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Robbinsdale Cooper Students Inspired by Drum Corp Elite

The nation's best drum corps performed at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday.

The commanding beat of the drums and the powerful resonance of dozens of horns could be heard for miles around TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota on Saturday. Twenty-five of the nation’s most elite drum corps took to the field for a day of intense competition in the intense heat.

This Drum Corps International (DCI) event was made up of world-class corps of up to 150 members. Students in world-class corps are primarily college-age with some high school involvement. Most corps from this class follow an intensive tour schedule, traveling more than 10,000 miles over the course of the summer while performing at more than 35 sanctioned events. 

Among the elite performers was Joe Jaeger, a Robbinsdale Armstrong graduate who plays the snare drum in the Blue Stars out of LaCrosse, Wis.

“It is so overwhelming and rewarding to see a student continue to grow as a musician after they leave your classroom,” said Robbinsdale Cooper Marching Band Director Mary James. She was Jaeger's teacher when he was a student at Sandburg Middle School. “To see Joe out on the field on Saturday night with so much energy and determination to do his best along with the rest of the band was amazing. Joe has always been so talented and I hope that music continues to be a passion of his for his entire life.” 

James encouraged this year’s marching band students to attend the event.

“We start learning our instruments in fifth grade and every student starts with so much energy and is ready to put in the hard work but after a few months, it gets hard and practicing is no longer fun," James said. "Marching band is that catalyst for a lot of students. It provides a new and different opportunity to use their talent. The DCI competition is an amazing performance and I want my students to be inspired by the best.”

This year at Cooper, marching band starts on Aug. 15 and includes performances at the Minnesota State Fair, home football games, the New Hope Farmers Market and the Anoka Halloween Parade. The marching band theme this year will be their interpretation of the popular Broadway show “Wicked.” A full schedule of this year’s performances can be found on the Cooper High School Website.

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