The Pursuit of Rudimental Excellence
On Labour Day weekends, growing crowds gather on street corners in the USA (recently, Rochester, NY and Annapolis, MD) to see and hear something unusual… something uniquely excellent.
They come to see 4 minutes of ‘rudimental musicianship’ played by groups competing for the DCA (Drum Corps Associates) Percussion Ensemble World Championship.
The CADRE Drum Ensemble is one of those groups.
There are commonalities as to why people are successful – in any field – whether it’s music, art, science or business.
In any endeavor, if a group of people assemble with one purpose in mind – that is, to do something excellent; something out-of-the-norm – they will be successful.
A common focus on success and attaining excellence – with zero tolerance for mistakes – are the defining components of any successful enterprise.
So, what’s special about these men and women who play marching drums? Why does the audience respond so enthusiastically?
The people hear not just the drum beatings, they respond to a unique form of music-well-played.
They respond to ‘rudimental art’: complex drumming constructions, various tempi, effective use of musical dynamics – all of which combine to produce subtle shades of emotion and excitement.
CADRE has competed against perennial favourites such as the New York Skyliners, Connecticut Legends, NYPD (New York Percussion Department), Star United, Renegades, Kilties and many more.
Each group brings their own best-interpretations of the rudimental art form; their unique approach and degree of drumming excellence in hopes of capturing the DCA World Championship.
CADRE drummers are impressed when we see and hear world-class drummers.
We understand and appreciate the different international aspects of rudimental excellence.
CADRE has total respect for all competitors!
There are differing rudimental drumming approaches. For example, CADRE’s heritage and ‘upbringing’ encompasses both French and British drumming traditions.
In addition, our overall methods may be slightly different.
Along with a common focus on excellence, here are some simple principles and tactics that have contributed to the CADRE Drum Ensemble’s success:
- 100% acceptance and adherence to a musical ‘master score’.
- Drummers understand where they fit within the musical arrangements.
- Emphasis on playing various time signatures – in time!
- The approach to performance emphasizes the many shades of musical dynamics vs. simply playing ‘loud or soft’, or a singular, narrow focus on just ‘playing clean’.
- Development of visual effects that complement the music.
- Development of warm-ups and exercises that build endurance and relate to the overall score.
These various elements combine to create that elusive ‘inner-bar magic’ that comes from playing with care vs. playing ‘flat-out’.
As a result, our drummers play with a musical enthusiasm that engages the audience.
Each year, we work hard to achieve a high level of rudimental precision and we’ve managed to win more than we’ve lost. It’s also interesting to note that we’ve never fielded the exact same group of drummers in more than one year.
Our families, friends and fans – both old and new – provide ongoing love, support, appreciation and feedback for what we do.
Thanks to all who continue to be a positive presence in our drumming lives.
- The CADRE Drum Ensemble has competed in Canada and the USA since 2003 as well as performed at hundreds of events.
- The CADRE Drum Ensemble has won the DCA Percussion Ensemble World Championship an unprecedented 6 times (2006 – 2016).
- The CADRE Drum Ensemble has also won the CADRE SHAKE I&E Percussion Ensemble Championship in 2007 (both rod drums + rope drums), 2008, 2009 and the APRDC (American Patriots Rudimental Drum Club) Rope Drum Duet championship, 2008.