Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps

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Carolina Crown
Drum and Bugle Corps
Carolina Crown logo.png
LocationFort Mill, South Carolina
DivisionWorld Class
DirectorJim Coates
Championship titles1993 (Div. II)
2013 (World Class)

Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps is a World Class competitive junior drum and bugle corps. Based in Fort Mill, South Carolina, Carolina Crown is a member corps of Drum Corps International (DCI).[1] On August 10, 2013, Carolina Crown won the 2013 DCI World Class Championship, the first former Open Class/Division II corps to do so.

Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps marches in the Bristol, Rhode Island Fourth of July Parade in 2017.

History[edit | edit source]

The Carolina Crown organization was founded in 1988 as the Charlotte Drum Corps Association, a group of local drum corps fans who gathered on an irregular basis to talk about drum corps and watch drum corps video. After organizing themselves with Bill Loelius as president, Kevin Smith as vice president, and Luanne Bialecki as Secretary-Treasurer, the group hosted two drum corps shows, Southern Gold Classic at Davidson College and NightBEAT at Charlotte's Memorial Stadium. Southern Gold Classic drew a small audience and lost money. NightBEAT was much better attended, but the group was unable to pay the stadium rental. When NightBEAT Chairperson Doug Madar, Bill Loelius, and Kevin Smith met with Charlotte Parks & Recreation Department Superintendent Marvin Billups to discuss working out some sort of payment schedule, they were surprised when Billups not only wrote off the bill for the 1988 NightBEAT but offered the Department's sponsorship for future shows. In 1989, a gift of $1000 was offered by the Queen City Optimists with the proviso that the organization start a performance group; after discussions initially centered on starting a drumline, Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps was born.[2][3][4]

After the corps bought a complete set of drums from a defunct drum and bugle corps only to discover that they were seriously damaged, John Cummings of Ludwig Drums offered to repair the drums as part of an informal sponsorship of the corps. The name Carolina Crown was adopted to recognize the groups' desire to represent the Carolinas region while still recognizing Charlotte, the Queen City, which has a crown in its logo. The leadership group met, in the fall of 1989, with several young band directors who were also alumni of Suncoast Sound, Spirit of Atlanta, and the Madison Scouts drum and bugle corps to tell them of their efforts to start a new local corps. From this group, Don Taylor, Cecil Adderley, Bill Register, and Van Mathews volunteered to be the corps' first instructors. After locating and purchasing the horns of the defunct California Dons, Carolina Crown began recruiting members. The corps also formed a partnership with the Mecklenburg Council of the Boy Scouts of America as Explorer Post #588, which aided them in finding school space for auditions and practices.[2][3][4]

In 1990, fielding a corps of only sixty-one members, Carolina Crown elected to compete in the Open Class (now known as World Class) in DCI. However, not only was the corps out-classed by the other, larger corps in Open Class, but it was also bested in DCI prelims by seven corps that had advanced from Classes A and A60, finishing thirty-third of 33 corps at their first DCI World Championships in Buffalo.[5] In 1991, the corps dropped down to Class A. At the DCI Championships in Dallas, Carolina Crown finished in second place in Class A and advanced to Open Class prelims, where they placed twenty-fifth, earning DCI Associate membership. Carolina Crown was third in the 1992 Division II championship in Whitewater, Wisconsin, once more finishing in twenty-fifth place in Division I (which had been renamed from Open Class) prelims in Madison, Wisconsin. At the 1993 DCI Championships in Jackson, Mississippi, Carolina Crown won the Division II Championship title and finished in twenty-first place in Division I prelims.[2][3][4]

After winning Division II in 1993, Carolina Crown opted to compete exclusively in Division I in 1994. That year, the corps finished seventeenth in DCI semifinals in Boston. In 1995, in only its sixth season, Carolina Crown earned a spot as one of DCI's Top Twelve Finalists, taking eleventh place in quarterfinals and holding that position through Finals. Since that first Finals appearance, Carolina Crown has failed to make DCI Finals only once (2002), finishing within the top 5 in finals every year since 2008 and winning the World Class DCI World Championship in 2013.[6] In recent years, Crown has become renowned for its hornline, consistently one of DCI's best. In the championship year of 2013, the brass scored the first (and only) perfect score in DCI Finals history[7] and won the Jim Ott Award for Best Brass Performance for the 4th time in the preceding five years. The corps would win the award again in 2016, 2017, and 2019.

In 1995, the corps moved from Charlotte to Belmont, North Carolina. Following the 1997 season, the corps relocated to its present home of Fort Mill, South Carolina.[2][3][4]

Show summary (1990–2022)[edit | edit source]


Gold background indicates DCI Championship; pale blue background indicates DCI Class Finalist; pale green background indicates DCI semifinalist.

Year Theme Repertoire Score Placement
1990 The Music Man Goodnight, My Someone / Ya Got Trouble / Lida Rose / Marian the Librarian / Till There Was You /
Goodnight Ladies / 76 Trombones
All from The Music Man by Meredith Willson
58.600 33rd
1991 The Music of Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 / March, Opus 99 / Troika (4th Movement from Lieutenant Kije Suite) /
Alexander Nevsky / Ivan the Terrible
All by Sergei Prokofiev
2nd Class A
25th Open Class
1992 The Dances of
Malcolm Arnold
English Dance I (Set One, Op.27) / English Dance II (Set Two, Op. 33) / English Dance IV (Set One, Op. 27) /
Four Scottish Dances III (Op. 59) / Four Cornish Dances IV (Op. 91)
All by Malcolm Arnold
3rd Division II
25th Open Class
1993 La Fiesta Mexicana Aztec Dance / Mass / Carnival
All from La Fiesta Mexicana, by H. Owen Reed
1st Division II
21st Division I
1994 A Southwestern Impression El Salón México by Aaron Copland /
Rio Grande, Round Up, Wagon Train & Fiesta by Morton Gould
75.100 17th
1995 Stormworks Stormworks by Stephen Melillo / Watermark by Enya / The Storm by Marty McCartt 82.800 11th
1996 Chess...
and the Art of Strategy
Strategical Fanfare by Marty McCartt / Presto with Malice (from the First Symphony) by Sir William Walton /
Nimrod & Variation XV (based on themes from Enigma Variations) by Sir Edward Elgar, arr. Marty McCartt
82.100 10th
1997 Postcards from Britain Crown Imperial by Sir William Walton / Terpsichore by Bob Margolis /
Nimrod (from Enigma Variations) by Sir Edward Elgar / Gigue (from Saint Paul's Suite) by Gustav Holst
85.000 12th
1998 Heroes: Then and Now Russian Christmas Music / Armenian Dances / Praise Jerusalem by Alfred Reed 85.70 11th
1999 Jekyll and Hyde Prologue / Once Upon A Dream / Murder, Murder / Confrontation / In His Eyes / Facade
All from Jekyll & Hyde by Frank Wildhorn, Leslie Bricusse and Steve Cuden
86.300 11th
2000 The Mask of Zorro Main Title / The Ride / Diego's Goodbye / Stealing the Map from The Mask of Zorro by James Horner 85.150 11th
2001 Industry Original music by Marty McCartt / Concerto for Four Percussion by David Gillingham /
Main Theme from The Cider House Rules by Rachel Portman / Motown Metal by Michael Daugherty
86.950 10th
2002 Greek Mythology,
Stories of
Gods and Heroes
I. Zeus – Second Essay for Orchestra by Samuel Barber /
II. Eros – Eros (from Javelin) by Michael Torke /
III. Icarus – One Day I'll Fly Away (from Moulin Rouge!) by Will Jennings and Joe Sample /
IV. Medusa – Medea's Dance of Vengeance by Samuel Barber / Piano Concerto by Samuel Barber
81.800 16th
2003 Bell-isimo! Mass (from La Fiesta Mexicana) by H. Owen Reed / Earth (from Symphony No. 1) by Philip Sparke /
Stained Glass by David Gillingham / Engulfed Cathedral by Claude Debussy / Carol of the Bells by Mykola Leontovych
86.650 10th
2004 Bohemia! Má vlast by Bedřich Smetana / La bohème by Giacomo Puccini / Seasons of Love, (from Rent) by Jonathan Larson /
Epistrophy by Thelonious Monk / Bohemian Rhapsody by Freddie Mercury (Queen)
91.225 7th
2005 Angelus The Reason by Ed Nalle and Bob Kauflin (GLAD) / A Mighty Fortress by Martin Luther / Angel by Sarah McLachlan /
Never Surrender (from First Knight) by Jerry Goldsmith / Joy (from Awakening) by Joseph Curiale /
Call of the Mountain (from Gates of Gold) by Joseph Curiale
90.725 7th
2006 Urban Dances & Celestial Night by Richard Danielpour 89.975 8th
2007 Triple Crown Theme from Dreamer by John Debney / The Trap by James Newton Howard /
Wild Horses by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) /
Happy Ending (from The Red Pony) by Aaron Copland / Manny's Story (from Dreamer) by John Debney /
William Tell Overture by Gioachino Rossini / Last Race (from Dreamer) by John Debney
94.150 6th
2008 Finis Candide by Leonard Bernstein / Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach /
Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini / Ode to Joy (from Ninth Symphony) by Ludwig van Beethoven /
Suite Bergamasque (Claire De Lune) by Claude Debussy /
One Hand One Heart & Somewhere (from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein /
Hungarian Rhapsody by Franz Liszt / Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich /
1812 Overture by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky / Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland /
Hallelujah Chorus by George Frederic Handel
96.800 4th
2009 The Grass Is
Always Greener
The Promise of Living (from The Tender Land) by Aaron Copland / St Michael the Archangel by Ottorino Respighi /
Puck One (from Il Sogno) by Elvis Costello / Sensemayá by Silvestre Revueltas /
Somewhere (from West Side Story) by Leonard Bernstein /
Over the Rainbow (from The Wizard of Oz) by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg / Slalom by Carter Pann
97.500 2nd
2010 A Sec2nd Chance Symphony No. 2 by Gustav Mahler / Symphony No. 2 by Aram Khatchaturian / Danzón No. 2 by Arturo Marquez /
Nimrod (from Enigma Variations) by Edward Elgar / The Promise of Living (from The Tender Land) by Aaron Copland
95.950 4th
2011 Rach Star We Will Rock You by Brian May (Queen) /
Iron Man by Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler & Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) /
Piano Concerto No. 2 & Symphonic Dances by Sergei Rachmaninoff /
Paint It Black by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) /
Eruption by Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, and Alex Van Halen, (Van Halen)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Sergei Rachmaninoff /
Piano Concerto No. 1 by Keith Emerson / Bohemian Rhapsody by Freddie Mercury (Queen) /
Free Bird by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
95.300 4th
2012 For the Common Good Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland / Dreams by Bertrand Moren /
Symphony No. 3 by Aaron Copland
97.650 2nd
2013 E=mc2 Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass / Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss /
Walking With Heroes by Paul Lovatt-Cooper / The Devil's Bridge by Bertrand Moren /
The Abyss by Alan Silvestri / The Light Fantastic & The Dark Side of the Moon by Paul Lovatt-Cooper
98.300 1st
2014 Out of This World Space Oddity by David Bowie / Launch: Mission Control And Liftoff/Jumping to The Speed of Light (from The Interstellar Suite) by Amin Bhatia /
Shadow Behind The Iron Sun by Evelyn Glennie / Major Tom (Vollig Losgelost) by Peter Schilling /
There's No Place Like Home (from LOST) by Michael Giacchino / Mars, Jupiter, and Neptune (from The Planets) by Gustav Holst
Perihelion - Closer to the Sun by Philip Sparke / Vitae Aeternum by Paul Lovatt-Cooper
95.675 5th
2015 Inferno Gates of Hell (Original composition) by Thom Hannum, Tony Nunez, and Steve Ridley /
Dies Irae by Giuseppe Verdi / Symphony for Organ and Orchestra by Aaron Copland /
Adagio in G Minor by Remo Giazotto / Symphony No. 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven
97.075 2nd
2016 Relentless The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Ennio Morricone / The Ecstasy of Gold by Ennio Morricone /
Medea's Dance of Vengeance, Op. 23a by Samuel Barber / Journey of the Lone Wolf by Simon Dobson /
El Tango de Roxanne by Sting, Craig Pearce, Baz Luhrmann, Mariano Mores /
Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen / Il Triello (The Trio) by Ennio Morricone / Equilibrium by Paul Lovatt-Cooper
97.088 3rd
2017 It Is Little Fugue in G Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach /
Crown Imperial by William Walton / Symphony No. 3 by Vittorio Giannini /
Old Home Days by Charles Ives / Raveling, Unraveling by Philip Sparke /
For Good (from Wicked) by Stephen Schwartz / NO one To kNOW one by Andy Akiho
96.575 3rd
2018 Beast Symphony No. 8, 4th movement by Anton Bruckner/ Build a Pyre by Ryan Lott (Son Lux) /
Destination Moon by Paul Raphael / Myth Forest by Stig Nordhagen /
If I Fell by John Lennon and Paul McCartney / Blow It Up, Start Again by Jonathan Newman /
Epiphanies (Fanfares and Chorales) by Ron Nelson
95.500 4th
2019 Beneath the Surface Temen Oblak (Dark Clouds) by Christopher Tin /
Frolic (From Rabbit and Rogue) by Danny Elfman / Gabriel's Oboe (from The Mission) by Ennio Morricone /
Bucimis (Traditional Bulgarian based on an arrangement by The Swingles w/Trichy Sankaran)
96.563 4th
2020 Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 In My Mind Carolina in My Mind by James Taylor / Long Time Traveler by The Wailin' Jennys / Seize the Day by Peter Graham /
Gravity by Sarah Bareilles / Toccata Andromeda by Paul Halley
2022 Right Here Right Now With The Love In My Heart by Jacob Collier / Chandelier by Sia and Jesse Shatkin /
Chasing the Moment by Michael Klesch, Thom Hannum, Andrew Monteiro, Jim Acona and Travis Peterman /
Benedictus by Karl Jenkins / Own the Moment by Andrew Monteiro and Travis Peterman /
Toccata Andromeda by Paul Halley
96.350 4th

Caption Awards[edit | edit source]

At the annual World Championship Finals, Drum Corps International (DCI) presents awards to the corps with the highest average scores from prelims, semifinals, and finals in five captions. Carolina Crown has won these caption awards:

Jim Ott Best Brass Performance Award

  • 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019

John Brazale Best Visual Performance Award

  • 2012, 2013, 2016

Don Angelica Best General Effect Award

  • 2013, 2015

George Zingali Best Color Guard Award

  • 2016

DCI also presents an award to the best drum major, as voted on by the DCI Hall of Fame committee:

Jim Jones Leadership Award

  • Bob Beasley, 2006
  • Evan VanDoren, 2007

Traditions[edit | edit source]

Corps song

Carolina Crown's official corps song is "Carolina in My Mind" written by North Carolina native James Taylor and originally arranged by former corps faculty member Marty McCartt and re-arranged by Andre Feagin. The current arrangement is by longtime Crown Brass Arranger Michael Klesch. The lyrics were adjusted for the corps by guard member Adele Honrath (née Williamson) in 2001. The corps sings in harmony before entering the field before each performance. All Crown alumni are welcomed to sing this with the corps.

The adjusted lyrics are: "In my mind, I'm going to Carolina can't you see the sunshine, this feeling lasts for a lifetime, something that I have come to find, I'll never leave behind, yes I'm going to Carolina in my mind."

Theme from Band of Brothers

In addition to the corps song, the hornline also sings and performs the theme from the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (composed by Michael Kamen and arranged by Michael Klesch) as a theme of brotherhood within the hornline. They sing it after all rehearsals and perform it on their instruments during encores. The hornline never sings it publicly, but only in a close huddle after rehearsals.

Bead necklace and age-out crown

The tradition of the bead necklace was started in 1998. Members receive a bead for every year that they march. The beads are specific to each year, and the shape, color and material of the beads based on the theme of that year's field production. For instance, bead given in 2009 was green, as the show was entitled "The Grass is Always Greener".

The bead is usually given to members on the last day of spring training, often the day of the corp's annual preview show. It serves as a formal induction into the corps for that year's new ("rookie") members. The spirit of this tradition holds that the members have completed the most difficult and grueling part of the season (spring training), and are now full members of the family. Members are free to personalize their necklace as they see fit.

Upon aging out, members will be awarded a silver crown pendant to add to their bead necklace. This is presented to the age-out members at the corps annual awards banquet.

Corps picture "crown"

Since 1990, the corps has always formed the trademark crown logo while having its group picture taken at DCI Championships. Usually, the drum major forms the very tip at the top of the crown. In addition, the bass drum section has often made it a tradition to have their eyes looking off to one side as the picture is snapped.

Age-out dinner

Every year, the corps recognizes the age outs from the current year with a formal dinner held during finals week. Age-outs are given an opportunity to speak and are awarded their age-out crown pendants at this time. In 2007, the decision was made to combine the age-out dinner with the corps awards banquet, which had traditionally been held the December following the summer. In 2009, another change was added as the corps held the age-out dinner in the afternoon of the day after Finals. This was the first time in the corps' 20-year history that it did not depart the Finals city immediately after the Saturday Night Finals show.


From 1988 to 2008, Carolina Crown hosted "NightBEAT" at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Downtown Charlotte. This show is considered to be the premier non-regional DCI show in the country.

From 2009-2011, NightBEAT was moved to Rock Hill's District III Stadium. While this is a smaller venue than Memorial Stadium (about 4100 seats vs. 7000-8000 for ALMS), the move was necessary as the City of Charlotte was forced to temporarily close ALMS due to a part of the concrete stands collapsing.

In 2012, NightBEAT returned to ALMS when the stadium repairs were completed. Its return was a great success, with a nearly sold-out crowd, and the Carolina Crown missed defeating the Blue Devils by 0.2 points.

NightBEAT was again held at ALMS in 2013, with the largest crowd in NightBEAT history; nearly 7,500 spectators. Again Carolina Crown narrowly missed defeating the Blue Devils by 0.05 points.

In 2015, 2016, and 2017, NightBEAT was held at Wake Forest University's BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A paid attendance of 10,418 set a new NightBEAT record in 2017.

Revenue from NightBEAT is one of Crown's largest funding sources.


First starting in 2012, CrownBEAT has been a new edition to the Crown-hosted events in the DCI season. Crown took first in the inaugural season of CrownBEAT, scoring a 74.90.

CrownBEAT was then discontinued from 2013 to 2015 until returning to the regular season in 2016. Though the Crown organization ran this competition, Crown did not compete, as they were in the Midwest at the time. However, in 2017, Crown performed at CrownBEAT and took first with a 79.2.

Since 2016, CrownBEAT has been held at River Bluff High School in Lexington, SC.

Recently, revenue from CrownBEAT has been growing over the past three years that it has occurred. This competition is a must-go for any DCI fans in the Midlands of South Carolina.

Age-out crowns for guard

The color guard for Carolina Crown has its own tradition to honor age-outs. At the awards ceremony for the DCI Finals, the guard members who are aging out wear gold crowns so they can stand out and be honored.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Corps". Drum Corps International. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-23. Retrieved 2012-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 - The Drum Corps Repertoire Database
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 A History of Drum & Bugle Corps, Vol. 2; Steve Vickers, ed.; Drum Corps World, 2003
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2013-12-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. News: A New Champion is 'Crowned'
  7. (accessed Sept. 3, 2013)
  8. "Carolina Crown/Repertoire". DCX: The Drum Corps Xperience. Retrieved 1 March 2018.

External links[edit | edit source]