University News

International World Class Finalist and Drum and Bugle Corps to Train at WIU Summer 2023

May 19, 2023

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MACOMB, IL — The nine-time Drum Corps International (DCI) World Class Finalist, Colts Drum and Bugle Corps from Dubuque, IA, will celebrate its 60th anniversary this summer with Western Illinois University, hosting the summer training camp May 26-June 2 and June 11-26.

The group of 160 high school- and college-aged musicians, plus 40 staff members and support team members, will train, work and live on the Macomb campus for three weeks. Members will live in the residence halls and practice at Hanson Field. Corps Director Vicki MacFarlane worked closely with WIU Marching Leathernecks Director Matt Thomas to make this initiative happen.

"The corps that previously used our facilities has moved to a new location, and we are ecstatic to have the Colts here," said Thomas. "Not only are they a world-class corps, but WIU has had numerous band students march with the corps so this will be a great recruiting tool for Western. The turf field at Hanson, and numerous grass lots, are perfect for their rehearsals, and their addition to our local community brings activity for our local businesses while the students are gone. This is a great win-win for everyone."

MacFarlane and the Colts chose to use WIU's facilities due to the strong connection to WIU and Macomb, with a number of Macomb residents and WIU students and alumni having marched with the organization. One of those is WIU staff member Scott Lawson, who marched for the Colts 1996-2000.

" I credit Scott Lawson for bringing the possibility of the Colts performing at Western to our attention," said MacFarlane. "The facilities and community are perfect for our 2023 production. Many thanks to Matt Thomas, Scott Lawson, Residential Life, and the college president for making this mutual opportunity possible. It is uncommon for a large university to be so flexible, creative, and accommodating to student and organizational needs.

I am excited about the educational environment that the Colts members will experience, the 2023 production, and the opportunity to give back to the Macomb community. This is a tremendous educational opportunity."

During the summer camps, all practices will be open to the public. The group has ranked in the top 25 at the DCI World Championships every year since 1982, and returned finalist status in 2022, placing 11th. A free performance for the Macomb community will be held on Hanson Field before the corps embarks Sunday, June 25 on a cross-country tour, competing against 20 other World Class drum and bugle corps. The performance circuit will conclude with the Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis, IN, August 10-12.

For more information on the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, visit

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