As known to almost every participant in high school marching bands, Drum Corps International is the pinnacle of band music being played on a football field. Drum Corps International - also known as DCI, 'drum corps', or just 'corps' among musicians and fans - is the marching band taken to an amazing height. Unlike a high school marching band, which includes a brass line, this line will include contra or sousaphone, trumpet, mellophone, and marching baritone and/or concert euphonium. The woodwind line will include flutes and piccolos, plus saxes and clarinets. The battery or drum line has bass drums - generally four or five of different sizes - snare drums, tenors, and cymbals. The pit is a collection of large instrumentation that doesn't march and usually includes various keyboard instruments, including marimba, xylophone, bells, and vibes as well as chimes, suspended cymbals, large concert bass drums, gong, timpani, other sundry small percussion. And sometimes instruments as varied as electric guitar or electric bass, drum sets or drum machines, and even home-made instruments like fake Taiko drums can be found. Drum Corps International uses just the brass line, the battery, and the pit.
DCI has been around since 1971, and has its largest membership of corps in the US, with a few in Canada. After World War I, veterans would form groups of corps to march in parades and were generally tied with VFWs, American Legion, Catholic Youth Organization, and PAL. As time went on, the music started to become more elaborate from marching music (think JP Sousa), adding such genres as jazz, Broadway, rock, classical, and pop music.
There are three divisions in DCI, I (generally being the top corps), II, and III. Each corps has its own entrance requirements and there are about 100 corps, with other related organizations in the US and around the world. Generally, membership is limited to those 21 and under (minimum age is generally high school). The highlight of the DCI season is the finals of the Summer Music Games which take place all around the country during the summer. Some of the top corps are: the Santa Clara Vanguard; the Cadets of Bergen County; the Blue Devils; the Madison Scouts; Phantom Regiment; and the Cavaliers, with a sentimental division I favorite being the Troopers from Casper, Wyoming, who pretty much helped to start marching as it is today.