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RHS band hosting state 'Battle of Brass'

By Staff
Kim West, Franklin County Times
Gary McNutt describes the Drum Corps International's summer music games as a souped-up version of marching band.
McNutt, the associate director of the Russellville High School band, said the DCI "Alabama Battle of the Brass" returns for the second straight year to perform at Golden Tiger Stadium on Monday, June 25 at 7 p.m. The competition showcases six drum and bugle corps, including nine-time champion The Cadets, from Allentown, Pa.
"It's a really incredible, high-level type of show that has maneuvers much more difficult than a college show," McNutt said. "It's like an All-Star game because everyone is so talented."
McNutt said the corps travel throughout the summer marching and playing against each other in exhibitions, and then the top 12 compete in the championships at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. in August.
Each corps consists of brass, drums and color guard with a limit of 135 students ages 14-22, and many of them are also members of college marching bands.
The "Battle of the Brass" also features the Boston Crusaders, Carolina Crown, Spirit from Jacksonville State University, Teal Sound (Thomasville, Ga.) and Music City Legend. The show's co-organizers are the Russellville Band Parents Association and the Friends of (JSU) Spirit, and the RHS band receives all proceeds from parking, concessions and programs.
"I want to thank all the local businesses who are the band sponsors for buying ads in our programs," McNutt said. "We'll have a full slate of Russellville concession food, including the Russellvile dog-it's the best dog you'll ever eat, and I'd compare it to a Turner Field hot dog because it has the ketchup, kraut and mustard mixed in."
Will McAllister, a 2003 Russellville graduate, was a member of the Memphis Sound drum corps last year, and he also plays in drum line at the Million Dollar Band at the University of Alabama.
"To join a drum corps, you have to prepare a tryout and send in an audition packet," McNutt said. "There is a weekend tryout camp in late November, and the drum corps hold winter camps and spring training. Then they travel during the summer and return to school in time for August band camp."
The "Battle of the Brass" will hold a training session prior to the competition Monday that is open to local high school band students. The band members have the opportunity to sit among the drum corps on the field and observe how they prepare for a show, according to McNutt.
The gates open at 5 p.m. and tickets are available at the gate, through, or by calling DCI toll free at 1-800-485-7469. Reserved seating costs $20, and general admission tickets are $12. For more information, contact the RHS band room at 256-331-2036.