TEMPE, AZ - The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps are going through intensive rehearsals before they go on a summer-long tour which they hope will end in Indianapolis at the Drum Corps International World Championships in August.
The 150 member ensemble, which is comprised of high school and college students ages 15-21, rehearses twice a day at the Tempe Sports Complex.
"It's basically like marching band on steroids," says Color Guard Captain Sarah Anderson. "Doing this it's like a whole different level. Everyone wants to be here and it takes a lot of talent and effort and everyone wants to be better and be a better performer."
The group, which was started in 2001, has had monumental success in their short tenure. They first competed in the world championships in 2006 and won the Division II World Championship. They now compete in the World Class division, which is the highest level of competition.
"It's not very common," Drum Major Garrett Peelen says. "Especially now it's very difficult for corps to get started and to find that much success soon."
Drum Corps differs from marching band in that only brass and percussion instruments are used. The color guard adds a visual element along with the group's intense marching drill to create a very unique and very physical art form.
"We run around the field pretty much," adds Drum Captain Will Edmonds. "We do a lot of physical training and a lot of running and a lot of core workouts so our bodies can handle the amount of stress and fatigue."
Academy will host the first competition of the season on Wednesday, June 19 at Mesa Community College.
For more information you can visit the The Arizona Academy of Performing Arts website .