Drum corps compete, put on show

ERIE, Pa. -- Musicians and dancers graced the field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Erie.

More than 1,000 young musicians and performers participated in the 34th Annual Lake Erie Fanfare Competition.

Erika Kooda, color guard section leader of Spirit of Atlanta, said, "You're putting this product together with people that you get to know super well; and when you all have a really good run of this product that you've been working on for so long, it's just the best feeling. And that's why I keep coming back."

The Drum Corps International “World Class” Competition brought eight groups to Erie from across the country.

"We spend at least 14 hours on the field with each other. So, we eat, we shower, we eat together. We tour on a bus together,” said Madalynn Warnken, color guard performer of Spirit of Atlanta. “So, we're always together. It's a family."

With nearly 3,000 spectators in the stands, the Erie Thunderbirds took to the field.

Thunderbird head drum major Rebecca Amendola said, "It's definitely a good, energy boost to get the show on the field in front of a hometown crowd."

She was excited to be home.

"Coming back here and just bringing drum corps back home, it just holds a very strong place just within the entire family," said Amendola.

Warnken said, "I'm from Florida. So, it's a little bit different from what I'm used to. It's kind of like a cute, little quaint town, and I like it."

One Erie family was thrilled to have the performers in their city.

"The economic (impact) alone; but besides that it gives those who don't get this exposure everyday--music--the opportunity to see it and hear it,” said Ken Quinn of Erie.

The winner of the 2017 Lake Erie Fanfare was the Blue Knights, based in Denver, with a score of 90.60.

They competed against the Spirit of Atlanta (Atlanta, Ga.), Jersey Surf (Camden County, N.J.), Troopers (Casper, Wyo.), Colts (Dubuque, Iowa), Madison Scouts (Madison, Wisconsin), The Academy (Tempe, Ariz.) and the Blue Stars (La Crosse, Wis.).

The DCI Championship runs from Aug. 10 to Aug. 12 in Indianapolis.


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