Red River Thunder set for tonight at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex

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DRC file photo
Members of the Teal Sound drum line at the Drum Corps International Red River Thunder show in 2011 at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. The show returns to Denton for its eighth year tonight.

Denton’s C.H. Collin’s Athletic Complex will host some of the best marching bands from around the country tonight.

Students from Japan, Hawaii, and just about every corner of the country will converge in Denton to test their marching, dancing and musical mettle against the best of the best in the annual Red River Thunder tournament.

“People from all over the world come to do this activity,” said Vivian Perez, a performer from University of Texas at El Paso. “We start at the end of May and it ends on August 10. We drive by night, sleep in gym floors, and take community showers.”

The summer experience is a grueling one for the hundreds of performers who get little sleep crossing the country all for a love of the brass on the 2013 Drum Corps International Tour.
“We haven’t gotten to see Denton at all. We just get to see different bugs and grass,” Perez said with a laugh.

Despite the constant travel and little leisure time, the performers are pumped up for the remaining portion of their nationwide tour, including a big upcoming tournament in San Antonio.

“I just love the activity. I love marching, playing music. I love performing,” said Kevin Sticht, a percussion performance major at California State University, Fullerton.

Band members, in this case the Sacramento Mandarins, stressed that band performances are much more intense than your average high school halftime show.

“This kind of drum core is a lot more discipline. A lot of people compare it to the army,” Perez said. “People who come out are going to be seeing a lot of uniformity and performance. We practice the exact same things every day to make it perfect. It’s very detailed.”

Groups also encouraged residents to come out to see the unique storylines of their performances.

“Our group is really Chinese oriented, so we have a lot of Taiko drum stuff,” Sticht said. “Our group was actually founded in Sacramento when the Chinese emigrated, which our show is based on this year. It’s our 50 anniversary. We have really deep roots in the Chinese community so we keep that in our core.”

Despite the intense training and army-like atmosphere, band members are encouraged by the friendly environment, bringing them back year after year.

“That’s the cool thing about this,” said Jonathan Calderon, a San Diego State University student. “Even though you have rivalries and competitions, it’s always love, friendship, family oriented -everyone is nice and supportive to other groups.”

The performance starts at 7 p.m. tonight. Ticket prices range from $25-45.

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