Think of it as a halftime show that lasts all day and evening. Tickets went on sale Monday morning for the largest drum and bugle corps competition ever held in the state. Drum Corps International's DCI Minnesota will take place July 17, when 24 corps from around North America take the field at TCF Bank Stadium.

All of the elite Top 12 World Class corps from the 2009 DCI World Championships will be competing at DCI Minnesota, being held at the University of Minnesota's new stadium, including the champion Blue Devils (pictured above) from Concord, Calif. Regionally popular World Class corps -- whose members are high-school- and college-aged -- will include the Madison Scouts of Madison, Wis., the Blue Stars of La Crosse, Wis., the Phantom Regiment of Rockford, Ill., the Cavaliers (pictured right) of Rosemont, Ill., and the Colts of Dubuque, Iowa. Also performing will be the all-ages corps Minnesota Brass Inc. of St. Paul and the Govenaires of St. Peter, two of the best units of their kind in the country. Other corps coming to Minneapolis for DCI Minnesota are, in alphabetical order:

  • Blue Knights (Denver) 
  • Bluecoats (Canton, Ohio)
  • Boston Crusaders
  • Cadets (Allentown, Pa.) 
  • Carolina Crown (Fort Mill, S.C.)
  • Colt Cadets (Dubuque)
  • Crossmen (San Antonio, Texas)
  • Dutch Boy (Kitchener, Ontario)
  • Glassmen (Toledo, Ohio) 
  • Legends (Kalamazoo, Mich.) 
  • Pioneer (Milwaukee, Wis.)
  • Racine Scouts (Racine, Wis.)
  • Santa Clara Vanguard (Santa Clara, Calif.)
  • Spirit (Atlanta)
  • Teal Sound (Jacksonville, Fla.)
  • Troopers (Casper, Wyo.)

Modern drum corps are the innovators of the marching-and-music activitiy. World Class corps can have up to 150 performers, made up of top percussionists, brass players and color guard members, all of whom audition for the positions. They tour the nation throughout the summer, culminating in the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis in mid-August. Regional events such as DCI Minnesota can draw 12,000 fans, with the championship events pulling in nearly 60,000. DCI has a cool video explaining the activity to the uninitiated.

You can buy tickets ($20-$47) for DCI Minnesota, which starts at 2 p.m. (and ends around 10 p.m.) on July 17, by clicking on the links at the top of this post. (Or call DCI at 1-317-275-1212 for more information.)

Before DCI Minnesota, from July 14 to 17, the Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard (pictured left) will take part in the System Blue Marching Band Skills Camp, a workshop for high school and college band students, directors and staff, at the stadium and at university facilities.  Find out more and register at the Blue Devils' website.

The Twin Cities' summer of drum corps doesn't end with DCI Minnesota. The long-running Drum Beauty show will take place in Stillwater on June 27 with nine of the corps from the later event. Tickets ($8-$33) are on sale now. And Sounds of Minnesota will take place the weekend of Aug. 20-22 with the Minnesota Brass, Govenaires and other all-ages corps competing.