Local band members march on in top drum and bugle corps despite COVID challenges


INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WOWK) — Two former area high school marching band members have quite a story to tell about their journeys in Drum Corps International drum corps this summer. In fact, having a season to march in at all seemed against the odds just a few months ago.

David Ware marched in the high school band at Morgantown High School in Monongalia County a few years ago but just spent his last season marching in DCI as a snare drummer for the famed Bluecoats based in Canton, Ohio.

David Ware – Bluecoats member

“When Covid hit, I was prepared to never do DCI again and it feels incredible to be able to get to do it here one last time,” said Ware minutes after his final performance as a Bluecoat.

Olivia Newhouse formerly marched in the Hurricane High School band in Putnam County and marched for the first time with the historic Madison Scouts drum and bugle corps from Wisconsin.

Olivia Newhouse – Madison Scouts member

The former all-male unit became open to all genders this season and Newhouse is among the first women to march as a full time regular member of the unit.

“It’s insane to even think about, to be a part of the drum corps history, not only with the COVID year and the Celebration Tour, but to be one of the first women in drum corps in the Madison Scouts,” Newhouse said.

The 2020 regular DCI season was cancelled due to COVID. This year, the corps operated in their own bubbles, held camps later than normal, toured only two weeks instead of two months and instead of having a three day final competition, they held a 3 day celebration show. After meeting all of the logistical challenges, the groups performed at their traditional season-ending location in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

After a year away, the corps were met by an enthusiastic and loud crowd of fans. Ware reflected afterward that the crowd’s reception was the best part of persevering to be a part of this season.

The Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps perform “Lucy” in Indianapolis, IN

“That right there… getting to perform in front of all those people who are there solely to see you perform and do the thing that you love, is so rewarding, it feels amazing,” said Ware.

Newhouse returns to Marshall University where she will be a part of the color guard in the Marshall Marching Thunder while also helping out with the Poca High School Marching Band program this fall. She has one more year of eligibility left in drum corps and says she wants to work to give other young people a chance to perform like her.

“My goal is to keep going with this.  I want to bring more programs back to West Virginia,” she said.

Many units are already preparing to hold auditions for groups for the 2022 season. Anyone who will be 21 or younger next summer who would like to try out can reach out to their favorite drum corps and get info here.

Even though many units are several hours away from this region, both Ware and Newhouse encourage local young people to try out for a drum corps if they have an interest.

“It’s never about being ‘good enough,’ it’s about putting your best foot forward and trying your hardest, just working hard every day and just being the best you can be is always going to be enough,” says Newhouse.

“You just keep working, you know what I mean?,” said Ware, ” and eventually you might end up here.”

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