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Blast in the Burg expected to draw large crowd

July 26, 2011

Shown during last year's inaugural Blast in the Burg drum corp competition is Legends of Kalamazoo, MI. This year's show is slated for Thursday, Aug. 4. Photo by Amy Cherry.

Area spectators will have the opportunity to witness performances by eight open class drum corps at Blast in the Burg II, taking place Thursday, Aug. 4 beginning at 6 p.m. at Memorial Field in Johnsonburg.
Advance tickets are available until tomorrow, July 28, at a reduced price from the following vendors; Vito's, Ivan's and Printing Plus in St. Marys; Cliffe's and the Prescription Center in Ridgway,The Kopper Kettle, Beck's Bar and Grill, Central Hose Hall and the Johnsonburg Press Office in Johnsonburg; and the Chambers of Commerces in Kane and DuBois. There are separate prices for adults and children under 12. General admission adult tickets at the gate will cost slightly more.
Organizer Terrance Feronti of Johnsonburg began his endeavor of bringing a Drum Corp International (DCI) show to the area last year with the inaugural Blast in the Burg competition.
"I've had nothing but positive reactions from people," Feronti said of last year's show. "Especially from the people who weren't accustomed to drum corp shows. They were really surprised and said it was nothing like they thought it was going to be."
This year's show will feature the top three open-class drum corps in the country: the Crusaders of Portland, OR, The Blue Devils B of Concord, Calif., and Les Stentores of Quebec, Canada.
Additional corps returning for the competition are The Spartans of Nashua, N.H., Music City of Nashville, Tenn., 7th Regiment of New London, CT, Genesis of Edinburg, Texas and the Blue Saints of Ontario, Canada.
The entire show is estimated to last approximately three hours.
"Last year, the corps were thrilled with the large crowd," Feronti said, referring to the estimated 1,300 spectators on hand. "Their prior shows, they were averaging crowds of 400-500 people."
As part of the competition, the corps are judged on a variety of skills by a team of 10 judges watching the show from various vantage, points including on the field, sidelines and in the press box. Last year, the Spartans took home the top prize.
Open-class corps are also known as junior corps and feature younger participants, typically ranging in age from middle to high school, while world-class corps include college-age participants. The maximum age for any drum corp participant is 22 years old.
"The open-class corps instructional staffs, which I didn't realize until last year, are much larger than the world-class corps because they have to be, because they have to work a lot more with these younger kids," Feronti explained.
Seven of the eight corps will be traveling to the Elk County area following a show in Dayton, Ohio. They are expected to arrive between 6-8 a.m. on Aug. 3, the day before the show. Their next stop following Blast in the Burg II is a show in Erie on Saturday, Aug. 6.
Local schools throughout the area will play host to the corps, providing them with sleeping space and restroom facilities. Most of the corps also bring with them a staff of volunteers, many of whom are parents, who prepare meals in food trucks housing portable kitchens and supplies.

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