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The Kingsmen

The Kingsmen Alumni Corps was formed to show all the fans and today’s performers how DCI (Drum Corps International) started in 1972.  You will see and hear the first ever DCI Championship Show performed by members from various years of Kingsmen participation.  The average age is 48, however, there are a few younger members, most members are in the 50’s and few in their 60’s marching and playing a demanding show.  The music is from 1972 with parts from the 1974 Kingsmen show.  The opener drill design is the original 1972 drill but designed for 285, not 100.

The rules back in 72 were:  All groups must start the show from the left side of the field and finish on the right side.  The second musical song must present the American Flag in a patriotic song.  One song (concert) must be standing still.  Styles 35 years ago used the drum solos as major productions and not a part of songs like they are today. The timing of the show has changed since 1972.  What made the Kingsmen so good is how clean the drill and performance was back then.  If a part had even a 10% chance of not being flawless…it was cut or changed.  The rifles will be a must see, the style is not as modern like today, but will have the Kingsmen “pop” sharp moves like it was in 1972. The flag moves are also of the 1972 style, again nothing like today’s artistic style, but are performed with extreme snap and the “pop” style. 

Yes, the 1972 year started everything in drum corps history and has developed over the years, pushing new ideas and demand to what it is today.  Mr. Wampler was a part of the championship drum line, one of 8 snares with marching timpani in the drumline.  You will see the marching timpani in the first song and then they will be placed on the front sideline.  In 1972 the timpani marched the entire show.  Each member playing one drum held up with straps with a hand crank to tune different notes. No harnesses like today.  Even the snares had a strap to hold the drum to the left leg. Mr. Wampler will be marching on the #4 spot from the right side (as you look onto the field) of the 15 (or 14) member snare line (one left side member has a deep cut into his hand).   Mr. Wampler has a solo in the middle of the first song that last a big five seconds. Yes…after 35 years, Mr. Wampler will march and play the snare drum with the Kingsmen Alumni Corps which is made up of former members of the Anaheim Kingsmen Drum and Bugle Corps. The Anaheim Kingsmen Drum and Bugle Corps was once a leader in field tournaments during the 1960s, '70s and '80s. They were composed of performers ages 14 to 21, mostly from Anaheim and Orange County. They performed on Bob Hope's USO show in 1969 and was the official musical representative for Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and the California Angels baseball team.  In 1988, financial hardship forced the corps to disband. Seventeen years later, a group of alumni decided to form the Kingsmen Alumni Corps.

Currently, 285 alumni are preparing for the Drum Corps International World Championship in the Rose Bowl. 15 snares and 22 contras (tubas) is a sample of the size of this group everyone will see.  The Aug 10 & 11 event will be the first DCI championship held in California. The Kingsmen performed at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) this year and at one of last years DCI shows using temporary uniform. "It will be very exciting for today’s youth, instructors, and Drum Corps fans to see and hear the 1972-74 sound and style," Wampler said. "We're reliving part of the show that won the 1972 championships.  One of the ’72 trademarks was our color guard using very precise and snappy rifle and flag technique creating the classic military style.  Another trademark is the Kingsmen style marching timpani which starts the entire show.”  Copies of the original 1972 uniforms have been made and will be ready for this big event. The Kinsmen will perform in exhibition for the semi-finals performance at the Rose Bowl on Friday, Aug 10th.  Finals will be on Saturday Aug 11 showcasing the best 12 groups in the Nation.

The drummers, buglers and color guard members meet for monthly rehearsals at Western High School in Anaheim and at Southern Baptist University in Riverside. The final rehearsals will be at CSULB and Vet Stadium. Wampler said, “I was amazed how quickly the music and marching technique came back to me after 35 years.  I can teach both marching and the playing of music, however, I never performed both at the same time since 1972.  At first, I felt like a high school beginner. It did take a few weeks to put it all together without making massive mistakes.  After rehearsing in the mini camps, I  know what it feels like to hold lots of pounds for hours.  Now I have a new understanding what my students have to deal with at camp in August and during the marching season.