Drum and bugle corps competition

Committee members involved in organizing the Sounds on the Susquehanna drum and bugle corps competition, include, from left, Ken Smith, John Yingling, Al Walter, Tom Yoder, Hank Baylor, Duff Ripka and Randy Kerstetter.

MILTON — Three-thousand people are expected to descend on Milton in June to enjoy the sounds and the showmanship of a world-class drum corps competition.

Sounds On The Susquehanna, a Drum Corps Associates (DCA) event, will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 23, at the Milton Area High School’s Alumni Field.

Members of the committee organizing the event announced details during a press briefing held Thursday at the Central PA Chamber of Commerce.

Corps scheduled to compete include the Reading Buccaneers, Cadets2, the White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps, Fusion Corps, and Erie Thunderbirds Drum and Bugle Corps. The Hawthorne Caballeros and Reilly Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps will give exhibition performances. Appalachian Gold Drum and Bugle Corps will perform the “Star Spangled Banner.”

The event is being sponsored by the Sounds On The Susquehanna committee, the White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps, the Milton Panther Foundation and the Milton High School Band Parents and Boosters.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Panther Foundation to benefit the band.

John Yingling and Hank Baylor, co-chairs of the Sounds On The Susquehanna committee, said they were approached by White Sabers Director Peter Amico during the Milton bicentennial celebration last year.

The band was part of the bicentennial parade, and Amico asked Yingling and Baylor if Milton would host a DCA competition.

“They felt Milton was a really good, centrally located place,” Baylor said. “We decided to do a study to see if people were interested.”

The committee was formed and quickly realized there was strong community support for the event.

“We were able to find people dedicated to making this happen,” Baylor said.

To open the briefing, Yingling noted that in the 1940s the former Milton Keystoners Drum and Bugle Corps hosted a similar competition for 24 straight years.

That competition was revived in the early 2000s and held in Lewisburg for about 10 years.

According to Baylor, each corps which is part of the DCA is required to sponsor a competition.

The DCA recommends other corps which the sponsoring corps can invite to take part in their event. It’s up to the sponsoring corps to secure the other participants.

During the competitions, DCA-trained judges score the competing corps in a variety of areas.

“It’s not just corps playing music,” Yingling said. “There is tremendous showmanship, Broadway style. These people put on fantastic shows. It’s choreographed.”

Baylor expects around 1,000 people associated with the various corps to descend on Milton for the event.

Ken Smith, a committee member, said the corps will be rehearsing throughout the area the morning of the competition. Rehearsal locations he’s secured include the Milton Area High School/Middle School complex, Meadowbrook Christian School, the former Watsontown Elementary School, the Watsontown Community Park and an open field along Turbot Avenue, to the rear of the Milton Fire Department.

In addition to the 1,000 people associated with the corps expected to travel to Milton for the event, Baylor said 1,800 tickets will be available.

Tickets will cost $22 if purchased in advance and will be available beginning Wednesday at soundsonthesusquehanna.com or by calling 570-713-0920.

Tickets will also be available to be purchased from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Klees Korner, 281 Hepburn St., Milton.

If any tickets remain available the day of the competition, they can be purchased for $25 at the gate.

While committee members have spent hours putting the event together, they said the process has gone relatively smooth due to the interest in the competition.

Baylor offered special thanks to the Milton Area School District, and the school board, for opening its doors to host the event.

“We felt (the school district) would be the biggest hurdle to overcome,” Baylor said. “Fortunately, it was the easiest… From the day we went to the school board, it has been one yes after another.”

The committee members said Evangelical Community Hospital has already signed on as a major sponsor of the event.

Other sponsorship opportunities remain available. For information on sponsoring the competition, or on donating to it, contact Baylor at 570-713-0920 or Steve Klees at 570-742-8292.

Baylor and Yingling offered a special thanks to their fellow committee members who have been working to put the event together. Those members include Amy Moyer, Duff Ripka, Gelas Prosseda, Ken Smith, John Meckly, Gary Leech, Judy Flynn, Steve Klees, Matt Wagner, Mike Mertz, Ned Germini, Randy Kerstetter, Sarah Kitchens, Tim Longan, Tom Yoder, Al Walter and Randy Kerstetter.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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