Drums on the Ohio stages its pandemic comeback tonight at the Reitz Bowl. Hundreds of high school- and college-aged musicians will thunder across the field for Drum Corp. International’s annual competition, the first held since 2019.
The competition has a long history in Evansville that began in 1978 with the Imperial Guard Drum and Bugle Corps. Drum Corps International has staged its annual competition since 2013, and Drums on the Ohio has served as the competition season kickoff.
Drums on the Ohio is one of more than 100 competitive events across the country organized by Drum Corps International. Since its inception in 1971, the non-profit collective has grown from 13 U.S.-based organizations to spearheading programs and events worldwide. Seeking to teach students “excellence in performance and in life,” musical programs incorporate lessons in leadership, teamwork, creativity, and respect.
Competitors include musicians from Music City Drum and Bugle Corps of Nashville, Tennessee; the Crossmen of San Antonio, Texas; the Bluecoats of Canton, Ohio; and Phantom Regiment, the Rockford, Illinois, band that rehearsed its upcoming season this summer in Evansville and gave a preview performance at Central High School in June. Performers include drill, dance, percussion, brass, and its famous drum lines.
Tonight’s concert is launched at 7 p.m. by a performance of the nation, followed by roughly 15-minute sets performed by Music City, the Crossmen, Phantom Regiment, and the Bluecoats, respectively. Phantom Regiment will give an encore performance around 8:40 p.m., followed by an announcement of the evening’s scores. An intermission is scheduled around 7:45 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $17 to $40, with $5 tacked onto card-only day-of purchases. Gates open tonight at 5:30 p.m., with all spectators entering through Reitz High School’s main gymnasium entrance. Concession purchases tonight are cash only. Paid parking is $5 as spots are available starting at 4:15 p.m. off Austin Avenue. No lawn chairs are allowed inside the Reitz Bowl this year. Click here for more information.