The music resonating all over town are not the sounds we are used to in Hope. They belong to a different place, a different world. That world is drum corps.

A modern drum corps consists of brass horns, percussion, some electronic elements and color guard. While they share some commonality with marching bands, drum corps that compete in Drum Corps International competitions are elite level organizations, and these drums corps are capable of shows that high school and college marching bands cannot dream of.

The Hope visitors, Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps, are based in Diamond Bar, California, just outside Los Angeles. They boast over 150 elite teenagers and young adults in their corps, and approximately 50 staffers, assistants and volunteers travel with them.

They are in town because the yearly finals competition is this weekend in Indianapolis, the home of Drum Corps International. It’s beneficial for the corps to have a local place to practice and fine tune their show before competing one last time. DCI finds locales that are willing to host a corps, and Hauser has been one such location for the last several years. Hauser gets a stipend from DCI and they assign a corps to our location. For the past two years, that has been Pacific Crest.

Chris Henderson, the drum corps manager, said that the corps is open to very talented marching band members aged 15-21. The season starts organizing in December but gets started in earnest in May. They hit the road in June for performances all across the nation. They won’t return home until after this weekend, which is a very long time for the younger kids who haven’t experienced living without their parents before.

“We have our own counselor with the corps, because that can be a really difficult adjustment for some kids.” said Henderson.

However, the experience is a profound and transformative one.

“Kids come home changed from this experience. They come home as adults in some ways. They can take care of themselves.”

The support staff travel with the corps. They make all meals on site with their own food truck. The truck serves 800 meals a day, with corps members eating around 5000 calories a day to keep up with the rigors of this strenuous activity. Also, the corps provides its’ own showers, keeping the corps’ impact on the school minimal.

But they do require sleeping space. The Hauser gym is converted into one big tent, with dozens of sleeping bags and inflatable air mattresses, and innumerable blankets and pillows.

Stuart Pompel, CEO of Pacific Crest, sees Hope as a unique location for his corps to fine tune for their big performance. Because Hope is a small community, there’s less distraction from the work at hand. In years past, Pacific Crest had camped at a hotel outside of Indy and at St. Mary’s of the Woods College. While camping at a school while classes are in session is unique, Pompel sees an opportunity to build relationships as well.

“Last year, the 3rd grade classes came out to watch us practice, and that was a great experience for us.”

Ideally, Pompel sees Hauser as a potential stop for Pacific Crest for years to come.