This past week the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps sent an ensemble overseas for a historic trip that marked the first time an American drum corps has performed in the Middle East. The 7,600-mile journey brought more than 100 performers and staff members to the Persian Gulf where they entertained as part of the opening ceremonies of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix.
With a population of approximately 1.4 million, Bahrain is a small island nation between the Qatar peninsula and the northeastern coast of Saudi Arabia.
Falling in close proximity to the WGI World Championships, the Blue Knights formed their Bahrain ensemble with a variety of current and alumni performers who have diverse marching music backgrounds and experience.
One of the participants – Andrew Brickman – is a graduate of Evergreen High School and is attending CU Boulder. Andrew (photo right) toured for two years with the Blue Knights as well as for two years in the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, completing his marching career with the Knights in 2016.
Makeup of the Blue Knights' Bahrain ensemble:
- 48 brass musicians
- 24 percussionists
- 28 color guard members
- 17 different DCI drum corps represented
- 14 different independent WGI color guards
- 4 different WGI percussion ensembles
- 6 band directors
- More than 30 years age difference between youngest performer (18) and oldest performer (50)
Members gathered in Denver for two days of practice before departing for Frankfurt on April 12th, en route to Bahrain. Practice in Bahrain began on the 14th, and the group learned that performing on a racetrack is quite different from a football field. They performed at a concert with Enrique Iglesias on April 15th and were part of Opening Day ceremonies on April 16th. For the next two days they ventured into the countryside, exploring the culture, tasting the food and preparing for their flight back to Frankfurt on the 18th.