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Drum Corp seeks bugle sound

Thunder rumbles in the sanctuary of United Presbyterian Church each Monday. Cadences, rolls, calls and flams can be heard as Northern Thunder drummers practice.

Drum Corp 2
Members of the Northern Thunder Drum Corps, left to right, Caiden Fulcher, Tom Kari, Nestor Osicho and Rick Monte, practice drum calls and cadences Monday at United Presbyterian church in Superior. The group, which marches at area parades, is hoping to expand to a drum and bugle corps. (Maria Lockwood)

Thunder rumbles in the sanctuary of United Presbyterian Church each Monday. Cadences, rolls, calls and flams can be heard as Northern Thunder drummers practice.

"During the Civil War they played a lot of seven-stroke rolls," drum instructor Tom Kari told the rest of the group as they went through the rudiments of percussion.

It's been a year since the Northern Thunder Drum Corps was launched. After marching in five parades their inaugural year - from Lake Amnicon to Cloquet - the group is ready to add more razzle-dazzle.

Horn players are being sought to join the Northern Thunder Drum & Bugle Corps, as well as more percussionists.

"We're looking for as many as we can," said Wes Kruse, director of the Northland Drum Corps, which includes Northern Thunder, the Albert Woolson Memorial Drum Squad and the experimental Percussion Concussion group. Trumpet, coronet, baritone, trombone and tuba players are needed.

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"We're looking for marching and non-marching musicians," Kruse said. "We also have marching units - honor guard, color guard and precision drill team."

The group started with 16 drummers last year.

"Then baseball season hit," Kruse said, and nearly half the members left.

Their first parade was the grueling four-mile long Lake Amnicon Parade on July 3. The next day, the percussionists marched to their own cadence in Superior's Fourth of July Parade. This year, parade performances include Duluth's Memorial Day parade May 29, Civil War days in Dodge Center, Minn., the Superior Fourth of July Parade and a Labor Day performance at the Minnesota State Fair.

Kari joined the group because of his love of music and drumming.

"I like the parades; they're wonderful," said the Duluth man. "It gives us a place to play."

Members can be as young as 9, with no upper age limit. Both males and females are welcome to join. No experience is necessary.

"Just a drummer in spirit," Kruse said.

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"I think we're prepared to take in somebody who would like to start from scratch," Kari added.

Caiden Fulcher, 12, joined because he is a Civil War buff; so is drummer Rick Monte of Esko. But they've gotten more than music out of their involvement. Caiden's favorite part of the group, he said, is "just the chance to get to know more people."

Kari also appreciates the fact that another group he plays with, North Wind Drum and Bugle, for Veterans Day and on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

"I like honoring the veterans and that's a way that I can," he said. "We can honor the veterans, give back to them."

Other members of the group hail from Solon Springs and Superior.

For Kari and Monte, veteran drum corps members with other groups in the area, Northern Thunder has a more youthful vibe. Getting young people involved can help revitalize drum corps in the area, Kari said.

"I think we're losing the drum corps," Kari said. "This is a wonderful feeder."

The group will also be tapped next year to perform in Kruse's documentary-drama. "Rhythm and Courage." The screenplay follows the lives of three brothers who joined the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry on the same day - Col. Calvin Craig, his brother James, a drummer, and Lt. Joseph Craig. Kruse got the idea for the movie, based on historical letters that drummers sent home during the Civil War, from a piece of music based on the Civil War. It encouraged him to start researching, and he found the first drummer letter from James Craig to his brother's wife.

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For now, however, Kruse hopes to incorporate horns into the marching group and prepare for Civil War presentations this spring with Northern Thunder members.

Try-outs begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at United Presbyterian Church, 229 28th St., Superior. Horn players wishing to try out must provide their own instruments. Drums are available for percussionists - snares, popcorn snares, tri toms and bass, as well as bells.

Non-musical positions are also being filled. Honor guard members will hold flags; the color guard is a dance team that incorporates flags and sabers. The precision drill team focuses on the art and science of rifle drill. Try-outs for slots in these teams will also be taken Jan. 17.

Members of Northern Thunder must be willing to commit to practice time - currently 6-7 p.m. Monday nights - and to performing in the parades.

For more information on Northern Thunder Drum & Bugle Corps, the Albert Woolson Memorial Drum Squad, Percussion Concussion or try-outs, contact Kruse at (218) 393-0148 or via e-mail at klpstudios@gmail.com .

Drum Corp
Tom Kari, drum instructor for Northern Thunder Drum and Bugle Corps, beats out a cadence with fellow percussionists Monday at United Presbyterian Church in Superior. The Twin Ports area group is sending out a call for horn players and more drummers to fill their ranks. Auditions are going to be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at the church. The group marches in area parades and will be tapped for an upcoming film on Civil War drummers. (Maria Lockwood)

Related Topics: FAMILYMUSIC
Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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