique and overall performance.
In particular, the corps (which has been practicing 12 hours a week since late August) hopes to outshine their traditional rival, the Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps, which won the Interservice Drum and Bugle Corps Trophy last year in Colorado Springs.
“The Air Force is our biggest rival because the Army doesn’t have a drum and bugle corps, so that leaves the Air Force and the Coast Guard, and traditionally the Air Force is more competitive,” said Penton, who is in her fourth year at the academy. “The trophy has gone back and forth between us.”
The Drum and Bugle Corps has 95 members (82 male, 13 female), the majority of whom are in the brass section. During the summer, plebes, or freshmen, audition for a place. Penton, who won her spot as a plebe, estimated that about sixty percent of applicants are accepted.
“I like the musical aspect of it,” said Penton, “and I like the people that I work with — their dedication, their spirit.” Admission is free. -30-