'Sounds' returns to Milton

From left, event volunteers Steve Klees and Randy Kerstetter stand below a sign at Klees’ Korner Store in Milton promoting the Sounds on the Susquehanna DCA Drum and Bugle Corps Competition. Gates for the competition open at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, with the event starting at 7 at the Milton Area High School’s Alumni Field.

MILTON — Steve Klees has spent some time over the last several days calling Milton-area businesses, advising them to expect an influx of customers on Saturday.

More than 1,000 people purchased tickets for last year’s inaugural edition of the Sounds on the Susquehanna DCA Drum and Bugle Corps Competition. Adding in corps members in attendance, more than 2,000 people descended on Milton for the event.

Klees, a volunteer on the committee organizing the 2019 edition of the event, expects a similar number of people to visit Milton for this year’s event, which will boost the number of customers patronizing area businesses.

The competition takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Milton Area High School’s Alumni Field. Event-day tickets go on sale at 3 p.m., with gates opening at 5:30.

“This features some of the best drum and bugle corps on the East Coast, plus three alumni corps that are not in competition,” Randy Kerstetter, also a volunteer committee member with the event, said.

“(Alumni corps) are the old drum and bugle corps shows,” he continued. “They don’t have all the flags and color guards and electronics. People like the shows they put on.”

Corps scheduled to be in competition during the event include White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps, Reading Buccaneers, Bushwackers and Columbus Saints.

Participating alumni corps are slated to include the Belvederes Alumni, Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni Corps and Hawthorne Caballeros.

“The Hawthorne Caballeros are the hot draw in this area,” Kerstetter said. “People really like them.”

While the alumni corps will be a popular attraction at the event, both Klees and Kerstetter described the competition as a spectacle to be seen.

“Their marching and maneuvering is far beyond what it used to be in the ‘50s and ‘60s when drum corps first came out,” Klees said. “They are marching and playing, probably 90% of the show. They’ve added more flags, more color.”

Many of the participating corps will be arriving in the Milton early, and practicing at various locations throughout the community prior to the competition.

Practice sessions, which will generally begin in the morning hours, are free and open to the public.

“This is an all-day event for drum corps freaks,” Klees said.

Corps will be practicing throughout the day at the following locations: White Sabers, Milton Area High School; Reading Buccaneers, Baugher Elementary School; Bushwackers, Christ Wesleyan Church; Columbus Saints, Milton Area High School; Belvederes, vacant lot near the Milton Fire Department, beginning around 4 p.m.; Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni, the former Watsontown Elementary School; and Hawthorne Caballeros, Watsontown Memorial Park.

As of early in the week, Klees said weather forecasters were calling for clear skies Saturday. He believes the nice weather will lead to a big crowd turning out for the event.

“The more tickets we can sell, the more we can give back,” Klees said. “Some of (the proceeds) will be given back to the (Milton area) high school band.”

He said a committee of 12 to 14 volunteers have been working for the better part of the past year to plan Saturday’s competition.

“I hope everybody involved has a good time,” Klees said. “Most of us are in it for the drum corps show.”

Kerstetter said volunteers will begin setting up for the event at around 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

“Parking will be like any major sporting event at the school,” Kerstetter said. “We will fill up the macadam first and then go to the practice field.”

Klees noted that fire police from area fire departments will be assisting with parking, and those attending should be courteous to the individuals directing traffic.

A concession truck will have food items available for purchase outside of Alumni Field, but in the area of where the facility’s concession stand is located.

Pre-event tickets will be on sale through Thursday at www.soundsonthesusquehanna.com. Advance tickets cost $22 each for up to three, or will be $20 per person if four or more are purchased.

Tickets at the gate will cost $25.

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

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